This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.

Geopolitics and China:

A series of MIM articles on shifting trade, military and political currents

April 12 2007

  • "Patriot Act" delays Korea nuke negotiations?
  • Lackeys get their say: Strategic value of northern Korea being re-evaluated
  • Anti-China winds in the United $tates
  • Polandization

    Patriot Act delays Korea nuke negotiations?

    On April 14, northern Korea missed a deadline for shutting off its nuclear reactor. This was after the United $tates missed its 30-day deadline for returning Korea its $25 million in funds in a Macau bank. The deal for Korea to shut down its reactor arrived at in talks among northern Korea, southern Korea, Japan, Russia, China and the United $tates foundered because of crazy Amerikan nationalism unleashed September 11 2001. The United $tates was unable to do something as simple as turn over $25 million because of the nutty post-911 law called the "Patriot Act."

    As MIM reported before, in the case of the embargo on the Palestinians and the northern Korean money previously frozen in Macau, China, international banks are unwilling to sneeze without U.$. permission. Now we learn that the Chinese diplomatically raised the question of the Patriot Act with the Bush administration during the Korea negotiations to unfreeze an account. It was a provision of the Patriot Act that made it impossible for the Chinese to give the northern Koreans their money originally frozen by the Amerikans. Negotiators from six countries had assembled to handle the Korean nuclear program when northern Koreans left March 22, thanks to the Patriot Act. As we go to press, both the Korean and U.$. sides are trying to make it appear that they are working hard to put the nuclear talks back on track.

    In capitalist ideology, the "Patriot Act" is an impediment to business competition, because it gives the U.$. administration the right to set terms for the whole international banking system. Amerikan banks then have an unfair advantage in lobbying those who implement the Patriot Act. MIM has also argued before that the Patriot Act has many similarities to the Enabling Act that sent Hitler on his way in Germany.

    The imperialists themselves had a false sense of joy, a glee when U.S. law enforcement activity nearly closed the small Macau bank concerned--Banco Delta Asia (BDA).(1) Of course drug-running and bill counterfeiting are easy to oppose. Yet, the way to oppose them is with international government and global elimination of cash. The "Patriot Act" lacks the transparency necessary for business competition under fair terms. Here is what the Wikipedia had to say on April 12 2007:

    "An audit by Ernst & Young revealed no evidence that the bank had facilitated money laundering and according to the 2006-10-18 filing by the bank's U.S. attorneys there was almost no way that North Korea could have laundered counterfeit U.S. currency through the bank. The allegations against the bank were levied under a provision of the PATRIOT Act that provides for an administrative procedure that doesn't permit the bank to see the evidence of the accusations or defend itself in court while allowing the United States to freeze a foreign bank out of the U.S. financial system."
    "Successful" law enforcement under the current system only exacerbates bourgeois conflict. So in this case no sooner did a massive sting bring success involving 59 arrests(2), than the nuclear negotiations with northern Korea fell apart. The reason for that is that bourgeois class interests do underlie all diplomacy. Even within the U.$.'s "success" in law enforcement, the small fish got fried while the Bank of China went scott-free, despite the fact that the Amerikans in law enforcement saw much more supposedly criminal activity coming from the Bank of China. It could be no other way, because the people in charge of law enforcement in China have their operations run out of the Bank of China. The rulers and business are intertwined. This is also the same very reason that the "war on drugs" can never win under capitalism. The appearance of law enforcement is created when all that really happens is that law enforcement determines which drug dealers make the money, and which fronts lose, fronts such as the Banco Delta Asia reputedly. At the geopolitical level, bourgeois law enforcement questions only serve to be used by politicians who want to whip up a war climate against this country or that country.

    The only way to obtain truly universal law enforcement is by removing the class interests underlying it. In this case, the Amerikan bourgeoisie is rightly offended by other exploiters who make profits on drugs or counterfeiting. At the same time, Chinese exploiters are right within their capitalist logic that having their banks shut down by the "Patriot Act" is both lackeyism and bad business for themselves. The Korean bourgeoisie is also correct that if someone wants nuclear negotiations that someone needs to let the Korean bourgeoisie run amok exploiting as much as the bourgeoisie from other countries. Otherwise there is no seat at the bourgeois table so to speak. As it stands, the drug problem and business is much larger in the united $tates than in East Asia. There would not be any U.$. banks left standing if any with an account from a drug-dealer had to close.

