American Thinkers

Insurgency and Counter Insurgency …

Posted on July 17, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, From a Services Career |

By Gen KM Bhimaya …

The politico-military dynamic is inherent in any policy decisions, governing counterinsurgency operations. And then, there is the need to cope with an unwelcome intruder: the changing, and often unanticipated alliance and alignments in international relations. Let me attempt to cut through the abstruseness of my argument by giving some examples.

The “exit” strategy in any conflict is fraught with serious risks. In global conflict, it used to fall into the realm of grand strategy as defined by Liddell Hart in his classic, “The Strategy of Indirect Approach.” And this is the province of diplomacy. Although, armed forces officers, such as General of the Army George Marshall, have distinguished themselves with the formulation and successful implementation of “grand strategy” they are an exception, not the rule.

It is unthinkable that the U.S. civilian and military leaders (Gens Mattis. David Petraeus, and the former commander Stanley McChrystal) who oversaw/ oversee operations in Afghanistan are naive enough not to perceive Pakistan’s ham-handed but effective complicity in nourishing and using the Haqani group. These commanders are well-read scholars, combining in them a rich repertoire of theoretical and practical insights, but they must defer to public opinion.

The Vietnam war was lost by the strong domestic anti-war backlash, not by the “Tet” offensive that was a stunning success. President Obama has often been unfairly accused of soft-pedaling the terrorist challenges in the Middle-East, but he was acutely aware of the dangers of getting involved deeply “with more of the same”, the blundering policy adopted by some of his predecessors during the Vietnam war.

Alas, either the Indian diplomatic initiatives are not aggressive enough to carry conviction, or the U.S. policy makers choose not to acknowledge Pakistan’s mischief, because they do not want to risk losing Pakistan’s logistic and military support for the ongoing operations in Afghanistan. The upshot: Pakistan has been very successful in running with the hare and hunting with the hounds in Afghanistan and the adjoining frontier regions. India has yet to come up with a viable strategy to neutralize Pakistan’s policy of diminishing Indian influence in Afghanistan.

Be that as it may, the central message of my opening comments pertained to the future of the terrorist movements in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world. That is, I was attempting a wild prediction, based on the historical evidence relating to the past fortunes and misfortunes of the burgeoning, splinter terrorist groups (the almost defeated ISIS, for example). What should be India’s long- term terrorist target?

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Viet Nam War – A Viet Namese tells McNamara where he went Wrong …

Posted on May 28, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, From a Services Career, Personalities, Searching for Success |

This is Mr Xuân Thuỷ, Foreign Minister of North Vietnam (1963 to 1965), during a 1995 meeting with former US Secretary of Defense, serving from 1961 to 1968, Robert S. McNamara.

“Mr. McNamara, You must never have read a history book. If you’d had, you’d know we weren’t pawns of the Chinese or the Russians.

McNamara, didn’t you know that? Don’t you understand that we have been fighting the Chinese for 1000 years? We were fighting for our independence.

And we would fight to the last man. And we were determined to do so. And no amount of bombing, no amount of U.S. pressure would ever have stopped us.” 

From – The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara:

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Trumps’ WaterGate??? …

Posted on May 23, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, Uncategorized |

From the NY Times

Now that Robert Mueller III has been appointed special counsel to investigate ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, Democrats and even a few Republicans are drawing comparisons between the present mess and the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon.

Senator John McCain of Arizona pegged the president’s problems at a “point where it’s of Watergate size and scale” after reports surfaced that Mr. Trump had pressed James Comey, then the F.B.I. director, to quash an investigation of Mike Flynn, the Trump loyalist and former national security adviser. David Gergen, who was a White House aide to four presidents in Republican and Democratic administrations, contended that “we’re in impeachment territory now.” A few other Republicans have broken away from their party’s blind defense of the president and called for deeper investigations.

The national interest and the integrity of the democratic process are undeniably at stake in the investigation. And it may turn out that the president and his associates have engaged in an attempt to obstruct justice; really bad stuff could turn up. But Watergate? We’re not there yet. That’s a word that summons obstruction on a monumental scale, with evidence to prove overt criminal acts — not least the White House conspiracy to burglarize the Democratic Party headquarters. Scores of administration officials were indicted or jailed when President Nixon had to flee from office on the eve of certain impeachment.

