Showing posts with label china. Show all posts
Showing posts with label china. Show all posts

Monday, May 01, 2023

China And India

America’s Bad Bet on India New Delhi Won’t Side With Washington Against Beijing ......... India’s significant weaknesses compared with China, and its inescapable proximity to it, guarantee that New Delhi will never involve itself in any U.S. confrontation with Beijing that does not directly threaten its own security. ....... New Delhi sees things differently. It does not harbor any innate allegiance toward preserving the liberal international order and retains an enduring aversion toward participating in mutual defense. It seeks to acquire advanced technologies from the United States to bolster its own economic and military capabilities and thus facilitate its rise as a great power capable of balancing China independently, but it does not presume that American assistance imposes any further obligations on itself. ........ U.S.-Indian security cooperation today is breathtaking in its intensity and scope. The first and most visible aspect is defense consultations. The two countries’ civilian leaders, as well as their bureaucracies, maintain a regular dialogue on a variety of topics, including China policy, India’s procurement of advanced U.S. military technologies, maritime surveillance, and undersea warfare. These conversations vary in quality and depth but are critical for reviewing strategic assessments, defining the parameters of desired cooperation, and devising tools for policy implementation. As a result, the United States and India work together in ways that would have been unimaginable during the Cold War. ......... they cooperate to monitor China’s economic and military activities throughout the wider Indian Ocean region and have recently invested in mechanisms to share near-real-time information about shipping movements in the Indo-Pacific region with other littoral states. ......... A second area of success has been military-to-military collaboration, much of which takes place outside public view. The programs for senior officer visits, bilateral or multilateral military exercises, and reciprocal military training have all expanded dramatically during the past two decades. ........ the annual Malabar exercises, which bring together the U.S. and Indian navies, have now expanded to permanently include Japan and Australia; the Cope India exercises provide an opportunity for the U.S. and Indian air forces to practice advanced air operations; and the Yudh Abhyas series involves the land forces in both command post and field training activities. .......... India’s military has gone from having virtually no U.S. weapons in its inventory some two decades ago to now featuring American transport and maritime aircraft, utility and combat helicopters, and antiship missiles and artillery guns. U.S.-Indian defense trade, which was negligible around the turn of the century, reached over $20 billion in 2020. .......... U.S. companies remain contenders in several outstanding Indian procurement programs, but it seems unlikely that they will ever enjoy a dominant market share in India’s defense imports. The problems are entirely structural. For all of India’s intensifying security threats, its defense procurement budget is still modest in comparison with the overall Western market. ............ New Delhi’s demand that U.S. companies shift from selling equipment to producing it with local partners in India—requiring the transfer of intellectual property—often proves to be commercially unattractive, given the small Indian defense market. ......... The U.S. goal in military-to-military cooperation is interoperability: the Pentagon wants to be able to integrate a foreign military in combined operations as part of coalition warfare. India, however, rejects the idea that its armed forces will participate in any combined military operation outside of a UN umbrella. Consequently, it has resisted investing in meaningful operational integration, especially with the U.S. armed forces, because it fears jeopardizing its political autonomy or signaling a shift toward a tight political alignment with Washington. As a result, the bilateral military exercises may improve the tactical proficiency of the units involved but do not expand interoperability to the level that would be required in major combined operations against a capable adversary. ........... India treats military exercises more as political symbols than investments in increasing operational proficiency and, as a result, practices with numerous partners at varying levels of sophistication. On the other hand, the United States emphasizes relatively intense military exercises with a smaller set of counterparts. ......... bolstering India’s intelligence capabilities about Chinese military activities along the Himalayan border and in the Indian Ocean region .......... The existing arrangements for intelligence sharing are formally structured for reciprocity, and New Delhi does share whatever it believes to be useful. But because U.S. collection capabilities are so superior, the flow of usable information often ends up being one way. ........ Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has increasingly focused on defense industrial cooperation as the key driver of its security partnership with the United States. Its underlying objective is to secure technological autonomy: ever since its founding as a modern state, India has sought to achieve mastery over all critical defense, dual-use, and civilian technologies and, toward that end, built up large public sector enterprises that were intended to become global leaders. Because this dream still remains unrealized, New Delhi has now prioritized Washington’s support for its defense industrial ambitions in tandem with similar partnerships forged with France, Israel, Russia, and other friendly states. ............ For over a decade, Washington has attempted to help India improve its defense technology base, but these efforts have often proved futile. ......... The Biden administration is now going to great lengths to reverse the failure of the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative. Last year, it announced the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology, which aims to fundamentally transform cooperation between the two countries’ governments, businesses, and research entities pertaining to technology development. This endeavor encompasses a wide variety of fields, including semiconductors, space, artificial intelligence, next-generation telecommunications, high-performance computing, and quantum technologies, all of which have defense applications but are not restricted to them. ........ Modi’s “Make in India, Make for World” drive, which aims to transform India into a major global manufacturing hub that could one day compete with, if not supplant, China as the workshop of the world. ........... During the Bush and Obama administrations, U.S. ambitions centered largely on helping build India’s power in order to prevent China from dominating Asia. As U.S.-China relations steadily deteriorated during the Trump administration—when Sino-Indian relations hit rock bottom as well—Washington began to entertain the more expansive notion that its support for New Delhi would gradually induce India to play a greater military role in containing China’s growing power. .......... Although China is clearly India’s most intimidating adversary, New Delhi still seeks to avoid doing anything that results in an irrevocable rupture with Beijing. ............. New Delhi’s relative weakness compels it to avoid provoking Beijing, as joining a U.S.-led military campaign against it certainly would. India also cannot escape its physical proximity to China. The two countries share a long border, so Beijing can threaten Indian security in significant ways—a capability that has only increased in recent years. ............ Should a major conflict between Washington and Beijing erupt in East Asia or the South China Sea, India would certainly want the United States to prevail. But it is unlikely to embroil itself in the fight. ........... Even as this partnership has grown by leaps and bounds, there remains an unbridgeable gap between the two countries, given India’s consistent desire to avoid becoming the junior partner—or even a confederate—of any great power. .

