Obama’s Communist Mentor

Obama’s Communist Mentor

October 6th, 2010

Dr. Paul Kengor, National Review

When you write a book, particularly one that requires several years of research, you tend to encounter a bunch of unexpected information. Sometimes you find things that, if reported, will undoubtedly prompt partisans to demand you explain yourself. For me, this begins that process of explaining, given that one of the major characters in my new book on American Communists, Dupes, is Frank Marshall Davis.

Allegations regarding Davis’s Communism are sure to infuriate the Left because of the influence Davis once had over our president. He was a drinking buddy of Barack Obama’s maternal grandfather, Stanley Dunham, and spent time with young Obama. He turns up in the president’s memoir, Dreams from My Father, shrewdly identified only as “Frank”: “I was intrigued by old Frank, with his books and whiskey breath and the hint of hard-earned knowledge behind the hooded eyes.” Recently, a U.S. Communist-party official confirmed the relationship, bragging in a speech of the Communist Davis’s formative influence over Obama. And yet when the allegations surfaced during the 2008 campaign, they went virtually unreported in the mainstream media.

After an almost four-year-long sojourn in which I tried to ascertain whether Davis was a progressive duped by Communists, or, conversely, a Communist who duped progressives, I determined the latter. No doubt, this conclusion — which means the leader of the free world was strongly influenced by a Marxist — will bring the unholy wrath of liberals. Yet, they should brace themselves for another kind of anger. Once they read what Davis did and wrote, they might redirect their rage. In truth, Davis’s targets were mainly Democrats, and especially a Democratic icon, Harry Truman. What Davis said about Truman was unbelievably outrageous. Worse, he said it because it was the Moscow line.

Read more.


Barack Obama, Hu Jintao

AP Mon Apr 12, 6:49 PM ET

President Barack Obama greets Chinese President Hu Jintao during the official arrivals for the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, Monday April 12, 2010. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Is China Headed Toward Economic Collapse?

Is China Headed Toward Economic Collapse?

November 11th, 2009 Posted By Pat Dollard.



The conventional wisdom in Washington and in most of the rest of the world is that the roaring Chinese economy is going to pull the global economy out of recession and back into growth. It’s China’s turn, the theory goes, as American consumers — who propelled the last global boom with their borrowing and spending ways — have begun to tighten their belts and increase savings rates.

The Chinese, with their unbridled capitalistic expansion propelled by a system they still refer to as “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” are still thriving, though, with annual gross domestic product growth of 8.9 percent in the third quarter and a domestic consumer market just starting to flex its enormous muscles.

That’s prompted some cheerleading from U.S. officials, who want to see those Chinese consumers begin to pick up the slack in the global economy — a theme President Barack Obama and his delegation are certain to bring up during next week’s visit to China.

“Purchases of U.S. consumers cannot be as dominant a driver of growth as they have been in the past,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said during a trip to Beijing this spring. “In China, … growth that is sustainable will require a very substantial shift from external to domestic demand, from an investment and export-intensive growth to growth led by consumption.”

That’s one vision of the future.

But there’s a growing group of market professionals who see a different picture altogether. These self-styled China bears take the less popular view: that the much-vaunted Chinese economic miracle is nothing but a paper dragon. In fact, they argue that the Chinese have dangerously overheated their economy, building malls, luxury stores and infrastructure for which there is almost no demand, and that the entire system is teetering toward collapse.

A Chinese collapse, of course, would have profound effects on the United States, limiting China’s ability to buy U.S. debt and provoking unknown political changes inside the Chinese regime.

The China bears could be dismissed as a bunch of cranks and grumps except for one member of the group: hedge fund investor Jim Chanos.

Chanos, a billionaire, is the founder of the investment firm Kynikos Associates and a famous short seller — an investor who scrutinizes companies looking for hidden flaws and then bets against those firms in the market.

His most famous call came in 2001, when Chanos was one of the first to figure out that the accounting numbers presented to the public by Enron were pure fiction. Chanos began contacting Wall Street investment houses that were touting Enron’s stock. “We were struck by how many of them conceded that there was no way to analyze Enron but that investing in Enron was, instead, a ‘trust me’ story,” Chanos told a congressional committee in 2002.

