My home state is one that has certainly seen an increase in enrollment and a decrease in rate of completion. We brought the lottery in to "make college available to everyone." Got a B average? Consider it paid. It maybe sounds like a good way to bring education to poorer students, but the real outcome has been that most of these students drop out. The end result is a highly regressive "tax" that "takes" money from the poorer, less educated segment of our population (those most likely to spend significant portions of income on the lottery) to subsidize the education of middle and upper middle class students.
We need to stop attacking the "throngs of capable students who really want to go to college but just can't pay for it" problem and attend to the "throngs of students who aren't capable of college level work or who have no intellectual desire to pursue learning" problem.
Last edited by Taylor; 03-30-11 at 02:12 PM.
Rather, at present we are actually seeing the U.S. status as sole superpower become challenged. China, the European Union, and Russia are making global plays while other countries like Iran and Venezuela make regional plays that also serve to erode American power. To a great extent the collapse of the Soviet Union has actually increased Russia's potential as a rival power.
Beyond that I can think of no country that would be particularly fearful of China. Any rising power is likely to create reservations just as several countries in the region become apprehensive over talk of Japanese militarization. Still, from what I can tell those countries most concerned about China have an obvious investment in a matter directly impacted by that changing power dynamic or a history of hostility with China. Japan and Vietnam both certainly have that history of hostility and so their reservations are to be expected. The same goes for India.
Aside from those countries I cannot think of many that have serious reservations. Even South Korea is more receptive of China's rise.
Rather the main element that determines a government's ability to respond is its ideological openness and ability to arrive at consensus measures. This is actually where China excels and, in my opinion, constitute democratic aspects of its system that are in some ways better than those of Western-style democratic systems. Of course, I presume when you say democratic systems you are specifically referring to the Western-style system.
I think a sort of revolution like you described is needed in this country. Most people would not see it because most people are simply not confronted with the inherent problems in our system. The masses are indoctrinated with so many ideas by the system that they cannot even begin to understand what should be done to resolve these problems.Right now, I don't believe the U.S. needs true national renewal (a kind of internal revolution that shatters existing institutions/norms and fashions new ones), though difficult choices are needed in some areas. Some of those choices will entail a measure of sacrifice and pain. When the country's fate is much less a matter of choice e.g., an undereducated workforce has resulted in its having lost competitiveness, degrading living standards (relative to many other countries), and loss of economic/military capacity due to technology gaps, then such renewal will be needed. The pain during that period would be much greater than what is required if the nation tackles some of its difficult choices in the near-term and medium-term. Moreover, prospects for success would be much less certain than if the U.S. addresses its great problems prior to the onset of such a situation.
"For what is Evil but Good-tortured by its own hunger and thirst?"
- Khalil Gibran
I don't think "humiliating" China is a good idea. However, we need to be MUCh tougher with China in terms of respect for international law and the sovereignty of its neighbors, its responsibilities under various trade deals as well as being a responsible trading partner who opens its markets as it expects others to open their markets to them. The massive transfer of technology to China by Western businesses is already done and that is a terrible thing. However, we need leaders who will be TOUGH on China, not to humiliate, but to make sure the leaders of China realize that we will not be pushovers and expect them to be a responsible member of the international community.Efforts to rein in or contain China as some pundits recommend or to otherwise humiliate China will be very destructive to the bilateral relationship, not to mention very likely unsuccessful. That's a course the U.S. should avoid, as it is that course that creates perhaps the greatest prospect of a hostile China even as China's power is growing both in absolute and relative terms. Differences should be handled carefully through diplomatic channels, but both parties will need to be cognizant of one another's critical interests and constraints. Some careful balancing will be required.
And how much longer are we going to put up with crap like this from China?
Last edited by ludahai; 03-30-11 at 06:59 PM.
Boston = City of Champions: Bruins 2011; Celtics 2008; Red Sox 2004, 2007; Patriots 2002, 2004, 2005
Jon Huntsman for President
Viet Nam is VERY concerned. China has been encoraching on their EEZ and claims a significant amount of maritime territory that rightfully belongs to Viet Nam. Similarly, there have been encroachments by China on the territorial waters of South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and even Indonesia. All of these states are concerned with the prospect of China's rise militarily and what it means for their own security.Beyond that I can think of no country that would be particularly fearful of China. Any rising power is likely to create reservations just as several countries in the region become apprehensive over talk of Japanese militarization. Still, from what I can tell those countries most concerned about China have an obvious investment in a matter directly impacted by that changing power dynamic or a history of hostility with China. Japan and Vietnam both certainly have that history of hostility and so their reservations are to be expected. The same goes for India.
All of them have serious reservations, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. South Korea was the one holdout for a while, but events over the past year (the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel by the PRCs satellite in North Korea and multiple encroachments on ROK territorial waters by PRC vessels among them) as well as the dispute over the historical kingdom of Goguryo and Balhae have caused considerable concern in South Korea.Aside from those countries I cannot think of many that have serious reservations. Even South Korea is more receptive of China's rise.
You haven't met anyone from China in person yet you claim to understand them so well... Let me remember this fact when you try to convince us that you understand the Chinese so well. You have no basis for knowledge in this area. I have heard college lectures (that I was not supposed to hear) regarding China's relations with other countries. I have seen their response to every little slight. I have seen their lies regarding the U.S. when the U.S. accidently bombed their embassy and saw first hand the anti-U.S. demonstrations. I remember the anti-Japan demonstrations a few years ago after China lost the Asian Cup Final to China. You really do NOT understand what is going on over there. You have no credibility on this WHATSOEVER!!!While I have not met someone from mainland China in person I have talked to enough people from there online to understand that attitudes in China are not really that hostile. Given the history of U.S. relations with China or Japanese relations with China it would be unreasonable to expect there to not be some ill will.
