Obama’s Weapons Deals with India are Nothing to Be Proud of (China Daily, People’s Republic of China)

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

In the last 24 hours, the state-run newspapers in China emitted two cold blasts directed at the United States. One relates to President Obama’s trip to India, and the other the U.S. midterm elections

Although much of the attention surrounding President Obama’s trip to India focused on Pakistan’s reaction, the other elephant in the Indo-Asian room has also been watching carefully. Columnist Chen Weihua of the China Daily, in an article headlined Obama’s Weapons Deals with India are Nothing to Be Proud of, hits hard at the $ 10 billion in deals that are meant to create 50,000 U.S. defense industryjobs in the United States.

For the China Daily, Chen Weihua writes in part:

With U.S. unemployment staying stubbornly above 9.5 percent for 15 consecutive months, Obama promised that the trip would focus on job creation.

But the approximately 50,000 new U.S. jobs that could be created by the India business deals worth $ 10 billion are mostly in the defense industry. These are jobs to build weapons that could escalate a regional arms race. They are hardly jobs to be proud of.

Given the lobbying of the U.S. defense industry which employs an estimated 3 million people, it’s perhaps not surprising that the U.S. president serves as a broker for military contractors. America is eager to replace Russia as the biggest arms supplier to India, the world’s largest arms importer last year.

Obama should ask himself why Muslims in Indonesia, where he spent part of his childhood, are staging protests rather that welcoming him. He hasn’t acted to end the Afghanistan War as he promised. Rather, he has made it his own war. It’s now the longest war in U.S. history.

Obama should face up to reality and stop living in denial. He should tell the American people some hard truths. Companies that have secured deals in India are the same ones that have moved tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs overseas.

In the second article from the Chinese from the state-run Global Times, headlined China the Universal Scapegoat in America’s ‘Ugly’ Midterm Polls, U.S. correspondent John Gong writes about how American politicians have wrongly demonized China in order to win votes in the just-passed midterm elections.

For the Global Times, John Gong writes in part:

Elections are always ugly. And the ugliness of the 2010 midterm election in the U.S. were especially distinguished by its vicious, rampant, and xenophobic campaign of China-bashing.

For the first time in history, from Detroit to Houston and New York to LA, using China as a scapegoat for every U.S. economic problem became a popular bipartisan sport in congressional the mud-wrestling.

China-bashing TV advertisements have showcased gongs, dragons, cheesy music, red communist flags, a flood of invading merchandise and insatiable Chinese consumers. Some of the ads have clearly touched on the sensitive battle line of race, casting a profound shadow over the lives of millions of Chinese Americans.

What’s so alarming is that anti-China feeling in the U.S. appears to be a broad-based and long-lasting trend. If this dangerous trend isn’t dealt with properly, it could be an explosive issue in future Sino-U.S. relations.

READ ON AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of foreign news and views about our nation.


The Moderate Voice

Obama’s Weapons Deals with India are Nothing to Be Proud of (China Daily, People’s Republic of China)

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

In the last 24 hours, the state-run newspapers in China emitted two cold blasts directed at the United States. One relates to President Obama’s trip to India, and the other the U.S. midterm elections

Although much of the attention surrounding President Obama’s trip to India focused on Pakistan’s reaction, the other elephant in the Indo-Asian room has also been watching carefully. Columnist Chen Weihua of the China Daily, in an article headlined Obama’s Weapons Deals with India are Nothing to Be Proud of, hits hard at the $ 10 billion in deals that are meant to create 50,000 U.S. defense industryjobs in the United States.

For the China Daily, Chen Weihua writes in part:

With U.S. unemployment staying stubbornly above 9.5 percent for 15 consecutive months, Obama promised that the trip would focus on job creation.

But the approximately 50,000 new U.S. jobs that could be created by the India business deals worth $ 10 billion are mostly in the defense industry. These are jobs to build weapons that could escalate a regional arms race. They are hardly jobs to be proud of.

Given the lobbying of the U.S. defense industry which employs an estimated 3 million people, it’s perhaps not surprising that the U.S. president serves as a broker for military contractors. America is eager to replace Russia as the biggest arms supplier to India, the world’s largest arms importer last year.

Obama should ask himself why Muslims in Indonesia, where he spent part of his childhood, are staging protests rather that welcoming him. He hasn’t acted to end the Afghanistan War as he promised. Rather, he has made it his own war. It’s now the longest war in U.S. history.