    The fact that U.S. law enforcement did not feel capable of taking on the Bank of China and sinking it tends to raise a question of theory and analysis for Leninism. Shortly before Mao died, he said China would be imperialist if it went capitalist. MIM and the Chinese state-capitalist regime have often argued that China is still Third World, not imperialist. One could say that the Bank of China did not sink, because China is imperialist itself and has reached an independent economic stage intertwining banks and the Chinese economy. On the other hand, we could treat both the Bank of China and Banco Delta Asia as U.$-dominated banks. Then the fact that law enforcement picked on one but not the other could be seen as having parallels within the United $tates, where banks also go down in bankruptcy in scandals.

    Whether China is imperialist or Third World, the Chinese rulers specialize in underselling Chinese labor to the West. Even in Russia the exploited have a widespread suspicion that the United $tates actually picked Gorbachev and Yeltsin, who in turn put in Putin. In contrast, MIM is of the opinion that Russia is its own imperialism. Likewise, one could argue that Mao was right and the united $tates does not really choose China's rulers; hence, China could be imperialist too.

    When Christopher Hill said the State Department favored releasing the money in Macau, the Chinese and Russians very politely said that was not good enough. Instead of holding the Amerikans to their public statements on Macau's money for Kim in Pyongyang, the Chinese had further talks with a different subdivision of the U.S. Government, headed by Treasury, which in the past had held a different line on the question of money-laundering than the State Department.

    The only reports of the Patriot Act's role that we saw came from McClatchy papers, the Knight-Ridder company. Most of the international news we see comes from Associated Press. Reuters is another big name. In this one rare instance, Knight-Ridder reported something substantially different than other sources. Perhaps Knight-Ridder will now be accused of being "spies" by Amerikan reactionaries used to reading CIA-certified AP stories. (MIM does not mean to imply that Knight-Ridder is not CIA infiltrated.)

    One would think reporting the Chinese view of the nuke talks would be good journalism, but others might argue from a stupid bourgeois position concerning "credibility." The late stage capitalist system allows social psychological advances that cruder class systems squelch. The notion that there are degrees of "credibility" is an advance over the idea that the king has divine authority. We Marxists have said that strong central governments such as monarchies are helpful in organizing international trade for the bourgeoisie. On the other hand, Marxism of the Stalin era also pointed to parliamentary democracy as normal once centralization had reached a sufficient level. Despite some advances in capitalist countries going beyond absolute monarchy, the population in a capitalist system remains in the throes of an essentially ad hominem system of pseudo-reasoning. If Prince Cheney says Saddam Hussein had ties with Al-Qaeda, even the bourgeois non-monarchist segment of the population is likely to go with "credibility comes first and Cheney is a real Republican, so therefore he is credible." This is also a great time-saving device--to choose a handful of "credible" people and then act on that basis. Now there is more than one credible persyn, just the king, but many continue to choose between perhaps a Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid and a Republican leader like Cheney. It's more than one leader, but it is still far from an ability to examine a problem from many sides and handle something like the McClatchy report.

    Even a large portion of people who read MIM's website do so to save time, because in the capitalist system time is still money. There is no way to participate in politics meaningfully without shortcuts under capitalism. Nonetheless, the important social and political truths do not rely on any question of credibility or even "sources." Whether a Chinese diplomat said it, Knight-Ridder said it or Cheney said it, the Patriot Act is the Patriot Act and it has been implemented a certain way.

    Marxism teaches us to look at what large groups of people do, regardless of the individual levels of "credibility" within those groups. To do that we also look for the interests of large groups of people, some of which may be unconscious to the people with those interests. If the Patriot Act came before the World Trade Organization set up by the GATT treaty participants, the Patriot Act might be struck down, because Amerikans are not the only ones with banks, so business comes under international treaty obligations, not just U.$. laws.

