Now of course this is just regurgitating Varoufakis' description, but I find it rather compelling. China is only a small player in the Greek debt drama, but it seems to me that they are one of the few friends that Greece has that is both willing and able to play a helpful role.
(But limited by political considerations within Europe itself!)
Is/was their role charitable because they are nice guys? or is there something there for them also? I would imagine that they had a long view and would have really liked to get control of Greece as a gateway to Europe by taking advantage of the Greek financial crisis. I don't believe China has any friends, just business partners they cooperate with to benefit them in the end.
And they’re clever enough to do it slowly, lots of small transgressions, giving each time to be accepted before moving on to the next quiet domination. Perfect example is taking control of the South China Sea.
And they’re smart enough to colonize in the most modern of ways...... buy the politicians and thereby remove all possibility of government resistance.
They did it by not following the recommendations for development of the IMF and the World Bank (that are, basically, American institutions).
Look at this, for example (GP mentioned both poverty and education so I was curious and went to look at the second of the two): https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/primary-enrollment-select... Niger is far behind Hungary and the UK, but Niger's curve doesn't look like failure to me, it looks like a success starting later than the others on the graph, and all the more impressive considering Niger's population growth. Faster growth than Hungary despite despite population growth.
I'm perplex. There's a general argument, GP's is an example, that goes a little like this: "(something) may be the best ever, but it's (a failure/not good enough/...) and it's clear that (someone else/another approach/...) will achieve much better results". I don't see that it's clear not at all. But I don't see that GP is stupid either. So... I'm perplex. What is it I'm missing about GP's comment?
you say: 'will achieve much better results". I don't see that it's clear not at all.'
If you check the policies promoted from the international institutions (and those are, in essence, a product of the USA) they are the opposite of what the developed countries did to be developed. Check Ha-Joon Chang(1) work for a study of this.
Of course, the issue is very complex, but a case could be made, that the small development we see in those countries is despite the American order, instead of because of it.
That's before even talking about all the invasions and coups in countries that didn't follow the interest of USA capital.
A country is not developed by opening its markets, don't protecting its industry and "specializing" in exporting their natural resources, but by stability and investment.
So, from the point of view of small countries, what is the problem with changing masters?
And China is, for now, really investing. For instance, check your example, Niger: https://www.businessinsider.com/niger-oil-and-chinese-invest...
Of course China is just following their interest, but so do the Americans.
China is aggressively seeking that superpower global positioning, at a time of peace between great nations. They're not inheriting a position of power by default, they're strategically trying to acquire it - a very different context. They have a multi-decade plan to build military bases all over the planet, to enable global power projection. They've openly stated that it's their destiny to become the global power - it's a wide-spread cultural belief that has been written about ad nauseam for two decades - supplanting the United States.
All the assets you say China is planning to build (military bases, economic control and political clout) have been very, very forcefully acquired by the US.
The point is, acquiring the power that China wants, at a time of peace, while other great powers exist, requires an entirely different effort than having superpower status dropped into your lap by the default of everyone else having been blown up. China has to take that power away from other existing powerful nations, with economies that are essentially all at or near all-time highs in terms of output. If China is serious about becoming the global power, they have to go through the US and EU to do it in one manner or another. That sets up a very large global clash of cultures, clashes regarding beliefs in governance, notions about individual liberty, democracy, etc. etc. The US and Western Europe were far more aligned in ideology in the post WW2 era than what China & the EU are today. China and the EU are near polar opposites, with the EU being liberal and China being hyper regressive and authoritarian. The point is, that clash isn't going to go well, the US was welcomed into Europe due to its protector status in and after WW2 and because of its ideological and historical kinship with Europe. America in 1945 was a cousin to Europe, consisting of large parts of Europeans and European culture; China is an entirely foreign element, with very little shared in any regard.
Countries rise in power together all the time.
Look at Asia and Europe in the last couple decades.
Also I think you exaggerate the differences between the West and China. The US these days is by no means a beacon of liberty and fairness. And China is no Taliban-level opressor. Yes, there's quite a lot of poor behaviour on their part but I see it as roughly the same order of magnitude as most non-european countries.
The Chinese people are idealogicially pretty damn similar to the rest of us, that is, they're human.
