Toss him out with the rest
Posted by aogWednesday, 03 March 2010 at 10:34 TrackBack Ping URL

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, who was also denied a meeting in the Oval office today, expressed to Mr. Obama his admiration for the U.S. as a champion of democracy, freedom, and human values.

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Our president unable to utter words like victory, democracy, freedom, and human values
escorted the Dalai Lama to an exit where rubbish bags are kept on the grounds of the White House.

Ann

What ever happened to Tibet as a burning political issue among the MAL? The same thing that happened to NOW and feminism under former President Clinton?

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AVeryRoughRoadAhead Thursday, 04 March 2010 at 03:30

What ever happened to Tibet as a burning political issue among the MAL?

The MAL gained power and had to grow up. Like it or not, the PRC can either greatly help or badly hurt the U.S., at least for the next two years. (And it’d be a good thing if they could still help or hurt us five years from now - it’d mean that things haven’t gone as badly as they could. [And probably will.]) As I see it, giving the DL an audience but not according him top honors is both the smartest course of action and a very positive sign about potential MAL maturity.

As is disparaging Taiwan but also selling them better-than-PRC defense tech and weapons systems.

The same thing that happened to NOW and feminism under former President Clinton?

NOW and feminism had diverged long before Clinton gained the White House - their simpering obsequiousness towards an accused rapist and proven misogynist was simply the final nail in their coffin.

erp Thursday, 04 March 2010 at 07:23

Rough, principles be damned eh?

Thanks, but no thanks. I’d rather, we stand on our principles and let others, including China, make of it what they will. We spent 75 years cowering before the alleged mighty Soviet military, I would hope we smartened up enough now not to cower before the alleged mighty Chinese economic machine.

The message Obama sent by sending the Dalai Lama out past the garbage bags was a disgrace. Either refuse to meet him or treat him as an honored guest.

Get the dems and their union thugs out, undo the damage they’ve done with AA and entitlements, deregulate and let us get back to the business of America.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Thursday, 04 March 2010 at 09:43

I’d rather, we stand on our principles and let others, including China, make of it what they will.

Defending Tibet is an American principle?!? Kinda like Israel, huh?

Learn sumthin’ new every day. Doesn’t believing that put you in bed with the MAL-ist “dems and union thugs”, with their outrageous “AA and entitlements” and whatnot? There aren’t many Republicans driving around with “Free Tibet” bumper stickers. (None at all, I would guess.)

We spent 75 years cowering before the alleged mighty Soviet military, I would hope we smartened up enough now not to cower before the alleged mighty Chinese economic machine.

A) The Soviet military wasn’t allegedly mighty, it was actually mighty. Whether or not it could have prevailed in Europe against NATO in all-out combat, is thankfully unknown, but the Soviets were successful in doing the heavy lifting in the Allied effort during WWII, and NATO never rivaled the Wehrmacht. So it’s not for nothing that America never called out the USSR. You would profit by reading a simple military history of the Cold War.

Now, one might point to the Soviet debacle in Afghanistan as proof that their Cold War military was a paper tiger, but then we’d have to point right back at the West, what with the serial butt-kickings that France and then America received at the hands of the Vietnamese & Chinese, and that’s even though the war ended in a military victory for the U.S… So if we are to evaluate the Cold War Soviet military as being “allegedly” mighty, then we’d have to conclude that the same appellation applied to the American military from 1955 to, say, 1985.

B) When did this “cowering” take place? American forces actively engaged Soviets in combat during the Korean War, your whipping-boy JFK called the USSR’s bluff in Cuba, and even during the Carter admin we didn’t do anything completely absurd like unilaterally disarm our nuclear forces.

C) The PRC holds a trillion dollars of U.S. Treasury debt, and has another trillion American dollars lying around in heaps and piles. In 2010 the current administration modestly proposes to borrow another TWO TRILLION DOLLARS on top of the trillions in U.S. gov’t debt that already have to be refinanced. In those circumstances, the PRC isn’t an “allegedly-mighty economic machine.” Instead, they’re what you might call “the only game in town”.

Now, it wouldn’t destroy the U.S. to pick a fight with the PRC. But one of the consequences of doing so would be the immediate realization of the insolvency of America, instead of a phased-in, gradual defaulting on obligations that currently lies in our future. For instance, the Social Security Administration wouldn’t be able to issue full checks - they’d be lucky to be able to pay out at 75% of current benefits, and that’s if Congress let the SSA keep the monies collected from payroll taxes. That’s a “big if”, and not a scenario on which I’d care to depend.

