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Some nagging worries about China

You know the feeling. A market rises like a rocket; there is lots of gushing news items about how market X or Y is the hottest thing since the iPod; but there is a lot of muttering about the inevitable fall, the decline, or even the monster crackup. Well, it has sort of happened with the US credit market this year and the collapse of sub-prime mortgages (in plain English, the business of lending money to people who are often bad repayers).

I have this sort of queasy feeling now about China. Do not get me wrong: I am delighted that China is a poster child for how things improve if you ditch certain aspects of collectivism, but it is still a long, long way from what a free society could or should be. And some of the economic data that comes out of that vast country gives economists cause for concern.

88 comments to Some nagging worries about China

  • Paul Marks

    Yes People’s Republic of China statistics are most likely even less reliable than British government ones (I am not being funny – under Mr Brown Treasuary statistics on everything from tax and government spending as a percentage of the economy to general price rises have become very distorted).

    Overall China has (is) a vast credit money bubble – however so is the United States, and even more so the Euro Zone and the United Kingdom.

    I agree that Chinese manufacturing growth has been vast – all those warehouses full of Chinese goods that I guarded where not false statistics, they were very real.

    It is also the case that “cheap labour” is NOT the source of this vast growth in manufacturing growth. After all only a few decades ago tens of millions of Chinese were starving to death (i.e. their real wages were zero) and there were no exports from China worth talking about. In fact even the gap between Chinese and American wages is smaller than it has ever been.

    The secrect of Chinese manufacturing success is simple enough. Private ownership of most of the factories, fairly low taxes (at least for those who do not run up against enemies in the Communist Party – more on this later) and low regulations (in practice).

    Such things as pro independent union regulations (for example forbidding the sacking of someone for joining an independent union) are unknown in China – indeed independent unions are not really allowed at all.

    Also “anti trust” regulations (the bane of American industry and fast becomming a problem in the E.U. as well) are also de facto unknown in China (whatever the statute books say).

    “Competition policy” (and the insane “perfect competition” economic theory on which it is based) on not part of the Chinese economic situation – and Chinese industry greatly benefits from this.

    And, of course, there are such things as the artificial low exchange rate of the Chinese currency and the export subsidies – I think that such policies are harmful in the long term, but their short term benefits are strong for certain key players.

    On the negative side the Communist Party could reverse policy at any time and steal all the private factories.

    This has happened before in Chinese history – various Emperiors took over iron mills and so on (and ran them into the ground) even without the IDEOLOGICAL FACTOR.

    This factor should not be ignored.

    Watching Chinese English language television recently has been an odd experience.

    One goes from watching nice shows about Chinese business enterprises (with interviews with their owners and their customers) to the grand meeting of the Chinese Communist Party (which controls all the power in China) – where the various Marxist symbols and speeches are all still there.

    “Ah but they do not mean it Paul”

    Can we be sure? How do we know this is not just a temporary move in order to build up economic strength in order to build up military strength?

    After all the military continues to expand (in everything from I.C.B.Ms to cyber warfare against the United States) and the alliances (both with the vile Putin in Russia and with various Islamic nut job regimes – as well as people like Comrade Bob in Africa, who they seem to ally with simply out of the joy of wickedness) get stronger.

    “But their main market is the United States and their money is invested in American debt, they would never do anything to hurt all that”.

    The world has heard such arguments before – and they have tended to be wrong.

    Even if Marxism is not really believed in by the top of the Chinese Communist Party (and I am not sure that they do not believe in it), they openly hate the “capitalist” concepts of right and wrong, good and evil (believing themselves to be beyond such things).

    Han Chinese Nationalism may not prove to be friendly to the West (or bound by economic interests for ever).

    It may be that the People’s Republic of China is best understood as rather like the National Socialist Germany of the 1930′s – but with two differences.

    Firstly the relatively free trade environment of today means that they can export vastly more than the Nazi Germany could (also such nations as Britain are far more highly taxed and regulated that they were in the 1930′s, so domestic production can not really compete with the imports – the British economy was much stronger in the 1930′s than the propaganda history text books make out).

    Secondly there is the huge scale of China:

    In the 1930′s the United States had a bigger population than Germany (as well as being vastly bigger in land area and natural resources). Also, in spite of the New Deal, American taxes were lower than those in Nazi Germany (although American industry had to deal with the burden of pro union laws, which German industry was spared – hence the United States had mass unemployment and Germany did not).

    This double hit of both lower taxes and simply being MUCH BIGGER meant that the United States would always (in the end) be able to deal with Germany.

    But China is about the same size as the United States – and its population is more than three times the size.

    Nor are Chinese taxes higher than those of the United States (they are lower). So the absense of pro union laws and “anti trust” may give the Chinese all the edge they need.

    “But there are no fundemental property rights in China”.

    True enough – what the party allows today, it may forbid tomorrow. The businessmen who lead comfortable lives today, may be robbed (and tortured to death) tomorrow. This has happened before in China.

    But the United States has become the land of RICO and other asset theft. And in may other ways property rights are not 100% secure there either.

    They may be more secure than in China – but is the gap big enough?

    “Your whole philosophy is wrong, trade is a mutual gain…….”

    Quite so. But the Chinese regime does not see it that way.

    No more than Putin does in Russia.

    The only difference being that Russia exports raw materials (and weapons) and China exports manufactured goods.

    Both the Chinese government and the Russian government are devoted to death-to-the-West in general and death-to-America in particular. True this is against the economic interests – but their lust for evil (which is very real – and it is power for the sake of power, not power in the hope of a better material standard of living) may overcome their greed at some point.

    The owners of various manufacturing enterprises in China may (or may not) be nice people – but the government that benefits from their efforts is hostile (and it is no good pretending it is not.

    The world is full of enemies (that is just the way things are, no good crying about it) Some are hostile but essentially jokes (like Chevez and the various other Latin American socialist regimes), and some are more serious – such as the Iranians and the Islamic radicals (both Shia and Sunni that they subsidize).

    But the most important enemies are Russia and China. Russia is perhaps the most irritating case – as Boris Yeltsin was (for all his drinking) a real FRIEND who wished to make Russia a nation with the rule of law (trial by jury, an independent media, free elections both at local and national level, and so on) – it is painful that the country has slipped into the hands of a K.G.B. pig like Putin (and also painful that President Bush still seems not to understand that Putin would like to cut out his heart and eat it – “I have looked into his soul and he is a good man”, pass the sick bag).

    However, China may prove in the long term to be the most serious enemy.

    “You are quite wrong, economic success will lead to political liberalization and China will…….”

    How fluffy, China as one huge Taiwan – that would be nice.

    However, I doubt it.

    Of course as the economists who J.P. cites might like to point out – the Chinese credit bubble may go pop tomorrow.

    Of course our own credit-money bubble will go pop one day.

    It would be interesting if the popping of one of the big credit money bubbles (the Euro Zone, the U.K., the U.S. and the Chinese) set off all the credit-money bubbles.

  • Midwesterner

    It appears that the Economist writers don’t seem to understand what they are writing about.

    In the case of the two “weird facts” in the article on EconLog, I think they are explainable without resorting to anything bizarre.

    As for the share of the workforce in agricultural and their share of the GDP, I think this is understandable and reasonable. China has, as a matter of defense policy, determined to keep food self sufficiency even at the cost of exports and net profit. There are many agricultural products that could generate a lot of revenue that are not grown because land is held out for producing subsistence foods like wheat and rice. Their agriculture, unlike what I am used to here in the Midwest (a busdriver/part time farmer friend of my brother’s has a twelve row corn combine) is not nearly as advanced or mechanized as ours so the labor share is probably not surprising either. China will probably automate agriculture as needed when those workers move over to the manufacturing economy. (Or kick off due to the absence of any real medical care.) The point of the programs, and the Economist should understand this, is not to care for the agricultural workers, it is to care for basic staples agricultural production. By design, these are the cheapest foods and have small domestic value and are not exported. The Chinese government considers food self-sufficiency to be a defense expense, not a social program. No, weird fact #1 doesn’t bother me.

    Weird fact #2 is not terribly surprising either. Chinese are in the export business, their exports generate international value. Chinese do consume some of their product, but they acquire it at Chinese prices. And I suspect that, like my mother’s pies and cookies when I was a kid, the best stuff gets shipped out. (Come on, how many of you had your mother say ‘those are for …, eat only the burnt or broken ones’?) It is quite easy to understand China as a big factory. Of course it exports far more than it consumes. That is a deliberate plan. That is why the central government manipulates their currency etc.

    There are definitely plenty of good reasons to be concerned about China but the writers for what is supposed to be the premier international financial magazine don’t seem to have a clue. They have picked on some transparently reasonable (if not very nice) planned consequences and ignored or not noticed the really worrisome stuff. (Like all of the financial games, concealment of some serious military spending, strategic plans for neighboring countries like Burma, development of cyber warfare capacity, manufacturing dominance of products potentially vulnerable to cyber attack, etc etc etc.) I haven’t subscribed to (or even read) the Economist since the eighties, but I am better understanding what the readers in that Economist thread were talking about.

    Mongolia has declared the USA to be its “Third Neighbor”. Can you blame them? Look at their first two. We really need to welcome Mongolia’s welcome and build a strong economic alliance with them. I have a feeling that this really matters. Right now Russian, Chinese and Canadians are doing most of the industrial development in that country.

  • From the comments on econoblog (linked in the main post):

    Alas, it appears the Chinese government lacks the ability to actually impose more regulation over their economy. It’s the Wild, Wild, East over there.