As for their government, on the global stage they're being far more cooperative and rational than the US is these days, even if they're being pushy in their neighbourhood.
Also, come to think of it, it's the US declaring illegal wars recently with hundreds of thousands dead and you know, causing ISIS. What did China do that compared to that?
That “now” has been lasting for at least as long as since 1981, according to the lyrics of “B Movie” from Gil Scott-Heron's album “Reflections” (1981):
They have just finally put their foot down and are learning from the West how it's done.
A case in point is the South China Sea: They know that the best claim is the 'fait accompli', that's how the West did 'colonize the world' and it's telling that the only remaining land available are a few islands and reefs in the South China Sea. These are the crumbs we left over.
But the truth is everyone in the region is claiming everyone else's territories. Vietnam is claiming Philippine territory, and vice versa. Malaysia snatched Brunei's islands several years ago and so on. And you would think that China is the most aggressive in grabbing islands judging by those reports. But the actual fact is that honour goes to Vietnam. It has grabbed the most contested islands in the South China sea and theyre the earliest to militarise them but I don't hear a single word of this in the English media. As if some narrative is being pushed.
For Africa, if you're referring to "debt trap diplomacy", you know what's an easy solution? Stop taking Chinese money and loans.
10 years ago, the media was scaremongering over chinese investment in brazil. I remember thinking that china was buying brazil and then I found out that the largest foreign investors in brazil was the US and the netherlands and china was a distant third. Don't remember reading articles about how we were taking over brazil or how the dutch were though.
5 years ago, the media was scaremongering over chinese investment in africa. Oh no, china is taking over africa. Turns the largest investor in africa was the EU by far and that european business dominated the african market. Also, there was hysteria over china leasing farmland in africa. Turns out the saudis, koreans and a bunch of other countries also lease land all over the world.
Now it's the chinese investment in the EU. Nevermind that the EU is a much larger economy than china and the EU invests far more in china than vice versa. I mean come on.
Maybe if the EU hadn't forced Greece to sell their largest port to the highest bidder they'd do better. Some German lobbyists thought they'd get it for pennies, then the Chinese stepped in and bought it for a half-decent price.
Also Greece, Hungary and Czech Republic would be much fonder of the "European" side (a euphemism for "Franco-German Bank interests" at this point) if they weren't treated like second-class colonies to be milked and dumped to the trash.
I can assure you that the cental European lobbies will abuse the periphery up until the very last drop of patience runs out.
In this case, they lost a piece of the carcass they were tearing up because they were too sure no other preditors were around. But if they keep pushing the smallest countries this way, nobody will care about allegiance to "Europe" (whatever that means) in the future.
I wish the US would step in and stop them from destroying the EU, but I guess they don't care much, which is disappointing.
If interests of one region buy up all the production of another, they inevitably move all production to one place, their original base. Ports, mines and railways are a generally an exception to a the rule, but still lots of positions on management, engineering, logistics etc are lost in the selling country/region and moved to the buying one.
To elaborate on the US-EU analogy:
In US, some regions concentrate more wealth and power than others, having the majority of production and/or headquarters based there.
But in the US there's real freedom of movement. You can work in Montana one day, move to Florida the next, and it's no big deal. The residents of economically disadvantaged areas have to carry the burden of moving away for work, but that's the only burden they face.
In the EU there are 24 official languages. Simply put, you can't just move anywhere you'd like to be. Learning a new language takes many years. I've been using English almost daily for 10+ years and I still come across new words quite often.
Primarily due to this reason, in the EU, freedom of movement is allowed only on paper. Workers from disadvantaged areas have to take on a huge burden if they decide to move. They have to learn a new language, a new tax system, a new everything from workplace H&S rules to mains outlet types.
Also they often face a lot of discrimination (even if language skills aren't a dead giveaway, ethnic differences are usually visible to us, even if they would seem minute to an American). So essentially when a factory moves from Italy or Slovenia to Germany, the locals lose a lot more than just the inconvenience of having to move across a couple states for work.
I understand a fuller quote is "an unsinkable aircraft carrier of Chinese investment expansion". We have not yet reached the point where the ambition of European countries is to become a military base for China.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Gladio for some of the most shameless cases...