Mr. Trump has made the parallel easier to draw as he complains of a “witch hunt,” tramples ethical standards and shows no sign of the reasonable political behavior the nation sorely needs from him. Like Mr. Nixon, he regularly denounces real and imagined “enemies”; his White House is full of sycophantic assistants pressed to defend fantastic claims and policy distortions, as was Mr. Nixon’s. Like the Nixonites, Trump loyalists in the administration are clearly fearful of crossing their boss by attempting helpful criticism as the president plays daily with political fire.

Yet the differences are also worth noting. The public learned then that the Nixon team had plunged into rank criminality, discussing a million-dollar bribe for the burglars after they demanded ransom money for protecting the White House. And the political realities in Congress were of a different order. Back then, the Democrats enjoyed subpoena power through majority control of both houses so that, unlike now, they could freely investigate the scandal. Bipartisanship was such in 1973 that the Senate voted 77 to zero to create the select Watergate committee once the F.B.I. established the burglary’s connection to the Nixon re-election campaign.

In contrast, current Republicans revel in tooth-and-claw partisanship. Democrats remain a largely powerless minority as Republican leaders pretend they have no grave doubts about Mr. Trump, hoping to survive next year’s elections despite his unpopularity.

Most striking of all in the Nixon impeachment was the deus ex machina revealed unexpectedly in the Watergate hearings that gripped the nation on television and radio — Mr. Nixon’s supreme folly of crafting his conspiracies before the attentive microphones of a White House taping system to record his utterances for some imagined high place in history. When the Supreme Court ruled that the tapes were fair game for investigators, the nation finally grasped the extent of Mr. Nixon’s scheming. Denials from his “silent majority” base became pointless.

President Trump has hinted threateningly at the existence of tapes; so far it sounds like his characteristic bluffing. (Ironies abound. Mr. Trump’s complaints to the F.B.I. about damaging leaks recall that Deep Throat, the ultimate Watergate leaker to The Washington Post, was revealed to be W. Mark Felt, then the associate director of the F.B.I.)

Watergate remains a tall bar. The Clinton and Reagan scandals couldn’t come close. In President Bill Clinton’s case, an independent counsel capitalized on his writ to wander widely into the president’s sex life, elevating a sex-and-mendacity saga into a perjury trial in which the Senate calmly voted to acquit, finding it all insufficient reason to evict a popular president. In the Iran-contra affair, President Ronald Reagan was never convincingly depicted as the mastermind of the illegal arms-for-hostages scheme run by his aides.

For Democrats, too much indulgence of impeachment notions could prove a distraction from the more workaday and politically achievable challenge at hand. Their main job is to rouse the public to use Mr. Trump’s unimpressive polling numbers as leverage on Republicans, who already are citing the Mueller investigation as reason to slow down congressional inquiries into the Trump and Russia affair. Beyond that, they and other critics should be working hard to win back a majority next year in at least one house of Congress. This would secure them the subpoena power to shed far better light for the nation on Mr. Trump’s and his enablers’ sorry deeds.

COMMENTS

  1. Consider the Clinton Administration. A President of the United States has oral sex with an intern. At first he denies it, then he lies to… Cheekos

2. There is one final pint that I would make, but only after considering:1. Donald admitted that he had shared sensitive classified Intel,… Azalea Lover

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Gen Giap and the Media …

Posted on May 14, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, From a Services Career, Personalities |

General Vo Nguyen Giap. was a brilliant, highly respected leader of the North Vietnam military. He is credited with defeating the French and then the US. This quote from his memoirs is seen in the War Memorial in Hanoi:

‘”What we still don’t understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for a little longer, we were ready to surrender!  It was the same at the battle of TET. You defeated us!  We knew it, and we thought you knew it. But we were elated to notice your media was helping us. They were causing more disruption in  erica  than we could on the battlefield. But for your media we were ready to surrender. You had won!'”

