Tag Archives: china

Obama’s Trade War: When the Economy Breaks in Earnest It May be Over Something as Stupid as Tires

Barak Obama is playing with fire at the behest of his Union masters.

In a blatant act of protectionism the Obama Administration is imposing additional tariffs on Chinese Tires, and risking a trade war with the Chinese. Once the tariffs and sanctions start to be imposed they are matched by counter tariffs and sanctions by the aggrieved government. At best relations with the largest buyer of US debt will sour relations a bit while at worst a general trade war can tear the economy apart as protection of our 7000 factory workers leads to losing the Chinese market in a mindless, and ill advised, game of tit for tat. From some of the most humble beginnings, like this carping over Chinese tires for example, a super destructive trade war can develop that has the power to topple a superpower from its perch.

No one really wins a trade war: it’s a bloody war of economic attrition, much like World War I was an ongoing mindless slaughter of troops to advance the front line a few hundred yards, became the poster child for wars of attrition. The combatants dig in and the mindless slaughter ensues until it becomes unsustainable. Even the eventual winner, is a loser, because of the mindless and senseless waste of recourses.

In a global economy, such as ours, with an enmeshed and ailing financial system, the law of unintended consequences could rear its ugly head, repeatedly, as a twenty first century trade war between the US and China causes untold damage on the planetary economy.

When the last economic straw comes, that crushes the American Economy for generations, it could well come from something as innocuous as this foolhardy tempest with the Chinese. Mr. Obama is, by his words a capitalist, but by his actions, a committed Marxist and a stealthy Black Nationalist, but we need a real president to hold the line on trade wars: not a “community organizer” whose been bought and paid for by big labor.

Consider the following article from the Financial Times: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f67c6fe6-a024-11de-b9ef-00144feabdc0.html

US tyre duties spark clash By Geoff Dyer in Shanghai and Tom Braithwaite in Washington Published: September 13 2009 06:53 | Last updated: September 13 2009 19:23

A full-blown trade row erupted on Sunday night between the US and China after Beijing accused Washington of “rampant protectionism” for imposing heavy duties on imported Chinese tyres and threatened action against imports of US poultry and vehicles.

Trade relations between two of the world’s biggest economies deteriorated after Barack Obama, US president, signed an order late on Friday to impose a new duty of 35 per cent on Chinese tyre imports on top of an existing 4 per cent tariff.

In his first big test on world trade since taking office in January, Mr Obama sided with America’s trade unions, which have complained that a “surge” in imports of Chinese-made tyres had caused 7,000 job losses among US factory workers.

Chen Deming, China’s minister of commerce, condemned the decision, saying that it “sends the wrong signal to the world” at a time when Washington and Beijing should be co-operating to deal with the worst economic and financial crisis in decades.

“This is a grave act of trade protectionism,” Mr Chen said in a statement. “Not only does it violate WTO rules, it contravenes commitments the United States government made at the [April] G20 financial summit.”

China said it would now investigate imports of US poultry and vehicles, responding to complaints from domestic companies.

The US warned Beijing against taking retaliatory action. “Retaliation would be inappropriate, as the United States acted entirely within the bounds of trade laws and within the safeguard provision that China itself agreed to upon accession to the World Trade Organisation,” said an official from the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

The official said that enforcing trade agreements and laws was “critical” to maintaining free markets. Another official said the US had “negotiated to the end with the Chinese to come up with something we could all agree to”.

US officials said they were scrutinising the export of poultry and vehicles, but said any action in retaliation by China could result in a complaint by the US to the WTO.

The dispute comes less than a fortnight before Mr Obama is due to host world leaders at a summit of G20 nations in Pittsburgh and ahead of his planned visit to China in November.

The decision to impose extra tyre tariffs followed a petition by the United Steelworkers union, which represents workers at many US tyre factories. Official figures show an increase in imports from 14.6m in 2004 to 46m in 2008.

Eswar Prasad, professor of trade economics at Cornell University, warned that the disagreement could escalate.

“These protectionist measures, some of which amount to domestic political posturing rather than substantive restraints on trade, could easily ratchet up into a full-blown trade war and inflict serious economic damage on both countries,” he said.

