china Original Patrick Lawrence Taiwan

Patrick Lawrence: Reeking of Butter

The House speaker has just given off a reek of butter that seems to have sent the whole of East Asia in search of hankies.  

By Patrick Lawrence / Original to ScheerPost

The Japanese have a wonderful expression they sometimes use to describe Westerners when they are behaving obtusely. In such cases they say Americans and Europeans are bata kusai, butter-smelling. There is an interesting story behind this strange locution. It is a good time to relate it.

When Westerners began to arrive in Japan in the mid–19th century, disrupting two centuries and some of isolation, the Japanese found, among their many other peculiarities, that they stank of animal fat. This was so because at the time of Commodore Perry’s “black ships” and the great “opening” of the Japanese islands, dairy products were not part of the Japanese diet. To the Japanese, in consequence, Westerners gave off a sour, unpleasant odor, which they named the smell of butter.

It was a long time, well into the modern era, before the Japanese started consuming milk, cheese, and butter. So the expression stuck. Bata kusai came to mean whatever the Japanese found in Westerners to be coarse, insensitive, gauche, or gracelessly assertive.

I have long treasured the Japanese idiom for its earthiness and, the important thing, because it is a reminder of how we Westerners tend to be unaware of the way we come over to others. John Wayne was bata kusai. Huge American cars with chrome fins were bata kusai. American trade negotiators hectoring the Japanese about rice and baseball bats were bata kusai. Ronald Reagan was bata kusai.

And Nancy Pelosi, bringing the Japanese phrase into the wider Asian context, is emphatically bata kusai. The House speaker has just given off a reek of butter that seems to have sent the whole of East Asia in search of hankies.  

It is obvious now that Pelosi knows absolutely nothing about diplomacy as it is conducted at the other end of the Pacific. For my money she knows nothing about statecraft altogether and anywhere, but let us set this aside for the moment.

Asian diplomacy is very different from Western practice. There is much about it that  Westerners would consider informal. Something of the Roman principle at times comes into it: Qui tenet teneat, he who holds may go on holding—in other words, let us proceed from where we are. Unwritten understandings are central to the process. Confrontation is a very last resort. Mahogany tables, fountain pens, and formal agreements come only after all the easily attainable objectives have been achieved—the symbolic gestures, the low-hanging fruit. There is typically no rush in Asian diplomacy.

Pelosi is asleep to these differences. To East Asians she has come over as a butter-smelling clod—clumsy, indelicate, incapable of nuance, not the slightest interested in the perspectives of others, ignorant of how she was looked upon. Given she has offered the world a display of how American diplomats and administration officials conduct our trans–Pacific relations, we must conclude that America is destined to get nowhere in the world’s most dynamic region in the course of our century. Those purporting to serve as our statesmen and stateswomen simply do not have the intelligence or the craft.

We saw evidence of this even in the few days Pelosi spent on her pointless wander. This is my point.

To begin with a bit of background, Washington’s plan since it began to consider China’s admirable rise from poverty a threat to America’s security has been to unite the rest of Asia in a coalition dedicated to containing China and limiting its further development. I date this thinking to the mid–Obama years, when Hillary Clinton was named secretary of state.

That was a very unfortunate appointment. Clinton bears within her the sort of paranoia we used to associate with Goldwater Republicans—among whom she took her place early in life. It was while Clinton was running State that we had the “pivot to Asia.” In hindsight, the pivot was the first, inchoate declaration that a second Cold War was on the way. Now that I am thinking of it, I do not see all that much distance between the Clinton mainstream of the Democratic Party and the glazed-eyes ravings of Mike Pompeo, who ran State during the Trump administration. He carried on about “our allies and partners” just as Clinton did, dreaming of how we would all gang up against “Communist China.”

This is common currency now. Antony Blinken, Pompeo’s replacement, rarely misses a chance to reference our allies and partners and the coming coalition. A kooky piece of big think published in The Wall Street Journal the other day names this idea “Rimland”—some chain of nations that will all line up seamlessly, casting aside whatever else they have on their minds, to surround not just China, but Russia, too, and win the great 21st century war for… for the 21st century, I suppose.