    I wish the same were true for western governments.
    It doesn’t really matter whether their growth statistics are accurate or inflated. They are growing a lot.
    Here we have a strange beast: a communist authoritarian regime, and a free economy.
    And, by the way, they have the perfect libertarian health system and education system: everybody pays out of pocket for services bought.

    I am not as pessimist as Paul, China has no tradition of militarism and expansionism. They are very cautious. We should not be alarmed just because they are getting rich. Getting rich is good, even for the Chinese !

  • Paul Marks

    “China has no tradition of militarism and expanisionism”

    Errr almost all of the area now known as “China” was inhabited by cultures totally different to the Han Chinese.

    These peoples were assimilated or exterminated. Today the Chinese regime likes to pretend they never existed – as it would do with any other area it assimilated (it has a very long list of places it wishes to assimilate).

    “No tradition of militarism”.

    The Communist Party was essentially a miltary organization and the furture ruler of China is presented as having a famous fighter father (as the Chinese regime regularly rewrites history this does not mean the father actually ever fired a weapon, although he may have done [even liars sometimes tell the truth] – but it does mean that it is important that he is presented as having been a great soldier).

    China is also engaged in one of the great military build ups of human history. It is unfortunate that not everyone has noticed this.

    “Free economy” – no. However, the Western economies are so wildly unfree (almost half taken by taxation, endless regulations and so on) that IN SOME RESPECTS the Chinese economy looks sort of “free” in comparison.

    I have no doubt that even the British economy given the level of taxes and regulations in the 1930′s could outcompete the Chinese manufacturing without difficulty – and the level of taxes and regulations that existed in 1930′s Britain were considered very high at the time.

    Regulations.

    The Chinese regime can impose them when it WISHES to do so.

    Protecting Western (indeed Chinese) children from being poisoned is not a high priority for them (especially when the heads of Western toy companies go and beg forgiveness from the Chinese – yes the Western chap begging the parden of Chinese over what the Chinese did). Of course brand names would work as protection (via the power of reputation) if a Chinese company sold its products directly – as long as one was sure who owned the Chinese company (this can be very unclear in China).

    However, and Chinese company that was thought to be a political threat in some way would find its owners in hot water quite quickly (perhaps literal “hot water” till they died).

  • Paul Marks

    Midwesterner:

    The Economist writers not knowing what they are talking about?

    That does not astonish me, which is why I do not bother following links that lead to the Economist (it was are talking about the Economist “newspaper”).

    These people could not even work out that the British pre budget statement was a tax increase – for example they fell for the government line about there being “many winners” from the changes to Capital Gains Tax.

    One can not expect them to understand anything about China if they understand nothing about their own country.

    “But many people buy the Economist”.

    Yes, I know – sometimes I despair about what people spend their money on.

  • A Lale

    How many aircraft carriers do the Chinese have? Zero
    How good is their most advanced fighter? Not even close to the F-22
    Aren’t they spending enormous sums on arms?
    ‘June 12, 2007: SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) released its annual estimates of military spending, and China now has a larger defense budget than Japan. The top five were the U.S.($528 billion), Britain ($59 billion), France ($53 billion), China ($50 billion) and Japan ($44 billion).

  • Eric Blair

    But their main market is the United States and their money is invested in American debt, they would never do anything to hurt all that”.

    The world has heard such arguments before – and they have tended to be wrong.

    Really? Where? Nobody’s ever seen the kind of scale of trade between two countries as the US and China. And China needs the US market more than the US needs Chinese manufacturing, frankly.

    Certainly sombody could get stuck on stupid and wreck everything, but is that really the way to bet?

  • Midwesterner

    China has no tradition of militarism and expansionism.

    Another jaw-dropper from Jacob. Paul, you spent more time on it than I would have. Apparently Jacob thinks that all those former tributaries to China were doing to for grins and giggles. No, nothing militarist or expansionist about China’s imperial history.

  • Midwesterner

    A Lale,

    US, etc military pensions are on the US military budget. China keeps them out of the military budget by putting them in with the general social welfare spending.

    US, etc have missile research and deployment programs in the military budget. China keeps them out of the military budget by putting them in the Space budget.

    And so on. Also, the Chinese government does not buy $1000 dollar toilet seats or pay union scale to manufacturers or finance military waste to fund reelection campaigns, etc.

    If one figures that a dollar spent by the Chinese government will purchase as much as three dollars spent by Congress (a not at all unreasonable assumption) then our spending is equal. Funny how none of that shows up in the reports from the various “peace research institutes” like the one you cite. Hhmmm … now there’s a surprise.

  • anon

    Still, the China alarmists need to temper their prognostications. China is no more expansionist today on account of its imperial past than Britain is expansionist on account of its colonial past.

    The left likes to paint American and British foreign policy as nothing more than imperialism and an extension of its imperialist past.

    Don’t make the same mistake in reverse as regards China.

  • gumby

    A Lale:

    $50 Billion now. And if they keep increasing their budget at 15% per year they’ll be spending:

    $100 Billion in 5 years
    $200 Billion in 10 years
    $800 Billion in 20 years

    They could easily afford this if they keep up their current 10%+ annual growth rate. With 4 times the population of the US, they only need to reach 1/2 of the US GDP per capita to have an economy twice as large.

    The question is how much time it will take. How long can they sustain the current growth rate?

  • Alice

    Mid makes some excellent points about the true scale of the Chinese military budget (especially on a Purchasing Power Parity basis) — and about the determination of Euro “peace” groups to look the other way where China’s military activities are concerned.

    It is worth remembering that, at more or less the same time the UN approved the foundation of Israel, the Chinese invaded Tibet without any UN approval at all — have occupied it ever since, without a murmer of concern from the usual suspects. The Chinese have made a serious run at expunging Tibetan culture from the face of the Earth — but no complaints from Swedish “peace” institutes. China also invaded North Korea to fight UN forces. And China has launched several attacks at India. Regular peace-loving guys!

    What China intends to do with its growing military & economic power remains to be seen. It is pretty clear, though, that the Chinese have no time for the UN or the high-sounding treaties to which the EU has entrusted its future safety.

  • Midwesterner

    anon, whether you intended it or not, your statement is a strawman. Jacob made a false statement, I called him on it. I did not stake my argument on the falseness of Jacob’s assertion.

    My opinions are based entirely on the behavior of the present Chinese government.

  • Midwesterner

    A Lale,

    I should also add that in my personal opinion, manned fighter jets are to the next war what battleships were to world war II. And aircraft carriers along with them. All it takes to convert a fast container ship to a missile carrier is well within the reach of China to do quickly. Much faster than building a battleship or aircraft carrier

  • Sandra Mendoza

    I read online in the 1990′s that Yeltsin’s people came to the Clinton administration and asked for help in setting up a judicial system. They were told by the Clintonites to watch LAW AND ORDER.

    The Democrats don’t understand principles and concepts. If they did, they’d be Republican.

    When Greenspan praises Clinton for his great intelligence, he’s making the same mistake he made decades ago about a girlfriend. Both had photographic memories and neither could think in concepts. I taught the girlfriend, but Clinton would periodically need Hillary to come straighten out the messes he got into. Too bad that Gingrich didn’t know of this great flaw in Clinton’s epistemology. He could memorize a thousand pages, but he couldn’t prioritize or subsume ideas. Hillary, Help!!!!

    What a missed opportunity we had during the Yeltsin era. If the Libertarian Reaganites had still been around, Russia might well have gone down a totally different path.

  • “No tradition of militarism”.

    Not in the last two centuries. I don’t know if the remote past is so relevant. In the 20 th century they did a very poor job of fighting against the Japanese invasions. Japan was a militarist, expansionist, tough power, China not.

    By the way, in the 60ties and 70ties, when Japan was rising fast, economically, there was a big outcry “they are going to beat us, they are the new big yellow menace !”

    Japan’s prosperity helped raise global prosperity. China’s does the same.

    Will China turn into a military menace ? That is speculation, I would say – even scare mongering, a popular pastime. It could happen, but it’s not imminent.

  • Alice

    “No tradition of militarism”.
    Not in the last two centuries.

    Come on, Jacob. You are better than this.

    China’s invasion & occupation of Tibet. China’s invasion of North Korea & attack on UN forces. China’s multiple attacks into India. China’s active support for North Vietnam’s military invasion of South Vietnam. China’s subsequent pitched battles against the ungrateful North Vietnamese. All since World War II.

    One can debate the pros & cons of each of those Chinese uses of military force. But there is a clear track record of use of the military whenever China’s leaders have perceived it to be advantageous. Since World War II.

    There is no doubt that China today is modernizing its military & expanding its capabilities. Is your thesis that they are doing this simply because they are bored, and have no intention of every using force to advance their agenda?

  • anon

    “the Chinese invaded Tibet without any UN approval at all — have occupied it ever since”

    Tibet has been part of China since at least the Yuan dynasty. Long before the communists ‘invaded’ Tibet the Qing dynasty was already *in* Tibet pacifying the rebel province.

    “China also invaded North Korea to fight UN forces.”

    Only after UN forces led by the United States approached China’s border demarcated by the Yalu river despite having been warned not to. China sat out the initial stages of the Korean war. It was only when its border was threatened that it entered the war on North Korea’s assent. Saying that China ‘invaded’ NK would make as much sense as saying the Coalition ‘invaded’ Kuwait during the Gulf War.

    China also halted near the 38th parallel – the pre-war status quo. Your characterisation of ‘invasion’ is therefore inaccurate, and unhelpful.

