sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sunday Sermonette - Extra

Tariffs

Ed on his blog, NOT OF THIS WORLD comments on the current trade war with China. It's worth a read. The Chinese are concerned about what the US intends to do next in regard tariffs. And when you break it down (and I won't here) into granular components, a 25% increase to China means a reciprocal 2% increase in US costs. Some sectors are impacted more directly, but it hurts China considerably more than the US and they know this. Add in a pinched economy in China, Hong Kong woes and a resurgent US military under the Trump Doctrine (thing are not war-ready in the US but it's getting better). China also realizes that it looks as if there will be another 4 years of The Donald. 

Hong Kong

You'll read about it in the press soon. China is going to try and buy off the protesters. Interesting concept that will likely backfire. The young people in Hong Kong are finding it difficult to get well paying jobs (as with young people everywhere), and the PRC will offer them jobs in the Worker's Paradise. More specifically in Shenzhen, adjacent to Hong Kong. To keep the situation in Shenzhen under control, they're going to loosen travel regulations for the people there and allow them more freedom, more privilege. 

They have written off sending in the People's Liberation Army and believe that Hong Kong will descend into chaos because democracy doesn't work. They will sit back with 'popcorn' and watch. 

That's the latest.

Denmark and Greenland

Go to the Early Edition of the Sunday Sermonette and read "Reader in Denmark". His comments are insightful. I'll quote him in part:
Greenland is an economic black hole. It has no monitary value at all. Sure, there are untapped natural resources in Greenland. It's just too expensive to exploit them. The population of Greenland is tiny. The country is huge. The indigenous population is, overall, not very well educated. Infrastructure is limited, by Western standards. The local government is mostly left wing, and corrupt. The effect of this corruption is in large part of no immediate consequence - it's small time, everyday, petty corruption. BUT: 
There is a growing independence movement in Greenland. This should cause worry among intelligent people. Not that independence is wrong. Not at all. It's just that independence for Greenland would, in short order, result in drastically reduced standard of living, followed by continuous political upheaval. The corrupt government would easily be fooled, or bought, by outside powers. Throw in an aggressive Chinese interest, an adventurous Russian "expedition" to the huge uninhabited parts of Eastern Greenland, and you could have a real mess on your hands in no time. Trump knows this. 
I think that THIS was Trump's point, in making his offer to buy Greenland. It was not a serious offer. He does not want Greenland *. He wanted to stir up some shit, and make Denmark and Greenland wake up to the realities. I think he succeeded! In making such a blatant, crude and impolite offer, he made everyone involved in Greenland think "what if...?". What if the US bought Greenland? Not going to happen -Denmark will not sell. But what if Greenland got fed up with being owned by Denmark? Why SHOULD Greenland be owned by Denmark? WHO, then, will own Greenland? THAT, my friends, is the issue. And Trump made everyone crap their pants, and think about the status quo, and HOW TO KEEP IT.
/ A reader in Denmark
First, thank you, Reader, for taking the time to break it down. The way it happened is much as you set forth. 

Meeting: "The Chinese and Russians want to exploit Greenland, and Denmark doesn't have the capacity to stop them. What should we do?"

President Trump: "Maybe we should just buy Greenland?"

Then the press and the hot Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, stepped into it and I think that you're right. Greenland may hold a referendum on their political future. Where it goes from there is anyone's guess. Usually nations or islands (think Puerto Rico) find that they're better off under a US economic and military umbrella, but it's not a foregone conclusion. The bottom line is that Greenland has strategic value in more ways than one and there are other things that the US is aware of that makes it even more valuable. It will end up falling to Chinese exploitation if allowed, and the Russians would like to be a player, but it's not the USSR anymore. 

As Reader points out, Denmark as a component of NATO has muscle, but Denmark alone does not. I have friends in Danish Aerospace and other elements of Danish Defense Infrastructure. What they have is good, but it's a small nation.