The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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With the Shanghai index down nearly 20 percent from vertiginous heights reached in mid-May, a lot of people are wondering what next – and not a few are suggesting the Chinese economy is headed off a cliff. Pat Choate begs to differ. “The connection between Chinese stocks and the real economy is zero,” he pronounces.... Read More
President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was at least temporarily sidetracked yesterday by a vote in the lower house of Congress. The TPP is a proposed trade and investment pact that would join the United States with eleven other Pacific-fringing nations. Presented as a major part of Obama’s “pivot” to Asia, the pact notably excludes China... Read More
The Financial Times this morning carries an important exclusive on British Prime Minister David Cameron’s defiance of a White House effort to counter Chinese financial power. The White House had been trying to organize a G7 boycott of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is seen in Washington as a Chinese-inspired rival to the... Read More
U.S. corporations have sometimes made the mistake of believing they are loved for their own sake in China. In reality an ever-calculating Beijing has welcomed the intellectual property and marketing expertise they bring. And now that they have been largely sucked dry, Beijing no longer sees any need to make nice. Quite the contrary. Under... Read More
The news from China today is that President Xi Jinping has sensationally ratcheted up his anti-corruption campaign. Although the Western press has mostly taken it at face value, something else has evidently been going on – something perhaps so destabilizing that the tremors might be felt around the world. What is clear is that the... Read More
Chinese leader Xi Jinping knows something Barack Obama doesn’t: America is finished. The U.S. economy is an ocean liner holed below the waterline. In the stateroom, the band plays on – but, on the bridge, the outcome is clear. With the arguable exception of the late-era Soviet Union, America is sinking faster than any Great... Read More
Note: Several statements in this commentary have been disputed by Stanford University. A spokesman has suggested that Stanford’s relationship with Beijing may be “different” from those of other universities. He added: “Stanford has not ceded academic autonomy.” My response is that almost every Confucius Institute can claim uniqueness in some respect but this does not... Read More
The Chinese government is not used to defeats but it was dealt a stinging one yesterday when the University of Chicago announced it will close its Confucius Institute, a controversial school for teaching Chinese culture and the Chinese language. Explaining the move, the university commented that it was “guided by its core values and faculty... Read More
I have seen a few toppy stocks in my time but rarely have I seen anything as blatantly overpriced as Alibaba. Although in the short run this stock will probably scale even higher heights (thanks to bull market mania and the selling skills of Alibaba chairman Jack Ma), the longer run will surely prove quite... Read More
Later this month the Chinese government will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the founding of its worldwide network of Chinese-language training schools. Big deal, you might think, but not everyone is greeting the event with a yawn. Far from it. In an illustration of how complicated our globalized world is becoming, the anniversary is posing... Read More
Those of us who hark back nostalgically to the glory days of Anglophone financial journalism in the 1960s and 1970s know that little of that tradition survives. For the most part the great newspapers of those days have fallen prey to bureaucracy and cost-cutting. Worse, their editors seem to care more about pandering to the... Read More
Disclosure: I own stock in GlaxoSmithKline. It sometimes seems like foreigners can’t win in China’s corrupt distribution system. On the one hand, they feel pressured to offer “consultancy fees” and other questionable incentives to move their goods. On the other, they risk being hung out to dry the next time the Beijing government launches one... Read More
At 83, anthropologist Marshall Sahlins is a veteran of many controversies, but even for him the scale of his current confrontation is a first. The issue at stake is nothing less than American intellectual freedom, and no opponent comes more formidable: the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Sahlins is trying to roll back the advance... Read More
It is hard to exaggerate the audacity with which China now kicks sand in Uncle Sam’s face. On everything from trade barriers to industrial espionage to intellectual property theft, Washington is regarded in Beijing as an empty suit. Washington never finds the courage to confront Beijing. And the result is that American economic power has... Read More
As Wednesday is the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, this is an appropriate time to review the progress – or lack of it – in Sino-American relations since 1989. The more closely you examine the record, the more obvious it is that China emerges a spectacular winner – and America a catastrophic loser. With... Read More
In the countdown to the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, American universities are emitting an unfamiliar signal: silence. Although for generations they have prided themselves on their passionate, and vociferous, commitment to free speech, lately they have been censoring their comments on the People’s Republic of China. And few topics are more taboo than... Read More
Few economists have had a more distinguished career than Martin Feldstein. After graduating summa cum laude from Harvard in 1961, he became a fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. In 1977, he won the John Bates Clark Medal, the most prestigious award in American economics. He went on to become chairman of the Council of Economic... Read More
President Obama may not have noticed yet, but his officials are engaged in one of the most cockamamie gambits in the history of U.S. trade. At the center of the controversy are no less than three key U.S. government agencies – the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Justice Department. In what... Read More
