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Will Trump change US-Russia relation?

I was interviewed by Radio Sputnik, Moscow, yesterday. 

The audio clip is not very good, but I am attaching it here

The transcript is below.

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Why young Chinese aren’t nationalistic

Sumantra noted a research paper by Harvard’s Alastair Iain Johnston in the journal International Security that raises doubts about the narrative that China is becoming increasingly nationalistic.

One section of the paper highlights differences between attitudes of the youth and those of their elders.

Johnston wrote:

Moreover, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the data do not show that China’s youth express higher levels of nationalism than older generations. Indeed, it is China’s older generations that are more nationalistic than its youth. These findings—with due regard for caveats about representativeness— suggest that rising popular nationalism may not be a critically important vari- able constraining Chinese foreign policy.

Sometimes the claim is made that rising nationalism exists because it is assumed, though not shown, that official government policies such as the Patriotic Education Campaign, launched in the early 1990s, are having their intended effect.

As Johnston’s numbers suggest, China’s youth are in fact noticeably less likely than their parents to answer yes to questions of patriotism and nationalism like, “I would prefer to be a citizen of China,” “China is a better country than most,” and “You should support your country even when it is wrong.”

china better

This makes sense for multiple reasons:

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2 Articles on Liberal Protest

These past two weeks, we have seen massive protests by liberals and left-wing anarchist groups, both non-violent and violent, and both Sumantra and I have written about them.

The general thrust of my thesis is that non-violent protests such as the Women’s March are a fine way of opposing Trump’s radical policies and statements. That kind of non-violent protest should not be associated with fascistic violence like that of Disrupt J20 or the Antifa thugs in Berkeley. However some of the mechanisms of social protest, like #DeletingUber, are very stupid and possibly counterproductive.

Here are my pieces:
Antifa and the Woman’s March: A Tale of Two Protests – Areo

Protesters have depicted both Bush and Obama as Nazis. Neither side has a monopoly on Hitler comparisons and stupid signs, and both sides are guilty of hypocrisy in selectively cherry picking the worst examples of their opponents for condemnation.

But because of certain characteristics of the Left, such as the fact that collectivism lends itself more to collective protests than does individualism and the fact that a good deal of leftists romanticize French Revolution-style “resistance,” progressives are generally more likely to have large-scale marches and marches that often push or overstep the limits of the law. It’s no coincidence that, more often than not, the people occupying a public park or a pipeline construction location are leftists. Most progressives aren’t waving Soviet flags at a World Trade Organization protest, but most people waving Soviet flags at WTO protests are progressives.

Read full article.

And:
By Targeting Uber, Immigration Protesters Punish Innocent Bystanders – The Federalist

Imagine you are a traveler just off a long flight across an ocean. You’re tired, you’re hungry, you’re annoyed from standing in long lines and waiting for your luggage. You already know the immigration ban is in place because you saw it reported on CNN in the terminal. Now there’s no one to take you to your hotel downtown. You find out it’s because taxi drivers are striking due to an order you didn’t sign and had nothing to do with. You might not even support it. You might not even be a citizen of this country. But you have one more headache just because Trump did something the taxi drivers don’t like. Are you going to be more or less likely to support the taxi union?

Read full article.

Chin-Nat Study (1)

New research suggests that conflict with China is not inevitable

Extraordinary research came out yesterday in International Security Journal, which concludes that

  1. Nationalism declining in China.
  2. China views, any potential Great power conflict from geopolitical and not ideological lens.

Here’s the paper.

And some data set.

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The assault on rule of law in America

Anarchists smashed windows and burn cars on the day of Trump’s inauguration. Two weeks later, “Antifa” rioted at Berkeley, destroying property and beating innocent people, just because an alt-right extremist was planning on speaking (Ben Shapiro has a run down of him). In the White House, President Trump ignores multiple court rulings and continues to illegally enforce an immigration ban he unilaterally implemented that is likely unconstitutional.

America, in the eyes of many, is tearing apart at the seams.

Some would blame it on liberals or leftists who are unable to accept that Trump won the popular vote. But the thugs destroying ATM machines and punching people in Berkeley weren’t wearing pussy hats or “I’m With Her” shirts. Quite probably few of them voted for a “corporatist” like Hillary. Probably few of them voted at all in a “corrupt” system.

