Thursday, August 04, 2005

Hooray for John Bolton!

Aug. 3 (Bloomberg) -- John Bolton used his first full day as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to forge a strategy with China aimed at defeating a formula offered by four U.S. allies to expand the Security Council, the Chinese envoy said.
Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya said he and Bolton decided to coordinate efforts yesterday to block the initiative by Japan, Germany, Brazil and India, during one of Bolton's first meetings in New York with a UN envoy.

Looks like Bolton's even more effective than James Lileks' little satire imagined him to be.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So he does a deal with totalitarian human-rights abusing state that is a strategic competitor of the US both militarily and economically, to block the aims of four democratic, and in two case, long term allies?!

Hurrah indeed for Mr. Bolton! And who said this man couldn't make it as a diplomat?!

6:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question or you Finnpundit. It's a little out of the subject, but what exactly do you mean by freeloading Finland?

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Freeriding, that is...

8:51 AM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

Bolton brings to the UN exactly what the US needs: policies based on realpolitik. It is this lack of realpolitik that has always been the problem.

The fact that China and the US both have come to see the UN as more of a problem than a vehicle for solutions comes as no surprise. For the US, dealing directly with China is going to be the reality anyway in the future, so it behooves both nations to keep the meddling multicultural duplicity of the UN out of that relationship.

Having Japan in the Security Council would have been advantageous for the US, but the cost of that would have been too high. India has yet to become an ally, Brazil will never be one, and Germany is, for all essential purposes, rapidly becoming an enemy.

Bolton made the right move, and it will be extremely rewarding to see what he's going to do during the rest of his tenure.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

I've written about this often, but here goes once again:

The welfare state of Finland - like all the welfare states of Europe - enjoy a freeride on top of the shoulders of the American worker-consumers, through an export surplus, which essentially makes their welfare states economically possible.

The workers of welfare states do not constitute a viable consumer market that is dynamic enough to support a welfare state, because the taxation required for such states is so great that there is very little left in discretionary, after-tax income to support the necessary domestic consumption that is needed in economically developed societies.

The market that supports the welfare states is found in the United States, which has a comparable level of industrial development, but which also has a vibrant consumer society, due to the lack of heavy taxation. The American worker-consumer does not enjoy the same protections as the workers in a welfare state; however, if taxation was as heavy in the US, then the resulting drop in imports from Europe would drop to such a level that the welfare states of Europe would not be economically viable.

It would be economically disastrous for Europe if the US were to build a welfare state, comparable to that of Old Europe. And it is an incredibly wonderful boon for European workers that the American worker-consumer does not agitate for more social welfare protections. Because the fundamental reality is that the welfare states of Europe enjoy an exploitative freeride on the shoulders of the American worker-consumer.

This exploitation extends to other areas - political, cultural, areas of national security... almost as if out of habit. Yet the fundamental one is the one based on economics, of course.

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finnpundit said: "Bolton brings to the UN exactly what the US needs: policies based on realpolitik. It is this lack of realpolitik that has always been the problem."

I thought you were quite into bringing democracy and freedom to the benighted? What problems have this lack of realpolitik brought about?

5:27 AM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

The UN is a vehicle for the spread of democracy?! Two-thirds of the membership of the General Assembly is composed of non-democratic nations who have done their best to preserve the status quo within their nations.

The fact that the UN is an obstruction to the spread of democracy is obvious. Yet Finns and other Europeans cling to the fantasy that the UN can become a vehicle for greater democracy, when exactly the opposite has happened. That's where realpolitik is needed.

The only way democracy can be spread is to curtail the power of the UN, and use other means to do so.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if Bolton won't get much done at all? He's a guy who talks a lot but does he really have a record that shows he can do realpolitik?

6:07 AM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

Oh yes. That's the reason the Democrats were so afraid of him.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Mikko Sandt said...

I'm looking forward to see how Bolton handles his position but I wouldn't be so damn eager about it since there's very little record to show that he can actually do something. He's tough and maybe the UN needs someone like him but Bolton's record is not that optimistic.

The UN is in need of a fix and it should understand its position a bit better. However it's still a useful institution - just maybe not as useful as some (like our president) would like to think.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

I tend to think that the UN is not a useful institution anymore. Almost all of its more humanitarian functions are being duplicated by other NGO's, with greater efficiency and less cost. And its peacekeeping operations have been a joke: the areas where UN troops have been inserted as a buffer were peaceful because bigger powers agreed that the peace must be maintainted. UN troops did not effect that peace by themselves.

