“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."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Should China be Appeased or Opposed?

Appeasement is the proper policy towards Confucian China?

The correct statecraft for the West is to treat Beijing politely but firmly as a member of global club, gambling that the Confucian ethic will over time incline China to a quest for global as well as national concord. Until we face irrefutable evidence that this Confucian bet has failed, 'Boltonism’ must be crushed.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard,


A Response to the Proposition:

Appeasement is nothing more than failed diplomacy. It is an afterthought of diplomatic “accommodation” that failed. There is no such thing as “Boltonism” and “unreconstructed neo-cons,” either. There is, however, muscular diplomacy.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard suggests the West be firm with China, yet claims the time for appeasement has come upon the US in the Sino-US relationship. But how can the US reasonably earn concessions from China while China embraces the status quo and asks no concessions from the US, especially while the US has given China no incentives to change the status quo?
Evans-Pritchard’s reference to the economic imbalance of 1900 Europe is tempting, but a stretch of the imagination. The Long Peace that began at the end of the Napoleonic Wars under the Concert of Europe, which lasted for a hundred years, was maintained by British shifting of European alliances in a balance of power system.
A wise and mature China would realize this concept was at the heart of Nixon’s overtures for Chinese recognition forty years ago as China was balanced and triangulated against the Soviet threat. Secrets were given away and Nationalist China (Taiwan) was replaced on the UN permanent membership of the Security Council while the US pledged defensive support for Taiwan.
What the Nixon policy sought from China was hegemony against the Soviet to exact entente. But Nixon’s goal of entente, while successful, failed to contemplate the actual death of the Soviet twenty years later.
China is no longer a useful tool against a common enemy. It has emerged as an immature economic oddity. The missing rule of law and lack of human rights aside, China has serious structural problems. Of her 1.3 billion souls, only ten percent live in urban areas that might be considered potential members of an emerging middle class enabled by CCP membership and attendant corruption.
Her “capitalist” identity is a misnomer. She has built only an export platform that feeds excess profits by funding the West’s excess consumption. She lacks the confidence to put her currency against the market while she pegs the Yuan below the dollar, essentially outsourcing monetary policy to the US Federal Reserve Bank.
As a percentage of GDP, domestic consumption is less than twenty percent while US domestic consumption is close to seventy percent of GDP. Further, China’s vast populations of about one billion people are simple folk who reside in the mountains and small hamlets with no electricity and still fire their woks with scarce firewood. It will be a long time, if ever, before they are counted as “consumers.”
For the US to base its economic policy on the belief that China will ever find parity with US consumption is only wishful thinking.
The most salient economic fact, though, is that interest on $800 billion in US Treasury bonds held by the Chinese is financing the “young colonels” who want to flex Chinese military muscle as a world power.
Of course they do. But they are not ready yet and won’t be for some time in spite of missiles and fighter airplanes designed and built with technology stolen from the US. The only intellectual property China claims to own--from video games and computers to aerospace technology--was stolen from the US.
Evans-Pritchard’s contention that the so-called moderate leaders of China’s wretched history are hardly dictators because Hu’s father was a victim of the Cultural Revolution and Wen narrowly escaped retribution (i.e., torture and imprisonment followed by death) after Tianamen Square is to ignore the policy currently being pursued by Evans- Pritchard’s so-called “leaders.”
What is that policy? Whatever it is, it is overly cocky and arrogant.
If it is a policy of prestige fueled by economic excess it makes no sense for the Obama Administration to feed those interests with the groveling prostrations of a state dinner at the White House after earlier prostrations and bows a year earlier on Chinese soil.
If it is an emerging policy of power fueled by an anxious cadre’ of “young colonels,” it makes no sense to accommodate whatsoever their want to dominate Taiwan in particular and the Pacific—and beyond—in general.
If it is a dysfunctional policy of both, as it most probably is, or will become soon, it would be far more sensible for the US to embrace the largest democracy on earth, India, and to remind China that her usefulness in not all that important anymore.
It is past time she was triangulated with India for Asian dominance under the same strategy initiated by the US, forty years ago, that brought forth the corrupted adolescent Sino nation with which we are now forced to contend.
We should dare her to dump our bonds on the market and get fifty cents on the dollar. She won’t. What could China do with all the cash, anyway?
We should dare her “young colonels” to attack our navy in the China Sea. They won’t.
We need to convince China that the last five hundred years were not merely an Occidental interlude of dominance that interrupted her goose step march from various dynasties toward communism, that the US is exceptional and unwilling to be eclipsed by corruption and mindless commerce with governments of the enslaved, that freedom is sought by all men, that liberty is contagious, that she can’t stop it, even within her borders, no matter how many assaults she makes against the internet.
We should remind Ambrose Evans-Pritchard that Confucius is nothing compared to the principles of Jefferson and Lincoln, that politics among nations are guided by right and Providence, and that appeasement is the best pejorative term known for the failure of “accommodation.”
All free peoples should remember Winston Churchill’s dictat of failed British “accommodation” for the Hun—what is called “appeasement” today:
“Britain had the choice between shame and war. She chose shame. She got war.”
Alas, the leader of free peoples, the United States, needs to find its backbone.

