Friday 2nd of December 2022

this freezing relationship is pushing the warming of the planet….

On the day that the death of Sempé (one of the best cartoonists in the world) has been announced — he was 90 something — Gus Leonisky carries on with his crass nasty mischief — stealing other people's works and adding more nasty stuff, than less. 


He was seen in France as revealing amusing and sometimes caustic truths about the world – making people smile without resorting to cruelty or mockery.

The kindness that Sempé showed the diminutive characters that he placed in an outsized world was in contrast to the misery of his own upbringing. “You never get over your childhood,” he said when well into his 80s, having avoided the subject for decades. “You try to sort things out, to make your memories prettier. But you never get over it.”

For many years Sempé refused to believe in his own talent, attributing what he had achieved to hard work and sacrifice. The artist said he could spend as long as three weeks not getting a single drawing right and that he was capable of “not bathing, not sleeping” to finish work on time.


Unfortunately, the crass nasty cruel mischiefed cartoons of Gus Leonisky canot even match the crass nasty cruel reality of POLITICS TODAY. Our politics are ugly and bathe in acid perversion that is ruling our little world... Anyway:


Less than 100 days before the world’s leaders meet in Egypt to tackle the climate crisis, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s incendiary trip to Taiwan leaves climate cooperation between the U.S. and China in tatters. 

It was only last year, in 2021, that U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry and China Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua issued a joint statement  to strengthen the Paris Agreement by adopting  “long-term strategies aimed at net zero GHG emissions” to keep the world’s temperature below 2 degrees Celsius, with the goal to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.


By Marcy Winograd


Such collaboration is urgently needed if the world is to thwart rising sea levels, drought, famine and extreme weather — flash floods to suffocating heat waves — because China and the United States are the world’s largest carbon emitters, responsible for 40 percent of greenhouse gasses baking the earth.

Following Pelosi’s Taipei jaunt by U.S. military transport, including polluting fighter jets and warships that escorted the speaker to Taiwan, Beijing  broke off climate talks and launched large scale military drills, encircling Taiwan to prove it could blockade the island and that if push came to shove — should a confrontation ignite between Chinese warships and the U.S. Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group stationed in the South China Sea — everyone would know the score before the first rocket was launched.

With the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP-27) slated to address the preservation of biodiversity and the need for decarbonization and capital to create sustainable cities, it would be a travesty for the U.S. and China to remain ecologically estranged, stalled indefinitely on climate talks.


Veterans for Peace’s Climate Crisis and Militarism Project (CCMP) (of which this writer is a member)  has issued a statement requesting the U.S. government apologize to China for the speaker’s visit.

“We call on the White House and State Department to apologize to China for unnecessarily escalating tension in the Asia Pacific,” the group said, adding that it is in this region that the “U.S. maintains over 200 military bases, stations tens of thousands of troops and conducts hundreds of military exercises to prepare for war against China.”


Other Apologies 

Such an apology would not be unprecedented. The U.S. government has issued, either from the president or Congress, formal apologies for slavery and Jim Crow laws, Japanese internment and the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

While New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman described Pelosi’s trip as “utterly reckless, irresponsible and dangerous,” some lawmakers, both Democrat and Republican, argued the speaker had a right to travel wherever she pleased and that the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which the United States has formally recognized for the last 50  years as the only legitimate China, had no business telling the speaker where she could or could not take her entourage.

This argument assumes the speaker was not a heartbeat away from the presidency, second in line to assume the role of commander in chief in charge of hundreds of military bases surrounding China; did not have a history of anti-Chinese rhetoric and legislation and was merely a tourist zipping around Asia in a commercial jet or a less powerful politician bent on attending a ribbon cutting event at a cultural center in Taipei.

Anti-war organizations, such as Veterans for PeaceCODEPINKPivot to Peace and the foreign policy team of Progressive Democrats of America knew better, so they sponsored a protest (video here) complete with ornamental yellow Chinese dragons in front of Pelosi’s office at the San Francisco Federal Building on the eve of her visit to Taiwan. The message? Cancel your trip. Waving signs that read “No war on China” and “Stop the provocations” the demonstrators — most of them Chinese Americans — urged Pelosi to focus instead on the climate crisis and economic woes besetting the country.

