Trade Doesn’t Prevent War

The China relationship of our dreams simply doesn’t exist.

Politicians who seek to continue allowing the nearly bankrupt federal government to continue spending on social programs that it can ill afford by borrowing from Beijing, and corporations that seek to make large profits by selling their wares or services to it, propagate the inaccurate concept that China can be readily brought into the larger international community through the incentive of trade.

The idea that economic ties serve as a preventive measure against armed conflict only works if the nation-states involved operate as rational, functioning democracies whose governing intentions are the promotion of its citizenry’s best interest.  Totalitarian governments, such as China, operate under a different set of principles.

Richard Eberling, writing for The Mises organization  noted: “All of the treaties and agreements and all of the hopes that international trade would establish a web of mutual interdependency in the areas of commerce, culture, and communication, which would make war impossible or at least more ‘civilized,’ died on the battlefields of Europe in 1914…And the Second World War threw to the winds all restraints on the conduct of nations, as unrestricted methods of warfare were joined by mass murder and the barbaric brutalizing of tens of millions of innocent and unarmed men, women, and children.”

Paul Krugman, writing in the New York Times  explains: “Some analysts tell us not to worry: global economic integration itself protects us against war, they argue, because successful trading economies won’t risk their prosperity by engaging in military adventurism…Shortly before World War I…British author…Norman Angell, published a famous book titled “The Great Illusion,” in which he argued that war had become obsolete, that in the modern industrial era even military victors lose far more than they gain. He was right — but wars kept happening anyway. So are the foundations of the second global economy any more solid than those of the first? In some ways, yes. For example, war among the nations of Western Europe really does seem inconceivable now, not so much because of economic ties as because of shared democratic values. Much of the world, however, including nations that play a key role in the global economy, doesn’t share those values. Most of us have proceeded on the belief that, at least as far as economics goes, this doesn’t matter — that we can count on world trade continuing to flow freely simply because it’s so profitable. But that’s not a safe assumption…the belief that economic rationality always prevents war is an equally great illusion. And today’s high degree of global economic interdependence, which can be sustained only if all major governments act sensibly, is more fragile than we imagine.”

James R. Holmes, in a Diplomat article echoes that concept. He notes that the European nations that came to blows in the First World War were even more interconnected than those of today’s global trading order.

Edward Chancellor in a Reuters  editorial, argued: “Trade between countries…can lead to intense competition for raw materials, whilst also producing in some nations an acute sense of geostrategic vulnerability. Rather than bringing eternal peace, trade between nations may lead to war…The extensive trade among the [pre-World War one] Great Powers did not prevent a naval arms race…In recent years, the Middle Kingdom has been building up its navy and lately become involved in a number of maritime territorial disputes with its neighbours. Japan, under nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is seeking to strengthen its military capacity. An arms race in Asia threatens. Beijing has also developed quasi-autarkic ambitions. China’s investment-driven economy cannot survive without imported raw materials. Although China is a net importer of most raw materials, Beijing has used its dominant position as a supplier of rare earths for political ends. In 2009, as a dispute with Japan over the sovereignty of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands flared up, China effectively banned the export of rare earths, a vital component for Japan’s electronics manufacturers.”

If war is to be avoided between trading partners, a common set of principles need to be agreed upon to prevent disputes from escalating into armed clashes.  If a trade dispute arises between, for example, the United States and France, there is little danger that Washington and Paris will go to war to resolve the issue.  Both adhere to common diplomatic and legal concepts, even if their interpretations of the law differ, and each side acknowledges that even unresolved conflicts should not be settled by shooting.

Not so China. This can clearly be observed in Beijing’s expansionist maritime practices. China has laid claim to approximately 90% of the resource-rich South China Sea. It enforces its claim—disputed by numerous nations—through the use of its increasingly powerful Navy. Its armed forces invaded the internationally recognized Exclusive Economic Zone belonging to the Philippines. Despite a clear ruling against that action by the International Tribunal at The Hague, Beijing refused to back off.  It continues its expansionist actions throughout the South China Sea, turning the vital trade region into a potential tinderbox.  It does so because it does not subscribe to internationally recognized diplomatic and legal practices, and does not place trade relations ahead of its national goals.

Of course, the U.S. should seek to avoid war with China. But it needs to do so through realistic means, not through the illusion that economic ties will serve that end.

Revolt Against Elites

The assertion of individual rights doesn’t have a particularly lengthy record in a history mainly filled with monarchs, dictators, oligarchs, and other elites. The age of gilded kings, queens, emperors and empresses isn’t as dead as it seems; only the names and excuses to stay in power keep changing. Russia lost its czar, but gained Communist Party rulers who held even greater control. Similar non-substantive changes have occurred in many locales.