    Now the deadline for shutting down Korea's nuclear reactor has passed, but not by as much as the deadline on returning the $25 million, and the media makes it look like the Banco Delta Asia issue mucked up the original deal. Christopher Hill is in the media making it look like the BDA issue is resolved; yet this time, China is letting it be known through a minority of media outlets, that China does not agree. Reuters and MSNBC stepped to the plate for that one.(3) It makes for good news, because of the suspense of a deadline connected to a nuclear plant.

    Whatever happens now, the Banco Delta Asia issue has been used in public opinion. We should not be naive about law enforcement: the fact that Banco Delta Asia has been punished but not the Bank of China proves that law enforcement is subordinate to international politics and that the Patriot Act provision on banking has been used to justify a warmongering climate against Korea and China. The Cheney followers were most adamant to the point of putting the law enforcement operation above the nuclear negotiations.

    From the U.$. point of view, if we were to take the U.$. media seriously, perhaps it should have staged a withdrawal of funds out of its pocket to make it look like the $25 million was a finished issue. China too is now receiving a little bad press in the united $tates. If forced to explain that the Korea nuclear deal went awry, the media will have to take China's public statements and China will have to get into the BDA issue. The Amerikan media is now predictably slur East Asian business as counterfeiting, drug-running and money-laundering. The New York Times became interested and concluded its story on the subject this way:

    "'Banco Delta may be a sacrificial lamb in some peopleís minds, but it is not about Banco Delta,' he said. 'Itís about Macao, Macaoís government, China, the Chinese government and their complicity and their accommodative behavior towards North Koreaís illegal activities, proliferation activities and leadership financial activities.'"
    So maybe China should have coughed up $25 million to avoid press like that. From reading the media it is still as of April 14 impossible to tell why some guys with suitcases do not walk out of BDA with $25 million. The Amerikans say the money is not frozen, but media sources say that in the midst of the business turmoil and changes of ownership it is unclear if northern Korea will be deemed to own the bank accounts. The "Patriot Act" caused a change of the bank's board of directors.

    At the same time, the $25 million is a distraction while other larger events are going on. Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson visited northern Korea to obtain Korean War remains of U.$. servicepeople. Even more importantly northern Korea sacked its premier, with the appearance that there is some kind of opening to the West in the works. There is thus an impression of much bigger things in the works.

    At the moment, both the northern Koreans and Amerikans are taking the position that their sides are not to blame for the snags in nuclear talks. Koreans are saying they will allow nuclear inspectors as soon as they receive $25 million.(4) At the same time, the Amerikans are claiming the Koreans should just go claim their money. Lost in the media blitz is that these are just postures. Nor do we know what is going on behind the scenes that produced the Richardson trip and the sacking of the Korean premier.

    The White House ideology journal called the National Review reverted to the Cheney line saying that the State Department was a fool for making a deal with Kim. The delay of a month in delivering the $25 million even by U.$. standards went unparsed, but National Review pounced on the fact that Korea did not turn off its nuclear plant on April 14.(5) One thing left out in all the National Review foaming about Korean business activities was that U.S. law enforcement saw more of the same thing in the Bank of China, which of course went untouched. The only thing that such discussion and law enforcement can accomplish is whipping up a political climate against Korea and possibly China.

    After so many lectures about giving up Marx, Lenin and Stalin from the U.S. State Department, it appears that northern Korea got down to the business of smuggling cigarettes to make a profit, at least according to the U.$. imperialist media. Yet still those imperialists complain. So the point is that the profit-mongering that Koreans do is "illegal" and "criminal" while the exploitation of U.$. imperialists is above reproach. So naturally the Korean, Russian and Chinese bourgeoisie might say to the U.$. imperialists, "then change the laws." And so it goes forever until there is a proletarian-led world government.

