Welcome Donald Gross (DonaldGross.net) and Host Kevin Grandia (Center For Democracy In Government)

The China Fallacy: How the U.S. Can Benefit from China’s Rise and Avoid Another Cold War

Are China and the US Frenemies or BFF’s?

Watching the Tienanmen Square massacre unfold on television, it was hard not to hate China. I hated China, and it wasn’t until much later and a stint working in Foreign Affairs that I came to understand just how complicated China’s geopolitical situation is. I could never forgive China for what it did on that day in 1989, but I was willing to look past it and see what good could come from that horrible event.

In the not-so-distant past China was a country that struggled to feed its own people. An estimated 20 to 45 million Chinese died of starvation between 1958 and 1962. China’s population today is over 1.3 billion, more than four times the population of the United States. The challenges China faces in moving from a developing to a developed nation are unique and daunting, made even more difficult under the scrutiny of a globally connected modern world.

In his new book, The China Fallacy, author Donald Gross makes clear the challenges China faces today, and the delicate hand the United States must apply when dealing with China as it attempts to find a balance between things such as economic growth, nation building and individual freedoms. Throw in environmental protection, human rights issues, population control, energy starvation, Tibet and Taiwan and you start to see just how complicated the situation is.

To understand China is to hate it for what it does to its people and the planet, but also to admire it for how far it has come in a relatively short period of time.

As Gross succinctly writes,

“With so many reasons to fear, despise and worry about China, Americans nevertheless cannot help but admiring China’s accomplishments and being intrigued with this emerging power. Many watched the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2008 Olympic Games and came away deeply impressed by the brilliant spectacle. Most cannot help but admire and be inspired by China’s achievement of raising 400 million people out of poverty, virtually wiping out widespread illiteracy, developing a large middle class and creating a dynamic, consumer society.”

But, Gross continues:

“Americans shook their heads knowingly when television commentators dutifully noted that Chinese authorities sharply limited demonstrations and dissent in Beijing during the Olympics. They could not help but feel sympathy for Tibetans whose protests were violently suppressed only weeks earlier by the Chinese military.”

Gross’s book is not apologetic towards the Chinese and in no way excuses the atrocities the communist regime frequently commits against its own people. But Gross does provide the context we need to fully understand this still-maturing nation.

The challenge for the United States’ and China’s other major trading partners is to push as hard as they can on issues like human rights, the reproductive rights of women, religious freedom, democratic rule and environmental protection; but at the same time not push so hard that it creates a situation where China regresses and starts to shut back down.

In the end, when it comes to China, there is one thing most people can agree on and that is that the closed-off and mysterious China of the past is a much worse situation for its citizens and the world at large, than the one we are seeing today that is opening up, engaging and showing a willingness to play nice[r] within the global community.

Gross’s book is intriguing and informative and very readable for those (like me) who avoid wonky policy books at all costs. The China Fallacy is a must read for anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of China and looking for answers about why this paradoxical country does what it does.

 

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

80 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Donald Gross, The China Fallacy: How the U.S. Can Benefit from China’s Rise and Avoid Another Cold War”

BevW December 8th, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Don, Welcome to the Lake.

Kevin, Welcome back to the Lake, and thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

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Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 1:58 pm
In response to BevW @ 1

Hi, Bev, Great to be here and to have a chance to discuss the book and US-China relations.

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

HI Bev and hello Donald. Okay if I kick off with a question to you Donald?

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Fine, Kevin, and thanks for your kind introduction.

dakine01 December 8th, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Good afternoon Don and welcome to Firedoglake this afternoon. Welcome back Kevin.

Don, I have not read your book but do have a question and forgive me if you address this in the book. How much impact, if any, can we force the companies that do business in China to have? By this I mean, can the clothing and other manufacturing companies, folks like Walmart, be forced to start treating workers in China as we would require workers in the US to be treated?

