I’m sorry for the clunky title, but I was honestly unsure how to title this one—and besides, it sounds like it belongs right in the pages of Foreign Policy magazine. For those of you not in the loop, Japan has had a new election, and the incoming Prime Minister is a bit more, shall we say, “hawkish” than his predecessors:
TOKYO (AP) - Imagine that North Korea launched a missile at Japan. Tokyo could - and would certainly try to - shoot it down. But if the missile were flying overhead toward Hawaii or the continental United States, Japan would have to sit idly by.
Japan’s military is kept on a very short leash under a war-renouncing constitution written by U.S. officials whose main concern was keeping Japan from rearming soon after World War II. But if Japan’s soon-to-be prime minister Shinzo Abe has his way, the status quo may be in for some change.
Abe, set to take office for a second time after leading his conservative party to victory in elections last Sunday, has vowed a fundamental review of Japan’s taboo-ridden postwar security policies and proposed ideas that range from changing the name of the military - now called the Japan Self-Defense Forces - to revising the constitution itself.
Most of all, he wants to open the door to what the Japanese call “collective defense,” which would allow Japan’s troops to fight alongside their allies - especially the U.S. troops who are obliged to defend Japan - if either comes under direct attack. The United States has about 50,000 troops in Japan, including its largest air base in Asia.
Right now, if Japan’s current standoff with China over a group of disputed islands got physical, and U.S. Navy ships coming to Japan’s assistance took enemy fire, Japan wouldn’t be able to help them.
Written by Simon Lester, Trade Policy Analyst for the Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
Governor Romney’s economic advisers (Glenn Hubbard, Greg Mankiw, John Taylor, Kevin Hassett) have a short post about his economic plan. In it, they sort of talk about trade issues:
Advancing international trade is another part of the plan. A recent study by the International Trade Commission concluded that reducing intellectual property violations [in] China could produce about 2 million jobs in the United States. While that is, of course, an estimate, Governor Romney has made reducing barriers to trade with China  a primary focus of his trade opening policy, and this advancement of trade clearly would be a large net positive for the successful idea-intensive firms that drive economic growth.
What’s important to note here is that these prominent, well-respected economists are not talking about free trade, despite their best efforts to make it seem like they are. Free trade means reducing protectionism, both at home and abroad. That means removing protectionist barriers to imports and exports, resulting in specialization of production and greater efficiency, among other things. But that’s not what they are saying here. Instead, they want to “advance” international trade by increasing exports to China, mainly through forcing China to strengthen intellectual property laws and enforcement.
I like to think that while I am a very well informed person when it comes to US political news, I generally remain somewhat detached regarding what the latest artificially created crisis du jour facing the nation is. I find that regardless of what dire consequence both sides try to convince us will happen if the other side gets their way, life goes on, business as usual for the rest of us, and inevitably some compromise is reached which allows both sides to claim victory. It is a cycle I’ve seen play out so many times in my relatively short time on Earth that I find it quite comical. However, I do find my blood pressure rise ever so slightly when contemplating the mismanagement and lack of leadership in energy policy in this country. The recent Keystone XL Pipeline debacle is a perfect example of how DC politicians chose to put political posturing ahead of US energy security, national security and true environmental policy.
Well reading Foreign Policy for that North Korean blog entry, I came across “The 14 Biggest Lies of 2011,” by David J. Rothkopf. I like list articles a lot; lots of information, in a very short time span, and gets you to focus on them. Sometimes, lists are completely, totally wrong; other times they are spot on; and in this case, it’s quite mixed. I want to offer some rebuttals to a few of his items, because they seem, to me, to be wildly inaccurate. Perhaps they are lies, but his own answers to them are not exactly encouraging. I will only focus on that we disagree on, to save space, but do read the entire list. I actually find it rather humorous…in a morbid sort of way.