Obama should face up to reality and stop living in denial. He should tell the American people some hard truths. Companies that have secured deals in India are the same ones that have moved tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs overseas.

In the second article from the Chinese from the state-run Global Times, headlined China the Universal Scapegoat in America’s ‘Ugly’ Midterm Polls, U.S. correspondent John Gong writes about how American politicians have wrongly demonized China in order to win votes in the just-passed midterm elections.

For the Global Times, John Gong writes in part:

Elections are always ugly. And the ugliness of the 2010 midterm election in the U.S. were especially distinguished by its vicious, rampant, and xenophobic campaign of China-bashing.

For the first time in history, from Detroit to Houston and New York to LA, using China as a scapegoat for every U.S. economic problem became a popular bipartisan sport in congressional the mud-wrestling.

China-bashing TV advertisements have showcased gongs, dragons, cheesy music, red communist flags, a flood of invading merchandise and insatiable Chinese consumers. Some of the ads have clearly touched on the sensitive battle line of race, casting a profound shadow over the lives of millions of Chinese Americans.

What’s so alarming is that anti-China feeling in the U.S. appears to be a broad-based and long-lasting trend. If this dangerous trend isn’t dealt with properly, it could be an explosive issue in future Sino-U.S. relations.

READ ON AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of foreign news and views about our nation.


The Moderate Voice

Obama’s Weapons Deals with India are Nothing to Be Proud of (China Daily, People’s Republic of China)

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

In the last 24 hours, the state-run newspapers in China emitted two cold blasts directed at the United States. One relates to President Obama’s trip to India, and the other the U.S. midterm elections

Although much of the attention surrounding President Obama’s trip to India focused on Pakistan’s reaction, the other elephant in the Indo-Asian room has also been watching carefully. Columnist Chen Weihua of the China Daily, in an article headlined Obama’s Weapons Deals with India are Nothing to Be Proud of, hits hard at the $ 10 billion in deals that are meant to create 50,000 U.S. defense industryjobs in the United States.

For the China Daily, Chen Weihua writes in part:

With U.S. unemployment staying stubbornly above 9.5 percent for 15 consecutive months, Obama promised that the trip would focus on job creation.

But the approximately 50,000 new U.S. jobs that could be created by the India business deals worth $ 10 billion are mostly in the defense industry. These are jobs to build weapons that could escalate a regional arms race. They are hardly jobs to be proud of.

Given the lobbying of the U.S. defense industry which employs an estimated 3 million people, it’s perhaps not surprising that the U.S. president serves as a broker for military contractors. America is eager to replace Russia as the biggest arms supplier to India, the world’s largest arms importer last year.

Obama should ask himself why Muslims in Indonesia, where he spent part of his childhood, are staging protests rather that welcoming him. He hasn’t acted to end the Afghanistan War as he promised. Rather, he has made it his own war. It’s now the longest war in U.S. history.

Obama should face up to reality and stop living in denial. He should tell the American people some hard truths. Companies that have secured deals in India are the same ones that have moved tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs overseas.

In the second article from the Chinese from the state-run Global Times, headlined China the Universal Scapegoat in America’s ‘Ugly’ Midterm Polls, U.S. correspondent John Gong writes about how American politicians have wrongly demonized China in order to win votes in the just-passed midterm elections.

For the Global Times, John Gong writes in part:

Elections are always ugly. And the ugliness of the 2010 midterm election in the U.S. were especially distinguished by its vicious, rampant, and xenophobic campaign of China-bashing.

For the first time in history, from Detroit to Houston and New York to LA, using China as a scapegoat for every U.S. economic problem became a popular bipartisan sport in congressional the mud-wrestling.

China-bashing TV advertisements have showcased gongs, dragons, cheesy music, red communist flags, a flood of invading merchandise and insatiable Chinese consumers. Some of the ads have clearly touched on the sensitive battle line of race, casting a profound shadow over the lives of millions of Chinese Americans.

What’s so alarming is that anti-China feeling in the U.S. appears to be a broad-based and long-lasting trend. If this dangerous trend isn’t dealt with properly, it could be an explosive issue in future Sino-U.S. relations.

READ ON AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of foreign news and views about our nation.


The Moderate Voice

USA a Banana Republic?

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

NYT columnist Nick Kristoff laments “Our Banana Republic.”

In my reporting, I regularly travel to banana republics notorious for their inequality. In some of these plutocracies, the richest 1 percent of the population gobbles up 20 percent of the national pie.

But guess what? You no longer need to travel to distant and dangerous countries to observe such rapacious inequality. We now have it right here at home — and in the aftermath of Tuesday’s election, it may get worse.

