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1:08AM

Yes, now comes the ìgrain threatî from China!

ìChina Races to Reverse Its Falling Production of Grain,î by Jim Yardley, New York Times, 2 May, p. 6.


China is urbanizing so rapidly, that itís losing lands previously set aside for agriculture, raising the specter of being unable to feed itself, meaning it will have to rely on others increasingly for food.


This basically happens to every rapidly industrializing country. Should we get scared? No. We should simply encourage more reduction in agricultural trade barriers worldwide, something the Gap wants desperately so it can sell us food. But one of the old bugaboos about development is that all that specialization in production puts a country at risk of relying on others for basic needs, like food (they could starve us out!).


This is old think in the worst way, and I worry about China replicating some of the same stupid barriers to agricultural imports that we have in the U.S. and that Europe and Japan have in absurd abundance. Such a fear-threat reaction shows a deep mistrust of the mutual-assured dependence that marks a countryís deep integration into the global economy. Itís also a great way to keep the Gap on the outside looking inónoses pressed to the glass.

1:07AM

News flash! EU annexes East Central Europe!

ìCelebrations of a New, Expanded Europe Are Clouded by Old Fears of Immigration,î by Patrick E. Tyler, New York Times, 2 May, p. 8.


My book includes the ìstunning predictionî that America will grow by upwards of a dozen new member states over the coming decades, inevitably involving neighbors to our south. Aha! The ìneocon prophetî has openly declared, ìlet the conquering begin in the Western hemisphere!î


Meanwhile, the EU strikes a blow of its own in its quest for global domination by annexing East Central Europe. Tired of importing their waiters and prostitutes and nannies and carpenters, Old Europe simply swallowed New Europe in one fell swoop!


Amazing! Even crazier, as opposed to the last time Europe tried this under the Nazis, this time the East Europeans are going willingly!


Hmmm. Maybe there is something to this global economic integration process . . . maybe it doesnít involve military conquest but just societies coming together peacefully . . . hmmmm.

1:06AM

Rule Sets: A key difference between Core and Gap

ìOfficer Suggest Iraqi Jail Abuse Was Encouraged: Humiliation and Assaults: Cellblock Was Controlled by Military Intelligence, General Contends,î by Philip Shenon, New York Times, 2 May, p. 1.


They dismember the bodies of security personnel and have a street party to celebrate it in Falluja. We catch some Reservists treating Iraqi prisoners to humiliations and our people will likely spend years in a military jail as a result.


Thatís a key difference in rule sets on security. We have them in the Core; theyíre missing in the Gap.

10:20AM

Globalization -- shrinking the Gap -- Saves Lives

ìLiving in Extreme Poverty,î by Shannon Reilly and Marcy E. Mullins, USA Today, 29 April, p. 1A.


Simple page 1 graphic from USA Today makes point I use in book: more has been accomplished to reduce global poverty in last couple of decades thanks to spread of global economy than in previous century. Pulling in such New Core heavyweights as India and China and Brazil means serious poverty reduction in the world, both as a percent of total population and in terms of absolute numbers.


40% of the world population in 1981 lived on less than $1/day. That number is 21% in 2001. The absolute number of truly poor in 1981 was 1.5 billion. That number is now down to 1.1 billion.


Those are lives extended and improved. Those are premature deaths (especially the kids) avoided. That is globalization saving lives, pure and simple.

10:19AM

Old disease? Look in Gap

ìThe troubling fight against an old killer: Malaria in Africa,î by Steve Sternberg, USA Today, 29 April, p. 8D.


Great map in story shows where malaria is worst. Except for southern Mexico, northern Brazil and India, all of the areas lie within the Gap. That trio effectively lie on the Seam, so no great surprise there. No Core state removed from the Seam has any issue with malaria.


My point: the Core-Gap divide is a map we look at every day without realizing it. This map exists in so many forms, tracking so many different parametersóit is simply undeniable as the overarching security paradigm of this age.

10:19AM

Security defines satisfaction in Iraq

ìIraq is split on war and its aftermath,î by Julie Snider, USA Today, 29 April, p. 4A.


Interesting polling data in Iraq, where breakdowns given for Baghdad, Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. Across the board, those most happy with US-led occupation to date are the Kurds. No surprise, because they feel the most secure.


Polls show ordinary Iraqis happy that we came and got rid of Saddam, but get more resentful of our presence over time due to deteriorating securityóexcept for Kurds, who frankly had their stuff together before we got there thanks to the Northern Fly Zone effectively granting them independence from Saddam.


As I often note, it all starts with security in terms of economic development and the growth of connectivity, but all the bad stuff starts likewise with the lack of securityóincluding a growing hatred of our presence in Iraq.

10:18AM

Trading with the near-peer competitor

ìBush Resists Calls to Pressure China,î by Neil King, Jr., and Michael Schroeder, Wall Street Journal, 29 April, p. A5.


The Pentagon loves to focus on China as the big downstream military threat, but the White House is resisting pressure from US labor unions to get tough on China on trade, which just happens to be up 76% since 2001.


You go, near-peer! Keep sticking it to America with cheap manufactured goods! Pretty soon weíll be putty in Beijingís hands.


