Archive for the ‘Asia’ Category

Geithner Must Go To Save Obama “Face,” Regain Congressional, Voter Confidence

March 20, 2009

Thanks to AIG, Congress and the administration, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner may find his next round of necessary bailouts greeted by a revolt of left and right.

That according to Michael Gerson in Friday’s Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-d
yn/content/article/2009/03/19/AR2
009031903039.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

What Gerson is saying is that from now on, anything touched by Geithner is toxic.

So he has to go.

Add to that a loss of public confidence that is evident everywhere.

Just last Saturday President Obama said that investors can have “absolute confidence” in the U.S. economy.  But Geithner detracts from that confidence,obviously.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/ne
ws/2009/mar/14/obama-have-abso
lute-confidence-us-economy/

Add to that the fact that even left wing Obama supporters are now saying Geithner must go.

Why?  Some certainly fear that Obama himself could be tarnished by this scandel; so why not throw out the skinny Treasury Secretary while there is still time?

My Asian-American relatives remind me that this is now a matter of “face.”  To save his own “face” and preserve his wonderful image and poll numbers, Obama must now sacrifice Geithner or lose face himself.  And the president should never lose face because of someone he himself appointed.

When Senator Grassley said that some corporate executives should “follow the Japanese example” and either “resign or go commit suicide” he was just a little off the mark.

Losing face and the fear of that fate is still a real option for anybody.  And saving face by firing a turkey has been done several million times before this….

Eugene Robinson in today’s Washington Post:

Does he understand the profound sense of betrayal that so many Americans feel as we learn that the supposed wizards of finance, the Masters of the Universe who shower themselves with unimaginable wealth, were safeguarding our economic well-being with the diligence and sobriety of a drunken high roller at a craps table in Vegas at 4 a.m.? Does he understand that the crisis is not just an economic watershed but a cultural one as well, and that what once was deemed perfectly acceptable behavior on Wall Street is now seen as reprehensible? Does he understand that outside of Lower Manhattan, the definition of a “retention bonus” is being spared from the latest round of layoffs?

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn
/content/article/2009/03/19/AR200
9031903040.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

US President Barack Obama, seen here on January 29, 2009, sits ... 
US President Barack Obama, seen here on January 29, 2009, sits alongside Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.  Obama has to get his face out of the same photo with Geithner’s face….

Related:
Geithner, Obama Under Fire From Dem Maxine Waters

Obama On Geithner Sounds Like “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”

Did Obama White House Fuel AIG Bonus Mess To Enact Tougher Rules With Public Support, “Outrage”?
(You bet they did)

Obama: Fire Geithner

 Obama: Here’s Why Geithner Has To Go: Credibility, Confidence, Competance

Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/20
/gibbs-on-geithner-uhhhhuhhhhuhhh/

Commanders: US ready for any North Korean missile

March 19, 2009

Two senior U.S. commanders said Thursday that the military is ready if called upon to shoot down North Korea’s planned rocket launch next month.

The top U.S. commander in the Pacific, Adm. Timothy Keating, told senators at a hearing that there was a “high probability” that the United States could knock down a North Korean missile. Gen. Walter Sharp, the U.S. commander in South Korea, said the threat “is real.”

Associated Press
The comments come as North Korea reportedly prepares for what many believe will be a long-range missile test in early April. North Korea says it will launch a communications satellite, and defends the launch by saying other countries have been pursuing peaceful space programs.

Keating said the United States is getting “reasonable intelligence” reports that give a close look at North Korea’s activities.

“We’ll be prepared to respond,” he said, adding that “the United States has the capability” to shoot down any missile.

Sharp said any launch would be a “very clear” violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution. “The threat,” he said, “is real, and it is felt in South Korea.” The U.S. has some 28,500 military personnel in South Korea.

“We call on North Korea not to act in this provocative manner,” Sharp said.

In his testimony, Sharp said North Korea continues to build missiles of “increasing range, lethality and accuracy” for sale in Syria and Iran and elsewhere and for its own forces.

The United States, he said, “cannot afford to overlook” the threat those missiles pose to Asia and the world.

Sharp said North Korea is struggling with attempts to balance increased contact with the outside world and the risks such contact poses to “regime control.”

That, Sharp said, “raises questions about the long-term viability of an increasingly stressed North Korean regime.”

