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Monday, August 04, 2008

China is coming after Minor Leaguer’s E-mails

From the Olympic diary of Brian Duensing:

Tonight, we have our fourth and final game in the states against Canada and then will bus out tomorrow morning at 4:30 am.  We are heading to Washington, DC and then fly out that afternoon on a 14 hour non stop flight to Beijing.  We were told to be careful with taking laptops and things of value to us because of reports of stuff missing when coming back to the room from an event.  Our security people have told us that there have actually been accounts of people finding spyware on their computer when returning to the states, so that when they send an email or anything, the Chinese government can see it.  So hopefully that doesn’t happen and everything will be fine.

Hopefully none of the Olympians are E-mailing state secrets.

Gamingboy Posted: August 04, 2008 at 10:59 PM | 145 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: minor leagues, olympics

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   1. Khrushin it bro Posted: August 05, 2008 at 12:02 AM (#2889937)
Hey Trevor,

This is your buddy Joe from high school. How are the chicks over there man? And the food, how is the Panda Express over there? I heard that the air quality is worse than LA! No way! Man I hope the Chinese government doesn't read this email. If you are in the Chinese government you can go #### yourself!

Joe Mamma
   2. CraigK Posted: August 05, 2008 at 12:21 AM (#2889975)
And #### like this is the reason why I'm not watching a millisecond of the Olympics.
   3. Zonk Didn't But He'd Do It Again Posted: August 05, 2008 at 12:27 AM (#2889983)
And #### like this is the reason why I'm not watching a millisecond of the Olympics.


How can those of us who find the Olympics a tremendous bore and generally eschew media during the two weeks of tv saturation anyway, show our protestations?
   4. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: August 05, 2008 at 12:31 AM (#2889987)
Totalitarian ostentation and Bob Costas. How can you not watch?
   5. Mike Hampton's #1 Fan Posted: August 05, 2008 at 12:35 AM (#2889996)
Contract China!
   6. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 05, 2008 at 12:36 AM (#2889998)
We need to slap some tariffs on the Chinese spyware to protect our own thriving domestic spyware industry.

Busting into American athlete's hotel rooms and installing spyware on their laptops strikes me as a seriously unlikely scenario. The Chinese government are your garden-variety autocrats not Snidely Whiplash.

On a more serious note, I'm really weary of injecting politics into these sorts of international sporting events because it's pretty much capable of killing them off, and I personally enjoy them. From our own perspective it would have been easy for our National Soccer Team to be SOL after the invasion of Iraq if politics had won the day and countries had started boycotting matches against us left and right. Yes the Chinese government views this as great publicity for them, but as long as folks understand that countries are far more than just the imbeciles who happen to be running them at the time, I don't see that a big deal. And yes I'd have felt the same way about the 1936 Olympics in Germany too.

Which isn't to defend the IOC, they haven't been defensible in many years, but I'd let he athletes have their fun same as any other Olympics.
   7. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: August 05, 2008 at 12:46 AM (#2890018)
as long as folks understand that countries are far more than just the imbeciles who happen to be running them at the time, I don't see that a big deal.


The problem with IOC events, of course, is that the people who run those events are the same people who (badly) run those countries.

The ultimate problem with international institutions like the IOC and the UN is the acceptance of authoritarian regimes. Allow enough of them in and they corrupt your institution into all kinds of byzantine inefficiency.
   8. Lassus Posted: August 05, 2008 at 12:48 AM (#2890020)
China has a league of bad bad problems that deserve international attention, but this headline is like someone telling someone something their little brother read off the internet.

Lame.
   9. Khrushin it bro Posted: August 05, 2008 at 12:51 AM (#2890023)
Beane never should have written the Communist Manifesto
   10. Gamingboy Posted: August 05, 2008 at 12:55 AM (#2890027)
China has a league of bad bad problems that deserve international attention, but this headline is like someone telling someone something their little brother read off the internet.

Lame.


I seriously doubt that any blog from a Olympian is saying "Dude, I sure hope the Chinese don't mind my 'remember Darfur' tatoo and 'Free Tibet' eyeblack".
   11. scareduck Posted: August 05, 2008 at 12:56 AM (#2890031)
And #### like this is the reason why I'm not watching a millisecond of the Olympics.

