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Who Rules America ?

A slightly skeptical view on the US political establishment and foreign policy

If Ronald Reagan was America's neo-Julius Caesar, his adopted son was the first George Bush (just as J.C. adopted Augustus). And look what THAT progeny wrought. I fully expect that over the next century, no fewer than seven Bushes will have run or become president (mimicking the Roman Caesarian line). Goodbye, American Republic.

From review of Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia by Gore Vidal

Skepticism -> Political Skeptic

News Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Neoliberal propaganda Libertarian Philosophy
Two Party System as Polyarchy Big Uncle is Watching You Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neo-conservatism National Security State Predator state New American Militarism
"Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17 Neoliberal war on reality American Exceptionalism Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Globalization of Financial Flows The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization  Color revolutions Compradors vs. national bourgeoisie Neo-Theocracy as a drive to simpler society Corruption of Regulators Neoliberal Compradors and lumpenelite
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Elite Theory Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Bureaucracy Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Groupthink
Social Justice Modern forms of slavery in the USA Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult  US Presidential Elections of 2016 Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Myth about intelligent voter  
Ethno-lingustic Nationalism MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss The Far Right Forces in Ukraine as Trojan Horse of Neoliberalism  Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers   Corporatism
Casino Capitalism   Financial Skeptic Slightly Skeptical Look at Oil Price Slump Russian Ukrainian Gas Wars Energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks
Ron Paul George Carlin Famous quotes of John Kenneth Galbraith Kurt Vonnegut Quotes Talleyrand quotes Somerset Maugham Quotes Otto Von Bismarck Quotes
Fighting Russophobia Overcomplexity of society New American Militarism Parasitism on Human rights children of Lieutenant Schmidt Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

FDR. speech after the election (1936)

polyarchy: A system where the participation of masses of people is limited to voting among one or another representatives of the elite in periodic elections. Between elections the masses are now expected to keep quiet, to go back to life as usual while the elite make decisions and run the world until they can choose between one or another elite another four years later. So polyarchy is a system of elite rule, and a system of elite rule that is little bit more soft-core than the elite rule that we would see under a military dictatorship. But what we see is that under a polyarchy the basic socio-economic system does not change, it does not become democratized.

▬William I. Robinson, Behind the Veil, Minute 1:29:15


Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page
Who Rules America


 


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It's easy to pretend to be a great strategist,
while sitting on the top of the hill,
at the safe distance from the battle in the valley

Shota Rustavelli(1172–1216)

[Sep 28, 2016] Scan and go as surveillance tool

Notable quotes:
"... Another goal of course is to track even further every single purchase - what, and where, and when. And then sell the consumption data to the insurers perhaps… a packet of cigs per day? Or too many bottles of booze? ..."
Sep 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

temporal September 25, 2016 at 9:08 am

Scan and go.

Swapping standing in line at the check-out for the line at the exit. And when there is an issue then the greeter calls in the check-out police thereby pissing off the customer. Brilliant.

While Apple fanboys are willing to work for their iPhone's company for free by doing their own check-out I doubt that is likely for people going to Sam's Club. As well many customers, even if they have a smartphone, will not enjoy using up their data plan as they try to check and process the details online.

All these smartphone apps have one major goal, besides collecting credit fees. Reduce store overhead by getting customers to do more of the work while eliminating employees. The winners are not the customers or people looking for a way to make ends meet.

Pavel September 25, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Another goal of course is to track even further every single purchase - what, and where, and when. And then sell the consumption data to the insurers perhaps… a packet of cigs per day? Or too many bottles of booze?

Of course they are already doing that with the store "fidelity cards", but the mobile apps will be more precise and less optional.

[Sep 28, 2016] The root cause of Syria war is Baathists aligned with non Sunnis running a sector of land lusted after by the Saudis and GCC

Notable quotes:
"... Of course the root cause is Baathists aligned with non Sunnis running a sector of land lusted after by the Saudis and GCC. ..."
"... That the US supported the Sunnis (since the Iranians ousted CIA puppets) against the Baathists did not start the civil war, it merely keeps it growing in lust for death and destruction. ..."
"... While that Sep 2012 skirmish in Benghazi included CIA ground troops otherwise there securing the sea lanes supporting Syrian Al Qaeda with Qaddafi's arms, less stingers. ..."
"... "Settle for the crooked, Wall St, war monger because real change is too hard and the other guy is insane, supported by racists and don't think Russia should praise American exceptionalism." ..."
Sep 04, 2016 | angrybearblog.com

ilsm, August 31, 2016 8:21 am

Bev,

"As for Syria, here too I'm not sure why you think this country caused its civil war, but it did not."

Of course the root cause is Baathists aligned with non Sunnis running a sector of land lusted after by the Saudis and GCC.

That the US supported the Sunnis (since the Iranians ousted CIA puppets) against the Baathists did not start the civil war, it merely keeps it growing in lust for death and destruction.

While that Sep 2012 skirmish in Benghazi included CIA ground troops otherwise there securing the sea lanes supporting Syrian Al Qaeda with Qaddafi's arms, less stingers.

ilsm August 31, 2016 9:44 pm

"Settle for the crooked, Wall St, war monger because real change is too hard and the other guy is insane, supported by racists and don't think Russia should praise American exceptionalism."

Obama might as well have voted with Hillary for AUMF forever, he is running it.

[Sep 28, 2016] Flawed as he may be, Trump is telling more of the truth than politicians of our day Most important, he offers a path away from constant war, a path of businesslike accommodation with all reasonable people and nations

Notable quotes:
"... Flawed as he may be, Trump is telling more of the truth than politicians of our day. Most important, he offers a path away from constant war, a path of businesslike accommodation with all reasonable people and nations, concentrating our forces and efforts against the true enemies of civilization. Thus, to dwell on his faults and errors is to evade the great questions of war and peace, life and death for our people and our country. You and I will have to compensate for his deficits of civility, in return for peace, we may hope as Lincoln hoped, among ourselves and with all nations. ..."
"... No doubt, clinton supporters will snicker and deride efforts to treat Trump's positions seriously as this essay does. ..."
Sep 25, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Katniss Everdeen

RE: I Was RFK's Speechwriter. Now I'm Voting for Trump. Here's Why. Politico (RR)

Flawed as he may be, Trump is telling more of the truth than politicians of our day. Most important, he offers a path away from constant war, a path of businesslike accommodation with all reasonable people and nations, concentrating our forces and efforts against the true enemies of civilization. Thus, to dwell on his faults and errors is to evade the great questions of war and peace, life and death for our people and our country. You and I will have to compensate for his deficits of civility, in return for peace, we may hope as Lincoln hoped, among ourselves and with all nations.

No doubt, clinton supporters will snicker and deride efforts to treat Trump's positions seriously as this essay does.

But for anyone who is the slightest bit aware of how the maniac imperialists have hijacked the public means of persuasion for a generation to the detriment of countless foreign countries as well as our own, the obsession with turning Trump into a cartoon character with joke "policies" should sound an alarm.

No "politician" was ever going to buck this system. Bernie Sanders, fiery and committed though he was, proved that. It was always going to take an over-sized personality with an over-sized ego to withstand the shit storm that a demand for profound change would create, and some "incivility" seems a small price to pay to break the vice grip of the status quo.

I, for one, have no intention of squandering this opportunity to throw sand in the gears. There has never been a third candidate allowed to plead their case in a presidential "debate" since Ross Perot threw a scare into TPTB in 1992. Should clinton manage to pull this one out, the lesson of Trump will be learned, and we may not be "given" the opportunity to choose an "outsider" again for a very long time. It's worth taking a minute to separate the message from the messenger.

subgenius September 25, 2016 at 11:33 am

No doubt, clinton supporters will snicker and deride efforts to treat Trump's positions seriously as this essay does.

[Sep 28, 2016] TPP implies the increased protectionism, in the form of longer and stronger patent and copyright protections. which are equivalent to tariffs of several thousand percent on the protected items. As they apply to an ever growing share of the economy, the resulting economic losses might be huge.

Notable quotes:
"... It is not clear what the NYT thinks it is telling readers with this comment. The economy grows and creates jobs, sort of like the tree in my backyard grows every year. The issue is the rate of growth and job creation. While the economy has recovered from the lows of the recession, employment rates of prime age workers (ages 25-54) are still down by almost 2.0 percentage points from the pre-recession level and almost 4.0 percentage points from 2000 peaks. There is much research ** *** showing that trade has played a role in this drop in employment. ..."
"... It is not surprising that Ford's CEO would say that shifting production to Mexico would not cost U.S. jobs. It is likely he would make this claim whether or not it is true. Furthermore, his actual statement is that Ford is not cutting U.S. jobs. If the jobs being created in Mexico would otherwise be created in the United States, then the switch is costing U.S. jobs. The fact that Michigan and Ohio added 75,000 jobs last year has as much to do with this issue as the winner of last night's Yankees' game. ..."
"... The piece goes on to say that the North American Free Trade Agreement has "for more than two decades has been widely counted as a main achievement of [Bill Clinton]." It doesn't say who holds this view. The deal did not lead to a rise in the U.S. trade surplus with Mexico, which was a claim by its proponents before its passage. It also has not led to more rapid growth in Mexico which has actually fallen further behind the United States in the two decades since NAFTA. ..."
"... It is worth noting that none of the analyses that provide the basis for this assertion take into the account the impact of the increased protectionism, in the form of longer and stronger patent and copyright protections, which are a major part of the TPP. These forms of protection are equivalent to tariffs of several thousand percent on the protected items. As they apply to an ever growing share of the economy, the resulting economic losses will expand substantially in the next decade, especially if the TPP is approved. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

anne said... \ September 28, 2016 at 04:55 AM

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/nyt-editorial-in-news-section-for-tpp-short-on-substance

September 28, 2016

NYT Editorial In News Section for TPP Short on Substance

When the issue is trade deals, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the New York Times throws out its usual journalistic standards to push its pro-trade deal agenda. Therefore it is not surprising to see a story * in the news section that was essentially a misleading advertisement for these trade deals.

The headline tells readers that Donald Trump's comments on trade in the Monday night debate lacked accuracy. The second paragraph adds:

"His aggressiveness may have been offset somewhat by demerits on substance."

These comments could well describe this NYT piece.

For example, it ostensibly indicts Trump with the comment:

"His [Trump's] first words of the night were the claim that "our jobs are fleeing the country," though nearly 15 million new jobs have been created since the economic recovery began."

It is not clear what the NYT thinks it is telling readers with this comment. The economy grows and creates jobs, sort of like the tree in my backyard grows every year. The issue is the rate of growth and job creation. While the economy has recovered from the lows of the recession, employment rates of prime age workers (ages 25-54) are still down by almost 2.0 percentage points from the pre-recession level and almost 4.0 percentage points from 2000 peaks. There is much research ** *** showing that trade has played a role in this drop in employment.

The NYT piece continues:

"[Trump] singled out Ford for sending thousands of jobs to Mexico to build small cars and worsening manufacturing job losses in Michigan and Ohio, but the company's chief executive has said 'zero' American workers would be cut. Those states each gained more than 75,000 jobs in just the last year."

It is not surprising that Ford's CEO would say that shifting production to Mexico would not cost U.S. jobs. It is likely he would make this claim whether or not it is true. Furthermore, his actual statement is that Ford is not cutting U.S. jobs. If the jobs being created in Mexico would otherwise be created in the United States, then the switch is costing U.S. jobs. The fact that Michigan and Ohio added 75,000 jobs last year has as much to do with this issue as the winner of last night's Yankees' game.

The next sentence adds:

"Mr. Trump said China was devaluing its currency for unfair price advantages, yet it ended that practice several years ago and is now propping up the value of its currency."

While China has recently been trying to keep up the value of its currency by selling reserves, it still holds more than $4 trillion in foreign reserves, counting its sovereign wealth fund. This is more than four times the holdings that would typically be expected of a country its side. These holdings have the effect of keeping down the value of China's currency.

If this seems difficult to understand, the Federal Reserve now holds more than $3 trillion in assets as a result of its quantitative easing programs of the last seven years. It raised its short-term interest rate by a quarter point last December, nonetheless almost all economists would agree the net effect of the Fed's actions is the keep interest rates lower than they would otherwise be. The same is true of China and its foreign reserve position.

The piece goes on to say that the North American Free Trade Agreement has "for more than two decades has been widely counted as a main achievement of [Bill Clinton]." It doesn't say who holds this view. The deal did not lead to a rise in the U.S. trade surplus with Mexico, which was a claim by its proponents before its passage. It also has not led to more rapid growth in Mexico which has actually fallen further behind the United States in the two decades since NAFTA.

In later discussing the TPP the piece tells readers:

"Economists generally have said the Pacific nations agreement would increase incomes, exports and growth in the United States, but not significantly."

It is worth noting that none of the analyses that provide the basis for this assertion take into the account the impact of the increased protectionism, in the form of longer and stronger patent and copyright protections, which are a major part of the TPP. These forms of protection are equivalent to tariffs of several thousand percent on the protected items. As they apply to an ever growing share of the economy, the resulting economic losses will expand substantially in the next decade, especially if the TPP is approved.

* http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/28/us/politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-trade-tpp-nafta.html

** http://www.nber.org/papers/w21906

*** http://economics.mit.edu/files/6613

-- Dean Baker

[Sep 28, 2016] Is Inequality Rising or Falling?

Sep 28, 2016 | baselinescenario.com

Last week, Council of Economic Advisers chair Jason Furman took to the Washington Post to announce that President Obama has "narrowed the inequality gap." Furman's argument, bolstered by charts and data from a recent CEA report, has won over some of the more perceptive commentators on the Internet, including Derek Thompson, who concludes that Obama "did more to combat [income inequality] than any president in at least 50 years." In 538, the headline on Ben Casselman's summary reads, "The Income Gap Began to Narrow Under Obama."

But is it true?

I already wrote about the key misdirection in Furman's argument: his measures of reduced inequality compare the current world not against the world of eight years ago, but against a parallel universe in which, essentially, the policies of George W. Bush remained in place. (This is not something either Thompson or Casselman fell for; they both realized what Furman was actually arguing.) Today I want to address the larger question of whether inequality is actually getting worse or better.

First, let's orient ourselves. At a high level, there are two sets of forces that affect income inequality. The first set is underlying economic factors that determine inequality of pre-tax income: skills gap, globalization, bargaining power of labor, and so on. The second set is government policies that affect the distribution of income, often referred to as taxes and transfers; these policies take pre-tax income inequality as an input and produce after-tax income inequality as an output. (This isn't a perfect distinction, since tax and transfer policies also affect the distribution of pre-tax income, but I think it's good enough for explanatory purposes.)

Furman's argument is that Obama has improved that second set of policies. That's what this chart really shows; remember, it's comparing the effect of taxes and transfers next year against the effect of taxes and transfers under George W. Bush policies.

skunk | September 27, 2016 at 6:01 pm

Either way, we still have an economy which is build on a foundation of debt, that in turn leads to price increases, and the separation of the haves, and the have nots.

[Sep 28, 2016] Mook Spooked Clinton Campaign Manager, Other Top Dems Dodge Questions on Whether Hillary Wants Obama to Withdraw T

www.breitbart.com
Hillary Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook and other top Democrats refused to answer whether Clinton wants President Barack Obama to withdraw the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) from consideration before Congress during interviews with Breitbart News in the spin room after the first presidential debate here at Hofstra University on Monday night.

The fact that Mook, Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon, and Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman Donna Brazile each refused to answer the simple question that would prove Clinton is actually opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership now after praising it 40 times and calling it the "gold standard" is somewhat shocking.

After initially ignoring the question entirely four separate times, Mook finally replied to Breitbart News. But when he did respond, he didn't answer the question:

BREITBART NEWS: "Robby, does Secretary Clinton believe that the president should withdraw the TPP?"

ROBBY MOOK: "Secretary Clinton, as she said in the debate, evaluated the final TPP language and came to the conclusion that she cannot support it."

BREITBART NEWS: "Does she think the president should withdraw it?"

ROBBY MOOK: "She has said the president should not support it."

Obama is attempting to ram TPP through Congress as his last act as president during a lame duck session of Congress. Clinton previously supported the TPP, and called it the "Gold Standard" of trade deals. That's something Brazile, the new chairwoman of the DNC who took over after Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) was forced to resign after email leaks showed she and her staff at the DNC undermined the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and in an untoward way forced the nomination into Clinton's hands, openly confirmed in her own interview with Breitbart News in the spin room post debate. Brazile similarly refused to answer if Clinton should call on Obama to withdraw the TPP from consideration before Congress.

[Sep 28, 2016] Wolf Richter Negative Growth of Real Wages is Normal for Much of the Workforce, and Getting Worse – New York Fed naked cap

Notable quotes:
"... If you're wondering why a large portion of American consumers are strung out and breathless and have trouble spending more and cranking up the economy, here's the New York Fed with an answer. And it's going to get worse. ..."
"... That the real median income of men has declined 4% since 1973 is an ugly tidbit that the Census Bureau hammered home in its Income and Poverty report two weeks ago, which I highlighted in this article – That 5.2% Jump in Household Income? Nope, People Aren't Suddenly Getting Big-Fat Paychecks – and it includes the interactive chart below that shows how the real median wage of women rose 36% from 1973 through 2015, while it fell 4% for men... ..."
"... Nominal wages are sticky downwards but not real wages. That is why the FED, the banks, the corporate sector and the economists support persistent inflation, i.e. it lowers real wages. The "study" correlating wage growth with aging is one of those empirical pieces by economists to obscure the role of inflation in lowering real wages. ..."
"... Real Wage Growth chart very interesting, crossing negative at about 55 for no college, and 43 for a Bachelor's degree. 43!! Not even halfway through a work-life, and none better since 2003 at best. ..."
Sep 28, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Wolf Richter, a San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Originally published at Wolf Street.

The New York Fed published an eye-opener of an article on its blog, Liberty Street Economics , seemingly about the aging of the US labor force as one of the big economic trends of our times with "implications for the behavior of real wage growth." Then it explained why "negative growth" – the politically correct jargon for "decline" – in real wages is going to be the new normal for an ever larger part of the labor force.

If you're wondering why a large portion of American consumers are strung out and breathless and have trouble spending more and cranking up the economy, here's the New York Fed with an answer. And it's going to get worse.

The authors looked at the wages of all employed people aged 16 and older in the Current Population Survey (CPS), both monthly data from 1982 through May 2016 and annual data from 1969 through 1981. They then restricted the sample to employed individuals with wages, which boiled it down to 7.6 million statistical observations.

Then they adjusted the wages via the Consumer Price Index to 2014 dollars and divide the sample into 140 different "demographic cohorts" by decade of birth, sex, race, and education. As an illustration of the principles at work, they picked the cohort of white males born in the decade of the 1950s.

That the real median income of men has declined 4% since 1973 is an ugly tidbit that the Census Bureau hammered home in its Income and Poverty report two weeks ago, which I highlighted in this article – That 5.2% Jump in Household Income? Nope, People Aren't Suddenly Getting Big-Fat Paychecks – and it includes the interactive chart below that shows how the real median wage of women rose 36% from 1973 through 2015, while it fell 4% for men...

Sally Snyder September 28, 2016 at 7:22 am

Here is an interesting article that looks at which Americans have left the workforce in very high numbers:

http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2016/08/exiting-workforce-growing-pastime-for.html

The current real world employment experience of millions of Americans has shown little improvement since the end of the Great Recession.

Damian September 28, 2016 at 7:35 am

The number of public companies have been cut in half in the last 20 years. Just for one metric.

So for those born in the 50's, reaching middle or senior management by the time they were in their mid 40's (1999) was increasingly harder as the probability of getting squeezed out multiplied. In the last ten years, the birth / death rate of startups / small business has reversed as well.

There is probably ten other examples of why age is not the mitigating criteria for the decline in wages. It's not skill sets, not ambition, not flexibility. Pure number of chances for advancement and therefore associated higher wages has declined precipitously.

Anti Trust Enforcement went out the window as Neo-Liberal policies converted to political donations for promoting consolidation.

Now watch even those in their 20-30 age group will experience the same thing as H-1b unlimited takes hold with the Obama / Clinton TTP burning those at younger demographics. Are you going to say they are "too old" as well to write software?

Tell me where you want to go, and I will focus on selective facts and subjective interpretation of those selective facts to yield the desired conclusions.

Barack Peddling Fiction Obama – BS at the B.L.S. – has a multiplicity of these metrics.

Jim A. September 28, 2016 at 7:37 am

Hmm…Because wages are "sticky downwards" it would be helpful to see the inflation rate on that first chart.

Reply
Ignim Brites September 28, 2016 at 8:35 am

Nominal wages are sticky downwards but not real wages. That is why the FED, the banks, the corporate sector and the economists support persistent inflation, i.e. it lowers real wages. The "study" correlating wage growth with aging is one of those empirical pieces by economists to obscure the role of inflation in lowering real wages.

Steve H. September 28, 2016 at 8:05 am

Real Wage Growth chart very interesting, crossing negative at about 55 for no college, and 43 for a Bachelor's degree. 43!! Not even halfway through a work-life, and none better since 2003 at best.

[Sep 28, 2016] Globalization, Inequality and Welfare - NBER

Sep 28, 2016 | www.nber.org

[Sep 28, 2016] We No Longer Live in a Democracy Henry Giroux on a United States at War With Itself

Notable quotes:
"... FDR once said, "A nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself." This is happening in the United States in the most literal sense, given that our political and economic system are wedded to a market-driven system willing to destroy the planet, while relentlessly undermining those institutions that make a democracy possible. ..."
"... War is no longer an instrument to be used by political powers, but a form of rule, a general condition of the social order itself -- a permanent social relation and organizing principle that affects all aspects of the social order. In fact, the US has moved from a welfare state in the last forty years to a warfare state, and war has now become the foundation for politics, wedded to a misguided war on terror, the militarization of everyday life ..."
"... Politics has become a comprehensive war machine that aggressively assaults anything that does not comply with its underlying economic, religious, educative and political fundamentalisms. ..."
"... The vocabulary of war has become normalized and mobilizes certain desires, not only related to violence and social combat, but also in the creation of agents who act in the service of violence. ..."
"... This retreat into barbarism is amplified by the neoliberal value of celebrating self-interest over attention to the needs of others. It gets worse. As Hannah Arendt once observed, war culture is part of a species of thoughtlessness that legitimates certain desires, values and identities that make people insensitive to the violence they see around them in everyday life. ..."
"... A one-dimensional use of data erases the questions that matter the most: What gives life meaning? What is justice? What constitutes happiness? These things are all immeasurable by a retreat into the discourse of quantification. ..."
"... Reducing everything to quantitative data creates a form of civic illiteracy, undercuts the ethical imagination, kills empathy and mutilates politics. ..."
"... America's obsession with metrics and quantitative data is a symptom of its pedagogy of oppression. Numerical values now drive teaching, reduce culture in the broadest sense to the culture of business and teach children that schools exist largely to produce conformity and kill the imagination. Leon Wieseltier is right in arguing that the unchecked celebration of metrics erases the distinction "between knowledge and information" and substitutes quantification for wisdom. ..."
"... The left appears to have little interest in addressing education as central to how people think and see things. Education can enable people to recognize that the problems they face in everyday life need a new language that speaks to those problems. What is particularly crucial here is the need to develop a politics in which pedagogy becomes central to enabling people to understand and translate how everyday troubles connect to wider structures. ..."
"... We no longer live in a democracy. The myth of democracy has to be dismantled. ..."
"... We have to make clear that decisions made by the state and corporations are not in the general interest. We must connect the war on Black youth to the war on workers and the war on the middle class ..."
"... As Martin Luther King recognized at end of his life, the war at home and the war abroad cannot be separated. Such linkages remain crucial to the democratic project. ..."
www.truth-out.org
Henry Giroux: FDR once said, "A nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself." This is happening in the United States in the most literal sense, given that our political and economic system are wedded to a market-driven system willing to destroy the planet, while relentlessly undermining those institutions that make a democracy possible. What this suggests and the book takes up in multiple ways is that the United States is at war with its own idealism, democratic institutions, the working and middle classes, minority youth, Muslims, immigrants and all of those populations considered disposable.

War has taken on an existential quality in that we are not simply at war; rather, as Étienne Balibar insists, "we are in war," inhabiting a war culture that touches every aspect of society. War is no longer an instrument to be used by political powers, but a form of rule, a general condition of the social order itself -- a permanent social relation and organizing principle that affects all aspects of the social order. In fact, the US has moved from a welfare state in the last forty years to a warfare state, and war has now become the foundation for politics, wedded to a misguided war on terror, the militarization of everyday life, and a culture of fear, which have become its most important regulative functions. Politics has become a comprehensive war machine that aggressively assaults anything that does not comply with its underlying economic, religious, educative and political fundamentalisms.

As a comprehensive war machine, the United States operates in the service of a police state, violates civil liberties and has given rise to a military-industrial-surveillance complex that President Eisenhower could never have imagined. For instance, the largest part of the federal budget -- 600 billion dollars -- goes to the military. The US rings the earth with military bases, and the US military budget is larger than those of all other advanced industrial countries combined. And that doesn't count the money spent on the National Surveillance State and intelligence agencies.

... ... ...

What's interesting about the war metaphor is that it produces a language that celebrates what the US should be ashamed of, including the national surveillance state, the military-industrial complex, the war on whistleblowers, the never-ending spectacle of violence in popular culture and endless wars abroad. The vocabulary of war has become normalized and mobilizes certain desires, not only related to violence and social combat, but also in the creation of agents who act in the service of violence.

Violence is not only normalized as the ultimate measure for solving problems, but also as a form of pleasure, especially with regard to the production of violent video games, films and even the saturation of violence in daily mainstream news. Violence saturates American life, as it has become cool to be cruel to people, to bully people and to be indifferent to the suffering of others. The ultimate act of pleasure is now served up in cinematically produced acts of extreme violence, produced both to numb the conscience and to up the pleasure quotient.

This retreat into barbarism is amplified by the neoliberal value of celebrating self-interest over attention to the needs of others. It gets worse. As Hannah Arendt once observed, war culture is part of a species of thoughtlessness that legitimates certain desires, values and identities that make people insensitive to the violence they see around them in everyday life. One can't have a democracy that organizes itself around war because war is the language of injustice -- it admits no compassion and revels in a culture of cruelty.

How does the reduction of life to quantitative data -- testing in schools, mandatory minimums in sentencing, return on investment -- feed into the cultural apparatuses producing a nation at war with itself?

This is the language of instrumental rationality gone berserk, one that strips communication of those issues, values and questions that cannot be resolved empirically. This national obsession with data is symbolic of the retreat from social and moral responsibility. A one-dimensional use of data erases the questions that matter the most: What gives life meaning? What is justice? What constitutes happiness? These things are all immeasurable by a retreat into the discourse of quantification. This type of positivism encourages a form of thoughtlessness, undermines critical agency, makes people more susceptible to violence and emotion rather than reason. Reducing everything to quantitative data creates a form of civic illiteracy, undercuts the ethical imagination, kills empathy and mutilates politics.

The obsession with data becomes a convenient tool for abdicating that which cannot be measured, thus removing from the public sphere those issues that raise serious questions that demand debate, informed judgment and thoughtfulness while taking seriously matters of historical consciousness, memory and context. Empiricism has always been comfortable with authoritarian societies, and has worked to reduce civic courage and agency to an instrumental logic that depoliticizes people by removing matters of social and political responsibility from ethical and political considerations.

America's obsession with metrics and quantitative data is a symptom of its pedagogy of oppression. Numerical values now drive teaching, reduce culture in the broadest sense to the culture of business and teach children that schools exist largely to produce conformity and kill the imagination. Leon Wieseltier is right in arguing that the unchecked celebration of metrics erases the distinction "between knowledge and information" and substitutes quantification for wisdom.

This is not to say that all data is worthless or that data gathering is entirely on the side of repression. However, the dominant celebration of data, metrics and quantification flattens the human experience, outsources judgement and distorts the complexity of the real world. The idolatry of the metric paradigm is politically and ethically enervating and cripples the human spirit.

As you have written and said often, the right takes the pedagogical function of the major cultural apparatuses seriously, while the left not so much. What do progressive forces lose when they abandon the field?

In ignoring the power of the pedagogical function of mainstream cultural apparatuses, many on the left have lost their ability to understand how domination and resistance work at the level of everyday life. The left has relied for too long on defining domination in strictly structural terms, especially with regard to economic structures. Many people on the left assume that the only form of domination is economic. What they ignore is that the crises of economics, history, politics and agency have not been matched by a crisis of ideas. They don't understand how much work is required to change consciousness or how central the issue of identification is to any viable notion of politics. People only respond to a politics that speaks to their condition. What the left has neglected is how matters of identification and the centrality of judgment, belief and persuasion are crucial to politics itself. The left underestimates the dimensions of struggle when it gives up on education as central to the very meaning of politics.

The left appears to have little interest in addressing education as central to how people think and see things. Education can enable people to recognize that the problems they face in everyday life need a new language that speaks to those problems. What is particularly crucial here is the need to develop a politics in which pedagogy becomes central to enabling people to understand and translate how everyday troubles connect to wider structures.

What do you want people to take away from the book?

Certainly, it is crucial to educate people to recognize that American democracy is in crisis and that the forces that threaten it are powerful and must be made visible. In this case, we are talking about the merging of neoliberalism, institutionalized racism, militarization, racism, poverty, inequities in wealth and power and other issues that undermine democracy.

We no longer live in a democracy. The myth of democracy has to be dismantled. To understand that, we need to connect the dots and make often isolated forms of domination visible -- extending from the war on terror and the existence of massive inequalities in wealth and power to the rise of the mass incarceration state and the destruction of public and higher education. We have to make clear that decisions made by the state and corporations are not in the general interest. We must connect the war on Black youth to the war on workers and the war on the middle class, while exposing the workings of a system that extorts money, uses prison as a default welfare program and militarizes the police as a force for repression and domestic terrorism. We must learn how to translate individual problems into larger social issues, create a comprehensive politics and a third party with the aim not of reforming the system, but restructuring it. As Martin Luther King recognized at end of his life, the war at home and the war abroad cannot be separated. Such linkages remain crucial to the democratic project.

[Sep 27, 2016] Clinton-Trump debate shows emptiness, vapidity of US political election cycle

Notable quotes:
"... "They have a few pro-Trump voices, but pretty much the CNN as a network is for Clinton – just like Fox is for Trump. They are not really media outlets; they are echo chambers for the respective political campaign," ..."
"... "The debate showed how vapid, how sensationalized, how empty the American political election cycle is – very expensive, but very long, and very empty. Both of them tried to outdo each other to show who had more support from the generals and admirals. It is not a good harbinger of where things are going in terms of American politics," ..."
"... "unwitting agent" ..."
"... "US national security." ..."
"... "The attack on Russia, the attempt to blame Russia for all things, including for the hack of the DNC [Democratic National Committee] files that showed the DNC was violating its own rules and trying to tilt the election for Clinton, which happened on the first day of the Democratic national convention. Russia became a convenient punching bag, so that the Democratic Party could divert attention from its own wrongdoing. But it's manifested itself into something more than just a diversion," ..."
"... "Clinton has the support of all of the neoconservatives: Robert Kagan, husband of Victoria Nuland; a hundred of Republican foreign policy elites. I think they represent the mainstream Washington consensus, which is the consensus of the military industrial complex, which wants to incentivize American public opposition or even hatred toward Russia as a pretext for building up the military armaments business. The expansion or escalation of tension with Russia is very good for the arms business, very good for the military industrial complex. So it is not just electoral politics. I think this is the Hillary Clinton presidency we see in the making. If she is elected, I think this bodes very badly for US- Russian relations," ..."
Sep 27, 2016 | www.rt.com

RT Op-Edge

The debate has shown how sensationalized, vapid and empty the US election cycle is, said Brian Becker, from the anti-war Answer Coalition, adding that the candidates' attempts to outdo each other on military support is not a good harbinger for US politics.

A CNN/ORC poll shows that majority of voters feel Hillary Clinton won Monday night's debate over Donald Trump.

According to Brian Becker of the anti-war Answer Coalition, one cannot judge who won by CNN polls as it has been actively campaigning for Clinton.

"They have a few pro-Trump voices, but pretty much the CNN as a network is for Clinton – just like Fox is for Trump. They are not really media outlets; they are echo chambers for the respective political campaign," he told RT.

"The debate showed how vapid, how sensationalized, how empty the American political election cycle is – very expensive, but very long, and very empty. Both of them tried to outdo each other to show who had more support from the generals and admirals. It is not a good harbinger of where things are going in terms of American politics," Becker said.

Ahead of the election, Clinton and her supporters have been repeatedly using anti-Russia rhetoric and accusing Trump of being "unwitting agent" of President Putin and posing a threat to "US national security." On Monday, Clinton played her Russian card again to attack her opponent.

In Becker's view, it's an attempt to divert public attention from the party's own wrongdoing and, also, the escalation of tensions with Moscow will only benefit the US military industrial complex who supports Clinton.

"The attack on Russia, the attempt to blame Russia for all things, including for the hack of the DNC [Democratic National Committee] files that showed the DNC was violating its own rules and trying to tilt the election for Clinton, which happened on the first day of the Democratic national convention. Russia became a convenient punching bag, so that the Democratic Party could divert attention from its own wrongdoing. But it's manifested itself into something more than just a diversion," he said.

"Clinton has the support of all of the neoconservatives: Robert Kagan, husband of Victoria Nuland; a hundred of Republican foreign policy elites. I think they represent the mainstream Washington consensus, which is the consensus of the military industrial complex, which wants to incentivize American public opposition or even hatred toward Russia as a pretext for building up the military armaments business. The expansion or escalation of tension with Russia is very good for the arms business, very good for the military industrial complex. So it is not just electoral politics. I think this is the Hillary Clinton presidency we see in the making. If she is elected, I think this bodes very badly for US- Russian relations," Becker added.

.... .... ...

[Sep 27, 2016] The US grand strategy post-Bush was to reposition itself at the heart of a liberal economic system excluding China through TTIP with the EU and TPP with Asia-Pac ex. China and Russia. The idea was that this would enable the US to sustain its hegemony.

Notable quotes:
"... It has been an absolute failure. Brexit has torpedoed TTIP and TPP has limited value - the largest economy in the partnership, Japan, has been largely integrated in to the US for the past 70 years. ..."
"... IMO the biggest failure of the US has been hating Russia too much. The Russians have just as much reason to be afraid of China ..."
"... It's old Cold War thinking that has seen America lose its hegemony -- similar to how the British were so focused on stopping German ascendancy they didn't see the Americans coming with the knife. ..."
Sep 27, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com
Dante5 1d ago
The US grand strategy post-Bush was to reposition itself at the heart of a liberal economic system excluding China through TTIP with the EU and TPP with Asia-Pac ex. China and Russia. The idea was that this would enable the US to sustain its hegemony.

It has been an absolute failure. Brexit has torpedoed TTIP and TPP has limited value - the largest economy in the partnership, Japan, has been largely integrated in to the US for the past 70 years.

IMO the biggest failure of the US has been hating Russia too much. The Russians have just as much reason to be afraid of China as the US do and have a pretty capable army.

If the US patched things up with the Russians, firstly it could redeploy forces and military effort away from the Middle East towards Asia Pac and secondly it would give the US effective leverage over China -- with the majority of the oil producing nations aligned with the US, China would have difficulty in conducted a sustained conflict.

It's old Cold War thinking that has seen America lose its hegemony -- similar to how the British were so focused on stopping German ascendancy they didn't see the Americans coming with the knife.

[Sep 27, 2016] Globalization is gone as a main driving force, pan-European unity is gone, and whether the United States will stay united is far from a done deal

Notable quotes:
"... Global is gone as a main driving force, pan-European is gone, and whether the United States will stay united is far from a done deal. We are moving towards a mass movement of dozens of separate countries and states and societies looking inward. All of which are in some form of -impending- trouble or another. ..."
"... And of course it's confusing that the protests against the 'old regimes' and the growth and centralization -first- manifest in the rise of faces and voices who do not reject all of the above offhand. That is to say, the likes of Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump and Nigel Farage may be against more centralization, but none of them has a clue about growth being over. They don't get that part anymore than Hillary or Hollande or Merkel do. ..."
"... Dems in the US, Labour in the UK, and Hollande's 'Socialists' in France have all become part of the two-headed monster that is the political center, and that is (held) responsible for the deterioration in people's lives. ..."
Sep 27, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
fresno dan September 27, 2016 at 4:46 pm

Why There is Trump ~Ilargi

But nobody seems to really know or understand. Which is odd, because it's not that hard. That is, this all happens because growth is over. And if growth is over, so are expansion and centralization in all the myriad of shapes and forms they come in.

Global is gone as a main driving force, pan-European is gone, and whether the United States will stay united is far from a done deal. We are moving towards a mass movement of dozens of separate countries and states and societies looking inward. All of which are in some form of -impending- trouble or another.

What makes the entire situation so hard to grasp for everyone is that nobody wants to acknowledge any of this. Even though tales of often bitter poverty emanate from all the exact same places that Trump and Brexit and Le Pen come from too.

That the politico-econo-media machine churns out positive growth messages 24/7 goes some way towards explaining the lack of acknowledgement and self-reflection, but only some way. The rest is due to who we ourselves are. We think we deserve eternal growth.

And of course it's confusing that the protests against the 'old regimes' and the growth and centralization -first- manifest in the rise of faces and voices who do not reject all of the above offhand. That is to say, the likes of Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump and Nigel Farage may be against more centralization, but none of them has a clue about growth being over. They don't get that part anymore than Hillary or Hollande or Merkel do.

So why these people? Look closer and you see that in the US, UK and France, there is nobody left who used to speak for the 'poor and poorer'. While at the same time, the numbers of poor and poorer increase at a rapid clip. They just have nowhere left to turn to. There is literally no left left.

Dems in the US, Labour in the UK, and Hollande's 'Socialists' in France have all become part of the two-headed monster that is the political center, and that is (held) responsible for the deterioration in people's lives. Moreover, at least for now, the actual left wing may try to stand up in the form of Jeremy Corbyn or Bernie Sanders, but they are both being stangled by the two-headed monster's fake left in their countries and their own parties.
================================================
This is from today's Links, but I didn't have a chance to post this snippet.
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/A191RL1A225NBEA

Long time since we had 5% – if the whole system is financial scheme is premised on growth, and there is less and less of it ever year, it doesn't look sustainable. How bad http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/09/200pm-water-cooler-9272016.html#comment-2676054does it have to get for how many before the model is chucked???

In the great depression, even the bankers were having a tough time. If the rich are exempt from suffering, I think history has shown that a small elite can impose suffering on masses for a long time…

'there is nobody left who used to speak for the 'poor and poorer'.

Actually, there are plenty who SPEAK for the poor, there just is NONE who ACT.

Reply
jrs September 27, 2016 at 5:08 pm

How would we measure this growth that is supposed to be over? Yes of course there are the conventional measurements like GDP, but it's not zero. Yes of course if inflation is understated it would overstate GDP, and yes GDP measurements may not measure much as many critics have said. But what about other measures?

Is oil use down, are CO2 emissions down, is resource use in general down? If not it's growth (or groath). This growth is at the cost of the planet but that's why GDP is flawed. And the benefit of this groath goes entirely to the 1%ers, but that's distribution.

The left failed, I don't know all the reasons (and it's always hard to oppose the powers that be, the field always tilts toward them, it's never a fair fight) but it failed. That's what we see the results of.

fresno dan September 27, 2016 at 6:13 pm

I agree

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL September 27, 2016 at 5:12 pm

Someone very smart said "the Fed makes the economy more stable".
He also quoted The Princess Bride: "You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think".
Definition of stable: firm; steady; not wavering or changeable.
As in: US GDP growth of a paltry 1.22% per year.
But hey it only took an additional trillion $ in debt per year to stay "stable".

Softie September 27, 2016 at 5:42 pm

there are plenty who SPEAK for the poor, there just is NONE who ACT.
========
That's why in 1992 Francis Futurama refirmed the end of history that was predicted by Hegel some 150 years earlier.

Lee September 27, 2016 at 5:58 pm

Time to revisit Herman Daly's Steady-State Economy.

[Sep 27, 2016] Barack Obama's 'Asian pivot' failed. China is in the ascendancy

Notable quotes:
"... Conventionally the US is being outplayed but it is possible that it is playing a different game in which it is complicit in the transition from nation state to corporate oligarchy. Isn't that the Neoliberal end game? ..."
"... And the big problem with Trump's approach is that good ol' American corporations are the ones who are profiting wildly from business in China. They wanted access to the Chinese labor force, e.g. Walmart and every other manufacturer who now peddles goods made in China in US stores. They are the entities that cost western workers millions of jobs, creating massive trade deficits. They are wealthy beyond measure and anyone who wants to alter this system whereby American corporations manufacture in China and ship products around the world, inc. to the US, would have to fight them. And if anyone believes that Trump would succeed in this battle, they are delusional. ..."
Sep 27, 2016 | www.theguardian.com
Vermithrax , 2016-09-26 18:48:09
Before the pivot could even get underway the Saudis threw their rattle out of the pram and drew US focus back to the Middle East and proxy war two steps removed with Russia. Empires don't get to focus, they react to each event and seek to gain from the outcome so the whole pivot idea was flawed.

Obama's foreign policy has been clumsy and amoral. It remains to be seen whether it will become more so in an effort to double down. Under Clinton it definitely will, under Trump who knows but random isn't a recommendation.

Conventionally the US is being outplayed but it is possible that it is playing a different game in which it is complicit in the transition from nation state to corporate oligarchy. Isn't that the Neoliberal end game?

Boyaca , 2016-09-26 18:41:19
So the Rand Think Tank would sooner have war now than later. Who wouldda guessed that.

The Chinese want to improve trade and business with the rest of the world. The US answer? destroy China militarily. so who best to lead the world. I think the article answers that question unintentionally. The rest of the world has had it up to the ears with American military invasions, regeime changes, occupations and bombing of the world. They are ready for China´s approach to international relations. it is about time the adults took over the leadership of the world. Europe and the USA and their offspring have clearly failed.

AmyInNH , 2016-09-26 17:07:12
China has been handed everything it needs to fly solo: money, factories, IP, etc. Fast forwarding into the western civic model limits (traffic, pollution, etc.), its best bet is to offload US "interests" and steer clear.
No clear sign India's learned/recovered from British occupation, as they let tech create more future Kanpurs.
Shein Ariely , 2016-09-26 17:06:51
Obama failed worldwide.
Next USA president either Democrat or Republican will have a difficult job fixing his colosal mistakes in ME- Euroep-Asia
yermelai , 2016-09-26 10:12:58
The biggest mistake was to enact a policy shunning Russia, when Russia should be a key, partner of Europe and the US.

Was it really worth expanding NATO to Russia's borders instead of offering neutrality to former Soviet States and thus retain Russia's confidence in global matters that far out weigh the interests of the neo-cons?

Hermanovic yermelai , 2016-09-26 10:50:07
neutrality? Russia invaded non-NATO members Georgie, Ukrain, and Moldavia, and created puppet-states on their soil.

The Jremlin-rules are simple: the former Sovjet states should be ruled by a pro-Russian dictator (Bella-Russia, Kazachstan, etc. etc...). Democracies face boycots, diplomatic and military support of rebels, and in the end simply a military invasion.

The only reason why the baltic states are now thriving democracies, is that they are NATO members.

Boyaca Hermanovic , 2016-09-26 18:57:23
And the USA invaded Vietnam, Panama, Nicaragua with the contras, Iraq, Afghanistan, are currently bombing the crap out of another dozen nations, has militarily occupied another 100 nations with their bases and you are worried about Russia with Georgia and The Ukraine? What in Hades is wrong with this picture?
macel388 , 2016-09-26 10:08:03
"Barack Obama's 'Asian pivot' failed. China is in the ascendancy" says the heading.

So Obama's "Asian pivot" was meant to thwart China's development.

MicheNorman , 2016-09-26 09:36:41
When Obama took office his first major speech was in Cairo - where he said
"I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world," US President Barack Obama said to the sounds of loud applause which rocked not only the hall, but the world. "One based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles-principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings."

He displayed a dangerous mix of innocence, foolishness, disregard for the truth and misunderstanding of the nature of Islamic regimes - does the West have common values with Lebanon which practices apartheid for Palestinians, Saudi, where women cannot drive a car, Syria, where over 17,000 have died in Assad's torture chambers, we can go on and on.

And on China - Trump has it right - China has been manipulating its currency exchange rate for years, costing western workers millions of jobs, creating massive trade deficits and something needs to be done about it.

ReinerNiemand MicheNorman , 2016-09-26 10:21:20
" America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles-principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. "
He spoke about the whole of Islam, not specific " Islamic regimes ". And he is correct on it. All religions share a great deal of values with the USAmerican constition and even each other .
The overwhelming majority of USAmerican muslims have accepted the melting pot with their whole heart, second generation children have JOINED its fighting forces to protect the interest of the uSA all over the world. Normally this full an integration is reached with the third generation.

The west has won against those religious fanatics. How else to explain that exactly the people those claim to speak turn up with us?

Calvert MicheNorman , 2016-09-26 11:21:45
And the big problem with Trump's approach is that good ol' American corporations are the ones who are profiting wildly from business in China. They wanted access to the Chinese labor force, e.g. Walmart and every other manufacturer who now peddles goods made in China in US stores. They are the entities that cost western workers millions of jobs, creating massive trade deficits. They are wealthy beyond measure and anyone who wants to alter this system whereby American corporations manufacture in China and ship products around the world, inc. to the US, would have to fight them. And if anyone believes that Trump would succeed in this battle, they are delusional.
hartebeest , 2016-09-26 09:35:14
"These two juggernauts are on a collision course" is far too alarmist. Relying mainly on right-wing US thinktanks for analysis doesn't help. Interesting in particular to see RAND is still in its Cold War mindset. There's famous footage of RAND analysts in the 60s (I think) discussing putative nuclear war with the USSR and concluding that the US was certain of 'victory' following a missile exchange because its surviving population (after hundreds of millions of deaths and the destruction of almost all urban centres) would be somewhat larger.

China's island claims are all about a broader strategic aim- getting unencumbered access to the Pacific for its growing blue water navy. It's not aimed at Taiwan or Japan in any sort of specific sense and, save for the small possibility of escalation following an accident (ships colliding or something), there's very little risk of conflict in at least the medium term.

It's crucial to remember just how much China and the US depend upon each other economically. The US is by far China's largest single export market, powering its manufacturing economy. In return, China uses the surplus to buy up US debt, which allows the Americans to borrow cheaply and keep the lights on. Crash China and you crash the US- and vice versa.

For now, China is basically accepting an upgraded number 2 spot (along with the US acknowledging them as part of a 'G2'), but supporting alternative governance structures when it doesn't like the ones controlled by the US/Japan (so the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the BRICS etc.).

This doesn't mean that the two don't see each other as long term strategic and economic rivals. But the risks to both of rocking the boat are gigantic and not in the interest of either party in the foreseeable future. Things that could change that:

a. a succession of Trump-like US presidents (checks and balances are probably sufficient to withstand one, were it to come to that);
b. a revolution in China (possible if the economy goes South- and what comes next is probably not liberal democracy but anti-Japanese or anti-US authoritarian nationalism);
c. an unpredictable chain of events arising from N Korean collapse or a regional nuclear race (Japan-China is a more likely source of conflict than US-China).

MrMeinung , 2016-09-26 09:13:57
The west has been long living under the illusion that the so called globalised world would be beneficial for all.

Now we are waking up to the realisation that we are the big loosers of globalisation.

Time for a change of plan.

freeandfair MrMeinung , 2016-09-26 14:29:49
"The west has been long living under the illusion that the so called globalised world would be beneficial for all. "

No, actually they thought it would be beneficial for the Western countries mostly. And it was, but whatever benefits developing countries received allowed them to rise to the level of a potential future threat to the unquestionable Western dominance. And now the US is looking for a way to destroy them preemptively. The US is paranoid.

Zami99 , 2016-09-26 08:30:36
The writing is on the wall: the future is with China. All the US can do is make nice or reap the dire consequences. If China can clean up its human rights record, I would be happy to see them supplant or rival the US as a global hegemon. After all, looked at historically, haven't they earned it? - An American, born and bred, but no nationalist
Calvert Zami99 , 2016-09-26 11:24:26
Well, that is naïve. Look at China and how the Chinese people are governed. Look at the US. And please don't tell me you don't see a difference. I'll take a world with the US as the global hegemon any day.
Leandro Rodriguez Zami99 , 2016-09-26 16:15:42
The US never cleaned up their human rights record...
Sven Ringling , 2016-09-26 08:16:37
A regional counter balance is needed. Cooperation is hindered by Japan. They should be the center point of a regional alliance strong enough to contain China with US help, but it doesn't work: whilst everybody fears China, everybody hates Japan.
The reason is they failed miserably to rebuild trust after WWII, rather than going cap in hand, acknowledging respondibility for atrocities and other crimes and injustice, and compensate victims, they kept their pride and isolation. They are now paying the price - possibly together with the rest of us.
Maybe a full scale change after 7 decades of to-little-to-late diplomacy can still achieve sth.
The ass the US should kick sits in Tokyo - something they failed to do properly after WWII, when they managed it well in West Germany (ok - they had help from the Brits there, who for all their failings understand foreign nations far better), where it facilitated proper integration into European cooperation.
ArabinPatson , 2016-09-26 07:28:26
I think this "ascendancy" and nationalistic fervour is actually a sign of internal turmoil. Countries that do well don't need to crack down on dissidents to the point of kidnappings or spend millions of stupid man made islands that pisses everyone off but have all the military value of a threatening facial tattoo. The South China Sea tactics is partially Chinese "push until something pushes back" diplomacy but also stems from the harsh realisation that their resources can be easily choked of and even the CPC knows it can't hold down a billion plus Chinese people once the hunger sets it.

China is facing the dilemna that as it brings people out of poverty it reduces the supply of the very cheap labour that makes it rich. You can talk about Lenovo all you want, no one is buying a Chinese car anytime soon. Nor is any airline outside of China going to buy one of their planes. Copyright fraud is one thing the West can retaliate easily upon and will if they feel China has gone too far. Any product found in a western court to be a blatant copy can effectively be banned. The next step is to refuse to recognize Chinese copyright on the few genuine innovations that come out of it.

Plus the deal Deng Xiaoping made with the urban classes is fraying. It was wealth in exchange for subservience. The people in the cities stay out of direct politics but quality of life issues, safety, petty corruption and pollution are angering them and scaring them hence the vast amount of private Chinese money being sunk into global real estate.

The military growth and dubious technobabble is just typical Chinese mianzi gaining. If you do have a brand new jet stealth jet fighter, you don't release pictures of it to the world press. They got really rattled when Shinzo Abe decided the JSDF can go and deliver slappings abroad to help their friends if needed. Because an army that spends a lot of time rigging up Michael Bayesque set maneuvers for the telly is not what you want to pit against top notch technology handled by obsessive perfectionists.

No one plays hardball with China because we all like cheap shit. But once that is over then China is a very vulnerable country with not one neighbour they can call a friend. They know it. Obama hasn't failed.. It's the histrionics that prove it not the other way round.

250022 ArabinPatson , 2016-09-26 11:34:31
Fundamentally incorrect.

The labour supply is assured because there are still multi millions in poverty and signing up as cheap labour is exactly what brings them out of poverty.

I assume you've never been to China and therefore have never heard of Chunyun, the largest human migration in the world. This is partly the ruralites returning home from the cities with their years spoils. This year individual journeys totalled almost 3bn.

