Get PJ Media on your Apple

Belmont Club

The Return of History

May 6th, 2014 - 6:57 pm

Nomura economists believe that China’s property bubble has burst. “It is no longer a question of ‘if’, but rather ‘how severe’ the property market correction will be. We are convinced that the property sector has passed a turning point,” they said.

Nomura said four provinces in north China — Heilongjiang, Jilin, Inner Mongolia and Gansu — are leading indicators of the deepening problems in the real estate sector, with property investment having turned negative in the first quarter while industrial output slowed. In Heilongjiang and Jilin, property investment plunged by more than 25 per cent from the previous year.

Chinese local government authorities are trying to counter the fall by easing regulations and providing subsidies for first time home buyers. “Given slackening growth, Beijing will likely back local government efforts to support the housing market lest a collapse in prices jolts the economy and undermines its reform drive, the analysts say.” Property in China is “too big to fail”.

Whether Beijing will succeed or not remains to be seen. For all their recent triumphs China is not ten feet tall. Its ordinary troubles suggest there will be no near term replacement for the American hegemon, just the emergence of competing regional powers, each with their own constraints,  ambitions and imbecilities.  The world won’t go from a Pax Americana to a Pax Sinitica.  It will simply become more messy.

This was exemplified by a report that Saudi Arabia may go nuclear because of Obama’s Iran deal.

President Obama wants an agreement with Iran to prevent a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race, but it’s pushing Saudi Arabia toward its own nuke program.

Last month, America’s top Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman had some bad news for ambassadors from America’s Arab allies. In a meeting with envoys from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf states, Sherman said that any bargain with Iran would likely leave Tehran, the Gulf states long-time enemy, with the capacity to enrich uranium, according to U.S. officials briefed on the encounter. …

And now, one of the countries in the region without a full-blown nuclear programs—Saudi Arabia—may be changing its mind. Riyadh has a long-standing interest in nuclear power. But Western and Israeli intelligence services are starting to see signs that this interest is growing more serious, and extends into nuclear enrichment. Until recently, the pursuit of nuclear enrichment—or the fuel cycle—was considered by arms control experts as a tell-tale sign of a clandestine weapons program. Nuclear fuel is sold to all members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it’s far more costly to build the infrastructure and produce it indigenously. Saudi Arabia appears to be getting more serious about going down that path.

Will Kane has retired from Hadleyville, boarded the noonday train and left town. Now it is every man for himself, not just Saudi Arabia. There are similar impulses to re-arm in Japan and South Korea.  With regards to Europe, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stated it flatly to an audience at the Wilson Center: the idea of ‘permanent peace in Europe’ is gone. He will be calling upon the Europeans to re-arm.

In one of his first major public speeches about the 2-month-old crisis in Ukraine and its impact on NATO, Hagel said the post-Cold War era belief that permanent peace had come to Europe is over.

“Russia’s actions in Ukraine shatter that myth and usher in bracing new realities,” Hagel said in Washington on Friday. …

“I am therefore calling for the inclusion of finance ministers or senior budget officials at a NATO ministerial [summit] focused on defense investment. This would allow them to receive detailed briefings from alliance military leaders on the challenges we face. Leaders across our governments must understand the consequences of current trends in reduced defense spending … and help break through the fiscal impasse.”…

“Over the long term, we should expect Russia to test our alliance’s purpose, stamina and commitment. Future generations will note whether, at this moment of challenge, we summoned the will to invest in our alliance. We must not squander this opportunity or shrink from this challenge. We will be judged harshly if we do.”

It didn’t take long for the Smart Diplomacy crowd to throw away Ronald Reagan’s victory in the Cold War. All anyone can hope for now is that they don’t go all the way back and throw away FDR’s victory in World War 2.

The Washington Post bitterly reproached the Obama administration for engaging in the false economy of dismantling the standing peace without anticipating the immense costs of containing the chaos it unleashed or allowed to grow in malignancy. Referring to Libya the editorial board wrote:

The Obama administration and its NATO allies bear responsibility for this mess because, having intervened to help rebels overthrow Gaddafi, they then swiftly exited without making a serious effort to help Libyans establish security and build a new political order. Congress might usefully probe why the administration allowed a country in which it initiated military operations to slide into chaos.

As one analyst once put it, ‘Khadaffy gave up his WMDs voluntarily and wound up in a meat freezer. So much for signals.” Chaos in Libya may be an overstatement, but only just. Eli Lake at the Daily Beast wrote that “so many Jihadists are flocking to Libya, it’s becoming ‘Scumbag Woodstock’”

Not only does al Qaeda host Ansar al-Sharia, one of the militias responsible for the Benghazi attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. But U.S. intelligence now assesses that leaders from at least three regional al Qaeda affiliates—al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and members of the organization of Al-Mulathameen Brigade loyal to Algerian terrorist, Mokhtar BelMokhtar—have all established havens in the lawless regions of Libya outside the control of the central government.

