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24 December 2013

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Fred

A foreign citizen who ran a foreign government's central bank is now to run the Fed? That's not a Christmas present I can to receive.

JMH

The price of the ticket for Yellen's appointment to the Fed, Fischer was the #2 man at IMF but wielded more power than the director. I'm sure that is the dynamic that his supporters wish to replicate. I doubt that will be the case.

tv

Any government position held by someone with dual citizenship - Israel, UK, Canada, whatever - how does that happen?
But then, this is the alternate universe inside the beltway - where 2+2 = 99 and "cut" actually means an increase.
But, beyond that:
Merry Christmas Colonel Lang

Alba Etie

One more reason why we should have a transparent and thorough auditing of the federal reserve . Senator Rand Paul is right we need to audit the fed .Perhaps Sen Paul could place a hold on Fischer 's appointment until such time as this fed audit is complete.

stanley henning

I'm speechless!!!

steve g

Read on the anti-war website the other
day BB is going to predicate further talks
or negotiations with the PA on
the release of Pollard. What a travesty
if this happens.

jon

I don't understand why we continue to allow dual nationals to hold high government positions. Is he the only person qualified to do the job?

Tony

So much for Obama for nominating him. Another (unrelated) news was that "Netanyahu 'to demand release of spy in return for peace talks concessions'". [http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/24/israel-demand-release-spy-jonathan-pollard-peace-talks].

Medicine Man

Sorry Col., off topic but it looks like Mikhail Kalashnikov has died: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/24/world/europe/mikhail-kalashnikov-creator-of-soviet-era-ak-47-weapon-is-dead-at-age-94.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

Worthy of note, I think.

walrus

So basically any country that does not do Israels bidding will get its finances trashed.

Castellio

With Fischer lined up for the Fed #2, and Institutionalized Zionism now out to both isolate and crush the American Studies Association by targeting individuals as well as the association itself, what will be the response of the American people?

http://mondoweiss.net/2013/12/against-extremist-delegitimization.html

Stanley Henning

I am speechless!!! I cannot believe this position would be given to a dual-national regardless of his wonderful abilities. Where goest America or is it Israelica?

CK

@S. Henning
We believe in the miraculous.
We educate and elevate people who despise us and fear us.
And you ask whither? America goest where its newest owners wisheth and by definition no one on this blog has any real say in the direction or the cost.
America took in the Frankfurt School communists, allowed the renaming of the remnants of Trotsky's followers to neo-conservative, and placed the sworn enemies of Christianity, Individualism and Capitalism in the seats of real power in infotainment and the judiciary.
Those voted into office cannot wait to sell themselves to the KSA and Aipac for a few shekels and another two or six years sucking the public teat and the foreign spigots.
Ask not whither it goeth ask instead how soon can you goeth another direction.

jerseycityjoan

Having two passports is becoming common among our elite, as well as many other recent immigrants here and in other countries.

This is a trend that has gained acceptance without much thought in the US. That was a mistake, I think.

While there may be some good reasons to be the US equivalent of a green card holder in one country and a citizen of another, I don't see how one person can have two citizenships, which indicates two primary loyalties. Well -- because they can't; there can only be one #1.

When I was a kid in school, we were taught people had to give up other citizenship to gain ours. We should probably return to that.

Neil Richardson

OT: Another row over defense tech transfer

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/175404#.Ur2Q5rTy3WU

http://www.israeldefense.com/?CategoryID=483&ArticleID=2648

Alba Etie

Happy New Year NR

With 'friends & allies' like Israel who needs enemies.
May Pollard rot in jail amen .

Off Topic - but could one of the learned commenters here do a piece on our Asian Pacific pivot and the ongoing brouhaha about the PRC's territorial claims ? As a lay person am I right to be concerned about China's military catching up or surpassing our own in high technology ? Wasn't the WW Two Japanese Zero for example a surprise ? Makes me wonder exactly how much of our defense technology Israel has sold to the PRC ( So maybe its not so much off topic ?)

