China

Error message

Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in _menu_load_objects() (line 579 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/menu.inc).

Former McCain Advisor and Iraq War Advocate Niall Ferguson Warns TikTok Is a Chinese Imperial Plot

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/08/2020 - 4:45am in

Writing in Bloomberg, Niall Ferguson, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, warned that TikTok was not simply a popular Chinese-owned video app, but “Xi Jinping’s imperial panopticon,” and a “superweapon” for Chinese domination of the world. Ferguson applauded the Trump administration’s decision to force the company to sell up to an American corporation or face a complete ban within 45 days.

“TikTok is not just China’s revenge for the century of humiliation between the Opium Wars and Mao’s revolution. It is the opium — a digital fentanyl, to get our kids stoked for the coming Chinese imperium,” he claimed. Even more questionably, he argued that the service was already brainwashing the 100 million mostly Generation Z Americans who use the platform into becoming soldiers of Beijing’s new revolution. Unable to decide on a drug, Ferguson said that “like crack, TikTok is dangerous, adding that during the Chinese cultural revolution (1966-1976), “Chinese children denounced their parents for rightist deviance. In 2020, during the COVID-19 lockdown and the Black Lives Matter protests, American teenagers posted videos of themselves berating their parents for racism. And they did it on TikTok.”

“If you doubt that China is seeking to take over empire 1.0 and turn it into empire 2.0, based on China’s illiberal civilization,” he concluded, “then you are not paying attention to all the ways this strategy is being executed.”

 

Mere deaths in “marginal countries

For somebody so apparently concerned with the threat of (Chinese) empire, Ferguson appears strangely supportive of American power. Indeed, in his biography of the U.S. the war planner, Henry Kissinger was called “The Idealist,” wherein he defended him against accusations of genocide, brushing the millions of Latin Americans and Asians killed as mere deaths in “marginal countries.” Thus, the former Oxford, Harvard and New York University professor is far from a principled anarchist or anti-war libertarian. Indeed, Ferguson has devoted his entire life to defending Western power. In “Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World,” he describes the British as “the world’s first liberal empire,” arguing that their empire was, “clearly was a force for good,” exporting “superior” forms of governance around the world. Western Africa, he contends, “clearly” benefited from French rule.


Niall Ferguson, far right, meets with Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, left, at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid Jan. 31, 2011. Paul White | AP

Meanwhile, in “Civilization: The West and the Rest,” he defends the Israeli occupation of Palestine on the grounds that Israelis are the superior civilization due to the greater number of patents registered in Israel. Ferguson, who served as an advisor to 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain, also continues to support the Iraq War and advocates for more intervention, claiming that, “if the effect of that is to bring people in that country economic and political freedom, to raise their standard of living, to increase their life expectancy, then don’t rule it out.”

 

“If you are ahead I will ban you”

Ferguson’s warnings echo those of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who told Fox News that using the app would send Americans’ data straight to the Chinese Communist Party. (TikTok has strenuously denied that it works with the Chinese government, claiming that American users’ data is stored in the U.S., with strict controls on employee access). The Trump administration has also been pressurizing other countries to reject Huawei — another Chinese tech company — and its 5G infrastructure. This has produced mixed results; Boris Johnson’s U.K. government, moving increasingly closer to Trump, announced it would phase out Huawei by 2027. But Malaysian prime minister Mahathir bin Mohamad rejected Washington’s orders out of hand, characterizing Trump as a bully: “If you are ahead I will ban you, I will send warships to your country…That is not competition, that is threatening people,” he said.

The U.S. government also funds a network of think-tanks that advise big media companies like Facebook and Twitter on how to spot and control the tide of fake news from fake accounts. Unsurprisingly, it is usually Washington’s enemies who get targeted. For instance, in June, a U.S.-backed think tank advised and ultimately succeeded in convincing Twitter to delete over 170,000 Chinese accounts on its platform.

While it is perfectly possible to be genuinely concerned about the motives of the Chinese state, particularly those in Kashmir, Tibet, Hong Kong or Xinjiang, the loudest voices in the public sphere not only don’t share the same concerns when it comes to the United States or its allies, they are very often directly in the service of empire itself. This suggests that the higher-ups in the State Department and academics like Ferguson may not be sounding the alarm about China’s rise out of a genuine concern for the freedom of the peoples of the world, but rather because they are worried about losing some degree of control over it.