Here’s the thing. The thought of an alliance of like-minded nations uniting to wave the “democrats vs. authoritarians” banner and acting in concert against China has been—forgive the reference, this is the clearest way to say this—a form of masturbation from the first. It is the kind of thing that sounds good to people in Washington offices who do not travel and wish things were other than what they are.

Asians can read maps, believe it or not. Asians have interests and little interest in ideologies. Asians have relations with China that they find have many advantages. Asians have no interest in a confrontation with China—and certainly not in any kind of open conflict. However, among people who, by and large, have never walked to and fro among Asians such that they understand them as anything other than dehumanized digits, pulling East Asia together in an anti–China consortium seems a capital idea and easy as pie: All Washington has to do is tell Asians what to do.

I have found it remarkable to note how enduring this masturbatory fantasy has proven over the years. Whenever evidence of its untethered silliness arises, it is simply not discussed. You haven’t, I am certain, read or heard anything of this in our mainstream media, even though a police reporter from Wichita would be able to tell you all about it after a short while on assignment at the far end of the Pacific.  

And so you are in the dark, maybe—where you are supposed to be—as to the lasting significance of Nancy Pelosi’s big blunder. In a true, live-fire test of the allies-and-partners bit, it crashed somewhere in the South China or East China Seas. We await word of the remains. 

Pelosi’s first stops were in Singapore and Malaysia, the former a long-obedient client, the latter having somewhat a mind of its own in matters to do with East and West. What happened during these stopovers? I will explore this fully in the next paragraph.

Nothing. There were no joint statements of solidarity, nothing about alliances and partnerships against the mainland, and certainly no ringing endorsements for Pelosi’s courageous journey to Taiwan. Silence is at times worth a thousand words.

Koreans are casually known as the Irish of the East for their refreshingly forthright manner. Pelosi’s arrival in Seoul came to more than merely nothing-to-say courtesies. There was no delegation to meet Pelosi at the airport, to her reported irritation. President Yoon Suk-yeol said he was on vacation and could not meet her; a telephone conversation would have to do.

I am reminded of a friend in college who called the girl of his desires for a date. “I can’t,” she said, “I have to do my laundry tonight.” This seems to approximate what Yoon told Pelosi.  

Wow, given South Korea is one of five Pacific nations with which the U.S. has formal alliances—along with Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, and Australia— Diplomatic snubs do not get a lot more pointed.

Pelosi flew to Seoul straight from Taipei, and the reek of butter seems to have been strong by the time her plane put down. United Daily News, one of the big Taiwan dailies, had by that time reported a poll in which nearly two-thirds of those asked thought Pelosi’s visit was destabilizing and unwise. So much for the “big welcome” we read and heard about in the corporate media.

At writing, China has begun several days of live-fire military drills that Beijing is pleased to describe as dress rehearsals for a full blockade of the island should matters come to it. There is now speculation—interesting speculation, but speculation—that Taiwan citizens may now swing on the pendulum and want the governing Democratic Progressive Party to back off its pro-independence position and the U.S. to back off its open encouragement of the DPP.

Pelosi’s final stop in Asia was in Japan, America’s most reliable ally in East Asia. What did we hear from Premier Fumio Kishida? The Chinese ought to stop those exercises because they are dangerous, he said in his formal statement. It is in what the premier left unsaid that he made his point.     

After all these years, nobody in Asia seems to like the smell of butter.

Patrick Lawrence
Patrick Lawrence

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a media critic, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon siteHis Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored without explanation.


  1. Patrick spot on summary of the shallow, ignorant, and arrogant Pelosi and utter failure of American diplomacy! Remarkable, how they miss the point that they are actually doing what there adversaries need isolating Amerika in the world as they keep offending, dictating and demanding loyalty to the flailing empire. Pelosi, Blinken, Biden and the lot believe in their own self importance and are so inflated that they are actually out of touch with how they are perceived in the rest of the world. Virtually anything they say can be dismissed as nothing more than the prattlings of a sharply declining empire with little credibility and only a bloated incompetent military to back it up. Frighteningly, however, their sheer stupidity and arrogance could start a conflict where Amerikan military folly will not be just a humiliating and chaotic exit from Afghanistan but a stunning military defeat that these clowns will respond to with nuclear weapons. This is where Amerikan diplomacy is now at and the world sees that there is no Amerikan leadership worth paying attention to. God help us all!