    “And China has launched several attacks at India.”

    Only because the British made such a mess of the McMahon line, concluding a treaty that violates China’s territorial sovereignty without China herself being a signatory to the treaty. The Sino-Indian border dispute is in large part a consequence of British colonial legacy in the region, so it’s pretty rich to suggest that China is being the overt aggressor here when you’re plainly ignorant of the relevant history.

  • anon

    Tibet isn’t “occupied” since it is an internationally recognized part of China. Even the British in its imperial pomp recognized this.

    Pick another fashionable cause du jour to trumpet.

    China has a large – if not the most – number of borders of any state today. Sure it has border disputes from time to time – but these are different in character from the obvious and overtly expansionist use of the military that by Nazi Germany (“lebensraum”) and Imperial Japan (“Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere”). Your conflation of mundane border disputations with the latter, genuinely aggressive militarist programs as “expansionist” is nothing more than hyperbolic scare-mongering.

  • Alice


    it’s pretty rich to suggest that China is being the overt aggressor here when you’re plainly ignorant of the relevant history

    Thank you for correcting me. I had not realized that China’s military actions outside its borders were all in self-defense. Thank goodness the Chinese were there to protect the rest of the world from those nasty Tibetan monks!

    Since you hold the Chinese Communists in such high regard, anon, perhaps you can confirm the translation of Comrade Mao’s famous remark — the one about all power proceeding out the barrel of a gun? Properly translated, was that really a reference to Flower Power?

  • Tibet has been part of China since at least the Yuan dynasty.

    So presumably should Britain, or for that matter Rome, decided to re-establish rule from London (or Rome) over former parts of their empire by force of arms, regardless of the wishes of the indigenous population, you would support that too on a similar principle, correct?

  • anon

    Er, that’s the point. The Sino-Indian border dispute means that the border was unsettled at the time of conflict, so to assume that Chinese military action is “outside its borders” is to fallaciously beg the question.

    Sarcasm is a poor substitute for argument and fact in any event.

    And Mao is irrelevant. We all know he is an odious sociopathic little scumbag. The correct point of reference when it comes to Chinese foreign policy is Deng – who repudiated Chinese expansionist hegemonic ambitions – and expressed the wish that should China ever get uppity, the rest of the world would put her in her place.

    State-run CCTV has been reinforcing this view in recent times, broadcasting a series on great civilizations and what led to their downfall – in every single instance highlighted, it was military expansionism that was the cause. The Chinese are not only painfully aware of this, being once victims of Japan and Western colonial depredations – they are eager NOT to repeat the militarism and hegemonic expansionism that led to the demise of other world powers.

    Deng’s legacy, along with official foreign policy rhetoric emphasizing China’s “peaceful rise”, and the stance taken by officially-sanctioned documentaries intended for internal consumption, suggests that the scare-mongering China-peril types have got it exactly ass-backwards, and are simply not paying attention.

    So before you bleat about Tibet and Taiwan, engage brain and realise that these are historically internal affairs and so do not fall under the ambit of foreign policy. Treating Tibet and Taiwan as proxy indicators of China’s foreign policy goals is to mistake domestic for foreign policy. Completely wrongheaded.

  • anon

    Perry, no, since Rome has not had de facto and de jure sovereignty over Britain since the 5th century AD.

    China continues to exert both de facto and de jure sovereignty over Tibet to this day. The two are entirely dis-analogous.

  • So are you saying there was (a) never an independent Tibet (b) the Tibetan population actually wanted to be ruled by China?

  • Also of more relevance to the article, I very briefly had investments in China before thinking better of it on both moral and utilitarian grounds. The lack of any meaningful economic statistics and the fact running a large company depends on having ties to the Party mean that when the bubble bursts, there may well be a lot less warning than people expect. There are plenty of better places to put your capital.

  • anon

    I’m saying that (a) Tibet hasn’t been de jure independent since the Yuan dynasty, enjoyed de facto independence during the interregnum that was the Chinese civil war and World War II, never had China (or any of the Chinese factions including the Kuomingtang) relinquish sovereignty during that period, and has come under _both_ de jure and de facto Chinese sovereignty once China recovered from WWII.

    As for (b), that’s a moot as a matter of sovereignty. The Kurds and Basques want to be free of the Turks and Spain respectively, yet we don’t see strident calls for a sovereign Kurdistan or Basque country carved out of Turkey or Spain.

    The Dalai Lama, if he speaks for Tibetans, has already conceded on the sovereignty question: “We are willing to be part of the People’s Republic of China, to have it govern and guarantee to preserve our Tibetan culture, spirituality and our environment . . . ‘I am not in favour of separation. Tibet is a part of the People’s Republic of China. It is an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. Tibetan culture and Buddhism are part of Chinese culture.’” See The Torygraph.

  • anon

    Oh, and how could I forget: Norn Iron. British security forces in Northern Ireland, anyone?

    Now to be sure, Tibetan separatists are not the IRA. But the NI example just goes to show how the separatism question isn’t as clearcut as people in the West like to make it out to be, especially when you have bloody Northern Ireland in your own backyard.

    Ireland (and Northern Ireland by inclusion) was incorporated into the union in 1801. That’s about one-and-a-half centuries into the Qing dynasty, two centuries after the Ming dynasty, and five centuries after the Yuan dynasty (and the beginning of Chinese rule over Tibet).

    So despite the comparatively lesser duration of British sovereignty exercised over Northern Ireland, and a concerted secessionist campaign of violence and intimidation, NI fixedly remains a part of the Union.

    Perhaps lecturing the Chinese is not such a good idea, eh? At least ask what the ‘unionist’ Dalai Lama thinks about secession before going all Free Tibet about it. (Richard Gere is not an acceptable foreign policy guru.)
    :-)

  • Alice


    And Mao is irrelevant. We all know he is an odious sociopathic little scumbag. The correct point of reference when it comes to Chinese foreign policy is Deng

    Well, I am glad you cleared that up. I am learning so much today! China’s total rejection of “militarism and hegemonic expansionism” explains runaway Chinese involvement in Africa and the Stans, and the rapid reductions in Chinese military expenditures. Oops! Sorry, the sarcasm module was still on line.


    engage brain

    Excellent idea! One could choose to convince oneself that China’s autocratic rulers may be evil bastards when it comes to those whom they deem to fall within their own sphere of influence, but they are harmless fuzzy little kittens when it comes to the world outside their borders. But one would have to be fairly selective about the facts one chooses to recognize.

  • Of course unlike Tibet, in Northern Ireland you have a majority who actually support rule from London. I have some family ties there myself (in both communities). But then far from being a unionist or a republican, I look forward to an independent England (i.e. an end to the UK completely) as a first step to an independent Wessex and then an independent Chelsea and then an independent [insert your address here].

    In Tibet, you will only have a majority when the Han colonists outnumber the Tibetans who do not want to be ruled by China. China itself is an Empire, and thus no more legitimate than any Empire (which is to say, it is not legitimate at all), and Tibet is just the most recent reminder of that.

    You are an apologists for brutal authoritarian colonial state which is transforming for a communist one to a quasi-fascist one, but at least you are not pretending otherwise, which is fair enough. Just don’t expect much support in this particular parish.

  • anon

    China’s involvement in Africa didn’t involve its military the last time I checked.

    Funny how for “Alice”, it’s a crime for China to do business in Africa, but not for Western multinationals to do business everywhere else in the world (including China).

    Remind me how many European countries were colonial powers again?

    Less of the hypocrisy please.

    China’s military expenditure is slightly more than Japan’s. Today’s Japan totally rejects “militarism and hegemonic expansionism”. So what does military expenditure say about whether a country embraces hegemonic expansionism or not? Nothing.

    Considering that China’s per capita spending is far far less per citizen than Japan’s, it’s just dumb to claim that China’s military spending is an indication of hegemonic militarism when Japan’s isn’t.

    “Alice” can’t seem to accept that China, having some of the longest borders in the world, engages in defence spending as all other countries do. She is irrationally prejudiced, and she knows it.

    As for ‘selectivity’, Alice’s argument from incredulity is just silly. Turkey, Spain, were “evil” when it comes to Kurdish and Basque separatists but they conduct themselves with restraint on the international arena. Peru too is “evil” with respect to its maoist insurgency . . . are they hegemonic expansionists on the international arena? (No.)

    So Alice’s imbecilic assertion that domestic policy naturally translates to foreign policy is just that – imbecilic. And since she has no demonstrable evidence for her beliefs, at some point you have to ask why Alice has an irrational hatred and fear of the Chinese.

    Time for Alice to examine her prejudices I’m afraid.

  • anon

    Perry, righto. How do you know that “unlike” NI, Tibet doesn’t have a majority that supports rule from Beijing?

    After all, the Dalai Lama, head of the government-in-exile, agrees that Tibet is part of China and supports Chinese sovereignty in Tibet with some degree of autonomy.

    Is he an apologist for a brutal authoritarian colonial state too?

    At least the Dalai Lama speaks with some authority about what Tibetans want. You on the other hand, do not. You’re not even enough of a realist to accept that perhaps Tibet, like NI, also has its share of non-Han loyalists and separatists, such that the picture is far more murky than you pretend.

    I also find it interesting that you’ve largely abandoned the sovereignty argument. It’s a no win there, as you well know, when even the Dalai Lama disagrees with you.

    Westerners should know better than to dictate China’s political evolution from a moral highhorse. If you hadn’t carved China up to begin with, the Chinese wouldn’t have such a complex about Western intentions on its territorial integrity today.

