Posts tagged ‘China’

08/15/2011

Paul Wins Foreign Policy Debate (8-11-11)

Congressman Ron Paul, unelectable as a Presidential candidate due to his extreme views on the economy, was however a lone voice of sanity on foreign policy issues, and a shining star among the Republicans at the Iowa Straw Poll Debate on Aug. 11, 2011.

MIDEAST: Paul, the only military vet on stage, courageously said it is time to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places. America’s wars have been costing trillions, Paul said, and the U.S. has to stop spending so much money on them.

AFGHANISTAN: Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, most likely to be the nominee, incorrectly said Afghans are now free from the Taliban. He then adopted a weak position for an aspiring commander-in-chief, by pledging to follow the lead of the generals, which is code for not withdrawing from abroad. Former Minnesota Gov. Plawenty said we were justified in going into Afghanistan, but also offered little hope for the future, saying the effort there was still worth it.

IRAN: When former Penn. Sen. Santorum said Iran first became our enemy in 1979, Paul had to give him a history lesson, saying the U.S. started the rift when we meddled in their internal affairs and overthrew their leader in 1953. Paul also had to explain to Gov. Pawlenty that Iran wants nuclear weapons as a defense against their well armed neighbors, who already have the bomb, such as: Israel, Pakistan, and Russia. Paul correctly pointed out that Iran is no threat to the U.S. Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, a bombastic hot-headed extremist, who should never herself have a finger on the trigger, ironically promised to make sure Iran didn’t get the bomb. When Pawlenty suggested the U.S. impose sanctions against Iran, Paul warned that they could provoke yet another war, and he again had to educate the Governor, saying such measures did not work in the past against states like Cuba. Paul added it is time to end our 50-year old trade embargo against the island-nation.

BIN LADEN: None of the Republican candidates congratulated the Obama Administration for successfully eliminating Osama Bin Laden. Bachmann instead offered the incorrect view that our poor treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo had something to do with it.

ARAB SPRING: With regards to the Arab Spring, Pawlenty criticized Obama for not demanding the departure of Syrian leader Assad. Former Congressman Gingrich said he would not have intervened in Libya, and we have to rethink our strategy in the entire region.

SHARIA LAW: Herman Cain, who never held a public office, and was in the debate only because the Republicans needed a black face on stage, received ridiculous applause from the partisan audience, as he promised to remove Sharia Law from U.S. Courts, a problem that doesn’t even exist.

ISRAEL: Cain also pandered to the Israeli Lobby, saying Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map, and Pawlenty did the same, by baselessly accusing Obama of sticking a thumb in Israel’s eye.

CHINA: With respect to Asia, former Utah Gov. Huntsman, who served as Ambassador to China, said a President should know something about the Peoples Rep., and the U.S. needed a dialog with them.

IMMIGRATION: As to immigration, Paul again led the charge saying we should stop paying attention to Afghan borders, and instead worry about our own. Huntsman, in favor of securing U.S. borders, was reluctant to send all illegal aliens home. Romney simply promised to crack down on immigration, but of course gave no specifics. Gingrich said secure the borders, and make English our official language. Cain had the worst response of all, promising to empower each state to develop 50 separate immigration policies.

FOREIGN POLICY: Paul is the only candidate to articulate a clear foreign policy, which is to withdraw from foreign wars. He understands the Persian Gulf and Mideast far better than his opponents. Huntsman was reasonable for a Republican. Romney sounded like another weak leader, like George W. Bush, as he would let others control foreign policy. Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum and Cain were frankly too frightening to even consider as president.

04/06/2011

China Will Not Apply Western Law

The news reported yet another crackdown against dissidents and rights advocates in China. While we may and should criticize human rights abuses, we also need to understand why the Chinese distrust of the western approach to law.

China never set out to colonize the world. They instead built a Great Wall to keep people out. From the arrival of the colonial Portuguese (1517) through the 20th Century, western European powers imposed their will on China. At the point of a gun, Britain seized Hong Kong (1842), and later the Kowloon Peninsula. They forced China to surrender their seaports to nine western states, under unfair treaties (1860). China was required, for example, to give Britain a lease to Hong Kong, rent free, for 99 years (1898). The west ultimately controlled 60 Chinese ports.