The message Obama sent by sending the Dalai Lama out past the garbage bags was a disgrace. Either refuse to meet him or treat him as an honored guest.

The Dalai Lama himself wanted to meet with Obama, even given the conditions, and did not insist on being “treated as an honored guest.” He’s a grown man, and a shrewd and well-seasoned politician. (Plus, the guy’s spiritually enlightened.) So why should we gainsay him, insist that he not be allowed to have the meeting unless it was done “in the right way”? It seems to me that he’s very well-qualified to judge what’s in his own best interest.

Also, wouldn’t Obama refusing to meet the Dalai Lama have made the PRC happy? If we are supposed to “stand on our principles”, how would that be helpful?

But all of that’s just intellectual noodling. The bottom line is that America made her choice long ago, (although not in a fully-informed, deeply-insightful or deliberate way), and with regard to the PRC there are only a few principles left on which to stand. “Madam, we’ve already established what you are. Now we’re just haggling over the price.”

erp Thursday, 04 March 2010 at 16:14

Tibet was free country minding its own business when it was invaded and occupied by a foreign country. That’s against our principles.

Free Tibet is a worthy cause even if Richard Gere and Steve Rockefeller support it. A broken clock being right …

I’ve already commented on your other points and there’s nothing to be gained by going over them all again.

Hey Skipper Thursday, 04 March 2010 at 17:01

A) The Soviet military wasn’t allegedly mighty, it was actually mighty.

No, it wasn’t. There is a difference between size and strength.

In the 1980s, the Warsaw Pact lost track of a pilotless Mig-23 that had launched from one of their Polish bases on the Baltic (the pilot bailed out after a momentary engine failure).

They had no earthly idea where it was until we told them.

Well before it crossed the IGB. It ultimately crashed into a French farmhouse after fuel starvation.

That is so not mighty.

But one of the consequences of doing so would be the immediate realization of the insolvency of America …

Besides the fact that the US is not insolvent, how does that “immediate” thing work?

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Saturday, 06 March 2010 at 06:06

If by “not insolvent” you mean that the U.S. own assets that have value more than sufficient to cover their debts, then you are correct. But no American President is going to propose that we give the Grand Canyon or Wyoming to our creditors in lieu of cash.

If by “not insolvent” you mean that the U.S. can cover their current and future financial obligations out of tax revenues, without going further into debt, then you are mistaken. Any person or organization that needs to borrow ever-increasing amounts of money merely to keep the lights on, and that has committed to ever-increasing expenditures for another twenty-five years, cannot be considered a good credit risk.

“Immediate” works in this way: If the PRC were willing to take a mauling in order to humble the U.S., then they could dump their U.S. Treasury holdings. If a trillion extra dollars of bonds came on the market all at once, prices would tumble and yields would spike. If the U.S. had to refinance all Federal debt at triple today’s interest rate, it would add an extra and ongoing $600 billion to the Federal budget deficit. Given that existing projections of the U.S. deficit already show sky-high and likely UNFINANCEABLE deficits for the next twenty years, it is extremely probable that the bond market will demand that America commit to austerity measures, if we want to borrow the trillions needed to finance, for example, SS and Medicare.

But all - ALL - of the economic “growth” that has been recorded over the past 18 months has been stimulus-related, and 100% of the stimulus funds were borrowed. So if the U.S. had to cut the deficit to say, 3% of GDP, as Greece is being asked to do, and we were already paying an extra 4% of GDP in interest on the current debt, then Federal spending would shrink to basically what could be collected in taxes - all borrowing would go to service current debt.

Since the ‘11 budget that Obama proposed would contain two trillion dollars’ worth of deficit spending, that would mean two trillion less spent. U-3 unemployment would hit 25%, U-6 probably 40%.

That’s what the bankruptcy of a nation looks like. Like post-WWI Germany or Argentina in the 80s.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Saturday, 06 March 2010 at 06:32

Size, power, force and might are related concepts. The IDF could mop the floor with any similarly-sized Chinese force, but the IDF isn’t going to invade China, because numbers matter, even in nuclear conflict.