Sharp also said North Korean leader Kim Jong Il “is in charge. Every major decision is coming directly from him.”

Kim, 67, reportedly suffered a stroke in August. North Korea denies he was ill.

China’s Economic Might, Arrogance Should Cause Caution in the West

March 13, 2009

China has so much cash in reserve that they are funding their own economic stimulus — and with their own money; not borrowed cash.

China is also funding the American economic stimulus by buying American Treasury bills and other debt.

Cinese leaders are gloating to some extent about the stupidity of American leaders who do not have the cash reserves so carefully put aside by China.  Many Chinese leaders also scoff at the tom foolery of most Americans who have such debt ridden lives, with mortgages, credit card debt, a loan for the car and a college loan still outstanding.

But what the Chinese leaders don’t talk about is that few Chinese have cars, nice homes and college degrees….

So Chinese arrogance about American debt is sometimes confused by envy for many things American….

And China has expressed some concern about the spend-crazy Americans.

Premier Wen Jiabao “We have loaned a huge amount of money to the United States,” Wen said at a news conference in Beijing. “Of course, we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I’m a little bit worried. I would like for you [a Western reporter] to call on the United States to honor its word and stay a credible nation and ensure the safety of Chinese assets.”

This came at about the same time that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the U.S. a “deadbeat” nation.

Expect China to exert more influence over U.S. economic and foreign policy, just as Barack Obama is claiming the right to dictate policy to banks who took his bailout money.

China holds about $1 trillion in U.S. debt and will likely “buy” about $1 trillion more — especially if Obama and Nancy Pelosi demand another stimulus package.

Chinese arrogance and wealth is unmistakable, pervasive and in some ways very troubling for the West.

China is using its vast wealth and the current global recession as an opportunity to buy up natural resources at bargain prices.  China is building a world-class military complete with a global navy and an aircraft carrier.  And China is not afraid to confront the likes of the U.S. just as it did on the high seas last weekend….

We can expect China to continue to grow and dominate Asia, the Pacific and wherever they choose to go.

This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean ... 
This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23). Five Chinese vessels maneuvered dangerously close to a US Navy ship in the South China Sea on Sunday, March 8, 2009, approaching within 25 feet of the unarmed surveillance ship, the Pentagon said.(AFP/NVNS)

Related:
China’s Love/Hate Relationship With The U.S

Obama Wasting America’s Strategic World Power; China Surges Despite Economy
.
Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

 Global Economy Weakness Leading To Social Unrest

Stimulus: China Will Fund U.S. Debt But “We Hate You Guys”

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORL
D/asiapcf/03/13/china.wen/index.html

Behind the U.S. and China At Sea Incident

Pelosi’s Stimulus II? Lawmakers Propose No Cost, High Employment Energy Package

China Buying Oil, Uranium, Gold, Other Products At Bargain Prices

Russia, “Desperate For Cash,” Sells Oil to China In “Very Bad Deal”

What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?

January 30, 2009

Since the United States is now discussing an economic “stimulus” of almost $1 Trillion, we  have been trying to figure who benefits most from this deal?  The answer is China, if they decide to underwrite the U.S. loan, and buy the U.S. Treasurys that will fund the stimulus.  Just by doing that, China will get more than $300 Billion in payments of interest from the U.S.

So, why does China like this deal, in addition to the money?  China wants power and the ability to call the shots.  “Buying” the American debt is a lot faster and potentially less expensive than fighting the U.S. with some future Chinese military — which is not culturally in China’s psyche or style anyway…..

******

“I think the objective of the grand strategy is to squeeze out, very slowly and very gradually, the influence of the United States in East Asia, without war, with economy and culture,” said Chong-pin Lin, Professor at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan at Princeton.

Chong-pin engaged Princeton University students and professors in a lively discussion Nov. 18 that focused on China’s relationship with Taiwan and China’s growing importance in world affairs.

A professor at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan, Chong-pin was brought to Princeton by the East Asian Studies department. His lecture was titled, “More carrot than stick: Beijing’s adjusted Taiwan policy.”

Chong-pin mentioned beauty pageants and high-visibility sporting events as examples of China’s emerging emphasis on culture.