    Unlike you, I’m optimistic that with economic liberalisation, political change will follow (and for the better). Not at the pace the ideologues in the West would prefer, but at a pace that the Chinese themselves would prefer: incrementally. China isn’t going to be “evil” forever. They’ve seen enough of North Korea and the Soviet Union to know that it doesn’t work that way.

  • Perry, righto. How do you know that “unlike” NI, Tibet doesn’t have a majority that supports rule from Beijing?

    Given the rate at which China has been shipping in colonists, it may well do now. That was the approach used by Britain in Ulster and it does work.

    After all, the Dalai Lama, head of the government-in-exile, agrees that Tibet is part of China and supports Chinese sovereignty in Tibet with some degree of autonomy. Is he an apologist for a brutal authoritarian colonial state too?

    No, he is being pragmatic. It is not within his power to get rid of China so he is going for the best be can. If you red this blog often you would know that I actually care very little for any nation-state’s sovereignty and only support one over another on the basis that I prefer the less tyrannous/collectivist states to the more tyrannous/collectivist states (which of course is why I prefer Taiwan (in spite of preposterous KMT claims to ‘be’ China) to China itself.

    I only even mentioned sovereignty because you clearly think in those terms as you are clearly some form of hyphenated fascist. You seem to think historical claims of a nation based on prior control matter more than the views of the actual people who live there (i.e. you take much the same position as the Serbian fascists do towards 90% Albanian Kosova). Thus in order to have any discussion, the ‘sovereignty’ issue you were waving around seemed a fair starting point.

    Oh and I love the idea of a ‘carved up’ China, to hell with the absurd justification of ‘territorial integrity’. Hell I like the idea of a carved up Britain, so why not China?

  • anon

    Well Perry, if you’re going to be an unrepentant anarchist about it then there is nothing to talk about.

    Why not carve up Israel? Hand the Palestinians the West Bank and Jerusalem. Maybe some of the Negev.

    Hell, why have a state at all? Let Al Qaeda into your neighbourhood, and we’ll all have our little islands of personal “sovereignty”.

    I’m not having that argument. And it isn’t even remotely a realistic option as applied to China, so I figure at this point, you’re just arguing for the sake of arguing.

  • anon

    “No, he is being pragmatic”

    So am I. If you’re going to call me a hyphenated-fascist, then so is the Dalai Lama.

    Don’t be ridiculous now.

  • I do not think he is a fascist of any sort, I just think he is wrong as there is no way he can expect any meaningful dialogue with the people who run China… and you are indeed a hyphenated fascist. I don’t really use the term ‘fascist’ as an insult, just a technical term, so do not take it personally. You have been quite up front (what with all the by-the-numbers historical justification and all that shtick), so don’t spoil it now.

  • Cynic

    Oh please. If Richard Nixon could get along with that psycho Mao Zedong, we are surely capable of dialogue with the careerists that run the place now.

    I agree with what P.J. O’Rourke told a bunch of college students at Daniel webster College In May. According to the reports on the speech, he told them that ‘the biggest threat from China is its conquest of the iPod market’.

  • anon

    Except that there’s nothing remotely fascistic about the notion of state sovereignty.

    So the Dalai Lama is a pragmatist apparently, but also wrong about what he can ‘pragmatically’ expect from China. Which makes him… NOT a pragmatist but a deluded idealist?

    You’re not cohering here, Perry.

    I fail to see how my position on Tibet’s sovereignty, which is identical to the Dalai Lama’s, makes me a cryptofascist but the Dalai Lama not. He himself speaks fondly of Tibetan culture being a part of Chinese culture. A claim that even I do not make. So no: he’s not a hyphenated fascist, and neither am I.

  • Alice

    “… at some point you have to ask why Alice has an irrational hatred and fear of the Chinese.”

    Ah! The “ad feminem” attack, rendered even more silly than usual because of the lack of evidence for the alleged hatred & fear.

    All we are talking about here, anon, is cold-eyed realism. Applied common sense, if you will.

    China is reportedly in the process of acquiring a blue-water navy, and has tested satellite-killers. Not the kinds of weapon systems that come to mind when one thinks about border defense. And it is not as if the evil West or the evil Japanese or the evil Taiwanese are making noises about attacking China. Queen Victoria is dead, the Opium Wars are over, and the British Empire has been well & truly spanked for its past misdeeds. China is safe within its own borders, and everyone knows it.

    China’s history over several thousand years has been internal conflict — repeated cycles of centralized domination followed by breakup & warlordism. With that background, why are current Chinese authorities pursuing weapons programs which seem to have an offensive/external character rather than defensive/internal?

    I am not suggesting that the outside world should hate & fear China and get ready to nuke it. Far from it. But it would be foolish to be starry-eyed & naively hopeful about the hard-to-comprehend intentions of the world’s largest and most rapidly developing country.

  • Sunfish

    I am not suggesting that the outside world should hate & fear China and get ready to nuke it. Far from it. But it would be foolish to be starry-eyed & naively hopeful about the hard-to-comprehend intentions of the world’s largest and most rapidly developing country.

    There are certain people who, when I deal with them I have one hand ready for either the taser or a real gun even while I’m turning up the nice. And there are certain countries where, I hope my government is doing likewise. Nothing personal, anon, but when someone attacked us in Korea[1], invaded India, fought division-sized engagements with Russia, conducted ‘missile tests’ that looked suspiciously like launching them at other countries while said countries were holding elections, making threats towards us[2],and murders its own newborns in the name of population control, prudence is, well, prudent.

    And is this a bad time to bring up an EP-3 Orion forced down in 2001 while flying in international airspace? The one that collided with a far-more-maneuverable fighter by performing that dogfighting move known as “flying in a straight and level line.” The one whose crew ditched at an airfield at Hainan Island, pursuant to a long-established nautical and aeronautical practice that a distressed vessel can seek shelter in the nearest port. The ones whose crew were kidnapped for it. Anon, if you guys want to join the civilized world, then you’ll need to play by civilized rules.

    [1] Remember, the US hadn’t actually entered China or fired into China.

    [2] The threat to nuke Los Angeles in 1997 or so was not amusing at all, even to one who hates California.

  • We all know he [Mao] is an odious sociopathic little scumbag.

    Well, actually he was an odious, sociopathic BIG scumbag.

    But that too was in the past. Mao was indeed some of an adventurer, and threat to his neighbors and, most of all, a big, very big, disaster for China.

    The current leaders are no Maos. Could a new Mao emerge ? maybe, but there is no indication towards it.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Back onto economics – I trust Perry on the Tibet issue more than this “anon” character, frankly – I should note that while recently checking up on the Chinese residential real estate market, on the mainland (not Macau, HK), I found that regulations on foreign ownership is severe; you have to have lived there for at least 12 months to own a place and some parts of the country are totally off-limits. Okay, okay, I know other countries can operate like this too, but this hardly smacks of laissez faire.

    China has come a long way; I really would love to go and visit, but I think some of the froth in that economy is based on artificially cheap money, and there is a huge misallocation of resources building up as a result of local planning, Communist bosses lining their pockets, etc.

  • Hell, why have a state at all? Let Al Qaeda into your neighbourhood, and we’ll all have our little islands of personal “sovereignty”.

    Yes, there may come a time when the state can be made obsolete. Not any time soon, I would guess. But actually I am a minarchist, rather than an anarchist, because I have no problem with the idea of people with a commonality of interest banding together to keep the barbarians from the gate in a state-like structure. However I see the model for that as something more like a mutant form of NATO and Blackwater rather than being centred on the Westphalian nation state.

    In truth I see little problem with nation states as long as they are kept small, weak and focused on very few things such as the military, a high court, preventing plagues and pretty much nothing else. Any state that eats more than 5% of GNP at most is probably going to be a threat to the liberty of its subjects and the Westphalian state is a modern abomination.

    Except that there’s nothing remotely fascistic about the notion of state sovereignty.

    Sure there is when it is the variant of sovereignty based on the whole blood-and-soil argument as the Chinese state tends to do, the whole ‘sacred’ nationalism thing… there is more to fascism than ‘sacred’ nationalism but that is the very foundation of it.

    So what makes you a fascist is not that you support the idea state sovereignty per se (supporting the state sovereignty of Switzerland would not make you a fascist), but that you support state sovereignty of a fascistic collectivist state, namely China, using the usual fascist apologia for its colonial occupation of Tibet. That moves you well beyond the position of a disinterested pragmatist. The fact China has been in intermittent colonial occupation of various ethnic groups for a very long time does not actually justify anything. The fact a criminal rapes a captive over a very long period of time rather than just once is not generally seen as mitigation of the seriousness of the crime.

    So the Dalai Lama is a pragmatist apparently, but also wrong about what he can ‘pragmatically’ expect from China.

    Indeed. He is also a religious man, which makes him inherently foolish but not fascist.

    You’re not cohering here, Perry.

    No, that makes you a fool to claim incoherence because you have not taken the time to actually figure out where I am coming from (hint: your lack of understanding is due to you assuming we share certain axioms that we do not). All you really have in common with the Dalai Lama is that you wish to deal with China… you are the one saying China is justified doing what it is doing, acting as if the fact a Chinese government ruled it in the past was in any way relevant. The Dalai Lama is dealing with the reality and foolishly trying to appease the beast, whereas you are trying to actually present the actions of the beast as perfectly justified, as if what happened in the Yuan Dynasty makes a blind bit of difference. Hence your views are materially different to those of the Dalai Lama.

