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09 February 2013

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Neil Richardson

Yun Sun discusses a recent development in the PRC's strategic calculus in reaction to the "Pacific pivot" by the United States.

http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/up-front/posts/2013/01/31-china-us-sun


For those wishing to read the important piece by Wang Jisi under discussion, it's found here:

http://opinion.huanqiu.com/opinion_world/2012-10/3193760.html

Fred

Has anyone cooked with truffles or oil? I have a friend heading to Paris who owes me a favor and thought I'd have him pick me up some as a gift amongst other items.

Tyler

All I know is that its an expensive gift and the oil adds a nice "earthy" flavor, and that generally one should cook truffles lightly.

oth

If there was a Sun Tzu in the world today, OBL would have been a troll to distract the west and create a quaqmire.

A 9/11 event hosted from Africa would be the next best thing for Chinese Strategic expansion.

Getting asked to please help pick up the pieces is just an ironic cherry on top.

Tyler

Spending the day in Tucson. Snow on the mountains, but I hate how this city is laid out.

For those following my garden follies: chickens are all laying, brocolli does indeed improve with a good frost, lettuce is about ready to be harvested. The spring harvest of tomatoes, bell peppers, peas, beans, carrots, and lettuce are all potted after sprouting. Looking like I might need to raid a fourth bed shortly.

Nancy K

Fred, black truffles are wonderful shaved over scrambled eggs, risottos, pastas. I have used truffle oil before in risotto and pasta and have had french fries with parmesan and truffle oil. Given a choice fresh truffles are much much better than the oil, no comparison. They are also much more expensive. You can get truffle oil almost any specialty store even Trader Joe's and it is inexpensive.

toto@club-med.so

Two feet of snow in Cambridge, MA. Families out, children (of all ages!) jumping into the snow. Students making igloos in the snow, and riding restaurant trays as sleds down the stairs of the library.

Meanwhile, I hear god-forsaken Californians have to trudge another day under boring, pollution-laden, hazy blue skies.

turcopolier

All

The place on the Kennebunk Plain whre my family lived when I was a teen today has three feet of snow on it. pl

Tigershark

Since I haven't seen, or may have missed, any previous comment here, any comments on the movie "Argo"?

Yes it is a movie, semi-fiction or semi-historical, as ones opinion may lay. I knew when I watched that the police cars chasing down the runway at takeoff was pure Hollywood. Heck, the police cars looked recycled from "Adam-12" Unless the police in Tehran used AMC Matadors in 1979.

I think it has a very good chance of winning Best Picture; many of the voters will like the "Inside Hollywood" side story.

Alba Etie

We had a light drizzling early spring rain that lasted most of the day in and around Spicewood ,Texas - more tomorrow.
Every drop is precious , and we are staying out in this forty to fifty degree weather as much as we can . Summer with a 120 degree heat index will be here soon enough .

Allen Thomson


> but I hate how this city is laid out.

Why? I lived a decade in Tucson around the UofA and, though the street plan is mostly Western Rectangular and not all that interesting, it didn't seem much worse than many others of the ilk. For what that's worth, of course.

The Twisted Genius

PL,

My father got two feet further north in Fryeburg. My brother in Center Sandwich, NH is going to get over there as soon as he can so my father doesn't try to snow blow the whole neighborhood. He's 85 and still hard as nails. He beat cancer a few years ago and still splits and stacks his own firewood. He also carries his canoe to the river for fishing.

rick

Yummy mushroomy-earthy. I love mushrooms, so I'd say go for it. Honey has some truffle butter that she uses to great deliciousness.

rick

Ladies and gentlemen, "Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3", by Ian Dury & the Blockheads. A happy and non-offensive little tune for times that are too often neither of those things.

m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=qcjh1a9Yoao&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dqcjh1a9Yoao

fanto

All, what will the legislature do for all the weapons inherited from legal gun owners? Will the grandchildren of deceased people need to have mental checks and ask for gun permits? Another related question: how long will the legislators allow for a sanity certificate to be valid? Is the gun permit be subject to periodic re-certification/recredentialling like this is the case for pilots and physicians? The gun - recertification would be a bonanza for psychiatrists.

harry

Yes I use it a lot. Mainly the oil.

In risottos, or as a salad dressing. Or sometimes even with eggs.

David Habakkuk

Neil Richardson,

Do Chinese strategists anticipate that ‘March West’ is to be pursued in co-operation with Russia – or do they anticipate it accentuated elements of tension in the Chinese-Russian relationship?