Cyber Wars on America: Now the North Korean’s are Launching Successful Attacks on the USA

 

 

 

North Korea may have been responsible for a very successful cyber-attack on the USA and on South Korea over the 4th of July Holiday weekend.   In World War II the big surprise was the improvements and coordination of tanks and air superiority combined in a blinding fast attack that the Germans called “Blitzkrieg”. (Lightning war)  We know that the most ambitious nation on earth, China, is pioneering cyber warfare and that the Russians and Europe are in the mix as well and the target is invariably the United States.  We better hope that Cyber Warfare is not the “Blitzkrieg” innovation of World War III because if that’s the case we’re far behind the power curve.  If World War II took five years to settle it’s likely that World War III, given the weapons of mass destruction we’re talking about, may be settled in a day or two.  We began World War II with the Pearl Harbor Disaster but we had the time to recover and come back to defeat the enemy.  In World War III the idea of a Pearl Harbor becomes untenable because the technology has become so horrific that the timeframe for staggering destruction and capitulation has shrunk to hours instead of years.

America is spending money like a drunken sailor on everything but the nation’s defenses and if there’s any government program that I would advocate spending more money on its Defense in general and Cyber, Space, and Missile Defense warfare.  The world’s cyber warriors are sharpening their skills on our nation’s computer infrastructure, with impunity, while we sit and debate how we’re going to pay for healthcare with a bankrupt nation, a broken political process, and a divided population.  In the information age the nation who controls the information frontiers of computer science and the high frontier of space will dominate the planet and enjoy unparalleled national security. As we make crazy deals with the Russians on the radical reduction of our nuclear deterrent that we’re trusting Putin to mirror we’re ignoring an effective cyber-defense in addition to acquiring a potent cyberwarfare capability ourselves.

The primary reason for the existence of government is to keep us safe and free; it’s not to give us bankrupt health care, tax our energy recourses, and redistribute wealth according to a weird social addenda, or to make sure every poor person has a mortgage they can’t possibly pay.  The Primary mission of government, national defense, is being neglected by the crazed social engineers of the Obama era in a headlong rush to destroy America and erect a Neo-socialist, Neo-Fascist state in its place.

It’s largely irrelevant whose doing the latest cyber attack because we seem to keep falling prey to such things and we have got to have a government that’s committed and effective in stopping these attacks.  The probability that these attacks were done by the crazy North Koreans just underlines our vulnerability and foolhardiness for not taking this threat as seriously as we should.

Consider this report from the AP:

North Korea May Be Behind Wave of Cyberattacks

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

  •  

SEOUL, South Korea —  South Korean intelligence officials believe North Korea or pro-Pyongyang forces committed cyber attacks that paralyzed major South Korean and U.S. government Web sites, aides to two lawmakers said Wednesday.

The sites of 11 South Korean organizations, including the presidential Blue House and the Defense Ministry, went down or had access problems since late Tuesday, according to the state-run Korea Information Security Agency. Agency spokeswoman Ahn Jeong-eun said 11 U.S. sites suffered similar problems.

She said the agency is investigating the case with police and prosecutors.

In the U.S., the Treasury Department, Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission and Transportation Department Web sites were all down at varying points over the July 4 holiday weekend and into this week, according to American officials inside and outside the government.

Others familiar with the U.S. outage, which is called a denial of service attack, said that the fact that the government Web sites were still being affected three days after it began signaled an unusually lengthy and sophisticated attack. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter.

The Korea Information Security Agency also attributed the attacks to denial of service.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at Seoul’s University of North Korean Studies, said he doubts whether the impoverished North has the capability to knock down the Web sites.

But Hong Hyun-ik, an analyst at the Sejong Institute think tank, said the attack could have been done by either North Korea or China, saying he “heard North Korea has been working hard to hack into” South Korean networks.

On Wednesday, the National Intelligence Service told a group of South Korean lawmakers it believes that North Korea or North Korean sympathizers “were behind” the attacks, according to an aide to one of lawmakers who was briefed on the information.

Related Stories  

An aide to another lawmaker who was briefed also said the NIS suspects North Korea or its followers were responsible.

The aides spoke on condition of anonymity and refused to allow the names of the lawmakers they work for to be published, citing the classified nature of the information.

Both aides said the information was delivered in writing to lawmakers who serve on the National Assembly’s intelligence committee.

The National Intelligence Service — South Korea’s main spy agency — declined to confirm the information.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said military intelligence officers were looking at the possibility that the attack may have been committed by North Korean hackers and pro-North Korea forces in South Korea. South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it could not confirm the report.

Earlier Wednesday, the NIS said in a statement that 12,000 computers in South Korea and 8,000 computers overseas had been infected and used for the cyber attack.

The agency said it believed the attack was “thoroughly” prepared and committed by hackers “at the level of a certain organization or state.” It said it was cooperating with the American investigators to examine the case.

South Korean media reported in May that North Korea was running a cyber warfare unit that tries to hack into U.S. and South Korean military networks to gather confidential information and disrupt service.