Photo | Shutterstock

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Former McCain Advisor and Iraq War Advocate Niall Ferguson Warns TikTok Is a Chinese Imperial Plot appeared first on MintPress News.

Cold War 2.0 Incoming

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/08/2020 - 1:23am in

Tags 

China, trade

Right, with the ban on Huawei using chips made with American manufacturing equipment (one of America’s last few places of absolute advantage); the bans of TikTok, Tencent and WeChat; the attempt to convince other countries to not use Huawei 5G; the arrest of the Huawei founder’s daughter for doing business with Iran along with the US seizing a freighter full of medical supplies for Iran, I think we can state that the world is moving towards a second cold war.

The US pivoted to China containment under Obama, not Trump, though Trump has been far more aggressive. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was created as a way of marshaling Asia-Pacific countries into an ant-Chinese trade area. While Trump didn’t go ahead with it, he’s pushed hard against China in other ways.

When the US asked Canada to seize the daughter of Huawei’s founder, for example, that destroyed Canada-China relations: Canada was forced to take sides (and the Chinese were furious.) The USMC (the NAFTA replacement) included a clause that says signees cannot make new trade deals with non-free states if the others object: aimed at China.

Britain had originally intended to use Huawei 5G, but after leaving the EU, reversed course.

It’s important to understand that the anti-China pivot is bipartisan, as are the sanctions against Huawei and others.

The United States has a number of advantages and it’s using all of them aggressively. The fact that it is the center of the financial system: that movement of funds often goes thru the United States even when the transaction doesn’t involve the US is a major one. The US has made its financial laws extra-territorial, in effect. If a transaction goes thru the US at all, even if no one involved in the transaction is American related, the US claims jurisdiction. (Famously this was used by the US to launch an investigation in the World Cup, which the US is a trivial player in, because a bribe went thru America on its way somewhere else.)

This often happens unintentionally, and firms that do business with the US at all are thus often unwilling to do business with anyone whom the US has sanctioned.

US naval power and military presence is also important, with America’s ability interdict the Strait of Malacca. China imports about 70% of their oil, and 80% goes thru the strait and America can shut it down any time they want. This is true of much else that China imports or exports.

The Belt and Road Initiative is, in part, meant to cut out the ability of the US to use its navy to hurt China: it creates alternate land routes, including one right across the continent to Europe, and it includes pipelines. The alliance with Russia, fraught as it is, is also about reducing dependence on Malacca.

Indeed, even the ability to protect and control trade to nearby neighbours is in doubt, which is why China built artificial islands in the South China Sea.

Fundamentally, the post-WWII trade, financial and military order is an American creation, with a European assist.

When America let China into the WTO they let the power most likely to overtake them inside, as it were, the house. They did so for the simplest of all reasons: greed. Oh, sure, there was talk of capitalism meaning democracy and all that, but basically, offshoring and outsourcing to China made a lot of money for a lot of corporations and rich people, and that’s why the China was allowed in.

The US deliberately sped up the transfer of industry to China as a way of making more money and undercutting wages at home. China knew the deal it was offering: they understood Americans and were patient.

So now China is a larger manufacturing country than America and by some measures has a larger economy.

China is a threat.

China is seen as a threat and this perception is, again, bipartisan.

There is no reason to expect this to change. China is not going to buckle under to America like some third world nation or a vassal like Canada. They now have a de-fact alliance with Russia. China has nuclear weapons and Russia is not going to allow China to be taken out with a nuclear first strike (without China, they’d have to give America anything it wants, an they know it.)

America will keep using its financial and technological power to weaken and isolate China.

So what will happen is an acceleration of the creation of a banking system that routes entirely around the United States and which does not use the US dollar, but instead the Yuan. Countries will be folded into this, as part of the Belt and Road Initiative. Even core US allies may have little choice: South Korea does twice as much business with China as with America, for example, and Australia is extremely dependent on China.

For many countries China clearly offers the better deal: they provide far more cheap loans than the US; they provide development, and their goods and services are suitable for both developed and developing nations. Nor do they natter on about “human rights” while they bomb Yemen.