No-one is buying a Chinese car? Check the sales for Wuling. They produce the small vans that are the lifeblood of the small entrepreneur. BYD are already exporting electric buses to London. The likes of VW, BMW, Land Rover, are all in partnership with Chinese auto-makers and China is the largest car market in the world.

Corruption has been actively attacked and over a quarter of a million officials have been brought to book in Xi's time in office. The pollution causing steel and coal industries are being rapidly contracted and billions spent on re-training.

Plus the fact that while the Chinese are mianzi gazing, the last thing they think about is politics. They simply don't want to know.

By the way, China is reducing it's land army by a third over the next few years and has just concluded very constructive summits with all it's neighbours during last weeks ASEAN bunfight.

The conclusion is that bi-lateral talks, not US led pissing contests are the way forward.

http://english.sina.com/china/s/2016-09-26/detail-ifxwevmf2233637.shtml

LordLardy1215 , 2016-09-26 05:55:19
The pivot failed second Snowden turned up in Hong Kong. Asia as a consequence doesn't trust US. Snowden revealed that US was protecting its economic interests as opposed to any love for a distant region of the World. Simple reality but as someone from Western World would have preferred that pretence we all knew had been left in the cupboard and not in effect humiliated nations into taking more negative US stance. Agree that China will take decisive action against nations that once humiliated and tortured their citizens - when is the question and any dreams anyone has of a united alliance against China is out with the fairies or been drinking same Koolaid as Snowden and his supporters.
Jonathan Scott , 2016-09-26 05:05:24
I disagree with the idea that the Asian pivot has failed because it has not happened.

What has happened is the ICA has ruled against China in the SCS and US buildup in Guam has been accelerated.

Also, China still has little force projection and a soon to collapse economy.

alfredwong Jonathan Scott , 2016-09-26 05:44:58
"What has happened is the ICA has ruled against China in the SCS..."

Nothing new. The UN Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf had also ruled against the UK and the International Court of Justice had ruled against the US.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/mar/29/falkland-islands-argentina-waters-rules-un-commission

http://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-defiance-of-international-court-has-precedentu-s-defiance-1467919982

"Also, China still has little force projection"

A country only needs a lot of force projection if it seeks to dominate the world.

"and a soon to collapse economy."

You are entitled to have such dream.

vidimi Jonathan Scott , 2016-09-26 09:41:28
a collapse of the chinese economy would collapse the american economy as well
ChristosHellas , 2016-09-26 04:17:59
Fascinating & well structured article - except for one glaring omission - the LNP selling of the Port of Darwin to a Chinese Government business. Yeh, sure it's a '99 year lease' but for all effective purposes it's a sellout of a strategic port to the Chinese Government.

Just look at how gobsmacked the US Military & President were over such a stupidly undertaken sale by the LNP. This diplomatically lunatic sell off by the LNP of such a vital national asset has effectively taken-out any influence or impact Australia may have, or exert, over critical issues happening on our northern doorstep.

If there was ever a case for buying back a strategic national asset, this is definitely the one. Oh, if folks are worried about the $Billions in penalties incurred, simple solution - just stop the $Billions of Diesel Fuel Rebates gifted to Miners for, say, 10 years..... Done!

JeffAshe , 2016-09-26 04:05:15
America is in terminal decline, beset by economic and fiscal crises, sapped by imperial overstretch, a victim of a cosmopolitan ennui and fecklessness, divided politically and culturally, belligerent and militant to the extreme. An empire in decline is at its most dangerous. America today is a far greater threat to world peace than China. Simply witness America's accommodation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the odious Saudi theocracy, and how its insane policy in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan has led to hundreds of thousands of lives lost and millions displaced. Europe is under siege by endless tides of refugees that are the direct consequence of America's neo-Conservative and militant foreign policy. Meanwhile, America's neo-liberal economic and trade policies have not only decimated her own manufacturing base and led to gross inequality but also massive dislocations in South America, Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Tired, irritated, frustrated, exhausted, cynical, violent, moral-less, deeply corrupt, and rudderless, America is effectively bankrupt and on the verge of becoming another Greece, if not for the saving grace of the petro-Dollar. Europe would be well-advised to keep the Yanks at arm's length so as to escape as much as possible the fallout from her complete collapse. As for Britain, soon to be divorced from the EU, time draws nigh to end the humiliating, one-sided servitude that is the 'Special Relationship' and forge an independent foreign policy. The tectonic plates of history is again shifting, and there nothing America can do to stop it.
scss99 JeffAshe , 2016-09-26 05:14:43
I don't know America probably occupies the most prime geographical spot on the planet, and buffered by two oceans. It doesn't have to worry about refugees and the other problems and ultimately they can produce enough food and meet all of its energy needs domestically. And it's the third most populous nation on earth and could easily grow its population with immigration.

The US has no significantly greater percentage of debt than any of the other Western nations except Germany. If you think the Americas bankrupt then you'd have to think a whole lot of other nations including the UK is as well.

Given the facts it would be daft a write off America. Every European nation have lost their number one spot in history and they seem to be doing just fine. Is there some reason why this can't be America's destiny as well? Does it really have to end in flames?

JeffAshe scss99 , 2016-09-26 06:30:08
I suppose a post-collapse America would eke out a reduced existence, probably as prosperous as Mexico is today, in a best case scenario that is. It's likely America will balkanize, social order will completely break down, with her polity broken into many small pieces and fiefs, each armed to the teeth and tussling with others for limited resources. I foresee Canada will seal her borders and China paying for the decommissioning of America's nuclear arsenal and submarines.
johnnypop , 2016-09-26 03:59:25
Looking to the US to box China in, or stop its aggressive policies, is unrealistic. It must be the combination of nations in the area working together to stop the Chinese. The US can help but it is the nations most directly affected that must take action. One good thing is the Japanese are finally getting over the "constitutional" thing and are acknowledging that they are going to have to much more responsible for their own security in the future. SE Asian nations working for stronger ties with India is also good.
itsfridayiminlove johnnypop , 2016-09-26 04:30:12
Unfortunately, China has divided and conquered certain countries in SE Asia. This is the reason why ASEAN couldn't issue a joint statement against Chinese actions since all of its members should approve the content of the statement. China has won over Laos and Myanmar.
rpncali4nya itsfridayiminlove , 2016-09-26 05:39:49
Laos and Myanmar should be kicked out of ASEAN. That would solve everything.
macel388 itsfridayiminlove , 2016-09-26 14:17:29
"China has divided and conquered certain countries in SE Asia."

These certain SE Asian countries would say that it's because they are not willing to be Uncle Sam's "yes man".

indigoian , 2016-09-26 03:55:55
we've only ourselves to blame for buying all those wonderfully cheap products that our turncoat companies happily made in china using massively underpaid labor.

We, the consumer, have the ultimate power in society - if only we used it collectively. We can still stop the rise by voting with our wallets.

Kamatron indigoian , 2016-09-26 16:21:36
Go on then, maybe you should start by boycotting all China made goods.

Good luck with that thought. Might prove to be a tad idealistic and stupid.

CalvinLyn , 2016-09-26 03:47:56
The US is still so very powerful but the problem is they feel powerless from time to time with their hammer in hand against flying mosquitos. Why they always wanted to solve problems using force is beyond stupidity.

Pivot to Asia is about one thing only, sending more war ships to encircle China. But for what purpose exactly? It does one thing though, it united china by posing as a threat.

hobot CalvinLyn , 2016-09-26 04:44:28
It also destabilises the entire region. Something the Americans are masters of.
Stieve , 2016-09-26 02:09:34
Those blaming Obama most stridently for not keping China in its box are those most responsible for China's rise. American and Western companies shafted their own people to make themselves more profit. They didn't care what the consequences might be, as long as the lmighty "Shareholder Value" continued to rise. Now they demand that the taxes from all those people whose jobs they let go be used to contain the new superpower that they created. As usual, Coroporate America messes things up then demands to know what someone else is going to do about it
indigoian Stieve , 2016-09-26 03:49:04
All very true -- I would add to that by saying we, the consumer, are at least partly culpable. We(western populations) bought those products that our companies 'made in china'.

We all turned a blind eye as long as our shopping carts were filled with ever cheaper items.

MountainMan23 , 2016-09-26 01:49:38
Were the US to form a cooperative instead of confrontational relationship with China the world would be a better place. The same could be said for the US relationship with Russia.

Of course the military-industrial-banking-congressional complex that governs Washington's behavior would not be happy. WIthout confrontation the arms industries can't sell their weapons of war, banks' profits take a hit and congress critters don't get their kickbacks, err, "donations".

freeandfair MountainMan23 , 2016-09-26 02:02:27
The US doesn't know what the word "cooperation" means. To Americans "cooperation" means giving orders and others following them.
LivingTruth , 2016-09-26 00:41:25
America has this absurd notion that it must always be number 1 in world whatever that means
world could be better when east is best
Zhubajie1284 , 2016-09-26 00:16:50
Given the way the US government has screwed the Philippines over steadily since 1898, it's not surprising that Pres. Dutarte has decided to be friendly with his neighbor.

Obama of the Kill List lecturing other countries about human rights abuses! What hypocrisy.

thomasvladimir , 2016-09-26 00:11:36
fuck his pivot.....this ain't syria.....having destroyed the middle east it was our turn.....this is americas exceptionalism........stay #1 by desabilising/destroying everyone else.....p.s. shove the TPP also..........
Fabrizio Agnello , 2016-09-25 23:45:41
The real question is why should not China be more dominant in Asia... i understands the USA tendency especially since the fall of the soviet union at seing themselves as the only world superpower. And i understand why China would like to balance tbat especially in her own neighborhood.
Is what China doing in the south china sea different from what the USA does in the gulf of Mexico or in Panama... not to mention that Chi a is litterally surounded by US bases that sit squarely across all its sea trading routes: Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Fillipines,... and considering that the chinese have a long memory of werstern gunboat diplomacy and naval for e projection, if i was them i would feel a little uncomfortable at how vulnerable my newfound trade is... especially when some western politician so clearly think that china needs to be contained...
Bogoas81 , 2016-09-25 23:44:41
China has been accumulating debt at unprecedented rates to try to maintain faltering growth.

In 2007 Chinese debt stood at $7 trillion. By 2014 it had quadrupled to $28 trillion. That's $60 billion of extra debt every week.

It's still rising rapidly as the government desperately tries to keep momentum.

Much of this money has been funnelled into 'investments' that will never yield a return.

The most almighty crash is coming. Which will be interesting to say the least.

RodMcLeod Bogoas81 , 2016-09-26 00:07:24
Now that is interesting but odd. They are buying phuqing HUGE swathes of land in Africa, investing everywhere they can on rest of the planet. All seemingly on domestic debt then.
Bogoas81 RodMcLeod , 2016-09-26 10:09:36
Yes. The Japanese went on a spending spree abroad in the 1980s, while accumulating debt at home, and when that popped the economy entered 20 years of stagnation, as bad debts hampered the financial system.

The Chinese bubble is far larger, and made worse by the fact that much of the debt has been taken on by inefficient state owned enterprises and local government, spending not because the figures make sense but to meet centrally-dictated growth targets. Much of the rest has been funnelled into real estate, which now makes up more than twice the share of the Chinese economy than is the case in the UK. Property prices in some major Chinese cities have reached up to 30 times local incomes, making London look cheap in comparison.

There is also a huge 'shadow' banking system in China which means no-one really knows who owes money to whom, which will make it impossible to be confident in who remains creditworthy when the crisis occurs. Estimates are that bad debts (non-performing loans) by Chinese banks already total more than $2 trillion and are rising fast: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/09/22/fitch-warns-bad-debts-in-china-are-ten-times-official-claims-sta/

wumogang , 2016-09-25 22:44:50
TPP is practically written by the lobbyists from the multi-international corporations that exploit every possible tax laws, labor laws, environmental and public health regulations, legal representations and consequences. It is imperialism 2.0 in the 21st century, exclusively serving the interests of top point one percent while greatly depressing the wages of middle class; it is overwhelmingly opposed by the public opinion, law makers of all sides and current president candidates. There is zero chance Obama could make it through legislation before his exit; Clinton will not even consider bringing it back if she wins the election because she already flip-flopped once on the issue during her campaign; and it would seriously damage her chance of re-election if she does. As for Trump, I leave it to anyone's imaginations.
Narapoia01 wumogang , 2016-09-26 01:53:17
Don't believe for a second Hillary won't ram through a version of the TPP/IP if she wins. What she's actually said is that she's against it in its current form

Remember she is part of an owned by the 0.1% that stand to benefit from the agreement, she will do their bidding and be well rewarded. A few cosmetic changes will be applied to the agreement so she can claim that she wasn't lying pre-election and we'll have to live with the consequences.

sanhedrin , 2016-09-25 22:22:22
I find the United States of America more frightening each day
thomasvladimir sanhedrin , 2016-09-26 00:53:38
failing flailing empire.......classic insanity
moderatejohn , 2016-09-25 22:11:11
The best bet is for the US to build at least a hundred thousand 6 megaton warheads, more ballistic subs and advanced stealth missiles to ensure a nuclear war with the US will mean total global destruction. And forget about America being an empire any longer. The GOP has systematically allowed the USA's infrastructure to crumble so a very few rich people can pay less taxes, and they have aided big business fleecing of US citizens, for example, GOP operative, Pam Bondi, refusing to charge Trump for his highly fraudulent Trump U, after she was showered with thousands of dollars in bribe money. Pam Bondi hates Americans so much she allowed Trump to keep his ill gotten gains and disallowed any compensation for the American victims.

Nobody hates America more than Republicans. Except for a very narrow slice of right wing religious extremist eltitists who they view as infinitely entitled to the sweat, blood, tears and broken dreams of hundreds of millions of Americans, the GOP proves time and again how deep their hatred runs, even stopping 9-11 first responders from getting healthcare for health problems they got saving Americans. China, just like the GOP, is sick of hearing about human rights. The GOP and China share a deep hatred for America's Constitutional rights and freedoms for every citizen, so both will work tirelessly to destroy America.

The only thing that will stand in the way of China destroying America is mutually assured extinction via nuclear war. Nothing, however, will stand in the way of Republicans destroying America, least of all, China. Still, if China wants to start bombing US cities, it's time to unleash hell and make China extinct. And as the GOP transfers all the middle class wealth to a few psychopathic American-hating elitists if we don't have those nukes, will be sitting ducks because America will not be able to afford any sort of global military after the GOP destroys the middle class.

China knows the US middle class is the only thing that provides the production capacity to create the world's most advanced military, so China will chuckle tongue in cheek while Republicans destroy America...doing China's job for them. To say Republicans are sociopathic traitors is the understatement of the century, unless your China, then Republicans are your best pals.

Ubermensch1 , 2016-09-25 21:43:18
Well done all you globalists for failing to spot the bleedin obvious...that millions of homes worldwide full of 'Made In China' was ultimately going to pay for the People's Liberation Army. Still think globalisation is wonderful ?
kbg541 Ubermensch1 , 2016-09-25 22:31:38
Quite. How can you believe in a liberal, global free market and then do business with the Socialist Republic of China, that is the antithesis of free markets. The name is above the door, so there's no use acting all surprised when it doesn't pan out the way you planned it.
moderatejohn Ubermensch1 , 2016-09-25 22:40:32
Anything good can be made evil, including globalization. Imagine fair trade completely globalized so very nation relies on every other nation for goods. That type of shared destiny is the only way to maintain peace because humans are tribalist to a fault. We evolved in small groups, our social dynamics are not well suited to large diverse groups. If nation has food but nation B does not, nation B will go to war with nation A, so hopefully both nations trade and alleviate that situation. Nations with high economic isolation are beset by famines and poverty. Germany usually beats China in total exports and Germany is a wonderful place to live. It's not globalization that is the problem, it's exploitation and failure of our leaders to follow and enforce the Golden Rule.
BelieveItsTrue Ubermensch1 , 2016-09-25 23:00:58
Roll out the barrel.....
Well said and you are so right.
15 years ago, I had a conversation in an airport with an American. I remarked that, by outsourcing manufacturing to China the US had sold its future to an entity that would prove to be their enemy before too long. I was derided and ridiculed. I wonder where that man is and whether he remembers our conversation.

Globalisation is another word for one world government and all that brings, one currency, one police force, taxation, dissolution of borders, an end to sovereignty and all of our hard won freedoms. Freedom is a thing of the past, with MSM owned by the globalist elites, enforcing a moratorium on truth, and a population that has no idea what is going on behind the scenes.

I despair of "normalcy bias" and the insulting term "conspiracy theorist". People have lost the ability to work things out for themselves and the majority knows nothing about Agenda 21 aka Sustainable Development Goals 2030, until the land grabs start and private ownership is outlawed.

Heaven help us.

KhusroK , 2016-09-25 21:33:12
... the study also suggests that, if war cannot be avoided, the US might be best advised to strike first, before China gets any stronger and the current US military advantage declines further ..

Another brilliant thought from Rand; when in doubt, shoot from the hip ....

Zhubajie1284 KhusroK , 2016-09-25 23:45:45
They tell their employers what they want to hear.
jgbg KhusroK , 2016-09-26 00:16:18
For a few years now, the Global Times (an English language newspaper, owned by the Chinese Communist Party) has been publishing articles about Chinese claims int he South China Sea, about the growth of Chinese military power and of a limited war with the USA in the South China Sea. Nobody in the west has paid much attention, because they were too busy looking at Ukraine, Russia and now, Syria.

China already has one nuclear powered aircraft carrier and is constructing a second one. Aircraft carriers are not need to defend one's own country - air bases within a country provide the infrastructure for self defence. Aircraft carriers are used to project military power far from your own shores.

It is probably inevitable that China will eventually supercede the USA as the world's dominant superpower. It remains to be seen how that transition will unfold.

freeandfair KhusroK , 2016-09-26 01:04:05
Do Americans not realize that Chinese and Russians read this too and plan accordingly? This is madness.
I am fairly certain preemptive strikes are against international law. Why nobody has the guts to call the US out on this kind of illegal warmongering?
RodMcLeod , 2016-09-25 21:31:06
Like to add that as a powerhouse, Chinese investment in the west could be huge. They are hardly likely to take offensive action against their own investments are they?

Insisting on humane, moral supply chains is the best way of influencing China on human rights. Thats capitalism folks.

Cervant3s RodMcLeod , 2016-09-25 21:39:12
The great powers were heavily linked with one another by trade and investment in 1914...
KhusroK , 2016-09-25 21:24:54
1. With respect, Mr Tidsall is badly off track in painting China as the one evil facing an innocent world.

2. The fact is that US' belief in and repeated resort to force has created a huge mess in the Middle East, brought true misery to millions, and truly thrown Europe in turmoil in the bargain.

3. Besides this Middle East mess, the US neoliberal economic policies have wreaked havoc, culminating in an unprecedented financial and economic crisis that has left millions all over the world without any hope for the future

4. Hence Mr Tidsall's pronouncement:

This dilemma – how to work constructively with a powerful, assertive China without compromising or surrendering national interests – grows steadily more acute.


Ought to read:

This dilemma – how to work constructively with a powerful, assertive United States without compromising or surrendering national interests – grows steadily more acute.

5. US would be better advised to focus on its growing social problems, evident in the growing random killings, police picking on blacks, etc, and on its fast decaying infrastructure. We now read that China has the fastest computer, the largest telescope, etc, whilst US just kills and kills all over the world.

6. Mr Tidsall, may I request that you kindly focus on realities rather than come up with opinion that approaches science fiction

5566hh KhusroK , 2016-09-25 22:50:58
I agree that Mr Tisdall's treatment of the US is somewhat naive and ignorant. However couldn't it be that both countries are capable of aggression and assertiveness? The US's malign influence is mainly focussed on the Middle East and North Africa region, while China's is on its neighbours. China's attitude to Taiwan is pure imperialism, as is its treatment of dissenting voices on the mainland and in Hong Kong. China's contempt for international law and the binding ruling by the UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal is also deeply harmful to peace and justice in the region and worldwide.

We now read that China has the fastest computer, the largest telescope, etc, whilst US just kills and kills all over the world.

Very superficial indeed - compare, just as one example, the number of Nobel prizes won by American scientists recently with those by Chinese. The US is still, in general, far ahead of China in terms of scientific research (though China is making rapid progress). (That is not intended to excuse US killing of course.)

BelieveItsTrue KhusroK , 2016-09-25 23:07:25
Oh well said. At least someone understands how the it works.
freeandfair KhusroK , 2016-09-26 01:06:32
The US follows the USSR path of increasingly ignoring the needs of its own population in order to retain global dominance. It will end the same as the USSR. That which cannot continue will not continue.
wumogang , 2016-09-25 20:23:25

Xi is not looking for a fight. His first-choice agent of change is money, not munitions. According to Xi's "One Belt, One Road" plan, his preferred path to 21st-century Chinese hegemony is through expanded trade, business and economic partnerships extending from Asia to the Middle East and Africa. China's massive Silk Road investments in central and west Asian oil and gas pipelines, high-speed rail and ports, backed by new institutions such as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, are part of this strategy, which simultaneously encourages political and economic dependencies. Deng Xiaoping once said to get rich is glorious. Xi might add it is also empowering.


The most realistic assessment on Xi and China.

The dilemma is clear: amid rising nationalism in both countries, China is not willing to have its ambitions curbed or contained and the US is not ready to accept the world number two spot. These two juggernauts are on a collision course.


A Grim and over-paranoid predicament: US is not in decline and need not worry about China's "ambition"; China is well aware it remains a poor nation compared to developed world and is decades behind of US in military, GDP per capital and science, that is not including civil liberty, citizen participation, Gov't transparency and so on. China is busy building a nation confident of its culture and history, military hegemony plays no part of its dream.
BelieveItsTrue wumogang , 2016-09-25 23:14:42

US is not in decline and need not worry about China's "ambition"

Oh come on, $20 Trillion in debt and with Social Security running out of money, there will be no more to lend the government.

China has forged an agreement with Russia for all its needs in oil ( Russia has more oil than Saudi Arabia) and payment will not be in US dollars. Russia will not take US$ for trade and the BRICS nations will squeeze the US$ out of its current situation as reserve currency. When the dollars all find their way back to the USA hyperinflation will cause misery.

Zhubajie1284 wumogang , 2016-09-25 23:49:17
The US sure looks in decline. Bridges falling into rivers, tens of millions homeless. Yet some how our elites can always find money for another war.
Riverdweller , 2016-09-25 19:33:09
Before the Chinese or anyone else gets any ideas, they should reflect on the size of the US defence budget, 600 billion dollars in 2015, and consider what that might imply in the event of conflict.
fragglerokk Riverdweller , 2016-09-25 20:14:35
a third of that budget goes in profit for the private companies they employ to make duds like the F35 - so you can immediately reduce that to 400 billion. The US have been fighting third world countries for 50 years, and losing, their military is bloated, out of date and full of retrograde gear that simply wont cut it against the Russians. Privately you would find that most top line military agree with that statement. They also have around 800 bases scattered world wide, spread way too thin. Its why theyve stalled in Ukraine and can't handle the middle east. The Russians spend less than $50 billion but have small, highly mobile forces, cutting edge missile defence systems (which will have full airspace coverage by 2017). The Chinese policy of A2D/AD or access denial has got the US surface fleet marooned out in the oceans as any attempt to get close enough to be effective would be met with a hail of multiple rocket shedding war heads. The only place where it is probable (but my no means certain) that the US still has the edge is in submarine warfare, although again if the Russians and Chinese have full coverage of their airspace nothing (or little) would get through.
Two theorys are in current operation about the election and the waring factions in the NSA and the CIA. 1) HRC wins but is too much of a warmonger and would push america into more wars they simply cannot win 2) there is a preference for Trump to win amongst the MIC because he would (temporarily) seek 'peace' with the Russians thus giving the military the chance to catch up - say in 3 or 4 years - plus all the billions and billions of dollars that would mean for them.

Overwhelming fire power no longer wins wars, the US have proved that year in year out since the end of the second world war, theyve lost every war theyve started/caused/joined in. Unless you count that limited skirmish on British soil in Grenada - and I guess we could call Korea a score draw. The yanks are bust and they know it, the neocons are all bluster and idiots like Breedlove, Power and Nuland are impotent because they don't have right on their side or the might to back it up. The US is mired in the middle east, locked out of asia and would grind to halt in Europe against the Russians. (every NATO wargame simulation in the last 4 years has conclusively shown this) Add to that the fact that the overwhelming majority of US citizens dont have the appetite for a conventional war and in the event of a nuclear war the US would suffer at least as much as Europe and youve got a better picture of where we are at.

goenzoy Riverdweller , 2016-09-25 20:48:37
Well it is just ABOUT money.Also during Vietnam and Iraq war US was biggest spender.
Nobody in US still thinks that Vietnam war was a good idea and the same applies to Iraq.Iraq war will be even in history books for biggest amount spend to achieve NOTHING.
Mrpavado Riverdweller , 2016-09-25 21:30:20
Chinese military spending is at least on a par with American. A huge part of American military money goes to personnel salary while China does NOT pay to Chinese soldiers for their service as China holds a compulsory military service system.
Liang1a , 2016-09-25 19:24:05
This article assumes China is evil and the US is the righteous protector of all nations in the SE Asian region against the evil China which is obviously out to destroy the hapless SE Asian nations. This assumption is obviously nonsense. The US itself is rife with racial problems. Everybody has seen what it had done to Vietnam. Nobody believes that a racist US that cares nothing for the welfare of its own black, Latino and Asian population will actually care for the welfare of the same peoples outside of the US and especially in SE Asia.

The truth is China is not the evil destroyer of nations. The truth is the US is the evil destroyer of nations. The US has brought nothing but bloodshed and destruction to the SE Asian regions for the last 200 years. The US had killed millions of Filipinos during it colonial era. The US had killed millions of Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. The US had incited pogroms against the ethnic Chinese unceasingly. The May 13 massacre in Malaysia, the anti-Chinese massacres in the 1960's and the 1990's in Indonesia, and many other discrimination and marginalization of ethnic Chinese throughout the entire SE Asia are all the works of the US. It is the US that is the killer and destroyer.

Therefore, it is a good thing that the evil intents of the US had failed. With the all but inevitable rise of China, the influence of the Japanese and the americans will inevitably wane. The only danger to China is the excessive xenocentrism of the Dengist faction who is selling out China to these dangerous enemies. If the CPC government sold out China's domestic economy, then China will become a colony of the Japanese and americans without firing a single shot. And the Chinese economy will slide into depression as it had done in the Qing Dynasty and Chinese influence in the SE Asian region will collapse.

Therefore, the task before the CPC government is to ban all foreign businesses out of China's domestic economy, upgrade and expand China's education and R&D, urbanize the rural residents and expand the Chinese military, etc. With such an independent economic, political and military policies, China will at once make itself the richest and the most powerful nation in the world dwarfing the Japanese and American economies and militaries. China can then bring economic prosperity and stability to the SE Asian region by squeezing the evil Japanese and americans out of the region.

mark john Mcculloch , 2016-09-25 19:22:11
Lets be honest what has Obama achieved,he got the Nobel peace prize for simply not being George Bush Jr he has diplayed a woeful lack of leadership with Russia over Syria Libya and the Chinese Simply being the first African American president will not be a legacy
outfitter , 2016-09-25 18:54:08
Do you know of one Leninist state that ever built a prosperous modern industrial nation? Therein lies the advantage and the problem with China. China is totally export dependant and therefore its customers can adversely affect its economy - put enough chinese out of work and surely political instability will follow. A threatened dictatorship with a large army, however, is a danger to its neighbors and the world.
fragglerokk outfitter , 2016-09-25 20:26:17
China are now net consumers. You need to read up on whats happening, not from just the western press. They are well on their way to becoming the most powerful nation on earth, they have access (much like Russia) to over two thirds of the population of the worlds consumers and growing (this is partially why sanctions against Russia have been in large part meaningless) China will never want for buyers of their products (the iphone couldnt be made without the Chinese) with the vast swaithes of unplumbed Russian resources becoming available to them its hard to see how the west can combat the Eurasians. The wealth is passing from west to east, its a natural cycle the 'permanant growth' monkies in the west have been blind to by their own greed and egotism. Above all the Chinese are a trading nation, always seeking win/win trading links. The west would be better employed trading and linking culturally with the Chinese rather than trying to dictate with military threats. The west comprises only 18% of the global population and our growth and wealth is either exhausted or locked away in vaults where it is doing no one any good. Tinme to wise up or get left behind.
deetrump , 2016-09-25 18:17:06
Tisdall...absolute war-monger and neo-con "dog of war". Is this serious journalism? The rise of China was as inevitable as the rise of the US in the last century..."no man can put a stop to the march of a nation". It's Asias century and it's not the first time for China to be the No 1 economy in the world. They have been here before and have much more wisdom than the west...for too long the tail has wagged the dog...suck it up Tisdall!
Dante5 , 2016-09-25 17:56:56
The US grand strategy post-Bush was to reposition itself at the heart of a liberal economic system excluding China through TTIP with the EU and TPP with Asia-Pac ex. China and Russia. The idea was that this would enable the US to sustain its hegemony.

It has been an absolute failure. Brexit has torpedoed TTIP and TPP has limited value- the largest economy in the partnership, Japan, has been largely integrated in to the US for the past 70 years.

IMO the biggest failure of the US has been hating Russia too much. The Russians have just as much reason to be afraid of China as the US do and have a pretty capable army. If the US patched things up with the Russians, firstly it could redeploy forces and military effort away from the Middle East towards Asia Pac and secondly it would give the US effective leverage over China- with the majority of the oil producing nations aligned with the US, China would have difficulty in conducted a sustained conflict. It's old Cold War thinking that has seen America lose its hegemony- similar to how the British were so focused on stopping German ascendancy they didn't see the Americans coming with the knife.

Advaitya , 2016-09-25 17:54:49
America is reaping the fruits of what they sowed during the time of Reagan. It was never a good idea to outsource your entire manufacturing industry to a country that is a dictatorship and does not embrace western liberal democratic values. Now the Americans are hopelessly dependent on China - a country that does not play by the rules in any sphere - it censors free speech, it blatantly violates intellectual property, it displays hostile intent towards nearly all South East Asian countries, its friends include state sponsors of terror like Pakistan and North Korea, it is carefully cultivating the enemies of America and the west in general.

In no way, shape or form does China fulfill the criteria for being a trustworthy partner of the west. And yet today, China holds all the cards in its relationship with the west, with the western consumerist economies completely dependent on China. Moral of the story - Trade and economics cannot be conducted in isolation, separate from geopolitical realities. Doing so is a recipe for disaster.

Kamatron Advaitya , 2016-09-25 21:46:36
The arrogance is breathtaking.

Embrace western liberal values? Exactly what is that?

A sense of moral and ethical superiority?

Freedom to kill unarm black people?

Right to invade other countries?

Commit war crimes?

That kind of Western liberal values?

freeandfair Advaitya , 2016-09-26 01:15:38
The Us is reaping the results of its arrogance, you got that part right.
humdum , 2016-09-25 17:24:35
Mr Tisdall should declare his affiliation, if any, with the military-industrial complex.
It is surprising coming from a Briton which tried to contain Germany and fought two
wars destroying itself and the empire. War may be profitable for military-industrial complex
but disastrous for everyone else. In world war 2, USA benefited enormously by ramping
up war material production and creating millions of job which led to tremendous
prosperity turning the country around from a basket case in 1930s to a big prosperous power
which dominated the world till 2003.
Nuno Cardoso da Silva , 2016-09-25 17:16:24
US insistence on being top cat in a changing world will end up by dragging us all into a WW III. Why can't the US leave the rest of the world alone? Americans do not need a military presence to do business with the rest of the world and earn a lot of money with such trade. And they are too ignorant, too unsophisticate and too weak to be able to impose their will on the rest of us. The (very) ugly Americans are back and all we want is for them to go back home and forever remain there... The sooner the better...
HotPotato22 , 2016-09-25 17:12:13
The world is going to look fantastically different in a hundred years time.

Points of world power will go back to where they was traditionally; Europe and Asia. America is a falling power, it doesn't get the skilled European immigrants it use to after German revolution and 2 world wars. And it's projected white population will be a minority by 2050. America's future lies with south America.

Australia with such a massive country but with a tiny population of 20million will look very attractive to China. It's future lies with a much stronger commonwealth, maybe a united military and economic commonwealth between the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Even without the EU, Europe is going to have to work together, including Russia to beat the Chinese militarily and economically. America will not be the same power in another 30-50 years and would struggle to beat them now.

China are expansionists, always have been. War is coming with them and North Korea sometime in the future.

Alex Wijaya , 2016-09-25 16:23:04
From the article above, it is clear who is the more dangerous power. While China is aiming to be the hegemon through economic means like the neo silk road projects, the US is aiming to maintain its hegemon status through military power. The US think thank even suggest to preemptive strike against China to achieve that. This is also the problem with US pivot to Asia, it may fail to contain China, but it didn't fail to poison the atmosphere in Asia. Asia has never been this dangerous since the end of cold war, all thanks to the pivot.
arbmahla Alex Wijaya , 2016-09-25 18:17:41
Obama is trying to maintain the status quo. China and N. Korea are the ones pushing military intimidation. The key to the US plan is to form an alliance between countries in the region that historically distrust each other. The Chinese are helping that by threatening everybody at the same time. Tisdall sees this conflict strictly as between the US and China. Obama's plan is to form a group of countries to counter China. Japan will have a major role in this alliance but the problem is whether the other victims of WW2 Japanese aggression will agree to it.
TheRealRadj arbmahla , 2016-09-25 18:23:24
With dozens of bases surrounding Russia and China and you call this status quo.
Fail.
CygniCygni , 2016-09-25 16:21:39
The US's disastrous foreign policy since 9/11 which has unleashed so much chaos in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc etc... is not exactly a commendation for credibility these days.
CommieWealth , 2016-09-25 16:08:00
A useful summary of the state of play in the Pacific and SCS. It is somewhat hawkish in analysis, military fantasists will always be legion, they should be listened to with extra large doses of salt, or discussion of arguments which favour peaceful cooperation and development, such as trade, cultural relations, and natural stalemates. American anxiety at its own perception of decline, is at least as dangerous for the world as the immature expression of rising Chinese confidence. But the biggest problem it seems we face, is finding a way to accommodate and translate the aspirations of rising global powers with the existing order established post-45, in incarnated in the UN and other international bodies, in international maritime law as in our western notions of universal human rights. Finding a way for China to express origination of these ideas compatible with its own history, to be able to proclaim them as a satisfactory settlement for human relations, is an ideal, but apparently unpromising task.
BigPhil1959 , 2016-09-25 15:46:39
Perhaps Samuel P Huntingdon was broadly correct when he wrote "The Clash of Civilizations" in the late 90's. He was criticized for his work by neo-liberals who believed that after the Cold War the rest of the world would follow the west and US in particular.

The problem with the neo-liberal view is that only their opinions on issues are correct, and all others therefore should be ridiculed. What has happened in Ukraine is a prime example. Huntingdon called the Ukraine a "cleft" country split between Russia and Europe. The EU and the US decided to stir up trouble in the Ukraine to get even with Putin over Syria. It was never about EU or NATO membership for the Ukraine which is now further away than ever.

A Trump presidency is regarded with fear. The Obama presidency has been a failure with regard to foreign policy and a major reason was because Clinton was Secretary of State in the 1st four years. In many ways a Clinton presidency is every bit as dangerous as a Trump presidency.

Certainly relations with Russia will be worse under Clinton than under Trump, and for the rest of the world that is not a good thing. To those that believe liek Clinton that Putin is the new Hitler, then start cleaning out the nuclear bunkers. If he is then WW3 is coming like it or not and Britain better start spending more on defence.

markwill89 , 2016-09-25 15:41:59
Can people stop calling China a Communist state. It isn't.

China is a corporatist dictatorship.

yelzohy markwill89 , 2016-09-25 16:19:47
which serves only the top one tenth of one percent. Sounds familiar.
markwill89 yelzohy , 2016-09-25 16:23:29
The difference between the United States and China is striking. Try criticising the Chinese leadership in China and see where it gets you.
humdum markwill89 , 2016-09-25 17:44:03
What does the criticism in USA get you? It is just blah blah blah.
ONly criticism that matters is from the corporations and wealthy individuals
like Koch bros and Sheldon Edelson and their ilk. Rest can watch football.
CalvinLyn , 2016-09-25 15:35:31
China hasn't won and US hasn't failed, at least not yet. Both countries are pretending to be strong and powerful while bleeding internally, and are hoping the other guy to fall first. Take your bets.
R_Ambrose_Raven , 2016-09-25 15:30:27
Never mind that a general, high-intensity war in Northern Asia would be disastrous for all involved, whatever the outcome.

Never mind that much of the discussion about containing China is by warmongers urging such a conflict.

Never mind that very little depth in fact lies behind the shell of American and Japanese military strength, or that a competently-run Chinese government is well able to grossly outproduce "us" all in war materiel.

Never mind that those same warmongers and neocons drove and drive a succession of Imperial disasters; they remain much-praised centres of attention, just as the banksters and rentiers that are sucking the life from Americans have never had it so good.

Never mind that abbott encouraged violence as the automatic reaction to problems, while his Misgovernment was (while Turnbull to a lesser extent still is) working hard to destroy the economic and social strengths we need to have any chance of surmounting those problems.

Yes, it is a proper precaution to have a military strength that can deny our approaches to China. Unfortunately that rather disregards that "we" have long pursued a policy of globalisation involving the destruction of our both own manufacturing and our own merchant navy. Taken together with non-existent fuel reserves, "our" military preparations are pointless, because we would have to surrender within a fortnight were China to mount even a partial maritime blockade of Australia.

ID1726608 , 2016-09-25 15:28:36
What I don't quite understand is how all this comes as any surprise to those in the know. China has been on target to be the #1 economic power in the world in this decade for at least 30 years.

And who made it so? Western capitalists. China is now not only the world's industrial heartbeat, it also owns a large proportion of Western debt - despite the fact that its differences with the West (not least being a one-party Communist state) couldn't be more obvious - and while I doubt it's in its interests to destabilise its benefactorrs at the moment, that may not always be the case.

It also has another problem: In fifty or sixty years time it is due to be overtaken by India, which gives it very little time to develop ASEAN in its own image; but I suspect that it's current "silk glove" policy is far smarter and more cost-effective than any American "iron fist".

heyidontknowman , 2016-09-25 15:18:23
The US is just worried about losing out on markets and further exploitation. They should have no authority over China's interest in the South China Sea. If China do rise to the point were they can affect foreign governments, they will unlikely be as brutal as the United States. [Indonesia 1964, Congo 1960s, Brazil 1964, Chile 1973, Central America 1980s, Egyptian military aid, Saudi support, Iraq 2003, the Structural Adjustments of the IMF]
Riaz Danish , 2016-09-25 15:14:17
Simon Tisdall and many Europeans as well as the US GOP party still thinks that US is an empire similar to what the British had in the 18th century. This assumption is completely wrong especially in the 21th century where Western Europe, Japan, Korea if they want can be spend their money and also become global military power. While many Europeans and others including our current GOP pary thinks we are the global empire and we should stick our nose everywhere, our people doesn't we are an empire or we should stick our nose in every trouble spot in the world spending our blood and treasure to fight others battles and get blame when everything goes wrong. President Obama doesn't think of himself as Julius Ceaser and America is not Rome. He will be remembered as one of our greatest president ever setting a course for this country's foreign policy towards trying to solve the world's problems through alliances and cooperation with like minded countries as the opposite of the war mongering brainless, trigger happy GOP presidents. However when lesser powers who preach xenophobia and destabilize their neighborhood through annexation as the Hitler like Putin has,he comes down with a hammer using tools other than military to punish the aggressor. All you need to do is watch what is happening to the Russian economy since he imposed sanctions to the Mafiso Putin.
This article is completely misleading and the author is constricting himself in his statement that Obama's pivot to Asia is a failure. Since China tried to annex the Islands near the Philippines, countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, India, etc. has ask the US for more cooperation both military and economically these countries were moving away from US under Bush and others so I think this is a win for Obama not a loss. Unlike the idiotic Russians, China is a clever country and is playing global chess in advancing her foreign policy goals. While the US cannot do anything with China's annexation of these disputed Islands has costs her greatly because the Asian countries effected by China's moves are running towards the US, this is a win for the US. China's popularity around her neighborhood has taken a nose dive similar to Russian's popularity around her neighborhood. These are long term strategic wins for the US, especially if Hillary wins the white house and carry's on Obama's mantel of speaking softly but carry a big stick. Obama will go down as our greatest foreign policy president by building alliances in Europe to try stop Mafioso Putin and alliances in Asia to curtail China's foreign policy ambitions. This author's thesis is pure bogus, because he doesn't indicate what Obama should have done to make him happy? Threaten Chine military confertation?
All you have to do is go back 8 years ago and compare our last two presidents and you can see where Obama is going.
NowheretoHideQC Riaz Danish , 2016-09-25 15:33:01
For the allusion to Rome, I think they act like the old empire when they had to send their army to keep the peace....and it is an empire of the 21 first century, not like the old ones (Assange).
Mormorola , 2016-09-25 15:06:09
Obama and Hillary foreign country policies have been disasters one after the other:
- "Benign" neglect and lack of courage in Palestine on the "No new settlements" request.
- Disastrous interventions in Libya and Middle East resulting in hundred of thousand of "collateral damage".
- Russian "Reset" which was no more than spin, but continued to look at Russia as the right place to wipe your feet.
- Empty promises to Ukraine resulting into a civil war.
- Ill conceived "Pivot to Asia" with no meat, much wishful thinking and no understanding of local sensitivities.
- Continued support for bloody dictators like the Saudis and the Thai dictators (which Hillary once branded a "vibrant democracy").

And you wish "that woman" to become your next president?

ElZilch0 , 2016-09-25 14:54:23
China needs western consumerism to maintain its manufacturing base. If China's growth impacts the ability of the West to maintain its standard of consumerism, then China will need a new source of affluent purchaser. If China's own citizens become affluent, they will expect a standard of living commensurate with that status, accordingly China will not be able to maintain its manufacturing base.

So the options for China are:

a) Prop up western economies until developing nations in Africa and South America (themselves heavily dependent on the West) reach a high standard of consumerism.

b) Divide China into a ruling class, and a worker class, in which the former is a parasite on the latter.

The current tactic seems to be to follow option b, until option a becomes viable.

However, the longer option a takes to develop, and therefore the longer option b is in effect, the greater the chances of counter-revolution (which at this stage is probably just revolution).

The long and the short of it, is that China is boned.

russian , 2016-09-25 14:35:09
Being a large country surrounded by many other occasionally threatening powers, the governments' priority is and always has been defending its territorial integrity. China is happy enough to leave the command and conquer stuff, sorry "democratization" to the US. It's got it's hands full at home. As long as the West doesn't try to get involved in what China sees as its historical territory (i.e. The big rooster shaped landmass plus Hainan and Hong Kong and various little islands) there's absolutely nothing to worry about.
Babeouf , 2016-09-25 14:32:26
Why did Obama say that his greatest regret was Libya.? Because Obama's policy is/was to manage the decline of US power. To manage the end of US hegemony. I doubt that Obama believes that any pivot to any where can restore or maintain US dominance on planet earth. There is absolutely nothing exceptional about a power not admitting publicly what is known to many,see the outpourings of the British elites during the end of its empire.
Lafcadio1944 , 2016-09-25 14:11:59
As usual the Guardian is on its anti-China horse. Look through this article and every move China has made is "aggressive" or when it tries to expand trade (and produce win win economic conditions) it is "hegemonic" while the US is just trying to protect us all and is dealing with the "Chinese threat" -- a threat to their economic interests and global imperial hegemony is what they mean.

The US still maintains a "one China" policy and the status quo is exactly that "one China" It would be great for someone in the west to review the historical record instead of arming Taiwan to the teeth. Additionally, before China ever started its island construction the US had already begun the "pivot to Asia" which now is huge with nuclear submarines patrolling all around China, nuclear weapons on the - two aircraft carrier fleets now threatening China - very rare for the US to have two aircraft carrier fleets in the same waters - the B-1 long range nuclear bombers now in Australia, and even more belligerent the US intends to deploy THAAD missals in South Korea - using North Korea as an excuse to further seriously threaten China.

China wishes to expand trade and improve economic conditions for its people and for those with whom it trades. That is not aggression except when it interferes with US global economic hegemony.

Just look around the world - where are the conflicts - the middle east and Africa - who is there with military and arms sales and bombing seven countries -- is it China?

The most bulligerant nation in the world the nation with its army in over 100 countries, the nation bombing and conducting perpetual war throughout the middle east, the country invading countries for "regime change" and creating only misery and death -- it is not China.

The US and its Neoliberal capitalist system must expand to grow - plus they clearly want total global domination - the US and its Imperial agents have encircled both China and Russia with trillions of dollars of the most destructive weapons in the world including nuclear weapons - do you thin they have done that for "security" if so you simply ignore the aggression and hubris of an Imperial US.

LoudonCleary , 2016-09-25 14:10:13
Taiwan, the US and the rest of the world are fooling themselves. China is a totalitarian fascist imperialist country that is determined to take anything it wants - and it wants a lot and it has the power, economic and military, to present a credible threat that no one has the balls to challenge. It is in the position the US once was, but it is far nastier than the US. Get used to it, folks.
Kamatron LoudonCleary , 2016-09-25 22:00:30
Far nastier than the US?

Tell me, when was the last time China bombed another country?

How tell me how many countries has the US bombed?

Not sure how many characters you ca for into this comments box, but give it a go.

MisterOwl , 2016-09-25 14:02:21
Most decisions by the CCP are made to maintain internal stability. This is partly for self-preservation of those at the top, but also partly out of a genuine desire to improve the lot of their people. Stability achieves both of these things, but it's fragile - only 65 years ago the Chinese were beating the crap out of each other, 45 if you count the Cultural Revolution, and this kind of bloody instability is good for nobody. Economic growth, combined with careful, sometimes drastic, control has so far achieved stability, with incredible results, including China almost single-handedly meeting the UN's global development and poverty reduction goals.

As economic growth slows, the CCP need other ways to get people on the same page. Part of this comes through ramping up the control, particularly obvious in the media crackdown since Xi took power.

More positively, I think there will be huge environmental improvements over the coming years, because this is something people in China talk about and care about and improvements will keep people happy. The most recent 5-year plan singled this issue out more than any other.

More negatively, the CCP is stirring up nationalism, first through the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, now through the South China Sea. At the time of the Islands confrontation in 2012, children in China who mistook me for an American were shouting at me on the street. For all the talk of conflict, that ultimately amounted to nothing - sabre-rattling which achieved a kind of aggressive unity. This time round it could be much the same, in which case I really don't think the rest of the world needs to worry about war. A destabilised China would be much more dangerous. However, if the economy really suffers over the coming years, that's when the leadership would face unprecedented discontent, and we could see potentially dangerous desperation in order to maintain unity and internal stability. It's in everyone's best interest that China encounters a soft landing.

Hippaferalkus , 2016-09-25 14:00:58
I'm sorry, did I miss something? This entire article appears to be something written 10 years ago in the GOP manual for Presidential candidates.
Firstly, the assumption that the United States HAS to be militarily dominant or at least a potentate in the East asian region harks back to a 1950's vision of petty foreigners versus the forces of democracy. Regional issues are by definition regional, and those who aren't in the region concerned have no business trying to micromanage deisptes which do not affect them. That said, the claims to international and extra-territorial waters in the South China Sea were decided upon by the United Nations (the rightful place to sort out these type of disputes) and their judgment came down against the PRC. If Beijing continues to refute the international decision then the region and the world community might have to consider some form of sanctions against China. Only then will it become the United States' business to get involved.
China's militarisation plans have indeed come on apace but, when you consider that the country holds 1/5 of the entire planet's population their per capita military expenditure is less than that of Germany, Britain and France combined. It's still woefully short of that spent by the USA ($129billion against $580billion in 2014).
The other more dating factor on this assertion is that the Chinese economy has slowed dramatically over the past few years from the breakneck speed of growth they had enjoyed. Economic growth depends on trade and military conflict between the giants of East Asian trade would be a disaster for them far more than it would be for the rest of the world.
It might be that China's trying to bully the smaller nations in the South China Sea region but, they're not going to allow it to escalate into an armed conflict. Such a conflict would see Chinese trade suffer and if Chinese trade suffers then the Chinese people suffer. The most important part of running a country as large as China is that you keep the people happy. Anything that upsets the peaceful quiescence of the people is a threat to civil order and the Chinese Communits Party's rule - and THAT is far more important than a few islands that may or may not sit on oil and gas.
anyoneanytime Hippaferalkus , 2016-09-25 14:15:35
Yes! Thank you. A much better analysis than the guardian writer.
westmoreland22 , 2016-09-25 13:58:36
So Barree O was unable to secure American control of the entire world., and look at his own country, riots and murders . The USA is regressing, so to spread this chaotic way of life they bully, bribe, and bomb the parts of the world that don't have a star in the left hand corner of their ugly flag. At least his golf game is coming along.
As for China, Truman supported Mao over the nationalists and Rockefeller and Wall Street wanted the American jobs exported.
The USA is disloyal , to its own people and to its allies. How to win friends and influence people? Even Machiavelli would think they went to far.
Gantal , 2016-09-25 13:28:05
"China has flatly rejected a precedent-setting UN court ruling". Hardly.

It was neither a United Nations agency nor a court. Rather, it was an temporary arbitration panel, hired by the Philippines at a cost of $30 million, at which China was not represented because, like the UK and Australia, China did not recognize its right to hear the case.

It has not escaped world governments' attention that, while China is busily enriching its neighbors and allies, the US is equally busy impoverishing its. Nor have they failed to notice that China's economy is much bigger than the US' – important because while commanders and fleets win battles, economies win wars.

Here's how the CIA ranks the top three GDPs in 2015:
#3. United States: $17,970,000,000
#2. European Union: $19,180,000,000.
#1. China: $19,510,000,000
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2001rank.html

Bardolphe , 2016-09-25 13:25:27
Obama's role has been to reconcile the US to its changing, diminished role in the world.

And the idiots blame him for the changing, diminished role. This is what Bush and Cheney tried to do: reverse that with the PNAC idea. Which failed. Spectacularly.

The US's declining power has nothing to do with Obama and everything to do with the tides of history and economics, overspending on the military, administrative incompetence at home on the local and state level, collapsing wages and standard of living, corrupt policing, health problems, an ageing population and, yes, external enemies. Just like Rome.

Trump is not the answer.

Trump is Nero: an entertainer with a box of matches.

westmoreland22 Bardolphe , 2016-09-25 14:05:59
Obama's role was to continue American aggression and domination, under a liberal facade. Obama is just more sneakier than Bush and Cheney.
MannieTesney , 2016-09-25 13:14:29
The Thucydides trap keeps being mentioned time and time ago, the inevitable clash between two powers- one rising and one diminishing. What they fail to mention is that it is usually a third party that displaces both. In the case os Sparta and Athens, Sparta crushed Athens but it was the Macedonians who conquered the world. In the case of the Ptolemies and Seleucids, Rome a small power swallowed both. And even in recent memory, the epic struggle between Britain and Germany led to the emergence of the U.S. The United States may not be the superpower in fifty years but China isn't going to be either. And a war will not go in China's favour. So gentlemen and ladies, strap your seat belts because the next decade is going to be so unpredictable.
MrIncredlous , 2016-09-25 13:06:09
That's why your Oligarchy decided to Brexit. They saw which way the wind was blowing. China is Britians new BFF.

If you think about it, it does fit Britians historic approach, ally with the #2 power against the # 1 power.

So it's not about our values after all. It's only ever been about wealth and power.

I suspect that the Chinese will instruct Britian to kiss and make up with Russia. It will be amusing to watch the last 3 years of anti Russian BS and propaganda go down the memory hole.

