Scapegoating China and Manipulating the Opinions of Americans – Part 3/4

November 7, 2012

In Part 2, we discovered that China’s unemployment rate among rural Chinese working in manufacturing reached 16.4% in early 2009 (while unemployment in the United States was only 9.3%), and from Forbes on October 18, 2012 we learn: Manufacturing jobs stand poised for a rebound as jobs get reshored from China — creating 2.5 million to 5 million U.S. jobs in manufacturing and support jobs. Worries about a severe job skills gap are largely misreported according to results from a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) analysis – part of the firm’s ongoing series entitled Made in America, Again.” 

In comparison, unemployment in the United States stands at 7.8% today. In another comparison, during 2007 – 2009 while China lost 23 million manufacturing jobs, the United States lost only 2 million in that job sector. Source: bls.gov

With numbers like these, would someone explain how China is stealing manufacturing jobs from the US?

In addition, the average credit card debt per household in the US (I’m not talking about the Federal national debt) is about $16,000 while total U.S. Consumer debt was $2.43 trillion as of May 2011.


The History of Economic Booms and Busts

US Mortgage Debt is more than $14 trillion and 40% of Americans have no retirement savings while 25% have no personal savings. In fact, 38% of American adults have no emergency funds to fall back on.

However, in China the average household saves almost 30% of its annual income. The average business saves about 45% of net profits and the government has a surplus savings rate of more than 50% of tax revenues instead of the US that has a national debt more than 100% of GDP–more than $16 trillion. The US has been spending more than a trillion dollars a year that it doesn’t have while China saves half of its tax revenues and invests in infrastructure and in other countries such as the US. Source: VoxEU.org

Does that sound as if China is a threat to the US and is stealing manufacturing jobs from America? Many in the US are self centered and do not consider that China trades with the world–not just America. In 2011, China exported about $1.6 trillion in goods to other countries while importing about $1.4 trillion. At the same time, China bought about $104 billion in goods from the US. Source: US-China.org

In addition, outside the US, the world sees China differently. The Pew Global Attitudes Project surveys thousands of people in 59 countries. For 2012 China had a 94% favorable rating while the United States had 40%.


The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis

Back to Abraham Lincoln, who said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

We will discover what that means today in the last post in this series.

Continued on November 1, 2012 in Scapegoating China … Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The two-faces of Confucius – Part 2/5

December 21, 2011

Before we look at the two-faces of Confucius, let us learn something from a New York Times Opinion piece by Eric X. Li, Counterpoint: Debunking Myths About China

Li says there is a common myth that because China does not hold elections that its rulers do not have the consent of the ruled.

However, “According to the Pew Research Center” Li says, “the Chinese government enjoys popular support that is among the highest in the world.The Chinese people’s satisfaction with the direction of their country was at 87% in 2010 and has been consistently above 80 percent in recent years.”

Compare the popularity of China’s government to that of the US government and its people, and we discover that, “Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress receive highly negative job ratings. Just 23% approve of the job Republican congressional leaders are doing, while 67% disapprove. Ratings for Democratic leaders are not much better: 30% approve while 61% disapprove…” Source: Pew Research Center


Common Misconceptions  About China

Li also debunked the myth that China is an authoritarian state in which the party’s political power is concentrated and self-perpetuating.

He then tackled the myth that China’s restriction on freedom of expression stifles innovation. Li says, “Some of the most successful IPO’s of Internet companies on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq have been Chinese startups…” and “China’s share of scientific research papers published in recognized international journals went from 4.4 percent in the period between 1999-2003 to 10.2 percent in the period between 2004-2008, now just behind the United States.”

In addition, when it comes to claims that the Communist Party’s authoritarian rule leads to widespread corruption, “By Transparency International’s account [the lower the number the less corruption there is], China (78) ranks higher than India (87), Philippines (134), Indonesia (110), Argentina (105) and many more, and tied with Greece (78), barely below Italy (67) — all electoral democracies.

Apparently, China’s one-party system is less corrupt than many democratic countries.

In conclusion before moving on to the two-faces of Confucius in the next post, David Gosset in Common Misconceptions About the Chinese World says, “The level of individual freedom enjoyed today by its citizens has no equivalent in China’s past, and the effort to establish the rule of law will bring more social, economic and political improvements.”

Continued on December 15, 2011 in The two-faces of Confucius – Part 3 or return to Part 1

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page.