“Now I think it’s generally agreed that Beijing is using economic and cultural influence to establish its international status,” he said. “The idea is to make the rest of the world look to Beijing unconsciously or subconsciously as the future mecca of the world.”

By Megan DeMarco
The Times (Trenton, NJ)

Read about China’s “Grand Strategy” to ease the U.S. out of East Asia:
http://www.nj.com/news/times/regional/index.ssf?/base/
news-15/12280215089560.xml&coll=5

Related:
Economic Stimulus About “Soul of America”

Biggest Beneficiary of U.S. Economic Stimulus?

Related:
McCain on Bipartisanship in Stimulus, “This Was Not The Way To Start”

Audacity, Hope and Obama’s Spending Stimulus: Once Discredited Theory Gets A Real Try

China Starts to Set Limits On Its Biggest Borrower: Barack Obama and The U.S.

 Get the Feeling Russia and China Are Slicing Up The World and the U.S. Will Be Left Out?

China Jittery About Obama Amid Signs of Harder Line

January 24, 2009

Whether it was a shot across the bow or a simple restatement of his boss’s views, Timothy F. Geithner’s assertion that China “manipulates” its currency has complicated a crucial front in President Obama’s efforts to improve America’s relations with the world.

China experts here said there were several other signs that the Obama administration could take a harder line toward Beijing, including Mr. Obama’s emphasis on climate change and the environment in trade negotiations and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s focus on human rights.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce responded tartly to the charge by Mr. Geithner, Mr. Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary. “Directing unsubstantiated criticism at China on the exchange-rate issue will only help U.S. protectionism and will not help towards a real solution to the issue,” the ministry said late on Friday in a statement to Agence France-Presse.

China starts off on weaker footing with Mr. Obama than it did with his predecessor, George W. Bush. Mr. Bush and his last Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., cultivated Chinese leaders and refused to call Beijing a manipulator. Mr. Obama has little personal experience of China, and lacks senior advisers with a deep interest in or knowledge of the country. With the American economy in a deep slump, and China trying to ramp up its exports to cushion a sharp slowdown there, experts worry that trade relations between the countries could deteriorate.

By Mark Landler
The New York Times

If the United States repairs its image in many parts of the world, that could make it harder for the Chinese to present themselves as an alternative to American influence in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere.

“The Chinese are probably one of the few people in the world who were sorry to see President Bush go, and are nervous about his successor,” said Kenneth G. Lieberthal, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who worked on China policy for the Clinton administration.

“They saw the Inaugural Address as having some uncomfortable elements for them,” Mr. Lieberthal said. “They are uneasy about Hillary Clinton. She has, in their assessment, not been a friend of China.”

The Chinese news media played down the significance of Mr. Geithner’s remarks, which were made in writing to the Senate Finance Committee as part of the confirmation process.

Rather than dwell on or analyze the reference to China’s currency, the Chinese official newspaper, The People’s Daily, quoted Mr. Geithner as saying that the currency manipulation issue would take a back seat to working with China to alleviate the global financial crisis. The headline said, “U.S. Treasury secretary-designate vows to deepen U.S.-China economic ties.”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/24
/washington/24diplo.html

********

China Denies It Manipulates Currency

BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese central banker denounced accusations by U.S. Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner that China was manipulating its yuan currency, calling them misleading and warning against “excuses” for protectionism.

Su Ning, a vice governor of the People’s Bank of China, called the comments by Geithner “out of keeping with the facts” and said they were “misleading in analyzing the causes of the financial crisis,” the official China News Service reported on Saturday.

Su also warned against trade protectionism.

“We believe that faced with the financial crisis there should be a spirit of self-criticism,” Su said while visiting a business newspaper office in Beijing, according to the report.

“The international community is currently working together in actively responding to the financial crisis, and it must avoid exploiting different excuses for renewing or encouraging trade protectionism,” Su said, adding that such steps would harm global economic recovery.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200901
24/ts_nm/us_china_usa_currency_3

China Sees Threat in U.S. Arms Sales

January 20, 2009

The Chinese government announced Tuesday that the nation faces important threats in the form of independence movements related to Taiwan, Tibet and the western desert region of Xinjiang, and that American arms sales to Taiwan continue to jeopardize stability in Asia.

