September 27, 2006

Senators Toy With China Trade War

Upon returning from his first official trip to Beijing, Secretary of Treasury Paulson met with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) yesterday to discuss the looming vote (postponed from earlier this year – see my previous posts) on their measure to slap 27.5% tariffs on Chinese imports. Graham now says they need a few days to further consider halting the effort that has been widely criticized as lunacy by the world’s financial big wigs and condemned officially today by the Chinese foreign ministry.

Meanwhile the US dollar continues to improve against China’s currency as the Yuan float accelerates.

Neither Graham nor Schumer is up for reelection this year but Graham has something to lose politically. South Carolina based Mt. Vernon Mills, which owns 17 textile mills in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and California, is a major contributer to Graham’s coffers. And Mt. Vernon Mills owner, Reverend Bob Pamplin (lives in Oregon) is a Republican fundy middleweight. Will Graham be tempted to jeopardize the global economy to save a few 19th Century jobs and milltowns for a fading plutocrat?

September 25, 2006

Shanghai Shake Up

Back in July, convicted Shanghai real estate tycoon Zhou Zhengyi was released from jail. He had been convicted in 2003 of stock manipulation a lessor charge and in some ways Zhou was a fall guy for the shady practices of Shanghai's government in speculating in rampant real estate development. Zhou was politically connected at high levels including Shanghai's party chief Chen Liangyu and officials of the Kuomintang party on Taiwan. Since he left jail Zhou's whereabouts are unknown.

Chen Liangyu, until today Communist party boss in Shanghai, is now out and accused of corruption that squandered hundreds of millions in retirement fund money. (Just think of a giant San Diego on the other side of the Pacific.)

Word is Chen's sudden departure is a sign of an internal power struggle in advance of next year's 17th Communist Party Congress and Presidential election (Hu Jintao is eligible for one more 5 year term according to China's constitution). Shanghai is an important town and political struggles there often signal big shifts in the Chinese government.

China Stock Markets Ready to Take Off?

So says a report by Credit Suisse that says Shanghai may finally take off. Could the Shanghai market rival Tokyo before long after all?

September 24, 2006

NASA Lands in China

If you ever need to find a Bush cabinet member or the head of one the administration's executive agencies, just check the Beijing airport.

The head of NASA, Michael Griffiths, arrives in China today to discuss USA - China space cooperation.

Biannual USA-China Economic Summit Planned

A potentially big development with typically little press in America. W suggested to Chinese President Hu last month that the USA and China establish a twice a year meeting at the highest levels to discuss economic cooperation. The Shanghai Daily has details. The announcment is from Wu Yi and Treasury Secretary Paulson who met in Beijing this week.

September 22, 2006

China Futures: Singapore or Shanghai?

An interesting legal challenge from the Shanghai Securities Exchange over the Singapore exchange's new index, the first equity index of futures contracts based on Yuan backed stocks in China (A shares). Singapore is a new favorite for Chinese firms looking for a foreign listing. Already there are around 100 different stocks of Chinese companies listed in Singapore, representing 5% or more of the exchange's market value. Will Singapore rise if Shanghai remains bogged down by over regulation? Could Singapore even rival Hong Kong as many have speculated for years? The need for reform in China's capital markets was mentioned numerous times by Treasury Secretary Paulson in his latest trip to China.

September 19, 2006

China and USA Navies Search and Destroy

For the first time since Clinton sold the US Navy's bases to the Chinese, warships of China's navy - the destroyer Qingdao and a support vessel - are visiting San Diego.

Below, local Chinese of the Baja-San Diego region welcome the invasion:

The ships will take part in joint exercises today with the American Navy and the sailors will later get to do some sightseeing.

September 18, 2006


Chief purveyor of Pentagon China 'leaks' Bill Gertz of Rev. Moon's anti-China Washington Times has recycled his old articles about failed Chinese witchhunts, added some other 'enemies' from communist places and put them together in a new book from Crown Forum (they publish Ann Coulter).

Should we expect a few headlines this week (at least in the usual 'conservative' places) on how Chinese spies ran rampant under Clinton and got all our secret recipes for the latest-n-greatest war toys? Funny how few of these crimes ever got punished or revealed at the time.

Gertz's "battle for freedom and democracy" is a catchy battle cry. Will it inspire our troops enough to fight China? We'll find out soon if Gertz's anonymous Pentagon buddies get their way.

September 14, 2006

Clash of Claptrap

How many times and in how many ways can Harvard buddies Henry Kissinger and Samuel Huntington recycle their tired and incredibly dated weltanschung? The Wahington Post dutifully gave Kissinger column space for an op-ed yesterday that, thankfully, is getting little attention – you can’t find it even at the WaPo website. In his banal opinion Kissinger desperately tries to breathe life into the Atlantic Alliance saying, yet again, that “we” face a clash of civilizations only this time clearly defining the struggle of our times (as W might say) as between “us” and Islam. Kissinger’s urgent purpose is to be ready now before we face a nuclear showdown in the middle east. But why the urgency? Israel is armed to the teeth (given it’s itty-bitty size relative to its neighbors) with nukes and Islam already has the bomb in Pakistan. Does Kissinger want (expect?) European support for a preemptive strike on Iran?