And serving as a buffer against the territorial ambitions of the USSR for 45 years, for one of the least shameful cases ...
I am sure there would not be any peace if the USA was the only country with nukes.
Second, do you really think that the solution that was given in the Balkans is good? Even today, many people are deeply unhappy about it.
If all sides are a bit unhappy it probably was a very good compromise.
USSRs occupation of the other half also kept "peace" there (and in conflict between the two sides would have escalated to a full global war, which was in nobody's interest).
Yugoslavia for example was only a state because the different nations were kept under the same rule. When that rule was gone, 60 years of "living together" didn't do anything to prevent ethnic tensions.
How things shape in 10 or 20 years is anybody's guess.
The ambitions of the USSR were a reason for war and they had plenty of military resources.
Actually history has shown that they didn't.
The original claim was that "NATO has probably done just as much to insure peace inside it's countries as the EU has.". The counterpoint was that the Balkan wars invalidated this claim. My response was that a single war in 70 years is hardly evidence against the original claim.
What's your line of argument here?
I didn't respond to the "thread of the argument" above, I responded directly to the smaller point made in your comment.
My point regarding the whole argument is in my longer comment above.
Military buildup in Europe during 1945-1991, the vast scale of which dwarfs anything ever seen on planet earth.
The military deployments in Asia from 1930-1945 were larger than anything Europe saw from 1945-1991, by several fold. China alone had roughly four million soldiers active at the end of WW2. Japan had millions of soldiers and civilians stationed in China at the time they surrendered.
About ten million military personnel died in WW1. That one point alone puts to shame the scale of the Cold War. The US, Russia, British Empire, France, Italy mobilized nearly 40 million military forces during WW1. The Cold War was tiny by comparison. France by itself had 1.3 million soldiers killed. Russia had five million wounded soldiers. Including the two sides, over 60 million military personnel were involved in WW1.
Only if you never bothered to ask the center- and left-inclined population of each country (which was quite substantial) -- and ignored the protests against them.
And with the help of a few interventions (e.g. in Italy) and dictatorships (e.g. in Greece) imposed when needed to keep some pro-US goons in government.
Just how much of the European "protest culture" of the 1970s and 1980s actually grew organically, without covert Soviet backing?
A, yes, it was the Russians all along, which, retroactively also proves that they control the world now from some building in St. Petersburg. And when they get some friendly lackey in power like Yeltsin again and be buddies and everything, there will be another enemy du jour, arabs (just not the Saudis) are good for that.
It's not like there ever was a very strong European left movement (or an American one for that matter), or that people in different countries in Europe have devoted their lives, risked careers, gone to prison, even tortured or executed for being pro-communist (or perhaps they did all that because they were paid)...
Or, if they happened to be in Eastern Europe, for being anti-communist... funny how that works.
I say categorically: no non-ideological ex-Eastern Blocer wishes to return to the lower standard of living and simple lack of options imposed by Soviet rule, regardless of what hardship the iron fist of US hegemony imposes.
Well that's one way of saying thanks for all those bailouts they received...
So I'm honestly not surprised that they turn to China, maybe the EU should treat their own countries decently (and I say this as a non-Greek EU citizen).
It's somewhat ironic, for instance, to consider that it was the UK that particularly pushed for expansion. Not only did they lobby hard internally beforehand, they were (IIRC?) only EU country to immediately grant free immigration from the new members, without any transition period - how times change!
The emigration, life expectancy, and growth data don't say that. Not even the public debt data say that.
I will clarify in case the reason is that I didn't explain myself properly: the data don't say that Greece screwed up so much before the current crisis.
It has been always a country with problems but the statistics were improving until they get "rescued".
The Greeks themselves somehow made a society with a shocking amount of tax dodging.
The Greek government allowed this, and lied its ass off while applying to the EU.
The EU either didn’t do due diligence or didn’t care. Once the time bomb did it’s inevitable thing, they were “shocked” and proceeded to punish Greece with forced austerity measures.
EU citizens from their part expressed some pretty ugly sentiments against the Greeks, IIRC.
Pretty much everyone came out of this looking far worse.
