Does It Make a Sound?

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BobK71
BobK71
1 year ago

I am absolutely a ‘do you hear the people sing?’ kind of guy. To me, there is no excuse to run a repressive regime and run all over human rights.

That said, objectively, this protest has all the signs of a CIA operation that just happens to coincide with a trade and currency war between the two countries. (A ‘subversion expert’ from the US Consulate, according to Chinese state media, has been caught on camera with protest leaders.)

As a detective, the first question to ask is ‘who benefits?’

This event showcases precisely how the modern empire works. By soft power. By alliance with different factions, especially including those who believe in Enlightenment ideals. Thereby, the empire is able to wield considerable power by not spending much at all, because it doesn’t have much, compared to the costs of running the world.

The salaries of a few State Department/CIA employees vs. trillions in trade and FX markets. Brilliant.

P.S. If you find the setting of Les Miserables in mid-19th century France eerily apropos to the current event, it’s because it is. It never ceases to amaze me how people of passion find their voice in the most ingenious way. (And don’t laugh if and when the choice turns out to have come from a cultural advisor from the CIA.)

BobK71
BobK71
1 year ago
Reply to  Rusty Guinn

Agreed that it’s authentic and passionate for 99% of the protestors. But there is no need to broadcast this story around the world more than it already is, since the pressure points are only in Hong Kong. If the Chinese army moves in and succeeds, then it will be time to promote the ‘standard’ global narrative.

BobK71
BobK71
1 year ago
Reply to  Rusty Guinn

Let’s also not forget what it was that really allowed the Chinese Communist Party to stay in power after the Tiananmen protests of 1989.

Trump has been quick to blame Chinese currency manipulation and the trade imbalance for loss of US jobs, etc. Do any of us really think the US elites were powerless to stop this manipulation in the 90s? They never wanted to, because we had the ‘Great Moderation’ and the ‘Goldilocks’ economy of low interest rates, low fiscal deficits (some surpluses under Clinton,) and low inflation. This was what it meant to have your issued money and debt supported by the biggest physically productive country in the world. Cheap Chinese goods became the new gold that underpinned the dollar’s value and the power that flowed from issuing it.

If the Communist regime survived by giving its people an artificially fast growth in opportunity and comfort, well that’s the cost of doing business isn’t it.

BTW, this is not some kind of accident, mistake, or what have you. If you think about it, it is exactly how the imperial system works. I will leave the elaboration of this argument as an exercise for the thinking reader (ie for those who would rather not turn a blind eye to a system that has benefited them so much.)

BobK71
BobK71
1 year ago
Reply to  Rusty Guinn

Absolutely, there’s not One Truth. As you point out, lots of forces are in play. Though the dominant global forces are the major power blocs within the Western imperial system, since they work by alliance (including allying with objective social goods such as classical liberalism,) both the future trajectory and the history of events aren’t easy to determine for sure and in detail.

That said, we can lay out some useful principles. A major one is that it won’t be one battle between the forces of true liberalism and the elites, but an endless series of little ones. And each little bit counts by moving things just a little toward the light. Since the nature of this system is fundamentally messy, we can take advantage of this fact by benefiting from every little act of sabotage against the schemes of the would-be puppet masters. What we have to do is to debate and expose every little bit of truth, at every turn, and let the chips fall where they may.

bmsobel
bmsobel
1 year ago
Reply to  BobK71

I gave up on the fiat NYT – the WSJ is good – but the Financial Times is exceptional. If you’re in finance and don’t read the FT you are missing 90% of what’s going on in the world. ps -I avoid the editorial pages like the plague.
(This is not a paid endorsement).

Mark Kahn
Mark Kahn
1 year ago

Rusty, I’ve noticed the absence of narrative around this dramatic event. Is the media playing it down because it fears real “speaking truth to power” – and is that because the media is really on the side of the existing power / status quo geopolitical structure? If so, why? Why is it on the side of China?

Also, I’ve read, probably, every WSJ article on it and, while you are right about the headline you note or bent of this or that article, if you actually read all the articles, they’ve done a very good job of covering the event in-depth. As you note, for a financial paper at heart, I think they’ve done an outstanding job.

I hope I’m wrong, but I think China has too many cards to play and, in truth, while the 1997 handover agreement says some wonderful things – who’s going to enforce it, the UK?

The real China superpower moment / battle / generation defining event will be Taiwan. If I was Taiwan, I’d be in full-court-press mode buddying up to the US gov’t and marketing my story of a small democracy versus a Goliath dictatorship to the American public writ large. I don’t think Taiwan has any other strategy / hand to play that might save it from China.

