Tuesday 30 January 2018

It is not just Russia...

So say the highly intelligent, err, US intelligence agencies.

The USA is in a real bind with China.

On the one hand, China creates the mass market products that keep the American consumer market on the road, including the all-American Apple Iphone X - 100% China made of course by Foxconn.
The Chinese also finance this trade by being the willing buyer of trillions of dollars worth of US T-bills. So much so, that it has become a truly symbiotic relationship wherein unpicking it would really hurt both parties.

But China has also made many of its gains through stealth, subterfuge and outright theft. It's brand new FC-31 fighter is a copy of the US F-35 - America's own newest jet fighter. China stole the plans via industrial espionage. In the corporate world, most manufacturing companies from the West managed to destroy themselves in China, where with no intellectual property protection, their products were copied and delivered more cheaply with no recourse. Far fewer Western companies go to China now, the flow has turned the other way (which kind of works too, those expensive flats in Mayfair needed cocky buyers too....).

Moreover, just today the US is calling out China to be on a par with Russia in terms of a state threat. Not because it is as aggressive, but because it is so much richer and has its vast human intelligence network that Russia lacks.

Militarily too, there is no doubt China could defend its Eastern Hemisphere now from an US attack. It is 10 years since the Chinese sub famously emerged in the middle of the US 5th Fleet off Taiwan, since then they have been busy building even quitter nuclear and diesel subs and better missiles (recently tested in Syria by the Iranians, natch).

So what can the US do, one thing in their favour is that as much as the Chinese detest the West and still harbour deep hatred for the colonial period, they don't much care for the rest of the world beyond it being a source of raw materials. Not for China a global peacekeeper role. For all the talk of the Belt and Road, it is an aggressive economic strategy with little military input. Compare and contrast to the USA post 1945 with bases left and indeed, expanded, around the world.

China has problems at home too in the medium term as it tries to adapt its one-party rule state to the internet age and an impossibly large population to control. But time is on China's side.

How Trump and the US deal with China, always a canny negotiator (see since this month how European oil prices have increased after China/Russia agreed to reduce supplies going West and send them East instead), will be interesting to watch. No President yet has got it right, Trump at least tried with his Syria strike whilst dining with President Li.

What would you do?


Anonymous said...

I remember around 2000-odd the absolute desperation to "get into China", and various Chinese VIPs being led around my financial services workplace.

I imagine Huweai switches and hubs have sent back a lot of useful data to China by now - when BT started installing their kit I couldn't believe it. Talk about capitalists selling rope.

"What would you do?"

Large and increasing tariffs on Chinese tech. Yes, I know, we'd have to learn how to make things all over again.

Steven_L said...

Just embrace it, stop checking the 'UK sellers' box on eBay, download 'Wish' on your mobile, perhaps even brave AliExpress. Move your savings to Asia and learn some basic pleasantries in Mandarin.

Bill Quango MP said...

We stopped the direct importing a good few years back. It was far, far cheaper to do it that way.
But sometimes, too often, the stuff would be fake. Or faulty. Or shoddy.
And impossible to exchange or get more than a partial credit.
Stock that was supposed to be 'mixed colour' would come in 90% one colour. A lousy one too.
So it was just easier to go back to dealing with UK importers of the same stuff and pay the margin.

Anonymous said...

@Steven_L - "resistance is useless!"

Anonymous said...

The British Empire was "an aggressive economic strategy" too.

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

A carve up, between the KSA and China and east/west crapistan, is there much left of Britain to save?

Anonymous said...

"is there much left of Britain to save"

How about the people?

DJK said...

Anonymous said...

"is there much left of Britain to save"

All to play for still with GKN.

Thud said...

The Chinese military is still more than a generation behind the west and relies on the lefty media here to try and convince us the game is up, capitalism has failed blah blah blah. Talk of carrier killer missiles is supposed to us how just how backward thinking we are (never mind chinas rush to build carriers) yet the media forgewts finding the carriers and remaining intact long enough to engage given U.S. capabilities. Barring the opening week or two the Americans have just been fighting (with political handicaps) a glorified police action their first world war fighting capacity is undiminished and unmatched in its power....and under Trump will only increase....fuck China.

Petepet said...

Frack as much gas and oil as we can. Get the coal and use the cleanest method for producing energy. Stop all subsidies on fuel creation and give manufacturing the cheapest energy the market can supply by law. Once that is in place we can compete with the best.

Mark Wadsworth said...

What would I do?

I'd correct this typo: "even quitter nuclear subs".

miker22 said...