Frank Arden
Guyton, Georgia
January 23, 2011


  1. ... essentially outsourcing monetary policy to the US Federal Reserve Bank.

    There in lies the power that the US has, over China.

    Russell Company mercantilism is currently succeeding. While it is true that the Chinese are flexing some military muscle, it is doing that in their own back yard.

    Economically the Chinese are expanding into the nether regions of the whirled. Especially in Africa, where the Europeons and US have previously bungled and fumbled. The Chinese may be able to exploit the "Dark Continent", to the long term advantage of the US.

    That the Chinese are expanding their influence in the Americas, well nature abhors a vacuum. The fact is that the US has abdicated its role as the Tio Rico, while pursuing its current political preoccupation with the Middle East.

    This lack of US seriousness in the Americas is exemplified by Mr Bush appointing an Ambassador to Costa Rica that did not even speak Spanish.

    China is being exploited, to the benefit of the ruling elites in the US. Great profits are being generated and the standard of living for the average resident of the US has been materially improved, by our China policies.

    While the US has hollowed out some of the labor intense, low end manufacturing capacity, this has been compensated for. The US still maintains a disproportionate share of global GDP, per capita.

    The US maintains control, through its domination of global monetary policy. The Chinese remaining the economic vassals of the Boners.

    The answer to the question:
    "Should China be Appeased or Opposed?"
    Is neither.

    China should be nurtured, so the current exploitation can continue to benefit the people of the US.

    Whether the domination of the US, by the Boners, is "good" or not has little to do, with China. That is a matter of internal domestic politics, here in the US.

    The perception of Chinese ascendancy is an effect, not a cause of the internal political and economic choices or our ruling elites.

  2. Surge in tech stocks helps Dow near 12000

    Wealth creation has rebounded from the 2008/2009 disaster.

    The Obama policies are succeeding.

  3. We don't need more problems with China than what we already have. Nixon went there and ever since, we've regretted it but this is the whirled we made, now we have to live in it.

    The question is how does the whirled live with China? Sometimes we will appease them and sometimes we must oppose them. The extent we do that must first and foremost be based on what is best for the US. Sometimes what looks best in the long term is not so appetizing in the near term. It's a problem that must be worked out over time and in the meantime, our policy should be
    "Don't blow anything up."

  4. China’s musical insult

    Was an anti-American propaganda song played at White House state dinner last week?

    Sometimes things seem too absurd to be true, unless they are true.

    During the state dinner with Chinese Hu Jintao and President Obama, pianist Lang Lang played a number of pieces – including a famous (to Chinese citizens) anti-American propaganda song arising out of the Korean War.

    The song was the theme of a movie called Battle on Shangganling Mountain and is universally recognized by the Chinese.

    The movie is about a group of Chinese soldiers who are “first hemmed in at Shanganling (or Triangle Hill) and then, when reinforcements arrive, take up their rifles and counterattack the U.S. military ‘jackals.’”

    The insult has gleefully gone viral in China.

    Americans died in this engagement, Americans who have family members alive today.

    One oral history of the battle describes it thusly:

    “The medic ran out of morphine before he was hit and went down himself. It wasn’t until the third day of the battle that men could be spared to take the wounded Americans off the hill. It was on that morning that an exploding mortar round knocked Martin unconscious and drove shrapnel into his legs. Although he has no memory of it, he believed the men who carried his stretcher down the steep fire-swept slope of Triangle Hill must have endured a ‘terrible ordeal.’”

    Would similar musical insults would have been dared during the Reagan or Bush years at a state dinner?

  5. Peace through strength,
    War from weakness.

    That is reality.

  6. "Economically the Chinese are expanding into the nether regions of the whirled.
    Especially in Africa, where the Europeons and US have previously bungled and fumbled.

    The Chinese may be able to exploit the "Dark Continent", to the long term advantage of the US.

