China #2

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Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I remain convinced that the answer for China in many respects relates to the need for workers there to be able to retain more value for the work they provide. This is what the government needs in order to be more secure in the short term, it is what those who want progress and political change there needs and it is what the workers need. In many respects the conflicts you seem to believe are at the heart of this are not quite as clear. The well-being of the people, the short term interest of the government and the long term viability of future reforms all rely on the same things. Western help for China therefore, should come in a greater willingness to buy products not based on exploitation, to pay what things are worth rather than demand slave wages from workers there that would be illegal here. If we were willing to pay twice as much for an LCD TV constructed where the workers and the environment did not suffer, then I am sure the Chinese would be happy to make it for us under those conditions.

There is a reason the CPC in China retains in power-- ask any Chinese and they know it: it is the widespread belief that it can provide more stability and progress towards the future they want to see. While elections may not be as clear cut a mechanism there as here, the Chinese government is tolerated so long as it delivers progress and better living standards.

Canadians who wish to criticize need to recognize the impact of a per capita income less than a tenth of ours and how that affects national priorities.

I agree with this view totally.  

Their elections do form the base for the government.  The one ruling party system they live under is very strange to my eyes.  There are multiple parties but only one party may rule.   When I saw a program on China's school system I realized that the way into the ruling party was on what the Fraser Institute would call merit.  The high school students with the best scores on the nation wide exams are invited to not only attend the best schools in their area of excellence they are all invited into the ranks of the party.  Their structure channels the best and brightest into the party that under their constitution is deemed to be the ruling party.  

I have seen video of their Deputies putting forward proposals on the environment every bit as progressive as we hear in the House.  In the end the inner circles of the elite make the decisions in both our countries. 

 

George Victor

Northern Shoveler wrote:

George Victor wrote:

And there are rumblings from those countries where incredibly nasty things are being done to supply the rising empire with resources, human and natural.  Not that existing emp;res don't continue to practise awful things against both.  But at this time, western failures are far, far more transparent.  Lack of transparency apparently does not bother those who fly on faith.

Incomprehensible.  Do you provide translations?

How's this for class, monitors?

Sean in Ottawa

George-- you could take it as a critique of your post not of the person -- a little harsh but not way out of line.

I asked I think more politely the same question -- can you clarify because I have no idea what you are trying to say.

Sean in Ottawa

Northern Shoveler-- I think it is fair to say that neither of us are suggesting their system is without serious problems-- or making the claim that ours is either.

As well, I felt the need to point out that the challenges their country faces are not just different form ours but in most measurable respects more difficult. Canadian values and political realities are based on privileges many other countries do not share.

The company I keep includes as many Chinese as others. There is no question that there are criticisms, suggestions and heartache about some things that happen there that I am party to and share even. However, these ought to come from an appreciation of a Chinese context rather than solely a Canadian one and Canadians who want to help can do things to reduce their exploitation of Chinese workers -- along with that of any other workers.

I know this may be an idealist concept but I have long thought that we should have public consideration of the labour components for products -- much like an ingredients label on food. We should not punish whole countries but we can require those purchasing things for our market to require certain standards in those products when it comes to labour.

I am sure it would not come as a shock to many here that I would like to see a requirement that anything that comes from a factory of more than a certain number of people should be unionized-- If all products sold here had to be from union shops where workers were paid a certain amount then we could at the same time treat all source countries equitably and contribute to global progress. It would also be about focusing on our market rather than interfering in others.

I know some will say that unionization can mean different things in different places and that is where local law also must apply. In fairness we cannot insist that our labour laws be imposed on others but a minimum wage for products sold here is not unreasonable -- just as requiring that there not be high quantities of lead in children's toys. If we take out the exploitation in our market that is what addresses our responsibility. Then we can let other countries develop their systems without the interference of our exploitation and that alone is greater than any other influence we could hope for or presume to have the right to exert.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I am sure it would not come as a shock to many here that I would like to see a requirement that anything that comes from a factory of more than a certain number of people should be unionized-- If all products sold here had to be from union shops where workers were paid a certain amount then we could at the same time treat all source countries equitably and contribute to global progress. It would also be about focusing on our market rather than interfering in others.

State imposed unionization in Canada.  Awesome.  I would like to see that as well.  As long as its a free secret ballot vote for which union.

Any chance of getting the NDP to get on board and make it a campaign plank? 

6079_Smith_W

Except not all unions are equal. Look at Saskatchewan's Bill 80. 

Make it mandatory and put the power in the hands of the government and it seems to me it is no longer in the hands of the workers where it belongs. 

