The United States has been having some interesting…communication problems with China. Some of them are originating from the president. Since October, there have been several statements that the White House has had to “walk back”, clarifying our actual stance on Taiwan.
This isn’t a new phenomenon, but during his visit to Japan recently, he said a few things that are going to really piss off the People’s Republic. I will use his words so there is no misunderstanding.
Two things could be happening here:
#1 Biden is not up to speed on our policy regarding Taiwan, or
#2 The remarks are part of our continuing policy of strategic ambiguity.
#1 is always possible, if we are to keep advancing the theory that Biden’s mental acuity is declining and he’s off the reservation. #2 is a strong possibility as well; it would not be the first time that The United States has played crazy to deter actions from other nations. By saying two different things, the White House commo and Biden could be working in concert to discourage China from continuing their flexing of military muscle around the archipelago. I’m going with #2, because I am sure that if Biden is at cross purposes with actual policy, he has been spoken to by advisors and probably would not do it again.
But he keeps doing it. So I’m inclined to believe we are just up to our old unpredictability strategy. It seems to work pretty well, so I’m not totally alarmed by what appears to be a communication foul-up. Republican hawks don’t seem to be in the know on this, because Adam Kinzinger had a shit-fit on Twitter ranting that the Biden administration should fire everyone who is walking his statements back.
So someone needs to read The Taiwan Relations Act, and I’m not sure if it’s Joe Biden. Because we do not have a defense treaty with them; we do provide arms for self defense but we have never written anything that says unconditionally we go to war with mainland China if they fuck with Taiwan. Not since 1980, at least.
Little noticed is an economic accord Biden signed on his visit to Japan, with multiple Asian nations signing on. One of them is NOT Taiwan. So there’s a limit to what we are going to do for them that would upset the Communists. I think Biden is simply putting them on notice that they should remain non-expansionist, unlike their neighbor to the north- because they just don’t know what the senile hawk in the Oval Office could do next to keep the world order as it is.
I think I have figured out why Donald Trump used to talk so much about China during his campaign. There may have been more to it than just a harsh xenophobic dog whistle. He may have just been doling out the red meat for the rallies a la Mexico and the wall they aren’t paying for. But in reality, the Trump administration’s policy on China is…well…complex.
You would get the idea that China is a nemesis that stands against all we stand for if you listen to Trump on a superficial level. But that’s not the crux of the biscuit.
Here’s the secret: Trump thinks China is awesome.
Fact is, China is a competitor and Trump’s always up for a contest. It’s not insignificant that one of the big things he wanted America to do is “win” again. And winning for Trump is measured in dollars. He laments that our economic growth rate is anemic (it’s fine). He thinks our growth should be double what it is right now. Trump is jealous as shit towards countries who are metastasizing like that. China is what Trump thinks of when he thinks about growth and success, because it may be the only country on a map which Trump recognizes that has absurd growth rates. They’re actually slowing down now to a much less frenetic pace, but China nearly had to have another revolution to force those high numbers.
They became rapacious. They were going to produce until it hurt.
There was no price too high that they would pay to industrialize. They built an infrastructure of heavily polluting coal plants and factories across China. Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people died every year working in horrid conditions for a pittance. The air became unbreathable in places and the workers couldn’t afford anything that they produced for the rest of the world. This is how you get 7%-10% growth-you work your citizens to death(not unlike slaves), pay them nothing, sell the fruits of the labor for next to nothing and destroy the environment. And if you complain, you are arrested. There is no such thing as a free press-it’s all state media propaganda and the internet is heavily censored.
But today, China is learning to live with 6.9% growth. They have found that runaway growth is utterly unsustainable. Its technocrats are now more concerned with quality of life issues and they’ve gone looking to solar, wind and nuclear to reduce pollution levels. They have cool technology that scrubs air like a tree would. They’re coming out of the other side of their brutal experiment in growth, and getting ready to participate in the world market without things like currency manipulation, dumping, and old-fashioned protectionism. It still sounds like a shitty, unfun place to live, but they are progressing to the degree that they can.