    Evil will bring blessings.
    ...just you wait.

  7. In 1989 you had all the same kind of talk about Japan kicking our ass economically and buying up everything from the Statue of Liberty to Yosemite National Park. Demographics is destiny, and China is about to encounter the phenomenon of a Japan-style "lost decade". We get to be on top for yet one more American Century, at least until we are finished mining out all the solar energy that has been banked underground for 25 million years.

  8. "Surge in tech stocks helps Dow near 12000

    Wealth creation has rebounded from the 2008/2009 disaster.

    The Obama policies are succeeding.

    Banks and Wall Street have been blessed by the Federal transfer of wealth from the people to the TBTF's.

    Cronie Capitalism is a great thing.
    ...for the cronies.

  9. Boehner is bringing DC Charter students as guests to Obama's latest self-promotion.

    He and Lieberman are trying to reverse BHO's selling out of DC's poor black students by Obama the Union Lackey in Chief.

    ...Chicago SEIU Chapter gets a waiver from Obamacare!

  10. By expanding "lose face" into "save face", English developed oppositely from Chinese, which has many "lose face" collocations, but none literally meaning "save face." Yao mianzi 要面子 "eager to gain reputation; be concerned about appearances" is (Hu 1944:58) "the closest Chinese approximation" for "save face."

    The underlying reason for this difference is that English "face" lacks the sociological contrast between Chinese lian and mianzi. Since Chinese lian is ethically absolute while mianzi is socially quantitative, losing the former is more significant. According to Huang:

    The fact that Chinese lexicalizes losing face (丟臉, 沒面子), but not gaining face is a potent reminder that losing face has far more serious implications for one's sense of self-esteem or decency than gaining face. (1987:71)

    Ho explains how "losing" one's "face" is more sociodynamically significant than "saving" it.

    Previous writers on face have treated losing face and gaining face simply as if they were opposite outcomes in a social encounter and have thus failed to notice the basic difference between two social processes that are involved. In the first instance, while it is meaningful to speak of both losing and gaining mien-tzu it is meaningful to speak only of losing lien. One does not speak of gaining lien because, regardless of one's station in life, one is expected to behave in accordance with the precepts of the culture; correctly conceptualized, exemplary conduct adds not to one's lien, but to one's mien-tzu. (1975:870)

    "Losing face" brings into question one's moral decency and societal adequacy, but not "gaining face."

  11. MeLoDy said...
    A nice and clean house with Barbie girl


    Link does't work!

  12. Moscow a terrorist attack.
    ...but not Islamic.

    Hassan, a mental case, not terror.

  13. Well, doug, I do recall that right here at the EB Mr Obama was blamed for the economic debacle of '08/09.

    That he was to be held responsible for the "loss" of wealth that the stock market crash represented. He must be held responsible for the recovery of that market, too.

    That crony capitalism, as exemplified by the Boners, tends to favor Wall Street over Main Street, not something I would dispute. That the entire Federal Socialist system is out of balance, again, not something I would dispute.

    But that the US enjoys the highest standard of living, for the greatest number of people in all the whirled, something I would say and defend, against all comers.

    Ms T echoes sentiments I have expressed here, before.

    I would also say that Mr Nixon's opening to China puts US at an advantage, especially when compared to the position that Mr Truman had US in, with regards to China.

    There were approximately 50,000 US soldiers killed, trying to "contain" Chinese communism, in Asia. Not a one has been killed in that effort since Nixon made his trip.

    A great leap forward, really.

    Don't try to scapegoat the Chinese for the problems the Boners have imposed, upon US.

    Those arguments falls flat.

  14. That it is the Europeons that have felt the brunt of the economic dislocation caused by China's ascendancy, good on US.

    As those Europeons tended to be ungrateful snobs. Well deserving of being taken down a peg.

  15. I would also say that comparing the US to a myth or an ideal, she can come up a tad short. But when compared to any other country in the whirled, she soars.

    Even with a Bush or Obama in the White House.

    The challenges we face are not insurmountable, nor unsolvable. They are like a mole hill, compared to the mountain that the Chinese face.

  16. As of 2004, according to Fox News, the U.S. had more than 700 military bases ...

    Maybe that is the true cause for many of our economic challenges.

    An over extension of force, by arms.

    Without the realization that it is economic force that really prevails and the we have Charlie right where he needs to be, in that regard.

    The Chinese ...essentially outsourcing monetary policy to the US Federal Reserve Bank

  17. Thousands of protesters march against government in Egypt
    Los Angeles Times - ‎

    The demonstrators, inspired by the uprising in Tunisia, denounce Mubarak and assert that elections were fraudulent. Security forces initially are avoiding clashes.

