Tag Archives: China

Romney’s Advice to Obama

In an interview with Fortune Magazine, Mitt Romney gave President-elect Obama some advice on the economic crisis we are now in. Perhaps the most profound advice he gave was that Obama “should forget about re-election and focus on helping the nation at a critical time. He should dismiss the people who helped him win the election and bring in people who are above politics and above party. He should surround himself with statesmen and economists, businesspeople and leaders.”   How true that is.  Besides if Obama took this advice and worked the economy issue, re-election would work itself out.

In further addressing the economy Mitt gave some great points:

  • Regarding unions:

The unions have helped Barack Obama. They will hope to be paid back. I’m particularly concerned that organized labor would call on Barack Obama to pass the card check program. This removes from American workers the right to the secret ballot in deciding whether or not to accept a union. This legislation would do more to harm America’s long-term competitiveness than almost anything I can imagine. It would be a partisan payback for organized labor but it would come with devastating consequences for the nation.

  • On the Auto Industry

Right now, the auto industry is on life support, and its prospects look extremely dim. But they don’t need to be. The industry could be turned around. There is no inherent reason why America can’t build and sell cars to Americans at least as well as the transplants are doing. Any effort to help the auto industry has to be made as part of a comprehensive strategy. Before the government issues loans to the auto industry, as has been authorized by Congress, it should insist on seeing credible and independent strategies that will return the companies to long-term sustainability. Government should not finance ongoing losses and declining market shares.

  • On the Global Economy

Far too little attention was paid to America’s long-term competitive position during the campaign. I see four major economic strategies at play in the world today: the first is ours. It combines freedom and free enterprise.

The second is China’s. It combines free enterprise with authoritarianism.

The third is Russia’s. No longer is Russia’s plan for dominance based upon industrial capacity but rather upon controlling energy throughout the world. Hence Russia’s cozy relationship with Iran and Venezuela as well as its belligerent entry into Georgia. Russia’s strategy is based on energy and authoritarianism.

The fourth strategy is represented by radical violent jihad. The intent of the jihadists is to cause the collapse of the other three, such that the “hidden Imam” or the Caliphate remains the last man standing.

The real challenge for America is how to strengthen our competitive position so that our economy outperforms those of the other three. If we’re successful, freedom will be preserved for the world. If we’re unsuccessful, the results are unthinkable.

  • On the apparent populist shift in American ideology

I can only hope the President abandons the populist current, which seems to be growing in our country. An effort to block foreign trade will only hurt America. Ultimately products in this country would become uncompetitive. Look what happened to the Soviet Union. Its cars, its watches, its goods became a joke.

The only way to remain the leading economy in the world is to be successful on a level playing field around the world. Some individuals, at the behest of special interests, seek to prevent trade with other nations by imposing America’s labor requirements and other peculiarities. That is a disguised form of protectionism.

And the GOP chose McCain!  What a bunch of idiots.  Mitt Romney is smarter than any of the candidates that ran in 2008.  And America lost when he did.  Anyway, enough of looking backwards, we need to get him in the White House in 2012, but I digress.

The fact is, on the economy he is right.  Capitalism and ‘free’ trade are what made America great and strong.  Our military might is a result of our economic might.  Our freedoms are because of economic freedom.   Protectionism and isolationism will fail every time.   The thing with capitalism is that it is not an easy pill swallow all the time.  Sometimes the market is booming and other times it is crashing, sometimes people succeed other times people fail.   But all of that is what makes capitalism great, everyone has an opportunity and everyone can pull themselves out of the “social class” they were born into.  While socialist and other economic models may succeed in bringing equality (though they never have yet), but if they do, they undoubtedly make everyone equally poor and miserable.  Capitalism is not perfect, but it is the best system in the world none the less and America’s movement away from it would be a danger to us and to the world at large.  Russia and China aren’t going to be as benevolent and nice as America and ultimately, those are the three countries that will determine the world’s future.   I would certainly rather live in a world guided by America.


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A Civil War Brewing in Bolivia

Contrary to what many Americans may believe, the most important news stories over the last month was not anything regarding Iraq or the U.S. Presidential election.  No, the two most important stories were the defeat Hugo Chavez’s proposals in Venezuela and the fraudulant elections in Russia that pretty well created a clear path to a Putin dictatorship.  

