Thomas L. Friedman | How China Lost America – The New York Times

“When future historians look back on 2022, they will have a lot to choose from when they ask the question: What was the most important thing that happened that year? Was it Brexit, Chexit, Ruxit or Trumpit?

Was it the meltdown of the world’s sixth-largest economy, Britain, fueled in part by its reckless 2020 exit from the European Union? Was it the demented attempt by Vladimir Putin to wipe Ukraine off the map, which has decoupled Russia from the West — what I call Ruxit — creating havoc with worldwide energy and food markets? Was it the near-total infection of the G.O.P. with Donald Trump’s Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen — Trumpit — which is eroding our democracy’s most cherished asset: our ability to peacefully and legitimately transfer power?

Or was it China’s drive under President Xi Jinping for Chexit — an end to four decades of steady integration of China’s economy with the West, an end symbolized by the abbreviation popularized by my colleague in Beijing Keith Bradsher to describe where Western multinationals today think about putting their next factory: “A.B.C. — Anywhere But China.”

It’s a tough call. And just listing them all together only tells you what a hinge of history 2022 has become. But my vote goes to Chexit.”

Farhad Manjoo | Biden Just Clobbered China’s Chip Industry – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Semiconductors are among the most intricate tools that human beings have ever invented. They are also among the most expensive to make.

The latest chips — the sort that power supercomputers and high-end smartphones — are densely packed with transistors so small they’re measured in nanometers. Perhaps the only things more ingenious than the chips themselves are the machines that are used to build them. These devices are capable of working on almost unimaginably tiny scales, a fraction of the size of most viruses. Some of the chip-building machines take years to build and cost hundreds of millions of dollars each; the Dutch company ASML, which makes the world’s only lithography machines capable of inscribing designs for the fastest chips, has produced just 140 such devices over the past decade.”

China’s Heat Wave Strains Its Economy – The New York Times

Tiffany May and 

“Faced with China’s most searing heat wave in six decades, factories in the country’s southwest are being forced to close. A severe drought has shrunk rivers, disrupting the region’s supply of water and hydropower and prompting officials to limit electricity to businesses and homes. In two cities, office buildings were ordered to shut off the air-conditioning to spare an overextended electrical grid, while elsewhere in southern China local governments urged residents and businesses to conserve energy.

The rolling blackouts and factory shutdowns, which affected Toyota and Foxconn, a supplier for Apple, point to the ways that extreme weather is adding to China’s economic woes. The economy has been headed toward its slowest pace of growth in years, dragged down by the country’s stringent Covid policy of lockdowns, quarantines and travel restrictions, as consumers tightened spending and factories produced less. Youth unemployment has reached a record high, while trouble in the real estate sector has set off an unusual surge of public discontent.”

China’s Fishing Operations Raise Alarms Worldwide – The New York Times

“Over the last two decades, China has built the world’s largest deep-water fishing fleet, by far, with nearly 3,000 ships. Having severely depleted stocks in its own coastal waters, China now fishes in any ocean in the world, and on a scale that dwarfs some countries’ entire fleets near their own waters.

The impact is increasingly being felt from the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific, from the coasts of Africa to those off South America — a manifestation on the high seas of China’s global economic might.

A Chinese ship fishing for squid off the west coast of South America in July 2021. Isaac Haslam/Sea Shepherd via Associated Press

The Chinese effort has prompted diplomatic and legal protests. The fleet has also been linked to illegal activity, including encroaching on other countries’ territorial waters, tolerating labor abuses and catching endangered species. In 2017, Ecuador seized a refrigerated cargo ship, the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, carrying an illicit cargo of 6,620 sharks, whose fins are a delicacy in China.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Can the UN stop this behavior? Will the Chinese listen to reason? Will they only respect force? Do we have diplomatic chips to play? Maybe the US Navy and NATO and our Asian Allies should use these mother Chinese refrigerator ships, called carrier vessels, for target practice. First, we tell the Chinese Government to stop using them, then we disable or sink a few carrier vessels. This trouble shows the madness of Trump cancelling the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement set up by Obama. We need it now.
David blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

New electric cars parked under photovoltaic systems at a parking lot in Jinzhong.

From NYT article, see previous post.

“New electric cars parked under photovoltaic systems at a parking lot in Jinzhong. China has one of the fastest-growing E.V. markets, with sales expected to double this year to about six million vehicles.Credit…Visual China Group via Getty Images”

David Lindsay: We are cutting down forests to put up solar farms, when we could be doing this to parking lots all over the country!!!

Source: (20+) David Lindsay | Facebook

For China’s Auto Market, Electric Isn’t the Future. It’s the Present. Electric Isn’t the Future. It’s the Present – The New York Times

“Zhang Youping, a Chinese retiree, purchased an all-electric, small sport-utility vehicle from BYD — China’s largest electric vehicle maker — at an auto show for around $20,000 last month. Her family has bought three gas-powered cars in the last decade, but she recently grew concerned about gas prices and decided to go electric “to save money.” A few months earlier, her son had also bought an E.V. It was a $10,000 hatchback from Leapmotor, another Chinese manufacturer.

This year, a quarter of all new cars purchased in China will be an all-electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid. There are, by some estimates, more than 300 Chinese companies making E.V.s, ranging from discount offerings below $5,000 to high-end models that rival Tesla and German automakers. There are roughly four million charging units in the country, double the number from a year ago, with more coming.

While other E.V. markets are still heavily dependent on subsidies and financial incentives, China has entered a new phase: Consumers are weighing the merits of electric vehicles against gas-powered cars based on features and price without much consideration of state support. By comparison, the United States is far behind. This year, the country passed a key threshold of E.V.s accounting for 5 percent of new car sales. China passed that level in 2018.”

