Let’s Hop off the China Fear Express

Forbidden City

GlobalWonk Enters Forbidden City

President Obama’s trip to China has provided a platform from which the media has chosen to stir up domestic anxiety over China’s changing role in world affairs. If you believe what you hear in the mainstream media the United States may as well just pack it in. We stand no chance against the Chinese juggernaut. We are in a slow, painful process of slinking our way off the world stage with our tail between our legs. Fareed Zarkaria, author of The Post-American World, and host of CNN’s GPS news program had the audacity to make his question of the week; Do you believe China is now the world’s superpower? After you read my blog post, and do your own research, I suggest you respond to Mr. Zakaria’s question at gps@cnn.com

Well, as Mark Twain may have said; the news of our death is greatly exaggerated. It seems in the rush to stir the pot and keep people glued to the tube; they’ve chosen not to review the facts.

The United States has, by far, the largest economy in the world. According to World Bank figures, our gross domestic product in 2008 was over $14.2 trillion. China’s was $4.3 trillion. They were third, behind the U.S., and Japan. At number eleven on the list, Canada, our wonderful neighbor to the north, had a GDP in 2008 one-tenth the size of the United States. Our GDP was almost three times the size of #2 on the list, Japan.

When you look at the CIA Fact Book figures for 2008 per capita Gross Domestic Product, the rankings are even more interesting. The United States comes in tenth, at $47,500. China comes in one hundred thirty-third, at $6,000.

Not surprisingly, United Nations manufacturing output data has the United States and China ranked at numbers 1 & 2. The surprise however, is that the United States manufacturing output is nearly twice the size of China’s. Our annual manufacturing output has risen over $800 billion since 1990! This is more than the entire annual output of fourth-ranked global manufacturing powerhouse, Germany. (Time, May, 2009)

When it comes to military spending the United States has no peer. We spend more on our military than the next forty-five countries combined. We spend forty-eight percent of the world’s total amount spent on defense per year. We spend almost six times more than China does on their military, and ten times more than Russia. Our ability to project military power is not matched by any other power on earth.

If you look at strategic weapons, which are nuclear bombs deliverable atop intercontinental ballistic missiles, the United States maintains over seven thousand. China is estimated to have twenty strategic nuclear weapons. Total nukes, including tactical and spare puts the U.S. over ten thousand five-hundred, and China just over four hundred.

There are any number of statistics I could quote here to qualify my point that the United States is still an economic and military superpower. We in the United States have nothing to fear from China’s amazing rise from poverty. The global economy, and geopolitical affairs are not zero sum issues. We do not lose because China pulls hundreds of millions of their citizens out of poverty. The most dramatic eradication of poverty in the history of humankind.

Instead of fearing China’s rise we should welcome it. We should look forward to selling our products into their market of 1.2 billion people. We should welcome a partner to help share the burden of policing the unpolice-able. We should partner with them to develop the green technologies that will help all of us live in a world that has many more people living in urban centers, driving many more cars than anybody ever imagined.

As you know I am a realist. As China’s economy continues to grow, so will their influence. We have witnessed that, especially since the economic crash of September 2008. It used to be a given that our system, capitalism, was the way to run your economy. After the crash, and China’s relative stability during and after it, many in the world are not so sure it is the only way.

As China’s influence grows there is very likely going to be issues we do not agree with them on. There will be areas where our national interests collide. With a population four times the size of the United States, China’s GDP will eventually surpass that of ours. Many believe this could occur as soon as 2020. China may even surpass our per capita GDP at some point in the future.

So the same people who labeled the United States a hyperpower in 2001 are now saying the sky is falling. The ones who designated the post-Soviet era a uni-polar moment for the United States are now digging our geopolitical grave. My suggestion is to relax. Take a deep breath.

