An earlier post from the CSN blog, 'Nuances for media savvy types,' became an article, published at two web sites, one 'left-leaning' and one 'right-leaning.'
News Media Protects Bad Guys
At the Conservative Voice, there were two questions asked of me in comments -- I replied with brief blurbs that I'll repost to preserve here.
The first concerned my take on the prospects for Chinese democracy. I wrote my reply--
Someone here asked about my take on Chinese democracy.
The future course of events is of course a matter of speculation. Future aside, China's government finds itself in an untenable position. I recommend my article, 'Why We Can't Dismiss the China Threat.' That argues back against apologists for China who ballyhoo the "peaceful rise" theory about China as a world power. It is unwise to bank on a peaceful rise FOR THE SAME REASON: China's government finds itself in an untenable position.
That article, of Mar.'05, reviewed the situation and referred to "the train wreck of Chinese government."
I also recommend my speech of Dec.'05, 'China, you got duped!' It reflects another credibility problem for that government, after the Shanwei massacre, an event of Dec.'05.
Those two tracts, when given credence, establish the "train wreck" and the "credibility problem" of Chinese government.
I think that 85-95% of the pressure for Chinese democracy is inside China; it is internal, domestic. Do we want pressure from the outside world? Yes. Should the Olympics be withdrawn? Yes. Should America have a stiffer China policy? Yes. (And, would that likely mean higher tariff rates? Yes -- so, it crosses the "free trade" policy.)
But really, I think that most of the pressure for reform is inside China, and that if the outside world added pressure, it would only be 5-15% of the picture. There are chances that China will be pushed to democracy even without outside intervention.
But, so long as it is still despotic, the outside intervention might be like "the straw that breaks the camel's back." That is to say, the pressure might make all the difference in the world.
If the Chinese leadership saw that we were about to pull the legs out from under their economy, well -- they're smart people. It might take them about three weeks to dust off their own plans for democratic reform. I think they might do it, in preference to having an economic melt down.
So in my view, the potential for Western pressure to make the difference is very real. And, where I know that it is a matter of life and death -- people are losing their lives right now -- I think the West should act, rather than crossing its fingers.
In a crossed-fingers approach, as I say China may tip of its own accord, but it is irresponsible of the West to be "genocidally correct," and to cotton to tyranny, while China is building up its military and threatening Taiwan.
See, I've suggested that there are two ways (internal and external pressure) that China can achieve a good result, but while it is despotic, we have the chance of a bad result -- the war to conquer Taiwan. China has the potential to make such military trouble, and they even have the incentive because the regime can try the old tyrant's playbook of using nationalism and patriotism and crisis to distract the population from domestic problems. The regime might see war as the way to avoid collapse or civil war.
Violent outcomes remain possible; it is too soon to count on democracy, by whatever route it may appear.
The second question and blurb reply was about free trade with Communist China. My answer (drumroll)--
If somebody gave you $200 billion per year, you too could have your own army, navy, air force, and space program.
$200 billion is the size of the U.S. trade deficit with China, and it is a mistaken myth of some in our establishment, to say that a trade deficit can be safely ignored. (A large measure of the problem in this debate is the overhang of ignorance about trade deficits, due to the aforementioned myth of the establishment.)
Upon more discerning analysis, the trade deficit is wealth transfer. It is money added into the economy of China, and it is subtracted from the U.S. economy. It's a fire hose of money going from here to there, and the U.S. economy is the loser being looted.
At the Chinese end of matters, it is like giving them $200 billion per year, and WE have picked up the tab for their army, navy, air force, and space program.
That's disgusting on the face of it, and it's building up a nuclear-armed, communist superpower while it continues to persecute its people--genocidally so--and it thumbs its nose at every Western blandishment that urges respect for human rights.
The U.S. policy of "free trade" leads to the ENLARGEMENT of the trade deficit, at a time when better management of the economy would demand DIMINISHMENT of the trade deficit.
It's gravy for dictators. It enriches communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs. If Washington, DC had truth in labelling, --
The Communist Enrichment Act of 2000 was a more true label for China's PNTR (trade status deal that passed Congress in 2000); and,
The Communist Enrichment Act of 2006 was a more true label for Vietnam's PNTR (it just passed in December 2006).
Communists should be laughing all the way to the bank. And surely, nothing is fair about this. "Free trade" also entails a bastardized use of the word "free." It really isn't.