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View Diary: Obama's China Climate Deal: Rally the World, PWN Inhofe (195 comments)

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    •  Yes it is, but (23+ / 0-)

      that assumes we are dealing with reasonable people on the R side of the aisle and discounts most of the usual suspects on the D side.

      The US-China deal is important because it will drive world and market behavior, regardless of what happens in congress or Copenhagen (I don't see any outcome that I'd be especially crazy about).

      This is a brilliant acheivement on O's part.

      This machine kills fascists!

      by Zotz on Tue Nov 17, 2009 at 06:00:03 PM PST

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      •  More reasonable people (44+ / 0-)

        China's technocrats always were going to react (12+ / 0-)

        because climate change is real, and they focus on natural resources. Land means something to them. Water and ores and timber, too. Something about havign a densely populated country with shifting, angry, landless peasants will do that to you. China will do whatever it needs to do, because its government tends to operate out of a concern for its long-term security, When push comes to shove. Instead of say, letting petty industry-alliances cloud  the judgement.

        Wrote that on November 8th. I know more about China than Senator James Inhofe. Though not, I'm sure, the dignified Gov. John Huntsman.

        These clowns claim to admire him [Cronkite] but do not wish to emulate him - GUGA

        by Nulwee on Tue Nov 17, 2009 at 06:21:21 PM PST

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        •  Amen to that. n/t (4+ / 0-)

          This machine kills fascists!

          by Zotz on Tue Nov 17, 2009 at 06:59:36 PM PST

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        •  Did you say "long term"? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nulwee, MichaelNY

          I've never heard that expression before.

          I wasn't aware that the Chinese leadership can be counted on to be rational.  I hope that is an accurate appraisal.

          I refuse to live in a country like that. And I'm not moving. - Michael Moore

          by geomoo on Tue Nov 17, 2009 at 07:11:59 PM PST

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          •  kind of arrogant to say (4+ / 0-)

            you don't think Chinese leadership can be rational. They are perfectly rational and consistent with their self-interests as a nation.  It may not coincide with the interests of the US - is that what makes it "irrational" to you?

            •  Kind of beside the point to call me arrogant (0+ / 0-)

              for something I didn't say.  It was simply a straightforward comment, in hopes of hearing more from someone who seems to know something about China.

              I refuse to live in a country like that. And I'm not moving. - Michael Moore

              by geomoo on Tue Nov 17, 2009 at 09:22:01 PM PST

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              •  There was something else meant by (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koNko

                I wasn't aware that the Chinese leadership can be counted on to be rational.

                I join the poster in missing the nuance.  Considering what we've recently lived through, it's not only arrogant but disingenuous.

                Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way. Booker T. Washington

                by conlakappa on Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 05:36:38 AM PST

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              •  I'm chinese (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RLMiller

                If that qualifies me, I'll say our government is fairly rational and tends toward lonng-term thinking.

                On this subject, the foundtion of our policy is clean generation (Wind, Solar, Nuclear & Hydro), reforrestation (dessetification is a serious problem in our north/northeast) and greening of cities, and mass-transit including high speed rail.

                Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                by koNko on Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 10:40:11 AM PST

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          •  Rational, if amoral. (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RunawayRose, empathy, B Amer, geomoo, allep10

            It cannot be denied that China has lifted 200 million of its people out of poverty in a generation.  Outside Tibet, life in China is the best that it's been for 200 years (which is not saying much, but worth something to Chinese people).  The Chinese system has evolved feedback mechanisms through the cadres of the Communist Party -- getting the benefits of dissent without its messiness.  

            Another possibility (anecdotal at this stage) is that the people of Beijing who had been tolerating a slow increase in air pollution over decades got a whiff of clean air during the Olympics, and are not eager to go back to the old, polluting ways.  

            There could be another parallel.  Our Dust Bowl encouraged land conservation.  China's Gobi desert is encroaching on the capital, and considerately sends dust storms south and east to remind the Chinese just what climate change can do.  

            This is not to say that the Chinese government would hesitate to conduct another Tienanmen Massacre -- just that the Chinese government has developed sophisticated ways to utilize cadres, spies and censors to resolve whatever grievances can be resolved without compromising the central government and crush the rest.  This is the old Mexican formula for a "perfect dictatorship", though the Chinese don't play at multiparty elections.

