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Ed Webb

President Trump's thoroughly confusing Fox Business interview, annotated - The Washingt... - 0 views

  • When you see that, I immediately called General Mattis.

    I said, what can we do?

    And they came back with a number of different alternatives.  And we hit them very hard.

    Now, are we going to get involved with Syria?

    No.  But if I see them using gas and using things that — I mean even some of the worst tyrants in the world didn't use the kind of gases that they used.  And some of the gases are unbelievably potent.

    So when I saw that, I said we have to do something.

  • people just don't see this, the level of brutality, the level of viciousness.
  • I was sitting at the table.  We had finished dinner.  We're now having dessert.  And we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you've ever seen and President Xi was enjoying it.

    And I was given the message from the generals that the ships are locked and loaded, what do you do?

    And we made a determination to do it, so the missiles were on the way.  And I said, Mr. President, let me explain something to you.  This was during dessert.

    We've just fired 59 missiles, all of which hit, by the way, unbelievable, from, you know, hundreds of miles away, all of which hit, amazing.

    BARTIROMO:  Unmanned?

    Brilliant.

    TRUMP:  It's so incredible.  It's brilliant.  It's genius.  Our technology, our equipment, is better than anybody by a factor of five.  I mean look, we have, in terms of technology, nobody can even come close to competing.

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  • So what happens is I said we've just launched 59 missiles heading to Iraq and I wanted you to know this. And he was eating his cake. And he was silent.
  • But I think he understood the message and I understood what he was saying to me.
Ed Webb

Russia may sell Iran $10 billion worth of tanks and jets in new arms deal - 0 views

  • further cement an alliance between Moscow and Tehran that is likely to prove a major stumbling block for any rapprochement between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, who has vowed to rip up a nuclear agreement with Iran that the Kremlin supports.
  • until 2020 deliveries of conventional weapons must be approved by the United Nations Security Council
  • Sergey Ryabkov, a deputy foreign minister, said on Monday that Russia’s support for the Iran deal “has not changed,” indicating that it would oppose any attempt to re-negotiate it.

    Russia has increased arms sales in recent years as it seeks to earn foreign currency and support potential allies in its confrontation with the West. 

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  • a $2 billion contract to deliver 24 advanced SU-35 jets to China, ending a decade-long unofficial moratorium on sales of hi-tech weaponry to Beijing because of fears over technology piracy.
  • Iran and China announced an agreement to hold joint military drills and cooperate in fighting terrorism
Ed Webb

China says its first aircraft carrier is now 'combat ready' | The Japan Times - 0 views

  • China’s first aircraft carrier is now ready for combat, state media said Tuesday, a key breakthrough as the Asian giant seeks to flex its naval muscle in waters far beyond its shores.
  • “As a military force, we are always prepared for war and our combat capacity also needs to be tested by war,” Li said. “At this moment, we are doing our best to promote our strength and use it to prevent war, and are prepared for actual combat at any time.”
  • The Liaoning differs from the aircraft carriers of other countries in both size and capability, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank’s China Power blog.

    “Although its overall capability is hindered by its comparatively inefficient power plant and underpowered aircraft-launching system, the Liaoning represents an important step in advancing China’s ability to project naval power,” the blog said in an analysis.

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  • the carrier is likely to put more muscle behind Beijing’s moves in the disputed South China Sea.

    Beijing claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion in annual trade passes. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam all have rival claims.

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    Implications for balance of power in East Asia and (somewhat) globally. The next carrier will be more capable.
Ed Webb

China: Soon the most visible victim of deglobalisation - Al Jazeera English - 1 views

  • China's exports hit an all-time high in December, 2015 and (ignoring season fluctuations) have been declining ever since. China is increasingly turning inward for growth - and having trouble finding it
  • Most other countries export intermediate goods that are just parts and components of the finished goods that consumers actually buy. China more often exports the finished goods
  • both Chinese and global exports are falling
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  • Annual global FDI is down roughly 50 percent from its 2007 peak of just over $3 trillion. It's still much larger than it was in the 1990s or earlier decades, but global FDI has stabilised at roughly the levels of the early 2000s.
  • the roots of today's global economy really go back to 1973, when the United States went off the gold standard and most countries moved from fixed to floating exchange rates.

    Floating exchange rates meant that the era of managed trade was over. The global economy moved into a new phase driven by market forces. The oil exporting countries of the Gulf were the first to benefit as the market price for oil quadrupled between 1973 and 1974. China came to the party just a few years later.