An initial investigation in South Korea found that many personal computers were infected with a virus program ordering them to visit major official Web sites in South Korea and the U.S. at the same time, Korean information agency official Shin Hwa-su said. There has been no immediate reports of similar cyber attack in other Asian countries.

Yonhap said that prosecutors have found some of the cyber attacks on the South Korean sites were accessed from overseas. Yonhap, citing an unnamed prosecution official, said the cyber attack used a method common to Chinese hackers.

Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.

Shin, the Information Security Agency official, said the initial probe had not yet uncovered evidence about where the cyber outages originated. Police also said they had not discovered where the outages originated. Police officer Jeong Seok-hwa said that could take several days.

Some of the South Korean sites remained unstable or inaccessible Wednesday. The site of the presidential Blue House could be accessed, but those for the Defense Ministry, the ruling Grand National Party and the National Assembly could not.

Ahn said there were no immediate reports of financial damage or leaking of confidential national information. The alleged attacks appeared aimed only at paralyzing Web sites, she said.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry and Blue House said that there has been no leak of any documents.

Neo Fascist Nations Like China Undermine the Worlds Economy: Using the Global Economy as a Weapon of War and Conquest

 

We’re all familiar with the effects of a nation like China attracting huge amounts of the worlds manufacturing business because they have no environmental laws, no real employment law or benefits so labor is dirt cheap.  Here in the USA it’s been called outsourcing and it’s a way of describing the loss of our manufacturing base to nations whose people are just cogs of a totalitarian government. No modern western democracy can compete with Chinese factories because with state control and totalitarianism they can, and do, beat Western manufacturing costs by a mile. 

They have millions of perpetually unemployed people, no expectation of meaningful health care, no concerns for controlling the pollution, and no labor strikes or decent labor wages by order of the all powerful state. Business and economic activity are but additional methods for the state to interact with other nations on the world stage.  This is the ruthless harnessing of an economy as a weapon of mass destruction and as a tool of both statecraft and war. Government control of the economy has given China enough dollars to possibly destroy the US Dollar at will, its gutted our manufacturing base and created dependency on foreign nations for our manufacturing, Its siphoned off tremendous wealth from consuming nations like ours to producing nations like china: who use the money to vastly modernize their military perhaps to US standards. 

We’re cutting military funding and the Chinese are in double digit increases every year.  They want to be our military rivals and with our money they’re on course to do just that!  With totalitarian state control they don’t care if they have the most polluted cities on earth they want the economic and military power to challenge the USA and all comers.  The West is in denyal about how willing China is to cover their own country with pollution if it gains them control of the world economy and makes them a military superpower.  No western nation would destroy its own land to pursue such a goal but the totalitarian government of China is doing exactly that. Outsourcing is a national security issue as much as an economic issue. 

Technological innovation and cyber advances were our ace in the whole but now the Chinese and the Russians lead the world in Cyber Warfare while the West seems still to underestimate how important it is to keep our advantages in these areas.  The Chinese have an ambitious space program and, along with the Indians, are planning to go to the moon while we retire our shuttles and hitch rides with the Russians if we want to go to the International Space Station.

Here is the cold truth of the matter:  If you don’t care about polluting your land, are willing to pay your people next to nothing, are willing to ruthlessly suppress labor rights and are willing to accommodate any nation’s needs to get their business, you can run circles around a democracy in the short term. Western Factory workers anticipate something of a middle class lifestyle, decent and safe working conditions, vacations, health care, advancement, disability compensation insurance and so on.  Chinese workers are happy to make enough to be marginally subsistent.  If a modern democratic economy tries to compete with a neo socialist totalitarian economy there is no way for the democracy to win because the playing field is fundamentally unequal.  There is no competition because in the west we want to employ people so they can have a life while in the east they want to employ people to undercut our economy, thereby growing their military and undermining our economy for the purpose of control.  A fundamentally unfair and inhumane policy of slave labor is used to destabilize capitalist democracies which then become dependent on the totalitarian regime and incrementally the democracy ceases to exist.  We’re not in a trade war with china: we’re in a very real economic war in which the winner will take all and the loser will serve the winner as if enemy troops concurred the land.

Consider this story from Reuters UK and ask yourself why trade with totalitarian regimes like China has resulted in the erosion of our standard of rather than the elevation to our level for Chinese workers. I we continue to play the game Chinese style we’re going to lose big time.

 

Democracy seen threatened by new authoritarianism

Thu Jun 4, 2009 2:18pm BST

By Paul Eckert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China, Iran, Russia and Venezuela form a clique of authoritarian states that use their wealth and influence to undermine global democracy and rule of law, a study by U.S.-funded agencies said on Thursday.

