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Quote of the Day 05/25/15

“Obama’s solution for the Baltimore rioters: ‘making investments so they can get the training they need to find jobs.’ Yes. For example, training them not to loot the businesses where the jobs are.” —Fred Thompson

Thinking About China By Alan Caruba

China Map

Napoleon Bonaparte purportedly said “Let China sleep, for when China wakes, she will shake the world.”

As Thomas J. Christensen, the author of his recently published “The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power”, reminds us, “For millennia China was arguably the greatest civilization on the planet and for many previous centuries its most powerful empire.”

China is no longer an empire, but it remains a huge nation geographically and huge in terms of its population.

From the website worldometers.info, we learn:

The population of China is estimated at 1,393,783,836 as of July 1 2014.
China’s population is equivalent to 19.24% of the total world population.
China ranks number 1 in the list of countries by population.
54% of the population is urban (756,300,115 people in 2014).
The median age in China is 35.7 years.

Christensen is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Currently he is the William P. Boswell Professor of World Politics and director of the China and World Program at Princeton University. After reading his book, you might well conclude that there is little about China and Asia he does not know.

We are mostly dependent on various news stories about China to have any idea what is occurring, but the fact remains that just as the U.S. has its optimists and pessimists, conservatives and liberals who influence policy the same exists for China, so a lot depends on who is being quoted. Generally, though, it is only the top leaders who are. That means we are getting the Chinese “party line” and the occasional general or admiral warning against any aggression.

China did not begin to awaken as a modern nation until after the death of Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic of China, a Communist with a capital “C.” Christensen notes that, while keeping its political ideology, the leader that followed him made a “peaceful transformation launched under CCP leader Deng Xiaopping in 1978 and the collapse of the superpower Soviet Union thirteen years later that made China appear to stand tall again among the great powers.” The transition was to a capitalist-based economy.

These days the Chinese and the Russians are making efforts to achieve areas of cooperation and, in particular, their militaries. They hold drills together for common defense strategies.

Christensen believes that “China’s return to great power status is perhaps the most important challenges in twenty-first century American diplomacy”, but to put that in context he points out that “China’s per capita income is only one fifth that of the United States” and “though a true trade superpower, many of its exporters are controlled at least in part by foreign investors.”

“Still, the pessimists do not give enough credit to the sustainability of U.S. leadership in Asia,” says Christensen. “For example, they often underestimate the value of American’s unparalleled network of allies and security partners.” You can be sure that the Chinese leadership does not.

They also have, as one would expect, concerns about U.S. military power in their area of the world, but they feel the same about Japan and South Korea as well. “China is not currently an enemy of the United States,” says Christensen, nor is it likely to be for a long time to come.

“It does not need to be contained like the (former) Soviet Union. Nor should China become the kind of regional or global adversary that we have faced in the past, although that outcome, unfortunately, is still a distinct possibility.” That possibility depends on China’s leadership now and in the future. For now they are concentrating on their economy and are likely to do so for many years to come.

“China’s economic clout is real and growing rapidly, especially since the 2008 financial crisis. China has been the main engine of growth for the world’s economy since that time and, by some measures, has become the world’s number one trading state.” There is only one reason why the U.S. has not yet recovered from the financial crisis and his name is Barack Obama.

I suspect that Obama is held in disdain by the Chinese leadership despite all the public handshakes. For one thing, China weathered the financial crisis far better than the U.S. “One of the burdens the new Obama administration inherited in early 2009 was a China bearing a mix of cockiness and insecurity that would negatively influence its policies in 2009-2010,” says Christensen and as the U.S. foundered in Afghanistan and Iraq “American power inspired less awe.”

“Sometime in 2012, the ‘Asia pivot’” of the Obama administration “would be jettisoned in Washington for the more subtle ‘Asia rebalance.’” If you get the feeling that the Obama administration has no real China policy or one that will have little influence, you are right.

With regard to China, It likely does not matter what the Obama administration does for its remaining one and a half years in office.

Various scholars and diplomats will continue to keep a watchful eye on China and most surely many corporate leaders and U.S. entrepreneurs will do so as well given its huge population as a marketplace. It’s already a great tourist destination.

Napoleon was right.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Hillary Clinton’s Damning Emails Could End Her Candidacy

Leadership: Now that 350 pages of Hillary Clinton’s carefully selected emails have been gifted to the New York Times, Americans can see just how badly the former secretary of state botched the job in Libya and elsewhere.

Clinton went to extraordinary lengths to keep her supposedly public emails — she was a public employee, after all — private.

She kept them on an account outside the Department of State’s system, on her own server in her own home. And she had more than one account. All of these acts are breaches of State Department rules.

Worse still, when the emails suddenly became an issue and Congress asked to see them, she conveniently erased a hard drive. You know, an accident.

Then, in a Nixon-like move, she agreed to hand over 30,000 emails to the State Department. But she printed them, forcing the State Department to spend five weeks redigitizing them, the Washington Post reported.

This email dump only scratches the surface: State handed over just 850 pages of the emails to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, and someone there leaked about 350 pages to the Times.

Even so, the emails are damning, both of Clinton’s conduct as a public official and her character. To wit:

• As Libyan rebels tightened their grip on the capital and dictator Moammar Gadhafi, State Department Director of Policy Planning Jake Sullivan emailed Clinton that she now had “leadership/ownership/stewardship of this country’s Libya policy from start to finish.”

The email was meant to be a triumphal pat on the back for Clinton’s adroit handling of Libya’s rebellion, one of the great debacles in U.S. diplomatic history.