I have no problem with choosing to buy only from union labour, but beyond that I think all we can do make the system as free as possible for workers to organize unions if they want to. And there is still plenty of work to be done on that front to undo the attacks and restrictions on that freedom.

 

 

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Except not all unions are equal. Look at Saskatchewan's Bill 80. 

Make it mandatory and put the power in the hands of the government and it seems to me it is no longer in the hands of the workers where it belongs. 

You missed where I SPECIFICALLY added that it had to be the workers who decide on the union that they want to represent them.  As long as the employer or government is not involved.  Having employers involved would be the worst scenario.  Like CLAC of other rat unions.  Also I have never read anything good in any country about state controlled unions so I don't even consider them unions. 

6079_Smith_W

I did read that, actually. I don't think it is always that easy to keep that choice free, whatever intentions we might have.

(edit)

And as I said, there is still plenty of work to be done to allow for a truly free choice in the first place.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Secret ballot vote is not the way to ensure the legitimacy of an election?  

So we get stuck with a dictator named Harper on the basis of voting by secret ballot but you are suspicious it might not be an adequate system to ensure a vote of workers. A vote to decide who will represent their interests.

To be clear I am only talking about secret ballots in the hypothetical situation where the workers will be unionized by regulation.  In our current system where unionization is not mandated I am firmly opposed to votes and believe the only system that provides anything close to a level playing field is the automatic certification based on membership evidence. 

 

Sean in Ottawa

You need a secret ballot certainly and independent unions naturally--

But if you want the lives of citizens to improve you do this through addressing workers directly-- the only way to do this is through unionization. There is no other way of achieving these results that has ever worked.

6079_Smith_W

Well the most important way of improving, certainly, I wouldn't say it is the only factor.

As I said, I have no problem with making the situation as advantageous as possible for workers to unionize; even making unionization the default position and requiring them to have a vote to opt out or decertify.

But making it a government-enforced mandatory process seems to me something that takes the choice out of the workplace, and has the potential for corruption, IMO. As we see in our province, the government is all for unionizing - on their terms

I don't need to discuss it further; we disagree.

George Victor

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

George-- you could take it as a critique of your post not of the person -- a little harsh but not way out of line.

I asked I think more politely the same question -- can you clarify because I have no idea what you are trying to say.

I was counting on folks to read the opening posts of this thread, Sean, more than a year back.Before it became all about Canadian unions there was a struggle to save it from Beijing's announcements about the greening of China, the world.

George Victor

NDPP wrote:

Joey Ramone wrote:

This is why I gave up posting in this thread.  I'm interested in talking about how to best support the interests of the hyper exploited workers of China and it's colonies, but as long as the gang of corrupt thugs who rule China cynically call themselves the "Communist" Party of China, all such discussion will be derailed by obfuscation about whether their capitalists are more efficient than our capitalists. 

NDPP

Keep trying JR. It's important and will become more so. Do you know China Labour Bulletin?

Going It Alone

http://www.clb.org.hk/en/node/100507

 

 

 

 

 

JR did give up.  And so it goes.

Fidel

George Victor wrote:

And back in China, the party leadership spend sleepless nights formulating appeals to the leaders of the resource-rich nations coming under their protection to keep workers' rights in mind.Laughing

The CPC are taking advantage of the massive corruption and economic meltdown in the west by scooping up world resources. Apparently we'll have to democratize our own corrupt states here before we can do anything to stop Beijing consensus from replacing the Washington version.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

George Victor wrote:

And back in China, the party leadership spend sleepless nights formulating appeals to the leaders of the resource-rich nations coming under their protection to keep workers' rights in mind.Laughing

And back in Ottawa the party leadership spent a sleepless night formulating appeals to the leaders of the resource rich nations coming under their protection to keep workers rights in mind.  At dawn they decided the best way to ensure the protection of those workers was to bomb the fuck out of them.  

I hate that China is so ruthless. If only they would listen to good Western governments they could improve so much.

Sean in Ottawa

Actually, the Chinese are fascinated by what other countries do and they do like to study the actions of other countries. The words, not so much. those are unwelcome. Everyone, plays the word game, mostly for domestic consumption. We are not swayed by advice from China anymore than they are by the same from us. But when we or they do something that clearly works the other notices.

Anyone who thinks that people here are concerned about the reception of any appeal we make over there I think is rather naive-- those are politically calculated for here. The only time either country is concerned about an appeal or advice is when their own citizen's are involved. When we have an issue with a Chinese national -- either they have done something wrong or are in trouble or are hurt-- we will listen to them more. And in reverse, they will to us.