And what will become of the trolls who stalk us sceptics (Putinbots indeed!).

Well I suppose the cousins will have to redouble their propaganda efforts now that Xi has booted them from playing a ignificant role in Asia, and Putin ended their prospects in the ME.

I guess it will be back to running death squads in Central America for them. Not much future in that though.

Interesting times we live in.

ZaraZelotes , 2016-09-25 13:02:34
China and North Asia face an acute demographic challenge that means they will age more quickly than the emerging world, India and even the US. On this point alone, the nations of north Asia face severe challenges in realigning their domestic and export economies. As for the US, President Obama made what was, at the time, a logical choice to deepen the US focus on a region it had not devoted enough time and attention to -- but the US had ITS own agenda in the form of TTIP.

After this, we have the two old world vierwers contending for President. This is not a reflection of their age, but neither Hillary and certainly not Trump seem to realize we are in the 21st century and things have moved on a bit. The dialogue the US and the West could and should be having with Asia has totally changed. This may be equally true of the current generation of North Asian leaders.

usini , 2016-09-25 12:54:13
The last 400 hundred years with European and then US domination of the world was an anomaly in world history.
We are now slowly returning to the previous situation of both India and China developing regional influence in their respective areas.
Kikinaskald , 2016-09-25 12:50:18
Independently of other points, I believe that the US should try to better its relations with other countries and strive for more friendly relations with them. The US loves to beat Germany (Germany has to pay billions the whole time because of VW, because of Deutsche Bank and so on). What's the result? Germany sells its best firms to the Chinese. It happened some time ago with Kuka for instance, one of the best firms in the world for industrial robots. Now it's a Chinese firm. American agressive negotiations concerning TTIP made opposition in Europe grow. It's known that on the side of American negotiating team they have agressive lobbyst. Why don't Americans try to have more friendly relations with Europe? It would also be good if the US could direct economic colaboration to South America and to Africa instead of China. Why don't US firms invest more in South America instead of China? It would be possible if the US weren't so crazy about Chavez and Venezuela. It's also inevitable that we try to repair relations with Russia. For us it's absolutely irrelevant whether Russia or Ukraine get the Krim. Obama should have fired the woman who is co-responsible for the conflict with Russia and the civil war in Ukraine and who showed agressive contempt for Europe. The conflict with Russia is ridiculous. China is a challenge while Russia could be an important ally. The US needs another paradigma of foreign politics.
nonethewiser Kikinaskald , 2016-09-25 14:37:40
Why don't Americans try to have more friendly relations with Europe?

Quite simply because they see Europe as yet another threat to be countered.

Babeouf , 2016-09-25 12:37:56
This stuff is only 'news' for readers who get their news,exclusively, from the Guardian . Using P.P.P to determine exchange rates China became the worlds largest economy in 2015(according to the I.M.F). On average Chines growth rates during a 'bust' are three times the US growth rates during its 'boom'. The most important US foreign policy objective should have been to ensure that a Chinese /Russian axis didn't emerge. instead,in Ukraine and elsewhere, they acted to ensure it. Dangerous times ahead for the US's European colonies. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde ' it would take a heart of stone not to laugh'.
TheRealRadj , 2016-09-25 12:35:43
This pivot was bound to fail.
China's business is business and trade.
America's business is war.
SenseCir , 2016-09-25 12:35:30
Both have many nuclear warheads and the ability to deliver them. Thus, no real military conflict on the horizion.

Also, the US doesn't have some god given right to remain the only super power and control everything forever. China has a lot more people. Eventually, their economy and might will thus exceed that of the US.

Other nations would do well to work with China and forge closer ties, instead of allowing themselves to be recruited as agents in the US's battle for everlasting global hegemony.

Ricardo111 , 2016-09-25 12:33:14
Given that US-based high-level managers of US-based companies decided to send all industrial production to China for their personal (CEO salaries are 400x higher than in 1980) and US-based shareholders' benefit, it was only a mater of time until China ascended in influence, power and wealth past the US.

Whilst corporations in a Free Market tend be short-termist and not have an integrated strategical systemic approach to things, the State (is supposed to) look after the strategic interests of a whole country and take the long term into account.

Given that while in the US corporations own the Political System, in China the Political System owns the corporations, it's unsurprising that on a strategic long-term level China has vastly outperformed the US.

Essentially, the US has entered the imperial decay stage thanks to growing rot on the inside (the cause of the fall of most great nations) and China is highly likely to take its place for the 21st century (and eventually they themselves will go the same way).

Ruprecht Mudorc , 2016-09-25 12:13:44
So much wrong with this. How did it get into a 'news' paper?
Pretty much all the Taiwanese I know are very very suspicious of the US and see a reunification with mainland China as the way forward.
Similarly, it is only those in Asia who have been brainwashed/led astray by the trashy glitter of the US way, many of them having been 'taught' by US admin affiliated NGOs masquerading as charities, who might believe the nonsense that any and all things US are good and honest, particularly the extremely mischievous and dangerous "pivot to Asia".

Just imagine if China or Russia announced a "Pivot to the Caribbean/Cuba/Mexico" Imagine the howls and protests.

The US is about one thing and one thing alone.
Hegemony. Economic, wherein the TPP is all about any other nation ceding their sovereign rights for the eternal benefit of US corporations and thier profits and screw the law and the environment. Military, wherein the Pivot to Asia is all about maintaining these interests by murderous force if need be and screw the law and the environment.

The last thing we need in Australia is to be dragged along behind Unkie Sam and the corporate criminals who are running it into the ground, even as they take the planet with them.

It serves us far better to strengthen our trading and cultural ties with all the (Asian) countries in the region, because that is where we are... In Asia.

TheRealRadj Ruprecht Mudorc , 2016-09-25 12:32:56
This is the level of denial that has been in the west ever since 2005 and the shellshock they received during the 2008 Olympics.

They fear what they do not understand. And to see other countries rise so fast while they themselves have stagnated for decades is a breeding ground for fear, anger, racism, nationalism and you name it.

They are only setting themselves up for failure even more. I have no doubt Taiwan and China will unify in the future.
You should see the sour faces of these people then.

karabasbarabas , 2016-09-25 12:09:33
The US will never engage in war with a big strong rival. This war will hit at the US land with many casualties of Americans and much destruction. The US will keep finding other ways to win in the other areas, hybride warfare
Bardolphe karabasbarabas , 2016-09-25 12:28:20
Quite true: the US has never gone to war with anybody who had the slightest chance of winning. The Viet Cong were the big surprise: they thought they were slaughtering unarmed peasants; they got a real foe
Gantal Elli_Mackie , 2016-09-25 13:34:08
The Guardian is 'creating resentment and distrust' with China's South China Sea policy but here in Thailand, where I live, China is creating friends. The Thais just closed down the US spy plane base at U Thapao and threatened the US ambassador with a lawsuit if he didn't stop squawking. Times have changed. Best we do, too.
atownlikealice , 2016-09-25 11:45:07
To discuss the relationship between China and the USA and not mention the yuan and the dollar boarders on creativity. Talk about your elephant in the room?
As a result you get this facile commentary? You d get a better summation from a bunch of Chinese high school students, who are taught about such stuff. Clearly not the English elite?
Rapport , 2016-09-25 11:39:15
Obama's failure?

Obamas and Bushes come and go ..

The goals of creating chaos, wrecking havoc and destabilising other countries remain consistently executed. The destruction (physical and mental) caused continues to grow exponentially.

Talking about this president's and that president's failure is nothing but covering the 'grandiose' plans crafted in Washington.

Ochyming Rapport , 2016-09-25 11:42:30
Imperialism?
You bet!
1iJack Ochyming , 2016-09-25 13:23:50
Its called globalism now. One world, one world government.

Problem is, where will that "one" government be centered. Who will run that one government. Looking at how corrupt national governments can become, can you imagine how corrupt a world government would become.

The U.S. needs to back down and completely sever all ties with China. We can't fix the world, and by pulling out of China we will have served notice of that and the U.S. will have taken its first real step back from globalism/imperialism.

selvak , 2016-09-25 11:34:56
Till today the Obama administration tries to subsidize Pakistan, China's "all weather friend" over standing by India. The recent NYC bomber visited Pakistani terrorist camps freely - Homeland "security"/NSA was busy seeking another needle in an all US haystack. As long as the Pentagon keeps betting on the wrong horses the CCP will win. Equally Obama's administrations maneuvering against Russia is dumb. Putin should be an ally vs the CCP.
TSmithNoCrackers , 2016-09-25 11:31:53
As an American who lived in Taiwan from the early 1980s until last summer, I saw how Taiwan evolved from military rule into a democracy, and how its standard of living also improved. It's now a very pleasant place to live, really--it has press freedom, religious freedom, the two leading parties have handed off power to each other a few times, the healthcare and health insurance system is very good (though the insurance system does run a deficit), things generally run smoothly and efficiently, so what's not to like? Taiwan is precisely the kind of place that the US and the rest of the leading Western democracies, if true to their ideals, would like to see more of around the world. But no matter how Taiwan has progressed, it has gotten shoved to the side because the 1% wants to take advantage of China's cheaper labor, and so they have handed China the jobs, the technology, and ultimately the power to do whatever it wants. The 1% only cares about keeping shareholders happy in the next quarter, but China has been pursuing a very long-term (decades-long) strategy of amassing power. Thus when Taiwan started having elected presidents, the attitude shown it from the West seemed to be, "Oh, we're so pleased you've democratized....now just shutthefuckup, willya?" For decades Taiwan has been trying to sign Free Trade Agreements with the US, EU, and anyone else, but the progress has been painfully slow because of you-know-who across the Strait--only New Zealand and Singapore thus far (plus Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Central America) have done so.

Oh yes, the Cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA)....while Pres Ma Ying-jiou viewed it as a means of safeguarding the Taiwanese 1%'s considerable investments in the Mainland and encouraging other countries to sign FTAs with Taiwan, China clearly saw it as a means of gaining control of Taiwan's economy--and they almost succeeded, but the Sunflower Movement put an end to that.

On a daily basis, Taiwanese bureaucrats have to spend time issuing various protests or objections over their representatives getting squeezed out of or belittled at one or another international organization--there is far more of that going on than ever gets reported in the news, because it's so routine it's no longer news. Meanwhile, their counterparts in those international organizations are so meek that every time China shouts about Taiwanese presence, they'll stand on their heads coughing up nickels to please it.

I ramble.... but my general point is the West has utterly failed in two respects: to give Taiwan the support it has needed as it transitioned to an open democratic system, and to make its investments in China more conditional on meaningful reform. Taiwan itself has not been entirely blameless for its current predicament: starting in the early 1990s, it allowed too many of its businesspeople to invest in the Mainland, even on harebrained schemes (they too saw only "cheap labor," plus many of them, let's face it, just didn't want to deal with other languages and cultures). But the main failure here belongs to the West: short-term businesslike thinking vs long-term power-building strategic thinking.

atownlikealice TSmithNoCrackers , 2016-09-25 11:39:35
Taiwan will always be a political football. One day it will return to China. It will still be a great place to live under CCP control.
Alex1101 , 2016-09-25 11:27:17
The USA has militarily intervened in foreign countries about 80 times since WW2. There are 700 -800 US military bases in 63 foreign countries, and US military personnel are based in 156 countries. 255.000 US military personnel are deployed worldwide.

China has one overseas base in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. Djibouti also hosts US and French bases. It must irk the USA to have to share Djibouti with China.

nishville , 2016-09-25 11:21:16
If USA is failing to convince the world to follow its course, it is its own fault. It imposes its own version of reality on us in which it is still a beacon of democracy and goodwill it once maybe was while everybody can clearly see that it is now effectively a rogue state imposing its will by naked aggression. How can you convince the people of the world to collaborate with you when you keep lying to them about things it is impossible to effectively lie about? That is how the USSR went down, people simply stopped believing in it because of the screaming discrepancy between the reality as projected by the communists and the reality as experienced by everybody else.

When that happens, no amount of money and weapons can prevent the fall.

callaspodeaspode , 2016-09-25 11:03:49
Why should the American president be able to hold back the economic and military development of other countries? Power shifts. And the rise of it often involves unpleasant nationalism and sabre-rattling. Why even assume that this is even in the gift of whoever happens to be the chief executive of the American Empire?

There is a disturbing complacency here. The USA is not the be-all and end-all of history. Says more about the author's preconceptions than anything else.

And the 'pivot to Asia' is not only meant to be about carrier battle groups and military prowess in general, but hard economic reality (although the two are linked). America needs to ensure that it is set up to fully benefit from the trading advantages and the investment opportunities from growing Asian economies. Trade has increased under Obama and it will continue to do so. After all, this sort of thing is not really something that politicians can hold back with economies as powerful as China's are, outside of war.

As for TPP, if the American public does not want it and leading candidates are against it, so much the better for democracy, one would have imagined. Although I would caution against taking as gospel what is said in election year and what will actually end up happening.

Be it Trump or Clinton in the White House, I have a strong suspicion some rehashed version of TPP will eventually emerge again and get passed by Congress and then signed off by the occupant in the Oval Office. This is business. Clinton was all for it, until the Sanders insurgency convinced her to drop it.

canbeanybody , 2016-09-25 11:02:43
"Barack Obama's 'Asian pivot' failed. China is in the ascendancy"

Mr Obama's "Asia pivot" is very important part of his "containment" policy against China and Chinese.

Such policy of "either you or me" is zero sum botched plan which has little value and little prospect to succeed.

Mr Obama has wasted good deal of his 8 years office for nothing while an effective alternative of peaceful coexistence with China would greatly benefit all Americans with the benefit of world peace, stability and prosperity.

Eustacius , 2016-09-25 10:17:35
It seems that analysts are caught in the imperialist rhetoric of countries fighting countries. The realities are that "countries" are obsolete when it comes to market globalism. The only factor in production that is national is labor, everything else is globalized. The trade is owned and controlled by the billionaire class. Military disputes on "national" lines reflect the use of nationalism to control the working people in each of those administrative areas. The fact is that the workers all work for the same international corporations in one manner or the other. Only 1,000 people control more than 50% of world wealth. Workers have nothing to gain and everything to lose by supporting any nationalism over solidarity with other workers. This can be seen especially in international support for dictators who repress workers, using "security" as the cat's paw to justify repression so globalist can make higher profits.
westhaditsday , 2016-09-25 10:14:43
The paranoid US desperately wants to maintain its indefensible global hegenomy. But it can't stop the wheel of history.
ashleyhk westhaditsday , 2016-09-25 11:25:52
There is no wheel of history. You a Hegelian?
TomFullery westhaditsday , 2016-09-25 11:44:23
The US is not paranoid, it simply realises its days and global bully and hegemon are coming to an end.
WhitesandsOjibwe , 2016-09-25 09:57:58
Obama thought as with his own creation the "Cyber directive" he could convince the world. Now, with Snowdens' revelations the US has been exposed, as we knew it always was, the malevolent, war mongering shit nation that it is. About time. Too bad Obama, you were almost that clever. You almost pulled it off.
Jiri , 2016-09-25 09:57:44

This is the so-called "Thucydides Trap", a reference to the Athenian historian's account of the seemingly inevitable conflict between the rising city-state of Athens and the status quo power Sparta in the fifth century BC.

Just as well that the Chinese don't read Greek.

The US policy is that of Full Spectrum Dominance. It cannot achieve this without massive pre-emptive nuclear strike on both Russia and China.

Interesting times ahead.

mamamouchi , 2016-09-25 09:37:48
When the Boer war was in its early stages and the British were being beaten in battle there was gloating from other European powers such as France and the increasingly nationalistic and militarised Germans. There's always the human desire as well as the geopolitical power politics to knock off the existing No. 1 power off its perch.

Well, rest easy all those Europeans (and I include the British in this denomination, at least in a geographical sense) that ascribe all the woes of mankind to the Americans and who are constantly sneering at them there is no power in man's history that is eternally No.1 - be it empire, monarchy, republic, federation, confederation or nation-state.

If the USA with its own problems retreats to isolation or quasi-isolation who will defend precious Europe? The European army looks great on bureaucratic paper with Germany spending a splendid 1% of its GDP on defence. Then there is the British army being pursued by the omnivorous human rights organizations for daring to fight with guns. I know, know they should be fighting with paper napkins.

So when the Chinese are No.1 do you think they will pay the least bit attention to the Guardian, its readers or Europe in general? I recommend Mr. Tisdall to read Arnold Toynbee or Oswald Spengler. There is a huge stench of decay in Europe and its haughty, offshore little island.

Panda Bear , 2016-09-25 09:35:52
Obama has deployed massive military assets in the region and ensured client states are again hosting bases and well armed, even Japan has changed it's constitution to allow a war of aggression... ground laid for war hawk POTUS like Clinton who regularly threatens, Iran and Russia.
Alley loop , 2016-09-25 09:25:05
I study International Relations. I was reading articles written in serious newspapers about the USSR overtaking the West, about open conflict between USSR and America, about the decline of the West. These were written 40 odd years ago. Well, the USSR collapsed and there was no direct conflict. Luckily people kept their cool, unlike this journalist.
Hedd Wyn John Alley loop , 2016-09-25 09:51:48
The USSR wasn't a homogeneous nation-state, its economy at its height was only a third the size of the USA and it's strength was based on huge military spending. While China is a single party state like the USSR its largely homogenous with a strong national identity, its economy is the 2nd largest in the world and its military is growing in strength.
Socraticus , 2016-09-25 09:24:03

The Pentagon now officially refers to the Chinese "threat".

What else is new. The US considers any nation that refuses to capitulate to their demands and/or possesses the strength to actually challenge their pursuit of global hegemony to be a treat. Given the US's destructive track record world wide over the past 60 years, I welcome any nation that can pose an obstacle to their desires.
globalgypsy Milton , 2016-09-25 10:03:21

China and Russia are despotic regimes which have abundantly demonstrated their contempt for human rights and law and willingness to murder their own citizens if they speak out

It is the USA which has 4.4% of the worlds population with 22% of the worlds prisoners. Prisoners who are then used as exceedingly cheap labour for many US corporations. McDonald's, Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, AT&T, Victoria's Secret, BP, Pepsi, Bank of America, Bayer, Caterpillar, Chevron, Chrysler, Costco, John Deere, Eli Lilly and Company, Exxon, Mobil, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, K-Mart, Koch Industries, Merck, Microsoft, Motorola, Nintendo, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, UPS, Verizon, Wendy's, all use prison labour.

I bet Chinese workers are paid better than the US prisoners.

bourdieu , 2016-09-25 09:11:10
Like a lot of these sorts of pieces, it frames its arguments from a resolutely Euro-American framework, in which only America has true agency, and China's rise is an expression of America's failures. But just because the US has made a hash of running its empire, doesn't mean China hasn't too. The One Belt One Road is currently mostly vapourware, and what has been signed off on, in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, has already run into problems. China has completely mismanaged its economic boom since around 2005, with levels of capital misallocation that threaten the entire global economy. The senior leadership of the party roils with internecine conflict and conspiracies.

We're in real trouble but a US-China conflict would be a mutual miscalculation that would express policy and political failures in both Washington and Beijing in equal measure.

JanZamoyski , 2016-09-25 08:27:45
Ironically the biggest ally of US in this conflict is China. Similarly to Russia in Eastern Europe, China's clumsy attempts of putting itself in position of a local superpower create a lasting (historical in case of Russia) animosity towards Chinese bullish "diplomacy" and territorial claims.

So far Chinese's showed themselves as a tyrant not a partner you can achieve a compromise or a fair deal. The ruling Chinese political oligarchy might fool itself and even a part of its society of rightfulness of their claims, but the world isn't that foolish.

madmonty , 2016-09-25 08:24:45
The irony is that China and India are reasserting their respective positions in the world of Geopolitics.

Read Peter Frankopans ' The Silk Roads'. The Roman Empire no less in the 1st century AD, was doing business with China importing Silks that had reached the middle east along the Silk Road.

Calikut or Calcutta was a port jointly built by India and China in the 5th century to increase trade between those countries.

In economic, social, religious, areas India and China played a huge part in global affairs up until thec15th century.

It only changed when Portugal invented the gun boat and it's explorers navigated to the spice islands, cutting out China and India from their control of the spice trade.

The west's rise was at the expensive of China and India. The trading companies that morphed into Britain taking control of India and in China the opium wars.

China watched in 1991, how American banks almost single handedly bankrupted the ' Asian Tiger', economies, persuading them to have IMF loans, taking the money to bail themselves out and leaving those countries in a mess.

China learnt the lesson of economic warfare from the Americans so in 1994 deliberately devalued it's currency and actively encouraged inward investment with tax breaks, cheap labour and lowered export duties.

It was a trap and manufacturers and investors fell right into it, stripping western economies of their manufacturing bases and allowing China to build up its economic power.

India literally cottoned on to what China was doing and did the same.

America and the West can only blame itself , China worked out the rules of unfettered Neo con free market economics and used it against the West brilliantly, even getting the capitalists to cut their own throats willingly in the pursuit of profit.

It was only a matter of time when China would flex it's military muscle and extend its influence in what it sees as it's 'China Seas', once more. It as far as the Chinese government is concerned, is taking back what was their territorial influence lost in the 15th century onwards.

America is facing the hard truth that the whole of the Pacific is no longer theirs to control . There's an old player back in the game, one who has centuries of experience of playing politics especially in the long game.

America would be better served by its own government to realise the ' sea change', accept it and get down to the hard bargaining about who controls what and where the lines of demarcation and influence should be between themselves and China.

The also need to learn as the Chinese did centuries ago, that patience is a virtue and the ying and yang of the cosmos means that things will change for the better or the worse constantly but that is the way of the universe.

An 1 , 2016-09-25 08:22:29
Having recently returned to Europe after 14 years in east and southeast Asia; I would agree with many that war is closer than it has been for decades.

But this article adds weight to the greed of humans and the danger of nationalism.

Worldwide we live in an increasingly fractured society and one where a combination of greed, selfisshness, extreme nationalism are seeing a grab for dwindling recources whether by force or sneaky "development initiatives".

We are guilty of fiddling whilst Rome burns.

macel388 , 2016-09-25 08:15:33
"Faced by what it perceives to be a growing threat from China, Japan's government, led by its conservative prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has sought greater freedom to project military force beyond the country's borders."

Japan's re-militarization is not the result of any perceived threat from China. Shinzo Abe and other Japan nationalists wanted to abandon Japan's pacifist constitution so that it would become a "normal" country, and they already have that idea long before China's growing military strength.

macel388 , 2016-09-25 08:02:39
"Each week seems to bring news of another Chinese airstrip or newly fortified reef."

China was the last claimant to build airstrip on the Spratly Islands. The first one was built by the Philippines 41 years ago in 1975, followed by Vietnam in 1976, Malaysia in 1995, and Taiwan in 2007 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airports_in_the_Spratly_Islands ).

China cannot be building another airstrip or fortifying another reef "each week" as it controls only 7 or 8 reefs of the Spratly Islands. It has built 3 airstrips in the Spratly Islands and one in Paracel Islands.

fanUS , 2016-09-25 08:02:35
G20 in China, no red carpet and Obamka had to go through the back passage, how humiliating ...
Obamka is a disaster president. He made life in the West so much worse that it was before.
Obama's 'regime change' policy made it possible for Islamic State to rise. Talk about Islamic State has been around in the Middle East for centuries, but it only happened under Obama. The results are civil wars, millions of refugees and increase in terrorism, even in Europe.
Islamic State flourish not only in Iraq, but in Libya as well. Its under Obama's orders Libya was bombed and destabilised. He is a hypocrite and demagogue.
Later Obama started training and supplying Syrian terrorists rebels with weapons and money that fuelled up the conflict. Obamka is worse than Bush.
fanUS mangrovemonkey , 2016-09-25 14:34:21
Bush had nothing to do with Libya or Syria, from where millions of refugees come to Europe. It's Obamka's childish and irresponsible policies created disasters.
Kristian Lazar , 2016-09-25 07:50:49
The first after-cold-war world order, which determined the rule of the last superpower aka USA, is crumbling and another is emerging, wich seems to be one of regional powers and their allied neighbours and vassal states. Countries with cross-worlds interests are the first to loose out on this deal, that goes for the USA, UK, but also for Beijing, whos trade imperium is as treatened by world-regionalizing as the USA's is militarily, among others.
magicmirror1 , 2016-09-25 07:49:47
"Western neoliberals are optimistic. They typically argue that market-based economic exchanges can produce a win-win situation for rival states...."
that's real news! I was stuck to the current american view of zero base, winner takes all, wipe China and Russia and everybody else out!
Nice article , thanks.
Just omitting the greatest threath to world peace is the USA's desire of retaining hegemony
caen43 , 2016-09-25 07:47:16
I have lived in China forth past 22 years. The "west" gave China the advantage in 2001 by allowing the chinese to sell at virtually zero tariffs all their production without demanding ANYTHING in return. Donald Trump is right government civil servants and politicians are utterly devoid of commercial acumen. China has destroyed entires swathes of western industry and now it is too late. They are completely self sufficient and dominant in many sectors already and that dominance is set to increase and is now unstoppable.
michealvernon caen43 , 2016-09-25 07:56:04
The elitist in the west caved into big business to bugger the workers. Zero tariff mainly benefitted Western MNCs and China. Obama and Clinton are both beholden to big business . Classic example are the Koch Brothers who are now anti Trump and pro Clinton.
Pandora8 , 2016-09-25 07:37:16
The Son of A Whore has not finished the mess US created in Middle East , he has tried making chaos in Asia. US engaging in war in Asia ? That will be a laugh . More likely US will try pitching
peaceful countries against each other , bring back cold war to feed the military industrial complex . Unfortunately Asian countries has seen enough of the proxy war conspiracies engineered by the real Evil Empire .
michealvernon Pandora8 , 2016-09-25 07:49:25
If the son of a whore is the usa , then the daughter of the whore must be china.
Nevagray , 2016-09-25 07:36:06
The foolhardiness and blatant resort to 'pragmatism' instead of measured diplomacy which has caused the US pivot to fail became obvious from the moment the US made its first move - an attempt to block China's extension through the Pacific Island nations.

Who knows who was more at fault? Obama or his then secretary of state Hillary Clinton, but the US decided unilaterally and in total repudiation of its allies' strategy, to make friends with the corrupt dictator of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, who has been in power since he led a coup 2006, but who by the time Obama & Clinton interfered in 2012 was close to acquiescing to sanctions pressure from Australia and NZ.
The US stepped in made Fiji the base for its new 'Pacific Policy' then arm-twisted Australia & NZ to resume diplomatic relations with a regime that routinely abducts and tortures political opponents.
In 2014 Fiji held a gerrymandered election which Frank Bainimarama won, but most opponents were declared ineligible, especially the last elected Prime Minister who has been under 'house arrest' continuously since 2006, and only Bainimarama's Party could campaign.

The US claimed it 'had' to do business with Fiji otherwise China was ready and waiting. It transpired that was a total crock, China had already secured a free trade agreement with NZ which set out China's position in these regional disruption - that China would not attempt to undermine NZ policy, and was in the process of doing the same deal with Australia when the US screwed the pooch.
There is no way China would have taken the risk of destroying the credibility it had built up in the Pacific for such a pointless goal.

Now all governments in the Pacific can feel secure in the knowledge that should they be subjected to an undemocratic coup, the US will discard the rule of law and go with however it feels on the day.

I have no doubt it is this insecurity which is driving the South East Asian rethink.
What use is an 'ally' that so obviously demonstrates it doesn't share the liberal values it claims to hold?
The Fiji government which the US has discarded in favour of the oppressive Bainimarama regime was the usual standard IMF borrowing neoliberal mob of careerists pols the US normally claims to favour.

There was no geopolitical advantage - quite the reverse. The citizens of Fiji were sold down the river for short term US domestic goals - so that Clinton & Obama could go to Capitol Hill and tell that corrupt bunch of pork barrelers they were 'doing something' to slow down China.

pfox33 , 2016-09-25 07:17:25
What's it gonna be, war in the SCS or the ME? Both?

BTW, the US proxies just lost Aleppo. No amount of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth about poor children dying by the score at the hands of Assad and the Russians will change that. If it's war you want, have at it.

Now, you're ready to go toe to toe with the Chinese? Is this the old maxim of being able to fight two wars at once? Maybe you should get a handle on those Pashtun guys in Afghanistan first, the ones running around in their PJs with AKs that keep you baffled most of the time.

It's all news to the plebes. They're more concerned about the big debate on Monday. They're trying to figure out if they should tape Dancing With the Stars or just forget about politics altogether.

Maybe you should just leave the SCS problem to the Vietnamese. They kicked your ass, probably could kick China's too.

jalvarez01 , 2016-09-25 07:15:39
In his UN speech, Obama reiterated yet again the fallacy that free-trade neoliberalism, under the auspices of the US-led IMF, WTO, etc, had lifted a billion people of poverty.

The reality is that three-quarters of those people live in China, under its state-directed and -protected system. And elsewhere in the developing world perhaps the main cause of poverty reduction in recent years has been cheap Chinese imports.

Michael_GPF jalvarez01 , 2016-09-25 09:11:10
You're rewriting history here. Access to western markets - offered by Bush Senior - has underpinned the Chinese 'system', plus internal free market reforms. Communism has been completely abandoned.
pawsfurthought Michael_GPF , 2016-09-25 10:33:40
Hehe, Bush snr the key to China's success, and you're accusing others of rewriting history? Whether the country can be classified as communist is a 'red' herring. It certainly isn't following the western neoliberalism model. The Chinese economy remains overwhelmingly centrally-planned, with even the banks being under state control.
GregPlatt , 2016-09-25 07:14:16
This article displays a disturbing tendency to see things from Uncle Sam's point of view - and, within that, from US establishment forces who think Obama has been too dovish. It's true that China is rising and its economic strength translates into a greater ability to challenge a world order that is structured to favour the US, but the analysis is coloured in unhelpful ways. Here are some extra points to consider - some of which won't make me popular in Beijing.

1. China would be making a strategic mistake of momentous proportions if it invaded Taiwan. It would, most probably, win the military confrontation, because only nuclear war could prevent it - and the US won't launch a nuclear war over Taiwan. The mistake would be seen in the aftermath of the conquest, which would see all of China's neighbours, with the exception of North Korea and Russia, build iron alliances with the US. In most cases, they would involve stationing large numbers of US troops, to ensure that a Chinese invasion would involve war with the US. A conquest of Taiwan could also see China locked out of many of its foreign markets. Certainly that would hurt their economies, but if China gives them a strong enough national security reason, governments would probably be prepared to wear the cost.

2. The rise of fiercely nationalistic and unilateralist governments around the world will play to China's advantage. As we have already seen with the Philippines, these governments will be less inclined to accept the burdens of alliances and instead be willing to cut deals that disadvantage third parties. This would allow China to play divide & rule in the South & East China Seas, providing it doesn't overplay its hand (see Point 1 above). Duterte is both dangerous to Philippine society and a strategic idiot - but he's also the sort of person who is increasingly coming to political prominence around the world as politics shifts ever further to the Right.

3. The TPP is a prime example of how the US is pushing the interests of the US capitalists and how its commitment to a "rules based order" is actually code for a set of rules that entrench US dominance in world affairs. That the TPP has been designed explicitly to exclude China should be a warning sign to everybody else. It's not about making the rules of international trade fairer. If it was, China would have been invited to get in on the ground floor.

4. The IISS is spinning a line on the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands dispute. For starters, China's claims to these islands are perhaps its strongest of all in the South & East China Seas. Belonging to China for centuries, they were acquired by Japan when it conquered Taiwan in 1895. After World War II, the US kept hold of those islands when it handed Taiwan back to Chiang Kai-Shek's Chinese government. In the 1970s, it handed administration of them over to Japan.

Secondly, the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands are an integral part of the First Island Chain, which block the Chinese Navy's access to the Pacific Ocean. China's strategic objectives are not to do with Taiwan, but with removing a US naval advantage over China itself.

5. The Rand Corporation's analysis is incredibly dangerous, in part because it is correct on many things. In a situation where the dominant State is in a position of relative decline, which can be expected to continue over a protracted period, there is a structural incentive to launch an early war, while the dominant State is still confident of winning it. It is in the interests of humanity, however, for that war not to occur. And so, I have a proposal.

My proposal is possibly unwelcome to fierce nationalists in the US, because it is based on the analysis that, in the long run, the US is likely to be the third most powerful country on Earth. China will be the most powerful and India will be second, based on their enormous populations and their rapid development.

An enlightened US policy, which would be capable of both benevolent and malevolent interpretations, would accept that destiny, and attempt to be a strong number two in the number one alliance. The number one alliance would be led by India and include the US, Indonesia, Japan, Australia, Vietnam and Thailand. It would attempt to swing the Philippines and Malaysia into it, as well. China's alliance would involve Russia, Cambodia, Burma, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. It would attempt to swing Bangladesh and Laos into it as well.

As can be seen, the India-US alliance would be stronger than the China-Russia one, though not overwhelmingly so. Much would depend on what happens to the West of Pakistan, and that's where the US will have to concede ground to India. Basically, India would be a lot less likely than the US to attach special importance to propping up Israel's position as a garrison State and a modern Sparta holding down millions of Palestinian helots.

CaliRoshi GregPlatt , 2016-09-25 07:33:42
you underestimate the fact that the West is comprised of Europe & North America combined, with Latin America a first cousin and India a relative by marriage, metaphorically speaking (English speaking and democratic). The West , in those terms, is just too big to really reckon with; all China can do is play money / trade games to ensure they are treated fairly at the table when the serious business of managing the next century's problems becomes too dangerous to ignore anymore (climate change, global overpopulation and refugees + endless Islam problems).
cvneuves , 2016-09-25 07:06:05
Striking the difference in underlying strategies:

- China tries to keep in business by decreasing poverty within
- USA tries to keep in business by increasing poverty within

That out of the way: just to ponder war between China and USA is reflecting the absurdity the US and by inference the uncritical author here have reached.

The West would do well, by accepting where other countries see their boundaries. And yes, we should give China, and Russia for this purpose too, some zone of respect in their neighbourhood. Remember Cuba anyone? If China sees Taiwan as part of its territory we have to respect it. It was Chinese before US financed Chiang Kai-shek separated it after the war.

The West is collapsing because of its insatiable greed and increasing stupidity. It is painful to look at.

nickle101 , 2016-09-25 06:31:37
In contrast to the US, China's growth has been almost exclusively built on trade without war so far. In contrast the bellicose US has military bases all over the world and has been involved in constant wars including the use of weapons of mass destruction. It never dawns on the author that this might be the problem.

The Guardian is, as ever, a cheer-leader for the use of US military force:

the US might be best advised to strike first, before China gets any stronger and the current US military advantage declines further.

Hadi Purwanto nickle101 , 2016-09-25 08:01:24
China bullies its neighbors, that's the fact. You can ask ordinary people from Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan or even Myanmar how nervous they are about China aggressiveness.

Do we really need to wait until China attacks other countries before we call them bully? Should we ignore China's action because US did the same in the past? No.!!!

[Sep 27, 2016] TPP is practically written by the lobbyists from the multi-international corporations that exploit every possible tax laws, labor laws, environmental and public health regulations, legal representations and consequences. It is imperialism 2.0 in the 21st century

Sep 27, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

wumogang

22h ago 12 13

TPP is practically written by the lobbyists from the multi-international corporations that exploit every possible tax laws, labor laws, environmental and public health regulations, legal representations and consequences. It is imperialism 2.0 in the 21st century, exclusively serving the interests of top point one percent while greatly depressing the wages of middle class; it is overwhelmingly opposed by the public opinion, law makers of all sides and current president candidates. There is zero chance Obama could make it through legislation before his exit; Clinton will not even consider bringing it back if she wins the election because she already flip-flopped once on the issue during her campaign; and it would seriously damage her chance of re-election if she does. As for Trump, I leave it to anyone's imaginations.

[Sep 26, 2016] The downside of upward mobility

Notable quotes:
"... I think that we are led to a very somber conclusion here. In societies with slow growth, upward mobility is limited by the lack of opportunities and the solid grip that those who are on the top keep over the chances of their children to remain on the top. It is either self-delusion or hypocrisy to believe that societies with such unevenness of chances will come close to resembling "meritocracies". But it is also the case that true upward mobility comes with an enormous price tag of lives lost and wealth destroyed. ..."
Sep 26, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

http://glineq.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-downside-of-upward-mobility.html

RGC : , The downside of upward mobility

The downside of upward mobility

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Branko Milanovic
...........................
I think that we are led to a very somber conclusion here. In societies with slow growth, upward mobility is limited by the lack of opportunities and the solid grip that those who are on the top keep over the chances of their children to remain on the top. It is either self-delusion or hypocrisy to believe that societies with such unevenness of chances will come close to resembling "meritocracies". But it is also the case that true upward mobility comes with an enormous price tag of lives lost and wealth destroyed.

http://glineq.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-downside-of-upward-mobility.html

anne -> RGC... , Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 09:40 AM
Really important essay.

[Sep 26, 2016] War as a Business Opportunity

Notable quotes:
"... As General Smedley Butler, twice awarded the Medal of Honor, said: War is a racket . Wars will persist as long as people see them as a "core product," as a business opportunity. In capitalism, the profit motive is often amoral; greed is good, even when it feeds war. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is willing to play along. It always sees "vulnerabilities" and always wants more money. ..."
"... Wars are always profitable for a few, but they are ruining democracy in America. Sure, it's a business opportunity: one that ends in national (and moral) bankruptcy. ..."
Sep 24, 2016 | www.antiwar.com
A good friend passed along an article at Forbes from a month ago with the pregnant title, "U.S. Army Fears Major War Likely Within Five Years - But Lacks The Money To Prepare." Basically, the article argues that war is possible - even likely - within five years with Russia or North Korea or Iran, or maybe all three, but that America's army is short of money to prepare for these wars. This despite the fact that America spends roughly $700 billion each and every year on defense and overseas wars.

Now, the author's agenda is quite clear, as he states at the end of his article: "Several of the Army's equipment suppliers are contributors to my think tank and/or consulting clients." He's writing an alarmist article about the probability of future wars at the same time as he's profiting from the sales of weaponry to the army.

As General Smedley Butler, twice awarded the Medal of Honor, said: War is a racket . Wars will persist as long as people see them as a "core product," as a business opportunity. In capitalism, the profit motive is often amoral; greed is good, even when it feeds war. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is willing to play along. It always sees "vulnerabilities" and always wants more money.

But back to the Forbes article with its concerns about war(s) in five years with Russia or North Korea or Iran (or all three). For what vital national interest should America fight against Russia? North Korea? Iran? A few quick reminders:

#1: Don't get involved in a land war in Asia or with Russia (Charles XII, Napoleon, and Hitler all learned that lesson the hard way).

#2: North Korea? It's a puppet regime that can't feed its own people. It might prefer war to distract the people from their parlous existence.

#3: Iran? A regional power, already contained, with a young population that's sympathetic to America, at least to our culture of relative openness and tolerance. If the US Army thinks tackling Iran would be relatively easy, just consider all those recent "easy" wars and military interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria …

Of course, the business aspect of this is selling the idea the US Army isn't prepared and therefore needs yet another new generation of expensive high-tech weaponry. It's like convincing high-end consumers their three-year-old Audi or Lexus is obsolete so they must buy the latest model else lose face.

We see this all the time in the US military. It's a version of planned or artificial obsolescence . Consider the Air Force. It could easily defeat its enemies with updated versions of A-10s, F-15s, and F-16s, but instead the Pentagon plans to spend as much as $1.4 trillion on the shiny new and under-performing F-35 . The Army has an enormous surplus of tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, but the call goes forth for a "new generation." No other navy comes close to the US Navy, yet the call goes out for a new generation of ships.

The Pentagon mantra is always for more and better, which often turns out to be for less and much more expensive, e.g. the F-35 fighter.

Wars are always profitable for a few, but they are ruining democracy in America. Sure, it's a business opportunity: one that ends in national (and moral) bankruptcy.

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools and blogs at Bracing Views . He can be reached at wastore@pct.edu . Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author's permission.

[Sep 26, 2016] Berlin Election Outcome Signals Merkels Tenuous Grip on Chancellorship

Notable quotes:
"... Notice that this interview fails to mention that the huge influx of refugees into Europe is the direct result of the US creating failed states in the Middle East. ..."
"... Yes. As many have said, critical thinking in DC went out the door with 9/11. Those in DC who shouldn't be in jail, probably should at most be mopping floors at McDonalds. ..."
"... Let's note that pre-9/11 the foreign policy wasn't exactly just/moral/sane. ..."
"... Who cares? Since when did we live in a democracy? How many people wanted the Syrian and Lybian conflicts? ..."
"... Do we all have to die in poverty because our leaders (in the case of these wars, Zionist) pushed war clandestinely? ..."
"... Funny how that logic is never applied to others who are attacked (victims of our foreign policy). They should act like saints and we should bomb more (or, rather, commit genocide). Maybe might makes right, but then say it and stop masquerading as some burdened savior. ..."
"... At this year's celebration a couple of people were badly injured by Ukrainian rightists who reportedly fled back to the Ukraine, escaping justice. And, as I recall, there was a recent report of a French rightist who had received bomb materials from Ukrainians. ..."
"... I recently read accounts of the rise of neo-nazi and right-wing extremist groups in the former DDR after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Apparently they were substantially infiltrated by US and German intelligence services and, as a result, enjoyed a certain level of impunity and de facto ..."
"... On the other hand, the link between US 'intelligence' and Ukrainian neo-nazis is reasonably well established and is unlikely to have sprung into existence moments before their Maidan mobilization. That they would now use their safe harbor in Ukraine as a base for operations across Europe should not be particularly shocking. ..."
"... Okay, I have some serious problems with this. One, Israel is not just Jewish in its composition. Two, not all Jewish people live in Israel. Three, Jewish people lived along side Muslims and Christians for hundreds of years in that region before Britain, the USA and some useful idiot Zionists decided to make a geopolitical springboard in 1948. You may be right that every nation pursues its own agenda, but I'm not concerned about that, I'm concerned about the nation or nations pursuing their agenda(s) that have the most wealth and the biggest bombs. I'm concerned about the ones running the empire, and Israel is a useful servant to that empire. ..."
"... Israel is a nation state. Identifying as Jewish is another matter altogether. Israel is a colony that was formed at the wrong place and the wrong time. They could have pulled it off in the 18th or 19th century (see USA, Canada, Australia, the entire Western Hemisphere), but doing so immediately after a global war that was largely the end result of nation's colonial ambitions was a big no-no. The window of opportunity for such shenanigans had passed and the British, US, and Zionist progenitors of Israel knew better. ..."
"... If AfD opponents simplistically think that the AfD are a rabble of angry closet Neo-Nazis…..boy their moral/intellectual smugness is going to be shattered at the ballot box in the upcoming years. The core of AfD are the German equivalent of ol' time bottom 90% FDR Democrats. ..."
"... FDR was probably the only American president who was not entirely the servant of the capitalist ruling class. His reforms were for the benefit of American workers and he dragged the Democratic party along with him in creating the American social welfare system. He truly favored cooperative competition with the Soviet Union. Believing his vision of liberalism to be superior to Soviet socialism he had none of the knee jerk fear and hatred of them that has always characterized the American ruling class' relationship with Russia – even now 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was entirely confident the working class would choose his vision. ..."
"... "Notice that this interview fails to mention that the huge influx of refugees into Europe is the direct result of the US creating failed states in the Middle East." ..."
"... I've always assumed the costs of the Syria intervention - geopolitical insecurity, refugees, etc. were seen as a useful collateral dampener on the rise of a Germany-dominated Europe. Perhaps not sought after, but when those costs were put in the calculus and were seen to affect the European states the most, the cost-shifting became a net enabler. ..."
"... The definitive proof of the Empire of Chaos's real agenda in Syria may be found in a 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document declassified in May last year. ..."
"... "THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY [WHO] SUPPORT THE [SYRIAN] OPPOSITION… THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHIA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN)". ..."
"... It establishes that over four years ago US intel was already hedging its bets between established al-Qaeda in Syria, aka Jabhat al-Nusra, and the emergence of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, aka the Islamic State. ..."
"... It's already in the public domain that by a willful decision, leaked by current Donald Trump adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Washington allowed the emergence of the Islamic State – remember that gleaming white Toyota convoy crossing the open desert? – as a most convenient US strategic asset, and not as the enemy in the remixed, never-ending GWOT (Global War on Terra). ..."
Sep 24, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Pavel September 24, 2016 at 7:13 am

Yves: It's amazing how infrequently this point is made in any political debate or news coverage. (Jeremy Corbyn being one rare example of someone who brings it up.):

Notice that this interview fails to mention that the huge influx of refugees into Europe is the direct result of the US creating failed states in the Middle East.

If there were any justice, the refugees would be swamping the UK, US, and France in huge numbers, as those are the countries that cooked up the Libya failed state and also most active in Syria. Crazy or stupid (your choice) Hollande vowed to increase the French warfare in Syria after the recent terror attacks in Paris and elsewhere. As though MORE BOMBS ever managed to decrease terrorism, right?

Though Merkel made her own bed with her "let them all come to Germany!" invitation, and now she is sleeping in it. Good riddance when and if she goes.

Dirk77 September 24, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Yes. As many have said, critical thinking in DC went out the door with 9/11. Those in DC who shouldn't be in jail, probably should at most be mopping floors at McDonalds.

knowbuddhau September 24, 2016 at 8:31 pm

Hey now. I mop floors. I know people who mop floors. Those perps, sir, are not fit to mop floors. Unless it's in prison. And even then I'm sure they'd suck. Takes integrity to do a humble job well.

Nelson Lowhim September 25, 2016 at 5:01 am

Let's note that pre-9/11 the foreign policy wasn't exactly just/moral/sane.

Hayek's Heelbiter September 24, 2016 at 6:39 pm

This quote is the "yang" to the "yin" of Yves' column posted on September 21, 2016: Negative Effects of Immigration on the Economy

fds September 24, 2016 at 11:46 pm

Who cares? Since when did we live in a democracy? How many people wanted the Syrian and Lybian conflicts? If I recall, war was averted in parliament and congress.

Do we all have to die in poverty because our leaders (in the case of these wars, Zionist) pushed war clandestinely?

Nelson Lowhim September 25, 2016 at 5:00 am

Funny how that logic is never applied to others who are attacked (victims of our foreign policy). They should act like saints and we should bomb more (or, rather, commit genocide). Maybe might makes right, but then say it and stop masquerading as some burdened savior.

as James Baldwin said: "aching, nobly, to wade through the blood of savages."

hemeantwell September 24, 2016 at 8:13 am

Thanks for posting this Grossman interview. One facet of the development of the far right that Grossman hints at, and maybe can only do so because there isn't much data, is its transnational quality. This summer we visited some lefty friends in Lund, Sweden where each year they hold a large May Day rally.

At this year's celebration a couple of people were badly injured by Ukrainian rightists who reportedly fled back to the Ukraine, escaping justice. And, as I recall, there was a recent report of a French rightist who had received bomb materials from Ukrainians.

As I think about, there's an ugly resonance with Yves' noting the refugees are substantially a result of US policies. The development of a rightist terrorist potential in the Ukraine has the same general source.

Skip Intro September 24, 2016 at 3:03 pm

I recently read accounts of the rise of neo-nazi and right-wing extremist groups in the former DDR after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Apparently they were substantially infiltrated by US and German intelligence services and, as a result, enjoyed a certain level of impunity and de facto financial support from these governments. They were also linked to members of the 'stay behind' organizations (see Operation Gladio ), and were 'useful' in violently opposing left-wing groups as well as punk rockers. The modern AfD is strongest in the states of the former DDR, and are the ideological if not logistical heirs of these right-wing groups. But to conflate 15% of the electorate with semi-pro neo-nazis and racists is a bit of a stretch. While they are surely motivated by a strong nativist impulse and anti-immigrant fervor, their voters also represent the kind of disaffected and disenfranchised populations that carried the Brexit vote to victory.

On the other hand, the link between US 'intelligence' and Ukrainian neo-nazis is reasonably well established and is unlikely to have sprung into existence moments before their Maidan mobilization. That they would now use their safe harbor in Ukraine as a base for operations across Europe should not be particularly shocking.

fds September 24, 2016 at 11:47 pm

No, the AfD is not linked to the CIA. It is a pro-social welfare, anti-TPP group that also wants fair migrant exchanges, that is not just to Europe. It is pestered and censored in Germany. Just expressing support in ways a security agent deems 'offensive' gets you fined and ostracized.

Norb September 24, 2016 at 10:07 am

The fight over private property rights continues. Liberal Democracy has failed around the world due to the unholy alliance with corporate power. Unchecked corporate power has been unmasked as the destructive force that it truly is.

The left needs to evolve into a political force that can shape the consciousness of the masses away from individual greed toward the undeniable benefit of cooperative action. The right will use fear to drive people into some sort of trembling mass and only by combating this fear can movement be made.

The compromise the left needs to make is to use any means possible, not to seize the means of production form existing owners, but to start building alternative ones. It is all too easy for the right to bring out their tried and true methods to hold power. It is time to starve the beast, and one way is to not participate and build in another direction.

Corporate power is what needs to be broken. From my limited view, the left has always been a reactionary force. It needs to evolve into a proactive one, literally building something in the real world. Another major mistake by the left is to reject and confuse the power of religion. Neoliberalism is a new religion and gains much power by the use of unquestioning faith. The left has failed to counteract this religious faith because they have not even tried to counter it with their own. Just as finance has evolved into a military weapon, it can be argued that religion, in essence, is a military force.

The political landscape is being reshuffled into defining what we are willing to fight and die for. Until the left starts offering coherent answers to these questions, the status quo will continue to pick from the low hanging fruit.

Rosario September 25, 2016 at 1:06 am

Okay, I have some serious problems with this. One, Israel is not just Jewish in its composition. Two, not all Jewish people live in Israel. Three, Jewish people lived along side Muslims and Christians for hundreds of years in that region before Britain, the USA and some useful idiot Zionists decided to make a geopolitical springboard in 1948. You may be right that every nation pursues its own agenda, but I'm not concerned about that, I'm concerned about the nation or nations pursuing their agenda(s) that have the most wealth and the biggest bombs. I'm concerned about the ones running the empire, and Israel is a useful servant to that empire.

Israel is a nation state. Identifying as Jewish is another matter altogether. Israel is a colony that was formed at the wrong place and the wrong time. They could have pulled it off in the 18th or 19th century (see USA, Canada, Australia, the entire Western Hemisphere), but doing so immediately after a global war that was largely the end result of nation's colonial ambitions was a big no-no. The window of opportunity for such shenanigans had passed and the British, US, and Zionist progenitors of Israel knew better.

In addition, it is nonsense that we have normalized the formation of a nation state around a single ethnic or religious identity. Particularly after the Holocaust (the irony of this never ceases to amaze me). Would we have the same sympathies for the the countless indigenous ethnic groups in the Americas who, per capita, had even worse genocides inflicted on them, all documented, all accepted as inevitable or necessary in most histories of the Americas? Israel is a contorted hypocrisy that has to either embrace heterogeneity of disappear. Ideally as an inclusive country that is no longer a colony as it has been for hundreds of years. The fetish that is Israel has been an unfair burden to all people living in the Middle East and Jewish people the world over that are forced to (through the sheer force of political dogma) shackle their identities to a racist, rogue state.

oho September 24, 2016 at 11:44 am

" AfD stands for Alternative for Germany. It's a young party, about 2 years old. It's built basically on racism."

Got more important things to do than rant about the above statement….

Just will quote basic Sun Tzu via Star Trek-know your opponent, know yourself and victory will be yours.