  18. You never address the fact that military spending remains static as a percentage of GDP, as Social Welfare Spending and Unionized Govt Workers costs spiral out of control.

    A reality not faced by Eisenhower.

  19. I am okay with the US pulling back from China and seeing what happens. My only question is this - which neighbor of China has to be conquered before the people on the board who think the US is an evil aggressor will admit they are wrong? Is it enough for China to conquer Taiwan? Or do they have to extend into Nepal? Or to renew their war with Vietnam to take control of the South China sea? Just how much subjugation would be required before you would agree that it is a good idea to stop them. Simple question - are there any data, any actions in the real world that would convince you that you are wrong? For the record, if China remains within her current border and does not use force to subjugate or intimidate her neighbors over the next twenty years I would gladly admit being wrong in my estimate of China's intentions.

  20. While it is true that China is investing heavily in its military....It is NOT true that they are close to challenging America's military might.

    Americas Naval forces are NOT as vulnerable to the new Chinese missiles as a lot of the media are reporting. America has a lot of new technology that few know about right now....But it will be brought forth when needed. China is CERTAINLY invulnerable to a land invasion by any other country....But the US would never try that tactic anyway.

    It all comes down to what China wants to do....They can try to bully the rest of the world and cause a war...…or they can act civilized. The ball is in their court right now.

  21. Sensible dialogue is not 'appeasement'. On the contrary, peaceful co-existence is not a bad idea. Can't we all just get along and get rich? Who benefits with military conflict with China?

  22. China is being exploited, to the benefit of the ruling elites in the US. Great profits are being generated and the standard of living for the average resident of the US has been materially improved, by our China policies.

    Don't think that the Chinese people do not know that; including the young colonels, who have been well schooled in China's history with the West.

  23. I do not address those issues, doug, because everyone else does.

    But the fact remains that 3% of the whirled population should not be responsible for well over 50% of the global military spending.

    We certainly do not spend more on social programs in the US than the rest of the whirled, combined.

    That is where we are, as a nation.
    That is where the "balance" is skewed the greatest.

    That we have been doing that, for decades, the real source of the current economic problems.

    When the military threats diminished, our spending on the military did not.

  24. China is CERTAINLY invulnerable to a land invasion by any other country....But the US would never try that tactic anyway.

    We certainly did, Stella.

    The US Army was marching towards the Yalu.
    US air power was attacking targets in China, proper.

    It cost US 50,000 dead.
    And for over 50 years, the expense of maintaining an Army in Korea.

  25. The Japanese did, successfully, in the 1930's.

    These memories are a major part of the current Chinese psyche.

  26. Korea provides the historic avenue of invasion, into China.

    Which is why they allow the Kim's to provide a buffer there, against US.

  27. Stay calm, Dad

    Need a smile today. A 911 call from a 5 year old.

  28. 5% static gdp spending on the military is ruinous.

    Spiraling out of control spending on social welfare programs and government employees is not.


  29. I'm sure there was some kind of melody while she severed the head and placed it ever so gently on its side in the frig.

    I think the handcuffs around the ankles and the dog sitting at dish was a delightful touch.

    Don't ya think?

  30. .

    Paper Tiger is the English translation of an old Chinese phrase. Mao used it to describe the US when berating Kruschev.

    The West makes the mistake of assuming that the way we think is the way everyone thinks. It's the same when dealing with Islam. It's the same when dealing with China.

    China has been humiliated by the West for over a hundred years and the concept of "face" is important in the Far East. They are now on the rise and feeling exceptionally good about themselves. The young colonels recognize they have a powerful force at their command and are eager to use it. More, importantly the people support them.

    The more the US appeases the Chinese the more face we lose. In internatinal affairs, it's always better to be respected than to be liked. Hopefully, our next president will be willing to demand concessions rather than beg for them.


  31. .

    The Obama policies are succeeding.

    Are they? Or is this a case of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy?

    According to economists the Great Recession ended in June 2009. Probably too soon for Obama's fiscal policies as structured to have had much of an effect in leading to the ‘recovery’. Now where are we 18 months later?

    According to most models that track the business cycle recoveries are marked by increases in productivity, consumer confidence, aggregate demand, and prices.

    At best, things have been spotty during the 'recovery' period. Productivity has been up and down as has been consumer confidence. Aggregate demand has been piss poor and is likely to stay that way for some time as the unemployment rate hangs around 9.4%.