Boston = City of Champions: Bruins 2011; Celtics 2008; Red Sox 2004, 2007; Patriots 2002, 2004, 2005
Jon Huntsman for President
China is looking at power projection. With 2 carriers, they'll be able to have one deployed continuously (almost), and in an emergency, maybe both. I see their advantage as mainly political. Once they have them in service, expect to see them in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and operating around Africa. The goal is to show third world nations that the US isn't the only one with carriers and capable aircraft.
Against a US carrier, they don't add up to much, but against a nation without much in the way of aircraft, they provide a striking force. Try the Spratly Islands. Major oil field and they are claimed by China, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia. Having a carrier around helps with keeping them when you move in the occupation forces and start drilling a well head and a pipeline to China.
"He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
I have regular contact with people in China (and not just virtual contact), have been there on numerous occasions, and will be there again on numerous occasions. I've seen some of the things that could well disturb you. I've seen others that are more hopeful. The picture is mixed. There are both opportunities and risks. Therefore, I'm not going to view things either solely from the vantage point of fear or only from the perspective of idealistic optimism.
Of course, it is important to qualify that I am talking from the perspective of bilateral U.S.-China relations. I don't seek to minimize the very real and legitimate concerns many people in Taiwan have. Taiwan's margin for error is much smaller than that of the U.S. The U.S. has to worry about the region's stability and its balance of power. Many people in Taiwan have existential worries, as China still views Taiwan as a part of China, albeit a part that is temporarily separated.
I am also well aware of the almost mortal fears that the CCP has about loss of control of key pillars of power (including information, something that Google did not understand when it chose to issue an ultimatum on filtering of its search engine to China's government--a confrontation it could not expect to win--departed the country, and then returned after making concessions to the Chinese government), the role doctrine plays in shaping the CCP's worldview, the perceptions concerning foreign exploitation during periods of China's weakness, past episodes of fragmentation when central power waned, past revolutionary episodes, latent nationalism, etc. All those elements color the overall outlook and are likely to do so well into the future.
But things are far from hopeless, at least from a U.S. perspective. There are broad shared interests and that's one foundation on which a constructive partnership can be forged, even while recognizing that there are also areas of difference. Consequently, there are genuine risks, too. But at this point in time, a Cold War-type confrontation (between the U.S. and China) need not be a foregone conclusion. Various paths along which the relationship can proceed exist. Today's choices by China's and the American leaders will shape the evolution of that relationship. Circumstances will, too.
Having said all that, the "surprise" that some express that China is building its hard power commensurate with its growing economic power can only exist from a position of naivete. China was once a great power. Aspirations for a return to such stature are not unexpected, if not the norm when the opportunity presents itself. Furthermore, China is proceeding along the typical path of states that are on a rising power trajectory. Its pursuit of hard power and expanded regional influence is not an exception. There should be no surprises concerning those developments.
It appears that you are assuming that I do not believe the U.S. should be tough where its interests and allies are concerned. If so, that is a fundamental misread of my position.I don't think "humiliating" China is a good idea. However, we need to be MUCh tougher with China in terms of respect for international law and the sovereignty of its neighbors...
The U.S. absolutely should be prepared to safeguard its critical regional interests and allies politically, and if necessary, militarily. It should continue to assure a regional balance of power that promotes stability and security, especially as significant historic rivalries and multinational maritime disputes exist (and could be exacerbated by resource scarcity, among other possible triggers). My point is that U.S. firmness should be expressed privately and directly. At all times messages of such firmness should be made credible by appropriate actions, otherwise one is doing nothing more than engaging in hollow posturing. In short, advocating the pursuit of cooperation where opportunities and shared interests permit it does not require the United States to sacrifice or ignore its critical interests or allies.
Last edited by donsutherland1; 03-30-11 at 10:07 PM.
By "democratic systems" I do not accept the narrow definition that a system that merely holds regular freely-contested elections is by itself democratic. There needs to be appropriate checks in place to avoid the "tyranny by the majority" or all-powerful executive problems, legal/institutional framework in which the people have a voice e.g., through representative organs, etc. Ideological openness and a capacity to form consensus are important elements of an effective democratic system. When a system becomes increasingly polarized ideologically and the ability to form consensus dissipates, it is no longer effective in the democratic sense. It becomes rigid and loses the flexibility inherent in an effective democratic system. The U.S. risks evolving down that path.
Also, I don't mean to limit myself to Western-style democratic systems. I do not wish to preclude the possibility that representative systems cannot evolve along other lines.
My point about adapting to change is that democratic systems, because they are broadly representative, can be inherently more flexible. They are more flexible when effective, because they are responsive to the needs of the people they represent. In contrast, authoritarian systems are much more rigid. However, when it comes to certain crises that require rapid and revolutionary changes, that's an area where an authoritarian system might have somewhat of an advantage e.g., tough choices can quickly be made even when deeply unpopular, as there is no need to form a consensus, which can take time, require effort, and entail compromises. But that's a unique situation. Transformational leaders along the lines of a Winston Churchill or Franklin Roosevelt, can perform similar functions within democratic systems, but such leaders are quite rare.