Now, Chanos says he has found another “trust me” story: China. And he is moving to short the entire nation’s economy. Washington policymakers would do well to understand his argument, because if he’s right, the consequences will be felt here.

Chanos and the other bears point to several key pieces of evidence that China is heading for a crash.

First, they point to the enormous Chinese economic stimulus effort — with the government spending $900 billion to prop up a $4.3 trillion economy. “Yet China’s economy, for all the stimulus it has received in 11 months, is underperforming,” Gordon Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” wrote in Forbes at the end of October. “More important, it is unlikely that [third-quarter] expansion was anywhere near the claimed 8.9 percent.”

Chang argues that inconsistencies in Chinese official statistics — like the surging numbers for car sales but flat statistics for gasoline consumption — indicate that the Chinese are simply cooking their books. He speculates that Chinese state-run companies are buying fleets of cars and simply storing them in giant parking lots in order to generate apparent growth.

Another data point cited by the bears: overcapacity. For example, the Chinese already consume more cement than the rest of the world combined, at 1.4 billion tons per year. But they have dramatically ramped up their ability to produce even more in recent years, leading to an estimated spare capacity of about 340 million tons, which, according to a report prepared earlier this year by Pivot Capital Management, is more than the consumption in the U.S., India and Japan combined.

This, Chanos and others argue, is happening in sector after sector in the Chinese economy. And that means the Chinese are in danger of producing huge quantities of goods and products that they will be unable to sell.

The Pivot Capital report was extremely popular in Chanos’s office and concluded, “We believe the coming slowdown in China has the potential to be a similar watershed event for world markets as the reversal of the U.S. subprime and housing boom.”

And the bears also keep a close eye on anecdotal reports from the ground level in China, like a recent posting on a blog called The Peking Duck about shopping at Beijing’s “stunningly dysfunctional, catastrophic mall, called The Place.”

“I was shocked at what I saw,” the blogger wrote. “Fifty percent of the eateries in the basement were boarded up. The cheap food court, too, was gone, covered up with ugly blue boarding, making the basement especially grim and dreary. … There is simply too much stuff, too many stores and no buyers.”

China’s spies ‘very aggressive’ threat to U.S.

China’s spies ‘very aggressive’ threat to U.S.