I know these companies claim they are not responsible but that really seems to be more of a smoke-screen and sure seems we should be able to hold them accountable for their (lack of) actions

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

You’re welcome Donald, the book is really well written. Thanks so much for writing such a readable piece of work that “de-wonkifies” this huge and complicated topic. Is this your first book?

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:06 pm

That’s an excellent point. One of the best ways to do that is to include labor and environmental standards in trade agreements that we negotiate with China. Those standards would apply to companies from the US and other foreign countries as well as to Chinese companies.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Yes, Kevin, it is my first book. I’ve mainly written articles on US-Asia relations over the past 10 years.

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 2:07 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 7

I have been witness to these types of agreements before and the question always on my mind is whether there is the appropriate level of monitoring and enforcement of these standards?

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 7

Well, I have to say, for your first book it is a really impressive piece of writing.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:09 pm

It’s important to build in monitoring and compliance mechanisms to trade agreements as much as possible, to avoid the problems with weak implementation that you allude to.

Elliott December 8th, 2012 at 2:09 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 8

Congratulations – we need a rational book about today’s China.

Anything about the disparity in birthrates of males and females? I used to fret there’d be a whole generation of unattached males looking for something to do.

BevW December 8th, 2012 at 2:11 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 11

Could you give an example of a monitoring / compliance mechanism? Who would have oversight of the trade agreements?

Elliott December 8th, 2012 at 2:11 pm

numbers like this
“20 to 45 million Chinese died of starvation between 1958 and 1962″ I just can’t get my head around.

I’m not sure Americans really understand how large the population of China is.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:11 pm

The disparity in birthrates is an important issue not just for economic reasons, but for what it says about China’s so-called “one child policy.” That’s a clear abuse of human rights from my standpoint.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:13 pm
In response to BevW @ 13

Most violations of trade agreements can be brought before the World Trade Organization which helps greatly in enforcement.

Jane Hamsher December 8th, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Hi Donald, thanks so much for being here today and thanks to Kevin for hosting.

I see that Jon Huntsman wrote a blurb for the book. How do you think Huntsman would have approached China differently had he been elected President?

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Very good question. Ambassador Huntsman did an excellent job during his service in China. He has a clear grasp of the complexity of US-China relations. I believe he showed a commitment to avoiding a military confrontation with China and resolving trade issues without risking a trade war.

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 2:17 pm

When we have a second, I would love to hear more about your thinking on the Bo Xilai scandal since writing the book. I actually sat in a bi-lateral meeting between Canada’s foreign affairs minister and Bo when he was Minister of Commerce. Bo was very angry that Canada had been so outspoken on human rights abuses while on the trade mission to China.

DWBartoo December 8th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Thank you, Donald, for joining us this evening and thank you, Kevin, for hosting.

I note, Donald, that you argue, reasonably I consider, that improving US-China relations will strengthen advocates of human rights and democracy in China.

Do you equally argue that improving US-China relations will strengthen human and civil rights and democracy in America?

Also, by what means do you see the US moving away from the very profitable, for a few, “policy” of “containment” of China? Which “policy”, btw, operates not only in Asia but in other places as well … Africa comes to mind.

How might what you suggest, in terms of a more reasonable “policy”, come about? I see little evidence that it is on the foreign policy “horizon”, in the near-term and am quite skeptical, given the profitability I mentioned above, that we may see it coming into view until the MICC (Military Industrial Congressional Complex) and the evermore powerful unitary Executive are brought to some sense of the reasonable, both in terms of economic costs, and the current affection for war, overt and covert are brought to heel and, frankly, it seems to me that the political class, which includes the media, have no interest in being brought to heel or even to reason.

Thank you for any responses you might offer to these wee queries.

DW

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:20 pm

It’s to Canada’s credit that Canadian diplomats were outspoken on human rights during their visit. One of the most important recent developments re: the Bo Xilai scandal is that Bo will be tried by Chinese courts and not by Communist Party disciplinary mechanisms. This is consistent with the drive to achieve an independent judiciary and greater rule of law being pursued by proponents of political reform.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:23 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 20

Thanks, DW. It’s true, as you suggest, that there are vested interests in the US that support an aggressive containment policy toward China. For some, China has proved to be a useful substitute for the “Soviet threat.”

