- Sep 10 Mon 2018 11:36
- Jun 08 Fri 2018 12:22
北京專權 窒息創新 前景看衰？
accessed June 1, 2018
北京專權 窒息創新 前景看衰？
日期：20180601 本文字數： 1100 目標字數:1100
根據去年十一月十六日Defense News報導，Google 母公司Alphabet總裁也是五角大廈「國防創新委員會」主席Eric Schmidt說：「到二○廿年，中國將趕上美國。廿五年，他們將超越我們。卅年，他們將主宰AI。」
去年七月， IMF三度向上修改中國GDP 成長至六點七趴。根據的是：一六年起出口增加、人民幣強勢、股票市場上揚、外匯存底回升至三兆美元以上。今年一月北京公佈一七年GDP 成長為六點九趴，更勝於IMF預估，為七年來首度回升。
今年三月廿八日《紐約時報》登載歐巴馬總統財政部顧問Steve Rattner評論：「過去四年，中國減少了三十二趴某種空汙微粒。同樣的成就，美國在一九七○年通過Clean Air Act法案之後花費十二年才做到。北京治理模式在最短時間內把最多的人民拔離貧窮。人類歷史從未得有。」
- Jun 08 Fri 2018 12:16
accessed May 17, 2016
- Jun 08 Fri 2018 12:10
June 8, 2018
- Jun 08 Fri 2018 12:00
Katie Hunt, “China's ramping up pressure on Taiwan”
CNN May 29, 2018
●Chong-Pin Lin, a former deputy defense minister in Taiwan, said he believes reunification is still a long-term goal for Xi. For now, he says, Beijing is focused on deterring Taiwan from making a declaration of independence -- something that would be a huge embarrassment for Xi.
"Beijing is skillful at applying psychological pressure on Taiwan," he says.
●Although Tsai has been "very prudent" since being elected in 2016 and tried to restrain the more radical wing of her party, says Lin, Beijing may feel that she will look to appeal to her base as mid-term elections near.
●However, in Taiwan, some analysts fear that an erratic and unpredictable President Trump may use Taiwan as a bargaining chip to extract concessions in his dealings with China on North Korea or trade.
"Taiwan-US relations are pretty good right now, but we don't know what the future holds," said Lin.
美國有線電視新聞網(CNN)今天(29日)以「中國升高對台施壓(China's ramping up pressure on Taiwan)」為題，大篇幅報導北京正意圖加速孤立台灣，在過去一個月中，讓台灣數量已不多的邦交國再少掉兩國。
此外，共和黨聯邦參議員賈德納(Cory Gardner)，以及和民主黨聯邦參議員馬基(Edward Markey)，在25日共同提出跨黨派的「2018台灣國際參與法案」(TIPA)，以確保台灣在國際舞台的空間，不會遭到進一步限縮。
China's ramping up pressure on Taiwan
Hong Kong (CNN) - Beijing's push to isolate Taiwan is gathering pace, with two of the island's few remaining allies switching allegiance to China in the past month.
Taiwan isn't just taking heat from China diplomatically. Multi-national companies are being pressured over how they describe Taiwan, with Beijing insisting they follow its line that the island is an integral part of China. Shows of force by the Chinese military in the Taiwan Strait, the narrow strip of water that divides the two, are also becoming more commonplace.
This ratcheting up of tensions between China and the self-governed, democratic island opens up another fault line for Washington in its dealings with Beijing, with the Trump administration already at odds with China over trade, North Korea and the South China Sea.
Washington has signaled closer support for Taiwan and a high-profile demonstration of solidarity comes in June when the United States opens a new complex to house its de facto embassy in Taipei that's three times the size of the original building.
Here's what you need to know about the potential flashpoint.
How has China been piling on the pressure?
While Beijing has been chipping away at Taiwan's shallow bench of diplomatic allies for years, the loss of two -- Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic -- in the space of a month is unprecedented.
Taiwan accuses Beijing of "dollar diplomacy," enticing countries to switch allegiance with cash or other incentives -- a strategy that's become easier as China's grown richer and its pockets deeper.
Beijing has also focused its attention on companies that don't toe its line on Taiwan. Some 44 airlines were recently warned not to list Taiwan separately from China on their websites and given a deadline to comply, a move the US government has described on May 5 as "Orwellian nonsense."
Most recently, Japanese retailer Muji has been fined for coat-hanger packaging that described Taiwan as a country.
China has also prevented Taiwan from attending, even as an observer, the annual meeting of the World Health Organization's decision making body for two consecutive years, a move that excludes the island's 23 million people from information that helps prevent outbreak of global diseases.
No target is too small. In the small Australian town of Rockhampton, tiny fish-shaped Taiwan flags featured on a children's art project displayed in public were painted over, reportedly at the behest of Beijing.
What's China's goal?
China and Taiwan -- officially the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China, respectively -- separated in 1949 following the Communist victory in a civil war that saw the Nationalists flee to the island.
The two sides have been governed separately since, though a shared cultural and linguistic heritage mostly endures -- with Mandarin spoken as the official language in both places.
Bringing Taiwan back to the fold has eluded China's Communist leaders for nearly seven decades and would be a huge achievement for President Xi Jinping, who now has the option to rule for life.