    Since then the global economy has become more and more open. After the currency liberalisation of 1973 came a huge increase in international trade and then, in the 1990s, in foreign investment. Both trade and investment peaked in 2007-2008

  • These days China has to compete with India, Southeast Asia, Latin America and even Africa for scarce foreign investment dollars
  • China's export-oriented garment industry employs about 10 million people. These jobs are increasingly threatened as companies move production to lower-cost countries such as Vietnam
  • China has been the most visible beneficiary of the increasing globalisation of the global economy. Soon it may be the most visible victim of deglobalisation
Ed Webb

Chinese yuan: Renminbi officially added to the IMFs Special Drawing Rights currency bas... - 1 views

  • Starting today, the yuan is officially a member of the International Monetary Fund’s basket of global reserve currencies.
  • this group of currencies, known as Special Drawing Rights (SDR), forms a kind of pseudo-currency—used only by the IMF—to supplement countries’ official reserves. The value of the SDR is determined by the set of currencies in the basket, each of which is given a weighting toward the final calculation
  • The change will not lead to a precipitous rise in demand for yuan because the total value of SDRs used as reserves pales in comparison to that of dollars.
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  • The yuan is the first to be added to SDR since the euro in 1999, though that was only to replace the phased-out Deutsche mark and French franc
  • the yuan will not be threatening the dollar’s reserve status anytime soon, and will have a hard time doing so without further liberalization of the currency from the Chinese government
Ed Webb

White House tells the Pentagon to quit talking about China | Navy Times - 1 views

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    The White House has barred Pentagon leaders from a key talking point when it comes to publicly describing the military challenges posed by China.
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    The White House has barred Pentagon leaders from a key talking point when it comes to publicly describing the military challenges posed by China.
Ed Webb

More Wealth, More Jobs, but Not for Everyone: What Fuels the Backlash on Trade - The Ne... - 1 views

  • “More global trade is a good thing if we get a piece of the cake,” Mr. Duijzers said. “But that’s the problem. We’re not getting our piece of the cake.”
  • For generations, libraries full of economics textbooks have rightly promised that global trade expands national wealth by lowering the price of goods, lifting wages and amplifying growth. The powers that emerged victorious from World War II championed globalization as the antidote to future conflicts. From Asia to Europe to North America, governments of every ideological persuasion have focused on trade as their guiding economic force.

    But trade comes with no assurances that the spoils will be shared equitably. Across much of the industrialized world, an outsize share of the winnings have been harvested by people with advanced degrees, stock options and the need for accountants. Ordinary laborers have borne the costs, suffering joblessness and deepening economic anxiety

  • When millions of workers lost paychecks to foreign competition, they lacked government supports to cushion the blow. As a result, seething anger is upending politics from Europe to North America.
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  • “We do need to have these trade agreements,” Mr. Bown said, “but we do need to be cognizant that there are going to be losers and we need to have policies to address them.”
  • technological disruption and economic upheaval are now at work in an era of scarcity
  • The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression has left banks from Europe to the United States reluctant to lend. Real estate bonanzas from Spain to Southern California gave way to a disastrous wave of foreclosures, eliminating construction jobs. China’s slowdown has diminished its appetite for raw materials, sowing unemployment from the iron ore mines of Brazil to the coal pits of Indonesia.
  • Trade did not cause the breakdown in economic growth. Indeed, trade has helped generate what growth remains. But the pervasive stagnation has left little cover for those set back by globalization.
  • China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 unleashed a far larger shock, but a construction boom absorbed many laid-off workers.
  • Much of the global economy is operating free of artificial enhancements. Lower-skilled workers confront bleak opportunities and intense competition, especially in the United States. Even as recent data shows middle-class Americans are finally starting to share in the gains from the recovery, incomes for many remain below where they were a decade ago
  • Corporations that used China to cut costs raised their value, enriching executives and ordinary investors.

    The casualties of China’s exports are far fewer, but they are concentrated. The rugged country of western North Carolina suffered mass unemployment as Chinese-made wooden furniture put local plants out of business. So did glassmakers in Toledo, Ohio, and auto parts manufacturers across the Midwest.

  • Even among those who support trade, doubts are growing about its ability to deliver on crucial promises. A 2014 Pew Research Center survey of people in 44 countries found that only 45 percent of respondents believed trade raises wages. Only 26 percent believed that trade lowers prices.
  • Workers employed in major export industries earn higher wages than those in domestically focused sectors.

    Americans saw their choice of products expand by one-third in recent decades, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas found. Trade is how raspberries appear on store shelves in the dead of winter.

  • In the fallout, the United States maintained limits on unemployment benefits, leaving American workers vulnerable to plummeting fortunes. Social welfare systems have limited the toll in Europe, but economic growth has been weak, so jobs are scarce.

  • automation has grown in sophistication and reach. Between 2000 and 2010, the United States lost some 5.6 million manufacturing jobs, by the government’s calculation. Only 13 percent of those job losses can be explained by trade, according to an analysis by the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University in Indiana. The rest were casualties of automation or the result of tweaks to factory operations that enabled more production with less labor.
  • The anti-trade backlash, building for years, has become explosive because the global economy has arrived at a sobering period of reckoning. Years of investment manias and financial machinations that juiced the job market have lost potency, exposing longstanding downsides of trade that had previously been masked by illusive prosperity.
  • China’s relentless development was turning farmland into factories, accelerated by a landmark in the history of trade: the country’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization.