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How to “FAIL” at the “Art of War”

November 8, 2011

In August 2010, I ran a twelve part series on Sun Tzu’s The Art of War starting with Part 1.  In this post, I’ve brought together the series in one post and added more content.

The reason for revisiting Sun Tzu’s The Art of War has to do with a recent study by The Pew Research Center, which says, one in three Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of the post-9/11 military see these wars as a waste.

Then NPR’s Jackie Northam reported as the wars drag on, interest among Americans has dropped from 90 percent supporting the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan before the war started to 25 percent today.

Northam quotes Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. “The public soured on the decision to go to war in Iraq by 2004, when not only were there no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) found, but all of a sudden, the cost of that war began to increase, [and] casualties began to be rather substantial.”

In addition, Fair Game (2010), a movie of CIA operative Valerie Plame and her husband, who wrote a 2003 New York Times op-ed piece on the topic of WMD in Iraq, alleged that the Bush administration had manipulated intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq—an accusation of fraud in the White House.

According to the wisdom of Sun Tzu, these three points are enough to indicate a “high” possibility of defeat for the United States.

So, who better to turn to than Sun Tzu to see if the goals of these wars are possible to achieve.

It is time to reexamine the master that West Point cadets study. Sun Tzu dates to China’s Warring States Period (476 – 221 BC). Traditional accounts place him in the Spring and Autumn Period of China as a military general serving under King Helu of Wu (544-496 BC).

You have to be good to still be taken seriously about 2500 years after your death.


There are three key principals to The Art of War.

1. Know your enemy and know yourself — understanding your opponent is crucial to victory.

2. Sun Tzu prizes the general who can outwit instead of outfight his opponent — to subdue the enemy without fighting is the height of skill.

3. Avoid what is strong. Attack what is weak.

In the case of President George W. Bush, when he went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is now clear that he did not know his enemy (or much at all about the culture and politics of the Middle East and of Islam).

Bush also resorted to subduing his enemy with force instead of outwitting him—as if President Bush was capable of outwitting Al-Qaeda, since finding the weakness of an organization that is like smoke would be a challenge to any president.

As for Sun Tzu, around 500 BC, the King of Wu summons him, one of the greatest military minds in history, to save his kingdom from a more powerful enemy.

Sun Tzu was a warrior and a philosopher. He was important because he had a cohesive, holistic philosophy on strategy.

Sun Tzu tells the King of Wu he can defeat the enemy with a smaller army. Doubting him, the king challenges Sun Tzu to turn the palace concubines into a fighting force and Sun Tzu accepts.

Sun Tzu shows the concubines what to do, selects the best two students and puts them in charge of the others. When Sun Tzu orders the exercise to begin, the woman laugh.

He tries again but the concubines laugh again.

Sun Tzu says, “If instructions are not clear and commands not explicit, it is the fault of the general. But if the orders are clear, and my orders are clear, it is the fault of the subordinate officers.”

Without warning, Sun Tzu beheads the two concubines he had selected to lead the others. To Sun Tzu, war is a matter of life and death. This is the key principal of his teachings. Once understood, everyone from the general to the solider will be motivated to win.

However, in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States fought wars with rules that hamper victory and ignore the fact that war is a matter of life and death.

Instead, politics and public opinion decide the rules of the battle field.

While the bodies of the first two concubines are still warm, Sun Tzu appoints two new concubines to lead the others. This time the concubines follow his orders without hesitation. The king of Wu is convinced and appoints Sun Tzu commander of the Wu army.

Sun Tzu now must train an army of 30 thousand troops to fight a force ten times larger.

The state of Wu has only 33,000 troops while Chu can field a force of 300 thousand.

Outnumbered ten to one, Sun Tzu could build his defenses and wait for the attack. However, he does the unexpected. He invades Chu.

He doesn’t attack Chu’s main army. Instead, he attacks outposts and weaker targets. When Chu sends an army to fight, Sun Tzu slips away emphasizing maneuver, surprise and deception.

After every battle, Sun Tzu learns more about his enemy.

During another war more than two thousand years later, Sun Tzu’s ultimate secret becomes more evident. In the mid 1960s, the world’s largest super power is fighting in Vietnam—a country smaller than the state of Montana.

The American general sees the battlefield like a chessboard where armies stand and fight. However, Vietnam has no clear objectives to attack and destroy.

The Communist general understands Sun Tzu and uses the Viet Cong in hit and run attacks against fixed US positions.

Sun Tzu said, “It is more important to outthink your enemy than outfight him. In war, numbers alone confer no advantage. Do not advance relying on sheer military power.”