For others, China will be unacceptable.

This leads to a world with two trade areas, not a free trade world. It leads to an end of the dollar as the world reserve currency. It leads to a continued arms race. It may well lead to a breaking of world IP into two sets: one American lead, one China lead. (There’s no particular reason for China to respect US IP if America refuses to let them use it.)

This is a recipe for Cold War 2.0.

This time, however, understand that the United States is facing an “enemy” with more population and more industry than it, not a nation devastated by World War with less population. Likewise, China and Russia combined have more land and more resources, while Europe is not a sure American ally, though Britain, absent EU support, will fall completely into US vassal status.

This is especially true as America is experiencing late Imperial rot. It is nearly completely unable to handle its internal affairs, and its social cohesion is breaking down to the point where it may soon become a failed state.

Many American supporters of Cold War 2.0 are trying to use China as the external enemy to rally Americans and by closing it off from America, to drive manufacturing back to the United States, or at least to its firm allies (like Taiwan.)

Bringing manufacturing back is smart, it should never have been sent overseas, but American elites are confused: their primary enemy isn’t China, their primary enemy is themselves. They are responsible for America’s decline and China could not have risen so fast if they were not corrupt, greedy and shortsighted.

It’s a very stupid world we’re moving into, but some of what is going to happen has to. It’s not good that the US has the ability to sanction anyone it wants to. Those medical supplies seized off that freighter? Covid-19 medicines.

Power which is routinely abused, as America’s financial and military power has been, is eventually removed. America is accelerating this progress as fast as it can.

The ban on Huawei using chips manufactured with US tech will hurt, for example. But it is time limited: China isn’t some backwards third world country, they will advance their own chip manufacturing and erase the deficit.

By fighting the dragon, the US is making a rival an enemy.

Cold War 2.0 is incoming and essentially inevitable, because it is something the leadership of both countries either wants or is willing to accept. The only monkey wrench in this are the effects of climate change and ecological collapse. More on them later.

Everything I write here is free, but rent isn’t, so if you value my writing, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp
LinkedIn

The TPP Is Dead! Long Live the TPP!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/08/2020 - 7:32pm in

Beware! The TPP is still skulking around, rebranded as the CPTPP. As Lambert says, "Kill it with fire".

Larry Wilkerson: The Danger of War With China is Real and Insane

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 08/08/2020 - 5:29pm in

Col. Larry Wilkerson explains that China and the U.S. must work together on the climate crisis, but the militaries and security states on both sides make that impossible.

Why Taiwan Is at the Heart of a Geopolitical Struggle to Produce Cutting-Edge Computer Chips

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/08/2020 - 7:30pm in

Why Taiwan could serve as a prototype for a tech proxy war.

Peter Kuznick: Why Did Americans Accept Barbaric Slaughter of Japanese Civilians?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/08/2020 - 11:55pm in

In 1939, Roosevelt decried targeting civilians as “inhuman barbarism”. In 1945, the U.S. firebombed Japanese cities and dropped nuclear bombs.

Pandemic Timeline Twentieth Chapter! The Trump Virus

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/08/2020 - 5:57am in

At every opportunity, Trump and loyal accomplices led by White House Coronavirus Task Force Chairman Vice President Mike Pence told lies that helped the virus explode and, to this day, remain uncontrolled. Continue reading

The post Pandemic Timeline Twentieth Chapter! The Trump Virus appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

International Trade Has Cost Americans Millions of Jobs. Investing in Communities Might Offset Those Losses

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 05/08/2020 - 11:55pm in

After too many years of "Let them eat training," a more practical answer to trade-induced job losses.

John Pilger: Another Hiroshima is Coming, Unless We Stop It Now

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 05/08/2020 - 1:42am in

When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open.

At a quarter past eight on the morning of August 6, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite.

I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, then I walked down to the river where the survivors still lived in shanties.

I met a man called Yukio, whose chest was etched with the pattern of the shirt he was wearing when the atomic bomb was dropped.

He described a huge flash over the city, “a bluish light, something like an electrical short”, after which wind blew like a tornado and black rain fell. “I was thrown on the ground and noticed only the stalks of my flowers were left. Everything was still and quiet, and when I got up, there were people naked, not saying anything. Some of them had no skin or hair. I was certain I was dead.”

