Dotseng's thoughts on China's OBOR/BRI

Below is a long piece by Dotseng aka darkness posted in his blog. The writing of this piece it shows how much effort, reading and thinking he has put into it to make it substantial and meaningful,  the usual crap in those western biased, silly and mischievous articles. I hope darkness does not mind me reproducing the whole article here. It is good reading on a Sunday afternoon, something to chew on.

How will Singapore be affected by rail and port investments by China

Q: There are some who believe that China is punishing Singapore for being a staunch supporter of the US. That is why they are investing in ports and railways to create alternative trade routes that will bypass Singapore. Then there are others who simply believe it would be naive to assume that China would not invest in infrastructural nodes elsewhere besides Singapore to further open new trade routes to secure it’s logistic supply of energy. Which one is true?

A: In my opinion as a farmer who only consults his pet parrot on world affairs (cut off)

Q: I have asked a serious question and I and assume the readership would appreciate immensely if you can do us the courtesy of responding in kind.

A: I do apologise. Please let me start again. To say OBOR is huge doesn’t quite capture the sheer immensity of the scale and complexity of the undertaking – it’s like calling the Grand Canyon a giant sink hole.

China in my opinion is not only attempting to construct new trade routes through the Maritime Silk Route and the Silk Road Economic Belt. But it is also a new model of doing things and this is something that I feel is not really discussed and should be. Only because the means to the end this time is equally radical. Radical not only in the methodology, but also how it will be financed as well.

Let me share with you I believe this is so important – for the very first time we are witnessing very big infrastructural projects being financed wholly by the $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the $40 billion Silk Road fund which requires the internationalisation of the renminbi and the harmonisation of various free trade agreements and also intellectual property rights between China and those countries that they are investing in.

So if look at what is happening on the brick on mortar side – there is considerable adjustments to intellectual laws pertaining to patents and copyrights. What the Chinese are doing in effect is to establish their own system of governance when it comes to financial instruments to even intellectual rights.

This is important because one aspect of the TPP and how it aspires to put China in a straight jacket is to nit pick on what it can and cannot do when it comes to intellectual property – so in effect this is a means for the Chinese to sideline those constraints.

Besides hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese funds that are invested abroad. What we are also witnessing is another dimension of Chinese power. Namely its financing prowess and the ability to manage long term loan risk in investments and it is this undiscussed aspect that is key to extending Chinese power across the region.

To do all this requires core competencies not only in just pouring concrete but also how to manage financial risk on a long term basis.

What you need to understand is many of these mega infrastructural projects have traditionally being funded by the world bank, Asian Development Bank and in some cases the IMF. So what we see here is a very significant shift in how things being done along with a very radical shift in both strategy and philosophy as to how loans on country to country basis is structured.

I think when you see OBOR in this light. Then what it actually is, is not simply an attempt to out do Singapore with just providing better port of refitment services. But it is conceivable that the Chinese are also replicate the entire complimentary sets of accoutrements to provide a comprehensive one stop port service ranging from underwriting risk to financial instruments. And I think that is something that should rightly worry the planners in Singapore.

If they worried and keep on insisting that the China and Singapore relationship is hunky dory. Then I say to them – who the hell are you kidding? You think you’re talking to kindergarten kids?

Q: Why is this controlling aspect in managing the financing so important to China?

A: I think it would have to be very important since the AIIB is so new. They need to demonstrate not only the core competencies to be able to manage risk like maybe the World Bank or Asian Development Bank. But there are also issues concerning credibility and credit worthiness.
What you need to understand is outfits like the ADB, world bank and IMF have been around for a very long time. Governments are very familiar in dealing with these institutions. The same cannot be said about AIIB and their counterparts.

Besides what you need to appreciate is when ports and railways are built, this is really just the tip of the iceberg. There is a vast range of accoutrements that need to compliment these mega projects such as power generation, water treatment plants, energy transmission networks, highways, property development, dams, warehousing etc etc.