Count me in on that, too. F the <strike>1936</strike> 2008 Olympics.
   12. scareduck Posted: August 05, 2008 at 12:59 AM (#2890036)
Busting into American athlete's hotel rooms and installing spyware on their laptops strikes me as a seriously unlikely scenario. The Chinese government are your garden-variety autocrats not Snidely Whiplash.

Why wouldn't we believe that, though? The very definition of autocrats is that they can do anything. In China, they damn well can.
   13. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: August 05, 2008 at 01:00 AM (#2890042)
China has a league of bad bad problems that deserve international attention, but this headline is like someone telling someone something their little brother read off the internet.


I agree this news article is not very big news for China. But it's probably very useful for the American athletes and the journalists like JoPo who are covering them. It's vaguely interesting to the rest of us as well.
   14. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 05, 2008 at 01:09 AM (#2890063)
Why wouldn't we believe that, though? The very definition of autocrats is that they can do anything. In China, they damn well can.

Sure, but my point is "why?" It would serve no purpose other than to accentuate the black hat and handlebar mustache. Sure the Chinese government could do it if they wanted to, but why the hell would they want to?

Sometimes Big Brother isn't watching. He may have been watching for a while, but he changed the channel because you were too boring.
   15. CraigK Posted: August 05, 2008 at 01:12 AM (#2890071)
I think the biggest problem with the Olympics is that, as much as the IOC would really like us to just forget about world politics for a while and just get along, the fact is that stuff like this where they're monitoring computers and censoring journalists and everything else causes politics to be brought up.
   16. CraigK Posted: August 05, 2008 at 01:15 AM (#2890080)
Also, the '36 Olympics were given to Berlin before the Nazis took power, IIRC.
   17. Jeff K. Posted: August 05, 2008 at 01:16 AM (#2890083)
Busting into American athlete's hotel rooms and installing spyware on their laptops strikes me as a seriously unlikely scenario.

Of course, because if all they wanted to do is install spyware, there's no reason to bust in. One of the keys to security is that "if they have physical access, you're pretty much ######." Pretty much all the generally available protection is useless if someone who halfway knows what they're doing can physically touch your machine. Well, a corollary of that would be "if you're using a network, and the people who control the entire network from the borders of the country in want to do something to your computer, you're pretty much ######." It's not as severe a situation as physical access, but I sincerely doubt the average minor league baseball player has remotely the kind of setup that would even minorly irritate the Chinese government if they wanted to remotely install something while he was logged onto a Chinese network.

The threats are that someone breaks in, or someone installs spyware. One will not be used to accomplish the other.
   18. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: August 05, 2008 at 01:17 AM (#2890084)
Sure, but my point is "why?" It would serve no purpose other than to accentuate the black hat and handlebar mustache. Sure the Chinese government could do it if they wanted to, but why the hell would they want to?


The Chinese government is not paranoid, it just wants to make sure.
   19. Gamingboy Posted: August 05, 2008 at 01:19 AM (#2890091)
If you think about it, EVERY time the summer Olympics is in Germany something happens that is so horrible that it overshadows everything else that occurred during the Olympics.
   20. Scott Lange Posted: August 05, 2008 at 01:26 AM (#2890113)
Busting into American athlete's hotel rooms and installing spyware on their laptops strikes me as a seriously unlikely scenario. The Chinese government are your garden-variety autocrats not Snidely Whiplash.


They busted into a hotel room to spy on their opponents in the Women's World Cup, FWIW. Got away with it scot-free, too.
   21. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 05, 2008 at 01:28 AM (#2890119)
Totalitarian ostentation and Bob Costas. How can you not watch?

Sir, you make a very cogent point.
   22. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: August 05, 2008 at 01:29 AM (#2890122)
EVERY time the summer Olympics is in Germany something happens that is so horrible that it overshadows everything else that occurred during the Olympics.


Actually '36 was great by the Olympics standard, with plenty of dramatics from Owens and company, plus thoroughly modern electronic measurements and media coverage. The horrible thing happened in '33.