    The W.T.O. was born out of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, a compact forged in 1947 that lowered barriers to international commerce in an effort to prevent a repeat of global hostilities.

    In the first four decades, tariffs on manufactured wares plunged from about 35 percent to nearly 6 percent, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. By 2000, the volume of trade among members had swelled to 25 times that of a half-century earlier.

  • Mexico — home to about 123 million people — was not big enough to refashion the terms of trade. When China joined the W.T.O. in 2001, that added a country of 1.3 billion people to the global trading system
  • if robots are a more significant threat to paychecks, they are also harder to blame than hordes of low-wage workers in overseas factories.

    “We have a public policy toward trade,” said Douglas A. Irwin, an economist at Dartmouth College. “We don’t have a public policy on automation.”

  • Chinese imports eliminated nearly one million American manufacturing jobs between 1999 and 2011. Add in suppliers and other related industries, and the total job losses reach 2.4 million.
  • Mr. Trump vows to slap punitive tariffs on Chinese goods. But that would very likely just shift production to other low-wage countries like Vietnam and Mexico. It would not turn the lights on at shuttered textile plants in the Carolinas. (Even if it did, robots would probably capture most of the jobs.)

  • Trade Adjustment Assistance, a government program started in 1962 and expanded significantly a dozen years later, is supposed to support workers whose jobs are casualties of overseas competition. The program pays for job training.

    But Mr. Simmons rolls his eyes at mention of the program. Training has almost become a joke. Skills often do not translate from old jobs to new. Many workers just draw a check while they attend training and then remain jobless.

  • European workers have fared better. In wealthier countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, unemployment benefits, housing subsidies and government-provided health care are far more generous than in the United States.

    In the five years after a job loss, an American family of four that is eligible for housing assistance receives average benefits equal to 25 percent of the unemployed person’s previous wages, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. For a similar family in the Netherlands, benefits reach 70 percent.

  • Yet in Europe, too, the impacts of trade have been uneven, in part because of the quirks of the European Union. Trade deals are cut by Brussels, setting the terms for the 28 member nations. Social programs are left to national governments.
  • In China, farmers whose land has been turned into factories are making more steel than the world needs.

    In America, idled steel workers are contemplating how to live off the land.

  • a provision that would enable multinational companies to sue governments for compensation when regulations dent their profits.

    Esso, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil, the American petroleum company, has operations in the Netherlands. Suppose the government went ahead with plans to limit drilling to protect the environment?

    “They could sue the Dutch state,” he fumed. “We are not so sure in the Netherlands whether we want to give the multinationals so much power. We are a trading country, but it’s not always that trade should prevail against quality of life.”

  • the longshoremen fret about robots
  • Now, many longshoremen sit in glass-fronted offices set back from the docks, controlling robotic arms via computer terminals.

  • The robots will win in the end, because robots never strike. Robots improve with time.
  • Trade deals, immigrant labor, automation: As Mr. Arkenbout sees it, these are all just instruments wielded in pursuit of the same goal — paying him less so corporations can keep more.

    “When they don’t need me anymore,” he said, “I’m nothing.”

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    Relevant to our class discussion on 9/27/16
Ed Webb

As Obama's Asia 'pivot' falters, China steps into the gap - Yahoo News - 2 views

  • doubts over a policy aimed at re-invigorating U.S. military and economic influence in the fast-growing region, while balancing a rising China
  • the image of a dysfunctional, distracted Washington adds to perceptions that China has in some ways outflanked the U.S. pivot
  • Since 2011, China has consolidated its position as the largest trade partner with most Asian countries and its direct investments in the region are surging, albeit from a much lower base than Europe, Japan and the United States. Smaller countries such as Laos and Cambodia have been drawn so strongly into China's economic orbit that they have been called "client states" of Beijing, supporting its stance in regional disputes.

    Leveraging its commercial ties, China is also expanding its diplomatic, political and military influence more broadly in the region, though its efforts are handicapped by lingering maritime tensions with Japan, the Philippines and several other nations.

    "For countries not closely allied with the U.S., Obama's no-show will reinforce their policy of bandwagoning with China,"

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  • China is demonstrating that it can deploy forces far beyond its coastal waters on patrols where they conduct complex battle exercises, according to Japanese and Western naval experts. Chinese shipyards are turning out new nuclear and conventional submarines, destroyers, missile-armed patrol boats and surface ships at a higher rate than any other country.
  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, one of Washington's most key allies in the region, said it was disappointing Obama would not be visiting Asia.

    "Obviously we prefer a U.S. government which is working to one which is not. And we prefer a U.S. President who is able to travel to fulfill his international duties to one who is preoccupied with his domestic preoccupations," Lee said after arriving in Bali.

    "It is a very great disappointment to us President Obama is unable to visit."

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