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U.S. widens trade blacklist to include some of China’s top AI startups (reuters.com)
419 points by nwrk 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 335 comments





I guess I am a somewhat neutral bystander here. I'm from India and the way I see it, these sorts of actions, will simply force China and Chinese companies to develop alternatives to US products. For the short to medium term these blacklists will hurt Chinese companies severely, perhaps even put some of them out of business. However, in the long term 15-20 years, I would imagine, China would have fully caught up with the US particularly on semiconductor design and fabrication. Once that happens, the dominance of the US tech stack will start to falter and eventually erode away. If I were the US govt., I would invest every available dollar and minute on building up a technological lead, because, oh boy it is going to need every last bit of advantage it can get. And even that may not be enough.

For the world, this may not be a terrible outcome, (although don't get me wrong -- no trade war would be the best outcome.) . For one thing, it breaks monopolies across the tech stack from E-commerce all the way to semi-conductor manufacturing equipment. That competition between US and Chinese companies can only benefit the world. It's happening in 5G already.


The thing to understand about China is that domestic alternatives to international products, especially in 'sensitive' industries (basically anything technologically significant) is ALREADY a core government goal and a major cornerstone of their tech, IP, and political policy. The CCP has stated on many occasions--going back years--that their goal is to eliminate any reliance on non-Chinese firms. This has more urgency in some industries (eg semiconductors) than others, but the ultimate goal is the same.

The other thing to understand though is that in a dictatorship people do not have economic freedom or the incentives to truly do the hard work necessary to build this industries. If the United States cuts off support for China and these industries, China will fall far behind unless it can steal the technologies. This is the fate of most dictatorships.

That seems incredibly naive. of course they do have the incentives, wanting to get rich. They do have the economic freedom, at least enough to do very creative software and hardware engineering. The evidence is there.

> in a dictatorship people do not have economic freedom or the incentives to truly do the hard work necessary to build this industries.

At the end of the Ming dynasty, there was a commercial family dominating the sea trade out of the southern coast. When the Qing took power, they told the family patriarch he could keep everything, as long as he was willing to swear loyalty to the new dynasty. He immediately did so.

His son, however, issued a rousing formal denunciation of his father, questioning how anyone whose oath to the Ming had been sincere could betray them at the drop of a hat like that. It was so persuasive that it convinced the Manchus, who threw the patriarch in prison -- devolving control of the whole enterprise onto the Ming-loyalist son. He went into open rebellion, took his hundreds of ships and thousands of seamen to Taiwan, and waged war on the Qing for decades. His rebellion was only ended when the Qing took the dramatic step of fully evacuating the coastline to prevent anyone from supporting him from the mainland.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koxinga

Dictatorships allow quite a bit of freedom.


They have the incentive. Despite having a totalitarian gov, the economy is still largely capitalistic. The issue is that environments which lack freedom of expression also tend to lack the creativity needed for great leaps of innovation.

If I were to guess, a large percentage of China’s captains of industry spent a decent amount of time living abroad


Actually, a lot of the reasoning behind the tariffs is the converse, that if we can't rely on China for making all of our [insert thing here], we'll have to make it ourselves. I mean, maybe we have to build iPhones in the United States and build up the supply chain for that?

At least, that's the thinking.


"However, in the long term 15-20 years, I would imagine, China would have fully caught up with the US particularly on semiconductor design and fabrication. Once that happens, the dominance of the US tech stack will start to falter and eventually erode away. "

Are you assuming the U.S. will sit stagnant during these 15-20 years? If China is 15-20 years behind currently, I doubt they will ever be at parity. Their best hope is a cultural revolution.


> If China is 15-20 years behind currently, I doubt they will ever be at parity.

Yes, no lesson from world history is more obvious and robust than "once in the lead, always in the lead".


Like all the historic civilizations that peaked and fell apart ?

The comment you replied to was sarcastic.

I thought it might be since it's so obvious but discussing a similar topic with coworkers a few days back had a similar situation where someone just frames the argument in a time window that explains their narrative - I wouldn't be surprised if someone argued this because of the US economic dominance post WW2

my reading of the OP is that was exactly the point

Apparently China is already leading the world as far as AI goes (I first saw this in Mary Meeker’s internet report this year I think it was and she usually links to the research in her slides). I read somewhere that Chinese scientists found it easier to get Chinese government funding for bold and ambitious research (and I imagine they’d also have other “advantages” given how the country is governed). So I wouldn’t be surprised if China would overtake the US in a whole bunch of technical sectors.

This is not completely true. China lead in terms of AI startup funding, but due to the huge shortage of talents, a good number of startups don't hold much water.

The top Chinese talents (e.g. Kaming He, Fei Fei Li etc) all chose to move to the US. AFAIK, there are no Chinese institutions that employ elite foreign AI researchers. The US universities and companies still lead with a large margin in terms of high impact publications in NIPS, ICML, CVPR etc.


You're wrong with the "large margin" terms. A lot of Chinese universities have stepped up in the recent past. You can take a look here : http://csrankings.org/#/fromyear/2017/toyear/2019/index?ai&v...

3 of the top 10 (all in the top 5 even) are Chinese in origin. This is a list of publications at the top venues in AI / ML for the past two years. If you extend it to past 5 years, you get a slightly better picture, but that doesn't change the 3 in top 5 comment either.


The keyword is "high impact". The link you provided is only ranked by publication count, it doesn't consider the impact factor of journal/conferences. If you look at stats from ICML this year[0], the only Chinese institution TsingHua is ranked #13 in the top #20 list.

Take a look at recent major advances in deep learning: information bottle neck, mask-rcnn, transformer, normalizing flow, all originated from US/Canadian/EU institutions. Chinese academia has very serious systematic issues that discourages innovation and encourages quantity over quality.

https://medium.com/@dcharrezt/icml-2019-stats-4ba18fbc6543


Sure, but at the same time there is a real bias towards established methods and research groups. It's hard to find traction as a newly established group doing original research - and "impact factors" are highly overrated since what ends up happening is the paper with most publicity and flash surrounding it is deemed more impactful. The fact that they went from almost zero representation at the international venues to such a high number should be indication that they are on the rise.

In addition, I think the sheer number of students and resources at their disposal will ensure China have a continuous pool of talent to draw from. The US has become increasingly hostile and competitive for ML researchers in terms of academic pressure, and returning to China has been incentivized for a while now.


>Chinese academia has very serious systematic issues that discourages innovation and encourages quantity over quality.

Can you elaborate on that?


> Their best hope is a cultural revolution.

You say this phrase, but I do not think it means what you hope it means.


Am I being whooshed? They had a Cultural Revolution..

The lack of IP law in china will allow them to progress much much faster.

China does have IP law, and the big companies sue each other for copyright infringement all the time, e.g. https://technode.com/2019/04/26/baidu-bytedance-lawsuits-con...

There's a lot of talk about political censorship in China, but the majority of the content I've seen removed was not political, but in violation of copyright.

What China does not have is a legal system that is both able and willing to stop all instances of copyright infringement (or most other crimes, for that matter). So you get a lot of small-scale operations flying under the radar for as long as possible and vanishing as soon as they risk punishment.


US was already shown to be behind in 5g, China is already caught up. Heck they even helped AMD catch up to Intel, and see what sort of major success that was ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMD%E2%80%93Chinese_joint_vent... ) . These moves are there to slow it down. But China can make other moves like moving tech knowledge from one company to others and play all sorts of games. Fact is knowledge despite what Americans want the world to believe, replicates and distributes powers in ways which are very difficult to stop. If China is not building it, they will move the knowledge to some ally which can build it. It's almost guaranteed at this point that we are already living in a bifurcated world where US will need to manufacture everything in other countries than China. And yet China's manufacturing edge is not going anywhere. They can clone any US product anyone else is producing and sell it to their trading bloc.

"US was already shown to be behind in 5g, China is already caught up."

So the mainstream media and politicians would have us believe.

"Heck they even helped AMD catch up to Intel, and see what sort of major success that was ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMD%E2%80%93Chinese_joint_vent.... ) "

All I see here is an agreement for AMD to transfer technology to China, for x86 chips destined for chinese-only server market. Further, that agreement appears stalled, since AMD will NOT transfer their Zen2 technologies in this agreement. https://www.tomshardware.com/news/amd-zen-china-x86-ip-licen...

"And yet China's manufacturing edge is not going anywhere. They can clone any US product anyone else is producing and sell it to their trading bloc."

More like their manufacturing may not be going anywhere...their market has been shrinking by leaps and bounds.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5G#Surveillance_concerns

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concerns_over_Chinese_involvem...

They can have Iran, AFAIC.


I don't know but from a science point of view all our last research are based on paper coming from people at China companies (Alibaba, Tencent), that currently have the edge in our specific domain (machine learning). So yes in domains that mainly require your brain they have caught up if not ahead.

Machine learning is a wide field. Could you give some examples of research you've done based on papers that came out of Alibaba, Tencent, etc.? I'm curious.

of course ML is a wide field but for instance these paper were quite relevant to our work:

* https://arxiv.org/pdf/1802.03903.pdf * https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8710885 but they are numerous, and the work done at Tsinghua University is very interesting

By the way down voting a comment based on facts is rather silly...


Thanks for the links.

By the way, the site guidelines exhort us to

Please don't comment about the voting on comments. It never does any good, and it makes boring reading.


Alibaba has an edge in machine learning? The CEO of Alibaba is palpably clueless about anything relating to do with machine learning and I haven't seen any evidence that anyone else at the helm of the org is any better.

Watch Elon Musk try really hard not to cringe at the shit Jack Ma says on the topic of ML.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3lUEnMaiAU


Daniel zhang is the ceo, get your facts right and daniel is way savy in tech than jack ma.

Jack Ma stepped down just a month ago and was CEO at the time of the interview. He's completely clueless and he was at the helm. Those are facts.

> So the mainstream media and politicians would have us believe.

Do you have sources from non-"mainstream media" that indicate otherwise?


Presently, I'd consider The Verge to be mainstream, but Nilay was on point with his skepticism: https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/23/18637213/5g-race-us-leade...

I think one could produce articles supporting either view quite easily, which them becomes a task of separating the agendas of its authors.


I’m pretty sure the poster you replied to was talking not about deployment of 5G but the fact that Huawei is supposed to be far ahead of its non Chinese peers when it comes to 5G tech. That’s basically why the US has to ban the supply of tech to them, because otherwise nearly every 5G deployment would be Huawei.

Is that the case or is it that the Chinese government is subsidizing the 5g products that Huawei makes so that western countries will purchasing them?

Yeah it's a national security concern because if someone is leading so heavily they will destroy your lead and then you will never catch up. Just look at what happened to so many European tech companies.

China did not help AMD.

AMD partnered with a Chinese partner and produced /knowledge transfered an older chipstack.

Ps. Everyone can manufacture, so not sure what your mean with edge. There are a lot centralized/easy to be found in China, that's true.


>US was already shown to be behind in 5g

Since 5g is technology with not much utility that nobody but the telcos want, that is probably wise on their part.


Not just China. It’s also leading to India, and Europe to reconsider their reliance on the US.