The visual presentation of every Olympic since has been influenced by the Riefenstahl film. Fitting since every Communist congress has been similarly influenced by another Riefenstahl film.
   23. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 05, 2008 at 01:33 AM (#2890129)
It's not as severe a situation as physical access, but I sincerely doubt the average minor league baseball player has remotely the kind of setup that would even minorly irritate the Chinese government if they wanted to remotely install something while he was logged onto a Chinese network.

We need to set these fine young ballplayers adrift on the memory bliss that is Ubuntu!

While the Chinese government does a lot of terrible stuff, does anyone else feel like every article that comes out about the Olympics is just one big "Gotcha!" after another about the Chinese government? There have to be at least one or two interesting, inspiring stories about the people of that country, and not just ones about their crappy government.
   24. scareduck Posted: August 05, 2008 at 01:50 AM (#2890161)
Also, the '36 Olympics were given to Berlin before the Nazis took power, IIRC.

Yes, but that didn't make them any better.
Hitler removed signs stating "Jews not wanted" and similar slogans from the main tourist attractions. Hitler desired to clean up Berlin, the German Ministry of Interior authorized the chief of Berlin Police to arrest all Romani people (gypsies) and keep them in a special camp. Nazi officials ordered that foreign visitors should not be subjected to the criminal strictures of anti-homosexual laws.

Huh. Sounds familiar.
While the Chinese government does a lot of terrible stuff, does anyone else feel like every article that comes out about the Olympics is just one big "Gotcha!" after another about the Chinese government? There have to be at least one or two interesting, inspiring stories about the people of that country, and not just ones about their crappy government.

Animal Planet runs video of adorable puppies frolicking and tussling as counterprogramming to the Superbowl. That does not make either one compelling programming.
We need to set these fine young ballplayers adrift on the memory bliss that is Ubuntu!

Still stuck on Fedora, sorry.
   25. Jeff K. Posted: August 05, 2008 at 01:57 AM (#2890174)
There have to be at least one or two interesting, inspiring stories about the people of that country, and not just ones about their crappy government.

Seriously? Watch the coverage. You are guaranteed to get 22 hours per day of these stories.

Animal Planet runs video of adorable puppies frolicking and tussling as counterprogramming to the Superbowl. That does not make either one compelling programming.

Did you just ####### rag on Puppy Bowl? Monster. Philistine monster!
   26. Srul Itza Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:12 AM (#2890202)
Some people don't like to watch puppies frolicing.

They tend to grow up and be serial killers.

Then again, with a name like scareduck, why should we be surprised?
   27. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:16 AM (#2890214)
Did you just ####### rag on Puppy Bowl? Monster. Philistine monster!

I admit I've watched this three years running. The kitten halftime show has made me a diabetic.
   28. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:21 AM (#2890228)
Still stuck on Fedora, sorry.


Hey, Ubuntu, Fedora, whichever flavor of Linux tickles your fancy. As long as it's not Windows they'll never get in.
   29. MM1f Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:25 AM (#2890244)
I saw Duensing tonight. He was the guy who drew the straw to stand in front of the bullpen facing the field to watch for fouls headed down that way.

If anyone wants to talk Olympic baseball instead of politics I gotta say that Steven Strasburg, probably #1 2009 pick, can throw HARD. He ran up some very legit 97s on scouts guns with at least 6 or 7 scouts, plus coaches from one of the Asian Olmypic teams watching.
His first inning sucked. His curve wasn't working and his fastball was going down the middle and he got hit a little. He started missing bats in his 2nd inning of work and looked super in doing so. His curve is plus when it is on and he can throw a 92-93mph 2 seam version of his 95-97 heater.

Matt LaPorta hit a freakin' bomb off Chris Reitsma and the "minor league Dave Kingman" Mike Hessman hit a couple shots too but also, Hessman being Hessman, looked bad on a strikeout.

Team Canada RF Michael Saunders looked good. Super athlete. Can run and throw. I was impressed that he could get off a solid throw despite throwing off his back foot while running in the opposite direction.