Chong-Pin Lin, a former deputy defense minister in Taiwan, said he believes reunification is still a long-term goal for Xi. For now, he says, Beijing is focused on deterring Taiwan from making a declaration of independence -- something that would be a huge embarrassment for Xi.
"Beijing is skillful at applying psychological pressure on Taiwan," he says.
President Tsai Ing-wen's Democratic Progressive Party has traditionally leaned in favor of formal independence from China, compared to Taiwan's other main political party, the Kuomintang, as the Nationalists are known locally.
Although Tsai has been "very prudent" since being elected in 2016 and tried to restrain the more radical wing of her party, says Lin, Beijing may feel that she will look to appeal to her base as mid-term elections near.
However, it's not just about the stick for Beijing. China has also been encouraging integration. In February, China's Taiwan Affairs Officer revealed 31 new measures to promote exchange and cooperate with Taipei, many of which make it easier for those from Taiwan to work, do business and study in mainland China, including teachers and doctors.
How does the US fit in?
Despite their unofficial nature, Taiwan's ties with the US, which provides arms to the island under the Taiwan Relations Act, appear strong.
Defying strong pressure from China, Congress passed the Taiwan Travel Act, which US President Donald Trump signed into law in March, by unanimous vote in both houses. It aims to make it easier for US officials to visit the island and Taiwan officials to visit the US.
Another bi-partisan bill aimed at ensuring Taiwan's space in the world stage isn't diminished further was launched on Friday by Republican Sen. Core Gardner and Democratic Sen. Edward Markey.
"This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that major international organizations do not turn a blind eye to our ally Taiwan simply because of China's bullying tactics," the senators said.
And when the Trump administration opens the new American Institute in Taiwan, as the unofficial embassy is called, on June 12, it's possible that high-ranking members of the Trump administration will attend.
However, in Taiwan, some analysts fear that an erratic and unpredictable President Trump may use Taiwan as a bargaining chip to extract concessions in his dealings with China on North Korea or trade.
"Taiwan-US relations are pretty good right now, but we don't know what the future holds," said Lin.
What's Taiwan doing about it?
Taiwan has long been used to operating in China's shadow.
In 1971, the Republic of China was forced to withdraw from the United Nations after a motion was passed recognizing the People's Republic as the only lawful representative of China to the UN. Many other countries followed suit, including the United States, which switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing 1979 but has maintained unofficial ties with Taipei.
Its unofficial relationships, especially with the United States, ultimately carry greater weight than its smaller, formal allies. Taiwan has representative offices, which act as de facto embassies, in more than 100 cities and a passport issued in Taiwan allows visa-free access to 148 countries, compared to 70 for China.
Many people in Taiwan barely bat an eyelid when a diplomatic ally is lost -- seeing the money the government spends on maintaining and cultivating these small countries as a waste.
What will be key is if Beijing's pressure has an impact on the island's more powerful allies, like the US, EU or Japan or on the companies that do business there.
As Beijing has ramped up pressure, Taiwan's government has been more vocal in calling out Beijing's tactics.
It has publicly criticized some companies who have bowed to Beijing's pressure. And Tsai warned of a red line in a statement issued last week in the wake of Burkina Faso's decision to ditch Taiwan.
"China's efforts to undermine our national sovereignty are already challenging Taiwan society's bottom line. This we will no longer tolerate," said President Tsai.
"We will simply redouble our resolve and continue to engage with the world."
- Jun 08 Fri 2018 11:43
Rob Schmitz, “Taiwan Loses 2 More Allies To China And Scrambles Jets To Track Chinese Bomber Drills”
National Public Radio May 25, 2018
"War of paralysis"
But Taiwan's former deputy defense minister, Chong-pin Lin, disagrees that China would launch such an aggressive military attack of Taiwan. "If Beijing really wants to use military options, it would be a war of paralysis," says Lin.
Taiwan Loses 2 More Allies To China And Scrambles Jets To Track Chinese Bomber Drills
It's not easy being in charge of foreign relations of a country most of the world refuses to recognize.
Taiwan lost another ally on Thursday. The West African country Burkina Faso became the latest country to cut ties with the island. After the Dominican Republic, that's two in less than one month. And like other countries, including the United States, that for decades have broken diplomatic relations with Taiwan, they did so for one reason: to please China.
The Chinese government refuses to maintain diplomatic relations with any nation that recognizes Taiwan and has long pressured countries to sever ties with the island.
For Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, it's hard not to feel cornered.
"When we look at the rest of the world, every other country has the right to enter into diplomatic relations with other countries," Wu says in an NPR interview. "They have every right to participate in international activities or international organizations. But Taiwan is in a situation that it is being blocked by China to do all those things."
Despite the fact that Taiwan has its own democratically elected government, its own military and its own flag, the Chinese government regards the island as a renegade province that belongs to China. Today, fewer than 20 countries have formal ties with the island, down from about 30 in the 1990s.
Yet while China has long used diplomatic and commercial might to isolate Taiwan, it has also recently displayed its military strategy. Last month, China conducted a live-fire drill in the Taiwan Strait for the first time in two years. That was soon followed by bombers, surveillance aircraft and fighter jets from China's air force that have been circling Taiwan on a semiregular basis in recent weeks.
