“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."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Here is a guy who wants a to flip Taiwan in exchange for Chinese forgiveness of US debt.

To Save Our Economy, Ditch Taiwan
Published: November 10, 2011

WITH a single bold act, President Obama could correct the country’s course, help assure his re-election, and preserve our children’s future.

He needs to redefine America’s mindset about national security away from the old defense mentality that American power derives predominantly from our military might, rather than from the strength, agility and competitiveness of our economy. He should make it clear that today American jobs and wealth matter more than military prowess.

As Adm. Mike Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared last year, “The most significant threat to our national security is our debt.”

There are dozens of initiatives President Obama could undertake to strengthen our economic security. Here is one: He should enter into closed-door negotiations with Chinese leaders to write off the $1.14 trillion of American debt currently held by China in exchange for a deal to end American military assistance and arms sales to Taiwan and terminate the current United States-Taiwan defense arrangement by 2015.

This would be a most precious prize to the cautious men in Beijing, one they would give dearly to achieve. After all, our relationship with Taiwan, as revised in 1979, is a vestige of the cold war.

Today, America has little strategic interest in Taiwan, which is gradually integrating with China economically by investing in and forming joint ventures with mainland Chinese firms. The island’s absorption into mainland China is inevitable.

But the status quo is dangerous; if Taiwanese nationalist politicians decided to declare independence or if Beijing’s hawks tired of waiting for integration and moved to take Taiwan by force, America could suddenly be drawn into a multitrillion-dollar war.

There will be “China hawks” who denounce any deal on Taiwan as American capitulation, but their fear of a Red China menacing Asia is anachronistic. Portraying the United States as a democratic Athens threatened by China’s autocratic Sparta makes for sensational imagery, but nothing could be further from reality.

The battle today is between competing balance sheets, and it is fought in board rooms; it is not a geopolitical struggle to militarily or ideologically “dominate” the Pacific.

In fact, China and the United States have interlocking economic interests. China’s greatest military asset is actually the United States Navy, which keeps the sea lanes safe for China’s resources and products to flow freely.

China would want a deal on Taiwan for several reasons. First, Taiwan is Beijing’s unspoken but hard-to-hide top priority for symbolic and strategic reasons; only access to water and energy mean more to Chinese leaders.

Second, a deal would open a clearer path for the gradual, orderly integration of Taiwan into China.

Third, it would undermine hard-line militarists who use the Taiwan issue to stoke nationalist flames, sideline pro-Western technocrats and extract larger military budgets. And finally, it would save China the considerable sums it has been spending on a vast military buildup.

Jeffrey Lewis, an East Asia expert at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, estimated that one-fourth to one-third of China’s defense spending goes to forces in the vicinity of Taiwan — at a cost of $30 billion to $50 billion a year. A deal for the resolution of Taiwan’s status could save China $500 billion in defense spending by 2020 and allow Beijing to break even by 2030, while reducing America’s debt and serving our broader economic interests.

The Chinese leadership would be startled — for a change — if the United States were to adopt such a savvy negotiating posture. Beyond reducing our debt, a Taiwan deal could pressure Beijing to end its political and economic support for pariah states like Iran, North Korea and Syria and to exert a moderating influence over an unstable Pakistan. It would be a game changer.

The deal would eliminate almost 10 percent of our national debt without raising taxes or cutting spending; it would redirect American foreign policy away from dated cold-war-era entanglements and toward our contemporary economic and strategic interests; and it would eliminate the risk of involvement in a costly war with China.

Critics will call this proposal impractical, even absurd. They will say it doesn’t have a prayer of passing Congress, and doesn’t acknowledge political realities. They might be right — today.

But by pursuing this agenda, Mr. Obama would change the calculus and political reality. And Congress should see a deal with China as an opportunity to make itself credible again.

Debt is not in itself bad, when managed, but today’s unsustainable debt will suffocate our economy, our democracy and our children’s futures.

By tackling the issue of Taiwan, Mr. Obama could address much of what ails him today, sending a message of bold foreign policy thinking and fiscal responsibility that would benefit every citizen and be understood by every voter.

Paul V. Kane, a former international security fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, is a Marine who served in Iraq.


  1. Who else could we get rid of to save some serious loot?

  2. In one paragraph the moron says this:

    "But the status quo is dangerous; if Taiwanese nationalist politicians decided to declare independence or if Beijing’s hawks tired of waiting for integration and moved to take Taiwan by force, America could suddenly be drawn into a multitrillion-dollar war."


    in the very next paragraph he says This:

    There will be “China hawks” who denounce any deal on Taiwan as American capitulation, but their fear of a Red China menacing Asia is anachronistic. Portraying the United States as a democratic Athens threatened by China’s autocratic Sparta makes for sensational imagery, but nothing could be further from reality."