One U.S. military contractor working on counter-terrorism in Africa summed up the situation in Libya today as simply, “Scumbag Woodstock.” The country has attracted that star-studded roster of notorious terrorists and fanatics seeking to wage war on the West.

And all courtesy of the US taxpayer.

The pace of catastrophe has been so rapid that rather than taking decades, history is returning a verdict on the Obama administration in just months. Things aren’t working out as planned. As Obama’s biographer pithily put it “the world seems to disappoint him”. All that is left to the former van drivers and pitchmen turned national security wonks now is denial. “The Obama administration and House Democrats said Monday they were undecided about whether to take part in or boycott an election-year investigation by Republicans into the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans.”

House Speaker John Boehner announced last week he would create a select committee to examine the response to the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, assault on the U.S. diplomatic post in Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Legislative aides said a vote to authorize the panel is expected sometime this week. On Monday, Boehner said Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., would head the investigation.

The action puts President Obama’s team and House Democrats in a bind. They are concerned about what they believe will be a partisan forum for attacks on the president and his top aides ahead of crucial midterm elections in November, which could swing the Senate to GOP control. But avoiding the committee altogether means sacrificing the ability to counter Republican claims.

They think they have a choice; that if they just move the news cycle along everything will go away.  Even now president Obama is proclaiming that he will make ‘climate change’ the priority in his ‘year of action’ as if by saying that stuff he can make all the bad news vanish like a dream.

But the Hope and Change brigade put altogether too much store in spin and PR to overcome hard reality — and reality won. The administration wouldn’t have had to worry too much if they hadn’t given the Republicans so much ammunition.

And the immediate threat is Benghazi. It will be ironic if Trey Gowdy, an ex-prosecutor with a first rate mind but a tenth-rate haircut picks apart the men with the first-rate haircuts and the tenth-rate minds who had put so much stock in appearances. There may be a moral in there somewhere but it’s hard to venture what it might be.

Recent purchases by Belmont readers based on Amazon click-throughs.

The Four Feathers Amazon Instant Video

Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers

1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Turning Points in Ancient History)

Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941

Memory Hold-the-door: The Autobiography of John Buchan

For the Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus

Fortunes of War: The Balkan Trilogy (New York Review Books Classics)

In Tearing Haste: Letters between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor

CBConcept Brand Halogen Light Bulb JCD G9 120Volt 25Watt – Ceramic Base – 10 Bulbs

Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres

Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small

No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.

Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
There are other interpretations of why the committee was created. Boehner has been fighting an investigation into Benghazi tooth and nail for two years. Now he pushes it, when he is about to force through Amnesty and Permanent Open Borders on one hand, and the "leadership" is talking about "fixing" Obamacare instead of repealing it; there is a school of thought that pointing to the committee will be used to show that he is NOT in fact of less utility than mammary glands on a boar hog. I personally don't think that will be enough, because either will cause the death of the Republican Party. He has shown no sign in the past of being willing to do anything to discommode the Left.

On my email list, there is a pool for how many weeks before Boehner cuts Gowdy off at the knees once he can't use the committee for political cover any more. YMMV.

Subotai Bahadur
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The U.S. was, however, vague about what kind of support if would provide if China managed to continue driving Filipino ships out of areas claimed by China (most of the South China Sea including Filipino coastal waters) without using armed force." -- "Philippines: America Will Sort-Of Help Against China"

This is classic Obama. If you understand the real message it isn't too bad. Alas, some Filipinos may read more into that reassurance then there is.

I remember hearing really stupid criminals being falsely reassured in the classic phrase "ako ang bahala sa iyo", which translates into "don't worry about a thing" when being induced to do something foolish.

"Go rob the bank. Don't worry about a thing." Or "ako ang bahala sa iyo."


The more experienced criminals knew the phrase really meant "you're on your own bub". So whenever you're being asked to stick your neck out and hear "don't worry about a thing. I'll be right behind you", especially from Obama, it's really time to ask yourself: is this trip really necessary?
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
The world of the 3 Conjectures is getting closer. Yes, Saudi Arabia is sending signals. One of them which our crack media ignored, was the VERY public presence of Saudi owned Chinese-made DF-3 IRBM's in a military parade a few days ago. The Saudi's have owned them for years, but they have been kept very much in the background. They have been based out in the desert at Al Sulayyil Missile Base [20°43'07"N 45°35'01"E] and at al-Joffer, 100 km south of Riyadh. The DF-3 has a range of roughly 3300 km. and a payload of 2 tons [capable of multiple warheads or one larger one]. It has been assumed that a deal has been cut; trading Saudi monetary support for the Pakistani nuclear program in return for a promise to supply a number of warheads if requested. It is distinctly possible, if the Saudis are now making the delivery means public that the warheads are there and mated to at least some of the 90 or so missiles still out in the boonies. Ah, Smart Diplomacy.