These stories are infinitely more interesting and important to me than anything regarding a U.S. Presidential election ever will be.   However, it has not gone unnoticed by your (sometimes) humble coorespondent, that no one really cares about these stories.  They consistently get read less than anything else I write.  Thus, I put off writing about Russia and Venezuela and their massive significance, to write about Mitt, Giuliani or Iowa; this is what the ‘consumer’ wants.

However, I can stay my hand no more, as current events in Bolivia complete the trilogy of socialist stories over the last three weeks.  But before I dive into what is going on in Bolivia, allow to give a brief overview of how these stories are interconnected and why they are so important.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States has stood as the sole handler of world power.  There is no country that comes close to the United States economically or militarily.  However, this did not cause all countries to fall in line with U.S. policy.  In all actuality, U.S. hegemony allowed for governments, leaders, and electoral candidates in respective countries to blame their faults and terrible conditions on the U.S.   

While the reasoning above is not wholly responsible for what has occured over the last decade, it certainly has been a significant factor.   During this period the world is again dividing into two camps.  The way most seem to describe it is geographically, East vs. West, however this is not really accurate as countries from each region fall within each group.  So I will call it the U.S. camp and the China camp. (It should be noted that putting China here is not exactly accurate as they are more friendly to us than the others, but being the up and coming counter-balance to American hegemony and their close ties with Russia and Iran, it seems appropriate). 

The U.S. camp includes the old garb of world power, the United States, Canada, and the EU, Israel, and Australia – the standard “Western world”.  Also included in the U.S. camp are newer powers, economically and militarily, and younger, pro-American democracies.  These include India, Japan, South Korea, and much of eastern Europe; I am also inclined to include the UAE, Kuwait, and even Iraq.

The China side includes Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and North Korea.   Perhaps by looking at this list you can understand why I hesitate fully including China. 

Each camp has two “major” powers.  The U.S. camp is lead by the U.S and Europe while the China camp is lead by China and Russia.   This latter camp has become more and more socialist over the last decade.  Venezuela voted in Hugo Chavez who is staunchly communist and anti-american, Bolivia voted in Evo Morales who is viewed a Chavez puppet and whose economic policies resemble those of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.  

Chavez, Putin, and Ahmadinejad are actively working on building a counter-weight to the United States, no doubt with Chinese backing.  But unlike the Chinese, they intend to do it through building socialist states with socialist economic policies, while China is arguably more capitalistic than the U.S.   Ironically, each of those states are advertised as capitalistic and democratic while China is advertised as dictatorial and communistic.   This is a real divide and the three events of the past two weeks directly impact the development this bi-polar world.

The latest news in Bolivia is that six of the wealthier and more developed Eastern provinces, lead by the local goverment leaders in Santa Cruz, have declared political autonomy and plan to submit a complete independence referendum to the people. 

This move is in response to the communistic economic policies established by President Evo Morales.  Morales has been a strong proponent of redistribution of wealth, is in the process of nationalizing the energy and petroleum sectors, and plans to implement land re-distribution policies similar to those in Zimbabwe.

One would think that Morales would look at how much of a complete failure such policies have been in Zimbabwe.  But, he is an idealist and idealism always obscures objective and pragmatic thought.  Undoubtedly, Morales’s positions will completely destroy the already weak economy of one of South America’s poorest countries.  Nevertheless, like all ideologues, he resonates with the country’s poor and native population, of which he is one. 

Fortunately, a majority of the people in more developed areas of Bolivia are not buying into it.  Industry leaders and provincial government officials are taking a hard stand against Morales to prevent him from destroying the country; even at the threat of military confrontation with Bolivia’s army and even Venezuela. 

In two of the last three major events involving states heading towards dictatorial rule, two have moved in favor of freedom.  Only Russia has fully continued down the path towards Communism.  Hopefully, Venezuela and Bolivia can build on these latest moves in their respective countries to free themselves of autocratic rule, however they are still a long way from being in the clear. Chavez and Morales will not go down without a fight, the question is how much resolve do the freedom loving people in those countries have?  How much are they willing to sacrifice to preserve such freedoms?

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