    1. "N. Korea: No money, no deal: Snag arises when no bank will accept the North's frozen funds." By Tim Johnson - McClatchy Beijing Bureau Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, March 23, 2007
    Later the International Herald Tribune picked up the story and added that the Bank of China was even more tied up in money laundering.
    2. "The Money Trail That Linked North Korea to Macao," By DONALD GREENLEES and DAVID LAGUE, April 11, 2007, New York Times

    Lackeys get their say:

    Strategic value of northern Korea being re-evaluated

    MIM previously commented on some southern Korean lackeys of U.$. imperialism that are now seeing northern Korea as some kind of nuclear strategic asset to the united $tates, which was plausible in that Korea can use its existing delivery systems to hit China, Japan and Russia much more easily than the united $tates. These are the kind of lackeys that April 9 2007 are still saying things like:

    "To speak English fluently has been a long-held dream for almost all Koreans since national liberation in 1945. That's because English has proved to be one of the most effective tools to succeed in our society."(1)
    In no other country in the world would "liberation" be called learning the language of the colonizer's country.

    Southern Korea is the most successful colony the united $tates ever had. We say colony because to this day the united $tates is in charge of the military in southern Korea. We say "successful," because in 2005, Korea was the only colony to ever surpass $20,000 in per capita income and the only one to make it into the top 10 world economies. Even Puerto Rico has not quite cracked the $20,000 mark yet(2) and Korea has been a U.$. colony a shorter period of time.

    MIM has pointed out before that the depth, breadth and favorability of the trade deals with the united $tates since the Korean War are all a result of the real global class struggle. There was not much proletarian class struggle within the united $tates or other labor aristocracy-dominated populations. There was a class struggle where the united $tates attempted to detach a new Korean labor aristocracy, a model for the rest of the world. As we reported before, for the Korean model to be applied to the rest of the world is impossible, because there simply is not that much trade that can occur. Nor has the united $tates faced the compulsion of defeating Mao so desperately as in Korea. That was the real class struggle, countries composed of mostly formerly exploited people up against imperialists.

    Thanks to these kinds of Korean lackeys now it is not surprising to see that the CIA has stepped forward to say that the Korean nuke test in October 2006 was a failure and that the United $tates does not regard Korea as a nuclear power. At the same time, the New York Times continues to report that northern Korea does have 6 to 8 nuclear weapons,(3) despite the CIA director's latest statements. It will be interesting to see if the New York Times eventually changes its tune to match the CIA director or whether the word "strategic" will be finessed.

    Another derisive story at the same time said that northern Korea really wants to junk its old reactor anyway.(4) Although derisive, the story adds to a thaw climate, because it downplays fears in the united $tates. Russia is the occasional beneficiary of such stories as well.

    For suspicious minds used to thinking in geopolitical chess terms, the Bush administration has coughed up something else. On Easter, the New York Times reported that northern Koreans deliver tank parts to the Ethiopians for cash and the United $tates bites its tongue, because Ethiopia is perceived as fighting against Al-Qaeda in the Horn of Africa. So now it is possible to see northern Korea as having conventional strategic value against Al-Qaeda. If China has an oil deal with Sudan and northern Korea is an arms supplier for anti-Al Qaeda forces, there is even a potential anti-China element in the mix; although the State Department recently defended China's role in Sudan.(5)

    At the same time, Democratic candidate for president Bill Richardson landed in northern Korea on Easter as part of a bipartisan mission regarding remains of U.$. troops from the Korean War.(6) By Amerikan standards the trip is an important political signal.

    With the completion of a trade deal with great fanfare with southern Korea as all this was happening, perhaps the southern Korean lackeys of u.$. imperialism will calm down. 58.5% of Koreans approved the April 2 trade deal, according to Gallup.(7) Now it is the turn of Australia to cry: "US-Korea agreement shows Australia is losing out in bilateral deals," screams one headline.(8) Interesting to note is that the story is by the China reporter of "The Australian." "The Australian" managed to tie the Korea deal to a need for a global multilateral deal along the same lines and it ended with a quote from Morgan Stanley on the rise of protectionism against China in the Bush administration. Morgan Stanley sees the anti-China wind as ominous for the world economy.

    The thaw in U.$.-Korea relations is real. The U.$. rhetoric has racheted down for now. Robert Joseph had to quit over the degree to which the aggressive posture toward Korea has toned down.(9)

    The Pentagon hawks had visions of bombing northern Korea, destroying the economy and causing the collapse of the government there. For China, the U.$. hawks' vision translated into refugees at its borders and an emboldened U.$. outpost, southern Korea--all at the expense of a Chinese treaty partner. Now there is an appearance by the united $tates and China of trying to go another route on the Korea question.