China's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang was quoted by the Global Times tabloid as saying the purpose of the drills was "to reaffirm that we have strong determination, confidence and capability to destroy any type of 'Taiwan independence' scheme in order to safeguard the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
But military experts offer different takes on what it may mean: Some view the drills as routine exercises, but others say this could be a glimpse of future plans for invasion.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was angered by China's latest moves, including its poaching of Burkina Faso, one of Taiwan's last allies in Africa and the fourth country to ditch Taiwan since the president took office in 2016.
"The series of outrageous maneuvers from China intended to diminish Taiwan's sovereignty has crossed a red line for Taiwanese society," Tsai told reporters.
On Friday, Taiwan's Defense Ministry said it dispatched fighter jets to shadow Chinese bombers carrying out a drill around Taiwan.
If nonviolent means don't work
Capt. James Fanell, a former deputy intelligence head for the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet, says none of Beijing's military displays surprise him.
"The things that I was seeing in the classified world and the things that I saw in my job all indicated that timelines had been given to the People's Liberation Army to be prepared to have the capacity to take Taiwan by military force if need be starting in 2020," says Fanell.
Beijing's goal is to ensure that Taiwan is unified with China by 2049, the centennial of what the Communist Party calls its liberation of China, Fanell says.
"They prefer not to use force," he says, "but they've also planned to use force and they bought and purchased and developed military capability to use just in case the nonviolent means doesn't work."
Fanell, who is now a fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, believes China will try to take Taiwan peacefully over the next decade, using economic incentives and pressure. If that doesn't work, he believes a military invasion is likely by 2030.
"If you can mentally take pictures of what we've seen in Syria in recent weeks, with towns destroyed by missile strikes, think about that in a place like Taipei," Fanell says of a potential Chinese attack on Taiwan's capital city.
"War of paralysis"
But Taiwan's former deputy defense minister, Chong-pin Lin, disagrees that China would launch such an aggressive military attack of Taiwan. "If Beijing really wants to use military options, it would be a war of paralysis," says Lin.
If it attacks Taiwan at all, Lin predicts Beijing would more likely use electromagnetic pulse weaponry — much of it currently believed to be in a prototype stage in China — that emits bursts that disrupt computers, Internet signals and radio communications.
Yet Lin questions the need for Beijing to take Taiwan in this manner. China's leaders would prefer to use diplomacy, psychological warfare and economic influence to gradually unify Taiwan with mainland China, he says.
In a speech in March, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said it is the "shared aspiration of all Chinese people" to realize China's complete reunification, threatening those who tried to stand in the way with the "punishment of history."
But it was what happened right before this speech — the elimination of presidential term limits for Xi — that gives Taiwanese Foreign Minister Wu a clue that invading Taiwan may not be high on the leader's agenda. "What we see is that Xi Jinping seems to be accumulating more and more power for himself," Wu observes, "and it reflects just one thing: that is that he doesn't have enough sense of security."
Wu thinks Xi's power grab shows a leader who is not confident with his control over China's own problems — issues that will distract him from Taiwan. But Wen-Cheng Lin, a former senior adviser to Taiwan's National Security Council, says China is using other ways to pressure Taiwan. "China wants to drain Taiwan's finances and talent," he says. "Taiwanese companies are allowed to be listed in the mainland. Young Taiwanese talent is encouraged and incentivized to work in the mainland."
And China's government has put restrictions on mainland tourists going to Taiwan to put the squeeze on the island, too.
At Taipei's popular Palace Museum, a tour guide who only gives her surname, Lai, for fear of retribution for criticizing her government, says Taiwan's tourism industry has tanked since China began putting economic pressure on the island.
"Our government has been asking us to learn Thai and Vietnamese to cater to Southeast Asian tourists instead, but these tourists can't boost our economy."
Nobody, says Lai, can impact Taiwan's economy like China can.
- Jun 08 Fri 2018 11:17
accessed June 6, 2018
- Jun 08 Fri 2018 11:02
Ruchir Sharma, “The Millionaires Are Fleeing”
New York Times June 3, 2018
The Millionaires Are Fleeing. Maybe You Should, Too.
Tracking the rich has become a voyeuristic global industry, a form of celebrity worship. But it can also provide serious clues about where countries are headed.
When a country begins to fall into economic and political difficulty, wealthy people are often the first to ship their money to safer havens abroad. The rich don’t always emigrate along with their money, but when they do, it is an even more telling sign of trouble.
Since 2013, New World Wealth, a research outfit based in South Africa, has been tracking millionaire migrations by culling property records, visa programs, news media reports and information from travel agents and others who cater to the wealthy. In a global population of 15 million people each worth more than $1 million in net assets, nearly 100,000 changed their country of residence last year.
In most countries it is fair to assume that any millionaire exodus is composed mainly of locals, and not foreign investors, because the wealthy classes will be dominated by citizens or longtime residents. In 2017, the largest exoduses came out of Turkey (where a stunning 12 percent of the millionaire population emigrated) and Venezuela. As if on cue, the Turkish lira is now in a free fall. There were also significant migrations out of India under the tightening grip of its overzealous tax authorities, and from Britain under the cloud of Brexit.