By Bill Gertz
Published March 6, 2007

China’s intelligence services are among the most aggressive at spying on the United States, followed by Cuban, Russian and Iranian spy agencies, according to the U.S. government’s top counterintelligence coordinator.
    “These services are eating our lunch,” Joel F. Brenner, the new head of the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, said in his first interview since being named to the counterspy post in August.
    Mr. Brenner, a former inspector general at the National Security Agency, told The Washington Times that the U.S. remains the No. 1 target of “virtually every significant espionage service on the face of the Earth.”
    China’s intelligence activities have been “very aggressive” at acquiring U.S. advanced technology, often before it is fully developed here. “The technology bleed to China, among others, is a very serious problem,” he said, noting that the FBI is improving its efforts to identify and protect sensitive technology.
    Beijing also succeeded in penetrating, and thus frustrating, U.S. intelligence against China through Katrina Leung, a Los Angeles businesswoman who was a long-time FBI informant secretly loyal to Beijing, Mr. Brenner said.
    Mr. Brenner’s office, known as NCIX, is working on a new presidential strategy for counterintelligence. The goal of the office is to provide strategic direction aimed at bolstering counterintelligence agencies, including the FBI, CIA and Pentagon counterspy units.
    Another key priority is using counterintelligence techniques, such as turning foreign agents or recruiting supporters, against terrorist groups.
    “Hezbollah or al Qaeda don’t do a terrorist operation without doing an intelligence operation first,” Mr. Brenner said. “They are very thorough and capable in the way they do their advance surveillance and reconnoitering. We’ve got to get better at that aspect of supporting counterterrorism, and that is one of our core missions here in this office.”
    Additionally, the NCIX is pressing counterspies to do more to stop computer-based intelligence-gathering, something he called a growing threat.
    “You can now, from the comfort of your own home or office, exfiltrate information electronically from somebody else’s computer around the world without the expense and risk of trying to grow a spy,” Mr. Brenner said.
    “We’ve got to start addressing that in a big way,” he said. “Network vulnerability is a huge issue, and it’s an issue in the private as well as a public sector.”
    Mr. Brenner also said he is trying to recruit more-capable people to join counterintelligence services.
    “You can’t leave counterintelligence to the fanatics and paranoiacs,” he said. “We really need our best people, and so training and education and supporting national security studies is something we’re paying a lot of attention to.”
    He also plans to speed up damage assessments, or lessons learned, after spy cases and to conduct aggressive follow-up to make sure recommended changes are implemented.
    Currently, the NCIX is conducting a damage assessment of the Leung spy case, examining how Leung secretly spied for China by sexually entrapping two of the FBI’s most senior counterspies, FBI agents James J. Smith and Bill Cleveland.
    The Leung case was a “very serious espionage case,” Mr. Brenner said, a view that contrasts with that of FBI officials who have sought to play down the spy case, saying it was mainly about improper sexual relations between the FBI informant and her handlers. Leung, through her lawyers, has denied spying for China.
    Mr. Brenner said China, however, was in fact running Leung as their agent. “That was an intelligence operation, and it was a very successful intelligence operation,” he said. “It was a classic honey trap” — spy jargon for sexual entrapment.
    Leung was initially charged in 2003 with spying for China, but the charges were dropped and she eventually pleaded guilty in 2005 to minor charges: making false statements and filing a false tax return. Smith also pleaded guilty to lying to investigators.
    In addition to China, Cuba’s intelligence services continue to pose a major intelligence threat, as do spies from Russia and Iran, Mr. Brenner said, noting that Cuban intelligence remains a “a very professional service.”
    “They were trained by the KGB, and now they’re training the Venezuelans,” he said.
    Russia’s intelligence service remains “very aggressive” against the United States, and “the Iranians also have a mature and capable service,” he said. All “are running significant operations against us.”
    Overall, the problem of stopping foreign spies is daunting, both due to the number of spies and as a result of problems among U.S. agencies charged with stopping them, namely the FBI, domestically, and the CIA, overseas. Mr. Brenner said he is trying to reform counterintelligence as the mission manager within the office of the director of national intelligence.
    Various counterspy agencies, from the Defense Department to the FBI and CIA, have regarded counterintelligence “as an intramural sport.”
    “We’re trying to turn the [counterintelligence] community into a community in reality as well as in name,” he said.
    “Americans are going to wake up one day and realize that the place in the world we have come to take for granted isn’t ours by some God-given right. We have to defend it,” he said. 

Straws in the Solar Wind

Straws in the Solar Wind
By Frank J Gaffney Jr.
FrontPageMagazine.com | January 29, 2007

Breaking nearly two weeks of silence, Communist China has now confirmed that it did indeed successfully attack and destroy an aging weather satellite more than 500 miles above the earth. As U.S. intelligence revealed last week, the destructive intercept was performed by a kinetic-kill vehicle (KKV) launched onboard a medium-range ballistic missile.

In making this acknowledgement, however, the Foreign Minister preposterously declared that “the test was not targeted against any country and does not pose a threat to any country.”  The mendacity of this statement is as transparent as Beijing’s military activities in the area of space control and power projection, which are cloaked in secrecy:  Communist China intends to be able to deny the United States the ability to utilize outer space for vital national security, and perhaps even economic purposes.

The sudden, indisputable nature of this insight has precipitated confusion bordering on panic in Washington and other allied capitals. One predictable reaction has been to encourage a renewed push by so-called “arms-control” advocates to prohibit the “militarization of space.”  According to the New York Times, such an outcome was intended by Beijing.  It cites Xu Guangyu, a former Chinese Army officer and an official at the government-run China Arms Control and Disarmament Association:  “What China is saying is, ‘Let’s sit down and talk.’ There is a trend toward weaponization of space that no one, especially China, wants to see.”