The main reason so many Canadians are better off than people in most other countries is because of the wealth in this country not because our government is superior.

When people get that they can see that if you want to help people in other countries you have to tone down the exploitation. You want to do that? You can start with Canadian mining companies and lobby the government for regulation of their behavior abroad. You can look to our procurement practices and lobby for regulation to stop the competition for who can find the cheapest most exploitative contract that would be based on illegal treatment of workers here. We can also consider the waste in energy, the environment here. There is a lot we can do to help the world. Thankfully it mostly can be done from here. And if you are one of those interested in our influence and you want to reach countries like China remember they will watch what we do even if they do not consider what we say. And we pretty much do the same as well-- we also are more interested in what people do than say. It would not take all that much to achieve a greater understanding. I have had many political discussions with Chinese people-- one thing I can tell you from those-- they are not impressed by hypocrisy. Many I have spoken to are very critical of their government but don't take kindly to BS and double standards.Of course there are many Chinese I know who absolutely detest thinking about or discussing politics-- even more than Canadians.

Others may have a different experience but there is mine -- interesting representative or not.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I have had many political discussions with Chinese people-- one thing I can tell you from those-- they are not impressed by hypocrisy. Many I have spoken to are very critical of their government but don't take kindly to BS and double standards.Of course there are many Chinese I know who absolutely detest thinking about or discussing politics-- even more than Canadians.

Others may have a different experience but there is mine -- interesting representative or not.

Living in Burnaby that has been my experience as well.  I have met numerous people who left China because they were being repressed.  I have also met a fair number of business people who immigrated from Hong Kong and Taiwan.  It seems the one thing they all agree on is they hate the hypocrisy of the West.  They want change in their former country but cringe at the Orientalism in most of the commentary.

Sean in Ottawa

The motivations for coming here is a whole interesting topic.

I know some who came because family members did, others who believed our propaganda about how much better it was here and how well immigrants were treated (some of those have returned now). The most common has been people who came as a visitor, made connections here, or studied and got job offers here and then immigrated. Of course now it is not like that anymore since immigration is a long wait with mostly refusals.

For parents and grandparents it is something over ten years now-- The people arriving now applied more than 7 years ago but those currently in the system know that each step is moving slower so previous history is no indication. The progress for those who applied in 2007 towards the first stage has been moving one day forward in a month for some time now. That means if you are one year away you would expect to come to the top of the pile in 30 years. We are pretty much not taking anyone now since the delay for grandparents is beyond reasonable life expectancy. Canada won't say no because hopeful people pay $2,000 each in fees. It is far too profitable to take their money and throw the applications in storage than to admit the answer is really no. As well by taking the applications the government then has the reason to refuse them from coming as visitors. Once a family member applies they pay the money, can never visit and will never get to immigrate. For Canada I heard that over 100,000 people still apply each year. That would come to $200,000,000 revenue a year to the government if the figures are true. To bad it is such a lie. Our family has relations in China that nobody can see because the kids are in summer school like arrangements and the grandparents are not allowed to visit.

Most Canadians like it this way because of the massive amount of anti-immigrant propaganda that has been spread around the last few years.

NDPP

Leading US Think Tank Urges Naval Buildup in South China Sea  -  by Jim Lobe

http://original.antiwar.com/lobe/2012/01/10/leading-think-tank-urges-nav...

"...As the decades-old-rules-based system fostered by the United States is being called into question by a rising China, the South China Sea will be the strategic bellwether for determining the future of US leadership in the Asia-Pacific region..."

ilha formosa

China Explores a Frontier 2 Miles Deep

Quote:

The men, who descended more than two miles in a craft the size of a small truck, also signaled Beijing's intention to take the lead in exploring remote and inaccessible parts of the ocean floor, which are rich in oil, minerals and other resources that the Chinese would like to mine. And many of those resources happen to lie in areas where China has clashed repeatedly with its neighbors over territorial claims...The global seabed is littered with what experts say is trillions of dollars' worth of mineral nodules as well as many objects of intelligence value: undersea cables carrying diplomatic communications, lost nuclear arms, sunken submarines and hundreds of warheads left over from missile tests. While a single small craft cannot reel in all these treasures, it does put China in an excellent position to go after them.

NDPP

Kingdom, China Ink Nuclear Cooperation Pact

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article563797.ece

"Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with China in Riyadh Sunday for cooperation in the development and use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, which will help to meet the Kingdom's rising demand for energy and cut its growing dependence on depleting resources..."