            2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

            by Yamaneko2 on Tue Nov 17, 2009 at 09:11:40 PM PST

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            •  Very interesting. Thanks. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              letsgetreal, RLMiller

              What interests me most in the above comment is the notion that a government would be engaged in long-range planning concerning the environment.  I've grown so accustomed to everything being about short-term, immediate benefit.  Perhaps the freedom from political pressures, the lack of worry about staying in power, frees them up to think this way?  Any other ideas why that would be?

              I assume interest in the welfare of the general populace arises purely as a byproduct of the interests of the ruling elite, no?

              My friend visited a rural area of China and returned enamored of the calm.  She had a horrible time adjusting to the loud jostling of America upon her return.

              I refuse to live in a country like that. And I'm not moving. - Michael Moore

              by geomoo on Tue Nov 17, 2009 at 09:30:28 PM PST

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              •  One advantage of authoritarianism (0+ / 0-)

                An authoritarian government that falls short of sociopathy or kleptocracy has more of a vested interest in long-term projects than does a democratically-elected government.  In China, the end date of the Communist Party's mandate is not fixed.  In the United States, elected officials at all levels serve for terms ranging from two to six years.  If a US President screws up, the problem he leaves behind ceases to be his within four years.  If a US Congress messes up, they can be replaced in two.  If the People's Congress in China screws up, then they have to deal with it indefinitely or the screwup's results will deal with them or their proteges.

                Another possibility could simply be that China has a longer, continuous history that the United States.  The United States has been a nation of sorts since 1776, in fact since 1783, under its Constitution since 1789 and referred to as one nation-state rather than a nation of states since 1865.  China dates itself to the Xia dynasty (2100-1600 BCE) and is dated the the Shang dynasty immediately following.  Any Chinese undergraduate can read Chinese literature that's 2000 years old;  English only attained its modern form about 500 years ago.  So, instead of remembering 4000 years of history and reading 2200 years of it, we share about 200 years of history and can read about 500 years of what our literary antecedents had to write.  

                2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

                by Yamaneko2 on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 10:14:26 PM PST

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            •  Yes, we are amoral, evil, perfect dictators. (0+ / 0-)

              And conduct massacres every chance we get.

              And we transformed Tibet from a modern, multiplural state with high literacy, low infant mortality and long life expectancy into a theocratic monarchey, imposing a caste system, reducing schools to rubble, and forcing people tinto serfdom becuase, well, we're immoral, evil, perfect dictators and we have everyone.

              Oh, BTW, our next massacre is scheduled for next Tuesday and I think it will be reported by CNN so don't forget to tune in.

              Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

              by koNko on Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 10:51:31 AM PST

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              •  So, when does (0+ / 0-)

                Wikipedia: politics of the PRC

                I hope that this post gets through the Great Internet Wall.  A lot of stuff does.

                First of all, "amoral" is not necessarily evil.  Animals, air masses, sunspots and the law of gravity are amoral.  

                Dictatorships range from authoritarian states like Colombia to command regimes like North Korea.  China would, outside Tibet and Xinjiang, fall somewhere in between.  I'm not aware of a perfect representative democracy on the planet, and the flaws of ours are on constant display.

                The other example of a "perfect dictatorship" that I'm aware of is Mexico during the PRI years, which ended during the election of Vicente Fox in 2000.  I got to see the aftermath of the 1982 Presidential election.  The PRI, PAN (conservative), PRD (leftish), PT (socialist) and four other parties "contested" that election.  Somehow the Mexican Senate in 1982 had no representatives outside the PRI.

                So, why does China qualify as a dictatorship?  

                The current government chooses the next government.  There are elections in China, but only the Chinese Communist Party and eight sockpuppet "Democratic Front" parties are allowed to participate.  Currently the CCP has 2/3 of the National People's Assembly, the Democratic Front 1/3 and everybody else zero.  While people outside this party structure are allowed to participate in these elections and occasionally win at the village level, the next level of government is chosen from these village representatives with input from the CCP.  Above the county lies a state assembly and finally the People's Assembly in Beijing.  

