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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Beijing’s Bid for Global Power in the Age of Trump


Beijing’s Bid for Global Power in the Age of Trump
“America First” Versus China’s Strategy of the Four Continents
By Alfred W. McCoy
As the second year of Donald Trump’s presidency and sixth of Xi Jinping’s draws to a close, the world seems to be witnessing one of those epochal clashes that can change the contours of global power. Just as conflicts between American President Woodrow Wilson and British Prime Minister Lloyd George produced a failed peace after World War I, competition between Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and American President Harry Truman sparked the Cold War, and the rivalry between Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and President John F. Kennedy brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, so the empowered presidents of the United States and China are now pursuing bold, intensely personal visions of new global orders that could potentially reshape the trajectory of the twenty-first century -- or bring it all down.
The countries, like their leaders, are a study in contrasts. China is an ascending superpower, riding a wave of rapid economic expansion with a burgeoning industrial and technological infrastructure, a growing share of world trade, and surging self-confidence. The United States is a declining hegemon, with a crumbling infrastructure, a failing educational system, a shrinking slice of the global economy, and a deeply polarized, divided citizenry. After a lifetime as the ultimate political insider, Xi Jinping became China’s president in 2013, bringing with him a bold internationalist vision for the economic integration of Asia, Africa, and Europe through monumental investment in infrastructure that could ultimately expand and extend the current global economy. After a short political apprenticeship as a conspiracy advocate, Donald Trump took office in 2017 as an ardent America First nationalist determined to disrupt or even dismantle an American-built-and-dominated international order he disdained for supposedly constraining his country’s strength.
Although they started this century on generally amicable terms, China and the U.S. have, in recent years, moved toward military competition and open economic conflict. When China was admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, Washington was confident that Beijing would play by the established rules and become a compliant member of an American-led international community. There was almost no awareness of what might happen when a fifth of humanity joined the world system as an economic equal for the first time in five centuries.
By the time Xi Jinping became China’s seventh president, a decade of rapid economic growth averaging 11% annually and currency reserves surging toward an unprecedented $4 trillion had created the economic potential for a rapid, radical shift in the global balance of power. After just a few months in office, Xi began tapping those vast reserves to launch a bold geopolitical gambit, a genuine challenge to U.S. dominion over Eurasia and the world beyond. Aglow in its status as the world’s sole superpower after “winning” the Cold War, Washington had difficulty at first even grasping such newly developing global realities and was slow to react.
Click here to read more of this dispatch.http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176460/tomgram%3A_alfred_mccoy%2C_will_china_be_the_next_global_hegemon/#more

One Priest’s Message to Seminarians on National Abuse Scandal

One Priest’s Message to Seminarians on National Abuse Scandal: A homily by Fr. Matthew Kauth, rector of St. Joseph College Seminary

Russian Hackers Appear to Shift Focus to U.S. Power Grid - The New York Times

Russian Hackers Appear to Shift Focus to U.S. Power Grid - The New York Times: Intelligence and technology officials report there are surprisingly few attempts to disrupt the campaigns of major American political figures.

Monday, August 20, 2018

On an Island: Saudi Arabia’s Relentless Obsession With Qatar Is Aiding Iran - Lawfare

On an Island: Saudi Arabia’s Relentless Obsession With Qatar Is Aiding Iran - Lawfare: If Saudi Arabia wants to better confront Iran, the kingdom should ease off its distracting feud with its neighbor, Qatar.

Iran to unveil new fighter jet, develop missiles - minister - The Peninsula Qatar

Iran to unveil new fighter jet, develop missiles - minister - The Peninsula Qatar

More in U.S. Favor Diplomacy Over Sanctions for Russia

More in U.S. Favor Diplomacy Over Sanctions for Russia: By 58% to 36%, Americans say it is more important that the U.S. continue efforts to improve relations with Russia rather than take strong diplomatic and economic steps against it.

Sanctions, Sanctions, Sanctions – the Final Demise of the Dollar Hegemony? | The Vineyard of the Saker

Sanctions, Sanctions, Sanctions – the Final Demise of the Dollar Hegemony? | The Vineyard of the Saker: A bird's eye view of the vineyard

Uri Avnery, the Israeli optimist who played chess with Yasser Arafat, has died – he was one of my few Middle East heroes | The Independent

Uri Avnery, the Israeli optimist who played chess with Yasser Arafat, has died – he was one of my few Middle East heroes | The Independent: It was somehow fitting that first news of Uri Avnery’s plight should reach me from one of Israel’s staunchest enemies, the Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. One legend sending sad news of another, you see, a socialist preparing to mourn a fellow socialist, sending his sympathy for the 94-year-old Israeli political philosopher.