    The only prices that have been rising are for commodities and raw materials.

    The first question is, were the Obama stimulus action helpful to the economy? I think they were; however, I think the same amount of money more efficiently applied would have helped more. That being said, there is no way of proving that they helped.

    The bigger question then becomes if he had done nothing and let the normal business cycle run its course would we be any worse off than we are right now? The answer of course is who the hell knows?

    However, when after eighteen months of 'recovery' we have no consumer demand, no investment, and an unemployment rate that doesn't seem to want to move from 9.4%, I have to take a jaundiced view of the opinion that the Obama policies are succeeding.

    My opinion is that there is little he (or anyone) can do to help the economy right now. That all he can do is wait for the regular market forces to eventually kick in and get things moving.

    Frankly, despite his rhetoric, I think that is exactly what he is doing right now; that and hoping it kicks in during the next year to assure he doesn't have a problem holding onto the White House.


  32. I'd just be more impressed if her discography matched Trace Adkin's.

    He had to clean up a few messes too, ya know:

    As a youth, Trace was in an automobile accident in which his car hit a bus head-on.
    Both his arms, a leg, and some ribs were broken and his nose was partially torn off.
    Trace was forced to give up football after a severe knee injury at Louisiana Tech.

    He has also experienced a number of serious injuries as an adult. His little finger on his left hand was partially severed and surgically re-attached.

    He was involved in a number of bar room incidents and was also shot in the heart and lungs by his second wife.[22]
    Adkins denies abusing her but comments that the relationship was marked by excessive alcohol use.[23]

  33. I agree with Rat on China. Nobama having something to do with the stock market climbing is laughable.

    China Schmina.

  34. "More importantly, the people support them"

    Ain't that the truth.

  35. Nothing to be learned by our history of disarmament and it's costs in the twentieth century.

    As if any war is the war to end all wars.

  36. Far more important matters have to be dealt with by Obama regarding China. He was elected to be President of all of us, not transformed into "Dissident Savior" by some lefty Englishman or Norweigians sitting on Fjord that thought making Obama a winner was a clever thing to do.

    Deal with China on trade that is bankrupting America and destroying jobs. Deal with China in working to prevent conditions that could cause ruinous wars with N Korea or China itself in the future. Extend to China the same respect we give to other powerful, influential nations. Our relationship with China is more vital than all the nations in the ME together.

  37. "Should China be Appeased or Opposed?"


    Free Trade and Globalism, enthusiastically endorsed by both Dem & Rep Parties - handed the Chicommies our asses.
    Tienamenn Square is forgotten in China as the wise leaders with 67% approval as doing a great job (highest in the world) gave 10-12% annual growth and a tripling of the standard of living as Detroit, Akron, Oakland were gutted of good paying manufacturing jobs. Since the Tienamenn Square kerfluffle. The average feeling in China is despite the protest and unfortunate violence, "we were lucky our leaders stayed on course and got us jobs and made China #1 again"


    That is not how power politics are played. America is just recently removed from being so big and powerful nations that tried to humiliate us didn't matter in the least.
    Now they can. And most nations have their historical memory of past humiliations, and many ways they were forced into subordination, some involving us. Doesn't have to be war. Most involve being cast down the pecking order on economic issues. Like Greece, lining up for it's monthly shit sandwich of "you must do these things" from German, French, Dutch, Japanese, and Swiss state bankers.


    Taiwan will be reabsorbed into China within a decade.
    Everyone knows it is coming, hopefully without a show war done by the powerful and growing Chinese military spending their WalMart revenue on subs, attack air wings, and missiles.

    Australia and NZ have already said things have changed..they no longer will back Taiwan (or America) by joining them in the event of a China-Taiwan clash if CHina elects to reabsorb them "The ugly way".

  38. All I know is that war with China is unthinkable. The Chinese know that and will use that. However I agree with Cedarford, when the Chinese feel powerful enough they will be taking back Taiwan and no group of powers will stop them.

  39. holy smokes batman its...



    I haven't seen that name in quite a while...

    As to the Appease or Opposed question - it is a false dichotomy.

  40. A false dichotomy

    Ash, your brevity is breath-taking!

  41. :)

    I like elegance in my theories as well.

  42. Uh Oh

    CAIRO — Thousands of people calling for the end of the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak clashed with riot police officers here in the capital and in other Egyptian cities on Tuesday, on a day of some of the most serious civil unrest in recent memory

    Mubarak has two choices, going Tienamenn, or losing control.