                The free practice of religions that did not enjoy significant development in China is tightly regulated.  Falun Gong members were rounded up and placed in labor camps.  Four bishops (two nominated by the state, one independent, one underground) were invited to the Vatican but the state would not let them leave.  

                The existence of political prisoners, as documented by Amnesty International is an indication of dictatorship as well.  

                2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

                by Yamaneko2 on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 09:33:00 PM PST

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                •  You have an interesting viewpoint (0+ / 0-)

                  First, I have no problem with the firewall because (a) it generally blocks sites specifically established to criticize the government(the exception being YouTube) and (b) proxies work. My comment is Americans seem to be more concerned about this than Chinese; although Chinese internet users and bloggers such as myself disagree with the policy & existance, we are more inclined to deal with it with humourous ridicule, eg, this take on Green Dam which is rich with CN bloggers symbolism I won't bther to explain here:

                  safety first

                  The Wiki article you linked is fairly accurate and well-balanced; can't say I agree with all conclusions as an insideer but have no big arguements. Your conclusions, however, are quite simplistic and biased. Objectively, what this article describes is a less monolithic, more pluralistic system then what you suggest as a simple dictaorship. In fact, if I were to add anything to the Wiki article, it is the fact the tension between the Central Government and Provincial organs is greater than stated and that many Chinese consider the first to be Progressive and the latter, in many cases, to be Regressive due to a number of reasons.

                  What many inexpert Western observers often miss about the Chinese system is that it functions fairly effectively as a bottom-up political system despite the lack an effective political plurality; in fact, often more effectively since it tends to be issue-oriented and avoids political dead-lock (which the US system increasingly suffers - hence the rise of blogs like Daily Koa which is outside the system) and is constituted by a greater cross-section of society including farmers, engineers, scientists, etc., where many Democractics systems are dominated by lawyers and buerucrats, and strongly influanced my moneyed interests; may is cite the current mess of HCR detailed on this site as an example of how Democracy can fail?

                  So while China is making slow progress toward political plurality, it is making steady progress toward that and some of the more interesting debates here is what are good models for Democracy, what would work well for China (which might be a differnet model for us verses the US or EU systems) and what are weak points or bad practices for political plurality.

                  What we consider and you might, is that no system of government seems to be as ideal in practice as in theory, and if there is one thing about traditional and contemporary Chinese (or I would say Asian) political practice worth preserving it is the tradition of Top-Down and Bottom-Up consultation, which we do well; what we sometimes lack in adversarial competition, we make up for in cooperative discussion and lazzie-faire experimention (our laws are typically less precise and more flexible).

                  Religion: The Chinese state was founded as a secular state and a significant reason why is that it set out to moderninze a society that had stagnated and was badly in need to purge itself of a multitude of ills from the Imperial System and treaditional, superstitious beleifs, religious or otherwise. While it is generally agreed, the pendulum swung too far in the opposite direction resulting repression of religion during the Cultural Revolution (something well-recognized as a mistake in China) since that time Chinese have regained a measure of religious freedom that is (I believe) a more heathy balance than what preceeded it, and I will question if the restraint on religion in the public domain that you apperently find objectionable is a bad thing at all.

                  I would suggest the opposite; if religious belief is personal, why should religions have, ever, a dominant public role in governing or exerting a strong, coersive force on social life?  In other words, should any society allow religions to dominate life to the extent of exerting it's doctrine on society to the extent it mecomes dominant on life to the extend non-believers are restrained because of it?

                  Is the rise of extremist and/or cult-like religions a positive thing? Is the dominance of religion to the exclusion of secular philoshopy or science to the extent the latter are restrained good?  Would you accept, or prefer the likes of the Taliban or even Scientology dominating American society? I think not, and China is hardly alone in placing constraints upon the influance of organized religion. Certianly the ascent of religion in American public life has become unhealthy and objectionable to many secularist (and believers) in the USA of late; interesting that religion has put so many constraints on science in US government policy.