To understand the tax mentality of Greeks, it's worth pointing that not a single Greek government existed in modern history that didn't have multiple corruption scandals and blatant misspending/mismanagement incidents come to light. And only a small percentage of those incidents probably ever came into light. The last two generations got used to knowing that tax money vanish into a black hole, needless public sector hires, ridiculous under-the-table contracts, etc, all while the public health system was suffering to the extent that bribing the doctors to receive decent service became the norm. That practice extended everywhere: you'd bribe for your driving license or you'd likely fail even if you did everything right, you'd bribe the tax inspectors or you'd face fines even if everything was in order, etc. Not saying that this makes tax evasion a good thing but it does feed some interesting thoughts about how hard it is to change a system that keeps mishandling tax money while failing the people and how the natural urge of the people in these cases is to just avoid contributing into it however they can.
I think the kindest thing you could say is that the Greek populace basically gave up on good governance and decided to make do with what they had, which is kind of damning with faint praise.
Source: I'm Irish, we screwed up Ireland.
Make a list of islands you want to give away for 99 years.
But the EU did not cause the massive hole Greece dug for itself for years/decades. Reckoning was coming. The EU agreement was harsh, I think there could have been a softer version available, especially had Greece not been in the EURO.
But outside the EU entirely, Greece would have eventually defaulted on its debt, and considering the insane amount of debt and massive budget imbalance that caused it in the first place, that would have sent the Drachma spiralling out of control. Without the backing of the EU, Greece would have had a hard time coming up with an economic and social plan to earn back some international credibility. It is unlikely it would have maintained inflation in control, but even if it did, high inflation would have been dramatic in an economy so reliant on import for basic necessities. It is extremely doubtful they would have been better off.
One way (in the EU) or another Greece was looking at terrible consequences for their politicians mismanagements.
I think that has several causes:
1) Greek politicians (and Greek elites complicit with them) consumed a lot of infrastructure money from EU in BS overpriced public works projects. That said, Greece infrastructure wise is a totally different country from Greece in 1980. But those infrastructure projects didn't and could't themselves generate money.
2) Greek economy was traditionally based on smaller production units (SMEs). When global outsourcing (and later China and co) became an option for everything of that kind, Greece competence in the area dropped to 0. The small business owners at the time didn't have the savvy to market their products as premium goods and justify higher margins (like e.g. Italy does at least for some things), neither did they have the brand name to assist them in moving production abroad (and continue selling). The quality+price points they competed at were no longer possible. Tons of such Greek industries died off in the 80s and 90s with no replacement.
(Add to the mix a bevy of EU policies that were in fact protecting interests of major EU nations (Germany, France, mostly), against competition from the South).
3) Even so, Greece had control over its debt, which was never a major part of GDP before 2001, using its monetary policy. The inflection point was the switch to the Euro, when suddenly a volatile economy was tied to a "strong" currency, with no room for corrections (imagine the US debt if the Fed couldn't print dollars and the world didn't accept dollars as a de facto exchange currency -- now imagine that with an much weaker economy to begin with).
Their debt might have been okay in 2001, but don't forget how reckless they have been with spending (photos of sport related infrastructure the 2004 Olympics is a nice reminder), and they put off reforms for decades.
Infrastructure projects are a must have for a globally competitive economy, profit generating or not. Upkeep is an issue of course, but for some reason Greece wanted to not go back to sheep herding.
Greece would have experienced market discipline instead of discipline by government fiat. The latter is much more dangerous politically, as we saw with the election of Syriza.
I think it's telling to contrast the fate of Greece with the outcome for Iceland.
Yes, and that "reckoning" was a digging bigger hole. The real reckoning is when European sovereign yields go through the roof when the ECB runs out of ammo…
Or maybe they just will keep that gun to the head and they will use that thread for running the show and impose more counter-cyclic policies. In that case the answer will come from the voters (like it's happening in Italy now).
Could you expand on this please, what's happening in Italy, how that connects to the ECB open market policies?
The Euro is basically a foreign currency, so Italy have lost any saying in its monetary and fiscal policies. Austerity in times of recession is craziness, but is the order that come from Brussels.
The new government in Italy is basically anti-euro. Those so called "populist" governments don't happen by accident but when the people is very unhappy with the economy.
As the Euro is, in essence, a foreign currency, there is really a risk that Italy and others could be in the situation where they can't finance themselves. That would be the end of the Euro.
