Quote Originally Posted by TheDemonLord View Post

With the Trump administration, the willingness to lean on nations to ensure that everyone is playing by the rules lead to reclaiming of that Soft Power (even if the various left-wing outlets hated it) - and as a perfect demonstration - the Migrant crisis at the US Border - Trump was clear and unequivocal, whereas Biden has been caught napping.
In response to earlier DL post #2905. [ F5 Dave - Just ignore - No need to read. ]

Have been busy this week, so my first opportunity to reply. Following the sequence of your earlier reply.

Fundamental Structure of China

(i) One Party System - Yes , I'll credit you that. The CCP calls it a “socialist consultative democracy”. The party sits atop a multi-layer local government structure (province, municipality, prefecture, county and town).


(ii) Social Credit System - Will become so as time passes. But given China's recent history, its current population of 1.4 billion, and the various external parties seeking to exert pressure and destabilise China, then it’s no real surprise that such a system has been developed. At the same time, it's not as if the intent has not been telegraphed well in advance.



I won’t mention the NSA and the other monitoring and intelligence gathering services operating in the US if you don’t.

(iii) Approach to Human Rights - Different ? Yes. Casual ? No.




Copyright Law

US Dispute on Copyright Law: Not my area of expertise. But I think one has to recognise:

(i) The willingness with which previous US administrations allowed the out-sourcing of US manufacturing activity to China because of the attraction of its low labour cost.

See Trump's own comment in the second linked article below (see (iii) immediately below, following the picture of Kissinger and Zhou En Lai meeting).

(ii) The fact that many US product owners who out-sourced to China were not particularly concerned about their own product IP - since their products were either not "high tech" (i.e. they could be easily reverse engineered) or they considered that their own profit gain far out-weighed any "nominal loss of IP". [ Not to mention the fact that Chinese knowledge of the IP was actually needed to facilitate some of the manufacturing processes themselves. ]

(iii) The fact that China realises its past-practice in the IP arena will not necessarily continue unchecked going into the future, and that it must provide some more robust protections for external IP.



My understanding is that trade-marking was originally intended to allow manufacturers a "head-start" (a time period within which to be able to manufacture and sell their product, sufficient to establish brand, recover R&D costs and to earn a moderate margin - before competitors could then enter the same market and develop / sell a comparable product).

But times have changed. In our neoliberal world, focus has shifted much more to earning of rentier income.


Using trademark as a barrier to competitor entry, a more recent US attempt to try and extend maximum trademark life (from 50 to 75 years?) spoke to me more of being able to earn greater rentier income (rather than perform more in the way of product reinvestment and new product development).

While great for the IP owner, the amount of product development in the global market would likely be reduced, and product advancement delayed.

CCP and Controlling Interest

Oversight by the CCP - A little unclear exactly what point that you're seeking to make. Oversight of what by the CCP ? Types of information that might become available to the CCP? Importance ?

If “controlling interest” was such an issue, then why are major US organisations (such as Apple, Ford and GM, Caterpillar, Boeing) still choosing to continue to operate manufacturing plants within China ? Why haven’t they followed Trump’s earlier diktat, and started relocating to the US ?

Disney and Star Wars
Surely the issue was one for Disney to decide - whether it puts its own financial profit ahead of its supposed principles ?

China does not necessarily subscribe to supposed American values, and obviously has its own set of values (and sensitivities). So why would you expect US corporates to somehow be “exempted” when operating in China? Are US corporates "exceptional" in some respect, and deserving of special treatment?

“China has a long standing history of Racism, specifically against black people.” [Your words]

Just as well the same has not applied in the US - well, not since the end of the US Civil War. BLM, you can stand down now.

List of US Actions Taken Over the Past 50 Years

"Yes, fair points, the US has been scummy". [Your words]

Only scummy ? So what more would they have to have done to be regarded as truly reprehensible?

You mentioned later on in your post that some of the "more dubious acts" by the US were performed on Communist regimes. [ Let’s extend that to Socialist regimes and Authoritarian regimes as well ].

So, does that make those actions by the US somehow more acceptable ?

What about US actions such as imposing sanctions on countries - deliberate restrictions upon supplies such as food / medicines / medical equipment - resulting in malnutrition or death of large numbers of foreign civilians ?


What about a socialist country like Cuba ? Which happens to deploy a type of "bottom-up consultative style“ of democracy similar to that within China ?

Subject to severe US sanctions for 60+ years, but yet it has still managed to not only develop and deploy a very comprehensive medical system at home (in some cases superior to the US), but also choosing to help other countries with combating Covid ?




Empires and Colonies

If there was a US Empire ? Surely that’s simply the world as we currently know it (with its regional command structures, and its 800+ military bases deployed globally)?


And what are these supposed "guiding principles" that you talk of ? Maybe a short list would be helpful.

If there was a Chinese Empire ? Well, if one ever eventuates, then I guess we'll both know the answer to that question.

Capitalist vs Communist
I often ignore this type of question in an argument, as it is often deployed where one party tries to win a point by restricting focus to just a single factor (in this case, economic model). Offering only two options (black or white) without mention of any shades of grey in-between. But, as with so many things in life, there are "shades of grey".