Doubt it. China has yet to invent a new class of technology not copied/stolen from Europe or US. There are very good ar perfecting technologies developed elsewhere.

Not yet. But 20 years ago, we weren't having this conversation of China even being seen as a threat. Back in the day, China was simply and exotic communist land that the West exploited for cheap manufacturing. Now it's appearing to be going down the path of militarily deterring the US and competing in the tech field.

Ah... China has been a one-party police state with intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles for my entire adult life (I'm in my 40s). The only thing I don't understand is why anyone ever thought they weren't a threat.

Their no first use policy perhaps

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_first_use#China


That seems to be a useful policy when you're on your way to being a world power.

It also seems to be the kind of policy that will be broken when convenient after becoming a world power.


...in a world where no one else has nukes.

>Not yet. But 20 years ago, we weren't having this conversation of China even being seen as a threat.

Twenty years ago, Japan was the "threat" and the zeitgeist was full of tropes of Japanese technology taking over the world.


Farther back than that even, go watch movies like Gung Ho from 1986 with Michael Keaton which did a good job at vilifying Japanese companies/Japan.

>The local auto plant in fictional Hadleyville, Pennsylvania, which supplied most of the town's jobs, has been closed for nine months. The former foreman Hunt Stevenson goes to Tokyo to try to convince the Assan Motors Corporation to reopen the plant. The Japanese company agrees and, upon their arrival in the U.S., they take advantage of the desperate work force to institute many changes. The workers are not permitted a union, are paid lower wages, are moved around within the factory so that each worker learns every job, and are held to seemingly impossible standards of efficiency and quality. Adding to the strain in the relationship, the Americans find humor in the demand that they do calisthenics as a group each morning and that the Japanese executives eat their lunches with chopsticks and bathe together in the river near the factory. The workers also display a poor work ethic and lackadaisical attitude toward quality control.


Japan wasn't run by a dictator, didn't have tens of thousands of people from a particular religious group placed into concentration camps, or owned so much stock in particular US companies that they can get those very same US companies to bend over to their demands.

It's not the same, and you know that.


Japan has put almost as much money ($1B) into US treasuries as China ($1.1B) https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RS22331.pdf

Since China is "new money", Japan must have held more US debt at some point. It seems unlikely to me that this would not also extend to holding stakes in American companies.


I was talking about the economic threat. I completely agree that The Japan of twenty years ago was a much freer place than China today and that they are not the same thing in terms of authoritarianism.

Economically though, the two situations are similar.


1957 is an interesting year. In the United States that's the year that Control Data Corporation was formed in the US. Seymour Cray, the namesake of cray supercomputers, would join it a year later and would go on towards the rapid process of turning what were glorified room-sized calculators into the computers that we now take for granted and that would rapidly take over all forms of technological development. In China that was the year that Mao Zedong would begin to try to implement socialism in China. Over the years that followed tens of millions of Chinese would literally starve to death.

Over the next decade to 1969 Mao would start his 'Cultural Revolution' which would see millions of Chinese 'purged', one way or the other, extensive class warfare, and the destruction of undesirable elements referencing their cultural and religious past. By contrast in the US in 1969 we would put the first man on the moon. In 1976 Mao would die and end up, after a brief power struggle, being replaced by Deng Xiaoping in 1982. He opened China to foreign investment and rapidly transitioned China to a system more driven by free market economics that persists to this day.

In the two decades from 1960 to 1980 China's economy grew about 165%. In the twenty years from 1980 to 2000, it grew 555%. In the twenty years from 1998 to 2018 it grew 465%.

In the two decades from 1960 to 1980 the US economy grew about 111%. In the twenty years from 1980 to 2000, it grew 95%. In the twenty years from 1998 to 2018 it grew 45%.

The only reason 1960 to 1980 in China looks not as awful as it was is because of rapid population growth, mass starvations notwithstanding.

---

Historically China was a world leader in technology. Wiki has a list of Chinese inventions which you can compare and contrast to their western counterparts in time, method, and source [1]. In modern times they made some bad decisions and at some of the worst possible times. Of course this should make you ask (as it did me) what about the mid ages? The period of time after Chinese tech supremacy but before the modern era? This [2] article offers an interesting argument that seems quite compelling.

One of the big differences is that China was a unified and stable empire. By contrast Europe was a chaotic land of never ending conquest and war. And periods of stability always had an underlying tension of imminent war. This competition and lack of unification within Europe meant that inventors, scholars, and others were free to do as they felt. If one country doesn't like what you're doing and declares you a heathen or other naughty word, so what? Move 100 miles and you're now in another country that's happy to go against the desires of the other country if not only because it's that other country!

China wanted stability and security. Europe wanted progress. It's interesting the compare and contrast this to modern times. No single answer fits clearly, but it's certain that times have changed.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_inventions

[2] - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/10/28/why-t...


> One of the big differences is that China was a unified and stable empire.

Unified, yes; nominally, for short stretches of time. Stable, no; there was always war somewhere over land and power.

Look at the animation of territorial changes at the top of [1] and at the quick succession of dynasties. Consider that each time territory was conquered or a new dynasty rose to power, this was accomplished by war; and there were many more rebellions that were defeated by the ruling dynasty and didn't change much.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynasties_in_Chinese_history


> For the world, this may not be a terrible outcome

In terms of consumer product choice? Sure.

However, in terms of an authoritarian government rising to superpower status...


[dead]


Citizenship is usually a passive trait that is imbued by right of locale of birth.

A citizen can very much be a neutral observer philosophically, given that a citizen has very little capability to sway the nation politically, economically, or militarily.

In fact, a citizen who thinks that they are participating on the nation-stage is probably more delusional than the opposite.


A lot of people - even some past China-appeasers - would currently disagree with that line of thinking.

That was the sort of hopeful thinking that opened the worlds markets to China when Bill Clinton urged lawmakers to let China into the WTO in the year 2000.[1]

Several years ago, Robert Kagan in Foreign Affairs magazine, commented that China lacks bigger humanistic aspirations than material ones and a limited vision to find ways to furnish those material resources for itself. China lacks a grander vision, he said. ( Paraphrasing here. I can't find the article )

Now witnessing world events, I doubt many people would argue against that opinion.

[1]

When the World Opened the Gates of China

Was it a mistake for the U.S. to allow China to join the World Trade Organization? Assessments of the 2001 deal often determine positions in today’s bitter trade debate.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-the-world-opened-the-gates...

edit: citation corrected


Not sure why this is downvoted. I agree with this point. There is a certain level of ambition that is lacking in Confucius culture, which is a very critical drive when exploring the unknown field.

The US has been leading the world in tech, however, not leading the world in how to defend that tech. Chinese hacking and stealing of tech is vastly more powerful right now. We need to put an end to this

One thing that I really like about the Trump administration is that finally the WH has decided to act against the systemic threat posed by China.

Can someone who is well versed in politics shed some light on if this is a trump specific phenonemon or had there been a sea change and the dems are now on board too ?


Obama was manufacturing the pivot to Asia. The TTP would have given a lot of power to corporations to combat China. This presents its own set of problems though.

Clinton was adamant that her grandchildren would not be speaking Chinese.

China has been acknowledged as a threat since 2008 really, by everyone really, just, sometimes people need a very visual and visceral demonstration of action (no matter how less-optimal it actually is). Surely some business people in here can relate to that sentiment?


From what I understand many corporate victims of Chinese industrial espionage since 2008 specifically declined to pursue prosecution for fear of what it would do to their existing or potential for business with Chinese entities and individuals.[0]

And this was despite a Justice Department that was chomping at the bit to prosecute Chinese industrial espionage. I bring this up because I think this shows why leaving weighty matters involving the security and future of your country up to corporations is a poor idea, especially when corporations are motivated solely by profit as corporatists gleefully remind us at all times.

[0]https://www.npr.org/2019/04/12/711779130/as-china-hacked-u-s...


Do you think the TPP was a response to this fear? Genuine question here.

My instinct is that an Obama/Clinton administration would not have used a trade blacklist or tariffs.

Probably not. The Obama approach was a much softer touch.

Trump is certainly following up on his threats, but that approach carries some big risks as China can retaliate. It will come down to who blinks first.


It may have been a “softer” approach but it would Have been a far cheaper, and more effective approach.

It would also have had the benefit of building alliances that centered around the US, as opposed to weakening alliances.

The tariffs have served to strengthen China’s position in the world, more than anything else. As an example, consider the fact that Germany is now allowing the Chinese to enter their market.

The reality is that when the RoW sees the US trying to strangle China economically in this fashion, they recognize that they also could be next (or, as was the case in the Trump tariffs, the European and Japanese allies were first on being hit by tariffs).

The only long term effect this is gonna have is basically to blunt American economic leadership, and the centrality of the American economy to the world.

Which may be a good thing, frankly, for the world at large, but is almost certainly not gonna be a good thing for American leadership and quality of life.


"…Germany is now allowing the Chinese to enter their market."

Out of curiosity, when did the Federal Government have a ban on Chinese companies doing business in Germany?


It will remain to be seen how effective the Trump approach is.

Obama and Trump administration demands are pretty much similar, but when China said NO, their responses are totally different. Trump is taking China to the mat which Obama did not (what ever the reason may be).

Obama's response to contain China was the TPP. It could have been more (or less--no way to know) effective than Trump's, Obama just didn't tweet about it.

TPP was bad idea, it was so anti-worker I am surprised that a Democrat is supporting it. I do not have to say about the settlement system of TPP. It was stupid, literally having parallel legal system outside of all the current legal system.

TPP died for good reasons because it for technocrats by technocrats.


Can you point out some of the ways it was anti-worker? Genuine question btw

it was certainly anti american worker. here are some reasons why:

- would have removed US govt general requirement to buy goods produced in america

- would have moved jobs to vietnam (lower min. wage than china) instead of back to US, putting downward wage pressure on US manufacturing workers

- protect more investments in offshoring than NAFTA does (read: incentivize offshoring) in both manufacturing and services

http://cepr.net/documents/publications/TPP-2013-09.pdf


Those aren’t necessarily bad for American workers. American manufacturing is high skill and involves precision equipment and manufacturing. What would have moved to Vietnam would have been more basic textiles and cnc/molding. Not sure why everyone glorifies basic manufacturing work like it’s the pinnacle of American labor.

>What would have moved to Vietnam would have been more basic textiles and cnc/molding.

And these are the types of jobs that provided a decent living wage for the middle/lower-middle class, of which a lot of people in the midwest and rustbelt use to do, and the loss of such jobs has decimated these communities. Service sector, warehouse fulfillment, and gig economy jobs don't provide nearly the value, nor do they provide the types of benefits that former jobs did.

Edit - Not sure why my comment is being downvoted. A lot of the jobs in the midwest were things like basic factory work of plastic products, textiles, CNC machining, molding (of which my dad was previously employed doing), and other things of that nature which have been outsourced over the decades. These jobs not only provided a stable livable wage, but most of them also provided benefits such as health/dental insurance for not only the workers but their entire families. These jobs have left over the years, and nothing which provided the same standards of living has come into replace them. States such as michigan, illinois, ohio, wisconsin, and others in that area have been hit hard over the past few decades because of these changes in the global economy.


