American Elephants


Globalization: The Dream and the Nightmare by The Elephant's Child

climate-change

Here I was, posting Jonathan Haidt’s commentary on Globalization, and I turned to American Greatness, and conveniently, there was Victor Davis Hanson, writing even more extensively about globalization.

After World War II, only the United States possessed the capital, the military, freedom, and the international good will to arrest the spread of global Stalinism. To save the fragile postwar West, America was soon willing to rebuild and rearm war-torn former democracies. Over seven decades, it intervened in proxy wars against Soviet and Chinese clients, and radical rogue regimes. It accepted asymmetrical and unfavorable trade as the price of leading and saving the West. America became the sole patron for dozens of needy clients—with no time limit on such asymmetry.

Yet what would become the globalized project was predicated on lots of flawed, but unquestioned assumptions:

The great wealth and power of the United States was limitless. It alone could afford to subsidize other nations. Any commercial or military wound was always considered superficial and well worth the cost of protecting the civilized order.

Only by piling up huge surpluses with the United States and avoiding costly defense expenditure through American military subsidies, could the shattered nations of Asia and Europe supposedly regain their security, prosperity and freedom. There was no shelf life on such dependencies.

Do read the whole thing. This is a major contention point with the Democrats in their current mental and moral breakdown. If we are going to fight back, we have to know what we are talking about.

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If Trump Didn’t Tweet It, It Isn’t News for Today’s Media by The Elephant's Child

Salena Zito has become one of the more interesting reporters on matters Trump, because she actually goes out and talks to the Trump supporters who voted for him. In her column at the New York Post on Saturday, she wrote from Glen Dale, West Virginia, that “Bad news travels fast, Good news, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to travel at all.

Last weekend in Beijing, as part of his 12-day trip to Asia, President Trump announced that the US and China had signed an $83.7 billion memorandum of understanding to create a number of petrochemical projects in West Virginia over the next 20 years.

If the agreement holds tight, it is an economic game changer for the state.  And yet, speaking to the locals here, you wouldn’t even know it had happened.

“I am surprised I heard nothing about it on the national news, nor in my local paper and newscasts,” said Jerald Stephens, 67, a West Virginia native and union rep, who has been a keen observer of local politics for as long as he can remember.

The BBC and CNN covered the news in their business sections, while The New York Times picked up a short story by The Associated Press on the deal. The stories’ headlines were muted; their placement low-key.

Paul Scracic, political science professor at nearby Youngstown State University said that such an investment, three times the total annual budget for the department of energy would have been front-page news.

President Trump didn’t tweet about that, which is apparently the source for the media’s reports about the President. Easy, you don’t have to talk to anyone, just log on to twitter. Go out and talk the people? Nah.

So far the details are scant, but China Energy will invest nearly $84 billion in West Virginia, the biggest of the $250 billion deals Trump signed with China. The first efforts are scheduled to begin in six to eight months  with building two natural gas-fired power plants, likely in Brooke and Harrison counties which have major job and population losses over the past 30 years. West Virginia, understandably. is a solid red state. But voters in the areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio that also represent our coal and natural-gas areas matter as well.

The media usually mocks Trump’s promise of jobs to the Heartland as empty campaign rhetoric. Apparently to get their attention he has to shout about it on Twitter.

Tom Lifson of American Thinker also commented on the lack of media attention, and how much the deal tentatively offers”

Although the deal’s non-binding, it was welcomed in a state that’s borne the brunt of coal’s long-term decline. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, a coal and real estate mogul elected to office last year, has lobbied the Trump administration to prop up the state’s coal-mining sector.

“Expanding Appalachia’s energy infrastructure, including developing a regional storage hub and market for natural gas liquids, will have a transformative effect on our economy, our security and our future,” U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican, said in the statement.



North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un May Have Stubbed His Toe by The Elephant's Child

In a very surprising interview, an academic with close ties to the Chinese government has stated that war with North Korea is under consideration. China’s president Xi Jinping has become fed up with the erratic behaviour of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, in spite of the historic ties between the two countries.