On the flip side, slowing outflows can be a welcome sign, and in 2017 the biggest shift for the better came in that caldron of anti-rich hostility, France.
Equally surprising was the lack of change in the United States, where the arrival of a billionaire president did not seem to attract or repel millionaires. A net total of 9,000 millionaires migrated to the United States last year, but they represent a drop in the ocean of five million American millionaires.
Just like the less wealthy, millionaires seemed unsure of America’s direction under an unpredictable president who offers tax cuts and deregulation for the rich, but also bashes foreigners and occasionally talks like a pitchfork-waving populist.
Britain and France appeared to be trading places as magnets for wealth. For decades the rich had been drawn to Britain by circumspect banks, loose regulations and the comforts of London. Until 2016, Britain had a sizable influx of millionaires every year, but the flow suddenly reversed last year with a net exodus of 3,000, amid fears that as Britain exits the European Union, London will fade as a financial capital. It did not help that in 2017 the government raised taxes on foreigners who buy property.
France had long been seen as the anti-Britain, a left-leaning bastion of prying bureaucrats and high taxes that scared off the wealthy, despite the charms of Paris. But the growing exodus of millionaires peaked in 2016 with a net outflow of 12,000, then slowed sharply to just 4,000 last year. The most likely reason: the May election of Emmanuel Macron, the youngest president in French history, who promised a lighter-touch bureaucracy less hostile to business and lowered wealth and capital gains taxes.
Granted, displaced millionaires get little if any sympathy, but no country gains by losing the talent and capital of its wealthiest residents, particularly not emerging countries like India. Stunningly, India in 2017 suffered a net loss of 7,000 members, or 2 percent, of its millionaire population. That exodus came despite global optimism about India’s growth prospects and matched the flight from the stagnant and sanction-battered economy of Russia, which also lost 2 percent of its millionaire population.
This unusual flight from India’s high-growth economy may be driven by the elite’s growing concerns about an official anticorruption drive and “tax terrorism” — unlimited authority given to tax officials to target the rich. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government has lately begun catering to the nation’s deep socialist streak, wielding state power to flush out and tax hidden pockets of wealth.
In the worst cases, bouts of capital flight can gain momentum until the value of the currency collapses, plunging the nation into crisis. Balance of payments records show that 10 of the last 12 major currency crises, dating back to the Mexican peso meltdown of 1994, began when residents started sending money abroad, which was typically two years before the currency collapsed. Often politicians blamed “evil” and “immoral” foreign speculators for these crises, but it was the locals who first saw trouble coming.
Right now, this forensic accounting offers clear evidence of looming financial difficulty in only one major country: Turkey. Starting early last year, affluent Turks began effectively moving large sums of money out of the country by exchanging their lira bank deposits for dollars and euros, while foreigners continued to buy Turkish assets.
The 12 percent decline in Turkey’s millionaire population last year was by far the largest of any major economy, and second only to the 16 percent decline in Venezuela, with its small, hyperinflationary economy. Turkey’s millionaires appear to be fleeing both deteriorating financial conditions marked by very high inflation, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on his critics, including those in business.
Millionaire migrations can be a positive sign for a nation’s economy. The losses for India, Russia and Turkey were gains for havens like Canada and Australia, joined lately by the United Arab Emirates. Owing largely to the stability and glitter of the most famous emirate, Dubai, the United Arab Emirates in 2017 had a net inflow of 5,000 millionaires, increasing the size of its affluent population by 6 percent, the largest gain in the world. Britain was among the millionaire havens until 2016, but may continue losing ground until it can resolve the uncertainties raised by Brexit.
Savvy locals are also the first to return when a country’s fortunes begin to turn for the better. In seven of the last 12 major currency crises, residents started bringing money back earlier than foreigners.
More broadly, economists and politicians might rethink the blame they heap on “immoral” foreigners in periods of capital flight. They assume global money managers are more sophisticated than provincial locals — but those longtime residents are in fact quicker to spot and respond to trouble in their own backyards. They might also assume that residents are more loyal than foreigners. But the drive to protect one’s assets often trumps patriotism.
Millionaires move money mainly out of self-interest, to find more rewarding or safer havens. There aren’t a lot of them, but they can tell us a great deal about what is going wrong — and right — in a country’s economic and political ecosystems. Leaders who create the right conditions to keep millionaires home will find that all of their residents — not just the wealthy ones — are richer for it.
