Tag Archives: China

Yes, we won the Cold War

Barack Obama’s announcement that the United States will begin normalizing relations with its long time enemy Cuba brings to mind a truism that plays into this development.

It is that the Cold War is over. We won! The communists lost it.

Indeed, long before the Cold War was declared over — with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 — we had relations with communist countries. China and the Soviet Union are the two examples.

The president noted today that we even restored relations with Vietnam, a nation with which we fought a long and bloody war that cost more than 58,000 American lives.

Cuba? Until today, it remained on our list of nations non grata.

And why? Well, it didn’t pose a military threat. Its economy is in shambles. Its people still are suffering from lack of freedom and the depravity brought on it by the repressive economic policies of the Marxists who run the island nation.

We’ve made our point. Our system is better than their system.

We outlasted the communists by forcing the Soviet Union to spend money on its military while its people suffered. Then came its restructuring and its newfound openness policies.

All the while, we maintained an embassy in Moscow and they had one in Washington.

The Cubans? We continued to punish them.

President Obama has done what should have been done — could have been done — many years ago.

It’s no doubt going to anger many members of the Cuban-American community who hate the communists who govern the nation of their birth. Will it matter in the grand scheme to the president? Not one bit. He’s a lame duck. He’ll be out of office in two years. The Cuban-American voting bloc supports Republicans overwhelmingly as it is.

The normalization should proceed quickly nonetheless. We won the Cold War. It’s time to move on.


Shocking! GOP opposes U.S.-China climate deal

Does it surprise anyone at all that congressional Republicans would be highly critical of a deal struck this week between the United States and China to cut carbon gases over the next couple of decades?

I didn’t think so.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the incoming chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, wasted little time in calling the pact a “non-binding charade.”


And the deal is … ?

President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed the nations should cut carbon emissions by as much as 30 percent by 2030. Inhofe — one of the Senate’s premier climate change deniers — said China will continue to build coal-fired power plants and has “no known reserves” of natural gas on which to rely.

He calls the deal a fraud.

Inhofe also says the results of the mid-term elections repudiated the president’s policy agenda on such issues as climate change and that, by golly, he’s going to roll those policies back once he becomes chairman of the Senate environment panel.

I’ll add as an aside that there’s a certain irony in handing over the chairmanship of a key congressional environmental committee to someone who keeps dismissing the notion that Earth’s climate is changing and that there just might be a human cause to much of the warming that’s occurring — the current bitter cold snap that’s gripped much of the nation notwithstanding.

Obama said this in announcing the agreement in Beijing: “As the world’s two largest economies, energy consumers and emitters of greenhouse gases, we have a special responsibility to lead the global effort against climate change.”

And we have this, then, from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “The president appears to be undeterred by the American people’s clear repudiation of his policies of more regulations and higher energy costs.”

Higher energy costs? McCarthy needs to ponder the ongoing trend in fossil fuel prices. They’ve gone down, Mr. Majority Leader.

I get that China doesn’t engender a lot of trust among many Americans. Count me as one who is skeptical of Beijing’s commitment to do what it promises to do.

At least we’ve got them on the record to cut carbon gases. Let’s hold them to that pledge.


Are we really a second-rate power?

You hear it frequently these days from right-wing talking heads, politicians and a few “expert observers” that the United States is in danger of becoming a second-rate military power.

They express grave concern that the commander in chief, Barack Obama, seeks to “deliberately” reduce America’s standing in the world because of some trumped-up “anti-American bias” they’ve attached to the man.

I heard U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry express those concerns recently, although he did so with a good measure of class and decorum. He isn’t pounding on the same drum that many lunatics on the right are beating.

Thornberry — who’s set to become chairman of the House Armed Services Committee next year — did suggest that China is growing its defense budge at a far greater rate than the United States and is concerned that the communist dictatorship may be about to surpass us as the pre-eminent military power on Earth.

He’s not alone in saying these things.

I dug into my World Almanac and Book of Facts and found a few interesting numbers. They relate to defense spending.

In 2012, China spent just a shade less than $90 billion on its defense establishment; Russia — which 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said is our “No. 1 geopolitical adversary” — spent $52 billion. That’s around $142 billion spent between these two fearsome foes.

The U.S. defense budget for 2012? $739 billion.

Are the Russians and Chinese getting so much more bang for the buck — pardon the pun — that we should worry that either of them is going to surpass us in military strength? I hardly think that’s the case.