Chong Sho-Hu, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said that Kim Jong-Un and North Korea were “seeking death.” Speaking to the BBC, the professor suggested that just one more missile test would “push the country off the cliff.”

President Jinping was said to be furious when North Korea tested a missile just as China was preparing to host a pivotal global economic conference. The professor said China is mad and wants to punish North Korea.

China’s leader XI Jinping told the Chinese Communist Party Congress that he would build the biggest army in the world, but wanted to avoid any conflict with U.S. President Donald Trump over North Korea. He told delegates that by 2050 China will become a global leader in terms of international influence and national strength, with the rule of law, innovative companies, a clean environment and a growing middle class. “The Chinese people will enjoy greater happiness and well-being, and the Chinese nation will stand taller and firmer in the world.”

This is a remarkable bit of world news, from one stray professor who is said to be close to the administration in China, so I don’t know just how accurate it may be or not, but it is certainly interesting.

President Kim Jong-Un seems to be the only plump person in the North Korean nation, and a good many of his military hangers-on have uniforms that seem too large for their bodies. Whenever Kim Jong-Un appears, everyone smiles broadly and they clap with their hands right up in front of their faces where their enthusiasm can be readily seen. Kim Jong-Un executed one of his uncles with a military howitzer instead of a firing squad, which may have something to do with the odd style of clapping.

 



President Trump Withdraws From the Paris Climate Accords by The Elephant's Child

Hollywood is having the vapors, Chuckie Schumer released a statement:

President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement is a devastating failure of historic proportions,” Schumer said. “Future generations will look back on President Trump’s decision as one of the worst policy moves made in the 21st century because of the huge damage to our economy, our environment and our geopolitical standing.

At a news conference in Brussels in early February, 2015, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity—but to destroy capitalism.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

Socialists, intent on the wonders of social justice and the ‘better world’ of their dreams, never, never seem to pay any attention to the monumental failures of socialism everywhere it has been tried. The  past 25 years have witnessed the greatest reduction in global poverty  in the history of the world. An 80 % reduction in world poverty in only 36 years. Globalization, Free markets, free trade, international entrepreneurship. The free enterprise system, American style, which is our gift to the world. This is not the first time some greenie has blurted out the truth behind their campaign to protect the world from the horrors of the carbon dioxide we exhale every time we breathe. Go figure.

President Obama committed $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, without authorization from Congress, about 30% of the $100 billion demanded from the United States to be shifted to trying to help poor nations deal with non-existent climate warming. They only got 1 billion before Obama left office and the U.S. was expected to come up with the other $2 billion promptly. According to researchers at MIT, if all nations met their targets for reducing carbon emissions, the impact on the climate at best would be likely to reduce global temperature rise by 0.2 degrees by the year 2100. That ‘s 2/10 of one degree C.  Under the accord, China gets to continue building coal-fired plants and increasing emissions until 2030. The Climate Accords were a very bad deal for everyone but China.

CO2 represents only the smallest portion of atmospheric gasses. The most important atmospheric gas is water vapor — clouds. Carbon dioxide (what we exhale) is a fertilizer for plants and the slight increase has meant a greening world which has helped to feed the world’s hungry nations.

The terms of the Accord required countries to update their commitments every five years to make them more ambitious, starting in 2020, leading to an eventual 80 percent cut. If everybody met their commitments, the effect on the climate would be almost undetectable.

The Left is big on income redistribution, not theirs, of course, but other people’s. But as Margaret Thatcher said “Sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.” Their goal is not helping the poor— it is power. They just can’t get it through their pretty heads that socialism doesn’t work, and has never worked, everywhere it has been tried. But they are fixated on the idea of fixing annoying human nature, eliminating wars and other annoyances and in general concentrating all power in an educated elite like themselves in Washington D.C. ruling the world in perpetual wonderfulness.