In Congresswoman Pelosi’s 12th congressional district, which spans most of San Francisco, the Asian population is 37 percent, the poverty rate 10 percent, leaving over 80,000 people in dire straits. One-in-four people living in San Francisco risk food insecurity, not knowing from where their next meal will come. This stands in marked contrast to the speaker’s fridge packed with gourmet ice cream, her net worth pegged at  $114-million, according to Open Secrets, a D.C.-based non-profit that follows the money — campaign contributions.


Ignored Opposition 

Pelosi ignored the protest in her hometown; President Joe Biden’s stated disapproval; the Pentagon’s concern that forcing a confrontation with a nuclear-armed country — holder of a trillion dollars of U.S. debt, world’s largest exporter, population of 1.5 billion people — might not serve the interests of US national security. 

She flew to Taiwan anyway. 

Accompanied by Congress members Gregory Meeks (D-NY-05), Chair, House Foreign Affairs Committee; as well as Mark Takano (D-CA-41); Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01); Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-ILL-8th) and Andy Kim (D-NJ-03) the speaker, whose husband was only days before heavily investedin the microchip sector, lunched with semiconductor magnates in the microchip mecca of Taiwan. This lunch occurred a week before Biden signed the Chips Act of 2022 to legislate a $52 billion subsidy to the domestic microchips industry to prevent U.S. companies from offshoring foundries to China, another microchip mecca. 

[Related: Big Chip in US-China Crisis]

Pelosi’s itinerary also included a visit the National Human Rights Museum, where amid protests and counter-protests she met with former PRC political prisoners and learned of the archives documenting the persecution of dissidents and murder of civilians by anti-communists who fled the Chinese mainland in 1949 when Mao Zedong founded the People’s Republic of China.


The Aftermath 

The Chinese government said Pelosi’s visit “gravely undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and in the hours following conducted days of live-fire military exercises in the contested Taiwan Strait, imposed sanctions on Pelosi, suspended dialogue on “theater level” military commanders” and cut off climate talks.  Pelosi rubbed salt into the wound — insisting the trip was “worth it” and that China’s President Xi Jinping was “acting like a scared bully.” 

In the face of Pelosi’s own bullying taunts and in the absence of a U.S. government apology, grassroots diplomats can work to foster friendships with the Chinese people.


Establish a Green Sister City 

Launched by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, the Sister Cities program was designed to promote people-to-people diplomacy through cultural exchanges and shared research. Beijing and New York City are Sister Cities, as are Washington, D.C., and Chongqing. Ironically, it was San Francisco, the city Pelosi is supposed to represent, that in 1980 became the first U.S. city to form a friendship link with a city in the People’s Republic of China. Shanghai is now also a Sister City to Chicago.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sister City relationships between the U.S. and Russia struggle on life support. Several cities — Colorado Springs, Sarasota, Norfolk, Dallas, DesMoines and Chicago — have already severed or are in the process of dissolving their Sister City relationships with counterparts in Russia.

In keeping with the emphasis on research and development, U.S. and China Sister Cities could collaborate on building sustainable cities, technology and expertise to create networks of bike lanes and mass transit; tree canopies in scorched neighborhoods; urban farming; innovation in sewage treatment and waste utilization; divestment from coal and oil to transition to renewable energy and reliance on passive solar.

So, while Pelosi defends her Taiwan trip — insisting the Pentagon never told her not to go —peace-loving people in the United States can pursue real diplomacy: Sister City relationships that not only heal the spirit, but also the climate. 




Marcy Winograd is coordinator of CODEPINK CONGRESS, a bimonthly program on U.S. foreign policy and demilitarization. A long-time anti-war activist, Marcy served as a 2020 DNC delegate to Bernie Sanders and co-chairs the foreign policy team for Progressive Democrats of America. A member of Veterans for Peace’s Climate Crisis and Militarism Project, Marcy’s activism began in high school when she marched against the Vietnam War and later joined the defense team of Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. A retired English and government teacher, Marcy blogs about militarism and foreign policy.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.









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the mad deceitful woman….