In the year 2012 that almost happened. There was a public debt crisis that finished the (and this is not an exaggeration (1)) exact day that the ECB decided to finish it.
What the ECB is doing now (since 2012), is buying the public debt of Italy, Spain and others in the secondary markets (2).
They can't do it directly because is forbidden. This has to be done, because, otherwise will be the end of the Euro.
Interestingly, buying in the secondary market is also against the treaties (3) but they hide it in technicalities.
At the same time, this is used as leverage for dictating the economic policies of those countries from Brussels.
The result of those policies is what bring the "populist" to the government.
But this weird perspective also correlates with a drop not just in voter participation, but perhaps also in the care taken in voting. Seriously, protest votes are a kind of shooting yourself in the foot because the guy next door is so mean - but quite common, at least nowadays.
Almost certainly those who will suffer most from populism in italy will be the voters who voted for them; just as those who voted for e.g. trump are likely to achieve the exact opposite of what they're so angry to... prevent? achieve?
It's not just one country; almost every single modern democracy is afflicted to some extent. We may have misattributed democracies past successes to the technicalities of voting, missing the much larger, less trivial social context in which it works. But certainly whatever the cause - it's much deeper than something like the ECB mishandling the situation in Italy.
This is not a mishandling, the ECB is what is, for now, saving the Euro.
The problem, in Europe, at least, is the design of the Euro is flawed. A different question is if that flawed design it's being used for other goals.
How do these two things square against each other?
> Austerity in times of recession is craziness, but is the order that come from Brussels.
> What the ECB is doing now (since 2012), is buying the public debt of Italy, Spain and others in the secondary markets (2).
It seems to me that "austerity" is the buzzword used by states that want to inflate away their debt.
(And the debt is actually the same than it was when the crisis started, so all the "bailout" did was to save the banks exposed to it using European's people's money, so instead of DB and other private banks now it's owed to ECB, the IMF and so on -- the same debt but under a much worsened infrastructure and economy, so even less chance of ever coming over).
Timoty Geithner apocryphally refused to even countenance burning any bondholders in Ireland (or anywhere really) out of the risk of contagion. Now, Ireland has the 3rd highest debt per capita in the world, just after Japan and the US. Note that Japan and the US can print currency, while Ireland cannot.
tl;dr totally a bailout by stealth.
The worst part was that it created this horrible dynamic between different European countries, when really we should just have been blaming the banks.
Not paying taxes, retirement with 50, not playing by the rules, people go blind very quick: https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/0430/Greek-islan...
There are only two options:
1. Leave the Euro (not the EU). See, what your new Drachma will be able to buy you.
2. Keep the Euro, negotiate a hair cut. Change how things are done in Greece.
And we haven't turn to China. It's just that our (incompetent) government has ties to communist parties because of their legacy. On the other hand, Greece-US relations are at their best phase in the last 40 years or so. We are and will always be a country that belongs to the West. Fuck China and fuck Russia too, and any other oppressive regiment out there.
Yeah, just not unconditional, not free, and no money.
They got credit (e.g. not money but another loan), under severe conditions (e.g. not unconditional), foreign analysts have compared to those signed when you're defeated in a war, and even IMF officials have admitted they were "the wrong solution"), and it had to go directly to repayments (e.g. not free).
So in effect, the German-led EU paid the German banks and major private investors holding most of the debt, with EU money, still keeping Greece in debt (from the new credit), making some good money in the process (see linked articles above), and imposing their economic agenda on top.
>and the least they could do is not cause anymore trouble
A, those pesky Greeks always causing trouble. And ungrateful at that.
Not, like e.g. a galant nation invading their country, causing the death of a million people (including almost all Greek Jews), taking a "loan" to itself from the occupied government it had setup, bombing Greece's ports and infrastructure before leaving, and then refusing to pay recuperations...
paid the German banks and major
private investors holding most
of the debt
In the light of this data, I do not think it's reasonable to speak as you did above. It was primarily a bailout of Greek, French and Belgium banks.
