In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Posts Tagged ‘Chinese soft power’

Russia tops Obama’s hit list, not China

Posted by seumasach on November 25, 2014

Obama’s anti-Russian turn is devoid of strategic sense. He can’t court China at the expense of Russia as Nixon did: China and Russia are now inseparable allies and increasingly so in the face of Western hostility. However, anti-Russian rhetoric does serve as a cover for Washington’s close engagement with China which includes permitting China to exchange its dollar holdings for real assets, especially artificially underpriced gold, but also real estate, industrial and port facilities inside the USA.

M.K.Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

25th November, 2014

The India-Russia annual summitry had lately become a tepid affair — something like the anniversary of a boring marriage. How often can an aged couple arouse passion? But the upcoming event bringing President Vladimir Putin to Delhi next month promises to be exciting. Geopolitics may act like an aphrodisiac. 

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Australia, China see opportunity in free-trade pact

Posted by seumasach on November 15, 2014

WSJ

13th November, 2014

CANBERRA, Australia—A free-trade pact between Australia and China likely to be signed within days is expected to provide new sources of growth for Australia, which is struggling to counter a rapidly slowing mining boom, while aiding China’s push for a broader role in regional trade agreements.

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China has its way on APEC free-trade deal

Posted by seumasach on November 15, 2014

The US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is now dead in the water. The same fate can be expected for the TTIP, the corresponding US-backed free trade deal with Europe.

IBN

11th November, 2014

Beijing: APEC leaders agreed to work towards possible adoption of a “historic” free-trade deal proposed by China, in a victory for the Communist giant as it strives for a bigger role in formulating global trade policy.

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China aims for official gold reserves at 8500 tonnes

Posted by seumasach on November 11, 2014

Zero Hedge

9th November, 2014

China should accumulate 8,500 tonnes in official gold reserves, more than the US, according to Song Xin, President of the China Gold Association, General Manager of the China National Gold Group Corporation and Party Secretary. He wrote this in an opinion editorial published on Sina Finance July 30, 2014. Gold is money par excellence in all circumstances and will help support the renminbi to become an international currency as “gold forms the very material basis for modern fiat currencies”, Song notes. In the short term the Chinese will not back the renminbi with gold (establish a fixed renminbi price for gold), but support it with gold so it has sufficient credibility for the world to accept it as a trade and reserve currency.

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Willem Middelkoop on The Big Reset

Posted by seumasach on October 31, 2014

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China, 20 other countries initiate new Asian bank

Posted by seumasach on October 30, 2014

Newsday

24th October, 2014

BEIJING – (AP) — Twenty-one Asian nations have signed on to a China-driven initiative to create a new development bank for Asia that’s aimed at boosting infrastructure investment of all kinds. Beijing sees that as a way to raise its international standing, but Washington opposes the move as an unnecessary and potentially damaging rival to established institutions such as the World Bank.

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2015: The world is defecting to the East

Posted by seumasach on October 28, 2014

LEAP 2020

15th October, 2014

Two important facts emerge from the past four weeks’ news. First, China is becoming the world’s largest economic power, officially overtaking the US, based on GDP measured in purchasing power terms (IMF figures) of $17.61 trillion (compared to $17.4 trillion for the US). If the official media hasn’t raised the slightest eyebrow to this information, our team believes that it’s an historic event: the US is no longer the world’s largest economic power and, inevitably, that changes everything ! (1)

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Will China ride to the rescue of Britain’s dilapidated infrastructure?

Posted by seumasach on October 28, 2014

Telegraph

27th October, 2014

China could plough more than £100bn into Britain’s ageing infrastructure by 2025, according to economic forecasters, as questions are raised over the costs of a third high speed rail link across the Pennines in the North of England, connecting Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Hull.

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The Scottish referendum and the decentralization of Britain

Posted by seumasach on September 28, 2014

Cailean Bochanan

28th September, 2014

When Nicola Sturgeon spoke back in January of the inevitability of change whatever the outcome of the referendum and appealed to the “No” campaign to come forward with their proposals for further devolution to Scotland she must have known that a response would be forthcoming. All political parties had been focused for some time on the issue of the decentralization of the British state and the referendum was to be the cue for these ideas to come to the fore. However, from the point of views of both campaigns this issue was to become the elephant in the room that no one wanted to see. The “Yes” campaign , notwithstanding Sturgeon’s remarks, continued to insist that it was all or nothing for Scotland, that not only was further devolution not on the agenda but that a “No” vote would see the rollback of devolution already conceded. The “No” campaign evoked the enduring stability of the union and an era of innocence in which good old Great Britain was not about to be eviscerated. As a result, it was only when “panicked” representatives of the leading UK parties came to Scotland late in the campaign, following polls suggestive of a “Yes” vote, that it became evident to all that further devolution was indeed on the agenda. The “panicked” UK leaders, far from making up policy on the hoof, were, however, merely putting forward what they had always intended in an opportune manner which would give themselves credit post-referendum. They were also shoring up the position of Alex Salmond and the SNP post-referendum who could claim that their campaign and a surge in support had forced the hand of the Westminster establishment.
That major constitutional change was on the cards was made clear in a speech in April by Labour leader, Ed Milliband, a speech which was studiously ignored by everyone. In it he blamed overcentralisation for all Britain’s ills and promised to devolve power and spending to English cities and regions. He also revealed the real point behind this “bringing of power to the people” as the Tories like to call it:
“With power of this sort comes responsibility.
These changes will only bring new jobs, greater prosperity, if the towns and cities are willing to put the private sector at the heart of decision making.”
Welsh Conservative leader Stephen Crabb was to pick up on the same theme as he launched the pre-panic, Tory devolution response in July,:
“I am very comfortable with the way devolution is developing. It is quite an exciting landscape that is emerging for devolution. So fiscal devolution I see as particularly important because of strengthening accountability for devolved government.”
This, he thought, would help to “challenge socialist orthodoxy” citing the influence of leading Thatcherite ideologue,Lord Brian Griffiths, in his conversion to devolution.