BY Vijay Prashad


As the US legislative leader Nancy Pelosi swept into Taipei, people around the world held their breath. Her visit was an act of provocation. In December 1978, the US government – following a United Nations General Assembly decision in 1971 – recognised the People’s Republic of China, setting aside its previous treaty obligations to Taiwan. Despite this, US President Jimmy Carter signed the Taiwan Relations Act (1979), which allowed US officials to maintain intimate contact with Taiwan, including through the sale of weapons. This decision is noteworthy as Taiwan was under martial law from 1949 to 1987, requiring a regular weapons supplier.

Pelosi’s journey to Taipei was part of the US’s ongoing provocation of China. This campaign includes former President Barack Obama’s ‘pivot to Asia’, former President Donald Trump’s ‘trade war’, the creation of security partnerships, the Quad and AUKUS, and the gradual transformation of NATO into an instrument against China. This agenda continues with President Joe Biden’s assessment that China must be weakened since it is the ‘only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to mount a sustained challenge’ to the US-dominated world system.

China did not use its military power to prevent Pelosi and other US congressional leaders from travelling to Taipei. But, when they left, the Chinese government announced that it would halt eight key areas of cooperation with the US, including cancelling military exchanges and suspending civil cooperation on a range of issues, such as climate change. That is what Pelosi’s trip accomplished: more confrontation, less cooperation.

Indeed, anyone who stands for greater cooperation with China is vilified in the Western media as well as in Western-allied media from the Global South as an ‘agent’ of China or a promoter of ‘disinformation’. I responded to some of these allegations in South Africa’s The Sunday Times on 7 August 2022. The remainder of this newsletter reproduces that article.

A new kind of madness is seeping into global political discourse, a poisonous fog that suffocates reason. This fog, which has long marinated in old, ugly ideas of white supremacy and Western superiority, is clouding our ideas of humanity. The general malady that ensues is a deep suspicion and hatred of China, not just of its current leadership or even the Chinese political system, but hatred of the entire country and of Chinese civilisation – hatred of just about anything to do with China.

This madness has made it impossible to have an adult conversation about China. Words and phrases such as ‘authoritarian’ and ‘genocide’ are thrown around with no care to ascertain facts. China is a country of 1.4 billion people, an ancient civilisation that suffered, as much of the Global South did, a century of humiliation, in this case from the British-inflicted Opium Wars (which began in 1839) until the 1949 Chinese Revolution, when leader Mao Zedong deliberately announced that the Chinese people had stood up. Since then, Chinese society has been deeply transformed by utilising its social wealth to address the age-old problems of hunger, illiteracy, despondency, and patriarchy. As with all social experiments, there have been great problems, but these are to be expected from any collective human action. Rather than seeing China for both its successes and contradictions, this madness of our times seeks to reduce China to an Orientalist caricature – an authoritarian state with a genocidal agenda that seeks global domination.

This madness has a definite point of origin in the United States, whose ruling elites are greatly threatened by the advances of the Chinese people – particularly in robotics, telecommunications, high-speed rail, and computer technology. These advances pose an existential threat to the advantages long enjoyed by Western corporations, who have benefited from centuries of colonialism and the straitjacket of intellectual property laws. Fear of its own fragility and the integration of Europe into Eurasian economic developments has led the West to launch an information war against China.

This ideological tidal wave is overwhelming our ability to have serious, balanced conversations about China’s role in the world. Western countries with a long history of brutal colonialism in Africa, for instance, now regularly decry what they call Chinese colonialism in Africa without any acknowledgment of their own past or the entrenched French and US military presence across the continent. Accusations of ‘genocide’ are always directed at the darker peoples of the world – whether in Darfur or in Xinjiang – but never at the US, whose illegal war on Iraq alone resulted in the deaths of over a million people. The International Criminal Court, steeped in Eurocentrism, indicts one African leader after another for crimes against humanity but has never indicted a Western leader for their endless wars of aggression.

The fog of this New Cold War is enveloping us today. Recently, in the Daily Maverick and the Mail & Guardian, I was accused of promoting ‘Chinese and Russian propaganda’ and having close links to the Chinese party-state. What is the basis of these claims?

