“The Rise of China Will Not Be Peaceful at All”

The Australian, November 18, 2005

by John Mearsheimer

President Bush hopes the Asian giant will be a friendly one, but John Mearsheimer is a pessimist. The question at hand is simple and profound: will China rise peacefully?

My answer is no.

If China continues its impressive economic growth over the next few decades, the US and China are likely to engage in an intense security competition with considerable potential for war. Most of China’s neighbours, to include India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Russia and Vietnam, will join with the US to contain China’s power. To predict the future in Asia, one needs a theory that explains how rising powers are likely to act and how other states will react to them. My theory of international politics says that the mightiest states attempt to establish hegemony in their own region while making sure that no rival great power dominates another region. The ultimate goal of every great power is to maximise its share of world power and eventually dominate the system.

The international system has several defining characteristics. The main actors are states that operate in anarchy which simply means that there is no higher authority above them. All great powers have some offensive military capability, which means that they can hurt each other. Finally, no state can know the future intentions of other states with certainty. The best way to survive in such a system is to be as powerful as possible, relative to potential rivals. The mightier a state is, the less likely it is that another state will attack it. The great powers do not merely strive to be the strongest great power, although that is a welcome outcome. Their ultimate aim is to be the hegemon, the only great power in the system. But it is almost impossible for any state to achieve global hegemony in the modern world, because it is too hard to project and sustain power around the globe. Even the US is a regional but not a global hegemon. The best that a state can hope for is to dominate its own back yard. States that gain regional hegemony have a further aim: to prevent other geographical areas from being dominated by other great powers.

Regional hegemons, in other words, do not want peer competitors. Instead, they want to keep other regions divided among several great powers so that these states will compete with each other. In 1991, shortly after the Cold War ended, the first Bush administration boldly stated that the US was now the most powerful state in the world and planned to remain so. That same message appeared in the famous National Security Strategy issued by the second Bush administration in September 2002.

This document’s stance on pre-emptive war generated harsh criticism, but hardly a word of protest greeted the assertion that the US should check rising powers and maintain its commanding position in the global balance of power.

China — whether it remains authoritarian or becomes democratic – is likely to try to dominate Asia the way the US dominates the Western hemisphere.

Specifically, China will seek to maximize the power gap between itself and its neighbours, especially Japan and Russia. China will want to make sure that it is so powerful that no state in Asia has the wherewithal to threaten it. It is unlikely that China will pursue military superiority so that it can go on a rampage and conquer other Asian countries, although that is always possible. Instead, it is more likely that it will want to dictate the boundaries of acceptable behavior to neighbouring countries, much the way the US makes it clear to other states in the Americas that it is the boss. Gaining regional hegemony, I might add, is probably the only way that China will get Taiwan back.

An increasingly powerful China is also likely to try to push the US out of Asia, much the way the US pushed the European great powers out of the Western hemisphere. We should expect China to come up with its own version of the Monroe Doctrine, as Japan did in the 1930s. These policy goals make good strategic sense for China. Beijing should want a militarily weak Japan and Russia as its neighbours, just as the US prefers a militarily weak Canada and Mexico on its borders.

What state in its right mind would want other powerful states located in its region? All Chinese surely remember what happened in the 20th century when Japan was powerful and China was weak. In the anarchic world of international politics, it is better to be Godzilla than Bambi. Furthermore, why would a powerful China accept US military forces operating in its back yard? American policy-makers, after all, go ballistic when other great powers send military forces into the Western hemisphere. Those foreign forces are invariably seen as a potential threat to American security. The same logic should apply to China.

Why would China feel safe with US forces deployed on its doorstep? Following the logic of the Monroe Doctrine, would not China’s security be better served by pushing the American military out of Asia? Why should we expect the Chinese to act any differently than the US did? Are they more principled than the Americans are? More ethical? Less nationalistic? Less concerned about their survival? They are none of these things, of course, which is why China is likely to imitate the US and attempt to become a regional hegemon.