Brett Lawrie, the Brewers 08 first-rounder, didn't look good at the plate but hes a guy who just greaduated HS so hes allowed to strikeout against top pitching prospects.
   30. MM1f Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:28 AM (#2890251)
Also I should note that another reason to be pissed off with how the Olympics are handling baseball is that they have instituted a college football like overtime that is a mockery of the game.
Jim Callis' take on it sums it up
http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/ask-ba/2008/266582.html
   31. Jeff K. Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:32 AM (#2890257)
I admit I've watched this three years running. The kitten halftime show has made me a diabetic.

As have I, though of course I watch it when it runs before the game. I even texted "KITTY HALFTIME" to a friend of mine this year when it started, and his immediate reply was "I'm already watching!"
   32. scareduck Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:33 AM (#2890258)
Then again, with a name like scareduck, why should we be surprised?

Well, it is true that I'm a witch.
   33. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:40 AM (#2890272)
As have I, though of course I watch it when it runs before the game. I even texted "KITTY HALFTIME" to a friend of mine this year when it started, and his immediate reply was "I'm already watching!"

I live a short walk from the New York City ASPCA. I have to chain my girl to the radiator when the kitten halftime show starts to keep from running to adoption center for another cat. Those kittens are crack to the tenderhearted.
   34. Gamingboy Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:47 AM (#2890297)
The Olympics is run by Europeans. Seriously, if NBC and other broadcasters weren't giving them so much money, the IOC would probably kick everyone else out and make the Olympics a Europe-Only event, playing only European sports with European rules by European athletes.

I am only slightly exaggerating.
   35. scareduck Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:49 AM (#2890298)
If anyone wants to talk Olympic baseball

I'd rather argue about whether or not the Puppy Bowl is must-see TV. Edit: Apparently it is, with the 2007 Puppy Bowl recording 7.5 million viewers. OMG.
   36. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:04 AM (#2890344)
mm1f - where were you? Emeigh, bunyon, Dial and myself were there as well (meetup). Nice blown call(s) on the double hit, huh?
   37. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:04 AM (#2890345)
I'd rather argue about whether or not the Puppy Bowl is must-see TV. Edit: Apparently it is, with the 2007 Puppy Bowl recording 7.5 million viewers. OMG.

Hmm. Will the Nats have that many television viewers the entire year? Sometimes I like to put baseball in perspective. While I suppose it's nice that MLB is now a 6 billion dollar a year juggernaut, scrapbooking supplies last year became a 3 billion dollar a year business. Scrapbooking! I will say it one more time, more for my benefit than yours, Scrapbooking!
   38. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:08 AM (#2890359)
The very definition of autocrats is that they can do anything. In China, they damn well can.


Sure, but my point is "why?" It would serve no purpose other than to accentuate the black hat and handlebar mustache. Sure the Chinese government could do it if they wanted to, but why the hell would they want to?

Well, if the whole world knows what they're doing, and they go ahead and do it anyway in spite of all the publicity, the message it conveys to their subjects is as clear as consecutive knockdown pitches. It makes 99% of the population less likely to dig in for the next fifty plate appearances.

At bottom there are more than a few similarities between the Chinese government and the Nazis. Too many differences to make the comparison an exact one, but in both cases you have an ostensibly "socialist" regime that enables a fair number of individuals and private corporations to accumulate vast fortunes.

But the key word there is "enables," because what the regime giveth, the regime can easily taketh away.

In both cases the regimes love public spectacle, and they take advantage of the outside world's willingness to give them the benefit of a doubt so long as they do a good job of providing one.

In both cases, western capitalists were their most reliable and valuable outside allies. Which makes sense, since most capitalists are thoroughly amoral. Give them their guaranteed profits, and they don't see nothing. And gee, don't those trains run on time?

In both cases the population is intensely nationalist and to a great extent xenophobic, and this also enables the regime to consolodate its support and isolate its internal opposition. Think about how the overseas Chinese students harassed and vilified their fellow Chinese students who dared to defend the Dalai Lama, just as Yorkville turned out for Bund rallies in the 30's.

In both cases the regimes presided over a dramatic increase in living standards, having emerged from the depths of famine and depression. It took the Chinese a lot longer to accomplish this than it took the Nazis, but then their population was also twentyfold greater.