David Habakkuk

Neil Richardson,

Thanks for those links, and for alerting me to these cans of worms about Israeli technology transfer to China.

I do not know whether you say a recent piece by Gideon Rachman, the chief foreign affairs columnist of the FT, entitled ‘Israel’s public paranoia masks private complacency.’

(See http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d4208ae0-641f-11e3-98e2-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=uk#axzz2ohLVsZgl )

Having noted warnings from the U.S. and others that Israeli’s approach to the Palestinians will ultimately be suicidal, Rachman goes on to write as follows:

‘Mr Netanyahu claims that he understands all these dangers – and has publicly endorsed the two-state solution pushed so hard by Mr Kerry. It seems entirely likely, however, that the Israeli prime minister is simply humouring his enthusiastic American visitor – and assuming that the Kerry peace effort will run into the sand, as so many have done before.’

He goes on to produce an interesting explanation for this Israeli complacency:

‘A collapse in the peace process could lead to an intensification of the sanctions drive in Europe. But the Israelis have been buoyed by the discovery that rising economic powers seem relatively unmoved by the plight of the Palestinians. One Israeli official notes, with pleasure, that in six hours of talks with the Chinese leadership, “they spent roughly 10 seconds on the Palestinians”, while revealing “an unquenchable thirst for Israeli technology”. The Israelis say that Latin Americans also tend to be more interested in economics and technology than the political issues that preoccupy the Europeans and Americans.’

One interesting question is how far the ‘unquenchable third for Israeli technology’ is related to the possibility that this provides a route by which the Chinese can overcome their lag in critical areas of military technology, as compared with the United States. In any case, the political implications to the Israeli version of a ‘pivot to Asia’ – and away from the United States and Europe – quite clearly need thinking through.

Also interesting is the fact that Rachman has quite unambiguously suggested that the Israeli leadership see Americans as idiots who can be played for suckers. People in the U.K. increasingly see this clearly. It is not clear to me how far people in the U.S. do.

different clue

What European country and/or company did Israel sell these things to? Did that country and/or company surprise Israel as much as us by on-selling these things to China? Or was that the plan between Israel, this European country/company, and China all along?

William R. Cumming

First and foremost remember that banks domestic and foreign own and manage the FED! Second, remember the FED has almost NO staff or capability to understanding or policing ICO's [International Criminal Orgs] But FED positions are often subject to FBI background investigations so suggest all dual nationals have their entire FBI background investigations released for public inspection prior to confirmation or appointment!

Former Congressman Ron Paul suggested in public [alleged?] that the FED bailed out domestic and foreign banks and foreign Central Banks in the financial crisis to the range of $27 Trillion. Open source info indicates a range of $12-$17 Trillion. Whatever the amount no one outside the FED knows for sure. What we do know is none were average American debtors but only their free-range creditors.

Bernie Madoff was caught by an investigative journalist not a bank regulator! He invested heavily in Israel's bonds. So did and do Russian criminal elements!

different clue

Since selling our highest technology to China makes China more likely to attack or otherwise subjugate its neighbors sooner, the question really does arise . . . is Israel the only country which would sell our best technology ( or even their own best technology) to China? That would be theoretically easier to contain than if several or many European countries/companies would separately also like to sell such technology to China even if sourced from somewhere
other than Israel.


Since we have formal alliances with several East and Southeast Asian countries, perhaps we should prevent any sales of technology which they also see as elevating the China threat to themselves ( which elevates it to us too since we have formal alliances with them).