> Not sure why everyone glorifies basic manufacturing work like it’s the pinnacle of American labor.

War requires a lot of basic manufacturing capacity, and geopolitically those aren't good things to lose.


> War requires a lot of basic manufacturing capacity

A lot (if not most) of military machinery is still manufactured in the US. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman build our planes. General Dynamics, Oshkosh, and others build our tanks. Raytheon makes some of our missiles. In fact, here's full list of who's building our defense tech: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_defense_... -- As you can see, it's mostly home-grown and home-based American companies. We've done a very good job of keeping our most critical and sensitive manufacturing jobs inside the states.

It's mostly consumer goods manufacturing that's moved abroad. I don't see any particular benefit in bringing it back stateside. Making things in low-wage countries like Vietnam or China dramatically slashes costs for the consumers, allowing us American consumers to live a more lavish lifestyle. Forcing consumer goods to be manufactured in the U.S. would dramatically drive up their prices, and in effect be an indirect tax on the American consumer. Moreover, the U.S. is nearly at full employment. Who's going to staff the factories that will make consumer goods? With the extreme hostility to immigration we have under the folks in charge now, I don't see any new immigrants being let in to work at these new factories. Companies would be forced to build fully automated factories (due to labor shortage), and there'll be jarring period of high consumer goods prices while software engineers write code for new robotic/automated manufacturing of basic goods. Maybe in the end, this newly written software will (with its development cost amortized over time) allow us to undercut the prices of even low-wage human-requiring manufacturing and become a reigning manufacturer of all sorts of things -- but that benefit feels fairly remote, far-fetched, and hard-to-achieve.


It's an investment in security and it's better for the evironment to build local transport less also laws are stronger around polution.

I understand someone struggling who needs to buy the no name soup made in China but your 1,000 dollar cell phone only costs 250 to make. If the price went up to 400 your phone would still be a 1,000. That's what people will pay for it. If people cannot afford more the price will stay the same or go lower until Apple can't make a profit.

The jobs and spinoff businesses and increased security better environmental conditions worldwide vs Apple adding more money into a bank account. Cellphones are a bad example.


> A lot (if not most) of military machinery is still manufactured in the US...We've done a very good job of keeping our most critical and sensitive manufacturing jobs inside the states.

I'm aware of this, but I'd assume that they're all setup for peacetime manufacturing rates and would have difficulty scaling up. My concern is more about a lack of slack manufacturing capacity (and skills!) that could be repurposed in wartime.

IIRC, the US's slack manufacturing capacity was one of main things that won the war for the allies in WWII.

> It's mostly consumer goods manufacturing that's moved abroad. I don't see any particular benefit in bringing it back stateside.

That's true for some things, but not others. I'm thinking specifically about consumer electronics and some related areas. Where the capacity could be redirected towards military products (e.g. electronics for smart bombs and drones).

Even more broadly, consumer manufacturing may carry with it supply chains that are more militarily useful to have than the consumer product manufacturing capacity itself.

> Making things in low-wage countries like Vietnam or China dramatically slashes costs for the consumers, allowing us American consumers to live a more lavish lifestyle.

I think we've been letting this consideration drive too much of our decision making. It's one factor, but not the only one that matters.

Also, you have to think about the day when Vietnam or China runs out of people who are willing to work cheaply enough feed a system of labor arbitrage.


> It's mostly consumer goods manufacturing that's moved abroad. I don't see any particular benefit in bringing it back stateside. Making things in low-wage countries like Vietnam or China dramatically slashes costs for the consumers, allowing us American consumers to live a more lavish lifestyle.

Look at groups of people at a more granular level. On average, the economy is more efficient when goods are manufactured overseas.

If you're living in Wisconsin and you aren't a highly skilled knowledge worker with a college degree, and have been watching your community go from people with good factory jobs to minimum wage fast food and Walmart employees, it's a disaster.

The middle of the country needs quality jobs and options. It's not enough for small groups of people to do extraordinarily well while everyone else falls by the wayside.

And people don't want government handouts to fill the void. They want dignity, purpose, and control over their lives. In America, the only way to have that is to have a reasonably well paying job.


In general I agree with you, but some things to note about full employment:

People who have given up and are not looking for work, but instead (for example) move back in with their parents and live a lower quality of life -- not counted in employment figures.

Also these numbers don't take into account underemployment. If you got a 30 hour a week job that pays a quarter of what your old job paid, you're still considered "employed", even though your financial situation is much worse. Ditto for if, to make ends meet, you now have to work three jobs, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Yes, those people are "employed", but might be much better off if there were mid- and low-skill manufacturing jobs that have often been the staple of the middle class and working class.


Geopolitically, would it not be better too have a world economy that is to interdependent to support war as a viable path to resolution of differences.

I remember reading somewhere that people in the run-up to WW1 were saying that war was impossible, we'd entered a new age, the world was too interdependent to go to war, there was too much trade.

Nations with all the manufacturing and farming they need to survive regardless may not feel so restrained. And countries can always form self-sufficient blocs.


You don’t always chose who goes to war with you.

Because now those people work even “better” gig jobs or warehouse work for retailers or crappy retail jobs...

But yeah, really good for American workers so we can buy more shitty products which we can throw into the landfill...


you are being disingenuous when you say "everyone glorifies basic manufacturing work" as i never indicated anything of the sort, so i'm wary of engaging you further.

but, for whatever it's worth, the average US growth rate for advanced technology product exports was higher before Jan 1 1994 (NAFTA) than it was afterwards up until most recent data, 2018. i didn't look at imports, but suspect that the rate of import is higher/increasing. there are various interpretations of that, one of which could be that global demand for high tech stuff is simply slowing outside the US, but that seems unlikely given how much tech is blowing up generally.

another one of which that seems solid is that manufacturing "body of knowledge" / infrastructure probably allows tooling up the workforce and chipping away at high tech sort of stuff that the US may have had a dominant position in.


Because it used to be, and a lot of people never really made the transition. An incredibly unfortunate situation, for everyone.

When less big construction happens, we lose the experience and skill to build things that we used to do without complaint, and this works its way up the value chain until we cannot build a complex machine without parts from far away.

Alternatively, we leapfrog a generation of manufacturing processes and go straight to high speed 3D printing and clothing made from recovered landfill materials by nanobots.

I don't know if what we need is more protection or faster innovation. The two tend to work in opposite directions. Certainly they require different training and expectations.


> would have removed US govt general requirement to buy goods produced in america

Maybe we'd actually have cost-effective mass transit then.


And under Trump, the steel tariffs have basically forced Ford and GM to stop making sedans in the USA and instead make them in Mexico. Ford Focus: moved to China (Ironically). Ford Fusion: Cancelled. GM Volt: Cancelled. Harvey Davidson: moving to Europe.

Things aren't exactly simple, and I am not convinced that the tariffs + tax cuts have helped the American worker at all. US Manufacturing is down for two months in a row now, and I don't see it getting any better any time soon.

We're at a point where the Trump-defenders need to start explaining exactly what these tariffs are supposed to do and why they think the tariffs are helping. The tariffs have been in effect for well over a year, do you have any evidence that they're helping yet?

---------

Frankly, I don't care how much we hurt, or help, China. It was supposed to be "American First". So lets talk about America and whether or not these policies help Americans.


Youre thinking in the short-term. Of course there are going to be short term economic losses for the US when Trump announced the bans and the tariffs. But its only short term until the west figures out how to defeat the communists. In the long term, theres gain, not just in the economy of western countries, but most importantly gain in human rights, human dignity, and most of all, liberty! China's oligarchs would get mad at the CCP when the economy starts going to shambles and when they cant take their money out of the country.

> But its only short term until the west figures out how to defeat the communists.

The Berlin wall fell nearly 30 years ago and the USSR has collapsed shortly thereafter.

China's method of governance isn't anything like the communists. They're actually building advanced economies, as the builder of iPhones and lots of other equipment.

China is authoritarian, and probably best described as "legalist" (medieval Chinese philosophy). China engages in a system closer to capitalism, see Alibaba, Huawei and Baidu.

China's "communist party" is only communist in name. Although they're against human rights, they are welcoming of capitalists. Its why Tesla is building a factory there, even with the threat of Tariffs, because the rising Chinese middle class is actually working for that country. China is unfortunately, discovering an "authoritarian capitalism", some kind of crony capitalism which benefits the party and ultimately builds markets (Chinese Stock Market and Chinese Mega-corps are on the rise. Foxconn, Alibaba, Huawei, etc. etc.)


I feel like the "authoritarian capitalism" trope is inaccurate.

China introduced some elements of capitalism and liberty into its economy, but clearly retains government control over what would otherwise be independent companies.

Whether it chooses to exercise that control is immaterial -- the CCP obviously believes very strongly that if needed it has that control.

And legally, it does.

In that respect, China looks much more like the late-stage Soviet Union, where a diversity of political power groups (some allied, some opposed) give the illusion of a free market to a command economy.


Why is this comment flagged and downvoted when in fact it isnt anyhow pro-inflammatory. Hes just stating facts. Whats with this proCCP wave??

Building advanced economies sure, I agree with that. Building a better society? I doubt that. Theyre an Orwellian state because they know that without the propaganda and massive human rights intrusions, their communist party would crumble instantly. If the people actually believed in their own leaders, the CCP wouldnt have to use all that propaganda and censoring to further their cause.

Theyre an advanced economy yeah I agree with that. However, their markets are not open to foreign companies at all. Not a single western company can compete in China because of the tech theft and spying, and most of all because all the big companies are not private at all, theyre just communist institutions that are disguised as "private companies". If any western person uses an app like WeChat they would be so weirded out by the UI. That is because companies like Facebook and Google evolved that big organically, while companies like WeChat or Weibo or whatever evolved unorganically, their users are forced to use those apps.

And on top of that all, theres just no doubt whether theres tech theft. Most of the big companies in China are that big due to the fact that they blatantly just stole the tech and theyre not even trying to hide it. Theres countless of instances of this occurring, and its very surprising to me that the West just woke up.

Look at Hong Kong. Because of the West, HK has had a taste of what freedom looks like, and they would fight a lot to get back their liberty!

Fraternité, Égalité, Liberté!!!!!!!!! You can only compete with bullies if you are a bully yourself. With fire with fire!


It's too early to tell. Wars of any kind, including trade wars, are a short term cost hoping for a long term gain. If the Chinese economy is hurt more than the American economy that is one level of success. Then, if manufacturing moves back to the US and other Western hemisphere nations that's another level of success.

> If the Chinese economy is hurt more than the American economy that is one level of success

On the contrary, if the US economy was hurt, then its a failure. The point of "America First" is to care most about America, not about hurting others.

> Then, if manufacturing moves back to the US and other Western hemisphere nations that's another level of success.

No. The only success is if manufacturing moves back to the USA. For example, Ford moved to Mexico. This is NOT a win for USA.


The trade war, as far as I understand, started largely because companies were complaining about Intellectual Property being stolen. Although I figure the larger reason is China is a threat to American global influence, and we're trying to make sure we're the dominant country.

