Saturday, March 12, 2016

Peace in our time but not for me

AustinBay writes about stories below the fold that might blow up and affect the election.

Of course, the problem will be controlled by the MSM, but as he notes as problem number 5: They are losing credibility.

but the reason I am posting this is problem number 4

P4: South China Sea and North Korea A world away from Libya, China’s power is growing and North Korea tests nuclear weapons. China has built and fortified islands in the South China Sea and claims sovereignty over a vast region. Chinese security forces spar with those of the Philippines, a U.S. ally. The U.S. claims the right of freedom of navigation in the region. China objects—your ships need our permission, Beijing says.  A U.S. Navy carrier group is entering the region this week.

With timid bush back by the Obama administration, and nary a protest by "green" groups, China has not only chased out our fishemen, but has destroyed coral reefs (and the ecology of the west Philippine sea) to build islands that could block the shipping routes from India/the Middle East to Japan and Korea

The Rappler quotes the UKGuardian (last year) but not many other articles:

On April 13, 2015, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) released a statement calling out China’s reclamation activities as causing “irreversible and widespread damage to the biodiversity and ecological balance of the South China Sea (SCS)/West Philippine Sea (WPS).” The DFA pointed out that China’s activities have so far caused destruction to over 300 hectares of coral reef systems, amounting to an annual economic loss of US$100 million as well as constituting a threat to the livelihood of peoples and communities in the littoral countries.
 but even here, the article is "balanced" to hint of the sins of others, and pretends China has a claim.

Yes, China insists they owned it during the Han dynasty: Which is sort of like saying the Vikings own Canada or that Rome owns the UK.

what makes all of this ominous is that China is busily rearming, and keeping a lot of this activity "off the books" so it won't get noticed.

From StrategyPage:

Meanwhile, the big mystery is figuring out what the Chinese military is up to with all this unofficial spending? This question's been rattling around inside intelligence agencies, and among diplomats, since 2000. There are some obvious culprits. For example the Chinese Coast Guard is not part of the defense budget but it is known to be undergoing enormous expansion. Hundreds of new coast guard ships are being built, most of them large (over 1,000 tons) and many of them 3,000 to 4,000 tons. While lightly armed, these “patrol ships” are very much in use as weapons of war and are being used, in lieu of more heavily armed ships, to take control of the South China Sea and other bits of disputed territory off China’s coast.
translation: They chase Pinoy fishermen away from their traditional fishing grounds, and let the Chinese fish there and collect endangered species without the Philippines being allowed to stop them even though it is within our economic zone by UN law.

then there is good news in this: China is just as corrupt as the Philippines, so a lot of this military acctivity is a way to line their pockets, but because China lacks a free press so outsiders don't notice.

To outsiders, it looks like the Chinese are preparing for something ominous. This is reinforced by the increasingly aggressive Chinese attitudes towards its neighbors over ownership of uninhabited islands (often just rock outcroppings that are barely visible at low tide). Outright possession of these islets gives the owner possession of nearby oil or natural gas deposits. Something worth fighting for and that's what worries neighbors when it comes to China's growing naval strength. Yet the Chinese aren't really all that active, given the size of their forces. In reality, a lot of the budget still disappears into questionable projects or non-military activities. Corruption remains a major problem in the military, as it has for thousands of years. China does not like to give this much publicity and foreign media tends to ignore it. Corruption in the Chinese military is not as sexy a media event as, say, Chinese warships moving past Okinawa towards the United States...

so why all that stuff?

hina insists that its growing military power is for defense only. That makes sense, as a lot of money is going into the navy, which protects the imports (mainly of food and raw materials) and exports (of manufactured goods) that are driving the unprecedented economic growth. The Chinese try to explain away the military buildup opposite Taiwan as political theater. This may be true, for a failed attempt to take Taiwan by force would not only disrupt the economy (and create a lot of unhappy Chinese) but would be a major failure by the government. Dictatorships cannot survive too many such failures, or too many angry citizens. So it makes sense that the Chinese military growth is largely for defense. But those large defensive forces can also be used to bully or intimidate neighbors, which is what the neighbors are worried about. 
in the interconnected world, the depression causing US economic slowdown is not just giving you Trump, but is affecting China's economy.

AlJez edit

China is not in any immanent danger of default, despite scares over thebanking sectorand local government debt. What China faces is the same kind of long-term fiscal paralysis that plagues almost every other middle-income country.Over the next five years the Chinese government will go from being cash-rich to cash-poor. As it does, it will find it more and more difficult to deliver on the grandiose commitments it is making in its latest five-year plan.

the editorial notices their aging population, and promises to clean up the environment, then notes:

It doesn't take an advanced degree in mathematics to figure out that if budget commitments are growing at double-digit rates while the economy is growing at single-digit rates, something has to give. That something is the fiscal deficit. China is going into debt - in a serious way....

and ALJ also notes how the Iran/Saudi proxy fight in Syria could really really mess up their economy. China is pro Iran, but trades a lot with Saudi, but now is facing attacks on it's people both inside China and outside China by Saudi inspired jihadis.

There have been reports that China hasdispatched military advisers to aid the fight against ISIL in Syria, with the People's Liberation Army Navy roaming the Mediterranean to provide any necessary support in an event of contingency.


hopefully it won't destroy Saudi: We have 2 million OFW in the area, who would need to come home.

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