The piece goes on for several more paragraphs, but you needn’t bother reading them. The US has high income inequality. So does, for example, Nicaragua. QED.

Wikipedia’s definition of banana republic is an accurate reflection of how the term is used:

Banana republic is a term that refers to a politically unstable country dependent upon limited agriculture (e.g. bananas), and ruled by a small, self-elected, wealthy, and corrupt politico-economic clique. The original concept of banana republic was a direct reference to a “servile dictatorship” that abetted (or supported for kickbacks) the exploitation of large-scale plantation agriculture, especially banana cultivation. As a political science term banana republic is a descriptor first used by the American writer O. Henry in Cabbages and Kings (1904), a book of related short stories derived from his 1896-97 residence in Honduras, where he was hiding from the U.S. law for bank embezzlement in the U.S.

So, Kristoff is taking a common byproduct of this phenomenon and asserting that the United States, which has said byproduct, therefore qualifies.   Except that, you know, our economy isn’t based on agriculture, much less a single crop.  Oh, and that we have elections to decide who will govern us and periodically throw the bums out.   Oh, and a complex system of divided government and checks and balances.  And, of course, a broad series of individual rights that are guarded by an independent judiciary.

Yes, but for how long?  Why, the Republicans want to extend the current tax code indefinitely into the future!  Which means that those making over an arbitrary sum that some define as “wealthy” will continue to pay a top marginal rate of 34 percent instead of a more appropriate 39 percent.  Apparently, somewhere in the mid-thirties, there’s a magical dividing line with “socialism” on one side and “banana republic” on the other.

Also, apparently, the rich are oppressing the not-quite-rich by buying fancy things, forcing everyone below them to go heavily into debt to try and keep up.

Seriously, Kristoff is too smart for such nonsense.  There are good arguments as to why income inequality is unhealthy.  Let’s dispense with silly ones.

And, for that matter, there are actual threats to our individual liberties and the rule of law that are far more likely to engender comparisons to Third World dictatorships than the fact that the top 1 percent consume a lot of stuff.




Outside the Beltway

Elections Can’t Cure America’s ‘Disease’: The Beijing Times, People’s Republic of China

November 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

So what’s the view of Beijing to the recent 2010 midterms? Not only do the U.S. elections appear unlikely to encourage China to set aside dictatorship for pluralism, according to this article by Mao Yingying for China’s state-run Beijing Times, America itself would be better off reconsidering how its ’so-called democracy’ should run.

For the Beijing Times, Mao Yingying writes in part:

Americans appear disappointed with more than Obama, for despite the bad report card for Obama and the Democratic Party and Republican success at harnessing the “anger vote,” Republicans don’t seem to know or want to know how to resolve America’s great problems, like how to reduce the ever-increasing unemployment rate. In the words of a certain Republican leader [Mitch McConnell], the most important task for his party in the next two years is to “ensure Mr. Obama is a one-term president.”

Defeating Obama and the Democratic Party may be a victory for Republicans, but one party’s victory over another has precious little meaning to ordinary American people. Long and intense disputes over trivial matters between the two parties will deliver none of the things that people want. On the contrary, when the change in power is reduced to two election machines attacking one another, so-called democracy becomes a farce - and one that demands the spending of a lot of dollars.

American scholars have pointed out that “replacing a few chess pieces on the board” (after the midterm elections) will bring very little change to the United States. In fact, “replacing the most important piece on the board” (presidential election) is unlikely to bring much change, either. Because the rules of the game haven’t changed, i.e.: “whoever Wall Street money flows toward, wins” and “behind the verbal wars are a mountain of advertising and packaging fees.” Lying to the people and writing “blank checks,” dumping dirty water over opponents, and finding “scapegoats” and “punching bags” in the international community haven’t changed either. Under such rules, the elections were quite lively, but the “show,” rather than reflecting reality, shows that the American disease continues to spread.

The reality is that amidst an economic and financial crisis, the U.S. doesn’t have a superior or credible political system for improving the economy or people’s livelihoods. Expecting America’s self-styled democracy to reform itself to overcome its economic difficulties can only be called a fantasy.

READ ON AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of foreign news and views about our nation.


