BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-05-29 Sa

Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember...

First: Wilhelmine China

A decade or so ago I had a line about how there were three big potential storm clouds on the horizon–clouds that would probably dissipate, but that we should all fear. They were the (then distant, and now thankfully still distant) possibilities of: (1) Weimar Russia (ex-superpower that thought it had been snookered by the west at the end of a struggle), (2) National Hinduist India (casting Muslims in the historical role traditionally reserved for the Jews), and (3) Wilhelmine China–a rising economic superpower, ruled by a class that had lost its social role, and that contemplated busying giddy minds with foreign quarrels as a way to distract popular attention from internal problems and debates.

Let me highlight this. Why? Because Martin Wolf has also been worrying about Wilhelmine China. The problem is that a social class that has lost its role–whether it is the Prussian aristocracy before 1914 or the cadres of the CCP today–knows that it has lost its role, and fears what the future brings. The task of United States (and Japanese, and Korean) foreign policy has to be to persuade the cadres of the CCP that they have much more to gain from an Eastern Pacific that lives up to its name rather than from a new cold war in Asia–or a hot one: 

Martin Wolf: China Must Not Copy the Kaiser’s Errors: ’Will we sustain an open global economy while also managing tensions between a rising autocracy and democracies in relative economic decline? That was the question posed by the arrival of imperial Germany as Europe’s leading economic and military power in the late 19th century. It is the question posed today by the rise of communist China…. We know how this story ended in 1914. How will the new one end, a century later? China’s decision to create an “East China Sea air defence identification zone” that covers uninhabited islands currently under the control of Japan (called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China) is evidently provocative: the two countries’ air defence zones now overlap. Neither Japan nor South Korea recognises the new zone, which China seems prepared to defend. The US does not recognise the zone either, and is bound by treaty to support Japan…. The risk of a ruinous conflict again exists…. Why would the Chinese president take such a provocative action?… This was just the question raised by Norman Angell, the English liberal, in his 1909 book The Great Illusion. Angell did not argue, as some allege, that war among the European great powers was inconceivable…. He argued instead that a war would be fruitless, even for the victors…. Mr Xi should think again—and halt…

LINK: <https://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/12/wilhelmine-china-and-the-ecsadiz.html>


One Video:

For thirty years I have wanted a computer that was a tablet when I needed it to be, and that I could plug in a keyboard when I wanted one. The Microsoft Surface never quite got there for me. Now here we have Christopher Lawley claiming that the iPad Pro now has:

Christopher LawleyiPad Pro 2021 Review: The Only Computer I Need <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxPNaYPPkCs>

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Very Briefly Noted:

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Paragraphs:

I kinda suspect this restaurant owner would have a very difficult time surviving in a world in which workers have at least some pricing power:

Dave Jamieson’Guy who runs restaurants wants unemployment benefits cut, seems surprised by stubbornness of job seekers: “‘How much do you pay?’ that’s one of the first questions out of their mouth”. I think that would be the first question out of my mouth, but I’m in the unique position of having to feed and clothe children…

LINK: <https://twitter.com/jamieson/status/1396830864416428032>


Am I paranoid? Or is it truly, truly the case that a critical mass of senior Republican politicians and activists were abused as children? That really seems to be the model they are using as they react to their abuse by Trump:

Paul KrugmanRepublican Cowardice Endangers American Democracy: ‘Conspiracy theorizing is hardly a new thing in our national life; Richard Hofstadter wrote “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” back in 1964. White rage has been a powerful force at least since the civil rights movement. What’s different this time is the acquiescence of Republican elites. The Big Lie about the election didn’t well up from the grass roots—it was promoted from above, initially by Trump himself, but what’s crucial is that almost no prominent Republican politicians have been willing to contradict his claims and many have rushed to back them up…

LINK: <https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/24/opinion/republicans-donald-trump-loyalty.html>


Jeet HeerBeatnik Phrenology: ‘Nathaniel Weyl… wrote: “Thus, white Rhodesians are an elite element within the English-speaking world in terms of psychometric intelligence. This finding is reinforced by visual impressions. Salisbury whites appear larger, healthier, more vigorous, alert and bright than London whites. Beatniks, transvestites and obvious homosexuals are conspicuously absent…” I don’t want to belabour the obvious, but we are not dealing with a scientific mind here. Yet Weyl was much admired by the National Review circle of the 1950s and 1960s, not just by Kendall but also by William F. Buckley…

LINK: <https://jeetheer.substack.com/p/beatnik-phrenology>


John StoehrThe Senate GOP Is Ready to Block a Bipartisan Commission to Investigate the Insurrection. Is It Time for Filibuster Reform?: ‘While all but four Senate Republicans are leaning away from patriotism, Democrat Joe Manchin is leaning into it…. Whatever he does, however, has to be seen as nowhere near being partisan. That’s why he’s leaning into God and country. On hearing news of the Republicans preparing to block the bill, he told reporters: “So disheartening. It makes you really concerned about our country… I’m still praying we’ve still got 10 good solid patriots within that conference.” The hoped-for “10 good solid patriots” do not exist…. So we have Manchin leaning into patriotism while all but four Republicans are leaning away from patriotism, filibustering the legislation, probably today. At the same time, Manchin said, “There is no excuse for any Republican to vote against this commission.” Hell, he’s got on his side the mom of a dead Capitol cop, who said: “I suggest that all congressmen and senators who are against this bill visit my son’s grave” (my italics). This is one of those rare moments after which we might see some clarity. If there’s a time to act on the filibuster—in the name of God and country—now might be that time… LINK: <https://stoehr.substack.com/p/the-senate-gop-is-ready-to-block>

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