- May 11 Fri 2018 15:12
習莫強勢 戰將受制 中印和緩
accessed May 11, 2018
日期：20180510 本文字數：1100 目標字數:1100
這是印度退休大使Rajiv Dogra在Sunday Times of India報紙二○一一年三月廿日的評論標題。理由是：「美國自我為中心，容易撿起新盟友，也隨意丟棄老朋友。…美國對印度的興趣是我們廣大的市場讓他賺錢，和我們重要的戰略地位，可幫他對付崛起的中國。如此而已。」當時四個月前，美總統歐巴馬剛訪印。
- May 11 Fri 2018 15:09
中國的一帶一路是新殖民主義嗎? Is China's Silk Road project the new colonialism? ~ New York Times May 4, 2018
accessed May 9, 2018
- May 11 Fri 2018 15:02
accessed May 9, 2018
- May 11 Fri 2018 14:55
Is Democracy Dying? ~ Foreign Affairs May/June 2018
accessed May 4, 2018
林中斌 試譯 2018.5.4
林中斌 補充 2018.5.4
- May 11 Fri 2018 14:54
增至86成員 肯亞、巴紐入亞投行 from 旺報 2018.5.3
accessed May 3, 2018
(founded 2016 by China)
(founded 1966 by the US)
- May 11 Fri 2018 14:53
A Trade War the U.S. Is Actually Winning, for Now ~ New York Times April 27, 2018
accessed May 2, 2018
美國的貿易戰居優勢，目前如此 (以後呢？ 難說)
佳作推薦！！(Author Lan Cao is a novelist and a professor of international economic law at Chapman University's Dale E. Fowler School of Law in Orange, California. She was born in Saigon in 1961. Two of her novels are "Monkey Bridge", and "The Lotus and the Storm")
● Triffin’s dilemma：Trade deficits and strong currency are connected.
● After 1974, the U.S. has been enjoying a strong currency, which is an “exorbitant privilege”
● A strong dollar makes American exports expensive to the rest of the world. American exports decline, imports increase, and the result is trade deficits.
● China is trying to make Renminbi a global reserve currency (a world’s leading currency). “This is a strategic priority for China, and it is willing to wait.”
● The author is warning Washington with subtlety by stating at the end：“While the president and his supporters raise doubts about open trade, the dollar’s supremacy is closely tied to it. There is nothing guaranteed about that status, or all the benefit that come with it.”
Chong-Pin Lin May 2, 2018
A Trade War the U.S. Is Actually Winning, for Now
By Lan Cao
Ms. Cao is a professor of international economic law.
April 26, 2018
The escalating trade war between the United States and China, with the Trump administration considering $100 billion in punitive tariffs in response to China’s $50 billion in retaliatory tariffs, obscures a more important source of conflict: China’s desire to someday establish the yuan as a global reserve currency, on a par with the dollar.
The dollar’s status is inextricably linked to international trade. Because the dollar reigns supreme in the trading system, other countries need to accumulate dollars. Most international trade is conducted using the dollar, even if the United States is not a party to the transaction.
The United States wasn’t always so dominant. After the 1971 decision to end the link between the value of the dollar and gold reserves, the dollar became a currency much like any other. But in 1974, the United States and Saudi Arabia struck an agreement in which the Saudis and the other Gulf states supported the dollar as the primary medium of exchange for oil exports. Thus, oil and other commodities are priced in dollars, so any country that buys oil must build up its dollar reserves to pay for it — mostly by exporting its goods and services so that it can receive dollars as payment.
Once established as a global reserve currency, the dollar has been kept strong by sustained demand for it, and a strong dollar makes American exports expensive to the rest of the world. American exports decline, imports increase, and a result is the trade deficit. Testifying before Congress in 1960, the economist Robert Triffin observed that the dollar’s global reserve status depends on the willingness of the United States to run trade deficits. This relationship, known as Triffin’s Dilemma, doesn’t always hold true (other countries have had reserve currencies and a trade surplus), but the American trade deficit with China, $375.2 billion last year, offers perhaps the best example of how a strong currency and trade deficits are connected.
Still, there are enormous benefits to being able to print paper money and have the world treat it as if it were gold. Other countries need American dollars, and they are willing to pay a premium to hold them. Valery Giscard d’Estaing, finance minister of France from 1962 to 1966, called this an “exorbitant privilege.” Once they have amassed those all-important dollars, countries use them to buy United States Treasury bonds. (China alone held $1.2 trillion dollars of United States government debt at the end of 2017.) This enormous global demand for American debt means that the United States can borrow at relatively low interest rates, financing its budget deficits away.
The “exorbitant privilege” extends to ordinary Americans, who have access to a vast supply of credit and can borrow to buy homes and cars at lower interest rates.
As the trade war rhetoric escalates, some raise the fear that China could sell off its dollar-denominated assets, which could trigger a rise in interest rates, inflation and possibly devaluation of the dollar. Even the threat of a sudden sell-off can stir up trouble in global currency markets. China could also diversify its cash reserves away from the dollar and acquire yen, euro or sterling instruments, or commodities such as gold. Indeed, China has already been accumulating gold, ranking as one of the world’s largest importers of it.
China and the United States are too closely economically intertwined via the dollar to make that a credible fear. United States treasuries are still the world’s safe haven of choice. And selling off American debt would cause the yuan to appreciate, which would put China’s exports at a disadvantage.
Still, China is clearly taking steps to ensure a larger role for its currency. In 2015, the yuan was designated by the International Monetary Fund as one of five elite currencies in the world, along with the dollar, the euro, the pound and the yen. China is putting in place a pilot program with Russia and Angola, in which it can buy oil with yuan instead of with dollars. As the biggest importer of crude oil in the world, China believes it has the purchasing power to push for settlement in yuan. Even Saudi Arabia, a stalwart American ally, is under increasing pressure to accept yuan for its oil trade. If the yuan does become a global reserve currency, China, too, could see its influence and economic power expand even further.