In this case, though, China hawks have a very hard case to make because the US dwarfs China in both nuclear and conventional forces. It’s in our strong national interest to achieve a stable peace with China and minimize security conflicts.

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Continuing on the Bo theme, I remember a headline a while ago about a communist party leader’s son hitting someone with his car and it sparking renewed tension between average citizens and the ruling party.

Between the Bo scandal, the hit and run incident and other such events, what is the level unrest right now between the civilian population and the Politburo?

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

As for how we can achieve a better model or paradigm for US-China relations, I believe China’s current political transition offers a window of opportunity. The new leaders of China face daunting challenges – including corruption, glaring social inequalities, environmental degradation, etc. They will welcome overtures from the United States along with any US policies that aim to assist China in meeting the challenges it faces.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:30 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 23

Both the Bo scandal and the incident you mention involving a fatal car crash involving the son of a Politburo member jeopardize the political legitimacy of the Party and contribute to the desire for political reform. But most of the “mass incidents” involving demonstrations are against environmental abuses, bad working conditions, arbitrary expropriation of land, etc. I

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Whatt, if any, damage was there when the US intervened in the case of Chen Guangchen, the blimd activist that sought out and receieved US protection from Chinese authorities?

DWBartoo December 8th, 2012 at 2:31 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 22

Is not the larger issue control of resources?

That seems to be the main aspect of US hegemony and while the US is “bogged down” with warlike activity, as I say overt AND covert, especially drone warfare, the Chinese have made huge inroads in securing necessary resources for their industrial productivity, even as the US has “off-shored” as much productive capacity as the vulture capitalist may get away with …

Indeed, it is alleged that the “Keystone pipeline”, hot on the political agenda, will NOT supply the energy needs of the US, but will ultimately supply China. It seems “we” lack any coherence in “our” varied “policies”, and that enriching the few, in the US, seems to be the essential “game plan”.

Rational and reasonable relations with China, so long as trade is actually “balanced”, will benefit the many, in both nations, and not quite as much enrich the few in either.

DW

eCAHNomics December 8th, 2012 at 2:32 pm

atrocities the communist regime frequently commits against its own people.

Worse than those the USG commits against its own citizens, like assassinating them like it’s a video game?

Had to point it out.

What’s the problem with letting China be China, a sovereign nation (oh, I forget, global hegemon won’t allow sovereignty). Hillary’s been chasing around the string-of-pearls the Chinese need to ship their goods to Europe, subverting them at every turn. Myanmar being a prominent recent example. U.S. created terrorism in Somalia & Yemen, Bab el Mandeb choke point, has been going on for years. Africom more recent ditto.

I know what the problem is. Everyone in the world must instantly obey every U.S. command. Solution is straightforward, but it won’t happen.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Overall, I believe the Bo Xilai case and the cover-up perpetuated by the Politburo member concerning his son increase the pressure within the Party for greater political reform and part of the reason that the incoming president , Xi Jinping, has taken a strong stand on reform issues.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:34 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 26

I don’t think there was any damage at all from the US intervention in the Chen case. US officials stood up for important principles of human rights and the advocates of human rights in China benefited from the US stand.

seaglass December 8th, 2012 at 2:34 pm

“But Gross does provide the context we need to fully understand this still-maturing nation.” China has a unitary culture that is over 2K yrs. long. No offense , but saying it’s maturing is a bit condescending to say the least.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:37 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 28

An important thing to recognize though is that going back 40 years to February 1972, there has been strong bipartisan support for maintaining cooperative, mutually beneficial US-China relations. It’s in our national interest to adhere to that line of thinking.

Knut December 8th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 32

Thanks for bringing that up. Americans tend to be rather parochial, not to say self-centered.

Whoops. This was supposed to be a reply to Seaglass @31

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 2:41 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 24

That is really interesting and I was surprised by the number NGO’s now working in China – over 1 million. Having just left a job at Greenpeace I worked closely with our Beijing office and was actually surprised that we could operate there!