The US commander breaks these rules.

Sun Tzu liked the enemy to maneuver and respond to his moves. This way he was in charge of the battlefield.

A US report after the Vietnam War revealed that 80% of the time, it was the North Vietnamese and Vietcong who decided where and when to fight.

Sun Tzu said, “Once you know the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, you can avoid the strengths and attack the weaknesses.” At the beginning of the war, almost 80% of Americans supported it.

As the Vietnam War continued with mounting US causalities, that support at home shifted against the war, which achieved another of Sun Tzu’s rules, “The skillful leader subdues enemy’s troops without any fighting. One does not win wars by winning battles.”

Although the North Vietnamese and Vietcong did not win battles, they won the war by turning the American people against it. To achieve this goal, the North Vietnamese commander was willing to lose ten men for every American killed.

In the end, the US lost 53 thousand troops and the North Vietnamese and Vietcong more than a million with several million more noncombatants killed as collateral damage to the American bombing.

Sun Tzu felt spies were important, and he devoted one chapter to spies. He said, “Use your spies for every kind of business,” and the North Vietnamese and Vietcong followed that advice.

Sun Tzu said, “An accurate knowledge of the enemy is worth ten divisions.”

He also said, “Let your plans be as dark as night – then strike like a thunderbolt.” The Tet Offensive in January of 1968 was that thunderbolt.

Sun Tzu said, “Keep plans as dark as night.”

The NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and Vietcong did this by moving supplies and troops through miles of tunnels built in the 1950 and 60s.

Deception was also one of Sun Tzu’s rules.

To achieve deception, the NVA and Vietcong announced they would honor a cease-fire on January 31, 1968, the Tet New-Year Holiday.

Sun Tzu said, “In battle use a direct attack to engage and an indirect attack to win,” meaning to deceive your enemy so you can win your real objective.

To achieve this goal, the NVA launched a surprise attack on Khe Sanh, a remote US base, one week before the Tet Offensive.

The South Vietnamese and American military are surprised when the NVA launches the Tet Offensive. At first, it looks like the Vietcong will win, but the NVA ignored one of Sun Tzu’s rules—moral influence.

Moral influence means a leader must have the people behind him to win.

During the early days of the Tet, the Vietcong rounded up and brutally assassinated several-thousand South Vietnamese government workers and killed many Catholic nuns losing the support of the people.

However, in America, watching the violence of the Tet Offensive on TV turned more Americans against the war.

Eight years later, in 1975, Saigon falls to the NVA and America loses the war even though the US had military superiority.

It is about 500 BC in China and Sun Tzu’s hit-and-run campaign against the state of Chu is working. The Chu prime minister is starting to lose support and the moral of his troops is dropping.

Throughout the countryside of Chu, there is fear of where Sun Tzu will strike next. When the larger Chu army threatens one of Sun Tzu’s allies, Sun Tzu uses another rule of war, “To move your enemy, entice him with something he is certain to take.”

Then, when his own forces are surrounded, Sun Tzu says, “Put the army in the face of death where there is no escape and they will not flee or be afraid – there is nothing they cannot achieve.” See The Long March

What happened to Sun Tzu in China when his small army was surrounded also happened on June 6, 1944 when allied troops in World War II invaded Europe during D-day.

Sun Tzu says, “All warfare is deception. If you can deceive your enemy before battle, you are more likely to win.”

That’s what General Eisenhower did before the invasion of Normandy. To succeed, the allies used deception to convince the Germans the attack would not take place in Normandy.

Sun Tzu says, “It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to spy against you and bribe them to serve you.” In The Art of War, double agents are the most important spies.

That is what the Allies did in World War II before the Normandy Invasion of France. No one used double agents better than the British did.

Britain turned almost every spy Germany sent during the war. These double agents made the Germans believed the invasion would take place at Pas de Calais and not Normandy.

Sun Tzu says, “The way a wise general can achieve greatness beyond ordinary men is through foreknowledge.” The allies had foreknowledge because they broke the German code and knew what the Germans were thinking and planning.

Sun Tzu would have praised the allied preparation for the invasion and the use of deception but he would have condemned the actual assault.

Sun Tzu says, “When a falcon’s strike breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing. When torrential water tosses boulders, it is because of momentum.”

Sun Tzu believes that the best attack can be ruined if momentum is lost, and he would have predicted the cost of lives during the Normandy invasion more than two-thousand years before it took place.