Regardless, I don't know how you quantify "if the US economy was hurt" in a consistent and accurate way. I'm sure some would want to use the S&P 500 or our GDP as a single measure. Neither of these things would immediately account for whether the obvious goal (not having IP stolen) or less obvious and quantifiable goal (dominance and global influence) are maintained, or suppose there's some other goal I don't know about, but it's more complex than saying we produced more value this year than last year.

I picture someone saying, "Look the S&P 500 went down, therefore the 'trade war' failed, see!" I'm not saying you would say that, I just think your definition, "if the US economy was hurt, then its a failure" leaves room for vague interpretation, where virtually any metric could be selected as proof of failure.


> The trade war, as far as I understand, started largely because companies were complaining about Intellectual Property being stolen.

The Midwest doesn't care about intellectual property rights. IP rights is mostly a west-coast (ie: Hollywood / Silicon Valley) thing. Ford and GM aren't the ones having their tech stolen by China... its Cisco and Apple who have to worry about that stuff.

Frankly: we all know why the trade war started. The trade war started because Mr. Trump got elected and ran on the platform of starting a trade war. Its that simple.

Now its up to the supporters of this platform to put up and explain to the rest of America the situation. Its been three years, and election year is next year. Its time to show off your results.


> The Midwest doesn't care about intellectual property rights.

Are you sure about that? Have you asked John Deere, Spirit Aerospace, Cargill, ADM, Citadel Investments, ...?


Basically any long term goal has short term costs. Building a new road costs money up front.

We don't want jobs just to come to the US. We want to help build the economies of the people scrambling across our border too. So jobs in Mexico is great, as long as there's also new jobs in the US.


> We don't want jobs just to come to the US

Yes we do. Full stop.

> We want to help build the economies of the people scrambling across our border too.

No.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrier_Air_Conditioner_move_t...

Carrier moving their jobs to Mexico was a key element of Trump's platform, and a major reason why Trump got elected. Trump's base does NOT want the jobs to move to Mexico.


Note the timestamp, from all the way back during his campaign.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-01/trump-s-v...

>The Republican presidential nominee rolled out the new talking point during a surprise trip Wednesday to Mexico, and explained it further on Thursday. In his telling, a prosperous Mexico and Latin America means less illegal immigration to the U.S. and more markets for American exports.


Yes, and Carrier was also moving out of the USA into Mexico during his campaign.

Actions speak louder than words. What did Trump do when Carrier was moving to Mexico? No American is willing to give up jobs to Mexico. Period.

You can try to whitewash Trump's actions as much as you want, but the Carrier issue is done and dealt with.

https://thehill.com/policy/finance/424078-trump-supporter-ey...

> A supporter of President Trump is considering moving his company's production headquarters to Mexico in an effort to avoid Trump's tariffs on Chinese imports, according to The New York Times.

...

> “I just feel so betrayed. If we fail because the company is being harmed by the government, that just makes me sick," he added, saying that he expects that his profits in 2019 will be cut in half because of the tariffs.

This is the actual politics of the people. Now go ask all your Trump supporter friends if this move was a "success" for Trump's tariffs, an intended result.


Let's be clear about which groups of "jobs" we're talking about. Of course Trump and his base don't want the set of jobs already in America to leave America for any destination. Trump wanted to hold up Carrier as an example of keeping jobs in America and it was a failure.

There's another set of jobs which is the massive manufacturing base in China which provides goods for the US and elsewhere. We would like those jobs to come to the Western hemisphere, including and especially but not limited to the US.


Kind of - Japan ratified the TPP, and Obama just said he'd talk about it.

Regardless, you're still right. In lieu of the TPP falling apart, China created it's own version to control APAC trade and fill the power gap, called RCEP. The trade war and the "America First" attitude has only incentivized China to speed up the negotiations, which if successful, will control something like half the world's global GDP.

The next RCEP meeting is next month and it will be interesting to see what comes from it.


I think it’s early. Many of those countries see China suspiciously but also want trade. We’ll see if those countries are able to push back on one sided aspects.

Very doubtful that it will go anywhere soon. Not only do half the ASEAN countries and China have territorial disputes, India and China have rather cautious and cold relationships. Both SK and Japan are also very cautious towards China and have cold relationships with each other.

I would think that at least the South China Sea territorial dispute would have to be settled, China would have to (at least symbolically) drop its support for Pakistan, and Japan and SK would need some form of reconciliation.


> Kind of - Japan ratified the TPP, and Obama just said he'd talk about it

What do you mean by "just said he'd talk about it"?


The pivot to Asia was extremely sensible policy.

It recognised that Asia was going to be the most important region by far, and that short of a war China and likely India were going to be superpowers at least as big as the US.

Therefore the logical conclusion was to engage in order for the US to be able to influence and to reap the economic benefits.


Also in my opinion TPP critically united other Asian nations. I think Trump admins' abandoning of traditional allies/structures like TPP and ceding soft/hard power across the board for the sake of 'America First' is going to have lasting damage and is thus not putting America First in the long term...

Pan-Asian relations is far more complex than just China and not-China. TPP wouldn't change that.

Yep, also Bernie denounced the TPP. So it’s not an anti-Democrat position, thought it’s an anti-globalist position.

> The TTP would have given a lot of power to corporations to combat China.

It would have given a lot of power to corporations, period. The same corporations that lobbied for so many anti-consumer and anti-democracy provisions, that both Trump and Sanders agreed it was awful, and ultimately caused the TPP to fail.

As for Clinton and the democrats - I wouldn't count on them to oppose China. Even after it was revealed Biden and Kerry's kids got $1 billion of Chinese investment right after their parents' diplomatic mission to China [1], they haven't denounced either. In fact, Biden is one of their presidential candidates.

[1] https://nypost.com/2018/03/15/inside-the-shady-private-equit...


TPP was awful just on it's copyright content alone, nevermind the other purported garbage in there. Here's [0] the EFF on TPP copyright.

[0] https://www.eff.org/issues/tpps-copyright-trap


would have given a lot of power to corporations to combat China

How? Apple and the NBA just bent to China's wishes. How would that have worked out?


The NBA rescinded that IIRC

Rescinded what? We just experienced how quickly they'll throw anyone under the bus if it harms their chinese market. For the downvotes: how would the TTP have helped companies police this?

edit: https://twitter.com/i/events/1182034806474825728

even at home


Unfortunately Dems are NOT on board.

I remember one of the earlier debates and, when asked, I think most (all?) candidates had China much later in their priority list, after issues like healthcare, immigration, economy, Russia and so.


>NOT on board

>had China much later in their priority list

Pick one?

>healthcare

As someone who is self employed and spends more than $20k for healthcare every year for a relatively healthy family of 4... you can just fuck right off if you don't think healthcare is a major major priority in this country.

People need to be HEALTHY in order to be HAPPY. There are so, so, so many people who can't afford to go to the doctor/dentist. They just hope for the best. Then something simple like breaking an ankle happens and it puts them into even further debt when they are already behind.

It's a viscous cycle, and sometimes it even seems like it's intended to keep down the poor.


Whoa - its possible to have dental care and go to the doctor for most things, and not cost $20K per year.

So, healthcare/insurance is not really a priority for people - until it is. Until something major/fixable but very expensive occurs. Then its a priority.

So forgive people for being a little blind on the subject. Its insurance after all - you're betting the other guy your house will burn down, and hoping they win. Very strange issue, and not entirely obvious what the best solution might be.

If we could pay for everybody's unlimited medical care, maybe we'd do that. But it might not be affordable. So what kind of 'rationing' do we concede to? Because that's where the issue ends up.


>Whoa - its possible to have dental care and go to the doctor for most things, and not cost $20K per year.

How do you figure that?

My health care premiums are $1350 a month for a 10k deductible and 30% co-insurance. My dental premiums are $200/mo.That is $1550/mo WITHOUT any out of pocket costs even. I'm a the premera bronze plan. This isn't even a gold plan. There are a couple plans that are _slightly_ less expensive but a bit more restrictive.

So please, how am I magically supposed to lower my costs and still be covered in case of a catastrophic event? Or serious illness like cancer? Are you suggesting I buy the $100/mo plans that cover basically NOTHING and would do NOTHING if a member of my family got cancer?

Come on. Lay it on the table. Tell me what to do?

>If we could pay for everybody's unlimited medical care, maybe we'd do that. But it might not be affordable.

Hello JoeAltmair, please meet THE REST OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD which is able to do it.

And let me give you a little analogy here. A big company like.. Microsoft, for example, is able to probably negotiate their health care premiums quite a bit because of a large base of people right? Way lower than "my cost" which is 4 people.

Now let me do something really crazy here.. bear with me.. what if we pooled over 300 million people together to have a massive base where the taxes that pay for the program are able to cover the people with little-to-no medical issues and the more extreme cases? Holy shit, what an idea.. how has no one ever thought of this before............................. are you still following me?


The point I was attempting to make was, we rarely spend $20K a year on actual dental and miscellaneous medical expenses. Its the catastrophic stuff that's the real, entire reason for the insurance.

Clear?


>we rarely spend $20K a year on actual dental and miscellaneous medical expenses

Yes and no.. I'm estimating $20k/4 = $5k/person for dental/medical. I mean.. with the arbitrary costs of things, that's not too insane. To say "rarely" doesn't do it justice.. pregnancy+kid? That's probably AT LEAST $15k without complications, so that boosts up the average. Young kids need a lot of visits/stuff..

Anyway, yeah I still agree that $5k/person is a bit high on what is actually spent by people if we took the whole population. Although there are so many extremes that bump up the numbers that maybe it isn't?

>Its the catastrophic stuff that's the real, entire reason for the insurance.

I agree with that.. sort of. But I think it's a misnomer to call "health insurance" just insurance.. I'm also supposed to use "health insurance" for annual visits to make sure everyone is ok. That's not insurance, that is simply keeping people healthy and a NECESSITY.

"Life insurance" is for the very unlikely situation that I will die in my 30s, and I want my family to have some security if I do.

"Health insurance" is an absolute NECESSITY because people get sick, they break bones, they have babies. We lump all this normal stuff to stay healthy in the same category as "cancer" or a massive car accident.

>Clear?

Not at all. Because you haven't given me any options. I 100% NEED "health insurance" or rather "regular health care + health insurance for the extreme" for my family. Agreed? My options are to either pay this ridiculous amount of money or have no insurance and "hope for the best". What a great country we are!


We all understand that insurance was invented only a few decades ago, right? Its not been some fundamental requirement for most of humanity (still isn't) for most of human history.

I get it; the family has to be protected. But if we'd never heard of insurance, we'd all be living our lives anyway, and adopt a more fatalistic approach. And preventable tragedies would occur more often.

Sometimes I think that insurance is a scam, a con game where we all surrender our money because of scare tactics and threats of unlikely events that probably never occur.


Calling any country that has the potential to overtake the US "a systemic threat" that must be "fought" is very dangerous.

Essentially this means that the US will try to defend their position as top power by hammering down anything they deem to be getting too big.

This is not realistic and this is how to start WWIII.


I agree that mentality is dangerous. In my other comment I wrote my stance on why it's I consider it a threat.

I copied and pasted it below

---

I care about avoiding war and avoiding exploitation.