It is clear from the historical record how American policy-makers will react if China attempts to dominate Asia. The US does not tolerate peer competitors. As it demonstrated in the 20th century, it is determined to remain the world’s only regional hegemon. Therefore, the US can be expected to go to great lengths to contain China and ultimately weaken it to the point where it is no longer capable of ruling the roost in Asia. In essence, the US is likely to behave towards China much the way it behaved towards the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

China’s neighbours are certain to fear its rise as well, and they too will do whatever they can to prevent it from achieving regional hegemony. Indeed, there is already substantial evidence that countries such as India, Japan, and Russia, as well as smaller powers such as Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam, are worried about China’s ascendancy and are looking for ways to contain it. In the end, they will join an American-led balancing coalition to check China’s rise, much the way Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and even China, joined forces with the US to contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Finally, given Taiwan’s strategic importance for controlling the sea lanes in East Asia, it is hard to imagine the US, as well as Japan, allowing China to control that large island. In fact, Taiwan is likely to be an important player in the anti-China balancing coalition, which is sure to infuriate China and fuel the security competition between Beijing and Washington. The picture I have painted of what is likely to happen if China continues its rise is not a pretty one. I actually find it categorically depressing and wish that I could tell a more optimistic story about the future. But the fact is that international politics is a nasty and dangerous business and no amount of goodwill can ameliorate the intense security competition that sets in when an aspiring hegemon appears in Eurasia.

That is the tragedy of great power politics.

Reprinted with permission of John Mearsheimer, Professor of political science at the

University of Chicago and the author of

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (W.W. Norton, 2001).

Why do we ignore the Vietnamese people’s plight?

By Bruce Kesler

How can I ask you to think about the Vietnamese people when U.S. interests are absorbed by the crises in the Middle East, the nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea, or in big power diplomacy with Russia and China?

Simple answer: If our principles and efforts in those crises mean anything, some consistency is required, particularly where they can do some tangible, near-term good, and if our pledges to Iraqis or Israelis mean anything, they must be demonstrated to the people of our prior war.

The United States holds the key to Vietnam’s much desired entry into the World Trade Organization, and must first insist on concrete and verifiable compliance by Vietnam in meeting its so far hollow human rights pledges.

Instead,across political party lines, U.S. commercial interests are more committed to their potential profits foregoing this leverage regardless of the human price, and withstrong Bush administration support have lobbied so far successfully for Congress to approve Permanent Normal Trade Relations for Vietnam to enter the WTO. President Bush is planned to visit Vietnam next November, and aside from the theory this would leverage relations with China, would welcome a peaceful coexistence demonstration with this former enemy.

Yet,President Bush crows in Moscow, as negotiations are unsuccessful for U.S. support of Russia entering the WTO, that

“We’re tough negotiators,” Bush said when a Russian reporter asked about U.S. resistance. “And the reason why is because we want the agreement that we reach to be accepted by our United States Congress.”

Where’s the “tough negotiators” for the Vietnamese people’s human rights?

In today’s Washington Post, afeature article trumpets Vietnam’s expanding economy and its trade prospects:

“WTO seems to be motivating quite a considerable amount of change in Vietnam,” said Jonathan Pincus, senior country economist for the U.N. Development Program. “The vast majority of that change has been positive. The vast majority of that change is still to come.”
Entry to the WTO would follow nearly two decades of economic liberalization that helped transform Vietnam into one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies. Despite widespread corruption and bureaucratic lassitude, Vietnam’s economy has expanded by 50 percent in the last five years.

But, not a word in this Washington Post feature article out of over 1200 about the sad state of human rights in Vietnam.

This is curious, to say the least, from a newspaper that along with others in the major media are so quick to headline the latest charges about U.S. purported human rights failures in the War On Terror. Even more curious is that the leftist staff in NGO Human Rights Watch’s Middle East section are the source of so many such criticisms, yet when theExecutive Director of HRW’s Asia Division just issued a scathing open letter to Vietnam’s Prime Minister about Vietnam’s well documented depredations, the Washington Post and the rest of the MSM can’t find room to feature it.