So if we postulate that the Soviet forces weren’t good, but that they were adequate and plentiful, then I assert that such is a good-enough working definition of “mighty”. After all, your own example shows that NATO forces were very much technically superior, and yet we never initiated a direct conflict despite plenty of political and military provocation.

If the American military, a force that we would both consider to be “mighty”, hesitates to attack another military, then that’s pretty good evidence of what the professional assessment of the opposing force is by the top brass.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Saturday, 06 March 2010 at 06:40

I’ve already commented on your other points and there’s nothing to be gained by going over them all again.

Really?

Because in this thread you’ve asserted that the entire American populace - with particular emphasis on the U.S. military, I assume - were loathsome, vile cowards for the entire misbegotten lifespan of the wretched Union Soviet.

Whereas in those alluded previous comments you’ve been jingoistic to the point of parody. Naturally, I’m puzzled by your abrupt about-face. (Also amused, of course).

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Saturday, 06 March 2010 at 06:46

Free Tibet is a worthy cause even if Richard Gere and Steve Rockefeller support it.

If it truly is a “worthy cause”, what do you propose should be done to “free” Tibet?

‘Cause the prevailing opinion among Americans who profess to care appears to be “pray”, (with a subset of “send good vibes into the Universe”), and a close second is “imagine”. Those are rather unlikely to do the job.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Saturday, 06 March 2010 at 08:08

Besides the fact that the US is not insolvent, how does that “immediate” thing work?

AOG also wrote about this four years ago. The difference between now and then is that back then, the Chinese needed a market more than the U.S. needed to borrow money.

Now, Chinese exports have fallen by 26%, (and since those are ChiCom figures, it’s probably actually worse than that), so they’re already taking a pretty hard blow in the primary area in which the U.S. would reasonably take action to hurt them. And America’s borrowing needs have increased by 400%, (as have the entire developed world’s), so China’s foreign-currency reserves have become even more coveted and influential.

Therefore the balance of power has shifted radically toward the PRC, possibly even to them.

(As for AOG’s argument in the linked post that the U.S. could declare China’s Treasury holdings to be null and void, and “with some moderate pain,” after “6 months … we would recover” - it strikes me as Panglossian analysis. Who in their right minds would loan money at reasonable terms to an entity that just defaulted on its obligations to its largest creditor?!? We’d be paying 12% on ten-year money.)

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 06 March 2010 at 08:15

Who in their right minds would loan money at reasonable terms to an entity that just defaulted on its obligations to its largest creditor?!?

Plenty of big banks as far as I can tell. See the 1970s Latin American debt crisis and its aftermath for an example. I am with you on not understanding why that happens, but the historical record is clear. On the other hand, it might well do wonders for our economy if the federal government couldn’t borrow money for a decade or so.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Sunday, 07 March 2010 at 03:28

You may be overly sanguine about the risks of default, or even of being perceived as in danger of defaulting.

As recently as Aug. 2009, according to the European Central Bank, Greece was paying 4.5% on their ten-year borrowing. By the week before last it was speculated that Greece might have to pay 8% to sell more ten-year bonds, but last week, after intensive negotiations between the gov’ts of Greece, France, Germany and the EU and IMF, in addition to severe cuts in the Greek budget and large Greek tax increases, the Greek gov’t managed to borrow some more ten-year money at 6.4% - a 40% higher cost than six months ago.

And this is for a gov’t than not only hasn’t actually defaulted, nor threatened to default, but which has drastically slashed its proposed spending!!!

Harry Eagar Sunday, 07 March 2010 at 18:21

‘Plenty of big banks as far as I can tell.’ You and Janet Tavakoli. See Chapter 6 of her ‘Dear Mr. Buffet.’

Oh, and, free Kurdistan, as long as we’re standing on principle.

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 07 March 2010 at 21:15

I suspect that the rates go down after a default, when the lending starts again, because there’s no debt then. Again, I am just pointing at the historical record which encourages one to be sanguine.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Sunday, 07 March 2010 at 22:26

There’s also the question of scale. For instance, for fiscal ‘11 the Obama administration is on track to borrow US$2 trillion, which is more money than the entire annual nominal GDP for every nation in the world, save seven. So the historical example of Argentina or Russia borrowing US$100 billion after default, from banks in the richest nation on Earth, may not apply in the event of default by said “richest nation” itself.

It seems extremely likely that America could borrow more money even immediately after a complete or partial default. The critical question is, on what terms?

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