Peter Beinart | Is Biden’s Foreign Policy Team the Best of ‘the Blob’? – The New York Times

“. . . Even more worrying is the Biden administration’s approach to China, which sees Beijing primarily as a threat to American global supremacy and thus defines relations with the world’s other superpower in largely zero-sum terms. In a May 26 speech at George Washington University outlining the administration’s China strategy, Mr. Blinken said it could be “summed up in three words”: The United States will “invest” domestically, “align” its policies with those of its allies and “compete” with Beijing. The word “cooperate” was notably absent.

Biden officials describe their turn away from “engagement” with China as a response to its bellicose behavior­ — especially its fortification of islands in the South China Sea and intimidation of Taiwan. But while those actions merit concern, the primary lesson of the past several years is that the gravest threats China poses to ordinary Americans stem from its contributions to climate change and pandemics, and seriously addressing these perils requires cooperating with China more.

Despite this, Mr. Blinken didn’t discuss working with China on climate or public health until 38 minutes into his speech last month. And Mr. Biden’s hawkish policies have fed a cycle of hostility and escalation that makes cooperation harder. Despite a joint declaration between Washington and Beijing on climate action last November, Chinese leaders have made it clear that the Biden administration cannot insulate environmental progress from a deteriorating overall relationship.”

David Lindsay:  I don’t agree with a lot of what Beinart says. Here is a comment I did agree with.

Chaks

I don’t see what’s wrong with confronting China. The US has been playing nice with China for too long and look what it has gotten us. China has a plan in place to replace the US as the sole superpower. Why should the US seat back and just let it happen? Since China acceded to the World trade organization thanks to the lobbying of Wall Street and companies like Wal-Mart that have profited or plan to take advantage of the large Chinese market to make more money, Washington DC politicians have look the other way, while China steals intellectual property, built artificial islands in the south China sea, etc… All it took was for Beijing to activate its Wall Street friends to stop any counter measures against China, on the promise that China will open its lucrative financial markets to Wall Street companies. It took Trump to wake America up to the danger that China represents to the US and the world in general. Now it feels as if China has decided to hire journalists and opinion writers to do its bidding. I wish everybody could see the danger that China represents. China for example has decided to side with Russia over its 2 most important trade partners Europe and the US, that have helped China enrich itself fabulously in lthe last 50 years. China has shown its color and it’s not one of friendship or that pipe dream that more trade relationship with China would make China a friend and ally of the West. It’s time to look at China as an adversary, and treat It as such.

2 Replies25 Recommended

Zachary Karabell | China Is Not the Biggest Threat to the World Order. It’s Russia. – The New York Times

Mr. Karabell is the founder of the Progress Network and the author, most recently, of “Inside Money: Brown Brothers Harriman and the American Way of Power.”

“In a speech on Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed the long-awaited outlines of the Biden administration’s official posture toward China. Rather than Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Mr. Blinken said, it is China that represents the most potent and determined threat to the American-championed world order.

Only China, he continued, has “both the intent to reshape the international order” and the power to do so, he said. The United States will seek to rally coalitions of other nations to meet Beijing’s challenge.

The writing had been on the wall. Just days earlier, President Biden pledged to defend Taiwan if China moved to seize the democratically ruled island, he met with regional allies, and his administration proposed a new plan to counter China’s growing economic clout in Asia.

But the intensifying fixation on China’s potential to disrupt the world order shrinks space for cooperation with Beijing and distracts from the real threat in the world: Russia.”

Thomas L. Friedman | China and Russia Are Giving Authoritarianism a Bad Name – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“The last decade looked like a good one for authoritarian regimes and a challenging one for democratic ones. Cybertools, drones, facial recognition technology and social networks seemed to make efficient authoritarians even more efficient and democracies increasingly ungovernable.

The West lost self-confidence — and both Russian and Chinese leaders rubbed it in, putting out the word that these chaotic democratic systems were a spent force.

And then a totally unexpected thing happened: Russia and China each overreached.

Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine and, to his surprise, invited an indirect war with NATO and the West. China insisted that it was smart enough to have its own local solution to a pandemic, leaving millions of Chinese underprotected or unprotected and, in effect, inviting a war with one of Mother Nature’s most contagious viruses — the Omicron mutation of SARS-CoV-2. It’s now led China to lock down all of Shanghai and parts of 44 other cities — some 370 million people.”

Charles A. Kupchan | Putin’s War in Ukraine Is a Watershed. Time for America to Get Real. – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/11/opinion/ukraine-war-realist-strategy.html

Mr. Kupchan is a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“During his recent speech in Warsaw, President Biden said that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” only to clarify a few days later that he was merely expressing outrage, not announcing a new U.S. policy aimed at toppling Russia’s leader. The episode, interpreted by many as a dangerous gaffe, underscored the tension in U.S. foreign policy between idealism and realism.

Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine should provoke moral outrage in all of us, and, at least in principle, it warrants his removal from office. But Mr. Putin could well remain the leader of a major power into the next decade, and Washington will need to deal with him.

This friction between lofty goals and realpolitik is nothing new. The United States has since the founding era been an idealist power operating in a realist world — and has on balance succeeded in bending the arc of history toward justice. But geopolitical exigency at times takes precedence over ideals, with America playing power politics when it needs to.

During the Cold War, Washington promoted stability by tolerating a Soviet sphere of influence and cozying up to unsavory regimes willing to fight Communism. In contrast, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, America operated under conditions of geopolitical slack; great-power rivalry was muted, enabling Washington to put front and center its effort to promote democracy and expand a liberal, rules-based international order.”