As I noted here a few days ago, Western observers have long been issuing apocalyptic forecasts of China’s “coming collapse.” These have invariably proved futile but they keep coming. The ultimate source is a remarkable “upside-down” propaganda program inspired by top Chinese officials. The net effect has been to foster procrastination and complacency at a... Read More
One of the most hilarious media hoaxes of all time was the BBC’s famous “spaghetti harvest” spoof of 1957. In a television “documentary” broadcast on April 1 of that year, a deadpan Richard Dimbleby, then the BBC’s most prominent presenter, reported that spaghetti grew on special “spaghetti trees” and that farmers in an Italian-speaking canton... Read More
In their never-say-die efforts to defeat Obamacare, Tea Party Republicans brought the federal government a giant step closer to shutdown last night. What they seem not to have considered is how America’s foreign creditors will react. Although China, Japan, and other major creditor nations have no dog in the Obamacare fight, they have a strong... Read More
“Marry in haste, repent at leisure.” The old adage accurately sums up what an epochal farce the United States has made of its “strategic partnership” with China. As recent reports of China’s culture of graft make clear, the Chinese and American systems are not exactly compatible. Whereas America strives to stamp out corruption (with varying... Read More
One of the more remarkable, if little known, facts about Wendi Deng, Rupert Murdoch’s soon-to-be ex-wife, is her given name: Wen-ge. In the original Chinese characters, this means Cultural Revolution. Quite a cross to bear, particularly as she was born in 1968 at the height of Mao’s murderous mayhem. Evidently the embarrassment as she reached... Read More
American dependence on China grows by the day. The latest news is that the United States has been reduced to leasing a Chinese satellite to handle communications with U.S. military bases in Africa. Surprising, isn’t it? The nation that launched the world’s first communications satellite (I remember it well – it was called Telstar) has... Read More
One of the most notable news blackouts in history occurred in the mid 1930s when the British press suppressed reports of Prince Edward’s affair with the American socialite Wallis Simpson. The subject was judged too painful for British readers. Of course, things were different in America. The American press not only had a field day... Read More
For U.S. citizens concerned about their nation’s fate, the New York Times packed some particularly depressing news yesterday: although Obama administration officials have long had the goods on Chinese economic espionage, they are afraid to say so. As the Times’s David E. Sanger reported, the administration has circulated an analysis detailing Chinese cyber attacks on... Read More
Suddenly the press is full of fears of a Chinese crash, and some of the more daring commentators are even predicting that China will follow Japan in suffering endless “lost decades.” All this is said to bode ill for such U.S. stocks with serious China exposure as Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, and Yum! Brands.... Read More
I have long held that instead of China converging to Western values, as readers of the American press have so often been told, the process is the exact opposite: the West is converging to Chinese values. More and more Western institutions are compromising on traditional Western values that as recently as ten years ago would... Read More
A second shoe has dropped in the SEC’s ostensible effort to crack down on the “red collar” crime wave. The term refers to stock scams emanating from Chinathat, by’s estimate, already by last year had cost U.S. investors at least $34 billion. As I pointed out on Tuesday, this scandal puts the United Statesand... Read More
Chinese leaders and their surrogates in the United States have been working hard this political season to calm American concerns about the rise of China. But predictions of China’s impending “implosion” are just that — predictions. And many of them come from people who consciously want to deflect the attention of the American electorate from... Read More
You have got to congratulateCounterPunch on its timing. On the eve of the Obama-Romney face-off on foreign policy, the antiestablishment magazine has published a highly contentious article arguing that American manufacturing is NOT in decline. Thus the United States should stop pestering China on trade. And Obama and Romney should presumably find something else to... Read More
President Obama’s ambassador to China, Gary Locke, has been busy trying to soothe American concerns about Chinese trade policies. In Washington recently, he commented: “The thing about China is that there’s a love affair with American goods, products and services.” It is a remark that went unchallenged at the time and has since been taken... Read More
I participated yesterday in a discussion on the recently fashionable view that China is on the brink of economic collapse. This theory has already done much to assuage Americans’ concerns about their nation’s faltering economic prowess — but it will take more than talk to wish away the China challenge. As I pointed out in... Read More
The Beijing government’s English-language propaganda megaphone the China Daily has just offered “guidance” to Americans on whom to vote for in November. It has pronounced Mitt Romney’s proposed China policy “more pugnacious” than Obama’s. Anyone who understands the traditional subtlety of the Chinese mandarinate knows what this means. Beijing has just planted a big fat... Read More
Is America in terminal decline? Optimists and pessimists have been battling it out since the Carter malaise era of the late 1970s. Although occasionally the “American disease” has gone into remission, the evidence has consistently mounted that the problem is terminal. As a founding member of the declinist school, I keep hoping I am wrong... Read More
Although opinion is still tightly censored in China, Nobel Laureate Gary Becker’s views seem to be an exception. Publishers in China have to cleave close to the propaganda line on anything remotely bearing on the country’s mercantilist trade policy. Thus when a Nobel Prize-winning American economist is published by a prominent Chinese news organization, you... Read More