The creation of an enrichment capability in Saudi Arabia is a long term investment. The acquisition of warheads now would be an effort to survive the short term to get to the long term.

As far as the Europeans bolstering their own defenses; that is in the realm of fantasy. Reality, and Realpolitik is going to bite their nether regions in short order. The US is not there for them, and to be honest is not going to be. We are going to be pre-occupied at home for the foreseeable future.

Be it a modern equivalent of an Archduke, or of a Danzig; they are on their own. We do not have the means to project power in the amount needed, and we do not have a regime that gives an obese rodent's gluts about Europe, other than to betray it. And Patriotic Americans will not be rushing to the colors to defend Europe when we are seeing more government troops [albeit technically civilians] being used against an old American rancher than sent to Poland to theoretically deter a Russian invasion.

After we sort out our own country, then we may pay attention to overseas again, but do not expect a Marshal Plan. We will probably remember that nations have interests and not friends.

Subotai Bahadur
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (56)
All Comments   (56)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
“Russia’s actions in Ukraine shatter that myth and usher in bracing new realities,” Hagel said in Washington on Friday.

Can he give an example of how Obama now has been braced, what changes in policy this bracing has caused,….

Why bother to treat this junk talk seriously?
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Trey Gowdy's haircut is HOT, all that spiked up silver. You should try it your self Richard. Ask your wife to help you mousse it up. Then take a new pic for your column :-)

43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
"[Hagel:] ...the idea of ‘permanent peace in Europe’ is gone. He will be calling upon the Europeans to re-arm."

Ah yes, everyone's favorite drunk uncle is reminding us all why his boss was bequeathed the Nobel Prize for Peace.

43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
“the world seems to disappoint him”.

Almost funny. The question is, who will be his Albert Speer?...

File under: Forgive them for I know not what I do....Actually, no, don't forgive them. Destroy them.

43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps we ought to remind Marie Claude that the action against Gaddafi was initiated by an American ally's leader, who proclaimed that Gaddafi had failed to heed an instruction to not "franchir la ligne rouge!"


21 February 2011: Libyan deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ibrahim Dabbashi called "on the UN to impose a no-fly zone on all Tripoli to cut off all supplies of arms and mercenaries to the regime."
23 February 2011: French President Nicolas Sarkozy pushed for the European Union (EU) to pass sanctions against Gaddafi (freezing Gaddafi family funds abroad) and demand he stop attacks against civilians.
25 February 2011: Sarkozy said Gaddafi "must go". "

As to the EU

"The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed by the Inner Six countries in 1951 and 1958, respectively. "

European Coal and Steel Community

"The ECSC was first proposed by French foreign minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950 as a way to prevent further war between France and Germany. He declared his aim was to "make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible" which was to be achieved by regional integration, of which the ECSC was the first step. The Treaty would create a common market for coal and steel among its member states which served to neutralise competition between European nations over natural resources, particularly in the Ruhr."

So a French sourced governmental anti-competition agreement was the raison d'etre for the EU she deplores.

Logique feminine?

43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
An implosion of China's real estate market will have far reaching consequences in a lot of places but will really hammer Canada.

While some of Canada's immunity from the worldwide depression came from having more sane banking and investment policies than other countries and from not allowing deduction of home mortgage interest, much of it also came from financing China's real estate boom. When that boom goes bust Canada is in for a world of hurt.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Ukraine …

The US is the Evil Empire. The US is a rogue, terrorist state.

The destruction of the US and the EU would be a positive good for the world.

Obama is doing God's work.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Does this mean that the European countries are finally going to take Paul Krugman's advice about fixing economies by arming up for an "alien invasion"? (though not quite the "aliens" that ol' Paul was talking about).
Would that mean that the whole world will be "booming" or just going kaboom? Paul Krugman, the modern "Nostradaemus".
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
At the time of the Libya adventure I said we would have to do "the full George" if we want to secure the country. Now it appears the Washington Post agrees.

The Obama administration and its NATO allies bear responsibility for this mess because, having intervened to help rebels overthrow Gaddafi, they then swiftly exited without making a serious effort to help Libyans establish security and build a new political order. Congress might usefully probe why the administration allowed a country in which it initiated military operations to slide into chaos.

There are two reasons why they fiascoed Libya: It is what they do and the NYT would have criticized them if they didn't.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Half a Peace, half a Peace, half a policy from behind,
Into Elysium wafted the young best mind,
Reality to the left of him,
Reality to the right of him,
Facts rise up to smite him,
Victims rise to bite him,
Through the shredded wraith-lace of Elysium,
Is briefly glimpsed the bequest of Horror
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 4 Next View All