Gaian

And back to a two-year struggle (which included the late Joey and the late Sean, and which I gave up on.) Please read the un-moderated farce, with attempts to maintain the topic of this thread,including the fate of workers in a voracious China. It is understood, a "given", that the U.S.empire is "bad", and does not need underlinging in thhis thread, as are all those corporations who exploit workers abroad, just as Naomi Klein brought to western attention more than a decade ago.

The following bit from AP, which I first raised last year in an appeal to promote RIM's Blackberry hereabouts, rather than iPhone, and which was given prominence last year by a young Chinese activist who appeared on Al Jazeera, suggests there's been little progress:

"Apple Inc. has disclosed a list of its suppliers for the iPhone, iPad and other popular gadgets for the first time amid growing criticism over labour and environmental practices, especially in China.

"The list for years has beenstrictly and vervently protected. Even a glimpse of an Apple iPhone or its components before a public release became a source of iontrigue and controversy. Investors have played a guessing game about which contractors would become Apple's next supplier, or who was on the outs.

"Apple disclosed its list of its suppliers responsible for 97 per cent of its procurement expenditures worldwide. Some examples are Intel Corp., Broadcom Corp., Amphenol Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co...The 2012 'Supploier Responsibility Progress Report' released Friday documents 229 audits throughout its supply chain last year by Apple Inc. That's up 80 per cent from 127 audits in 2010.

"The audits found labour, health and environmental violations, including instances of underage labour and discrimination based on pregnancy. Apple also outlined its response to each of the violations that were uncovered, which included ending its relationship with repeat offenders and requiring companies to come up with measures to prevent them from occurring again.

"The report was issued a day after distraught workers who make Microsoft's Xbox video game consoles at Foxconn Technology Group climbed to the top of a six-storey dormitory and threatened to jump to their deaths. No one did, but the incident highlights growing labour unrest in China. Foxconn is a unit of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. that makes iPads and iPhones for Apple.

"There was a rash of suicides at the massive Foxconn plant in 2010 in the city of Shenzhen. About 300,000 people work at the plant and industrial park.Plant managers installed nets to prevent more people from committing suicide by jumping from the roof.

"In its report, Appled found...just 38 per cent of the suppliers observed Apple's working-hours policies, and 69 per cent followed its code for wages and benefits..."

ilha formosa

Greenpeace says it is winning against genetically engineered rice in China.

Fidel

Why China makes our electronic products (it's not just cheaper labor)

Quote:
It's not just that workers are cheaper abroad, according to an important article in The New York Times Saturday. Most of the components of cellphones, computers, and other electronic products are now manufactured in China (and European and other East-Asia countries), so assembling the device half-a-world away would create huge logistical challenges, the article points out.

China now has a far larger supply of qualified engineers than the U.S. And China's factories are far bigger and can react faster than those in the U.S. "Made in the USA." is no longer a viable option for most electronics products. So, many companies have closed major facilities in the United States to reopen in China, and middle-class jobs are disappearing as the nation has stopped training enough people in the mid-level skills that factories need.

ilha formosa

Jan 25, 2012- Quelling of rising unrest in Tibet , following self-immolations.

Quote:
Stephanie Brigden, Free Tibet Director (a UK based group):
"The international community must unequivocally condemn these shootings and call on China to act with restraint as well as hold those who have opened fire to account. ... It's the largest shooting of Tibetan unarmed civilians since 2008."

 

Fidel

Don't quote me but I think the Free Tibet movement and the notoriously well-informed Radio Free Asia are intimately tied to the American National Clandestine Service/CIA based out of Langley, Virginia. They've been active in various surrounding areas in Central Asia, Nepal, golden drug triangle in SE Asia etc for many years since Chiang Kai-shek and his gangsters were chased to Formosa and Burma by 1949. It's no wonder there has been "unrest." International unrest has tended to manifest as armed insurrections and even acts of terrorism in recent times.

ilha formosa

Careful not to conflate the broader "Free Tibet movement" with the Free Tibet NGO quoted above.

I don't think one can say the Free Tibet movement is being masterminded by the CIA. The main impetus for it comes from Tibetans themselves. But it would certainly be logical for the CIA, such as it is, to support the movement and try to steer it in certain directions. Which of course would harden the Chinese government position. Ordinary Tibetans pay the biggest price, being used as pawns.

ilha formosa

China Investment Deal in Canadian Oil Sands a Sell Out, Says Party Leader

Quote:
China's totalitarian regime will be able to sue Canada over lost profits resulting from stricter environmental controls or other regulatory changes under a foreign investor protection agreement Stephen Harper announced during his current trip to China..."Our rights and sovereignty to exercise over decisions made in Beijing are narrowing down to very few choices on a limited menu," [Elizabeth May] said.