Indeed, in Russia, the transition happened again.  When the Communist regime collapsed, essentially the same group rather quickly reclaimed power.  Putin, an old KGB hand, has, after only an unfortunately brief period, restored the same absolute power to his leadership that czars and commissars once held.

For centuries, Europe’s intermarried royal families controlled the lives of the continent’s residents.  That began to diminish as nationalism, often maligned but in reality a necessary step in European democratization, took hold. But as socialism gained acceptance, the concept of an elite class of intellectuals and politicians took hold.

The European Union deepened that trend. When the citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the E.U., the continental elites, who, in their own way, are as interconnected as the old monarchial families, were shocked.  In Britain itself, there was significant discussion among them about whether a re-vote or other scheme to overturn the ballot could be successful.

In the United States, the election of Donald Trump has caused similar conversations among power brokers and political party chiefs.  Whatever one’s thoughts of the new President, he is certainly outside of the typical leadership groups.  In the aftermath of his upset win, the traditional governing interests have reacted with near hysteria.  Even before he took the oath of office, the mainstream left-wing opinion makers in academia, the media, Hollywood, and progressive activists called for his impeachment.

Of course, there were a whole host of issues that compelled voters in the U.K. to reject the E.U. and Americans to reject the “establishment” candidacy of Hillary Clinton. But the extraordinary similarity is that, in both cases, the traditional power brokers were successfully challenged.

Writing for the BBC,  Mark Mardell discusses the twin jolts of Brexit and Trump : “It is perhaps ironic that our two countries, with a reputation for stable political systems, have delivered political revolutions of such importance. Or perhaps it’s not. Perhaps their stability and strength is they can cope with popular revolts, without pitchforks or getting blood all over our sans culottes.”

As the leading supporters of individual freedom, British and American citizens have rejected surrendering their personal freedoms.

Tibor Machan, writing in the Daily Bell notes: “We are asked to believe that some people are inherently different from the rest of us. We are told that the select group − the leaders of socialist/egalitarian governments via their schemes of distribution and equalization − is immune from the errors of the rest of us. That the likes of Ralph Nader, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden, et al., are really inherently better and wiser folk than are we all is what the citizenry is supposed to accept!”

Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall puts it this way in News With Views: “Communism, socialism, tribalism, and oligarchies all have one thing in common: Someone else is responsible for your life. From paying for your education, determining what kind of information will be contained in that education/indoctrination, to your career choices, the fuel your car will use (or whether you will be allowed to have a car…) all…are decisions about you to be made by others.”

Britain and America have been bulwarks in the lonely struggle to insure individual rights.  Attempts to overturn that achievement have been recently thwarted by the surprising victories of Brexit and Donald Trump. The particular merits of Brexit and Trump aren’t the point.  The battle lines in both instances clearly pitted elites eager to assert greater control against individuals, who rebelled at the attempt.

Writing in the British current affairs journal Spiked Brendon O’Neill  states: “…what a great starting point we have. If we can ditch something as huge as the EU, what else can we do to the end of enlivening the democratic sphere? This is what is so exciting about this referendum result. Ignore all the politicos and observers saying ‘Britain is broken. We no longer recognise this country’ (now they know how the people who voted against the EU have felt for years). For this huge jolt in global politics, this brilliant people’s quake, this vote against the political and media and business classes, provides us with an opportunity to rethink public life. It opens up the political landscape. It allows us to wonder, and discuss, how that landscape might be reshaped…”

During the eight years of the Obama Administration, Americans experienced a sharp deterioration in the fortunes of the middle class at home, and in the national security of their nation abroad.  Race relations took a turn for the worse.  Average citizens expressed their displeasure in the establishment elites by voting for Trump.

One State’s Concerted Attack on the First Amendment

New York is one of the most solidly left-wing states. But that doesn’t mean that all of its residents agree with the prevailing progressive ideology—and that dissent disturbs the leadership.

In an attempt to muzzle opposing viewpoints, New York’s elected officials are continuously seeking means to suppress free speech. The latest scandalous move comes from Assemblyman David Weprin, who represents part of NYC in the state legislature. He has introduced legislation (A5323) that is such a broad attack against the First Amendment that it has attracted national attention, garnering substantial criticism.  This is how the Washington Post’s  Eugene Volokh describes the measure:

“…under this bill, newspapers, scholarly works, copies of books on Google Books and Amazon, online encyclopedias (Wikipedia and others) — all would have to be censored whenever a judge and jury found (or the author expected them to find) that the speech was “no longer material to current public debate or discourse”…And of course the bill contains no exception even for material of genuine historical interest; after all, such speech would have to be removed if it was “no longer material to current public debate.” Nor is there an exception for autobiographic material, whether in a book, on a blog or anywhere else. Nor is there an exception for political figures, prominent businesspeople and others.But the deeper problem with the bill is simply that it aims to censor what people say, under a broad, vague test based on what the government thinks the public should or shouldn’t be discussing. It is clearly unconstitutional under current First Amendment law.”