    1. Korea Times editorial gushing on the trade agreement with the United $tates
    2. Southern Korea is between Puerto Rico at $19,100 GDP per capita and Mississippi at $21,587 per capita GDP.
    4. "N. Korea plant to be shut down dilapidated," By Richard Halloran THE WASHINGTON TIMES, March 30, 2007, 5.

    Anti-China winds in the united $tates

    During the last days of the Libby trial, CNN allowed itself to be a prostitute of Dick Cheney, so that we saw about a dozen different "headline" news stories generated by Cheney in about 72 hours designed to distract attention from the Libby trial. One was about how Pakistan better work harder against Al-Qaeda or lose U.$. aid. Another was complaining about Chinese military capabilities. Ironically, such stories by Cheney do rally his wacko labor aristocracy supporters, but some of his imperialist supporters are having trouble with the consequences of anti-China bashing.

    Underlying the potential China bashing are some real issues. Bloomberg reported March 23 that Russian technology combined with Chinese money are creating a different strategic balance off the shores of Taiwan:

    "The missile, known in the West as the Sizzler, has been deployed by China and may be purchased by Iran. Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England has given the Navy until April 29 to explain how it will counter the missile, according to a Pentagon budget document."(1)
    Like Richard Nixon was, Gordon England is a Quaker, contrary to our images of American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), which MIM often works with on prison and war questions. The former General Dynamics executive England has also headed up Guantanamo Bay and been a deputy at the Department of Homeland Security.

    Although we do not believe weapons deter war, the discussion of the "Sizzler" missile has a pacifist effect more profound than the AFSC. The missile is something concrete and has just an iota of a possibility of reminding rich people that even non-nuclear weapons get more modern and more scary all the time. The bourgeois media has already conjured up images of a very expensive U.S. Navy sunk off the shores of Iran and Taiwan, by some relatively cheap missiles, so maybe U.$. wars are not such a great idea.

    Trade competition dynamics surrounding China are also changing. Old Amerikan money is objecting to some of the undercurrents we are seeing in the Bush administration, starting with Cheney. First it was Morgan Stanley as MIM pointed out sounding the conventional bourgeois internationalist charge forward for free trade. MIM lets it be known that it does stand with the bourgeois internationalists in many of its trade disputes, including this China one. The bourgeois internationalists have been trying to set up free trade since at least Adam Smith in the 1700s, but their idea is more utopian than advanced communism, because getting selfish capitalists to agree to compete without recourse to the state is a far more ridiculous idea than eliminating private property and getting all to give up cash. The capitalist system leads to continuous war without any real likelihood of success; nonetheless, we help out the bourgeois internationalists in their pipedreams whenever we can.

    Next we really knew something was up when Henry Kissinger felt obliged to speak up on the shifting China situation. Henry Kissinger was obliged to make dove noises:

    "'When friends and colleagues in the United States talk about the rise of China and the problems it presents to us, I say the rise is inevitable. There is nothing we can do to prevent it, there is nothing we should do to prevent it,' Kissinger said.

    "'When the centre of gravity moves from one region to another, and another country becomes suddenly very powerful, what history teaches you is that conflict is inevitable. What we have to learn is that cooperation is essential,' he said in a lecture to the Chinese Academy of Sciences."(2)

    Nonetheless, the United States Government slapped major tariffs on China.(3)

    Another geopolitical situation in the mix recently is China's membership in the SAARC. Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh wanted China to join the SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation).(4) China attended SAARC meetings this year as an observor and offered money for development programs. There had been some discussion whether to make China an observor and India now opposes China's membership. Nepal's prime minister Koirala took the lead in pushing for China's membership, just after instability in southern Nepal including massacres traced back to India.

    The overall picture is that in a host of strategic situations, China's influence is on the rise. As a matter of concern, there is an approximately 25% portion of the U.$. society, the hardened labor aristocracy sort, that will believe any story told about China and its alleged communist threat. Another 50% will believe anti-China propaganda with the thinnest of justifications. Within the U.S. Government there are significant rifts on how to handle the overall geopolitical situation. The Lou Dobbs wing is itching for some economic warfare. The Cheney wing is the military expression of Dobbsism. The left-wing of parasitism is the theory on China and Cheney is the military practice. It is not surprising especially in the Korea situation where there is not just inter-imperialist rivalry but also a split of the Korean people, that it is possible to flip radically from one direction to another. The complexity of the geopolitical game gives rise to differences of opinion.