Gaian

Thanks for these postings, formosa. It was with this inevitable outcome in mind that this thread was initiated two years ago.

NDPP

China Sets Up Fund to Bankroll Takeovers

http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,15748467,00.html?maca=en-rss-en-bus-2091-rdf

"Boasting $3.2 Trillion in foreign currency reserves, China has created a new fund aimed at financing takeover bids abroad. The fund also seeks to boost China's currency in global financial markets.."

ilha formosa

Gaian wrote:
Thanks for these postings, formosa. It was with this inevitable outcome in mind that this thread was initiated two years ago.

哪裡, all too happy to have a place to aggregate articles and hopefully have some discussion.

ilha formosa

China shows signs of neo-fascism, J. Michael Cole, Taipei Times

Chinese Fascism's Global Consequences, Roland Farris, Truthout

Quote:
...we have already seen the early stages of this global trend. A powerful fascist state of such maturity and size in the world will increasingly come to determine political debate in nominally democratic countries as the economic advantages of such a regime draws more and more financial resources away from less "efficient" political systems. If China continues to be able to use its fascist state apparatus to attract investment at the cost of liberal democratic nations, then the characteristics of these nations will tend toward increasing fascism in an imitative defensive response.

ilha formosa

The People's Republic of Wukan , Gordon Chang, Dec. 2011

Quote:
The Chinese people, in Wukan, Haimen, and a thousand other locations, are pushing the Communist Party out of their way. This spring, the unrest could be historic.

Meanwile, the official triumphalism: The China Wave (Al-jazeera interview, Jan. 2012; don't know if this prof is an official CCP mouthpiece, but he certainly must be tantamount to one)

Quote:
Professor Zhang Weiwei...is now an international scholar arguing a case for China as the world's exceptional civilisation. In his latest book, The China Wave: the Rise of a Civilizational State, he offers a robust rebuttal of critics, especially in the West, who keep emphasising China's shortcomings.

I think the interviewer gave the prof a terribly easy time.

Gaian

Perhaps you saw in the Globe and Mail Business Report this week: "What China wants"
It reads: "China has revolutionaized the way most other nations produce and shop for goods. It's where the world goes when it's looking for a bargain. But increasingly, China may be looking at the rest of us in a similar manner. Between 2005 and 2011, Chinese firms invested more than $300 billion in global enterprises (about $73 billion last year alone), predominantly oil and gas companies, mines, banks and real estate. "

Australia hold the top spot, with $40.8 billiions in investments there.

I believe I'm beginning to better understand the restiveness in Australia's Labout Party and Rudd's attempt to regain the helm this weekend. :)

NDPP

Insight: Conflict Looms in South China Sea Oil Rush

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/28/us-china-spratlys-philippines-...

"A decades old territorial squabble over the South China Sea is now entering a new and more contentious chapter, as claimant nations search deeper into disputed waters for energy supplies while building up their navies and military alliances with other nations, particularly with the United States.

Reed Bank, claimed by both China and the Philipines, is just one of several possible flashpoints in the South China Sea that could force Washington to intervene in defense of its Southeast Asian allies."

ilha formosa

- It would also be bad news if valuable resources (other than seafood-which may be contaminated now anyway) are found in the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands just northeast of Taiwan, along the way to Okinawa. They are claimed by China, Taiwan and Japan - a potential trigger for an intriguing (given the unsettled situation between Taiwan and China) multi-sided conflict that could drag in the US. In a crafty move to strengthen its claims, Japan started giving the islands in the group Japanese names, during a mini-honeymoon period just after the Taiwan election in January, when the party favored by both the PRC and US (the KMT) won re-election.

- China interest in Argentina land irks locals - reportedly to grow genetically modified soy and corn, for animal feed and biofuels.

Like in Australia and around the world, the name of the game China is playing is "buy up resources before others do," an updated variant of "colonialism."

 

Fidel

ilha formosa wrote:
Like in Australia and around the world, the name of the game China is playing is "buy up resources before others do," an updated variant of "colonialism."

They've been unsuccessful at buying into key sectors of the U.S. economy, though. Apparently British free trade theory only works for marauding western capital when used as a Trojan horse for buying Asian labour, real estate and valuable assets. The west has basically asked China to please commit economic suicide by opening up more markets to marauding capital and floating the Yuan, selling off state-owned banks and investment funds. And Beijing is basically telling western capitalists to go fuck themselves.

ilha formosa

Fidel wrote:

And Beijing is basically telling western capitalists to go fuck themselves.