A failure to comply with a request to remove material from articles, search engines or other places would make the author liable for, at a minimum, a penalty of $250 per day plus attorney fees.

Weprin isn’t alone in his antipathy for the First Amendment. New York enacted a measure that requires not-for-profit organizations that discuss public issues to disclose the names of donors who give more than $2,500, a move that violates both the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment, as well as a Supreme Court ruling.

New York’s anti-free speech and campaign disclosure laws are stunning in their extent and open defiance of the First Amendment. Among other mandates, they impose a requirement of across the board disclosure of donors and staff, and provides a first-ever disclosure requirement for “political consultants.” At first glance, that appears comparatively innocuous. However, the devil is in the details. According to the legislation’s language, almost anyone who has ever had any relation or association with anyone even remotely connected to a campaign would have to be disclosed. In essence, it criminalizes anyone with an active interest in politics. Further, it substantially intimidates anyone seeking to provide summaries of their perspectives on the issues or advice on how to present those views from speaking with a candidate in any substantive manner. Independent advocacy groups promoting anything from environmental protection to benefits for veterans would be handicapped.

The outrageous assault on free speech has been challenged in federal court. Not backing down, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has hired one of the nation’s top specialist attorney’s in the field to defend the offensive measure.

As previously reported in the New York Analysis of Policy & Government, New York Senator Charles Schumer, who is the U.S. Senate’s minority leader, proposed a measure that would limit free speech protections as they pertain to campaign donations. The proposed legislation, thankfully defeated, gained 43 Senate supporters—all Democrats. At a Senate Rules Committee  Schumer stated that “The First Amendment is sacred, but the First Amendment is not absolute. By making it absolute, you make it less sacred to most Americans.”

America’s Constitutional Government Targeted, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its review of efforts to ignore the Constitution.

Examining the actions of political parties is an essential aspect of understanding perspectives on the Constitution. However, only looking at party leaders diverts the discussion from the new centers of gravity in Progressive politics. The Washington Free Beacon reports that:

“Three liberal donor networks and foundations with ties to billionaire George Soros have joined forces to form a new fund to ‘resist’ President Donald Trump. The Emergent Fund…was established late last year to quickly fund groups to take direct, immediate action against Republicans. Since the fund’s formation, it has received little public attention. It has raised over half a million dollars to give to groups opposing Republicans, such as the Black Lives Matter Network. The fund has extensive ties to significant liberal networks and groups…The Solidaire Network, the Threshold Foundation, and the Women Donors Network, all San Francisco-based groups, mobilized to form the Emergent Fund. The Solidaire Network brings together wealthy progressive donors to foster protest and direct action movements. The donor network is comprised of individuals who can move $50,000 or more personally or through a family foundation. The group props up other donor communities on its website such as the…secretive George Soros-tied Democracy Alliance donor network, the largest liberal dark money group.”

Trevor Loudon, a New Zealander, is the producer of a new film entitled “America Under Siege,” which examines the unusual level of disruption following the 2016 election. In an interview with the Capital Research Organization, he points out that there are groups operating outside of the regular political process, engaging in activities of highly questionable legality which were shielded from prosecution by the Obama Administration. He states:

“One of the…groups involved in this, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, had 23 members of its group arrested in 2010 by the FBI for supporting terrorist groups in Palestine and Latin America.  They were raided, a whole bunch of stuff was confiscated, and Obama’s Justice Department did nothing with those cases for seven years.  But the fact that they were raided because the FBI had an informant inside their organization shows how dangerous these groups potentially are.  It also shows that the [Obama] government] had no willingness at all to go after them.”

Key influencers like the shadowy billionaire Soros, the terrorist Bill Ayers, and even party officials such as the radical Perez and the anti-Semite Ellison are not tied to the traditional practices and constraints of U.S. politics. They have introduced something new and unhealthy: a slash and burn mentality that cares little for practices vital to the survival of constitutional government, such as a peaceful transfer of power, a tolerance of opposing views, and the use of honest facts. As their influence and power has reached its zenith, the normal rational debate and competition of opposing political parties and different points of view have been replaced by the extremism, violence, and disruption that have been the earmarks of collapsing open governments.

Red State writes that The ultimate goal of the more radical Leftists is to create disorder to beget more disorder…These are the ones most likely to be wearing their tattered Che Guevara T-shirts and shouting communist slogans…Most of the violence committed is done…by the more radical elements of the protesters, or refugees from the anarchist Occupy Wall Street movement…”

Politics has always been a blood sport, but what has occurred since the 2016 election is unprecedented, amounting to little more than a repudiation of the peaceful transition of power that has been the consistent and laudable practice and tradition of American Constitutional government.