Donald Trump should be speaking out and changing his ways. He’s the president, and he needs to take leadership.

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New long essays…on Trump, Russia, Berkeley, and the new world order

For those of us old enough, late Gen-Xers and early Millennials, and influenced by mid-90s Grunge, the riots in Berkeley which forced the University of Berkeley to cancel Milo’s talk comes as no surprise. We, from a generation whose defining trait was indifference and calm unflappable belief in the forces of structure over agency, always wondered what it felt like to be constantly radical, hyper, to have the relentless altruistic idea of value and virtue promotion, of the self imposed burden and crusading revolutionary world changing zeal. It constantly felt like Big Lebowski trying to reason with Shaun King. In fact the latest riot was therefore so inevitable that it barely needs mentioning; the inevitable outrage of a pampered generation of middle class pretend revolutionaries, so ideologically inflexible, so detached from working class sensibilities, so mollycoddled to believe in inherent malleable, ever expanding rights like tampon tax, rather than calm quiet resilience; cheered on by Hollywood millionaires, some of the tweets are borderline treasonous. Everything that happened since Trump won was and remains a bourgeoisie rebellion, and here’s a word of caution from someone pushing mid thirties with a growing Homer Simpson tummy; it is going to end brutally. We’ve seen it all before, us, and the generations before us.

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Ridiculous couple of weeks, with all the protest and violence, and worst of all, the hyperbole, but here are a few essays by yours truly.

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#NeverTrump was right: Trump is everything #NeverTrump warned about

In less than two weeks in office, President Trump has already proven to be everything #NeverTrump warned about. He has lied, abused his power, implemented unconstitutional policies, disgraced the office and divided the nation.

Trump has lied brazenly

@Cheryl707 @SalenaZito @BradOnMessage That’s a lot of words to use to defend a pathological liar. – @AndyKindler

Just the day after his inauguration, Donald Trump was already brazenly lying to the CIA and the public to appease his narcissism. He told the CIA that he had the largest crowd ever for his inauguration and that maybe 1.5 million people came. He had press secretary Sean Spicer yell at reporters and berate them for accurately reporting the crowd size. Spicer’s first remarks included provably false statements about the number of metro riders at both his and Obama’s inauguration and the use of floor coverings. The next day Kellyanne Conway defended Spicer on the grounds that he was simply using “alternative facts.”

And spread conspiracy theories
But that wasn’t even the worst of it. Trump also said that “3 to 5 million illegal votes” caused him to lose the popular vote, which he lost by 2.8 million votes. Defending his nut job claim, Trump cited random internet person, Gregg Phillips.

Trump has a long track record of affiliating himself with conspiracy theories, including leading the birther crusade against Obama, suggesting Obama is a secret Muslim, believing that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination, being advised by Roger Stone, and appearing on the Alex Jones show.

Trump’s lies about politics spread into much that he says to defend his policies, including stating that, “If you were a Muslim [applying for refugee status in Syria] you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible,” and that his executive order banning everyone including green card holders from seven countries was the same as something Obama did.

Trump abuses his power and violates the Constitution

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Source: Google Public Data Explorer

Tariffs are falling everywhere but in America — 12 charts to explain the economy

Economic charts to explain some aspects of Trump’s economic policy.

Donald Trump has proposed a 20 percent tariff to pay for his proposed barrier on the border with Mexico. During the campaign, he often proposed raising tariffs on China up to 40 percent and renegotiating or leaving trade deals. Among his first executive orders was one to call for “renegotiating” NAFTA and leaving the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Trump’s argument for doing so rests on the case that America imports a lot of goods and thus has a high trade deficit and that he and some of the economists he has surrounded himself with, such as Peter Navarro, believe that America’s trade deficit is causing manufacturing jobs to be lost to countries with low wages, like China.

Trump is right that the U.S. has a high trade deficit, though he often espouses false and exaggerated numbers. In one debate he said the U.S. had an $800 billion trade deficit. In fact, the U.S. had a $484 billion trade deficit (deficit in current account balance) in 2015. Canada and Mexico were also among the top seven.