So that’s what we know about China.
Wait for it.
I’m gonna make the jump and suggest that Donald Trump would love to turn us into China if he could.
He’s certainly contemptuous towards a free press. His views on so-called libel are dangerous. He could knock the legs out from under fledgling news gatherers by making court impossible to afford (Melania liked to break the will of tiny internet publications by threatening court over whether or not she was a ho). Ironically, Trump himself is an inveterate liar, making up all kinds of crazy stories ranging from the size of his inauguration crowd to claiming that millions of illegals voted in the 2016 election, which he won and still won’t let you forget a year later. Trump cannot really stop the media from reporting on him because of the Constitution-but he has learned to de-legitimize some of it and do an end run around it by using social media to calumniate against whoever opposes him or reports about him negatively. This snow job works on enough folks for it to pose a serious problem.
He wants to put the American environment to the torch. He’s willfully ignorant about global warming. He wants to hollow out the EPA, purging it of experts and making sure no one can discuss climate change within the agency. He’s extricating the United States from global pacts to reduce emissions. He wants us to go back to the dirtiest sources of energy possible (believing that there’s something called “clean” coal that comes out of the ground as such), drill offshore from sea to shining sea and give companies license to barf their toxins into our land, water and air by rolling back protections. All in the name of growth and business.
The Chinese are famous for being xenophobes. Trump may not be able to spell it, but that is what he is as well. His 2016 campaign was based in no small part upon getting peoples’ Irish up about immigrants and furriners in general. And that wall…amazing, great, beautiful, the best…
Finally, China has a history of currency manipulation. They don’t do it anymore, but in the past, they have allowed the value of the yuan to sink so that Chinese goods cost less in the rest of the world. Steve Mnuchin is totally down with keeping the value of a dollar weak, which may be good for our trade deficit but deleterious in other ways. We are also now dabbling in protectionist tariffs. These economic sleights don’t go unnoticed by the rest of the world, who will begin protecting their markets against our monkey business. And like I mentioned above, we won’t be able to afford Made In The USA because of poor worker protections and wage stagnation. It’s all very strange, because Republican orthodoxy states that markets should be free and now we are closing ourselves off with these aggressive moves, and ducking out of trade pacts. Oh, well. We’ve always been a country whose shadow motto is “do as I say, not as I do”.
Trump and his swamp monsters want to reduce Americans to a populace of serfs. After all, capitalism is just a mutated form of feudalism. It’s servitude with your choice of masters that feels like the exercise of free will. Our lives revolve around the caprice of the corporations and the financiers. However, I think the lords of the feudal past actually gave a shit about their subjects in a way that that Pfizer, Dupont, Cargill, the Kochs and the Mercers do not.
Mr. Creosote doesn’t seem to get that Barack Obama is not eligible for a third term. Complaining about “this president” is yesterday’s ploy. At least attack somebody that’s running:
“First of all, what people need to know is, this is a history of failed policies by this president. What’s happened is, because this president has run up more debt than any president in American history, that debt has been given to us in large measure by the Chinese. Now, as the Chinese markets tend to have a correction, which they’re doing right now, it’s going to have an even greater effect because this president doesn’t know how to say no to spending, doesn’t know how to say no to a bigger and more intrusive government. So what you need to do in the oval office is reign this government in, stop running up so much debt.
ZZZZZ. Snore city. Blah blah Obama fail blah spending blah debt blah blah big government. Fucking boring as shit, Christie. Going to the well for some President hate is not going to do you a bit of fucking good unless you can somehow tie it to Hillary Clinton, you dumbass. No one is buying what you’re selling using that hackneyed shit anyway.
Buh-bye, lunch pail.
It took about 30 years, but we finally won Vietnam. All those soldiers…now we know they died for a reason; cell phone parts, crude, iron and steel-and now tons of guns. I guess we don’t mind a little Communism-as long as it pisses off China. We’d never miss an opportunity to arm someone to the teeth!