If AfD opponents simplistically think that the AfD are a rabble of angry closet Neo-Nazis…..boy their moral/intellectual smugness is going to be shattered at the ballot box in the upcoming years. The core of AfD are the German equivalent of ol' time bottom 90% FDR Democrats.

Felix_47 September 24, 2016 at 2:18 pm

And on the other side Sarah Wagenknecht, a leader in the left, hit a lot of flak from many in her party when she said there needs to be an "Obergrenze" or limit on the number of refugees. It would hard to call her racist since she is half Persian. It really is a conflict between those who cannot think realistically….those who are supported or secure enough not to have to take responsibility for anyone, and those who will need to make the world function. As a Socialist she apparently is aware that you cannot have a strong social net and combine that with open immigration from places that have astronomical birthrates that are outgrowing their resources without destroying that net. I recall Hillary and the open border people attacked Bernie on that as well. I thought it was unfair and it is this pandering, among other issues, that will keep me from voting for her. There is a lot of commonality between AfD and the Linke. Don`t forget that the notion of German population replacement had some currency during and after WW2 in order to permanently solve the German problem and we may just be actualizing it now.

Ben Groves September 24, 2016 at 5:45 pm

In fairness, US immigration policy has slowly been getting tougher over the last 16 years. Immigration policy in the US goes beyond dialect. I doubt Clinton would be overly "easy".

fds September 24, 2016 at 11:55 pm

It's easier. Apart from the new Obama rule to issue visas to H1b holders, effectively tripling the numbers issued but still under the cap, to a myriad of other programs, it's much easier.

Of the several foreign students I've dated, it gets easier every year. Back in 03, one had to have an accountant degree with CPA certs, and even then, you often were slave labor in Chi-Town until you hooked up with an American company. Now the black market foreign industry is so large, that a mere B.A. is enough. The gov doesn't care. Everyone is approved, save the cap.

bmeisen September 25, 2016 at 12:50 am

spooky quatsch comment from oho – hard to tell what oho means with "90% bottom- line fdr dems". The very diverse FDR / Dem majority coalesced during and in response to economic crisis. The AfD has emerged during a German boom. It is successful in East Germany, which in the wake of economic collapse immediately following reunification has been the beneficiary of massive inner-German transfers. And it is successful in West Germany much of which is effectively at full-employment. Its core supporters are the 10% of any populazion that is racist, nationalist, and ignorant. You might try to argue that there is a uniquely irrational fear in Germany, something associated with its position on the left edge of Eurasia maybe, a heterogenous cultural unit without convincing access to the sea, trapped if you will and vulnerable to human flows. Sounds silly but it's hard to account for German fear.
The AfD is using this irrational fear for political gain. FDR was supported largely by voters with very real fears.

lin1 September 25, 2016 at 1:34 am

FDR was probably the only American president who was not entirely the servant of the capitalist ruling class. His reforms were for the benefit of American workers and he dragged the Democratic party along with him in creating the American social welfare system. He truly favored cooperative competition with the Soviet Union. Believing his vision of liberalism to be superior to Soviet socialism he had none of the knee jerk fear and hatred of them that has always characterized the American ruling class' relationship with Russia – even now 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was entirely confident the working class would choose his vision.

His reactionary political enemies, concentrated in finance capital, had no reason to be so confident. Their fear and loathing of the working class was/is legitimately earned.

Plenue September 24, 2016 at 2:07 pm

"Notice that this interview fails to mention that the huge influx of refugees into Europe is the direct result of the US creating failed states in the Middle East."

That's typical of all MSM (not saying TRNN is mainstream) coverage of refugees. There's lots of discussion and hand-wringing about accepting refugees, but exactly zero about why they're refugees in the first place.

Felix_47 September 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Yes the US has had a lot to do with destabilizing Asia and Africa but a lot of it has simply been a continuation of British policy after WW2. As Britain shrank its foreign involvement the US expanded. But the real cause is the inability of our politicians and leaders to face up to the reality that population growth is hitting the limits of resource availability in Asia and Africa and to institute realistic ways to control population. Absent the population explosion in these regions in the last decades we would not be seeing the poverty and anger and constant confllict because there would be enough for all. As much bad press as China has gotten for its population policy it is one of the few bright spots in world economic development. Interestingly China does not seem very interested in accepting millions of third world refugees.

Vikas September 24, 2016 at 4:09 pm

I've always assumed the costs of the Syria intervention - geopolitical insecurity, refugees, etc. were seen as a useful collateral dampener on the rise of a Germany-dominated Europe. Perhaps not sought after, but when those costs were put in the calculus and were seen to affect the European states the most, the cost-shifting became a net enabler.

Micky9finger September 24, 2016 at 4:24 pm

In my naïve point of view it hit me last year that it was a brilliant stroke of Angela Merkel to grab as many refugees as she could before any other country.
They are a tremendous natural resource. One that many modern countries are beginning to see a coming shortage of. Many countries, like Germany, France, etc are looking at population shortages in the working age groups. Merkel's grab of this mass of human resource was maybe an accidentally brilliant idea.

oho September 24, 2016 at 6:06 pm

can't tell if the above comment is satire or astroturfing or naivety?

Merkel's migrants have zero higher-level first-world skills. AfD is strong in ex-East Germany because there is popular resentment as ex-East Germans get austerity shoved down their throats while Merkel unfurls the red carpet for migrants.

http://www.dw.com/en/germany-expects-migration-to-add-to-unemployment/a-19478546

in der Frage nach festen Arbeitsplätzen für Flüchtlinge ruhen die Hoffnungen zunehmend auf mittelständischen Unternehmen und Handwerksbetrieben. Denn wie eine Umfrage dieser Zeitung ergab, hat die große Mehrzahl der im deutschen Aktienindex (Dax) notierten Konzerne noch keine Flüchtlinge eingestellt. Einzig die Deutsche Post gab an, bis Anfang Juni 50 Flüchtlinge und damit eine nennenswerte Größe fest angestellt zu haben.

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/wirtschaft/unternehmen/mittelstand-als-hoffnungstraeger-fuer-fluechtlinge-14323607.html

Yves Smith Post author September 24, 2016 at 10:55 pm

Not true. Syrians are very highly educated. Very good public education and high average attainment.

But Merkel was an idiot if she actually did recognize that Syrians were high potential workers yet did nothing re how to integrate them, most important, acquisition of German and jobs matching.

Ben Groves September 24, 2016 at 5:49 pm

The fact capitalism is a ponzi scheme is a key here. When the Aristocracy bowed to the Sephardic bankers, they created this mess. They were the same idiots that bowed to the Christians 1500+ years before.

Maybe it is time for a new aristocracy. If you want to build internally, you have to abolish capitalism and its market based scam. That is why "right wingers" won't last without the Sephardic banks via market expansion. They run the scheme and always have. From their immigration into the Iberian trails during the 15th century, to their financing and eventual leadership into the protestant reformation, to the first capitalists scheme at Amsterdam to bribing William the Orange into taking it into old England.

S M Tenneshaw September 24, 2016 at 11:28 pm

You mean "Sephardic" as in Wells Fargo? Cracka, please.

Jeff September 24, 2016 at 7:55 pm

Let me see if I understand this:

1. Most of the refugees arriving in Europe are Syrian. The US did not act to topple the Syrian dictator and did not create a new Syrian government. The United States is responsible for these refugees.

2. A portion of the refugees are Libyan. At the urging of its European allies (not just the UK), the US helped topple the Libyan government, but has not created a new government. The US is responsible for these refugees.

3. A portion of the refugees are from Iraq or Afghanistan. The US toppled the old governments and installed new ones. The US is responsible for these refugees.

4. A significant portion of the refugees are from African countries including Nigeria and Eritrea. I assume that these aren't included in the statement above as they are not Middle Eastern.

So, in other words – the US is responsible whether or not we intervene and whether or not we then attempt to set up a government? I wonder under what circumstances you would not view the US as responsible?

I would suggest, that given the situation in the Middle East and the fact that the results are similar regardless of US actions something more basic is at work. Most of the nations of the Middle East and Africa were artificial creations of primarily Britain and France; they are nations derived neither from ethnic homogeneity nor the consent or shared history of the governed. Whatever, the United States did or does, they would ultimately have shattered in one way or another and refugees would have headed for Europe.

knowbuddhau September 24, 2016 at 8:57 pm

Nope, you don't. The US and its Gulf state "allies" are indeed trying to oust Assad and, if not set up, at least allow the creation of a Salafist regime.

The US Road Map To Balkanize Syria

By Pepe Escobar

September 22, 2016 "Information Clearing House" – "RT" – Forget about those endless meetings between Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry; forget about Russia's drive to prevent chaos from reigning in Syria; forget about the possibility of a real ceasefire being implemented and respected by US jihad proxies.

Forget about the Pentagon investigating what really happened around its bombing 'mistake' in Deir Ezzor.

The definitive proof of the Empire of Chaos's real agenda in Syria may be found in a 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document declassified in May last year.

As you scroll down the document, you will find page 291, section C, which reads (in caps, originally):

"THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY [WHO] SUPPORT THE [SYRIAN] OPPOSITION… THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHIA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN)".

The DIA report is a formerly classified SECRET/NOFORN document, which made the rounds of virtually the whole alphabet soup of US intel, from CENTCOM to CIA, FBI, DHS, NGA and the State Department.

It establishes that over four years ago US intel was already hedging its bets between established al-Qaeda in Syria, aka Jabhat al-Nusra, and the emergence of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, aka the Islamic State.

It's already in the public domain that by a willful decision, leaked by current Donald Trump adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Washington allowed the emergence of the Islamic State – remember that gleaming white Toyota convoy crossing the open desert? – as a most convenient US strategic asset, and not as the enemy in the remixed, never-ending GWOT (Global War on Terra).

It's as clear as it gets; a "Salafist principality" is to be encouraged as a means to Divide and Rule over a fragmented Syria in perpetual chaos. Whether it's established by Jabhat al-Nusra – aka "moderate rebels" in Beltway jargon – or al-Baghdadi's "Califake" is just a pesky detail.

It gets curioser and curioser as Hasaka and Deir Ezzor are named in the DIA report – and directly targeted by the 'mistaken' Pentagon bombing. No wonder Pentagon chief Ash 'Empire of Whining' Carter took no prisoners to directly sabotage what Kerry had agreed on with Lavrov.

No one will ever see these connections established by US corporate media – as in, for instance, the neocon cabal ruling the Washington Post's editorial pages. But the best of the blogosphere does not disappoint.

The rest is just blame-shifting that conveniently let's the US off the hook.

Nelson Lowhim September 25, 2016 at 5:07 am

Thanks. Let's not forget the initial peace talks which the US helped to scuttle.

Yves Smith Post author September 24, 2016 at 10:58 pm

Have you not read any press in the last 5 years, or do you just make a habit of making shit up? The US has been trying to topple Assad for God only knows how long. What, for instance, do you think the desperate fig leaf of trying to claim that we are supporting non-existant "moderate Syrian rebels" is about?

Noonan September 24, 2016 at 9:55 pm

"the danger of this right wing group mostly in the form of parties which is by the way it gets its votes by being anti-immigrant, anti-foreigner, and especially anti-Muslimism. That�'s their big call."

Sounds like a winning platform to me.

[Sep 26, 2016] Report: New Data Disproves US Corporations False Narrative on Taxes

Notable quotes:
"... Originally published at Tax Justice Network ..."
"... Corporations used to contribute $1 out of every $3 in federal revenue. Today, despite very high corporate profitability, it is $1 out of every $9. ..."
"... As of 2015, U.S. corporations had $2.4 trillion in untaxed profits offshore. Another study, looking at S&P 500 companies, found they held $2.1 trillion as of 2014. This roughly five-fold increase from $434 billion in 2005 stems largely from anticipation of a tax holiday. ..."
Sep 263, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. This short post extracts key findings from a new study by Americans for Tax Fairness and the Economic Policy Institute. We liked the summary and include it immediately below. One thing to keep in mind: taxes are a big element of economic policy by default, as in that they provide incentives and disincentives. The fact that Big Pharma and tech companies lower their tax rates through the use of clever structuring and tax havens and report higher profits is an economic privilege relative to other industries.

From the overview :

While the statutory tax rate on corporate income is 35 percent, estimates of the rate corporations actually pay put the effective rate at about half the statutory rate. Driving this divergence between what corporations are supposed to pay and what they actually pay is a combination of offshore profit shifting and tax avoidance. Multinational corporations pay taxes on between just 3.0 and 6.6 percent of the profits they book in tax havens.

And corporations have become increasingly adept at making their profits appear to be earned in these tax havens; the share of offshore profits booked in tax havens rose to 55 percent in 2013. Almost half of offshore profits are held by health care companies (mostly pharmaceutical companies) and information technology firms. Because of the inherent difficulty in assigning a precise price to intellectual property rights, it is relatively easy for these companies to manipulate the rules so that U.S. profits show up in tax havens.

The use of offshore profit-shifting hinges on a single corporate tax loophole: deferral. Multinational companies are allowed to defer paying taxes on profits from an offshore subsidiary until they pay them back to the U.S. parent as a dividend. Proponents of cutting the corporate tax rate refer to profits held offshore as "trapped." This characterization is patently false. Nothing prevents corporations from returning these profits to the United States except a desire to pay lower taxes. In fact, corporations overall return about two-thirds of the profits they make offshore, and pay the taxes they owe on them.

Further, there are numerous U.S. investments that these companies can undertake without triggering the tax. In short, deferral provides a mammoth incentive for multinational corporations to disguise their U.S. profits as profits earned in tax havens. And they have responded to this incentive: 82 percent of the U.S. tax revenue loss from income shifting is due to profit shifting to just seven tax-haven countries.

Firms have also become increasingly adept at manipulating the rules here in the United States to avoid taxation. Lower tax rates on "pass-through" business entities and poor regulatory responses have given firms the chance to reorganize as "S-corporations" or opaque partnerships in order to avoid paying any corporate income tax at all.

This intentional erosion of the U.S. corporate income tax base has real consequences. Rich multinational corporations avoiding their fair share of U.S. taxes means that domestic firms and American workers have to foot the bill. It also means that corporations are not paying their fair share for our infrastructure, schools, public safety, and legal systems, despite depending on all of these services for their profitability.

Originally published at Tax Justice Network

From Americans for Tax Fairness, a major new report about corporate taxes in the United States. It's called Corporate Tax Chartbook: How Corporations Rig the Rules to Dodge the Taxes They Owe, and it contains many useful facts, such as this:

And there are plenty more striking facts. Just for example:

And here's a picture pointing to the "big six" corporate tax havens, which we've noted before:

Now read the report .

Further reading: Corporate tax

Report: why we need to tax corporations now, more than ever

Ten reasons to defend the corporate income tax

allan September 23, 2016 at 7:02 am

"It also means that corporations are not paying their fair share for our infrastructure, schools, public safety, and legal systems,"

and two more:

1. Federal R&D, which provides the lifeblood for pharma and tech, in terms of both basic research
and a highly trained workforce.

2. DoD. But funding and fighting in the Forever War is for little people.

Ignacio September 23, 2016 at 7:08 am

:-(

What about mergers. Do they not only facilitate monopolies but tax evasion?

The IP stuff, the inverted balance sheets of those companies and their opaque allocation of revenues is the "dark matter" economists talk about euphemistically?

Robert Hahl September 23, 2016 at 9:11 am

I presume these offshore profits are not held in cash but are moved into U.S. Treasury bonds and other investments. What happens to the profits and losses from those? Are they eventually returned to the U.S. and taxed?

DJG September 23, 2016 at 9:22 am

Yves: Thanks for this. Still another area of bipartisan connivance and neglect. And there is a real irony about the Netherlands, which has been doing a lot of virtual signaling with regard to Greece (especially) and Italy, being a major tax haven. I guess that it is easy to balance the budget with all of that funny money floating around.

Luxembourg? My solution is just to give it to France as a new département.

Robert Hahl: Don't count on profits not being held in cash. There are some indications, and Yves has published posts about them, that companies indeed are hoarding cash.

Paul Tioxon September 23, 2016 at 10:21 am

http://www.philly.com/philly/business/real_estate/commercial/City-Council-bill-seeks-to-crack-down-on-real-estate-transfer-tax-dodgers.html

You do not have to leave your backyard to find the same tax avoidance built into the capitalist system. Here in Philadelphia, during a 2nd wave of large scale real estate investment in the 10s of $Billions$, property is sold off for development parcels or after the development is completed, fully rented and a juicy source of rental for years and years to come. You would think the city government would reap some kind of windfall, that the school district funded by annual real estate taxes based on market value, but of course, the crony capitalism assures that tax avoidance strategies, all perfectly legal due to the laws written by the 1%, the self dealing loopholes will prevail.

Now, a very successful real estate developer got himself elected to city council, along with a long suffering republican chamber of commerce guy. And THEY want to close some of the long standing loopholes that may have cost the city as much as $24Mil last year alone. Plus the ongoing depressed valuation used for the annual real estate tax bill.

Immanuel Wallerstein in his lectures has pointed the 3 main obstacles to profits that the Global Capitalist System must control in order to sustain growth.
1. The cost of inputs
2. The costs of wages and ancillary benefits such as social insurances for health, unemployment, and eventual retirement.
3. Taxes

This article speaks directly to #3, as does my local example. The ongoing war on tax avoidance as a necessary standing policy by capitalists is on the local, national and international levels. The universal rule of law begs the questions, who writes these laws, who interprets these laws, who benefits from these laws and why do they never change in a way that gives meaning to the authority of government as having authority to rule. The pretense that tax loopholes are perfectly legal is critical to maintain the social order and belief in the rule of law. When tax laws are rendered useless by legal mumbo jumbo, the authority of the state to govern must be called into question as well!

When people out in the street riot, loot and vandalize to show political dissatisfaction, that is criminal behavior, not legal, and has no loophole to excuse them. There is no question that the state must step in with its full power and authority and enforce the law, which is crystal clear in the case of rioting. There is no question that even local government must seek reinforcement from the military. Imagine a lawyer saying: "Well, the rioters are adopting a perfectly legal strategy of prosecution and jail avoidance by massing in numbers so large that they all can not be arrested, tried and convicted.

This constitutes not a crime against society, but the legitimate right to self determination in the face of a corrupt and meaningless system of democracy where the majority of the people are permanently relegated into menial economic toil to sustain the oversized wealth and power of the 1%. Clearly, this must considered protected political activity and freedom of speech, NOT violence in the pedestrian sense of a lone gun man holding up a liquor store. The socially redeeming value of large scale social change due to mob activity protects this crowd as political activists, not mere petty criminals. They are making the world a better place, not just stealing to benefit themselves as individuals. Just as people vote with their dollars, vote with their feet by moving to where jobs are, people are voting by rioting to correct the abuse of power not regulated by the meaningless ballot box which has been rendered useless and beyond reach."

Tracey September 23, 2016 at 8:17 pm

WOW Paul: why are you not writing for/with NC & Yves? Excellent commentary!

Synoia September 23, 2016 at 12:58 pm

given firms the chance to reorganize as "S-corporations"

That seem unliky as S corporation cannot be owner by other corporations and are limited to 100 shareholders.

Can you clarify that point, and explain further?

Yves Smith Post author September 24, 2016 at 2:39 am

On the one hand, Tax Justice Network is often fuzzy (as in wrong) on technical tax details. Tax is fiendishly complex. But on the other hand, the general idea that there may be ways to structure around this isn't crazy. As I recall, for instance, if I recall correctly, the publicly-traded PE firms are legal entities that own (or own the cash flows) of general partnerships.

Andrew Watts September 23, 2016 at 1:34 pm

So the government is subsidizing corporate profits through tax breaks, loopholes, and non-enforcement. This has the overall effect of re-distributing the wealth towards the upper end of the income spectrum and sponsors the creation of millionaires and billionaires. Who would have a problem with that?

That's not class warfare at all says this temporarily embarrassed trillionaire.

animalogic September 23, 2016 at 11:16 pm

How long will it be before an actual "trillionaire" emerges, I wonder ?

ilporcupine September 24, 2016 at 6:17 pm

i bet if you had a "birds-eye" view of all the money in all the accounts, both her and overseas, and ownership of shell companies stock, and on and on, you would find that that person exists already.

Pelham September 24, 2016 at 7:41 pm

Don't the mega-corporations write the thousands of pages of our corporate tax code? Congress just rubber stamps it, right?

Can't remember where I read it, but it has been suggested that the supposedly high corporate tax rate is there by design. The biggest players write in all the loopholes they need and more, burdening the small fry with the nominal rate and thus squelching any competition that the big guys might face from lesser competitors.

[Sep 26, 2016] Its good to see articles criticizing financialization now and then. But the real problem is neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... It's good to see articles criticizing financialization now and then. It would be great if our politicians would take this issue up, but alas, it would be suicide (certainly politically, and possibly literally). ..."
"... On the surface, the reasons behind Bridgeport's poverty and Greenwich's wealth do not seem related. Bridgeport is struggling because it is a one-time manufacturing hub whose jobs went overseas as factories moved away in the late 20th century. Greenwich became a home for New York City financiers who wanted to live somewhere a little more bucolic than New York, and later hedge-fund managers decided they could work closer to home and set up their companies there, too. ..."
"... Michael Parenti gets it: "The reason we have poor people is rich people." ..."
"... And because we have poor people who are told they should not envy the rich their advantages because they just might be one of them someday. So we lionize this era's robber barons from Bezos to Cook to Brin instead of roasting them over a slow fire until they agree to pay taxes in this country. Too bad we don't have a trust-busting politician of any stripe around, Teddy Roosevelt where are you when we need you. ..."
Sep 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
scott 2 September 25, 2016 at 8:11 am

The Atlantic article ( Finance Is Ruining America Atlantic (Phil U)) would have been more effective if it had described a typical hedge fund deal, like, say, Guitar Center, or one of Mitt Romney's "successes" (you know, debt fueled special dividends). It's good to see articles criticizing financialization now and then. It would be great if our politicians would take this issue up, but alas, it would be suicide (certainly politically, and possibly literally).

fresno dan September 25, 2016 at 8:15 am

Finance Is Ruining America Atlantic (Phil U)

On the surface, the reasons behind Bridgeport's poverty and Greenwich's wealth do not seem related. Bridgeport is struggling because it is a one-time manufacturing hub whose jobs went overseas as factories moved away in the late 20th century. Greenwich became a home for New York City financiers who wanted to live somewhere a little more bucolic than New York, and later hedge-fund managers decided they could work closer to home and set up their companies there, too.

These two towns have different fates in part because of two distinct dynamics in the American economy. Yet there are economists who believe that there is a link between the improving prosperity of the wealthy and the eroding bank accounts of everyone else. The reason? It's two-fold: First, there is the rise of the financial industry, which has fueled extraordinary wealth for a very few without creating good jobs down the line, and, second, a tax policy that not only fails to mitigate these effects, but actually incentivizes them in the first place. It's probably not surprising, then, that the 10 states with the biggest jumps in the top 1 percent share from 1979 to 2007 were the states with the largest financial service sectors, according to the Economic Policy Institute analysis.

=============================================
It is astounding that people still believe low interest rates mean some industrialist can get a loan and start a factory and hire employees….where it seems pretty apparent that it means a financier can move a company overseas….
As well as the fact it seems harder and harder to be able to say that the 1%'s getting richer is NOT due to everybody else getting poorer.

Uahsenaa September 25, 2016 at 9:38 am

It's the neoliberal Rube Goldberg machine. Why just give money where needed when you can give it to someone on the assumption they'll give a portion to someone else, who will give it to someone else, so that they can maybe pass some of it along to whoever needs it?

Also, because markets.

Jim Haygood September 25, 2016 at 10:10 am

'Greenwich became a home for New York City financiers who wanted to live somewhere a little more bucolic than New York'

Until 1991, Connecticut had no income tax. New Jersey had walked that plank in 1976, leaving CT as the only quasi-tax haven within commuting distance of NYC.

But then former Gov. Lowell Weicker (who had run on a "no income tax" platform - he lied ) introduced one. Result : a stagnant, moribund Connecticut economy, with flat population. General Electric saw the light and bailed for Boston with its HQ.

Jaren Dilliian, who grew up there, wrote of throwing a party in CT with a deejay. The DJ had to be licensed, plus they needed a permit, plus union electricians had to set up and take down the equipment. Hassle, cost, bureaucracy.

What value added does contemporary CT provide for its tax take, vs pre-1991 CT? Zero. Maybe less than zero.

Katharine September 25, 2016 at 12:10 pm

"But then former Gov. Lowell Weicker (who had run on a "no income tax" platform - he lied) introduced one. Result: a stagnant, moribund Connecticut economy, with flat population."

Sequel, perhaps. Result, not proved, and I suspect questionable. The data here appear to undermine your claim:

http://www.itep.org/whopays/states/connecticut.php

They show corporate income tax at <1% and personal income tax <5% for all but the top 5% of incomes. I find it very hard to believe those rates are responsible for Connecticut's allegedly moribund economy.

As for not providing value, consider another point of view:

http://ctviewpoints.org/2016/08/30/opinion-ellen-shemitz-2/

kgw September 25, 2016 at 10:28 am

Michael Parenti gets it: "The reason we have poor people is rich people."

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL September 25, 2016 at 1:46 pm

And because we have poor people who are told they should not envy the rich their advantages because they just might be one of them someday. So we lionize this era's robber barons from Bezos to Cook to Brin instead of roasting them over a slow fire until they agree to pay taxes in this country. Too bad we don't have a trust-busting politician of any stripe around, Teddy Roosevelt where are you when we need you.

Get Rich or Die Tryin is the last gasp in the American Hunger Games. It's the same story as ever, told down through the ages, the rich squeeze the poor, then they can't help but squeeze juuust that little bit more, and we get Charlotte

Mo's Bike Shop September 25, 2016 at 12:27 pm

>>whose jobs went overseas as factories moved away in the late 20th century

Those jobs and factories sure have a lot of personal agency.

John Wright September 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm

It is sad to read the story of Bridgeport.

Where I work, when we need do to some quick machining, we go to use the "Bridgeport" vertical mill in the shop.

This is the milling machine manufactured and popularized by Bridgeport Machines, Inc of Bridgeport.

These mills were produced in Bridgeport from 1938 until 2004, and were another important cog in the post war manufacturing economic miracle.

The Bridgeport mill is still made by Hardinge of Elmira, NY, but the jobs are gone from Bridgeport.

USA finance is as large as it is because TPTB allow/abet it, not because it serves the USA well..

BecauseTradition September 25, 2016 at 8:40 am

It is astounding that people still believe low interest rates mean some industrialist can get a loan and start a factory and hire employees….where it seems pretty apparent that it means a financier can move a company overseas….
fresno dan [bold added]

Or automate jobs away with what is, in essence, the public's credit due to extensive government privileges for depository institutions.

The implicit social contract whereby capitalists shall provide good jobs in exchange for the public's credit is broken – if it ever existed – without hope of fixing due to automation alone.

fresno dan September 25, 2016 at 10:14 am

BecauseTradition
September 25, 2016 at 8:40 am

good point and I agree.
And there are probably all sorts of examples. For instance, how long did low interest rates help by stimulating home building, home buying, until shadow banking was able to super charge profits by taking a rather straight forward, dull, simple to understand thing like home loans and turning it into a giant scam? How was it that something that worked so well for so long got so totally f*cked up?
Doesn't it feel nowadays that in every protection, advancement, or progress is advocated by a Hillary talking clone, and that the only point of it is to weasel more money out of you???
and that the word "protection" defacto means "screw"

ProNewerDeal September 25, 2016 at 10:23 am

FD, nice take

Hillary hack says "protect you", he means "a protection racket our campaign funder/owners devised to rob you"

BecauseTradition September 25, 2016 at 10:42 am

How was it that something that worked so well for so long got so totally f*cked up? fresno dan

Well, point of fact, it did not work so well if one was red-lined. And philosophically, how does one justify government privileges for depository institutions in the first place? Because they work? Work for who? Not those who were redlined, for sure.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL September 25, 2016 at 1:55 pm

America is like an aging, punch drunk prize fighter, so much blood streaming into his eyes he can't even see what he's doing any more. So we flail around with Iraq-style nation-building wars despite being smashed squarely in the face with all our previous ones. Just put your hands behind your back and stick your jaw way out. The Fed sprays free money around like its Skittles despite the fact that the only takers for new debt are CEOs buying back their stocks and heading for the islands. And precisely one candidate has the stones to mention it, and no I don't mean the falling down, sickly grandmother who sold the business of our government for immense personal gain through her Foundation.

temporal September 25, 2016 at 9:08 am

Scan and go.

Swapping standing in line at the check-out for the line at the exit. And when there is an issue then the greeter calls in the check-out police thereby pissing off the customer. Brilliant.

While Apple fanboys are willing to work for their iPhone's company for free by doing their own check-out I doubt that is likely for people going to Sam's Club. As well many customers, even if they have a smartphone, will not enjoy using up their data plan as they try to check and process the details online.

All these smartphone apps have one major goal, besides collecting credit fees. Reduce store overhead by getting customers to do more of the work while eliminating employees. The winners are not the customers or people looking for a way to make ends meet.

Pavel September 25, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Another goal of course is to track even further every single purchase - what, and where, and when. And then sell the consumption data to the insurers perhaps… a packet of cigs per day? Or too many bottles of booze?

Of course they are already doing that with the store "fidelity cards", but the mobile apps will be more precise and less optional.

Carolinian September 25, 2016 at 9:09 am

Re the Oilprice link, here's an article that contradicts the notion that US policy in Syria was about the Qatari pipeline as that claim–put forth in a Politico article by Robert Kennedy Jr–was little more than a poorly sourced rumor.

That claim has no credibility for a very simple reason: there was no Qatari proposal for Syria to reject in 2009. It was not until October 2009 that Qatar and Turkey even agreed to form a working group to develop such a gas pipeline project.

Gareth Porter says that instead

The US decision to support Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in their ill-conceived plan to overthrow the Assad regime was primarily a function of the primordial interest of the US permanent war state in its regional alliances. The three Sunni allies control US access to the key US military bases in the region, and the Pentagon, the CIA, the State Department and the Obama White House were all concerned, above all, with protecting the existing arrangements for the US military posture in the region[….]

The massive, direct and immediate power interests of the US war state – not the determination to ensure that a pipeline would carry Qatar's natural gas to Europe – drove the US policy of participation in the war against the Syrian regime. Only if activists focus on that reality will they be able to unite effectively to oppose not only the Syrian adventure but the war system itself.

In other words the MIC strikes again and seems to be directly challenging Obama policies with "accidents" like the recent bombing of the Syrian army. Time for movie fans to dust off old copies of Seven Days in May?

http://original.antiwar.com/porter/2016/09/23/war-assad-regime-not-pipeline-war/

tgs September 25, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Porter may well be right about the pipeline. However, a piece that purports to account for our Syria operations and the obsession with the removal of Assad that does not mention Israel and the Israel Lobby cannot be the complete story. Breaking the 'Shia Crescent' is a major strategic aim of the friends of Israel.

Carolinian September 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm

Without a doubt the Lobby keeps the liberals–the "progressives except for Palestine"–supporting the fever dreams of the generals, but arguably it's this internal, and traditionally rather Waspy pressure group that is the real menace. As the following quite accurately points out, we have a WW2 military with nothing to do with itself unless they can invent a suitable enemy.

http://original.antiwar.com/reed/2016/09/23/bombing-everything-gaining-nothing/

We live in a military world fundamentally different from that of the last century. All-out wars between major powers, which is to say nuclear powers, are unlikely since they would last about an hour after they became all-out, and everyone knows it. In WWII Germany could convince itself, reasonably and almost correctly, that Russia would fall in a summer, or the Japanese that a Depression-ridden, unarmed America might decide not to fight. Now, no. Threaten something that a nuclear power regards as vital and you risk frying. So nobody does.

Or, to sum up

What is the relevance of the Pentagon? How do you bomb a trade agreement?

The generals and admirals need a Russian foe to justify their absurd budgets and their very existence. It's ironic that our great victory in WW2–triumph of industrial America–may end up doing us more long term harm than those European and Asian nations that were bombed into ashes. You can rebuild cities but dismantling imperial hubris turns out to be harder.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL September 25, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Occam would probably just say that the Cold War never ended for our geniuses-in-chief, despite dissolving away in 1989 our enemy is and always was and will be Russia uber alles. The simple fact that they back Assad is all it took, yes add in a sprinkle of Tehran and Tel Aviv and goose with a little juice from Riyadh but the overnight disappearance of our existential enemy was something up with which we could not put.

[Sep 26, 2016] It has been particularly infuriating to see the Chanel-suited Berkeley types be the ones to embrace imperial fascist war-making with such glee.

Sep 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

HBE September 25, 2016 at 11:58 am

Just watched Samantha Powers speak at the emergency UN security counsel meeting on Syria, how she managed to keep a straight face is completely beyond me.

Basically Russia needs to take responsibility for its actions in Syria and the war would be over if those damn Russians would GTFO and quit disrupting the US and GCC regime change operations.

It appears everything would be going swimmingly if Russia would just leave the "rebels" alone and let the US turn Syria into Libya, I mean is that so much to ask for? /S

tgs September 25, 2016 at 12:37 pm

The people Obama has chosen to represent him are almost all fanatics. Samantha Power and Ash Carter stand out as true psychopaths. Carter actually openly defied Obama on the Syria ceasefire.

Robert Parry has an excellent piece out today on the rush to judgment about the attack on the humanitarian convoy.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL September 25, 2016 at 2:53 pm

It has been particularly infuriating to see the Chanel-suited Berkeley types be the ones to embrace imperial fascist war-making with such glee.
I happened to recognize Susan Rice travelling sans bodyguard with her girlfriend at the airport in Chiang Mai Thailand and had a delicious time giving her a full piece of my mind. Unedited truth to power with nowhere to hide, she reacted with a glaze that said "you are just an idiot peon" but I could see she was shaken.

[Sep 26, 2016] heres an article that contradicts the notion that US policy in Syria was about the Qatari pipeline as that claim–put forth in a Politico article by Robert Kennedy Jr–was little more than a

Notable quotes:
"... Re the Oilprice link ( The Natural Gas War Burning Under Syria OilPrice (resilc)) , here's an article that contradicts the notion that US policy in Syria was about the Qatari pipeline as that claim–put forth in a Politico article by Robert Kennedy Jr–was little more than a poorly sourced rumor. ..."
"... The US decision to support Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in their ill-conceived plan to overthrow the Assad regime was primarily a function of the primordial interest of the US permanent war state in its regional alliances. ..."
"... In other words the MIC strikes again and seems to be directly challenging Obama policies with "accidents" like the recent bombing of the Syrian army. Time for movie fans to dust off old copies of Seven Days in May? ..."
Sep 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
poorly sourced rumor.

Carolinian September 25, 2016 at 9:09 am

Re the Oilprice link ( The Natural Gas War Burning Under Syria OilPrice (resilc)) , here's an article that contradicts the notion that US policy in Syria was about the Qatari pipeline as that claim–put forth in a Politico article by Robert Kennedy Jr–was little more than a poorly sourced rumor.

That claim has no credibility for a very simple reason: there was no Qatari proposal for Syria to reject in 2009. It was not until October 2009 that Qatar and Turkey even agreed to form a working group to develop such a gas pipeline project.

Gareth Porter says that instead

The US decision to support Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in their ill-conceived plan to overthrow the Assad regime was primarily a function of the primordial interest of the US permanent war state in its regional alliances. The three Sunni allies control US access to the key US military bases in the region, and the Pentagon, the CIA, the State Department and the Obama White House were all concerned, above all, with protecting the existing arrangements for the US military posture in the region[….]

The massive, direct and immediate power interests of the US war state – not the determination to ensure that a pipeline would carry Qatar's natural gas to Europe – drove the US policy of participation in the war against the Syrian regime. Only if activists focus on that reality will they be able to unite effectively to oppose not only the Syrian adventure but the war system itself.

In other words the MIC strikes again and seems to be directly challenging Obama policies with "accidents" like the recent bombing of the Syrian army. Time for movie fans to dust off old copies of Seven Days in May?

http://original.antiwar.com/porter/2016/09/23/war-assad-regime-not-pipeline-war/

tgs September 25, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Porter may well be right about the pipeline. However, a piece that purports to account for our Syria operations and the obsession with the removal of Assad that does not mention Israel and the Israel Lobby cannot be the complete story. Breaking the 'Shia Crescent' is a major strategic aim of the friends of Israel.

Carolinian September 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm

Without a doubt the Lobby keeps the liberals–the "progressives except for Palestine"–supporting the fever dreams of the generals, but arguably it's this internal, and traditionally rather Waspy pressure group that is the real menace. As the following quite accurately points out, we have a WW2 military with nothing to do with itself unless they can invent a suitable enemy.

http://original.antiwar.com/reed/2016/09/23/bombing-everything-gaining-nothing/

We live in a military world fundamentally different from that of the last century. All-out wars between major powers, which is to say nuclear powers, are unlikely since they would last about an hour after they became all-out, and everyone knows it. In WWII Germany could convince itself, reasonably and almost correctly, that Russia would fall in a summer, or the Japanese that a Depression-ridden, unarmed America might decide not to fight. Now, no. Threaten something that a nuclear power regards as vital and you risk frying. So nobody does.

Or, to sum up

What is the relevance of the Pentagon? How do you bomb a trade agreement?

The generals and admirals need a Russian foe to justify their absurd budgets and their very existence. It's ironic that our great victory in WW2–triumph of industrial America–may end up doing us more long term harm than those European and Asian nations that were bombed into ashes. You can rebuild cities but dismantling imperial hubris turns out to be harder.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL September 25, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Occam would probably just say that the Cold War never ended for our geniuses-in-chief, despite dissolving away in 1989 our enemy is and always was and will be Russia uber alles. The simple fact that they back Assad is all it took, yes add in a sprinkle of Tehran and Tel Aviv and goose with a little juice from Riyadh but the overnight disappearance of our existential enemy was something up with which we could not put.

[Sep 26, 2016] Oh no, our proxies are surrounded and being ground into dust. Human rights! Human rights! Please stop bombing!

Notable quotes:
"... "Syria conflict: UN chief 'appalled' by Aleppo escalation" Translation: "Oh no, our proxies are surrounded and being ground into dust. Human rights! Human rights! Please stop bombing!" ..."
"... You mean there are Kurds in their Way? ..."
"... Not sure what you're getting at. Kurds have little role in the battle for Aleppo. They have a small bit of territory in the north of the city and helped to secure the Castello road, but that's it. ..."
Sep 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Plenue September 25, 2016 at 4:05 pm

"Syria conflict: UN chief 'appalled' by Aleppo escalation" Translation: "Oh no, our proxies are surrounded and being ground into dust. Human rights! Human rights! Please stop bombing!"

Synoia September 25, 2016 at 5:52 pm

You mean there are Kurds in their Way?

Plenue September 25, 2016 at 6:10 pm

Not sure what you're getting at. Kurds have little role in the battle for Aleppo. They have a small bit of territory in the north of the city and helped to secure the Castello road, but that's it.

Jay M September 25, 2016 at 9:25 pm

accept this application for illuminati posting: Plenue, excellence in Alleppo commentary

[Sep 26, 2016] Probe of leaked U.S. NSA hacking tools examines operatives mistake

Notable quotes:
"... A U.S. investigation into a leak of hacking tools used by the National Security Agency is focusing on a theory that one of its operatives carelessly left them available on a remote computer ..."
"... The tools, which enable hackers to exploit software flaws in computer and communications systems from vendors such as Cisco Systems and Fortinet Inc, were dumped onto public websites last month by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers. ..."
"... But officials heading the FBI-led investigation now discount both of those scenarios, the people said in separate interviews. NSA officials have told investigators that an employee or contractor made the mistake about three years ago during an operation that used the tools, the people said. ..."
"... That person acknowledged the error shortly afterward, they said. But the NSA did not inform the companies of the danger when it first discovered the exposure of the tools, the sources said. Since the public release of the tools, the companies involved have issued patches in the systems to protect them. ..."
"... Because the sensors did not detect foreign spies or criminals using the tools on U.S. or allied targets, the NSA did not feel obligated to immediately warn the U.S. manufacturers, an official and one other person familiar with the matter said. ..."
Reuters
A U.S. investigation into a leak of hacking tools used by the National Security Agency is focusing on a theory that one of its operatives carelessly left them available on a remote computer and Russian hackers found them, four people with direct knowledge of the probe told Reuters.

The tools, which enable hackers to exploit software flaws in computer and communications systems from vendors such as Cisco Systems and Fortinet Inc, were dumped onto public websites last month by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers.

The public release of the tools coincided with U.S. officials saying they had concluded that Russia or its proxies were responsible for hacking political party organizations in the run-up to the Nov. 8 presidential election. On Thursday, lawmakers accused Russia of being responsible

... ... ...

But officials heading the FBI-led investigation now discount both of those scenarios, the people said in separate interviews. NSA officials have told investigators that an employee or contractor made the mistake about three years ago during an operation that used the tools, the people said.

That person acknowledged the error shortly afterward, they said. But the NSA did not inform the companies of the danger when it first discovered the exposure of the tools, the sources said. Since the public release of the tools, the companies involved have issued patches in the systems to protect them.

Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that the former NSA person, who has since departed the agency for other reasons, left the tools exposed deliberately. Another possibility, two of the sources said, is that more than one person at the headquarters or a remote location made similar mistakes or compounded each other's missteps.

Representatives of the NSA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the office of the Director of National Intelligence all declined to comment.

After the discovery, the NSA tuned its sensors to detect use of any of the tools by other parties, especially foreign adversaries with strong cyber espionage operations, such as China and Russia.

That could have helped identify rival powers' hacking targets, potentially leading them to be defended better. It might also have allowed U.S officials to see deeper into rival hacking operations while enabling the NSA itself to continue using the tools for its own operations.

Because the sensors did not detect foreign spies or criminals using the tools on U.S. or allied targets, the NSA did not feel obligated to immediately warn the U.S. manufacturers, an official and one other person familiar with the matter said.

In this case, as in more commonplace discoveries of security flaws, U.S. officials weigh what intelligence they could gather by keeping the flaws secret against the risk to U.S. companies and individuals if adversaries find the same flaws.

[Sep 26, 2016] The defeat and dismemberment of the Soviet Union is having all the appearance of the hand of the Goddess Hubris. Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Sep 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Synoia September 25, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Fences and walls along the Balkan route

"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent."

The defeat and dismemberment of the Soviet Union is having all the appearance of the hand of the Goddess Hubris. Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

I do wonder in the NeoCon planning of "The Project New Century" if there was any consideration given to the people of the region and their actions in fleeing from the conflicts ignited by the policy. Open discussion of the suggestion would have raised all manner of this an similar issues, embarrassing the authors by at least asking the questions.

[Sep 26, 2016] The Guardian

Notable quotes:
"... Conventionally the US is being outplayed but it is possible that it is playing a different game in which it is complicit in the transition from nation state to corporate oligarchy. Isn't that the Neoliberal end game? ..."
"... And the big problem with Trump's approach is that good ol' American corporations are the ones who are profiting wildly from business in China. They wanted access to the Chinese labor force, e.g. Walmart and every other manufacturer who now peddles goods made in China in US stores. They are the entities that cost western workers millions of jobs, creating massive trade deficits. They are wealthy beyond measure and anyone who wants to alter this system whereby American corporations manufacture in China and ship products around the world, inc. to the US, would have to fight them. And if anyone believes that Trump would succeed in this battle, they are delusional. ..."
Sep 26, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

The Guardian

Vermithrax , 2016-09-26 18:48:09
Before the pivot could even get underway the Saudis threw their rattle out of the pram and drew US focus back to the Middle East and proxy war two steps removed with Russia. Empires don't get to focus, they react to each event and seek to gain from the outcome so the whole pivot idea was flawed.

Obama's foreign policy has been clumsy and amoral. It remains to be seen whether it will become more so in an effort to double down. Under Clinton it definitely will, under Trump who knows but random isn't a recommendation.

Conventionally the US is being outplayed but it is possible that it is playing a different game in which it is complicit in the transition from nation state to corporate oligarchy. Isn't that the Neoliberal end game?

Boyaca , 2016-09-26 18:41:19
So the Rand Think Tank would sooner have war now than later. Who wouldda guessed that.

The Chinese want to improve trade and business with the rest of the world. The US answer? destroy China militarily. so who best to lead the world. I think the article answers that question unintentionally. The rest of the world has had it up to the ears with American military invasions, regeime changes, occupations and bombing of the world. They are ready for China´s approach to international relations. it is about time the adults took over the leadership of the world. Europe and the USA and their offspring have clearly failed.

AmyInNH , 2016-09-26 17:07:12
China has been handed everything it needs to fly solo: money, factories, IP, etc. Fast forwarding into the western civic model limits (traffic, pollution, etc.), its best bet is to offload US "interests" and steer clear.
No clear sign India's learned/recovered from British occupation, as they let tech create more future Kanpurs.
Shein Ariely , 2016-09-26 17:06:51
Obama failed worldwide.
Next USA president either Democrat or Republican will have a difficult job fixing his colosal mistakes in ME- Euroep-Asia
yermelai , 2016-09-26 10:12:58
The biggest mistake was to enact a policy shunning Russia, when Russia should be a key, partner of Europe and the US.

Was it really worth expanding NATO to Russia's borders instead of offering neutrality to former Soviet States and thus retain Russia's confidence in global matters that far out weigh the interests of the neo-cons?

Hermanovic yermelai , 2016-09-26 10:50:07
neutrality? Russia invaded non-NATO members Georgie, Ukrain, and Moldavia, and created puppet-states on their soil.

The Jremlin-rules are simple: the former Sovjet states should be ruled by a pro-Russian dictator (Bella-Russia, Kazachstan, etc. etc...). Democracies face boycots, diplomatic and military support of rebels, and in the end simply a military invasion.

The only reason why the baltic states are now thriving democracies, is that they are NATO members.

Boyaca Hermanovic , 2016-09-26 18:57:23
And the USA invaded Vietnam, Panama, Nicaragua with the contras, Iraq, Afghanistan, are currently bombing the crap out of another dozen nations, has militarily occupied another 100 nations with their bases and you are worried about Russia with Georgia and The Ukraine? What in Hades is wrong with this picture?
macel388 , 2016-09-26 10:08:03
"Barack Obama's 'Asian pivot' failed. China is in the ascendancy" says the heading.

So Obama's "Asian pivot" was meant to thwart China's development.

MicheNorman , 2016-09-26 09:36:41
When Obama took office his first major speech was in Cairo - where he said
"I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world," US President Barack Obama said to the sounds of loud applause which rocked not only the hall, but the world. "One based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles-principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings."

He displayed a dangerous mix of innocence, foolishness, disregard for the truth and misunderstanding of the nature of Islamic regimes - does the West have common values with Lebanon which practices apartheid for Palestinians, Saudi, where women cannot drive a car, Syria, where over 17,000 have died in Assad's torture chambers, we can go on and on.

And on China - Trump has it right - China has been manipulating its currency exchange rate for years, costing western workers millions of jobs, creating massive trade deficits and something needs to be done about it.

ReinerNiemand MicheNorman , 2016-09-26 10:21:20
" America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles-principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. "
He spoke about the whole of Islam, not specific " Islamic regimes ". And he is correct on it. All religions share a great deal of values with the USAmerican constition and even each other .
The overwhelming majority of USAmerican muslims have accepted the melting pot with their whole heart, second generation children have JOINED its fighting forces to protect the interest of the uSA all over the world. Normally this full an integration is reached with the third generation.

The west has won against those religious fanatics. How else to explain that exactly the people those claim to speak turn up with us?

Calvert MicheNorman , 2016-09-26 11:21:45
And the big problem with Trump's approach is that good ol' American corporations are the ones who are profiting wildly from business in China. They wanted access to the Chinese labor force, e.g. Walmart and every other manufacturer who now peddles goods made in China in US stores. They are the entities that cost western workers millions of jobs, creating massive trade deficits. They are wealthy beyond measure and anyone who wants to alter this system whereby American corporations manufacture in China and ship products around the world, inc. to the US, would have to fight them. And if anyone believes that Trump would succeed in this battle, they are delusional.
hartebeest , 2016-09-26 09:35:14
"These two juggernauts are on a collision course" is far too alarmist. Relying mainly on right-wing US thinktanks for analysis doesn't help. Interesting in particular to see RAND is still in its Cold War mindset. There's famous footage of RAND analysts in the 60s (I think) discussing putative nuclear war with the USSR and concluding that the US was certain of 'victory' following a missile exchange because its surviving population (after hundreds of millions of deaths and the destruction of almost all urban centres) would be somewhat larger.

China's island claims are all about a broader strategic aim- getting unencumbered access to the Pacific for its growing blue water navy. It's not aimed at Taiwan or Japan in any sort of specific sense and, save for the small possibility of escalation following an accident (ships colliding or something), there's very little risk of conflict in at least the medium term.

It's crucial to remember just how much China and the US depend upon each other economically. The US is by far China's largest single export market, powering its manufacturing economy. In return, China uses the surplus to buy up US debt, which allows the Americans to borrow cheaply and keep the lights on. Crash China and you crash the US- and vice versa.

For now, China is basically accepting an upgraded number 2 spot (along with the US acknowledging them as part of a 'G2'), but supporting alternative governance structures when it doesn't like the ones controlled by the US/Japan (so the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the BRICS etc.).

This doesn't mean that the two don't see each other as long term strategic and economic rivals. But the risks to both of rocking the boat are gigantic and not in the interest of either party in the foreseeable future. Things that could change that:

a. a succession of Trump-like US presidents (checks and balances are probably sufficient to withstand one, were it to come to that);
b. a revolution in China (possible if the economy goes South- and what comes next is probably not liberal democracy but anti-Japanese or anti-US authoritarian nationalism);
c. an unpredictable chain of events arising from N Korean collapse or a regional nuclear race (Japan-China is a more likely source of conflict than US-China).

MrMeinung , 2016-09-26 09:13:57
The west has been long living under the illusion that the so called globalised world would be beneficial for all.

Now we are waking up to the realisation that we are the big loosers of globalisation.

Time for a change of plan.

freeandfair MrMeinung , 2016-09-26 14:29:49
"The west has been long living under the illusion that the so called globalised world would be beneficial for all. "

No, actually they thought it would be beneficial for the Western countries mostly. And it was, but whatever benefits developing countries received allowed them to rise to the level of a potential future threat to the unquestionable Western dominance. And now the US is looking for a way to destroy them preemptively. The US is paranoid.

Zami99 , 2016-09-26 08:30:36
The writing is on the wall: the future is with China. All the US can do is make nice or reap the dire consequences. If China can clean up its human rights record, I would be happy to see them supplant or rival the US as a global hegemon. After all, looked at historically, haven't they earned it? - An American, born and bred, but no nationalist
Calvert Zami99 , 2016-09-26 11:24:26
Well, that is naïve. Look at China and how the Chinese people are governed. Look at the US. And please don't tell me you don't see a difference. I'll take a world with the US as the global hegemon any day.
Leandro Rodriguez Zami99 , 2016-09-26 16:15:42
The US never cleaned up their human rights record...
Sven Ringling , 2016-09-26 08:16:37
A regional counter balance is needed. Cooperation is hindered by Japan. They should be the center point of a regional alliance strong enough to contain China with US help, but it doesn't work: whilst everybody fears China, everybody hates Japan.
The reason is they failed miserably to rebuild trust after WWII, rather than going cap in hand, acknowledging respondibility for atrocities and other crimes and injustice, and compensate victims, they kept their pride and isolation. They are now paying the price - possibly together with the rest of us.
Maybe a full scale change after 7 decades of to-little-to-late diplomacy can still achieve sth.
The ass the US should kick sits in Tokyo - something they failed to do properly after WWII, when they managed it well in West Germany (ok - they had help from the Brits there, who for all their failings understand foreign nations far better), where it facilitated proper integration into European cooperation.
ArabinPatson , 2016-09-26 07:28:26
I think this "ascendancy" and nationalistic fervour is actually a sign of internal turmoil. Countries that do well don't need to crack down on dissidents to the point of kidnappings or spend millions of stupid man made islands that pisses everyone off but have all the military value of a threatening facial tattoo. The South China Sea tactics is partially Chinese "push until something pushes back" diplomacy but also stems from the harsh realisation that their resources can be easily choked of and even the CPC knows it can't hold down a billion plus Chinese people once the hunger sets it.