General Giap confirms what most Americans knew. The Vietnam war was not lost in Vietnam — it was lost in the US. A biased Media can cut the heart and destroy the will of a  Nation.

A truism: – Do not fear the enemy, for they can take only your life. Fear the media,  for they will distort your grasp of reality and destroy your honor.

 

 

 

 

 

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Possibility of US China War …

Posted on April 28, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, Chinese Wisdom |

These extracts are from a Speech by Nick Xenophon, an Australian Senator – 

Earlier Britain and then the USA was our trading partner and strategic ally. Now China is our largest two-way trading partner in goods and services ($150 billion), our largest export market ($86 billion) and our largest source of imports ($64 billion). And the integrated East Asian economic zone is the world’s fastest growing.

So, how do we negotiate the tension between our major security partner and our major trading partner?

China sees as vital to its security the string of archipelagos from northern Borneo to the Kuril Islands north-east of Japan. It has piled sand onto reefs in the South China Sea, creating seven new artificial islands, and has installed missile batteries and radar facilities, giving it effective control over sea and air traffic in the region.

Increased tension between the US and China seems inevitable, and Australia may well get dragged in.

Last year the RAND Corporation published a report called “War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable”.

It makes sobering reading. Their research team concluded that “war between the two countries (the US and China) could be intense, last a year or more, have no winner, and inflict huge losses and costs on both sides.”

China’s defensive military capabilities will continue to increase, and it will be able to inflict heavy losses on its opponents.

As both sides’ technologies and doctrine create a preference for striking first, the potential for miscalculation is high. Each side may believe that by striking first it can gain and retain the initiative, and by doing so it might be able to end a conflict quickly.

Yet this kind of thinking has uncomfortable parallels with Europe of a century ago, when the belligerents initiated their own military plans to attack before being attacked, and both sides believed that in doing so they would gain operational dominance and end the war swiftly. Back then, both sides had strong economic ties, which ‘experts’ said would prevent any conflict.

Furthermore, using the line and military strategy attributed to Sun Tzu, China may decide to “kill the chicken to scare the monkey” – sink an Australian vessel to warn off the United States Navy.

Are we truly ready for the consequences of a war?

Unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, where there were relatively few casualties, this time we may see large numbers of body bags returning, or never returning at all, since they may have been sunk at sea.

Other consequences – Calls from the extreme political fringe for Chinese Australians to be interned in camps?  For India reinforcing its troops along its border with China? For Russia to be emboldened along its western border? For increased activity in the Middle East, as extremists there take advantage of US preoccupation in the South China Sea?

We already know what the invasion of Iraq unleashed. And back home the consequences would be catastrophic, both for our economy and society.

RAND said a US-China war could shrink China’s GDP by up to 35 per cent and the USA’s by up to 10 per cent. But given our much higher trade dependence on China and the region, a 30 per cent contraction would not be out of the question.

And demographically? Seeing Chinese Australians and Chinese students on our streets shows how integral they’ve become to our nation’s fabric. A war with China would rip Australia’s economy and society apart.

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South China Sea Dispute – (In the back ground also N Korea)

Posted on April 22, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, Chinese Wisdom, From a Services Career |

Dotted with small islands, reefs and shoals, the South China Sea is a crucial shipping route and home a messy territorial dispute that pits multiple countries against one another.