Were the United States to fall for this gambit, it would face the worst of both worlds – at least two adversaries (Russia and China) known to have demonstrated ASAT capabilities and a wholly unverifiable prohibition on such weapons, one whose practical effect would be only to foreclose to this country (and others who adhere to their treaty obligations) capabilities essential to space control.

A Dragon in Space

It should come as no surprise that China was able to become the first country in over two decades to conduct a successful ASAT test, thereby joining the United States and the former Soviet Union as the only nations to have done so.  The PRC has long-recognized that America’s dependence upon satellites for communication, intelligence collection and ballistic missile defense – three functions of vital importance to America’s defense of democratic Taiwan – made space the “soft underbelly” of the U.S. national security apparatus.  The same is even more true of the United States’ economic power, which is inextricably dependent on space-based systems. 

As a consequence, Beijing has invested enormous resources in a program designed to dominate the space battlefield.  Drawing from a defense budget conservatively estimated to be on the order of $70-105 billion per year and a PLA-run “civil space” program budget estimated at $1.5-2.0 billion per year, considerable effort has been made on space-related programs with inherent military applications.  Thanks to this commitment, China’s space control-relevant capabilities have made considerable progress, and grown dramatically in their sophistication.

These include, in addition to the ballistic missile-delivered KKV system tested earlier this month, China’s acquisition of microsatellites (and, according to some, even nanosatellites).  The United States has reportedly detected such devices in orbit near its military communications and imaging satellites.  There is reason to believe that the PRC has developed “parasitic satellites,” designed surreptitiously to attach themselves to enemy space assets and, on command, to jam or destroy them.   

Besides these anti-satellite-capable orbiting systems and the recently tested kinetic-kill device – both of which are designed to neutralize target satellites in low earth orbit – China has experimented with directed energy weapons that may be capable of blinding or destroying satellites at all altitudes.  It is worth noting that the PRC’s ASAT test of January 11th followed the illumination of U.S. intelligence-gathering satellites by a Chinese ground-based laser in September 2006.

‘A Space Pearl Harbor’

Worryingly, China is far from the only actor that recognizes America’s intense vulnerability in space.  As Major General Michael Maples, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, reported in his annual threat assessment before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on January 11:

Several countries continue to develop capabilities that have the potential to threaten U.S. space assets, and some have already deployed systems with inherent anti-satellite capabilities, such as satellite-tracking laser range-finding devices and nuclear-armed ballistic missiles….Other states and non-state entities are pursuing more limited and asymmetric approaches that do not require excessive financial resources or a high-tech industrial base.

In other words, U.S. adversaries are positioning themselves to wage an asymmetric war against the United States, should the need arise.  As startling as this assessment may seem, it is hardly new.  In January 2001, the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization, chaired by soon-to-be Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, released a scathing report that warned of a looming “Space Pearl Harbor”:

History is replete with instances in which warning signs were ignored and change resisted until an external, “improbable” event forced resistant bureaucracies to take action. The question is whether the U.S. will be wise enough to act responsibly and soon enough to reduce U.S. space vulnerability. Or whether, as in the past, a disabling attack against the country and its people – a “Space Pearl Harbor” – will be the only event able to galvanize the nation and cause the U.S. government to act. We are on notice, but we have not noticed.

‘Freedom of Space’

To its credit, the Bush Administration has recognized these realities in its quite robust National Space Policy (NSP) published in October 2006.  It establishes the imperative of U.S. supremacy in space.  The document declared, in part:

The United States will preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom of action in space; dissuade or deter others from either impeding those rights or developing capabilities intended to do so; take actions necessary to protect its space capabilities; respond to interference; and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U.S. interests.

Interestingly, President Clinton’s administration had previously adopted a space policy that was also reasonably forceful about the necessity of the United States being able to exercise space control.  For example, the 1996 Space Policy statement announced:

The United States will develop, operate and maintain space control capabilities to ensure freedom of action in space and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries….National security space activities shall contribute to U.S. national security by: providing support for the United States’ inherent right of self-defense and our defense commitments to allies and friends; deterring, warning, and if necessary, defending against enemy attack; assuring that hostile forces cannot prevent our own use of space; countering, if necessary, space systems and services used for hostile purposes; enhancing operations of U.S. and allied forces; ensuring our ability to conduct military and intelligence space-related activities; satisfying military and intelligence requirements during peace and crisis as well as through all levels of conflict; supporting the activities of national policy makers, the intelligence community, the National Command Authorities, combatant commanders and the military services, other federal officials, and continuity of government operations.”