Some examples from HRW:

* As you know, Article 19 of the ICCPR provides for the right to freedom of expression. In contrast, Vietnam’s Law on Publications strictly bans publications that oppose the government, divulge state secrets, or disseminate reactionary ideas. According to Vietnam’s Press Law, the role of the media is to serve as the voice of the party and state. There are no privately-owned media outlets; all publications are published by the government, the Party, or Party-controlled organizations.

In addition, the government controls the Internet by blocking websites considered objectionable or politically sensitive, monitoring email and on-line forums, and making Internet café owners responsible for information accessed and transferred on the Internet by their customers.

* Article 21 of the ICCPR recognizes the right of peaceful assembly, and Article 22 provides for the right to freedom of association with others. In Vietnam, however, political parties, unions, and nongovernmental human rights organizations that are independent of the government, the Party or mass organizations controlled by the Party are not allowed to operate. Public demonstrations are extremely rare, especially after government crackdowns against mass protests in the Central Highlands in 2001 and 2004.

* Followers of religions that are not officially recognized by the government continue to be persecuted. Security officials disperse their religious gatherings, confiscate religious literature, and summon religious leaders to police stations for interrogation.
* Hundreds of religious and political prisoners remain behind bars in prisons throughout Vietnam, including in Ha Nam, Dong Nai, Phu Yen, Nghe An / Ha Tinh, and Thanh Hoa provinces. There is compelling evidence of torture and other mistreatment of detainees. Prison conditions are extremely harsh and fall far short of international standards. We have received reports of solitary confinement of detainees in cramped, dark, unsanitary cells; and of police beating, kicking, and using electric shock batons on detainees, or allowing inmates or prison gangs to carry out beatings of fellow prisoners with impunity.

Police officers routinely arrest and detain suspects without written warrants. The judicial system is vulnerable to government or party interference and pressure. Trials of dissidents are closed to the public, the media, and often to the families of the detainees themselves. Defendants often do not have access to independent legal counsel.

Similarly, in June the

President of the Paris-based Vietnam Committee on Human Rights and Vice-President of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), wrote to UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, Louise Arbour and the President of the UN Human Rights Council, Luis Alfonso de Alba to draw their attention to the gross and systematic human rights violations in Vietnam, which he qualified as “a veritable blight on humanity”.

Mr. Ai called on the new UN Human Rights Council to address the situation in Vietnam as an urgent priority, stating that Vietnam was “seeking to become a full member of the international community whilst cynically disdaining its binding obligations to respect human rights”.

Annexed to his letter was a new report by the Vietnam Committee entitled “2006 : Grave Violations of Human Rights in Vietnam” with a detailed overview of “Vietnam’s policy of complete lack of dialogue with UN human rights mechanisms combined with systematic abuses of its citizens fundamental rights”. (See full text).

The document describes political repression orchestrated at the highest levels of the Vietnamese Communist Party and State, and the regime’s total non-compliance with UN human rights mechanisms. Vietnam has systematically refused to invite UN Special Rapporteurs (on Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Religion etc.) to visit Vietnam since 1998, when the then UN Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance, Abdelfattah Amor issued a highly critical report on the religious freedom and human rights situation following his in situ visit. Moreover, the government fails to submit mandatory periodic reports (due every 2 years) on its implementation of UN treaties ratified by Vietnam. Its report on the UN International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, one of the UN’s key human rights treaties, is overdue since 1995. Concerning the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, not only has Vietnam taken no heed of the UN Human Rights Committee’s recommendations to bring Vietnamese laws into line with international human rights law, but has done exactly the opposite, adopting extensive new legistation to “codify” political repression and stifle peaceful dissent.

There’s more examples here at theMontagnard Foundation.

Congress has demonstrated independence on other matters. Congress should demonstrate it again here, requiring real and documented progress on human rights in Vietnam before granting Permanent Normal Trade Relations and Vietnam’s entry to the WTO.

