China’s leaders fear unrest
China’s leaders fear unrest in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet. In Hong Kong, the Beijing government-controlled publication Global Times complains that “Some young fans turned their backs, booed and even raised middle fingers when the [Chinese national] anthem was played.” Far from this being an imitation of actions by N.F.L. players in the U.S., this “Jeering the national anthem has occurred at soccer matches time and again in Hong Kong in recent years,” Global Times adds.
In China’s Moslem-majority Xinjiang province, the whole population is restive. The Chinese government has reportedly been confiscating Qurans, forcing residents of Bayingol to “install a GPS tracking system on their cars to ensure that police know where they are at all times,” and suppressing the use of the native Uyghur language.
A similar suppression of native religion, culture, and language has long been carried out in Tibet. This is threatening southern Asia with great strategic harm because China’s imperial Han leadership regards its control of Tibet’s water resources as a strategic weapon against India and other countries to the south.
A Radio Free Xinjiang and a Radio Free Tibet would be smart additions to the State Department budget.
Evidence is growing that China’s North Korean cat’s-paw has a biological weapons program in addition to its other offensive capabilities.
China continues to try to assert sovereignty over its illegal Pacific atolls. Although the U.S. navy has been upholding international freedom-of-the-seas norms, it had better address its inadequacies if it intends continuing these demonstrations — something the pre-Pearl Harbor Navy disastrously failed to do.
The Trump administration’s EPA chief Scott Pruit yesterday told a Kentucky audience that he would sign paperwork today to repeal President Obama’s legally dubious Clean Power Plan that was intended to terminate coal mining and coal-based power plants in the U.S.
But re-regulates trade
But at the same time, the administration is seeking to re-regulate trade — in the covert form of undermining North American business certainty as to what will and will not be permitted by the U.S. government in the future. Today’s Wall Street Journal summarizes:
Another pending proposal would require for the first time that certain products contain not just a certain level of Nafta-regional content, but U.S.-specific content. That plan, applied to autos and auto parts, would require 50% of Nafta products come specifically from the U.S.
On the dispute mechanisms, the U.S. administration wants to weaken a provision that gives private companies the right to sue governments. That was intended to provide firms more certainty when investing in a foreign country, particularly Mexico, where they might not have confidence the local legal system would protect their property rights.
Business groups say the U.S. plans—particularly the sunset clause and the one weakening the “investor-state dispute settlement” process—would make it harder for executives to plan the cross-border investment feeding regional supply chains that NAFTA has encouraged and that, they say, has raised the efficiency and competitiveness of the North American economy.
The proposal for 50% U.S. content would likely be ruled illegal but would further the administration’s objective of undermining business deals under existing NAFTA provisions.
Thus the administration is two-for-three with respect to its plans to increase economic growth rates to 3% and above: Its energy deregulation and tax reform plan will increase growth, but its anti-NAFTA moves will decrease it. The administration delusively hopes to increase U.S. growth by increasing exports and reducing imports. But imports and exports almost always go in tandem. If imports decrease, exports also decrease, and vice-versa.