Any doubts about major constitutional change were dispelled in Cameron’s speech following the announcement of the referendum result. He called for English votes on English issues, effectively a call for English devolution. It also launched the 2015 election campaign with a shot across the bows of the Labour as Cameron sensed blood and seized the moment when the Labour/Tory duopoly gives way to a Tory/SNP axis which could dominate Britain for a long time to come. Labour’s hesitancy regarding English devolution doesn’t mean they won’t support it: they have no choice, but they wish to delay it beyond the next election. If Milliband has written their suicide note in the above mentioned speech they can be forgiven for pacing the room in a state of high agitation before finally putting the bullet through their head.
The British ruling class have embarked upon a major transformation of Britain. Milliband’s speech gives an indication of what they have in mind. The essence of this change is more easily grasped within the context of US politics and the politics of the Republican right. The goal is the end of Big Government. As Britain heads towards another crisis resembling that of 2008 it will face similar dilemmas to those they faced then. In 2008 they bailed out the banks without taking control of them. This time overwhelming popular pressure could force their hand and result in nationalization. Similar pressures could lead to renationalization of the utilities and even land and the housing stock. These measures are unacceptable and dangerous to the post-Thatcherite oligarchy. By devolving spending and tax raising powers to the regions they are vetoing that particularly noxious, in their view, outcome. Admittedly, the state is bankrupt anyway but they will not be presiding over the bankruptcy of Britain with the tax-payer as the priority creditor, the state taking on our assets and our debt to our international partners being resolved through intergovernmental negotiation as I have been proposing for some time. Instead, they will proceed through “the market”.
It could be objected that there is little left to privatize. But Britain’s privatization programme is really just a corporate welfare scheme whereby public funds are transferred to private companies. The companies would not otherwise be making money. This process is inordinately expensive to the British state and is not sustainable. The British state will then withdraw its largesse and as it does so foreign states or their agencies will take its place. This process is already well underway as James Meek has documented and is about to accelerate dramatically. The British oligarchy instead of going down for a very, very long time have opted to be bought out by the Chinese and retired to the Cayman Islands.
It is a great irony that the “yes” campaign regard further devolution as a well earned consolation prize and continue to shout betrayal in the form of its non-implimentation. They have been joining in the fun too, dancing on the the grave of the Labour Party but it is also the grave containing the corpse of their neo-Keynesian spending strategies. The active component of the “yes” campaign is basically on the left, contemptuous of Scotland’s national status except when referring to it, hilariously, as “one of the richest nations on earth”, and these heady days have been like the last faint echo of Blair’s, 1997 “Things can only get better” surge, before we finally sink into the abyss. So they’re celebrating their own demise too: it’s just one internal contradiction too far.
That the coming crisis of Western imperialism will have a neo-liberal solution is at first sight dismaying but it has its logic. I was a struck by the insistence of a Chinese academic, speaking at at Glasgow University’s Confucius Institute, on the resolution of Britain’s debt and current account deficit with China via the market. What, I thought, did we have to sell back to them. Not much, but we can let them relocate factories which produce for our market to Britain. That way, they don’t have to accept sterling fiat money in payment and we can start to correct our trade deficit. That is definitely win-win. They can also facilitate this by taking control of our utilities and building other essential infrastructure. Finally, they can take over our banking system, after its major shareholders and creditors have taken the hit,opening up control of a significant portion of Britain’s land and real estate for re-industrialization. The British government has already taken us some way down this path and we have signed a formal strategic partnership with China and are now proud issuers of Renminbi-denominated UK government bonds. Other sovereign wealth funds will, of course, participate. Just as free-market ideology furnished us with a cover for imperialism in the 18th and 19th century, so it now provides a cover for a policy for end of empire. This is anxiously sought by the Chinese and the Global South and their investments will not be just about profit but drawing the sting out of Anglo-American imperialism. In exchange for life-saving inward investment Britain will de facto renounce its imperial or hegemonic project and become a neutral, demilitarized state. Perhaps Scotland could become a Chinese concession just as we once had concessions in China. That would be poetic justice and leave us staring survival in the face.
The constitutional transformation will go through and it will also be as many have pointed out a dog’s dinner. But the goal is purely negative from the point of view of the British oligarchy: to veto Big Government. However, it contains other potentialities as Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein was quick to grasp when he pointed out that, despite the “no” vote, “the British state is not static”. Britain is not suitable for federalisation and the regionalization of England is a completely synthetic agenda which is being foisted on a reluctant people. Hence another irony: the “No” vote may be the real “break up of Britain” agenda. The constitutional agenda compromises Britain’s sovereignty and at a certain point when all the wars and tumult of empire are a fading memory that issue of sovereignty will return and, in all likelihood, resolve itself as four sovereign nations in these islands.

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India welcomes BCIM initiative

Posted by seumasach on July 4, 2014

India okay with BCIM, wants details on China maritime silk road

Times of India

30th June, 2014

BEIJING: India today backed China’s initiative to build a regional economic corridor also linking Bangladesh and Myanmar, but sought more details from Beijing about its plans for a Maritime Silk Road (MSR) before deciding to take part in the endeavour.

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China pivot fuels Eurasian century

Posted by seumasach on May 20, 2014

“Meanwhile, a discombobulated America seems to be aiding and abetting the deconstruction of its own unipolar world order, while offering the BRICS a genuine window of opportunity to try to change the rules of the game.” 

Pepe Escobar

Asia Times

A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass – at the expense of the United States. 

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