And although their respective mass murders differed in terms of whom they were directed against, they were carried out with equal enthusiasm. Hitler and Stalin perhaps had better rate stats, but for career value no regime in history has likely caused more unnatural deaths than the one that's ruled China for the past 59 years.

And oh yes, they both like(d) to do a bit of eavesdropping on their subjects. In the Hall of Fame of Citizen Surveillance, they both are definitely first ballot choices.
   39. MM1f Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:22 AM (#2890393)
36,

I was behind the plate and Canadian dugout much of the night, tho I bounced down to each bullpen once for the hell of it.

I went on a whim tonight, I forgot about the meet-up. I would've dropped by, yall are of some of my favorite posters on the site.. even if Dial is hopelessly wrong when it comes to McCann.

The double hit play was a joke. How the umps didn't see what happened immediately was embarrassing... it was right in front of you blue!
   40. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:23 AM (#2890394)
they both are definitely first ballot choices.


Peak voters still prefer Pol Pot, who unsurprisingly graduated from the Nanjing Military Academy in the 1950's.
   41. Dave Spiwak Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:26 AM (#2890397)
I just don't see politics ruining the games unless something really bad happens, like some terrorism stuff or protesters getting put down in the streets.

Journalists certainly don't seem likely to ruin the games.

What are we really talking about here? A bunch of garden variety TV sports reporters. Those dudes aren't exactly Woodward and Bernstein. Most of them are going to be happy enough eating at Beijing McDonalds and buying some Mao lighters for their friends back home.

I doubt they'll be putting together any big investigative stories on unrest in the Chinese hinterlands, if for no other reason than they won't be able to go anywhere without government permission, plus there's only two weeks worth of time for the Olympics so there's no reason getting bogged down with some ugly piece on child labor or something when you can just do a feature on acrobats or ponies or some other happy topic.
   42. Srul Itza Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:28 AM (#2890398)
Edit: Apparently it is, with the 2007 Puppy Bowl recording 7.5 million viewers. OMG.

According to the link, the inspiration for the Puppy Bowl may have been the WPIX Yule Log. Now THAT takes me back.
   43. AC Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:30 AM (#2890399)
the chinese are the nazis now? oh brother, let godwin's law take effect, please.
   44. tedz chillin hed Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:37 AM (#2890403)
Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not watching. Is it wrong to miss the Cold War? I didn't think so. Now get bact to work, all of you!
   45. Fred C. Dobbs Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:38 AM (#2890407)
China, if you are reading this- you just lost yourself a tourist!! Oh yeah, GO USA!1!
   46. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:45 AM (#2890412)
the chinese are the nazis now? oh brother, let godwin's law take effect, please.

You might want to read before you respond.

Too many differences to make the comparison an exact one

What part of that don't you understand? But which of those specific comparisons do you deny?

I could easily list many distinctions, but the truth is that there are many parallels between the two regimes.
   47. Lassus Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:56 AM (#2890422)
The world is far too different now than it was in 1936, and the cultures couldn't be farther apart for a comparison. Whether or not it's FAIR to compare them is something I don't really want to get into as I would get depressed, but I simply don't think it's remotely ACCURATE to start to compare them as parallel.

That being said, the Puppy Bowl and kitty halftime is about 4 million times better than the superbowl and their halftime. Even with last year's game.
   48. Rough Carrigan Posted: August 05, 2008 at 04:09 AM (#2890439)
They mess with baseball and make synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics official sports. How much more do you need to know about the olympics?
   49. AC Posted: August 05, 2008 at 04:23 AM (#2890454)
1. comparison to nazis/hitler is enough for godwin's law (corollary) to kick in.

2. i won't take issue with your list other than to point out that parallels can be made between nearly any two regimes (nsa spying on us citizens? us exterminated the native americans with great glee, etc etc).

so you have your list and are implying a pretty loaded parallel. i'm wondering where you're going with it. china is evil? china will wage a campaign of extermination against european jews? china will make shiny black boots and black uniforms popular?
   50. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: August 05, 2008 at 04:25 AM (#2890457)
I simply don't think it's remotely ACCURATE to start to compare them as parallel.


