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  1. #33901
    Astonishing Member JackDaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainEurope View Post
    I'm a little frustrated that the success of that move (unemployment did not go up but down, same for crime rates) did not hurt the far right AfD more, who won 13% on a xenophobia platform in 2017 when the effects of taking in 1.5 million refugees from 2015 to 2017 were still not known.
    Both articles I read effectively regarded the move as successful as well as brave…including the Telegraph (which is a fairly right wing paper).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tendrin View Post
    I don't think Biden is going to get us into a war with China. I also don't think China is going to annex Taiwan just yet. This is one of the reasons I don't think we're going to war. I'm not the person who declared that Biden is going to get us into a war with China, however, so you must, in all that wisdom you claim to have, know something the rest of us don't. Do enlighten us.
    Just getting down to the brass tacks, the reason that Taiwan suddenly became this big geopolitical flashpoint when the situation had been relatively calm for decades is that the illusion of stability was propped up by a bunch of fragile safeguards that are now starting to disintegrate. Probably the biggest factor here is that, in the past, the PLA high command was always skeptical of their ability to land enough troops to capture Taiwan quickly, and didn't want to risk getting stuck into a costly quagmire. But nowadays, the gap between the forces has widened considerably and both sides are now in agreement that Taiwan wouldn't be able to defend itself for more than a few days without immediate American intervention. Therefore, the strategic calculus at work is a lot less concerned with the operational details of how the battle would be fought, and much more concerned with the political dimension of whether America will get involved or not. So if the Chinese leadership really believes that the Biden administration prioritizes avoiding war at all costs and will elect to just let Taiwan stand or fall on its own if they attack, then they will be much more likely to do it.

    As to why China can't be content with just leaving Taiwan alone, you have to remember that every government faces public pressure, and when it comes to these kinds of issue, the Chinese public is FAR more nationalistic than the party or military leaders are. In the past, most people in the mainland had quite a positive view of Taiwan given its relative wealth and modernity, and believed that cooperation and economic engagement would eventually lead to a peaceful reunification. In this view, they were quite deluded because the Taiwanese NEVER considered that a possibility, and thus the entire basis for a productive co-existence was kind of just based on misconceptions that have now been corrected. Add to that the fact that the Chinese tech sector has vastly expanded its capabilities recently and has shed much of its dependence on Taiwanese chipmakers, and that's another safeguard that's been removed.

    And yeah, maybe it seems a bit unfair to make it seem like all of relevant decisions are in the hands of the US president and that the Taiwanese themselves have no agency in this matter, but that's just the unfortunate reality of what happens to small states caught in the middle of a great power competition. I don't know what the exact probability of a war is right now, but I know that there is absolutely NO chance that China simply backs down on this issue, and so if the goal is to be both anti-war and anti-China, there just isn't any policy that the Biden administration could pursue that would really thread that needle.

    You can scream propaganda all you like, but this is the analysis that anyone from either side with any knowledge of the situation would give. But if you have any realistic proposals for how to de-escalate the situation, I would love to hear them.

  3. #33903
    Fantastic Member CaptainEurope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainEurope View Post
    In German news, we're headed for the polls today! Angela Merkel will get to retire... as soon as what looks to be very long and complex coalition talks will settle on a new government.

    The final polls make this look wide open. It's a long shot for the Greens to name their first chancellor, but it's still the closest they've come. The man who would succeed Merkel as another conservative German leader, Armin Laschet, went from gaffe to gaffe and scandal to scandal until the CDU fell behind the Social Democrats in the polls for the first time in a long time.

    I'm way up early on a Sunday because I am kind of nervous about how this will turn out. Both the CDU and the business friendly FDP will drag their feet on climate change, so I am hoping we can get a coalition without either of them.
    So far, it's looking essentially tied, the conservative party outperforming the polls.

    But write-in votes have not begun to report yet, and we might see a similar effect to the US, with more people on the left choosing write-in voting out of concerns over the pandemic.

  4. #33904
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    Quote Originally Posted by PwrdOn View Post
    Just getting down to the brass tacks, the reason that Taiwan suddenly became this big geopolitical flashpoint when the situation had been relatively calm for decades is that the illusion of stability was propped up by a bunch of fragile safeguards that are now starting to disintegrate. Probably the biggest factor here is that, in the past, the PLA high command was always skeptical of their ability to land enough troops to capture Taiwan quickly, and didn't want to risk getting stuck into a costly quagmire. But nowadays, the gap between the forces has widened considerably and both sides are now in agreement that Taiwan wouldn't be able to defend itself for more than a few days without immediate American intervention. Therefore, the strategic calculus at work is a lot less concerned with the operational details of how the battle would be fought, and much more concerned with the political dimension of whether America will get involved or not. So if the Chinese leadership really believes that the Biden administration prioritizes avoiding war at all costs and will elect to just let Taiwan stand or fall on its own if they attack, then they will be much more likely to do it.