Nine years later, I returned to look for him and he was dead from leukaemia.

“No radioactivity in Hiroshima ruin” said The New York Times front page on 13 September, 1945, a classic of planted disinformation. “General Farrell,” reported William H. Lawrence, “denied categorically that [the atomic bomb] produced a dangerous, lingering radioactivity.”

Only one reporter, Wilfred Burchett, an Australian, had braved the perilous journey to Hiroshima in the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing, in defiance of the Allied occupation authorities, which controlled the “press pack”.

“I write this as a warning to the world,” reported Burchett in the London Daily Express of September 5,1945. Sitting in the rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter, he described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries who were dying from what he called “an atomic plague”.

For this, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared. His witness to the truth was never forgiven.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an act of premeditated mass murder that unleashed a weapon of intrinsic criminality. It was justified by lies that form the bedrock of America’s war propaganda in the 21st century, casting a new enemy, and target – China.

During the 75 years since Hiroshima, the most enduring lie is that the atomic bomb was dropped to end the war in the Pacific and to save lives.

“Even without the atomic bombing attacks,” concluded the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, “air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. “Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that … Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war [against Japan] and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”

The National Archives in Washington contains documented Japanese peace overtures as early as 1943. None was pursued. A cable sent on May 5, 1945 by the German ambassador in Tokyo and intercepted by the US made clear the Japanese were desperate to sue for peace, including “capitulation even if the terms were hard”. Nothing was done.

The US Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was “fearful” that the US Air Force would have Japan so “bombed out” that the new weapon would not be able “to show its strength”. Stimson later admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the [atomic] bomb”.

Stimson’s foreign policy colleagues — looking ahead to the post-war era they were then shaping “in our image”, as Cold War planner George Kennan famously put it — made clear they were eager “to browbeat the Russians with the [atomic] bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip”. General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the atomic bomb, testified: “There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.”

The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Harry Truman voiced his satisfaction with the “overwhelming success” of “the experiment”.

The “experiment” continued long after the war was over. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States exploded 67 nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific: the equivalent of more than one Hiroshima every day for 12 years.

The human and environmental consequences were catastrophic. During the filming of my documentary, The Coming War on China, I chartered a small aircraft and flew to Bikini Atoll in the Marshalls. It was here that the United States exploded the world’s first Hydrogen Bomb. It remains poisoned earth. My shoes registered “unsafe” on my Geiger counter. Palm trees stood in unworldly formations. There were no birds.

I trekked through the jungle to the concrete bunker where, at 6.45 on the morning of March 1, 1954, the button was pushed. The sun, which had risen, rose again and vaporised an entire island in the lagoon, leaving a vast black hole, which from the air is a menacing spectacle: a deathly void in a place of beauty.

The radioactive fall-out spread quickly and “unexpectedly”. The official history claims “the wind changed suddenly”. It was the first of many lies, as declassified documents and the victims’ testimony reveal.

Gene Curbow, a meteorologist assigned to monitor the test site, said, “They knew where the radioactive fall-out was going to go. Even on the day of the shot, they still had an opportunity to evacuate people, but [people] were not evacuated; I was not evacuated… The United States needed some guinea pigs to study what the effects of radiation would do.”

Like Hiroshima, the secret of the Marshall Islands was a calculated experiment on the lives of large numbers of people. This was Project 4.1, which began as a scientific study of mice and became an experiment on “human beings exposed to the radiation of a nuclear weapon”.

The Marshall Islanders I met in 2015 — like the survivors of Hiroshima I interviewed in the 1960s and 70s — suffered from a range of cancers, commonly thyroid cancer; thousands had already died. Miscarriages and stillbirths were common; those babies who lived were often deformed horribly.

Unlike Bikini, nearby Rongelap atoll had not been evacuated during the H-Bomb test. Directly downwind of Bikini, Rongelap’s skies darkened and it rained what first appeared to be snowflakes.  Food and water were contaminated; and the population fell victim to cancers. That is still true today.