They're getting more and more refined at this.

Hong Kong's new leader must restore trust

Quote:
Perhaps Leung's most difficult challenge will be paving the way for full suffrage in the next chief executive election in 2017, as promised by Beijing.

NDPP

Unplugging Americans From The Matrix  - by Paul Craig Roberts

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/20/unplugging-americans-from-the-mat...

"...The Chinese are less threatened by their 'extractive elites' than Americans are by their counterparts. Moreover, it is America's not China's extractive elites who are bombing, occupying, and droning other countries. As the bumber-sticker says, 'Be nice to America or we will bring democracy to your country..'

and their little [Canucklehead] dog too...

NDPP

The South China Sea is the Future of Conflict  -  by Robert D Kaplan

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/08/15/the_south_china_sea_is_...

"The 21st century's defining battleground is going to be on water.."

Sean in Ottawa

NDPP wrote:

The South China Sea is the Future of Conflict  -  by Robert D Kaplan

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/08/15/the_south_china_sea_is_...

"The 21st century's defining battleground is going to be on water.."

An interesting article that makes a lot of good points. I don't accept some of those points, The main one being the contention that a sea conflict would be largely victimless. In fact I suspect that victims may be measured quite differently.

A point it makes about the so-called new empire where states basically run themselves and take into consideration the leading empire state's interests is interesting but omits the fact that this was the MO of old imperial China and hardly a modern or US invention. I have argued that this is part of the problem with the Tibet-China argument: Tibet was long a part of China but a China that was not centralized as the Communists decided to make it.

The article downplays the seriousness, in my view, of the fact that this is not only a question of a fight over resources but in the context that there will not be enough to go around.I don't expect the conflict to remain on the water as open conflict would return to land as a means to take a power off the water.

The main reason the Chinese may not want open conflict even in a context of diminishing resources is also to do with China's outlook and history. Most Western countries have found their greatest successes to be military. That is not the case for China and has really never been. China's greatest disasters were military. It's successes were usually economic and through domination of trade. This is important to recognize especially as this form of success is better suited to the modern era. While Western nations may at least pretend to recognize some of the rules of war, they look at military power as a way to achieve great things, to assert their power. China's military interest is more likely being built up to avoid further military disasters and protect its other dominations. China, I think, wants to continue exactly what it is doing economically, creating dependencies and leaving those who disagree with it no option to stop it. Military might more than anything else is designed to ensure that others will think twice about going to war. Interestingly, China's economic expansion makes this very clear, as the holder of debt China is staking everything it would seem on the avoidance of full-on conflict where its economic interests would be battered. The US is staking everything on trying to keep a domination that is impossible to retain. The US is the greater threat in this regard since the US has a lot of power and its gamble looks impossible while the Chinese approach looks realistic. On this I agree with the article.

I find the article must be written by someone excited with the military conflicts of the last century but not one with a balanced view of it. The main war of the last century that defines the current situation is not the second world war but the cold war that the author appears to believe is passing away with little to influence the current time. That in fact is the US view and it is a mistake. The Chinese apparently understand the Cold War more than the US do. The Cold War was in some respects also a total war. The US and the Soviets engaged in a gigantic conflict that was as much a direct economic and political war as it was an indirect series of military engagements mostly by proxy. The Chinese learned the lesson the US seems to have forgotten: the Cold War was won in the field of economics. The the new Cold War with China the Chinese look like the US did and the Americans like the Soviets: The economic domination this time will come from China and the US risks blowing itself and its empire apart from within due to economic collapse. On sentimentality on behalf of the US seems to keep them blinded to that reality.

This is also where the article is thin. The Chinese are not likely to try to keep their domination to the Seas. They will go in to the markets and buy the resources they wish to control or invest in their development.

You have to look at China's objectives here: as the article states they are not land expansion. They are stability and room for continued economic growth. China's greatest threat comes from within given its size. China has more poverty than is healthy for stability in the long term and it wants the strong growth it has been experiencing to continue in order to keep the country together and provide national purpose. This means increasingly China will need a greater share of resources to accomplish that.

The article is right about the nationalism. This is the newest aspect to China's history. Nationalism is also seen as a tool in holding the nation together and it has a dynamic that is quite independent of the ruling party. The lack of strong nationalism at moments has been seen to be a partial cause of China's losses in the previous few centuries.

