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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 18, 2005 / 7 Adar II 5765

Its economy reeling, China rattles saber at Taiwan

By George Friedman


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | With the Middle East continuing to boil, foreign policy attention has shifted toward China, which passed a controversial law authorizing the use of force should Taiwan declare its independence. On its face, the law appears to serve no purpose.

Begin with the fact that Taiwan does not formally dispute China's claims that it is a province of the People's Republic. For Taipei, a declaration of independence would be legally radical, but in all practical ways, Taiwan is an independent country already.

If Taiwan is part of China, then, from a strictly legal viewpoint, Beijing could do what it deems is necessary in its "province" without any special legal authorization. And if Taiwan is not part of China, then Beijing doesn't need a law to invade a foreign country. It's done all the time, and passing a law won't make anyone feel better about it.

Viewed from a strictly military perspective, China would not have an easy time invading Taiwan. The People's Republic doesn't have much of an amphibious force, and what it does have is certainly not in a position to fight its way across the Taiwan Strait against Taiwan's air force and missiles, land an invading army and maintain supply lines. Add the United States to the mix, and Chinese forces aren't going anywhere.

True, China could carry out a nuclear strike against Taiwan, but that would burn up some very valuable economic infrastructure — not Beijing's goal. It could also try to isolate Taiwan by firing anti-ship missiles at merchant vessels heading to and from the island. But missiles can go both ways.

So China didn't need this law from a legal sense; and the passage of the law doesn't change the military reality, which is that a full-blown war is unlikely. Therefore, since China is a serious country that doesn't do things frivolously, why in the world did the National People's Congress pass this law?

The answer is rooted in a point I've made before, but which bears repeating: China is not doing nearly as well economically as it appears. True, its exports are surging, but that doesn't mean the exports are profitable. Bad debts in China total an astounding $600 billion, according to Standard and Poor's — and I'd put the number higher. The Chinese economic miracle, which has been nothing to sneeze at, is running out of steam, as the rest of Asia did before it.

This poses a tremendous political challenge to the Chinese government. The Communist Party's claim to authority no longer rests on the ideological claims of Mao Tse-tung and Karl Marx; it rests on the fact that the Communist government of China delivered prosperity. It didn't deliver it throughout China's geographic expanse and it didn't deliver it equally, but it did deliver it more quickly and broadly than imaginable. Success in China, as in politics everywhere, is the root of popularity.

For the past 30 years, Beijing's problem was to manage accelerating prosperity. That's not hard to do. Imagine, however, that China's boom were to end and the government had to manage an economy that was growing much more slowly than before, or even contracting. That is a much tougher political problem.

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If China no longer can call on the revolutionary zeal of the workers and peasants, how does it maintain its popularity and legitimacy? The one thing that remains — and is a very powerful force indeed — is Chinese patriotism and nationalism. If the Communists can't rally the masses to Marx, they can rally them to China.

Passing a law authorizing war in the event of secession makes no sense, if one assumes that China is economically healthy. If, on the other hand, one thinks of China as facing hard times, increasing the level of tension with Taiwan makes perfect sense. Even if Beijing has no intention— or ability — to invade, Taiwan is a patriotic issue, and the threat of war generates social solidarity and support for the government.

Over the past few weeks, observers have noted an odd hardening of China's foreign policy and a harsher edge to its tone. I would argue that China is in economic difficulty and a Chinese government in economic trouble is also in deep political trouble. Therefore, acting like a superpower is an antidote to economic problems, and legally committing itself to protect China's sovereignty makes a certain kind of sense.

The Chinese government knows its economic condition better than anyone. It is preparing the ground for a shift in its international behavior based on worsening economic conditions. This doesn't mean war, but it does mean a lot more discussion of war — and another headache for the United States at a time when Washington doesn't need any more foreign policy headaches.

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Friedman identifies the United States' most dangerous enemies, delves into presidential strategies of the last quarter century, and reveals the real reasons behind the attack of September 11 and the Bush administration's motivation for the war in Iraq. Here in eye-opening detail is an insightful picture of today's world that goes far beyond what is reported in the news media. Sales help fund JWR.


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George Friedman is chairman of Strategic Forecasting, Inc., dubbed by Barron's as "The Shadow CIA," it's one of the world's leading global intelligence firms, providing clients with geopolitical analysis and industry and country forecasts to mitigate risk and identify opportunities. Stratfor's clients include Fortune 500 companies and major governments.


03/16/05: Triumphs must not give us false sense of security
03/03/05: U.S. overconfidence jeopardizes our ties to Russia
02/28/05: The ethics of torture: Real life is lived on the slippery slope
02/17/05: Hezbollah: The terrorist threat on the horizon
02/07/05: Why are the Chinese moving their money out of China?
02/03/05: Next Pope could, and maybe should, be a Third-Worlder
01/27/05: Decision-day in Iran: Is it for or against United States?
01/14/05: Russia's missile sale to Syria gets back at U.S. over Ukraine
01/06/05: Tsunami realities: Most in need are least likely to get help


© 2005 TMS