  2. Brilliant. Hilarious. I wish you could force Pelosi, Blinken, Biden and company to read this. If the Taiwanese are paying attention, they will see where their interests lie, as the rest of the region already seems to.

  3. A really great piece, I’m (metaphorically speaking) rolling on the floor laughing out loud (again, metaphorically as it’s very early in the morning and everyone else is asleep). That Lawrence uses “In such cases they say Americans and Europeans are bata kusai, butter-smelling” is so apt as to the situation between east and west. Good job!

  4. I regret to inform you that the “bata kusai” is not merely an old phrase used in modern times to mean something else. I travelled extensively to and resided in Tokyo & Honk Kong in the 90’s & 00’s; i can confirm that to Asians, particularly East Asians, we do still very much smell of dairy, most notably milk and cheese. While its true dairy has made inroads to the Asian diet, it’s still not really widespread and as such doesn’t come any where near enough to smother the whiff we westerners give off i’m afraid. Or so i’m told, anyway.

  5. A follow-up of my 1st comment: Lawrence has President Yoon Suk-yeol stating “There was no delegation to meet Pelosi at the airport, to her reported irritation. President Yoon Suk-yeol said he was on vacation and could not meet her; a telephone conversation would have to do.” Truly, in jest, I wish Lawrence would have had President Yoon Suk-yeol stating: “I can’t make it, I’m washing my hair!” Again truly, I would have literally fallen to the floor laughing out loud and waking everyone up in our home.

  6. I have come to the conclusion that as a general rule, people get the government they deserve. Without a doubt America has exactly the government it deserves. A mindless, greedy, arrogant, incompetent government for a mindless, greedy, arrogant, ignorant people. Fits like a glove.

    America is rancid.

    1. Agreed…. Though the aroma is increasingly rare; Mr. Lawrence’s article smells like the truth.

    2. thanks for confirming my own smell test.
      Taiwan, the land of Foxconn the con artist is especially smelly
      IMO, the US had a coup during the Reagan years and power was concentrated at the top leaving a facade of a functioning democratic republic beneath it.
      Follow the money, the jobs, and most of all, the complete lack of vision.
      What did we get? A floundering near-banana republic where the near-Hollywood special effects of CGI and green screen have become an incoherent series of pop up crises and wars – those running the show have run out of ideas.

  7. Wonderful piece! Just ordered some of his books and looking forward to reading more. Damn shame about thefloutist’s twitter account. I do remember that handle as being a standout must read. Senator Butter from here on out in my mind. Kudos to Scheerpost for snagging Patrick Lawrence!

  8. The UN charter contains provisions acknowledging fundamental rights of all NATIONS to self determination.

    Does Taiwan have a right to self determination?

    Yes and no.

    Yes, Taiwanese NATION has a right to self determination but Taipei regime, effectively allied, funded, subordinated, protected by foreign power, does not.

    The real self determination of Taiwan means independence from China as well from US.

    The right of self determination of any NATION means independence from all foreign political dictate, freedom from foreign economic blackmail and strangulation. Only real self determination leads to real independence and sovereignty of a NATION.

    The self determined NATION means, according to UN charter, NATION with relations with other nations on a basis of equality, equity and equal mutual partnership and peaceful mutually beneficial coexistence in all international relations.

    UN charter emphatically states that it itself relates to NATIONS not governments, regimes or any bureaucratic organizations of society but to “we the people” who may or may not be adequately represented by executive powers whose representatives claim sovereignty over a NATION. The UN charter considers no government right to stifle drive for self determination including that achieved by means of armed struggle.

    The right of determination includes right of a NATION to secede from any country and to reject any of its administrative powers.

