Trump Never Had a Grand Strategy for China: They Were Just Tariff Tantrums

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 22/08/2019 - 5:51pm in

Trump's tariff strategy is obviously incoherent, but other approaches like anti-trust to improve the US trade's position are sorely wanting.

China’s Ultimate Play For Global Oil Market Control

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 18/08/2019 - 8:25pm in

The main driving issue is the realization by the Saudis that, irrespective of the reassuring rhetoric of Trump and Kushner, their bitter nemesis, Qatar, is far more important to the US than the rest of the conservative Arab monarchies and sheikhdoms of the GCC.

UQ protests feed into xenophobia against China

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 18/08/2019 - 5:01pm in


Racism, China, Racism

Protests that
began as a show of solidarity with Hong Kong have turned into a xenophobic
campaign against “Chinese influence” at the University of Queensland.

A group of international students from Hong Kong began
staging gatherings on the campus in July in support of the protests at home.
Students held displays and set up a “Lennon wall” where people could leave
messages of support, like those used by protesters in Hong Kong itself.

Then on 24 July 200 students
from mainland China organised a rowdy counter-protest, repeatedly singing the
Chinese national anthem at them. Some tore up posters and scuffled with the
other group. Subsequently the Hong Kong students Lennon Wall has been torn down
at night on several occasions.

The Hong Kong students have the right to protest
without intimidation—and we should defend their ability to do so. Ordinary
people in Hong Kong have protested in the millions to demand democracy in the
territory, against increasing restrictions imposed by the Beijing government.

But it is a serious mistake to play into efforts to
whip up xenophobia against China. A further protest at UQ on 31 July, organised
mainly by domestic students, targeted “Chinese influence” on campus, calling
for the closure of the Chinese-funded Confucius Institute at the university,
labelling it “a propaganda centre”. Rally organisers also pandered to
Australian nationalism, saying they wanted to “celebrate freedom in Australia”.

The Chinese state is an authoritarian dictatorship
that deals brutally with ethnic minorities such as the Uighurs. But the US
rivalry with China is producing a xenophobic campaign designed to justify US
and Australian military aggression.

Former SAS soldier and hard right Liberal MP Andrew
Hastie recently condemned China as a “threat to our sovereignty and freedoms”,
and demanded tougher action to oppose China in our region.

Academic Clive Hamilton, in a book with the xenophobic
title “Silent invasion” has depicted China in lurid terms as a threat to
academic freedom in Australian universities.

The student campaign at UQ has now organised for Clive
Hamilton to speak on campus, in a further sign of its mistaken direction.

We should oppose
China’s imperialism in the region as well as its stifling of democratic rights.
But the US and Australian ruling classes have no commitment to democracy or
workers’ rights either. Our most important task in Australia is to oppose the
nationalism and racism that goes along with our own government’s imperialism

By James Supple

The post UQ protests feed into xenophobia against China appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Hong Kong rises up against repression

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 18/08/2019 - 4:53pm in

Hong Kong’s
extraordinary protest movement has now lasted over ten weeks. Every weekend
brings new demonstrations, and battles with police.

Protesters have occupied the airport for days,
disrupting flights. Up to two million joined the largest of the protests in

The Beijing government has issued strident warnings,
labelling the protesters “violent criminals” and declaring, “As for their
punishment, it’s only a matter of time.” Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam warned
protests were approaching “a point of no return”.

This has led to fears of a Tiananmen Square style
crackdown. But sending in the military to crush the demonstrations would carry
a high cost. Business investment would flee the province, seriously damaging
its economy.

The authorities are for now hoping to wear down the
protesters, with heavy police repression and an attempt to force more and more
dramatic confrontations with police.

In early August police announced that they had
arrested 420 people since June, with widespread use of tear gas as well as
rubber bullets against demonstrators.

Police have also used Triad gangs
to stage brutal attacks on protesters. On 21 July, thugs in white t-shirts
armed with metal poles and bamboo sticks moved into the Yuen Long subway
station following a protest, indiscriminately attacking protesters as well as
other passengers. Police failed to respond to emergency calls for 50 minutes.