Historically, the best way to avoid major wars, is to have a major power or an allies of power (possible in multipolar word), or strong enough attack power(nukes) to scare off the idea of war -- i.e a strong enough deterrent to make going war be a bad idea. No one wants to go to war if they know they will be destroyed. Like how a robber won't rob a house if they know a person with a gun will be waiting for them.

So if we want to avoid the loss of life on the scale of the world wars, then we need to avoid massive conflict between the major powers (who have the greatest destructive power by definition). Since they are major powers, with long alliances, a conflict with the U.S. and China would involve at least, U.S, China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, the NATO countries of Europe, Canada. It's also very likely that it would involve Russia, India, Pakistan, Australia. Other countries that may be dragged in for strategic purposes would be essentially every country in Asia (including southeast Asia), North America, and the Middle East/any sources of oil.

The disruption to the balance of power, is extremely dangerous. That is the cause of war. It's creates such a powerful economic and political incentive to maintain dominance by obliterating the competition. Imagine your friendly giant corporation and their tendency to value money over everything, if they were allowed to kill their competition and killing them would lead to those sweet monopoly profits, do you think are moral enough to not just not just kill their competition instead of doing all that hard work of economic competition?

The fact that there's a strong chance of war is what concerns me so much about a rising China. Both the U.S. and China has the huge prize of being the dominant power if they destroy the other.

To maintain peace and avoid a huge loss of life, there has to be a big enough deterrence to make war not appealing. They each have to compete immensely in order to make the deterrence strong enough. This is why the U.S. and Soviet Union had an arms race. They also have to compete economically, so they can fund their defense.

Now, lets say war is avoided, and power is more evenly distributed. By definition, that means the U.S. has less influence than others do. Then should another country do something that exploits the U.S., then by definition we have less power to stop that. This could be some trade deals that hurt the U.S. economy (i.e. jobs, and livelihoods of people) to the extreme of war against an alliance far stronger than us.

I agree that the U.S. has done some horrible things during it's hegemony, and I do not support them. But the brutal reality is that, others would do the same to us.

I think the best case scenario is that we avoid war and reach a new stable/peaceful balance of power, and the many now powerful countries provide healthy competition to the U.S. while still bringing wealth to themselves and their people. For the sake of my country and it's people, I hope the we the U.S. is still powerful enough to defend ourselves from foreign exploitation, competitive enough to prosper in that world, and free enough to enjoy the rights that many in countries like China do not.


That's what TPP was supposed to be. Instead it was torpedo'd and replace with us unilaterally engaging in a trade war, where we place stiff tariffs and "blacklist" vendors.

You could argue these things hurt China more than the US, and while that may be true, it's also true that China arguably has a higher "pain tolerance" than the United States. If the economy softens, Trump's reelection chances evaporate. Meanwhile Xi could probably run the Chinese economy into the ground and hold onto power.


The threat from China has been existent and ignored for the past 30 years, the same 30 years that China rose from 3rd world country to the superpower it is today.

The change in attitude began with Trump. He was to first president to bring the threat of China to the mainstream political discourse. Since then, China is so objectively a threat to the U.S. economically, militarily and through their direct actions of manipulating U.S. businesses, countering our influence internationally, that bipartisian support was easy to flourish once someone actually took an anti-china stance.

The power of the Chinese market, low wage labor, sophisticated and concentrated foreign policy manipulation, and their stated strategy of "hiding their strength and biding their time" (until Xi), has worked to make the U.S. turn a blind eye. The problem of China has been present to any competent political scientist for a while now. But the amount of money incentives and ignorance on the part of U.S. business and political leaders made it so they would in essence be bribed to ignore the issue.

Obama did a pivot to asia, with the TTP at its helm, but in reality after 8 years of presidency and negotatitions, the results were nothing unfortunately. TTP is debatable as a solution. Even with the TTP, the U.S. has been losing 300 billion a year to China in trade. Granted this results in cheaper products for us, but 300 billion dollar trade surplus for China is what funded the communist dictatorship growing military spending, leading to a military that can be as powerful as the U.S.'s one day. 300 billion each year is more profit that what all the U.S's top tech companies make each year combined. The rise of China is not a miricale, like Japan's, Koreas, and other early east asian miricales, it was bought by America's consumers and political inaction.

Some theory, although depressing admittely: There is no government for governments, so each country lives in anarchy. Therefore nothing is off limits to get what you need to survive, including war. Countries go to war and act in self interest because, if they are not strong, whoever is will likely use their power to exploit the other country.

A balance of power brings stability. If there is 1 superpower, the world becomes globalized ( US after fall of soviet union). No world wars, because anyone who fights the dominant superpower will lose. This is called unipolar, one of the most stable and peaceful states for major powers.

Now when another power comes to rise, it is like a startup rising to crush the industry monopoly. Except, instead of having to battle it out economically, they can litteraly kill each other (or on the scale of countries, war).

The incentives for major war skyrocket

Britian was was the major power, they controlled 3/4ths of the world through their colonies and their unstoppable navy. Then industrial revolution and trains led to the rise of land powers, and the rise of Germany's economy. The rising powers, the disruption the balance of power eventually led to the world wars.

After that was U.S vs Soviet Union. The two sole superpowers after WW2 were on the brink of the nuclear war. for about 50 years.

The soviet union collapsed because communism with corruption was unable to keep up with captialism.

Now the U.S once the sole superpower, faces the rise of China. The chances of World War 3 are higher than ever, although they have calmed down from the high tensions of year or 2 ago.

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I think it is important that we finally realize the immense threat that China is. Not just economically, but for our safety. Their goal is to be the top superpower, and to make the U.S. and anyone else bend to their will, as is every countries goal


Trump was not the first president to bring the threat of China into mainstream political discourse. The most famous moment of the 2012 presidential debates was Obama mocking Romney for naming Russia as our biggest geopolitical adversary rather than China. It has been a constant topic of discussion in Washington for decades. Also, economists nearly universally agree that trade deficits are not remotely the same as "losing" money to a country. That's not how trade deficits work. I have a massive trade deficit with my local grocery store, and nobody would describe that as a problem. These are the same economist who also universally agree that China is a major threat to US economic power.

The US has been facing the same problem that every superpower faces. We benefit from a stable global geopolitical climate, so any move that rocks the boat is bad for us. That's why every president until Trump has been reluctant to truly bring out the big guns with China. Those guns hurt us as much as China, and Trump is feeling that now. His trade war with China has wiped out most of the economic benefits of his big tax cut legislation.

Previous presidents weren't hapless morons on this issue. They just realized that we don't have many strong cards to play here. The TPP was the best card we had, but frankly I was pretty skeptical of how effective it would be. I'm similarly skeptical that Trump's strategy will be effective. China can easily afford to wait him out.


I agree trade deficits aren't necessarily bad for the economy. Lower cost of products means more efficient use of resources, lower cost for businesses and consumers. There are negative too, like how U.S. employment loses out since Chinese companies out compete their U.S. counter parts to death (although competition can be healthy) but my main argument isnt that.

The biggest issue about trade deficits with China is purely economic, it political/strategic. The trade deficit with China helps China grow in power. Their economy grows, and with the huge influx of taxes, they are investing in their military and foreign influence operations more and more.

Is it worth the economic benefit to cement the U.S's biggest strategic threat, who is also a brutal dictatorship? The long terms negatives, may outweigh the short term benefits.

You also bring up some good points. Any action against China back then could have hurt the U.S. as well, and our course of action may have been the lowest risk path, and arguably the lowest risk path may be the best one.


I think the TPP would have hurt China quite badly. I'm still happy it failed, though: the copyright provisions were awful, and some of the rest of it looked far too much like a slide toward corporatism for my taste.

I agree with most of your points. However, about this ...

> The threat from China has been existent and ignored for the past 30 years, the same 30 years that China rose from 3rd world country to the superpower it is today.

... I'm moved to note that it was Kissinger, as part of the post-WWII globalization effort, who helped China industrialize.

As I understand it, the idea is that war is less likely among nations, at comparable levels of economic and technological development, whose economies are strongly linked through trade.

The Soviet Union had helped China develop militarily, with tanks, ships, planes, missiles, and nuclear weapons. But it did a shit job, overall. So diverting China from ideological military confrontation to economic interdependence seemed like a smart move.

Longer term, though -- as you argue -- we have an overall stronger adversary than the Soviet Union would likely have become. They could have, with our help, destroyed modern civilization. But they arguably would have never dominated the world as the US has since WWII. As China may.


The Kissinger move was more to diminish the power of the Soviet Union, by straying China away from them.

You're right, war is less likely among nations with strongly linked economies. The important thing to note is that, at the same time, the survival self-interest of a county to dominant the other does not go away.

Which means that economic interdependence only helps avoid war so long as war itself doesn't provide more benefits.

China loved the idea that was popular in the the US of "peaceful" rising China, it meant people ignored the long term strategic threats militarily.

China has risen economically, and now they are aiming to have a military more powerful than the U.S.. They are also growing their influence in South America and Africa to get new markets, resources, and ultimately get rid of the dependence on the US market.

So, the dependence helped deter war in the short-term, but the economic gains let China position them better to serve the self-interest of being dominant.


Yes, I totally agree.

There was already conflict between China and the Soviet Union. But yes, that increased as China gradually introduced capitalism, with decreasing emphasis on central planning.

And that intervention did indeed finally jump start economic development and modern industrialization in China. After the catastrophic Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward. But that didn't include national-level democracy and Western-style individual rights and freedoms. Likely contrary to Kissenger's expectations.

So yes, China might become the dominant world power. And that might roll back some global consequences of the European Enlightenment. Who would have thought?


Great comment.

It has absolutely been a problem for decades, and most likely a well-known one. I was recently watching a collection of old jokes from Saturday Night Live from the 90s, and came upon this from Weekend Update in 1996:

> Following the surprise withdrawal of his nominee Anthony Lake, President Clinton has chosen acting CIA director George Tenant to head up the agency. Now all he needs is the approval of the House, the Senate, and this Chinese guy. [Photo of elderly bespectacled Asian man]

https://snltranscripts.jt.org/96/96pupdate.phtml


probably a reference to this whole thing:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_United_States_campaign_fi...

some posit that this (may have) helped elect the clintons who in turn moved for the WTO/trade liberalization.


> although they have calmed down from the high tensions of year or 2 ago

What specifically looks more peaceful now?


There's certain events that can escalate strategic competition to conflict. Like in WW1, the "powder keg" was set by the strategic competition between multiple countries in Europe and the way the balance of power was distributed. The assassination of of the Archduke did not create this powderkeg, but it triggered it.

The "powder kegs" today are mainly the competition between the United States against China. There's also regional competition / "powderkegs", like Europe and Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, India and Pakistan.

Events that could have triggered these powder kegs/massive conflicts have calmed down a bit (relatively). The biggest ones have been when U.S vs North Korea rhetoric was at a tense high (China is heavily involved with NK and would likely get involved in any war there like they did in the 1950 Korean war), India-Pakistan (two nuclear powers bordering China) had some conflict on their border and were a the brink of war for a bit there (India is big competitor to China, Pakistan its big ally), and to a lesser extent Iran. If conflict were to arise in Iran, it would have probably been another middle eastern war (lots of money and death, few results), it would likely have Russia involvement like in Syria, and potentially China (although china like the money approach to influence, as they have put money towards influencing countries like Iran, and to a lesser extent Afghanistan and others).