By Edward Wong
The New York Times
.
The announcement came in a white paper on national defense released Tuesday by the State Council, the Chinese equivalent of a cabinet. The paper said that “China’s security situation has improved steadily,” but that “being in a stage of economic and social transition, China is encountering many new circumstances and new issues in maintaining social stability.”

The 105-page paper, which includes tables on defense expenditures and other statistics, sought to portray China as a nation whose military power is to be used only for defense, and one that sees maintaining its territorial integrity as the top priority of national defense.

According to goals implied in the paper, China also seeks to act as a counterbalance to the American military presence in Asia. Several times in the first part of the paper, the authors pointed out worrisome aspects of American intervention in the region.

“The U.S. has increased its strategic attention to and input in the Asia-Pacific region, further consolidating its military alliances, adjusting its military deployment and enhancing its military capabilities,” the paper said.

Certain destabilizing factors outside China are growing, the paper added, singling out the fact that “the United States continues to sell arms to Taiwan,” which leads to “serious harm to Sino-U.S. relations as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.”

Last October, the Pentagon announced it was selling $6.5 billion of weaponry to Taiwan despite vehement protests from Beijing. The package included 30 Apache attack helicopters, 330 Patriot missiles and 32 Harpoon missiles that can be launched from submarines. The sale had been delayed for murky political reasons. The Taiwan Relations Act, passed in 1979, says the U.S. must provide arms of a defensive nature to Taiwan and act to protect Taiwan from any hostilities.


Above: Missile Destroyer Haikou 171 of the PLA Navy’s South China Sea Fleet.  She departed with two other Chinese warships on a mission to the Gulf of Aden near Somali on anti-pirate patrol on Friday.  Many in the West see this as a sign of renewed cooperation between China and other military powers.

In presenting the white paper on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense said he hoped the administration of Barack Obama would build stronger military relations between the United States and China.

“At present, when China-U.S. military-to-military relations are faced with difficulties, we call on the U.S. Department of Defense to remove obstacles,” the spokesman, Sr. Col. Hu Changming, said at a news conference.

Taiwan remains the biggest source of potential military conflict between the two nations.

Although Taiwan enjoys de facto independence and is a thriving democracy, the Chinese government has long maintained that it will reunite Taiwan with the mainland, by force if necessary. Under Taiwan’s previous president, Chen Shui-bian, relations with the mainland grew extremely tense because Mr. Chen’s policies moved Taiwan closer to formal independence, prompting bellicose reactions from Beijing and Washington, which wants to avoid becoming involved in a war between China and Taiwan.

But following the election in Taiwan last year of Ma Ying-jeou, a member of the Kuomintang Party that fled the Communist takeover of China in 1949, the Taiwanese government has taken a more conciliatory approach toward the mainland. Mr. Chen was recently arrested on corruption charges.
.
Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/21/w
orld/asia/21china.html?_r=1&hp

Related:
China Aircraft Carriers Ordered, Construction Starts This Year

Guam Expands as U.S. Military Base in Asia

January 4, 2009

Sprawling toward the horizon in every direction, Andersen Air Force Base is surprisingly quiet, leaving the impression of a big, empty parking lot.

For now, anyway.

By ERIC TALMADGE, Associated Press Writer

In this July 20, 2008 file photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, ... 
In this July 20, 2008 file photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, F-22 Raptors join 16 F-15E Strike Eagles on the flight line of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Over the next six years, nearly 25,000 U.S. Marines, soldiers, family members and civilian Defense Department employees are to descend on the tiny Pacific island of Guam, transforming the sleepy tropical outpost into a hub of America’s military in the Pacific. (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Airman 1st Class Courtney Witt, FILE)

Over the next six years, nearly 25,000 U.S. Marines, soldiers, family members and civilian Defense Department employees are to descend on the tiny Pacific island of Guam, transforming the sleepy tropical outpost into a hub of America’s military in the Pacific.

But the metamorphosis seems as fragile as it is ambitious.

Guam’s transformation will cost at least $15 billion — with Japan footing more than $6 billion of the bill — and put some of the U.S. military‘s highest-profile assets within the fences of a vastly improved network of bases.

The newcomers will find an island already peppered with strip malls, fast-food franchises and high-rise hotels serving Japanese tourists who want a closer-to-home version of Hawaii. The plans for the base are fueling a fresh construction and real estate boom which Guam hopes will accelerate its prosperity.