However, the United States also has the largest economy in the world. America’s trade deficit is nearly the same as that of Canada and Mexico as a percentage of GDP. Indeed, according to the IMF, the three countries rank consecutively.

Tariffs around the world have been falling for years as countries embrace free trade. While Mexico’s average tariffs remains higher and more volatile than Canada’s or America’s, it has fallen since 1990.

Source: Google Data Explorer

Source: Google Data Explorer

Tariffs in important Asian countries have fallen “bigly.” China’s average tariff fell from over 30% in 1992 to less than 5% by 2014. When China joined the WTO in 2001, its tariff fell from close to 15% to 10% the next year.

Source: Google Public Data Explorer

Source: Google Public Data Explorer

Along with a decrease in tariffs, major Asian countries have also seen increases in imports.

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Trump breaks some immigration promises, makes partial progress on others

It’s Trump’s first week in office, and already he has broken some promises and made progress on others. Throughout Trump’s tenure, Bombs + Dollars will track Trump’s promises and offer updates at intervals.

Trump has already taken bold actions with a number of executive orders on immigration, abortion, and Obamacare. Republicans in Congress, as well, are trying their best to repeal Obamacare, although it’s unclear what kind of a replacement they will try to push through.

Among Trump’s major executive orders was one to keep the Guantanamo Bay military prison open and in use, which fulfills his pledge to keep Gitmo open.

An executive order to expend funds to build a barrier on the border leaves open the question of whether the barrier would be a wall or a fence, a distinction Trump made on the campaign trail. The executive order also spends American money, not Mexican money, which would violate Trump’s pledge to have Mexico pay for the wall. Trump claims he will eventually get Mexico to reimburse America.

Trump also is reportedly planning on signing an executive order to ban new refugees for a number of months and to ban anyone from a number of countries, including Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. That would result in more than 180 million Muslims being banned (Iran: 74.8 million Muslims; Sudan: 39.0 million; Iraq: 31.1 million; Yemen: 24.0 million; Syria: 20.8 million). However, there are 1,703 million Muslims in the entire world, including 257 million in South-East Asia alone, 204 million in Indonesia, 178 million in Pakistan, and 172 million in India. If this is the full extent of Trump’s “Muslim ban,” he would have failed massively to implement his plan for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” This policy, however, can credibly be argued to fulfill his promise to “suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we fully understand how to end these threats.”

Trump broke his promise to have call on Congress to pass “Kate’s Law” on his first day in office. To date, he has still not called on Congress to do so.

Presented below are some of the updates to the chart:

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Going forward, conservatives must not bow to Trump

January 20 we’ll all watch as Donald Trump is sworn into office, a spectacle most of us never thought would happen. For over a year we repeated the mantra of “keep calm, it won’t be Trump,” but that didn’t play out as we expected, obviously. In the midst of our astonishment we’ve been called to question much of what we’ve believed for so long, and, without doubt, I’ve had someone ask me a variation of the following at least once a day:
“I mean, didn’t we technically win? What do we do now as a movement? Should we give him a chance before judging his presidency? How will you handle things going forward?”

In reply I’ve given a slew of answers, from ideas on building a new party, to helping middle ground Democrats who are willing to meet us half-way. Maybe we stay on the right side of the aisle and be a voice of reason, or maybe we traipse over to the left and forge a new alliance. The options are endless, and everyone is walking around those options on eggshells, pondering the vast number of possibilities, and worried that they’ll choose the wrong one. However, regardless of how difficult the choice is, for so many it seems a choice must be made. They’re not content in the wilderness, and they desperately want to be a member of the tribe again.

I’ve listened to people say that, despite their refusal to vote for Trump, they must now join in the thunderous applause – “albeit reluctantly,” they’ll proclaim – of a Republican sweep until their fears are confirmed, because that’s what a good team player does. I’ve watched them cheer on Sessions, Tillerson, and Carson, despite obvious issues, simply because that’s what people on the right are doing.

As though getting behind the schoolyard bully is the only logical option, because while he’s shaken down all of the defenseless kids on the playground, it’s only reasonable to stand beside him until he shakes down the next, and then the next, and so on and so forth. They’re willing to wash, rinse, and repeat until there’s nothing left of their principles but a shell that barely tells the story of what they once were.

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