  • Sure there is when it is the variant of sovereignty based on the whole blood-and-soil argument as the Chinese state tends to do, the whole ‘sacred’ nationalism thing… there is more to fascism than ‘sacred’ nationalism but that is the very foundation of it.

    That’s true enough – but it’s important to keep in mind that Tibetan nationalism is no different. In fact, many Tibetan nationalists stake claim to more land than is currently recognized as “Tibet” on even more dubious sentimental and historical grounds.

    What restoring the Dalai Lama means is reverting Tibet to a medieval theocracy. You can well argue that this is about par with rule from Beijing, and maybe it is. My point is that it’s hard to distinguish between the two sides on moral grounds. One is a nominally communist kleptocracy, the other a theocracy. Neither of these is something we would recognize as a moral government.

    Given that that’s the case, the only relevance the Tibet issue has for us here is whether or not it’s an indication that China is expansionist. I don’t see that it is. Although I agree that states cannot be justified on dubious historical or “bloodline” collectivist bases, the relevant question is whether China, the leaders of which do believe in such a basis for states, will play by its own rules and stick to its traditional claims. I believe they will. The issue with Taiwan really is that they believe Taiwan, according to their model of “nation,” belongs with China. Ditto Tibet. Ditto, unfortunately, also Mongolia – but aside from that one, I don’t see China as likely to march across any established borders in an expansionist or imperial war. As far as anyone can tell, their leaders really are serious about the “territorial integrity” thing.

    I don’t much care whether Tibet is ruled by commies or religious nuts – they ammount to the same. The point is that Tibet came into this discussion because someone was citing it as evidence that China is expansionist. But the Tibet case proves no such thing.

  • In fact, many Tibetan nationalists stake claim to more land than is currently recognized as “Tibet” on even more dubious sentimental and historical grounds.

    For sure, but my basis for ‘legitimacy’ is really just based on the wishes of who the people who actually live there wish to be ruled by (or at the minimum who they least wish to be ruled by). I take no position on the wonderfulness or lack thereof of Tibetan theocracy.

    But I must disagree that Tibet and Taiwan are not good indications of Chinese malevolence. The PRC’s attitude towards the Spratly Islands is similarly not exactly an indication of sweetness and light (however I was rather entertained by Tomas Cloma’s brief ‘free state’ there).

  • But I must disagree that Tibet and Taiwan are not good indications of Chinese malevolence.

    The relevant question was whether China was expansionist – i.e. whether we should worry about their military buildup as a prelude to military expansion. Taiwan and Tibet provide absolutely no evidence that we should. Both of these territories reside within traditional Chinese boundaries, and every indication is that Beijing intends to respect those boundaries. Taiwan is perhaps evidence that China’s model of what makes a nation is “malevolent” (insofar as it apparently has little to do with the will of the inhabitants). I agree on that point. But the discussion was about whether China is “expansionist” beyond its traditional boundaries. I do not believe it is. India, for example, is under no threat. Neither is Japan. Neither is Russia. The threat has well-established and clear boundaries. It is therefore “contained” in the relevant sense.

    The PRC’s attitude towards the Spratly Islands is similarly not exactly an indication of sweetness and light (however I was rather entertained by Tomas Cloma’s brief ‘free state’ there).

    Everyone who’s ever heard of them stakes a claim to these islands. I don’t think they will lead to WWIII.

  • Paul Marks

    Jacob

    China is ALREADY a military problem – and becomming more of one every day (at all levels).

    And they are not building all this stuff just to take Taiwan – that is just the starter.

    Cynic.

    Richard Nixon (the corrupt, Welfare State expanding, price control imposing) had talks with Mao – the greatest mass murderer in human history.

    I already knew this – but I do not see how it means that trusting the P.R.C. is a good idea.

    George Walker Bush thinks that Putin is a good man – but that is because (as you know) President Bush is a fool. Nixon may not have been a fool – but he was not a reliable judge of anything.

    What Nixon thought he was doing by going to China (seeking to “balance” the Soviet Union or whatever) does not really interest me.

    Even from a Rothbardian point of view he should not have gone to China.

    Rothbard argued that it was not our business to try and prevent the murder of tens of millions overseas (when he admited that such things happened at all – after it was just dismissed as Imperialist Western Propaganda) – and perhaps Rothbard was CORRECT (I am not arguing about that just now).

    But Rothbard did NOT say that we should go to and kiss the backside of the people ordering the murder of tens of milllins.

    The modern P.R.C. is better and worse than the P.R.C. under Mao.

    It is better because it does not murder tens of millions of people -just a few tens of thousands now and then. I am not being funny, that IS a vast improvement.

    It is worse because Mao held the economy (and military potential) down in the gutter. He combined socialism with a few demented touches all his own.

    A China where the ruler was busy trying to exterminate birds, and ordering everyone to make steel in their back yard was never going to be a great threat to the world.

    Of course it was irritating that General Marshall handed one fifth of humanity into the hands of such a man (and make no mistake, by demanding that Chang call off the offensive into Manchuria in 1946 that is exactly what General Marshall did – hopefully unintentionally), but that is a moral problem (not, as Rothbard would have pointed out, a security problem).

    True Mao got nukes – but he did not get long range missiles (he most likely thought that if he spoke to the nukes really sternly they would teleport themselves to New York and so on).

    Yes Mao also helped various Marxist groups around the world (such as in Cambodia) but – well I do not really want to go on (there are nasty images in my head).

    Still the modern P.R.C. is a real threat – because it has the money and the technolgy.

    Lastly.

    I hope that Jacob is right and that I am wrong.

    And it is possible that Jacob IS CORRECT.

    It is possible that China will develop into a vast version of Taiwan.

    Yes it would be the most important country on Earth (far more important than the United States), but a civilized country whose regime was in the grip of evil (sorry beyond good and evil) doctrines.

    After all Taiwan proves that Chinese people, and governments, can be at least (if not more) decent than the rest of us.

    But the Communist Party sill bases its right-to-rule on such doctrines (its mutant mix of Han expanisionism and Marxism).

    This is unfortunate – but the Communist Party may be overthrown at some point.

    The Mandate of Heaven can shift.

  • anon

    Funny. I’m more amused than anything that Samizdata contributors, when out of arguments, are reduced to calling me names (“fool”, “fascist”) and censoring my posts.

    I thought this blog was better than that. Apparently I was wrong.

  • Midwesterner

    After WWII the US temporarily assigned governance of Taiwan to the KMT. (Basically, mainland Chinese who believed themselves to be the rightful government of China). It is the KMT that claims that China and Taiwan must be united under their rule rather than the communist parties rule. The Chinese government supports the KMTs claim that Taiwan is part of China because it supports their own claiming of Taiwan. And they accurately treat any threat from the KMT against China itself as a joke. I believe KMT is a ‘useful idiot’ in the service of China.

    To my understanding, the US has never taken any follow up action on Taiwan beyond passing a law that appears to have been specifically intended to deny US protectorate status (meaning also US national status) to Taiwanese. China deeded Taiwan for all time to Japan as part of the resolution of the Sino-Japanese war. As late as 1951, Taiwan was legally part of Japan. In 1952 the San Francisco Peace Treaty (SFPT) was signed.

    In the drafts dated 1947, Taiwan was to be ceded to China. This was deliberately and affirmatively removed from the signed treaty. The Chinese civil war intervened, and that action was removed from the drafts. It was never replaced with anything else. Aside from my disagreement with the idea that the US has the right to cede a nation from one occupier to another, in actuality, Taiwan was never ceded to anyone. It is either a fully legal nation, or a US protectorate.

    China has no claim, historically, legally or politically. If they intend to use the historical fact that they once occupied and claimed it, well so did Japan. Both nations ceded that claim after losing a war. If they claim it is because they occupied it first, well, the Taiwanese occupied it first, not China. No historical claim. And no legal claim, I’ve covered that.

    It is politics. It is only the missile launching belligerent threats of military violence coming from the mainland that is preventing Taiwan from having its nationhood recognized.

    The people of Taiwan prior to what was effectively the (US supported) invasion of Taiwan by the KMT mainland partisans against the Japanese, do not want mainland rule. And to this day even many of the descendants of the original KMT have chosen to see themselves now as ethnic Chinese citizens of Taiwan, not mainland Chinese citizens in an independent province.

    It is a very tricky situation with almost more nuances than people. But underneath all of the formalities, the overwhelming support of the current residents is for two separate countries, or one country on each side of the strait.

    An overwhelming majority of Taiwanese of virtually all political parties support the view that the status quo is sovereign self-rule. There is wide agreement within Taiwan that it is a sovereign state, though parties do disagree, sometimes bitterly, on such things as territory, name (R.O.C. or Taiwan), future policies, and interpretations of history. When the two-states policy was put forward by President Lee Teng-hui, he received 80 percent support. Similar situations arose when President Chen Shui-bian declared that there was “one country on each side” of the Taiwan Strait.

    The fact that China ‘only’ intends to retain or annex three historically distinct nations is not terribly reassuring. Something somebody (Perry?) pointed out is that China is already an empire of many distinct nations. It is quite similar to a Soviet Union with the Han for the Russians. If it breaks up, that’s its own concern, but if it expands, even into previously held territories, that is the rest of the worlds concern.

    Footnote – Having studied this somewhat, it seemed to me that everything I was finding on Wikipedia was heavily skewed towards a pro government of China viewpoint and selection of facts. I had to dig quite a bit to find even the reference I quoted. Then it dawned on me, belatedly, that any nation that compels Google and Yahoo to toe the line, and that has hackers engaged in hacking the pentagon, etc, as a career, would have no trouble influencing Wikipedia.

