Friday, 7 January 2011

Chinese leaders welcomed with ever deepening bows in Europe

It is not difficult to imagine how pleased even second rank Chinese leaders must feel when visiting crisis-stricken European countries (and also the US). Wherever they go, heads of state, prime ministers and other dignitaries line up in order to have a chance to bow deeply to the new "benefactors". The latest example is Chinese Vice Prime Minister Li Keqiang, who received a royal welcome in the kingdom of Spain.

Of course everybody understands that the good will of China comes with strings attached.(Don´t expect to see Excelentísimo Señor Zapatero embracing the Dalai Lama or expressing support for Chinese dissidents any time soon). However, the economy in some European countries is in such dire straits that political leaders do not seem seem to care, although there is still appears to be some caution regarding arms sales, according to the Christian Science Monitor:

Consensus is still distant, however, especially in regards to an embargo on selling arms to China that Spain and France have lobbied to relax. Washington still strongly opposes relaxing an arms embargo and is also concerned about technological transfers.

For China, however, the juncture is ideal. Struggling European countries that have dragged down the euro and rattled markets are desperate for cash in the form of direct foreign investment. Not surprisingly, Greece, Portugal, and Spain have sought closer relations to Beijing in the aftermath of the economic crisis, and Chinese investment in those countries has soared.

France has been a leader in selling arms to Russia, so it is not surprising to see it lobbying hard for relaxing the arms embargo to China. (By the way, you may remember that France was a leading exporter also to e.g. Saddam´s Iraq). I would not be surprised if France eyes to sell Mistral class power projection war ships also to the Chinese ...

European leaders should perhaps consider using the old court etiquette when approaching visiting Chinese benefactors ( from a manual produced by

Approach the Royal Presence (or Chinese high level visitor), along with everyone else who is coming to swear fealty at that time. When you arrive as close as you can get (this will vary depending on the number of participants, bow, then kneel with everyone else swearing fealty.
If you have gotten there first and can use the cushions, do so. However, be courteous - if someone with bad knees needs them, let them have use of the cushions. The court herald will come forward and give you the words to state, giving your oath of fealty.
Once the oath has been given and the Crown has responded, along with everyone else, rise and give a short bow. Then walk briskly back to your seat.

Please note that when in China, the etiquette changes to traditional Chinese kowtowing:

Forbes columnist warns about property bubble in China

Forbes columnist Robert Lenzner describes the "the wall of worry" in China:

I have the same uneasy feeling about China as the SURE THING investment in early 2011 as I did about the garden of eden aura of easy money in the US in early 2007.

According to Lenzner, there is a real risk for a property bubble:

China could suffer a hard landing in 2012 if the property bubble is not taken under control. “Only when property prices drop sharply can we believe that the government is serious about fighting inflation,” says Andy Xie,, a Board Member of Rosetta Stone Advisors. “The level of property prices defines how much local governments can spend. Fighting the property bubble is a must for fighting inflation.”
Consider that China’s plans to build 40% of the world’s skyscrapers in the next 6 years might be considered a “sign of over-expansion and a misallocation of capital,” according to

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Hitchens on Tony Blair

Christopher Hitchens writes about Tony Blair in the new issue of Vanity Fair. Here is an extract:

When Tony Blair took office, Slobodan Milošević was cleansing and raping the republics of the former Yugoslavia. Mullah Omar was lending Osama bin Laden the hinterland of a failed and rogue state. Charles Taylor of Liberia was leading a hand-lopping militia of enslaved children across the frontier of Sierra Leone, threatening a blood-diamond version of Rwanda in West Africa. And the wealth and people of Iraq were the abused private property of Saddam Hussein and his crime family. Today, all of these Caligula figures are at least out of power, and at the best either dead or on trial. How can anybody with a sense of history not grant Blair some portion of credit for this? And how can anybody with a tincture of moral sense go into a paroxysm and yell that it is he who is the war criminal? It is as if all the civilians murdered by al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be charged to his account. This is the chaotic mentality of Julian Assange and his groupies.

Read it all here.

So true. And George W. Bush deserves at least the same credit, too.

"France is the Empire of Evil in terms of technology theft"

Germany´s closest EU ally France  "is the Empire of Evil in terms of technology theft, and Germany knows it". The quote by Berry Smutny, the head of German satellite company OHB Technology, is from a wikileaked American diplomatic cable published by the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. France is according to US diplomats the country that conducts the most industrial espionage on other European countries. "French espionage is so widespread that the damages (it causes) the German economy are larger as a whole than those caused by China or Russia," another diplomatic cable notes.

Read more here.