This is a strategic priority for China, and it is willing to wait. Although it is impossible to predict whether or when the dollar will be dethroned, history offers some clues: The pound sterling reigned supreme before the dollar gradually dislodged it. While the president and his supporters raise doubts about open trade, the dollar’s supremacy is closely tied to it. There is nothing guaranteed about that status, or all the benefits that come with it.
Lan Cao is a novelist and a professor of international economic law at Chapman University’s Dale E. Fowler School of Law in Orange, Calif.
- May 11 Fri 2018 12:16
accessed April 30, 2018
- Jan 19 Fri 2018 12:45
George Mason University Visitors
January 18, 2018
I was advised two weeks ago：
美國「喬治梅森大學」（George Mason University）安全政策研究中心副主任葉麥克（Michael Hunzeker）率團乙行7人來台訪問。H主任曾於美國防部馬提斯（James Mattis）及國安顧問H.R. McMaster麾下服役。
Professor Michael Hunzeker at George Mason University who will arrive in Taiwan with a team of experts on security issues "wishes to visit you and exchange views on related issues."
Today they arrived at our residence saying that this was the first time they went out of Metropolitan Taipei on this trip for meeting, which I thought to mean first time in a private home of someone who does not have an office.
We did have a productive and pleasant session.
Chong-Pin Lin January 18, 2018
- Dec 29 Fri 2017 15:30
U.S. No Longer a Global Force for Good
Susan Rice New York Times, December 20, 2017
accessed December 21, 2017
President Trump’s National Security Strategy marks a dramatic departure from the plans of his Republican and Democratic predecessors, painting a dark, almost dystopian portrait of an “extraordinarily dangerous” world characterized by hostile states and lurking threats. There is scant mention of America’s unrivaled political, military, technological and economic strength, or the opportunities to expand prosperity, freedom and security through principled leadership — the foundation of American foreign policy since World War II.
In Mr. Trump’s estimation, we live in a world where America wins only at others’ expense. There is no common good, no international community, no universal values, only American values. America is no longer “a global force for good,” as in President Obama’s last strategy, or a “shining city on a hill,” as in President Reagan’s vision. The new strategy enshrines a zero-sum mentality: “Protecting American interests requires that we compete continuously within and across these contests, which are being played out in regions around the world.” This is the hallmark of Mr. Trump’s nationalistic, black-and-white “America First” strategy.
But the world is actually gray, and Mr. Trump’s strategy struggles to draw nuanced distinctions. Throughout, China and Russia are conflated and equated as parallel adversaries. In fact, China is a competitor, not an avowed opponent, and has not illegally occupied its neighbors. Russia, as the strategy allows, aggressively opposes NATO, the European Union, Western values and American global leadership. It brazenly seized Georgian and Ukrainian territory and killed thousands of innocents to save a dictator in Syria. Russia is our adversary, yet Mr. Trump’s strategy stubbornly refuses to acknowledge its most hostile act: directly interfering in the 2016 presidential election to advantage Mr. Trump himself.
On China and Russia, I suspect the White House realists, to escape the embarrassment of a strategy that ignored Russia’s hostile behavior, agreed to lump China with Russia and almost always mention China first, to placate their nationalist colleagues who hate China but admire Russia. The result is a flawed analysis that may actually drive Russia and China closer together.
In several respects, including nuclear weapons and arms control, weapons of mass destruction, counterterrorism, intelligence, cyberthreats, space policy, unfair trade practices and theft of intellectual property, the strategy falls within the bipartisan mainstream of United States national security policy, differing little from that of a more traditional Republican president. In other areas, it helpfully corrects this administration’s wavering course, as in its unequivocal embrace of United States allies and partners and reaffirmation of our Article V commitment to defend NATO. The strategy recognizes the threat from pandemics and biohazards and the importance of strengthening global health security. And it maintains at least a nominal commitment to women’s empowerment and providing generous humanitarian assistance.
But the nationalists around him succeeded in enshrining Mr. Trump’s harsh anti-immigration policies, from the border wall to ending family preferences and limiting refugee admissions. They reprised their paean to bilateral over multi-nation trade agreements and trumpeted the abrogation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would help check China’s economic and strategic expansionism in Asia. The result is an insular, ideological treatment of our complex world, substantially unimpaired by facts and dismissive of United States interests.
The plan also glaringly omits many traditional American priorities. It fails to mention the words “human rights” or “extreme poverty”; there is no talk of higher education, combating H.I.V.-AIDS or seeking a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Absent, too, is any discussion of people under 30 (who make up over 50 percent of the world’s population), of civil society or of the value of promoting democracy and universal rights. Gone is “climate change” and its threat to American national security. Neither is there any expression of concern for the rights of the oppressed, especially L.G.B.T. people. These omissions undercut global perceptions of American leadership; worse, they hinder our ability to rally the world to our cause when we blithely dismiss the aspirations of others.
The plan also contains some true howlers. It heralds diplomacy, yet Mr. Trump and his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, have starved the State Department of resources, talent and relevance. The strategy lauds the “free press,” yet Mr. Trump routinely trashes our most respected news outlets as “fake news,” threatening their personnel and operations. And it claims the United States “rejects bigotry and oppression and seeks a future built on our values as one American people”; yet the president has denigrated women, used race-baiting language and been hesitant to criticize anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi extremists. One wonders how seriously to take a document that so starkly diverges from the president’s own words and deeds.
