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Two Great Dangers to U.S. – China Relations: Cyber-spying and Unresolved Economic Issues

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cyberattack

Two Great Dangers to U.S. – China Relations: Cyber-spying and Unresolved Economic Issues

Kenneth N. Davis, Jr                                                                                   June 19, 2013

Suddenly the news is dominated by disclosure by Edward Snowden that the U.S. National Security Agency (“NSA”) has extensive records of all phone calls by most U.S citizens. At first he was widely praised for informing the public of this intrusion on our personal freedom. But now he’s in Hong Kong and has disclosed that NSA conducts cyber-spying on China, at least on universities and technology centers there. Many are now saying that he’s being traitorous – China is known to spy on us and must be seen as a threat. So, should we act as if we’re at war with China, or should we talk openly to resolve our differences?

Let’s not forget that for many years we’ve also had problems with China on trade and investment policies. Instead of having open two-way dealings with the U.S., China has adopted practices that increase jobs, production and investment in China while decreasing them here. As a result, we’ve lost several million jobs and trillions of dollars in trade deficits. To gain business, many of our companies have had to transfer production and give  technology rights to China.  In total, we have  very weak, one-sided  economic  relations with China where  we’re losing badly.

So, will these two important and very different policy issues lead to even more conflict  between the world’s two greatest powers or can they serve as the basis for resolving differences? Can the urgency of resolving a cyber-spying problem be used to bring needed attention to the ongoing trade and investment inequities?

We often talk about political “grand bargains” here in the U.S. The results haven’t been great so far, but it seems right that there are times when competing  parties will negotiate seriously when there’s more at stake.  It would seem that both the U.S. and China have much to gain by resolving what has become almost a silent war between the two countries. Certainly stopping an escalation of cyber-spying is something both countries should want. And that may be enough to get serious attention on our current unbalanced trade and investment status. The  U.S. should insist that both issues be “on the table” while we have their attention.

In closing, I’ll add that I think Mr. Snowden can still do much good for both the U.S. and China if he’s not forced to side with either country. He may be the Whistleblower that both countries have needed to stop the escalation toward disastrous open conflict between the two powers.

Mr. Davis is a  former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce, and also a former IBM Corp. VP and Chief Financial Officer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Responses to “Two Great Dangers to U.S. – China Relations: Cyber-spying and Unresolved Economic Issues”

  1. Mr. Davis,

    Your article caused me to observe a commonality between the Patriot Act/NSA and TPP issues. The commonality is the lack of transparency which creates the need for whistleblowers. One of the primary causes of declining trust in America over the last 25+ years is violated expectations.

    The underclasses’ expectations regarding deregulation and “Free Trade” have been violated big-time, while both of the aforementioned have delivered to the 1% wealth, far beyond their expectations. Unfortunately for the underclass the Trans-Pacific Partnership is deregulation and “Free Trade” on crack, i.e., more of the same but worse.

  2. Will Wilkin says:

    Thank you Mr. Davis for what is the coolest head I’ve come across on the issue of Snowden’s revelations and the larger tensions between the US and China.

    And thank you Hugh Campbell for telling the truth when you say “a commonality between the Patriot Act/NSA and TPP issues. The commonality is the lack of transparency which creates the need for whistleblowers. One of the primary causes of declining trust in America over the last 25+ years is violated expectations.”

    It seems to me that the Chinese leadership is, for all their corruptions and authoritarianisms, doing a better job of advancing the interests of the majority of their population than the American political leadership is doing. Rather than treat Snowden (or even Bradley Manning) as traitors who supposedly “reveal secrets that endanger American security,” these men are whistle-blowers who see government secrecy being used to hide egregious violations of the Constitution and human rights.

    Paul Craig Roberts, in his book “The Failure of Laissez-Faire and the Economic Dissolution of the West” has many incisive things to say about our ruinous so-called “free trade” policies, but his Constitutional and ethical insights are just as keen and disturbing. Here is an example of his assessment of the Bradley Manning leaks to wikileaks, which are the biggest example to me of what Hugh Campbell is talking about regarding the need for whistle-blowers is being created by secrecy and “violations of expectations”:

    http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2012/12/03/bradley-manning-a-window-into-the-american-soul/

    EXCERPT:

    Bradley Manning, a member of the US military, complied with his oath of office, with the US Military Code, with the Nuremberg standards set by the US government, with the strictures expressed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the George W, Bush administration, and with his own conscience. Manning, allegedly (we will never know), released to WikiLeaks the video of the US military murdering two journalists and a dozen innocent people walking down a street.

    http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/video_shows_murder_of_journalists_and_iraqi_civilians_20100405/

    After the murder of these people by the US military playing video games with live people, a father with two young children stopped his van to help the survivors crawling in the street. The US military, due to either blood-lust, incompetence, or total evil, killed the father and sent high caliber bullets into the bodies of the two small children.