What's wrong with comparing a political structure with another?

Andy's take is over all dead-on accurate. Note he limits his comparisons mostly to the mechanism political and economic control. The political culture of xenophobia Andy mentioned was prevalent in both cases. "Culture", as a whole, are pretty different between Nazi Germany and Communist China. But 20th century has shown that many kinds of cultures can give rise to totalitarianism. It would be a cop-out to cite culture as a reason to avoid political comparisons.

Rod MacFarquahar, in an appendix of his seminal history of the Cultural Revolution, compared Mao to the other two totalitarian monsters of the century. His conclusion was that Mao's style was much more similar to Hitler than Stalin. Of course the chapter was excised in the Chinese translation, along with many other passages.
   51. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: August 05, 2008 at 04:38 AM (#2890459)
i won't take issue with your list other than to point out that parallels can be made between nearly any two regimes (nsa spying on us citizens? us exterminated the native americans with great glee, etc etc).

19th Century USA is to a great extent a model for China's development -- from civilizing the wild wild west and the inhabitants therein, the need for limiting the population's exposure to the outside world (especially the colonial powers), the very very strong nationalism including the institution of a single language, the prospect of secession, the desire to influence other countries within its sphere, to the maximum prioritization of industrial development at the expense of worker rights and environmental considerations. There are probably more but they escape me at the moment. Germany isn't a good comp really.
   52. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: August 05, 2008 at 04:38 AM (#2890460)
Re. 49

If you are one of the perpetually angry and ultra-nationalist Chinese students who study in American universities, then what I'm going to say is pointless. In the off chance that you are not,

1. comparison to nazis/hitler is enough for godwin's law (corollary) to kick in.

Godwin's Law only applies if you compared the other side of the argument to Hitler. Nobody has done that here.

2. i won't take issue with your list other than to point out that parallels can be made between nearly any two regimes (nsa spying on us citizens? us exterminated the native americans with great glee, etc etc).

30 million people died in the famine cause by Great Leap Forward. Let's stop drawing insulting equivalencies.

so you have your list and are implying a pretty loaded parallel. i'm wondering where you're going with it. china is evil? china will wage a campaign of extermination against european jews? china will make shiny black boots and black uniforms popular?

Interestingly Chinese Communism did make the Little Red Book and blue Zhongshan coats very popular for a while. Nobody is saying the Chinese people are evil here. The Chinese government and its ideology are another matter. Just because I deem Chinese Communism evil does not entail that I hate the Chinese people. It is a key distinction and you'll be well served to remember it.
   53. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: August 05, 2008 at 04:44 AM (#2890461)
the need for limiting the population's exposure to the outside world


To say this is remotely similar between China and 19th century America is patently absurd.
   54. Raskolnikov Posted: August 05, 2008 at 04:46 AM (#2890462)
Interestingly Chinese Communism did make the Little Red Book and blue Zhongshan coats very popular for a while. Nobody is saying the Chinese people are evil here. The Chinese government and its ideology are another matter. Just because I deem Chinese Communism evil does not entail that I hate the Chinese people. It is a key distinction and you'll be well served to remember it.

You do realize that Chinese politics have changed a great deal since Mao's regime. To rail against the Great Leap Forward is equivalent to a Chinese poster railing against the US for its segregationist policies.
   55. Raskolnikov Posted: August 05, 2008 at 04:48 AM (#2890463)
If you are one of the perpetually angry and ultra-nationalist Chinese students who study in American universities, then what I'm going to say is pointless. In the off chance that you are not

This is just a bizarre way to start a discussion. Isn't it basically saying "If you are an idiot, then you will not agree with me. But in the off chance that you are not an idiot..."
   56. Raskolnikov Posted: August 05, 2008 at 04:56 AM (#2890468)
The Olympics is run by Europeans. Seriously, if NBC and other broadcasters weren't giving them so much money, the IOC would probably kick everyone else out and make the Olympics a Europe-Only event, playing only European sports with European rules by European athletes