    In such context NATION is defined by self-evidence not by any other ethnic, cultural, racial, political or economic criteria. Joining any international treaty, agreements or commitments military, political or economic etc., is infringing of self determination and even on NATION’s sovereignty.

    This is not utopia. It is reality or it used to be. The best but not perfect example of practical self determination used to be neutral Switzerland. A NATION that was not even a member of UN, not signatory of any treaty, not a member of any alliance economic or political running mostly self contained local economy not dependent on international trade. A NATION defined by dozens of autonomous regions with at least three languages and highly diverse cultures, faces and ethnic groups. Swiss NATION is self defined.

    Needles to say that NATIONS’ self determination is an anti thesis to GLOBALIZATION which requires strong external political dependencies and inherently unequal and inequitable economic relations between capital exporters and importers which automatically results in loss of sovereignty (decisions are made outside) that is the most important product of self determination.

    The Taiwanese are split over being dependent on US or to rejoin China. Those who want real UN charter supported self determination of the NATION of Taiwanese Islanders are being brutally suppressed by all factions of Taiwanese puppet regime . If Taiwanese working people raised their voice they would have rejected dictate of both imperial powers.

    As Ukraine, Taiwan conflict is not about hearing voice of Taiwanese people but proxy confrontation between global powers.

    It is high time for Americans to wake up from torpor of binary world and understand that most of criticism of China is not pro American and criticism of America for their Taiwan and Ukraine provocations is not pro Russian or pro Chinese. It is pro working people who suffer and die in those needless and senseless global confrontations.

    1. Prior to the 1949 victory of the Communist PLA in China, the KMT prepared the ground for their retreat. They literally invaded Taiwan and replaced its government with their own people. After his 1949 defeat, Boss Chiang initiated a pogrom to get rid of any and all leftists and ruled as a dictator until his death, fully supported and protected by the US, who thought of Taiwan as their “unsinkable aircraft carrier”. That is the genesis of Taiwan.
      I cannot think of Taiwan in any way as a NATION.

    2. @kalen
      wow, ye are capable of the odd original thought! now, quickly, before yer bright moment goes away, riddle us JUST WHY ALL THESE BEAUTIFUL WORDS ABOUT SELF-DETERMINATION DO NOT APPLY TO THE COUNTRY KNOWN AS ‘UKRAINE’?
      do i see ye running, tail tucked between yer legs?

      1. Ukraine shows that while Hitler lost his war against the Russians, the US (the CIA in particular) quickly took up his mantle and showed that the battle of fascism (“American Democracy”) vs Communist (now “Russian Orthodox Capitalism; Russia) continues. Ukraine lost their brief independence and sovereignty, if it existed at all with the Orange Revolution in 2005, when the CIA replaced the elected Yanukovych with their puppet Yushchenko (a US-trained banker married to a US citizen, a State/CIA official). Yushchenko named Stepan Bandera “Hero of Ukraine” and glorified NAZIs, as a good puppet should do. When he received only 5% of the vote in UN-proctored Elections, and Yanukovych won, again, the US handlers (Manafort, the Podesta Group and Obama lawyer Greg Craig, as well as a host of State Department employees from families of the old Soviet Union) became enthralled with corruption an easy money in the pitiful (for real Ukrainians) paradise, that bad puppet Yanukovych had to go, giving us the Maidan Coup and 8 years later the Russian SMO.
        The US has done wonderfully for their oligarchs in Latin America and see no reason to change their modus operantis– “American Democracy”: Puppet States– in the rest of the world.
        “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” approaches seem relatively benign in comparison to what America has become.

      2. One can easily recognize the Maidan Coup of 2014 and the resulting pro-Western, pro-EU, pro-American government in Kyiv as illegitimate. The Ukronazis literally drove the legitimately elected president, President Yanukovich, fleeing for his life.
        The subsequent policies of that government were detrimental to the lives of the ethnic Russian Ukrainian population. Actual murders of Russian people in Odesa and likely other parts of Russia, were brushed off, never investigated, and ignored. The ethnic Russian Ukrainian residents of eastern Ukraine rejected the Kyiv government and were invaded and punished, while the residents of Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea literally fought back, sparking a civil war.
        Additionally, by provoking a war against Russia when there was ample opportunity for negotiation shows that Kyiv works against the interest of the Ukrainian people. There is evidence that corrupt elements in the government have profited from this war and recent constitutional changes suggest Kyiv is open to selling land to foreign multinationals. Essentially, Kyiv is either fascist or proto-fascist and criminal to boot.
        When a government does not provide for the welfare of its citizens, at least pro forma, it loses its legitimacy, it loses what the Chinese call “The Mandate of Heaven.”

