Tag: China

The Best Articles I Read in 2020

 

Here at the end of 2020, I’m trying to close up a number of tabs I have open on my browser. Many of them are articles, and of that number I’m certain several were suggested or linked to by fellow Ricochet members, mentioned in podcasts, or discovered through searches prompted by Ricochet discussions. I was originally going to say “The 10 Best Articles…”, but the list is more than ten articles and I’m sure I’m forgetting some additional ones that I read months ago…it’s been a long year.

For this post I loosely define “the best” articles as those that challenged my thinking on an issue, were educational, were unexpected or deservedly scandalous, courageously broke with prevailing current narratives, or discussed an important topic otherwise ignored or forgotten. I’m not going to say which characteristic applies to which article as I’m trying to keep this post relatively brief, and each article could form the foundation of a post and become fertile ground for discussion. Some of the articles were written in years prior to 2020, but I just got around to reading them this year and they were either prophetic or remain pertinent to current events. Grouped with some of the articles I have read, I’m also listing what I’m going to read next in regard to that topic. These will have “to be read” in parentheses next to them.

Happy New Year! Jim and Greg conclude the Three Martini Lunch Award season by announcing their choices for person of the year and turncoat of the year. They also make very different predictions about 2021.

Oh man, it’s media day in our year-end Three Martini Lunch awards and Jim and Greg are holding nothing back.  Specifically, they look at the stories the mainstream media covered far too much, the ones they conveniently ignored because they didn’t fit their narrative, and what they saw as the best stories of 2020.

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and we’re glad to have you back as we return to our prestigious Three Martini Lunch Awards. Today, Jim and Greg discuss the worst scandals of 2020, which Jim choosing an international mess and Greg opting for a domestic one. Next, we sift through a ton of possibilities for the best and worst political theater of 2020.

Join Jim and Greg as they detail the lengths China went to in its efforts to manipulate media coverage of the early days of the coronavirus outbreak. They also try to beat back the global freak out over a new strain of COVID seen in Britain. And they react to young healthy members of Congress getting vaccinated before some medical personnel and more vulnerable people.

Member Post

 

One hundred fifty five years ago, the 13th Amendment became part of the United States Constitution, with Georgia’s ratification vote. This year, there is still involuntary servitude around the world, and not as punishment for crime. Indeed, President Trump’s State Department highlighted the well-documented problem of women forced into marriages, shipped into Communist China for […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they discuss confirmation that a federal prosecutor is investigating Hunter Biden on tax issues, his foreign ties, and possible money laundering. They also sigh at the revelations of China’s efforts to infiltrate the inner circles of politicians supposedly on the rise, and how easily multiple figures seem to have fallen for it.  And they react to reports that Sen. Dianne Feinstein is suffering from cognitive decline but find the timing awfully convenient for the far left.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome a six-vote win for Republican Marianette Miller-Meeks in a very tight Iowa House race. They also hammer China for covering up what it knew about COVID in the early days of the pandemic as leaked documents confirm what many suspected for months. And they slam a Detroit Free Press columnist for labeling every man, woman, and child as a potential serial killer since they could possibly spread COVID.

Member Post

 

I was pretty disappointed when General Mattis parted ways with the Trump administration, as he was highly touted by veterans here on Ricochet.  I was shocked this week when Mattis participated in a hit piece on Trump’s “America First” foreign policy.  Today, I find out that Mattis has been a member of The Cohen Group, […]

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Here’s something which just barely possibly happened: a Chinese emperor decided to order the tides around. Well, up and down; but maybe around too; you know these Chinese emperors. This one issued his commands. And to make sure that the tides complied, he sent a trusted subordinate to the sea to check. It’s several days’ […]

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Doug Schoen (author & campaign consultant) drops in to discuss his most recent book The End of Democracy?: Russia and China on the Rise, America in Retreat. He and Bridget have a frank conversation about the fact that we are so divided in this country we are failing to pay attention to the larger threats of Russian and Chinese influence in the world. They cover how a lack of common purpose and a failure to recognize the challenges we face in America puts us at risk, the damage caused by putting politics ahead of the greater good of the country, and the fact that if the US abandons the global stage, other countries will turn to Russia and China who are only too happy to intervene in ways that put our country’s interests at risk. They acknowledge how helpless individuals can feel in the face of such large-scale problems and how we must unite as a country behind some of our core principles, such as liberty and freedom of speech, if we are to have a hope of maintaining national resilience and international influence.