The report, released on the 20th anniversary of China’s suppression of the Tiananmen democracy movement, says these states’ challenge to Western democratic institutions represents a far “murkier picture” than the Cold War because they are integrated into the global economy and world bodies.

“Policymakers do not appear to appreciate the dangers these 21st century authoritarian models pose to democracy and rule of law around the world,” said the study by Freedom House, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Radio Free Asia, all prominent U.S. democracy-promotion bodies.

“Just as they rule without law within their borders, authoritarian regimes are eroding the international rules and standards built up by the democratic world over the past several decades, threatening to export the instability and abuses that their systems engender,” it said.

The study said manufacturing and trading power China and petro-states Iran, Russia and Venezuela shared strong similarities despite their distinct political systems and backgrounds.

Authoritarian capitalist China and Russia have built systems that twin “impressive economic development with an equally impressive apparatus of political control,” it said.

CURBS ON OPPOSITION, MEDIA

Shiite Muslim clergy-ruled Iran and Venezuela, run by “a novel type of Latin American” strongman, held managed elections amid curbs on the opposition and on media, it said.

Ruling powers in the four states buttressed their control with tight restrictions on the Internet and media, promotion of nationalist versions of history in school textbooks and use of state wealth to serve their own interests, said the report.

Internationally, China has built a strong following in Africa and Latin America with generous no-strings-attached aid packages. Russia, Iran and Venezuela have used oil wealth to support regional clients, said the report.

“At the regional and international level, these authoritarian regimes are undercutting or crippling the democracy-promotion and human rights efforts of rules-based organizations,” it said.

Targets included the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Organisation of American States (OAS), added the report.

The report also included Pakistan because of its struggling democracy, history of military rule and growing extremist insurgency.

Democracies needed to stand against the authoritarian tide and do more to safeguard and promote democratic institutions, said the report, without spelling out suggested responses.

“As the world’s democracies have struggled to find a common approach to the problem, or even to agree that there is a problem, modern authoritarian states have worked diligently to spread their influence,” it said.

A Biblical National Security Update: March of 2009 is not Looking Very Peaceful or Stable

 

 

It’s a dangerous world these days and nothing underlines that more than the recent headline. 

·        Consider the fact that North Korea has a long range missile on the launching pad and has promised to resume their nuclear activities if anyone interferes with their upcoming launch.

·        Iran continues on its merry way to regional war by continuing to develop its nuclear program which seems to have prompted the Israeli People to elect a much more right wing government who is certain to attack Iran this year.  The Bible suggests that Iran will one day join a coalition of nations led by Russia against Israel touching off the war of Armageddon.  (Were it not for Russian assistance the Iranians would not be anywhere close to where they currently are on the development of nuclear weapons.)

·        Russia has increased its funding for the military even as its economy goes down the drain with plummeting oil prices.  They claim it’s a response to NATO expansionism and the deployment of an anti missile shield to Europe. The Bible calls Russia Gog and says that will lead a coalition against Israel in the last days touching off the war of Armageddon.

·        China has recently hassled our warships in the sea of Japan and the Pentagon has released a report chronicling their MASSIVE MILLITARY BUILDUP and openly questioned their intentions. This report enraged the Chinese whose military might seems designed to challenge the United States for world dominance.  The bible indicates that a third of mankind will be wiped out by the “kings of the east” and most scholars agree that china would definitely be included in that description.

·        Russia has announced that they will form a division of their military whose mission will be to guard the oil recourses they’ve recently claimed in the arctic. 

·        Obama has announced cuts in military spending with the intention of adding substantially to those cuts with “reforms” that would save even more money.  The United States is not mentioned by name in the Bible and leadership of the western world is held by Europe not the USA.

·        There is growing civil unrest around the globe due to the world economic crisis.  Even nations like Great Briton are courting insolvency underlined by their recent bond offering that failed and with the 30% drop in the British Pound.

·        President Obama has expressed willingness to trade away missile defense for Russian influence with Iran in an attempt to halt their progress toward a viable nuclear weapon.  It’s largely regarded as too little too late.

·        Security for the G20 summit is at issue as the people of Europe have not been shy about expressing their displeasure at the state of the world’s finances.  Violence is expected at the G20 summit in London nest week and there’s a high possibility of a Terrorist Event as well.  The British are one level below “Imminent attack Expected”

·        The Situation in the Nuclear Armed Islamic State of Pakistan continues to degenerate as the weak government fights for survival and as the extremist elements become more powerful.  Nuclear Armed India watches nervously as the government of their traditional foe spirals more out of control; the Mumbai Massacres still fresh in their minds.