      3. An excellent comment! — thank you. (Note: apropos Ukraine…I assume this kudos will “fit” under that component — 8-09, 5:47 am — in this comment thread that has become, IMO, far-too-long and disjointed.)

  9. I read the book The Ugly American in the 1950s, which described how we are bata kusai very well. Some of us have known that for a long time. It’s the ones who are oblivious who cause the problems.

    And Westerners have another saying: “Possession is 9/10 of the law.”

  10. “the mid–Obama years, when Hillary Clinton was named secretary of state.”

    Clinton was the US Secretary of State “from 2009 to 2013”, i.e., Obama’s entire first term in office.

    A telling indication Patrick doesn’t really have his facts straight…

    1. Ah yes. The one small error that (mercifully) negates the entire message.

  11. Excellent; purely excellent. I, with a (passed) Japanese wife, am well familiar with “bata kusai,” usually using it as I contemplate the Ugly American in a similar context and mindview. No “bata kusai” essence discernible in this welcome commentary by PL. Kudos!

  12. Excellent analysis and commentary. It seems we only elect “ugly Americans” to carry out our statecraft in the interests of, not our own population, but the oligarchs and corporations these “Yahoo politicians” really represent.

  13. How does a nation of such (waning) significance place such manifestly incompetent people in positions of power?

    1. Because there’s no significant difference between the 2 parties that pre-select candidates for us, & work their tails off to keep anyone else from being a viable chouce

  14. Bata kusai, or gracelessly assertive ( arrogance) makes any culture blind and insensitive.
    The entire western nations believed with absolute arrogance that Korea / Vietnam are vital to prevent the globe from becoming communist…. Remember the Domino Theory??
    Even though N Korea, Vietnam are communist, many other countries stopped : east Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, others. But westerners absolutely cling to the basics of the Domino Theory in regard to Taiwan is a Domino to topple all of Asia, and Ukraine is another Domino or Putin will take all of Europe.
    The sun still rises and the world continues it merry way even though they are communist, so we mourn millions of damaged or destroyed lives in Korea/Vietnam Civil Wars.

    Bata kusai is very strong these days as we ready for more death and destruction in the non essential and not important areas of Eastern Europe and S C seas.
    Whether Ukraine is part of Russia or Taiwan is part of China, is somewhat like parts of Texas belongs to Mexico,
    or Kashmir belongs to Pakistan, or large parts of Ukraine belongs to Poland-Lithuania empire or much of Asia belong to Mongols empire , on and on and on.
    Family fights and civil wars are best left up to themselves, after all lots of Donnie ‘s Confederates really want fireworks.

  15. Time for a Chinese “diplomat” to visit Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona etc to encourage them to secede and rejoin Mexico

  16. I am just waiting for the formal reunification of Taiwan and the mainland resulting in China absorbing TSMC, the most important chip manufacturer in the world, including of the most high end chips. That is the Administration’s, and Silicon Valley’s greatest nightmare.

    1. It is unfortunate for Humankind that.the flailing,failing Capitalist ruler over much of world has leaders like Pelosi,Schumer,Biden and Trump defenders of Racism,War and White Supremacy.This is the history of the US all the way.back to the Pilgrims.Now the worm.has turned.It could not have happened to.more deserving people.It is too bad that the USA has 2000 Nukes which it has demonstrated it will.use if threatened.