That said, how has the actual experience of NGO’s been in China? They are operating there, but can they actually do much under the watchful eye of the Party/

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:42 pm

That’s why it’s so important for the president and congressional leaders to exercise far-sighted leadership that goes beyond parochial and vested interests.

eCAHNomics December 8th, 2012 at 2:43 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 32

U.S. national interest not relevant. Looting poor people is what the 1%ers are after. All sides of the PTB spectrum. Rs do it by outright wars & invasion. Zbiggie-Nye-Huntington-Ben Rhodes (et al) branch of PTB try to do it more subtly, but their version is subtle only if you were born after 2003.

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 2:44 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 30

How is it condescending? They are in many ways, very much still a developing nation. While they have hosted an Olympics and have wonderful and massive cities, you only need to travel a few hours out into the country to witness extreme poverty, environmental devastation and major corruption.

eCAHNomics December 8th, 2012 at 2:45 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 32

U.S. PTB hate Nixon for “opening” up China & are determined to reverse that asap. Ditto Russia, wh Zbiggie hates with a passion.

And let’s not forget Soros, who will make gazillions if/when China revalues currency & he’ll will surely know in advance exactly when & how much.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:46 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 34

You’re right that there has been an explosion of NGOs in China. The latest figure I’ve seen is that the number of Chinese NGOs has now reached approximately 3 million. The existence of these groups makes it more difficult for authoritarian government officials to impose strict controls. Having said that, NGOs face many obstacles including regulations that impose burdensome registration and sponsorship requirements.

Knut December 8th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

The Chinese have a huge advantage in that their history teaches them the benefits of patience. I wonder how much of Chinese classical education is still taught to the elites. I know that the school kids still reas and memorize the ‘poems of the masters’ (Tang and Sung) because I had some visiting students chant them to me one evening. That culture is a deeply stabilizing factor.

DWBartoo December 8th, 2012 at 2:50 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 35

Agreed, yet once again, Donald,how do you foresee such “farsighted leadership” coming about? And when do you expect to see it?

OUR political system rewards those whose policies promote and protect “American business interests” to the degree that “free enterprise” is equated with democracy BY the American political class … it is the intent of virtually ALL current warfare, that those nations and peoples subject to “our” attentions will embrace the “concept” of “American democracy” … and, while I dislike seeming to harp on this, both democracy and the Rule of Law have suffered very much of late, at the hands of the American political class … and in the process rational, reasonable, and humane sensibilities are and have been pushed far to the wayside.

DW

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:51 pm
In response to Knut @ 40

Cultural factors also play a stabilizing role to some extent in US-China relations since many Americans are interested in Chinese civilization and vice-versa.

eCAHNomics December 8th, 2012 at 2:51 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 39

NGOs are another branch of U.S. PTB. If China were smart, it would kick them all out, as Russia is starting to do.

Knut December 8th, 2012 at 2:53 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 39

The critical question is whether the regime is prepared to use force to impose its will on the population the way it did in 1989. I have just today finished reading Gaidar’s Collapse of Empire, which gives an insider’s account of how the Soviet regime lost its legitmacy and its willingness to impose force om an unwilling population. I’d like to know thr ‘compare and contrast’ with Communist China.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:54 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 41

My hope is that in President Obama’s second term, the US will return to the line of thinking that has strengthened US-China relations since the US opening to China in 1972. We need to look for ways to resolve the serious security and economic conflicts that exist between the 2 countries in our own best interest.

DWBartoo December 8th, 2012 at 2:55 pm
In response to Knut @ 40

Excellent point, Knut, especially when contrasted to the cultural “state” of US “civil” society … where the wealthy have the means of essentially controlling the political process to their own ends … even as many citizens have yet to grasp the significance of that reality … having no long “history” of understanding widespread abuse and limited options of social mobility …

DW

eCAHNomics December 8th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Ref Zbiggie’s 1997 Grand Chessboard. The U.S. plot to subvert China & Russia is decades old. Short version is that whoever controls Eurasian land mass controls the world.