·        The Mexican Border is increasingly violent and the CIA thinks Mexico may collapse entirely creating a major problem on our southern border.  Mexico may well become a failed state with untold consequences to the USA

 

The Dollar is Running Out of Time: China’s “Bernanke” Calls for Dumping the Dollar & New Reserve Currency

 

 

I think the Federal Reserve’s decision to buy a Trillion of American Treasury Bonds, in a naked attempt to monetize or “print the money” has pretty much pushed the rest of the world over the top.  Now the Chinese equivalent of our Federal Reserve Chairman, Zhou Xiaochuan , has called for the formation of a new global reserve currency.  This means dumping the US Dollar for a goofy IMF scheme that’s risky at best: and at worst is yet another world economic meltdown in disguise.  (In addition to being a solid step toward World Government)

China holds a huge amount of our dollars and is concerned that our willingness to print a trillion dollars, at the drop of a hat, will mean that all those dollars are, and will continue to be, dropping in value at a precipitous rate.  I wish I could say that China is wrong but I’m afraid the fault lies with the American Politicians and of course the nefarious Federal Reserve System who always follows its own twisted motives behind a cloak of secrecy. 

Our Political system appears to be broken and the nation seems leaderless as the feckless Barak Obama says one thing and does another. The Congress is out of control,  spending  like theirs no tomorrow, and it seems determined to replace Capitalism with Socialism and the Constitution with Mob Rule. At this critical time in our history we’re now finding that our own corrupt politicians have become the most powerful special interest group in the nation and their interests and those of the American People are diametrically opposed.  We don’t want more bail outs bigger government and more spending but that just doesn’t matter to our paternalist politicians who seem to think that what’s ours is theirs!

What we need is the disempowering of our own political class and a massive cut in government spending, size, and scope at the federal and state levels and often at the city level as well.  We need for the democrats: who today have become outright socialists, if not communists, to stop the spending and the remaking of American into yet another failed socialist state.

The very soul of our nation is at stake as the Chinese Equivalent of Ben Bernanke, the head of the Chinese Central Bank, calls for a new world reserve currency and the ouster of the US Dollar.  Below is a story from the Financial Times concerning our death warrant as a nation. Dollar dumping now will destroy our currency.  A depression is bad enough but to add the stress of a currency collapse can add untold horrors to our children’s future.  This is probably our last wakeup call and if we miss this big reality check from China we’re well and truly up a nasty smelly creek without a paddle. 

Here’s the URL for the Financial Times Story: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7851925a-17a2-11de-8c9d-0000779fd2ac.html

 

China calls for new reserve currency

By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing

Published: March 23 2009 12:16 | Last updated: March 24 2009 00:06

China’s central bank on Monday proposed replacing the US dollar as the international reserve currency with a new global system controlled by the International Monetary Fund.

In an essay posted on the People’s Bank of China’s website, Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank’s governor, said the goal would be to create a reserve currency “that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run, thus removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies”.

Analysts said the proposal was an indication of Beijing’s fears that actions being taken to save the domestic US economy would have a negative impact on China.

“This is a clear sign that China, as the largest holder of US dollar financial assets, is concerned about the potential inflationary risk of the US Federal Reserve printing money,” said Qu Hongbin, chief China economist for HSBC.

Although Mr Zhou did not mention the US dollar, the essay gave a pointed critique of the current dollar-dominated monetary system.

“The outbreak of the [current] crisis and its spillover to the entire world reflected the inherent vulnerabilities and systemic risks in the existing international monetary system,” Mr Zhou wrote.

China has little choice but to hold the bulk of its $2,000bn of foreign exchange reserves in US dollars, and this is unlikely to change in the near future.

To replace the current system, Mr Zhou suggested expanding the role of special drawing rights, which were introduced by the IMF in 1969 to support the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate regime but became less relevant once that collapsed in the 1970s.

Today, the value of SDRs is based on a basket of four currencies – the US dollar, yen, euro and sterling – and they are used largely as a unit of account by the IMF and some other international organisations.

China’s proposal would expand the basket of currencies forming the basis of SDR valuation to all major economies and set up a settlement system between SDRs and other currencies so they could be used in international trade and financial transactions.

Countries would entrust a portion of their SDR reserves to the IMF to manage collectively on their behalf and SDRs would gradually replace existing reserve currencies.

Mr Zhou said the proposal would require “extraordinary political vision and courage” and acknowledged a debt to John Maynard Keynes, who made a similar suggestion in the 1940s.