In the long run, Bolton's mission should not be to save the UN, but to make the UN useful to the US. Every other country in the world is trying to take advantage of the UN; the US should have that as its main goal, too.

By forcing the UN to behave as its largest single benefactor wants it to behave will make it more of a vehicle to be used by that benefactor. US support is key to making the UN relevant. Only a tough critic like Bolton - who hasn't been tainted with the kind of excessive multiculturalism that diplomats tend to be infected with - only he will be able to make a difference.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Hi Finnpundit, thanks for visiting!
I guess you've been in Finland for long, compared to my (not even) 2 months..well, as you observed correctly, my blog consists of mainly "cosmetic" things .. and that is the way it is intended to be consciously because it is a 'travelogue' and is entirely from a tourist POV.. I am really not into 'analysing' anything be it the state of minds of the Finns or whether they are free riding at least not at this point of time, when I am still just absorbing in every experience ..

6:14 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

That's okay. I didn't mean to denigrate your blog. As you can see, I'm more interested in underlying political and economic issues.

My only concern is that a lot of foreigners tend to make the wrong assumptions when they observe the outside appearances of a Nordic welfare state. Welfare states are very hard to duplicate anywhere else in the world; what's more, I contend that the welfare state in Finland (and those elsewhere in Europe) should be dismantled, because welfare states are inherently exploitative.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Salo said...

You wrote about wellfare states being possible thanks to export surplus that goes to States. Therefore, you argue that wellfare states are possible only because USA dosent try to be one, and they should be disassembled.

My question is; is it not the nature of globalisation that countries are dependent of each other? Indeed, would USA's model be any more realistic if not for China and third-world countries that build most of the products sold in the States? Most of the products - or the needed materials for the products - come outside the States, from countries enjoying nearly slavish conditions to workers and little if none restrictions on how to handle environment.

Finland is depending its wellfare state on the fact that USA dosent pursue its one. I am willing to accept this argument. But dosent it follow that USA can only keep its prosperity as long as third-world dosent pursue the same luxury of living as seen in first-world?

Ergo: should Finland dissassemble its wellfare state, and USA its model that gives and makes it the most powerful country in the world, just because not everyone can be in the same position that it is, and, indeed, to keep itself in the same position, it has to keep others down?

4:40 AM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

Actually, the US is very much counting on the Third World eventually pursuing the same standards of living as seen in the First World. If you’ll remember, the balance of trade with China right now is very much in America’s disfavor; the hope is that by increasing the standard of living in China, the value of the yuan will go up, and trade will become more balanced.

You’ve also made the common, mistaken assumption that we should restrict trade with countries that have “near slavish” working conditions, because we would aid and abet such conditions. Please note that Asians tend to have different values than we do. For them, not to work more than is possible runs counter to the idea that all family members have a duty to work as hard as possible. Doesn’t it seem a bit presumptuous, if we are true multiculturalists, to deny that they should be allowed to determine what constitutes acceptable working conditions? And doesn’t it seem fairer to let them accumulate as much wealth as possible through freer trade, since wealth is a prerequisite for better working conditions and better environmental policies?

Ironically, American policies permit other nations and continents to become rivals to it. It might be a self-defeating policy, but the belief is that if the world gets richer with help from freer trade, societies will tend to become freer politically, too. In that sense, America is very generous, indeed.

Now, contrast that to European welfare states, which can thrive only with closed borders and access to free markets for their exports. That kind of systems is not only freeriding, but also, in a global sense, the height of greed, since it does not redistribute wealth at all to those in the world that need it.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're funny

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Lasse Holopainen said...

Actually the finnish exports to the US only counts for 9% of the total exports. So you can hardly argue, that Finland's welfare state is dependant upon exports to the US.
In 2004 Finland's imports from the US was ~1.9 billion eur. and exports to the US ~3.1 billion eur. So the 1.2 billion difference hardly is the backbone in Finland's taxation. The total imports to the US is only ~7% of total Finnish exports.

Indeed Finland and many other european nations are to be blamed on protectionism when it comes to ie. agricultural products and textiles. I am truly ashamed of our government in that sense. But equally has the US resorted to protectionism in the form of subsidies etc. with agriculture and also with steel. But I was extremely happy to hear Pres. Bush stating in his UN speech their willingness to abolish agricultural subsidies.

So let's work on it.

7:00 AM  

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