China already has very mature industries that can compliment many of these mega infrastructural projects – so don’t for one moment think that all they’re doing in dredging deep water harbours and laying down tracks. It’s much more than that – so what we are witnessing from the Chinese angle is the opening of new business apertures for many Chinese firms. And this is not a new economic blueprint. Not at all – that is what the Chinese have been doing in Africa since 1984. If for instance you visit Djibouti in Etiophia. You will not only see a blue water port and a railway. You will also see many Chinese banks, power generation, roads, water treatment plants and plenty of Chinese made heavy machinery and even cars and household appliance made in China – so when we speak about the economic sphere of OBOR, it is really a much bigger construct than anything that the Wall Street Journal talks about. I feel it is this aspect of trade of commerce that will eventually dominate the infrastructural sphere.

Q: Why is China so intrested in ports regionally? Why not make full use of Singapore to fulfill their energy needs?

A: At one level of understanding. We can certainly say ports are extremely important in this pursuit of regional domination. That is why if China decides to let’s say invest in port facilities in Malaysia it is definitely not a personal thing against Singapore. After all China has been making great efforts to develop and control ports in virtually ever theatre in Austrasia – Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port and Pakistan’s Gwadar Port are both China funded much to the consternation of India. So is the port in Djibouti, Africa. Within Bangladesh a Chinese “special economic zone” and port are being developed in Anwara, Chittagong. In Myanmar, China has invested in a deep-sea port on Maday Island at Kyaukphyu, to facilitate a $2.5 billion pipeline transporting oil and gas to China’s Yunnan province.

In other parts of South-East Asia, China is also seeking to dominate ports as well as shipping between ports, with Laem Chabang in Thailand, Sihanoukville in Cambodia, Batam in Indonesia and Northern Sumatra. Most recently a “port alliance” has been announced between 10 Chinese ports and five Malaysian ports. The “sister port” tie ups with Kuantan, Melaka, Kedah and Port Klang in Malaysia.
Australia is also part of this maritime blueprint – The Darwin deal will provide Chinese shipping access to the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific, as well as to Indonesia and PNG.

But the question still remains why not use what is already available? That is to say why don’t the Chinese feel inclined to leverage on the current port facilities in Singapore to fulfil their current and future energy needs. You can’t say it’s because of a bottle neck or the port authorities in Singapore have no more capacity. Because they do.

I think one reason why China considers it necessary to diversify their supply chain is simply because Singapore is perceived as a reliable ally of the US.

To me it is a very simple and straightforward calculation – how do you expect the Chinese to trust Singapore when they are hosting aircraft carriers with atomics and even allowing them to launch spy missions from their airbases. That is stupid. No strategist is his right mind is going to trust Singapore. So I don’t blame the Chinese, what they are undertaking is very logical.

Because alongside this port centric agenda – there is also the string of pearls strategy that suggest these are simply to lay the ground for China’s geopolitical agenda to project into the Indian Ocean and set up a zone of denial similar to the SCS.

There is I believe some credence to this postulation because the Chinese Navy is definitely becoming more muscular and assertative in that theatre.

Q: What precisely do you mean by muscular. Can you be more specific.

A: You can subscribe to Jane’s Defence Weekly or Proceedings. To find out more. But by all intelligent accounts the Chinese would need a carrier doctrine. Beyond that I don’t wish to comment further as I only speak when I have reliable intelligence to draw sound and accurate conclusions.

Q: How will all these other ports and railways impact Singapore?

A: I think there will be an impact. But you got to understand. Trade routes whether they are maritime or land based are essentially based on economics and that is really another way of saying the customer is king. China may well be a super power but it cannot dictate to the rest of the world how they should best transport goods or even which port it can call on and not – businesses will use whatever ports they see fit and we are not just talking about bunkering facilities. It really goes much deeper to a level of sophistication that I don’t believe the lay man even quite appreciates such as financing, insuring, underwriting, risk management, off shore facilities etc etc. There is an entire pheltora of services besides shipping that goes to make up the whole port experience and Singapore is at the very top of the game.