The US Will Spend Billions in Syria—Just Not on Rebuilding It - Defense One

The US Will Spend Billions in Syria—Just Not on Rebuilding It - Defense One: The Trump administration has ended a civilian aid program in the country, but the cost of the counter-ISIS fight far outweighs those savings.

The Importance of Educating Foreign Military Officers | Small Wars Journal

The Importance of Educating Foreign Military Officers | Small Wars Journal: The United States’ network of alliances and partnerships is an often heralded military advantage. Yet, this advantage is in many ways shaped, advanced, and maintained through military to military relations, especially those built through military training. Training foreign military personnel in American military institutions is an effective form by which to enhance defense familiarity with allies and partners—it’s a valuable program for our country. In addition to educating and training foreign military officers, these education programs build lasting relationships among officers of different countries contributing to a critical network of defense personnel around the world.

Trump administration to attempt to kill $3B in foreign aid - POLITICO

Trump administration to attempt to kill $3B in foreign aid - POLITICO: The tactic, engineered by OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, is intended to prevent a cascade of end-of-year spending by the State Department.

Uri Avnery, Veteran Peace Activist and Among First Israelis to Meet Arafat, Dies at 94

Uri Avnery, Veteran Peace Activist and Among First Israelis to Meet Arafat, Dies at 94

The Gush Shalom founder was one of the first Israelis to actively seek a Palestinian state as a peaceful solution to the conflict: ‘The difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist depends on your perspective’


https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-uri-avenry-veteran-peace-activist-dies-at-94-1.6364250

U.S. firms warn next China tariffs to cost Americans from cradle to grave - Nasdaq.com

U.S. firms warn next China tariffs to cost Americans from cradle to grave - Nasdaq.com: WASHINGTON, Aug 20- A broad cross-section of U.S. businesses has a message for the Trump administration: new tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese.

The World Is Not Prepared For Global Warming

The World Is Not Prepared For Global Warming: The people of the world are not prepared for the global warming that is already upon us. Heat-related deaths are up. Crop yields are down. Wildfires are rampant. Carbon levels are the highest in 800,000 yrs. So why have we been cutting assistance to firefighters and other emergency funding?

Generate - August 17, 2018 - Axios

Generate - August 17, 2018 - Axios: The biggest news and trends in energy, business and politics by Ben Geman, with Amy Harder and her Harder Line column

Russia And China Are Developing Impressive New Weapons Systems As They Prepare For War Against The United States – The American Dream

Russia And China Are Developing Impressive New Weapons Systems As They Prepare For War Against The United States – The American Dream: Most wars are won well in advance, and Russia and China are both feverishly preparing to win the next major world war between global superpowers. Meanwhile, the U.S. military has been focused on "fighting terrorism" and projecting U.S. power in a "post-Cold War" environment. Of course the truth is that a new "Cold War"

Catholic Signatories Demand Mass Resignation of US Bishops

Catholic Signatories Demand Mass Resignation of US Bishops: More than 1,300 sign open letter urging bishops to resign over

Heather and David chose to marry, despite her terminal cancer diagnosis

Heather and David chose to marry, despite her terminal cancer diagnosis: Most weddings are a new beginning—but for Heather and David Mosher, their wedding, just hours before she died of cancer, was a heartbreaking end. Watch this video to learn about their love for each…

Francis says Catholic Church 'abandoned' children, letting them be abused | National Catholic Reporter

Francis says Catholic Church 'abandoned' children, letting them be abused | National Catholic Reporter: Pope Francis has acknowledged that the Catholic Church "did not act in a timely matter" to protect children from sexually abusive priests over a period of decades, saying in a new letter to members of...

A Rough Guide to the 12 Intelligence Officials Who Condemned Trump for Revoking John Brennan's Security Clearance | naked capitalism

A Rough Guide to the 12 Intelligence Officials Who Condemned Trump for Revoking John Brennan's Security Clearance | naked capitalism: Chutzpah!

The Militarization of Sports and the Redefinition of Patriotism | naked capitalism

The Militarization of Sports and the Redefinition of Patriotism | naked capitalism: In the end, it comes down to one thing: who controls the national narrative.