                  Falun Gong is a regressive religious cult. An increasing number of Governments including Austrailia and France now recognise that and have put them on a short leash. Much of what has been published about discrimination against Falun Gong in China is propaganda by this group and has been fully discredited, which is why it is no longer a significant issue. If you want to accept this uncritically, it's your choice, but the only time I find this mentioned is by people who would like to make a case against the Chinese government, and if you expect to make a credible case I suggest you pick another example. I think when Falun Gong started hanging out of trees in the US when protesting the visit of Zhu Rongji they began losing credibility in the US.

                  Political prisoners: yes, we have them and too many, but, um, does not the USA?  Two wrongs don't make a right, we both have fat to go on that account.  

                  Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                  by koNko on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:19:31 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Not convinced (0+ / 0-)

                    What many inexpert Western observers often miss about the Chinese system is that it functions fairly effectively as a bottom-up political system despite the lack an effective political plurality;

                    This was also the modus operandi of the Mexican PRI at its height.  While Mexico did not have political prisoners per se, that was largely because the prisoners were converted into corpses with gruesome efficiency.  Social stability was also maintained by the export of Mexico's poorest and most marginalized people to the United States.  Imagine 52 million people born in the People's Republic of China living outside the People's Republic of China as economic or political refugees;  during the PRI years about 4% of all Mexican citizens lived outside Mexico.  

                    You are correct in that our media has become sclerotic and, all too often, appears to be governed by the people who can afford to advertise on it.  It is also dying, as people flock to the hundreds of smaller newspapers, journals, blogs and public television (whether American or otherwise) to get their news.  

                    China does allow feedback from the proletariat;  it's just that only one party and its sockpuppets is allowed to govern.  Thus, the "perfect dictatorship".

                    As for the Falun Gong, it is not relevant in the American sense whether or not they are a bunch of retrograde fools with a bizarre belief system.  Their right to make fools of themselves is protected by law.  Their right to believe they can fly is sacrosanct, provided that they don't demonstrate it in ways that hurt others.  (1)

                    This freedom, oddly enough, seems to work fairly well in suppressing cults.  When a new cult develops a following, atheists and established religions and cults examine it very closely.  They then develop a wide variety of arguments to oppose the new faith.  In this opposition, most of the other cults join in.  As an effect, no religious cult or new religion has been able to claim 5% of the United States as adherents;  most of our movement is away from all religion or between denominations that are over a century old.  

                    Australia's Parliament voted unanimously in June 2008 to protest China's persecution of Falun Gong.  France has acceded to China's request that Falun Gong not be included in Chinese New Year festivities;  France tends to take a dimmer view on new religions (or any religion) than the rest of the West, being officially a secular state.  

                    ----------------------

                    (1) Oddly enough, should the Falun Gong develop an ability to fly, the Federal Government has laws that control their flight.  Being classed as ultralight aircraft, they may not exceed 55 mph (90 km/s) and their maximum altitude cannot exceed 11,000 feet (3300 m), with lower limits or complete bans near major airports.  They are encouraged to file flight plans with the FAA before flight, though I don't know if this is a requirement.  They may not carry passengers unless they have flight experience and meet the health requirements of the FAA.  Whether or not they can hover over expressways that forbid pedestrians is uncertain.  

                    2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

                    by Yamaneko2 on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 12:31:17 AM PST

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              •  As for another massacre (0+ / 0-)

                China has developed a variety of means, some of them laudable and others execrable to forestall another Tienanmen.  The workers' demonstrations of the time were repressed much more harshly than the student demonstrations.

                These days, it's not uncommon for demonstrations and controlled disorder to break out over real grievances;  the local government will permit some rock-throwing, parading and yelling, the appropriate level of government comes up with a response and the media follows it all.  The government wins, the grievance is met and everybody's happy until the next round.

                That almost every citizen of China can claim an improved standard of living (more space, better food, better education) also serves to stave off discontent.  If the Obama Presidency ended with the stock market at 22,000 in 2017, an involuntary unemployment rate near zero, real wages up 50% and gold-plated national health care for all, he would be revered.  It is not surprising that the Chinese government enjoys uncoerced support;  just that it tends to coerce support from the uncontent that we Americans prefer to ignore.