History has seen this type of environment before.  In her book, SPQR, author Mary Beard describes how Rome descended from a republic, however flawed, into a dictatorship:

“Looking back over the period, Roman historian regretted the gradual destruction of peaceful politics. Violence was increasingly taken for granted as a political tool. Traditional restraints and conventions broke down, one by one, until swords, clubs and rioting more or less replaced the ballot box. At the same time…a very few individuals of enormous power, wealth…came to dominate the state…when the story is stripped down to its barest and brutal essentials, it consists of a series of key moments and conflicts that led to the dissolution of the free state, a sequence of tipping points that marked the stages in the progressive degeneration of the political process…”

America’s Constitutional Government Targeted

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government examines the changing nature of American politics in this two-part series.

The target of the vehement protests, over-the-top opposition, and hyperbolic media criticism of the Trump Administration, is not the current occupant of the Oval Office. It is, instead, the Constitutional practice of government.

Little discussed is the odd level of verbal violence against a President who is most certainly not an ideologue. His major policy thrusts, both as a candidate and as an elected leader, include:

  • Replacing a health care policy which has demonstrably failed (the dirty little secret of the 2016 campaign was that no matter who got elected, Obamacare was going to have to drastically change.)
  • Restoring a military that had been dangerously and very obviously depleted, at a time when adversaries across the globe had dramatically strengthened theirs.
  • Encouraging American allies to pay a more equitable share of their own defense needs
  • restoring middle-income job growth.
  • reforming taxes and regulations so that more industry would remain within the U.S.
  • Enforcing already existing immigration laws.
  • Reducing regulations that hamper the creation or survival of businesses.

These could hardly be called arch-conservative.  If anything, Donald Trump both campaigned and, in the brief period he has been in office, governed as a pragmatist. Lately, his criticism has been focused as much on conservatives in Congress as on Democrats.

Trump came to office in the aftermath of a demonstrably failed presidency.

Under Obama, The U.S. essentially divested itself of its role as the world’s dominant superpower, leading to greater threats across the globe.  in Asia, China’s belligerence dramatically increased. in Eastern Europe, Russia engaged in the largest invasion since World War 2. Throughout the Islamic world, conditions deteriorated. ISIS rose to prominence due to Obama’s premature withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Libya descended into chaos following the still unexplained drive to oust Gaddafi. Iran’s power and influence expanded dramatically.  The Taliban was positioned to make a major comeback in Afghanistan. Terrorist attacks became commonplace occurrences throughout the world.

At home, Obama’s policies and actions led to an economy mired in the doldrums, racial animosity at a level not seen in decades, and a near doubling of the national debt with nothing gained after all those dollars spent, as well as the worse job participation rate in decades. The national infrastructure continued to crumble.

Stunning scandals took place.  Whole agencies of the government, especially the IRS, were unlawfully used for partisan purposes.  An American ambassador was killed without any attempt to rescue him or to punish the perpetrators. The U.S. Secretary of State’s family personally profited from the sale of uranium, the basic ingredient of atomic bombs, to Russia.

It was reasonable to assume that in the aftermath of those eight difficult years, the public mood would have been at least willing to give the new leader at least a brief honeymoon. But long before Trump even took office, a level of unprecedented and near-hysterical opposition was promoted by much of the media, academia, some Democrat Party leaders, and the financiers of hard-left causes.

One explanation for the unusual and extreme alteration in the nature of American politics has been the takeover of the Democrat Party by untraditional forces.  The party of Kennedy, Truman, indeed even FDR, no longer exists in a viable form.  Those types of leaders have been replaced by extremists such as former Obama Labor Department SecretaryTom Perez, the new DNC Chair, and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the deputy chair, and other individuals such as NYC Mayor Mike de Blasio.

Perez is an extremist who refused, while at the Department of Justice, to prosecute a clear-cut case of voter intimidation against those not identified as Obama voters. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Iain Murray, in a National Review article, notes that Perez’s “rewriting of U.S. labor law is probably the most fundamental attack on the free-enterprise system going on at present…If he has his way, we won’t just revert to the 1930s. We’ll do things that even Franklin Roosevelt couldn’t do, like eliminate vast numbers of independent-contractor jobs and unionize those that remain.”

Perez selected Keith Ellison as his deputy chair. Ellison was noted for his bizarre statements about the 9/11 attacks, suggesting that President Bush (43) used the terrorist assault to copy Adolph Hitler’s infamous Reichstag Fire strategy to destroy his opponents.  Ellison has also been tied to anti-Semitic positions. His 2010 comments about Israel led to a demand by the Anti-Defamation League that he be disqualified from being appointed to federal office.