I totally get, however, that in this new world of vaguely defined enemies and an international war against terror, that it is next to meaningless to measure military strength vis a vis our “traditional” foes.

Let’s cool our jets just a bit, though, when suggesting that the United States of America is no longer capable of defending itself against any foe.

We’re still pouring lots of money into our national defense and we’re still getting a damn good return on that investment.


Try crossing this ‘red line’

It appears another nation has drawn a “red line” across which no one should dare cross.

President Obama drew one involving the use of chemical weapons by Syria; he threatened to respond militarily when the Syrians crossed the line, asked Congress for permission to act and then watched as the Russians intervened to work out a diplomatic solution.

Now come the Chinese regarding their neighbor North Korea. China’s foreign minister, Wang Wi, declared that the People’s Republic has drawn a red line as it regards war on the Korean peninsula.


The PRC will have none of it, Wang said.

What does it mean? Well, some observers — such as Secretary of State John Kerry — see it as a possible shot across North Korea’s bow, a warning to take down its nuclear weapons program.

If the PRC is as close to the loons in North Korea as it is believed, then the Chinese know that North Korean dictator/madman/lunatic Kim Jong Un is capable of just about any foolish act. That just might include striking South Korea militarily, crossing the red line that the North Koreans’ allies in Beijing said they must not cross.

The world knows that North Korea set such a precedent in 1950 when it invaded the south and started the Korean War, an intense and bloody conflict that killed more than 40,000 Americans in just three years. And oh yes: China sent in its troops, too, to aid the North Koreans.

Still, I am inclined to believe Wang Yi when he draws such a line.

Another war in Korea will have far more serious consequences for the entire world. If Kim Jong Un ignores the warning from the PRC, then he is crazier than the world thinks he is — and that’s really saying something.

North Koreans prove again their PR insanity

Merrill Newman is on his way home after being held captive in North Korea.

In a bizarre tale — as if anything involving North Korea is ever not bizarre — Newman, an 85-year-old Korean War veteran, admitted to committing dastardly acts while fighting that war. The North Koreans, out of the goodness of their hearts, accepted his “apology” and let him go.


And what did this man do, according to the North Koreans? He committed “hostile acts” against them.

OK, let me see if I have this straight.

The North Koreans invaded South Korea in 1950, igniting a ferocious conflict that would last three years. United Nations forces, led by the United States, intervened on the South’s behalf. They fought bloody battles against the North Korean army, which later was aided by a massive force from the People’s Republic of China.

Is there anything non-hostile about any of this?

Newman had been recorded making some kind of apology for his actions while serving in the Korean War. He read the script. His reading of it sounded for all the world like one of those bogus “confessions” we heard during the Vietnam War by captured U.S. service personnel.

Well, now the North Koreans have “deported” Newman.

They can call it whatever they want. I prefer to call it a ridiculous public relations stunt gone bad.

U.S. primed to pick fight with China?

You have to hand it to the brass at the Pentagon, not to mention the commander in chief.

With foreign policy crises either erupting or about to erupt in places like Iran, Syria, Egypt, Libya, North Korea and sub-Saharan Africa, the folks at the Pentagon decide to provoke China by flying B-52 bombers into airspace the Chinese claim as their own.


China has declared ownership of space over some mineral-rich islands near the coast of Japan. The Japanese also claim that territory. Who’s right is just about anyone’s guess.

Now comes the United States, with its immense military presence in the region. The Air Force launched a couple of B-52s over the disputed area. The Chinese responded by sending their only aircraft carrier into motion, along with a couple of guided-missile frigates.

Nothing happened. No shots were fired.

I’m betting the United States isn’t going to let China bully Japan — our key ally in East Asia. Heaven knows the Chinese have done a number on Taiwan for many years, claiming that the now-independent nation remains part of the mainland empire, given that Taiwan created a separate government after fleeing the mainland in 1949 after losing a bloody civil war with the communists who now run China.

I also should add that Vietnam, another ancient foe of China, is worried about Chinese aims on the region. Vietnam and China fought a fierce border war in the late 1970s after the United States withdrew its forces from Vietnam in 1975.

What are the Chinese up to remains anyone’s guess.

They do understand the showing of force, which is the United States did with the B-52 flyovers. Yes, the birds were unarmed — but there’s plenty of firepower nearby.