Be Strategic- Not Impulsive- on North Korea – Thomas Friedman – NYT

“Bader, who has served multiple administrations in diplomatic and policy jobs related to China and is now a private consultant, begins by asking the best question any American strategist could ask when thinking about how to deter a nuclear-armed foe: What would George Kennan do?

Kennan was the architect of America’s successful containment of the Soviet Union, which had tens of thousands of nuclear missiles aimed at us for roughly half a century.

Kennan, argues Bader, would grasp that “while some situations may be unacceptable, they do not lend themselves to short-term fixes. The North Korean challenge is one of them.” ”

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval at NYT comments.

Great column Thomas Friedman. I loved your proposal. “What should the American proposal say? It should tell the North Koreans, says Bader, that in return for their complete denuclearization and dismantling of their missile program, we would establish full diplomatic relations; end the economic embargo and sanctions; and provide economic assistance, investment and a peace treaty to replace the 64-year-old armistice agreement.”

In response to Susan Rice’s excellent op-ed, I wrote: ” I read a good idea by a commentator at the NYT who suggested, the US should woo North Korea into a de-escalation. We could, for example. offer to pull our military forces out of South Korea in exchange for their giving up their nuclear weapons program. It would be useful if talks could start, aimed at giving both countries what they want or need. I add to the commentators idea, it might be necessary to let the North Koreans keep the nuclear weapons that they have. This might be acceptable, if we could get them to allow verification that they stop all further development. I continue to be depressed by most of the discussion. It is arrogant for the US to think that it has to be in charge of North Korea, when they are China’s neighbor and vassal state. We should remind ourselves continually, that this part of the world is not our backyard, but China’s.”

I’m not sure Your approach is better, Mr. Friedman, but your right, we should laugh at every missile launch as pathetic and stupid.

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India’s Air-Conditioning and Climate Change Quandary – by Michael Greenstone – The New York Times

“Air-conditioning is not just a luxury. It’s a critical adaptation tool in a warming world, with the ability to save lives.It also warms the world.Which is why the structure of the recent landmark agreement reached in Kigali, Rwanda, on limiting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in, among other things, air-conditioners and refrigerators is so important. The agreement accounts for the trade-offs that the world, especially today’s poorest countries, must make in confronting climate change while improving people’s lives.

Consider this: While 87 percent of households in the United States have air-conditioning, only 5 percent of those in India do. Any agreement to limit HFCs across the board would greatly reduce opportunities for people in poorer countries to have access to air-conditioners.To deal with these disparities, the Kigali agreement created three tracks of countries. The richest countries, like the United States, are on the swiftest track, freezing the production and consumption of HFCs by 2018 and bringing HFC levels to 15 percent of 2012 levels by 2036.Much of the rest of the world is taking a middle road, freezing HFC use by 2024 and reducing it to 20 percent of 2021 levels by 2045.

And a small group of the hottest countries, like India, have agreed to an even slower path of reductions, freezing HFC use by 2028 and reducing it to about 15 percent of 2025 levels by 2047. Rich countries, as well as a group of philanthropists, will also provide $80 million to middle-track countries as incentives to attempt tougher goals.

The system illustrates that, at its core, cutting greenhouse gas pollution requires countries to assume upfront costs today in exchange for smaller climate damage in the future.But there is no universal answer for how to balance these costs. Countries’ choices will reflect their current and future wealth; current and future climate; and other factors, including societal values. The track system allows for those differences and may well be a model for future climate deals.”

Source: India’s Air-Conditioning and Climate Change Quandary – The New York Times

Here is a comment I can second:

Al Trease Ketchum Idaho 22 hours ago

“The nyts has printed many articles, especially in the last several years, detailing the agreements that bho has signed that purport to be addressing climate change. There’s only one problem. There is not the slightest evidence that green house gases are being lowered by these agreements, or that even the rate of rise is slowing. Because, of course, they’re not. In fact they continue to go up at an accelerated rate. The reasons are many, but chief among them is the fact that none of the agreements address the prime cause of global warming, human population growth, combined with our lifestyle. China maybe the biggest emitter of GH gasses, but on a per capita basis we (the u.s.) are still number one. As our population, driven almost exclusively by immigrants and their offspring, surges to over 500 million in the next half century, the empty suits can wear out a thousand pens signing agreements, but nothing will get better until we face facts. And the fact is, without addressing human population growth, nothing will be saved or get better.”

Reply 6 Recommended

Resettling China’s ‘Ecological Migrants’ – The New York Times

“MIAOMIAO LAKE VILLAGE, China — Ankle-deep sand blocked the door of their new home. Pushing bicycles through the yard was like wading in a bog. The “lake” part of Miaomiao Lake Village turned out to be nothing but a tiny oasis more than a mile from the cookie-cutter rows of small concrete-block houses.

Ma Shiliang, a village doctor whose family was among some 7,000 Hui Muslims whom the Chinese government had brought to this place from their water-scarce lands in the country’s northwest, said officials promised “we would get rich.” Instead, these people who once herded sheep and goats over expansive hills now feel like penned-in animals, listless and uncertain of their future.“If we had known what it was like, we wouldn’t have moved here,” said Dr. Ma, 41, who, three years on, has been unable to get a job practicing medicine in Miaomiao Lake Village or to find other reliable work.”

Source: Resettling China’s ‘Ecological Migrants’ – The New York Times

Living in China’s Expanding Deserts – The New York Times

“In the Tengger Desert, China — This desert, called the Tengger, lies on the southern edge of the massive Gobi Desert, not far from major cities like Beijing. The Tengger is growing.For years, China’s deserts spread at an annual rate of more than 1,300 square miles. Many villages have been lost. Climate change and human activities have accelerated desertification. China says government efforts to relocate residents, plant trees and limit herding have slowed or reversed desert growth in some areas. But the usefulness of those policies is debated by scientists, and deserts are expanding in critical regions.