  • anon

    Sunfish, for every EP-3 incident you cite (no loss of life to the Americans), I can cite an embassy bombing incident which resulted in loss of life (3 Chinese embassy workers died).

    Your sense of attenuated outrage is hypocritical, to say the least.

    India and Korea were already addressed before. Rehashing the two doesn’t make your point any more convincing. A point I did not note previously was that MacArthur, as he approached the Chinese border, fully intended to bring the war across the border and into China. So it appears that the Chinese were right to respond to what they perceived to be a genuine threat when the Americans approached the Yalu – something they were told NOT to do.

    And Sunfish, I’m not Chinese. You need to adjust your lenses.

  • anon

    Alice,

    The ‘evidence’ is you holding onto arguments (like “military expenditure = hegemonic ambition”) even when they’ve proved to be rationally insupportable.

    The United States, France, UK and Japan spend more than – or in the region of – Chinese military expenditure. Certainly, they spend far more on a per capita basis, but I don’t see you yapping about American, French, British or Japanese “expansionism”. Instead, your selective alarmism is reserved for the Chinese. So the evidence was in long ago: you do have an irrational hatred and fear of the Chinese as evinced by your choosing to be selectively fearful of Chinese military spending.

    The United States, Britain, France, and Japan have blue water navies. Are they ‘expanionist’? India too operates at range in the Indian ocean and has a carrier battle group. Is India ‘expansionist’?

    If not, how is it that when the Chinese try for naval parity, you feel the compelling need to attribute dubious motivations to them?

    The same question could be asked about Japan, France, Britain, and the United States. Why do they have weapons of “offensive/external” character if they don’t have untoward intentions?

    Yet when China pursues offensive parity, it is somehow more suspicious than the rest of the countries at the top-end of the military-spending spectrum. Seeing as you only take exception to China, it’s pretty obvious that your alarmism is both selective, and irrational.

    Of course, in modern defence, there’s no such thing as purely “external” or “internal” military systems. Even AA batteries can be forward deployed for “offensive” capability. Anti-satellite weapons systems can be used to deny potential invaders air superiority and signals/imaging intelligence over China (and as such, is defensive in nature). So your description of military technology as being inherently ‘external’ or ‘internal’ is just naive nonsense.

    Not to mention that China’s power-projecting capabilities are being beefed up for obvious reasons: Taiwan. Because of the United States’ strategic ambiguity over Taiwan, China can take no chances. Nor is your blithe assertion that China is “safe within its own borders” obvious to the Chinese. Taiwan is regarded as part of one-China proper – and therefore within its borders. Should Taiwan declare independence and should the United States enter a war in defence of Taiwan, China will lose an integral part of its de jure territory because ‘Queen Victoria’ (the United States in this instance) will interfere in its domestic affairs again – especially if China has no credible deterrence.

    This is apparent to any realist who appreciates the geostrategic dynamic in the Taiwan Straits. That you can claim, without irony, that China is “secure within its borders” given the live danger of the Taiwan issue, is just laughable.

    But I see how it works. On the one hand, you invoke a modern variation of the yellow-peril fear. On the other hand, you persistently understate the security concerns the Chinese face so that when they do engage in military spending, you can stoke the fear by asking, disingenuously, why they have to pursue military parity if they have no legitimate security concerns to be vexed about. (When they quite obviously do.)

    Your tail is showing, and your irrational prejudice quite apparent.

  • anon

    Joshua is of course quite right. The sabre-rattlers here need to wind their necks in.

  • anon

    Perry, China does not make a blood-and-soil argument in support of its own sovereignty. It does not make it on in Tibet, and it does not make one anywhere else.

    You’re deluded if you think the PRC, officially a state of “many nations” is fascistic in that sense.

    China relies on the traditional Westphalian notion of sovereignty. Which isn’t inherently “fascist”. By your logic, Great Britain is ‘fascist’ for being in Northern Ireland, Turkey is ‘fascist’ for being in Kurdistan, Spain is (today) ‘fascist’ for being in Basque country. And the United States is ‘fascist’ for being on native american soil. So is Australia for that matter. And New Zealand.

    We’re all fascists now.

    But don’t let facts get in the way of a nice bout of yellow peril, eh?

  • anon

    “you are the one saying China is justified doing what it is doing, acting as if the fact a Chinese government ruled it in the past was in any way relevant. The Dalai Lama is dealing with the reality and foolishly trying to appease the beast, whereas you are trying to actually present the actions of the beast as perfectly justified”

    Incorrect. I’m saying that as a matter of sovereignty, China’s position that Tibet is part of China is justified. The Dalai Lama says the same thing – “China is part of China”.

    Now don’t try to twist my words and conflate it with an expanded notion of what ‘justification’ means. Namely, Chinese repression of the Tibetans in Tibet. I did NOT claim such a justification.

    You need to visit specsavers if you can’t even read with a minimal degree of comprehension.

    The Dalai Lama’s views on sovereignty and my own are identical. He’s not a ‘fascist’, and neither am I. You know Perry, when you’ve become overly fond of Godwin, you’ve probably lost the argument.

  • anon

    oops. I meant… ‘the Dalai Lama says the same thing “Tibet is part of China”‘ of course.

  • anon

    And to an earlier poster equating blue water navies with “expansionism”…

    When you continue to hold onto arguments (like “military expenditure = hegemonic ambition”) even when they’ve proved to be rationally insupportable, it’s probably fair to say that you have an irrational fear that needs to be addressed.

    The United States, France, UK and Japan spend more than – or in the region of – Chinese military expenditure. Certainly, they spend far more on a per capita basis, but I don’t see any alarm about American, French, British or Japanese “expansionism”. Instead, the selective alarmism is reserved for the Chinese. So the evidence was in long ago: you do have an irrational hatred and fear of the Chinese as evinced by your elevated and selective fear of Chinese military spending.

    The United States, Britain, France, and Japan have blue water navies. Are they ‘expanionist’? India too operates at range in the Indian ocean and has a carrier battle group. Is India ‘expansionist’?

    If not, how is it that when the Chinese try for naval parity, you feel the compelling need to attribute dubious motivations to them?

    The same question could be asked about Japan, France, Britain, and the United States. Why do they have weapons of “offensive/external” character if they don’t have untoward intentions?

    Yet when China pursues offensive parity, it is somehow more suspicious than the rest of the countries at the top-end of the military-spending spectrum. Seeing as you only take exception to China, it’s pretty obvious that your alarmism is both selective, and irrational.

    Of course, in modern defence, there’s no such thing as purely “external” or “internal” military systems. Even AA batteries can be forward deployed for “offensive” capability. Anti-satellite weapons systems can be used to deny potential invaders air superiority and signals/imaging intelligence over China (and as such, is defensive in nature). So your description of military technology as being inherently ‘external’ or ‘internal’ is just naive nonsense.

    Not to mention that China’s power-projecting capabilities are being beefed up for obvious reasons: Taiwan. Because of the United States’ strategic ambiguity over Taiwan, China can take no chances. Nor is your blithe assertion that China is “safe within its own borders” obvious to the Chinese. Taiwan is regarded as part of one-China proper – and therefore within its borders. Should Taiwan declare independence and should the United States enter a war in defence of Taiwan, China will lose an integral part of its de jure territory because ‘Queen Victoria’ (the United States in this instance) stands poised to interfere in its domestic affairs – especially if China has no credible deterrence.

    This is apparent to any realist who appreciates the geostrategic dynamic in the Taiwan Straits. That you can claim, without irony, that China is “secure within its borders” given the live danger of the Taiwan issue, is just laughable.

    But I see how it works. On the one hand, you invoke a modern variation of the yellow-peril fear. On the other hand, you persistently understate the security concerns the Chinese face so that when they do engage in military spending, you can stoke the fear by asking, disingenuously, why they have to pursue military parity if they have no legitimate security concerns to be vexed about. (When they obviously do, on Taiwan.)

    Your tail is showing, and your selective bias quite apparent.

  • China has no claim, historically, legally or politically. If they intend to use the historical fact that they once occupied and claimed it, well so did Japan. Both nations ceded that claim after losing a war. If they claim it is because they occupied it first, well, the Taiwanese occupied it first, not China. No historical claim. And no legal claim, I’ve covered that.

    This is a deliberate oversimplification. Taiwan fell to Japan while Japan was busy carving out an empire for itself. The pretext for Japanese invasion was merely that – a pretext. There were no ethnic Japanese living on the island at the time, but ethnic Chinese were a significant portion of the population. Even by the standards of the time, the Japanese invasion was naked aggression.

    Tellingly – modern Japan does not stake a claim to Taiwan. That is because it has no cultural attachment to Taiwan and never did have.

    China does.

    The relevant issue here is whether Chinese aggression is “contained.” That is to say, can we expect that Chinese “expansionism” will confine itself to certain limits, or will it engulf anything that China merely “wants?”

    In that context, Beijing’s Taiwan policy is not evidence that China is expansionist. Taiwan falls within the limits that Beijing repeatedly claims it will confine itself to.

    We may not accept those limits. We may well say that Taiwan is a sovereign state and that Beijing needs to keep its hands off. That’s fine by me – I’m certain that life under Taipei is better than life under Beijing, and it’s clear, as you say, that this is what the Taiwanese themselves want.

    However, the discussion was about whether China is “expansionist.” Taiwan is not evidence that it is. China’s Taiwan policy gives us no reason to believe that China is building up its military for a policy of conquest beyond the limits that it has very clearly established.