Who in U.S. political elite will turn from such a scheme…

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 2:56 pm
In response to Knut @ 44

One of the reasons that China’s new leaders seem to be placing so much emphasis on political reform is that they’re deeply worried about the current CCP-led government losing its legitimacy. It’s in our interest to see political reform through greater reliance on the rule of law, an independent judiciary, etc.

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 2:59 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 43

I see what you are getting at, but sorry, Greenpeace is far from being a pawn of the US government – or of any government for that matter.

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

With a decision coming soon on a new US Secretary of State, of the two likely choices being Ambassador Rice and Sen. Kerry, is there one of these two people that stands out on China-US relations?

eCAHNomics December 8th, 2012 at 3:01 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 49

If Greenpeace is not yet a USG pawn, give it a couple of years to be infiltrated.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 3:02 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 49

One of the best examples I know of Chinese environmental NGOs having an impact is when the group called “Green Choice Initiative” held Apple accountable for pollution and workers rights abuses at the factories of its suppliers in China. Following the release of widely publicized reports on dangerous working conditions that exposed employees to poisonous industrial chemicals, Apple agree in February 2012 to audit conditions at plants in China where iPhones, iPads and other Apple products are manufactured.

DWBartoo December 8th, 2012 at 3:03 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 45

Well, if anyone can follow along on Nixon’s “opening”, it may well be Obama. I remain somewhat unconvinced that “we” all will experience that “best interest”, however, and imagine that it will take “after” the Walmart “example” … where “we” have lower prices, but fewer jobs and opportunities.

I really think that discussions of “our” interests ought be more honest and, dare I say, democratic? That the well-being of the many citizens of both nations ought to be factored into the longer-term “picture” and not merely the corporate, political, or monied “interests”.

THAT, in a cracked nutshell, is the gist of my concern about “grand bargains” and so on and so forth … who is negotiating for “the people”, and WHAT, precisely, are the vest “interests” of those doing the negotiating?

If it is merely a question of divvying up the world’s resources and “markets”, then little real and sustainable “headway” shall be “made”.

DW

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 3:04 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 50

Between the two, Senator Kerry has the deepest experience in Asia-related issues going back to his military service in the Vietnam War. It’s hard to know at this point what different policy approaches Ambassador Rice or Senator Kerry would adopt toward China

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 3:05 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 51

Do you know something I don’t know?

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 3:07 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 53

I agree with you it’s very hard to know the vested interests that underlie the positions taken by various public officials. You’re right that we need to do all we can to identify and expose those vested interests to understand who and what is driving US policy.

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Donald, I have always wondered about this issues of the US trade deficit with China and also all the US debt China owns.

When it some to the “China Hawks” as you call them in your book, isn’t an invasion of China or China invasion of the US a mutually destructive proposition? It seems to me that the economies of the US and China are both pretty tied at the hip and if one falls, they both fall? Is that correct or am I overstating the situation?

eCAHNomics December 8th, 2012 at 3:12 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 55

Just trying to pay attention to the pattern. Can’t find the website at the moment that simplifies 990s and other filings that not-for-profits have to do, or maybe not so much in Canada, but it is revealing.

Greenpeace’s 2009 budget was 56 million euros. Can’t all come from small donors.

Don’t want to sidetrack discussion on Greenpeace, but general model is follow the money.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Kevin, you’re right that the US and Chinese economies are highly interdependent. China is the third largest export market for US goods and services. It is the leading export market for US agricultural products. Overall, China is the largest growth market in the world for US exports.

But security policy and economic policy often proceed on separate tracks. The “China hawks” focus heavily on security issues and the US-China economic interdependence you describe too often does not have a significant impact on their views.

eCAHNomics December 8th, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Greenpeace financial statement page 30 of this pdf.

Phoenix Woman December 8th, 2012 at 3:19 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 49

No kidding. Greenpeace irritates all governments with an even-handed manner. Good for them!