These bipartisan declarations are not evidence of some untoward American impulse towards imperialistic hegemony in space.  Rather, they reflect a strategic imperative not unlike that which led Britain’s Royal Navy and, subsequently, the United States Navy, to assume responsibility for, and amass the means to exercise control over the world’s oceans.  Historically, these navies have served – wartime aside – as invaluable, global guarantors of “freedom of the seas.”

To be sure, the great powers in question had every reason to want to ensure their ability freely to use the sea lanes of communication for commerce vital to their economic well-being.  But in the process, the exercise of sea control in peacetime first by Britain, then by America in a benign way, assured such use to others as well.  Nations can have confidence that “freedom of space” will continue to be the norm in peacetime as long as space dominance rests with the United States.

‘All Hat, No Cattle’?

The Clinton-Gore administration’s words – and, therefore, America’s ability to assure U.S. space control and freedom of space – were not matched by the programs necessary to give substance to this stated requirement.  It is worrying that the Bush administration also seems to be doing too little to put into place the space control systems that would allow the realization of its declared policy.

Worse yet, the official U.S. response to China’s ASAT test suggests a reluctance even to stand by the President’s stated policy.  A National Security Council spokesman announced that the “development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of cooperation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area.” 

Then, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley addressed the Chinese intercept in a way that appeared to be trying to excuse it, suggesting that the ASAT test might have been some sort of rogue operation: “The question on something like this is, at what level in the Chinese government are people witting, and have they approved?”  It strains credulity that the American government actually believes that – in a totalitarian communist system like that of the People’s Republic – high priority, strategic activities like China’s space control programs have not been thoroughly briefed to and approved by the senior leadership.

Such remarks – combined with the Bush team’s apparently desultory efforts to develop and deploy American space control technologies, to say nothing of the increased cooperation between Washington and Beijing on “civil” space programs that may be facilitating the latter’s ability to challenge the former – leave the Administration’s commitment to U.S. dominance of space in serious doubt.

Enter the Arms-Controllers

The Bush Administration’s incoherence on this matter only serves to encourage its critics at home and abroad to redouble their efforts to impose an approach that would, as a practical matter, permanently foreclose assured U.S. access to and control of space.  Specifically, the failure to reassert the imperative behind American control of space invites mischief on the part of advocates of negotiated “solutions,” with the declared aim of prohibiting the “militarization of space.”

Advocates of this hardy arms control perennial have already seized on the Chinese ASAT test to warn anew that the Bush National Space Policy is evidence of the dreaded U.S. “unilateralism” that must be stopped lest it precipitate an arms race in space.  For example, when asked last weekend how America should respond to the PRC test, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden (with characteristic circumlocution) declared: “One of the things we have to talk about is whether or not the, sort of, ideological base notion about how we deal with space and weapons in space and the use of weapons from space is something that is a path we should continue to follow.”

Not surprisingly, those most enthusiastic for a ban on space weaponry include many of America’s most prominent adversaries – including two who have demonstrated anti-satellite capabilities: Russia and China.  In fact, in 2002, Moscow and Beijing were joined by their cronies and clients in Belarus, Zimbabwe and Syria in introducing a draft treaty at the United Nations to outlaw the deployment of space weaponry.  It should now be clear that the proponents of this initiative share less a desire to keep space “pristeen” from militarization – which after all happened decades ago – and arms races, than by a determination to eliminate the strategic advantages inherent in America’s dominance to date of space. 

We’ve Been Here Before

It is in the nature of arms control regimes signed with unaccountable governments that they are unverifiable, violated and, as a practical matter, generally unenforceable.  That would be true in spades of the sort of prohibition of the militarization of space fancied by our enemies and their fellow travelers.                           