Member Post

 

The theory behind the liberalization of trade rules with China starting during the George W. Bush administration was that by “liberalizing” trade with China and presumably China’s economy the Chinese would liberalize their society and import democratic principles. It has proven to be 100% wrong. China, i.e. the Chinese Communist Party, took our money, stole […]

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Trump’s Disruptive Foreign Policy

 

The following began its brief life as a comment on another recent post, but after reflection I thought maybe it was cogent enough to stand on its own. On the foreign policy front, I suspect I may be the only one here who has served in Embassies, including during the Trump era. This is what I will say about that.

  1. I’m sure I won’t break any news when I say that most of the foreign policy establishment leans left and is distressed when any Republican is elected but was especially so in 2016. This is not only true of our dear State Department friends but across the entire transnational community of foreign policy elites.
  2. Continuing as Captain Obvious, DJT is a norm-breaker, and the foreign policy community seriously loves it some norms–and resents when they are broken.
  3. Of course, some norms badly needed to be broken. In particular, the national and international foreign policy consensus on China urgently needed to move, and this administration succeeded in catalyzing that movement. The 2017 National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy were masterfully done. They met a critical need to generate a global awakening about the failure of the previous consensus on Beijing, probably best summarized by Robert Zoellick’s 2005 “Responsible Stakeholder” speech. Someone had to end the charade, and it’s worth wondering whether a more conventional administration of either party could have overcome the entrenched consensus to have boldly introduced major-power competition as the new normal–so successfully that even the professionals now agree that we can’t go back to the status quo ante on China.
  4. Israel and the Middle East is the other major area where the foreign policy consensus simply had to be sidelined. I recently spoke to a State Department official who–in the context of a discussion about normalization with the UAE and Bahrain–seethed angrily about how this Administration had trashed 70 years of foreign policy consensus on Palestine. Without irony. Sometimes the conventional wisdom must be firmly rejected.
  5. Getting our allies to finally invest in their own defense is also a plus.
  6. Having said that, we are paying a price for appearing capricious and unnecessarily dismissive of our allies. Sure, they can be difficult, but they remain our allies and we do need to keep them on our side. Those same national security documents make it clear that major-power competition is a team sport, and we have to bring the team along if we’re going to win. And we must win.
  7. Also, the incessantly revolving door of senior officials (especially SecDefs and National Security Advisors) has been extremely disruptive to getting important work done in the international space.
  8. Finally, there’s been a dearth of consistently strong and vocal leadership on our American principles (democracy, rule of law, human rights, etc.), particularly since Nikki Haley stepped down as U.N. Ambassador. Foreign policy requires salesmanship, and ours would benefit from some strength, steadiness, and consistency on these themes.

Bottom line, this administration has served as a corrective to some badly flawed policy. Disruption was absolutely necessary, but at some point should start to give way to stability and focused team-building.

A United Nations Speech Like No Other

 

Trump UN75President Trump took under eight minutes to state the United States position to world leaders and domestic and international audiences. He started with the reason the United Nations was formed 75 years ago, the end of the second world war in a half century. President Trump used military imagery to tie the UN’s purpose to the current global pandemic. Then he dropped the hammer on China. President Trump called on the UN to deal with real problems and pointed to real US leadership under his administration. He pointed to the remarkable peace deals resulting from his administration rejecting the tired old institutionalized expert formulas. He once again pointed to the obligation of every government to care first for its own citizens, and then to make agreements in the mutual interest of each nation’s people, not according to elite theories and interests.

President accused China and the World Health Organization of letting the virus out and lying at all the important points. when it could have been contained or its effect on populations limited. President Trump then detailed China’s offenses against the rest of the world as the leading polluter of the oceans and atmosphere. No one can doubt that the Chinese Communist Party dearly wants Joe Biden, Chuck and Nancy in charge of America next January, and is fully supportive of the Democrats’ subversive strategy of denying the legitimacy of any Republican victory.