So when people tell me just because China is investing heavily in Malaysia or planning to develop Carey Island that spells doom and gloom for Singapore. These people don’t know what they are talking about. Because the volume of trade will grow. And PSA is not going to remain the same. They will respond to all these regional emerging threats.

Having said that volume is certainly important. Because when the volume thins out then it would have a knock on effect on all these other complimentary services. They will degrade and that certainly work against competitiveness.

I think it’s too early to tell what would happen now as many of these mega projects have 10 to 15 year gestation periods and it’s very hard to predict accurately what it may all be like in the foreseeable future.

For all you know PSA may even buy equity into these regional ports.

Q: What do you see as the friction points in the Chinese drive to realise the dream of OBOR in their aggressive investments in port and rail regionally?

A: Most countries welcome direct foreign investments. Having said that it’s not merely a case of economic pluses and minuses. There is also historicism and of course politics. And this is one area that I feel China is very blasé. I don’t exactly know how they go about calculating country risk or even whether they have a risk mitigation strategy. But they should given that many of the countries they are investing in on one hand welcome FDI’s but at the same time they do harbour reservations simply because when a foreign power takes such a substantial equity in the running of a business then it can be perceived as a form of economic imperialism and a threat to even sovereignty and if we stretch that notion further it can even encroach into sectarian and race lines.

Like I said historicism certainly plays a preponderant role and it would be foolhardy to assume that China will just be able to have their way all the time without ever having to manage the local sentiments in those countries that they have invested so heavily in.

I see many friction points. Many and some of them I am a afraid will only sharpen as these investments come on line. Only because they can be politicised and weaponized for political mileage.

Q: Would you like to elaborate further on those friction points.

A: No comment.
Posted by dotseng

High Commissioner defends Singapore’s Elected President system

V Gopalan Menon, Singapore’s High Commissioner in KL, issued a rebuttal to Utusan Melayu’s false allegations about the reserved EP for the Malay community. Menon clarified that the President is elected with popular mandate, plays a key role in nation building, ensuring good governance, acts as a custodian to the nation’s reserves and also is a protector of the integrity of its public service.

Menon went on to praise the achievements of the Malay community and the progress they have made under a rules based and meritocratic system. He went on to say this, “It is incorrect to say that non Malays in Singapore have been given ‘priority and advantages’. We certainly do not have a race based system of benefits and patronage. Singapore will not tolerate the use of race or religion to promote ill will between different segments of Singapore society, or to undermine our institutions.”

Would Menon want to rephrase his statement about ‘race based system of benefits and patronage with the change in the constitution that reserved elections for minority races based on their race? With the reserved EP only for Malays in the next EP, we do now have a race based system of benefits and patronage. No? Would the Malay race still feel as proud of their achievements without crutches now that a reserved EP is created for them to be elected based on their race? Meritocratic?

Anyone think this reserved EP is like giving the minority races a crutch that would lead to a crutch mentality in them? LKY and his peers were unyielding and firm about not providing a crutch to any groups, and not to create a crutch mentality. Nowadays no one seems to be defending this position.

What do you think?


China is really powerful, according to Kazi Mahmood

Kazi Mahmood of Worldfuturetv.com’s article posted in theindependence, ‘China’s hidden hand in its manipulation of North Korea and Trump’ if real, must be the proof that China is now the most powerful country in the world. China can manipulate North Korea and Trump which means the USA, to do its bidding must be quite something.

This is what Kazi Mahmood said,

‘The simple fact that China has allowed Trump to go that far in its threats against North Korea and has also allowed the North Koreans to go beyond the imaginable with its long range missile programme, are points to consider.

These are the very start of the bi-polar world that China is wishing will be forked out from a US irritation of China’s basic latent stance on North Korea.

We all know the UN sanctions voted by China at the Security Council recently is an attempt by Beijing to tell the North Koreans “we are here, we will interfere when needed hence you should continue with your long range missile plans.”’