    As for the San Francisco Peace Treaty, neither the ROC, the PRC, nor the native Taiwanese were represented. It is unsurprising that the PRC does not feel bound by a treaty it never signed.

    Just to clarify – I am not defending China’s claim to Taiwan, which I do not recognize. I am merely saying that Taiwan is not evidence that China is expansionist.

  • Midwesterner

    Tellingly” bullshit, Joshua. Read the treaties before you make stupid statements. The second sentence of the second chapter of the peace treaty, Japan specifically, in the terms of settlement, renounce all claims to “Formosa and the Pescadores.” All your ramble about ethnicity and “cultural attachment” is utterly irrelevant. They lost a war.

    As for your who-was-in-the-treaty statement, the ROC and the PRC are mutually exclusive. Formosa and the Pescadores were retained by “the principle occupying power”, the US. They did not exist as a nation to participate. We could have granted them independence, but we didn’t. We are still the principle occupying power.

    Your claim that China wanting to take Taiwan is not suggestive of further expansionism is a claim that I, and presumably the Taiwanese, do not take seriously. There is something rather Chamberlain about obstinately refusing to see the obvious.

    As for your final statement “Just to clarify – I am not defending China’s claim to Taiwan, which I do not recognize. I am merely saying that Taiwan is not evidence that China is expansionist. You are. Either China has a claim and so their actions are not expansionist, or they do not, and China is expansionist. You are clearly defending China’s claim.

  • anon

    The US is still the occupying power in Taiwan? That’s a new one. Time to invoke Godwin then: the fascistic colonialist Americans need to leave Chinese territory immediately.

    Oh wait. They already have. The Americans reaffirm ‘one China’, have stated that Taiwan is part of China proper, and recognizes the PRC de jure sovereignty over Taiwan.

    Thankfully we have sensible people in charge in Washington and not sabre-rattling ideologues.

  • Your ‘historical’ justification was just that, a justification, not an explanation. It does not take much to see where you are coming from. For example:

    Tibet isn’t “occupied” since it is an internationally recognized part of China. Even the British in its imperial pomp recognized this.

    and

    Tibet hasn’t been de jure independent since the Yuan dynasty,

    I think under Tibetan law you will find that they became independent. There is more than one law.

    enjoyed de facto independence during the interregnum that was the Chinese civil war and World War II, never had China (or any of the Chinese factions including the Kuomingtang) relinquish sovereignty during that period, and has come under _both_ de jure and de facto Chinese sovereignty once China recovered from WWII.

    Indeed, and all without the consent of people in Tibet, so what difference does that make? It was a colonial occupation before and dress it up how you like, it was a colonial re-occupation based on naked force, nothing more.

    It appears most Tibetans regard themselves as occupied, so they are occupied. It may be irrelevant to you (and China) because all that matters is the recognition of other nation-states, but that does not make them any less occupied. That is a ‘justification’, not just a pragmatic description of reality, an apologia for colonial occupation.

    I call you a fascist because I suspect that you are a hyphenated fascist of some ilk, not in order to insult you. It just seems the best description of your sort of views. If it quacks and walks like a duck…

  • anon

    Aside from my disagreement with the idea that the US has the right to cede a nation from one occupier to another, in actuality, Taiwan was never ceded to anyone.

    You’re right, albeit unintentionally. The Treaty of Shimonoseki, which forced China to cede Taiwan to Japan, was nullified by the Treaty of Taipei. In which case sovereignty reverts to China, since, as a result of the nullity, Taiwan was never ceded to Japan in the first place. And since the United States along with the rest of the world recognizes Chinese sovereignty as accruing to the PRC, Taiwan reverts, de jure, to the People’s Republic.

    Thanks for playing.

  • As for your final statement “Just to clarify – I am not defending China’s claim to Taiwan, which I do not recognize. I am merely saying that Taiwan is not evidence that China is expansionist. You are. Either China has a claim and so their actions are not expansionist, or they do not, and China is expansionist. You are clearly defending China’s claim.

    Wrong. My standards of what makes a “nation” do not admit China’s claim to Taiwan, but their standards do. The question I was addressing was one of whether or not China will hold itself to its own standards of what constitutes expansion – which is military action beyond what it considers its rightful borders. That is, I was addressing the question of whether China is “contained” (as opposed to “expansionist”). I was not addressing the issue of whether or not China has a claim to Taiwan either according to international standards, or to my own standards. I realize that is a subtle distinction, but I think it is also a legitimate distinction and that in any case I expressed it clearly.

  • Tellingly – modern Japan does not stake a claim to Taiwan. That is because it has no cultural attachment to Taiwan and never did have. China does.

    Actually the KMT were every bit as much an occupying power as the current mainland Chinese would be, to wit the long period of ‘Kuomintang White Terror’ in which the KMT put down indigenous Taiwanese opposition to the mainland Chinese Kuomintang interlopers and suppressed their culture and language.

    Many of the indigenous population have expressed more affinity with Japan than China, others see themselves as just Taiwanese rather than accepting the Chinese identity imposed on them by Chiang Kai-shek and his thugs.

  • anon

    Er, Perry, no. The law that governs sovereignty and statehood is international law. Not “Tibetan” law (which doesn’t exist anyway since the PRC is in charge) and not Chinese law.

    Indeed, and all without the consent of people in Tibet, so what difference does that make? It was a colonial occupation before and dress it up how you like, it was a colonial re-occupation based on naked force, nothing more.

    But the Dalai Lama acknowledges Chinese sovereignty over Tibet. And he’s the leader if the government in exile. Your claim that it is an ‘occupation’ is a non-starter since Tibet is part of China even according to the Tibetans themselves (inasfar as the Dalai Lama speaks for the Tibetans). Saying China occupies Tibet makes as much sense as saying China occupies Beijing.

    It appears most Tibetans regard themselves as occupied, so they are occupied.

    “Most”? You don’t know this. And the Dalai Lama thinks otherwise. If China has sovereignty over Tibet, then there’s no occupation to speak of.

    Otherwise by your logic, Spain would be ‘occupying’ the Basque country, Turkey occupying Turkish Kurdistan, and so on and so forth.

    You can label a justification for Chinese sovereignty any way you want, but it doesn’t make that justification any less valid on the modern conception of sovereignty.

  • anon

    Righto. You do have a most idiosyncratic notion of what occupation means. Apparently if some subset of people dislikes the state apparatus, that constitutes ‘occupation’. On that absurd standard California is being ‘occupied’ as we speak.

    Man the hatches!

    Needless to say only some crank subset of American secessionist- and confederate-types buy into that.

  • Actually the KMT were every bit as much an occupying power as the current mainland Chinese would be, to wit the long period of ‘Kuomintang White Terror’ in which the KMT put down indigenous Taiwanese opposition to the mainland Chinese Kuomintang interlopers and suppressed their culture and language.

    And so they were. What does the “white terror” have to do with whether or not China’s Taiwan policy makes it “expansionist?” Again, I am not addressing whether or not I agree with China’s claim to Taiwan (I do not), but merely whether Taiwan is a relevant example to the question of whether or not we should take the Chinese military buildup as evidence that it is expansionist. I do not believe Taiwan is a relevant example for the reasons I have outlined.

    Many of the indigenous population have expressed more affinity with Japan than China…

    So? A subset of a subset of the population of a country prefering the Japanese to the Chinese doesn’t seem to give either side a claim by anyone’s standards, so I’m really not sure why you brought this up. It seems irrelevant.

  • Midwesterner

    The treaty of Taipei was ratified after the SFPT. It specifically did not alter the terms of the SFPT. To interpret they way China claims would have the effect of rewriting the SFPT and are therefore void.

    Taiwan legally belonged to Japan at the time the US accepted their surrender. From that point on, they could take no action effecting what was from that point on, US jurisdiction. You can’t give away a repossessed car. Well, you can try, but the bank may see things differently.

    Nice try, though.

  • Midwesterner

    Oh. Well every thing is all right then.

  • anon

    Midwesterner, what are you on about? The Treaty of Taipei is consistent with the SFPT. In the SFPT, Japan renounces all claim to Taiwan and its minor islands. In the Treaty of Taipei, Japan renounces all claim to Taiwan by nullifying the previous treaties that codified its claim to Taiwan.

    In BOTH treaties, the consequence is that Taiwan reverts to its de jure sovereign – China. The United States never annexed Taiwan nor claimed de jure sovereignty over Taiwan. Not in the SFPT, and not anywhere else.

    Both the United States and Taiwan recognize this. The only person here advancing a position repudiated by both the United States and Japan is you.

    Perhaps you should pause to consider why neither country accepts the extravagant claims you are making for them.

  • anon

    Sorry, that shuld read… “Both the United States and Japan recognize this.”

    In other words, the Treaty of Taipei does NOT alter the relevant terms of the SFPT. They are consistent with respect to Taiwan. Since both the United States and Japan recognizes that China retains sovereignty over Taiwan, your position is not only contrary to customary international law and the positions of both the US and Japan, but also contrary to the treaties in force on the issue.

  • anon

    Article 2 of the SFTP: “Japan renounces all right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores.”

    Article 4 of the TOT: “It is recognised that all treaties, conventions, and agreements concluded before 9 December 1941 between Japan and China have become null and void as a consequence of the war.”

    Nowhere does Japan cede sovereignty of Taiwan to the United States. In both treaties, a renunciation of title and claim to Taiwan means that de jure sovereignty reverts to its previous sovereign – China (by renunciation AND nullification in the TOT, and by renunciation in the SFPT).

