Chinese Communist Party Funds Washington Think Tanks

China's President Xi Jinping

China’s President Xi Jinping / Getty Images

 

United Front Work Department conducts aggressive influence operations in U.S.

China’s Communist Party is intensifying covert influence operations in the United States that include funding Washington think tanks and coercing Chinese Americans, according to a congressional commission report.

The influence operations are conducted by the United Front Work Department, a Central Committee organ that employs tens of thousands of operatives who seek to use both overt and covert operations to promote Communist Party policies. Continue reading

China is ready to pounce if Trump axes Pacific trade deal

If Donald Trump turns his back on Asian economies, China is ready and willing to step into the vacuum.

During the election campaign, Trump blasted international trade deals, tapping intoa deep well of popular anger over the effects of globalization. Now, President-elect Trump’s first victim could be the huge Pacific trade agreement that he slammed as a “disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was a key plank of President Obama’s push to boost U.S. influence in Asia. But now it looks doomed, with Congress refusing to ratify it and Trump having vowed to kill it. Continue reading

Do We Really Want War With Russia?

Since the article captures the point of how serious this situation is and is quite well written, it shall remain in full here for archiving purposes.

 

I wish I could say things were improving between the US and Russia but they aren’t. They’re rapidly worsening.

There’s so much happening right now, I can only provide a summary of a few of the more interesting and worrying developments.

This report builds on those I’ve released over the past two years and begins with a chilling editorial put out by the NY Times on September 29th, 2016, which further demonized Putin specifically, Russia generally, and openly advocates for military confrontation.

Hey, we’ve been down this path before.  The deeply conflicted NY Times has never met a war in the Middle East it didn’t support, and has never had any trouble repeating war plan talking points (that always neatly align with those put out by neocon think tanks) or even printing obviously fake “intelligence” from unnamed sources such as that used to justify the illegal US attack and invasion of Iraq. Continue reading

Report: China’s Currency Will Diminish Dollar’s Role in International Trade

The Chinese government has taken steps to promote the international use of its currency, the renminbi, which will diminish the dollar’s role in international trade, according to a report from the Brookings Institution.

The steps China has taken to internationalize the renminbi have been gaining traction and the currency now represents the fifth-most important payment currency in the world. Continue reading

Coming Soon: Gulf War III?

Concerning the contretemps between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a few observations:

• David Goldman thinks Saudi Arabia’s execution of the Shite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and others is a sign of panic among Saudi leadership, and perhaps this is correct. On the other hand, the sacking of the Saudi embassy in Tehran can’t have taken place without the connivance or tacit approval of the Iranian regime (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?), who probably welcomed the provocation of Nimr al-Nimr’s execution.

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77.5 Million Households Are Not Paying Federal Income Taxes

On Tuesday, The Tax Policy Center, a joint effort by the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, said the number of households that don’t pay federal income taxes fell to 45.3 percent. But that figure is still roughly 5 percentage points higher than the center’s 2013 estimate of 40.4 percent. Continue reading

Greece Faces Cash Crunch This Friday Without “Plan A Or Plan B”: What Happens Next

Greece’s day of reckoning may be fast approaching. Athens will have to pony up more than €2 billion in debt payments this Friday to the ECB, the IMF, and (get this) Goldman Sachs, for an interest payment on a derivative and it’s not entirely clear where the money will come from. On Wednesday, the government will vote on a “plan” to boost liquidity which includes tapping public funds and diverting bank bailout money. Here’s Bloomberg:

Greece will begin debating measures to boost liquidity as the cash-starved country braces for more than 2 billion euros ($2.12 billion) in debt payments Friday…

The government’s revenue-boosting plan includes eliminating fines on those who submit overdue taxes by March 27 to encourage payment, helping cover salaries and pensions due at the end of the month. The bill also requires pension funds and public entities to invest reserves held at the Bank of Greece in government securities and repurchase agreements, and transfers 556 million euros from the country’s bank recapitalization fund to the state. A vote on the measures is scheduled for Wednesday… Continue reading

George Soros “Trojan Horse” Inside The New Greek Government?