Monday, March 27, 2023

27: China, US

27: China

27: Taiwan

The Problem With How the West Is Supporting Ukraine Wars are won or lost well behind the front lines. Allies should arm Ukrainians accordingly...... For the past four months, people around the world have witnessed the macabre process of Russian forces making repeated assaults near the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut for only the tiniest of gains. ........ Russia has lost about five of its soldiers for every Ukrainian soldier lost—to say nothing of massive equipment losses. ........ Far more effective is to weaken your opponent’s forces before they get to the battlefield. ...... Though NATO countries have a variety of systems that can target Russian forces deep behind their lines, recent aid has been overwhelmingly geared toward preparing Ukraine to make direct assaults against the Russian army. The most widely discussed forms of equipment—such as Leopard 2 tanks, Bradley armored personnel carriers, and even Archer long-range artillery—are not the kinds of systems that can disrupt or degrade Russian forces far behind the front lines. ..........

Ukraine is being made to fight the war the hard way, not the smart way.

........ Unfortunately, NATO states, including the U.S., have been reluctant to provide the Ukrainians with missile systems with too long of a range, seemingly for fear of escalating tensions with Russia. Instead of allowing the Ukrainians to degrade Russian forces far from the front line, Ukraine is being prepared to attack that line. The Ukrainians’ fortitude and ingenuity up to this point suggest that they could indeed accomplish their task—but it’s been made much harder than it needs to be.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Ryan Hass, Xi Jinping, China, Russia

Interests, Not Ideology, Should Drive America’s Approach to China Ideologues prefer to understand the U.S.-China relationship as a contest between good versus evil. They take comfort in clean divisions between democracies versus autocracies. They like parallels between the current U.S.-China great power contest and the U.S.-Soviet Union Cold War. The United States triumphed over the Soviets in the Cold War, after all, so why not repeat the cycle again now with China, they ask. .......... invoking Cold War analogies misdiagnoses the nature of the U.S.-China relationship and creates a false hope that the United States has the capacity to compel the collapse of China. ........ Any American attempt to treat China as its existential enemy (a la the Soviet Union during the Cold War) would isolate the United States from its friends and allies, none of whom have any enthusiasm for joining an anti-China containment coalition. ....... Not even America’s closest partners in Europe or Asia would sign up for a role in erecting such a global economic partition. ......... Trade data does not support arguments that China is seeking to bifurcate the global economy, though.

