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Communist China Debate

 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 2:48 pm    Post subject: Communist China Debate Reply with quote

2slugbaits:

Thanks. Interesting, albeit repulsive and shameful history. This post is a nice follow-up to one of Menzie’s recent post on birthright citizenship. During the 14th Amendment debates there was a vigorous argument over specifically excluding native born Chinese from birthright citizenship. This short history goes a long way towards explaining why ethnic Chinese were being considered for exclusion of birthright citizenship.

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PeakTrader:

Is the history of Western Civilization, or the human race, any more repulsive and shameful than the recent record of human rights in China?

And, should the civilized world allow China to annex 90% of the South China Sea, like Russia annexed Crimea?

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Ben Lu:

You should pay more attention to US human right records in ME and at home. As to SCS, you could ask on what basis a country is entitled to own something in SCS. Perhaps then you understand the SCS disputes better.

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PeakTrader:

You don’t seem to care much about human rights.

I’m sure, China feels entitled to Taiwain too. The basis of dismissing other countries claims in the SCS and ignoring international laws isn’t the best way of settling disputes.

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Ben Lu:

China human right records have been improving by leaps and bounds. One just needs to look at the hundreds of millions being lifted out of poverty over the last few decades, high level of education, 100% housing, health and social cares. China is well aware and it is working very hard to always improve on governance and societal fairness. US should concentrate on working how the blacks are not easily gunned down by triggered happy cops, cutting back on drone attacks that often wipe out wedding parties, hundreds of thousands innocent deaths from aggressive wars of invasion based on lie by US in foreign countries.
Which international law says Taiwan is not part of China? Could you elaborate on what basis China dismiss other claimants in SCS and which international China ignores? Do you know also on what basis other claimants dismiss China’s claims likewise?

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PeakTrader:

Human rights in China is very poor (for example, go to Wikipedia and see “Human Rights in China”). If they’ve been improving by “leaps and bounds,” it’s hard to imagine how they were before. Anyway, if you’re using economic progress as the measure of improvements of human rights, the U.S. is way ahead of China.

There’s no U.S. policy to systematically shoot blacks or kill innocent people. Also, the U.S. isn’t taking over countries territories. The U.S. works with its many allies to improve conditions for the world’s population, which includes neutralizing destructive elements.

And, I’m not surprised you believe China owns Taiwan, along with all the disputed parts of the SCS. For example, go to Wikipedia and see “Spratly Islands Dispute,” in case you don’t believe there’s a dispute.

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Ben Lu:

I do not think you are sincerely concerned about human rights in China but rather you are just interested in getting a few kicks out of gratifying your own superiority complex. One does not need to look much further to have an idea how US human records have been like then just knowing the facts that African Americans were still hanged from trees or towed behind trucks in the 1960’s and just to add that the inhuman ways laborers from China were treated in US as touched upon in Menzi’s article here.

As I understand US and China mutually issue a human right report annually about each other’s human right status. As far as I know there are about the same number of pages and no one hears any denials from US govt about the contents of such report from China.

In case you were not aware, US were involved in more than a dozen wars since ww2 that caused many millions of deaths. The recent wars have also been causing hundreds of thousands of refugees problems with EU bearing the blunt from the craps left behind by US aggression. Such is the contribution of US to human rights, peace and stability of the world.

By the way, there is also no policy nor is it in the constitution of PRC to violate the human rights of people in China.

As to Taiwan and SCS, you would do better to inform yourself better first before you spill your ignorance.

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PeakTrader:

Of course, it’s hard for you to believe Americans sincerely care about universal human rights, since your propaganda, which includes blowing some things out of proportion and minimizing or ignoring other things, shows Americans are no better than Nazis, Imperial Japanese, Soviets, Communist Chinese, North Korea’s government, other communists, dictators, and terrorists, along with believing China has a right to take over the SCS and Taiwan, regardless of other countries rights.

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Ben Lu:

You bashed China and I countered. I think it is fair. Many parties think they have right to claim SCS in part or whole. So why only China’s claim bothers you?

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Steven Kopits:

Easy, Ben.

I find my Chinese friends just now are quite conflicted, indeed, beleaguered. Almost without exception, the Chinese I know are decent, hard-working, well-educated people. The Chinese as a race are highly socialized–the pressure to be a good son or daughter is immense, and something the Chinese take very seriously, I think. In such a culture, it’s hard to be the bad boy. It causes a lot of internal turmoil. And that’s also true of China in the South China Sea. It is like the star student smoking joints with the playground bully. China as the aggressor doesn’t fit.