So much for EU solidarity!
No wonder Russia has agreed so many major arms deals with France recently. The Russians get all the important European technology from the French. Thus industrial espionage in Europe is now less of a priority for GRU and other Russian spy agancies. This allows the Russians to concentrate their vast spying activities on other geographical areas, like the US.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Sweden first to recognise that Belgium is a failed state

The Swedish government has obviously realised that Belgium is a failed state. Consequently the government on December 22 announced that it will close the Embassy of Sweden in Brussels during 2011.

Indeed, why should Sweden have an embassy in a country that a few days earlier was described in this way by one of its leading politicians:

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Flemish nationalist leader Bart De Wever called Belgium a failed state with a French-speaking region addicted to subsidies, sparking a war of words Monday in stalled government talks.
The kingdom's linguistic and financial fault line, splitting wealthier Dutch-speaking Flanders and francophone Wallonia, appeared far from closing as Belgium marked Monday six months without a government since June 13 elections, a stalemate that has unnerved the markets.

New Flemish Alliance leader De Wever, who wants greater autonomy for Flanders and power over the public purse, accused socialist-led French-speakers of blocking "sensible" reforms in an interview with a German magazine.
"This is why I say that Belgium no longer works. It is a nation that has failed," the nationalist leader told Der Spiegel in an interview published on Monday.
"Ultimately the Belgian state has no future," he said.

It would not be surprising if a number of other countries join Sweden on this matter in the near future.

French arms deal opens "floodgate of arms sales to Russia"

The Jamestown Foundation´s Russia expert Vladimir Socor is worried about the growing arms exports from France and other NATO countries to Russia:

On Christmas Eve (December 24, 2010) the Kremlin and Elysee Palace jointly announced a definitive agreement for Russian procurement of two French Mistral-class power projection warships, with two more planned for a follow-up stage. Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy exchanged congratulations over this deal and in the Christmas season by telephone. Separately, the Elysee Palace described the deal’s consummation as a victory for France and its naval industry, with 1,000 French jobs guaranteed for the first two ships in the four years ahead (Interfax, Agence France Presse, December 24, 25, 2010). Sarkozy’s long-time friend and leading French pundit, Andre Gluecksmann, however, termed the Christmas-eve announcement as intended to distract public attention from a “dirty” affair (The New York Times, December 29, 2010).
In parallel, a number of bilateral arms deals between NATO countries and Russia are now being consummated, without reference to their impact on the Alliance’s defense planning, or the security interests of NATO member and partner countries that border on Russia. The French Mistral deal seems to have opened a floodgate of arms sales to Russia by West European arms industries (see Part Two). These deals were in the offing before NATO’s Lisbon summit on November 20-21, but Russian confirmations were held in abeyance until the summit was over. In this regard, the Lisbon summit may indeed have marked a “historic” watershed, though not in the sense conveyed in the immediate post-summit euphoria.

Mistral-class warships are designed for offensive power-projection through amphibious landings and air assault, using the combat helicopters and armored vehicles aboard in support of ground-force operations. Under Russia’s military doctrine, as well as command arrangements in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, naval forces are regarded as auxiliary to ground forces in the event of offensive operations on land. Such was also the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s role in the August 2008 invasion of Georgia, following which the Kremlin decided
to procure Mistral-class warships for exponentially enhanced ship-to-shore attack capabilities.

Read the whole article here.

The arms sales to Russia, the "oligarchy run by the security services" (defense secretary Robert Gates), show that most Western political leaders happily forget their values and principles if they think that saving a few jobs can secure their popularity ....

China soon awash in Spanish wine

Spain´s socialist PM José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is soon expected to announce a string of economic agreements with China, according to a report in The Guardian. In reality this means that the developing nation China is bailing out the once so proud EU member Spain. The Chinese "development aid" to Spain will most likely involve public support for Spanish bonds. China already holds 13% of Spain's debt.

With 4 million unemployed and borrowing costs near eurozone highs, Spain will welcome the multimillion pound Chinese investment, which is likely to include olive oil, ham and wine exports to the world's second-largest economy.

Zhu Bangzao, China's ambassador to Madrid, told El País newspaper that his country planned to continue buying Spanish debt. "During these times of crisis, China feels it is a requirement to support Spain and the EU to work together to end the crisis," Bangzao said. "We are not coming empty handed."

There will soon be more than enough of Spanish wine in China. The best Rioja Gran Reservas are of course reserved for the party and business grandees. But the politybyro of the governing Communist party has one major problem to solve: how on earth will ordinary Chinese country folks start drinking cheap Spanish red wine with their daily rice?


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Join the Heat Ball movement!

 A HEATBALL® is not a light bulb, but fits into the same socket!