Tensions in the contest waters have ratcheted up since 2014 as China has turned sandbars into islands, equipping them with airfields, ports and weapons systems and warned US warships and aircraft to stay away from them. Adding fuel to this heady mix, the Trump administration looks set to take a much more confrontational stance toward Beijing than its predecessor — setting the stage for a potential showdown.
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China bases its claims on the “nine-dash line” — its claimed territorial waters that extend hundreds of miles to the south and east of its island province of Hainan, abut its neighbors’ claims and, in some cases, encroach upon them.
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The Paracel Islands (Xisha to Beijing) have been controlled by China since 1974, but they are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. Tensions flared in 2014 when China installed exploratory oil rigs in the vicinity.
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The situation is more complicated in the Spratlys, which Beijing calls the Nansha islands. The archipelago consists of 100 smalls islands and reefs of which 45 are occupied by China, Malaysia, Vietnam or the Philippines. All of the islands are claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, while some of them (or nearby waters) are claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.
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What’s China been building?
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In early 2014, China quietly began massive dredging operations centering on the seven reefs it controls in the Spratly Islands — Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef, Mischief Reef, Cuarteron Reef, Gaven Reef and Hughes Reef. According to the US, China has reclaimed more than 3,000 acres since the beginning of 2014.
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On his 2015 trip to Washington, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China wouldn’t militarize the islands, but a December report from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) said China had installed comprehensive weapons systems on seven reefs that include anti-aircraft guns. Some have called the islands China’s “unsinkable aircraft carriers.”
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Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan have also reclaimed land in the South China Sea, but their land grab — the US says approximately 100 acres over 45 years — is dwarfed by China’s massive, recent buildup. What’s the US view? It could be changing.
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The US has traditionally taken no position on the territorial disputes in the South China Sea but has repeatedly asserted its right to freedom of navigation in the disputed waters, with the US military flying and sailing its assets close to the islands China controls.
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Tillerson and Trump have not minced their words on the issue, suggesting that the State Department could take a more muscular approach. “Building islands and then putting military assets on those islands is akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea. Its taking of territory that others lay claim to,” Tillerson said in his confirmation hearing.
“We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that first, the island-building stops, and second, your access to those islands also not going to be allowed.”
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Blocking Chinese naval vessels from accessing South China Sea reefs would almost certainly trigger a US-China clash, says Ashley Townshend, a research fellow at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.
“More to the point: as many of the reefs are effectively a part of international waters, preventing Chinese ships from sailing to or near them would undermine the very freedom of navigation rules that the US has been trying to uphold,” he adds.
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China warns US surveillance plan with CNN crew on board
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China warns US surveillance plan with CNN crew on board 03:47         What could China do? As China stretches its muscles as a growing superpower, the South China Sea, rich in oil and gas reserves, has become a testing ground for whether the country will rise as part of the existing international order or outside it. China says both the Paracels and the Spratlys are an “integral part” of its territory, offering up maps that date back to the early 20th century.
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It has repeatedly defended its right to build both civil and defensive facilities on the islands it controls. In December, a Chinese warship unlawfully seized an underwater drone from a US oceanographic vessel.
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One new strategy could be to declare an air defense zone in the South China Sea, which would require all aircraft to file flight plans even if they don’t enter Chinese airspace.
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Beijing has also ignored a landmark ruling last year by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which said there was no legal basis for China’s maritime claims. Even though they now have international law on their side, other claimants have done little to challenge Beijing. The Philippines, which originally brought the case, has pivoted towards Beijing under President Rodrigo Duterte.
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Beijing’s response to Tillerson and Trump’s comments to date has been fairly muted, but some analysts think Beijing could soon test the new US commander in chief.
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Finance Guys are Lethal …

Posted on April 15, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, Searching for Success |

“A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad,” –   Theodore Roosevelt. And now here is Financial Skull Duggery at its Finest!

MARY is the proprietor of a bar in Dublin. She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar and as  such she will go broke. To solve this problem, she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).

Word gets around about Mary’s ‘drink now, pay later’ marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flock to Mary’s bar.

Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in Dublin — all is starting to look Rosy. By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands Mary gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages.

Consequently, Mary’s gross sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Mary’s borrowing limit. He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank’s corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into Drink Bonds and Alki Bonds. These securities are then bundled and traded on international security markets.

The new investors don’t really understand that the securities being sold to them as ‘AAA’ secured bonds are really the debts of unemployed alcoholics. They have had a ‘rating house’ certify they are of good quality.

Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb, and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation’s leading brokerage houses.
One day, even though the bond prices are still climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Mary’s bar. He so informs Mary.

Mary then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but, being unemployed alcoholics, they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Since Mary cannot fulfil her loan obligations, she is forced into bankruptcy. So she now is broke.

The bar closes and the 11 employees lose their jobs.
Overnight, Drink Bonds and Alki Bonds drop in price by 90%. The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank’s liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.