So, in answer to your question "which country would I prefer to live in"? The US or China ?

If "black" was the US (with its current capitalistic system) and "white" was China (with its mixed economic system), I would prefer to live in neither.

Because I have been perfectly happy living here in NZ, and I do so for many reasons - not just one.

For a combination of factors such as (i) my home for most of my life (ii) language (iii) family and friends (iv) low population density (v) a safe society (vi) political stability (vii) education and employment opportunities (viii) physical environment. Just to name a few.

And if I couldn't live here in NZ, well, there is still a number of other countries where I'd prefer to live before considering either the US or China (e.g. one of the "grey" social democracies in Scandinavia).

My opinions on China has been gleaned from history books I’ve read about the country, newspaper and magazine articles the last few years, and from periodic email interaction with a few Chinese contacts living in mainland China or Hong Kong.

Chinese people living in China will have a different life experience and perception. Satisfaction surveys have been conducted by both Chinese and western-based entities:


Written Constitutions and Bills of Rights

I recognise that the US possesses both a written Constitution as well as a Bill of Rights (the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution), but I would have thought that having a Constitution and a Bill of Rights is only of value to the general population if they are observed and honoured in the breech.

From a general observation of life in the US the past 20+ years, it would appear that it has been “open shooting season” on many of the first 10 amendments over that time. [ And not just the first 10 amendments. ]


As for NZ, it may have an uncodified Constitution, but it also possesses a Bill of Rights. I’ll still settle for living in NZ, thanks. Uncodified Constitution or not.

Uyghurs in China
" I'll agree that I oversimplified it for dramatic effect, however I still hold that there is enough undisputed evidence to call what is happening to the Uyghurs a Genocide”. [Your words]

Did you now ?

I would have thought that with an accusation of “genocide”, then no dramatisation was actually required. Assuming that there was some degree of truth in the original accusations.

So, when you find some moderately reliable information about the situation on the ground (preferably not from one of the NGO’s operated or supported by the West), then you post up a few links of this “undisputed evidence”.

Soft Power
“The short answer is it's okay when it's backed by mandate from the masses.” [Your words]

Well, I suppose on that basis, China, with its 1.4 billion population and its “bottom-up consultative style” of democracy is fully entitled to exercise its “soft power”.

"Power needs to be held accountable. In a traditional democracy, that's at the Ballot Box.”

Just one vote ? Once every 3 or 4 years ? Is that all the average citizen gets ? Is that meant to keep the political system robust, and the political parties honest ?

What happens in a traditional democracy where (just for argument sake):

(i) A significant proportion of eligible voters are denied the right to vote because of restrictive state rules (voter registration) or are denied ready access to voting booths (on voting day)?
(ii) Gerry-mandering of electoral boundaries occurs?
(iii) The country operates an electoral-college system? Where certain small states get a disproportionate number of electoral-college voters, or where the elected reps do not necessarily need to allocate their votes according to the majority popular vote of the state?
(iv) Policy finally adopted by the “winning party” can be influenced via party campaign donations by influential people or organisations?

What do the citizens of such a country do then ?

“Where is the Accountability for Xi Jing Pin?” [Your words]

If you look at the “Government” and “Communist Party” sub-sections of the following link, you can probably work out the linkages and accountability:


As for any accusation of Xi being a dictator, free to do as he pleases:


Application of Law and International Rules

What exactly are these global sets of rules you talk about?

Are these international rules - as developed and decided upon by say UN institutions, and outlined within past International Charters or Conventions (e.g. Geneva Convention) ?

Or do you mean some “rules based international order”, where the US gets to decide who makes the rules, and to decide which ones to enforce (or not enforce)?

The US has been busy either exiting a number of international organisations (or weakening their operation) over the past few years, which seems to imply that it is not willing to be bound by a set of international rules - unless of course they happen to be in US best interest.


We should add the ICC to the list as well, which the US exited in 2002 (soon after Yugoslavia had been disassembled, and just after the start of the US “7 Wars in 5 Years” programme i.e. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc).


And while the Biden administration has since either voluntarily re-joined (WHO, Paris Climate Accord) or sought to re-join (UNHRC), it seems to me more out of US self-interest (simple recognition that “if you are not sitting at the table and participating, you don’t get any input to or control over the rules”).

Given interest by US pharmaceutical lobby groups (re WHO), US interest in either weakening Climate Change initiatives / targets or deciding upon and financing of Green Deal projects (re Paris Climate Accord), or in protecting US (or Israeli) troops against possible international prosecution for alleged war crimes (re UNHRC), it should perhaps not be a surprise.



The Age of Trump

I agree with you in that the “loss of US soft power” was already occurring during earlier US administrations, though I’d argue that Trump has certainly helped to accelerate the process.

“Cunning diplomacy”? C’mon. Nothing about Trump or his actions were “cunning” or “diplomatic”. He was obviously a graduate of the Theodore Roosevelt school of diplomacy (“Speak softly and carry a big stick”), except in Trump’s case, he had modified the mantra to “shout loudly”.

Incidentally, “soft power” (when possessed and well exercised) should largely obviate the need for “leaning on other nations”.

My 2c worth.