I will start out by agreeing 100% with his introduction, however, that in DC, that lying is not an art form, but rather “is more reflexive, like breathing or taking cash from fat cats.” It is nothing but a pit of lies, and the Great Obamessiah himself is one of the best of them. All for civil liberties and ending the wars while running for president, not so much when he actually got into office. What a shame.
But onto Mr. Rothkopf’s list:
6 - “America is unthreatened by China’s growth.”
Herman Cain didn’t know that China was a nuclear power. He doesn’t know what is going on in Libya. He didn’t know what the Palestinian right-of-return was. He said it’s not practical to attack Iran because “it’s very mountainous.” And he recently said “I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy,” which is probably a good position to take given that he doesn’t know anything about foreign affairs. More evidence of that comes from his “foreign policy” on Cuba:
Cain, who last week stumbled over questions about what he would do in Libya, seemed to know little about Cuba. His campaign kept reporters at bay, and when asked about the Cuban Adjustment Act and the so-called wet-foot, dry-foot policy, Cain seemed stumped.The policy allows Cuban immigrants who have made it to US soil to stay.
“Wet foot, dry foot policy?” Cain asked. His press handlers interrupted as Cain diverted his course and ducked back into the building. Later, when he emerged, he was asked again by another reporter. Cain wouldn’t answer.
Antonio Rumbos, a writer from Washington, DC, sent this to UL for publication. His work has previously been published at Reason.
In the wake of Google’s recent decision to stop colluding with the Chinese government in censoring online content, I feel obliged to point a finger in the direction of a certain global corporation whose behavior should be stirring more journalists to labor. Americans routinely and casually use express mail companies like DHL to send and receive parcels from around the world, but Cubans like Yoani Sánchez must subject themselves to theft and humiliation when attempting to use its services.
Continuing the Liberty Candidate Series, Brett interviews Jake Towne, discussing his campaign, positions on issues, and his candidacy. Towne is running for U.S. Congress in Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District as an unaffiliated candidate.
This special edition podcast is the fourth in a series devoted to showcasing liberty candidates nationwide. Towne talks about his fiscal economics-driven campaign against an incumbent Republican in Pennsylvania (in a seat previously held by Pat Toomey).
Taxes were very high, but no real revenue was coming in. That’s because the system of taxes at that time was an early form of income tax that centered on the government taking a large percentage of a farmer’s crops.
So Ching Ti did something bold and innovative: he cut taxes.
Overnight, taxes went from over 50% down to about 3%. Farmers, who had fled to the hills to escape draconian tax rates, now came home and began farming again. To make a long story short, Ching Ti’s greatest problem while governing was trying to keep all the grain in his barns from spoiling.
It seems that ancient Chinese history is good for more than just cutesy script on a fortune cookie.
This “commercial” by PBS’s Nightly Business Report would be far more amusing if wasn’t so close to reality.
In case you can’t read the fine print at the end-
This offer depends on the willingness of the Chinese government to continue buying U.S. government debt. Terms and conditions depend on the whim of Congress and may be changed without notice. U.S. Taxpayers may not apply.
Written by Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
To a degree almost impossible to imagine just a month ago, North Korea has won international attention, dominated events in Northeast Asia, and embarrassed the United States. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has played into Pyongyang’s hands by responding to the North’s provocations. Now Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting East Asia, beginning Friday, where the so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will dominate the agenda.
Rushing off to the region on a high-profile trip is another mistake. Whatever Secretary Kerry does or says is likely to be seen as enhancing the DPRK’s stature. Better for him to have stayed home, phoning his counterparts as appropriate.
No doubt the Obama administration hopes to craft a diplomatic answer to what is widely seen as a crisis. However, Washington dare not reward the North for its caterwauling, even if Kim Jong-un suddenly adopts the mien of a serious leader of a serious nation. Rather, Secretary Kerry should hold out the possibility of engagement, even diplomatic relations—but only if Pyongyang chooses to behave like other nations. No more providing benefits in response to threats.