At the same time, my Chinese friends feel that China is being unfairly picked on the in the SCS, as all the other adjacent nations also have outrageous territorial claims, but only China is being beaten up in the press. And that’s true. But it’s also beside the point. If Vietnam makes outrageous territorial claims, we all have a good laugh. If China makes outrageous counter-claims, then we see a regional arms race and the US and China risking a totally unnecessary (and more to the point, unseemly!) conflict in the SCS. China has to play the role of hegemon, but its citizens feel weak, that they are being unfairly ganged up on. When a fundamentally strong country feels weak, that is a very dangerous thing. If the strongest kid in school feels that everyone is picking on him, then someone’s going to get hurt on the playground.

So how does a hegemon behave? Let me give you an example. The US and Canada have certain territorial disputes along our maritime borders. Now, the US could order the Navy or Army to seize the disputed areas. Canada could not stop us. But Canada would immediately seek allies, very possibly the Chinese. So China could find itself drawn into an all-American dispute in which it really doesn’t have much upside either way. Why doesn’t this happen? Because the Canadians are entirely confident the US would never use force to resolve the dispute, and instead it will come down to haggling, name calling, lawsuits and the like, and over time, some agreement will be reached. So, the US is fundamentally a hegemon which could achieve its Canadian goals by force. But the country would never be trusted again. Thus, such disputes will tend to be handled as commercial, diplomatic or legal issues–military force or the threat of it never enters the equation. The US, despite vast military superiority, is forced to act with Canada as though its army and navy didn’t exist! The US is compelled to abide by an abstract set of property rights which, as a practical matter, it could violate by force. But it doesn’t.

When international relations have both conflicting and cooperative aspects, there will arise a need for a body to establish and enforce property rights. In territorial matters, there is no supranational body capable of filling such a role. Therefore, it falls to the strongest country in the group to provide such services, that is, a kind of provision of international public goods, including adjudication of territorial claims, protection of international property rights, and physical security. Thus, the US is often called on to intervene in places like Iran and Syria, because stability is hard to find without American involvement. Thus, if the US fails to act as a legitimate hegemon in, say, Iraq, then a void is created which can be filled with the likes of ISIS.

Note, however, that the hegemon is constrained–just as I illustrate above. President Obama would like to stay out of Iraq and Afghanistan, but we keep getting sucked back in. Germany or Canada can afford to walk away. If the US does, everything goes to hell. Thus, in some cases we cannot resort to force. In other cases, we are compelled to use it.

Note also that the hegemon does not regulate domestic matters, functionally speaking. In providing stability for trade and investment, the hegemon will tend to be a status quo power. We will pretty easily line up behind dictators if they permit the conduct of daily business otherwise. “The spice must flow!” to quote Frank Herbert. That’s really all we care about (at least if you’re on the right.)

The hegemon faces a principal-agent problem, in this case, on the national (group) level, rather than the individual level. For example, in the Iran negotiations, the US is both leading international interests, as well as pecuniary US interests, for example, the protection of Israel. This conflict, as all principal-agent conflicts, often remains not entirely resolved. Doing well and doing good are always intertwined, and it’s not always clear which will win out. Sometimes we are supporting the system as a whole; sometimes we are pursuing American interests. There is no permanent, clean divide.

This principal-agent problem also shows up in the ‘realist’ versus ‘idealist’ pressures on foreign relations. Republicans tend to the realist side: we’re comfortable with Bangladeshi sweatshops and Middle East dictators. As the operator of the international system, our obligation really extends only to inter-state issues, notably related to security and trade. By contrast, Democrats typically want to extend the franchise to cover domestic issues like human rights and environmental issues. They see hegemony as extending to intra-state issues. So that tension, as you point out, is real. We’d like a Swiss democracy in Syria, but as a practical matter, we’d settle for a solution which prevents terrorists from attacking New York. In many cases, such tensions are never fully resolved, and they won’t be resolved for China, either. Welcome to the club.

Most importantly, China does not have the luxury of thinking of itself as the same as Japan, or heaven help us, Vietnam. China has special responsibilities, and these will allow you special privileges, but also constrain your options. Vietnam has the luxury of making ludicrous territorial claims. China does not.

On the other hand, China can organize the system, and it will receive associated benefits. For example, if China acts as regional hegemon, it will find itself in the position to adjudicate disputes between, say, Japan and Korea. And that will make you feel superior indeed. Smug, in fact. It’s great to be the hegemon.

So, you need to move beyond your identity as a principal in a conflict, as one country among many in the region. China must step up and adopt the role of agent–regional provider of public goods–even though at times this will conflict with–and indeed, trump!–your interests as a principal.

It’s not that hard. The Chinese have all the tools–excluding the self-confidence–to do this. That last element is not so difficult to find.

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PeakTrader:

If the communist Chinese feel “conflicted” about bullying its weaker neighbors, why do they keep doing it?

I agree, they should behave differently. However, the way they’ve been behaving has been so effective. The Spratly Islands is a done deal and they can get the rest of the SCS and Taiwan, except for those annoying countries like the U.S..

If the civilized world continues to tolerate bad behavior, there will be more of it.

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