H Bomb Marshall Island

Marshall Islander Nerje Joseph with a photograph of her as a child soon after the H-Bomb exploded on March 1, 1954

I met Nerje Joseph, who showed me a photograph of herself as a child on Rongelap. She had terrible facial burns and much of her was hair missing. “We were bathing at the well on the day the bomb exploded,” she said. “White dust started falling from the sky. I reached to catch the powder. We used it as soap to wash our hair. A few days later, my hair started falling out.”

Lemoyo Abon said, “Some of us were in agony. Others had diarrhoea. We were terrified. We thought it must be the end of the world.”

US official archive film I included in my film refers to the islanders as “amenable savages”. In the wake of the explosion, a US Atomic Energy Agency official is seen boasting that Rongelap “is by far the most contaminated place on earth”, adding, “it will be interesting to get a measure of human uptake when people live in a contaminated environment.”

American scientists, including medical doctors, built distinguished careers studying the “human uptake’. There they are in flickering film, in their white coats, attentive with their clipboards. When an islander died in his teens, his family received a sympathy card from the scientist who studied him.

I have reported from five nuclear “ground zeros” throughout the world — in Japan, the Marshall Islands, Nevada, Polynesia and Maralinga in Australia. Even more than my experience as a war correspondent, this has taught me about the ruthlessness and immorality of great power: that is, imperial power, whose cynicism is the true enemy of humanity.

This struck me forcibly when I filmed at Taranaki Ground Zero at Maralinga in the Australian desert. In a dish-like crater was an obelisk on which was inscribed: “A British atomic weapon was test exploded here on 9 October 1957”. On the rim of the crater was this sign:

WARNING: RADIATION HAZARD

Radiation levels for a few hundred metres

around this point may be above those considered

safe for permanent occupation.

For as far as the eye could see, and beyond, the ground was irradiated. Raw plutonium lay about, scattered like talcum powder: plutonium is so dangerous to humans that a third of a milligram gives a 50 per cent chance of cancer.

The only people who might have seen the sign were Indigenous Australians, for whom there was no warning. According to an official account, if they were lucky “they were shooed off like rabbits”.

Today, an unprecedented campaign of propaganda is shooing us all off like rabbits. We are not meant to question the daily torrent of anti-Chinese rhetoric, which is rapidly overtaking the torrent of anti-Russia rhetoric. Anything Chinese is bad, anathema, a threat: Wuhan …. Huawei. How confusing it is when “our” most reviled leader says so.

The current phase of this campaign began not with Trump but with Barack Obama, who in 2011 flew to Australia to declare the greatest build-up of US naval forces in the Asia-Pacific region since World War Two. Suddenly, China was a “threat”. This was nonsense, of course. What was threatened was America’s unchallenged psychopathic view of itself as the richest, the most successful, the most “indispensable” nation.

What was never in dispute was its prowess as a bully — with more than 30 members of the United Nations suffering American sanctions of some kind and a trail of the blood running through defenceless countries bombed, their governments overthrown, their  elections interfered with, their resources plundered.

Obama’s declaration became known as the “pivot to Asia”. One of its principal advocates was his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who, as WikiLeaks revealed, wanted to rename the Pacific Ocean “the American Sea”.

Whereas Clinton never concealed her warmongering, Obama was a maestro of marketing.”I state clearly and with conviction,” said the new president in 2009, “that America’s commitment is to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Obama increased spending on nuclear warheads faster than any president since the end of the Cold War. A “usable” nuclear weapon was developed. Known as the B61 Model 12, it means, according to General James Cartwright, former vice-chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that “going smaller [makes its use] more thinkable”.

The target is China. Today, more than 400 American military bases almost encircle China with missiles, bombers, warships and nuclear weapons. From Australia north through the Pacific to South-East Asia, Japan and Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India, the bases form, as one US strategist told me, “the perfect noose”.

A study by the RAND Corporation – which, since Vietnam, has planned America’s wars – is entitled War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable. Commissioned by the US Army, the authors evoke the infamous catch cry of its chief Cold War strategist, Herman Kahn – “thinking the unthinkable”. Kahn’s book, On Thermonuclear War, elaborated a plan for a “winnable” nuclear war.