NYC Mayor de Blasio was an ardent supporter of Nicaragua’s Marxist Sandinista government in the 1980s. He describes himself as an advocate of “democratic socialism” and was executive director of the New York branch of the pro-socialist New Party.

As party leaders, they are not far from the worrisome example set by President Obama.  Obama abused federal agencies for partisan purposes, stood U.S. foreign policy on its head, and took advice from individuals such as Bill Ayers, a founder of the internationally supported terrorist Weather Underground Organization.

Progressive politicians such as Perez, Ellison and de Blasio are at the forefront of replacing rational, peaceful political discourse with a new atmosphere that encourages continual street protests that erupt into violence, including those levied against college campus speakers that don’t agree with the prevailing left-wing orthodoxy.

The report concludes tomorrow.

Why Democrat Leaders Oppose Border Controls, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its review of opposition to funding the southern border wall

Arguments about the cost of the wall fail to make economic sense; cost-savings from reducing the number of illegal entries far exceeds any expenses incurred in construction. Steven Camarota describes the financial outline in a Center for Immigration Studies report:

“The findings of this analysis show that if a border wall stopped a small fraction of the illegal immigrants who are expected to come in the next decade, the fiscal savings from having fewer illegal immigrants in the country would be sufficient to cover the costs of the wall. Among the findings:

  • There is agreement among researchers that illegal immigrants overwhelmingly have modest levels of education — most have not completed high school or have only a high school education.
  • There is also agreement that immigrants who come to America with modest levels of education create significantly more in costs for government than they pay in taxes.
  • A recent NAS study estimated the lifetime fiscal impact (taxes paid minus services used) of immigrants by education. Averaging the cost estimates from that study and combining them with the education levels of illegal border-crossers shows a net fiscal drain of $74,722 per illegal crosser.2
  • The above figures are only for the original illegal immigrants and do not include any costs for their U.S.-born descendants. If we use the NAS projections that include the descendants, the fiscal drain for border-crossers grows to $94,391 each.
  • If a border wall prevented 160,000 to 200,000 illegal crossings (excluding descendants) in the next 10 years it would be enough to pay for the estimated $12 to $15 billion costs of the wall.
  • Newly released research by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) done for the Department of Homeland Security indicates that 170,000 illegal immigrants crossed the border successfully without going through a port of entry in 2015.3 While a significant decline in crossings from a decade ago, it still means that there may be 1.7 million successful crossings in the next decade. If a wall stopped just 9 to 12 percent of these crossings it would pay for itself.
  • If a wall stopped half of those expected to successfully enter illegally without going through a port of entry at the southern border over the next 10 years, it would save taxpayers nearly $64 billion — several times the wall’s cost.”

The answer to the puzzling opposition to border enforcement by Democrat leaders is found at the ballot box.  As the New York Analysis of Policy and Government has previously noted, What may seem, at first impression, to be a position counter to the Democrats own key interests comes into focus when seen through the prism of politics on a national scale.

Governing magazine points out that “Democrats went into this (2016)election controlling the governorship, Senate and House in just seven states — that was their lowest number since the Civil War, when there were 15 fewer states. Now, they control just five states.”

National Review  study concurs.“President Obama’s recent executive orders granting provisional legal status to an estimated 5 million illegal aliens will likely allow an indeterminate number of them to cast ballots in elections across the United States — and it’s hard to see how it won’t affect the outcome of some number of close elections. Amnestied illegal aliens are now eligible to receive Social Security numbers and, in many cases, drivers’ licenses. Since the vast majority of states don’t require individuals to present proof of citizenship to either register or vote, and given the Obama administration’s zealous promotion of motor-voter registration and declared refusal to enforce Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (ensuring that only eligible individuals vote), it’s certain that appreciable numbers of amnestied illegal aliens will be able to vote. Furthermore, testimony…before the House Judiciary Committee revealed that under Obama’s amnesty some illegal aliens will receive advance-parole status — a glide path to citizenship and full voting rights…”

Voting in their own interests, unlawful immigrants who eventually vote, legally or otherwise, will overwhelmingly support Democrats. That is the primary reason for the opposition by Democrat party leaders to reasonable border control.

Why Democrat Leaders Oppose Border Controls

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government presents a two-part analysis of the opposition to the southern border wall. 

There has been insufficient examination of why Democrats have so vehemently opposed measures to restrict illegal immigration. The latest iteration of this is the threat to shut down the government if the latest government funding bill contains money for the southern wall.

Former presidential candidate Herman Cain has commented on the irony of this tactic.