During the invasion of Normandy, the allies survived on death ground exactly as Sun Tzu predicted by fighting together and never giving up.

Sun Tzu meant when you put troops in a combat position where they must fight or die, there is no choice but to fight.

Another reason the Allies succeeded during D-day was another of Sun Tzu’s rules of war. He said, “It is essential for victory that generals are unconstrained by their leaders.”

The allied command structure gives total authority to General Eisenhower as supreme commander.

However, Germany under Hitler did not have the same command structure.

Hitler had set up a confusing system of overlapping authority so no one had total control over the military leaving Hitler the only one who made final decisions.

Hitler’s command structure is a perfect example of what Sun Tzu says about “no interference from the leader”.

The allies in France are bogged down in difficult terrain. The combat losses are horrible and little progress is made.

The solution is found in Sun Tzu’s rules of war. “Make your enemy prepare on his left and he will be weak on his right.”

The allies will follow this rule.

Sun Tzu says you must behave like the snake. When your enemy attacks, you must be flexible.

Throughout the invasion of Normandy, France, Sun Tzu’s rules of war guide the Allies to victory. The Allies used deception, foreknowledge, and a superior command structure that motivated the army to fight as one.

Sun Tzu says, “The winning army realizes the conditions for victory first then fights. The losing army fights first then seeks victory.”

More than two thousand years before the Battle of Normandy, the battle between the kingdoms of Wu and Chu raged on.

Even with a smaller army, Sun Tzu is not worried. He has split his army. While the Chu army is surrounding his smaller force, the main part of his army is moving toward the unprotected Chu capital.

The Chu commander turns from the smaller Wu force under Sun Tzu’s command and rushes back to save the capital.

Sun Tzu says, “No nation has ever benefitted from prolonged war.” The American Civil War is Sun Tzu’s nightmare scenario. Possibly the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the same since so many of Sun Tzu’s rules of war have been ignored.

Sun Tzu says, “Those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle. They are not brought by him.” This will happen to General Robert E. Lee in 1863.

China’s Sun Tzu says if the orders are unclear, it is the fault of the commanding general.

General Lee told one of his generals to “Attack when you think it is practical.” That general decides it is not practical and does nothing.

At the Battle Gettysburg, Lee did not give clear orders.

Robert E. Lee made a tactical mistake when he did not follow Sun Tzu’s rule to “Move only when you see an advantage and there is something to gain. Only fight if a position is critical.”

Sun Tzu says, “When the enemy occupies high ground, do not confront him. If he attacks downhill, do not oppose him.” Robert E. Lee did not listen and decides to attack the Union positions on the high ground.

General Longstreet disagrees. He does not want to attack the high ground. Instead, he wants to go around the Union Army toward the North’s capital, Washington D.C.

Sun Tzu says, “There are some armies that should not be fought and some ground that should not be contested.”

After two days of horrible losses, Robert E. Lee orders what is left of his army to attack uphill a third time. General Longstreet urges Lee not to do this. Lee ignores him.

On the third day of Gettysburg during Picket’s charge up another hill, only 5,000 survived of 12,000 troops. Sun Tzu would have been horrified.

Sun Tzu says, “When troops flee, are insubordinate, collapse or are routed in battle, it is the fault of the general.”

Sun Tzu sees a commanding general as someone intelligent and cunning and never rash or arrogant, which is the opposite of the commander of the Chu army more than two thousand years ago.

Sun Tzu won the war against Chu, which had an army ten times larger than his. He did this through preparation, deception and indirect attacks.

After winning the war against Chu, Sun Tzu retires and writes The Art of War.

The first line of Sun Tzu’s rules of war says, “War is a matter of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, survival or ruin.

As I finished the series on Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, I thought of President Lyndon Johnson who invaded Vietnam (1950 to 1975)—a war where a super power lost to a third-world country as Chu did to Wu about twenty-five hundred years ago.

Nations that fought with the United States lost more than 300 thousand troops with almost 1.5 million wounded. North Vietnam and the Communists lost almost 1.2 million troops and more than 4 million civilian dead. Source: Vietnam War – Wiki

President G. W. Bush rushed into a war in Iraq and Afghanistan on faulty evidence, which may have been based on lies. For these wars, the casualties and losses continue.


Learn more at the War Resisters League

Several American presidents ignored Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.

Since World War II, America has spent more than 23 trillion dollars fighting wars and in defense. The U.S. won the Cold War against Soviet Russia without fighting.