 

China Gets Edgy about US Deficit Spending: the Commander and Thief says the Financial Crisis is “Not So Bad”

In an astonishing display of incompetence, ineptitude, disingenuousness, condescension, arrogance and all around bad taste, the President of the United States of America said that the continuing economic crisis is “not so bad”.  Here’s an experiment: Go directly to your retirement account statement, open it, look at the bottom line and decide for yourself if the President is lying or not!  Let’s see, 45% of the world’s wealth has been destroyed in recent days, people are hording ammunition for their guns, businesses (JOBS) are leaving the United States, and it’s insane tax policy, and there aren’t enough printing presses and green ink in the world to print all the money Congress is spending.  Maybe Barak Obama should tell the jittery Chinese Government “it’s not so bad” and see if they’ll withdraw their demand for guarantees if they lend us any more money?  I can’t help but wonder why anti depressant use and the demand for sleeping pills is going through the roof when it’s clear to our Neo-Socialist Commander and Thief that: it’s not so bad?  Maybe the G20 nations, who just get a busy signal, or an answer machine, when they call the United State Treasury, should take a chill pill and not worry so much about completely revamping the world economic system (and American Leadership of the planetary economy) because our Neo-Socialist Messiah says “it’s not so bad?”

                                                            

Wasn’t it just yesterday that Bill Clinton was suggesting a more upbeat tone to our Presidents comments on the economy?  Isn’t it abundantly clear that Wall Street is registering near panic about his socialist policies and the unsustainable, unforgivable, unbelievable amounts of money the Democrats are stealing from us all to spend on pure political corruption and vote buying?  Where’s the doom and gloom President who assured us that if his bills in congress were not passed we’d see a financial Armageddon that we may never fully recover from?  Now that he’s got billions for ACORN, funding to fight pig odor in Iowa, and the right to use human embryos for spare parts, apparently the world according to Obama is just peachy now!  Barak Obama has found his optimism but he may well have lost his mind because his not so bad crack is probably true for him eating up $100 a pound imported beef that we’re paying for but in the real world everyone’s job is on the chopping block!  Here’s a few clips from Bloomberg:

 

WASHINGTON — President Obama is embracing a mantle of confidence-builder in chief. Whether he is meeting with his own economic advisers or worried business leaders, his message is meant to be calm and reassuring — even in the wake of more bad economic news.

Obama will have another opportunity to assert his optimism after he meets Friday with Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman who now guides the president’s economic recovery advisory board. Volcker was preparing to brief Obama and his economic team on how the $787 billion stimulus package is working.

Speaking to a gathering of the nation’s CEOs on Thursday, Obama defended his plans for pulling the economy out of a downward spiral, saying that his long-term view gives him reason to maintain optimism despite an uptick in unemployment and falling economic indicators.

“I’ve never bought into these Malthusian, woe, Chicken Little, the earth is falling. I tend to be pretty optimistic,” said Obama, once a long-shot candidate for the White House. “I wouldn’t be here if I weren’t pretty optimistic.”

The president boldly declared that the national crisis is “not as bad as we think” and that he has seen public opinion seesaw without logic.

“A smidgen of good news and suddenly everything is doing great. A little bit of bad news and ‘Ooohh, we’re down on the dumps,”‘ he said. “And I am obviously an object of this constantly varying assessment.”

Obama disagreed with the choices.

“I don’t think things are ever as good as they say, or ever as bad as they say,” he added. “Things two years ago were not as good as we thought because there were a lot of underlying weaknesses in the economy. They’re not as bad as we think they are now.”

 

Apparently the Chinese didn’t get the memo that the economy is not as bad as we think because they admit to being worried about the security of the American Debt they’ve bought. Heres a few more clips from a different Bloomberg article so you can decide for yourself if you think the Chinese are being naughty or if Barak Obama’s new found optimism might be a lie at worst or an astonishingly stupid thing to have said at best.

 

March 13 (Bloomberg) — China, the U.S. government’s largest creditor, is “worried” about its holdings of Treasuries and wants assurances that the investment is safe, Premier Wen Jiabao said.

“We have lent a huge amount of money to the United States,” Wen said at a press briefing in Beijing today after the annual meeting of the legislature. “I request the U.S. to maintain its good credit, to honor its promises and to guarantee the safety of China’s assets.”

U.S. President Barack Obama is relying on China to sustain buying of Treasuries as his administration sells record amounts of debt to fund a $787 billion economic-stimulus package. Chinese investors have lost money on the securities so far this year, after increasing their holdings 46 percent to $696 billion in 2008, according to Treasury Department data.

“China’s purchases of American debt have been one of the few bolts keeping the wheels on the global economy,” said Phil Deans, a professor of international affairs at Temple University in Tokyo. “If China stops buying where does Obama’s borrowing to fund his stimulus come from?”