  3. In 1971 I was assigned to a Navy unit in-country Vietnam. As soon as I was eligible for R&R I requested Taipei. I had previously served two tours at USTDC, so I was anxiously wanting to return to Taipei. I arrived in Taipei on December 23, 1971, and had a wonderful/memorable Christmas with Chinese friends that I had made during my previous tours. As far as I can remember there was only one plane leaving Tan Son Nhut AB for Taipei on the day I left and returned to/from Taipei R&R.

  4. How fucking naive. The Chinese will not do that deal. Taiwan is in bed with Copy China already.
    The peoples republic of Counterfeit China will never attack they want it all in a smooth transition
    which they will get sooner or later. Chinese businessmen will sell out Taiwan.

  5. Joe Paterno, Penn State, its reputation, and the President of Penn State have a lot on the line that is far more than Sandusky and his child sex abuse.

    This is America and the "money" is always more important than the children. Remember that and you won't ever be disappointed again.

  6. Employer-based health insurance has declined since 2008, falling from 49.8% in the first quarter of that year to 44.5% in the third quarter of 2011. If Wal-Mart's decision is a precursor of how employers intend to manage their healthcare costs, the downward trend in employer-based healthcare will likely continue.

    At the same time, the percentage of Americans who are uninsured is on the rise again after remaining fairly steady throughout 2010. If more employers stop offering health insurance and the cost of purchasing insurance for individuals remains a barrier, it is possible that the uninsured rate will continue to rise -- at least until additional parts of the 2010 healthcare legislation take effect.

    Uninsured on the rise.

  7. That is one of the outcomes of an economy based on free trade and finance. Why pay benefits if you can outsource to areas where you don’t have to pay for them? The irony is that unfettered pure capitalism and a free market based on an anything goes mentality on Wall Street is forcing greater numbers of people off of private insurance, job security and private pensions. The result is a growing pool of people that will demand these services from the government. What is their alternative?

  8. There is none.

    Slightly Over 53 Million Americans, now have nothing but emergency room coverage.

  9. If I were a Republican, and the Republican candidate was one out of the current field of candidates, you would find me fishing come election day. Did I mention that I don’t like to fish? I specialize in hooking a tree on my back cast. No I did not say hooking on the back seat. This is funny:

  10. There used to be another gal posted here, called Deuce "Blue," and refused to make clickable links.

    Whut a strange little coinkidink, eh?

  11. She was a little fed up with 'publicans, too.

  12. Do we care about this?

    The head of China's biggest ratings agency, Dagong Global Credit Rating, is warning that it may downgrade the US's sovereign debt rating again because of Washington's failure to tackle the federal budget deficit.

  13. You have heard of the Click and Clack brothers, perhaps we are the clickable and clackable sisters. :-) I have no idea what you are talking about.

  14. Cui Bono?

    China's currency is tied to the Dollar, so if the dollar is devalued their currency is devalued, esp. against the Euro, which is used by their largest trading partner.

    Thus making their exports more competitive.

  15. Well, the coinkydinks jist keep on comin'.

    The Pentagon’s shadow war in Africa could have a new front, if reports coming out of Nigeria are accurate. U.S. troops are headed to Nigeria to help local forces do battle with Boko Haram, an Islamic terror group that has killed up to 400 people this year in an escalating campaign of bombings and shootings. At least that’s what Nigerian military sources tell Scott Morgan, a journalist based in Washington, D.C.

    Oil Protection Team to Nigeria

  16. What was it last month? The Congo?

    Of course, we've been all over the Horn for awhile, now.

    Ghana, Sudan. Ethiopia.

    Gettin' bizzy over there.

  17. Chasing around, trying to protect smaller, and more remote puddles of oil, in more, and more hostile environments to stave off the "day of reckoning" just one more year, or six more months.

    All the time, getting farther, and farther behind the 8-Ball.

    Sliding down a shit-slicked slope to catastrophe.

    With the Reublicans fighting all mitigating, renewable technologies all the way.

    The only difference between us, and baboons is "baboon brains" do, occasionally, work.

  18. Maybe Democracy Is too difficult.

  19. And, don't let anybody shit you; Nigeria is a Criminal Government. We have gotten ourselves on the wrong side of a civil war/revolution one more fucking time.

    Probably the same situation in the Congo, and every other shithole over there that we're "pooping, and scooping" around.


  20. I share your pain;

    Sarkozy suggested that he is frustrated with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- but Americans might be more frustrated with Obama than they are irritated by Netanyahu.

    "A poll conducted by the group Greenberg Quinlan Rosner found that 52.3 percent of Americans rate Netanyahu positively, compared to 51.5 percent for Obama," reports Israel Today Magazine. "The results of the poll were enthusiastically discussed on Israel's Channel 10 News on Thursday.”