The US Becomes an Oil Economy | Asharq AL-awsat

The US Becomes an Oil Economy | Asharq AL-awsat: Middle-East Arab News and Opinion - Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities

US: Drain the Swamp? Forget It! - The Globalist

US: Drain the Swamp? Forget It! - The Globalist: The rot needs to stop if public trust in government, already at a low, is to be restored. But the prospects for constructive reforms are poor.

Denmark as a Model for American Socialists?

Denmark as a Model for American Socialists?

by Lars Hedegaard  •  August 20, 2018 at 5:00 am
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  • Danes actually pay for their brand of socialism through heavy taxation. In Denmark, everyone pays at least the 25% value-added tax (VAT) on all purchases. Income tax rates are high. If you receive public support and are of working age and healthy, the state will require that you look for a job or it will force a job on you.
  • In Denmark, it is uncomplicated for enterprises to fire workers, which gives them great flexibility to adapt to shifting market conditions. In fact, Denmark is more free-market oriented than the US.
  • "Very high taxes and the vast public sector clearly detract in the capitalism index and reduce economic freedom. But Denmark compensates by... relatively little regulation of private enterprise, open foreign trade, healthy public finances and more. This high degree of economic freedom is among the reasons for Denmark's relatively high affluence." — Mads Lundby Hansen, chief economist of Denmark's CEPOS think tank.
Danish hundred-kroner banknotes. (Image source: iStock)
Here are some facts to consider before American "democratic socialists" look to Denmark for guidance, as Senator Bernie Sanders did during the 2016 presidential campaign.
First of all, Danes actually pay for their brand of socialism through heavy taxation. In Denmark, everyone pays at least the 25% value-added tax (VAT) on all purchases. Income tax rates are high. If you receive public support and are of working age and healthy enough to work, the state will require that you look for a job or it will force a job on you.

Bishop Barron's Gospel Reflection August 20, 2018

Your daily Gospel reflection...
Monday, August 20, 2018
Memorial of Saint Bernard
Matthew 19:16-22
Friends, today’s Gospel is the story of the rich young man. The rich young man has a deep desire to share in everlasting life. He is hungry for the infinite good of the spirit. He knows what he wants, and he knows where to find it. Jesus is the infinite Good that the soul wants. He is God’s own self made flesh.

If you want to live in friendship with God, there are certain things that you must cut out of your life. Friendship with God means a life of love; therefore, those things that egregiously violate love have to be eliminated.

Jesus looks at him with love and says, “There is one thing more you must do. Go and sell what you have and give it to the poor; you will have treasure in heaven. After that come follow me.” God is nothing but love, straight through, and therefore the life of friendship with him, in the richest sense, is a life of total, self-forgetting love.

But at this point the young man tragically balks. The spiritual life, at the highest pitch, is about giving your life away, and this is why his many possessions are a problem.

Reading 1 Ez 24:15-23

The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, by a sudden blow
I am taking away from you the delight of your eyes,
but do not mourn or weep or shed any tears.
Groan in silence, make no lament for the dead,
bind on your turban, put your sandals on your feet,
do not cover your beard, and do not eat the customary bread.
That evening my wife died,
and the next morning I did as I had been commanded.
Then the people asked me, "Will you not tell us what all these things
that you are doing mean for us?"
I therefore spoke to the people that morning, saying to them:
Thus the word of the LORD came to me:
Say to the house of Israel:
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will now desecrate my sanctuary, the stronghold of your pride,
the delight of your eyes, the desire of your soul.
The sons and daughters you left behind shall fall by the sword.
Ezekiel shall be a sign for you:
all that he did you shall do when it happens.
Thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
You shall do as I have done,
not covering your beards nor eating the customary bread.
Your turbans shall remain on your heads, your sandals on your feet.
You shall not mourn or weep,
but you shall rot away because of your sins and groan one to another.

Responsorial Psalm Deuteronomy 32:18-19, 20, 21

R. (see 18a) You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
You were unmindful of the Rock that begot you.
You forgot the God who gave you birth.
When the LORD saw this, he was filled with loathing
and anger toward his sons and daughters.
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
"I will hide my face from them," he said,
"and see what will then become of them.
What a fickle race they are,
sons with no loyalty in them!"
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
"Since they have provoked me with their 'no-god'
and angered me with their vain idols,
I will provoke them with a 'no-people';
with a foolish nation I will anger them."
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.

Gospel Mt 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said,
"Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?"
He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."
He asked him, "Which ones?"
And Jesus replied, "You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself."

The young man said to him,
"All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?"
Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me."
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.

O Ireland - The Catholic Thing

O Ireland - The Catholic Thing: Robert Royal is at Ireland's World Meeting of Families. With all the troubles now roiling the Church, will the pope bring a strong message when he comes?