Neil Richardson

Mr. Habakkuk:

"One interesting question is how far the ‘unquenchable third for Israeli technology’ is related to the possibility that this provides a route by which the Chinese can overcome their lag in critical areas of military technology, as compared with the United States. "

Since 1989, there has been an arms embargo on China among EU states. However, this isn't anything remotely close to what NATO had during the Cold War when CoCom had been in place against the Warsaw Pact. Since each EU member state could interpret what "arms embargo" means, dual-use technology isn't as closely regulated as it had been under CoCom. I do think though it'll end by 2020 if not much sooner. As for PRC, Israel and EU are certainly targets for technology acquisition as there clearly is a gap despite recent attempts by the usual sources in DC to portray PLAN and PLAAF as far more capable than they are at this point. In the context of defense cuts, interservice rivalry has no limits in the US.

However, given that Israel is one of the first scheduled to receive F-35s in 2015 I wonder if this latest row will have a wider repercussion. Since Japan, Australia and probably ROK will be deploying F-35s in the next two decades, it's a matter of credibility in the region for the United States that we don't compromise critical technologies in this manner. IIRC Feith and Wolfowitz had removed Israel from the list of F-35 security cooperation participants in 2004. They reinstated Israel only after the Israelis cancelled the contract with PRC to upgrade Harpy drones.

"In any case, the political implications to the Israeli version of a ‘pivot to Asia’ – and away from the United States and Europe – quite clearly need thinking through."

As I mentioned earlier I wonder what this might mean for some of the neoconservatives. I was struck by how Feith and Wolfowitz had reacted earlier. It's one thing to look the other way on human rights abuses in Israel as they would have little resonance for Americans in general. Yet it would be a very risky matter if IMI were seen as sending vital military technologies to China while being subsidized by US taxpayers. I remember the congressional backlash against Toshiba when it was discovered that it had sold machinery to the Soviet Union that allowed their navy to substantially reduce the hydrodynamic noise of their submarines (IIRC there was another Norwegian firm involved as well). There was a congressional resolution calling for the ban of Toshiba products in the US. And this was in 1987 when Japan had been a critical partner in soft-landing the dollar (e.g., the Plaza Accord).

"Also interesting is the fact that Rachman has quite unambiguously suggested that the Israeli leadership see Americans as idiots who can be played for suckers. People in the U.K. increasingly see this clearly. It is not clear to me how far people in the U.S. do."

I wonder about this question as well. Frankly I'm struck by how the discourse on Israel has changed over the last decade or so. Peter Beinart's piece in NYRB would not have been published 10 or 15 yrs ago IMHO. During the Republican primary season in 2012, Saturday Night Live had lampooned Rick Santorum by having the actor who portrayed the candidate say that he'd start a war with Iran as a favor to Israel. Stuff like this would not have made the cut in the writers' room before 2002. Comparing Israel to Aparteid South Africa would have been unthinkable as well IMO. Yet there have been Jewish Americans raising this question in recent years. Perhaps I'm being naive and I'd be the first to admit that I'm not that knowledgeable about MENA. Yet I still wonder if there's been a shift in sentiment among Jewish Americans (especially among the younger generation who don't identify with the state of Israel nearly as much as previous generations did).

Neil Richardson

DC:

"What European country and/or company did Israel sell these things to? Did that country and/or company surprise Israel as much as us by on-selling these things to China? Or was that the plan between Israel, this European country/company, and China all along?"

At this point I've not come across any mention of the conduit. The Israelis have been burned a few times over defense transfers to China in the past. I'm sure it had been planned from the beginning. Let's see if they have to pay a price for this. Feith had thrown a fit over the upgrade of Harpy drones. The current administration's "Pacific pivot" means that this pattern of behavior could have significant policy implications today.

Neil Richardson

AE:
"Am I right to be concerned about China's military catching up or surpassing our own in high technology ? Wasn't the WW Two Japanese Zero for example a surprise ? Makes me wonder exactly how much of our defense technology Israel has sold to the PRC."

A happy new year to you and your family as well.

First, I want to point out what Gen. Dempsey said last year:

http://www.jcs.mil/speech.aspx?id=1698

"I’ve told many people that we really have to avoid Thucydides’ trap. Now, that’s a historical analogy. Thucydides said that it was the fear of a rising Sparta on the part of the Athenians that made war inevitable. So there’s huge history here about the challenge that the existing superpower has in dealing with an emerging power. I think we ought to aspire to be the superpower that breaks the paradigm."