Despite her “ownership,” Clinton later blamed the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi tragedy — in which terrorists murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others in our own diplomatic compound — on an obscure movie, “The Innocence of Muslims.”

• The Clinton emails also show that she compromised State Department security by keeping “sensitive but unclassified” emails on her private server. “This includes the whereabouts of State Department officials in Libya when security there was deteriorating during the 2011 revolution,” the Times reported.

• A year and a half before his untimely and unnecessary death, then-special envoy Stevens became so concerned with security in the country that he thought about leaving, Hillary’s emails also show.

And the emails indicate that old Clinton hand Sidney Blumenthal emailed Clinton regularly about Libya, a country in which he had business interests. One email stands out. Just two days after Benghazi, Blumenthal emailed Clinton, saying that the attacks “had been planned for approximately one month” and had been perpetrated by “well-trained, hardened killers” who belonged to the Libyan terrorist gang Ansar al-Sharia.

Blumenthal completely contradicts the phony story,which Clinton and others concocted, of a spontaneous uprising resulting from the video that we mentioned earlier.

As we said, this information is damning of Clinton’s “ownership” of U.S. Libya policy. It may even scuttle her run for president. What else will emerge in the thousands of other pages of emails yet to be inspected?

Source: Investor’s Business Daily:

SideBear: The question now becomes, how many more Clinton scandals will it take before the “useless idiots” on the left wake up and realize a vote for Hillary is an endorsement for more CORRUPTION.

Whatever Happened to John Kerry by Daniel Greenfield

John Kerry returns from his latest Russian visit bearing two baskets of potatoes and a t-shirt.

The t-shirt, given to him by Foreign Minister Lavrov, might as well say, “I wasted my time in Russia and all I got was this shirt.”

It’s a diplomatic success only in relation to Kerry’s previous humiliations such as the time that Russia’s adeptly slimy foreign minister kept him waiting for a week before returning his call while the State Department spokeswoman announced to the world that Kerry was “ready to talk whenever Foreign Minister Lavrov can find the time.”

The Putin regime enjoys humiliating the United States, but even it seems to have tired of degrading Kerry who ruins their fun by failing to realize what is going on. Instead Kerry has become a nonentity; a forgotten messenger boy. It’s a fitting purgatory for the formerly tireless leftist activist in the Senate.

It wasn’t all that long ago that John Kerry was being touted as the last best hope for diplomacy. No one could quite admit that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had made a complete mess, but the sighs of relief when John Kerry got the job instead of Obama’s dishonest crony Susan Rice spoke volumes.

American diplomacy had never before hit the low point that it had under Obama and Clinton. Liberals with an interest in foreign policy had expected professionalism; instead the two politicians used it as their private piggy bank. Obama handed off ambassadorships to key countries to big donors while Hillary spent more time seeing to the interests of Clinton Foundation donors than to our national interests.

Obama had campaigned as an internationalist who would put aside the provincialism of the Bush years to build meaningful multilateral relationships based on his experience with other countries and cultures. But once in office, he treated visits to other countries like domestic campaign trips to obscure states.

Foreign leaders soon found out that an Obama visit was usually a cross between a photo op using their historical landmarks as background and a vacation. While his gaffes and embarrassing behaviors got the most attention, the underlying problem was that he didn’t understand what his job was. His routine of self-important speeches and announcements of billion dollar programs that would never materialize was built for his endless domestic campaign and its lapdog media. And it didn’t play well internationally.

Obama refused to understand how international relationships work. His grand plans for an end to nuclear weapons, wars and industry were big ticket progressive items with no relevance to events in the real world. Two out of three of them quickly ended up being scrapped. His undermining of American allies in the Middle East with the Arab Spring poisoned diplomatic relations in the region. His weak and erratic response to Russian aggression discredited his administration in Eastern Europe.

As it turned out, Obama did not have a foreign policy, he had a domestic policy. His failure to work together with Republicans at home was more than equaled by his failure to work with allies abroad. At home or abroad, he came with a pre-approved progressive program that ignored emerging crises and which he refused to budge from until a crisis became severe enough to threaten his popularity.

An experienced White House staff might have eased the problem, but Obama was surrounded by fellow amateurs and egomaniacs putting the progressive agenda ahead of pragmatic diplomacy. And his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had little real experience. In the past, she had told a number of lies to compensate for that by manufacturing imaginary achievements.

Hillary claimed that she had “helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland” and negotiated open borders for Kosovo refugees. In the real world, her practical experience was extremely light, but heavy on theory. Hillary Clinton was anxious to present herself as extremely knowledge about foreign affairs, but she preferred to avoid actually putting theory into practice because it might interfere with her future political campaign.

To the misfortune of America and the world, both the White House and the State Department were led by politicians with little understanding of foreign affairs who wanted photo ops for their domestic political campaigns more than they wanted to actually put in the work to get things done. John Kerry was supposed to change all that. An unlikely repeat presidential candidate, Kerry was not holding down the job as a platform for seeking higher office. Instead the career activist would finally have a direct line for putting his feverish foreign policy obsessions into practice.

And Kerry did not disappoint, immediately diving into deep waters, aggressively trying to revive the corpse of the dead peace process between Israel and the terrorists, circling frantically around Syria and even chasing after Russia. It was a striking contrast with Hillary’s empty tours or Obama’s vacation diplomacy. There was finally a Secretary of State willing to take on the big issues.

Read more at Sultan Knish blog