Over 150 countries view China as their largest trading partner, making China the world’s largest trading power.

Even as Beijing pursues more statist economic policies at home, it continues to look for opportunities to gain leverage by locking in other countries’ dependence upon China for future economic growth. ......... a recognition that the bilateral relationship is deeply competitive. ......... Both countries also are battling each other to dominate the frontiers of innovation in technological fields that will define the coming century, such as quantum computing, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and clean energy. ............. bilateral trade in goods hit a record in 2022, nearing $700 billion ........ by virtue of their positions as the world’s two most powerful countries, the United States and China also face planetary interdependence. From climate change to the global economy and pandemics, they both are harmed or helped by their (in)ability to pool capabilities to confront shared threats.......... The sooner leaders in Washington and Beijing embrace the framework of competitive interdependence for understanding the nature of U.S.-China relations, the better they will be able to compete without resort to conflict. The framework pushes both sides to coexist within a heightened state of competition, not out of amity but rather a sober recognition of the parameters within which the relationship operates. The hard truth is that neither the United States nor China would be able to achieve their national ambitions if they end up in conflict with each other. ........... the goal of strategy is to minimize risks and maximize benefits. The current trajectory of U.S.-China relations is moving in the opposite direction. Risks of conflict are rising, while benefits from the relationship for American and Chinese citizens are receding. ......... a degree of strategic maturity that has been in short supply in recent years ......... The current downward trajectory of the relationship, if not arrested, will continue to generate sharp incidents of growing intensity. Expecting that U.S. and Chinese leaders would manage all such future incidents wisely and calmly requires the triumph of hope over reason. ........ What is needed now is clear-eyed, evidence-based, interest-driven thinking about how the world’s two most powerful countries can compete without resort to conflict, both now and in the future.

China as Peacemaker in the Ukraine War? The U.S. and Europe Are Skeptical Chinese officials say Xi Jinping’s upcoming trip to Moscow is a peace mission. But U.S. and European officials say he aims to bolster Vladimir V. Putin....... And even a call by Mr. Xi for a cease-fire would amount to an effort to strengthen Mr. Putin’s battlefield position, they say, by leaving Russia in control of more territory than when the invasion began. ...... A cease-fire now would be “effectively the ratification of Russian conquest,” John Kirby, a White House spokesman, said on Friday. “It would in effect recognize Russia’s gains and its attempt to conquer its neighbor’s territory by force, allowing Russian troops to continue to occupy sovereign Ukrainian territory.” ......... for Chinese officials to come out of the meeting claiming “we’re the ones calling for an end to the fighting and nobody else is.” ....... In an article published in a Russian newspaper on Sunday, Mr. Xi wrote that China had pursued “efforts to promote reconciliation and peace negotiations.” ......... Skepticism of one of Mr. Xi’s stated goals pervades thinking in Washington and some European capitals. American intelligence agencies have concluded that relations between China and Russia have deepened during the war, even as Russia has become isolated from many other nations. ........ The two countries continue to do joint military exercises, and Beijing has joined Moscow in regularly denouncing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. China remains one of the biggest buyers of Russian oil, which has helped Moscow finance its invasion. ......... Chinese officials have at no point condemned the invasion. ........... “Western countries led by the United States have implemented all-around containment, encirclement and suppression of China, which has brought unprecedented severe challenges to our country’s development.” ....... But China remains firmly anchored in the global economy, and Mr. Xi and his aides want to avoid being seen as malign actors on the world stage, especially in the eyes of Europe, a major trade partner. ....... Mr. Xi and Mr. Putin have a strong personal affinity and, as of this week’s state visit, have met 40 times since Mr. Xi became China’s leader in 2012. Mr. Putin called Mr. Xi a “dear old friend” in an article published in a Chinese newspaper on Sunday, saying the two enjoyed the “warmest relationship.” ......... China’s recent mediation of an initial diplomatic rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran had boosted notions of China as a peacemaker. ....... China is not a close partner of either country and has a very specific economic interest in preventing the two from escalating their hostilities — it buys large amounts of oil from both. .......... Mr. Xi has not talked to Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, since the war began, much less asked for his perspective on peace talks. ........... Mr. Zelensky has said he would enter peace talks only if Mr. Putin withdrew his troops from Ukrainian territory. That includes the Crimean Peninsula, which the Russian military seized in 2014, and the Donbas region, where that same year Russian troops stoked a pro-Russia separatist insurgency. ........... Qin Gang, the foreign minister of China, spoke by phone with Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, and stressed that the warring sides should “resume peace talks” and “return to the track of political settlement” ......... Analysts in Washington concur. “I don’t think China can serve as a fulcrum on which any Ukraine peace process could move,” said Ryan Hass, a former U.S. diplomat to China and White House official who is a scholar at the Brookings Institution. ......... Mr. Hass added that China would have a role as part of a signing or guaranteeing group for any eventual peace deal and would be critical to Ukraine’s reconstruction. “I believe Zelensky understands this, which is why he has been willing to exercise so much patience with China and with Xi personally,” he said........... they saw it as a further sign of China’s friendship if not alliance with Russia, as well as an effort by China to present itself as a mediator in the war. ....... He suggested that Washington wanted the war to continue to further weaken Russia. “Some forces might not want to see peace talks materialize,” he said. “They don’t care about the life and death of Ukrainians or the harms on Europe. They might have strategic goals larger than Ukraine itself. This warfare must not continue.” ........ many European officials, like their Ukrainian and American counterparts, are convinced that early talks on a peace settlement will be at the expense of Ukrainian sovereignty. ......... “It is not a peace plan, but principles that they shared” .