Hiroshima survivor

A survivor of the first atomic bomb ever used in warfare, Jinpe Teravama retains scars after healing of burns from the bomb explosion, Hiroshima, in June 1947. Photo | AP

Kahn’s apocalyptic view is shared by Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an evangelical fanatic who believes in the “rapture of the End”. He is perhaps the most dangerous man alive. “I was CIA director,” he boasted, “We lied, we cheated, we stole. It was like we had entire training courses.”  Pompeo’s obsession is China.

The endgame of Pompeo’s extremism is rarely if ever discussed in the Anglo-American media, where the myths and fabrications about China are standard fare, as were the lies about Iraq. A virulent racism is the sub-text of this propaganda. Classified “yellow” even though they were white, the Chinese are the only ethnic group to have been banned by an “exclusion act” from entering the United States, because they were Chinese. Popular culture declared them sinister, untrustworthy, “sneaky”, depraved, diseased, immoral.

An Australian magazine, The Bulletin, was devoted to promoting fear of the “yellow peril” as if all of Asia was about to fall down on the whites-only colony by the force of gravity.

‘The Chinese Octopus’, The Bulletin, Sydney 1886, an early promoter of the “Yellow Peril” and other stereotypes.

As the historian Martin Powers writes, acknowledging China’s  modernism, its secular morality and “contributions to liberal thought threatened European face, so it became necessary to suppress China’s role in the Enlightenment debate …. For centuries, China’s threat to the myth of Western superiority has made it an easy target for race-baiting.”

In the Sydney Morning Herald, tireless China-basher Peter Hartcher described those who spread Chinese influence in Australia as “rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows”. Hartcher, who favourably quotes the American demagogue Steve Bannon, likes to interpret the “dreams” of the current Chinese elite, to which he is apparently privy. These are inspired by yearnings for the “Mandate of Heaven” of 2,000 years ago. Ad nausea.

To combat this “mandate”, the Australian government of Scott Morrison has committed one of the most secure countries on earth, whose major trading partner is China, to hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American missiles that can be fired at China.

The trickledown is already evident. In a country historically scarred by violent racism towards Asians, Australians of Chinese descent have formed a vigilante group to protect delivery riders. Phone videos show a delivery rider punched in the face and a Chinese couple racially abused in a supermarket. Between April and June, there were almost 400 racist attacks on Asian-Australians.  

“We are not your enemy,” a high-ranking strategist in China told me, “but if you [in the West] decide we are, we must prepare without delay.” China’s arsenal is small compared with America’s, but it is growing fast, especially the development of maritime missiles designed to destroy fleets of ships.

“For the first time,” wrote Gregory Kulacki of the Union of Concerned Scientists, “China is discussing putting its nuclear missiles on high alert so that they can be launched quickly on warning of an attack… This would be a significant and dangerous change in Chinese policy…”

In Washington, I met Amitai Etzioni, distinguished professor of international affairs at George Washington University, who wrote that a “blinding attack on China” was planned, “with strikes that could be mistakenly perceived [by the Chinese] as pre-emptive attempts to take out its nuclear weapons, thus cornering them into a terrible use-it-or-lose-it dilemma [that would] lead to nuclear war.”

In 2019, the US staged its biggest single military exercise since the Cold War, much of it in high secrecy. An armada of ships and long-range bombers rehearsed an “Air-Sea Battle Concept for China” – ASB – blocking sea lanes in the Straits of Malacca and cutting off China’s access to oil, gas and other raw materials from the Middle East and Africa.

It is fear of such a blockade that has seen China develop its Belt and Road Initiative along the old Silk Road to Europe and urgently build strategic airstrips on disputed reefs and islets in the Spratly Islands.

In Shanghai, I met Lijia Zhang, a Beijing journalist and novelist, typical of a new class of outspoken mavericks. Her best-selling book has the ironic title Socialism Is Great! Having grown up in the chaotic, brutal Cultural Revolution, she has travelled and lived in the US and Europe. “Many Americans imagine,” she said, “that Chinese people live a miserable, repressed life with no freedom whatsoever. The [idea of] the yellow peril has never left them… They have no idea there are some 500 million people being lifted out of poverty, and some would say it’s 600 million.”

Modern China’s epic achievements, its defeat of mass poverty, and the pride and contentment of its people (measured forensically by American pollsters such as Pew) are wilfully unknown or misunderstood in the West. This alone is a commentary on the lamentable state of Western journalism and the abandonment of honest reporting.