  17. Brilliant and essential piece/comment, THANK YOU! Needed to be said SOMEWHERE.

  18. I’ve lived in Seoul for 4 years now. I live in the foreign region where the diplomats stay. Endless motorcades fly by, and weekly protests are held (some pro-American, and many anti-American Imperialism marches). Typically when a high-profile US politician makes there way over here, it causes a bit of media mayhem, thousands of police barricades and traffic comes to a halt. Pelosi’s trip…it was almost like it never happened. No news, no barricades, no marches. Reeking of butter indeed.

  19. Du bist hoer in meinem land
    Meine welle und mein strand

    1. @ ahandful: try “hier” instead of ‘hoer’ to actually make sense in german. no need to thank me

      1. My fingers are big, and on screen keys are small.

        Almost all the German I know is from NDH songs.


    Long gone is any assertion by Dems that we can have guns and butter. They simply let the neglected butter go rancid–as even a cursory examination of our infrastructure shows. Lots and lots of public $$$ for guns…MIC, you know. D party sponsors.

    The rapacious econ system and its subsidiary politics only serves the 1% and their 20%er professional upper middle class enablers. We others are merely “human resources.” Like the rest of nature, things to be strip-mined and clear-cut; remains tossed aside.

    The attitude of the Dem portion of the ruling class blatantly shown by Pelosi, the owner of two 24K refrigerators that are filled with nothing but ice cream costing $13 a pint.

    New Deal?! Great Society?! Ha! The sole function of the system is to strip whatever middle class wealth that hasn’t been ruined by fire, flood, or drought and funnel it upwards. As long as the power stays on.

    1. Yeah, but, but … Trump! and Putin! and Xi! They take ALL of our resources to resist!

  21. Taiwan, the land of Foxconn the con artist
    the US had a coup during the Reagan years and power was concentrated at the top leaving a facade of a functioning democratic republic.
    Follow the money, the jobs, and most of all, the complete lack of vision.
    What did we get? a floundering near-banana republic where the near-Hollywood special effects of CGI and green screen have become an incoherent series of pop up crises and wars – those running the show have run out of ideas.

  22. Which fairy tale had the wicked witch look into a mirror and ask, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” It seems that the mirror finally told the truth that China had surpassed the US. Of course, just as the witch did, the Americans react with great anger and hatred.

  23. On an otherwise excellent article, if I may make just one point. Clinton’s Pivot to the East was not an “inchoate declaration of a second Cold War”, though she might well have thought it so. There is a failure to see the pattern of history, and what it predicts. Also broader cycles: history moves through periods of peace (or relative peace) followed by periods of widespread conflict. The original Cold War, as it turned out, a time of peace: its end brought humanity into an era of increased war. Such cycles led to world war in 1914 and 1939. Now we are facing a third world war – nuclear war.

  24. As someone close to veganism, this article’s intro is hilarious: “they stank of animal fat.” Perhaps not eating animal products anymore, including meat, eggs, cheese, butter, egg mayonnaise, etc. – will allow people to get rid or use their ‘deodorants’ less too.

    1. Thank you, Gregory! Meat-eating, animal husbandry, especially in its CAFO form, is the worst thing to happen to humanity.

      1. yet Hong Kong residents consume more red meat than any people have fewest chronic diseases and have longest life expectancies…Taiwanese consume 1/5 red meat than HK residents and life expectancy 7 years less

      2. @ giligan
        China itself has gone the CAFO route, I am very sorry to say, and rejecting that practice is a fundamental change that needs making badly. For untold generations, Chinese people of means could afford as much meat as they wanted and ‘prosperity’ now becomes measured by the chance to eat a lot of meat. This is similar to wealth hoarding. For the sake of the planet, both need to be abandoned as signs of status, not only in China, but throughout the human sphere.

  25. Wow ! The obtuse American has replaced the Ugly American, or, dare I say it, maybe just married him.

  26. has anybody posting here about the book “the ugly American” actually read it? It is a laudatory pean to the great virtues of a fat American man who helps out poor struggling Viet Namese farmers. Fat and Ugly are synonymous in Viet Nam. the book you want to read is “the quiet American” by Graham Green.