Japan’s Prime Minister Becomes Latest G7 Leader to Visit Ukraine Fumio Kishida, who has been seeking a more active role for his country in international affairs, made an unannounced trip to meet with Ukraine’s president. ......... Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has galvanized Japan’s foreign and military policy, stoking concerns about the costs of geopolitical instability. Policymakers and the public alike worry that the country would be unprepared to handle a crisis in its own backyard, whether North Korean aggression or an attempt by China to take the self-ruled island of Taiwan. ....... Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, said the prime minister’s show of solidarity with Mr. Zelensky was in contrast to the partnership between Mr. Xi and Mr. Putin, calling the alignment between the Chinese and Russian leaders “nefarious.” ........ “Prime Minister Kishida stands with freedom, and Xi stands with a war criminal,” the ambassador wrote. ....... A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry responded to news of the visit by saying Japan should “help de-escalate the situation instead of the opposite.” ....... The war has raised concerns about Japan’s reliance on other countries for food and energy, most of which it imports. Prices for commodities such as natural gas jumped after the invasion, putting cost pressures on Japan’s production of electricity. In response, the country has pushed for closer relationships with its allies and broken a decades-long deadlock in military spending as it plans to double its budget over the next five years. ....... Mr. Kishida embarked for Ukraine from India, where he had met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on issues including protecting freedom of navigation in the Pacific. ........ In a speech on Monday at the Indian Council of World Affairs, a research institute in New Delhi, Mr. Kishida said that Russia’s war had driven a “paradigm shift” in global affairs. ..... “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine oblige us to face the most fundamental challenge: defending peace,” he said, according to prepared remarks. .