                One "perfect dictatorship" aspect of the CCP is its willingness to punish officials for misconduct with penalties up to and including death.  This is unusual in authoritarian (and democratic!) systems.  

                So, another Tienanmen is unlikely, unless ethnic unrest driven by chauvinism by Han, Tibetan or Uighur breaks out in Tibet or Xinjiang.  

                2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

                by Yamaneko2 on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 10:37:48 PM PST

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                •  Back from dinner! (0+ / 0-)

                  Chinese have the Constitutional right to free expression and assembly, and excerise those rights with great regularity, approximately 40,000-50,000 times a year by offical count.

                  It's a good policy. If you follow Chinese legal and economic reforms closely, one obvious conclusion would be it's effective since these reforms correlate well to the root issues at stake, such as rural economic and land use rights, corruption in local government, environmental issues, etc.

                  These days, it's not uncommon for demonstrations and controlled disorder to break out over real grievances;  the local government will permit some rock-throwing, parading and yelling, the appropriate level of government comes up with a response and the media follows it all.  The government wins, the grievance is met and everybody's happy until the next round.

                  You are out-dated on legal and economic reforms, and the fundametal policy objectives undelying "Harmonious Society", a complex political initiative.

                  In fact, protestors are increasingly being drawn into the system in productive, leadership roles. Surprisingly, many dissidents are well-versed on issues and have organizational skills, no? (;-O>|-<</p>

                  It is not surprising that the Chinese government enjoys uncoerced support;  just that it tends to coerce support from the uncontent that we Americans prefer to ignore.

                  If responding to discontent is bad and ignoring it is good then you've got me; I'll admidt I believe the oppposite.

                  Let me support your arguement: not 10 years ago environmental activits such as I faced all manner of official disdain and strife; of late, we have been reborn as "Environmental Patriots" and given free-reign to pressure recaltrant local officials on the failure to do what is right and required by law. Strange Bedfellows are we, but if I can get progress I'll take it.

                  I find the Western media and many Western observers have a perversely novel take on this. On one hand they pontificate on the monolithic power of the state; on the other, spin tales of a "regime" (the opportunity to use that pejorative term is seldom wasted) running scared, clinging to power as it struggles for "legitimacy", bouncing from massacre to massacre crisis to crisis chased by farmers. OK, got it.

                  One "perfect dictatorship" aspect of the CCP is its willingness to punish officials for misconduct with penalties up to and including death.  This is unusual in authoritarian (and democratic!) systems.

                  This is so Chinese. We have been chasing crooks and landlords for at least 5,000 years. Apperently we are not quick enough, some of those buggers always get away. With apologigies to non-Chinese dictators, oliarchs, whatever - sorry to give you a bad name.

                  Ever notice how money attracts some government officials?  You see, even if we speak different languages and drink tea verses coffee, people are people ...

                  Tienanmen is quite different for Chinese and the ROW. I find most non-Chinese actually quite limited in knowledge and perspective on this, they don't know why millions of people came out for weeks, what the students were protesting before the TV cameras turned on, and where it fits in the general scheme of things. What they know is what they saw on CNN and what they think about it, and think about it they do since they missed 1,000 Flowers, The Cultural Revolution and, oh, 200 years or so of chaos and famine that preceeded it. Difficult to explain unless someone wants to study a lot of history.

                  To be sure, this is unfinished historical business we will get to in due course, but that we moved on has nothing to do with deals with the devil and everything to do with our desire for as better life in all respects. Perhaps it's a defect of Chinese character that we tend more toward a bird in the hand than navel gazing and have not been totally cured of our traditional belief that movement brings change (not the case when one foot is nailed to the floor) but our modus operandi is to internalize such things, swollow our grief and keep walking.

                  The Chinese term for tomorrow, míng​tiān (明天), means bright/clear sky/heavens.  Crazy?  Poetic, perhaps.

                  Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                  by koNko on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 06:43:08 AM PST

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          •  Based on fact (0+ / 0-)

            That China has, actually, a more advanced policy on clean energy and is ahead of schedule on it's present national targets building clean energy generation infrastructure, mass transit and reforestation, I suppose there is ample evidence to conclude they are totally irrational socialists.

            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

            by koNko on Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 10:32:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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