Still there is a lot of interesting ideas in the article although the main concern I have is that there is an attempt to see the emergence of China more as a Western type empire following a US model than what it is. The Chinese influence is much closer to a reclaiming of the role China had previously, and it is based on a Chinese history. In that context the South China Seas is important but it is not the main event. China's main struggle is to increase its influence across the globe in economic areas so that it cannot be ignored and so that its interests remain wherever it faces a need. That struggle is close to ending as China has for the most part won this struggle.  You can see it manifested in the interest in building a pipeline to sell it oil. China does not consider that its empire has to be built on another's surrender so you may not notice its strongest initiatives. China is fine with other countries benefiting from the relationship so long as it has a central position-- in fact I think China sees mutually beneficial relationships as more sustainable. Arguably that is the more mature position.

Anyway lots of food for thought.

NDPP

US-Philippine Drills 'Obviously a Provocation' (and vid)

http://rt.com/news/us-philippine-drills-china-967/

"Joint US-Philippine military drills have kicked off in the South China Sea, near an island claimed by both the Philippines and China. The controversial exercises are seen by many as a provocation that could lead to a real military conflict..."

Interview with Asia Times' Pepe Escobar

ilha formosa

Taiwan monitors Chinese naval moves

Chinese navy increasingly provocative, training and gathering intelligence ahead of anticipated completion of PLA navy's new aircraft carriers around 2015-2020.

This recent exercise involved 5 warships that sailed north through the Taiwan Strait, passed between Okinawa and the disputed Diaoyutai/Senkaku islands, to hold exercises in international waters northeast of Luzon. Drawing some fairly clear lines in the water.

Seems the PRC is making a statement on the heels of: Japan naming islands in the Diaoyutai/Senkaku chain; Obama's pivot towards East Asia; and disputes in the South China Sea, most recently over the rocks known as Scarborough Shoal.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Interesting how China is the one being provocative in training its navy in international waters off its own coastline.  Seems like China is not the only military power making statements.

The difference is the the US routinely trains their navy in other peoples backyards. I am waiting for the Chinese training exercises that pass as close to Hawaii as legally possible and then proceed to "train" off the west coast of the US.  Now that would be provocative.

Quote:

Posted at 05/15/2012 11:05 PM | Updated as of 05/16/2012 12:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines – A US Navy attack submarine has arrived in Subic Bay, Zambales, about 124 nautical miles away from the disputed Scarborough shoal (Panatag Shoal).

Authorities said the USS North Carolina is docked at Subic Freeport for "routine ship replenishment," amid a standoff between Philippine and Chinese ships near the area.

Philippine Navy spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Omar Tonsay clarified that the US submarine’s arrival last Sunday “has nothing to do with that matter.”

Tonsay said the USS North Carolina is due to leave Subic on Saturday.

According to the website of US Pacific Command (US PACOM), the 350-feet long USS North Carolina is the fourth submarine in the Virginia class and is the US Navy's "newest class of submarine and the first ship designed for the post Cold-War environment."

"She is designed to operate with stealth, agility and endurance in the world's littoral regions, as well as the deep oceans. During this maiden deployment, her crew provided the value of the ship and their training by completing a wide variety of missions assigned by their operational commander," PACOM said.

"North Carolina is one of the stealthiest, most technologically advanced submarines in the world. She brings to the region the capability to conduct the full spectrum of potential submarine missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, naval special warfare involving special operations forces, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and mine warfare," it added.

 

Sean in Ottawa

All of this relates to resource depletion as it applies to national interest. If you want more security in the world, rather than build war machines whose use makes us less secure, countries need to invest in renewable resources and replacements for what is running out.

Sadly, China is also ahead of the west on this one.

If you want peace you need to lobby your governments to put more in to these new technologies.

There is nothing China or the US are doing that is not predictable. However, the west is too used to relying on old sources and are slow to change direction. The culture of imperialism that pervades western foreign policy is also in the way of progress. China increasingly is responding in kind seeking to develop its own off-shore empire. Rather than criticize them for doing what we are doing and have been doing, we should try something else. A global summit on resources designed to figure out how we are going to share what we have and develop alternatives is necessary as well as global environmental treaties.

If humans do not develop an alternative to war for resolving these things we shall continue to use that means. This problem is global not restricted to one or a few countries.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The solution is simple.  NATO needs to stop its arms race.  China spends far less per capita on arms than any of the NATO countries including Canada. I think the US is around 43% of the world's total spending while the Chinese are around 8% or 9%.  In 2010 China's per capita spending was $68 while the USA spent $2,327 per person.