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Xi In Moscow

Call me anytime: Zelenskyy plays the long game with Xi Jinping Ukraine is conspicuously diplomatic in its dealings with Vladimir Putin’s top ally.
What Zelenskyy should know before he talks with Xi
Russia and China want to disrupt the world order, NSC spokesperson says “They’d like to rewrite the rules of the game globally,” John Kirby said.
Xi Jinping visits Moscow to meet Putin (March 20)
Blinken slams Xi for providing ‘diplomatic cover’ to Putin during Moscow visit
Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin meet in Moscow, discuss Chinese peace plan for Ukraine Washington and its allies are skeptical that Xi can be an honest broker; US urges China and Russia to ‘respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity’ ....... The two leaders meet for 4.5 hours, and Russian media reports that Putin ‘went out into the street’ to see Xi off as they parted, a rare move for him .
Xi Jinping says China ready to ‘stand guard over world order’ on Moscow visit Chinese leader expected to position himself as peacemaker but US condemns Xi for providing ‘diplomatic cover’ for atrocities in Ukraine .
Putin rips West as trying to stifle Russia, China's 'development,’ while Xi arrives in Moscow
Putin and Xi prepare for second day of talks in Moscow as Japanese PM heads to Ukraine Chinese and Russian leaders to discuss Ukraine in formal talks after friendly dinner, while Fumio Kishida meets Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv .
China bills itself as a Ukraine peacemaker but US says Xi’s talks with Putin provide ‘diplomatic cover’ for war
Xi: China's proposal on Ukraine reflects unity of global views Xi has been seeking to present China as a global peacemaker and project it as a responsible great power.

20 years on, George W. Bush’s promise of democracy in Iraq and Middle East falls short the main arguments for the invasion: that there were weapons of mass destruction. ....... “it turned out that the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and in some cases deliberately misleading.” ........ “The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution,” Bush said in November 2003. He also said that the U.S. would be pursuing a “forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East.” ........ In 2003, there was indeed, as Bush noted, a “freedom deficit” in the Middle East, where repressive authoritarian regimes dominated the region. Yet, in spite of tremendous upheaval in the Middle East over the past two decades, many authoritarian regimes remain deeply entrenched. ......... The non-profit group Freedom House evaluates countries in terms of democratic institutions and whether they have free and fair elections, as well as people’s civil rights and liberties, such as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and a free press. Freedom House rates each country and its level of democracy on a scale from 2 to 14, from “mostly free” to “least free.” ............ In 2003, the average Freedom House score for an Arab League member was 11.45 – far more authoritarian than the global average of 6.75 at the time. ......... the Freedom House report in 2003 classified a little over 46% of all countries as “free,” but no country in the Arab League met that threshold. ......... The fall of Hussein’s regime in April 2003 produced a nominally more democratic Iraq. But after fighting a series of sectarian insurgencies in Iraq over an eight-year period, the U.S. ultimately left behind a weak and deeply divided government. .......... Rivalry between Iraq’s three main groups – the Sunni and Shiite Muslims as well as the Kurds, the largest ethnic minority in the country – paralyzed early attempts at political reorganization. ........

in 2023, Freedom House continues to score Iraq as “Not Free” in its measure of democracy.

........ In 2014, widespread protest movements associated with the Arab Spring toppled dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya. In other countries, such as Morocco and Jordan, monarchs were able to offer concessions to people and remain in control by delaying public spending cuts, for example, and replacing government ministers. ........ In Egypt, the military has reasserted itself and the country has slid steadily back to authoritarianism. In Yemen, the political vaccum created by the protests marked the start of a devastating civil war. ........ The average Freedom House democracy score for members of the Arab League is today 11.45 — the same as it was on the eve of the Iraq invasion. ........... It is hard to know if a different approach might have yielded better results. ...... the vision of an Iraq as an inspiration for a democratic transformation of the Middle East has not come to pass.

The collapse of major US banks leads to bills calling for more regulation bipartisan-backed deregulation in 2018 led to the banks’ collapse ......... lax government policy that included overspending – which Barr says, fueled inflation, as well as long-term low interest rates – not deregulation, was behind the banks’ failures. ........ banks with US$50 billion in assets be subject to strict standards ....... But the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act of 2018 loosened the standards, raising the asset threshold to $250 billion, meaning fewer banks were under strict controls. ........ During 2022, Silvergate’s deposit base grew dramatically, almost doubling its assets to $210 billion. But the bank did not have either the administrative capacity or market demand to lend out all of the money, as banks normally do. So, it invested the excess deposits in Treasury bonds and mortgage investment products. ......... Industry leaders, among them Greg Becker, CEO of Silicon Valley Bank, lobbied Congress in 2015 to roll back some of the Dodd-Frank Act provisions. ........ These standards were arguably designed to specifically prevent and address the type of circumstances that triggered these recent bank failures: multiple failures and contagion in the financial system, market panic, deposit runs and liquidity crisis. .

