“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

China- Japan and Rare Earth Elements

Islands row has China -Japan ties 'at ground zero'
John Garnaut, Beijing
October 21, 2010

The Age

A LEADING Japanese statesman who helped mend relations with China in the 1980s says China's ''diplomatic shock and awe campaign'' over disputed islands has reduced the relationship to ''ground zero''.

Yoichi Funabashi, editor-in-chief of the Asahi Shimbun, said consequences of China's aggressive response would have a larger impact in Japan than US president Richard Nixon's secret meeting with Chairman Mao in 1971.

''Japan and China now stand at ground zero, and the landscape is a bleak, vast nothingness,'' wrote Mr Funabashi, in a letter sent to dozens of high-ranking friends in China.

If China continues to undermine its own ''peaceful rise'' doctrine then ''Japan would discard its naivety, lower its expectations, acquire needed insurance and, in some cases, cut its losses'', he wrote.

In the 1980s Mr Funabashi worked to restore ties and send thousands of Chinese students on exchange programs to Japan.

Many Chinese commentators are also concerned that China's rising assertiveness is harming its relations across the region.

''The Asahi Shimbun is the best Japanese newspaper and its standpoint is neutral. This is why Funabashi's article is so shocking,'' wrote Wang Shuo, editor of one of China's leading news outlets, Caixin. Mr Wang posted Mr Funabashi's letter and his response on the Caixin website.

Tens of thousands of Chinese students took part in mass demonstrations in several cities over the weekend.

Some damaged Japanese cars and others brandished placards of racially inflammatory slogans.

The Chinese government has taken measures to contain those protests and has recently toned down its propaganda onslaught.

Chinese and Japanese diplomats are believed to be working to get their prime ministers and foreign ministers together for a peacemaking meeting on the sidelines of next week's ASEAN summit in Hanoi.

But Japanese anger appears unabated. Former prime minister Shinzo Abe this week likened China's growing territorial ambitions to those of Nazi Germany and Lebensraum - Adolf Hitler's philosophy that the German people needed more ''living space'' in which to grow.

''Perhaps the party's leaders, despite their fear of meeting the same fate as the Soviet Union, are unable to resist the call of the People's Liberation Army for a military build-up,'' Mr Abe said.

Professor Peter Drysdale, of the Australian National University, said the mainstream of Japanese politics was nevertheless working to rebuild relations between the two countries, given Japan's reliance on investments in, and exports to, China.

''The practical hardheads that understand this know that Japan is into China up to its armpits … and they are trying to sort this out,'' he said.

The dispute began in September when the Japanese coast guard arrested a Chinese fisherman in what it considers its territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands, north of Taiwan, for ''ramming'' Japanese ships.

China's diplomatic and propaganda machine went into overdrive when Japan renewed its detention of the captain of the ship. China repeatedly summoned Japan's ambassador to Beijing and implemented what the Japanese government says was an embargo on rare-earth exports from China to Japan.

Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara this week criticised Beijing's ''hysterical'' reaction to the dispute over the Senkaku Islands, which China calls the Diaoyu Islands.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said he was ''deeply shocked that a foreign minister of a country could make such remarks''.


  1. An official cited by the China Daily said China's rare earths reserves would last 15 to 20 years at current production levels and the country might need to import supplies after that.

    China's plan to cut exports has prompted mining companies in the United States and Canada to launch efforts to resume production there.

    The recent disruption of Chinese supplies has shaken Japan, which is considering becoming a rare earth recycling center and is working with Mongolia to develop new rare earth mines.

    Tech Products

  2. ''Perhaps the party's leaders, despite their fear of meeting the same fate as the Soviet Union, are unable to resist the call of the People's Liberation Army for a military build-up,'' Mr Abe said.

    Professor Peter Drysdale, of the Australian National University, said the mainstream of Japanese politics was nevertheless working to rebuild relations between the two countries, given Japan's reliance on investments in and exports to China.

    "The practical hard-heads that understand this know that Japan is inextricably enmeshed with China - it's unbelievable how much they are - and they are trying to sort this out," he said.

    Relations with Tokyo

  3. U.S. Military Plan - Get off Oil by 2040 - Be 50/50 Biofuels by 2016

    Why? Why do you think? They can "Add" and "Subtract." We have no choice.

    The German Military just leaked a Study a couple of weeks, ago, that said the exact same thing.

    Doesn't it seem like the worthless motherfuckers in Washington might want to mention that every now and then? How about ABC, CBS, or NBC? The NY Times? We know Fox News is 7% Owned by Saudi Prince Alaweed, so they won't say anything.

    Can we just get a break, here?

  4. I-M-P-O-R-T

  5. Mining, Science and Manufacturing is a strategic advantage, assholes!

  6. I used to think closing 75%of the law schools would help. Maybe adding business schools to the mix is necessary.

  7. I added a video to the post on how the Chinese pulled this one on the geniuses that rule.

  8. They need to guarantee that loan, and then slap a tariff on Chinese Rare Earths.

    They'd better wake up on China, or we'll All be eating with chopsticks - sooner, rather than later.

  9. China’s clampdown on exports of rare earths essential for the electronics and new-energy industries may create a windfall for a handful of Western companies seeking to benefit from surging global demand.


    Molycorp plans to restart a mothballed California mine in the second half of 2011 and produce about 20,000 metric tons of rare earth oxides by the end of 2012. The Mountain Pass mine met almost all the world’s rare-earth metals demand before closing eight years ago.


    Australia in September last year blocked China Non-Ferrous Metal Mining (Group) Co. from buying a majority stake in Lynas. It blocked a A$2.6 billion bid by state-owned China Minmetals Corp. for OZ Minerals Ltd. in March 2009 on national-security concerns.

    Rare Earths

  10. Deuce alluded to this the other day:

    Our Geniuses look at China and see "Tomorrows Trading Partner."

    China looks at Us and sees Tomorrow's LUNCH.

    If China keeps growing its economy at the rate that it has for the last 30 years (10%) it will be roughly the size of ours in 10 years. It will be Double ours in 20. And, these are Not "nice" people.

    This outfit is too big to mollycoddle, now. They could get "dangerous" real damned fast.

    This deal with the Rare Earths was a bad play on their part. It gives us a disturbing peek into their psyche.

    Yeah, Virginia, that government that killed all of those citizens at Tienamen really is a bunch of assholes.

  11. The Chinese are hard and cruel to their own.

    I once walked a street in Guangzhou and saw a beggar with no face. People passed him in droves and gave him nothing.

    it is a tough and cruel society and they despise weakness. Anything not hard and tough is looked upon with contempt as being weak.

    That is life in the hard lane. Our touchy-feely whole-earth types just don't cut it with hard-earth types and hard earth is just not rare in China.

    We can't go to war with China, but we have to be ahead of them in such a way that they are never tempted and at this time they are getting close to feeling pretty damn smug and sure.

    They see us for what we have become, not what we remember we were. We better open our eyes and turn this thing around.

  12. We could start by clipping this son-of-a-bitch:

    TEHRAN, Iran – The leaders of Iran and Venezuela hailed what they called their strong strategic relationship on Wednesday, saying they are united in efforts to establish a "new world order" that will eliminate Western dominance over global affairs.

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and visiting Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, watched as officials from both countries signed 11 agreements promoting cooperation in areas including oil, natural gas, textiles, trade and public housing.

    I don't particularly care which one.