Treasuries declined, causing the yield on the 10-year U.S. note to rise six basis points to 2.92 percent at 4:51 p.m. in Hong Kong, according to BGCantor Market Data. The securities handed investors a loss of 2.7 percent in yuan terms this year, according to Merrill Lynch & Co.’s U.S. Treasury Master index. The dollar fell 0.2 percent to $1.2938 per euro.

“Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets,” said Wen. “To be honest, I am a little bit worried.”

The Sound of Rattling Saber’s: North Korea and China Test Obama’s Mettle

 

 

The young president is said to be so focused on the economy that he’s unable to manage even pretence of concern for foreign policy as his faux pas with the British and the fiasco of the letter to Russia indicates.  This inattention has doubtless been the object of speculation from friend and foe alike and the line to “test” Obama seems to be queuing up as the world smells weakness.  It seems that the 47 year old President of the United States is overworked to the point of not being able to cope with foreign policy as indicated by this clip from the Telegraph.co.uk:

Barack Obama’s offhand approach to Gordon Brown’s Washington visit last week came about because the president was facing exhaustion over America’s economic crisis and is unable to focus on foreign affairs, the Sunday Telegraph has been told.

 Sources close to the White House say Mr Obama and his staff have been “overwhelmed” by the economic meltdown and have voiced concerns that the new president is not getting enough rest.

British officials, meanwhile, admit that the White House and US State Department staff were utterly bemused by complaints that the Prime Minister should have been granted full-blown press conference and a formal dinner, as has been customary. They concede that Obama aides seemed unfamiliar with the expectations that surround a major visit by a British prime minister.

But Washington figures with access to Mr Obama’s inner circle explained the slight by saying that those high up in the administration have had little time to deal with international matters, let alone the diplomatic niceties of the special relationship.

Allies of Mr Obama say his weary appearance in the Oval Office with Mr Brown illustrates the strain he is now under, and the president’s surprise at the sheer volume of business that crosses his desk.

A well-connected Washington figure, who is close to members of Mr Obama’s inner circle, expressed concern that Mr Obama had failed so far to “even fake an interest in foreign policy”.

The real views of many in Obama administration were laid bare by a State Department official involved in planning the Brown visit, who reacted with fury when questioned by The Sunday Telegraph about why the event was so low-key.

The official dismissed any notion of the special relationship, saying: “There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.” The apparent lack of attention to detail by the Obama administration is indicative of what many believe to be Mr Obama’s determination to do too much too quickly.

In addition to passing the largest stimulus package and the largest budget in US history, Mr Obama is battling a plummeting stock market, the possible bankruptcy of General Motors, and rising unemployment. He has also begun historic efforts to achieve universal healthcare, overhaul education and begin a green energy revolution all in his first 50 days in office.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/4953523/Barack-Obama-too-tired-to-give-proper-welcome-to-Gordon-Brown.html

Earlier Mr. Obama made a rookie mistake in allowing a deal he was proposing to Russia, involving giving up the European Missile Shield for Russian “Help” with Iran, and the Russian Government leaked the contents and made Obama look weak and foolish.  A savvy politician like Barak Obama should know that politics is perception and as he commits one foreign policy mistake after the other the perception is that he can’t handle foreign policy or is so distracted by the economy that it’s open season for shenanigans in the rest of the world because the world’s policeman is “too tired”. He better learn to delegate because even the American Government today admits that Iran could build 50 nuclear bombs with what they’ve got right now and no sane person believes that Israel will be able to avoid war with Iran this year.  The Iranian nuclear program is too big a threat and Israel has gone to great lengths to telegraph their willingness to go it alone and indeed their determination to negate the Iranian program.  It clearly is an existential threat: What choice does Obama think the Israeli’s have?

So who else is giving Obama grief in the big bad world?  North Korea has seized on the idea that at the direction of the President we might shoot down some missile test they’re planning and so now North Korean troops are on full alert.  They’ve made it clear that if Obama shoots down the missile they will precipitate a war.  Consider this clip from Fox News:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,506843,00.html

SEOUL, South Korea —  North Korea put its armed forces on standby Monday and threatened “a war” if anyone tries to shoot down what regional powers suspect is an imminent test-firing of a long-range missile.

Pyongyang also cut off a military hot line with the South, causing a complete shutdown of their border and stranding hundreds of South Koreans working in an industrial zone in the North Korean border city of Kaesong.

Monday’s warning — the latest barrage of threats from the communist regime — came as U.S. and South Korean troops kicked off annual war games across the South, exercises the North has condemned as preparation for an invasion. Pyongyang last week threatened South Korean passenger planes flying near its airspace during the drills.