Unleashing the Power of Pentecost: A Retreat Guide on the Holy Spirit - RC Spirituality

Unleashing the Power of Pentecost: A Retreat Guide on the Holy Spirit - RC Spirituality: With Pentecost, a new liturgical season will begin. Every new liturgical season is a spiritual fresh start, a spiritual clean...

Wisconsin: Bishop of Madison Issues Strong Letter in Response to Abuse Crisis - ZENIT - English

Wisconsin: Bishop of Madison Issues Strong Letter in Response to Abuse Crisis - ZENIT - English: 'It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord.'

Pope's Letter to People of God - ZENIT - English

Pope's Letter to People of God - ZENIT - English: 'It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable'

Pope's Letter to People of God: We Abandoned Our Little Ones, No Efforts Must Be Spared to Prevent Abuses and Cover Up - ZENIT - English

Pope's Letter to People of God: We Abandoned Our Little Ones, No Efforts Must Be Spared to Prevent Abuses and Cover Up - ZENIT - English: 'Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated'

Sunday, August 19, 2018

End U.S. support for this misbegotten and unwinnable war - The Washington Post

End U.S. support for this misbegotten and unwinnable war - The Washington Post: Whether the United States enabled the killing of 40 Yemeni children makes a world of difference.

Playing The Game Of Life – A Sermon On John 6:51-58 – Interrupting the Silence

Playing The Game Of Life – A Sermon On John 6:51-58 – Interrupting the Silence: Proper 15B – John 6:51-58 Shortly before I began the fourth grade my mom, dad, sister, and I took a trip to Kansas City. We spent the night at the airport Holiday Inn. I remember us sitting a…

Cdl. Wuerl Withdraws From World Meeting of Families

Cdl. Wuerl Withdraws From World Meeting of Families: Follows news that publisher has canceled publication of Wuerl's book

Episcopal Sodomy: Fear Grips the Vatican

Episcopal Sodomy: Fear Grips the Vatican: RICO charges threaten US Church

David Bromwich · American Breakdown · LRB 9 August 2018

David Bromwich · American Breakdown · LRB 9 August 2018: A seasonal report on the Trump presidency had better begin with a disclaimer. Anything one says is sure to be displaced by some entirely unexpected thing the president does between writing and publication. This has happened once already, with the Putin-Trump press briefing in Helsinki and . . .

In 2004, Annan told Harvard grads the world needs ‘enlightened American leadership’ - The Boston Globe

In 2004, Annan told Harvard grads the world needs ‘enlightened American leadership’ - The Boston Globe: “We must not allow ourselves, out of fear or anger, to treat people whose faith or culture differs from ours as enemies,” Annan said.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Another epic economic collapse is coming - The Washington Post

Another epic economic collapse is coming - The Washington Post: The debt could well grow to 100 percent of GDP within a decade.

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time: God in the flesh | National Catholic Reporter

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time: God in the flesh | National Catholic Reporter: "I am the living bread … the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." John tells us that as soon as Jesus finished saying that, the people in the synagogue got into serious arg...

Confession (and its seal of secrecy) is under attack

Confession (and its seal of secrecy) is under attack: In India, the president of the National Commission for Women (NCW), Rekha Sharma, has requested that the sacrament of confession be abolished. An article published at the end of July by UCA News explains that the federal agency has also proposed a federal investigation of two cases of rape and sexual violence, in which members of the clergy of two Churches are involved.

5 Painters who depicted the Last Judgment

5 Painters who depicted the Last Judgment: The Last Judgment has fascinated Western artists since the onset of Christianity. In early Christian art, pictures of the Last Judgment often include the return of Christ as a judge, weighing the d…

Bishop Barron's Gospel Reflection August 18, 2018

Your daily Gospel reflection...
Saturday, August 18, 2018
Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 19:13-15
Friends, in our Gospel for today, Jesus proposes that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are like children. Why? For starters, children don’t know how to dissemble, how to be one way and act another. They are what they are; they act in accordance with their deepest nature. “Kids say the darndest things,” because they don’t know how to hide the truth of their reactions.

In this, they are like stars or flowers or animals, things that are what they are, unambiguously, uncomplicatedly. They are in accord with God’s deepest intentions for them.

To say it another way, they haven’t yet learned how to look at themselves. Why can a child immerse himself so eagerly and thoroughly in what he is doing? Why can he find joy in the simplest thing, like pushing a train around a track or watching a video over and over, or kicking a ball around? Because he can lose himself; because he is not looking at himself, not conscious of other people’s reactions, expectations, and approval.