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

7: China

The Beautiful and Terrifying Arrival of an Early Spring On one February day the high hit 85 degrees, destroying records and causing my woolly-haired dog to stretch out on the hardwood floor, panting. ...... The uncommonly warm days of winter turned out to be spring. ....... spring beauties can grow so thick they take your breath away. ....... the early buttercups: Last year they bloomed on March 23. This year it was Feb. 25. ...... Most songbirds seem to understand that warmth in winter is unlikely to last, that another Arctic blast is bound to stomp in before true spring finally shivers into green. ........ I worry that this early spring is the harbinger of a brutal and everlasting summer. I worry most that careless human beings continue to be so careless and that profit-mad corporations continue to be so mad. For the life of me I cannot understand the politicians who keep behaving as though what is happening to the climate isn’t an existential threat. ...... I surrender to the thrumming promise in the springtime air. The birds sing, and God help me I sing too.

A Rival for Erdogan Emerges as Opposition Parties Pick a Candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the head of Turkey’s largest opposition party, and his allies are looking to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who they say has damaged the country’s democracy........ At stake in the simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections, which Mr. Erdogan has said will be held on May 14, is the economic future of Turkey, one of the world’s 20 largest economies. It is also a United States ally in NATO with a wide array of economic and diplomatic ties stretching across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. .

‘A Decade of Fruitless Searching’: The Toll of Dating App Burnout Ten years after the launch of Tinder, some long-term online daters say endless swiping has been bad for their mental health. .

Imagine What These Women Could’ve Done if They’d Had Wives the beginning of the end of their marriage may have been when Dundy published her best-selling and critically acclaimed novel “The Dud Avocado.” “Ken felt emasculated and betrayed,” Ciuraru explains. “‘You weren’t a writer when I married you!’ he yelled one night as he threw a copy of her book out the bedroom window.” ........... the persistence of the gender pay gap in our country, despite the fact that women are now a majority of the college-educated work force. ........ In 2022, women ages 25 to 34 earned about 92 percent as much as men of the same ages .......... Fathers ages 25 to 54 not only earn more than mothers the same age; they also earn more than men with no children at home. ........ Mothers across many countries are still hampered by what economists call the “sticky floor” of gender norms, including “the expectation that women shoulder a greater share of child care and household tasks than men” ........ I do wish we would reconsider the idea of the “creative genius” and what that looks like. It doesn’t have to be a self-centered (usually male) tyrant. ........ .

World out of balance is not yet China's to set right Beijing is keen to assert leadership but nations now have many choices ........ nations from Eastern Europe to Southeast Asia are starting to distance themselves from Beijing and move into closer orbit around America. ....... Outside the West, however, many nations are acting on their own accord -- an implicit sign that they do not perceive there to be a global leader. ............. Nations like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are taking new trajectories, becoming gateways for Russian finance and refusing to put America's needs ahead of their own. ......... So far, only one nation has succeeded in recent years in getting other nations to redesign their societies and economies around it: the U.S. ........

A new era of vertical globalization is underway where barriers are going up around the globe in many different areas, not just trade and immigration.

........ Whatever Beijing does is often immediately met with a suspicious eye, complicating every Chinese initiative. ....... Like COVID-19, the Ukraine war is testing the world. ....... For China, the transformation that the Ukraine war has unleashed on the world could be equal to what World War II did for America, clearing the way for Washington to build and lead a new postwar order. But unlike after that war, the world stage is now crowded with a spectrum of ambitious powers.

About 100 Chinese Congress delegates chosen from U.S.-targeted companies Defense, chip sectors newly represented while tech giants notably absent ........ Beijing's push for independent semiconductor and commodity supply chains. ......... The "Two Sessions" of the National People's Congress and the advisory Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference bring together a total of about 5,150 delegates. .......... A number of representatives hail from state-owned military-industrial companies, including: arms manufacturer China North Industries Group (Norinco); China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.; and China Electronics Technology Group Corp., which handles IT services for the military, among other clients.......... Internet companies had been a major driver of economic growth, affording political clout to big names like Ma and Li. But Beijing began cracking down on the industry in fall 2020, following rare apparent criticism of the government by Alibaba Group Holding founder Jack Ma. .