China is facing the dilemna that as it brings people out of poverty it reduces the supply of the very cheap labour that makes it rich. You can talk about Lenovo all you want, no one is buying a Chinese car anytime soon. Nor is any airline outside of China going to buy one of their planes. Copyright fraud is one thing the West can retaliate easily upon and will if they feel China has gone too far. Any product found in a western court to be a blatant copy can effectively be banned. The next step is to refuse to recognize Chinese copyright on the few genuine innovations that come out of it.

Plus the deal Deng Xiaoping made with the urban classes is fraying. It was wealth in exchange for subservience. The people in the cities stay out of direct politics but quality of life issues, safety, petty corruption and pollution are angering them and scaring them hence the vast amount of private Chinese money being sunk into global real estate.

The military growth and dubious technobabble is just typical Chinese mianzi gaining. If you do have a brand new jet stealth jet fighter, you don't release pictures of it to the world press. They got really rattled when Shinzo Abe decided the JSDF can go and deliver slappings abroad to help their friends if needed. Because an army that spends a lot of time rigging up Michael Bayesque set maneuvers for the telly is not what you want to pit against top notch technology handled by obsessive perfectionists.

No one plays hardball with China because we all like cheap shit. But once that is over then China is a very vulnerable country with not one neighbour they can call a friend. They know it. Obama hasn't failed.. It's the histrionics that prove it not the other way round.

250022 ArabinPatson , 2016-09-26 11:34:31
Fundamentally incorrect.

The labour supply is assured because there are still multi millions in poverty and signing up as cheap labour is exactly what brings them out of poverty.

I assume you've never been to China and therefore have never heard of Chunyun, the largest human migration in the world. This is partly the ruralites returning home from the cities with their years spoils. This year individual journeys totalled almost 3bn.

No-one is buying a Chinese car? Check the sales for Wuling. They produce the small vans that are the lifeblood of the small entrepreneur. BYD are already exporting electric buses to London. The likes of VW, BMW, Land Rover, are all in partnership with Chinese auto-makers and China is the largest car market in the world.

Corruption has been actively attacked and over a quarter of a million officials have been brought to book in Xi's time in office. The pollution causing steel and coal industries are being rapidly contracted and billions spent on re-training.

Plus the fact that while the Chinese are mianzi gazing, the last thing they think about is politics. They simply don't want to know.

By the way, China is reducing it's land army by a third over the next few years and has just concluded very constructive summits with all it's neighbours during last weeks ASEAN bunfight.

The conclusion is that bi-lateral talks, not US led pissing contests are the way forward.

http://english.sina.com/china/s/2016-09-26/detail-ifxwevmf2233637.shtml

LordLardy1215 , 2016-09-26 05:55:19
The pivot failed second Snowden turned up in Hong Kong. Asia as a consequence doesn't trust US. Snowden revealed that US was protecting its economic interests as opposed to any love for a distant region of the World. Simple reality but as someone from Western World would have preferred that pretence we all knew had been left in the cupboard and not in effect humiliated nations into taking more negative US stance. Agree that China will take decisive action against nations that once humiliated and tortured their citizens - when is the question and any dreams anyone has of a united alliance against China is out with the fairies or been drinking same Koolaid as Snowden and his supporters.
Jonathan Scott , 2016-09-26 05:05:24
I disagree with the idea that the Asian pivot has failed because it has not happened.

What has happened is the ICA has ruled against China in the SCS and US buildup in Guam has been accelerated.

Also, China still has little force projection and a soon to collapse economy.

alfredwong Jonathan Scott , 2016-09-26 05:44:58
"What has happened is the ICA has ruled against China in the SCS..."

Nothing new. The UN Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf had also ruled against the UK and the International Court of Justice had ruled against the US.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/mar/29/falkland-islands-argentina-waters-rules-un-commission

http://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-defiance-of-international-court-has-precedentu-s-defiance-1467919982

"Also, China still has little force projection"

A country only needs a lot of force projection if it seeks to dominate the world.

"and a soon to collapse economy."

You are entitled to have such dream.

vidimi Jonathan Scott , 2016-09-26 09:41:28
a collapse of the chinese economy would collapse the american economy as well
ChristosHellas , 2016-09-26 04:17:59
Fascinating & well structured article - except for one glaring omission - the LNP selling of the Port of Darwin to a Chinese Government business. Yeh, sure it's a '99 year lease' but for all effective purposes it's a sellout of a strategic port to the Chinese Government.

Just look at how gobsmacked the US Military & President were over such a stupidly undertaken sale by the LNP. This diplomatically lunatic sell off by the LNP of such a vital national asset has effectively taken-out any influence or impact Australia may have, or exert, over critical issues happening on our northern doorstep.

If there was ever a case for buying back a strategic national asset, this is definitely the one. Oh, if folks are worried about the $Billions in penalties incurred, simple solution - just stop the $Billions of Diesel Fuel Rebates gifted to Miners for, say, 10 years..... Done!

JeffAshe , 2016-09-26 04:05:15
America is in terminal decline, beset by economic and fiscal crises, sapped by imperial overstretch, a victim of a cosmopolitan ennui and fecklessness, divided politically and culturally, belligerent and militant to the extreme. An empire in decline is at its most dangerous. America today is a far greater threat to world peace than China. Simply witness America's accommodation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the odious Saudi theocracy, and how its insane policy in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan has led to hundreds of thousands of lives lost and millions displaced. Europe is under siege by endless tides of refugees that are the direct consequence of America's neo-Conservative and militant foreign policy. Meanwhile, America's neo-liberal economic and trade policies have not only decimated her own manufacturing base and led to gross inequality but also massive dislocations in South America, Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Tired, irritated, frustrated, exhausted, cynical, violent, moral-less, deeply corrupt, and rudderless, America is effectively bankrupt and on the verge of becoming another Greece, if not for the saving grace of the petro-Dollar. Europe would be well-advised to keep the Yanks at arm's length so as to escape as much as possible the fallout from her complete collapse. As for Britain, soon to be divorced from the EU, time draws nigh to end the humiliating, one-sided servitude that is the 'Special Relationship' and forge an independent foreign policy. The tectonic plates of history is again shifting, and there nothing America can do to stop it.
scss99 JeffAshe , 2016-09-26 05:14:43
I don't know America probably occupies the most prime geographical spot on the planet, and buffered by two oceans. It doesn't have to worry about refugees and the other problems and ultimately they can produce enough food and meet all of its energy needs domestically. And it's the third most populous nation on earth and could easily grow its population with immigration.

The US has no significantly greater percentage of debt than any of the other Western nations except Germany. If you think the Americas bankrupt then you'd have to think a whole lot of other nations including the UK is as well.

Given the facts it would be daft a write off America. Every European nation have lost their number one spot in history and they seem to be doing just fine. Is there some reason why this can't be America's destiny as well? Does it really have to end in flames?

JeffAshe scss99 , 2016-09-26 06:30:08
I suppose a post-collapse America would eke out a reduced existence, probably as prosperous as Mexico is today, in a best case scenario that is. It's likely America will balkanize, social order will completely break down, with her polity broken into many small pieces and fiefs, each armed to the teeth and tussling with others for limited resources. I foresee Canada will seal her borders and China paying for the decommissioning of America's nuclear arsenal and submarines.
johnnypop , 2016-09-26 03:59:25
Looking to the US to box China in, or stop its aggressive policies, is unrealistic. It must be the combination of nations in the area working together to stop the Chinese. The US can help but it is the nations most directly affected that must take action. One good thing is the Japanese are finally getting over the "constitutional" thing and are acknowledging that they are going to have to much more responsible for their own security in the future. SE Asian nations working for stronger ties with India is also good.
itsfridayiminlove johnnypop , 2016-09-26 04:30:12
Unfortunately, China has divided and conquered certain countries in SE Asia. This is the reason why ASEAN couldn't issue a joint statement against Chinese actions since all of its members should approve the content of the statement. China has won over Laos and Myanmar.
rpncali4nya itsfridayiminlove , 2016-09-26 05:39:49
Laos and Myanmar should be kicked out of ASEAN. That would solve everything.
macel388 itsfridayiminlove , 2016-09-26 14:17:29
"China has divided and conquered certain countries in SE Asia."

These certain SE Asian countries would say that it's because they are not willing to be Uncle Sam's "yes man".

indigoian , 2016-09-26 03:55:55
we've only ourselves to blame for buying all those wonderfully cheap products that our turncoat companies happily made in china using massively underpaid labor.

We, the consumer, have the ultimate power in society - if only we used it collectively. We can still stop the rise by voting with our wallets.

Kamatron indigoian , 2016-09-26 16:21:36
Go on then, maybe you should start by boycotting all China made goods.

Good luck with that thought. Might prove to be a tad idealistic and stupid.

CalvinLyn , 2016-09-26 03:47:56
The US is still so very powerful but the problem is they feel powerless from time to time with their hammer in hand against flying mosquitos. Why they always wanted to solve problems using force is beyond stupidity.

Pivot to Asia is about one thing only, sending more war ships to encircle China. But for what purpose exactly? It does one thing though, it united china by posing as a threat.

hobot CalvinLyn , 2016-09-26 04:44:28
It also destabilises the entire region. Something the Americans are masters of.
Stieve , 2016-09-26 02:09:34
Those blaming Obama most stridently for not keping China in its box are those most responsible for China's rise. American and Western companies shafted their own people to make themselves more profit. They didn't care what the consequences might be, as long as the lmighty "Shareholder Value" continued to rise. Now they demand that the taxes from all those people whose jobs they let go be used to contain the new superpower that they created. As usual, Coroporate America messes things up then demands to know what someone else is going to do about it
indigoian Stieve , 2016-09-26 03:49:04
All very true -- I would add to that by saying we, the consumer, are at least partly culpable. We(western populations) bought those products that our companies 'made in china'.

We all turned a blind eye as long as our shopping carts were filled with ever cheaper items.

MountainMan23 , 2016-09-26 01:49:38
Were the US to form a cooperative instead of confrontational relationship with China the world would be a better place. The same could be said for the US relationship with Russia.

Of course the military-industrial-banking-congressional complex that governs Washington's behavior would not be happy. WIthout confrontation the arms industries can't sell their weapons of war, banks' profits take a hit and congress critters don't get their kickbacks, err, "donations".

freeandfair MountainMan23 , 2016-09-26 02:02:27
The US doesn't know what the word "cooperation" means. To Americans "cooperation" means giving orders and others following them.
LivingTruth , 2016-09-26 00:41:25
America has this absurd notion that it must always be number 1 in world whatever that means
world could be better when east is best
Zhubajie1284 , 2016-09-26 00:16:50
Given the way the US government has screwed the Philippines over steadily since 1898, it's not surprising that Pres. Dutarte has decided to be friendly with his neighbor.

Obama of the Kill List lecturing other countries about human rights abuses! What hypocrisy.

thomasvladimir , 2016-09-26 00:11:36
fuck his pivot.....this ain't syria.....having destroyed the middle east it was our turn.....this is americas exceptionalism........stay #1 by desabilising/destroying everyone else.....p.s. shove the TPP also..........
Fabrizio Agnello , 2016-09-25 23:45:41
The real question is why should not China be more dominant in Asia... i understands the USA tendency especially since the fall of the soviet union at seing themselves as the only world superpower. And i understand why China would like to balance tbat especially in her own neighborhood.
Is what China doing in the south china sea different from what the USA does in the gulf of Mexico or in Panama... not to mention that Chi a is litterally surounded by US bases that sit squarely across all its sea trading routes: Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Fillipines,... and considering that the chinese have a long memory of werstern gunboat diplomacy and naval for e projection, if i was them i would feel a little uncomfortable at how vulnerable my newfound trade is... especially when some western politician so clearly think that china needs to be contained...
Bogoas81 , 2016-09-25 23:44:41
China has been accumulating debt at unprecedented rates to try to maintain faltering growth.

In 2007 Chinese debt stood at $7 trillion. By 2014 it had quadrupled to $28 trillion. That's $60 billion of extra debt every week.

It's still rising rapidly as the government desperately tries to keep momentum.

Much of this money has been funnelled into 'investments' that will never yield a return.

The most almighty crash is coming. Which will be interesting to say the least.

RodMcLeod Bogoas81 , 2016-09-26 00:07:24
Now that is interesting but odd. They are buying phuqing HUGE swathes of land in Africa, investing everywhere they can on rest of the planet. All seemingly on domestic debt then.
Bogoas81 RodMcLeod , 2016-09-26 10:09:36
Yes. The Japanese went on a spending spree abroad in the 1980s, while accumulating debt at home, and when that popped the economy entered 20 years of stagnation, as bad debts hampered the financial system.

The Chinese bubble is far larger, and made worse by the fact that much of the debt has been taken on by inefficient state owned enterprises and local government, spending not because the figures make sense but to meet centrally-dictated growth targets. Much of the rest has been funnelled into real estate, which now makes up more than twice the share of the Chinese economy than is the case in the UK. Property prices in some major Chinese cities have reached up to 30 times local incomes, making London look cheap in comparison.

There is also a huge 'shadow' banking system in China which means no-one really knows who owes money to whom, which will make it impossible to be confident in who remains creditworthy when the crisis occurs. Estimates are that bad debts (non-performing loans) by Chinese banks already total more than $2 trillion and are rising fast: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/09/22/fitch-warns-bad-debts-in-china-are-ten-times-official-claims-sta/

wumogang , 2016-09-25 22:44:50
TPP is practically written by the lobbyists from the multi-international corporations that exploit every possible tax laws, labor laws, environmental and public health regulations, legal representations and consequences. It is imperialism 2.0 in the 21st century, exclusively serving the interests of top point one percent while greatly depressing the wages of middle class; it is overwhelmingly opposed by the public opinion, law makers of all sides and current president candidates. There is zero chance Obama could make it through legislation before his exit; Clinton will not even consider bringing it back if she wins the election because she already flip-flopped once on the issue during her campaign; and it would seriously damage her chance of re-election if she does. As for Trump, I leave it to anyone's imaginations.
Narapoia01 wumogang , 2016-09-26 01:53:17
Don't believe for a second Hillary won't ram through a version of the TPP/IP if she wins. What she's actually said is that she's against it in its current form

Remember she is part of an owned by the 0.1% that stand to benefit from the agreement, she will do their bidding and be well rewarded. A few cosmetic changes will be applied to the agreement so she can claim that she wasn't lying pre-election and we'll have to live with the consequences.

sanhedrin , 2016-09-25 22:22:22
I find the United States of America more frightening each day
thomasvladimir sanhedrin , 2016-09-26 00:53:38
failing flailing empire.......classic insanity
moderatejohn , 2016-09-25 22:11:11
The best bet is for the US to build at least a hundred thousand 6 megaton warheads, more ballistic subs and advanced stealth missiles to ensure a nuclear war with the US will mean total global destruction. And forget about America being an empire any longer. The GOP has systematically allowed the USA's infrastructure to crumble so a very few rich people can pay less taxes, and they have aided big business fleecing of US citizens, for example, GOP operative, Pam Bondi, refusing to charge Trump for his highly fraudulent Trump U, after she was showered with thousands of dollars in bribe money. Pam Bondi hates Americans so much she allowed Trump to keep his ill gotten gains and disallowed any compensation for the American victims.

Nobody hates America more than Republicans. Except for a very narrow slice of right wing religious extremist eltitists who they view as infinitely entitled to the sweat, blood, tears and broken dreams of hundreds of millions of Americans, the GOP proves time and again how deep their hatred runs, even stopping 9-11 first responders from getting healthcare for health problems they got saving Americans. China, just like the GOP, is sick of hearing about human rights. The GOP and China share a deep hatred for America's Constitutional rights and freedoms for every citizen, so both will work tirelessly to destroy America.

The only thing that will stand in the way of China destroying America is mutually assured extinction via nuclear war. Nothing, however, will stand in the way of Republicans destroying America, least of all, China. Still, if China wants to start bombing US cities, it's time to unleash hell and make China extinct. And as the GOP transfers all the middle class wealth to a few psychopathic American-hating elitists if we don't have those nukes, will be sitting ducks because America will not be able to afford any sort of global military after the GOP destroys the middle class.

China knows the US middle class is the only thing that provides the production capacity to create the world's most advanced military, so China will chuckle tongue in cheek while Republicans destroy America...doing China's job for them. To say Republicans are sociopathic traitors is the understatement of the century, unless your China, then Republicans are your best pals.

Ubermensch1 , 2016-09-25 21:43:18
Well done all you globalists for failing to spot the bleedin obvious...that millions of homes worldwide full of 'Made In China' was ultimately going to pay for the People's Liberation Army. Still think globalisation is wonderful ?
kbg541 Ubermensch1 , 2016-09-25 22:31:38
Quite. How can you believe in a liberal, global free market and then do business with the Socialist Republic of China, that is the antithesis of free markets. The name is above the door, so there's no use acting all surprised when it doesn't pan out the way you planned it.
moderatejohn Ubermensch1 , 2016-09-25 22:40:32
Anything good can be made evil, including globalization. Imagine fair trade completely globalized so very nation relies on every other nation for goods. That type of shared destiny is the only way to maintain peace because humans are tribalist to a fault. We evolved in small groups, our social dynamics are not well suited to large diverse groups. If nation has food but nation B does not, nation B will go to war with nation A, so hopefully both nations trade and alleviate that situation. Nations with high economic isolation are beset by famines and poverty. Germany usually beats China in total exports and Germany is a wonderful place to live. It's not globalization that is the problem, it's exploitation and failure of our leaders to follow and enforce the Golden Rule.
BelieveItsTrue Ubermensch1 , 2016-09-25 23:00:58
Roll out the barrel.....
Well said and you are so right.
15 years ago, I had a conversation in an airport with an American. I remarked that, by outsourcing manufacturing to China the US had sold its future to an entity that would prove to be their enemy before too long. I was derided and ridiculed. I wonder where that man is and whether he remembers our conversation.

Globalisation is another word for one world government and all that brings, one currency, one police force, taxation, dissolution of borders, an end to sovereignty and all of our hard won freedoms. Freedom is a thing of the past, with MSM owned by the globalist elites, enforcing a moratorium on truth, and a population that has no idea what is going on behind the scenes.

I despair of "normalcy bias" and the insulting term "conspiracy theorist". People have lost the ability to work things out for themselves and the majority knows nothing about Agenda 21 aka Sustainable Development Goals 2030, until the land grabs start and private ownership is outlawed.

Heaven help us.

KhusroK , 2016-09-25 21:33:12
... the study also suggests that, if war cannot be avoided, the US might be best advised to strike first, before China gets any stronger and the current US military advantage declines further ..

Another brilliant thought from Rand; when in doubt, shoot from the hip ....

Zhubajie1284 KhusroK , 2016-09-25 23:45:45
They tell their employers what they want to hear.
jgbg KhusroK , 2016-09-26 00:16:18
For a few years now, the Global Times (an English language newspaper, owned by the Chinese Communist Party) has been publishing articles about Chinese claims int he South China Sea, about the growth of Chinese military power and of a limited war with the USA in the South China Sea. Nobody in the west has paid much attention, because they were too busy looking at Ukraine, Russia and now, Syria.

China already has one nuclear powered aircraft carrier and is constructing a second one. Aircraft carriers are not need to defend one's own country - air bases within a country provide the infrastructure for self defence. Aircraft carriers are used to project military power far from your own shores.

It is probably inevitable that China will eventually supercede the USA as the world's dominant superpower. It remains to be seen how that transition will unfold.

freeandfair KhusroK , 2016-09-26 01:04:05
Do Americans not realize that Chinese and Russians read this too and plan accordingly? This is madness.
I am fairly certain preemptive strikes are against international law. Why nobody has the guts to call the US out on this kind of illegal warmongering?
RodMcLeod , 2016-09-25 21:31:06
Like to add that as a powerhouse, Chinese investment in the west could be huge. They are hardly likely to take offensive action against their own investments are they?

Insisting on humane, moral supply chains is the best way of influencing China on human rights. Thats capitalism folks.

Cervant3s RodMcLeod , 2016-09-25 21:39:12
The great powers were heavily linked with one another by trade and investment in 1914...
KhusroK , 2016-09-25 21:24:54
1. With respect, Mr Tidsall is badly off track in painting China as the one evil facing an innocent world.

2. The fact is that US' belief in and repeated resort to force has created a huge mess in the Middle East, brought true misery to millions, and truly thrown Europe in turmoil in the bargain.

3. Besides this Middle East mess, the US neoliberal economic policies have wreaked havoc, culminating in an unprecedented financial and economic crisis that has left millions all over the world without any hope for the future

4. Hence Mr Tidsall's pronouncement:

This dilemma – how to work constructively with a powerful, assertive China without compromising or surrendering national interests – grows steadily more acute.


Ought to read:

This dilemma – how to work constructively with a powerful, assertive United States without compromising or surrendering national interests – grows steadily more acute.

5. US would be better advised to focus on its growing social problems, evident in the growing random killings, police picking on blacks, etc, and on its fast decaying infrastructure. We now read that China has the fastest computer, the largest telescope, etc, whilst US just kills and kills all over the world.

6. Mr Tidsall, may I request that you kindly focus on realities rather than come up with opinion that approaches science fiction

5566hh KhusroK , 2016-09-25 22:50:58
I agree that Mr Tisdall's treatment of the US is somewhat naive and ignorant. However couldn't it be that both countries are capable of aggression and assertiveness? The US's malign influence is mainly focussed on the Middle East and North Africa region, while China's is on its neighbours. China's attitude to Taiwan is pure imperialism, as is its treatment of dissenting voices on the mainland and in Hong Kong. China's contempt for international law and the binding ruling by the UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal is also deeply harmful to peace and justice in the region and worldwide.

We now read that China has the fastest computer, the largest telescope, etc, whilst US just kills and kills all over the world.

Very superficial indeed - compare, just as one example, the number of Nobel prizes won by American scientists recently with those by Chinese. The US is still, in general, far ahead of China in terms of scientific research (though China is making rapid progress). (That is not intended to excuse US killing of course.)

BelieveItsTrue KhusroK , 2016-09-25 23:07:25
Oh well said. At least someone understands how the it works.
freeandfair KhusroK , 2016-09-26 01:06:32
The US follows the USSR path of increasingly ignoring the needs of its own population in order to retain global dominance. It will end the same as the USSR. That which cannot continue will not continue.
wumogang , 2016-09-25 20:23:25

Xi is not looking for a fight. His first-choice agent of change is money, not munitions. According to Xi's "One Belt, One Road" plan, his preferred path to 21st-century Chinese hegemony is through expanded trade, business and economic partnerships extending from Asia to the Middle East and Africa. China's massive Silk Road investments in central and west Asian oil and gas pipelines, high-speed rail and ports, backed by new institutions such as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, are part of this strategy, which simultaneously encourages political and economic dependencies. Deng Xiaoping once said to get rich is glorious. Xi might add it is also empowering.


The most realistic assessment on Xi and China.

The dilemma is clear: amid rising nationalism in both countries, China is not willing to have its ambitions curbed or contained and the US is not ready to accept the world number two spot. These two juggernauts are on a collision course.


A Grim and over-paranoid predicament: US is not in decline and need not worry about China's "ambition"; China is well aware it remains a poor nation compared to developed world and is decades behind of US in military, GDP per capital and science, that is not including civil liberty, citizen participation, Gov't transparency and so on. China is busy building a nation confident of its culture and history, military hegemony plays no part of its dream.
BelieveItsTrue wumogang , 2016-09-25 23:14:42

US is not in decline and need not worry about China's "ambition"

Oh come on, $20 Trillion in debt and with Social Security running out of money, there will be no more to lend the government.

China has forged an agreement with Russia for all its needs in oil ( Russia has more oil than Saudi Arabia) and payment will not be in US dollars. Russia will not take US$ for trade and the BRICS nations will squeeze the US$ out of its current situation as reserve currency. When the dollars all find their way back to the USA hyperinflation will cause misery.

Zhubajie1284 wumogang , 2016-09-25 23:49:17
The US sure looks in decline. Bridges falling into rivers, tens of millions homeless. Yet some how our elites can always find money for another war.
Riverdweller , 2016-09-25 19:33:09
Before the Chinese or anyone else gets any ideas, they should reflect on the size of the US defence budget, 600 billion dollars in 2015, and consider what that might imply in the event of conflict.
fragglerokk Riverdweller , 2016-09-25 20:14:35
a third of that budget goes in profit for the private companies they employ to make duds like the F35 - so you can immediately reduce that to 400 billion. The US have been fighting third world countries for 50 years, and losing, their military is bloated, out of date and full of retrograde gear that simply wont cut it against the Russians. Privately you would find that most top line military agree with that statement. They also have around 800 bases scattered world wide, spread way too thin. Its why theyve stalled in Ukraine and can't handle the middle east. The Russians spend less than $50 billion but have small, highly mobile forces, cutting edge missile defence systems (which will have full airspace coverage by 2017). The Chinese policy of A2D/AD or access denial has got the US surface fleet marooned out in the oceans as any attempt to get close enough to be effective would be met with a hail of multiple rocket shedding war heads. The only place where it is probable (but my no means certain) that the US still has the edge is in submarine warfare, although again if the Russians and Chinese have full coverage of their airspace nothing (or little) would get through.
Two theorys are in current operation about the election and the waring factions in the NSA and the CIA. 1) HRC wins but is too much of a warmonger and would push america into more wars they simply cannot win 2) there is a preference for Trump to win amongst the MIC because he would (temporarily) seek 'peace' with the Russians thus giving the military the chance to catch up - say in 3 or 4 years - plus all the billions and billions of dollars that would mean for them.

Overwhelming fire power no longer wins wars, the US have proved that year in year out since the end of the second world war, theyve lost every war theyve started/caused/joined in. Unless you count that limited skirmish on British soil in Grenada - and I guess we could call Korea a score draw. The yanks are bust and they know it, the neocons are all bluster and idiots like Breedlove, Power and Nuland are impotent because they don't have right on their side or the might to back it up. The US is mired in the middle east, locked out of asia and would grind to halt in Europe against the Russians. (every NATO wargame simulation in the last 4 years has conclusively shown this) Add to that the fact that the overwhelming majority of US citizens dont have the appetite for a conventional war and in the event of a nuclear war the US would suffer at least as much as Europe and youve got a better picture of where we are at.

goenzoy Riverdweller , 2016-09-25 20:48:37
Well it is just ABOUT money.Also during Vietnam and Iraq war US was biggest spender.
Nobody in US still thinks that Vietnam war was a good idea and the same applies to Iraq.Iraq war will be even in history books for biggest amount spend to achieve NOTHING.
Mrpavado Riverdweller , 2016-09-25 21:30:20
Chinese military spending is at least on a par with American. A huge part of American military money goes to personnel salary while China does NOT pay to Chinese soldiers for their service as China holds a compulsory military service system.
Liang1a , 2016-09-25 19:24:05
This article assumes China is evil and the US is the righteous protector of all nations in the SE Asian region against the evil China which is obviously out to destroy the hapless SE Asian nations. This assumption is obviously nonsense. The US itself is rife with racial problems. Everybody has seen what it had done to Vietnam. Nobody believes that a racist US that cares nothing for the welfare of its own black, Latino and Asian population will actually care for the welfare of the same peoples outside of the US and especially in SE Asia.

The truth is China is not the evil destroyer of nations. The truth is the US is the evil destroyer of nations. The US has brought nothing but bloodshed and destruction to the SE Asian regions for the last 200 years. The US had killed millions of Filipinos during it colonial era. The US had killed millions of Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. The US had incited pogroms against the ethnic Chinese unceasingly. The May 13 massacre in Malaysia, the anti-Chinese massacres in the 1960's and the 1990's in Indonesia, and many other discrimination and marginalization of ethnic Chinese throughout the entire SE Asia are all the works of the US. It is the US that is the killer and destroyer.

Therefore, it is a good thing that the evil intents of the US had failed. With the all but inevitable rise of China, the influence of the Japanese and the americans will inevitably wane. The only danger to China is the excessive xenocentrism of the Dengist faction who is selling out China to these dangerous enemies. If the CPC government sold out China's domestic economy, then China will become a colony of the Japanese and americans without firing a single shot. And the Chinese economy will slide into depression as it had done in the Qing Dynasty and Chinese influence in the SE Asian region will collapse.

Therefore, the task before the CPC government is to ban all foreign businesses out of China's domestic economy, upgrade and expand China's education and R&D, urbanize the rural residents and expand the Chinese military, etc. With such an independent economic, political and military policies, China will at once make itself the richest and the most powerful nation in the world dwarfing the Japanese and American economies and militaries. China can then bring economic prosperity and stability to the SE Asian region by squeezing the evil Japanese and americans out of the region.

mark john Mcculloch , 2016-09-25 19:22:11
Lets be honest what has Obama achieved,he got the Nobel peace prize for simply not being George Bush Jr he has diplayed a woeful lack of leadership with Russia over Syria Libya and the Chinese Simply being the first African American president will not be a legacy
outfitter , 2016-09-25 18:54:08
Do you know of one Leninist state that ever built a prosperous modern industrial nation? Therein lies the advantage and the problem with China. China is totally export dependant and therefore its customers can adversely affect its economy - put enough chinese out of work and surely political instability will follow. A threatened dictatorship with a large army, however, is a danger to its neighbors and the world.
fragglerokk outfitter , 2016-09-25 20:26:17
China are now net consumers. You need to read up on whats happening, not from just the western press. They are well on their way to becoming the most powerful nation on earth, they have access (much like Russia) to over two thirds of the population of the worlds consumers and growing (this is partially why sanctions against Russia have been in large part meaningless) China will never want for buyers of their products (the iphone couldnt be made without the Chinese) with the vast swaithes of unplumbed Russian resources becoming available to them its hard to see how the west can combat the Eurasians. The wealth is passing from west to east, its a natural cycle the 'permanant growth' monkies in the west have been blind to by their own greed and egotism. Above all the Chinese are a trading nation, always seeking win/win trading links. The west would be better employed trading and linking culturally with the Chinese rather than trying to dictate with military threats. The west comprises only 18% of the global population and our growth and wealth is either exhausted or locked away in vaults where it is doing no one any good. Tinme to wise up or get left behind.
deetrump , 2016-09-25 18:17:06
Tisdall...absolute war-monger and neo-con "dog of war". Is this serious journalism? The rise of China was as inevitable as the rise of the US in the last century..."no man can put a stop to the march of a nation". It's Asias century and it's not the first time for China to be the No 1 economy in the world. They have been here before and have much more wisdom than the west...for too long the tail has wagged the dog...suck it up Tisdall!
Dante5 , 2016-09-25 17:56:56
The US grand strategy post-Bush was to reposition itself at the heart of a liberal economic system excluding China through TTIP with the EU and TPP with Asia-Pac ex. China and Russia. The idea was that this would enable the US to sustain its hegemony.

It has been an absolute failure. Brexit has torpedoed TTIP and TPP has limited value- the largest economy in the partnership, Japan, has been largely integrated in to the US for the past 70 years.

IMO the biggest failure of the US has been hating Russia too much. The Russians have just as much reason to be afraid of China as the US do and have a pretty capable army. If the US patched things up with the Russians, firstly it could redeploy forces and military effort away from the Middle East towards Asia Pac and secondly it would give the US effective leverage over China- with the majority of the oil producing nations aligned with the US, China would have difficulty in conducted a sustained conflict. It's old Cold War thinking that has seen America lose its hegemony- similar to how the British were so focused on stopping German ascendancy they didn't see the Americans coming with the knife.

Advaitya , 2016-09-25 17:54:49
America is reaping the fruits of what they sowed during the time of Reagan. It was never a good idea to outsource your entire manufacturing industry to a country that is a dictatorship and does not embrace western liberal democratic values. Now the Americans are hopelessly dependent on China - a country that does not play by the rules in any sphere - it censors free speech, it blatantly violates intellectual property, it displays hostile intent towards nearly all South East Asian countries, its friends include state sponsors of terror like Pakistan and North Korea, it is carefully cultivating the enemies of America and the west in general.

In no way, shape or form does China fulfill the criteria for being a trustworthy partner of the west. And yet today, China holds all the cards in its relationship with the west, with the western consumerist economies completely dependent on China. Moral of the story - Trade and economics cannot be conducted in isolation, separate from geopolitical realities. Doing so is a recipe for disaster.

Kamatron Advaitya , 2016-09-25 21:46:36
The arrogance is breathtaking.

Embrace western liberal values? Exactly what is that?

A sense of moral and ethical superiority?

Freedom to kill unarm black people?

Right to invade other countries?

Commit war crimes?

That kind of Western liberal values?

freeandfair Advaitya , 2016-09-26 01:15:38
The Us is reaping the results of its arrogance, you got that part right.
humdum , 2016-09-25 17:24:35
Mr Tisdall should declare his affiliation, if any, with the military-industrial complex.
It is surprising coming from a Briton which tried to contain Germany and fought two
wars destroying itself and the empire. War may be profitable for military-industrial complex
but disastrous for everyone else. In world war 2, USA benefited enormously by ramping
up war material production and creating millions of job which led to tremendous
prosperity turning the country around from a basket case in 1930s to a big prosperous power
which dominated the world till 2003.
Nuno Cardoso da Silva , 2016-09-25 17:16:24
US insistence on being top cat in a changing world will end up by dragging us all into a WW III. Why can't the US leave the rest of the world alone? Americans do not need a military presence to do business with the rest of the world and earn a lot of money with such trade. And they are too ignorant, too unsophisticate and too weak to be able to impose their will on the rest of us. The (very) ugly Americans are back and all we want is for them to go back home and forever remain there... The sooner the better...
HotPotato22 , 2016-09-25 17:12:13
The world is going to look fantastically different in a hundred years time.

Points of world power will go back to where they was traditionally; Europe and Asia. America is a falling power, it doesn't get the skilled European immigrants it use to after German revolution and 2 world wars. And it's projected white population will be a minority by 2050. America's future lies with south America.

Australia with such a massive country but with a tiny population of 20million will look very attractive to China. It's future lies with a much stronger commonwealth, maybe a united military and economic commonwealth between the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Even without the EU, Europe is going to have to work together, including Russia to beat the Chinese militarily and economically. America will not be the same power in another 30-50 years and would struggle to beat them now.

China are expansionists, always have been. War is coming with them and North Korea sometime in the future.

Alex Wijaya , 2016-09-25 16:23:04
From the article above, it is clear who is the more dangerous power. While China is aiming to be the hegemon through economic means like the neo silk road projects, the US is aiming to maintain its hegemon status through military power. The US think thank even suggest to preemptive strike against China to achieve that. This is also the problem with US pivot to Asia, it may fail to contain China, but it didn't fail to poison the atmosphere in Asia. Asia has never been this dangerous since the end of cold war, all thanks to the pivot.
arbmahla Alex Wijaya , 2016-09-25 18:17:41
Obama is trying to maintain the status quo. China and N. Korea are the ones pushing military intimidation. The key to the US plan is to form an alliance between countries in the region that historically distrust each other. The Chinese are helping that by threatening everybody at the same time. Tisdall sees this conflict strictly as between the US and China. Obama's plan is to form a group of countries to counter China. Japan will have a major role in this alliance but the problem is whether the other victims of WW2 Japanese aggression will agree to it.
TheRealRadj arbmahla , 2016-09-25 18:23:24
With dozens of bases surrounding Russia and China and you call this status quo.
Fail.
CygniCygni , 2016-09-25 16:21:39
The US's disastrous foreign policy since 9/11 which has unleashed so much chaos in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc etc... is not exactly a commendation for credibility these days.
CommieWealth , 2016-09-25 16:08:00
A useful summary of the state of play in the Pacific and SCS. It is somewhat hawkish in analysis, military fantasists will always be legion, they should be listened to with extra large doses of salt, or discussion of arguments which favour peaceful cooperation and development, such as trade, cultural relations, and natural stalemates. American anxiety at its own perception of decline, is at least as dangerous for the world as the immature expression of rising Chinese confidence. But the biggest problem it seems we face, is finding a way to accommodate and translate the aspirations of rising global powers with the existing order established post-45, in incarnated in the UN and other international bodies, in international maritime law as in our western notions of universal human rights. Finding a way for China to express origination of these ideas compatible with its own history, to be able to proclaim them as a satisfactory settlement for human relations, is an ideal, but apparently unpromising task.
BigPhil1959 , 2016-09-25 15:46:39
Perhaps Samuel P Huntingdon was broadly correct when he wrote "The Clash of Civilizations" in the late 90's. He was criticized for his work by neo-liberals who believed that after the Cold War the rest of the world would follow the west and US in particular.

The problem with the neo-liberal view is that only their opinions on issues are correct, and all others therefore should be ridiculed. What has happened in Ukraine is a prime example. Huntingdon called the Ukraine a "cleft" country split between Russia and Europe. The EU and the US decided to stir up trouble in the Ukraine to get even with Putin over Syria. It was never about EU or NATO membership for the Ukraine which is now further away than ever.

A Trump presidency is regarded with fear. The Obama presidency has been a failure with regard to foreign policy and a major reason was because Clinton was Secretary of State in the 1st four years. In many ways a Clinton presidency is every bit as dangerous as a Trump presidency.

Certainly relations with Russia will be worse under Clinton than under Trump, and for the rest of the world that is not a good thing. To those that believe liek Clinton that Putin is the new Hitler, then start cleaning out the nuclear bunkers. If he is then WW3 is coming like it or not and Britain better start spending more on defence.

markwill89 , 2016-09-25 15:41:59
Can people stop calling China a Communist state. It isn't.

China is a corporatist dictatorship.

yelzohy markwill89 , 2016-09-25 16:19:47
which serves only the top one tenth of one percent. Sounds familiar.
markwill89 yelzohy , 2016-09-25 16:23:29
The difference between the United States and China is striking. Try criticising the Chinese leadership in China and see where it gets you.
humdum markwill89 , 2016-09-25 17:44:03
What does the criticism in USA get you? It is just blah blah blah.
ONly criticism that matters is from the corporations and wealthy individuals
like Koch bros and Sheldon Edelson and their ilk. Rest can watch football.
CalvinLyn , 2016-09-25 15:35:31
China hasn't won and US hasn't failed, at least not yet. Both countries are pretending to be strong and powerful while bleeding internally, and are hoping the other guy to fall first. Take your bets.
R_Ambrose_Raven , 2016-09-25 15:30:27
Never mind that a general, high-intensity war in Northern Asia would be disastrous for all involved, whatever the outcome.

Never mind that much of the discussion about containing China is by warmongers urging such a conflict.

Never mind that very little depth in fact lies behind the shell of American and Japanese military strength, or that a competently-run Chinese government is well able to grossly outproduce "us" all in war materiel.

Never mind that those same warmongers and neocons drove and drive a succession of Imperial disasters; they remain much-praised centres of attention, just as the banksters and rentiers that are sucking the life from Americans have never had it so good.

Never mind that abbott encouraged violence as the automatic reaction to problems, while his Misgovernment was (while Turnbull to a lesser extent still is) working hard to destroy the economic and social strengths we need to have any chance of surmounting those problems.

Yes, it is a proper precaution to have a military strength that can deny our approaches to China. Unfortunately that rather disregards that "we" have long pursued a policy of globalisation involving the destruction of our both own manufacturing and our own merchant navy. Taken together with non-existent fuel reserves, "our" military preparations are pointless, because we would have to surrender within a fortnight were China to mount even a partial maritime blockade of Australia.

ID1726608 , 2016-09-25 15:28:36
What I don't quite understand is how all this comes as any surprise to those in the know. China has been on target to be the #1 economic power in the world in this decade for at least 30 years.

And who made it so? Western capitalists. China is now not only the world's industrial heartbeat, it also owns a large proportion of Western debt - despite the fact that its differences with the West (not least being a one-party Communist state) couldn't be more obvious - and while I doubt it's in its interests to destabilise its benefactorrs at the moment, that may not always be the case.

It also has another problem: In fifty or sixty years time it is due to be overtaken by India, which gives it very little time to develop ASEAN in its own image; but I suspect that it's current "silk glove" policy is far smarter and more cost-effective than any American "iron fist".

heyidontknowman , 2016-09-25 15:18:23
The US is just worried about losing out on markets and further exploitation. They should have no authority over China's interest in the South China Sea. If China do rise to the point were they can affect foreign governments, they will unlikely be as brutal as the United States. [Indonesia 1964, Congo 1960s, Brazil 1964, Chile 1973, Central America 1980s, Egyptian military aid, Saudi support, Iraq 2003, the Structural Adjustments of the IMF]
Riaz Danish , 2016-09-25 15:14:17
Simon Tisdall and many Europeans as well as the US GOP party still thinks that US is an empire similar to what the British had in the 18th century. This assumption is completely wrong especially in the 21th century where Western Europe, Japan, Korea if they want can be spend their money and also become global military power. While many Europeans and others including our current GOP pary thinks we are the global empire and we should stick our nose everywhere, our people doesn't we are an empire or we should stick our nose in every trouble spot in the world spending our blood and treasure to fight others battles and get blame when everything goes wrong. President Obama doesn't think of himself as Julius Ceaser and America is not Rome. He will be remembered as one of our greatest president ever setting a course for this country's foreign policy towards trying to solve the world's problems through alliances and cooperation with like minded countries as the opposite of the war mongering brainless, trigger happy GOP presidents. However when lesser powers who preach xenophobia and destabilize their neighborhood through annexation as the Hitler like Putin has,he comes down with a hammer using tools other than military to punish the aggressor. All you need to do is watch what is happening to the Russian economy since he imposed sanctions to the Mafiso Putin.
This article is completely misleading and the author is constricting himself in his statement that Obama's pivot to Asia is a failure. Since China tried to annex the Islands near the Philippines, countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, India, etc. has ask the US for more cooperation both military and economically these countries were moving away from US under Bush and others so I think this is a win for Obama not a loss. Unlike the idiotic Russians, China is a clever country and is playing global chess in advancing her foreign policy goals. While the US cannot do anything with China's annexation of these disputed Islands has costs her greatly because the Asian countries effected by China's moves are running towards the US, this is a win for the US. China's popularity around her neighborhood has taken a nose dive similar to Russian's popularity around her neighborhood. These are long term strategic wins for the US, especially if Hillary wins the white house and carry's on Obama's mantel of speaking softly but carry a big stick. Obama will go down as our greatest foreign policy president by building alliances in Europe to try stop Mafioso Putin and alliances in Asia to curtail China's foreign policy ambitions. This author's thesis is pure bogus, because he doesn't indicate what Obama should have done to make him happy? Threaten Chine military confertation?
All you have to do is go back 8 years ago and compare our last two presidents and you can see where Obama is going.
NowheretoHideQC Riaz Danish , 2016-09-25 15:33:01
For the allusion to Rome, I think they act like the old empire when they had to send their army to keep the peace....and it is an empire of the 21 first century, not like the old ones (Assange).
Mormorola , 2016-09-25 15:06:09
Obama and Hillary foreign country policies have been disasters one after the other:
- "Benign" neglect and lack of courage in Palestine on the "No new settlements" request.
- Disastrous interventions in Libya and Middle East resulting in hundred of thousand of "collateral damage".
- Russian "Reset" which was no more than spin, but continued to look at Russia as the right place to wipe your feet.
- Empty promises to Ukraine resulting into a civil war.
- Ill conceived "Pivot to Asia" with no meat, much wishful thinking and no understanding of local sensitivities.
- Continued support for bloody dictators like the Saudis and the Thai dictators (which Hillary once branded a "vibrant democracy").

And you wish "that woman" to become your next president?

ElZilch0 , 2016-09-25 14:54:23
China needs western consumerism to maintain its manufacturing base. If China's growth impacts the ability of the West to maintain its standard of consumerism, then China will need a new source of affluent purchaser. If China's own citizens become affluent, they will expect a standard of living commensurate with that status, accordingly China will not be able to maintain its manufacturing base.

So the options for China are:

a) Prop up western economies until developing nations in Africa and South America (themselves heavily dependent on the West) reach a high standard of consumerism.

b) Divide China into a ruling class, and a worker class, in which the former is a parasite on the latter.

The current tactic seems to be to follow option b, until option a becomes viable.

However, the longer option a takes to develop, and therefore the longer option b is in effect, the greater the chances of counter-revolution (which at this stage is probably just revolution).

The long and the short of it, is that China is boned.

russian , 2016-09-25 14:35:09
Being a large country surrounded by many other occasionally threatening powers, the governments' priority is and always has been defending its territorial integrity. China is happy enough to leave the command and conquer stuff, sorry "democratization" to the US. It's got it's hands full at home. As long as the West doesn't try to get involved in what China sees as its historical territory (i.e. The big rooster shaped landmass plus Hainan and Hong Kong and various little islands) there's absolutely nothing to worry about.
Babeouf , 2016-09-25 14:32:26
Why did Obama say that his greatest regret was Libya.? Because Obama's policy is/was to manage the decline of US power. To manage the end of US hegemony. I doubt that Obama believes that any pivot to any where can restore or maintain US dominance on planet earth. There is absolutely nothing exceptional about a power not admitting publicly what is known to many,see the outpourings of the British elites during the end of its empire.
Lafcadio1944 , 2016-09-25 14:11:59
As usual the Guardian is on its anti-China horse. Look through this article and every move China has made is "aggressive" or when it tries to expand trade (and produce win win economic conditions) it is "hegemonic" while the US is just trying to protect us all and is dealing with the "Chinese threat" -- a threat to their economic interests and global imperial hegemony is what they mean.

The US still maintains a "one China" policy and the status quo is exactly that "one China" It would be great for someone in the west to review the historical record instead of arming Taiwan to the teeth. Additionally, before China ever started its island construction the US had already begun the "pivot to Asia" which now is huge with nuclear submarines patrolling all around China, nuclear weapons on the - two aircraft carrier fleets now threatening China - very rare for the US to have two aircraft carrier fleets in the same waters - the B-1 long range nuclear bombers now in Australia, and even more belligerent the US intends to deploy THAAD missals in South Korea - using North Korea as an excuse to further seriously threaten China.

China wishes to expand trade and improve economic conditions for its people and for those with whom it trades. That is not aggression except when it interferes with US global economic hegemony.

Just look around the world - where are the conflicts - the middle east and Africa - who is there with military and arms sales and bombing seven countries -- is it China?

The most bulligerant nation in the world the nation with its army in over 100 countries, the nation bombing and conducting perpetual war throughout the middle east, the country invading countries for "regime change" and creating only misery and death -- it is not China.

The US and its Neoliberal capitalist system must expand to grow - plus they clearly want total global domination - the US and its Imperial agents have encircled both China and Russia with trillions of dollars of the most destructive weapons in the world including nuclear weapons - do you thin they have done that for "security" if so you simply ignore the aggression and hubris of an Imperial US.

[Sep 26, 2016] The geopolitical reasons for [TPP], from America's point of view, are pretty clear. It's designed to make sure that the future of the Asia-Pacific region, economically, is not totally dominated by China

Sep 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Bill Clinton: "The geopolitical reasons for [TPP], from America's point of view, are pretty clear. It's designed to make sure that the future of the Asia-Pacific region, economically, is not totally dominated by China" [ CNBC ]. "However, he stopped short [by about an inch, right?] of supporting the TPP. He added that his wife [who is running for President' has said provisions on currency manipulation must be enforced and measures put in place in the United States to address any labor market dislocations that result from trade deals." Oh. "Provisions enforced" sounds like executive authority, to me. And "measures put in place" sounds like a side deal. In other words, Bill Clinton just floated Hillary's trial balloon for passing TPP, if Obama can't get it done in the lame duck. Of course, if you parsed her words, you knew she wasn't lying , exactly….

" The full 40-page paper (PDF) [from the Global Development And Environment Institute at Tufts University] goes into the details [of projected economic gains from trade deals]. Along the way, it provides a highly critical analysis of the underlying econometric model used for almost all of the official studies of CETA, TPP and TTIP - the so-called "computable general equilibrium" (CGE) approach. In particular, the authors find that using the CGE model to analyze a potential trade deal effectively guarantees that there will be a positive outcome ("net welfare gains") because of its unrealistic assumptions" [ TechDirt ].

"Conservative lawmakers looking for a way to buck Donald Trump's populist message on trade may have gotten a little more cover with more than 30 conservative and libertarian groups sending a letter today to Congress expressing strong support for free trade" [ Politico ]. National Taxpayers Union, Club for Growth, FreedomWorks…

"France is set to arrive at the meeting with a proposal to suspend TTIP negotiations, our Pro Trade colleagues in Brussels report. But for the deal's supporters, there's hop'e: 'France will not win the day,' Alberto Mucci, Christian Oliver and Hans von der Burchard write. 'Britain [???], Italy, Spain, Poland, the Nordic countries and the Baltics will thwart any attempt to end the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Bratislava'" [ Politico ].

[Sep 26, 2016] The global pivot towards fiscal policy Gavyn Davies

Notable quotes:
"... After several years of deliberate fiscal austerity, designed to bring down budget deficits and stabilise public debt ratios, the fiscal stance in the developed economies became broadly neutral in 2015. There are now signs that it is turning slightly expansionary , with several major governments apparently heeding the calls from Keynesian economists to boost infrastructure expenditure. ..."
"... [1] Fiscal easing remains very conntentious in political circles throughout the western economies. At a recent meeting behind closed doors in Washington DC, I was surprised to hear a very senior, and generally intelligent, Republican politician declare that "Keynesian demand management has been shown to be useless by a bunch of Austrian academics". I am not sure what he had in mind, but he did make a more defensible point when he added that supply side policies might be more important for growth in the long run. ..."
"... 108 people listening ..."
Sep 26, 2016 | blogs.ft.com

Another nail in the coffin of neoliberalism...

The global pivot towards fiscal policy

Gavyn Davies Loading data... Notice: Author Alerts This service is moving to our new website . You will still be able to follow your favourite authors via myFT . Following authors will create Instant Alerts, which can also be created for any other topic. Try it now . | Sep 25 14:33 | 15 comments | Share Fiscal policy activism is firmly back on the agenda. After several years of deliberate fiscal austerity, designed to bring down budget deficits and stabilise public debt ratios, the fiscal stance in the developed economies became broadly neutral in 2015. There are now signs that it is turning slightly expansionary , with several major governments apparently heeding the calls from Keynesian economists to boost infrastructure expenditure.

This seems an obvious path at a time when governments can finance public investment programmes at less than zero real rates of interest. Even those who believe that government programmes tend to be inefficient and wasteful would have a hard time arguing that the real returns on public transport, housing, health and education are actually negative [1].

With monetary policy apparently reaching its limits in some countries, and deflationary threats still not defeated in Japan and the Eurozone, we are beginning to see the emergence of packages of fiscal stimulus with supply side characteristics, notably in Japan and China.

Investors are asking whether this pivot towards fiscal activism is a reason to become more bullish about equities and more bearish about bonds, on the grounds that the new policy mix will be better for global GDP growth. This is directionally right, but it is important not to exaggerate the extent of the pivot.

The phase of fiscal austerity peaked in 2013, and ended last year, but firm announcements of more stimulative budgetary policy have been fairly minor up to now. In 2016, budgetary policy in the developed economies will be slightly expansionary and the latest plans suggest that the same will be true next year.