China’s repressive dark side and what we like to call its “authoritarianism” are the facade we are allowed to see almost exclusively. It is as if we are fed unending tales of the evil super-villain Dr. Fu Manchu. And it is time we asked why: before it is too late to stop the next Hiroshima.

Feature photo | In this Aug. 6, 1945 photo released by the U.S. Army, a mushroom cloud billows about one hour after a nuclear bomb was detonated above Hiroshima, Japan. U.S. Army via Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum via AP

John Pilger is an award-winning journalist. His articles appear worldwide in newspapers such as the Guardian, the Independent, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Mail & Guardian (South Africa), Aftonbladet (Sweden), Il Manifesto (Italy). Visit his website at www.johnpilger.com.

The post John Pilger: Another Hiroshima is Coming, Unless We Stop It Now appeared first on MintPress News.

Sidney and Beatrice Webb’s Demand for the Abolition of the House of Lords

This weekend, our murderous, clown Prime Minister Boris Johnson added more weight to the argument for the House of Lords. At the moment the membership of the upper house is something like 800+. It has more members than the supreme soviet, the governing assembly of assembly of China, which rules a country of well over a billion people. Contemporary discussions are about reducing the size of this bloated monster, many of whose members do zilch except turn up in the morning in order to collect their attendance before zipping off to what they really want to do. Since Blair, it’s become a byword for corruption and cronyism, as successive prime ministers have used it to reward their collaborators, allies and corporate donors. The Tories were outraged when Blair did this during his administration, but this didn’t stop David Cameron following suit, and now Boris Alexander DeFeffel Johnson. Johnson has appointed no less than 36 of his friends and collaborators. These include his brother, who appears to be there simply because he is Johnson’s sibling, Alexander Lebedev, a Russian oligarch and son of a KGB spy, who owns the Metro and the Independent,  which is a particular insult following the concerns about Russian political meddling and the Tories’ connections to Putin; the Blairite smear-merchants and intriguers, who conspired against Jeremy Corbyn to give the Tories an election victory, and Claire Fox.

Fox has managed to provoke outrage all on her own, simply because of her disgusting views on Northern Irish terrorism. Now a member of the Brexit Party, she was a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party which fully endorsed the IRA’s terrorism campaign and the Warrington bombing that killed two children. She has never apologised or retracted her views, although she says she no longer believes in the necessity of such tactics. But rewarding a woman, who has absolutely no problem with the political killing of children has left a nasty taste in very many people’s mouths. It shows very clearly the double standards Johnson and the Tories do have about real terrorist supporters. They tried smearing Corbyn as one, despite the fact that he was even-handed in his dealings with the various parties in northern Ireland and was a determined supporter of peace. Ulster Unionists have come forward to state that he also good relations with them and was most definitely not a supporter of terrorism. The Tories, however, have shown that they have absolutely no qualms about rewarding a real terrorist sympathiser. But even this isn’t enough for Johnson. He’s outraged and demanding an inquiry, because he was prevented from putting his corporate donors from the financial sector in the House of Lords.

Demands for reform or the abolition of the second chamber have been around for a very long time. I remember back c. 1987 that the Labour party was proposing ideas for its reform. And then under Blair there were suggestions that it be transformed into an elected senate like America’s. And way back in the first decades of the twentieth century there were demands for its abolition altogether. I’ve been reading Sidney and Beatrice Webb’s A Constitution of the Socialist Commonwealth of Great Britain, which was first published in the 1920s. It’s a fascinating book. The Webbs were staunch advocates of democracy but were fiercely critical of parliament and its ability to deal with the amount of legislation created by the expansion of the British state into industry and welfare provision, just as they were bitterly critical of its secrecy and capitalism. They proposed dividing parliament into two: a political and a social parliament. The political parliament would deal with the traditional 19th-century conceptions of the scope of parliament. This would be foreign relations, including with the Empire, the self-governing colonies and India, and law and order. The social parliament would deal with the economy, the nationalised industries and in general the whole of British culture and society, including the arts, literature and science. They make some very interesting, trenchant criticisms of existing political institutions, some of which will be very familiar to viewers of that great British TV comedy, Yes, Minister. And one of these is the House of Lords, which they state very clearly should be abolished because of its elitist, undemocratic character. They write