Aside, if Yanis Varoufakis' account is to be believed, the core reason why Germany accepted the bailout was political and twofold:
* The governing coalition under Merkel had elections upcoming, and staked its entire reputation on the EU and the Euro. A new Euro-Critical party (Alternative fuer Deutschland AfD) emerged. It was felt that Greece dropping out of the Euro and defaulting would be seen by the voters as a vindication of the Alternative fuer Deutschland.
* Powerstruggle with France: if Germany went soft with Greece, it was felt that that would give France an excuse to tap German money even more than it already does.
You want Greece start thinking in the EU like "us" when they deal with China, but, at the same time, we Europeans, talk about how "they fucked" it.
You can't have it both ways: or Greece are "us" or Greece are "they".
In my opinion, the debt crisis showed them, and others, clearly that it's not* the former.
*edited: added the 'not'.
You can't talk about "our" European exterior policy and then, when the time arrive impose a bigger austerity, in part of the population of Europe, causing a bigger and longer crisis that the Great Depression.
Never mind Greece previous sins, that would never be done to a German land or a USA state, for instance
Ergo, there is not "we".
If something, Brussels, has show to be the antagonist to the Greeks (and not only the Greeks).
That's a nice theory, but considering all the stuff that came out about how dysfunctional Greece, on outside they were just bunch of liars. How can any politician justify to voters such a decision?
If you lend somebody money to improve his life, and he burns through them by doing stupid things and lying to you, and has no way to pay back, do you lend them more "in order to develop"?
Btw if I recall correctly your suggestion is what Obama did - pumping more money into economy after 2008. From what I read it was very ineffective and basically trillion(s) were mostly wasted without lasting effect
Consider that, theoretically, the problem to be solved was the public debt and now, many years later, and after forcing the solution on the patient, the debt is the same or worst.
I have to say, that I find totally alien the moral perspective from wich somebody can say something like "they are a bunch of liars" about an entire country.
Who is the liar? the taxi guy in Athens? the children of the school in the corner? the old people that miss the drachma? the young people that had to leave the country?
Never mind where you are from, a little of introspection (and some history reading) will show you how you could be easily any one of them.
The EU only tried to get Greece to pay back most its debt, at all costs (social/political/economical...). Who do you think they were helping the most: the big banks or the Greek citizens?
EU has a fundamental problem: it is a now a unified economical entity, but not a political one. Using Germany's money to bailout other countries' economy is frown upon by both sides, thus can't sustain.
Uh? Their economical politics have been dictated by EU since the crisis.
> even with unconditional free money
Uh? You mean mostly extra loans that they had to repay, like any loan. And it was not unconditional either, since they had to apply the economical politics of EU, so that EU was sure they would repay.
I've long thought that the EU has focused far too much on combining bureaucracy and too little on combining actual politics.
Now that we're facing political challenges, there is no EU polity to deal with it. If we're faced with any major political or military conflict, the members will fall on multiple sides and the EU will be split.
most of the bailout money went straight to Germany to buy back outstanding bonds in possession of their central bank ensuring they'd be insulated from further deterioration of the Greek economy.
It's the banks and institutions from the bailing out countries who received the bailouts.
A good first step would be for the EU to put its foot down and recognize Taiwan as an independent state with full diplomatic relations. As it stands, no individual country dares do it.
The article proposes changing the voting scheme to a qualified-majority rather than unanimity, but personally I think it would be better to try to understand why those countries are against it and work to change that, rather than overruling them, which just reinforces the idea that the EU is a tool of a small clique of countries to rule over the others.
But more practically: I kind of doubt it matters when the vote is unanimous, because at that point you're in good company, and it's going to be hard for some external entity to blame you all too much (and if they do, it's easier to find backing for your position from all those that voted like you).
You may be thinking of the Commission, who can propose legislation and are appointed for five year terms by the Council (following nominations by national governments).
Think why US governors vote differently on various foreign policy issues such the Iraq/Afganistan war or the current trade war. Absolute majority is hard to achieve even in the United States.
Not sure if this is sarcasm. American governors govern states. They have zero purview over foreign policy, which is strictly a federal matter.
China is smart, not naive. They can bring the EU to their knees with tens of billions of dollars making them completely ineffective due to their huge bureaucracy.
Don't be too sure. Even if not in absolute terms, the scale appears uneven. Still, you are correct that it needs to be at the EU level, if just to protect those that can't afford to stand on principle.