As most of us know, the European Union has made the incredibly stupid decision to ban the use of ordinary
incandescent light bulbs. That decision will probably not be changed for a while, but do not despair. You will hopefully be able to buy Heat Balls instead. This brilliant new invention, is technically very similar - one could even say identical - to a light bulb, but it is a heater rather than a source of light. Thus the it is not affected by the EU ban. Heat Balls conveniently fit into the commonly found E27 and E14 sockets, which of course is very practical.

The Heat Ball is a an efficient source of heat in all kind of houses, particularly in environmentally friendly passive houses:

In passively heated houses, light bulbs are a substantial source of heat. When these are substituted with energy saving lamps, the missing heat has to be introduced by other means..

There is also a serious message behind the Heat Ball project:

A heatball is electrical resistance, used as a heater. Heatball is a campaign. Heatball is an opposition against regulations being passed that bluntly ignore the most basic democratic principles as well as bypassing parliamentary procedures, effectively muzzling the common law man. Heatball also resists unreasonable measures supposedly protecting our natural environment. How can we be made to believe that using energy saving lamps will save our planet, while at the same time the rain forests have been waiting in vain for decades for effective sustainable protection?

More information about Heat Balls here.

"The icy grip of the politics of fear"

Brendan O´Neill, the editor of Spiked, has written an excellent piece about the chasm that separates the  "expert-classes" from the large majority of ordinary people:

‘The snow outside is what global warming looks like’, said one headline, in a newspaper which 10 years ago said that the lack of snow outside is what global warming looks like. A commentator said that anyone who says ‘what happened to global warming?’ is an ‘idiot’ because nobody ever claimed that global warming would ‘make Britain hotter in the long run’. (Er, yes they did.) Apparently the reason people don’t understand the (new) global-warming-causes-snow thesis is because they are ‘simple, earthy creatures, governed by the senses’: ‘What we see and taste and feel overrides analysis. The cold has reason in a deathly grip.’
This reveals the stinging snobbery at the heart of the politics of global warming. Because what we have here is an updated version of the elitist idea that the better classes have access to a profound and complicated truth that the rest of us cannot grasp. Where we have merely sensory reactions (experience), they have reason and analysis (knowledge). Our critical reaction to the snow actually revealed our failure to understand The Truth, as unveiled by The Science, rather than revealing their wrongheadedness in predicting an ‘end to snow’. We are ‘simple’, they are ‘reasoned’. In 2011, we should take everything that is said by this new doom-mongering expert caste with a large pinch of salt – and then spread that salt on the snow which they claimed had disappeared from our lives.

Read the whole article here.

Monday, 3 January 2011

The climate alarmists are waiting for a "new Messiah" to replace Gore

Der Spiegel has an interesting article about what the climate alarmists are planning to do in their more and more desperate fight to get attention for their losing propaganda campaign. One bright idea, proposed by a leading German environmental scientist, is to have a new messiah. Al Gore is not good enough anymore:

  • The search for a new messiah: Just as Martin Luther King Jr. awakened the civil rights movement, the climate cause needs its own messiah, says environmental researcher Andreas Ernst from Kassel University. That messiah's analogous message might run along the lines of, "I had a nightmare," Ernst suggests. Al Gore, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his film that jolted viewers out of their climate complacency, seemed to be successfully fulfilling this role for a while, but he has since all but disappeared from the public eye.

  • Read the article here.


    If you are seriously interested in the new job, may I suggest that you contact professor Ernst at the University of Kassel:

    Ernst, Andreas
    Prof. Dr., Executive Director of the Center, Head of the SESAM Group

    “The most solid currency in the world”

    The PM of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker is not worried about the euro, which he describes as "the most solid currency in the world". According to the Bloomberg news service Juncker amplified his view by adding that “No one needs to be concerned about the euro". 

    Thank God, now my investment is safe!

    Back to the USSR: Opposition leaders jailed in Russia

    The "modernisation" of Russia, led by the "liberal" president Medvedev is well on its way. Reuters reports about the latest developments.

    Sunday, 2 January 2011

    The Economist on Russia: No fundamental reforms during Medvedev´s presidency

    The Economist has the following to say about Russia in it´s annual Democracy Index:

    Although the formal trappings of democracy remain in place, today’s Russia has been called a “managed” (or “stage managed”) democracy. All the main decisions are made by a small group of insiders. The Duma is now little more than a rubber-stamp parliament; regional governors are appointed directly; the main media are state-controlled; civil society organisations have come under pressure; and the state has increased its hold over the economy. Even though Dmitry Medvedev, Mr Putin’s successor, has adopted a softer style, and has instituted some liberalising changes around the edges of the system, there have been no fundamental reforms during his presidency so far.

    The Economist´s view does, of course, not come as a surprise. Everybody knows that Medvedev is only Putin´s puppet.