China

Lessons from Hong Kong

Featured image Twenty years ago, Great Britain handed over Hong Kong, with its 6 million residents, to Red China. Keith Richburg of the Washington Post recalls the prevailing wisdom among Western reporters who covered the region at the time — acquiring Hong Kong would transform China: Beijing desperately wanted — needed — what Hong Kong had: wealth, stability, good relations with the world. What did Beijing have that Hong Kong wanted? Nothing. »

Freakout in Paris

Featured image Here is another contender for most over-the-top reaction to President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord. Francois Hoisbourg, described as a French defense expert who advised President Macron during his campaign, said: We have just witnessed President Trump putting an end to European-American relations. Something must have been lost in translation — sanity. Insane though it may be, the Washington Post, in a story by Michael »

Trump has rattled North Korea. Is this wise?

Featured image North Korea is threatening military action against South Korea and the United States. Indeed, it has promised to send “nuclear thunderbolts” at the first sign of a preemptive American strike. North Korea has made threats like this before. However, I believe President Trump has rattled Kim Jong Un, something previous administrations failed, or didn’t want, to do. Consider the events of this week. The Trump administration has launched an air »

Trump nixes the TPP

Featured image President Trump was busy on his first “working day” in office. The Washington Post describes, albeit in loaded terms, the most important actions he took today. In my opinion, the single most important action was Trump’s executive order formally withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. This move will have both economic and strategic consequences, and the strategic consequences may have economic ramifications down the road. I »

MSM mainstay thinks Trump may have a clue

Featured image David Ignatius strikes me as a fount of the conventional wisdom. If so, the conventional wisdom about Donald Trump may be changing. On December 6, Ignatius proclaimed that Trump had “flunked his first foreign policy test” by following up his phone conversation with Taiwan’s president with an anti-China “twitter storm.” This certainly was the conventional wisdom. But earlier this week, Ignatius found value in Trump’s “early foray with China.” He »

Three more Trump selections

Featured image President-elect Trump has made at least three more selections for top-level jobs. Gen. John Kelly is his pick to head the Department of Homeland Secretary. Trump has also chosen Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to head the EPA and Iowa governor Terry Branstad to be the U.S. ambassador to China. Pruitt’s selection will cause liberals the most heartburn. As the attorney general of his state, he has led the fight »

New York Times blames Taiwan call on Bob Dole

Featured image The New York Times breathlessly reports: Former Senator Bob Dole, acting as a foreign agent for the government of Taiwan, worked behind the scenes over the past six months to establish high-level contact between Taiwanese officials and President-elect Donald J. Trump’s staff, an outreach effort that culminated last week in an unorthodox telephone call between Mr. Trump and Taiwan’s president. Mr. Dole, a lobbyist with the Washington law firm Alston »

Donald Trump on Jon Huntsman in 2012

Featured image It is now being rumored that president-elect Trump is considering Jon Huntsman for Secretary of State. This rumor strikes me as more shocking than the rumor — now more than that — Trump was considering his nemesis Mitt Romney for that job. In other words, the Huntsman rumor is probably rooted in fact. The incongruity of a Huntsman selection is based on more than just the former Utah governor’s harsh »

Donald Trump’s first foreign policy call

Featured image To the consternation of many, Donald Trump has spoken by telephone with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Reportedly, this is the first direct communication between the leader of the United States and the leader of Taiwan since 1979. Team Trump says not much should be made of this. Taiwan’s president called to congratulate the president-elect and Trump accepted the call. That’s all. However, this Washington Post article contends that the call »

Philippine tilt towards China is latest fruit of Obama’s foreign policy

Featured image It hasn’t gotten much attention, but the embrace of China by the Philippines, and its renunciation of the United States, is the latest in the long, sorry series of major foreign policy setbacks we have suffered under President Obama. In a state visit to China, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte announced his country’s military and economic “separation” from the United States. He stated: America has lost now. I’ve realigned myself in »

Latest Hillary Emails Raise Questions About Corruption, China

Featured image Judicial Watch released another set of Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails today; these are slowly being produced in response to one or more court orders. You can download some of them here. Two email threads are particularly interesting, both relating to China. This is the first thread, dated September 2010. Click to enlarge: Doug Band was a key adviser to Bill Clinton who represented the Clinton Foundation. Huma Abedin asked »

Why wouldn’t China insult Obama?

Featured image Scott has described the reception President Obama received when he arrived in China. It was, as the New York Times acknowledged, “bruising even by Chinese standards.” It was also unsurprising, Susan Rice’s statement that “they did things that weren’t anticipated” notwithstanding. Obama has earned China’s contempt. The administration’s “pivot to Asia” was not, objectively, terribly meaningful. But to the extent it had meaning, the Chinese reasonably perceived it as an »

Was it something he said?

Featured image The Chinese government found a new way to express its contempt for Barack Obama and the United States yesterday. The authorities snubbed Obama upon his arrival in Hangzhou before the start of the G20 conference. According to the Guardian: “[Obama] was forced to disembark from Air Force One through a little-used exit in the plane’s belly after no rolling staircase was provided when he landed in the eastern Chinese city »

The China Question

Featured image As we periodically ponder what is going on with China’s slowing economy, it might be worth stepping back to take in a more fundamental question. China’s fabulous growth over the last 25 years appears to call into question a favorite thesis of free marketeers such as Milton Friedman, namely, that in the long run you can’t have free markets and undemocratic government. You can for a while—think Chile in the »

The Economy: Don’t Look Now, But. . .

Featured image So the stock market fell 1,000 points last week, the worst first week performance of the stock market ever. This occurs amidst a decent jobs report on Friday, though as many observers noted that a lot of the jobs were on the lower end of the skill level, and several news outlets noted that wages continue to be stagnant. Everyone is pointing to China, whose economy is possibly slipping by »

China Lies, Tom Friedman Hardest Hit

Featured image Further to our item yesterday about how China has consistently underreported its coal use and carbon dioxide emissions, a sharp-eyed reader reminds me of this 2009 Tom Friedman column, expressing his prototypical “China-Is-Awesome” envy of authoritarianism: One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose »

#Climatefail, China Edition

Featured image Remember a while back when Obama came back from China with a bilateral climate agreement in which China would cap its greenhouse gas emissions by . . . 2030? Never mind that China’s GHG emissions would double during that period—such is the desperation of the climatistas for glittering pieces of paper that they gushed about how the planet was now saved, because China is finally on board! The New York »