“Back in 2013,” Cain writes, “when GOP members threatened a federal shutdown, they were called ‘terrorists’ and ‘hostage takers.’  Brian Williams famously carped that ‘All kinds of people are getting cheated out of salaries, benefits, medical treatment.’  That, in true Williams fashion, was a bald-faced lie, but it was the narrative the entire left-wing media decided to run with. As Mark Halpern admitted on MSNBC, the press was in Obama’s pocket and they were going to help him sell the anti-Republican narrative. It worked.  The GOP took a temporary hit and, for the next few years, Republicans would cower any time someone said the word ‘shutdown.’ Now, the circumstances have been reversed.  Having decimated their own party, Democrats are desperately searching for weapons with which to stall, delay, or derail the GOP agenda. Guess what they’re threatening…”

The Boston Globe recalls that “As a senator, Barack Obama once offered measured praise for the border control legislation that would become the basis for one of Donald Trump’s first acts as president…Obama was talking about the Secure Fence Act of 2006, legislation authorizing a barrier along the southern border passed into law with the support of 26 Democratic senators including party leaders like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Chuck Schumer…Now it’s become the legal mechanism for Trump to order construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico…”

Illegal immigration detrimentally affects many who are, or at least once upon a time were, core Democrat constituencies, including union workers and blacks, who have seen their job opportunities and salaries shrink due to increased competition from illegals.  The poor, who have favored Democrats because of the party’s support for social welfare programs, are forced to share limited federal assistance funding with a new wave of incomers. They certainly don’t benefit.

Last month, the New York Times pointed out: “The issue splits traditional Democratic constituencies.  It pits groups with competing material interests against each other, but it also brings those with vested psychological interests into conflict as Hispanics, African-Americans, labor and liberal advocacy groups clash over their conception of territoriality, political ownership and cultural identity.”

Democrat leaders have even opposed measures to deport illegal alien who have committed crimes. Matt Vespa, writing in Townhall  refutes Democrat’s characterization of ICE raids on illegal criminals as being prosecution of otherwise innocent illegals: Over the past couple of days, immigration enforcement agents have round up almost 700 illegal aliens—75 percent of which had criminal records. Rep. Nancy Pelosi disputed the claim, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement also confirmed the figure released by the Department of Homeland Security.

As the Dallas News  notes, “We can argue about whether America has an immigration problem. But it seems pretty clear that Democrats have an immigration problem…Josh Barro, a senior editor at Business Insider, laid out at length exactly what that problem is. Briefly: Democratic arguments about immigration mostly aren’t arguments…It’s easy to explain how immigrants benefit from an open door. Explanations of how the rest of us benefit tend to rely on the trivial or on abstract economic arguments that most people don’t find particularly intuitive or convincing. Those arguments look even more suspicious because they are generally made by the one group that visibly does benefit from a lot of low-skilled immigration, which provides the nannies, lawn-care, and food services that high-skilled professionals rely on to allow them to work longer hours.”

The report concludes Monday

China’s Hidden Nuclear Weapons

China harsh reaction to the deployment of the U.S. anti-ballistic missile system to South Korea in response to the significant danger of a North Korean nuclear attack (see the New York Analysis study on that topic) has raised the key question of Beijing’s nuclear arms capabilities and practices. Unfortunately, much of the information necessary to make valid policy choices is limited.

Beijing’s excessive response has not been limited to anti-missile systems. A Jamestown Foundation report cites Chinese sources, closely tied to the government, stating that “Northeast Asia is under imminent threat of a New Cold War,” with the U.S. and its Japanese and South Korean allies pitted against China, Russia and the DPRK.”

With this prevailing attitude, it’s important to understand the status of China’s nuclear forces.

According to the Arms Control Agency, Beijing commands about 260 [strategic] atomic warheads. The 21stCentury Arms Race  site indicates that China has up to 100 missiles with which to launch them.

But this information may significantly underestimate the true size of the arsenal. A Diplomat study notes that “China officially communicates the least about the size, status and capabilities of its nuclear forces. “

A Georgetown University study by Dr. Philip Karber  points out the challenge of correctly estimating the nuclear capability of a secretive state.  In the case of China, a large number of weapons may be concealed in a vast array of tunnels.