G.D. capitalists!


Whoops! I meant ìcommunists.î

10:18AM

Thanks to globalization, shrinking the Gap in Calcutta

ìInflux of Tech Jobs Ushers In Malls, Modernity to Calcutta,î by Joanna Slater, Wall Street Journal, 28 April, p. B1.


Calcutta, or what India now calls Kolkata, is famous for what in your mind?


Ah yes, the Black Hole and Mother Teresa. Surely, globalization would never penetrate there. International business refuses to enter truly poor areas, yes?Tell it to IBM. Their new facility in Calcutta makes that city second only to Bangalore as a target of Big Blueís foreign direct investment in India.


But that only helps high-tech workers there right? Yeah, but guess what? They want to eat in nice restaurants, drive in cabs, go to health clubsóall jobs that trickle down to the poor.


So the Black Hole, she gets a bit smaller each day and globalization rolls on.

10:17AM

The evil twin separated at birth

ìSouth Korea Casts Wary Glance to North,î by James Brooke, New York Times, 29 April, p. W1.


Just a couple of good stats on the nature/nurture debate regarding commie North and capitalist South Korea.


First, six decades of socialist ìbrillianceî at the hands of the great/dear leaders, the Kims, leaves North Korea with $2 billion in industrial inventory. Ah, those socialists know how to generate industry, yes?


South Korea, on the other hand, gets by with a mere $489 billion in industrial inventory.


Great mentor China does about $1billion trade with the North each year, but almost $60billion with South Korea.


Think the U.S. canít cut a deal with Beijing to take down Kim and open up the North?

10:16AM

More reasons why Kim Jong Il should be taken down now

ìNorth Koreaís Top Priority Remains Secrecy After Blast,î by James Brooke, New York Times, 29 April, p. A10.


Just like the famine in late 1990s when Kim refused to let worldís aid in for fear of losing his grip on power, thus letting 3 million of his people starve to death needlessly (half a Holocaust, say I, wondering where the peace marchers are on that one), Pyongyang is yet again stonewalling on aid to victims of the huge explosion last week. Hundreds of blinded kids, we are told, although no one is sureósuch is the extreme disconnectedness in that country that no one outside really knows.


To stop media interviews with survivors, North Korea stopped Chinaís attempts to aid victims of blindness. The regime refused to let South Korea trucks cross the border with relief supplies, fearing its border would be compromised in some unacceptable fashion.


So the suffering continues while the Dear Leader is nowhere to be found on the subject.


Meanwhile the official state media circulates stories claiming residents in the affected areas ran back into their houses to first save their portraits of the Dear Leader, leaving kids behind to suffer longer or even die. First things first for the Wizard of Odd.


If that man isnít an advertisement for the utility of assassinating an evil leader, then who the hell is?

10:16AM

China floats Japanís boat

ìJumping Out of Sick Bay,î by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, 29 April, p. A27.


Great quote in Friedman piece: ìTwo-thirds of the reason for [Japanís] recovery is China,î says a Japanese management consultant.


Japan and China hold almost $1Trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds. Increasingly, their view of the world will merge, with Chinaís moving closer to pragmatic Japanís. The U.S. is looking at a dual strategic partner in this pair. We better get used to it, plan for it, and exploit it whenever possible. Those two countries bought the bulk of the sovereign debt we floated to pay for the Iraq war. We better make sure they get the outcome they thought they were buying when they purchased all that debt. Otherwise, next time they may not finance the war.

10:15AM

WTF: UNís bold move on stopping Osama from getting WMD

ìBan on Weapons of Doom Is Extended to Qaeda-Style Groups,î Warren Hoge, New York Times, 29 April, p. A3.


UN Security Council just passed a resolution making it illegal for terror groups to acquire WMD. Of course, no enforcement mechanism is included in the resolution, but member states can lob sanctions against states found guilty of letting the technology get into al Qaedaís hands.


Oooh! That feels safer doesnít it? Pakistan may have to pay a fine or something for enabling Osama to set off a nuke in Manhattan someday.

10:14AM

Digging down deeper on micro loans

ìDebate Stirs Over Tiny Loans for Worldís Poorest,î Celia W. Dugger, New York Times, 29 April, P. A1.


Great article describes push in development community to mandate that more of the money being put into micro-loan programs which are hugely successful (and something I advocate in the conclusion of my book) be directed to the very poor, or those living on less than $1 a day.


Great idea, say I.

8:48AM

Test: PNM News and Mail Bag

Just posting this to see how RSS feeds are rendered.


PNMNews: at /news/news_index.htm


And, some responses to the book Tom received via email.


Oh, the FQA about the PNM is posted now, too.

10:10AM

China's Self-Synchronization of Rule Sets on Finance

(1) "China's Listings Lose Steam: Several Big Stock Sales Are Put Off Amid Accounting Questions," by Joel Baglole, Wall Street Journal, 26 April. p. A13.


Great story on how international investors are beginning to raise more questions about accounting practices in China. Yet another sign that as China opens up to the world to get funding for all that development, it will be forced to import the Core's rule sets more and more. Remember: no rules, no money; no money, no infrastructure, etc.