    As to why China can't be content with just leaving Taiwan alone, you have to remember that every government faces public pressure, and when it comes to these kinds of issue, the Chinese public is FAR more nationalistic than the party or military leaders are. In the past, most people in the mainland had quite a positive view of Taiwan given its relative wealth and modernity, and believed that cooperation and economic engagement would eventually lead to a peaceful reunification. In this view, they were quite deluded because the Taiwanese NEVER considered that a possibility, and thus the entire basis for a productive co-existence was kind of just based on misconceptions that have now been corrected. Add to that the fact that the Chinese tech sector has vastly expanded its capabilities recently and has shed much of its dependence on Taiwanese chipmakers, and that's another safeguard that's been removed.

    And yeah, maybe it seems a bit unfair to make it seem like all of relevant decisions are in the hands of the US president and that the Taiwanese themselves have no agency in this matter, but that's just the unfortunate reality of what happens to small states caught in the middle of a great power competition. I don't know what the exact probability of a war is right now, but I know that there is absolutely NO chance that China simply backs down on this issue, and so if the goal is to be both anti-war and anti-China, there just isn't any policy that the Biden administration could pursue that would really thread that needle.

    You can scream propaganda all you like, but this is the analysis that anyone from either side with any knowledge of the situation would give. But if you have any realistic proposals for how to de-escalate the situation, I would love to hear them.
    Goodness, you are surprisingly nonjudgmental about China annexing a sovereign country.

    And by surprising, I mean completely and utterly expected

  5. #33905
    Sans Pants ChadH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackDaw View Post
    There’s been some long articles in UK press about her (Angela Merkel) as her time in office comes to an end.

    Not surprisingly the articles considered her decision in 2015 to take in over 1 million Syrian refugees as maybe the biggest single decision of her time in office. It was an incredibly brave call…I can’t think of any close equivalent in recent years.
    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainEurope View Post
    I'm a little frustrated that the success of that move (unemployment did not go up but down, same for crime rates) did not hurt the far right AfD more, who won 13% on a xenophobia platform in 2017 when the effects of taking in 1.5 million refugees from 2015 to 2017 were still not known.
    Europe has seen an uptick in racist and anti-muslim political rhetoric in the years following the Syrian diaspora and that sort of resentment is highly resistant to facts. Significant events are like tossing a rock in a pond and the effects ripple down through history. It's likely the EU will experience the effects for decades to come.
    Last edited by ChadH; 09-26-2021 at 11:19 AM.
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  6. #33906
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainEurope View Post
    So far, it's looking essentially tied, the conservative party outperforming the polls.

    But write-in votes have not begun to report yet, and we might see a similar effect to the US, with more people on the left choosing write-in voting out of concerns over the pandemic.
    Write in votes mean votes that are mailed?

  7. #33907
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    Quote Originally Posted by shooshoomanjoe View Post
    Write in votes mean votes that are mailed?
    Write in votes are votes for people not officially listed on the ballots. Most election ballots have a space where a voter can enter in a name instead fo simply marking the one of the ones listed.
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  8. #33908
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Cool Thatguy View Post
    Goodness, you are surprisingly nonjudgmental about China annexing a sovereign country.

    And by surprising, I mean completely and utterly expected
    I was trying to offer a rational analysis of the situation on the ground, maybe if you focused on that instead of making it a priority to cast judgment, you would understand geopolitics a little better. And I'm sure that China would dispute the status of Taiwan as a sovereign country, that's kind of the entire basis of this conflict, so unless you think that territorial disputes should ALWAYS be decided in favor of the party with de facto control, then maybe you should consider that this situation is not as clear cut as you might think before making judgments?

  9. #33909
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    Quote Originally Posted by PwrdOn View Post
    I was trying to offer a rational analysis of the situation on the ground, maybe if you focused on that instead of making it a priority to cast judgment, you would understand geopolitics a little better. And I'm sure that China would dispute the status of Taiwan as a sovereign country, that's kind of the entire basis of this conflict, so unless you think that territorial disputes should ALWAYS be decided in favor of the party with de facto control, then maybe you should consider that this situation is not as clear cut as you might think before making judgments?
    Hello, Mr. Pot!

  10. #33910
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Cool Thatguy View Post
    Hello, Mr. Pot!
    If you would like to discuss Taiwanese history, culture, or politics I'm all ears. What is your favorite place to go on the island?

  11. #33911
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    Quote Originally Posted by PwrdOn View Post
    If you would like to discuss Taiwanese history, culture, or politics I'm all ears. What is your favorite place to go on the island?
    Yeah, as a teacher you are not observant because that's not what I was referring to at all.

  12. #33912
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    There's a policy split at the moment within the Democratic party. I'm curious about what you guys think about it, given the implications for the main things Biden and congressional Republicans want to accomplish.

    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021...ns-agenda.html

    Democrats are trying to pass two massive pieces of legislation, a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better act that has to be an omnibus bill to get through the reconciliation process (something that can only be done once a fiscal year.) The moderates want to pass the infrastructure bill as a standalone, while the progressives want to make sure that both bills are passed at the same time, because they're worried the reconciliation bill may be watered down or outright eliminated without the infrastructure bill as a potential hostage.