Firstly, elements in Western intelligence attempt to brand any dissent against the Western assault on China as disinformation and propaganda. For instance, my December 2021 report from Uganda debunked the false claim that a Chinese loan to the country sought to take over its only international airport as part of a malicious ‘debt trap project’ – a narrative that has also been repeatedly debunked by leading US scholars. Through conversations with Ugandan government officials and public statements by Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija, I found, however, that the deal was poorly understood by the state but that there was no question of the seizure of Entebbe International Airport. Despite the fact that Bloomberg’s entire story on this loan was built on a lie, they were not tarred with the slur of ‘carrying water for Washington’. That is the power of the information war.

Secondly, there is a claim about my alleged links to the Chinese Communist Party based on the simple fact that I engage with Chinese intellectuals and have an unpaid post at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University, a prominent think tank based in Beijing. Yet, many of the South African publications that have made these outrageous claims are principally funded by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. Soros took the name of his foundation from Karl Popper’s book, The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945), in which Popper developed the principle of ‘unlimited tolerance’. Popper argued for maximum dialogue and that opinions against one’s own should be countered ‘by rational argument’. Where are the rational arguments here, in a smear campaign that says dialogue with Chinese intellectuals is somehow off-limits but conversation with US government officials is perfectly acceptable? What level of civilisational apartheid is being produced here, where liberals in South Africa are promoting a ‘clash of civilisations’ rather than a ‘dialogue between civilisations’?

Countries in the Global South can learn a great deal from China’s experiments with socialism. Its eradication of extreme poverty during the pandemic – an accomplishment celebrated by the United Nations – can teach us how to tackle similar obstinate facts in our own countries (which is why Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research produced a detailed study about the techniques that China employed to achieve this feat). No country in the world is perfect, and none is above criticism. But to develop a paranoid attitude towards one country and to attempt to isolate it is socially dangerous. Walls need to be knocked down, not built up. The US is provoking a conflict due to its own anxieties about China’s economic advances: we should not be drawn in as useful idiots. We need to have an adult conversation about China, not one imposed upon us by powerful interests that are not our own.

My article in The Sunday Times does not address all the issues that swirl around the US-China conflict. However, it is an invitation to a dialogue. If you have any thoughts on these issues, please email me.


Vijay Prashad

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is a writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter. He is an editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He is a senior non-resident fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. He has written more than 20 books, including The Darker Nations and The Poorer Nations. His latest books are Struggle Makes Us Human: Learning from Movements for Socialism and (with Noam Chomsky) The Withdrawal: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Fragility of U.S. Power.








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a desperate woman…...


by peter van buren


China policy seems to be made by, and written about by, adults who were often beaten up on the school playground. They retain the language of bullying, and weaknesses, and standing up, and the fantasy that something would sweep in and save them from losing another days’ lunch money (maybe an aircraft carrier group?) That these people are now in control of the media, if not the House, does nothing good for anyone, especially anyone located on either side of the Taiwan Strait. American seems dumb enough to play at this game; is Beijing also?

By now we all know Nancy Pelosi, likely with only a couple of months left as Speaker of the House, decided to spend her summer vacation stirring up the entire Pacific theater for what appears to be largely her own ego. Just days after RIMPAC 2022 concluded (China sure knew the US just wrapped up the largest live fire exercise of the year in the Pacific, involved a dozen nations and hundreds of ships and planes all aimed at the “Blue” team defeating the “Red” team across thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean. While the NYT editorial team was putting ice on their fat lips over in the Ron Burgundy Lounge, Beijing sure saw RIMPAC and Pelosi as part of the same) bully Pelosi shoved Joe Biden into a mud puddle and said she was going to Taipei. For those worried about “showing weakness,” mark this: Biden was too weak to tell a member of his own party to stay out of trouble when he was sick with Covid, sick with inflation, and digging an ever deeper hole in Ukraine, another war with no endgame but wait for the other side to win.

There was no great need for anyone to visit Taiwan this week. There was no crisis brewing, no event requiring anyone to stand with Taipei, support its democracy, or start wearing colored masks, not that the arrival of a lame duck Speaker would accomplish that or anything else in an quick show and tell. Nope, this mess was created by a Nancy Pelosi who wanted to show off, made worse by Joe Biden being too weak to stop her, and then exacerbated all to heck by China infusing much meaning into something that could have been shrugged off as having very little to say for itself.