    Nor does the United States claim sovereignty over Taiwan. Quite the contrary: it recognizes Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.

    So the claim that the US has some sort of de jure entitlement to Taiwan is just bizarre BS.

  • Midwesterner

    Japan renounced claim to the signers of the SFPT. At that point, they have no more claim to renounce. The Treaty of Taipei is irrelevant. They are legally only informing China of the SFPTs terms. Taiwan is entirely in the purview of the Allies. China is not one of them.

    I can inform both Perry and the bank that I renounce all claim to a car. The fact that I informed Perry in no way alters the legal standing of the car. Japan did not surrender to China. It surrendered to the United States, and their forces in Taiwan were instructed by MacArther to surrender to Chiang Kai-shek who was acting as the representative of the allied powers, not in his own or any other name.

    This is simple logic that is apparently escaping you. Once Japan renounces all claim to Taiwan, no further action of theirs can alter its status. The treaty of Taipei is utterly irrelevant. They might as well be renouncing all claim to Portugal. The US has never renounced any control of Taiwan but it did accept it. KMT was (and technically is still) strictly a US agent.

    I suspect you to be a troll. Your statement “the United States … recognizes Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.” is so preposterously far from anything in the real world that it is a dead give away. For over a half of a century the US has been very careful to not allow that perception. I will not continue this discussion.

  • Er, Perry, no. The law that governs sovereignty and statehood is international law.

    Then to quote George Bush’s sarcastic remark “International law? I better call my lawyer then”. International Law is a joke of epic proportions… it is used as a justifying fictional narative for whatever position anyone wants to use it for. It means whatever you want it to mean. It is not a ‘wrong answer’, it is a ‘non-answer’. China has ‘sovereignty’ over Tibet because the Chinese army is in occupation of it, anything else is a fatuous lie.

    Spain would be ‘occupying’ the Basque country,

    If most Basques want Spain out, then yes

    Turkey occupying Turkish Kurdistan

    Ditto.

    and so on and so forth.

    Indeed. Why did it take you so long to see what I was saying? To have the right to self-determination, all you need is a ‘self’.

  • anon

    Nonsensical drivel.

    Japan did not renounce claim “to the signers of the SFPT”. They renounced claim, period. This is consistent with the TOT, which nullified _previous treaties_ laying claim to Taiwan, thereby rendering any and all claims to Taiwan moot.

    In both cases, sovereignty reverts to China. Do you even know how treaty law works?

    Japan did not surrender to China. It surrendered to the United States, and their forces in Taiwan were instructed by MacArther to surrender to Chiang Kai-shek who was acting as the representative of the allied powers, not in his own or any other name.

    This is hilarious sophistry. Nazi Germany did not surrender to the Dutch or Belgians, does this mean that the Allied powers who presided over the German surrender exercised de jure sovereignty over Holland and Belgium? So today, the Netherlands and Belgium are really American protectorates? Nice fantasy.

    You’re deluded. Or worse than deluded, utterly misinformed. Terms of surrender do NOT affect previous treaties or de jure sovereignty of a territory in question. Further still, the SFPT does NOT surrender title to the United States. Renouncing a claim to something and CEDING a title to something are different things. You confuse the two, thereby confusing yourself.

    Educate yourself on the law of treaty before further embarrassing yourself.

  • And as for censoring posts, sure, I do not hesitate to delete endlessly repetitive posts or needlessly offensive ones… our house, our rules. However no posts have been ‘censored’ recently, some have simply got caught by the anti-spam bot and held for moderation because some of word combinations made them look ‘spamish’. It happens to everyone here occasionally.

    And when I call someone a fascist, I use the term technically, not as an insult. I prefer fucktard or dickhead when I want to be insulting so that there is never any doubt what my intentions are :-)

  • anon

    As for the Midwesterner’s asinine claim that US acknowledgement of Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan is “preposterously far from anything in the real world”, well, here’s the relevant text of joint US-PRC communiques on the issue:

    “In the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations on January 1, 1979, issued by the Government of the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China, the United States of America recognized the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China, and it acknowledged the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.”

    Read that again.

    “One China.”

    “PRC as the sole legal Government of China”.

    “Taiwan is part of China.”

    Ergo, China, being the sole legal sovereign of China, retains sovereignty over Taiwan which is part of China.

    Midwesterner, you’ve been rumbled. Who’s the one not in the “real world’ now, eh?

  • Righto. You do have a most idiosyncratic notion of what occupation means.

    As someone who has spent a fair bit of time in Ulster on both sides of the line, I assure you that is a fairly well accepted definition of what ‘occupied’ means out here in the real world.

  • anon

    Perry, if you’re going to be talking about sovereignty, then you’re invoking international law, whether you like it or not.

    The notion of ‘sovereignty’ doesn’t retain any substantive meaning if you’re going to talk about states but untether the concept from the laws governing the concept as it applies to states.

    In other words, you’d be bloviating. So either you intend to make sense when talking about sovereignty, or you don’t intend to make sense at all. If the latter, I think it’s better if you just admit to completely rejecting the notion and rejecting all international norms that constitute customary international law than pretend to conduct the debate in those terms.

    Because otherwise you’re not making very much sense.

  • anon

    ” China has ‘sovereignty’ over Tibet because the Chinese army is in occupation of it, anything else is a fatuous lie.”

    Like how the United States has sovereignty over the United States because the US Army is in occupation of what used to be Native American land?

    Right. Gotcha.

    By your standards, the whole world is fascist. An absurdity you accept, but I reject.

  • anon

    And of course… like Israel? The entirety of Israel is an occupation of ‘Palestine’ by your lights.

    I guess the Israelis are fascist colonialists too. Not that this is an uncommon position held by the radical left, but apparently at least one Samizdata contributor takes to that standard of what constitutes ‘occupation’.

    I didn’t know this blog was anti-Israel, But I guess I know better now.

  • anon

    Oh, and Midwesterner, more from the communiques:

    “The United States Government attaches great importance to its relations with China, and reiterates that it has no intention of infringing on Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity, or interfering in China’s internal affairs, or pursuing a policy of “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan.””

    Little wonder that you do not want to continue this discussion. You know that you’ve been completely and utterly refuted.
    :)

  • Midwesterner

    Perhaps instead of citing communiques, you should be citing laws.

    (3) to make clear that the United States decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China rests upon the expectation that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means;

    (4) to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States;

    (5) to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character; and

    (6) to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.

    From the Taiwan Relations Act, Enacted 10 April 1979.

    Your intent is clearly to mislead. Hopefully, that is apparent to others reading this thread. I can only wonder what you motivations are.

    BTW, you do know the difference between “acknowledged” and ‘agreed with’, do you not?

    Acknowledge 1. a. To admit the existence, reality, or truth of.

    It’s called “diplomacy”. As in “yes, we acknowledge that you claim Taiwan.”

  • anon

    Not only does the United States “admit the truth of” one China, it undertakes to pursue a policy premised on one China and PRC sovereignty.

    The Taiwan Relations Act you cite does not acknowledge Taiwanese sovereignty either, so you’re shit out of luck.

    As someone who claimed that the US position is “preposterously” different from what I claimed, you should at least have the intellectual honesty to admit you were wrong and show some contrition.

    I won’t hold my breath though.

  • anon

    Funny how when the US-PRC communiques articulate a position that supports my previous claim, Midwesterner tries to change the subject, and attempts to cite irrelevant laws that do not, in any case, challenge what the communiques assert to begin with.

    It’s a slamdunk. Midwesterner, you should check your facts in future before pontificating on a subject you clearly know very little about. And less of the demagoguery, thanks.

  • Midwesterner

    The communiques articulate nothing. The whole point of them was to be inarticulate face saving for the Chinese. And I must confess at least a little surprise to hear the Taiwan Relations Act is irrelevant to the status of Taiwan.

    My case is consistent and legally sound.

    But please do hold your breath. How old are you? Do your parent’s know you’re playing with the computer?

  • Perhaps instead of citing communiques, you should be citing laws

    I don’t know why either of you are quoting either. They do not matter a damn, not really.

    China is not in Tibet because of laws (particularly not imaginary self-serving international ones) and Taiwan has not avoided being ruled by mainland China because of communiques. Both of these things are the way they are because of the nature and limitations of Chinese military strength. Due to accidents of geography and history, Tibet is not defensible against Chinese colonial occupation. Taiwan is.

    All the rest is mere artifice, legal decorations on the bayonets of reality.

    Therefore as the ‘how and why’ is self-evident, I think it is more fruitful to ponder the morality of these things.

  • Perry, if you’re going to be talking about sovereignty, then you’re invoking international law, whether you like it or not.

    Then maybe I need to start deleting posts because you do not seem capable of actually reading what you are replying to. Clearly, obviously, in fact fucking obviously, I reject the whole notion of sovereignty as justification for anything whatsoever in and of itself. I am amazed it took you so long to notice. You do not have to agree but fuck you if you simply reply as if I did not say that.

    I am “talking about sovereignty” in order to pour scorn on it as a justification for the use of force against people who do not want to be ruled by certain other people. The legal minutiae are just political tools to give a gloss to the naked reality of exerting power over others because you can, not because you should. To claim otherwise, THAT is bloviating. The reality is much more base and obvious.

    Nation-states are not a source of legitimacy or morality for anything because those things exist as moral theories quite independently.

  • Janet McDare

    All the rest is mere artifice, legal decorations on the bayonets of reality.

    Quote Of The Day Please

  • Waaaaaay too off topic and bad tempered now. Locked.