Here’s President Trump’s statement.

* That’s Christiana Figueres in the light slate blue on the left.

ADDENDUM: I said above ‘helping poor nations to deal with “non-existent global warming”. That’s not correct. The Earth is always warming or cooling as it has done for millions of years. The British once skated on the Thames, and at another time grew wine grapes. If you have time, you might visit drroyspencer.com. He has posted “Good Climate Hunting (DJ. Trump, writer, director)” which is priceless, and then scroll down a little to “People’s Climate March on Saturday…through Snow” where he points out the differences in climate across the U.S. as greenies are marching. (Dr. Spencer runs the only accurate measurements of warming and cooling by satellite at University of Alabama at Huntsville.)



Donald Trump’s Generals: The Most Renowned Wartime Commanders of Their Generation by The Elephant's Child

A blog called “Breaking Defense” has written well on Trump’s Generals. The Left, constantly looking for something horrible in Trump’s plans, finds the naming of so many retired military men to top positions will possibly undermine the principal of civilian control—as if Constitutional niceties are of enormous concern to the  Left—who have been ignoring that ancient document at their convenience for the last eight years. I’m getting really tired of the Left and their antics.

Donald Trump’s decision to lean heavily on generals in building his national security team has been received with sighs of relief by many foreign policy and national security experts. By the nature of their profession, senior military leaders tend to be pragmatic internationalists who know how to run large organizations. They understand from experience how the world works. They are generally disciplined and well-read. Having come of age on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, these generals are also intimately familiar with the horrors of war, and the second- and third-order consequences of firing the first shot. …

Indeed, the generals likely to form the top ranks of a Trump administration are among the most renowned wartime commanders of their generation. As the presumptive Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Corps General Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis will have as his chief military adviser Marine Corps General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Dunford, appointed by Obama as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Both flag officers earned their nicknames the old fashioned way during multiple combat tours. They are also close to retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, another combat veteran and the former commander of US Southern Command, who will reportedly serve as Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security. According to a knowledgeable source, it was Mattis who took upon himself the heartbreaking task of telling John Kelly that his son, 1st Lieutenant Robert Michael Kelly, had been killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

Trump’s Generals, Part 2: Jim Mattis vs. Iran

Trump’s Generals, Part 3: Mike Flynn vs. Al Qaeda

Trump’s Generals, Part4: John Kelly vs. The Narco-Terrorists

Like many Republicans, when President Elect Trump announced his first nominees for cabinet positions, I was reassured that Mr. Trump knew what he was doing and was getting excellent advice. After 8 years of an administration that assured us that they were completely in control of foreign policy, but could not manage to call the enemy by name or even admit that it was an enemy (junior varsity?) I was delighted. It’s a pretty impressive national security lineup. Get acquainted.



Uncommon Knowledge: Victor Davis Hanson by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson on grand strategy, immigration, and the coming election.  It’s a fascinating conversation, worth every minute. I hope you can find time.

 



The Pursuit of a Foreign Policy Legacy Is Not Going Well by The Elephant's Child

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Back at the beginning of his first term, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton announced a foreign policy “pivot” to Asia. The road of good intentions chose another direction, and the big events continued to happen in the Middle East. Civil war in Syria, the rise of ISIS with accompanying terrorism and brutality, regime change in Egypt and Libya, and the continuing Iranian quest for nuclear weapons and regional dominance are the problems that have dominated the news and Obama’s response to those events has comprised his foreign policy record, and it is not a record that makes much of a legacy.

Obama dismissed ISIS as a “JV team,” was angered by the coup in Egypt, made a botch of Libya with the help of his Secretary of State who dismissed the whole thing with “We came, We saw, He died” and a round of laughter, when reporters told her he was dead. It is slowly becoming clear Obama has lied extensively to the American people about his “Iran Deal.”