These contradictions matter, as does the administration’s enthusiastic embrace of a self-serving, confrontational vision of the world. National security strategies do not always leave an enduring legacy, but they are important articulations of an administration’s priorities — signposts to a world that cares deeply about America’s ambitions and interests.
The United States’s strength has long rested not only on our unmatched military and economy, but also on the power of our ideals. Relinquishing the nation’s moral authority in these difficult times will only embolden rivals and weaken ourselves. It will make a mockery of the very idea of America first.
- Dec 29 Fri 2017 15:18
Some People Want Nothing to Do with Retirement
Claudia Dreifus New York Times, December 16, 2017
accessed December 21, 2017
●Jack Weinstein 5:30起床運動。
On most mornings, Jack B. Weinstein rises at 5:30 to exercise.
At 7, a car takes him from his home in Great Neck to Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, where he is a senior Federal District Court judge for the Eastern District of New York.
Once at the courthouse, Judge Weinstein has coffee and gossips with colleagues. By 9, he’s at work hearing motions, reviewing filings, sentencing defendants. In the afternoon, he tries cases.
None of that is so unusual. But Judge Weinstein is 96 — decades past the age when most Americans choose to stop working.
“Retire? I’ve never thought of retiring,” he declares. Judge Weinstein was first appointed to the bench more than 50 years ago and is still in the thick of hot-button issues in the courts. “I’m a better judge, in some respects, than when I was younger. I don’t remember names. But I listen more. And I’m more compassionate. I see things from more angles. If you are doing interesting work, you want to continue.”
Judge Weinstein is one of the more than 1.5 million Americans over the age of 75, who are still in the paid work force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While the study does not list their specific jobs, many work at occupations in which skill and brainpower count more than brawn and endurance. Some are self-employed and aren’t subject to mandatory retirement rules. Others are stars in their fields — no one has ever suggested that Warren Buffett, 87, quit investing. And there are others, a growing cohort, who remain at their posts because of financial necessity.
“The crash of 2008, debt burdens, decreasing income replacement rates and the demise of employer pensions are a few of the trends” that have pushed the number of non-retirees to record levels, said Susan K. Weinstock, vice president for financial resilience at AARP.
Ms. Weinstock said she expected that this trend would continue into the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the labor force participation rate for those 75 and older rose from 6.4 percent in 2006 to 8.4 percent in 2016 and is likely to reach 10.8 percent by 2026.
For Adolfo Calovini, 82, a New York City high school teacher, the need to earn income is part of his motivation.
Mr. Calovini married late in life and has a son, 14, and a daughter, 20. The approximately $110,000 annual salary he earns as an English as a Second Language instructor at Park West High School in Manhattan is a necessity. For additional income, he teaches in the summer.
His job isn’t easy — nor is his daily commute from New Hyde Park on Long Island. At school, his assignment is to instruct teenagers from countries including Haiti and Mexico in English literature and composition and prepare them for college. Each day, he teaches four classes — and then spends two hours on individual coaching.
As a self-taught linguist who can converse in six languages, Mr. Calovini has skills that make him an asset to his school. When an immigrant teen registers at Park West, Mr. Calovini is usually able to connect with the student in his or her native tongue.
“I’m an immigrant myself,” the Italian-born teacher said. “In class, I try to make them understand that they are as good as anyone else and have a good life if they’ll improve their English. I say, ‘If I can teach myself all these languages, you can learn English and get into college!’”
Occasionally, one of Mr. Calovini’s younger colleagues will ask if he’s ready to retire.
He shakes his head. “To me, teaching is about life. This is what I do. I can’t see a time when I wouldn’t.”
The Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric R. Kandel agrees — he works for the sheer joy of it.
At 88, Dr. Kandel heads his own research laboratory at Columbia University. “I like what I do,” he said. “Keeping engaged keeps you intellectually alive. I wouldn’t be surprised if it enhanced longevity.”
Every day, Dr. Kandel interacts with much younger scientists, supervising their investigations, teaching and mentoring them. At the laboratory, he says, “people don’t ever speak to me about my age. I think they are surprised that I am 88.”
As Dr. Kandel has grown older, his research has focused on the neuroscience of aging.
In one project, he’s been trying to determine if aged-related memory loss might be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. “We have very compelling evidence that it is an independent entity,” he said.
Dr. Kandel, a trained psychiatrist, offers this advice to other non-retirees: “If you are healthy and enjoy your work, continue. At the very least, it gives you additional income. Even if you don’t need it, the money can be for your kids and grandchildren.”
Dr. Laura Popper, 71, a Manhattan pediatrician, works because her profession is central to her identity.
“I wanted to be a doctor since I was 4 — why would I give that up?” she said. “If you’re a surgeon and you reach a certain age, you have to stop. With pediatricians, as long as you have your marbles, there’s no reason to.”
In fact, there’s something about Dr. Popper’s specialization — tending to the health of children — that invigorates her.
“The wonderful thing about pediatrics,” she said, “is that it’s always about renewal and the future. I hang out with babies, toddlers, young parents and they are always looking forward. Getting old is about a shrinking future, but I don’t spend my days thinking about that because I’m in a different place.”