Thank you. Can you recommend some books on the subject? Or related subjects ?

For a decent understanding of the nature of politics, I would research some political theory, specifically "Realism".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realism_%28international_relat...

As for book recommendations, is there a specific topic you want to focus on? What are understanding are you looking to get out of them?

There's books on the rise of Asian economies, books on political theory that go more in depth, books on the politics and economics of China, history books on wars between rival powers, books on the history of Asia..etc


When China Rules the World by Jaqcues and AI Superpowers by Kai-Fu Lee are both very good.

> bipartisian support was easy to flourish once someone actually took an anti-china stance

Apart from Yang I haven't heard (partially because I haven't sought it out) any other democratic candidate voice any opinion on this matter. I really fear that if Trump doesn't have a second term, any Democrat will cut bait, sending a very dangerous message to the CCP.

edit: Actually, not sure I've heard Yang's stance on this either, just his opinion about the whole China/NBA matter.


Yea unfortunately it's pretty low key. The bipartisan support has been seen more in some actions by congress against China.

It's still not as big of a focus of attention to the general public as are other issues, and it could potentially become ignored. Sometimes, I wonder if these politicians even know enough political science or have enough awareness of the global landscape to understand the threat.

One of the most disappointing moment was when Joe Biden said that China was not competition, echoing the previous U.S. excuse for inaction from before. I think he backpeddled on that statement after backlash, but I'm not sure.


House Democrats have been fairly consistently anti-PRC since 1989. The last (failed) attempt to repeal PNTR was spearheaded by Bernie Sanders in 2005.

You will not find a person that despises current POTUS more than me, but I'm also very positive about the fact that China is finally being identified as a real and present threat.

Unfortunately current POTUS is doing his very best to implement ineffective measures, it would have hurt China a LOT more to enter into TPP (I know, horrible treaty otherwise) than the stupid tariffs that were imposed.

At the end of the day, as a society we need to come to grips with a simple question: do we as a society keep doing business with a country that behaves like an enemy in any way that matters, and commits genocide and mass censorship of free speech for the profit of private corporations, or we say that our values (as imperfect in their application as they might be) are worth more than money?

I'm not holding my breath for us doing the right thing.


"we say that our values (as imperfect in their application as they might be) are worth more than money"

The US keeps selling weapons to the Saudi Arabia that uses them to wage a war of aggression in Yemen, that has brazenly murdered a journalist working for an American newspaper, that executes opposition figures based on fake charges of terrorism, that treats women and gays as inferior.

What sort of values are you talking about?

It's not an 'imperfect application' of the values that American propaganda attributes to America, it's exactly the opposite of them.


You're entitled to your opinion, and free to state it, and that's exactly one of the values our constitution enshrines.

The others can be found here:

https://constitutionus.com/

for the philosophical underpinnings read this:

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

If you live in the US and don't like what's going on right now, I suggest you register to vote and help others do the same. For all the evident problems laid bare by the current administration, it's completely within the people's power to build a more perfect union.


The US has been selling weapons to Saudi Arabia for many decades. Free speech, philosophical underpinnings and voting haven't changed that.

From outside it looks like 'do as I say not as I do'.

I live in Russia and we had a constitution saying all the good things in the Stalin's time and we have even better one now.


if you don't like the US selling weapons to the Saudis then I suggest you politely ask your government to stop interfering in our elections.

I guarantee results in about 14 months.


I don't like your country's hypocrisy.

It didn't start with Trump and I have no reason to think it will end with Trump.

As for Saudi Arabia, I have little doubts Russia will gladly sell them any weapon they want provided it is for sale at all.


Obama (and Bush before him) identified China as a threat at least a decade ago, that’s why the US entered the TPP discussions in early 2008, and if the US had ratified, would have been a significantly more effective strategy that would have enhanced the US’s economic and geopolitical position and hurt China’s as opposed to this, which is damaging the US significantly, and while hurting China’s domestic economy, strengthening it on the global stage relative to the US.

Trump has not been a leader, but he has definitely been loud and used a “let’s throw a tantrum till I get what I want” approach, which makes far more noise, but achieves far less.


A systemic threat to what?

It's own people? Is that our problem? [1]

Uncooperative neighbours? We, here in the US, have posed, do pose, and continue to pose a threat to uncooperative nations across the entire world.

Our domestic economy? All problems with it are entirely of our own doing. Globalization killing the middle class? That's not a China problem, that's a domestic political problem. And yes, general tariffs are a systemic solution to this problem. Country-specific tariffs are a half-assed half-solution to it.

I understand that you're concerned that the uncontested US hegemony is not long for this world.

But I don't understand why you care so deeply about it. I don't consider that unipolar hegemony to have ever been a good thing for most people outside - or inside the US.

[1] If that is, in fact, the problem you care most about, then consider that the only way it will ever be solved, is internally, by the Chinese people. Foreign interference in those kinds of affairs is counterproductive - it only causes the target nation to close rank.


> I don't consider that unipolar hegemony to have ever been a good thing for most people outside - or inside the US.

The same. I am greatly encouraged that we are moving back to a multipolar world and that the USA's untrammeled power is being challenged. And that it being challenged will be good for the US American people as well.


I care about avoiding war and avoiding exploitation.

Historically, the best way to avoid major wars, is to have a major power or an allies of power (possible in multipolar word), or strong enough attack power(nukes) to scare off the idea of war -- i.e a strong enough deterrent to make going war be a bad idea. No one wants to go to war if they know they will be destroyed. Like how a robber won't rob a house if they know a person with a gun will be waiting for them.

So if we want to avoid the loss of life on the scale of the world wars, then we need to avoid massive conflict between the major powers (who have the greatest destructive power by definition). Since they are major powers, with long alliances, a conflict with the U.S. and China would involve at least, U.S, China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, the NATO countries of Europe, Canada. It's also very likely that it would involve Russia, India, Pakistan, Australia. Other countries that may be dragged in for strategic purposes would be essentially every country in Asia (including southeast Asia), North America, and the Middle East/any sources of oil.

The disruption to the balance of power, is extremely dangerous. That is the cause of war. It's creates such a powerful economic and political incentive to maintain dominance by obliterating the competition. Imagine your friendly giant corporation and their tendency to value money over everything, if they were allowed to kill their competition and killing them would lead to those sweet monopoly profits, do you think are moral enough to not just not just kill their competition instead of doing all that hard work of economic competition?

The fact that there's a strong chance of war is what concerns me so much about a rising China. Both the U.S. and China has the huge prize of being the dominant power if they destroy the other.

To maintain peace and avoid a huge loss of life, there has to be a big enough deterrence to make war not appealing. They each have to compete immensely in order to make the deterrence strong enough. This is why the U.S. and Soviet Union had an arms race. They also have to compete economically, so they can fund their defense.

Now, lets say war is avoided, and power is more evenly distributed. By definition, that means the U.S. has less influence than others do. Then should another country do something that exploits the U.S., then by definition we have less power to stop that. This could be some trade deals that hurt the U.S. economy (i.e. jobs, and livelihoods of people) to the extreme of war against an alliance far stronger than us.

I agree that the U.S. has done some horrible things during it's hegemony, and I do not support them. But the brutal reality is that, others would do the same to us.

I think the best case scenario is that we avoid war and reach a new stable/peaceful balance of power, and the many now powerful countries provide healthy competition to the U.S. while still bringing wealth to themselves and their people. For the sake of my country and it's people, I hope the we the U.S. is still powerful enough to defend ourselves from foreign exploitation, competitive enough to prosper in that world, and free enough to enjoy the rights that many in countries like China do not.


>I agree that the U.S. has done some horrible things during it's hegemony, and I do not support them. But the brutal reality is that, others would do the same to us.

This is what nazis was saying in the wake of loosing war in East front, or Britis when they start loosing colonies one after another, turned out not all civilizations are as vindictive and machiavellian in nature as some of western countries are. Nobody put all whites or even nazis in death camps in Germany, or even made sure it's economicaly backwards, also nobody sought retaliations from Britain even after it ceased to exist as global superpower.


The exact actions, depend on the people in charge ultimately. But if I had to bet that the Chinese government, with a track record for organ harvesting their own people, having forced labor camps of chinese Uyghurs, and "disappearing" anyone who criticizes, would treat their subjects nicely, then I would probably lose that bet.

A brand new account and it's pro-trump during an impeachment crisis?

I don't care about partisan lines, nor do I think anyone should be a fanatic of people with the power to exploit you. I just study political science man, and this is a topic that I researched a lot into.

Like the majority of people, I don't fully align with either party's exact and every positions like it's gospel. I think politicians should be examined on a policy by policy basis. When it comes to foreign policy, I support his actions against China and some other strategic moves. When it comes to domestic policies, I lean democrat way more.


Trump lending his name to “getting tough on a China” is probably a sure fire way that “getting tough on China” will be in the political wilderness for the next 10 years.

I'm not so sure - if a tough on China stance continues to poll well, the next administration will probably follow suit. What absolutely will be in the wilderness is the current approach of tarriffs and bailouts.

The mass internment camps are really the nail in the coffin for China on this one. A lot of the other stuff can be excused away politically, that one can’t.

Given that we're pretty much holding all potential immigrants who cross our southern border in interment camps, I don't think we quite have the moral high ground here.

The United States has a lot of people cheering for efforts like that back home; I think it absolutely could get swept under the rug. It's a different situation at the American border, sure, but I think it points to a general lack of empathy for foreigners.

Do you hate Trump so much that you'd choose the wrong side of an issue just to be on the other side from him?

It's a continuation of the pivot to Asia strategy dating back to Clinton. The Middle East was a sandbox for testing new weapons for the next cold war century. Remember in American foreign policy the two parties are indistinguishable.

I agree. Obama was way too buddy-buddy with Xi.

I hope the next president is even more hardline against China than Trump.


Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of either party, so my view is hopefully a bit objective.

Trump ran on the economic policy ideas popularized by "liberal" economist Paul Krugman. I posted a comment on HN a while back with links to Krugman's various columns, with a header above each group that included the rhetoric used by Trump to tout those policies.

Krugman has been calling for trade policy changes against China for quite some time, and in spite of running as a Republican, Trump adopted Krugman's economic populism whole hog.

So the ideas have been around for a long time, but have heretofore only been taken seriously by a populist fringe of economists. Such economists are viewed by the mainstream economics profession the way the general public views anti-vaxers. There just isn't science supporting the views, but they are compelling to a niche group of zealots.

Economic populist rhetoric certainly sounds good to laypeople and hits on many emotionally potent hot buttons that mirror the jingoism that Trump uses across all of his rhetoric.

Just as vaccines (a small bit of the virus being injected into a healthy person) are highly counter-intuitive to laypeople, trade policy is similarly counter-intuitive. The idea that the US could be made worse off by retaliating against China's one sided tariffs seems unheard of and bizarre to those who do not understand the science.