    1. Been awhile, but partially truth based, and the Quiet American (CIA of course) was so disruptive that EVERYONE wanted him gone, to restore order and “decency” to an already broken society.
      Of course the CIA was not to be denied and gave us the Vietnam War with all our politicians’ blessings.

  27. Dear Patrick,

    If your denigrating views of Pelosi – a seasoned and accomplished Democrat politician that require no recognition from demagogues and propaganda buffs such as you – were true, the Chinese overblown, aggressive and provocative response is puzzling. If they accept your (conspiratorial, delusional, demagogic) opinion – that Pelosi’s trip is a pointless gesture which has no chance of succeeding – than their response – from the threat to Biden to the aggressive display of ‘military might’ around Taiwan – is a cynical theater of fake indignation, an excuse used to advance their imperialistic aspirations. If, on the other hand, they take the Speaker’s trip seriously, they are either as “bata kusai” as her, or (more likely) your analysis is an amateurish nonsense!

    Consider, for example your next quip:

    “China’s admirable rise from poverty”.

    It is a direct result of three distinct and important factors:
    1) The abandonment of communism and the introduction of capitalism as the main economic system.
    2) Globalization, which enabled turning China into the global manufacturing pit and the number one polluter.
    3) The totalitarian nature of the Chinese political system, which enables the centralized (and more often than not abusive) utilization of both resources and personnel without much criticism, oversight, or concerns for safety.

    Unless you intend to become an advocate of capitalism, globalization, a defender of the right to pollute, and for totalitarian authoritarianism, your quip is pure demagogic BS.

    In short, your views of China and the US have little to do with reality, actual facts, or particularly progressively astute or interesting observation skills, and but for the dangerous and uncritical regurgitation of Chinese propaganda, while consistent and as your misguided and misleading views of the Russian dangerous military aggression against Ukraine, they are more saddening than alarming or impressing.

    1. China is communist, not capitalist—all important industry is nationalized—your fascist support of nazis in ukraine is not surprising

      1. @giligan

        “State-owned enterprises … generated 40% of China’s GDP of US$15.98 trillion dollars (101.36 trillion yuan) in 2020, with domestic and foreign private businesses and investment accounting for the remaining 60%…

        As of 2018, China was first in the world in total number of billionaires and second in millionaires – there were 658 Chinese billionaires and 3.5 million millionaires…

        China … is also the world’s fastest-growing consumer market …”

        – Most of China’s economy is privately owned!
        – It has more billionaires and millionaires than the US!
        – It is a consumer market!
        – It has an intricate system of stock exchange markets!

        Allow me to paraphrase a cliche:

        If it walks and quakes like capitalism, it IS capitalism, regardless of how Chinese demagogues and propaganda buffs (and their 80% ‘loyal’ flock) choose to spin it.

        The only thing ‘communist’ in China is its dictatorial and totalitarian nature.

  28. @Democracy Gone Astray, your comment is passing strange. It is also completely wrong, and appears to regurgitate the standard line meant to cut the legs off of China’s “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.” China is not capitalist, although it uses aspects of capitalism to serve development. Principally, the “commanding heights of the economy” including land, banking, military, are all public enterprises, although China is still developing not only infrastructure, but economic principles.
    Your statement, “Unless you intend to become an advocate of capitalism, globalization, a defender of the right to pollute, and for totalitarian authoritarianism, your quip is pure demagogic BS…” is passing strange, as if you recognize the errors of these features of capitalism but somehow think the Chinese do not know all this.

    1. @Ted+Tripp

      “land, banking, military, are all public enterprises”


      The ‘public’ owes nothing in China which is run, managed and rewards the state and the CCP. The public has no say whatsoever – political, economic, or oversight.

      What is “strange” is the fact that while Patrick tries to belittle Pelosi’s visit’s impact and importance, the Chinese response on all its aspects – the threat to Biden and the military maneuvers – seem to disagree with his demagogic assessment.

      “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.” sounds like a Chinese propaganda quip that means absolutely nothing, as China is no more ‘socialist’ than social democracies, just as there is nothing ‘communist’ in the Chinese Communist Party.