There's a great scene in "Too Big to Fail" when at the Beijing Olympics, Hank Paulson is told by a Chinese official that there had been an approach by a Russian delegation to co-ordinate dumping Freddy and Fanny Stocks massively without warning. He reminds a shocked Hank that America carries just too much debt.

Electro-Kevin said...

What would I do ?

Our problem in the Anglosphere isn't China but our own cultural Marxists. China is unencumbered. This is the biggest threat to all our capabilities and Trump is besieged in a battle against it - Twittering from his fortress.

On another issue - the British in particular:

I bought a pair of walking boots yesterday, to replace my 14-year-old dependables. Only to find that these are no way the same boots and will be lucky to last 3 years. Designed to decieve the buyer in the shop (I fell for it.)

Research shows that the brand was sold to a corporation and manufacture outsourced to China several years back - licensed fakery.

So why couldn't Britain have kept on making excellent boots ?

Why didn't they display proudly "Made in China" ? (I could cite umpteen brands which have gone this way - being in the EU did nothing to protect the jobs.)

I love capitalism. I loathe spiv capitalism of which the British are expert.

Anonymous said...

There's little can be done. End of the day, there's a majority of the population who aren't wealthy enough to pay for quality, so they pay for tat. China supplies said tat at a price point we can't match, even if China managed to match our lifestyle across the board they've still got scale on their side to undercut the west. The US could potentially compete on that side, but Detroit says otherwise.

And it's not all tat - I've a Schenzen generic phone, and it is close to Apple and Samsung in terms of quality at half the price.

Military wise, can't see them getting tasty as China has too many internal problems for a war to paper over. They still throw their weight about in their own region.

Even if the entire UK evolved into fish people and we turned every square inch of land into a mine or industry, it'd take China about 6 months to overtake it. The UKs best resource has always been it's people, if we're to compete in the real world, and not some 1950s fantasy world, that's where we need to invest.

dearieme said...

"China has too many internal problems for a war to paper over." History is full of wars fought to paper over cracks at home.

"The UKs ... people, ... that's where we need to invest." The first move is to improve the state schools, which needs no investment of money worth mentioning. What's required is to defeat the Blob.

Anonymous said...

@dearieme - the current Chinese power bloc knows their nation is too big to achieve that, which is why I said that's why they won't go down that route. If they were, Taiwan would already be screwed.

Agreed on the blob, but it goes deeper than that. Consecutive governments have been fucking stupid, closing down SEN schools and not booting the worst out of the system. Family member is getting bullied, won't follow my advice to beat the ever loving shit out of one of them as it goes on a record! Fucking mental. The Blob and the government deserve each other, the nation deserves better.

Electro-Kevin said...

"End of the day, there's a majority of the population who aren't wealthy enough to pay for quality, so they pay for tat."

In terms of walking boots a false economy.

The new ones weren't far short of a good pair of Scarpa's anyway.

hovis said...

Anon@2.00pm - the Blob and the Govt. are essentially one and the same. Convergence has been happening for years. Ther may be individuals who don't subscribe to things but their direction of travel remains in the same direction.

Anonymous said...

E-K - what were they? My aged Hawkins boots, bought in 1974 in Fort William, made in Northampton, waterproof and really well constructed, lasted 25-odd years with resoling (Vibram) and were then replaced with a succession of tat from Millets, until I got fed up with the blisters (I'd started serious walking again - 18 miles a day on weekends), went to a good shop and spent £200 on a pair of Meindls. Nearly bought Alt-Berg, made in Yorkshire and also well spoken of.


More sadly, my rubber Bata green wellies, made in Essex, died after about 18 years, by which time the factory had shut (along with the staff sports club and all the other good things UK workers used to get), and I could only find PVC wellies in the shops. My wife says Hunters are now made overseas and are poor quality.

Anonymous said...

Really miss those Batas, you could do six miles in the rain with the dog and not feel the distance or worry that you'd get trench or athlete's foot from the damp. They were only about £15 when I bought them.

Anonymous said...

You should look to monitize this blog
Pay a couple of pounds to the regulars
But seriously, I lurk.
Keep it up.

Electro-Kevin said...


Brasher (End of line - now merged with Berghaus under that name. Around 20 mile per month moorland.)

I have a pair of Meindls for 3 mile daily dog walking on beach and tarmac. A fair pair of shoes doing work which killed a pair of Sketchers in six months.

CityUnslicker said...

Monetize the blog - seriously, it already makes nearly 3 cents a day. what kind of capitalist slave driver are you J?

Steven_L said...

Or sell it as a crowdfunded ICO for a cool couple of million?

Anonymous said...

Ah, so Brasher have joined Vango and Karrimor in the sad line of once-great outdoor gear makers. My wife has a pair but they're UK made and still going strong.