As Greece celebrates the inauguration of its anti-austerity government, the euphoria should be tempered with a bit of realism. Although new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who named his son “Ernesto” after Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Ché” Guevara, and the vast majority of his new Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) government have good left-wing and pro-labor credentials, the same cannot be necessarily said of the man Tsipras chose to be Greece’s new finance minister. Yanis Varoufakisis a citizen of Australia who was educated in Britain and worked as a professor at the University of Texas. Europe has witnessed such dual nationals with conflicting loyalties take power in countries in Eastern Europe, most notably in Ukraine, where American Natalie Jaresko became finance minister in order to deliver International MonetaryFund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB) austerity “poison pills” to Ukraine. Continue reading

Vladimir Putin’s economic hopes drowning in a puddle of cheap oil

It would perhaps be wise not to sing and dance over this story too early. Vladimir Putin likely has more tricks up his sleeve, such as continuing to undermine the US Dollar by trading oil in currencies other than the US Dollar, or continue hacking into the U.S. banking system — lest we also forget along with China threatening the nuclear option on it. If the Dollar becomes worthless, it wouldn’t matter how low the price of oil will go as America would be pushed into being a third-world nation like those in the Middle East where gasoline is still only 15 cents per gallon.

 

Oil has been the key to Putin’s grip on power since he took over from Boris Yeltsin in 2000, fueling a booming economy that grew 7 per cent on average from 2000 to 2008.Now, with economic growth slipping close to zero, Russia is reeling from sanctions by the U.S. and the European Union over its land grab in Ukraine, and from a ruble at a record low. Putin, whose popularity has been more than 80 per cent in polls since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in March, may have less money to raise state pensions and wages, while companies hit by the sanctions also seek state aid to maintain spending.

“His ratings remain high but for a person conducting such a risky policy, Putin has to understand the limits of patience for the people, business and political elite,” said Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a sociologist studying the country’s elite at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. “Putin is thinking hard how not to lose face while maintaining his support.”

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BRICS bank: 5 emerging powers to announce alternatives to IMF, World Bank

WASHINGTON — Fed up with U.S. dominance of the global financial system, five emerging market powers this week will launch their own versions of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa –the so-called BRICS countries — are seeking “alternatives to the existing world order,” said Harold Trinkunas, director of the Latin America Initiative at the Brookings Institution.

At a summit Tuesday through Thursday in Brazil, the five countries will unveil a $100 billion fund to fight financial crises, their version of the IMF. They will also launch a World Bank alternative, a new bank that will make loans for infrastructure projects across the developing world.

The five countries will invest equally in the lender, tentatively called the New Development Bank. Other countries may join later. Continue reading

Report: Iraq’s Maliki purged military of top U.S.-trained officers

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki has neutralized Iraq’s U.S.-trained and -equipped military, a report said.

The Brookings Institution said Al Maliki purged the Iraqi military of commanders suspected of disloyalty. In a report, the institution said those forced out by the Shi’ite Al Maliki included some of the most professional Sunni officers trained by the United States.

“Unfortunately, despite the boost it gave him, Prime Minister Al Maliki saw this largely apolitical and professional military as a threat to himself,” the report, titled “Iraq Military Situation Report,” said. Continue reading

NATO’s Military Decline

Vladimir Putin and his American apologists like to blame NATO’s post-Cold War expansion for his territorial conquests, which ignores that the alliance refused in 2008 to let Georgia and Ukraine even begin the process of joining. Those are the two countries the Russian has since carved up, and the question now is whether Russia’s expansionism will slap Western leaders out of their self-defense slumbers.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen sounded the alarm last week in a visit to Washington. “I see Crimea as an element in a greater pattern” of Russian strategy, he told an audience at the Brookings Institution. Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, he said, is “a wake-up call” that “must be followed by increased European investment in defense.” He might have included the U.S.

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US loses edge as employment powerhouse

The US is losing its edge as an employment powerhouse, where most people have a job or are looking for one, after its labour participation rate fell behind the UK’s

The labour force participation rate – the proportion of adults who are either working or looking for work – started to decline in the US in 2000 and has plunged since 2008 from 66 to 63 per cent.

Economists have been surprised by the trends, not least because the US labour market has long been seen as one of the most resilient and flexible.

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Advances in Electronic Warfare Fly Under the Public’s Radar

Vital to U.S. strategic success in cybersecurity is the high-dollar investment in radar-jamming technology and other electronic warfare.

As the Pentagon moves beyond the relatively low-tech wars in the Middle East and turns its attention to future national security challenges, it has doubled down on sophisticated new radar-jamming devices that aim to render adversaries’ air defenses useless. Continue reading

Replace dollar with super currency: economist

The World Bank’s former chief economist wants to replace the US dollar with a single global super-currency, saying it will create a more stable global financial system.

“The dominance of the greenback is the root cause of global financial and economic crises,” Justin Yifu Lin told Bruegel, a Brussels-based policy-research think tank. “The solution to this is to replace the national currency with a global currency.” Continue reading

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