Reprinted with permission of Bruce N. Kesler, ChFC REBC RHU CLU

Thought each of you might be interested in this article…..

Love him or loathe him, he nailed this one right on the head………..

By Rush Limbaugh:

I think the vast differences in compensation between victims of the September 11 casualty and those who die serving our country in Uniform are profound. No one is really talking about it either, because you just don’t criticize anything having to do with September 11. Well, I can’t let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing about the entitlement mentality of this country. If you lost a family member in the September 11 attack, you’re going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million.

If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable.

Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there’s a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt.

Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of $1.185 million up to $4.7 million are complaining that it’s not enough. Their deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and they and their families know the dangers.

We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11 families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well.

You see where this is going, don’t you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It’s just really sad. Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they usually receive next to nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in low-rent housing. Make sense?

However, our own U.S. Congress voted themselves a raise. Many of you don’t know that they only have to be in Congress one time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month. And most are now equal to being millionaires plus. They do not receive Social Security on retirement because they didn’t have to pay into the system.

If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an E-7, they may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people who placed them in harm’s way receives a pension of $15,000 per month.
I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join ranks before they start cutting out benefits and lowering pay for our sons and daughters who have and are now fighting

“When do we finally do something about this?” If this doesn’t seem fair to you, it is time to forward this to as many people as you can.

How many people CAN YOU send this to?  How many WILL YOU send this to?

Open Letter on Vietnam

from Human Rights and Fair Trade Advocates

The President of the United States of America

Members of the U.S. Congress

June 15, 2006

We write this letter to urge you to demand that, as pre-conditions for granting Vietnam a permanent normal trade relation (PNTR) status, the Vietnamese communist government release all religious and political prisoners, end house-arrest practice against them, recognize all independent churches in Vietnam, allow independent labor unions, and truly free and fair trade regarding all forms of print and audio-video products.

Vietnam published a White Paper on Human Rights last year in which it promised to observe human rights including freedom of expression, freedom of religion and belief, and economic rights. Reporters Without Borders comments that these statements are simply window-dressing. The human rights situation in Vietnam has not improved in recent years. Consequently, the U.S. Department of State has retained Vietnam on the list of countries of particular concern (CPC). 

On January 25 2006, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted resolution 1481 (2006) which strongly “condemned the massive human rights violations committed by totalitarian communist regimes and expressed sympathy, understanding and recognition for the victims of these crimes.” 

Thankfully, on April 6, 2006, the House of Representatives passed Resolution 320 (H. Con. Res. 320), calling on the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and comply with the terms of the European Parliament resolution.  Not surprisingly, the Vietnamese Communist leaders have outright rejected these appeals.

While Vietnam enjoys the privilege of freely exporting to the U.S. all forms of print and audio-video products including cultural products, books, newspapers, magazines, other printed matters, motion picture films, records, tapes, etc, the Vietnamese government, through its state-owned enterprises, maintains a monopoly and, in effect, an absolute ban on these imports into Vietnam. This treatment is neither fair and free trade, nor the free flow of information – both core principles of a democratic, free-market economy and our recent WTO agreement with Vietnam.

Recent widespread labor unrest in Vietnam reflects the reality that labor rights in Vietnam are not protected. Their average salary is less than $1/day and working conditions are extremely poor. This state of affairs is due to the fact that workers in Vietnam have been denied the right to form their independent labor unions to protect their basic worker rights. 

We hereby call upon you to deny the communist dictatorial regime in Vietnam the free PNTR status until the aforementioned conditions are met.

Thank you for your leadership and continued support of the rights of the oppressed Vietnamese.  May God bless you and America.


To Kill an American

Written by an Australian Dentist….and too good to delete….

You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.

So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is. So they would know when they found one. (Good one, mate!!!)

“An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.

An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim.
In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world.
The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.

When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!

As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan . Americans welcome the best of everything…the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services. But they also welcome the least.

The national symbol of America , The Statue of Liberty , welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America .

Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. It’s been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.
So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

Please keep this going!
Pass this around the World
Then pass it around again.
It says it all, for all of us