J.P. Morgan has recently estimated that budgetary policy in the major developed economies, measured by the structural budget balance, will be eased by 0.2 per cent of GDP both this year and next. With feasible further policy changes, it could turn out to be a little more than this, but only a little:

What effect would that have on GDP growth? In part, that depends on the monetary policy reaction.

In the US, the Federal Reserve could raise short rates slightly more rapidly if fiscal policy is eased, curtailing the GDP benefits somewhat. Elsewhere, monetary policy would not react at all, and central banks would probably prevent any crowding out of private investment by keeping long bond yields stable.

It is now well established that the fiscal multiplier is probably fairly large when interest rates are at the zero lower bound. A recent lecture by Paul Krugman suggests, as a rule of thumb, that the multiplier might be around 1.5, compared to standard estimates of 0.5 or less in previous eras. That seems to be as good an estimate as any other, and it would suggest that the fiscal easing in 2017 might raise GDP growth by more than a quarter percentage point, compared to a GDP growth drag of over 1.8 per cent in 2013.

That is useful, but scarcely ground breaking. Yet Keynesians seem optimistic that the beneficial effects of a fiscal pivot might be much more significant than this. How might this happen?

There are two possibilities. The first is that a fiscal stimulus might shock the economies into a new equilibrium in which private sector confidence is restored and the level of output settles permanently at a new, higher level. Economists can show that almost anything is possible by using multiple equilibrium models (and Keynes certainly had such mechanisms in mind in the 1930s) but it surely strains credulity to suggest that the modest fiscal changes currently planned would have a dramatic effect on corporate or consumer confidence.

A second possibility is that easier fiscal policy would simultaneously make the existing stance of monetary policy more stimulative. Recent work on R*, the equilibrium real rate of interest, suggests that fiscal policy can shock R* upwards, by raising investment relative to savings. This would have an effect opposite to the global savings glut, which is sometimes held to have reduced R* in the past decade.

If that occurred, then the gap between current interest rates and R* would be increased, making the monetary stance (in theory) more stimulative without the central bank taking any action at all. But would a moderate and temporary increase in the budget deficit have a large and permanent effect on R*? It seems rather doubtful.

It is true that eventually there could be changes in fiscal strategy that could be powerful enough to shock the global economy into a different path for growth and inflation. Chris Sims' work on fiscal dominance suggests that a major regime change in which fiscal policy is aimed at achieving a rise in inflation towards the 2 per cent target could be very powerful.

But, in the real world, politicians (except possibly in Japan) are nowhere near accepting the need to throw overboard everything they have believed for decades. It would probably take another global recession to change that.

----------------------------

Footnote

[1] Fiscal easing remains very conntentious in political circles throughout the western economies. At a recent meeting behind closed doors in Washington DC, I was surprised to hear a very senior, and generally intelligent, Republican politician declare that "Keynesian demand management has been shown to be useless by a bunch of Austrian academics". I am not sure what he had in mind, but he did make a more defensible point when he added that supply side policies might be more important for growth in the long run. Tags: central banks , Fiscal policy , Monetary policy
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Robo63 5pts Featured
28 minutes ago

This idea is not new nor has it ever worked. See Japan and China for recent examples, NZ tried it in the 80's and almost went bust.

It maybe possible to get some short term uptick in economic measurements following a big government spend up, but it is well proven that when the fiscal spend up slows so does the economy. There are many reason for this, least not, that most often Government projects are wrecked by politics, unions see them as an opportunity to leverage political capital for the benefit of their members and inevitably push up costs of the project. The private sector see it for what it is, a temporary spend up on the public purse and milk it for all they can get, much of the spending goes off shore via profits and expenditure on raw materials. Unless resources are sitting around idle inflation will reduce the expected returns and ultimately these types of projects reflect the under lying issue in economies that try them, these are usually related to declining productivity driven by regulation and monetary driven asset inflation. If economic wealth creation was as simple as spending more then we would not be talking about it.

The economic philosophy/theory of Keynes and monetarism as land us where we are today. Unfortunately it seems like populist political outcomes will raise there ugly head with who knows what outcome. The establishment will blindly blame the populist politician and not reflect on how we got here. The FT seems to be leading the charge in that regard.

Brian Reading 5pts Featured
1 hour ago
It is great to read sop-histicated articles not afraid to mention the equilibrium real rate of interest and structural budget balances. Perhaps the message is that the combination of conventional fiscal policy with unconventional monetary polcy is doing more harm than good and has the makings of the next crisis. It is possibly now time to try unconventional fiscal with conventional money.
Ye olde sweetie shoppe 5pts Featured
4 hours ago
Did you know that "Camels Fart Augments Menu" is an anagram of Fulcrum Asset Management?
tobacco flat 5pts Featured
6 hours ago
Even the simplest corporate treasurer would be issuing as much paper as possible at negative interest rates but the ECB geniuses are buying!
Down under 5pts Featured
10 hours ago

@duvinroude

I think that's been tried before, don't you?

seafoid 5pts Featured
14 hours ago
Taxing the 1% is the only solution
slimfairview 5pts Featured
14 hours ago

After almost 6 years of inveighing against Merkelism, an economic system based on the fear that someone, somewhere is earning a living, and after youngsters majoring in Economics tried running Ken Rogoff's numbers through a computer and failed to duplicate the results, the EuroCrats have--with their last gasp--embraced austerity.


Nonetheless, that the EuroUnion may be unraveling is indicated in part by Dr. Rogoff back-pedaling on austerity in a recent interview, the hysterical rants by EuroCrats against the impending Brexit Vote, the petulant and bitter invective after the Brexit Vote, the "open and public and effusive" support for the Chancellor by, among others, Madame Lagarde; Draghi's rebuke to Merkel on her attempted interference in the activities of the ECB.....


Perhaps the EuroCrats from the "EXIT" Nations: Britain, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and now Ireland, will consider the proposal in Brexit? Now What?

http://sidestreetjournal.blogspot.com/2016/06/brexit-now-what.html

Warmest regards,

Slim.

The SidestreetJournal is an unsupported, unfunded, non-profit web log by the Blogger Slim Fairview.

Neil at home 5pts Featured
15 hours ago
So the nice easy solution of lowering interest rates hasn't stimulated growth and throwing a few trillion on infrastructure wont help much either.
Ye olde sweetie shoppe 5pts Featured
5 hours ago
@ Neil at home I respectfully disagree. Infrastructure spending should at the very least stimulate wage growth, increase employment and ultimately stoke inflation. Zero interest rates have done none of this because in a balance sheet recession corporations tend rather perversely to pay down debt rather than issue more of it. I recommend you watch one of Ricard Koo's presentations on Youtube.
genauer 5pts Featured
15 hours ago

Inflation targeting to less than 2% has been Bundesbank policy for a long time, and with them most of mainland Europe.

Krugman claiming that "And my team won three out of three. Goooaaal!" is his typical brand of strawmen dishonesty.

Krugman trying to diparage "Academics like Niall Ferguson and John Cochrane ", that has really something to it.

Still showing the discgraced garbage "analysis" solely depending on one false data point Greece (Fig. 2) shows that the disgraced Krugman and his Krugtron "team" are intellectual and character garbage, specifically including formerly IMF Olivier Blanchard.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/85a0c6c2-1476-11e2-8cf2-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=intl#axzz4Kctynkdq

Last updated: October 12, 2012 11:00 pm

Robustness of IMF data scrutinised

By Chris Giles in London

To the honesty and accurateness of the same usual suspect de Grauwe, please see my detailed comment at

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/45b7a0ca-1ea5-11e6-a7bc-ee846770ec15.html#axzz4Kctynkdq

May 20, 2016 7:26 pm

Greece's creditors eye IMF debt deal

Alex Barker in Brussels and Shawn Donnan in Washington

which had to wait 18 hours in pending .... : - )

Ralph Musgrave 5pts Featured
16 hours ago
So after several years during which monetary policy has proved less than brilliantly effective at giving us stimulus, the "experts" are now going to try fiscal policy. Have the "experts" yet caught up with the fact that the Earth revolves round the Sun?
Andrew Baldwin 5pts Featured
17 hours ago
I haven't read the paper by Chris Sims but there is no reason that fiscal policy should set itself the task of raising the inflation rate to two percent. The two percent inflation target is a relic of the original inflation control agreement of the Governor of the Bank of Canada and the Minister of Finance in February 1991. The upward bias in the Canadian CPI at that time was probably greater by 25 basis points than it is today, and probably in excess of 50 basis points as compared to the US target inflation indicator, the PCEPI. In any case, two percent was never intended to define price stability, which the 1991 agreement clearly stated would be some inflation rate lower than two percent. The developed world should forget about a two percent target. It is long past time to move the target rate down.
duvinrouge 5pts Featured
17 hours ago

Expansionary fiscal policy solution for those who think the problem is capitalists hoarding money.

Expansionary fiscal policy, just like expansionary monetary policy, will only further diverge aggregate prices from aggregate values - a crisis of 'overproduction'. But, of course, economists today have no comprehension of the difference between price & value, even if some recognise an 'asset-price bubble'.

There is no way of avoiding a recession that destroys fictitious capital, along with productive capital & with all the mass unemployment & human suffering. Not because boom-bust is an act of nature, rather it is part & parcel of the capitalist system. Only a post-capitalist system where the means of production are commonly owned/controlled can we liberate humanity.

Hollow Man 5pts Featured
7 hours ago
@ duvinrouge Interesting! But you've teased us before with comments that would suggest you have more up your sleeve. Why not lay out a fuller explanation --presumably it's some kind of modern variant of Marxian theory -- so that we can judge for ourselves what sort of alternative it really is to to Gavyn Davies' stale, jargon-ridden analysis?

[Sep 26, 2016] Hug it out: Michelle Obama embraces George W Bush

Notable quotes:
"... 'Mission Accomplished' should be the name of the jail cells for Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld convicted as war criminals. ..."
Sep 26, 2016 | www.theguardian.com
krissywilson87 PlumRadio , 2016-09-26 08:30:48
I will never miss George Dubya Bush. It was truly scary to realise that the institutions of the US were so broken that a complete moron like that could become President because his daddy was. Then, just as Obama's election seemed to put things back on an even keel, here in Britain we elected Dave Cameron, an aristocratic ignoramus probably more out of touch with reality than Dubya ever was - and not a whole lot smarter.
Chuck3 morbid , 2016-09-26 08:52:02
Pretty straightforward unless you were an Iraqi with god knows how many tons of depleted uranium dropping on your children's heads. Or an innocent Afghan being tortured in one of the CIA's black sites.

Bush is a war criminal who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

He represents the worst of humanity and although Trump appears worse - we will have to wait to see what his legacy will be if he wins. As it stands Bush is the one who already has a disastrous and murderous legacy.

WillKnotTell seedeevee , 2016-09-26 10:54:34
"Obama has been at war longer than Bush."

Considering he inherited the war Bubba Bush and Darth Bugsey Cheney started, you are correct. The fact they disbanded the Iraqi military, they provided skilled military leaders and troops to ISIL.

Kentrel Jaydee23 , 2016-09-26 12:07:52
That excuse is a bit hard to swallow 8 years later. Even Guantanamo Bay remains in use, as it ever was. As it turns out it was easier for Obama to provide weapons to rebel\terrorist groups in Libya and Syria than it was to give prisoners a fair trial under the American justice system and end torture. He's also cracked down on whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden in a way that Bush never did.
1iJack , 2016-09-26 05:30:25
Now get Hillary in there and the picture will be complete and could be titled...

"the Globalists"

Haytop , 2016-09-26 05:20:34
war mongers converge?
RedKrayola Joe Dert , 2016-09-26 06:44:56
Bush signed agreement for a deadline to withdraw troops from Iraq. Obama tried to bully Iraq into disregarding that agreement. They refused. He then simply rechristened the troops 'advisors.' Obama never ended the war there, or anywhere. He's extended Bush's wars into several more countries throughout MENA.

Please stop lying about Obama's record. He has pushed for never-ending, ever-expanding wars, and that's just what he's delivered.

ponderwell RedKrayola , 2016-09-26 07:45:30
The nightmare Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld & company left due to their manipulating lies and misinformation to ensure the USA bomb
Iraq (thus destabilizing the ME) will
at minimum bring a generation of leaders great misery.

Each US leader will experiment with the
possibilities to decrease terrorism, many more mistakes will be endured. No one seems to knows how to stop the hatred which underlies the destruction pledged
by these sociopathic murderers.

Gigi Trala La Joe Dert , 2016-09-26 08:25:25
Obama promoted the same aggressive American policy as Bush, despite the early promise. Perhaps it makes little difference who is in power. To ignore the last 8 years of more bloodshed is a thing many round the world do not have the luxury you do.

Eisenhower, more right as the years pass.

seedeevee Joe Dert , 2016-09-26 09:42:04
We call Obama a war monger because he has brought the American war effort to seven nations just this year. Brought war to Ukraine. Libya. Syria. Yemen. Honduras.

Obama's Military is in over 150 nations on this planet.

ETC.

RedKrayola ponderwell , 2016-09-26 11:04:39
Obama continue expanded the Bush/Cheney doctrine. He campaigned for office pledging to reverse it. He's now been president for nearly eight years; it's reasonable to hold him accountable for what he's done and stop pretending he bears no responsibility for what's happened under his watch as commander-in-chief.
ponderwell RedKrayola , 2016-09-26 16:08:08
Every leader including Obama carries the responsibility for their choices. Bush/Cheney
violated and abused the trust of leaders and
the public in many nations by misinforming,
lying, and manipulative means to bomb
a nation who had no dealings with the terrorism of 9/11. The USA is now in a war tangle in which every leader hence will be targeted negatively until the ME conflicts
have no more US armed forces involved in the killings. Terrorism will plague many nations for the next generation at minimum.

'Mission Accomplished' should be the name of the jail cells for Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld convicted as war criminals.

montevideo , 2016-09-26 21:27:57
This picture kind of sums up why a whole load of people are voting Trump. Two apparently opposing politicians who ultimately led the US in the same self destructing direction. The illusion of democracy could never be clearer.
James Lohe , 2016-09-26 12:54:13
Bush 43 is arguably the most incompetent President ever. But no one would accuse him of being a bigot. Unlike Drumpf.
Chuckman James Lohe , 2016-09-26 12:58:45
Oh boy, do you lack history.

Bush had a disgraceful record in every sphere.

It would take too long to detail.

Read a book, such as the one by the late Molly Ivins.

backscratch Chuckman , 2016-09-26 13:41:33
Afraid I would find it impossible to hug the president who with Blair has destabilised the Middle East for years to come...mind you the UK's history ain't so hot. Maybe I should stop going around hugging my fellow countrymen and women.
OinkImSammy James Lohe , 2016-09-26 14:09:46
I think they would because he was. The PNAC agenda did and does read like Mein Kampf.
Chuckman , 2016-09-26 12:35:47
Well, he's much like her husband, isn't he?

Far more so than many think with superficial consideration.

Both men did nothing for their people while spending unbelievable amounts of money on obscene mass killing abroad.

They also share behaviors in the economic sphere. The 2008 Financial collapse happened under George Bush owing to a lack of adequate oversight of financial institutions and practices, a titanic financial equivalent to Bush's lackadaisical performance in New Orleans' Hurricane Katrina.

The Obama response during eight years in office has been to avoid making any changes to correct the situation and prevent future occurrences, and he has done nothing but have vast quantities of money printed to keep the economy afloat.

Chuckman Chuckman , 2016-09-26 12:55:10
Actually, while Obama is more intelligent than Bush, he too is a weak and ineffective figure. He has marched without pause to the drumbeat of the Pentagon and CIA.
Chuckman djkbrown2001 , 2016-09-26 12:50:21
Bush was never even a President.

He understood at least his own lack of ability after a lifetime spent as an asinine frat-boy who never did anything on his own.

He had Cheney and Rumsfeld along deliberately because he knew they were ready to run things for him.

His lack of effective intelligence and lack of drive to do anything should have meant that Bush never be president.

But he had money, tons of it, and heavy-duty political connections, and the real power men like the ruthless Cheney had him lined up from the start as their front man.

The one thing Bush proved was that America doesn't even need a President. Any pathetic figure can sign the documents placed before him and read the speeches written for him.

The establishment, with immense resources at its disposal, is quite capable of keeping the public believing that the face on the television is actually in charge.

Actually, while Obama is more intelligent than Bush, he too is a weak and ineffective figure. He has marched without pause to the drumbeat of the Pentagon and CIA.

Tim Caulfield , 2016-09-26 11:45:44
"There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party...and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt-until recently... and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties." (Gore Vidal - "The State of the Union", 1975)
Aldous0rwell , 2016-09-26 11:41:46
"W" had one of the BEST track records of placing PoC in truly significant positions. Condoleeza Rice. Colin Powell, Alberto Gonzalez, etc. Bush was in no way, shape or form a racist - so long as you were an Uncle Tom willing to sell out your fellow citizens, bomb the crap out of foreigners, and kiss the asses of the 1%.
robinhood2013 , 2016-09-26 11:29:37
I see Obama has vetoed the chance for relatives of the victims of 9/11 to take the Saudi government to court. Despicable man!
hdmiin robinhood2013 , 2016-09-26 13:21:18
Maybe he didn't want to set a precedent - the relatives of dead Iraqis have an even better case for taking the US government to court.
trevorgoodchild2 , 2016-09-26 10:56:31
She is hugging him because he is voting for Clinton. Just annother of his long list of errors in judgement.
Isaac_Blunt , 2016-09-26 10:33:25
I Liked Dubbya. I've missed his amiable gaffs.

"The trouble with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur..."

Chris Moody freepedestrian , 2016-09-26 11:12:44
Like making Bush's tax cuts permanent. Obama has many great qualities, but a strong principled belief in equality is not one of them. He's a neo-liberal corporatist through and through -hence frantically trying to push TTP through before the election, now that Hillary was forced to say she's against it. I'm sure there was a private conversation there - 'That f-ing Bernie is making me say I'm against TTP -can you get it through before the election, we can't trust Trump on it'
imperfetto , 2016-09-26 10:06:39
Michelle Obama embrases the criminal whose administration is responsible ( although we know that the foreign policy in the US is not decided by the president but by the NSA, CIA and occult lobbies ) for the death of over 1.500.000 million people in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile the Guardian embraces the anti Russian propaganda by giving voice to the unpeakable lies about Russia's war crimes. Fortunately most media in the Continent (in France and Italy especially), are not follwing this dictats.
ALLisVanity , 2016-09-26 09:27:01
If the UN and the International Criminal Court were not mere tools of the US to punish anyone they don't like how on earth is this criminal not in jail? The only person that did worse than him is Hitler. He purposely lied to go into a war that destroyed thousands of innocent lives.
Alan Jones , 2016-09-26 08:59:06
I hope she washed her hands afterwards.
SALSERO64 Alan Jones , 2016-09-26 09:22:17
Why? They all are made of the same stuff.
cvneuves , 2016-09-26 08:55:10
I see, Bush (death toll 500,000+) and Obama (death toll 300,000+) are now closing ranks to avert Trump. Phew!!! This Trump guy must be really dangerous. I hope, our banks help finance an effective campaign against Trump!
Ludek29 cvneuves , 2016-09-26 09:00:40
Your Bush estimate is probably about 6 times lower its actual number.
seedeevee Ludek29 , 2016-09-26 09:18:24
and Obama has been at war longer. What a slacker!
cvneuves Ludek29 , 2016-09-26 10:09:32
John Tirman: Bush's War Dead: One Million , MIT, February 16, 2009.
scss99 , 2016-09-26 08:33:42
I think this is a good thing, Ronald Reagan used to have dinner with Tip O'Neill. As did many Republicans and Democrat presidents and senior members of Congress/Senate, that's stopped under Tom DeLay and Gingrich during the 90s when partisanship really took hold. It's been ugly ever since.

Socializing with the opposition is good for a working relationship.

Cessminster SickSwan , 2016-09-26 08:34:04
Obama wasn't corrupted by office - operation Obama was planned well in advance. I would argue he was corrupted a long time ago. I see war criminal Bush Snr endorsed Clinton just last week - go figure. Not that I am a fan of Trump - far from it.

Obama appeared out of nowhere and managed to scrape together the mega bucks to fund his campaign? Doesn't work like that - You don't currently get to be POTUS otherwise.

AlfredHerring , 2016-09-26 08:08:53
It seems like only 16 years ago that a bunch of Wall Street traders flew to Florida to stage a riot to stop the recount....and here's Obama and Bush looking forward to the election of the first President with her/his own hedge fund.....it brings tears to my eyes...
domrice , 2016-09-26 08:06:40
GW Bush refers to Hillary Clinton as his sister-in-law, now receives a hug from Michelle Obama. Further confirmation that the supposed political rivalry between the Reps and Wall St / TPP Dems is just noise.
Christian Stevens , 2016-09-26 07:58:47
The Obamas have become part of the firm. Anyone who has read vincent bugliosi book,The prosecution of George W BUsh for murder knows the last thing this guy needs is a hug. How can any of them be truly trusted
MereMortal , 2016-09-26 07:34:22
Politics is theater. They're all acting pretty much all the time, as politics is the art of managing perceptions.
Everyone knows everyone. There is a front of house posturing and invective demanded by the job, and then the back of house, deals and horse-trading.
Bill Clinton is a massive friend of both George Bushes and Donald Trump used be a good friend of the Clintons. But both the Clintons loathe Barack and Michelle Obama.
So for me, the very worst picture was the one of Hillary being hugged by Barack during her stolen coronation.
anonym101 , 2016-09-26 06:46:53
Looks like the establishment is closing ranks. When was the last time the US had a real two party system and politicians were not controlled by Wall Street?

[Sep 26, 2016] Class War by Other Means: Tennessee, Volkswagen and the Future of Labor

Notable quotes:
"... The political logic is pretty clear: massive subsidies are just the price that the public is expected to pay in exchange for the limited number of jobs made available to them within the "free enterprise" system. ..."
"... In fact, President Obama came to Chattanooga to join in on Tennessee's bi-partisan economic consensus. During his 2013 jobs tour, the President delivered a speech at the Chattanooga Amazon distribution facility, praising the company for doing its part to restore the middle class through "good jobs with good wages." The starting wage at the Chattanooga warehouse is $11.25 an hour. ..."
www.truth-out.org
In 2008, the governments of the city of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, the state of Tennessee, and the United States all collaborated to provide Volkswagen (VW) with a $577 million subsidy package, the largest taxpayer handout ever given to a foreign-headquartered automaker in U.S. history. The bulk of the subsidy package, $554 million, came from local and state sources. The federal government also threw in $23 million in subsidies, bringing the grand total of taxpayer money that VW received in 2008 to $577 million. According to the Subsidy Tracker at the website of watchdog group Good Jobs First, the package provided to VW included "$229 million from the state for training costs and infrastructure; $86 million in land and site improvements from the city and the county; state tax credits worth $106 million over 30 years; and local tax abatements worth $133 million over the same period." In exchange for this massive infusion of public wealth onto Volkswagen's corporate balance sheets, the company promised to create 2,000 jobs in Chattanooga, bringing the price tag for each promised job to $288,500.

When asked to respond to concerns about VW's record-shattering subsidy package, then-Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, unabashedly replied, "I don't know whether it's fair that a Mercedes Benz costs $90,000, I just know if I want one that's what I've got to pay." Tennessee's U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican, applauded the deal as another significant mile marker on the way towards "Tennessee's future" of becoming the "the No. 1 auto state in the country."

The political logic is pretty clear: massive subsidies are just the price that the public is expected to pay in exchange for the limited number of jobs made available to them within the "free enterprise" system. The VW subsidy deal is just one example of how large corporations leveraged the widespread suffering caused by the Great Recession, the longest and deepest economic crisis since the 1930s, to bleed the funds of state governments in exchange for jobs. In a 2013 report studying the rise of "megadeals" -- subsidy deals with a local and state subsidy cost of $75 million or more -- Good Jobs First found that "since 2008, the average number of megadeals per year has doubled (compared to the previous decade) and their annual cost has roughly doubled as well, averaging around $5 billion." This was certainly the trend in Tennessee, where VW was the first of three separate megadeals negotiated in the state from 2008 to 2009. The same year that the VW deal was announced, Hemlock Semiconductor received over $340 million in government giveaways to develop a $1.2 billion polycrystalline silicon manufacturing plant in Clarksville, Tenn. By 2014, the plant was shuttered and all 500 promised jobs evaporated. Wacker Chemie received over $200 million in subsidies to build a billion-dollar plant in Bradley County, just outside of Chattanooga, to produce materials used in solar panels and semiconductors. Another megadeal was brokered with Amazon, which received over $100 million in local and state subsidies to build a distribution center in Chattanooga's industrial development park, which is shared with the Volkswagen plant.

The Bipartisan Consensus

The subsidy deals with Volkswagen, Hemlock, Wacker, and Amazon were all originally negotiated by Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, and U. S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both Republicans, and was approved by the Tennessee General Assembly, which in 2008 came under Republican control for the first time since Reconstruction. These deals were drafted in collaboration between state politicians (both Democratic and Republican) and business elites in total secrecy. Tom Rowland, mayor of Cleveland City in Bradley County, the location for the Wacker plant just outside of Chattanooga, revealed the frequency of such secret meetings: "You don't know how many times we have slipped Gov. Bredesen, Sen. [Bob] Corker and [Tennessee Economic and Community Development commissioner] Matt Kisber into the Chamber office."

By 2010, the state was firmly under the control of a Republican governor, Bill Haslam, and a Republican super-majority in the General Assembly. By 2012, the Republicans held over two-thirds of all state government offices in what they called a "super duper majority." The parties might have changed, but the love for corporate welfare did not, as the Republicans continued to build upon and extend all of the agreements from the previous governor's administration.

In fact, President Obama came to Chattanooga to join in on Tennessee's bi-partisan economic consensus. During his 2013 jobs tour, the President delivered a speech at the Chattanooga Amazon distribution facility, praising the company for doing its part to restore the middle class through "good jobs with good wages." The starting wage at the Chattanooga warehouse is $11.25 an hour.

"Good Jobs" and Concessionary Unionism

According to a 2015 study by the Center for Automotive Research, auto workers at VW in Chattanooga had the lowest hourly pay and benefits of any employees in a U.S. car factory. The starting hourly wage rate for an assembly line worker at Volkswagen is about $15 an hour, or approximately $31,000 a year. A full-time production employee can top out their pay in seven years at a wage rate of $23 an hour, or about $48,000 a year. That makes the top pay at Volkswagen less than 80% of the estimated annual median income for Hamilton County. Third-party contractors hired by Volkswagen to work on the line in the plant and the network of auto suppliers servicing the factory pay even lower hourly wage rates. Yet U.S. Senator Corker describes production jobs at VW as "good paying," Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger prefers the term "family-wage jobs," and Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke describes VW as providing "living-wage jobs" that are helping to "build our middle class."

Tennessee's billionaire governor, Bill Haslam, who happens to be the richest politician in the country, has expressed little concern over whether or not the jobs brought to the state were high paying. In fact, it appears that he is proud that they are not. In official material directed to foreign companies by the Haslam administration, the governor touted a pro-business environment in which companies can exploit a "low-cost labor force" thanks to the state's "very low unionization rates." (That's alongside the boon of state and local taxes that are "some of the lowest in the region.")

Since the Great Recession, the United Auto Workers (UAW) has been overseeing the erosion of gains made by auto workers in previous decades. The union has been able to maintain higher wages and benefits for the auto workers they represent when compared to manufacturing overall, but the difference has shrunk dramatically in recent years. According to the Detroit Free Press, "Back in 1960, a Detroit Three UAW autoworker was paid 16% more than the average U.S. manufacturing worker. By the early 2000s, that wage gap had grown to nearly 70% in favor of the UAW worker, but shrank back to 33% by this year."

The union, to be sure, is operating under difficult conditions in the auto industry: trade deficits in manufacturing that were growing even prior to the Great Recession, the relative increase of jobs in parts plants that pay less than assembly plants, the growth in auto employment at nonunion "transplants" (belonging to non-U.S. headquartered companies like Volkswagen and Toyota), and the rise of temp agencies and "just in time" production as part of the overall lean production management processes in the industry. All of these changes, however, have taken place in the context of the UAW's top-down brand of business unionism, which has led to its deeply concessionary approach to collective bargaining and new organizing. For example, an Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report jointly authored by a former UAW leader, a former vice president from Ford, and an academic expert on "workplace innovation," lauded the UAW for being "a full partner for more than a decade in experimenting with innovations in work organization" and working with corporate management at the Big Three to reduce a "major portion" in the "cost differential" with non-union foreign-headquartered auto makers:

In 2005, there was a gap of $3.62 between the average hourly wage of $27.41 at Ford and $23.79 for the transplants. When fringe benefits, legally required payments, pension benefits, retiree health care, and other post-employment labor costs are added in, the gap grew to $20.55 ($64.88 versus $44.33) .... In 2010, following the 2007 introduction of the entry wage and concessions made during the 2009 government bailout, the wage gap stood at $4 ($28 for Ford versus $24 for the transplants), and the gap when including fringe benefits and post-employment costs stood at $6 ($58 for Ford versus $52 for the transplants).

Incredibly, the UAW leadership has continued to proudly highlight how contract concessions have induced an ever-closer wage convergence between transplants -- located largely in low-wage, Republican-dominated states in the southeastern United States -- and U.S.-headquartered automakers in historically union-dense strongholds, like Michigan. They hold this up as proof of their labor-management partnership credentials while simultaneously championing the auto industry as lifting up "good jobs" and "the middle class." Despite the reality of declining wages, benefits, and jobs, the public appears to believe the same. According to an analysis of several polls by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a majority of the general public believes that "manufacturing is the most important job sector, in terms of strengthening the economy."

At the Chattanooga VW plant, workers also face a brutal lean-production management model on the assembly-line floor that works to squeeze higher productivity from a scant and beleaguered workforce. The working conditions on the assembly line are so physically demanding that many production workers cannot see working at VW as a long-term career. Yet in 2013, when the UAW announced that they were seeking to organize the Chattanooga plant, the union decided against organizing around the salient issues in the plant and instead chose to frame their entire organizing campaign around collaboration with the company to form the first German-style "works council" in the history of the United States. The UAW's strategy was exclusively predicated on advancing what the union championed as an innovative form of labor-management partnership.

The UAW even went so far as to sign a neutrality agreement with Volkswagen which committed the union to "maintaining and where possible enhancing the cost advantages and other competitive advantages that [Volkswagen] enjoys relative to its competitors." When pressed to account for why the union would make such a shocking concession, then-UAW president Bob King issued this reply:

Our philosophy is, we want to work in partnership with companies to succeed. Nobody has more at stake in the long-term success of the company than the workers on the shop floor, both blue collar and white collar. With every company that we work with, we're concerned about competitiveness. We work together with companies to have the highest quality, the highest productivity, the best health and safety, the best ergonomics, and we are showing that companies that succeed by this cooperation can have higher wages and benefits because of the joint success.

Continued Investments, Too-Big-to-Fail and Too-Big-to-Jail

In July 2014, Volkswagen announced that it was planning to invest $600 million into expanding the Chattanooga plant, adding additional assembly lines for the production of an SUV for the North American market. According to local news reports:

More than a third of that investment will initially come from state and local governments who agreed to pump more than $230 million of upfront tax dollars into the project to woo VW into expanding in Chattanooga rather than at its other major North American plant in Puebla, Mexico, where labor costs are far lower. Combined with other property tax breaks, TVA incentives, road projects and other potential tax credits, Volkswagen could qualify for more than $300 million of grants, credits and other government assistance over the next decade....

The expansion of the Chattanooga plant brings the total subsidy package provided to Volkswagen up to about $877 million dollars. Following the official announcement of the expanded subsidy deal, Tennessee House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, whose district includes Chattanooga, told the press, "I think it is a good investment and we will convince the Legislature of that because there are just so many ripple effects from this investment that will help so much of our state." The ripple effects of such an enormous single investment took on a completely different character with the announcement, in September 2015, that the EPA was fining Volkswagen for installing "defeat devices" on their automobiles, allowing the diesel cars produced at the Chattanooga plant to temporarily hide the emissions they produce.

Since the EPA's announcement, VW has acknowledged that it produced over 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide that contained software allowing them to cheat nitrogen oxide tests. This software, installed on 2009–2015 diesel VWs, reduced emissions while the cars were hooked up to testing devices, only to let pollution "spill out of the tail pipe at up to 40 times the allowable level" when cars were on the road. An analysis performed by the Associated Press (AP) estimates that about 100 people in the United States have likely died as a result of the pollution produced by VW's diesel Passat over the last few years. AP's analysis estimates that the death toll in Europe is substantially higher, likely resulting in hundreds of deaths for every year the cars were on the road.

After the EPA's announcement in September 2015; VW's stock price plummeted and VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned. Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Michael Horn admitted, during his official testimony before Congress in October, that the defeat devices were installed for the express purpose of beating emissions tests. In November 2015, the Chattanooga VW plant stopped the production of the diesel Passat. More recently, VW has agreed to a partial settlement with federal and state authorities of over $15 billion as new lawsuits and government investigations from around the world continue to make headlines. How have the local and state government responded to the news of VW's rampant criminality and corruption? Speaking to reporters about VW and the scandal, Governor Haslam said, "We're married to them. We want this plant to be a success."

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, meanwhile, told reporters, "We need for the plant to be successful. It's important to our economy." The state is too invested in VW -- politically and financially -- to be in any position to truly hold the company accountable for its actions.

A New Road Forward

Put it all together and we have a formula for maximizing corporate profits that mixes equal parts political opportunism with class collaboration. Following the Great Recession, voters were desperate for jobs. Politicians, campaigning on bringing jobs to voters, are willing to provide massive subsidies to companies willing to locate in their voting districts. The union, desperate to organize new bargaining units from which to collect dues and to be seen as a legitimate partner with corporate and political elites, actually agrees to "maintain" and "enhance" the competitive advantages corporations gain by pushing private business costs off onto the public while providing jobs with lower wages, reduced benefits, and deteriorating working conditions. Meanwhile, the public believes they are getting "good jobs," while the actual quality of those jobs continues to decline. The companies laugh all the way to the bank. With their backs to the wall, unions like the UAW can no longer put off organizing auto makers and suppliers that choose to locate their plants in the South, but they will not succeed by promising to "work in partnership" with the companies. Labor organizers in the South will usually be working in an environment in which both business and government are hostile to unions. When the UAW narrowly lost the VW vote in 2014, the union should have learned a valuable lesson. The company might have formally committed to being "neutral," but the business and political elites in the South made no such agreement. If unions fail to win over the broader working class, they have no chance of winning representation elections -- especially in states like Tennessee, where only 6% of all workers belong to a union, and in cities like Chattanooga, where the unionization rate is even lower, at an abysmal 3.4% of all workers.

To win, unions will not only have to jettison the pipedream of courting management with promises of maximizing worker productivity and containing costs. Rather, they will have to return to their militant roots: connecting shop-floor fights with community organizing. This approach has been successfully exemplified by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the Grassroots Collaborative, a labor-community alliance that has become a permanent fixture in Chicago politics and generated immense public support for CTU's militant fights with the city's investor class and mayor. CTU's combination of bottom-up work-site organizing and authentic, non-transactional support for community organizations and their struggles were critical preludes to the union's relatively successful 2012 strike. A long-term strategy focused on this kind of organizing would go a long way towards building the kind of movement infrastructure that labor needs to win in the South.

All of this is easier said than done. But we are currently faced with the atrocious working conditions and ever-diminishing wages and benefits of manufacturing jobs, the spread of poverty throughout our communities, the deep underfunding of public services, and the rising tide of anger and resentment (especially among young people) towards the economic and political elite. The time is ripe for organizers to begin harvesting the fruits of our exploited labor.

Shouldering the Subsidy: Tennessee's Regressive Tax System

Tennessee has one of the most regressive tax systems in the country. Currently, Tennessee has no state income tax and a constitutional amendment, passed by referendum in 2014, prevents the state government from ever establishing an income or payroll tax. Moreover, earlier this year the state legislature passed a bill to phase out the state's tax on dividends and income from bonds by 2022, resulting in millions of dollars in tax revenue being stripped from city budgets. This will likely result in city governments raising revenue by hiking property taxes, further shifting the burden of raising revenues for the state onto the working and middle classes.

The lack of an income tax means that the Tennessee state government relies to a large degree on sales taxes to raise revenue. The sales tax is especially regressive due to the state's refusal to exempt essentials like groceries (though groceries are at least taxed at a lower rate than the overall sales tax), while completely exempting luxury goods such as "attorneys' fees, services such as haircuts and massages, and goods for horses and airplanes." Additionally, the state fails to offer any tax credits to low-income taxpayers to offset either sales or property taxes.

This means that the primary form of wealth for the working and middle classes -- a family home -- is taxed to provide the vast majority of revenue for local governments. Meanwhile, major forms of wealth for the ruling class -- corporate stocks and bonds -- are not. Tennessee's working and middle classes are being squeezed under the highest average combined state-local sales tax rate in the country, while the owners of capital skirt any responsibility for paying their share.

This regressive system is compounded with every tax abatement given to a large multinational corporation, such as Volkswagen. When the state increases its reliance on sales taxes to offset the holes punched into the budget by corporate tax breaks, this increases the overall tax burden on the poor and working class. The only other option to raising revenue through regressive taxes is for the state to cut services. Cuts to services, such as healthcare, public education, infrastructure, and transportation, are just another way to shift the burden onto the working class. While public services diminish, highly profitable multinational corporations, such as Volkswagen, benefit from direct state supports, like state-financed job training and capital-improvement grants, which improve their bottom-line and further entrench wealth inequality.

The federal tax system, on the whole, is progressive, according to a 2016 Tax Policy Center report. Economists with the Federal Reserve Bank studied the impact of state taxes on income inequality and found that Tennessee's regressive tax system "reverses around one-third of the compression [in the income spread] caused by federal taxes" -- the most of any state in the country.

Inequality's Racial Disparities

According to the 2015 report "State of Black Chattanooga," by the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies, the median wealth of white households in Tennessee bounced back in the years after the Great Recession, increasing by 2.4% between 2010 and 2013, to $141,900. Contrast that with the median wealth of Black households in the state, which continued to spiral down in the same time period, falling more than 33% to $11,000.

The arrival of Volkswagen, Wacker, and Amazon has failed to fundamentally alter the overall low-wage economy in Chattanooga and Hamilton County. When these "megadeals" combine with the further subsidies provided to land developers for luxury condos and apartments in Chattanooga's urban core and the expanding priority placed by local governments on police and jails, the results are gentrification, displacement, and incarceration. Currently, 27% of Chattanoogans overall live in poverty, almost double the national average, and that number jumps to 36% in the city's Black community. In the eleven lowest-income neighborhoods in the city, in which about three-quarters of residents identify as Black, the poverty rate is 64%. Only 17% of the Tennessee population is Black, yet Black people are 44% of our state's prison population.

Concerned Citizens for Justice, a grassroots organization dedicated to Black liberation in Chattanooga, describes this underlying systemic approach by politicians and business leaders as "an arrangement that is good for rich financiers and developers and bad for Chattanooga's working class and oppressed majority." The numbers certainly bear out their analysis.

Sources:

Frank Ahrens and Sholnn Freeman 2007. "GM, Union Agree on Contract to End Strike," Washington Post, Sept. 27, 2015 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/26/AR2007092600155.html ; Associated Press, "TN touts 'low-cost labor force' to lure foreign business," Sept. 2, 2015 http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2015/09/02/tn-touts-low-cost-labor-force-lure-foreign-business/71617998/ ; Associated Press, "Volkswagen now under investigation for tax evasion," Nov. 24, 2015 http

[Sep 25, 2016] Popular Acceptance of Inequality Due to Brute Luck

Notable quotes:
"... By Matthew Weinzierl, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School. Originally published at VoxEU ..."
"... The trick or con being played by the elite is to convince enough of us that the game of life is being played fair. And when that fails, the con or lie becomes that its the fault of (insert target minority group). ..."
"... From two complementary sociological points of view -- conflict theory and symbolic interactionism -- this article is naive -or a red herring- in the ways you suggest. ..."
"... Indeed, the issue is about people accepting a "definition of the situation" that is in fact detrimental to their material interests (Pierre Bourdieu terms this "misrecognition"). Erving Goffman, who was trained as an interactionist, studied con artists to describe how they successfully created a definition of situation -- which means a version of social reality -- that their marks would internalize as reality itself. A sociologist would not begin a discussion of socioeconomic inequality with tax policy. ..."
"... Control over arguments regarding political economy in the public sphere have to be wrested from economists, so that we can start to talk about what actually matters. Sanders' popularity, despite his numerous problems, lay in how he took control of the argument and laid bare the absurdities of those who benefit from the status quo. ..."
"... I say we boycott economists. Sure some of them are not terrible, but in the main the discipline needs to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up. ..."
"... Many economists function as members of the courtier class, justifying what the rich and powerful want to occur. Most citizens already boycott economists in that they don't use their services except when required to attend an Econ class at school. ..."
"... But economists do influence average citizens lives via their justification of tax policy, land use policy, labor policy, trade policy and law implementation. ..."
"... Economic education has been a failure of the left. Everyone needs to know how money and finance works. Only then can that power be put to various uses. It is not that you don't need economists, you need economists working in your interest. ..."
"... I could get behind this. And I would have to agree that harping against the evils of capitalism, which are very real, often comes from those who don't really understand how it works. ..."
"... The post indicates this guy is Assistant Professor of Business Administration - at Harvard Business School - so I'm not sure I would give him even so much regard as I might give an economist. I wonder how he and his will regard the fairness of luck while they wait in line to be serviced at the guillotine they're building - much as Scrooge crafted his chain and weights for his afterlife. ..."
"... Interesting reference to Scrooge -- the power of art to enlighten the human condition cannot be underestimated. As I get older, it seems to me that the capitalism system debases everything it touches. Anything of real value will be found outside this system. It has become the box that confines us all. ..."
"... It's also worth noting how his examples are still a function of the neoliberal canard that privilege is simply a boost on the ladder of meritocracy. The game is still implicitly understood to be fair. ..."
"... Yet, it's not clear to me what Alice Walton, for instance, has done to justify being a multi-billionaire. People who are born not just with spoons but entire silver foundries in their mouths could redistribute 90% of the wealth they acquired by virtue of being someone's baby and still be absurdly rich. ..."
"... Learning must be for its own sake. Like you, I spent many hours in the library. BUT it was to scratch an itch I have not been able to quell - even in these many years since I was in that library. ..."
"... "The putative "father of the Euro", economist Robert Mundell is reported to have explained to one of his university of Chicago students, Greg Palast: "the Euro is the easy way in which Congresses and Parliaments can be stripped of all power over monetary and fiscal policy. Bothersome democracy is removed from the economic system" Michael Hudson "Killing the Host" ..."
"... The neoclassical economists didn't have a clue as the Minsky Moment was approaching. ..."
Sep 24, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. This article argues that people don't mind inequality due to "brute luck"…but is one man's brute luck another man's rigged system?

By Matthew Weinzierl, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School. Originally published at VoxEU

Tax policy to correct inequality assumes that nobody is entitled to advantages due to luck alone. But the public largely rejects complete equalisation of 'brute luck' inequality. This column argues that there is near universal public support for an alternative, benefit-based theory of taxation. Treating optimal tax policy as an empirical matter may help us to close the gap between theory and reality.

... .... ...

In this case, the optimal tax policy aggressively offsets inequality. Only the need to retain incentives to work and the desire to reward extra effort justify allowing inequality to persist.

... ... ...

Brute Luck and Economic Inequality

What explains the gap between scholarly and popular views of the moral status of pre-tax income? A clue might be our attitude to luck.

The view that individuals have no moral claim to their pre-tax incomes relies on the ethical assumption that nobody is entitled to advantages due to factors outside his or her control. Philosophers such as Cohen (2011) call this 'brute luck'. Given the importance of brute luck (for example, natural ability, childhood home environment, and early schooling) to a person's economic status, this assumption directly leads to a rejection of moral claims to pre-tax income.

... ... ...

The 2016 US presidential campaign's attention to inequality fits these findings. Some candidates complain of a 'rigged system' and rich individuals and corporations who do not pay their 'fair' share. Critically, gains due to a rigged system or tax avoidance are due to unjust actions, not brute luck. They are due to the toss of a loaded coin, not a fair one.

... ... ...

These are early steps in developing a new approach to tax theory that I have called 'positive optimal taxation'. This approach modifies the standard optimal tax analysis by treating the objective for taxation as an empirical matter. It uses a variety of sources – including opinion surveys, political rhetoric, and analysis of robust policy features – to highlight gaps between the standard theory and prevailing reality of tax policy. It also identifies and incorporates into the theory alternative goals – and the philosophical principles behind them – that better describe the public's views on policy.

.... .... ...

Robert Hahl September 24, 2016 at 6:13 am

"I stole it fair and square" is not a form of brute luck, but I saw no recognition of that fact while skimming the article. Sorry if I missed it.

Adam1 September 24, 2016 at 6:17 am

One piece of logic missing from the research analysis is accounting for the game itself. If I agree to play a game of chance that is fairly played I am by default also agreeing that I accept the possibility that the outcomes will not be equal, otherwise why would I play. It shouldn't be a surprise that in the end people are willing to maintain that inequality because they originally agreed to it by the fact that they agreed to play.

As Yves points out, if you change the scenario where one of the players was allowed to collude with the person executing the game and the other player was informed of this you might get a very different answer. You might even get a punishing answer.

The trick or con being played by the elite is to convince enough of us that the game of life is being played fair. And when that fails, the con or lie becomes that its the fault of (insert target minority group).

DanB September 24, 2016 at 7:34 am

From two complementary sociological points of view -- conflict theory and symbolic interactionism -- this article is naive -or a red herring- in the ways you suggest.

Indeed, the issue is about people accepting a "definition of the situation" that is in fact detrimental to their material interests (Pierre Bourdieu terms this "misrecognition"). Erving Goffman, who was trained as an interactionist, studied con artists to describe how they successfully created a definition of situation -- which means a version of social reality -- that their marks would internalize as reality itself. A sociologist would not begin a discussion of socioeconomic inequality with tax policy.

Uahsenaa September 24, 2016 at 9:21 am

A sociologist would not begin a discussion of socioeconomic inequality with tax policy.

But an economist would, and therein lies the problem. Control over arguments regarding political economy in the public sphere have to be wrested from economists, so that we can start to talk about what actually matters. Sanders' popularity, despite his numerous problems, lay in how he took control of the argument and laid bare the absurdities of those who benefit from the status quo.

I say we boycott economists. Sure some of them are not terrible, but in the main the discipline needs to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up.

John Wright September 24, 2016 at 10:06 am

Many economists function as members of the courtier class, justifying what the rich and powerful want to occur. Most citizens already boycott economists in that they don't use their services except when required to attend an Econ class at school.

But economists do influence average citizens lives via their justification of tax policy, land use policy, labor policy, trade policy and law implementation.

Even if we tore down the profession, it could likely regrow to provide the same functionality.

The profession provides a valuable service, as it is valued by the class with power and money throughout the world.

Norb September 24, 2016 at 10:35 am

Economic education has been a failure of the left. Everyone needs to know how money and finance works. Only then can that power be put to various uses. It is not that you don't need economists, you need economists working in your interest.

All knowledge and technology works this way. It is the purposeful use of information that matters, not the information itself. The left wastes time, effort, and resources trying to convince people to change their minds. Instead, they need to focus on building things in the real world, using all the economic tools at their disposal.

Uahsenaa September 24, 2016 at 11:02 am

I could get behind this. And I would have to agree that harping against the evils of capitalism, which are very real, often comes from those who don't really understand how it works.

Maybe the solution is more co-ops and less rhetoric.

Norb September 24, 2016 at 11:50 am

Using the power of the boycott is another. The powerless need to rediscover what power they truly wield in this system. That was the other failure of the left. Yes, they were actively crushed by corporate power, but the ideas live on. They can only be exterminated through lack of use.

A new ideology needs to be born of the ashes. If the predictions of climate disruption are anywhere near accurate, a proactive, and positive direction can be undertaken. My experience is that caring, healthy people are driven to help others in times of adversity. Well, those times are coming. We are once again going to have to face the choice between choosing abject fear or rolling up our sleeves and getting back to work making everyones lives better.

You don't need corporate sponsorship to do that. They need us more than we need them. In the end, I have a feeling that the current system will come down very quickly. Being prepared for that outcome is what should be driving the actions of those not vested in keeping the status quo going.

Jeremy Grimm September 24, 2016 at 11:42 am

The post indicates this guy is Assistant Professor of Business Administration - at Harvard Business School - so I'm not sure I would give him even so much regard as I might give an economist. I wonder how he and his will regard the fairness of luck while they wait in line to be serviced at the guillotine they're building - much as Scrooge crafted his chain and weights for his afterlife.

Norb September 24, 2016 at 12:34 pm

For a historian, making connections between past and present situations is the root of their insight. As in all walks of life, your efforts can gain value to your fellow citizens or they can be used as a tool for your own self interest- whatever that might be. How interesting are these repeating cycles in the human drama.

Interesting reference to Scrooge -- the power of art to enlighten the human condition cannot be underestimated. As I get older, it seems to me that the capitalism system debases everything it touches. Anything of real value will be found outside this system. It has become the box that confines us all.

When your viewpoint of the world and your relationship to it shrink to only seeking profits, the depravity of that situation is hidden from view unless shocked back to awareness.

As Peter Gabriel would say- Shock the Monkey

Shock the monkey to life
Shock the monkey to life

Cover me when I run
Cover me through the fire
Something knocked me out' the trees
Now I'm on my knees
Cover me darling please
Monkey, monkey, monkey
Don't you know you're going to shock the monkey

Fox the fox
Rat on the rat
You can ape the ape
I know about that
There is one thing you must be sure of
I can't take any more
Darling, don't you monkey with the monkey
Monkey, monkey, monkey
Don't you know you're going to shock the monkey

Wheels keep turning
Something's burning
Don't like it but I guess I'm learning

Shock! – watch the monkey get hurt, monkey

Cover me, when I sleep
Cover me, when I breathe
You throw your pearls before the swine
Make the monkey blind
Cover me, darling please
Monkey, monkey, monkey
Don't you know you're going to shock the monkey

Too much at stake
Ground beneath me shake
And the news is breaking

Shock! – watch the monkey get hurt, monkey

Shock the monkey
Shock the monkey
Shock the monkey to life

Jeremy Grimm September 24, 2016 at 1:07 pm

This is tangential to topic of this thread:
I was particularly struck by your comment about art: "the power of art to enlighten the human condition cannot be underestimated." I recall a similar assertion made in one of Howard Zinn's speeches - sorry I can't recall the exact phrasing of his statement or its context.

I'm retired and found a strange calling to make art - a calling I never listened to when I had to worry about supporting a household. I find it difficult to make art that isn't political, satirical or in some way didactic. Whether anyone else would regard my works as art I don't know and in a way I don't care. Art has become a way in which I must express something inside me I don't understand but whose direction I must follow. I suppose similar feeling drive many expressions of art. Perhaps that explains something of the power of art you refer to.

Spencer September 24, 2016 at 7:12 am

For the erosion in income inequality to be fixed, economic policies need fixed. The disparity between income quintiles will continue to widen. Social unrest will continue to proliferate. This situation will simply never get corrected until the commercial banks are driven out of the savings business (however bizarre one might think that solution is).