Mind you, this childlikeness has nothing to do with being unsophisticated, unaccomplished, or childish. Thomas Aquinas was one of the most accomplished men to ever live, the greatest intellectual in the history of the Church, and one of the subtlest minds in the history of the West. Yet the terms that were used over and over to describe him were “childlike” and “innocent.”

Childlikeness has to do with that rootedness in what God wants us to be. Thomas was born to be a theologian and a writer, and nothing would get him off of that beam: neither the critiques of his enemies, nor the blandishments of his religious superiors, nor the temptations to become a bishop. He was and remained who God wanted him to be, and thus he was like a great mountain or a flower or, indeed, a child.

The President Sinks Into the Cesspool of Vengeance By Llewellyn King

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The President Sinks Into the Cesspool of Vengeance

By Llewellyn King
NEW YORK, USA – APRIL 13, 2016: Omarosa Manigault speaks at the National Action Network 25th Annual Convention. A former apprentice that has now joined the Administration of President Donald Trump. Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com
Just when you think President Trump couldn’t sink any lower, he astounds. He’s bewildering in his ability to sink and then sink further — and all the while to claim success, rectitude and leadership.
This week’s plumbing of the sewers of conduct came in two Trump specials.
First, there was the unbecoming amount of presidential time spent on denigrating Omarosa Manigault-Newman. He knew her well — knew her propensity for infighting, exaggerating and lying — when he hired her on at the White House.
The question is, what was a reality show contestant of no particular ability doing in the White House to begin with?
Whether the president fired her, or his chief of staff did, doesn’t matter. Clearly, there was merit in getting her out of there. That’s now more than clear, when we learn that she was taping conversations in the Situation Room, the sacred heart of the White House.
After a firing, there’s a kind of protocol: You don’t litigate the issue ex post facto, especially in public. You let it rest; those who have been fired anywhere are usually aggrieved and angry.
The executive who did the deed doesn’t then sink into verbal mud wrestling with the dismissed person. One doesn’t do that. But Donald Trump does do that — with relish.
More egregious was his yanking the security clearance of former CIA chief John Brennan. This is vicious, petty, vengeful and strikes at the very basis of civil respect in America.
Security clearances are, at the least, a kind of badge, a medal, a recognition that you have served the country at the highest level of trust.
I’ve known four secretaries of defense, five secretaries of energy, three CIA directors and 12 national laboratory heads. I’ve seen how those now carrying the burden of office have consulted with those who had carried it.
Those who have security clearance, even if they aren’t called upon to use their knowledge often, are a kind of national reserve of expertise in sensitive matters, ready when needed. Others may need security clearance in defense contracting jobs when they leave their government service.
We don’t have civil honors as in Britain. Those with security clearances carry a little honor, a little recognition — and a lot of pride.
While Trump was baring his teeth against the defenseless, like a hyaena afraid of losing its prey, big stuff at home and abroad was what one would’ve thought might have been of commanding interest to the president, including:
  • A red tide was damaging the ocean life of Florida while hurting its tourism.
  • California was burning up with the worst fires in history.
  • The mayhem was continuing in Yemen.
  • Turkey, a NATO member, was being driven into the arms of Russia, while its failing currency was roiling world markets.
  • Russia was believed to be preparing to knock out the U.S. electric grid; and it was legitimizing its grasp on Crimea.
  • China was seizing the South China Sea.
Against these, and other domestic and world crises, Trump was lost to bile and spite.
A friend, a lifetime Republican (small government, fiscal restraint, free trade, strong defense) suggested in conversation this week that the Trump legacy would cost us a generation of lost opportunity in the world. He said it would take that long to get back to old alliances and to the position of respect we have enjoyed in the world.
I disagreed. I think it could take 100 years, perhaps. The rub is one never returns to the status quo ante after upheaval. The earth moves, so to speak.
Consider two historical events with 100-year legacies. The first is the Congress of Vienna, which mapped a peace in Europe that lasted nearly a century. The second is the ill-conceived Treaty of Versailles, the peace document signed at the end of World War I. It led to World War II; and, to this day, it’s at the root of much of the trouble in the Middle East.
Tweeting isn’t communicating, settling scores isn’t governing, handing the world over to Russia and China isn’t what we expect of any president, even a petty one awash in bile.

On Twitter: @llewellynking2
Llewellyn King is executive producer and host of "White House Chronicle" on PBS.
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