It may be worth recalling that the notion of a ‘continental bloc’ was canvassed by a range of very different people in the past century. One version was put forward as a central danger for the United States by Brooks Adams when he wrote ‘America’s Economic Supremacy’ at its start. (The book is now available online at http://archive.org/details/americaseconomi00adamgoog .)

Another was the vision of the proper strategy for Germany put forward by the so-called ‘Ostlers’ of the German Foreign Office in the Thirties. The German Ambassador to Moscow in the years leading up to the Second World War, Werner von der Schulenberg, advocated the creation of a ‘continental bloc’ by the incorporation of the Soviet Union in the Anti-Comintern Pact. The conception was actually embraced by Hitler’s Foreign Minister, Ribbentrop. It was radicalised by him into a vision in which Germany, Italy, Japan and the Soviet Union could slake their thirst for territorial expansion by dismembering the British Empire.

It was the clear display of unwillingness to cooperate in this vision by Molotov when he visited Berlin in November 1940 which finally – to the horror of Schulenberg and also Ribbentrop – made Hitler decide in favour of war with the Soviet Union.

In the wake of Munich, incidentally, it should have been a central objective of British policy to prevent a coming together of Germany and the Soviet Union. In fact, we pursued a policy which could hardly have been better calculated to push the two ‘totalitarian’ regimes together, had that been what we were trying to do: which it wasn’t. Whether had Britain refrained from making a unilateral guarantee to Poland, and offered the kind of binding military commitments the Soviets wanted, Stalin could have been persuaded not to ‘appease’ Nazi Germany is one of the great unanswerable questions of twentieth-century history.

Lars

I think it is a great movie and very well made. It had to take a lot of guts to pull that stunt off at the time.

Fred

I'm glad to see the Obama administration is on the job. Lord knows we can't allow executive accountability. From the LA times: "Execs off the hook at S&P"

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20130208,0,1163345.column

The beaver

As far as I know, it is not truffle season now and you may end up with truffles "made in China" if you don't know what to look for. There is a whole mafia out there for this particular black gold.

I would rather ask for truffle oil.

William R. Cumming

Now that he is confirmed as the Secretary of STATE I would be interested from others as to whether they believe that the Secretary believes ultimately on balance whether the US effort in Viet Nam was a good or bad thing for the USA and how it will play out in history of the USA!

IMO the Secreatary has yet to reach any final personal conclusions as to that use of US "hard" power! If my conclusion correct he should not have been confirmed as Secretary of State given his personal involvement in that war including his political and public views and actual performance in country.

Tyler

Several reasons, mainly dealing with the I-10 and how they've been constantly doing major work on it for the five years I've been in this state. These are major exits closed down with little warning with detours that meander through the city. There's also how major roads will go from three lanes to one lane to two lanes with very little warning. The drivers themselves tend to have cars held together with farts and bubble gum, and the bubble gum is wearing out. It reminds me, overall, of a Mexican city with how trailer parks, llanteras, and carnecerias are thrown everywhere.

Of course, these are all issues with many cities in southern Arizona. I'm spoiled with the layout of the Phoenix Metro Area, perhaps. Maricopa County seems to be the only county that didn't give its urban planner position to someone's unemployed nephew.

Neil Richardson

Dear Mr. Habakkuk

"Do Chinese strategists anticipate that ‘March West’ is to be pursued in co-operation with Russia – or do they anticipate it accentuated elements of tension in the Chinese-Russian relationship?"

As is the case with the United States, the views differ depending on whom one reads at this point. Those who stress China's traditional role as a continental power (e.g., Liu Yazhou) tend to accept the possibility of conflict with Russia in Central Asian states. Those who are disciples of Mahan such as Yang Yi and Yu Wanli tend to overlook this question as the region remains peripheral in their analysis. Wang Jisi himself doesn't address this question which could have been intentional. FWIW, the PRC did side with Russia on the Kuril Islands dispute two years ago.

Historically China has been a continental power. However, the nature of its economic development in the post-Deng era has made China a maritime power whose economic lifeline could be choked off in the East and South China Sea. And addressing that vulnerability remains the highest priority among China's defense requirements.

"It may be worth recalling that the notion of a ‘continental bloc’ was canvassed by a range of very different people in the past century. One version was put forward as a central danger for the United States by Brooks Adams when he wrote ‘America’s Economic Supremacy’ at its start."

Indeed and as you know, Kennan also believed the domination of Eurasia by a single power would pose a grave threat to the United States.

"Another was the vision of the proper strategy for Germany put forward by the so-called ‘Ostlers’ of the German Foreign Office in the Thirties."

IIRC a few years ago Lysander had compared Hitler's reaction to Ribbentrop and Schulenberg's proposal to advising a gorilla to swim.