Just my two cents.

Mark Kahn
Mark Kahn
1 year ago
Reply to  Rusty Guinn

Love your viewpoint and spirit and share it, but also believe it can take a long, long – long – time to play out. That miserable borg of Soviet evil plodded on killing its people and their spirit for seventy-plus years and it never gave its people even a smidgeon of the growth and economic opportunity that China has produced (once it gave up communist economics, not politics).

Ward Good
Ward Good
1 year ago

Somewhere on Twitter I saw a brief video of student protesters waving American Flags and singing the national anthem. I was quite moved. I should’ve saved it but I assumed it would go viral since it is now not only kinda sorta news but also a way to poke Trump for inaction. The MSM is too incompetent to be corrupt.

Mark Kahn
Mark Kahn
1 year ago
Reply to  Ward Good

It pokes Trump, yes, so the MSM should love it / but it’s also pro-America in a fundamental – dare I say America “exceptionalism -” way, which the MSM hates.

quickxotica
quickxotica
1 year ago

I’m no expert but the fact that the China has escalated its official rhetoric (e.g. calling the protesters ‘Terrorists”), tells me they’ve decided to foreclose their own options for a peaceful resolution. There’s no way a prideful State like the PRC will allow itself to be seen as negotiating with terrorists (i.e. losing a game of chicken), so now they’ve started actively undermining the “peaceful protesters” narrative, it seems to me inevitable we’ll see an overwhelming show of force. People will die.

The protesters know this, presumably, which only makes their actions more poignant.

chudson
chudson
1 year ago

Perhaps the lack of narrative is the key. It’s the dog that did not bark in the night.

Kirk
Kirk
1 year ago

I was curious about the coverage by Al Jazeera. Seemed to contain actual news. Facts, I’d say, though possibly “selected”. But, reporting on 10th week; increasingly violent clashes; origin of protest; growing demands; UN human rights; China mission view of “showing a tendency of resorting to terrorism; Beijing may be paving way to use anti-terrism law; etc. Al Jazeera becoming my go-to for news (other than middle east….)

Kirk
Kirk
1 year ago
Reply to  Rusty Guinn

there seems to be an anti-China bias which would be linked to China’s repression in its Muslim
regions.

cartoox
cartoox
1 year ago

I live in HK. I went for some of the protests, especially the early ones including when we had a 2 million turnout. HK now is a classic example of the nudging oligarchy [mostly property tycoons ] and the nudging state [or perhaps forceful state as its slowly morphing into ] colluding for today at the expense of tomorrow. What Ben recently called “the Long Now”. The nudging oligarchy – top local tycoons and legislators – were called to a meeting in Shenzhen – where they were pressed upon by the communist party to distance themselves from, and indeed condemn, the protests. This was on news sites…so they’re not even pretending there…… In truth, the extradition bill is just the last straw in a 20+ year of corrosion of the laws and autonomy that enabled Hong Kong to advance into a world class post-industrial connected economy. This was written by a local, a Tom Yam ( no connection to me ) “Many young people feel they have no future. They see the economy controlled by a cartel of tycoons in collusion with the government. They see the hypocrisy of the pro-Beijing establishment. Government officials urge them to go study and work on the mainland, while sending their own offspring to the West. Affluent owners of second passports and second homes in Western democracies tell them to be patriotic and accept creeping authoritarianism. Worse, they see no chance of change for the better. The chief executive is not accountable to the… Read more »

Jane VanFossen
Jane VanFossen
1 year ago
Reply to  cartoox

Was unable to give you the “thumbs up”, so just want to say how much I appreciate your eye-witness perspective. Have enjoyed your vibrant, amazing home each time I’ve visited. Your courageous, liberty-loving people are being prayed for here on the other side of the world.

cartoox
cartoox
1 year ago
Reply to  Rusty Guinn

Thank you Jane, Rusty
It will be interesting to see how this evolves.…..PLA tanks moving in would be an acknowledgement by Beijing that less than half way into the 50 year agreement, they failed to maintain what the British built and left behind and are forced to use primitive methods – physical violence – to sort things out.

It could also possibly end the entire legal+financial system that has made Hong Kong valuable, enabling Mainland companies to access International capital markets and efforts to make the RMB a more acceptable international currency.
That would leave future Chinese companies with little choice except to go back to New York or London for their capital needs.
With the US embarking on an existential conflict with Communist China, raising money in the US in future doesn’t seem like a viable option.

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