The suppliers of Mary’s bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms’ pension funds in the various Bond securities. They find they are now faced with having to write-off her bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds. Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations. Her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.                                                                                                                                                 Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multi-billion euro, no-strings attached cash infusion from their cronies in government.

The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, non-drinkers who have never been in Mary’s bar.
Now, do you understand how Modern Economics work?

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This is our Future …

Posted on April 11, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers |

By Viktor Mayer-Schonberger is Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford — One of the most consequential pieces of news from the US in early 2017 was not from the White House, or even the Twitter feed of Donald Trump. Rather, it was hidden on the DMV’s website.

It details the efforts of Google (or more precisely its Waymo subsidiary) to make autonomous driving a reality. According to the report, in 2016 Google’s self-driving cars clocked 635,868 miles (1,023,330km), and required human intervention 124 times. That is one intervention about every 5,000 miles (8,047km) of autonomous driving.

But even more impressive is the progress in just a single year: human interventions fell from 0.8 times per thousand miles to 0.2, which translates into a 400% improvement. With such progress, Google’s cars will easily surpass human driving ability later this year.

Driving once seemed to be a very human skill. But we said that about chess, too. Then a computer beat the human world champion, repeatedly. The strategy board game Go took over from chess as the litmus test for human thinking; until 2016, when a computer bested one of the world’s leading professional Go players. IBM’s Watson aced Jeopardy – another supposedly human domain – in 2011, and is now dividing its time between identifying cancerous moles and cooking up creative recipes, among other things.

With computers conquering what used to be deeply human tasks – those that require knowledge, strategy, even creativity – what will it mean in the future to be human?

Some are worried that self-driving cars and trucks may displace millions of professional drivers (they are right), and disrupt entire industries (yup!). But I worry about my six-year-old son. What will his place be in a world where machines trounce us in one area after another? What will he do, and how will he relate to these ever-smarter machines? What will be his and his human peers’ contribution to the world he’ll live in?

He’ll never calculate faster, or solve a math equation quicker. He’ll never type faster, never drive better, or even fly more safely. He may continue to play chess with his friends, but because he’s a human he will no longer stand a chance to ever become the best chess player on the planet. He might still enjoy speaking multiple languages (as he does now), but in his professional life that may not be a competitive advantage anymore, given recent improvements in real-time machine translation.

Actually, it all comes down to a fairly simple question: What’s so special about us, and what’s our lasting value? It can’t be skills like arithmetic or typing, which machines already excel in. Nor can it be rationality, because with all our biases and emotions we humans are lacking.

So perhaps we might want to consider qualities at a different end of the spectrum: radical creativity, irrational originality, even a dose of plain illogical craziness, instead of hard-nosed logic. A bit of Kirk instead of Spock. So far, machines have a pretty hard time emulating these qualities: the crazy leaps of faith, arbitrary enough to not be predicted by a bot, and yet more than simple randomness. Their struggle is our opportunity.

I am not suggesting we give up on reason, logic, and critical thinking. In fact, precisely because I think so highly of the values we associate with rationality and enlightenment do I believe we might want to celebrate a bit of the opposite.

I am not a luddite either. Quite on the contrary. See, if we continue to improve information processing machines and make them adapt and learn from every interaction with the world, from every bit of data fed to them, we’ll soon have helpful rational assistants. They’ll empower us to overcome some of our very human limitations in translating information into rational decisions. And they’ll get better and better at it.

So we must aim our human contribution to this division of labour to complement the rationality of the machines, rather than to compete with it. Because that will sustainably differentiate us from them, and it is differentiation that creates value.

If I am right, we should foster a creative spirit, irreverent takes, even irrational ideas as we educate our children. Not because irrationality is bliss, but because a dose of illogical creativity will complement the rationality of the machine. It’ll keep guaranteeing us a place on the table of evolution.

Unfortunately, however, our education system has not caught up to the impending reality of this Second Machine Age. Much like peasants stuck in preindustrial thinking, our schools and universities are structured to mould pupils to be mostly obedient servants of rationality, and to develop outdated skills in interacting with outdated machines.