According to Hong Kong-based socialist Lam Chi Leung,
“The Hong Kong government hopes to discredit the demonstrators as a riotous
mob. By doing this, it hopes to regain some popularity from the masses which is
now at an all-time low.

“But, despite its best efforts, public opinion has not
been significantly reversed. On the contrary, the police’s obvious collusion
with organised crime aroused greater anger among ordinary people.”

The protests began over a bill
that would allow China to extradite political opponents to the mainland for
trial. Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has halted the bill but refused to
completely scrap it. Protesters are also demanding an independent inquiry into
the police’s behaviour and the democratic election of the territory’s leader.

Under the agreement that brought
Hong Kong under Beijing government control in 1997, the territory has greater
democratic rights than the rest of China, but its leader must still be approved
by the central government.

Recent years have seen increasing efforts by the
central government to assert control, including the arrest of leaders of the
Umbrella movement of 2014 and bans on candidates who tried to stand for
political office.


early August the territory was shaken by a general strike. The Hong Kong
Confederation of Trade Unions said 350,000 workers took part. Hundreds of
flights were cancelled as air traffic controllers called in sick.

Workers in the civil service, advertising, finance,
construction and retail also joined in. Protesters “enforced” the strike on the
Metro by holding open train doors, disrupting peak hour services.

Hong Kong’s union movement is divided, with the larger
pro-government union federation working to undermine the strike.

While this was “an initial attempt”, there are also
plans to launch, “a larger and longer general strike” in the future, according
to Lam Chi Leung.

“Some demonstrators have realised that they need to
unite with the masses on the Chinese mainland”, he said. “They distribute
leaflets to tourists from mainland China to explain the purpose and
significance of the mass movement.” This is vital to undermining the Beijing
government’s ability to crush the movement.

But there are also right-wing forces that see both the
mainland government and people as their enemy. The slogan used by a far right
group “Liberate Hong Kong—revolution of our times” has been taken up by some of
the demonstrators.

More widespread and sustained strike action will be
needed for the movement to succeed. Action at a workplace level could bring the
mass of Hong Kong’s working class into active support for the movement.

Achieving this means connecting the struggle to a
fight against surging inequality and declining social conditions. Hong Kong is
one of the world’s most unequal places, with long working hours and hugely
expensive rents.

This kind of struggle could win support
across mainland China—and mobilise the power that could beat China’s ruling

By James Supple

The post Hong Kong rises up against repression appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Morrison’s monumental dysfunctional Pacific “family” failure

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 18/08/2019 - 3:58pm in

No matter how much money you put on the table it doesn’t give you the excuse not to do the right thing, which is cutting down your emissions, including not opening your coalmines.”  (Enele Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, 14 August 2019). “Shove a sock down the throat of Jacinda Ardern” – urges Alan Bedford…

The post Morrison’s monumental dysfunctional Pacific “family” failure appeared first on The AIM Network.

China And the Zombies Of The Past

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 17/08/2019 - 7:02pm in

The hybrid war, being conducted against China by the United States and its gaggle of puppet states from the UK to Canada to Australia, has entered a new phase.

The Stepford Daughters of Brexit and Slavery and the Emergence of Capitalism

Yesterday for our amusement the awesome Kerry Anne Mendoza posted a video on twitter made by two very definitely overprivileged girls talking about the evils of socialism. The two young ladies were Alice and Beatrice Grant, the privately educated granddaughters of the late industrialist and former governor of the Bank of England, Sir Alistair Grant. With their cut-glass accents and glazed, robotic delivery of their lines, they seemed to fit the stereotype of the idiotic Sloane perfectly, right down to the ‘Okay, yah’, pronunciation. Mendoza commented ‘I don’t think this was meant to be a parody, but it’s the perfect roast of the “yah-yah” anti-left.’

Absolutely. In fact, what the girls were describing as socialism was really Communism, completely ignoring democratic socialism, or social democracy – the form of socialism that demands a mixed economy, with a strong welfare state and trade unions, progressive taxation and social mobility. It also ignored anti-authoritarian forms of socialism, like syndicalism, guild socialism or anarcho-Communism. They were also unaware that Marx himself had said that, regarding the interpretations of his views promoted by some of his followers, he wouldn’t be a Marxist.