10:09AM

That's why I call it a "global" transaction strategy!

(2) "Could Overseas Financing Hurt the U.S.?" by Greg Ip. Wall Street Journal, 26 April, p. A2.


Basic theme of PNM book is that US conducts a series of grand transactions with rest of world in terms of what we offer and what we expect in return. One thing we offer world through our willingness to overspend on our budget is a military that can export security to the world. How do we pay for this? We don't on many levels. That sovereign debt is purchased by other nations that prefer to "import" that service from us.


Good article raises the new bugaboo for those smart observers who are catching on to this reality. We are world's biggest debtor, so someone is paying for all that defense buildup after 9/11, plus the two wars, plus the Iraq occupation. That someone is first and foremost China and Japan. Together they now hold roughly a trillion dollars of U.S. Treasury bonds. What they do with those bonds can have huge impact on the U.S. economy, and thus our continued ability to fund defense.


So if you think we're just spending on defense for ourselves, you're wrong. Someone else is buying this service as well, so if we pretend to wage war solely within the context of war and ignore the everything elseólike who pays for itówe're just kidding ourselves about our "unilateralism." China and Japan better continue to approve of the security exports we offer the world, because when they stop approving of that service, we will be hard pressed to continue offering it and the world will suffer.


This is why I say the Core is in this Global War On Terror together or not at all. That's why how we explain ourselves in this GWOT is crucialóno happy ending revealed means no one willing to fund the war.

10:08AM

Building the Sys Admin force on the fly in Iraq

(3) "Army Seeks Ways to Bolster Force in Iraq," by Greg Jaffe, Wall Street Journal, 26 April, p. A4.


Another great article on change within DoD from Greg Jaffe. Speaks to realities like the Pentagon "burning through military police" and "running short of construction-engineer units" in its ongoing occupation of Iraq.


I will say it again: we field a first-half team in a league that keeps score until the end of the game. We are watching halftime adjustments here that would make Bill Walsh shudder with anguish, but make them we must. We need the Sys Admin force here and now in Iraq, and if we have to remake the Reserve Component to get it, we will.

10:07AM

Woodward carrying the White House's water

(4) "The Book That Tops the White House Best-Spinner List," by Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times, 26 April, p. A17.


No surprise here: Woodward's success is so built on access that he has totally been spun by the Bush White House. He thinks he's got some real revelations in his book (not true, as I've noted), but the Bush White House got something far better: validation from the "world's great investigative (hardy har!) reporter" that Bush is firmly in command of the Global War On Terror. Guess who spun who in this national election year?


Woodward is nothing more than a journalistic butt-boy to D.C.'s power elite.

10:06AM

Europe may regret saying no to Osama's offer of civilizational apartheid

(5) "Militants in Europe Openly Call For Jihad and the Rule of Islam," by Patrick E. Tyler and Don Van Natta, Jr., New York Times, 26 April, p. A1.


Some in Europe may believe they can sit on the sidelines in the Global War On Terro, letting the U.S. and others do the dirty work. But if this article's main thesis rings at all true, time may be running short on their ability to maintain geopolitical apathy regarding the world outside Europe.


The U.S. primarily imports Latinos for immigrants, but Europe primarily imports Muslims. Guess who will have a harder time pretending they can live behind firewalls?

2:47PM

Warfighters within the context of everything else

Dateline: above the garage in Portsmouth RI, 25 April


Reference: ìWith Breadwinners Overseas, Guard Families Face Struggle,î by Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, 25 April, p. A1.


Classic story: guy has a dream of running his own catering business. Signs up for the Guard for a little extra money, expectingóat worstósix months somewhere. Now in his 18th month of deployment, his dreams of small business success are coming apart at seams. His military service is bankrupting his family in more ways than one.


His duty? Heís a military police. Why are they being run ragged in Iraq? The Pentagon has spent a decade and a half denigrating Military Operations Other than War. Didnít buy for it. Didnít train enough people for it. Didnít prioritize it. Hid it as much as possible in the Guard, which remains chock-full of artillery batteries that havenít been used in so many years they are almost museum pieces.


S--- hits the fan in the second half in Iraq, and guess who gets holding the back? Reality is: our great Leviathan warfighting force writes checks our embryonic Sys Admin peacekeeping force cannot possibly cover with its meager resources.


Why is this Sys Admin force so starved for money? The Pentagon prefers to think about, plan for, buy for, and wage war within the context of warónot caring about the back half effort such war invariably generates. When youíre planning for great power war with China in the straits of Taiwan in 2025, youíre not planning for a lot of MPs, or armored Humvees, or any of that crap. No sir, those remain ìlesser includeds,î as in, weíll make do with what we have in stock.


Who pays for this bias? The National Guard does (for one), and so does their families.


A Pentagon still obsessed with near-peer competitors does not feel their pain. And a ìwar presidentî canít be bothered with such details.


But a Pentagon committed to fighting a global war on terrorism would care, and a president who worried about the ìeverything elseî portion of that global war on terrorism would understand that victory lies in the smallest details.