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28 January 2021


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How will China's future control of the high seas affect US trade and economy, when China becomes the "global policeman"? Will this in fact lead to a net US savings, being relieved of this current role.

Patrick Armstrong

@Deap I don't think China has the slightest interest in being the "global policeman". Don't forget it has two awful examples of the fate of countries who thought that everything, everywhere was always their business.


If the US does not provide global maritime security, how will China protect transit of their fishery exploitation, their African mineral exploitation and cheap product transits into global markets, once the US stops acting as the "global policeman". Will the UN step in and take over this role?

Or is everyone now on their own good behavior - do unto others sort of self-governance? Not sure the world is really ready for the total collapse of the pushy de facto American Empire where everything has been our business - for the benefit of everyone else too.

I would rather we pay the price and continue running the high seas than defaulting any other close contender. Which would be as you claim China, who shall decline the honor and suck off of us?

Or will the Russian polar route become the new grand global highway for all maritime trade in the near future. Just read polar ice cap melting is a 60 year cyclical phenomenon, and not a new global warming trade route, only a temporary one.

But if had my druthers, i would rather see American self-sufficiency and reversion to global isolationism. Let someone else manage or neglect the rest of the globe - one advantage of being a quasi-island nation. Always felt global "domination" was thrust upon us; not something actively sought. This being the voice of a WWII War Baby, who still remembers simpler times in the neophyte global hegemonist US of A.

Patrick Armstrong

@ Deap. If there's a problem, there's an international, cooperative solution.


How do you see the first steps to take for America to get out of the global policeman role?

Does this happen in the open or behind the scenes. Does the shift in global security transcend changes in US administration? What back room forces control this type of major decision making. Who else wants the role, in the spirit of global cooperation.

Recent guide in Japan when asked whether Japan felt it needed to maintain its own military - in light of both NK and Chinese sabre rattling at the time. Guide said he was happy with their "internal security forces" but assumed the US would come to their defense if there were any international threats of Japan.

(I did not share his expectations- not sure anyone in the US has sufficient emotions invested in fighting for other countries sovereignty these days. Or perhaps any NK or Chinese threats are over-rated in this electronically connected world - a hot war over Taiwan - how many global players bank on this never happening, even if Taiwan turns into another Hong Kong.)

Patrick Armstrong

@Deap. It's happening. Nobody is planning it. It's reality. Things will adjust, messily or not.
And, in simple terms, the USN fooling around in the Black Sea or South China Sea is not exactly the same as the RN eradicating the slave trade or Rajah Brooke cleaning out the Borneo pirates.



You have made the case for the Belt Road Initiative - no seas needed for a World-Island superpower



The continental system worked great for Napoleon too.


Fred, le militaire francais... mon dieu, cest tres apropos afterall I guess you are advising Xi not to roll a million tanks down the BRI - was that his plan? I must have missed it. For some reason I thought the plan was a trading block, like RCEP (unlike the horrid TTP corporate giveaway.


ISL:Good reminder about the Belt and Road project. Do you know how the Chinese effort is going to make the Karakorum Highway all-weather? I traversed that road several times - 10 years apart, first one in 1998.

2008 was the last trip, and huge progress had been made on the China side, but ever larger efforts would be needed to make this an all weather passable on the Pakistan side--plus irreversible changes to the small village life plowed down along the way.

(Most gorgeous place I ever visited was the Hunza Valley, who counted on being totally cut off from the outside world once winter sealed the KKH.)

I should Google-Earth this area to see what I can learn. Terrain was impossible, narrow, steep cliffs, winding and geologically unstable. The first fair weather KKH pass, completed only with massive Chinese (slave?) labor was heroic enough. Will man and machine make it easier this time?

There were spots that were less than a mile apart as the crow flies, that took 20-30 miles to traverse along the winding mountain sides to reach the same point to point. Even more time if you had to dig through the latest landslide rocks to make the way clear again. AAA was not going to bail anyone out up there.

Though Italian highway teams faced similar challenges in their mountainous areas and just bridged over the ravines which basically flattened and straightened the highways to meet their demands; not Mother Earth's natural roadblocks.

On to Karachi ports and the Suez chokepoint. Or the infamous Khyber. To open the back land door of China to commercial land traffic will be a monumental accomplishment - and a credit to their strategic planning if/when they pull this off. I assume failure was not an option, when they embarked on this Belt and Road.

The two far western Chinas I saw in 1998 and then 10 years later in 2008 provided a contrast in sheer will, determination and money to spend. Later visits to Eastern also demonstrated they too were suffering from rapid development excess. Love to go back there again and see what 2028 did for them.



That was the whole point of the 'continental system' I referenced. "no seas needed", especially since L'emporer didn't control any.

Patrick Armstrong

Re BRI and all that. Don't forget the Northern Sea Route -- only Russia has the icebreakers to make it possible and it bypasses areas controlled by NATO navies.

They're not just a bunch of complacent nincompoops living off their fat in Moscow and Beijing.


Every country has laws for illegal demonstrations, and the Russian Federation is no different. In many countries if you illegally demonstrate you may wind up in a prison hole for many many years never to see the light of day again.

Russia has a Constitution, a Constitution that specifies that peaceful demonstrations is a Russian citizen's right. The Western press has been spreading misinformation/lies regarding the Nalvalny demonstrations. True, Russia arrested those who were illegally demonstrating, but they were quickly released with minimal fines as specified by the Russian Constitution.

Now to the flip side of the coin, a Trump supporter New Mexico Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, the founder of Cowboys for Trump Organization who never set foot in the U.S. Capitol building when it was breached, was arrested by the FBI for an internet posting. Federal Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui refused him bail and threw him in an isolation cell. This Magistrate Judge is an unelected official appeared to be angry that Griffin refused to accept the results of the Presidential election. Magistrate Judge Faruqui told Griffin "Refusing to accept the outcome of the 2020 election is like not believing facts or science". The Judge's insane behavior was rectified when Chief Judge Beryl Howell of US District Court for Washington D.C. ordered Griffin immediately released from his solitary confinement. Judge Howell's order stated " The defendant's charged conduct was largely peaceful, his contemporaneous and subsequent statements, while provocative, do not suggest that there are no combination of conditions that could assure his appearance in court".

The world see's a picture where the Russian Federation is becoming more like what the United States used to be, while the United States is becoming more like the old Bolsheviks.




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