Also, you don't have to go full Taiwanese independence here. Simpler measures towards transparency of Chinese influence/demands would be a much more pragmatic initial step.
I wonder if there are some ulterior motive in the increased amount of anti-EU comments here on this site
I.e. the appropriate solution would be for (e.g., to pick on a particularly bad tax code) the US and germany to simply dump their tax codes wholesale and copy the Netherlands, rather than the converse. Because seriously, some tax codes are just asking to be abused. Plug this hole, wait for the next one...
The cynical side of me doesn't think it's coincidental that the loopholes are so gaping. Oh well.
See also sanctions against Russia: the trade of everyone _except Germany_ went down; overall the trade is the same. Cui bono?
It is certainly not about who will control the trade, everything is just coincidence. Sure thing.
Actually, the union makes it harder to confront china because of the collective nature. It's like if a group of ten people going to the movies vs 10 individuals. The group has to compromise while individuals don't. There is a reason why china is so pro-EU. It's why china wants britain to stay in the EU.
The EU can't confront china if it is going to hurt greece or one of its members. But norway can because it is free to act on its own interests.
> China obviously can’t blacklist the EU.
And obviously EU can't blacklist china either.
> As it stands, no individual country dares do it.
A few individual countries do.
Sure, it's harder to reach a consensus, but it has more power than individual decisions.
Divide and conquer has been tried and tested, it rarely works as well as the "muh sovereignety" people think.
2028: Greece wants help from EU after China strongarms it over loans. "Why does the EU do nothing to help us?"
We also leased our production and we got ripped off by politicians.
Basically, YMMV, as the details matter much more than the large picture here.
Although misguided, it is quite easy to understand citizens' anti-Americanism which is borne out of effects they experience compared to China's relatively domestic-only policies. Right or wrong aside, this has always been the cost of globalism and projection. I don't think it helps to present it as an either-or, weight-counterweight situation (which the article doesn't do and is warning against of course).
> Transparency should be demanded [...]
I've found this is just too much to ask anyone dealing with China. I don't care if you're Marriott or Apple or a politician or whoever, the leverage of an entire country weighed against your ability to even disagree publicly is an unfair fight. Sadly, if you want to demand transparency you are in effect forcefully removing a market. Consumers and journalists are going to have to just continue naming and shaming, which does little good, until that transparency is demanded of the true oppressor.
> That is misguided [...] however much Europeans may dislike the occupant of the White House.
> Ideally the Trump administration would stop treating Europeans as free-riders on American power who deserve a good kicking.
While ideal, sure, I think the author should heed their own thoughts on not focusing too much on the current occupant. In general US policy has no anti-EU slant (though the inverse seems less true).
Anyone else having the same issue?
Let's call it as it is: HN is a political instrument for anglocentric views. Not a particularly strong one, since topics are usually not about politics, but biased nontheless.
Which is fine, but let's stop denying it.
...but most of this thread is "bashing" the US and EU.
The best you could say about HN is that it hosts a pro-China contingent and an anti-China contingent, each of which believes the site is biased towards the other. But the site itself and the userbase is too diverse to be accurately labeled one or the other.
The issue is that China tends to be an emotive topic for some reason, and calm and factual analysis too rare.
It is possible to discuss China by recognising that it is a country that has been through a long period of decline and that is simply trying to re-assert itself on the world stage.
I would argue that your pro-China camp does not exist. Those who criticize the US (myself included) are perfectly aware that China is not a role model.
We simply refuse to accept the view good (US) vs bad (China / Russia, depending on the weather). And we argue that the US has a much bigger footprint on geopolitics. both good and bad. And we criticize the bad parts, of which there are plenty.
and by reducing that footprint (which is the main purpose of the critique) who do you think is in the best position to fill the vacuum? and what is the net effect of such change (good vs bad)?
> And we criticize the bad parts, of which there are plenty.
so you won't start criticizing China until US becomes the perfect utopia? how convenient..
A similar US-bashing political article would never get that much upvoted. Methinks.
Also, I see criticism of China in this article, but I don't see anything I would interpret as "bashing" China. For that matter I also see criticism of the US and EU in the article as well.
You are totally right, and I will add just one word: Guantanamo.