Dr. Popper has been able to continue well beyond the age when most of her peers have retired, partly because she’s self-employed. Dr. Popper is the co-owner of her medical practice, and owns her office space. That autonomy gives her the freedom to adjust her working conditions when necessary.
Over time she’s allowed her patient load to contract. Instead of examining 35 patients in a day, she now sees somewhere between 10 and 20. Her practice partner, who is 25 years younger, has taken up the slack.
Still, even with the lighter load, Popper puts in a full week, phoning patients in the evenings and being on call for emergencies one weekend a month.
All of that earns her about $200,000 a year, which, she said, was “less than what it used to be. But my kids are grown. I don’t need as much.”
Dr. Popper’s husband of 46 years, Edward Shain, 73, retired from his sales and marketing consultancy three years ago. He spends joyful hours exercising their Doberman pinscher, Elizabeth Bennett, in Central Park and blogging. She claims he’d like her to join him.
However, whenever he raises the subject, “I tell him, ‘You’d have to take me to a psychiatric hospital the next day.’ There’s no part of me that wants to retire. If you have something you love, there’s nothing else.”
- Dec 15 Fri 2017 15:26
Dalai Lama: Our Future Is Very Much in Our Hands
●When we’re angry, our judgment is one-sided, as we aren’t able to take all aspects of the situation into account. With a calm mind, we can reach a fuller view of whatever circumstances we face.
●Compassion enhances our calm and self-confidence, allowing our marvelous human intelligence to function unhindered. Empathy is hard-wired in our genes — studies have shown that babies as young as 4 months experience it.
This is an article from Turning Points, a magazine that explores what critical moments from this year might mean for the year ahead.
A crack in a floating ice shelf in Antarctica reached its breaking point and calved a huge iceberg, setting it afloat in the seas. It’s a fitting image for a world that feels under pressure and on the verge of, well, everything — ready to break off and set itself free. The global political temperature is on the rise, the future of truth is under debate and the specter of nuclear conflict hovers. We asked His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his thoughts on how to cope.
We are facing a time of great uncertainty and upheaval in many corners of our planet. When it comes to making the world a better place, concern for others is tantamount.
Our future is very much in our hands. Within each of us exists the potential to contribute positively to society. Although one individual among so many on this planet may seem too insignificant to have much of an effect on the course of humanity, it is our personal efforts that will determine the direction our society is heading.
Wherever I go, I consider myself just one of 7 billion human beings alive today. We share a fundamental wish: We all want to live a happy life, and that is our birthright. There is no formality when we’re born, and none when we die. In between, we should treat each other as brother and sister because we share this commonality — a desire for peace and contentment.
TENZIN CHOEJOR / OFFICE OF HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA
Sadly, we face all sorts of problems, many of them of our own making. Why? Because we are swayed by emotions like selfishness, anger and fear.
One of the most effective remedies for dealing with such destructive patterns of thought is to cultivate “loving-kindness” by thinking about the oneness of all the world’s 7 billion humans. If we consider the ways in which we are all the same, the barriers between us will diminish.
Compassion enhances our calm and self-confidence, allowing our marvelous human intelligence to function unhindered. Empathy is hard-wired in our genes — studies have shown that babies as young as 4 months experience it. Research has shown again and again that compassion leads to a successful and fulfilling life. Why, then, do we not focus more on cultivating it into adulthood? When we’re angry, our judgment is one-sided, as we aren’t able to take all aspects of the situation into account. With a calm mind, we can reach a fuller view of whatever circumstances we face.
Humanity is rich in the diversity that naturally arose from the wide expanse of our world, from the variety of languages and ways of writing to our different societal norms and customs. However, when we overemphasize race, nationality, faith, or income or education level, we forget our many similarities. We want a roof over our heads and food in our bellies, to feel safe and secure, and for our children to grow and be strong. As we seek to preserve our own culture and identity, we must also remember that we are one in being human, and work to maintain our warmheartedness toward all.
In the last century, the inclination to solve problems through the use of force was invariably destructive and perpetuated conflict. If we are to make this century a period of peace, we must resolve problems through dialogue and diplomacy. Since our lives are so intertwined, the interests of others are also our own. I believe that adopting divisive attitudes runs counter to those interests.
Our interdependence comes with advantages and pitfalls. Although we benefit from a global economy and an ability to communicate and know what is happening worldwide instantaneously, we also face problems that threaten us all. Climate change in particular is a challenge that calls us more than ever to make a common effort to defend the common good.
For those who feel helpless in the face of insurmountable suffering, we are still in the early years of the 21st century. There is time for us to create a better, happier world, but we can’t sit back and expect a miracle. We each have actions we must take, by living our lives meaningfully and in service to our fellow human beings — helping others whenever we can and making every effort to do them no harm.
Tackling destructive emotions and practicing loving-kindness isn’t something we should be doing with the next life, heaven or nirvana in mind, but how we should live in the here and now. I am convinced we can become happier individuals, happier communities and a happier humanity by cultivating a warm heart, allowing our better selves to prevail.
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual leader of Tibet and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Since 1959 he has lived in exile in Dharamsala, in northern India.
- Nov 17 Fri 2017 15:31