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 3:20 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 59

Wow, that seems so short sighted to me.

Phoenix Woman December 8th, 2012 at 3:21 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 59

China’s partnership with Walmart did more for its industrial base than Mao could dream. But that was mainly by convincing US CEOs to move the US’ industrial base to China and to accept Walmart’s overlordship.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 3:23 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 62

It is short-sighted. One of the problems we face is that without any significant public debate, the US has now embraced an effective containment strategy toward China based on the fear of China’s future military capabilities. We are building up military forces and shifting numerous strategic assets to the Asia Pacific. This effort to prepare for war with China risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 3:25 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 64

That is fascinating. And coming back to your book, what is the military strategy you propose?

Phoenix Woman December 8th, 2012 at 3:28 pm
In response to seaglass @ 31

Might be more accurate to say that before 1949, China was still in the feudal stage of social development whereas every other great power — even Russia — had moved past that. It’s been suggested that the problems both China and Russia faced and still face today are a result of feudal nations trying to go from feudalism to socialism without having a few hundred years of democracy (not to mention literacy) to lay a basic cultural foundation for socialism — which is likely why both countries’ attempts at socialism were doomed to failure.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 3:30 pm

My argument is that we should adopt an aggressive diplomatic strategy to resolve major security issues with China. We should reach an agreement on mutual threat reduction, that significantly reduces the current and potential Chinese military threat to Taiwan, requires a pull-back of Chinese forces from a coastal security zone surrounding Japan, entails much greater transparency on China’s military modernization program, and has China submit its legal claims to territory and maritime resources in the South China and East China Seas to an independent judicial authority – the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea – which possesses great expertise in adjudicating maritime claims. We have yet to see a significant diplomatic effort along these lines from the Obama administration.

Phoenix Woman December 8th, 2012 at 3:30 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 64

We wouldn’t have this problem if we just taxed our rich people the way we once did — they wouldn’t have had the gobs of surplus cash that they used to offshore their companies to China and elsewhere, we wouldn’t have deficits, and the middle class would still exist.

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I cannot talk about China without talking about Tibet. For more than 60 years now Tibet has been under an ironclad rule by the Communist Party. These beautiful people and their amazing culture deserve to freed and given back their country. Is there any hope that the current Dalai Lama will see the day there is a free and autonomous Tibetan nation?

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 3:34 pm
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 68

Hear! Hear!

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 3:38 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 69

Just judging by the numerous cases of self-immolation by Tibetans we’ve recently seen, it’s obvious that the Chinese government is failing miserably to address the legitimate concerns of Tibetans. The Chinese government should realize how its gross violations of human rights in Tibet adversely affect China’s international standing. My hope is that the new Chinese leadership will reach an agreement on Tibetan autonomy that will significantly improve the well-being of Tibetan people.

DWBartoo December 8th, 2012 at 3:39 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 56

I think that the difficulty, Donald, is that we, the people, have VERY meager means at our disposal when it comes to determining the actual “interests”, vested or otherwise, of public officials. I note, that Susan Rice, has “issues” with the keystone pipeline, and, as a passing note, point out that President Obama is offering corporations who cough up a million dollars for his inauguration special access to events and, presumably, to himself … so, even as “we” note these things, the “officials” will do as best pleases and benefits THEM.

Frankly, our “democracy” is in much (intentional) disarray, confusion reigns and in confusion there lies “opportunity” for those in the “know” and on the “inside” …

Having watched the criminal fraud of the Too-Big-to-Fail, (Too Big to Jail) bankers go unpunished, having witnessed the “indiscretion” of the military elite, these past few weeks, having seen the rise of the Security state and the “concept” of the “Homeland” these last ten and more years, I remain far less than sanguine regarding the good and honorable intentions of those who rule us, not with an eye to truth or to justice, but with a more blatantly selfish intent.

Would that I could be more positive, more enthusiastic, as they say “looking forward”, but I cannot … until there seems honest and genuine reason to do so.