Do not let the media make up your mind on this issue. Do your own research. Book a trip to China and witness history there yourself. Don’t let ill-informed career politicians make decisions for us, the people, that put us on a path toward conflict with China. Do not allow those with a vested interest in those hundreds of billions of dollars in defense spending convince you that China is the next boogeyman. Do your research, make up your mind, and make your voice heard!

We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.



GlobalWonk’s Video Introduction


Jim Miller, GlobalWonk

Jim Miller has posted the GlobalWonk Introduction video at YouTube. Please click on the following link to view the video;


Please comment on the content of the video here, or at YouTube. More video to come soon, hopefully hosted from this site.

Diplomacy. One Mind at a Time.

ABC News Deleting Comments from Blogs

Who's Bottom Line?

Who's Bottom Line?

GlobalWonk peruses the blogosphere looking for interesting points-of-view. More often than not, if I find something interesting I will post a comment on the blog, or web site.

On Sunday afternoon I was sitting in a small cafe in Houghton, Michigan (in the crook of the thumb of the U.P.). By the way, do all people from Michigan do that crazy two handed “mitten and thumb in the air” faux map thing when they tell you where they are from? I digress.

It is a college town, Michigan Tech, so I ordered something called the Motivator. Six shots of espresso in a 30 ounce mug-o-mocha. I sat down to check-out the news of the day. I admire George Stephanopoulos, so I follow him on Twitter. He posted something there on President Obama’s Nobel award. I read it, found it interesting, and posted a comment.

I then went about my business. My ears were ringing and lips began to feel numb from the espresso, but I bravely forged on. After checking out a couple other sites I returned to see if others had commented on my take on George’s Bottom Line blog post. Sure enough, someone named ‘Thinking‘ had done just that. So I replied to their post, challenging them to go beyond partisan torch throwing, and have an intellectual dialog. Nothing I posted was even remotely derogatory.

I came back the following morning to review comments and found that both of my previous posts had been DELETED from the web site. Thinking’s comment about my post was still there, but both of mine were gone.

I immediately posted another message asking why they were editing comments on their page, and sent an e-mail to the show (This Week) asking why my comments would have been removed. My third post was deleted as well. I have received no response from my e-mail to ABC News.

So, my question goes out to George Stephanopoulos. George, Do you approve of your web site deleting comments from your viewers? Are they editing for content? Why would a news organization do this?

Fall in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

GlobalWonk and the family are enjoying a break up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Early October and the snow is already starting to fall.

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Russia’s Old Hookers and Hidden Camera Bit..

Who's knocking??

Who's knocking??

 Close your eyes and think back to late July of 1991. Jennifer Capriati just won Wimbledon. The U.S. military was returning from its stunning defeat of Saddam’s army. Unbeknownst to the world, we were a few weeks away from the ill fated coup attempt. GlobalWonk was a soldier in the United States Army, assigned to the White House Communications Agency. I’m sitting on the roof of the Churchill Hotel, waiting to find out if our team is going into Moscow. And…

Before we deployed from the then G-7 Economic Summit in London, to a hastily organized U.S./Soviet Summit in Moscow, we were required to attend a security brief on what to expect behind the Iron Curtain. We were told that because of our clearances, and access to sensitive information, we would be monitored 24/7 by the KGB. Just entering the U.S.S.R. back then guaranteed you would have an intelligence dossier with the KGB from that point forward. We would be staying in “Western approved” hotels that were prepped for surveillance. We were told that the KGB would prefer to get a full-body nude shot (from the bathroom/shower) to use for 100% identification in the event they turned you as a spy. This would help identify imposters, etc. We were instructed to report all contact with any Soviet citizen. The KGB would look for unusual behavior, and exploit it to blackmail you into cooperation/collaboration with them.

So, we land at the airport, off-load our C-5A Galaxy, and convoy to the Embassy. The old Embassy. The big old puke yellow one that caught fire in the eighties. (When KGB agents posing as firemen stole secrets..) From the yard of the old Embassy you could see the walls of the new one the Soviet contractors built for us. It was riddled with implanted bugs (the listening kind), and you could actually make out the letters C.C.C.P. in slightly darker colored bricks they handcrafted to thumb their nose at us. The U.S. later demolished this building and built the one we occupy today.