But it would obviously be too much to expect such extremely rich, public school girls to know any of this. They clearly believed, and had been brought up to believe, the Andrew Roberts line about capitalism being the most wonderful thing every invented, a mechanism that has lifted millions around the world out of poverty. Etc. Except, as Trev, one of the great commenters on Mike’s and this blog, said

If “Capitalism works” why are there a million people using foodbanks in Britain today? Not working that well is it? Why did the Government bail out the Banks using our money? Why did the Banking system collapse in the first place, was it because of Socialism? I don’t find these idiotic spoilt brats in the least bit funny, I feel bloody angry. When was the last time they ate food they found in the street? Bring back the Guillotine!


The two girls were passionate supporters of the Fuhrage and his wretched party, and were really looking forward to a no-deal Brexit. It shows how out of touch these girls are, as Brexit is already wrecking the British economy, and a no-deal Brexit and subsequent deal with a predatory America would just wipe it out completely. Along with everything that has made post-war Britain great – the NHS and welfare state. But these girls obviously have no connection with working people or, I guess, the many businesses that actually depend on manufacturing and exports. I think the girls’ family is part of financial sector, who stand to make big profits from Brexit, or at least are insulated from its effects because they can move their capital around the globe.

The girls’ views on the EU was similarly moronic. They really do seem to believe that the EU is somehow an oppressive, communistic superstate like the USSR. It wasn’t. And the reason anti-EU socialists, like the late, great Tony Benn distrusted it was partly because in their view it stood for capital and free trade against the interests of the nation state and its working people.

And they also have weird views on slavery and the EU’s attitude to the world’s indigenous peoples. To the comment by David Lammy, the Black Labour politico, who dared to correct Anne Widdecombe for comparing Brexit to the great slave revolts, they tweeted

“Lammy being pathetic as usual. The chains of slavery can be intangible, as amply shown in China, the Soviet Union and the EU; to deny that just shows your ignorance and petty hatred for the truth”.

To which Zelo Street commented that there two things there. First of all, it’s best not to tell a Black man he doesn’t understand slavery. And second, the EU isn’t the USSR.

They were also against the Mercosur deal the EU wishes to sign with the South American nations, because these would lead to environmental destruction and the dispossession and exploitation of the indigenous peoples.

“As usual the GREED and selfishness of the EU imposes itself using their trade ‘deals’ in the name of cooperation and fake prosperity. The indigenous tribes of the Amazon need our protection not deforestation”.

To which Zelo Street responded with incredulity about how they could claim environmental concern for a party headed by Nigel Farage.

And they went on. And on, going on about how the EU was a threat to civil liberties. And there was more than a touch of racism in their statement that Sadiq Khan should be more concerned to make all Londoners feel safe, not just EU migrants. They also ranted about how Labour had sold out the working class over Brexit in favour of the ‘immoral, money hungry London elite’. Which shows that these ladies have absolutely no sense of irony or any self-awareness whatsoever.

In fact, Zelo Street found them so moronic and robotic, that it dubbed them the Brexit party’s Stepford Daughters, referring to the 70s SF film, the Stepford Wives. Based on the novel by Ira Levin, the films about a community where the men have killed their wives and replaced them with robots.


There’s a lot to take apart with their tweets. And perhaps we shouldn’t be two hard on the girls. They’re only 15 and 17. A lot of young people at that age have stupid views, which they grow out of. But there is one issue that really needs to be challenged.

It’s their assumptions about slavery and the genocide of indigenous peoples. Because this is one massive problem to any assumption that capitalism is automatically good and beneficial.

There’s a very large amount of scholarship, much of it by Black activists and researchers, about slavery and the emergence of European capitalism and the conquest of the Americas. They have argued that European capitalism was greatly assisted by the profits from New World slavery. Caribbean historians like Dr Richard Hart, in his Blacks in Bondage, have shown that transatlantic slavery was a capitalist industry. For the enslaved indigenous peoples and the African men and women, who replaced them when they died out, capitalism certainly did not raise them out of poverty. Rather it has done the opposite – it enslaved them, and kept them in chains until they were able to overthrow it successfully with assistance of European and American abolitionists in the 19th century.