It is well and good to say we should be more attentive, but what are the means of doing so, of spreading whatever understandings as may arise, when the media is twenty-four-seven engaged in propaganda and telling the many what and how to think and “believe”?

Every little bit helps, of course, and your book and your considered and shared views must be counted as part of that good, yet it is an uphill struggle we are engaged in, not so much with the people of China, any more than it was the people of the Soviet Union, and I am more than old enough to remember the “shelter” hysteria and that we “would be safe under our desks” … a struggle with the “interests” of those who would “lead” us and have the power to decide despite, or in spite of, what we, the many, would most benefit from … which is peace and stability, actual democracy, tolerance, and understanding. A flowering of humanity, if you will … THAT is what the world’s people need … need to survive and cherish the planet that too many “leaders” seem to regard only as “potential” to profit themselves.

The “power” between the people and the “leaders” is unequal and very unjust. Until that truth is acknowledged, things will continue along in a rather dismal and destructive way … to the benefit of money and power, not to humanity or it tenure on planet earth.

DW

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 3:44 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 71

That would be an amazing day not just for China and Tibet, but I think a testament to the entire human race.

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 3:44 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 72

I notice that a fellow author, Ben Freeman, was recently here in the Book Salon discussing his book “The Foreign Policy Auction” which describes how foreign companies and governments hire lobbyists to press their interests. Of course, plenty of American companies and organizations do the same thing. The transparency laws we’ve adopted requiring disclosure and the monitoring groups that keep track of lobbying help greatly in identifying vested interests. So I completely share your concerns – we have to push hard to strengthen disclosure requirements (including for Super PACs) and do everything possible to prevent vested interests of the kind you describe from subverting our democracy.

mzchief December 8th, 2012 at 3:53 pm
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 66

Tibetan society has been and is much more like Diné (Navajo) society before the Diné were place under Spanish rule and later in concentration camps by the US government. I wouldn’t apply the word “feudal”– despite the what the carefully crafted Chinese government propaganda would have the world think about the Tibetans– to the Diné either (see Navajo and Tibetan Sacred Wisdom: The Circle of the Spirit with foreward by HHDL).

BevW December 8th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

As we come to the end of this great Book Salon discussion,

Don, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book.

Kevin, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Don’s website (DonaldGross.net) and book

Kevin’s website (Center for Democracy in Government)

Thanks all, Have a great weekend.

Tomorrow: Steven Johnson / Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age; Hosted by Nicco Mele

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

FDL Book Salon has a Facebook page too

DWBartoo December 8th, 2012 at 3:57 pm
In response to Donald Gross @ 74

Ben’s Book Salon was most excellent, as is yours, Donald.

I wish to thank you, again, for writing a book critically important to our time and the future, and for taking the time and concern to discuss your views and insights with us.

My great appreciation to Kevin, as well, and to Bev, as always …

As ever, my profound appreciation to the freedom fighters who gather here, in mutual support and encouragement, to civilly and rationally discuss (and cuss, on occasion) and debate the issues of our time and place … that we might, together, make sense and make plans, to help shape a better, more sane and humane world … a world that already belongs to our children … in which we are but guests who, one hopes, have the good sense and reasoned ability to behave appropriately.

(I suspect that my generation’s “legacy” will not be anything we will be proud of … and it is well that most of us will not be around to “receive” the sense and honest judgment of it …)

My thanks to all.

;~DW

Donald Gross December 8th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Bev, thanks very much to you and Kevin and all the participants here for the opportunity to be part of FDL’s Book Salon. It’s been a pleasure exchanging views about important issues in US-China relations.

Kevin Grandia December 8th, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Donald, thank you so much for your time, this is an absolutely fascinating topic and I bet we could have gone on for many more hours. But alas, I have two little girls staring at me in anticipation of going to chop down a tree for the holidays. Take care and thanks again for such a well written book.

Elliott December 8th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Thank you both, wonderful discussion.
Best of luck with the book.

(thanks Bev!)

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