      What’s “passing strange”, Teddy, is Patrick’s ignorance-peddling (according to him, Clinton became Secretary of State in Obama’s mid-years, China’s slide into capitalism, a labour actor in globalization, and its totalitarian nature is “admirable”, and Pelosi – an accomplished US law-maker that have done more to for progressive causes than many ‘progressive’ ones – is “knows nothing about statecraft altogether”).

      He doesn’t get a pass in my book, and he shouldn’t get one in yours, Teddy.

      1. Sorry, @Democrat Gone Astray, but like too many you want to see China through your own (distorted) lens. Somehow you think that by adjusting socialist experiments that proved inefficient necessarily means that China has abandoned her Marxist roots. Your problem is that you seem to believe in a static Marxism as some kind of Gospel rather than a vibrant collective discussion how to improve the lives of human beings.
        For one thing, no capitalist system has ever even come close to alleviating poverty at the scale done by China. For another, Chinese finance is public, Chinese land is public, Chinese industry is a mix of public and private. Those are facts, not ideological positions.
        You also believe as Gospel that the people cannot command a political system or that the Chinese system must be corrupt. This tells much more about you than about China, which I assume to you is a reflection of the predatory instincts at the root of capitalism.

    2. interesting that RECENT IPSOS studies find 85 % Chinese in full support of government policies and Xi, in Russia 80%… USA 1/3 support US ruling class policies

    3. @Ted+Tripp

      ““State-owned enterprises … generated 40% of China’s GDP of US$15.98 trillion dollars (101.36 trillion yuan) in 2020, with domestic and foreign private businesses and investment accounting for the remaining 60%…

      As of 2018, China was first in the world in total number of billionaires and second in millionaires – there were 658 Chinese billionaires and 3.5 million millionaires…

      China … is also the world’s fastest-growing consumer market …”

      – Most of China’s economy is privately owned!
      – It has more billionaires and millionaires than the US!
      – It is a consumer market!
      – It has an intricate system of stock exchange markets!”

      It walks an quacks like capitalism…

      Your obsessive insistence to call the CCP ‘public’ reminds me of the conservative insistence that corporation are people too.

      The ‘public’ has no say in economic matters, and no political means to have any input into what the CCP is doing!

      In short, China is a capitalist country with roughly 40% of its economy not privately owned.

      As to the poverty issue, the acute problems China had to deal with in the 80’s, when it finally turned its back on strict communism, were resolved, for the most part, in the 50’s, and while not many capitalist countries had managed their poverty problems as well as the Scandinavian ones, most of them had dealt with it more or less successfully through various social security programs.

      The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia on Chinese poverty. It gives a more complex view of it than Patrick’s and yours glazed eyes admiration of the Chinese ‘miracle’:

      “China’s growth has been so rapid that virtually every household has benefited significantly, fueling the steep drop in poverty. However, different people have benefited to very different extents, so that inequality has risen during the reform period. This is true for inequality in household income or consumption, as well as for inequality in important social outcomes such as health status or educational attainment. Concerning household consumption, the Gini measure of inequality increased from 0.31 at the beginning of reform to 0.45 in 2004. To some extent this rise in inequality is the natural result of the market forces that have generated the strong growth; but to some extent it is “artificial” in the sense that various government policies exacerbate the tendencies toward higher inequality, rather than mitigate them.”

      1. Two facts refute your rather common contention that China is a capitalist state.
        One, that key sectors of the economy, not just certain industries, are public property and publicly managed: banking, financial services, and land.
        Two, the country is governed by the Communist Party of China, and wealth does not take a hand in government.
        Thus, China can enjoy many forms of economic structures and experiments, while the West is sorely limited to one, with very few exceptions.

  29. fascists always immoral will claim Chinas success is capitalist–yet americans demise both freedom and justice….tocqueville perceived amerikans prefer to be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom….”the problem with americans is not Orwellian it is huxleyan; americans love their oppression”. Neil Postman
    “the amerikan world view is nihilism with a happy ending’. Alan B loom

  30. in hindsight, perhaps this was a ploy? It was a bit of a win for the US military since it gave them a glimpse of China’s readiness

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