And among some left-wing West Indians, there’s still bitterness towards America for its constant interference in the Caribbean and Central and South America. America did overthrow liberal and progressive regimes across the world, and especially in the New World, when these dared to challenge the domination of American corporations. The overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz’s democratic socialist regime in Guatemala is a case in point. Arbenz was overthrown because he dared to nationalise the banana plantations. Which upset the American United Fruit Company, who got their government to overthrow him in coup. He was replaced by a brutal Fascistic dictatorship that kept the plantation workers as virtual slaves. And the Americans also interfered in Jamaican politics. They were absolutely opposed to the Jamaican Labour party politician, Michael Manley, becoming his nation’s Prime Minister, and so did everything they could to stop him. Including cutting trade.

And then there’s the enslavement and genocide of the indigenous peoples.

Before Columbus landed in the New World, South America had a population of about seven million. There were one million people in the Caribbean. I think there were similar numbers in North America. But the indigenous peoples were enslaved and worked to death. They were also decimated through diseases carried by Europeans, to which they had no immunity. The Taino people were driven to extinction. The Caribs, from whom the region takes its name, were able to survive on a reservation granted to them in the 18th century by the British after centuries of determined resistance. The conquest of the New World was a real horror story.

And Britain also profited from the enslavement of indigenous peoples. I doubt the girls have heard of it, but one of the scandals that rocked British imperialism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was that of the Putomayo Indians of South America. They had been enslaved by British rubber corporations. It was this abuse of a subject people that turned the Irish patriot, Roger Casement, from a British civil servant to an ardent Nationalist.

On the other side of the world, in the Pacific, British imperialism also managed to dispossess an entire Polynesian people and trash their island. This was in the 1920s. The island was rich in mineral deposits, and so moved the indigenous people out, ultimately relocating them to Fiji. Their island was then strip-mined, leaving it a barren, uninhabitable rock. In the 1980s the survivors were trying to sue the government over their maltreatment, but with no success.

This is what unfettered British imperialism and capitalism did. And what I’ve no doubt Farage and other far right British politicians would like to do again without the restraints of international law. It’s why I believe that, whatever the demerits of the Mercosur agreement are, it’s probably better than what individual nations would do without the restraint of the EU.

The girls are right to be concerned about the fate of indigenous peoples. But they are profoundly wrong in their absolute, uninformed belief that unregulated capitalism will benefit them.

It doesn’t. It enslaves, dehumanises and dispossesses. Which is why we need international organisations like the EU, and why the Brexit party isn’t just a danger to Britain, but to the world’s weaker, developing nations and their indigenous peoples.

Inflation Data Shows Tariffs Are Not a Tax on Consumers but on Foreign & US Corporations

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 15/08/2019 - 4:53pm in

Yves here. It has been reported in venues like the Financial Times that importers who would face increased costs from tariffs on China were taking steps so as not to increase prices to customers, which includes making their suppliers give better prices and eating some costs too. With profit share at a record high level […]

Trump Post-Brexit Trade Deal Will Bring Hardly Any Real Benefits

This is very revealing. According to the BBC World Service, a post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and America would only increase the economy by 0.1%. And that would be 15 years from now.

As the Skwawkbox and Mike over at Vox Political have both pointed out, this means that the Tories will have sold Trump and the American companies backing him our NHS, workers’ rights, and environmental and consumer protections for hardly anything. In fact, Mike points out that even the 0.1% growth may not happen, as the economy is already faltering, and so any gains made later may be swallowed up by the losses that are occurring now.

This is despite yesterday’s Times enthusiastically hyping Trump’s offer of a trade deal with America. Zelo Street effectively ripped that piece of propaganda apart by pointing out that we would only get the deal if we became America’s poodle, a point that was also made by one of the columnists in today’s I. The Sage of Crewe also refuted what Trump’s negotiator, John Bolton, and the Times clearly thought would be an attractive demonstration of the deal’s benefits. Bolton stated that it would be easy to make such deals quickly for manufacturing and industry, but that service sector would take a bit longer. Nevertheless, next year could see cheap American cars coming into Britain. The Sage of Crewe pointed out the other side of the coin: British cars would be undercut by cheap American imports.