Vladimir Lenin, leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution said: "The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency." Not so. The best way to destroy capitalists is the deregulation of deposit caps for saver-holders' accounts in the commercial banking system. This policy error simply increased the bank's costs with no increase in their income. Bottling up savings, is first observed by the decline in money velocity, then by a decline in AD (secular stagnation), and when the Fed attempts to offset this decline, by an increase in stagflation.

Moneta September 24, 2016 at 7:43 am

The beliefs come first, then the system reflects these. Creeping individualism and the belief in the self made man will do the trick.

Alejandro September 24, 2016 at 10:52 am

""[V]elocity" is just a dummy variable to "balance" any given equation – a tautology, not an analytic tool."

http://michael-hudson.com/2012/05/paul-krugmans-economic-blinders/

How can the "code" be modified to restrain usurious AND sociopathic behaviour?

Spencer September 24, 2016 at 9:44 pm

Vi is contrived. Vt is money actually exchanging counterparties. But since Ed Fry discontinued the G.6 debit and demand deposit turnover release in Sept. 1996, the Fed has no rudder or anchor.

Required reserves are a surrogate, though the underweight Vt. But RRs are based on payments (money turning over). And 95 percent of all demand drafts clear thru transaction based accounts.

The "code" you speak of relates to the volume of financial transactions consummated. Financial transactions are not random. Financial speculation is a function of money flows. The volume of bank debits during the housing crisis would have stood out like a sore thumb (as it captured both new and existing real-estate transactions).

Only price increases generated by demand, irrespective of changes in supply, provide evidence of inflation. There must be an increase in aggregate demand which can come about only as a consequence of an increase in the volume and/or transactions velocity of money. The volume of domestic money flows must expand sufficiently to push prices up, irrespective of the volume of financial transactions, the exchange value of the U.S. dollar, and the flow of goods and services into the market economy.

The "administered" prices would not be the "asked" prices, were they not "validated" by (M*Vt), i.e., "validated" by the world's Central Banks.

- Michel de Nostredame

Alejandro September 24, 2016 at 10:28 pm

I'm not sure that what you just spewed even makes sense to you, or that you even bothered to read the link provided…but the "code" is about concurrent monetary AND fiscal policy to serve a purpose other than making the rich richer and the poor poorer…

Moneta September 24, 2016 at 7:40 am

If someone gets the waterfront property just because he/she was born first so got there first, he better do something positive for the next generation… The next generation will understand the luck factor as not everyone can be standing in the same spot at the same time, but it will not accept the scrooge.

HotFlash September 24, 2016 at 7:53 am

Prof Weinzieri says

If people are entitled, even in part, to their pre-tax incomes, the optimal tax policy would no longer offset inequality as aggressively. Taxes would, instead, be focused on raising funds for government activities in a way that tries to respect those entitlements.

which seems fair-ish, but also

Given the importance of brute luck (for example, natural ability, childhood home environment, and early schooling)

Oh my! Childhood home environment and (gasp!) early schooling are matters of luck? Oh those Haaahvaahd guys! No, professor, winning the lottery is a matter of luck, and can happen to anyone at any point in their life. Being born in poverty, into a class 15% of whose male population is incarcerated or having to go to a crappy school are *systemic* results of deliberate social structures, the elites just prefer to call it "bad luck". Thus we see how the Ivies serve the elites.

Eclair September 24, 2016 at 9:32 am

Yes, HotFlash. And these 'deliberate social structures,' the 'red-lining' policies, the wildly unequal sentences for crack versus cocaine, the casual brutality of the prison system (over 200,000 male rapes per year), the laws preventing people who have served their sentence for a felony from voting, public housing, scholarship aid, welfare .. in other words, from living and improving their lives .. are structural violence. And then we are 'surprised' when people who have lived their lives under a regime of these subtle but unrelenting acts of economic, social and spiritual violence, finally hit back.

Uahsenaa September 24, 2016 at 9:32 am

It's also worth noting how his examples are still a function of the neoliberal canard that privilege is simply a boost on the ladder of meritocracy. The game is still implicitly understood to be fair.

Yet, it's not clear to me what Alice Walton, for instance, has done to justify being a multi-billionaire. People who are born not just with spoons but entire silver foundries in their mouths could redistribute 90% of the wealth they acquired by virtue of being someone's baby and still be absurdly rich.

Banana Breakfast September 24, 2016 at 9:49 am

The paper seems totally oblivious to the fact that in the scenario presented, all the gains enjoyed by both players are due to luck. Player B is getting a windfall either way, so there's no sense of real unfairness. The perception would be quite different if it was only the difference between A and B that was assigned randomly, while each had to earn some baseline.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL September 24, 2016 at 5:28 pm

And I think the "popular acceptance" part is given a huge boost when the young, black, nominally-Democrat president keeps insisting everything is awesome and anyone who says otherwise is "peddling fiction".

Jeremy Grimm September 24, 2016 at 11:45 pm

I think this paper goes to great lengths to build a question around the ideas of the fairness behind progressive taxation. This post hardly seems to pose a question worthy of study. Our tax systems so much favor Corporations and the wealthy that considerations of "fairness" are at best comical - and I'm not laughing.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell September 24, 2016 at 10:20 am

The most important problem in economics is the widening Gap between the rich and the rest. A solution is: https://mythfighter.com/2014/11/09/a-brief-reference-what-you-need-to-know-when-discussing-economics/

kgw September 24, 2016 at 10:35 am

As William Godwin says, if people actually knew who they were, all would be peaceable…

https://www.amazon.com/Enquiry-Concerning-Political-Justice-Influence-ebook/dp/0140400303/ref=la_B000APJ4OS_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474727648&sr=1-5

From Cold Mountain September 24, 2016 at 11:14 am

Yes, the outcome of self awareness will always be Anarchism. I came be an advocate, not through economics or politics, but thought Buddhism and Daoism. It is a story older than humanity that we are just starting to remember.

So here I am sitting, watching, waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.

Jeremy Grimm September 24, 2016 at 11:48 pm

What kind of self-knowledge did Hitler find in his imprisonment? It didn't lead to anything I would call peaceable. Was there some inner Hitler he didn't reach in his prison contemplations?

Ivy September 24, 2016 at 10:56 am

If I had only known it was luck, I would not have spent so many late nights in the library during undergrad and grad schools. However, I enjoyed those nights and was enriched by them. Is that taxable?

Jeremy Grimm September 24, 2016 at 11:40 pm

Learning must be for its own sake. Like you, I spent many hours in the library. BUT it was to scratch an itch I have not been able to quell - even in these many years since I was in that library.

Norb September 24, 2016 at 11:24 am

Will future generations, if there are any, be able to look back and reflect," what were these people thinking?"

There is no justification for the levels of inequality and environmental destruction we are experiencing. Period. We can all consider ourselves fools, even for entertaining debating these issues much longer. We need to be discussing concrete actions, not theoretical justifications.

Everyone must face the randomness of the universe every day. The only certainty know is the one WE create as human beings- one and together. Why is it do you think that the elite never break ranks. They are creating their own certainty in an uncertain world. Heads I win, tails you loose. TBTF. Race to the bottom. The new normal. Political capture using the revolving door techniques.

Human evolution is racing toward a crisis point. Ending inequality and world conflict are at the focal point of this outcome. Leaders that continue to use the outdated modes of social control will either drive us over the cliff to destruction, or will loose the ability to control outcomes as their numbers dwindle. The day the revelation is made that the elite are full of crap, is the day change becomes possible.

It seems large social structures will always come crashing down. The weakness in human nature and flaws in our social structures lead to eventual failure. Greed and selfish action is seldom tolerated is smaller structures.

Jeremy Grimm September 24, 2016 at 11:36 pm

I think there will always be inequality between people on many many dimensions. I am constantly humbled by how much I don't know that other people know, people less well educated and I suspect less intelligent - whatever that means - than I am. I celebrate this inequality and sincerely hope this larger knowledge shared with mine and the knowledge of many others will suffice to address the great challenges we face in the all too near future.

HOWEVER - inequality as a matter of power relations - that is different matter. If I were my great great grandson I could never forgive what I have allowed through my cowardice and intent to have a surviving great great grandson - or granddaughter.

sd September 24, 2016 at 11:32 am

I am not sure I really understand the intention of this paper. The example used, that 20% of $90,000 income must be paid in taxes, and then taking surveys of how that distribution should work seems to ignore whether or not the respondents actually understand basic math.

Why do I say this?

The "easy" answer is that Person A pays $15,000 and person B pays $3,000 which is the equivalent of a flat tax. And yet, that's not how most responded. Only 5% selected the easy answer. Which makes me wonder if the targets of the survey even understand basic math.

So I guess I am questioning the questioning….

Vatch September 24, 2016 at 5:43 pm

Actually the easiest answer is for person A to pay the whole $18,000. He's the one who is getting more money before taxes, and if he pays the $18,000, he's still getting $12,000 more than person B. The "flat tax" is probably the second easiest answer. However, since neither person is doing any tangible work to receive the money, the fairest result is for both to get the same after "taxes". If person A pays $24,000, $18,000 will go to the "state", and $6,000 will go to person B, and both A and B will each get $36,000. Person B can force person A to agree to this, because if they don't agree, then person A only gets $600 and person B gets $300.

If we want to get complicated, then the result should be such that the difference between person A's portion and person B's portion is $300, whether they agree or not. So if they agree, person A would pay $23,850 ($18,000 to the "state" and $5,850 to person B), and person A would get $36,150. In that case, person B would get $35,850. The difference between person A's income and person B's income is $300, just as it would have been if they had not agreed.

Vatch September 24, 2016 at 9:52 pm

The "easy" answer is that Person A pays $15,000 and person B pays $3,000 which is the equivalent of a flat tax.

Wait a minute. 20% of $60,000 is $12,000, and 20% of $30,000 is $6,000. Not $15,000 and $3,000.

Anyhow, I still like my solution where person A pays $23,850.

Jeremy Grimm September 24, 2016 at 11:13 pm

Why not question the $90K - of income? - instead.

In terms of the money and wealth of the people who run our government and economy, and control and direct our lives and the lives of millions of others - $90K barely registers.

Jeremy Grimm September 24, 2016 at 11:19 pm

I read this post as questioning the basis for progressive taxation - a rationale for taxation we sorely lack.

knowbuddhau September 24, 2016 at 12:47 pm

I have little faith in studies like these. My first question is always, "What's a respondent?" Define Person, please.

Notice how they're treated as entirely substitutable standardized parts. That is, as if people were molecules or atoms. But try as it might, social science ain't physics. You can't just grab the nearest few people, sit them down at a keyboard to play your game (for credit? for fun? on assignment?) and then substitute their behavior for the behavior of all people everywhere.

Which people, where, under what conditions, and how many? Was the sample representative? Did the author go to prisons, ghettos, farm fields, etc. and ask them? Or was it proximity and ease of access that defined it?

It's the old "college sophomores in the lab" problem. As an undergrad psych student, I saw time and time again how people gamed the system, yet PhD candidates and professors took the data as gospel. It's only too often more a demonstration of ability to work the method, to play the academic game, than testing hypotheses.

Or I guess as coders say, GIGO.

Jeremy Grimm September 24, 2016 at 11:23 pm

Also you might ask what meaning to attribute to a questionable measure of human opinions about a concept like "what is fair" in an environment completely dominated by promotion of ideas of fairness which to my mind are quite unfair.

So I agree with you and wonder why you don't pres further.

Jeremy Grimm September 24, 2016 at 12:53 pm

This post frames inequality in terms of "fairness" and luck/pluck and treats money as some form of prize in an economic "game". I suppose this way of looking at things works up to a point as long as we look to those below us and congratulate our merit while accepting some greater luck of those above us which help rationalize our merit. But any concepts of fairness or the justice things rapidly fractures if we look past those in our own neighborhood. Riding a bubble through the slums here and elsewhere in the world it becomes very difficult to rationalize justice and merit. Looking in the other direction toward the high rises and gated estates and manifestations of wealth I can't even imagine and the fragments of the fairness or justice of things evaporates completely. The "findings" of this post do not scale - at all.

Aside from the living standard which money/wealth affords the notions of "fairness" "merit" and "luck" this post contemplates there is no discussion of other aspects of money/wealth conveniently passed over and ignored.

In our society our money-culture money/wealth is equated with merit. It packages demand for automatic respect and deference. This pecuniary one-size-fits all measure for character, intellect, excellence, creativity, leadership, even physical attractiveness undermines all these values reducing them to commodities of the marketplace.

But the ability of money/wealth to control and command the lives of others and the collective resources of society is far more pernicious. What concept of "fairness" or "justice" can justify this aspect of inequality?

Emma September 24, 2016 at 9:47 pm

JG – Rogge covers this in his book: "World Poverty and Human Rights: Cosmopolitan Responsibilities and Reforms" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Poverty_and_Human_Rights ) using the perfect example of the acquisition and management of natural resources.

Jeremy Grimm September 24, 2016 at 10:47 pm

Your comment to mine leaves me quizzical. Though I value any comments to mine given my wondering how far I am from what is reasonable - global poverty is far beyond the complexity of anything I might address in my comments. I grant global poverty is not a problem beyond solution - but first we need to address the problems of economic philosophy used to justify and enable the gross inequalities of our world.

I have not read Rogge's book. There are far too many books I have not read and of the books i have read there are far too many I have not really understood. I am also concerned by how little this post seems to have stimulated our commentariat - an entity I have come to greatly respect.

Please elaborate on what you mean. I am concerned by this post's lack of consideration of the political power money/wealth confers - something beyond and to some degree outside considerations of poverty and the suffering inequality fosters - even celebrates.

Adar September 24, 2016 at 5:43 pm

My poor non-economist head reels at this article. OK, it's a mind exercise to determine attitudes toward taxation. But it's completely made up – Fig. 1 Tossing a fair coin, doesn't scan for me, it's like a crap game. At the random flip of a coin, A gets twice as much as B, but where did the $18k penalty come from? Is it arbitrary? Why "could" one have to pay more, and who decides? And where did the $24k figure come from? Seems obvious to me A got twice as much, and so should pay 2 out of 3 parts of the penalty. So, re brute luck and tax policy, if inherited wealth or investment income (i.e. rent) vs. wage income is really what's meant here, please say so.

Jeremy Grimm September 24, 2016 at 11:06 pm

I view this post - at least in part - as questioning the basis for a progressive tax rate based on attitudes toward what is "fair" in turn based on a - sorry - hokey experiment to test attitudes about what is fair. To me the problem is a problem of scale. If we're talking about my place opposed to that of the fellow in the house on the hill or the house down the street - I might - on a good day - buy-in to this post's notions about "fairness". Those notions do NOT scale and they don't give any consideration to the powers of control and command which great wealth confers.

What I can accept in the way of inequality between myself and the guy on the hill does NOT scale when the guy on the hill doesn't live on the hill and only owns the house on the hill as a reminder of his lowly beginnings. He lives in a multi-million dollar 10,000 sq. ft. condominium high in New York City and a similar flat in London, and in Tai Pei and Shanghai and Paris and … and lives in none of them really. And I cannot accept the poverty and oppression found in Camden, New Jersey, Southside Chicago, … in Brazilian favelas or the slums of Seoul.

Doug September 25, 2016 at 6:46 am

Perhaps the failure to scale arises from the compounded flaws that, first, this post is all about "I" and speaks not at all to "we"; and, second, as your comments point out, uses money in typical fashion as the lowest common denominator determining utility and fairness when, 'we' demands a focus on the highest not lowest common denominator (and that's not mathematically or logically convenient).
Further, 'we' must be something more meaningful than a mere agglomeration of "I's". Those are at best 'thin we's' easily seduced into theoretical constructs that, in fact, have nothing to do with the actual experience of 'we' in any meaningful way.

Real, 'thick' we's comprised of actual people who persistently interact and truly know they share some to a lot of their shared fates respond to questions of brute luck, fairness and inequality together (whether democratically or otherwise or blends of ways). They don't determine their shared fates with an eye on abstract individualism grounded in lowest common denominators of 'utility'. They actually care about 'what makes most sense for us together' and balk at devices, questions - indeed swindles - aimed at tearing apart the fabric of 'we'.

Sound of the Suburbs September 25, 2016 at 3:47 am

Milton Freidman, the man that wrecked the world with bad economics.

Milton Freidman's charm, energy and charisma seduced his students and global elites alike into believing he had come up with an economics that could transform the world. His students loved the idea of transforming the world through economics as it made them feel so important. Global elites loved his economics as it worked so well for them and gave a scientific backing for a world that was one that they had always wanted.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of problems with his economics that are making themselves felt today.

His economics was missing:

1) The work of the Classical Economists
2) The true nature of money and debt
3) The work of Irving Fischer in the 1930s

The Classical Economists were the first economists to look at and analyse the world around them, a world of small state, raw capitalism.

They noted how the moneyed classes were always rent seeking and looking to maintain themselves in luxury and leisure, through rent and interest. This sucked money out of the productive side of the economy, reducing the purchasing power within the nation.

They noted how the cost of living must be kept low, to keep the basic minimum wage low, so nations could be competitive in the international arena.

This knowledge is missing today.

The UK dream is to live like the idle, rich rentier, with a BTL portfolio extracting "unearned" rental income from the "earned" income of generation rent.

In the US they removed all the things that kept the cost of living down, not realising these costs would have to be covered by wages. The US now has a very high minimum wage due to soaring costs of housing, healthcare and student loans and US businesses are squealing.

The true nature of money and debt were understood in the 1930s when the Chicago Plan was put forward after a thorough investigation into the 1929 bust.

Money and debt are opposite sides of the same coin.
If there is no debt there is no money.
Money is created by loans and destroyed by repayments of those loans.

This knowledge is missing today.

Today's ubiquitous housing boom is like a printing press creating more and more money as the new mortgage debt comes into existence.

The money supply expands and pours into the real economy making everything look really good.

The only thing that is really happening is the inflation of the price of things that exist already, houses. All the debt being created is not productive investment.

The cost of living goes up and more and more money gets sucked into mortgage and rent payments sucking purchasing power out of the economy. The increasing cost of living, raises the basic minimum wage pricing labour out of international labour markets.

Irving Fisher also looked into the 1929 bust and developed a theory of economic crises called debt-deflation, which attributed the crises to the bursting of a credit bubble.

Irving Fisher looked into debt inflated asset bubbles and realised the huge danger they pose to the whole economy. This knowledge is missing today. The ubiquitous housing boom is a debt inflated asset bubble, with huge amounts of debt spread through the whole economy, when it bursts there is hell to pay.

This was first seen in Japan in 1989, its economy has never recovered.

It was repeated in the US and leveraged up with derivatives leading to 2008.

Ireland and Spain have also wrecked their economies with housing bubbles.

There are housing bubbles around the world, ready to burst and pull that nation into debt deflation.

Milton Freidman, the man that wrecked the world with bad economics.

Sound of the Suburbs September 25, 2016 at 5:20 am

Milton Freidman worked at the Chicago School of Economics and was the global ambassador for his dire economics. This dire economics and the University of Chicago were also behind the design of the Euro, no wonder it doesn't work.

"The putative "father of the Euro", economist Robert Mundell is reported to have explained to one of his university of Chicago students, Greg Palast: "the Euro is the easy way in which Congresses and Parliaments can be stripped of all power over monetary and fiscal policy. Bothersome democracy is removed from the economic system" Michael Hudson "Killing the Host"

Their dire economics predicts the Euro-zone economies will converge into a stable equilibrium.

The reality – the economies are diverging and the poorer nations are going under. It's bad. 2008 – How did that happen?

The neoclassical economists didn't have a clue as the Minsky Moment was approaching.

Two people who did see 2008 coming (there aren't many).

Steve Keen – A whole book "Debunking Economics" on this dire neoclassical economics and the problems of not using realistic assumptions on money and debt.

Michael Hudson – Calls it "junk" economics and has written a whole book on the problems of forgetting the world of Classical Economics – Killing the Host.

Naomi Klein "Shock Doctrine" goes into the brutality of the Chicago Boys and Berkeley Mafia in implementing their economic vision. A right wing "Khmer Rouge" that descended on developing nations to wipe away left wing thinking.

It's bad and Milton Freidman was behind it.

Skippy September 25, 2016 at 6:20 am

Goes a bit deeper than just the Chicago boys imo…

Marginalist economics tends to be characterised primarily by a couple of distinct axioms that operate 'under the surface' to produce its key results. these are simplistically characterise as: the axiom of methodological individualism; the axiom of methodological instrumentalism; and the axiom of methodological equilibration, where models derived from them have ex-ante predictive power.

This is historically Epicurean philosophy, example, Epicurus wrote,

"The magnitude of pleasure reaches its limit in the removal of all pain. When such pleasure is present, so long as it is uninterrupted, there is no pain either of body or of mind or of both together."

Which is a reflection of its materialistic atomism which is basically identical with the marginalist focus on atomistic individuals and makes it an atomistic doctrine. Thorstein Veblen where he wrote in his Why is Economics Not an Evolutionary Science?:

"The hedonistic conception of man is that of a lightning calculator of pleasure and pains, who oscillates like a homogeneous globule of desire of happiness under the impulse of stimuli that shift him about the area, but leave him intact. He has neither antecedent nor consequent. He is an isolated definitive human datum."

Which in turn is just Epicurean ontology where everything becomes objects and not subjects where Epicurean ethics involves individuals maximising pleasure and minimising pain - or, as the marginalists would put it, maximising utility and minimising disutility - it simply follows from the basic ontological position that is put forward.

Just to put a more modern perspective on it – see: Note that the patient suffering from schizophrenia tends not to answer the questions directed at him but rather responds with complete non-sequiturs.

"In his book, King lays out how economists have tried to establish supposedly disaggregated "microfoundations" with which to rest their macroeconomics upon. The idea here is that Keynesian macroeconomics generally deals with large aggregates of individuals – usually entire national economies – and draws conclusions from these while largely ignoring the actions of individual agents. As King shows in the book, however, the idea that a macro-level analysis requires such microfoundations is itself entirely without foundation. Unfortunately though, since mainstream economists are committed to methodological individualism – that is, they try to explain the world with reference to what they think to be the rules of individual behaviour – they tend to pursue this quest across the board and those who proclaim scepticism about the need for microfoundations can rarely articulate this scepticism as they too are generally wedded to the notion that aggregative behaviour can only be explained with reference to supposedly disaggregated behaviour."

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/02/philip-pilkington-of-madness-and-microfoundationsm-rational-agents-schizophrenia-and-a-noble-attempt-by-one-noah-smith-to-break-through-the-mirror.html

You might also like – Le Bon, Gustave. The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, you can get it free online.

Additionally – The Myth of the Rational Market: Wall Street's Impossible Quest for Predictable Markets – by Justin Fox

Chronicling the rise and fall of the efficient market theory and the century-long making of the modern financial industry, Justin Fox's "The Myth of the Rational Market" is as much an intellectual whodunit as a cultural history of the perils and possibilities of risk. The book brings to life the people and ideas that forged modern finance and investing, from the formative days of Wall Street through the Great Depression and into the financial calamity of today. It's a tale that features professors who made and lost fortunes, battled fiercely over ideas, beat the house in blackjack, wrote bestselling books, and played major roles on the world stage. It's also a tale of Wall Street's evolution, the power of the market to generate wealth and wreak havoc, and free market capitalism's war with itself.

The efficient market hypothesis -- long part of academic folklore but codified in the 1960s at the University of Chicago -- has evolved into a powerful myth. It has been the maker and loser of fortunes, the driver of trillions of dollars, the inspiration for index funds and vast new derivatives markets, and the guidepost for thousands of careers. The theory holds that the market is always right, and that the decisions of millions of rational investors, all acting on information to outsmart one another, always provide the best judge of a stock's value. That myth is crumbling.

Disheveled Marsupial…. Main stream econnomics is an extenuation of much deeper metaphysical and resultant ideological beliefs….

[Sep 25, 2016] The Divided States of America

Like the USSR the USA has one party system. This guy does not understand that both part are wings of single Neoliberal Party of the USA. Differences are rather superficial. Democrats are better in fooling minorities and low income voters.
Notable quotes:
"... Perhaps we need to rethink our electoral model of winner-take-all elections, and particularly of single-member House districts - a model that reinforces, rather than cuts against, this growing geographic polarization, and one that makes it harder for parties to reflect their internal diversity. ..."
"... Well, let's see, both parties have been playing the social issue, divide and conquer game for decades. Throw in Citizens United, which has... ..."
Sep 22, 2016 | www.nytimes.com

...Most large cities, college towns, the Northeast and the West Coast are deep-blue Democratic. Ruby-red Republican strongholds take up most of the South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States and the suburban and rural areas in between. Rather than compete directly against each other, both parties increasingly occupy their separate territories, with diminishing overlap and disappearing common accountability. They hear from very different constituents, with very different priorities.

... The House, the supposed "people's chamber," is a sea of noncompetition. Out of 435 seats up for election this year, just 25 are considered tossups by The Cook Political Report . In 2014, 82 percent of House races were decided by at least 15 percentage points, including 17 percent that were not contested by one of the two major parties.

The Senate is only slightly better. A mere six seats out of 34 up for election are considered genuine tossups by Cook's assessment (Florida, Indiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Pennsylvania), while five are in the "lean" category.

The presidential candidates are also ignoring most of the country, instead focusing on the handful of swing states that always seem to take on outsize importance. In the 2012 presidential election , only four states were decided by five or fewer percentage points, and the median state-level margin of victory was a whopping 16.9 percent (in other words, not even close). Compare that with the 1976 presidential election , when 20 states were decided by five or fewer percentage points (and 31 were decided by eight percentage points or fewer), and the median state-level margin of victory was 5.9 percent.

...

While gerrymandering may explain some of the noncompetitiveness of House races, it can't explain the Senate or the Electoral College. No amount of nonpartisan redistricting can overcome the fundamental disconnect between place-based, winner-take-all elections and polarized, geographically separated parties.

Competition is even rarer these days in state legislatures, where 43 percent of candidates did not face a major party opponent in 2014, and fewer than one in 20 races was decided by five percentage points or less. That made 2014 one of the most uncompetitive state-election years in decades.

These patterns are likely to continue: The current partisan geography is a natural political alignment. Around the world , urban areas tend to be left-leaning and cosmopolitan; rural and suburban areas tend to be conservative and populist.

... ... ...

As the parties became more homogeneous, rank-and-file members began to cede more authority to their leaders to enforce party discipline within Congress, especially in the House. Particularly after the watershed election of 1994, when many longtime conservative Democratic seats turned into relatively safe Republican seats, a new generation of conservative lawmakers and a newly assertive party leadership exerted a hard-right pull on the Republican Party. That election also bled the Democratic Party of many of its conservatives, shifting its caucus to the left. The election of 2010 was the culmination of the decades-long undoing of the New Deal coalition, sweeping away the few remaining Southern conservative Democrats.

Moreover, as more of the country became one-party territory, the opposing party in these places grasped the improbability of winning and so had little incentive to invest in mobilization and party building. This lack of investment further depleted a potential bench of future candidates and made future electoral competitions less and less likely.

These trends have been especially bad news for congressional Democrats, whose supporters are both more densely concentrated into urban areas (giving them fewer House seats) and less likely to vote in nonpresidential years (when most elections for governor are held, robbing the party of prominent state leaders). Since Republicans hold more relatively safe House seats, Democrats might benefit from occasional wave elections when the Republican brand has been significantly weakened (e.g., 2006 and 2008). But given the underlying dynamics, such elections are far more likely to be aberrations than long-lasting realignments.

An optimistic view of a future devoid of much electoral competition is that it saves members of Congress from having to constantly worry about re-election, which critics have argued pushes members toward short-term, parochial lawmaking. Perhaps all these safe seats can finally free up members to think beyond the next electoral cycle, and become genuine statesmen again..

... ... ...

By contrast, Congress was probably at its most fluid and productive during the periods of highest two-party competition, from the 1960s through the 1980s. This was partly because competition kept turnover steady enough that it brought in a relatively even flow of new members with new ideas. It also encouraged members to cut deals to bring home earmarks that would help them get elected.

Members don't do these things anymore because they don't have to. Whatever bipartisan bonhomie that once existed in Washington was a consequence of these underlying electoral conditions. Trying to re-establish that good will without fixing the underlying causes is like building a bridge across a river without foundations to ground the towers.Certainly, there are some signs that we may have already hit the nadir of electoral non-competition. In presidential polling , for example, blue states are looking a little less blue this year than in past years, and red states are looking a little less red. Split-ticket voting will likely be up this year as well. If the Republican Party truly becomes the party of Donald J. Trump (and there is good reason to think it will), and Democrats continue to court moderate pro-business Republicans alienated by Mr. Trump while giving up on nostalgia-minded white working-class voters ( also likely ), this may make some states and congressional districts more competitive. Changing demographics, especially in places with rising immigrant populations, may also change the dynamics of competition. There are also some signs that divisions within the parties are coming to undermine longstanding party unity, creating potential for new crosscutting alliances in ways that are likely to reduce polarization .

But we have a long way to go. These nascent trends could use a boost. Perhaps we need to rethink our electoral model of winner-take-all elections, and particularly of single-member House districts - a model that reinforces, rather than cuts against, this growing geographic polarization, and one that makes it harder for parties to reflect their internal diversity.

The single-member, winner-take-all elections we use are a relative rarity among advanced democracies. They are not mandated by the Constitution, which lets states decide how to elect their representatives. In fact, many states originally used multimember districts . Returning to this approach would make it far easier to draw competitive districts that mix urban and rural areas. It would make it easier for different wings in both parties to send members to Congress, creating more diversity within the parties. It might also allow some smaller, regional parties to emerge, since multimember allow candidates to win with far less than majority support. These developments would increase the possibilities for deal-making in Congress. The FairVote proposal of multimember districts with ranked choice voting seems especially promising on this front.

But the first step in electoral reform is recognizing that this country has a problem. For decades, we had reasonably robust electoral competition, so there was little obvious reason to worry about our electoral system. But that era is over.

Nick Metrowsky

Well, let's see, both parties have been playing the social issue, divide and conquer game for decades. Throw in Citizens United, which has...

ttrumbo

We're the most economically divided industrial country; so that's who we are. We've let the favored few gain so much wealth and power that...

BirdL

The related implications for one-party states, especially deep red ones, is that policy making is way too "easy," with little deliberation...

[Sep 25, 2016] Thomas Ferguson on How Money Drives Congressional Elections

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente ..."
"... And while Clinton is far better funded than Trump, it's not at all clear that she's getting any kind of bang for the buck. Perhaps candidate quality is a wild card at the Presidential level. ..."
"... The Dollary Clump Campaign is likely to screw up a lot of models, its already turned satire from a form of critique to a form of government reducing important propaganda organs to pathetic persiflage in the process. ..."
"... Well, then could not one conclude that the Supreme Court was wrong in declaring money to be a form of protected speech? According to this study, money isn't speech, it is votes. ..."
"... And if that is true, then the Supreme Courts rulings violate the "one man: one vote" principle. The number of votes a person has is now determined by his/her wealth and how much of it they are willing to buy an election with. ..."
Sep 20, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Lambert Strether of Corrente

This is important work by Ferguson and his colleagues, Paul Jorgensen, and Jie Chen, and especially relevant to the 2016 election. From the executive summary at iNet :

Social scientists have stubbornly held that money and election outcomes are at most weakly linked. New research provides clear evidence to the contrary.

Thomas Ferguson, Paul Jorgensen, and Jie Chen reveal strikingly direct relations between money and major party votes in all U.S. elections for the Senate and House of Representatives from 1980 to 2014. Using a new and comprehensive dataset built from government sources, they find that the relationship between the proportions of money spent by the winning party and votes is close to a straight line.

( Here is the PDF of the full paper , How Money Drives US Congressional Elections, Thomas Ferguson, Paul Jorgensen, and Jie Chen, Working Paper No. 48, August 1, 2016.) First, I'll look at the dataset. Then, I'll look at that "straight line" relation. Finally, I'll look at some of the political implications of Ferguson's work for thinking about 2016.

The Dataset

If you are a data person, and especially a big data person, Ferguson's project is thrilling. Most everyone will be familiar with the problem of determining whether "Mr. Bob Smith, 1234 Your St., Anytown USA" and "R. Smith, Yore Avenue, Anystate" are really the same person; there's a whole industry built up to work that stuff out because marketers (and debt collectors) need it. How much more complex when the names and addresses are entered by people with every incentive to conceal their identities! From the full paper (pp. 8-9):

For this paper, the thornier data problems arise from the fragmentation of reporting sources and formats – whose chaotic realities are, we are sure, a major reason why progress has been so slow in understanding campaign finance. Because we have extensively discussed elsewhere the measures we have taken to overco me these problems, our discussion here will be summary.

The guiding idea of our Political Money Project is to return to the raw data made available by the FEC and the IRS and create a single unified database containing all contributions in whatever form. This is a tall order, as anyone with any familiarity with our vastly different data sources will realize. In particular, FEC sources are sometimes jarringly inconsistent; many previous analysts do always appear to recognize the extent of the "flow of funds" anomalies in this data. And not all the IRS contributions are easily available in electronic form for all years.

But our real work commences only once this stage is completed. At both the FEC and the IRS, standards for reporting names of both individual and corporate contributors are laughably weak. Both companies and individuals routinely take advantage of regulatory nonchalance about even arrant non-compliance. Along with an enormous number of obviously bad faith reports (such as presidential contributions listed as coming from individuals working at banks that were swallowed long ago by other giants) all sorts of naïve, good faith errors abound in spelling, consistent use of Jr., Sr., or Mr., Ms., and Mrs., along with many incomplete entries and hyphenated names. Many people, especially very wealthy contributors, legitimately have more 9 than one address and fail to consistently list their corporate affiliations ("retired" as a category of contributor is extensively abused; some people who chair giant c orporations claim the status).

From the outset we recognized that solving this problem was indispensable to making reliable estimates of the concentration of political contributions. We adapted for our purposes programs of the type used by major hospital s and other institutions dealing with similar problems, adding many safeguards against tricks that no medical institution ever has to worry about; all the while checking and cross-checking our results, especially for large contributors. In big data efforts , there is never a point where such tasks can be regarded as unimpeachably finished. But we are certain that our data substantially improve over other sources on offer, including rosters of campaign contributions compiled by for-profit companies and all public sources.

Because we can compare many reports filed by people who we recognize as really the same person, we are able to see through schemes, such as those encouraged by the Obama campaigns (especially in 2008)[1], that encourage individual contributors to break up contributions into what looks like many "small" donations. We are also able to fill in many entries for workplace affiliation left blank. By itself, these steps lead to a quantum leap in the number of contributions coming from the same enterprises. But we have also used business directories and data from the Securities and Exchange Commission to pin down the corporate affiliations of many other contributors, whose identifications, once established, are similarly extendible.

Again, I can't stress enough how excellent and important this work is. And it's really hard to do!

The "Straight Line" Relation

Now let's jump straight to the conclusion ( full paper, page 10 ):

Data compiled like this allows us to brush past artificial efforts to distinguish kinds of spending in Congressional races, such as "inside" vs. "outside" funds (that is, spent by candidate's own committee or by allegedly "independent" outside groups) or the spending of challengers or incumbents. Instead we simply pool all spending by and on behalf of candidates and then examine whether relative, not absolute, differences in total outlays are related to vote differentials.

If conventional claims about the limited importance of political money are correct, then the individual data points – particular House or Senate election outcomes – should be scattered indifferently across the graph. Money just wouldn't predict voting outcomes very well. If on the other hand, money is strongly associated with votes received, then the fit would approximate a straight line. All kinds of intermediate cases, of course, can be imagined.

And here are those straight lines:

house_data

(These table is an excellent example of the power of Tufte's "small multiples." Readers who are clever about statistics (and I am not) will have objected that Ferguson's methodology may not be able to tease out money as an effect from money as a cause, to which Ferguson et al. respond as follows:

[T]here is one last redoubt in which skeptics can take refuge: the possibility that money and votes are reciprocally related. AsJac obson artfully frames the conundrum that protects this escape hatch: "Money may help win votes, but the expectation that a candidate can win votes also brings in money. To the degree that (expected) votes influence spending, ordinary measures will exaggera te the effects of spending on votes."

Our response to this challenge consists of two parts. Firstly, at least one clear natural experiment exists, in which it is possible to say with reasonable certainty that a tidal wave of money helped produce a sho cking political upset that was anticipated by scarcely anyone: The famous 1994 election in which Newt Gingrich and a Golden Horde of donors stunned the world by seizing control of the House of Representatives for the Republicans for the first time since 1954 (and only the third time since 1932). Taking a leaf from recent studies in economics and finance of event analysis, we use published estimates of the change in the odds of a Republican takeover to rule out appeals to confident expectations of taking over the House as the explanation for the wave of money that drowned House Democrats that year.

But 1994 is only one case, though admittedly a momentous one. We have not been able to locate usable odds compilations for other elections. In the hope of bypassing tedious debates over a host of less clear cut cases, we searched for more general approaches. … We suspect that where politics and money is concerned, the search for good instruments is in most instances akin to hunting the Snark. A better approach is to search for estimation methods that do not require us to lean so heavily on thin reeds. This quest led us to the work of Peter Ebbes and his colleagues. Ebbes and his associates have developed latent instrumental variable (LIV) models into a practical working tool, where the instrument is unknown, and used them to attack a variety of problems.

These methods are relatively new and, of course, like virtually all statistical tools, rely on assumptions for their validity, but the assumptions required do not appear any more farfetched than more conventional approaches to tackling the question. Irene Hueter's recent critical review is very helpful in clarifying important points. While critical on various secondary issues, she concludes that the method appears to be fundamentally sound and to work in practice: the solutions it gives to some classical econometric applications appear reasonable and in line with results using more traditional methods. We think it is time to try the approach on money and politics, particularly since we can crosscheck its findings with our results on 1994, obtained by the completely different approach now conventional in finance.

Personally, I have to accept Ferguson's authority on this, but the Naked Capitalism commentariat being what it is, perhaps readers will be able to comment on the "latent instrumental variable" approach.

The 2016 Election

One more conclusion that Ferguson et al. draw is that yes, we do live in an oligarchy (although factional conflicts take place among oligarchs:

We demonstrated, for example, that the 1% - defined quite carefully – dominated both major parties; at the same time, however, our results once again directly confirmed the huge differences in the extent to which specific sectors and blocs of firms within big business differentially support Democrats or Republicans. The results point up the futility of trying to underst and the dynamics of American politics without reference to investor coalitions and strongly support a broad investment approach to party competition. We showed that the case of the Tea Party was no different by tracking the rates of support for its candidates within business as a whole but, most importantly, within big business. Claims that major American businesses do not financially support Tea Party candidates are plainly false.

I'm not sure whether Ferguson's results for House (and Senate) races translate directly to Presidential races. However, it would seem to me that at least in 2016, the relationship between money and electoral success has not been linear. After all, how much did George Bush blow? $270 million? And while Clinton is far better funded than Trump, it's not at all clear that she's getting any kind of bang for the buck. Perhaps candidate quality is a wild card at the Presidential level.

NOTE

[1] Well, well. I remember raising this issue in 2008, and being scoffed at. It would be interesting to know if the same techniques were used by the Trump campaign, which just came out with a small donors story, and, to be fair, whether they were used by Clinton or even Sanders.

diptherio , September 20, 2016 at 11:21 am

The Clinton campaign's tactics to inflate the small donor numbers are apparently to just bill their small donors over and over again. Typical democrats: screw over your poorest supporters (in all fairness, Republicans are good at that trick too).

http://www.kare11.com/news/investigations/kare-11-investigates-unauthorized-charges-by-clinton-campaign/229158541

Ignacio , September 20, 2016 at 11:59 am

I think it is rigthly arguable that the relation between money attracted and voting outcome can be reciprocally related. In the case that a candidate is seen as a potential winner, it can attract money that "wins" the rigth to be heared after the election. In other words, to make the candidate friendly to the interests that money represents. This is backed by the fact that the most powerful contributors finance both candidates (the two candidates that have real chance).

Anycase, this study very much supports Greg Palast's book title. Money has a clear effect in election outcome, and almost certainly an even bigger effect on policy, after the election. Good job indeed!

jsn , September 20, 2016 at 12:07 pm

"And while Clinton is far better funded than Trump, it's not at all clear that she's getting any kind of bang for the buck. Perhaps candidate quality is a wild card at the Presidential level."

The Dollary Clump Campaign is likely to screw up a lot of models, its already turned satire from a form of critique to a form of government reducing important propaganda organs to pathetic persiflage in the process.

KYrocky , September 20, 2016 at 12:28 pm
"One more conclusion that Ferguson et al. draw is that yes, we do live in an oligarchy"

The sleuthing required for this effort is amazing, as anyone who has tried to research campaign spending knows, and Ferguson et al are to be highly commended for their effort to shine more daylight on the sordid side of American democracy.

But about that oligarchy. Why not share that information? If the data has been aggregated to individuals and corporations can they be ranked and listed for the world to see? Can Ferguson et al at least share with us a glimpse of who is actually controlling the levers of power in our democracy as it sure isn't the people.

Vatch , September 20, 2016 at 3:52 pm

About a year ago, there was an article in the NY Times with a list of the 158 families who are supposedly donating the most to the Presidential campaign. This list has some major gaps, since the Koch family, the Walton family, and the (Sheldon) Adelson families are not on it. Also, it's in the NY Times, so if you don't want to use up your monthly allotment of articles, link to the article from an incognito or private browser.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/us/politics/wealthy-families-presidential-candidates.html#donors-list

There's also this web site by G. William Domhoff:

http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/

The 7th edition of his book Who Rules America? is available, and it has a list price of about $110.00. A loose leaf version can be had for a steal, only about $80.00.

Kokuanani , September 20, 2016 at 4:06 pm

so if you don't want to use up your monthly allotment of articles, link to the article from an incognito or private browser.

Or go into your browser & clear the NYT cookies. This will reset your monthly "count" to zero.

Robert Hahl , September 20, 2016 at 4:10 pm

If you are not ignoring the New York Times, you are part of the problem.

Vatch , September 20, 2016 at 5:30 pm

I wanted to ignore them; I tried to ignore them! I remembered that there had been an article about 158 rich families, so I a web search. After looking at 6 or 7 articles, all of which were fairly short and just linked to the NY Times article, I declared victory, gave up, and looked at the NY Times article, which is the only place where I could find the actual list.

Lambert Strether Post author , September 20, 2016 at 11:25 pm

I actually meant to add that. It would be nice to have an API to the data, for example, even if it isn't all available as a CSV (and there could be lamentable but legitimate funding reasons for that).

sgt_doom , September 20, 2016 at 1:57 pm

Yes and no - sorry, but at this point in time it isn't really important, we all know Wall Street owns the government, we know where those crapweasels comes from at the Department of Treasury, and Justice, and State (we know that the CIA within the State Department, which the Kennedy brothers once attempted to eradicate, has been incredibly strengthened by Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state by her hiring all those former CIA types), etc., etc.

We know this stuff already, and those of us concerned enough have read David Dayen's masterful book, Chain of Title , and realize that Covington & Burling's point man, Erick Holder, was appointed by Obama so the MERS criminal conspiracy wouldn't be uncovered and the banksters wouldn't be criminally prosecuted as they should all be!

Old news, chum, sorry . . . .

Lambert Strether Post author , September 21, 2016 at 1:53 am

It's not news, "chum," it's an academic study.

The part that I didn't look at - and I need to look at more of Ferguson work - is how he uses aggregations of funders to outline elite factional conflict (otherwise obscured by the "bad" record keeping) in the donor class, i.e. the 1%. That's very useful, pragmatically.

DR , September 20, 2016 at 3:02 pm

re: "I'm not sure whether Ferguson's results for House (and Senate) races translate directly to Presidential races. However, it would seem to me that at least in 2016, the relationship between money and electoral success has not been linear. After all, how much did George Bush blow? $270 million? And while Clinton is far better funded than Trump, it's not at all clear that she's getting any kind of bang for the buck."

Spending levels and Presidential campaigns often do NOT correlate directly for a simple reason: Presidential elections are one of the few political contests in which "free media," i.e., coverage in the news media, TV, blog commentary, Twitter, etc, compensates and often overwhelms the advertising and organizational effects of the campaigns themselves. Thus, Trump has so far received news media coverage worth at least a billion dollars in paid advertising. Further, Jeb, Trump, Clinton are known commodities to the general public. Bernie was an interesting phenomenon. In the end, of course, his fundraising was quite respectable. But in the beginning he benefited from another factor. There was a large latent pro-change anti-Clinton constituency in the Democratic Party hungry for a hero. Presidential primary campaigns are long. There was time for the news to get out and word to spread.

Once the latent anti-Clintonites realized they had a candidate, they gravitated to him, which generated more attention and more money…Finally, there are always exceptions in any data set. Over the years there are numerous examples of Congressional candidates defeating better funded opponents, especially in primaries, where turnout is small. Such exceptions do NOT disprove the general rule. It has always been a rule of thumb among practicing political professionals that the bigger your candidate's funding advantage, the better your chances on election day. Ferguson has proved what common sense and practical experience tell us.

Lambert Strether Post author , September 21, 2016 at 1:55 am

Ferguson says explicitly that the linear correlation in Senate races is choppier (I forget the exact term of art) and one reason is media. So that makes sense.

And makes independent media all the more important…

Steve Ruis , September 21, 2016 at 8:32 am

Well, then could not one conclude that the Supreme Court was wrong in declaring money to be a form of protected speech? According to this study, money isn't speech, it is votes.

And if that is true, then the Supreme Courts rulings violate the "one man: one vote" principle. The number of votes a person has is now determined by his/her wealth and how much of it they are willing to buy an election with.

[Sep 24, 2016] Backlash Against Trade Deals: The End of U.S.-Led Economic Globalisation?

Notable quotes:
"... By Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics and Chairperson at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Originally published at The Frontline ..."
"... President Obama has been a fervent supporter of both these deals, with the explicit aim of enhancing and securing US power. "We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy. We should do it today while our economy is in the position of global strength. …We've got to harness it on our terms. If we don't write the rules for trade around the world – guess what? China will!", he famously said in a speech to workers in a Nike factory in Oregon, USA in May 2015. But even though he has made the case for the TPP plainly enough, his only chance of pushing even the TPP through is in the "lame duck" session of Congress just before the November Presidential election in the US. ..."
"... The official US version, expressed on the website of the US Trade Representative, is that the TPP "writes the rules for global trade-rules that will help increase Made-in-America exports, grow the American economy, support well-paying American jobs, and strengthen the American middle class." This is mainly supposed to occur because of the tariff cuts over 18,000 items that have been written into the agreement, which in turn are supposed to lead to significant expansion of trade volumes and values. ..."
"... But this is accepted by fewer and fewer people in the US. Across the country, workers view such trade deals with great suspicion as causing shifts in employment to lower paid workers, mostly in the Global South. ..."
"... But in fact the TPP and the TTIP are not really about trade liberalisation so much as other regulatory changes, so in any case it is hardly surprising that the positive effects on trade are likely to be so limited. What is more surprising is how the entire discussion around these agreements is still framed around the issues relating to trade liberalisation, when these are in fact the less important parts of these agreements, and it is the other elements that are likely to have more negative and even devastating effects on people living in the countries that sign up to them. ..."
"... Three aspects of these agreements are particularly worrying: the intellectual property provisions, the restrictions on regulatory practices and the investor-state dispute settlement provisions ..."
"... All of these would result in significant strengthening of the bargaining power of corporations vis-à-vis workers and citizens, would reduce the power of governments to bring in policies and regulations that affect the profits or curb the power of such corporations ..."
"... So if such features of US-led globalisation are indeed under threat, that is probably a good thing for the people of the US and for people in their trading partners who had signed up for such deals. ..."
"... The question arises: is Trump evil? Or merely awful? If Trump is merely awful, then we are not faced with voting for the Lesser Evil or otherwise voting Third Party in protest. If we are faced with a choice between Evil and Awful, perhaps a vote for Awful is a vote against Evil just by itself. ..."
"... Trump has backpedaled and frontpedaled on virtually everything, but on trade, he's got Sanders-level consistency. He's been preaching the same sanity since the 90s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZpMJeynBeg ..."
"... While I do not disagree with your comments, they must be placed in proper context: there is no substantive difference between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, and the people who staff the campaigns of Trump and Clinton are essentially the same. (Fundamentally a replay of the 2000 election: Cheney/Bush vs. Lieberman/Gore.) ..."
"... Great Comment. Important to knock down the meme that "this is the most significant or important election of our time" - this is a carbon copy of what we have seen half a dozen times since WW2 alone and that's exactly how our elite handlers want it. Limit the choices, stoke fear, win by dividing the plebes. ..."
"... Let's face it, trade without the iron fist of capitalism will benefit us schlobs greatly and not the 1%. I'm all for being against it (TPP etc) and will vote that way. ..."
"... We'd also have put in enough puppet dictators in resource rich countries that we'd be able to get raw materials cheaply. The low labor/raw material cost will provide a significant advantage for exports but alas, our 99% won't be able to afford our own products. ..."
"... the TPP will completely outlaw any possibility of a "Buy America" clause in the future! ..."
"... The cynic in me wonders if under say NAFTA it would be possible for a multinational to sue for lost profits via isds if TPP fails to pass. That the failure to enact trade "liberalizing" legislation could be construed as an active step against trade. the way these things are so ambiguously worded, I wonder. ..."
"... Here's Obama's actual speech at the Nike headquarters (not factory). http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/barackobama/barackobamatradenike.htm ..."
"... It should be noted that the Oregon Democrats who were free traitors and supported fast track authority were called out that day: Bonamici, Blumenauer, Schrader and Wyden. The only Oregon Ds that opposed: Sen. Merkley and Congressman DeFazio. ..."
"... The Market Realist is far more realistic about Oregon's free traitors' votes. http://marketrealist.com/2015/05/trans-pacific-partnership-affects-footwear-firms/ "US tariffs on footwear imported from Vietnam can range from 5% to 40%, according to OTEXA (Office of Textiles and Apparel). Ratification of the TPP will likely result in lower tariffs and higher profitability for Nike." ..."
"... So what's the incentive for Oregon's free traitors to support the TPP now? ..."
"... Perhaps they still need to show loyalty to their corporate owners and to the principle of "free trade". ..."
"... Obama: "We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy." ..."
"... Thank you, Mr. President, for resolving any doubts that the American project is an imperialist project! ..."
"... Yes, and I would add a jingoistic one as well. Manifest destiny, the Monroe doctrine, etc. are not just history lessons but are alive and well in the neoliberal mindset. The empire must keep expanding into every nook and cranny of the world, turning them into good consumerist slaves. ..."
"... Funny how little things change over the centuries. ..."
"... The West Is The Best, Subhuman Are All The Rest. The perpetual mantra of the Uebermensch since Columbus first made landfall. Hitler merely sought to apply the same to some Europeans. ..."
"... "How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism", 2015, Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nisancioglu. ..."
"... The Dem candidate's husband made it appallingly clear what the purpose of the TPP is: "It's to make sure the future of the Asia-Pacific region is not dominated by China". ..."
"... Bill Clinton doesn't even care about "the rise of China". That's just a red herring he sets up to accuse opponents of TPP of soft-on-China treasonism. It's just fabricating a stick to beat the TPP-opponents with. Clinton's support for MFN for China shows what he really thinks about the "rise of China". ..."
"... Clinton's real motivation is the same as the TPP's real reason, to reduce America to colonial possession status of the anti-national corporations and the Global OverClass natural persons who shelter behind and within them. ..."
"... Obama. Liar or stupid? When Elizabeth Warren spoke out about the secrecy of the TPP, Obama, uncharacteristically, ran to the cameras to state that the TPP was not secret and that the charge being leveled by Warren was false. Obama's statement was that Warren had access to a copy so how dare she say it was secret. ..."
"... Obama (and Holder) effectively immunized every financial criminal involved in the great fraud and recession without bothering to run for a camera, and to this day has refused and avoided any elaboration on the subject, but he wasted no time trying to bury Warren publicly. The TPP is a continuation of Obama's give-away to corporations, or more specifically, the very important men who run them who Obama works for. And he is going to pull out all stops to deliver to the men he respects. ..."
"... It's a virtual "black market" of "money laundering" (sterilization). In foreign trade, IMPORTS decrease (-) the money stock of the importing country (and are a subtraction to domestic gDp figures), while EXPORTS increase (+) the money stock and domestic gDp (earnings repatriated to the U.S), and the potential money supply, of the exporting country. ..."
"... I don't WANT the US writing the rules of trade any longer. We know what US-written rules do: plunge worker wages into slave labor territory, guts all advanced country's manufacturing capability, sends all high tech manufacturing to 3rd world nations ..."
"... Time to toss the rules and re-write them for the greatest benefit of the greatest number of NON-wealthy and for the benefit of the planet/ecosystems, NOT for benefit of Wall St. ..."
Sep 22, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics and Chairperson at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Originally published at The Frontline

There is much angst in the Northern financial media about how the era of globalisation led actively by the United States may well be coming to an end. This is said to be exemplified in the changed political attitudes to mega regional trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) that was signed (but has not yet been ratified) by the US and 11 other countries in Latin America, Asia and Oceania; and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) still being negotiated by the US and the European Union.