This latest annual speech reflects both continuity and change. President Trump has consistently advocated for each nation to take care of its own people first, making only those deals that are mutually beneficial to the citizens of the nations involved. He has beat the drum for reform of international organizations, cleaning up corruption and incompetence by pointing them back to their founding purposes. What changed was a major shift against China, now being accused of being the world’s supervillain, and celebration of the sweet fruit of long labors in the Middle East.

We are joined by Dr. Jung Chang, author of the best-selling books Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China; Mao: The Unknown Story; and Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three Women at the Heart of Twentieth-Century China. Dr. Chang discusses Wild Swans, a sweeping narrative about three generations of her family across 20th-century China, and the importance of transmitting firsthand historical knowledge of life under Mao Zedong. She also describes her definitive biography of Mao – which, like Wild Swans, remains banned in China – documenting the carnage under his reign, including the peacetime deaths of an estimated 70 million people. She explores Mao’s cult of personality, changing perceptions of his character and legacy, and Maoism’s resurgence in China today. Dr. Chang then delves into the topic of her newest book, Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three Women at the Heart of Twentieth-Century China, a group biography of the powerful Soong sisters, including Madame Chiang. She concludes with a reading from her memoir, Wild Swans.

Stories of the Week: A new report covered by Time magazine reveals a shocking lack of Holocaust knowledge among Millennials and Gen-Z Americans surveyed across 50 states – troubling evidence of the dangers of woefully inadequate history instruction. CBS News reports that more Black families, when given the option, are likely to choose remote learning, for a variety of reasons having to do with mistrust of the system and safety concerns.

If I Were the Pope, I’d Deal with China Differently

 

The Catholic Church, in her long and storied history, has lots of experience dealing with dictatorial powers that see her as a rival.

Throughout much of European history, bishops were a different class of wealthy noblemen. Rulers rightly saw bishops as potential threats. Many kings and princes attempted to control the ability to appoint the bishops within their rule. The response of the Church varied over time and place, but the essential lesson is that the Church should not, can not, cede her power to appoint bishops to the local authorities. When she does, it goes badly.

Join Jim and Greg as they cheer the Abraham Accords and hope President Trump is right that several other Arab nations may soon normalize relations with Israel as well. They also discuss the claims of a possible Chinese whistleblower who claims she has evidence that COVID-19 came from a lab rather than a wet market and the Chinese Communist Party has been covering its tracks ever since. Jim explains why she ought to release whatever she has as soon as possible. And as the “experts” keep insisting states are totally prepared for massive mail-in voting, they groan as Michigan can’t even get the names in the presidential race right on the ballot.

ACF PoMoCon #28: Winning Space

 

Today I talk to my friend Brandon Weichert about his tract for the times, Winning Space. Brandon’s gone from staff in Congress to the Institute of World Politics to Oxford for his grad studies and has emerged as the leading young advocate for what Trump called the US Space Force. We talk about America’s shocking satellite vulnerabilities, competition with China in space, and the nationalism required to deal with emerging technologies that will change our world.

Vikas Battalion and Election Day

 

The last several months have seen rising tension between India and the PRC over their disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. In June, during an attempted “de-escalation,” there was an incident in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. Just Monday, reports came out of a counter-offensive from the Indian Army, sending their Special Frontier Forces, the Vikas Battalion, to capture important strategic high ground in the dispute.

The use of SFF was deliberate by the Indian Army. SFF was formed in 1962 of Tibetan soldiers whose mission was to conduct covert operations behind Chinese lines. Today, Vikas Battalion is composed of mostly Tibetan and Gorkha soldiers. Tibetans have no reason to love the People’s Liberation Army, and of Gorkhas it was once said, “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gorkha.”

The Red Chinese claim that they have never violated any border in an aggressive manner, which in their minds is true because when they have a problem with the border, they simply move the border (see the South China Sea and the Nine-Dash Line) and then accuse others of violating it.