The Mullahs in Iran really had no interest in a deal. They are interested in destroying Israel and in destroying America, and do not intend to be delayed or restrained. Obama believes that they care about their people and will use the funds returned to make life better for Iranian families. He believes he can turn the Middle East over to the Persians to run, and remove all American interference in that part of the world, which will mean peace. He apparently believes that all the problems in that part of the world are Bush’s fault for invading Iraq, and he has no interest in being disabused of his fanciful notions.

You can’t build a foreign policy legacy out of trying to avoid any confrontation at all. Obama’s playing his last hand and betting on the  Paris Climate Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, by pretending they are not treaties, but some kind of deal that does not require the consent of Congress. But that has been his operating plan for some time.

So far on this trip, Obama has insulted Teresa May, Britain’s new Prime Minister, telling her that Britain would have to go the the back of the line for any trade deals since they didn’t pay attention when he told them to vote BREXIT down. Face-conscious China insulted President Obama by failing to provide the red-carpet stairway provided to all heads of state, forcing him to descend from the belly of Air Force One, a clear snub. Irwin Stelzer reported in the Weekly Standard:

When Obama raised the issue of China’s militarization of the islands it has constructed in the South China Sea, President Xi Jinping told him China would “unswervingly safeguard” its claims in the area. When the American president raised the issue of human rights, Xi told him not to interfere in China’s internal affairs. Perhaps the unkindest cut of all came when Xi praised the Paris agreement to limit carbon emissions, the issue on which Obama had come to take a victory lap, “It was under Chinese leadership that much of this progress was made.”

Xi was wrong on both of these counts: the Paris accord will not limit emissions, and China was a reluctant signatory to the agreement forged in Paris, largely by Obama, and whereas America agreed to drastic cuts in emissions, China made no such promise. All it agreed to do, at some date in the distant future—perhaps 2030 if that proves convenient—is to begin slowing the rate of increase of its emissions relative to the growth in the country’s GDP. Not a word about ending China’s financing coal plants in other countries—92 in 27 countries is the current count of the San Francisco-based Climate Policy Initiative, enough new coal-fired capacity to offset all the plant closures and emissions reductions planned in the United States for the next decade. No surprise that Xie Zhenhua, China’s senior climate change negotiator in Paris, says the deal struck there is “fair and just, comprehensive and balanced.”

The Senate will not ratify the treaty. Even if all the nations who have signed actually implemented their plans, it would reduce the growth of emissions only about half as much as the claimed 3.6º Fahrenheit which some scientists claim would reduce drought, floods, and other catastrophes which are not caused by increases in temperature. The Coalition of the Least Developed Nations agreed to go along because the rich nations agreed to give them at least $100 billion, but no one has started raising any money yet anyway. The panic about climate occurs only in the computer programs of the climate scientists who depend on climate panic for their jobs, their grants, and their reputations.

Obama  apparently insulted the new Philippine president who then called President Obama the ‘son of a whore,’ so in general the big G-7 meeting didn’t go too well. Obama is off to Laos as the first U.S. President to visit that country.

ADDENDUM: Reports in from Laos, and snippets of President Obama’s speech, suggest that he’s up to his old tricks of apologizing for his country  with little understanding of what actually went on in Laos, which was not as he suggests indiscriminate bombing. He actually said:

Over nine years — from 1964 to 1973 — the United States dropped more than two million tons of bombs here in Laos — more than we dropped on Germany and Japan combined during all of World War II.  It made Laos, per person, the most heavily bombed country in history.  As one Laotian said, the “bombs fell like rain.”  Villages and entire valleys were obliterated.  The ancient Plain of Jars was devastated.  Countless civilians were killed.  And that conflict was another reminder that, whatever the cause, whatever our intentions, war inflicts a terrible toll, especially on innocent men, women and children.

Our planes were bombing the Ho Chi Minh Trail to prevent supplies coming down that trail to kill American troops from reaching Vietnam. It was a  purposeful effort to save American lives, not indiscriminate and trying very hard not to kill civilians. Ask anyone who was there.




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