“During the cold war we missed 50% of the Soviet stockpile…while the U.S. has tracked PRC tunnel construction for years, the scope, magnitude and strategic rational behind the “Underground Great Wall” has been under appreciated…the Chinese buildup of their Theater-Strategic Rocket Force has not been the focus of a comprehensive all source analogy…public numbers [of atomic warheads] could be easily off by a factor of 10…”

A 2011 Washington Post article outlined the extraordinary dimensions of the “nuclear tunnels:” “According to a report by state-run CCTV, China had more than 3,000 miles of tunnels — roughly the distance between Boston and San Francisco — including deep underground bases that could withstand multiple nuclear attacks… The lack of interest, particularly in the U.S. media, demonstrated China’s unique position in the world of nuclear arms.For decades, the focus has been on the two powers with the largest nuclear stockpiles by far… of the five nuclear weapons states recognized by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, China has been the most secretive. While the United States and Russia are bound by bilateral treaties that require on-site inspections, disclosure of forces and bans on certain missiles, China is not.”

The Georgetown researchers have concluded that China’s arsenal may include not hundreds of warheads, but thousands—possibly 3,000.

China’s policy on the use of its nuclear prowess is getting more belligerent. Beijing is using the legitimate response to North Korea’s illegal nuclear weapons program and its threats to use them as an excuse to move to a more aggressive posture.

Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND)  said in July that “We will pay close attention to relevant actions of the U.S. and the ROK and will take necessary measures to maintain national strategic security as well as regional strategic equilibrium.” Recently, reports Infowars “China warns that it is reconsidering its policy not to use nuclear weapons against South Korea…”

Despite Beijing’s public denunciation of North Korea’s nuclear program, it makes clear that it will tolerate no external interference with its development, leading to the question of whether it actually finds Pyongyang’s weapons a useful counterweight for American and South Korean forces.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently released policy paper, downplays the looming threats from North Korea’s nuclear weapons, proclaiming “Currently, the situation in the Asia-Pacific region is stable on the whole, with a strong momentum for peace and development. The Asia-Pacific region is a stable part of the global landscape. To promote peace and seek stability and development is the strategic goal and common aspiration of most countries in the region.”  (the report says that “China’s position on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is consistent and clear-cut. China is committed to the denuclearization of the peninsula, its peace and stability, and settlement of the issue through dialogue and consultation.”) However, the Report objects to defensive regional alliances, stating “To beef up a military alliance targeted at a third party is not conducive to maintaining common security.”

China’s potentially significant hidden nuclear arsenal, as well as its increased confidence in asserting its power, looms as am existing  major threat.

The Under-reported Crisis: Russia’s Massive Arms Buildup, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its latest examination of under-reported defense issues concerning Russia.

Here is a small sampling of other vital information that has not been adequately presented to the public, generally appearing only  specialty journals, (one example being the extraordinary journalism presented in the Washington Free Beacon) some “wire services” such as AP but getting little attention in major newspapers, network television, or most cable news outlets:

The Associated Press reported this matter in February, which was, as usual, not given a great deal of attention:

“The Russian military received a sweeping array of new weapons last year, including 41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the wide-ranging military modernization will continue this year, the defense minister said Wednesday. Minister Sergei Shoigu told lawmakers the air force will receive 170 new aircraft, the army will receive 905 tanks and other armored vehicles while the navy will receive 17 new ships this year…The rising number of new weapons has raised demands for new personnel. Shoigu said the military currently needs 1,300 more pilots and will recruit them by 2018… the military now has 2,000 drones compared to just 180 in 2011…Russia has now deployed new long-range early warning radars to survey the airspace along the entire length of its borders.The minister said the military will complete the formation of three new divisions in the nation’s west and southwest, and also deploy a new division on the Pacific Islands, which have been claimed by Japan.”

The Jamestown Foundation reports that “Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the dismemberment of its territory is not an isolated operation. It constitutes one component of a broader strategic agenda to rebuild a Moscow-centered bloc designed to compete with the West. The acceleration of President Vladimir Putin’s neo-imperial project has challenged the security of several regions that border the Russian Federation, focused attention on the geopolitical aspects of Kremlin ambitions, and sharpened the debate on the future role of NATO, the EU, and the US in the Wider Europe.”

The United Kingdom’s Daily Mail reports on two significant new threats, one current and one on the drawing boards. “Russia has unveiled chilling pictures of its largest ever nuclear missile, capable of destroying an area the size of France. The RS-28 Sarmat missile, dubbed Satan 2 by Nato, has a top speed of 4.3 miles (7km) per second…The new Sarmat missile could deliver warheads of 40 megatons – 2,000 times as powerful as the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945…Russia is also readying itself to become a leader in the construction of hypersonic aircraft, a new report reveals. Kremlin-backed media claim engineers in the Federation are among the first in the world to work towards new materials for planes capable of reaching hypersonic speeds.” The move could help Russia produce a new fleet of aerial war machines that could launch nuclear attacks from space. Aviation researchers are reportedly working to develop the materials which can withstand the stress and high temperatures of travelling many times the speed of sound.