China's State Media Spinners wrote:

China's military spending is not a threat to neighboring countries. In fact, there are three reasons for the rise in China's military spending:

First, technological progress inevitably leads to periods when there is a rapid growth in a country's military spending. Advances in military technology bring about intensive upgrading of weaponry, which increases the cost of weaponry and directly leads to a rise in military spending. China is currently updating its second and third generation weapons. However, its level of weaponry still lags behind the most advanced international levels by two or three decades.

Second, China has to increase its military input to enhance its national defense strength and safeguard its interests. This too necessitates a rise in military spending. China's national defense task is extremely complicated and arduous compared with other major military states in the world.

Aside from maintaining its border defenses and air defenses, China also has to strengthen its coastal defenses and protect China's maritime rights and interests. Moreover, it has to meet the new challenges of protecting its national interests in space and cyberspace, all of which require increased input and a higher level of professionalism. In addition, increased military expenditures are needed to combat various separatist forces.

Third, China adheres to the principle of peaceful coexistence, friendly communication and collaborative development with other countries in the region. But the US' Asia-Pacific strategy is to "squeeze" China by fueling disputes between China and some of its neighbors. This has made the disputes more complicated and acute, and forced China to increase its military spending to safeguard its interests.

China's military expenditure is based on its own strategic evaluations and decisions. Moreover, it is compatible with its economic growth. It accounts for only a small proportion of its GDP and fiscal expenditure and its per capita military expenditure is comparatively low, which means it has room to grow without adding to the national economic burden.

From 1989 to 2011, China's military expenditure accounted for less than 1.3 percent of China's GDP on average. In 2010, its military expenditure per capita was only $68, well below the $2,327 of the US, $970 of the UK and $336 of Japan.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2012-05/16/content_15302643.htm

Bec.De.Corbin Bec.De.Corbin's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

 I am waiting for the Chinese training exercises that pass as close to Hawaii as legally possible and then proceed to "train" off the west coast of the US.  Now that would be provocative.

  

I wouldn't consider it so... but that's just me.

 

If we do it to other nations we can't very well bitch about them doing the same thing near our waters now can we? It's perfectly within the legal rights of the Chinese navy to do so in international water and it's their money to burn on fuel and supplies. That and I'm sure the US Navy would rather enjoy the opportunity to shadow the Chinese navy (also perfectly legal) so far from its home. They would learn much from the experience.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Yup that is just you Bec. 

I was responding to ilha's comment; "Chinese navy increasingly provocative, training and gathering intelligence ahead of anticipated completion of PLA navy's new aircraft carriers around 2015-2020."

I personally think it is all provocative and I wish the war mongers who control the military security complexes did not control the main Western economies.  But if the US and its NATO allies are going to be in the face of every other sovereign nation on the planet it is hardly surprising that they are increasing their spending on military equipment.  We live in an age where the arms industry is America's only real business the rest of the economy has been sold or hollowed out.  If this corporate militarism is not fascism then what should it be called.

Quote:

The total arms sales (including sales of military services) of the SIPRI Top 100 maintained their upward trend in 2010, although at 1 per cent in real terms, the increase was much slower than in 2009. Over the period since 2002, the increase has been 60 per cent in real terms.

Arms-producing and military services companies from North America and Western Europe once again dominated the list (which however does not include China-based companies). Sales by the 44 US-based companies accounted for over 60 per cent of all arms sales by the Top 100 arms-producing companies in 2010.  The 30 companies based in Western Europe accounted for a further 29 per cent. 

The global arms industry continues to be highly concentrated, with the top 10 arms-producing companies accounting for 56 per cent, or $230 billion, of total Top 100 arms sales.

http://www.sipri.org/media/pressreleases/27-feb-2012-Business-as-usual-f...

 

Fidel

Bec.De.Corbin wrote:
If we do it to other nations we can't very well bitch about them doing the same thing near our waters now can we?
 

Sure. And while China and Russia talk peace with America, they could be arming right wing militia groups for insurrection in the US, and shipping heavy duty weaponry to rebel gangs in Central America.

No country actually wants any of that, though, Bec. No country wants to be seen as the idiots who started WW III. No country wants to win at the game of nuclear chicken except for maybe Uncle Sam. And I think other countries fear that Uncle Sam may actually not win the great game and go down the tubes trying. A nuclear armed rogue superpower falling apart at the seams economically and socially is not a pretty sight for the rest of the world to behold.

NorthReport

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