The unfair treaties led to anti-Western sentiments and the Boxer Rebellion (1898-00). Troops from England, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Russia and the U.S. were sent to suppress it. Following WWII, Mao Tse Tung’s troops won the Chinese Civil War (1949) and ushered in a People’s Republic, which ousted the Europeans from the mainland, for the first time in 432 years.

As the American War in Vietnam (1965-73) escalated, Mao feared the infiltrating power of the U.S. and started a Cultural Revolution to purge China of all western influence (1966-68). A Red Guard of 22 million teens moved all persons educated in the West to the rice fields. They carried Mao’s little Red Book and quoted his works, as they closed schools and universities, to restructure the curriculums. They attacked those who resisted, such as journalists and intellectuals. Some were forced to wear dunce caps, and were given manual work to get their minds right.

When Mao died, his anti-western policies were reversed (1976) and the Gang of Four (including Mao’s wife) were put on trial for Cultural Revolution excesses (1978). President Carter established diplomatic ties, ending decades of strained relations (1979). China reopened their law schools and resumed trade with the west, as they moved from a controlled to a market economy (1979). The law schools started graduating attorneys again in 1983, following a 17-year hiatus. President Reagan traveled to China and signed trade deals, which allowed U.S. businesses to conduct trade (1984).

I personally witnessed the Chinese legal system that year. I toured a prison in Beijing in 1984, which housed 1,900 prisoners, of whom 50 were counter-revolutionaries. As I walked through the facility, the inmates were making bicycles. They could not look at me. Their inability to even glance away, for just a split second, was chilling. I had been in U.S. jailhouses, as a lawyer, but the strict atmosphere in this prison, made a lasting impression.

I also visited the People’s Court in Shanghai, where I noticed no trials in progress, even though the city had millions of residents. I asked how many lawyers there were in Shanghai and was told there were only 850. Individual rights were at great risk in China, given the shortage of lawyers, caused by the Cultural Revolution.

While China subsequently increased their number of attorneys, they still give the state more respect than the individual. When students rallied for democracy in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and demanded a free press in 1989, the army fired upon them.

While China today is now willing to conduct trade with the west, they still distrust the Anglo-American western legal system, which was so unfair to them for hundreds of years during the colonial era. This is why it is difficult to convince China to accept our approach to law. The Chinese politely reject westerners who lecture them regarding law, particularly when the preachers are from one of the countries that historically abused their rights.

03/16/2011

Japan: A Power Without Nuclear Power?

Since the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, their nuclear power plants are at risk of a meltdown. The question now is whether Japan will continue nuclear power or seek alternatives.

Japan has an industrial economy based on the consumption of energy. Their need for coal explains why they seized some of Korea from China (1895), part of Manchuria from Russia (1905), the remainder of Korea (1910), and the rest of Manchuria (1931).

Japan also has a need for oil. When Japan annexed East China (1941), President Franklin Roosevelt subjected them to a complete oil embargo (July 1941). The Japanese interpreted it as a declaration of war, since 100% of their oil was imported. Japan felt their only option was to seize the oil fields of the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), controlled by the Netherlands. Once the Dutch surrendered to Germany, Japan made plans to take the Dutch oil. Their only obstacle was the U.S., which explains why they attacked the U.S. Navy in the Philippines and at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941. As American forces closed in on Japan in WWII, incendiary devices were dropped on 66 cities, but it was not until atomic bombs detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the war ended.

In the postwar, without natural sources of coal or oil, Japan turned to nuclear energy. This was ironic since their first exposure to the unleashing of atoms was so destructive. Japan rebuilt their economy and by 1968 emerged as the second largest auto producer. It was not until this year that China replaced them as the second largest global economy. Even so, Japan remains a major trading partner and what happens to them may affect us all.

It appears Japan will probably return to nuclear energy, since they have no domestic oil or coal. On the other hand, this is the type of crisis that may finally push scientists into developing a currently unknown energy alternative.