    The fight is over two different pieces of legislation, which form the centerpiece of Biden’s domestic agenda. One is a bill passed by the Senate in August on bipartisan lines that would spend nearly $1 trillion on infrastructure. The other is a $3.5 trillion grab bag called the Build Back Better Act that would vastly expand the social safety net and combat climate change by raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations. It would be passed in the Senate through reconciliation to dodge a Republican filibuster there, then have to get through a House with only four votes to spare. The reconciliation bill contains decades of liberal goals, and by tying the bills together, they hope to ensure that moderates seeking infrastructure spending would have to support both.

    That was the plan until a rebellion by a group of nine moderates, led by Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, who pledged in August that they would vote down the reconciliation bill unless they got an immediate vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. They settled for a deal with Pelosi in which the bipartisan vote would be pushed until this Monday, September 27. In response, progressives said they would vote against the infrastructure bill until the reconciliation bill was passed by the House to regain their leverage over the moderates. “I’m fully prepared to vote for [the bipartisan bill], but … the reason I would vote no is that I believe there are members that would say ‘I’m done, I’m done’ and that actually moving forward on our Build Back Better bill would be lost,” Jan Schakowsky of Illinois told Intelligencer.

    Gottheimer insisted her fears were unfounded. “We agreed to proceed and we have been. So if we didn’t want to be talking and working about it, we wouldn’t work on it,” he said of the reconciliation bill, though he demurred at mentioning its tentative $3.5 trillion price tag. “The bottom line is we all publicly said we are going to [support the bill] so I don’t know what else to say.”

    Progressives aren’t just wary though of moderates blocking the reconciliation bill, they worry that they will try to drastically shrink it as well. Both bills had already been whittled down, with the reconciliation bill’s initial price tag at $6 trillion. “We don’t see much reason to negotiate down,” insisted Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, who led the progressive caucus before Jayapal.

    Looming over all of this are Senate moderates Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. House moderates say they are wary of voting for anything without the seal of approval from the two senators, who could sink whatever the lower chamber passes when it arrives in the Senate. In the House, at least ten Republicans have said they would vote for the bipartisan bill, and each one of them who hops onboard diminishes Jayapal’s leverage over Pelosi. So far, Jayapal is sticking to her guns: She tweeted out Friday afternoon, “Why are we waiting to vote for the infrastructure bill until after we pass the Build Back Better Act?? Because we’re not willing to leave behind child care, paid leave, education, housing, health care, climate action, and a roadmap to citizenship. Let’s deliver on ALL of it.”
    One argument is that progressives have had to compromise too often in the past, and that they've already compromised with the Build Back Better act. I'm not sure I buy that, because it doesn't seem the argument against the infrastructure bill is that it does anything bad. By all accounts, the things in it are stuff progressives like, so it's hardly something to veto. If the Build Back Better Act might not get fifty Senators, it's a problem with that legislation.
    Sincerely,
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  13. #33913

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    If you're asking me to choose whether the package supported by Rep. Jayapal and Sen. Sanders would be better than the "moderate" one by Sen. Manchin & Sen. Sinema?

    The latter two are loathed right now for a reason. Go with the progressives. The great majority of the country support what they're doing by far, because it does more for the populace, at only the consequence of billionaires getting taxed more.
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  14. #33914
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by worstblogever View Post
    If you're asking me to choose whether the package supported by Rep. Jayapal and Sen. Sanders would be better than the "moderate" one by Sen. Manchin & Sen. Sinema?

    The latter two are loathed right now for a reason. Go with the progressives. The great majority of the country support what they're doing by far, because it does more for the populace, at only the consequence of billionaires getting taxed more.
    Anyone on the left who loathes Joe Manchin has a poor understanding of American politics. From the Democratic party's perspective, he is one of the five most essential members of Congress.

    Is there more support for the Build Back Better Act? Is there a significant constituency opposed to the infrastructure bill who otherwise supports the reconciliation bill?
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  15. #33915
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Cool Thatguy View Post
    Yeah, as a teacher you are not observant because that's not what I was referring to at all.
    I get what you're trying to say, but my point is that my beliefs are not misinformed preconceptions borne out of ignorance, as yours seem to be, but rather come from many years of living in the region and getting to know people and how they think about these issues, as well as applying some of my own knowledge about game theory and strategic thinking to try and analyze the geopolitical calculus at work. It's not that I categorically refuse to change my mind, it's just that your arguments are not particularly convincing and are nothing more than regurgitated talking points that anyone with a passing familiarity with US-China relations has heard a million times already.

    Obviously I am no expert on these topics, they're a fair bit outside my own field and even though I've been around a bit I still have spent most of my life in America and much of the culture in Asia is as alien to me now as it would be to any of you. That being said, I will be damned before I get lectured on any of these topics by someone like you who has zero knowledge about them and zero interest in learning anything about it. However, I am more than glad to put aside all of that and discuss any of these issues with you if you want.

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