It has long been obvious that a space weapons ban would be particularly problematic for and disadvantageous to states that adhere to the rule-of-law – namely, the United States and its closest allies.  Its unverifiability would assure that treaty-violators could have, and perhaps use, space control technologies with impunity.  (The fact that Beijing refused even to acknowledge its ASAT test for nearly a fortnight affirms the futility of thinking they could be faithful parties to such a treaty.)

Evidence of the problems inherent in banning anti-satellite weapons were illuminated over two decades ago by a Reagan Administration interagency group co-chaired by yours truly (at the time the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy) and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency’s Assistant Director, Henry Cooper.  The resulting Report to the Congress on U.S. Policy on ASAT Arms Control submitted in 1984 – was to that point (and I suspect to date) the most comprehensive official assessment of the idea of trying to ban or otherwise limit ASAT systems. 

The report described two show-stopping problems:

Definitional conundrums: The report pointed to insoluble definitional problems in devising any ASAT arms control, noting that:


Many activities related to space give rise to capabilities inherently useful for ASAT purposes…[and] could be used to attempt to conceal development of one or more types of ASAT techniques. Restricting the definition…could make an agreement easier to verify, but ineffective in achieving its purpose of protecting satellites….Furthermore, problems of weapon definition are compounded because some non-weapon space systems, including civil and commercial systems, could have characteristics which would make it difficult to frame a definition to distinguish them.

Verification concerns: Even if a way could be found to define dedicated ASATs, the reality is that, as China is demonstrating, a number of systems would retain inherent dual-use capabilities to perform anti-satellite functions, notwithstanding prohibitions on ASAT weapons.  The report observed:

The fact that ASAT capabilities can be a by-product of systems developed for other missions, create[s] problems of identifying what would be prohibited under testing limitations….Such systems include:

*maneuvering spacecraft (equipped to maneuver into the path of, or to detonate next to, another nation’s spacecraft) such as the coorbital interceptor operationally deployed by the USSR.

*Direct ascent interceptors such as exo-atmospheric ABM missiles, ballistic missiles with modified guidance logic, space boosters carrying nuclear payloads, and homing vehicles such as the miniature vehicle system undergoing development by the United States.

*Directed energy weapons such as lasers and particle beams, (either ground-based or space-based, having sufficient power to damage satellites or their sensors).

*Electronic countermeasures of sufficient power output to damage or interrupt satellite functions.

*Weapons which could be carried by manned space planes or orbital complexes

These problems are as intractable today as they were twenty-three years ago. Should Washington now succumb to the temptation – or the pressure – to contend with the emerging Chinese ASAT threats by pursuing a ban on such capabilities, it will have no more basis for confidence that its satellites are actually protected than would have been true in the 1980s. 

Even more importantly, the United States must be able in time of war to exercise space control and in peacetime to assure freedom of space.  A ban on the capabilities necessary to perform these functions will make it essentially impossible for this country to perform these vital functions. But, for the reasons mentioned above, it will do nothing to prevent hostile powers from being able to deny us access to, or use of, space.

The Bottom Line

China’s ASAT test is a straw in the solar wind.  In its own right it is a worrisome reminder that America cannot safely indulge in wishful thinking that its equities in space will remain inviolable indefinitely, any more than it can safely rely upon unenforceable international agreements for their protection. 

The test is also a reminder of the breadth and ambition of the Chinese military build-up.  On land, on and under the seas, in the air and in space, Communist China is forging ahead with one of the most dramatic, rapid – and ominous – expansions of the ability to project power that the world has ever seen.  It is, moreover, unmistakable that much of the weaponry being purchased from others and developed indigenously by the PRC is designed to attack American personnel, ships, planes and other assets. 

For all these reasons, the United States must continue to reject calls for a ban on the weaponization of space and acquire the means to implement its sensible, bipartisan declaratory policy on space dominance.  The United States must also recognize that the threat increasingly emanating from China is indeed a threat – and make a redoubled effort to develop and deploy the transformed U.S. military that will be required to contend with such a formidable challenge in the future.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington.  David McCormack, the Center’s Senior Research Associate, contributed to this article.