"In the wake of Munich, incidentally, it should have been a central objective of British policy to prevent a coming together of Germany and the Soviet Union. In fact, we pursued a policy which could hardly have been better calculated to push the two ‘totalitarian’ regimes together, had that been what we were trying to do: which it wasn’t. Whether had Britain refrained from making a unilateral guarantee to Poland, and offered the kind of binding military commitments the Soviets wanted, Stalin could have been persuaded not to ‘appease’ Nazi Germany is one of the great unanswerable questions of twentieth-century history."

I completely agree.

Regarding China's strategic calculus, Japan had faced a similar one beginning in 1921. Japan obviously was a maritime power whose growing population projection at the time prompted its leadership to expand in mainland Asia. What Imperial Japan had viewed as a low hanging fruit, i.e. China had turned out to be a lot tougher to "swallow" as one IJA general confessed to Hirohito (who then asked the officer if the Pacific wasn't a lot bigger than China). The Japanese leadership had debated whether to go "north" or "south/southeast." Khalkin Gol changed the direction as the Imperial Japanese Army learned that their elite Kwantung Army was no match for even a demoralized Red Army. (And for his role, Zhukov was rapidly promoted which later put him in position for the defense of Moscow, etc)

What followed was a long contentious debate between the IJA and IJN on which direction of expansion Japan should pursue (really until a few months leading up to Pearl Harbor). The IJN leadership (Yamamoto, Yonai, Inoue and others) believed a war with the United States would be suicidal and had urged the IJA leadership to consider making concessions on China. The IJA (Tojo and others) believed the United States was "soft" and would negotiate a peace settlement after getting a bloody nose as Russia did in 1905. What is striking to me now is how PLA Navy officers are the ones pushing for China's aggressive policies on EEZ while former PLA and PLAAF general officers (like Liu Yazhou) tend to be more circumspect (It's the opposite of the IJA/IJN split in the interwar period). The last time the PRC had fought a war was in 1979, and I'm certain there are those who learned Moltke the Elder's lesson the hard way. One has to wonder if the PLAN hasn't been overconfident at this point. The JMSDF has been described as a highly competent force by a number of USN and ROKN officers who'd trained with them.

The reason why I found Wang Jisi's essay important is that it does make sense for the PRC leadership to seriously consider a "March West." In the short term, the PLAN has little chance of prevailing against the United States and Japan if somehow Senkaku were to light a fuse. China's economic growth level has been declining, and as Niall Ferguson first pointed out in 2001, the PRC has the option of balancing consumption and export as it seeks to renew its economic vigor. A new Silk Road would decrease China's maritime vulnerability and help address some of the economic inequality between coastal and western regions through development. As Yun Sun pointed out, the United States "flipped" Myanmar which had been a close ally of China. Here in the United States it was mostly reported as a thawing of relations due to the possibility of democratization. However, from a realist perspective Myanmar is a critical piece of real estate if the PRC does not "March West."

Babak Makkinejad

All:

"From Plato to NATO" by David Gress -

http://www.amazon.com/From-Plato-NATO-Idea-Opponents/dp/0743264886/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360517536&sr=8-1&keywords=From+Plato+to+NATO

An excellent analytical summary - definitely worth reading.

[Or, as I read it, why various "Westernization" projects have been all doomed to failure.]

robt willmann

Is it only a coincidence that on Tuesday, 12 February, a book in electronic form by a good friend of Glen Doherty, a former Navy Seal killed in the Benghazi attack, is to be released that tells a story different from those heard so far and further claims that David Petraeus was brought down in a palace coup by high-ranking enemies of his at the CIA?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2276139/David-Petraeus-CIA-directors-bodyguards-exposed-affair-Paula-Broadwell-claims-Benghazi-The-Definitive-Report.html#axzz2KVQpNCmp

The book is called "Benghazi The Definitive Report", by Jack Murphy and Brandon Webb.

http://www.amazon.com/Benghazi-The-Definitive-Report-ebook/dp/B00AHCRRJS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360525440&sr=8-1&keywords=brandon+webb+benghazi

Webb apparently was a Seal friend of Doherty and also an instructor in the Seal sniper training program. He has previously written sniper-oriented books.

One report has said that on this same Tuesday, John Brennan is going to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed door session, but the committee calendar does not state the subject of the hearing.

http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/hearings.cfm?hearingId=75b85d4058863364782faf917d5dd7da

The British Daily Mail article also claims that the book says that Brennan was authorizing covert attacks on Islamic militants in North Africa outside the chain of command and that Petraeus and the Libyan ambassador Stevens were unaware of it, and further that the attack in Benghazi was in retaliation for the covert operations.

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