From the above statement, China has allowed Trump to go that far, meaning China could stop Trump from what he is doing but China just folded its arms and do nothing is that China is the puppet master and Trump was just a puppet on a string. China powerful or not? How many of you think China could tell Trump to shut up and the Americans to stop what they were doing to North Korea, hands up. What grass is this Kazi smoking?

Also, China ‘has allowed the North Koreans to go beyond the imaginable with its long range missile programme’ meaning that China can control what the North Koreans are doing, like the Americans dictating to its allies and semi colonies like South Korea and Japan what they could and could not do. Is North Korea an independent sovereign state or a colony of China? Is Kim Jung Un someone that China can control and manipulate and dictate to?

And China could interfere and meddle with the UN Security Council and with the over powering and menacing presence of the Americans on behalf of the North Koreans? Didn’t China just been forced to accept the American proposed new sanctions against North Korea and China could not say no? If China is so powerful, how could the Americans force China to accept more sanctions against its ally North Korea?

What this Kazi Mahmood wrote is pure baloney. If he is to be believed, China must be the most powerful country in the world and making a fool of the Americans and Donald Trump.
How many of you think this Mahmood is talking sense or nonsense? The Americans and Trump and North Korea are so easy to be manipulated by China? Are Trump, Kim and the Americans stupid or what?

Fear not, Singapore is an infinity

I read Chee Soon Juan’s rebut to Lawrence Wong’s optimism about the unending building programme of Singapore. Lawrence Wong’s position is that Singapore is still building and a lot more could be built. Sure, just pull down old inefficient buildings and build higher in an unending cycle of build, pull down and build. Chee was worried that Singapore’s land is finite and there was just so much that could be built, just so much concrete to be poured onto this piece of rock.

I think Chee should not be too worried. Singapore is an infinity. Though Singapore is only 800 sq km, it has unlimited capacity to build and to populate. Chee must have heard of the sky is the limit and the Tower of Babel. Singapore not only can build towards the sky with today’s technology, it can build downwards to the core of mother earth.

Singapore’s land or space is unlimited. That is why some of the very clever people are saying Singapore can house 10m, 15m or 25m people, or may be the whole world. Nothing is impossible if we can buy all the foreign talents to show their talents and make this an infinite island.

In Singapore, everything is infinite. You think the salary of ministers is high? There are plenty of rooms for more pay hikes. And this applies to the CEOs down to the workers. We can pay all our workers higher and higher salaries than the beans of the rest of the world. Our productivity can go up and up and up to justify the high salaries of our workers and still be very competitive. They deserved every cent they are paid and are very productive.

And our properties, see how people are grabbing HDB flats and willing to pay a million dollar for them? This is the other infinity in Singapore. Property prices can only go up and up to high heavens. 99 years? Not to worry, something will happen and the property prices would still go up and up. Soon HDB flats would all be fetching millions of dollars if the trend continues. And private properties would be in hundreds of millions of dollars with workers being paid in the millions to pay for them.

What about the cost of living, the cost of everything? Sure they will go up as well. But not to worry, fear not. Singaporeans would be able to afford all the good things in life no matter how expensive they are. The salaries will just go up and up to match the up and up prices. There is no limit to infinity. Singapore is infinity.

Chee Soon Juan should not be too worried about the limitations of this little piece of rock. Everything is possible when you pay millions to the talented to come out with their miracle solutions. The impossible will become possible. Miracles would be a normal occurrence. Singapore will be a miracle city with towering blocks swinging in the clouds or winding deeply into the caverns of earth. Have faith in this miracle City of Infinity. Everything is infinite. In Singapore, everything has no limits.


The hubris of an Indian chatter in the Indian media

The Indians are now gloating about their success in standing up ‘to defend’ a small weak state like Bhutan by sending Indian soldiers to stop Chinese road building along the China Bhutan border. And they are grinning from ear to ear that all China could do was to bluff that it would teach India a second lesson while Modi ‘kept his cool, refusing to respond to any Chinese threat, much less withdraw its forces according to Bhrahma Chellaney in his article ‘Calling China’s bluff: Why scare tactics won’t work’ in the Today paper on 14 August.