SCAMMERS USE VOICE CLONING AI TO TRICK GRANDMA INTO THINKING GRANDKID IS IN JAIL "WE WERE SUCKED IN. WE WERE CONVINCED THAT WE WERE TALKING TO BRANDON." if you have a Facebook page... or if you've recorded a TikTok and your voice is in there for 30 seconds, people can clone your voice." ...... Take ElevenLabs, whose AI voice synthesis service costs as little as $5 per month, and can produce results so convincing that a journalist used it to break into his own bank account. It's even spawned an entire genre of memes impersonating President Joe Biden. ElevenLabs' voice cloning has only been around since 2022. Imagine the damage it — and competitors looking to ride the coattails of its success — could do in just a few more years.

AI PILOT CRUSHES HUMAN DOGFIGHT RIVAL IN 90 SECONDS "THE ERA OF AIR COMBAT IN WHICH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WILL BE THE KING IS ALREADY ON THE HORIZON." "The era of air combat in which artificial intelligence will be the king," they add, "is already on the horizon." ......... "Aircraft with autonomous decision-making capabilities can completely outperform humans in terms of reaction speed," the study reads....... the AI simply doesn't have to worry about human things, like losing oxygen to the brain during quick turns — or being afraid of death.

OPENAI CONFUSED BY WHY PEOPLE ARE SO IMPRESSED WITH CHATGPT "LIKE, HONESTLY, WE DON'T UNDERSTAND. WE DON'T KNOW." . Even company CEO Sam Altman, has publicly disparaged ChatGPT in the press, calling it a "terrible product." ......... "we work on these models so much, we forget how surprising they can be for the outside world sometimes."

The inside story of how ChatGPT was built from the people who made it Exclusive conversations that take us behind the scenes of a cultural phenomenon.

Japan must tread carefully in lining up with U.S. and Taiwan Securitization of economic policy toward China will come with real costs ....... Given China's vast market, countering perceived economic security threats posed by Beijing will come with real economic costs. ........ Given Japan's repeated description of Taiwan as a "precious friend" in official statements in recent years, the growing relationship between military and economic security will likely lead to deepening ties and greater bilateral coordination with Taiwan. ........ Taiwan already has a robust technology screening regime. It will most likely try to use recent developments to reemphasize to its own tech companies the value in shifting production away from China. ......... In its 2013 Diplomatic Blue Book, Japan called Taiwan "an important partner" with which it shared "close economic ties." By 2020, Taiwan was elevated to "an extremely crucial partner and an important friend, with which Japan shares universal values such as freedom, democracy, basic human rights and the rule of law." ........ the two governments have upgraded the names of their respective diplomatic offices. Tokyo's representative office in Taipei, which previously carried the vague name Interchange Association, became the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association. Similarly, the name on Taipei's outpost in Tokyo changed from the Association of East Asian Relations to the Association of Taiwan-Japan Relations despite opposition from China. .........

China’s Leader, With Rare Bluntness, Blames U.S. Containment for Troubles Xi Jinping criticized what he called a U.S.-led campaign of “encirclement and suppression.” His new foreign minister said it was impossible for China not to fight back. ....... Mr. Xi has hailed China’s success as proof that modernization does not equal Westernization. He has urged China to strive to develop advanced technologies to reduce its reliance on Western know-how. Then on Monday, he made clear what he regarded as an important threat to China’s growth: the United States. ......... he is bracing for more confrontation and competition between the world’s two largest economies. .......... The Biden administration has depicted Mr. Xi as seeking to reshape the United States-led international order to bolster Beijing’s interests. China’s close alignment with Russia, at a time when the West is seeking to isolate Moscow over its war on Ukraine, has intensified concerns about a new type of cold war. ........ Mr. Qin also called for the United States to take a less confrontational stance toward his country. “If the U.S. doesn’t step on the brakes but continues to speed up, no guardrail can stop the derailment” ........... Mr. Qin, the foreign minister, denied the weapons allegations and criticized U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan. He blamed an “invisible hand” — the United States, in other words — for escalating the conflict in Ukraine. .........