Remember the advice your mom gave you on bullies? Ignore them and they’d go away? Imagine China listening to their mom on this one and announcing “We heard Nancy was going to Taipei. Neither Nancy nor Taipei are particularly important to the soon-to-be greatest economy in the world, so we’ll ignore them both.” If pressed for comment Beijing could add “But we hope Nancy chokes on her dinner” and leave it at that.

But while Nancy the Bully imagined she was standing up to Beijing the Bully, pretty soon everyone had to stand with, show up, not back down. So you have the New York Times, no stranger to losing its lunch money while being pantsed on the playground, saying “Bullies often seek tests of strengths to probe for signs of weakness. And they always read efforts at conciliation as evidence of capitulation.” The Times even quotes Sun Tzu (note to China watchers: if a pundit who does not read Chinese quotes Sun Tzu, duck, some b.s. is coming your way.) “If Beijing,” the Times continued, “had gotten its way over something as seemingly minor as Pelosi’s visit, it would not have been merely a symbolic victory in a diplomatic sideshow. It would have changed the rules of the game. Rather than avert a diplomatic crisis, it would have hastened a strategic disaster: the further isolation of a democratic US ally and key economic partner as a prelude to surrender, war or both.”

So there you have it. We just barely avoided a strategic disaster, a game changer, a mere preclude to surrender or war… or both! Good golly, lucky for us Nancy landed the plane safely in Taipei.

It is time for some seriousness. China is not going to war with Taiwan. After all the smoke clears and overflights are tallied, China did only one substantive thing to punish Taiwan: China halted Taiwanese snack imports (including biscuits and pastries ahead of moon cake season) just before Pelosi’s arrival. That seems, Sun Tzu’s admonishment to try small steps before large ones aside, not something akin to war or surrender, and something unlikely to lead to violence. It actually really does not matter. Like Nancy.

Need we walk through the other 99 percent of what is going on between Taiwan and China? Between 1991 and March 2020 Taiwan’s investment in China totaled $188.5 billion, more than China’s investment in the United States. In 2019, the value of cross-strait trade was $149.2 billion. China applied in September to join the new Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. A week later, with no opposition voiced by Beijing, Taiwan applied to join as well. China is Taiwan’s largest trading partner. “One country, two systems” has not only kept the peace for decades, it has proven darn profitable for both sides. As Deng Xiao Ping said of this type of modus vivendi, “who cares what color a cat is as long as it catches mice.” China might one day seek to buy Taiwan, but until then what incentive would it have to drop bombs on one of its best customers? Heck, they even invited Taiwan to the Beijing Olympics Nancy Pelosi protested.

An attack on Taiwan would likely see a frightened Japan and South Korea step over the nuclear threshold and China would thus face more powerful enemies. In addition, a serious attack on Taiwan would severely damage the economy there Xi would no doubt see as part of the prize. Lastly, an attack on Taiwan would see Chinese killing Chinese, people who speak the same language and share several thousand years of culture. Pre-Covid, travelers from China made 2.68 million visits a year to Taiwan, many of which were to visit relatives. Student exchanges between Taiwan and China began in 2011, with some 25,000 Mainland kids studying on Taiwan pre-Covid. Even a “successful” attack would be near-political suicide for Xi. An invasion of Taiwan would leave the China politically isolated, economically damaged, and reputationally crippled. A failed attack could lead to a Taiwanese declaration of independence China would be incapable of stopping.

Caution is not appeasement. Every diplomatic move is not a full-spectrum weighing out of strength. Tiananmen was 33 years and a major change or two of governments ago (you still talking about that Kent State thing, bro?) Hong Kong was taken from China and colonized and exploited by the British before being returned to much the same status under Beijing. Same for Macao and the Portuguese. The US fought China directly in Vietnam and Korea and that did not bleed over into Taiwan. China went nuclear and did not invade Taiwan.

Strength and weakness do not rest on a single visit by someone as close to the end of her tenure as Nancy Pelosi. Bullies are gonna bully but China and Taiwan are not in that sort of relationship; they exist in a complex diplomatic dance overshadowed by massive amounts of cross-straits commerce, investment, and travel. In every sphere outside the political and martial they grow closer together, not further apart, and much of the differences are promoted by the US and an industry of “China experts” who thrive like dung beetles off the potential for conflict.

Reprinted with permission from










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