IMHO a general war between the United States and PRC would lead to economic devastation in both countries. Yet, the United States as a maritime nation has to prepare for the worst case scenario. As many would agree intentions could change overnight while capabilities do not. While I am aware of the security dilemma and its implications, in the case of US-PRC relations the stakes are so high that we cannot afford to be unprepared given the number of possible flashpoints in the region involving some of the most economically dynamic states who could rapidly increase their military capabilities.

Since the end of the Gulf War in 1991 (the pace quickened after the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis) PRC has adopted what is called Anti-Access/Area-Denial strategy (A2/AD) using a vast array of networked anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles. Their intent was to deter the 7th Fleet from operating close to their shores. The flip side of that strategy as well as PRC's increasing naval capabilities is that they could potentially control various maritime chokepoints in NE Asia as well as Malacca. Freedom of navigation is one of the core security interests of the United States. In the past two years AirSea Battle has received a lot of attention in MSM. It is a direct response to PRC's A2/AD. And PRC has rightly perceived this development to be a serious threat. However, they've been bluffing for a long time and should've expected to be called on it sooner or later.

As for a potential technological gap, I would refrain from thinking about it in that manner. Rather it might be more useful to think of capabilities as it would encompass different strengths and weaknesses in organization, doctrine, manpower etc.(i.e., how good are your people in adapting and adjusting). Simply at the moment PLAN and PLAAF cannot prevail against USN/USAF. And they would find out very quickly what it means to be on the other side of a blockade as PRC is heavily dependent on maritime trade. However, a general war escalating from say Senkaku would increase the likelihood of economic devastation in the US as the first order of event would be a run on USD.

Projecting the increase in PRC's capabilities for the next two decades is a hard task. They've certainly improved their naval and air capabilities over the past two decades. However, I'm more concerned about the de facto professionalization of their forces. However MSM seems more focused on trinkets like DF-21s with help from those with vested interests inside the Beltway. Regarding the Zero-sen, indeed it was an eye-opening adversary for both USN and USAAF in 1942. It was faster, had greater rate of climb and could turn much tighter at corner speed. Yet men like Thach and Chennault developed tactics to even the odds very quickly. (e.g. the Thach Weave) And once the Japanese had expended their initial group of very highly trained fighter pilots after 1942, it became a one big turkey shoot for fighter pilots of USN, USMC and USAAF in the remaining years of the war. Human capital is as important as hardware in terms of military readiness. We will find out soon enough if the Navy and USAF have retained the right sort of people after RIF.

People talk about asymmetric warfare as if it's some sort of a photograph (i.e., static capabilities). Obviously some of these people have vested interest in the next budget battle. However, there are possible solutions to deal with air defense networks and anti-ship missiles defense lines. Even the "dreaded" DF-21s need target acquisition and would also be vulnerable to ECM. And the states that have maritime disputes would presumably deploy their own ASMs and SAMs that would massively complicate PLAN and PLAAF's tactical and operational problems. And ROK and Japan have already committed to a signficant increase in their submarine forces. And PRC has been taking one diplomatic misstep after another in the region for the past two years.

Fred

Neil Richardson,

Thanks for the links and commentary above. It is always refreshing to hear clear strategic thinking - from commenters and the sources they link to.

Anna-Marina

There is something suicidal in AIPAC' flaunting the Israel-firsters. What is the best way to ignite in the US citizenry a general animosity towards Israel than by showing who is the daddy ruling the US finances? Shoveling Fisher (whose main loyalty has been to Israel) down the US taxpayers throat and abusing the US Constitution by nudging the US Congress to cede its war power to Israel smells of treason:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/12/27/congress-must-not-cede-its-war-power-to-israel/

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