To be blunt, there is zero economic or welfare justification for Trump's trade policy toward China. It is a tax on Americans and is making Americans poorer. No economist would disagree with that.

To your point, there may be some broader strategic sense to Trump's stance toward China, namely viewing China more as an adversary than as a third world country to whom we can outsource our polluting industries and whose government tolerates toxic pollution and (by our standards) backward labor practices.

But the important question to arrive at is why China is suddenly (reasonably?) viewed as an adversary to the US.

Sure, China has stolen some IP, but what developing nation (including the US) hasn't? Sure, China has one sided tariffs to protect some of its firms from competition, but so have many countries in the midst of rapid growth.

The answer is that the US has dramatically slowed its innovation and growth due to the massive investment in foreign wars and occupations. The amount invested in these wars is in the many trillions of dollars, and there has been significantly negative ROI. The result of this happening for 20 years is that "poof", China is now a competitor to the world superpower.

But contrary to Trump's rhetoric, this is not due to China cheating, or Americans being out negotiated, it's due to a much simpler problem, Americans allowing our leaders to flush such vast sums of money on wars that had negative ROI.

Consider how much better funded the lobbying arms of defense contractor firms are now than they were 20 years ago. Consider how our major tech firms (Google, Amazon, Facebook) are now defense contractors. Consider that neocon hawk Condi Rice was the first choice for the board at Dropbox.

The defense sector is eating the US alive, eating our future.

Be that as it may, China has managed to avoid making similar malinvestments, and is now (in relative terms) leapfrogging.

It is possible that Trump is the only one who is woke to the true threat posed by China, but keep in mind that the US is losing the trade war as China begins settling Africa and manufacturing moves from China to Africa, India, etc.

Rust belt jobs are never coming back to the US. Under Trump most farmers are now welfare recipients and the US economy is on the verge of major collapse.

One day soon we will view the world in which China and the US were major peaceful trading partners as a golden age of international cooperation.

Your comment uses the word finally which accurately describes Trump's policies as majorly outdated. Maybe if the US had been a bit more tough on trade 20 years ago a better agreement would have been reached. But maybe not. We can be sure that in today's world the US is destined to lose the trade war and also lose much more in the process.


I agree that the US has wasted immense money in foreign wars with not enough gained to economically justify it.

I also agree that part of China's rise is due to it's economic strengths and strategic investments. In addition to that, they 1.5 billion people, of which there's bound to be a lot of amazing innovators.

The documentary American Factory is a great documentary that shows how the efficiency in China is also helping them out compete the US. (sidenote: produced by the obamas company)

On the note of the defense sector, DARPA has funded so much research (they invented the internet) that has helped innovation and defense companies help provide jobs for many engineers and high tech peoples, which helps the growth in that sector. Defense spending is also how we maintain our safety. But I do agree, that a lot of it is immensely wasteful. I think defense spending is important and useful, but like what you're getting at- the amount we spend stupidly instead of investing or strategically is too extreme


Chinas economic future is not quite so bright, their moronic one child policy have prepared a time bomb for them which is going to reduce their working age population catastrophically, making catching up with US very hard.

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Just because someone says something you disagree with, it doesn't mean they're a troll or deserve attention from moderators. If there's something factually incorrect in the parent's post, why not offer evidence to the contrary?

I'll let the site guidelines finish my thought:

"Please don't post insinuations about astroturfing, shilling, brigading, foreign agents and the like. It degrades discussion and is usually mistaken. If you're worried about abuse, email us and we'll look at the data."


>finally the WH has decided to act against the systemic threat posed by China.

With a shoot self in foot reaction...


How so?

"In other news, US IoT botnet activity down 75% after shipments of Hikvision cameras stopped by customs..."

Wow, interesting to see Hikvision on this list, I own several of their cameras (and keep them isolated on a separate VLAN), but once you know them, you see them everywhere, they have a huge hold in the video surveillance market. Wonder if their main Chinese competitor, Dahua will pick up their market share in the US or if there's a more local competitor.

Huawei's HiSilicon fab makes purpose built ICs for these things, I've dumped the firmware for some whitebox ones done by a local tech retailer, but they were still heavily reliant on those ICs. Will be very interesting to see what happens in that market if this persists for long.


I procure cameras for some systems development we are doing for the DoD. Hikvision and Dahua are both specifically banned by law. The number of American companies simply rebranding banned cameras and stamping "Manufactured in America" on them was a bit of a shock.

Any non Chinese manufacturers you can recommend?

Try:

https://www.pelco.com/ndaa

https://www.securitysales.com/surveillance/honeywell-30-seri...

Careful with the Honeywell stuff. They are a "rebrander". However, the 30 series cameras claim to be compliant.

Here's an interesting article about the Army getting caught up in that trap:

https://ipvm.com/reports/gordon-honeywell

Look for NDAA Section 889 compliance when searching.


Dahua also on the list.

Isn't dahua a homonym for bullshit in Mandarin? ("Big talk?") I'm surprised a company would choose that name.

It' "Big China" in Chinese.

Yes, but a homonym is "大话", which I gather is a colloquial expression for "bullshit."

A quick look [1] on 有道 reveals that this is not a homonym.

[1]: https://www.youdao.com/w/eng/bullshit/#keyfrom=dict2.index


Yes, 废话 is a different word than than 大话, and sounds different. I've heard 大话 also means bullshit, though. E.g., "大话王 King Of Bullshit": https://www.le.com/ptv/vplay/26199923.html


SenseTime was founded by an MIT grad and has joint AI research partnership with MIT[0]. It will be interesting what this blacklist means for these kinds of collaborations.

[0] https://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-sensetime-announce-effort-adva...


But he’s also part of the controversial “Thousand Talents Program” [0] (link in Chinese) that is being closely watched by the US [1]. Not surprised at all about the blacklist.

[0] https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E6%B1%A4%E6%99%93%E9%B8%A5 [1] https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/07/24/business/fbi-10...


Turkey's drone program was also led by an MIT graduate.

https://theintercept.com/2019/05/14/turkey-second-drone-age/


The US claims that this blacklisting is unrelated to trade negotiations, but one has to wonder -- why did we wait until now?

And if this is just a way to create leverage during trade negotiations, how would the administration gracefully reverse these blacklisting actions in exchange for something unrelated without it being patently clear that this was never about human rights?


Agreed. Clearly a negotiation tactic. I expect nothing material to come out of the upcoming meeting. I work in public equities and this has been such an ongoing headache... anyone remember when a full deal was supposed to get done by end of March 2019?

What a joke...


And what, making a Uyghur American the National Security Council's China director also a negotiation tactic? Anyone in equities who believes that there will be a deal isn't paying attention.

phyek just said "I expect nothing material", so obviously is not expecting a deal.

Phyek stated that it is a negotiation tactic, which implies that decisions are being made in respect to potentially making a deal. The overriding consensus on both sides of the isle are that China must be confronted. There will be no deal.

Trump himself confirmed this after he blacklisted ZTE right before the talks last year.

> how would the administration gracefully reverse these blacklisting actions

Why should they reverse these?


It's hard to imagine a trade deal where sanctions against Chinese companies are upheld.

There is bipartisan support for the sanctions against Chinese SOE's. If POTUS were to waiver congress would act instead.

The SOE's are a minuscule short list compared to the billions in goods that the Trade War has escalated to.

It's related insofar as no China US deal means China no longer gets special treatment and a free pass on bad behaviour.

>without it being patently clear that this was never about human rights?

Have you been paying attention the last 3 or so years?


Or I guess, to phrase my confusion differently, if they're hoping to exchange this for a concession, and it will be clear to all that this was just a negotiating tactic when they roll it back ... why bother pretending at the outset that it's a principled stand over human rights? What's the point of the lip-service?

One answer is:

Because lip-service here and now is easy and has almost no consequences.


Has this kind of strategy ever worked, in trade negotiations? It seems about as likely to be effective as a bombing campaign: It'll reduce the other side's effectiveness, but from a negotiation perspective it'll only cause them to dig in harder.

China doesn't want a deal. They only want to continue to exploit the US. So the US is gradually decoupling from them.

"Exploit the US" by providing cheap labor to US firms? It's scary to see jingoistic rhetoric spreading on HN. China is the new enemy du jour, and lots of people here seem to be itching for a conflict.

The tables are fundamentally imbalanced now, I see nothing wrong with the US attempting to finally start addressing the issue. The fact that US companies have been exploiting that imbalance to pursue cheap labor is irrelevant to the conversation.

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I like how you manage to assign blame for the actions of a few drug dealers to an entire country.

There's basically one company making all this fentanyl. We know where it is, we know where the CEO lives. He's walking around free and in the open in China.

You are wrong to blame an entire country for our addiction to fentanyl. The facts are:

1. Fentanyl has legitimate pharmaceutical uses.

2. There are many, many, many legal manufacturers of Fentanyl, across the world, including Bayer, Johnson&Johnson, Meiji Seika Pharma (Japan), and yes, Chinese manufacturers. Some legal fentanyl ends up getting diverted into illegal channels.

3. There are also many, many, many illegal manufacturers of Fentanyl, again, across the world.

4. The reason for why China has had an outsized share of illegal fentanyl production is that for many years, it (and its derivatives and precursors) has not been a controlled substance.

5. Fentanyl is now a controlled substance in China, and it, its precursors, and its derivatives have been controlled substances since May 2019.


And yet in August we seized a Chinese shipment of fentanyl large enough to kill an entire state's worth of people. When China actually does something beyond lip service, then I'll believe you. Let's not forget, every major industry in China is controlled by the party. Whether it was a controlled substance in China is irrelevant to whether or not they're literally killing us by the tens of thousands a year.

https://www.foxnews.com/media/opioid-crisis-fentanyl-china-m...


Maybe what's killing America is that its sense of personal responsibility has degraded so much that it's now acceptable to blame its drug problems on the Chinese government. Not the individual's fault, not the parents' fault, not the American government's fault, not the society's fault, but the Chinese government's fault.

What seized were not fentanyl, but some chemicals could be used in the fentanyl manufacturing process, as well as many other legitimate use.

If you want to stop fentanyl, the best thing to do is to figure out what chemicals are used exclusively in fentayl production and build an international coalition to ban those. Unfortunately many people just don't appreciate this kind of sophistication and prefer an easier blame game.


I have to admit, I wasn't expecting the Chinese people are stupid defense. I guess they have no idea who their customers are or what their products are being used for.

In low end manufacturing sector it's really hard to know your end customers. The products are highly standardized and can go though multiple middlemen. Also the sheer volume, most of which are legitimate, makes it very difficult for governments to track.

It seems hard to believe that the rise of fentanyl could be traced to only one company/individual - could you be more specific about the person/people you're referring to?


There is actually a psychological difference. There maybe some digging in but generally nations can put a literal price on trade which they can not easily do with loss of life. Likewise national honor is less at stake. I suppose we're lucky that economic enticement/force usually gets better results than violence.

Whether it works in this particular case, indeed whether the goal of tariffs/sanctions is even remotely what is announced are both unclear of course. If it were humanitarian, it would be nice to mention Hong Kong in the process.