Too bad the citizen of the US, Presidents Johnson and G. W. Bush did not learn from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.

China’s Sun Tzu said, “Sometimes, the best way to win is not to fight.”

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Politics of Fear – Part 2/5

September 15, 2011

In America, there is a “BIG” dollar sign driving the “Politics of Fear”, and this dollar sign has generated much hate and distrust of China (and a few other countries) in the United States.

There are BIG lies and little lies that drive the “Politics of Fear” and some are subtle.

McCarthyism is an example of a BIG lie and another “BIG” lie by President Johnson (LBJ) led to the Vietnam War (at a time when most neo-conservatives still belonged to the Democratic Party).

Most of the lies that drive the “Politics of Fear” are not planned, and it is not a plot (a political/religious ideology drives the Politics of Fear).

Instead, the architects of these lies take advantage of events as they happen and mold the public’s opinion mostly with the little lies waiting for the “BIG” moment that leads to wars such as the one in Iraq.

Creating fear and loathing of China to justify “HUGE” military expenditures in the US also may explain the criticism of a recent rail accident, which I wrote of in High Speed Rail Tragedy in China Reveals Small Minds in the West (an example of a little lie).

To create an atmosphere of fear, first there must be distrust and loathing, which is the job of the little lies. That way it is easier for the American public to accept the BIG lies when they arrive.

In addition, we learn from Information Clearing House.info that President Harry Truman (33rd President of the United States – 1945–1953) set out, as Arthur Vandenberg advised, to “Scare the Hell out of the American people.”

However, fear to manipulate public opinion did not start with China. The US government first generated fear to manipulate the citizens of the US and Europe through the CIA‘s Operation Mockingbird (1948) soon after the end of World War II at the start of the Cold War with Soviet Russia.

Eventually, in the late 1970s, many neoconservatives moved from the Democratic Party to Ronald Reagan, the Republican hawk that promised to confront Soviet expansionism. Source: Rejecting the Democratic Party

But, soon after launching Operation Mockingbird, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enacted the Fairness Doctrine, which was a deterrent to control of the media and success of operations such as the CIA’s Mockingbird.

The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the FCC (introduced in 1949) that required the holders of broadcast licenses (radio and TV) to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission’s view, honest, equitable and balanced, which wasn’t the goal of the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird or President Reagan‘s neo-conservatives.

To rid America of honest, equitable and balanced media reporting, in 1987, President Reagan defeated the Fairness Doctrine when he vetoed legislation intended to make it a federal law, and there were not enough votes to override his veto.

The House of Representatives had voted earlier that month with 302 votes in favor while 102 voted no. However, in the Senate, the vote was 59 to 31, less than the two-thirds necessary to override a presidential veto and President Reagan did away with the only protection the public had to hear both sides of every controversial issue, which was the end of any assurance that the news would be honest, equitable and balanced.

Consortium News.com says, “A rule of thumb in journalism is that there are almost always two sides to a story, but that rule is often ignored by the U.S. news media in the heat of some conflict when the United States is involved. Then, the real motivations of the U.S. adversary are widely ignored in favor of demonization.”

However, if the Fairness Doctrine were a law, demonizing countries (such as China) in the media would be a challenge, because the public would hear both sides of every issue making fear difficult to generate.


After the Fairness Doctrine was vetoed by President Reagan, conservative talk radio boomed.

A Media Use and Evaluation by Gallup.com of the trust and confidence the American public had of the mass media says that in 1976, 72% of the people had a great deal/fair amount of trust in the mass media, such as newspapers, TV, and radio.

By 2009, however, 57% of the people did not trust what they heard or read in the media due to smear campaigns against the media that it was controlled by ‘godless’ liberals (notice the use of language to cause fear and loathing).

In addition, the Pew Research Center said that in 1985, 55% (already down 17% from 1976) of the people felt news organizations had the facts straight, but by 2009 that trust had dropped to 29% and 63% felt the news was often inaccurate, which represents a great victory for the Politics of Fear.

How can a democracy function when the citizens are not honestly informed of both sides of an issue?

Since 1976, the public trust factor of the media has declined almost 30%, which may be because Internet Forums and Blogs, radio talk shows and TV programs may claim anything without proof and without worry, because in the United States today, freedom of expression also means freedom to lie and manipulate.

Who has benefited the most from the absence of a Fairness Doctrine in the United States designed to insure balance and honesty in the media?

Continued September 16, 2011 in The Politics of Fear – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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