The Moderate Voice

New Republic Writer Grudgingly Admits Marco Rubio a Great Speaker

November 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

So just how good a speaker is the new senator-elect from Florida, Marco Rubio? Conservatives are rightly highly impressed with Rubio's oratory, especially his election night victory speech. However, even liberals are giving high marks to Rubio's speaking abilities. John McWhorter of The New Republic even commits liberal sacrilege by grudgingly admitting (after slamming the speeches of other conservatives) that Rubio is a better speaker than Obama. Of course, this also scares him as well:

Marco Rubio, in his victory speech, was the exception, and showed as he often has why he is the Tea Party’s real secret weapon. Starting out with gushy God talk and closing by stressing that he is a “son of exiles,” Rubio is – let’s face it – a better Obama in his way. His Christianity will always be clear to those who care, and his foreign forebears are ones who fled Communism. At first we were to suppose that Obama’s mongrelism made him “like America,” but the leftist Kenyan business is ripe for the Becks and D’Souzas among us to frame as alien, never mind that Indonesia is a Muslim country. Rubio’s foreignness is more cuddly, immune to Fox News-style demagoguery.

Plus Rubio is a natural talker. No stagy incantations of lines based on things other people said long ago; no giggling; no props; no wandering off topic. He can rub a noun and a verb together, with minimal attendance to notes. As a result, like Bill Clinton, he seems intelligent in a way that Paladino and O’Donnell do not, and approachably human and on the ground in a way that Paul, despite his active mind, cannot.

read more

NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Is America a Banana Republic?

November 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Nicholas Kristof: “The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.”

“C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

New Republic Profile of Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson

November 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(Todd Zywicki)

Sounds like he is running for President.




The Volokh Conspiracy

The Political Economy of the Roman Republic

November 5, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(Ilya Somin)

One of my longstanding interests is the political economy of ancient Greece and Rome. Former VC-er Eric Posner has an excellent new article on the political economy of the Roman Republic:

The constitution of the Roman Republic featured a system of checks and balances that would eventually influence the American founders, yet it had very different characteristics from the system of separation of powers that the founders created. The Roman senate gave advice but did not legislate; the people voted directly on bills and appointments in popular assemblies; and a group of magistrates, led by a pair of consuls, proposed bills, brought prosecutions, served as judges, led military forces, and performed other governmental functions. This paper analyzes the Roman constitution from the perspective of agency theory, and argues that the extensive checks and balances, which were intended to prevent the recurrence of monarchy, may have gone too far. Suitable for an earlier period in which the population was small and the political class was homogeneous, the constitution proved unworkable when Rome acquired a vast, diverse empire. The lessons of Roman constitutionalism for the American constitution are also discussed.

Eric makes many interesting points, and I learned a lot from the paper. But I disagree with the bottom-line conclusion that the Roman Republic failed because it had too many checks and balances, which led to paralysis and gridlock. Even in its last, most dysfunctional century, the Republic repeatedly vanquished powerful foes, including monarchs such as Mithridates of Pontus, Eric’s argument that monarchy was a more efficient form of government during this period notwithstanding. The Republic also undertook various important new domestic policy initiatives, including expanding the citizenship and granting land to enormous numbers of military veterans. This is not the sign of a polity paralyzed by gridlock.

On balance, I tend to agree with the more conventional view that the Republic failed not because of gridlock, but because of agency problems: the Senate and people gradually lost control of the larger and larger military forces needed to defend their growing empire. These forces were increasingly more loyal to their immediate commanders than to the state. As a result, unscrupulous generals such as Marius, Sulla, and ultimately Caesar could use “their” troops to seize power. This problem probably could not be easily solved in a large empire during an era when communications were difficult and slow and the central government could not readily control far-flung standing armies. Indeed, the same problem eventually played a decisive role in bringing down the empire that replaced the republic.

Because I am unpersuaded by the paper’s explanation for the collapse of the Roman Republic, I am also skeptical of the claim that the lesson for the modern United States is that we need fewer checks and balances than we have. Like the Roman Republic, we actually have a fairly strong record of outperforming rival states with more unitary governments (both dictatorships and parliamentary democracies). In some areas, my fear is that we need more checks and balances rather than fewer, in part because we too have some serious agency problems — albeit not as severe as those of the Romans.

Despite this disagreement, I think this is a great paper, and well worth your time if you are at all interested in the subject. And for those who absolutely can’t get enough of ancient political economy, there is my shorter piece on democracy and political knowledge in ancient Athens, and this post I wrote about whether we should revive the Athenian Council of 500.




The Volokh Conspiracy

London’s Islamic Republic

October 28, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

A London Borough with a billion dollar budget under the control of an Islamist with sweeping powers. What could go wrong?
American Thinker Blog

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