Most pointedly, Kissinger says that the great war of civilisations cannot be stopped by "ad hoc bargaining over Security Council resolutions; rather, the Security Council resolutions should emerge from an agreed strategy." Hmmm. What's preventing a unified strategy now? Ahhh, possible veto from permanent members Russia and China? Of course, if it's "civilizations" we're talking here than it is plain to see that the odd man out is China, since Russia, despite all its failings, can pass for "Western."

[Below, our Iraq puppet and the President of Iran, the day after 9-11. Clash of civilizations indeed.]

Kissinger thinks there is a dangerous “erosion of nation states” currently. What a bunch of hooey – the USA, Britain, Japan, Iran, Israel, China, all of these countries are fiercely nationalistic at the moment. Where is the evidence for this clash of civilizations? Global financial capitalism and the unstoppable spread of American consumerism is the reality today. Convergence is happening under our noses, not the opposite. As the premier China policy cryptgatekeeper Kissinger is more responsible than anyone for creating and fostering confrontation with the Chinese not cooperation. When Cold War warriors like Kissinger finally expire we just might make some progress.

September 13, 2006

USA to China: "We Want You to Succeed"

Amidst the gilded spendor of the US Treasury Department's Cash Room, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson kicked off his first visit to China with an important speech today showing that Paulson at least, if not the whole Bush administration, sees the benefits of the inevitable American-Chinese convergence. His message to the Beijing mandarins: "We are not afraid of Chinese competition. We welcome it."

Regarding China's currency, the "M" word (manipulation) was never uttered and the only urging on the Yuan was that China include it in the overall reform of the financial system, now underway.

And in a sure sign that Paulson's Treasury won't tango with Schumer-Graham (the moribund China trade war bill sponsored by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)(see my previous posts), Paulson said "protectionist policies do not work and the collateral damage from these policies is high. By closing off competition and blocking the forces of change, protectionism reduces the losses of the present by sacrificing the opportunities of the future."

These comments may signal an important shift in China policy but sadly won't be covered much here in America. The Financial Times of London leads with it here.

September 08, 2006

Radio Free Propaganda

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo has an interesting piece on the Bush admin's (and US government generally) culture of propaganda specfically that anti-Castro pablum was paid for with USA taxpayer money via the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.

The Cuba outfit is just one of the efforts under the authority of the Broadcasting Board of Governors which is the umbrella group for all the organizations, many private, which get federal dollars to promote “democracy” and “freedom of religion,” i.e., propaganda against the governments of select nations. It includes the VOA, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, Radio & TV Marti, and so on. Congress authorized almost a billion dollars for BBG this fiscal year (2007).

About a year ago the Chairman of the BBG, Kenneth Tomlinson, was accused of fraud in a State Dept. Inspector General's report for giving about $250,000 to a friend and former VOA employee for unknown services. Tomlinson remains the Chairman.

I’ve long suspected but have not found evidence (yet) that Radio Free Asia pays for phony news stories (more often than not unsubstantiated and third-hand) about "human rights" abuses in China.

The whole outfit is propaganda. The question to me is, is it really in our national interest? Imagine if the Chinese spent $36 million each year (the current level funding for “Radio Free Asia”) to broadcast an English language show highlighting every abuse by an American police force, every injustice done the American poor, every failing of local government? Maybe they should.

September 07, 2006

Why are we in Iraq?

Juan Cole's post on W's new "islamofacist" bogeyman is the best description yet of what's really going on in Eurasia.

My comments at his blog, repeated here:

When you consider what your analysis shows – that the real aim of the GWOT is to establish & maintain an American presence on the Eurasian landmass and to control the spigot of oil that not only feeds our economy but even more so the European Community, Japan, and China – then you can see that Iraq truly is a new Vietnam. Why were we in Vietnam? The USA needed to establish its dominance in Asia and Indo-China was then the most unsettled area. The countries of the region (Laos, Cambodia, India. China, etc.) were still determining their borders up to the start of the Vietnam occupation. Of course who were we really confronting in Vietnam? China, of course. And hence the importance of North Korea in the “axis of evil” nonsense since North Korea justifies a continued American military nuclear presence not far from Beijing. We are in Iraq and all the other areas mentioned because we are really confronting the Chinese first and the Russians second. This is the big game of the 21st Century. But our “leaders” have to lead us down to defeat again in a pack of lies. Take any book or good magazine article from the late 60s and early 70s, search and replace the word “Vietnam” with “Iraq” and you’re reading today’s news.

September 01, 2006


well, that's the impression given by this graphic courtesy the Agence France Press. Notice that "enemy missile" seems to have launched from the ICBM control room outside Beijing. At least now we know those CHICOM nukes won't hit California! And, most importantly, that America's satellite (Japan) still has role after all! The USA-Japan Security Alliance just may survive until mid century.

Read more about AFP Here.

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