    At the same time, in I$rael's interests, a series of stories started appearing about how Henry Kissinger kept Nixon in the dark about the 1973 Yom Kippur war and the highest level of military readiness Defcon 3 that had started. The significance to today is obvious: Condoleeza Rice should she want to is in position to push forward her own agenda, because of Bush's low popularity, possible coordination with Democrats, the Libby situation for Cheney and the departure of Rumsfeld.


    Even though no population in the world other than the U.$.-Anglo-I$raeli axis really ever supported the Iraq war, Poland served as a loyal friend of the united $tates. Poland did so in the expectation of military services in return, fear of Russia being the main reason. Poland is a model where the united $tates is not really able to play a leading economic role, but military factors come to the fore. Germany and France are Poland's top two export markets, and even Russia takes in more Polish exports than the united $tates,(1) but Poland thumbed its nose at its top trading partners to the extent that it earned some rather famous barbs from Chirac and his foreign minister. Poland did this even as its trade was doubling in the pace of five years since 2000 and its workers were getting potential visas to the rest of the EU. Poland and "Piotr the plumber" cost the EU its vote in France itself.(2)

    Imperialist ally Australia is another surprising case. Southern Korea actually takes more Australian exports than the united $tates does, but Australia is serving in Iraq, again out of fear of the larger world without U.$. protection.

    Georgia cannot get its natural gas from the United $tates or even the United $tates plus EU combined, but its president asked for U.$. military uniforms for his soldiers. Georgia claims to have the second most liberal trade rules in the world,(3)

    When we refer to "Polandization," we are referring to the situation of an economically hollowed out imperialism where geopolitics with a heavy military slant play the principal role.

    Even Taiwan is headed for Polandization. China has now far surpassed the United $tates in Taiwan's trade. Hong Kong by itself takes more Taiwanese exports than the united $tates.(4)

    China also now leads in taking southern Korea's exports. Yet at least in the Korean situation, the combined U.$. and Japanese market is larger than China's.(5) If northern Korea were to join southern Korea through a geopolitical flip, U.$. imperialism's role would not be so hollowed out as in other geopolitical situations.

    In many fearful countries faced with militarily superior neighbors, the united $tates is attempting a white knight role. If there were a true world government authority, a proletarian-led UN with a military, the demand for a geopolitical connection to the united $tates would collapse. Such an authority if it were proletarian-led would also take the politics out of international trade. Then it would be possible to actually implement free trade utopia, which is incompatible with private property. One of the most significant political forces right now are U.$. exporters to China and U.$. retailers dealing with Chinese imports. Although the United $tates imports almost six times more than it exports via China, as of January 2007, U.$. exports to China were still fourth of all countries accepting U.$. exports, more than U.$. exports to the United KKKingdom.(6) Trade undertaken to appease imperialist powers would be gone under a proletarian-led world authority.

    Polandization is well-explained by Lenin's theory of imperialism, which holds that imperialism is the decadent and moribund phase of capitalism. In early phases of capitalism, aggressors may actually succeed best by tying business to domination. With imperialism though, there may not be any real dominant economic logic. The country far from being the most important one to the local economy may be the most important to the geopolitics. Social-democrats wrongly focus on whether there is really any underlying business or export of capital. Imperialism is exporting capital but not solving its crisis by doing so. Far from having to make a profit or dominate economically, imperialism can make profits on weapons and contracts rebuilding countries imperialism destroys. Hence, the Iraq war is profitable to military contractors and civilian contractors such as Halliburton. This is despite the fact that blowing things up and then rebuilding them does not advance the species. Imperialism is so unmoored from any real sense of economic needs that sending troops is a business for it. Instead of rent-a-cop geopolitics, we need a proletarian-led world government.

    There can be complications in that figure because Hong Kong is often just a transit point for re-export. 5.