Los Angeles Is a Fantastic Walking City. No, Really. A stroll down Rosecrans Avenue is not a pleasure. But it does offer a 27-mile canvas of the city’s vastness and its diverse communities coexisting. ....... Places we think of as towns (Hollywood) are actually just neighborhoods, while places that sound like neighborhoods are cities (West Hollywood). ........ Rosecrans Avenue is just over 27 miles long, running east from the beach through South Los Angeles to the Orange County town of Fullerton. ........ Often, when people from outside California know of Rosecrans Avenue, it’s because of the street’s storied place in West Coast rap history. DJ Quik and Problem named an album for it. The Game and Kendrick Lamar invoke it in multiple songs. .......... Gentrification is unrelenting, revising the city every day. ......... There was a feeling I’ve experienced only in Los Angeles: I was in the middle of nowhere and at the center of everything, all at once.

Ukrainian Soldiers, Nearly Encircled, Push Russians Back The battle for Bakhmut is not over — at least not yet. Ukrainian assault brigades offered Moscow a bloody reminder of that over the weekend. .......... “I’m confident Bakhmut will hold,” said Col. Yevhen Mezhevikin, commander of a combined tactical group fighting in Bakhmut. “We have enough forces to throw the enemy back from this city, but it depends on the tasks the command has, be it holding the city, or inflicting maximum losses on the enemy.” ......... Bakhmut itself, a city with a prewar population of 70,000 inhabitants, has little strategic value. It was simply the next in the line of fire of a Russian offensive to seize the eastern province of Donetsk. But the battle for the city has created a defining moment of the war for both the Russian and the Ukrainian armies. No longer is the fight about Bakhmut: It is a marathon contest to see which army can break the other. .......... Russia has thrown tens of thousands of newly mobilized troops into a huge ground assault to take the city by sheer force of fire and manpower. Ukraine has used every hard-learned tactic from a year of war to hold ground and inflict maximum casualties on the invader, often battling from house to house in neighborhoods of smashed houses and stunted trees. .......... “The temperature is above zero for a third day,” he added. “Everything melted. Mud up to the knee. Rain 10 times a day. Makes it difficult to perform tactical tasks.” .........

“My daughter left but I stayed,” she said. “It’s home,” she said in explanation.

........... this is predominantly an artillery war. ............ “Imagine: Twenty guys come, we kill them. In five minutes, 20 more guys come, we kill them. In an hour, 20 more. They don’t care about men.” .......... A commander from another battalion, Dnipro 1, which spent months pitted against Wagner units, said he found them more agile and enterprising than most Russian Army units. ............. The commander, who uses the code name Duke, said Wagner used untrained prisoners in the first line of attack and then, after one or two hours, as the Ukrainian troops were tiring, sent special forces into the fray, attacking from the flanks. “It was very good tactics” .......... Ukraine has been able to use Bakhmut as a kill box to grind down the vast numbers of newly mobilized Russian soldiers who were introduced to the battlefield late last year, he said. Even Wagner’s forces are said to have been worn down since the summer. ......... They sometimes demolish whole residential blocks to defeat a single sniper ...........

the more confident Ukrainian commanders insist that the Russians have little fight left. “Russia is attacking on its last legs”

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Chinese Proposal Is A Start

You have to start somewhere. An obvious starting point would be to get both Russia and Ukraine to agree on a ceasefire and for Russia to pledge to no longer issue nuclear threats. With that the peace negotiations can begin.

It is not going to be possible for Ukraine to cede any territory, but it could proactively pledge to not join NATO and Russia could pledge to not cross its borders in the future, with China and the US as guarantors for the pledge.

Ukraine could pledge to rearchitect its constitution and have a federal structure and a major devolution of power.

War crimes and destroyed infrastructure and buildings are going to be thorny issues. Instead of making the Russians to pay for it all, the US, China and the EU could help take off some of the load. Bucha asks for judicial action. Some Russian army units might have to face The Hague, or something designed separately and of limited jurisdiction in time.

At that point all sanctions can be lifted.

And the refugees can come home.