The House of Lords, with its five hundred or so peers by inheritance, forty-four representatives of the peerages of Scotland and Ireland, a hundred and fifty newly created peers, twenty-six bishops, and half a dozen Law Lords, stands in a more critical position. No party in the State defends this institution; and every leading statesman proposes to either to end or to amend it. It is indeed an extreme case of misfit. Historically, the House of Lords is not a Second Chamber, charged with suspensory and revising functions, but an Estate of the Realm – or rather, by its inclusion of the bishops – two Estates of the Realm, just as much entitled as the Commons to express their own judgement on all matters of legislation, and to give or withhold their own assent to all measures of taxation. The trouble is that no one  in the kingdom is prepared to allow them these rights, and for ninety years at least the House of Lords has survived only on the assumption that, misfit as it palpably is, it nevertheless fulfils fairly well the quite different functions of a Second Chamber. Unfortunately, its members cannot wholly rid themselves of the feeling that they are not a Second Chamber, having only the duties of technical revision of what the House of Commons enacts, and of temporary suspension of any legislation that it too hastily adopts, but an Estate of the Realm, a coordinate legislative organ entitled to have an opinion of its own on the substance and the merits of any enactment of the House of Commons. The not inconsiderable section of peers and bishops which from time to time breaks out in this way, to the scandal of democrats, can of course claim to be historically and technically justified in thus acting as independent legislators, but constitutionally they are out of date; and each of their periodical outbursts, which occasionally cause serious public inconvenience, brings the nation nearer to their summary abolition. Perhaps of greater import than the periodical petulance of the House of Lords is its steady failure to act efficiently  as revising and suspensory Second Chamber. Its decisions are vitiated by its composition  it is the worst representative assembly ever created in that it contains absolutely no members of the manual working class; none of the great classes of shopkeepers, clerks and teachers; none of the half of all the citizens who are of the female sex; and practically none of religious nonconformity, or art, science or literature. Accordingly it cannot be relied on to revise or suspend, and scarcely even to criticise, anything brought forward by a Conservative Cabinet, whilst obstructing and often defeating everything proposed by Radical Cabinet.

Yet discontent with the House of Commons and its executive – the Cabinet – is to-day  a more active ferment than resentment at the House of Lords. The Upper Chamber may from time to time delay and obstruct; but it cannot make or unmake governments; and it cannot, in the long run, defy the House of Commons whenever that assembly is determined. To clear away this archaic structure will only make more manifest and indisputable the failure of the House of Commons to meet the present requirements. (Pp. 62-4).

When they come to their proposals for a thorough reform of the constitution, they write of the House of Lords

There is, of course, n the Socialist Commonwealth, no place for a House of Lords, which will simply cease to exist as a part of the legislature. Whether the little group of “Law Lords”, who are now made peers in order that they may form the Supreme Court of Appeal , should or should not continue, for this purely judicial purpose, to sit under the title, and with the archaic dignity of the House of Lords, does not seem material. (p.110)

I used to have some respect for the House of Lords because of the way they did try to keep Thatcher in check during her occupation of 10 Downing Street. They genuinely acted as a constitutional check and wasn’t impressed by the proposals for their reform. I simply didn’t see that it was necessary. When Blair was debating reforming the Upper House, the Tories bitterly attacked him as a new Cromwell, following the Lord Protector’s abolition of the House of Lords during the British Civil War. Of course, Blair did nothing of the sort, and partly reformed it, replacing some of the peers with his own nominees. Pretty much as Cromwell also packed parliament.

The arguments so far used against reforming the House of Lord are that it’s cheaper than an elected second chamber, and that there really isn’t much popular enthusiasm for the latter. Private Eye said that it would just be full of second-rate politicos traipsing about vainly trying to attract votes. That was over twenty years ago.

But now that the House of Lords is showing itself increasingly inefficient and expensive because of the sheer number of political has-beens, PM’s cronies and peers, who owe their seat only because of ancestral privilege, it seems to me that the arguments for its reform are now unanswerable.

Especially when the gift of appointing them is in the hands of such a corrupt premier as Boris Johnson.

Pages