But Guam is smaller than some Hawaiian islands, with a population of just 155,000, and many of its officials are worried that the military influx could leave the island’s infrastructure — water, highways, and seaport — overwhelmed and underfunded.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090103/ap_on_re_as/as_guam_s_ne
w_invasion;_ylt=AvO6Dz.GzEMMKmOCcqcY8pNvaA8F

Asian Human Trafficking, Torture and Sex Trade

January 3, 2009

Western men who visit red-light districts in poor countries often find themselves surrounded by coquettish teenage girls laughingly tugging them toward the brothels. The men assume that the girls are there voluntarily, and in some cases they are right.

But anyone inclined to take the girls’ smiles at face value should talk to Sina Vann, who was once one of those smiling girls.

By Nicholas Kristof
The New York Times

Nicholas D. Kristof/The New York Times

Above: Sina Vann

Sina is Vietnamese but was kidnapped at the age of 13 and taken to Cambodia, where she was drugged. She said she woke up naked and bloody on a bed with a white man — she doesn’t know his nationality — who had purchased her virginity.

After that, she was locked on the upper floors of a nice hotel and offered to Western men and wealthy Cambodians. She said she was beaten ferociously to force her to smile and act seductive.

“My first phrase in Khmer,” the Cambodian language, “was, ‘I want to sleep with you,’ ” she said. “My first phrase in English was” — well, it’s unprintable.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/01/opinion
/01kristof.html?scp=1&sq=Cambodia%20,%20
sex%20trafficking&st=cse

SKorea deploys its 1st Aegis-equipped Navy destroyer

December 22, 2008

South Korea deployed its first Aegis-equipped destroyer Monday as part of a program to boost its naval forces, the navy said.

The 7,600-ton-class ship is armed with the U.S. Aegis radar and combat system enabling it to detect and trace 1,000 targets and strike 20 of them simultaneously, the navy said in a statement.

Associated Press

The warship is the first of three Aegis-equipped destroyers that South Korea plans to deploy in coming years, according to the navy.

“Our navy … can completely protect our forces from threats by enemy missiles and jets and has obtained precision striking capability,” Jung Ok-keun, the navy chief of staff, said in comments on the deployment, according to the statement.

South Korea shares the world’s most heavily fortified border with North Korea, and naval skirmishes sometimes occur along their disputed maritime frontier.

South Korea launched the Aegis ship in May last year and has been testing its capability before its actual deployment, the navy said. South Korea was the world’s fifth nation to commission an Aegis destroyer after the United States, Japan, Spain and Norway.

The divided states are still technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. Tensions on the peninsula have been running high since a pro-U.S., conservative government took office in Seoul in February with a pledge to take a tough line on the North.

U.S. admiral wants China military ties resumed

December 18, 2008

The United States hopes China, which suspended military contacts with Washington in October, will soon resume them to work together against piracy in the Gulf of Aden, U.S. defense officials said on Thursday.

China took the action to protest a $6.5 billion U.S. arms sale to Taiwan.

“It is a fact that the Chinese suspended ‘mil-to-mil’ dialogue with the Department of Defense in general and U.S. Pacific Command,” said Navy Adm. Timothy Keating, who commands all U.S. forces in Asia and the Pacific.

Timothy Keating
Admiral Keating

A defense official said the suspension occurred after the United States announced the arms package including 30 Apache attack helicopters and 330 Patriot missiles.

The sale angered Beijing, which has vowed in the past to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary. The United States switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 but Washington remains Taiwan’s strongest ally and biggest arms supplier.

By David Morgan, Reuters

At the time, the Pentagon said China canceled or postponed several military-to-military exchanges, including senior officer visits and a humanitarian relief program.

Keating told reporters prospects of China sending warships to the seas off Somalia to help international efforts against piracy could provide a “springboard” for resuming ties.

“We are in dialogue in various agencies and commands in an attempt to provide information to the People’s Liberation Army navy should their country decide to deploy ships,” he said.

“This augurs well for increased cooperation and collaboration between the Chinese military forces and U.S. Pacific Command forces,” Keating said. “So I’m cautiously optimistic.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081218/pl_nm
/us_usa_china_taiwan_1