“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."

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The India Visit: Obama and India

The US is now looking to India. Why?

US trade policies with China have been a disaster for US manufacturing and have resulted in a huge transfer of wealth and power to China. There are very few Americans that will argue otherwise. China is increasingly becoming a hostile competitor to US interests and certainly not the partner envisioned by the naive proponents and architects of the Chinese and American relationship.

Now we arrive in India, tarnished and weakened, with a president that is also tarnished and weakened. Our strategic objectives are our concern with Afghanistan and Pakistan and of course China. The naive and optimistic expect that we can gain much from a renewed and strengthened relationship with India.

India has placed high trade barriers to much that the US could sell to India. India has sold much in the way of outsourcing to US corporations, but outsourcing is a job killing machine and hugely unpopular with Obama's core constituency.

India resents the past high handed moralizing made by the US towards India when they were developing their own nuclear defense. The Indians are aware that Obama and the US recognize the need for a closer relationship with India. They will negotiate hard for what they want and expect a lot in return for what they concede. This is an opportunity that comes with strategic risk. A politically weakened Obama, dealing with India, does not give me a sense of security that we will come out the winner with India.



  1. Whenever that tone deaf product of affirmative action is out of the country, it's a good time back stateside.

    This trip is fortuitous because after last Tuesday, he may not be very welcome in D.C.

    Let someone else entertain him for a while.

  2. ... product of affirmative action and outcome-based education.

  3. Give credit where credit is due.

    He is a hell of a teleprompter reader.

  4. OOps, there you are. I thought you were on such a roll with the last post, I bumped it up.


  5. .
    Lest we forget that we have seen a lot of this stuff before, from 1786:

    French manufacturers press for a measure of free trade that will give them a foreign market comparable to that of their envied British rivals. A commercial treaty is signed with London; English tariffs are lowered on French wheat, wine, and luxury goods; French tariffs are lowered on English textiles; but British imports flood the French market, undercut domestic prices, idle the looms at Troyes, and bring widespread unemployment, producing demands for renewal of tariff protection (see 1788).

    Shays' Rebellion in western Massachusetts aims to thwart further farm foreclosures in the continuing U.S. economic depression. Heavy land taxes and mounting debts have bankrupted many farmers; hundreds have been taken to court, threatened with prison, and burdened with high legal fees. Fearing that they will be reduced to the status of tenant farmers, they call themselves "Regulators" and come together under the leadership of Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays, 39, who served at the Battle of Lexington, distinguished himself in the Battle of Bunker Hill, and later saw action at Saratoga and Stony Point. Some 800 farmers organize themselves into squads and companies, arm themselves with pitchforks, and prepare to march on debtors' courts, demanding circulation of paper currency. Governor James Bowdoin and Boston merchants use their own funds to field a state militia. Bowdoin warns that any interference with the legal system will "frustrate the great end of government—the security of life, liberty, and property." The militia prevents seizure of the Springfield arsenal September 26, but the rebels succeed in having the state supreme court adjourn without returning indictments against them. Scattered fighting will continue through the winter (see 1787).

    Rhode Island farmers burn their grain, dump their milk, and leave their apples to rot in the orchards in a farm strike directed against Providence and Newport merchants who have refused to accept the paper money that has depreciated to the point of being virtually worthless. The strike has little effect, since 90 percent of Americans raise their own food, growing peas, beans, and corn in their gardens and letting their hogs forage in the woods for acorns.

    A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia becomes law January 16 (see 1779; 1785). James Madison said 2 years ago, "Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate [liberty] needs them not." He has reintroduced Thomas Jefferson's measure, it has passed with only one minor change, and Jefferson will rank it among his three best achievements, the others being the Declaration of Independence and the establishment of the University of Virginia (see education, 1819).

    Paris sends the Abbé Dicquemare to report on the state of oyster beds in the gulf at the mouth of the Seine. The naturalist reports that the oysters have diminished by half "in the last forty years . . . The real causes of the deficit are the maneuvers of cupidity and the insufficiency of laws" (see 1681).

    Montreal's Molson brewery opens outside the walled city, where English-born brewer John Molson uses eight bushels of barley for malting and brews four hogsheads of ale and beer per week for the 20-week brewing season, a total of 4,230 gallons.


  6. Some of the points in the following article are obviously true. Others I'm not sure of; however, I found it kind of interesting.

    Potectionism, Free Trade, and the Civil War

    Early American Experience

    The experiences of the British blockades of both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 impressed upon many that local manufacturing was a necessity. The nation's founding fathers, in particular, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, were quick to see that the new United States, with its industrious people and rich resources, would have a role to play in this industrial revolution.

    Some examples of early American manufacturing prowess include the Springfield Armory, founded by George Washington, the Kentucky Rifle and the Cotton Gin…

    …The Free Trade America

    Today is different, of course, the United States is a free trading nation. Democrats since the reconstruction have staunchly advocated free trade, and in the 1980s Republicans capitulated and followed suit. The great fires of the iron mills in Pittsburgh and Bethlehem have been quenched. The mighty rubber factories of Akron are being converted into apartments, and the sprawling centers of Detroit produce far fewer cars, for so many now are made in Japan, and in Korea, and China. The great electronics center of RCA in Camden is gone, while new chipmaking centers emerge in Taiwan and on the mainland.

    Protectionist rivals such as China, South Korea and Japan export broadly while they invent ways to keep their own markets closed. They carefully nurture their own industrial capacity as we Americans give ours away. New York City cannot even rebuild the World Trade Center, but in China, some of the worlds tallest buildings are under construction. Chinese shipyards now turn out the 28% of the world's merchant shipping, consisting of multitudes of modern 100,000 ton container ships. The United States produced just two commercial ships of greater than 20,000 tons. Is there any doubt that those rival shipyards might not produce more aircraft carriers, more submarines, and destroyers, than our own Norfolk Navy Yard's one carrier every five years, or one submarine every two years?

    Eerily, Americans still feel secure in their security. We are deluded into the false hope that our diminished capacity to barely claw out a dozen fighter aircraft and two ships per year will present a serious challenge to nations with the latent capacities to build them by the thousand, just as America herself once did.

    Free Trade?


  7. Q, move your last comments here to the next post. They are very interesting.