Nearly 20 percent of China is desert, and drought across the northern region is getting worse. One recent estimate said China had 21,000 square miles more desert than what existed in 1975 — about the size of Croatia. As the Tengger expands, it is merging with two other deserts to form a vast sea of sand that could become uninhabitable.”

Source: Living in China’s Expanding Deserts – The New York Times

The pictures and video are first rate, beautiful, but haunting. This is a magnificent piece of bad news.

I have been moved by study to support negative population growth, because we are in the Anthropocene, and the Sixth Extinction, which is the accelerated lost of biodiversity on the planet. There are good arguments for this position in Dan Brown’s latest thriller, Inferno, which is a good read, and about to hit theaters in the US.

An Ugly Campaign, Condensed Into One Debate – The New York Times

Inconvenient News Worldwide

We watched the debate, and Hillary impressed us greatly, as expected. Donald turned our stomach, as expected.

I decided after reading the editorial below, not to post it. I had posted the NYT editorials endorsing Hillary, and condemning Donald, yesterday on blog 1, Inconvenient News.  Then I read this comment, which I had to post:

Yuri Asian

Bay Area4 hours ago

“This was just surreal.

If self-medicating works the proof it can be found in Trump’s deflated fans who proclaim his victory.

My mom — almost 100 now — is Chinese from a generation taught to defer to men and view unfavorably women who achieve prominence. In her mind and from her culture there’s a natural order and women aren’t part of it. That’s despite her degree from St. John’s University in Shanghai, regarded as the “Harvard of China.” Despite being a single immigrant woman, raising two sons while…

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Xi Jinping’s Remedy for China’s Economic Gloom Has Echoes of Reagan – The New York Times

Photo above: “Steel pipe products in China’s Hebei Province. China’s steel production has “become completely untethered from real market demand” and amounts to more than double the combined production of the four next biggest producers: Japan, India, the United States and Russia, according to a new report on China’s production overcapacity released by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.” Credit Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters via NYT

“China’s steel production, for example, has “become completely untethered from real market demand” and amounts to more than double the combined production of the four next biggest producers: Japan, India, the United States and Russia, according to a new report on China’s production overcapacity released by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.”

This story reports that 30 million Chinese in steel and coal sector, 15%, might get laid off in next two years.

U.S. threatens 260% tariff on Chinese steel being dumped in the US market, reports NPR.

Source: Xi Jinping’s Remedy for China’s Economic Gloom Has Echoes of Reagan – The New York Times

Nicholas Kristof calls for saving the Rohingya boat people. Can we save them, and also stop the Sitxth Great Extinction?

Thank you Saint Nicholas for challenging us. I have to admit I fall short. I am almost obsessed with concern about climate change, which is caused probably by over-population. I’m reading the Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert, which is a book about how seven billion people are causing a giant extinction of species, as many kills as during the other great extinction periods.
Al Gore reported, it took almost 200,000 years for humans to reach one billion, around 1776. Humans then doubled to two billion people at the end of World War II, just 169 years later . Seventy years later, today we have jumped to seven billion humans. It is awkward to press countries like Malasia into accepting other nations’ refugees, when they have their share of over-population and ecological stress.
It seems right that we help organize the Nations of the world to alleviate refugee suffering and death, but there needs some recognition that too many people is a main cause of resource scarcity and tribal tension world wide. I am embarrassed to admit, that I am more concerned with the extinction of the African elephant, than with the saving of Rohingya boat people. Though I care about both, which is more pressing? Perhaps we could help the Rohingya, if we are willing to accept as refugees our share of their displaced numbers, whereas refusing them, forces them to work on their situation where they live. You are probably right, that there must be a civilized solution, but the most efficient would include keeping these people in the lands they come from.

American and Asian officials seem determined to avert their eyes as the toll climbs in the Rohingya refugee crisis.
nytimes.com|By Nicholas Kristof

China plans to damn all the great rivers of Tibet. Neighbors cry.

Inconvenient News Worldwide

Important piece by Michael Buckley, NYT. The U.S. should study these issues from the perspective of China’s neighbors downstream. The most popular comment to date:
Michael
Zhanjiang, PRC      “The water wars of the 21st century are just beginning and the countries with the best militaries will prevail. Sadly hardly a govt. in the world is willing to discuss the real problem which is that there are just way too many people. Closer to home, take the situation in California where despite the drought we are still adding more homes and people and the govt. has as of yet to come with any sensible plans for dealing the the desertification that is occurring.”

It might be time to start a trade war with China to support Tibetan independence, and a China-free South China Sea. It might be good to start by finding a new name for the sea…

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Air pollution in Beijing is out of control.

What madness. Part of the story that humans are destroying life as we know it.

The communist government calls it Fog, not Smog.

From the Guardian.

The 21 million inhabitants of China’s capital appear to be engaged in a city-wide rehearsal for life on an inhospitable planet. Oliver Wainwright reports from Beijing
theguardian.com|By Oliver Wainwright

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/dec/16/beijing-airpocalypse-city-almost-uninhabitable-pollution-china

Feudalism in Korea, what fun. The owner’s daughter didn’t like the way her macadamia nuts were served,…

Feudalism in Korea, what fun. The owner’s daughter didn’t like the way her macadamia nuts were served, so she ordered the jet back to its gate at JFK, and the steward to leave the plane.
Korea is more backward than I realized. I wonder if we are headed in their direction, with Citizens United and the removal of limitations on wealthy people buying politicians.

The South Korean government said a vice president of the airline who berated crew members broke laws banning onboard disturbances.
nytimes.com|By CHOE SANG-HUN

http://nyti.ms/1uMzshB