His reasoning, supposedly someone credible from Project Syndicate, is that China is a warmonger and trying to bluff India by using psywar. India is not afraid of China as it has many advantages and cards to play over China. China would not dare attack the Indian soldiers inside Chinese border for doing so would push India into the American embrace. India is a big market and China would not want to jeopardize it US$60b trade surplus with India. And Xi Jinping would not dare to start a war with India as it would affect his position should he lose the war. China is in a dilemma. So Xi would need India’s help to extricate himself from this stand off to protect his image as a tough leader. Basically what he said is that China is a loser in all counts in this incident.
Chellaney even said the standoff and India’s standing up to China is an important lesson to other regional states to stand up to China, to call China’s bluff as a big bully. India is setting the example for others to follow.

China is now hapless against a tough India and would eventually back off and stop its road building work in the China Bhutan border. India is well fortified, well prepared and in a militarily superior position, just like in the 1962 war.

Who is the big bully and who is going to be evicted from the border is waiting to be seen. Let’s see how long this hilarious gloating would continue, just like the early days of the 1962 Sino Indian border war when they arrogantly thought China would be a pushover and splashed across all the Indian media with their initial successes against unprepared Chinese border guards taken by surprise. By now China would have done all its preparation and waiting for an order to evict the Indian soldiers in Chinese territory.

History is going to repeat itself. The China of today is even prepared to take on the Americans together with all its allies. China hapless against India?


Would the Americans sacrifice South Korea and Japan

In its single minded pursuit of the American Empire would the Americans sacrifice the South Koreans and Japanese and provoke a war with the North Koreans under contorted lies that the North Koreans with their two ICBMs and unproven nuclear bombs are a real and present danger to the Americans that possessed thousands of nuclear bombs waiting to vaporize the North Koreans? They have been fabricating this lie for a long time and wanting to use this lie to stamp their unchallenged position as the top dog of the world and now is the moment to show the world that they can do it, to decimate the North Koreans. And in the course of this madness and delusion for power, South Korea and Japan would be the first two sacrificial lambs offered to the altar of the hegemon god.

For decades the Americans have dragged the South Koreans by the nose to provoke the North Koreans on a daily basis and could start a war with the slightest fake excuse. Japan too played along thinking that this is just an American mind game to demonise the North Koreans and justify their military occupation of South Korea. Never would they think the Americans would be mad enough to start a nuclear war with North Korea. Now this madness is becoming a threatening nightmare and could become a reality at any moment.

The South Koreans are the first to panic. President Moon Jae in has been quoted to have said, ‘resolving North Korea’s nuclear ambitions must be done peacefully…There must be no more war on the Korean peninsula. Whatever ups and downs we face, the North Korean nuclear situation must be resolved peacefully. I am certain the United States will respond to the current situation calmly and responsibly in a stance that is equal to ours.’ Moon also said that only the South Koreans could decide to go to war. He is rather naïve to think so as the massive American military presence is beyond his control and the Americans could precipitate a war at their call. The Americans are in charge and calling the shot.

The fear and concern of Moon may be too late when a lunatic is in the White House surrounded by military hawks. The Americans have been pressing for war for a long time, not for fun, not just military exercises to threaten the North Koreans. All options are on the table, guns are loaded.

The top American general Joseph Dunford has taken note of the South Koreans’ fear and is in Seoul to reassure that war is not on the card. However, war is still an option if diplomatic and economic pressure failed ‘to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and a dismantling of the regime’s ballistic missile programmes.’ This last part confirmed by both Matthis and Tillerson is the key to American’s position and this last part is not negotiable as far as the North Koreans are concerned.

The Americans are adamant to go to war as the North Koreans are not going to give up their nuclear arsenal. The assurance by Gen Dunford is as good as no assurance. It is looking very real that the South Koreans and Japanese are going to be sacrificed to serve the American hegemonic ambition. The start of a war would see South Korea and Japan as the main targets for destruction. The Americans in their homeland are safe. Would they care about what would happen to the South Koreans and the Japanese?