    I’ll bet 62% of Americans don’t even know who Netanyahu is. I would like to see that push-poll. Who paid for it?

  21. That survey found that 60 percent of respondents believed the United States should favor or strongly favor Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. The figure was even higher -- 67 percent -- among so-called "opinion elite," a designation based on a respondent's engagement with foreign policy issues, education and income.

  22. Re clickable links...

    I'm not keen on making them myself but I must say that while surfing on my phone late on a Friday night I've gained an appreciation for their functionality. I will miss the humor tonight.

  23. .

    To Save Our Economy, Ditch Taiwan

    Hey, why not? It wouldn't be the first time.

    I watched a docu-drama tonight called Paris 1919 about the negotiations that went into the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The only one who came out of the mess looking half way decent was Keynes and he ended up resigning from the British delegation early in disgust.

    We have been screwing up on the diplomatic front for a long time. Nothing new here. Lord, save us from the State Department and idealistic presidents with no core values.


  24. .

    The Cost of Clean Energy?

    The project is also a marvel in another, less obvious way: Taxpayers and ratepayers are providing subsidies worth almost as much as the entire $1.6 billion cost of the project. Similar subsidy packages have been given to 15 other solar- and wind-power electric plants since 2009.

    The government support — which includes loan guarantees, cash grants and contracts that require electric customers to pay higher rates — largely eliminated the risk to the private investors and almost guaranteed them large profits for years to come. The beneficiaries include financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, conglomerates like General Electric, utilities like Exelon and NRG — even Google...

    Gold Rush of Subsidies for Clean Energy

    The article talks of subsidies to large companies that really didn't need them. However, here in Michigan, the local newspaper has been running a series this week on highly subsidized companies that are currently failing. Yesterday was about solar panel companies and today was about wind power.

    Clean energy was one of the industries pushed by Jennifer Granholm when Michigan went in the tank in 2008. Right now it hasn't lived up to its promise.


  25. .

    Assisted by another state law, which mandates that California utilities buy 33 percent of their power from clean-energy sources by 2020, the project’s developers struck lucrative contracts with the local utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, to buy the plant’s power for 25 years.

    P.G.& E., and ultimately its electric customers, will pay NRG $150 to $180 a megawatt-hour, according to a person familiar with the project, who asked not to be identified because the price information was confidential. At the time the contract was awarded, that was about 50 percent more than the expected market cost of electricity in California from a newly built gas-powered plant, state officials said...


  26. .

    Mr. Katell said G.E. and other companies were simply “playing ball” under the rules set by Congress and the Obama administration to promote the industry. “It is good for the country, and good for our company,” he said.

    Hey, what's good for GM mean what's good for GE is good for the country.



  27. Solar produces during "Peak."

    The California utilities have been charging customers up to $330.00 per Megawatt hr during Peak.

    Then the article doesn't discuss what happens a few years down the road when "gas" has gove from $3.50 per kcu back up to $14.00, and that Solar plant is paid for, and iskicking out "Peak" electricity for, for virtually FREE.

    You would have to be the fucking biggest idiot in the universe to put a "gas" plant in S. Cal, Arizona, Nevada, N. Mex, Ok, Texas, or Florida.

  28. That Solar Valley (NRG) Project will kick out 550 Gigawatt/hrs Annually, or about 1.5 Gigawatt hrs/day During Peak Usage (this is the time when S. Californianas are paying $330,000.00 GWhr.)

    The loan gurantee is set up so the Government gets "cleared" before the investors can start profiting.

    The Citizens of California will save Billions, if not Tens of Billions, of Dollars on this Project, over what they would have ended up paying for Gas or Coal, or "glowinthedark nuclear."

  29. Look at This Map

    and tell me you'd put a gas, or coal plant in S. Cal.

  30. Such an idiot! Anyone who thinks Taiwan really wants to buy weapons from us. You're totally wrong!

    The reason Taiwan keeps buying weapons from USA is that Taiwan is being forced to pay USA the premium of insurance. Taiwan is just one of the policy holders around the world to support our defense industry. It is like a hiden pocket if American government needs some allowances.

    Everybody knows Taiwan will be defected within hours if China really wants to take it down. Even Taiwanese government admits Taiwan may be able defend itselt for “hours” if China decides to attack.

    Does anyone know China has more than a thousand warhead heading toward Taiwan’s major cities and military bases for years.

    Anyone tells me how many cities we have. Let’s say 3 er stats, so we have about 150 cities. What that means is there are approximately 100 warheads targeting each city in Taiwan. What can Taiwan do? Buy more weapons from us?