If we take seriously the challenge posed by the machine, we need to change that, and swiftly. Of course, we need to continue to teach the importance of fact-based rationality, and how better facts lead to better decisions. We need to help our children learn how to best work with smart computers to improve human decision-making.

But most of all we need to keep the long-term perspective in mind: that even if computers will outsmart us, we can still be the most creative act in town, if we embrace creativity as one of the defining values of humanness. Like funnily irrational ideas, or grand emotions.

Because if we don’t, we won’t be providing much value in the ecosystem of the future, and that may put in question the foundation for our existence.

 

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Trump and CHINA …

Posted on March 20, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers |

By Fareed Zakaria

We do not yet have the official agenda for next month’s meeting in Florida between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. But after 75 years of U.S. leadership on the world stage, the Mar-a-Lago summit might mark the beginning of a handover of power from the United States to China. Trump has embraced a policy of retreat from the world, opening a space that will be eagerly filled by the Communist Party of China.

Trump railed against China on the campaign trail, bellowing that it was “raping” the United States. He vowed to label it a currency manipulator on his first day in office. But in his first interaction with Beijing, he caved. Weeks after his election, Trump speculated that he might upgrade relations with Taiwan. In response, Xi froze all contacts between Beijing and Washington on all issues, demanding that Trump reverse himself — which is exactly what happened. (Perhaps just coincidentally, a few weeks later, the Chinese government granted the Trump Organization dozens of trademark rights in China, with a speed and on a scale that surprised many experts.)

The Trump administration’s vision for disengagement from the world is a godsend for China. Look at Trump’s proposed budget, which would cut spending on “soft power” — diplomacy, foreign aid, international organizations — by 28 percent. Beijing, by contrast, has quadrupled the budget of its foreign ministry in the past decade. And that doesn’t include its massive spending on aid and development across Asia and Africa. Just tallying some of Beijing’s key development commitments, George Washington University’s David Shambaugh estimates the total at $1.4 trillion, compared with the Marshall Plan, which in today’s dollars would cost about $100 billion.

China’s growing diplomatic strength matters. An Asian head of government recently told me that at every regional conference, “Washington sends a couple of diplomats, whereas Beijing sends dozens. The Chinese are there at every committee meeting, and you are not.” The result, he said, is that Beijing is increasingly setting the Asian agenda.

The Trump administration wants to skimp on U.S. funding for the United Nations. This is music to Chinese ears. Beijing has been trying to gain influence in the global body for years. It has increased its funding for the U.N. across the board and would likely be delighted to pick up the slack as the United States withdraws. As Foreign Policy magazine’s Colum Lynch observes, China has already become the second-largest funder of U.N. peacekeeping and has more peacekeepers than the other four permanent Security Council members combined. Of course, in return for this, China will gain increased influence, from key appointments to shifts in policy throughout the U.N. system.

The first major act of the Trump administration was to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a treaty that would have opened up long-closed economies such as Japan and Vietnam, but also would have created a bloc that could stand up to China’s increasing domination of trade in Asia. The TPP was, in Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s words, “a litmus test” of U.S. credibility in Asia. With Washington’s withdrawal, even staunchly pro-American allies such as Australia are hedging their bets. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has raised the possibility of China joining the TPP, essentially turning a group that was meant to be a deterrent against China into one more arm of Chinese influence.

The United States’ global role has always meant being at the cutting edge in science, education and culture. Here again, Washington is scaling back while Beijing is ramping up. In Trump’s proposed budget, the National Institutes of Health, NASA and the national laboratories face crippling cuts, as do many exchange programs that have brought generations of young leaders to be trained in the United States and exposed to American values. Beijing, meanwhile, has continued to expand “Confucius Institutes” around the world and now offers 20,000 scholarships for foreign students to go to China. Its funding for big science rises every year. The world’s largest telescope is in China, not the United States.

The Trump administration does want a bigger military. But that has never been how China has sought to compete with U.S. power. Chinese leaders have pointed out to me that this was the Soviet strategy during the Cold War, one that failed miserably. The implication was: Let Washington waste resources on the Pentagon, while Beijing would focus on economics, technology and soft power.