This is the heavy price that South Korea and Japan would have to pay for dancing and sleeping with the devil. The Americans can afford to start a war now as they probably think the North Koreans would not be able to hit homeland America and if they could, only a handful of prototype ICBMs that could be taken down quite easily. This is the time to destroy the North Korean nuclear ambition before it is too late.

Good bye South Koreans and Japanese. You have been good friends to the Americans.
Both the South Koreans and the Japanese are shitting in their pants now. This is what they get when playing with fire and conspiring with the Americans. Their lives are not important to the Americans. The memorials in Nagasaki and Hiroshima are reminders of what would happen again should the US attack N Korea. N Korea would lob as many nuclear bombs they have into American bases in Japan.

The only piece of good news yesterday was that Kim Jung Un has proven to be a reasonable and rational man, not mad like Trump as the Americans would want the world to believe it, for calling off the threat to send missiles around Guam. This move has helped to lower tension provided the mad Trump did not see this as a sign of weakness and press ahead with more provocations.

Would Trump and his mad men and women in Washington take this as a face saving move to deescalate tension in the Korean peninsula? Or would they still think of sacrificing South Korea and Japan in their hegemonic ambition to start another war in Asia, away from the American homeland?


What is a Rogue Empire?

This phrase is quite familiar and similar to what is a rogue govt. A Rogue Empire will never tell you that it is rogue. In fact it would tell you they are angels of God, out to do good, to protect you, to save you, you needed them for your own good while they eat your lunch.

After being fed a life time by western media, believing in the Americans and the West as the saviours of human kind, the white gods, is understandable. The glory of the Americans has its roots in the victory over evil Germany and Japan and the rebuilding of Europe with the Marshall Plan for Europeans, and a new world order that allowed the rest of the world to have peace and stability to rebuild themselves. The peace was not that the Americans willed it but there were no evil Japan and Germany to want to conquer the world. The Americans were in fact conducting another war with the Communist bloc, the Cold War. When this war ended, the Americans continue with more wars in Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East.

The Americans today are living on these past glories and nothing more. Since then, they have been engrossed in building and preserving their Empire by building military bases all over the world and oppressing and destroying any country that did not bow to the will of the Empire like Korea, Vietnam and the Arab countries.

They waved the flags of freedom, international responsibility and rule of law but violated every one of these ideals in the interests of the Empire. They conducted tens of regime change, destabilized countries, invasion, conducting wars, and creating instability all over the world using these as justifications.

In the name of freedom and international responsibility, they have invaded countries and destroyed the lives of many people since the end of WW2. In the name of rule of law, they have violated all the international laws to dominate the world. They ignored these laws and would not be bound by these laws but used these laws to threaten and bully other nation states. They talked about saving the world but would not rectify the Paris Climate Change agreements. They talked about respecting international laws but would not rectify UNCLOS. They talked about being responsible international citizens but created all kinds of fake excuses to invade countries, support and breeding terrorist organizations.

They talked about free trade but killed the TPP, a supposedly trade pact for free trade at least within the pact countries and turned towards an isolationist trade policy. In the name of peace they started wars in all corners of the world.

The Americans break all international laws, they are above the laws, they are lawless, they are the outlaws. They expect all countries to observe international norms and laws except themselves, and elevated themselves as the Number One International Outlaw.
This is what a Rogue Empire is all about. They used all kinds of laws to bully other nation states, twisted the interpretation of laws to their own interest. Used the rule of law and international organizations to threaten and attack other nation states.

Think about it. Remove your blinkers and call a spade a spade. A Rogue Empire is a Rogue Empire. Their only reason to exist is to protect the Empire, to rule the world by destabilizing the world to support their only industry, the war industry and their war machine. They have nothing else useful to contribute to the world. They needed a chaotic world to divide the world for world supremacy, to justify the US$600 billion budget and more than 1000 military bases around the world.

This is as stark and as real as you can get, The USA is a Rogue Empire.