President Obama has been a fervent supporter of both these deals, with the explicit aim of enhancing and securing US power. "We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy. We should do it today while our economy is in the position of global strength. …We've got to harness it on our terms. If we don't write the rules for trade around the world – guess what? China will!", he famously said in a speech to workers in a Nike factory in Oregon, USA in May 2015. But even though he has made the case for the TPP plainly enough, his only chance of pushing even the TPP through is in the "lame duck" session of Congress just before the November Presidential election in the US.

However, the changing political currents in the US are making that ever more unlikely. Hardly anyone who is a candidate in the coming elections, whether for the Presidency, the Senate or the House of Representatives, is willing to stick their necks out to back the deal.

Both Presidential candidates in the US (Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton) have openly come out against the TPP. In Clinton's case this is a complete reversal of her earlier position when she had referred to the TPP as "the gold standard of trade deals" – and it has clearly been forced upon her by the insurgent movement in the Democratic Party led by Bernie Sanders. She is already being pushed by her rival candidate for not coming out more clearly in terms of a complete rejection of this deal. Given the significant trust deficit that she still has to deal with across a large swathe of US voters, it will be hard if not impossible for her to backtrack on this once again (as her husband did earlier with NAFTA) even if she does achieve the Presidency.

The official US version, expressed on the website of the US Trade Representative, is that the TPP "writes the rules for global trade-rules that will help increase Made-in-America exports, grow the American economy, support well-paying American jobs, and strengthen the American middle class." This is mainly supposed to occur because of the tariff cuts over 18,000 items that have been written into the agreement, which in turn are supposed to lead to significant expansion of trade volumes and values.

But this is accepted by fewer and fewer people in the US. Across the country, workers view such trade deals with great suspicion as causing shifts in employment to lower paid workers, mostly in the Global South. Even the only US government study of the TPP's likely impacts, by the International Trade Commission, could project at best only 1 per cent increase in exports due to the agreement up to 2032. A study by Jeronim Capaldo and Alex Izurieta with Jomo Kwame Sundaram ("Trading down: Unemployment, inequality and other risks of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement", Working Paper 16-01, Global Development and Environment Institute, January 2016) was even less optimistic, even for the US. It found that the benefits to exports and economic growth were likely to be relatively small for all member countries, and would be negative in the US and Japan because of losses to employment and increases in inequality. Wage shares of national income would decline in all the member countries.

But in fact the TPP and the TTIP are not really about trade liberalisation so much as other regulatory changes, so in any case it is hardly surprising that the positive effects on trade are likely to be so limited. What is more surprising is how the entire discussion around these agreements is still framed around the issues relating to trade liberalisation, when these are in fact the less important parts of these agreements, and it is the other elements that are likely to have more negative and even devastating effects on people living in the countries that sign up to them.

Three aspects of these agreements are particularly worrying:

  1. the intellectual property provisions,
  2. the restrictions on regulatory practices
  3. the investor-state dispute settlement provisions.
Three aspects of these agreements are particularly worrying: the intellectual property provisions, the restrictions on regulatory practices and the investor-state dispute settlement provisions.

All of these would result in significant strengthening of the bargaining power of corporations vis-à-vis workers and citizens, would reduce the power of governments to bring in policies and regulations that affect the profits or curb the power of such corporations

For example, the TPP (and the TTIP) require more stringent enforcement requirements of intellectual property rights: reducing exemptions (e.g. allowing compulsory licensing only for emergencies); preventing parallel imports; extending IPRs to areas like life forms, counterfeiting and piracy; extending exclusive rights to test data (e.g. in pharmaceuticals); making IPR provisions more detailed and prescriptive. The scope of drug patents is extended to include minor changes to existing medications (a practice commonly employed by drug companies, known as "evergreening"). Patent linkages would make it more difficult for many generic drugs to enter markets.

This would strengthen, lengthen and broaden pharmaceutical monopolies on cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS drugs, and in general make even life-saving drugs more expensive and inaccessible in all the member countries. It would require further transformation of countries' laws on patents and medical test data. It would reduce the scope of exemption in use of medical formulations through public procurement for public purposes. All this is likely to lead to reductions in access to drugs and medical procedures because of rising prices, and also impede innovation rather than encouraging it, across member countries.

There are also very restrictive copyright protection rules, that would also affect internet usage as Internet Service Providers are to be forced to adhere to them. There are further restrictions on branding that would reinforce the market power of established players.

The TPP and TTIP also contain restrictions on regulatory practices that greatly increase the power of corporations relative to states and can even prevent states from engaging in countercyclical measures designed to boost domestic demand. It has been pointed out by consumer groups in the USA that the powers of the Food and Drug Administration to regulate products that affect health of citizens could be constrained and curtailed by this agreement. Similarly, macroeconomic stimulus packages that focus on boosting domestic demand for local production would be explicitly prohibited by such agreements.

All these are matters for concern because these agreements enable corporations to litigate against governments that are perceived to be flouting these provisions because of their own policy goals or to protect the rights of their citizens. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism enabled by these agreements is seen to be one of their most deadly features. Such litigation is then subject to supranational tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards and which do not see the rights of citizen as in any way superior to the "rights" of corporations to their profits. These courts can conduct closed and secret hearings with secret evidence. They do not just interpret the rules but contribute to them through case law because of the relatively vague wording of the text, which can then be subject to different interpretations, and therefore are settled by case law. The experience thus far with such tribunals has been problematic. Since they are legally based on "equal" treatment of legal persons with no primacy for human rights, they have become known for their pro-investor bias, partly due to the incentive structure for arbitrators, and partly because the system is designed to provide supplementary guarantees to investors, rather than making them respect host countries laws and regulations.

If all these features of the TPP and the TTIP were more widely known, it is likely that there would be even greater public resistance to them in the US and in other countries. Even as it is, there is growing antagonism to the trade liberalisation that is seen to bring benefits to corporations rather than to workers, at a period in history when secure employment is seen to be the biggest prize of all.

So if such features of US-led globalisation are indeed under threat, that is probably a good thing for the people of the US and for people in their trading partners who had signed up for such deals.

human , September 22, 2016 at 10:14 am

… his only chance of pushing even the TPP through is in the "lame duck" session of Congress just before the November Presidential election in the US.

"just _after_ the November Presidential election"

Uahsenaa , September 22, 2016 at 10:42 am

I was watching a speech Premier Li gave at the Economic Club of NY last night, and it was interesting to see how all his (vetted, pre-selected) questions revolved around anxieties having to do with resistance to global trade deals. Li made a few pandering comments about how much the Chinese love American beef (stop it! you're killing me! har har) meant to diffuse those anxieties, but it became clear that the fear among TPTB of people's dissatisfaction with the current economic is palpable. Let's keep it up!

allan , September 22, 2016 at 11:30 am

On a related note:

U.S. Court Throws Out Price-Fixing Judgment Against Chinese Vitamin C Makers [WSJ]

A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out a $147 million civil price fixing judgment against Chinese manufacturers of vitamin C, ruling the companies weren't liable in U.S. courts because they were acting under the direction of Chinese authorities.

The case raised thorny questions of how courts should treat foreign companies accused of violating U.S. antitrust law when they are following mandates of a foreign government. …

"I was only following orders" might not have worked in Nuremberg, but it's a-ok in international trade.

different clue , September 22, 2016 at 3:14 pm

The question arises: is Trump evil? Or merely awful? If Trump is merely awful, then we are not faced with voting for the Lesser Evil or otherwise voting Third Party in protest. If we are faced with a choice between Evil and Awful, perhaps a vote for Awful is a vote against Evil just by itself.

Wellstone's Ghost , September 22, 2016 at 11:22 am

Trump has already back peddaled on his TPP stance. He now says he wants to renegotiate the TTP and other trade deals. Whatever that means. Besides, Trump is a distraction, its Mike Pence you should be keeping your eye on. He's American Taliban pure and simple.

RPDC , September 22, 2016 at 2:27 pm

This is simply false. Trump has backpedaled and frontpedaled on virtually everything, but on trade, he's got Sanders-level consistency. He's been preaching the same sanity since the 90s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZpMJeynBeg

Hillary wants to start a war with Russia and pass the trade trifecta of TPP/TTIP/TiSA.

sgt_doom , September 22, 2016 at 5:31 pm

While I do not disagree with your comments, they must be placed in proper context: there is no substantive difference between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, and the people who staff the campaigns of Trump and Clinton are essentially the same. (Fundamentally a replay of the 2000 election: Cheney/Bush vs. Lieberman/Gore.)

Trump was run to make Hillary look good, but that has turned out to be Mission Real Impossible!

We are seeing the absolute specious political theater at its worst, attempting to differentiate between Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Trumpster – – – the only major difference is that Clinton has far more real blood on her and Bill's hands.

Nope, there is no lesser of evils this time around . . .

Quanka , September 23, 2016 at 8:25 am

Great Comment. Important to knock down the meme that "this is the most significant or important election of our time" - this is a carbon copy of what we have seen half a dozen times since WW2 alone and that's exactly how our elite handlers want it. Limit the choices, stoke fear, win by dividing the plebes.

different clue , September 24, 2016 at 1:00 am

Really? Well . . . might as well vote for Clinton then.

First Woman President!
Feminism!
Liberation!

TedWa , September 22, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Let's face it, trade without the iron fist of capitalism will benefit us schlobs greatly and not the 1%. I'm all for being against it (TPP etc) and will vote that way.

a different chris , September 22, 2016 at 12:17 pm

>only 1 per cent increase in exports due to the agreement up to 2032.

At that point American's wages will have dropped near enough to Chinese levels that we can compete in selling to First World countries…. assuming there are any left.

oh , September 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm

We'd also have put in enough puppet dictators in resource rich countries that we'd be able to get raw materials cheaply. The low labor/raw material cost will provide a significant advantage for exports but alas, our 99% won't be able to afford our own products.

sgt_doom , September 22, 2016 at 5:38 pm

Naaah, never been about competition, since nobody is actually vetted when they offshore those jobs or replace American workers with foreign visa workers.

But to sum it up as succinctly as possible: the TPP is about the destruction of workers' rights; the destruction of local and small businesses; and the loss of sovereignty. Few Americans are cognizant of just how many businesses are foreign owned today in America; their local energy utility or state energy utility, their traffic enforcement company which was privatized, their insurance company (GEICO, etc.).

I remember when a political action group back in the '00s thought they had stumbled on a big deal when someone had hacked into the system of the Bretton Woods Committee (the lobbyist group for the international super-rich which ONLY communicates with the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader, and who shares the same lobbyist and D.C. office space as the Group of Thirty, the lobbyist group for the central bankers [Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, Mario Draghi, Ernesto Zedillo, Bill Dudley, etc., etc.]) and placed online their demand of the senate and the congress to kill the "Buy America" clause in the federal stimulus program of a few years back (it was watered down greatly, and many exemptions were signed by then Commerce Secretary Gary Locke), but such information went completely unnoticed or ignored, and of course, the TPP will completely outlaw any possibility of a "Buy America" clause in the future!

http://www.brettonwoods.org
http://www.group30.org

Arthur J , September 22, 2016 at 12:32 pm

The cynic in me wonders if under say NAFTA it would be possible for a multinational to sue for lost profits via isds if TPP fails to pass. That the failure to enact trade "liberalizing" legislation could be construed as an active step against trade. the way these things are so ambiguously worded, I wonder.

Carla , September 22, 2016 at 4:50 pm

In June 2016, "[TransCanada] filed an arbitration claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) over President Obama's rejection of the pipeline, making good on its January threat to take legal action against the US decision.

According to the official request for arbitration, the $15 billion tab is supposed to help the company recover costs and damages that it suffered "as a result of the US administration's breach of its NAFTA obligations." NAFTA is a comprehensive trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico that went into effect in January 1, 1994. Under the agreement, businesses can challenge governments over investment disputes.

In addition, the company filed a suit in US Federal Court in Houston, Texas in January asserting that the Obama Administration exceeded the power granted by the US Constitution in denying the project."

http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/transcanada_complains_nafta_sues_us_15_bn_keystone_xl_rejection/

Six states have since joined that federal law suit.

Kris Alman , September 22, 2016 at 1:46 pm

Here's Obama's actual speech at the Nike headquarters (not factory). http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/barackobama/barackobamatradenike.htm

It should be noted that the Oregon Democrats who were free traitors and supported fast track authority were called out that day: Bonamici, Blumenauer, Schrader and Wyden. The only Oregon Ds that opposed: Sen. Merkley and Congressman DeFazio.

Obama's rhetoric May 5, 2015 at the Nike campus was all about how small businesses would prosper. Congresswoman Bonamici clings to this rationale in her refusal to tell angry constituents at town halls whether she supports the TPP.

The Market Realist is far more realistic about Oregon's free traitors' votes. http://marketrealist.com/2015/05/trans-pacific-partnership-affects-footwear-firms/
"US tariffs on footwear imported from Vietnam can range from 5% to 40%, according to OTEXA (Office of Textiles and Apparel). Ratification of the TPP will likely result in lower tariffs and higher profitability for Nike."

That appeals to the other big athletic corporations that cluster in the Portland metro: Columbia Sportswear and Under Armour.

A plot twist!

Vietnam will not include ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the agenda for its next parliament session. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asia/1087705/vietnam-delays-tpp-vote So what's the incentive for Oregon's free traitors to support the TPP now?

Vatch , September 22, 2016 at 2:01 pm

So what's the incentive for Oregon's free traitors to support the TPP now?

Perhaps they still need to show loyalty to their corporate owners and to the principle of "free trade".

hemeantwell , September 22, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Obama: "We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy."

Thank you, Mr. President, for resolving any doubts that the American project is an imperialist project!

ChrisFromGeorgia , September 22, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Yes, and I would add a jingoistic one as well. Manifest destiny, the Monroe doctrine, etc. are not just history lessons but are alive and well in the neoliberal mindset. The empire must keep expanding into every nook and cranny of the world, turning them into good consumerist slaves.

Funny how little things change over the centuries.

Brad , September 22, 2016 at 9:39 pm

The West Is The Best, Subhuman Are All The Rest. The perpetual mantra of the Uebermensch since Columbus first made landfall. Hitler merely sought to apply the same to some Europeans.

"How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism", 2015, Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nisancioglu.

Minnie Mouse , September 22, 2016 at 3:58 pm

When America writes the rules of the global economy the global economy destroys America.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , September 22, 2016 at 7:44 pm

The Dem candidate's husband made it appallingly clear what the purpose of the TPP is: "It's to make sure the future of the Asia-Pacific region is not dominated by China".

Would be nice if they had even a passing thought for those people in a certain North American region located in between Canada and Mexico.

different clue , September 23, 2016 at 1:40 am

Bill Clinton doesn't even care about "the rise of China". That's just a red herring he sets up to accuse opponents of TPP of soft-on-China treasonism. It's just fabricating a stick to beat the TPP-opponents with. Clinton's support for MFN for China shows what he really thinks about the "rise of China".

Clinton's real motivation is the same as the TPP's real reason, to reduce America to colonial possession status of the anti-national corporations and the Global OverClass natural persons who shelter behind and within them.

different clue , September 22, 2016 at 3:21 pm

If calling the International Free Trade Conspiracy "American" is enough to get it killed and destroyed, then I don't mind having a bunch of foreigners calling the Free Trade Conspiracy "American". Just as long as they are really against it, and can really get Free Trade killed and destroyed.

Chauncey Gardiner , September 22, 2016 at 3:23 pm

Excellent post. Thank you. Should these so called "trade agreements" be approved, perhaps Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS arbitration) futures can be created by Wall Street and made the next speculative "Play-of-the-day" so that everyone has a chance to participate in the looting. … Btw, can you loot your own house?

KYrocky , September 22, 2016 at 4:49 pm

Obama. Liar or stupid? When Elizabeth Warren spoke out about the secrecy of the TPP, Obama, uncharacteristically, ran to the cameras to state that the TPP was not secret and that the charge being leveled by Warren was false. Obama's statement was that Warren had access to a copy so how dare she say it was secret.

At the time he made that statement Warren could go to an offsite location to read the TPP in the presence of a member of the Trade Commission, could not have staff with her, could not take notes, and could not discuss anything she read with anyone else after she left. Or face criminal charges.

Yeah. Nothing secret about that.

Obama (and Holder) effectively immunized every financial criminal involved in the great fraud and recession without bothering to run for a camera, and to this day has refused and avoided any elaboration on the subject, but he wasted no time trying to bury Warren publicly. The TPP is a continuation of Obama's give-away to corporations, or more specifically, the very important men who run them who Obama works for. And he is going to pull out all stops to deliver to the men he respects.

sgt_doom , September 22, 2016 at 5:43 pm

And add to that everything from David Dayen's book (" Chain of Title ") on Covington & Burling and Eric Holder and President Obama, and Thomas Frank's book ("Listen, Liberals") and people will have the full picture!

Spencer , September 22, 2016 at 9:50 pm

It's a virtual "black market" of "money laundering" (sterilization). In foreign trade, IMPORTS decrease (-) the money stock of the importing country (and are a subtraction to domestic gDp figures), while EXPORTS increase (+) the money stock and domestic gDp (earnings repatriated to the U.S), and the potential money supply, of the exporting country.

So, there's a financial incentive (to maximize profits), not to repatriate foreign income (pushes up our exchange rate, currency conversion costs, if domestic re-investment alternatives are considered more circumscribed, plus taxes, etc.).

In spite of the surfeit of $s, and E-$ credits, and unlike the days in which world-trade required a Marshall Plan jump start, trade surpluses increasingly depend on the Asian Tiger's convertibility issues.

Praedor , September 23, 2016 at 10:30 am

I don't WANT the US writing the rules of trade any longer. We know what US-written rules do: plunge worker wages into slave labor territory, guts all advanced country's manufacturing capability, sends all high tech manufacturing to 3rd world nations or even (potential) unfriendlies like China (who can easily put trojan spyware hard code or other vulnerabilities into critical microchips…the way WE were told the US could/would when it was leading on this tech when I was serving in the 90s). We already know that US-written rules is simply a way for mega corporations to extend patents into the ever-more-distant future, a set of rules that hands more control of arts over to the MPAA, rules that gut environmental laws, etc. Who needs the US-written agreements when this is the result?

Time to toss the rules and re-write them for the greatest benefit of the greatest number of NON-wealthy and for the benefit of the planet/ecosystems, NOT for benefit of Wall St.

[Sep 24, 2016] Income Inequality in a Globalising World

Notable quotes:
"... By Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, Research Fellow, UNU-WIDE, Laurence Roope, Researcher, Health Economics Research Centre, University of Oxford, and Finn Tarp, Director, UNU-WIDER. Originally published at VoxEU ..."
"... See original post for references ..."
"... John Ross argues that the reduction in poverty has been pretty much all China. I'm also not convinced China is actually that much richer than before. A sweatshop worker has a higher income than a traditional farmer, but probably has a lower standard of living, and while the traditional farmer maintains the natural resource base, the industrial worker destroys it. ..."
"... Globalization is an economic and ecological disaster. We have outsourced wealth creation to China and they do it in the most polluting way possible, turning their country into a toxic waste dump in the process. ..."
"... The peasants slaving away in the cinder block hellholes of their factories churning out the crapola on Wal-Mart's shelves also get paid squat, while the leaders of the Chinese Criminal Party steal half of their effort for themselves and smuggle the loot out, to get away from the pollution. The other half gets stolen by the likes of Wal-Mart and Apple. ..."
"... The elites sold globalization as something that would generate such a munificent surplus that those in harms way would be helped. It ends up as a lie, where the elites the world over help themselves to the stolen sweat of the lowest people in society, with nothing left over, except for a polluted planet. ..."
"... Yes, those who "have seen their incomes stagnating in real terms for over 20 years" are indeed experiencing "considerable discontent." But this anodyne phrasing masks the reality of entire communities seeing their means of livelihood ripped out and shipped across the globe. This rhetoric makes it sound like, Oh those prosperous American workers can't buy as many luxuries now, boo hoo, when the standard practice from NAFTA on of globalization-as-corporate-welfare has meant real impoverishment for hundreds of thousands of individuals, entire cities and large chunks of whole states. As Lambert always says, Whose economy? ..."
Sep 23, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
...if you look at absolute inequality, as opposed to relative inequality, inequality has increased around the world. This calls into question one of the big arguments made in favor of globalization: that the cost to workers in advanced economies are offset by gains to workers in developing economies, and is thus virtuous by lowering inequality more broadly measured.

By Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, Research Fellow, UNU-WIDE, Laurence Roope, Researcher, Health Economics Research Centre, University of Oxford, and Finn Tarp, Director, UNU-WIDER. Originally published at VoxEU

Since the turn of the century, inequality in the distribution of income, together with concerns over the pace and nature of globalisation, have risen to be among the most prominent policy issues of our time. These concerns took centre stage at the recent annual G20 summit in China. From President Obama to President Xi, there was broad agreement that the global economy needs more inclusive and sustainable growth, where the economic pie increases in size and is at the same time divided more fairly. As President Obama emphasised, "[t]he international order is under strain." The consensus is well founded, following as it does the recent Brexit vote, and the rise of populism (especially on the right) in the US and Europe, with its hard stance against free trade agreements, capital flows and migration.

... ... ...

The inclusivity aspect of growth is now more imperative than ever. Globalisation has not been a zero sum game. Overall perhaps more have benefitted, especially in fast-growing economies in the developing world. However, many others, for example among the working middle class in industrialised nations, have seen their incomes stagnating in real terms for over 20 years. It is unsurprising that this has bred considerable discontent, and it is an urgent priority that concrete steps are taken to reduce the underlying sources of this discontent. Those who feel they have not benefitted, and those who have even lost from globalisation, have legitimate reasons for their discontent. Appropriate action will require not only the provision of social protection to the poorest and most vulnerable. It is essential that the very nature of the ongoing processes of globalisation, growth, and economic transformation are scrutinised, and that broad based investments are made in education, skills, and health, particularly among relatively disadvantaged groups. Only in this way will the world experience sustained – and sustainable – economic growth and the convergence of nations in the years to come.

See original post for references

tony , September 23, 2016 at 7:20 am

http://ablog.typepad.com/keytrendsinglobalisation/2013/11/china-world-poverty.html

John Ross argues that the reduction in poverty has been pretty much all China. I'm also not convinced China is actually that much richer than before. A sweatshop worker has a higher income than a traditional farmer, but probably has a lower standard of living, and while the traditional farmer maintains the natural resource base, the industrial worker destroys it.

cnchal , September 23, 2016 at 7:32 am

Only in this way will the world experience sustained – and sustainable – economic growth and the convergence of nations in the years to come.

Globalization is an economic and ecological disaster. We have outsourced wealth creation to China and they do it in the most polluting way possible, turning their country into a toxic waste dump in the process.

The peasants slaving away in the cinder block hellholes of their factories churning out the crapola on Wal-Mart's shelves also get paid squat, while the leaders of the Chinese Criminal Party steal half of their effort for themselves and smuggle the loot out, to get away from the pollution. The other half gets stolen by the likes of Wal-Mart and Apple.

The elites sold globalization as something that would generate such a munificent surplus that those in harms way would be helped. It ends up as a lie, where the elites the world over help themselves to the stolen sweat of the lowest people in society, with nothing left over, except for a polluted planet.

Sustainable economic growth is an oxymoron.

Sally Snyder , September 23, 2016 at 7:35 am

Here is an article that looks at the relationship between wealth and ethnicity/race in the United States:

http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2016/08/the-growing-ethnicracial-wealth-gap.html

The notable presence of public policies that exacerbate racial and economic inequality and the lack of will by Washington to change the system mean that the ethnic/racial wealth gap is becoming more firmly entrenched in society.

tegnost , September 23, 2016 at 10:15 am

Good article but standard policy prescription…

"broad based investments are made in education, skills, and health, particularly among relatively disadvantaged groups. Only in this way will the world experience sustained – and sustainable – economic growth and the convergence of nations in the years to come."

…I guess if the skills were sustainable low chemical and diverse farming in 5 acre lots or in co-ops then I might have less complaint, however the skills people apparently are going to need are supervising robots and going to non jobs in autonomous vehicles and being fed on chemical mush shaped like things we used to eat, a grim dystopia.

Yesterday I had the unpleasant experience of reading the hard copy nyt wherein kristof opined that hey it's not so bad, extreme poverty has eased (the same as in this article, but without this article's Vietnamese example where 1 v. 8 becomes 8 v. 80),ignoring the relative difference while on another lackluster page there was an article saying immigrants don't take jobs from citizens which had to be one of the most thinly veiled press releases of some study made by some important sounding acronym and and, of course a supposed "balance" between pro and anti immigration academics. because in this case, they claim we're relatively better off.

So there you have it, it's all relative. Bi color bird cage liner, dedicated to the ever shrinking population of affluent/wealthy who are relatively better off as opposed to the ever increasing population of people who are actually worse off…There was also an article on the desert dwelling uighur and their system of canals bringing glacier water to farm their arid land which showed some people who were fine for thousands of years, but now thanks to fracking, industrial pollution and less community involvement (kids used to clean the karatz, keeping it healthy) now these people can be uplifted into the modern world(…so great…) that was reminiscent of the nyt of olde which presented the conundrum but left out the policy prescription which now always seems to be "the richer I get the less extreme poverty there is in the world so stop your whining and borrow a few hundred thousand to buy a PhD "

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/22/world/asia/china-xinjiang-turpan-water.html

timotheus , September 23, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Yes, those who "have seen their incomes stagnating in real terms for over 20 years" are indeed experiencing "considerable discontent." But this anodyne phrasing masks the reality of entire communities seeing their means of livelihood ripped out and shipped across the globe. This rhetoric makes it sound like, Oh those prosperous American workers can't buy as many luxuries now, boo hoo, when the standard practice from NAFTA on of globalization-as-corporate-welfare has meant real impoverishment for hundreds of thousands of individuals, entire cities and large chunks of whole states. As Lambert always says, Whose economy?

sgt_doom , September 23, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Great comments, timotheus , great comments!

Three reading recommendations for anyone who doesn't grasp your sentiment, shared by millions: Sold Out , by Michelle Malkin Outsourcing America , by Ron Hira America: Who Stole the Dream? , by Donald L. Barlett Reply

[Sep 24, 2016] 9-11 Firefighter Blows WTC 7 Cover-Up Wide Open

Impressive interview
Notable quotes:
"... That guy knows what he's talking about. It's about time someone came forward with what may be true according to what he saw and knows. ..."
YouTube

Infowars reporter Lee Ann McAdoo talks to Rudy Dent, 32 year veteran of NYC fire department and the NYPD, about his incredible first hand experience of the lies surrounding WTC 7.

Jeanne O'Mara 13 hours ago

This retired fireman feels that it was a a controlled demolition. He has never heard of a high rise being brought down by a fire. There were other bldgs that were hit by debris from the burning towers. He was also suspicious that all the evidence from WTC 7 was taken away and sent to china.

The crime scene should have protected but wasn't. He believe as many now do that t was a "false Flag" operation to get people all riled up so they could get into react. He saw molten LAVA like pockets of steel which is like what you see when a volcano explodes. It's called pyroclastic flow. Thermite, a very special explosive was found and it can only be made a very specialized labs like Los Alamos.

The bush family has a very creepy history. Prescott Bush had holdings in a bank that funded the Nazis (Union Bank). It was seized by the CONGRESS. The Harrimans were also involved w this bank.

It's also clear that Bush Sr had a role in JFK's assassination. JFK had asked A. Harriman to negotiate w Vietnam and Harriman cross out that part. This was treason.

lora savage 1 week ago

That guy knows what he's talking about. It's about time someone came forward with what may be true according to what he saw and knows.

[Sep 24, 2016] 9 11 John Kerry admits that WTC7 was brought down by controlled demolition!

www.youtube.com
al murphy 1 year ago
9/11 is a cover-up and World Trade Center 7 collapse is the smoking gun. Why is that so?? WTC-7 fully collapsed in a manner that resembles a controlled demolition. For 2.25 seconds it collapsed at freefall and National Institute of Standards and Technology now admits this. In order for it to freefall for 2.25 seconds you need a uniform gap of approx. 80ft free of any physical impediments (equivalent of blowing out 7 floors almost instantaneously).

Fire is not magic and cannot do that and only can be precisely done through human intervention. It takes the prepositioning of demolition components that are finely timed throughout the building to accomplish this. WTC-7 had GOV agencies as part of its tenant (US Secret Service, CIA, IRS, DOD...) With tenants like that it is impossible for an outsider to get access to the building to preposition demolition components. Whoever did had to have their consent!

[Sep 24, 2016] Americas Deadliest Export Democracy - The Truth about US Foreign Policy and Everything Else

Notable quotes:
"... "If you [Americans] are sincere in your desire for peace and security... and if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State." ..."
Amazon.com

Gary Corseri

William Blum's "Cri de Coeur", February 9, 2013

William Blum's Cri de Coeur
A review of "America's Deadliest Export: Democracy" by William Blum (Zed Books, London/New York, 2013.)

(As it has appeared at DissidentVoice, OpEdNews, etc.):

In activist-author-publisher William Blum's new book, America's Deadliest Export: Democracy, he tells the story of how he got his 15 minutes of fame back in 2006. Osama bin Laden had released an audiotape, declaring:

"If you [Americans] are sincere in your desire for peace and security... and if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State."

Bin Laden then quoted from the Foreword of Blum's 2000 book, Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, in which he had mused:

"If I were... president, I could stop terrorist attacks [on us] in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize... to all the widows and the orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. I would then announce that America's global interventions... have come to an end. And I would inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the union but... a foreign country. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims. ... That's what I'd do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I'd be assassinated."

Unfortunately, Blum never made it to the White House! But, fortunately, for those who have read his books or follow his "Anti-Empire Reports" on the Web, he was not assassinated! And now he has collected his reports and essays of the last dozen years or so into a 352-page volume that will not only stand the test of time, but will help to define this disillusioned, morose, violent and unraveling Age.

America's Deadliest... is divided into 21 chapters and an introduction--and there's something to underline or memorize on every page! Sometimes it's just one of Blum's irrepressible quips, and sometimes it's a matter of searing American foreign or domestic policiy that clarifies that Bushwhackian question of yore: "Why do they hate us?"

Reading this scrupulously documented book, I lost count of the times I uttered, "unbelievable!" concerning some nefarious act committed by the US Empire in the name of freedom, democracy and fighting communism or terrorism. Reading Blum's book with an open mind, weighing the evidence, will bleach out any pride in the flag we have planted in so many corpses around the world. The book is a diuretic and emetic!

Blum's style is common sense raised to its highest level. The wonder of America's Deadliest ... is that it covers so much of the sodden, bloody ground of America's march across our post-Second-World-War world, yet tells the story with such deftness and grace-under-fire that the reader is enticed--not moralized, not disquisitionally badgered--, but enticed to consider our globe from a promontory of higher understanding.

Some of the themes Blum covers (and often eviscerates) include:

  1. Why they hate us;
  2. America means well;
  3. We cannot permit a successful alternative to the capitalist model to develop anywhere in the world;
  4. We will use whatever means necessary--including, lies, deception, sabotage, bribery, torture and war--to achieve the above idea.

Along the way, we get glimpses of Blum's experientially rich life. A note "About the Author" tells us that, "He left the State Department in 1967, abandoning his aspiration of becoming a Foreign Service Officer because of his opposition to what the US was doing in Vietnam. He then became a founder and editor of the Washington Free Press, the first "alternative" newspaper in the capital."

In his chapter on "Patriotism," Blum relates how, after a talk, he was asked: "Do you love America?" He responded with what we may take for his credo: "I don't love any country. I'm a citizen of the world. I love certain principles, like human rights, civil liberties, meaningful democracy, an economy which puts people before profits."

America's Deadliest... is a book of wisdom and wit that ponders "how this world became so unbearably cruel, corrupt, unjust, and stupid?" In a pointillistic approach, sowing aphoristic seeds for thought, Blum enumerates instances of that cruelty, often with wry, pained commentary. "War can be seen as America's religion," he tells us. Reflecting on Obama's octupling Bush's number of drones used to assassinate, collaterally kill and terrorize, he affirms:

"Obama is one of the worst things that has ever happened to the American left." And, he avers, "Capitalism is the theory that the worst people, acting from their worst motives, will somehow produce the most good." And then turns around and reminds us--lest we forget--how the mass media have invaded our lives, with memes about patriotism, democracy, God, the "good life": "Can it be imagined that an American president would openly implore America's young people to fight a foreign war to defend `capitalism'?" he wonders.

"The word itself has largely gone out of fashion. The approved references now are to the market economy, free market, free enterprise, or private enterprise."

Cynthia McKinney writes that the book is "corruscating, eye-opening, and essential." Oliver Stone calls it a "fireball of terse information."
Like Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader, Paul Craig Roberts, Cindy Sheehan and Bradley Manning, Blum is committed to setting the historical record straight. His book is dangerous. Steadfast, immutable "truths" one has taken for granted--often since childhood--are exposed as hollow baubles to entertain the un/mis/and dis-informed. One such Blumism recollects Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez's account of a videotape with a very undiplomatic Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and cowboy George Bush: "`We've got to smash somebody's ass quickly,'" Powell said. "`We must have a brute demonstration of power.'

Then Bush spoke: `Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! ... Stay strong! ... Kill them! ... We are going to wipe them out!'"

Blum's intellectual resources are as keen as anyone's writing today. He also adds an ample measure of humanity to his trenchant critiques. He juxtaposes the noble rhetoric of our professed values with the mordant facts of our deeds. The cognitive dissonance makes for a memorable, very unpretty picture of how an immensely privileged people lost themselves, while gorging on junk food, junk politics, junk economics, junk education, junk media. Like an Isaiah, a Jeremiah, he lambastes his own--us!--flaying layers of hypocrisy and betrayals while seeking to reveal the core values of human dignity, empathy and moral rectitude.

Gary Corseri has published and posted prose, poetry and dramas at hundreds of periodicals and websites worldwide, including CommonDreams, Countercurrents, BraveNewWorld.in, OpEdNews, CounterPunch, Outlook India, The New York Times, Dissident Voice. He has published novels, poetry collections and a literary anthology (edited). His dramas have been presented on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere, and he has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library. He has taught in US public schools and prisons, and at American and Japanese universities. Contact: gary_corseri@comcast.net.

[Sep 24, 2016] Vanity Fair

Sep 22, 2016 | www.vanityfair.com
(Re Silc). "Interestingly, the biggest drag on Trump among this group was his verbal treatment of women."

"Let's start by giv­ing Don­ald Trump every state that Rom­ney won in 2012, even North Car­o­lina where, as of Thursday morn­ing, Clin­ton had a nar­row lead in the RCP av­er­age of polls in that state. That would give Trump 245 elect­or­al votes to Clin­ton's 293, with 270 needed to win. Now let's give Trump every state where Clin­ton's RCP av­er­age lead was less than 3 points, thus put­ting Iowa, Nevada, Flor­ida, and Ohio in Trump's column. Clin­ton would then lead 273-265 and still be in the win­ner's circle. Now let's as­sume that Trump wins Maine's second con­gres­sion­al dis­trict, which would nar­row her lead to 272 to 266. To be clear, I do not think that Trump will sweep North Car­o­lina, Iowa, Nevada, Flor­ida, and Ohio. For that mat­ter, he is strug­gling to keep his lead in places like Ari­zona and Geor­gia. Even giv­ing Trump every state that is close, he still comes up short. To get over the top he would need to win states where today he's not run­ning par­tic­u­larly close. These in­clude New Hamp­shire, where the RCP av­er­age gives Clin­ton a 5-point edge, Pennsylvania a 6.2-point lead, Michigan a 5.6-point lead, and Vir­gin­ia a 3.7-point lead" [ Cook Political Report ] [dusts hands]. "The key thing to think about in the com­ing weeks is who the elec­tion is really about. For most of the past three months, it was a ref­er­en­dum on Trump, and he was los­ing. The last couple of weeks, the race has been about Clin­ton and she has been los­ing ground as a res­ult." The political class cannot concieve of the idea that the election might be a referendum on them . And that a narrow win will not be enough to allow them to retain the mandate of heaven.

"The larger explanation for the Trump phenomenon is even more unsettling for Washington's political class, especially the media. They have lost their power" [ Politico ]. No, they haven't. But they are frantic to retain it. "Only a decade or two ago, the media world was confined to a group of people in D.C. and New York-a group that largely knew each other, mingled in the same places, vacationed in the same locales. The most influential members of the group routinely defined what constituted a gaffe, others echoed that view, and it became the conventional wisdom for the rest of America. In the age of the Internet, with bloggers spread out across the nation, and multiple platforms across the political spectrum, that's no longer possible. The growing divergence between these 'insiders' and the new 'outsiders' has played to Trump's benefit, every single time he made what was once conceived as a 'game-changing' error." Hmm. I remember 2003-2006 very well, when bloggers were going to do just this. That was going to happen until it didn't. In other words, I don't think it's bloggers and platforms that are the drivers; aspirational 10%-ers, as it were. It's a solid chunk of the 90% being mightily ticked off (though ticked off in ways appropriate to their various conditions). And that's not going to change.

"Thus Clinton's peculiar predicament. She has moved further left than any modern Democratic nominee, and absorbed the newer left's Manichaean view of the culture war" [Ross Douthat, The New York Times ]. And "culture war" completely explains why all those bright young people were chanting the talking points of an elderly white male socialist delivering hour-long speeches on policy to ginormous rallies. If you want to see an utterly classic conflation of "liberal" and "left," read this. Douthat really is an idiot.

"View from the barber's chair: In Florida even blacks and Hispanics may be turning against Hillary Clinton" [ Independent ]. This is good, although using the word "safari" for encounters with Florida voters might not be an ideal choice of words.

UPDATE "There are three consistent features to all of conservative talk radio: Anger, Trump, and ads targeting the financially desperate" [ Chris Arnade ]. "The ads are a constant. Ads protecting against coming financial crisis (Surprise! It is Gold.) or ads that start, 'Having trouble with the IRS?' The obvious lessons being 1) Lots of conservative talk radio listeners are in financial distress. 2) They are willing to turn to scams."

UPDATE "[Squillionare Tom Steyer is] chipping in an additional $15 million to For Our Future, a joint effort among four labor unions and a super PAC he founded called Next Gen Climate. The money won't go to TV ads but to a door-to-door campaign that aims to knock on 2 million doors in seven swing states, encouraging "sporadic" voters to get to the polls" [ USA Today ]. Once again, if the Democrats didn't suck at basic party functions, they wouldn't have to suck up to squillionaires like this.

UPDATE "No matter who wins in November, America is going to face a divide unseen in decades. If Donald Trump wins, he will confront a resident media more hateful than that which confronted Richard Nixon in 1968" [Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative ]. "If Hillary Clinton wins, she will come to office distrusted and disbelieved by most of her countrymen, half of whom she has maligned either as "deplorables" or pitiful souls in need of empathy." A country Buchanan worked so tirelessly to unify! Still, the old reprobate has this right. If Clinton wins (likely modulo events, dear boy, events) and the Republicans retain the House and the Senate, they'll impeach her over some damned thing in the emails. And they'll be right.

UPDATE "Trump Boasts About Using 'Other People's Money' In Business" [ Talking Points Memo ]. History's worst monster!

UPDATE "A fuzzy screenshot of an email instructing people on how to disrupt internet groups is doing the rounds today, and it's worth having a really good look at. It's unclear where this particular handbook came from, and what particular groups they intend to target, but anyone who has been in Bernie, Green, or Libertarian groups will soon recognize these same tactics and patterns" [ Inquisitr ].

[Sep 24, 2016] US started Ukraine civil war

Jan 01, 2015 | english.pravda.ru
30.01.2015

US started Ukraine civil war. War in Donbass continues

It has been over a year of blood, tears and destruction in Ukraine especially in SE Ukraine. The new country now called Novorossia, has been fighting the puppet government in Kiev, USA who is committing genocide in the Donbass region. America's new addition to its Empire is funded with billions and millions supported by NATO and other mercenaries. Yet, Kiev still cannot complete its mission the US trained it for. Oleg Tsarov warned about the impish activities the US was performing before the protests began in Kiev. America started the war in Ukraine but like Goliath was slain by little David.

US Started Ukraine Civil War *PROOF* Nov 20, 2013

Oleg Tsarov, who was then the People's Deputy of Ukraine, talks about US preparations for civil war in Ukraine, November 2013 in Kiev parliament. Major protests began the day after his speech. You can hear the paid protesters chanting "Ukraine" in the background trying to keep him from speaking the truth. Later, April 14, 2014, Oleg was beaten by a mob when he was running for president but fortunately survived. His face was badly beaten as shown here. Remember, his speech was the day before the Maidan Protests. See the Timeline. In his speech he said:

"...activists of the organization 'Volya' turned to me providing clear evidence that within our territory with support and direct participation of the US EMBASSY (in Kiev) the 'Tech Camp' project is realized under which preparations are being made for a civil war in Ukraine.

The project is currently overseen and under the responsibility of the US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt. After the conversation with the organization 'Volya'. I have learned they succeeded to access the facilities of 'Tech Camp' disguised as a team of IT specialists. To their surprise, briefings on the peculiarities of modern media were held. AMERICAN instructors explained how social networks and Internet technologies can be used for targeted manipulation of public opinion as well as to activate protest potential to provoke violent unrest in the territory of Ukraine; radicalization of the population triggering infighting.

American instructors presented examples of successful use of social networks used to organize protests in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. Recent conference took place Nov 14-15, 2013, in the heart of Kiev in the Embassy of the United States of America!

Is it conceivable that representatives of the US Embassy which organize the 'Tech Camp' conferences misuse their diplomatic mission? UN resolution of December 21, 1965 regulates inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of a state to protect its independence and its sovereignty in accordance with paragraphs 1,2 and 5. I ask you to consider this as an official supplication to pursue an investigation of this case."

Well, no investigation was ever made especially by the "land of the free". Vladimir Putin has asked the UN for help but they drag their feet. The US embassies have caused more damage than the Soviet Union has ever done. In the video, we can see Oleg and others knew about America's interference in Ukraine affairs. He wanted to stop the civil war and courageously ran for president to stop the impending bloodshed. Thousands of deaths could have been avoided if people had listened to him. He could not fight the tide of billions of dollars from Obama and the US Congress. The Nazis in Kiev had their way while Poroshenko sent men to their deaths. What a waste into a whirlpool of misery.

Obama and Poroshenko told the army they were going to fight terrorists. The "terrorists" were innocent civilians. Kiev POW's were later paraded in front of the bombarded people as they got a dose of REALITY. If only Obama or Poroshenko had told them the truth that they were bombing civilians they thought. The Ukrainian army is full of city boys who are inexperienced, fighting in unknown territory. The Novorossia militia is filled with coal miners and other blue collar workers with many who have had combat experience in Chechnya or older men with experience from the Soviet-Afghanistan war.

The militia has seen their children, wives, Mothers, Fathers, grandparents and close friends killed but their faith, as this touching video shows, helps them defend their land. The Ukrainian army was drafted and sent by seedy Obama and Poroshenko under the penalty of 5 yrs in jail if they did not fight. If you feel sorry for them as POW's then I hope you see the bodies or graves of the thousands of civilians who were killed by them. It is a tragedy for everyone involved. Even for Soros, Obama, Poroshenko, Kerry, Nuland, members of US Congress who approved this, the Nazis in Kiev, all will suffer far worse on Judgment Day unless they repent.

The civil war continues in Ukraine but despite Kiev's effort to mask the number of their dead soldiers and POW's, Novorossia continues victory after victory on the battlefield. Ukraine army focuses on shelling civilians while Novorossia kills Kiev's soldiers or captures them. Sometimes they are returned to their Mothers as seen in this film.

Donetsk Republic Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko from Novorossia argues with Kiev army officer in this powerful video. He said that the Kiev army succumbed to the coup:

"To give away our own country to be looted by Americans and other European countries"

That video is by Graham Phillips who does the job that the impotent lame stream media won't do in America. Bravo Graham! Many thanks to Kazzura for her translation of most of the videos.

Notice in the West the so called journalists are nowhere to be found on the battlefield in Ukraine as this man was here. I am certainly not addressing the media like CNN, FOX, CBS and the other court jesters who are paid clowns in the freak show called "US government". They dare tell America lies about the war. I would force them to dig the graves of the dead. How quickly the mainstream media goose steps in unison blaming Russia as Hitler did. Showing them the truth would be like showing a burnt building to a pyromaniac. The US media is in the business of making money not telling the truth. Peace and truth don't make billions of dollars they say. Were they bribed or are they true liars? "The liar's punishment is, not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else." - George Bernard Shaw

Victoria "Fuck the EU" Nuland was back in the news recently. In her efforts to support the US program against "Russia Today". "Noodle Head Nuland" belittled RT by saying "RT's tiny, tiny audience in the United States". Remember her? The Benghazi gal was first talking about Democracy in Ukraine with Chevron. Their version of "democracy and freedom" means war to the rest of the world. She was seen handing out food to protesters and police in Kiev. How nice she is sounding so sweet and so kind. She was later caught on tape saying "Fuck the EU" when discussing the setup of the Ukraine government. Later she was grilled by Republican Dana Rohrabacher where she admitted there were Nazis on Maidan. Yeah, I really trust that evil witch who learned her craft from Hillary.

It is obvious to the world, but not to the West, that Kiev was overthrown by the US and EU. Although the US propaganda blames Russia for everything the OSCE has already disproven their claims. We wanted to show in our main video that Kiev was actually warned before Pandora's Box was opened. The blame is clearly on the US as instigators. They sowed the devil's seed.

Nevertheless, those who were deceived by the US or went along with the evil knowingly are also to blame and bear the responsibility of misleading Ukraine. Kiev has now become the newest suffering colony in America's empire. The only real "Hope and Change" for the people of Donbass is fighting against Obama's tyranny and becoming the independent country of Novorossia. "Let Freedom Ring!" America has forgotten its meaning.

Xavier Lerma. Contact Xavier Lerma at xlermanov@swissmail.org

[Sep 24, 2016] US goal was to take Ukraine into the future that it deserves . Now with ghivna devalutation of 300% we see what they meant

Notable quotes
... "What we have is a desperate corporate media, dutifully parroting the nonsense from the US State Department, and investing virtually nothing in on-the-ground investigative reporting. But real evidence? We are in very, VERY short supply of that."
... From article: He [Clegg] also argued that the country should lose the right to host the 2018 World Cup after Russian troops allegedly downed the civilian airliner Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine last July. Well, there's evidence in itself. Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. (The burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies). He wants to punish before the publication o the report. It's like a mediaeval witch-hunt. The law of the jungle seems to be Clegg's guiding principle. No surprise he's been banned.
..."I can only assume it is as badge of honour if you buy into all the dimwitted propaganda being published by the western corporate media -- who seem to have a daily axe to grind against the Russian state, but who say nothing about the warmongering actions of the US. I imagine I would have the same opinion of you if I was to uncritically swallow such toxic rubbish."
..."The only way to effectively block people from other regions (blanket censor them, in other words) would be to positively identify the source. All that you would likely achieve is blocking actual individual commentators and letting through the government astroturfers.
Why you would want to resort to such tactics is worth asking. The 'Western side' may be losing the propaganda war with Russia because our lies are bigger and harder to sell -- rather than Pooty-poot being cleverer. Repeated debunked claims in our media are also going to be far more damaging than anything similar in Russia. The problem doesn't lie with those you are asserting to be 'trolls' that are disputing the reporting -- the problem lies with the reporting.
Notable quotes:
"... But it's very suspect when you say things like "Putin's created a criminal war in East Ukraine" when it was Kiev which started the violence in reaction to the Russian Ukrainians voting for Federalization in response to the coup in Kiev. It means that everything else you write has to be treated as suspect. ..."
"... alpamysh ... you've merely regurgitated the standard NeoCon list of justifications for why a democratically-elected leader needed to be overthrown ..."
"... The article isn't worth the headline really. The new cold war is on and obviously they'll be barring each other. ..."
"... On the other hand the EU has also put an entry ban on leading Russian politicians, among which are the chairman of the Federation council, politicians from the state Duma and also close advisors to the Russian president Vladimir Putin. It is not anticipated that either side will lift the entry bans in the near future. (Excerpt and rough translation from German) ..."
"... "In December, Nuland reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve "its European aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion." She said the U.S. goal was to take "Ukraine into the future that it deserves," by which she meant into the West's orbit and away from Russia's. ..."
"... But President Yanukovych rejected a European Union plan that would have imposed harsh austerity on the already impoverished Ukraine. He accepted a more generous $15 billion loan from Russia, which also has propped up Ukraine's economy with discounted natural gas. Yanukovych's decision sparked anti-Russian street protests in Kiev, located in the country's western and more pro-European region. ..."
"... By late January, Nuland was discussing with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who should be allowed in the new government. ..."
"... "Yats is the guy," Nuland said in a phone call to Pyatt that was intercepted and posted online. "He's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the guy you know." By "Yats," Nuland was referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had served as head of the central bank, foreign minister and economic minister - and who was committed to harsh austerity. ..."
"... Well, there's evidence in itself. Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. (The burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies). He wants to punish before the publication o the report. It's like a mediaeval witch-hunt. The law of the jungle seems to be Clegg's guiding principle. No surprise he's been banned. ..."
"... "Putin wants sanctions" ... what a bunch of silly conjecture. As for "Putin style rule" and "Tzar" .. you presumably know that Russia held democratic elections which Putin won. ..."
"... let me guess, The list probably contains politicians whose real loyalty maybe is with the US? Judge from the 2 names mentioned, Malcolm Riffkind is Co-Vice Chair of the Global Panel Foundation – America – with Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, the former U.S Under-Secretary of Defense and Comptroller of the Armed Forces. ..."
"... your constant anti-Russia/Putin comments mark you as a shill/troll ..."
"... What we have is a desperate corporate media, dutifully parroting the nonsense from the US State Department, and investing virtually nothing in on-the-ground investigative reporting. But real evidence? We are in very, VERY short supply of that. ..."
"... I can only assume it is as badge of honour if you buy into all the dimwitted propaganda being published by the western corporate media - ..."
"... We're the global overlords, and so second-rate nations aren't allowed to reciprocate our petulant actions. When they do so it causes some people to question the assumed status of the