The Washington Free Beacon  reported last September that “The nominee to lead the U.S. Strategic Command warned Congress this week that China and Russia are rapidly building space warfare capabilities and the United States is lagging behind in efforts to counter the threat. Both Beijing and Moscow are developing anti-satellite missiles and laser guns and maneuvering killer space robots that could cripple strategic U.S. communications, navigation and intelligence satellites, the backbone of American high-technology warfare.”

The British publication, The Sun, also reported in October that “Russia conducted a massive evacuation drill for more than 40 million people to prepare for nuclear war. More than 200,000 emergency services personnel and soldiers used 50,000 pieces of equipment during the massive civil defence exercise.”

Moscow has not been shy about its new prowess.  The semi-official Russian publication RT  reported in October that “Over 100 fighter jets, long-range bombers and combat helicopters have been scrambled at their bases across Russia and six post-Soviet states as the allies prepare to test their integrated air defense system in a massive military exercise. More than 130 command and control centers have been put on alert in Russia and six former Soviet republics – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.” RT also notes  that “Russia’s next-generation strategic bomber, known as the PAK-DA, may be unveiled to the public by the end of 2018…The plane is expected to be able to cover a range of 6,740 nautical miles and carry around 30-40 tons of weapons including air-to-surface missiles as well as conventional and smart-guided bombs.”

The Under-reported Crisis: Russia’s Massive Arms Buildup

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government presents a two part examination of the lack of adequate coverage of Russia’s massive arms buildup.

Most of the major U.S. media has chosen to provide little coverage of significant military matters, except when an imminent threat arises or shooting actually starts.  One example: North Korea’s immediate nuclear threats have recently made the headlines, but the long years of Pyongyang’s development of its atomic and missile arsenals were touched on only lightly.

Over the past eight years America’s already depleted armed forces were substantially reduced by budget cuts and a White House that sought to divert defense spending to its social welfare agenda, despite the rising threats from Russia, China, and elsewhere.  The major media was largely supportive of that policy, and underreported the looming dangers. That press trend continues.

While the U.S. was in the midst of an extensive reduction in military spending, Moscow, starting in 2010, launched a $720 billion modernization program. As noted by the Economist  in 2014, “Russia’s defence spending has nearly doubled in nominal terms since 2007. This year alone it will rise by 18.4%.”

The relative military positions of Washington and Moscow were reversed during the Obama Administration.  Russia now, for the first time in history, is the world’s most powerful nuclear state,  a result of the Obama/Clinton New START treaty. The Wall Street Journal noted that President Obama had only a “a dim and faddish understanding of nuclear realities.”

The bizarre sale of American uranium interests to Russia, (uranium is the key ingredient for atomic weapons) and the resulting profit to the Clinton Foundation remains of the most under-discussed scandals in U.S. history.

Moscow’s nuclear development has been matched by Putin’s massive investment in his conventional forces.

Last year, as reported by the New York Analysis of Policy and Government,  USMC Lt. General Vincent R. Stewart, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, addressed the House Armed Services Committee on key threats facing the United States. He noted thatMoscow continues to devote major resources to modernizing its military forces, viewing military power as critical to achieving key strategic objectives: acknowledged great power status, dominating smaller regional states and deterring NATO from military action in Eurasia. Russian leadership considers a capable and survivable nuclear force as the foundation of its strategic deterrent capability, and modernized, agile general purpose forces as vital for Eurasian and limited out-of-area power projection.” For a more thorough examination of the growing imbalance in the U.S. nuclear deterrent, see the New York Analysis article, “Russian Nuclear Weapons Modernize while U.S. Arsenal Diminishes”

Some of the Kremlin’s massive arms buildup violated existing treaties. In October, Rep. Thornberry (R-Texas), chair of the House Committee on Armed Services, and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California) penned an urgent letter to President Obama:

Dear Mr. President:

We write to you again because of our urgent concern about the failure of your Administration to confront Russia’s violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty…Neither the State Department nor Defense Department imposed consequences on Russia…your Administration is not permitting the military to pursue the options recommended to you by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey. It is now apparent to us that the situation regarding Russia’s violation has worsened…”

The Washington Free Beacon reported late in 2016 that “ Moscow has increased its deployed nuclear warheads over the last six months as the United States has reduced its own…Russia deployed nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad, Russia, its small territory bordering Lithuania and Poland, both NATO members.”

There are also concerns that Moscow may have violated other accords relating to nuclear weapons testing. The British newspaper The Sun  reported in February that the “U.S. [sent a] specialist nuke-hunter plane to the UK as ‘radiation spike’ sparks fears Putin has tested nuclear weapon in the Arctic… Many point to [a] radiation spike as “proof” the Russians have restarted nuclear weapons testing at Novaya Zemlya near the Arctic.

The Report concludes tomorrow