Trump’s new national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, once remarked that trying to fight the United States symmetrically — tank for tank — was “stupid.” The smart strategy would be an asymmetrical one.

The Chinese seem to understand this.

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Trumps … ‘Four NO Trumps?’ …

Posted on February 7, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, Searching for Success |

From Dawn – A Pakistani perspective by Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

TRUMP – Don’t under estimate the guy!
He’s the ultimate pragmatist with ZERO ethics and morality and just bordering on the legal. And the ultimate deal maker. His mantra – Okay here’s what I can do for you …. what can you do for me? ……… And he will use this approach in his Presidency to try and get the best deal for the USA.
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All his current posturing on contentious issues is to set the stage for negotiations. His two books “Art of the Deal” and “Think Big” gives us an uncanny insight into his mind. Its just pure business. Winning. Hard negotiations. Get the best deal.

For example repealing or threatening to repeal Obamacare is to get the best deal from the Healthcare Industry and also keep them happy. The Wall with Mexico, to renegotiate a better trade deal. Threatening Iran, so that Iran buys US goods and as some say, especially change the 700 Airbus order to Boeing. Etc etc. And also keep Saudi and UAE as its largest arms buyer.

Whether he succeeds or fails is another question but he’s a hands on guy, who has played slugfest in the dark and dirty real world alleys of American business. And of course an unsavory character. But much as one finds him personally obnoxious and highly unlikeable, he’s what is called a “fixer and a deal-maker”.

The ultimate American carpetbagger. And interestingly, detests traditional politicians and loves military leaders and corporate CEO’S.

So finally America has a leader as close to a large segment of that society. Souless. Unethical. Immoral. No holds barred winning. Ruthless. Unbridled greed. And completely self centered.

In my view, the USA never was and never will be an ethical and moral society, as it so pretends to be.  Hence I’ve stopped thinking and commenting on that aspect of their society. Shooting stars like Jimmy Carter or Obama, are exceptions. Intellectuals like Chomsky, rare. Visible, but totally ineffective to change a society so driven by selfish greed and short-term economic gains. After 8 years, a guy like Obama walks away empty handed.

The USA are simply 21st Century Spanish Conquistadors, looting and plundering the wealth of other lands, disguised under labels of “human rights” “democracy” “our way of life” etc And where it suits their economic interests, supporting and bedding with dictatorial regimes such as the Middle East monarchies, especially Saudi Arabia.

And so finally they get a President who is the plain unvarnished proverbial “Ugly American”.

To understand their policies one needs to understand how the 3 big Industry sectors in the USA, Defense, Financial Services and Healthcare will be impacted. These three drive the USA economic agenda and all their internal and external policies.

Being a pragmatist Trump will keep these three big lobbies happy and get the best deal from them. But, it’s unclear, how he will keep the defense Industry happy. USA’s biggest bulldog in the ring. Especially because the country has had a near permanent and booming defense industry and war economy since 1941. — 2nd World War. Korean War. Vietnam War. Afghanistan. Kuwait. Iraq. Afghanistan. Syria. Iraq.

So let’s see what deal he makes with them. Because for all his bluster, he doesn’t appear to be a war monger

Even Professor Obama couldn’t do much against the Big Three. On the contrary the Financial Services Industry got their biggest bailout from him. The reason Obamacare will morph into ‘Trump’s New Deal” is because he went against this massive powerhouse of Healthcare.

Obama did go for the Afghanistan surge which did serve the interests of the defense industry in his first term but he never opened another front, Syria being one, and nothing in his second term, partly because he didn’t want to and partly because he didn’t have to with no re election issues.

Part of the reasons behind Hillary’s defeat was, in my opinion, the lack of support by the big 3, because she would have have continued with Obama’s plans.

On Pakistan. Here’s my gut feeling. He’s going to ask us. Okay you guys. I’ll fix Kashmir for you with India? What will you give me in return? And even Afghanistan? So we better be ready with our asks and answers.

So like I said earlier, don’t under estimate this guy. He may surprise many despite being a really unsavory character!

Just a perspective!

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