Analysts say the regime is trying to grab President Barack Obama’s attention as his administration formulates its North Korea policy.

The North also indicated it was pushing ahead with plans to send a communications satellite into space, a provocative launch neighboring governments believe could be a cover for a long-range missile capable of reaching Alaska.

U.S. and Japanese officials have suggested they could shoot down a North Korean missile if necessary, further incensing Pyongyang.

“Shooting our satellite for peaceful purposes will precisely mean a war,” the general staff of the North’s military said in a statement carried Monday by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Any interception will draw “a just retaliatory strike operation not only against all the interceptor means involved but against the strongholds” of the U.S., Japan and South Korea, it said.

The North has ordered military personnel “fully combat ready,” KCNA said in a separate dispatch.

 

As if this were not enough for our “tired” fearless leader, as he somehow manages to summon the energy to allow massive experimentation with embryos, the “Kings of the East”, otherwise known as China, is engaging in harassment of a US Navy Ship in the South China Sea.  Thank God it’s Monday because my theory is that all those star studded parties Obama has on Wednesday Nights (with the $100 a pound Japanese beef) might be the real reason for his lack of energy.  I sure hope Obama manages to get his beauty rest tonight because this incident in the South China Sea is very much a Chinese test upon which they will make many decisions about how far they can push the Obama Administration in the future.  Once again from Fox News consider the following clips:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03/09/pentagon-chinese-ships-harassed-unarmed-navy-craft-international-waters/

WASHINGTON — The White House said Monday that U.S. Navy ships will continue to operate in the South China Sea, where five Chinese vessels shadowed and maneuvered dangerously close to a Navy surveillance ship, prompting an American protest.

“We’re going to continue to operate in those international waters, and we expect the Chinese to observe international law around that,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said during a Monday press conference.

Gibbs said U.S. officials had “protested the actions of the Chinese ships.” A formal protest was relayed to the Chinese government from the U.S. embassy in Beijing and it was to be repeated to a Beijing military attache at a Pentagon meeting Monday.

Defense officials in the Obama administration said the incident Sunday followed several days of “increasingly aggressive” acts by Chinese ships in the region. The episode took place in international waters in the South China Sea, about 75 miles south of Hainan Island.

The USNS Impeccable,a surveillance ship, resorted to spraying one Chinese vessel with water from fire hoses to force it away. Despite the impact of the water, Chinese crew members stripped to their underwear and continued closing within 25 feet, the Defense Department said.

The Impeccable is one of five Navy surveillance ships that probe the ocean to gather acoustic data in an effort to detect underwater threats. The craft was specifically designed to use underwater listening devices to augment the Navy’s anti-submarine capability.

“On March 8, 2009, five Chinese vessels shadowed and aggressively maneuvered in dangerously close proximity to USNS Impeccable, in an apparent coordinated effort to harass the U.S. ocean surveillance ship while it was conducting routine operations,” the Pentagon statement said.

The Chinese ships included a Chinese Navy intelligence collection ship, a Bureau of Maritime Fisheries Patrol Vessel, a State Oceanographic Administration patrol vessel, and two small Chinese-flagged trawlers, officials said.

Two of the Chinese ships closed “to within 50 feet, waving Chinese flags and telling Impeccable to leave the area,” officials said in the statement.

“Because the vessels’ intentions were not known, Impeccable sprayed its fire hoses at one of the vessels in order to protect itself,” the Defense statement said. “The Chinese crew members disrobed to their underwear and continued closing to within 25 feet.”

Impeccable’s crew radioed to tell the Chinese ships that it was leaving the area and requested a safe path to navigate, the Pentagon said.

But shortly afterward, two of the Chinese ships stopped directly ahead of the Impeccable, forcing it to make an emergency stop to avoid collision. The Chinese also dropped pieces of wood in the water directly in front of Impeccable’s path.

It’s clear that foreign governments are lining up to test our new President: and it’s an unfortunate fact that in the few foreign policy chores Mr. Obama has attempted, prior to these provocations in Asia, that Mr. Obama does not excel at international relations.  History has shown that to be a very dangerous state of affairs because the learning curve of a weak US president can be very expensive; usually paid in the blood of others.  Perhaps President Obama could take some time away from his ambitious plans to socialize medicine and pay attention to some of the other inhabitance of this old world.  As the challenges to our “tired” commander and chief mount up; I wonder if Mr. Obama will still be keen on cutting the defense budget and depend on his soaring oratory and inspiring speeches to pacify the likes of Ahmadinejad, Putin, Kim Jung Ill or the politburo of Red China.