Why do you assume this is a negotiating tactic? There is broad bipartisan support for sanctions on companies which are involved in the on going oppression of Uighur's. Just as China uses it's economic might as leverage the US is more than capable of equal if not greater leverage of it's capital markets.

Just taking Trump at his word. Wouldn't be the first time that turned out to be a mistake.

So far, china has only retaliated defensively against the us. I wonder what will happen when china decides to go on the offensive the same way the us has and hit were it really hurts? What will happen if they cut off the us entirely and force asian countries to cease trading with it (i.e. using the same strategies used to isolate iran or turkey).

Successful military intervention is unlikely since china is a nuclear superpower with a strong army and an even stronger industrial backbone. They're not some defenseless third-world shithole.

I can't imagine it being long now, but china will eventually get to the tipping point were things start to go downhill for them. I bet china won't let it get to that point without retaliating for it's destroyed economy by thoroughly destroying the us economy while it still can.

I think we'll soon be seeing humanity's first economical MAD event.


> What will happen if they cut off the us entirely and force asian countries to cease trading with it

What happens when we do it to them?

China is powerful, sure. But they aren't more powerful than the western world. We'll win that fight. (Well, by "win" I mean suffer less damages).

Western companies are also already pretty cut off from the Chinese market. Cutting them off even more so is unlikely to have as huge if an impact as people are predicting.


Nah this is not true, we actually sell more stuff to China than the other way around. They've just not yet really tried to retaliate. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-12/the-1-4-t... Tariffs hurt yourself first before anyone else. But if shit really hits the fan they no doubt will.

> They've just not yet really tried to retaliate.

You seem to be pretty uninformed on the matter. It is common knowledge that it is extremely difficult for Western companies to operate in China.

This "retaliation" has been going on for decades. China can't really make it much worse than what they have already been doing for decades.


You're constructing a narrative that puts history on its head. China has allowed foreign firms to come in and exploit cheap Chinese labor. Foreign companies have made enormous profits off of this. Not only do companies like Apple benefit hugely from Chinese labor, but they have also found a market of hundreds of millions of buyers of their product there. Foreign auto manufacturers dominate the Chinese domestic market - VW is the best-selling car brand in China, the world's largest auto market.

You're saying that China has been retaliating by giving foreign companies access to cheap labor and hundreds of millions of customers. That's completely backwards.


I'm not so sure anymore. I think Asia may actually have a leg up on us again for the first time in centuries.

I don't think the US can anymore. What Trump did was idiotic. There was a lot of power that world thought the US has, but doesn't seem to have. By issuing all these threats and not being able to follow through with them Trump essentially showed the world that the US isn't as omnipotent as everyone thought it would be.

Subsequently Asias reaction to absolutely do not do any business with Huawei as the US ambassador asked for was answered with "we know China is risky, but you guys don't come without strings attached either"[1][2][3]. Only Europe and places like Taiwan(because of obvious reasons) are blindly followed US foreign policy decisions.

Even UAE, Saudi Arabia and other places have now started to look for alternatives as they consider the US to less likely to follow through with their threats.

If ever SCO(Shanghai Cooperation Organisation[4]) the Chinese answer to NATO becomes more involved in the middle east the US and it's allies will have to worry. And it's happening right now albeit slowly, because the sanctions and my way or the highway isn't really a reliable partner to a lot of people anymore.

EDIT: economically there isn't much more than a complete trade embargo including central bank sanction that has been done with NK or Iran that can be done.

Politically a coup isn't likely to happen. The PRC is hugely popular among its citizens whether we like it or not.

And militarily Clinton humiliating China in 1996 prompted the current military buildup (See Taiwan straight crisis) [5]

It's basically the emperors naked clothes now as the US Navy realizes that their big aircraft carriers are also a big liability in modern conflict as they're basically vulnerable to swarm attacks by cheap junk[6]

[1] https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/08/840ce682b432-focu...

[2] https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/08/19/business/u-s-ba...

[3] https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/geopolitics/article/3006961/m...

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Cooperation_Organisat...

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Taiwan_Strait_Crisis

[6] https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2019/08/06/with-mounting-q...


Although it seems like a lot, the US reaction was maybe a 2/10 before trump and dialed up to a 4/10 after trump.

There’s MUCH more the US can do if they really wanted to. Consider:

1. China is an export-driven economy.

2. The majority of trade flows through ocean trade routes.

3. The US navy patrols and controls the majority of water routes around the world.

But, extreme escalation on either side could push this beyond an economic dispute and no party wants that.


> no party wants that.

Trump would benefit enormously from a shooting war.


Thankfully I don't think the Chinese think they are able to institute broad sanctions on America.

Classic tools that they may actually consider include:

Dumping US treasuries. Making life for American companies difficult through regulations and inspections. Limiting rare earth exports.

All of these have a cost on them as well (just like how most American tools on China have a cost on America), so they are careful to implement them.


Why not? If they reach a point where they'll have their economy destroyed, I'd bet on them responding in kind.

Also, I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss their ability to suffocate the us if they no longer have an economy to lose. They're certainly in a military and geographic position to enforce a trade blockade, one way or another. If china really wanted it, I think they'd be more than able to severely limit trade between asia and the us to the point of destroying large parts of the us economy.

Since China will likely not back down, I think an economic MAD will inevitably occur if the us insists on burning the only stick it can still use.


Wouldn't be more effective to target parts of their economy that hurts they're most vulnerable members of society and spread from there? They could potentially start a mainland revolt really forcing their hand.

Doesn't the trade war actually benefit all involved countries?

This could just be a hidden deal between governments to massively increase the tax income under the cover of a trade war.


Using political means instead of fair competition in the market is not only showing the hegemony of the US, but also showing that the US technology is not confident.

Samaritan targets AI startups.

I wonder how many of you actually have been to China and spent sometime there?

I wonder how much worse this is for US vendors, than it is for China?

if US wants to put pressure on and punish China, then instead of shooting itself in the foot and everywhere else with tariffs US could have just offered say 10K Green Cards (each coming with $1M resettlement bonus) to the top China researchers&engineers in any industry in China that US would want to cripple as a punishment. At $1M per such a top head it would be a steal for US, and for China it would be a very painful damage. Rinse and repeat ... (Such a solution comes to my mind as result of observing of pitiful state of Russia resulting from the brain-drain (immigration as well as just tech heads switching away into business/etc) it suffered especially during 199x)

I don't think this would work, for a number of reasons.

First, anecdotally, I've known a number of Chinese-national but US educated persons, who after receiving their higher education and 5-10 years of work, returned to China. The main reason being the "bamboo ceiling". Often, returning means accepting a lower salary but with higher career trajectory and a more peaceful life. I don't think throwing visas + cash at researchers (at least those I've worked with) would alleviate all the cultural problems that lead them to return home in the first place.

Secondly, a recent push for change in Visa distribution (S.386)[1]. Would make it extremely difficult to attract talent. As this bill stands it will significantly harm prospects of Chinese applications for EB2 visas. The kind of change being suggested here (recruiting researchers and engineers) falls into the EB1 - EB2 category. Given how difficult it's been to even get a bill changing pool statistics this far, I doubt you'd be able to do anything of the nature you're mentioning.

[1]: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/386


Great way to get a bunch of spies, and pay for it.

I love this idea; it plays strongly into American strengths.

However, I don't know if China would be more successful in convincing it's top talent to stay with their families, and I have no idea how to sell this idea politically to American voters. The stereotype of Chinese culture is that they tend to be more collectivist, and the stereotype of the general population of American voters would most likely rather spend any money on Americans first. For the later problem, it is hard to articulate concisely the roundabout way this ends up causing brain drain, and the eventual benefits to the US citizenry. It is much easier to sell "China did something bad, we will punish them with tariffs" than "Chinese government bad, we will pay top Chinese citizens to defect."


We were basically doing that via universities until the anti-Chinese sentiment shot up drastically in the past few years.

You can't turn the clock back. The anti-Chinese sentiment is very high now in America.


I think it's certainly possible for a gifted politician to make the distinction of Chinese people != Chinese government party. Not so much "turning the clock back" as directing any anti Chinese sentiment.

This won't work for a lot of reasons. People make more than that even in china if they are top engineers. The green card maybe would be attractive.

The West should do this with Hong Kong.

There must be many wealthy, educated HKers who are interested in leaving at this point and they would be a huge asset to whichever country accepts them.


Its called Vancouver.

If you really want the Palantir of the Chinese, check out Novogene. Then ask yourself why they have a CLIA- and CAP-approved lab in Sacramento. Then ask yourself, what shameless, desperate, or just clueless physicians and researchers are allowing their patients' genomes to be sequenced by an asset of the Chinese Communist Party.

https://en.novogene.com/technology/quality-control/lab-certi...

https://www.linkedin.com/company/novogene-corporation

https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Novogene-Reviews-E1790104....


As far as I can see everyone of importance is Chinese, the locals are all sales and admin?

Legitimate question: at what point does censorship become something more benign such as blacklist or sanctions? If we do it?

Censor: Highly targeted and specific, usually along the lines of communication. Like Xi and Winnie the Pooh. The US doesn't censor(?)

Blacklist: Broader, usually applied to products and companies. China blacklisted Facebook. The US blacklisted Huawei.


> The US doesn't censor(?)

Any government will try to censor at some point. The difference is that Western countries have independent judicial branches with the power to stop the government from censoring.


China didn't prohibit Chinese people or companies from spending money on advertising on facebook.

US blacklisted Chinese companies from buying US products.

It's a subtle difference.


Every state censors things in some way, he difference is what is censored and how much impact it has obviously.

Censorship can also describe private actions such as Twitter/Facebook refusing some ideas, and is that case is vastly vastly present in every country.


> Censorship can also describe private actions such as Twitter/Facebook refusing some ideas,

That's only true in the vernacular. True "censorship" is only relevant to government suppression. Individuals or private corporations are under no legal obligation to allow certain ideas/topics.

*That is to say, I could perfectly well create some new social network messaging app that specifically does not allow any posts about honeybees, screwdrivers, or Turkey. The government could not prohibit those topics.


> Individuals or private corporations are under no legal obligation to allow certain ideas/topics.

(Though it does become problematic as communication channels are concentrated in a few parties hands, which is why, in part, we have things like the common carrier doctrine. In the end, if one party accumulates enough power and uses it in a way that it is oppressive, whether that party is a government, a warlord, or a corporation).


I'm really not a big fan of this kind of moral relativism. The US (though Donald Trump seems to want to) does not "blacklist" or "censor" to silence political dissent. China does and always has, heavily, to the point of nonsense.

In addition to what the other person said about broad vs specific, content neutrality.

If you punch anyone who talks loudly, that's problematic for other reasons but not censorship per se. If you punch anyone who talks about Tienanmen square, you're censoring them.

Pornography would be an example of something the US censors in certain contexts. We aren't banning your billboard because it's a billboard, we are banning it because the image on the billboard is people having sex.


But if you only make sure anyone who talks about Tienanmen square from ever holding job again that is fine, according to the people who keep saying the freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences.

If you ever want to openly speak with a mentally ill madman, hit me up. I am not bored by your history. =)

Censorship is not inherently wrong, it just depends on what is being censored.

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