    The murderers then blame the father for bringing children into the combat zone created by the incompetence or evil of the US troops, who obviously get their jollies from murdering people. TV cameras are claimed to be weapons and justifications for murdering 15 people.

    Subsequently, a few people, whom the video shows to be unarmed, walk into a building.

    The US troops claim the unarmed people have weapons and RPGs and send three hellfire missiles into the building. The US troops then report that all the “targets” are dead.

    Any real patriotic American who saw this video would be compelled to release it. If Manning released it to Wikeleaks, then Manning is the most morally responsible American alive. What has Manning’s moral conscience cost him?

    It has cost Manning 900 days held incommunicado illegally by the US government…

    [SNIP]

    …In their desire to punish Manning, US military and civilian authorities failed to realize that the lesson for soldiers is that crimes against humanity will not be punished, but those who reveal the crimes will be punished.

    On November 29 Bradley Manning testified in federal court about his illegal confinement and torture by the US government. Manning’s testimony was not covered by the US media. The New York Times, in Chris Floyd’s words, “contented itself with a brief bit of wire copy from AP, tucked away on page 3.”

    In contrast, the British Guardian covered Manning’s testimony in detail in two stories 68 paragraphs long. The British people are informed of the US government’s crimes against humanity in violation of international law and US law, but not the American people.

    END EXCERPT

    Dr. Roberts provides similar insight into the Snowden leaks, but I won’t post the link because too many links excite the CPA spamrobot. If interested, just go to PCR’s websight and search for “Snowden.”

    But getting back to my central point, the American political leadership is a bigger enemy to the American people than the Chinese, because the so-called “free trade” policies have done more damage to our people, to our standard of living and our long-term national ability to create wealth, than anything that can be blamed on other countries or non-state actors. The coin-operated government in Washington DC has been captured by the globalized corporations whose owners and executives have never been richer, and who have proven they have zero loyalty to the USA but rather only to wealth. And above all that, the US Congress and Presidents of both major political parties are the ultimate responsible parties because they create the so-called “free trade” rules that incentivize corporations to offshore and outsource. The owners and officers of these corporations got much of their wealth through this offshoring and outsourcing that is devastating American manufacturing.

    The currency wars and tax wars of the VAT and all the other policies foreign governments use to advance their own countries’ manufacturing are ultimately their perogative and their right as sovereign nations. For us or our government to call it “cheating” or any other pejorative is to fail to recognize that the American political leadership could cut through it all with a BALANCED TRADE POLICY.

    The most effective and direct method to achieve it would be some form of the “Buffet Plan” whereby Import Certificates would be issued in the same value as our exports, and every import would require an IC be cashed in as the import license. This would end our trade deficits and divert that $600 Billion annual trade deficit into a stimulation of American manufacturing, directly creating millions of manufacturing jobs and indirectly creating millions more jobs through the multiplier effect mfg has. In essence, such a Balanced Trade Policy would require that globalized corporations must invest and employ in America if they want to sell their goods and services here.

  3. Joe says:

    Will,

    “But getting back to my central point, the American political leadership is a bigger enemy to the American people than the Chinese leadership, because the so-called “free trade” policies made in Washington DC have done more damage to our people, to our standard of living and our long-term national ability to create wealth, than anything that can be blamed on other countries or non-state actors.”

    Recall the slide show I sent you? Perhaps a bit more elegantly stated than my blunt prose, but you are saying much the same thing.

    Manning is a prime example of this issue.

    “Nor has the author, apparently, brooded on the degree to which, in a wicked world, a materialism of the Right and a materialism of the Left first surprisingly resemble, then, in action, tend to blend each with each, because, while differing at the top in avowed purpose, and possibly in conflict there, at bottom they are much the same thing. The embarrassing similarities between Hitler‘s National Socialism and Stalin’s brand of Communism are familiar. For the world, as seen in materialist view from the Right, scarcely differs from the same world seen in materialist view from the Left.”

    http://whittakerchambers.org/articles/nr/bigsister/

  4. Joe says:

    While debating what “free trade” actually is yesterday, I received this in reply from an acknowledged Communist. This confirms all suspected negative aspects of “free trade”. I agree completely with the authors assertions, free trade leads to poverty, government dependence and slavery, the hallmarks of Communism.

    I particularly like this quote:

    “There’s a wonderful phrase for how capitalism works in the real world (I’m not sure who first came up with it, but I associate it with Noam Chomsky): “The socialization of risk and cost, and the privatization of profit.”

    Exactly how for profit Communism always exploits the 95%. Take a look at the current US economy.

    What does the author think the Gulags were and the Gulags in China are?

    Not to mention the state sponsored unions, head busting and imprisonment of dissenters, mass murder, etc.

    http://c4ss.org/content/12561

  5. Joe says:

    The American System is the answer to our problems.

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