I can remember when something similar happened to the motorcycle industry with the Japanese way back in the 1990s. This was when the Japanese economy started contracting and there wasn’t quite so much a market for their bikes. Their solution was to start exporting cheap bikes to Britain, which would undercut our own, domestically made machines. Even those produced by Japanese manufacturers over here. As you might expect, British bike manufacturers, including the management of Japanese companies over here, were extremely upset and started arranging meetings about what they could do about this threat to British industry and jobs. I’d be interested to hear if British car firms are planning something similar to combat the similar threat John Bolton is making to them. But guessing from the glowing way the Times was pushing Trump’s grotty trade deal, I doubt we’d read of one in that Murdoch rag.

But the Americans would wait until after Brexit before requiring us to fall in line with their policy over Iran and the involvement of the Chinese firm Huawei in the 5G network.

Put simply, this deal would make us into America’s poodle. We’d have our industries and agriculture picked off by the Americans for their benefit, as the Zelo Street article also points out. He also states that Bolton is lying through his teeth about Congress easily passing such a deal. Congress’ Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has said that it won’t pass any deal unless the Good Friday Agreement is honoured.

The Zelo Street article concludes by stating that BoJob loves to say that Britain is a vassal state of the EU, but doesn’t mention how this deal would make us a vassal state of America by the back door.


And Mike and the Skwawkbox point out how the BBC hid the news that Trump’s deal would bring hardly any benefits to Britain by putting on the World Service. This is the Beeb’s service for the rest of the world, not Britain. Presumably the people actually affected by it don’t count. Mike concludes in his turn that its shows once again that the Beeb is the Tories’ propaganda arm, and wonders if Ofcom are aware of it?


I’m not surprised by any of this. The Americans were less than altruistic in the deals they made for their entry into the Second World War. They drove a very hard bargain with us after the War. They and the Russians both wanted the dismemberment of the British Empire so that their goods could be allowed into our former colonies. It was also thanks to their demands for payment that Newfoundland became a province of Canada. Before then it was another British colony. However, we had to give it, or sell it to the Canadians in order to raise the money to pay the Americans.

I’ve also met former members of the aircraft industry, who were also very bitter at the way America had demanded cutting edge technical information from this sector after the War. The Americans’ breaking of the sound barrier by the X-1 rocket plane, flown by Chuck Yeager, was a tremendous achievement. But it was solidly based on British research, some of which was, in its turn, based on captured German material. But the British project had to be closed down and its results and information handed over to the Americans as part of their price for coming to our aid.

Counterpunch and some of the American left-wing news sites on YouTube have also pointed out that the lend-lease arrangements under the Marshal Plan also weren’t altruistic. This was the American economic scheme to build Europe and the rest of the free world up after the War using economic aid. But there were also strings attached, which meant that the aid went chiefly to American companies.

You can conclude from this that the American state and capitalism drives a very hard bargain, and that such deals are very one-sided. As many left-wing sites have argued over and over again in their discussion of the ‘Special Relationship’. Which actually means far less to the Americans than it does to us. That was shown very clearly by Clinton’s reaction to German unification. This made Germany the strongest economy in Europe, and Clinton showed, as Beeb newsman John Sargeant managed to get the Prime Minister to acknowledge, that Germany was now America’s most important partner in Europe, not Britain.

And I’m also not surprised at the Tories and Murdoch ardently supporting this sell-out of our country. The Tories admire American capitalism and its lack of worker protection and welfare state. I can remember previous episodes where the Americans were promising a better economic deal if we abandoned Europe and joined them. And the Tories cheering such schemes nearly always owned businesses in America. And in fact, as far back as 1925 the Tories, or a section of them, were forming plans for the political reunion of Britain and the US.

And that shows exactly what Johnson and the Tories are like. Now and in the past, and I’ve no doubt in the future, they are willing to sell out British industry, the welfare state, our precious NHS and workers, all in return for the victory of unfettered capitalism and their squalid economic gain.

It Was More Like a Couple of Asian Decades Than a Century

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 14/08/2019 - 11:55pm in

China’s trend rates of growth are likely to be much lower than in the past, and even that is problematic. China will remain an important Asian player, not a dominant global force.