After a couple beverages at The Liberty Bell bar in the Embassy we headed off to the Olympic Penta Hotel. It is located next to the 1980 Winter Olympics complex (hence the name..). As you walked down the hallway we noticed that there was a small access door located between each set of room entry doors. These happen to be located adjacent to the bathrooms in each room. There was an odd area of the mirror in the bathroom that would not fog up when you ran the shower. Needless to say, they got their full body shot, and then some. But, they earned it. There is some awfully crude video somewhere…

So, knowing we were monitored 24/7, we would joke that we should just lay back on the bed and say something like “Boy, the national secrets I wouldn’t reveal for some huge breasts!”


Ahh, the good old days. We turned Soviet ideologues, they gave Americans cash and sex. The system worked.

U.S. Pacific Commander Optimistic

Indispensible Presence

Indispensible Presence


GlobalWonk recently had the great fortune to meet Admiral Timothy J. Keating, Commander, United States Pacific Command. CINCPAC for us old timers. He gave a briefing on security in his area of responsibility for the President’s Council at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

First, he is a very engaging speaker. Being a naval aviator, and forty plus years in the service gives you quite a bit of experience to draw upon when public speaking. He is due to retire in October. He will do well on the speaking circuit. I hope to have him attend a future GlobalWonk event and participate in the discussion.

He made a comment that gave me, as a veteran of the Army, goosebumps. He said that since he entered the Naval Academy all those years ago, all he has worn during his professional life was this, and he gestures to the immaculate uniform he is wearing, “the cloth of our nation”.

Admiral Keating ran down the thirty-six countries in his area of responsibility. Providing a SITREP on each. Japan, China, North Korea. He stated that in all the official visits he has made to heads-of-state, ministers, and military chiefs in the region; he receives one consistent message. The United States is an “indispensable presence” in maintaining stability in the region.

On North Korea he is confident the U.S. military has the capacity to prevent missiles from reaching U.S. territories, or harming allies in the region. He said that there is no planning currently underway for a military option in the nuclear standoff with the DPRK. I communicated to him my belief, from my visit to North Korea in September 2008, that occupying North Korea would make Afghanistan, or Iraq, look like a picnic in comparison. The people of North Korea live a life Americans can hardly imagine, and are raised from childhood to revile us. As I had recently spent five days in-country, he was interested in my perspective. I think we both agreed that a military option in North Korea should be one of last resort.

He is impressed with the strength of the U.S./Japan alliance. He mentioned that it would have been unimaginable just ten years ago to think that a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. George Washington, would be stationed in Japanese waters.

His most interesting comments regarded China. He feels that the United States military does not see China as a threat. He says that they welcome, and encourage China to take a more active role in the security, and stability of the region. He made it clear that we do this at a pace they are comfortable with. He thought it would be many years before China would be capable of projecting military force beyond their immediate shores. He stated that he did not believe that was their intentions at this point.

I thought it was refreshing to hear these comments from a military commander of his stature. When I left the military in 1992 all I remember hearing was that the Soviets were gone, and China was the next near peer to worry about.

I hope for all of us, and our children, that this is true. As we know, the relationship between the United States and China, or Chimerica, as Niall Ferguson has dubbed it, can go either way.

Inside the U.S.S. Pueblo


The U.S.S. Pueblo moored on the Taedong in Pyongyang, DPRK

The U.S.S. Pueblo moored on the Taedong in Pyongyang, DPRK

GlobalWonk toured the U.S.S. Pueblo while in Pyongyang. They even have an informative DVD with all the propaganda you can withstand… I grinned and beared it to bring these photos to you.

You can view all of the photos taken inside the captured spy ship at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/mad4bm