Not completely true. But the IOC is a dysfunctional organization which has two main flaws - 1) A ridiculous Euro-centrism and 2) inability to deal with the corruption of 3rd World representatives. Seriously, it's about time that other parts of the world outside of the US and Europe got to host the Olympics. The choices were terribly unrepresentative of the world identity which the Olympics claim.
   57. AC Posted: August 05, 2008 at 05:14 AM (#2890481)
i'd like to keep personal attacks out of this, but if i was a chinese student, i'd be pretty angry if people kept comparing my country to nazi germany...

i'm interested in the motivation to make such an inflammatory comparison. yes, china has done and continues to do terrible things (like many countries), but i fail to see the instructive point of the nazi analogy other than to inflame or promote an agenda.

ps. wiki on godwin's law of nazi analogies (and the corollary to which i referred). yeah, i know, wikipedia is my source, but its not like this is a high school term paper.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law
   58. AC Posted: August 05, 2008 at 05:18 AM (#2890484)
i found this financial times editorial on democracy vs. authoritarianism re: china interesting:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b93249ec-6175-11dd-af94-000077b07658.html

There is a tendency among westerners who have forgotten their own history to view democracy dogmatically as an end in itself. In reality, democracy emerged principally as the best means to achieve other desirable social ends such as stable power succession, fair distribution of public goods, the resolution of conflicts between interest groups and government accountability for the use of tax money.

The partys strategy is to accomplish as many of these ends as possible within the existing political framework, thereby undercutting the argument for democratisation and power-sharing.
   59. jolietconvict Posted: August 05, 2008 at 05:20 AM (#2890485)
Busting into American athlete's hotel rooms and installing spyware on their laptops strikes me as a seriously unlikely scenario. The Chinese government are your garden-variety autocrats not Snidely Whiplash.


I've gotten advice from US government security officials warning to either a) not bring your laptop to China or b) not let it out of your sight the entire time you're in the country.
   60. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 05, 2008 at 05:40 AM (#2890493)
19th Century USA is to a great extent a model for China's development

Wha?

-- from civilizing the wild wild west and the inhabitants therein, the need for limiting the population's exposure to the outside world (especially the colonial powers),

The US limited its population's exposure to the wider world? How?

[ithe very very strong nationalism

That really wasn't the case at the time. The Civil War showedin rather dramatic fashion that loyalty was to the state first, nation second. This was nothing new. In the War of 1812 over 5/6s of the people who signed up did so on the basis of servingin state militias, usually under the condition that they only defend their particular state. When the gov't institued a draft, you had a draft that killed over 1000 people.

You didn't see an effort made to really create a sense of nationalism until the end of the century - that's when civics and history became commonly taught courses, communities tried to make sure there was a flag in every school (and then every classroom), the pledge of allegiance was written, etc.

including the institution of a single language,

Huh? We never had an official language. A large chunk of the population was immigrant and contrary to common beliefs nowadays, they didn't always give up their native language right away. Except in the most isolated of cases they learned English, but often preferred to speak their original tongue. German Lutherans established the Missouri Synod to create churches that would preserve the Geman lanaguage for future generations. Swedes tried the same thing with the Augustana Synod but lacked the numbers. My hometown was originally a German farming community settled in the 1840s. The last German language services at the Lutheran churches was in the early 1970s. In cities, machine politicians placated to immigrant voters, often by adopting soft policies of the language. The streets were numbered on the south side of Chicago in part because there were so many immigrants there and everyone could read the numbers.

the prospect of secession,

Which really kinda undercuts the whole notion of "very very strong nationalism" don't it?

the desire to influence other countries within its sphere, to the maximum prioritization of industrial development at the expense of worker rights and environmental considerations.

What time frame are you in here? The era when seccession was a genuine prospect and industrialization was afoot? You're just randomly borrowing from decades, making stuff up, and ignoring other facts passing of some mythically homogenoous 19th century US.

There are probably more but they escape me at the moment.

When you find some good ones, lemme know.

Germany isn't a good comp really.

You've made a pretty compelling argument thta the 19th century US isn't a good comp. Wasn't your goal, but you pulled it off anyway.
   61. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: August 05, 2008 at 06:26 AM (#2890504)
orinoco and Dag Nabbit,

You both seem to be looking at 19th Century USA in hindsight and comparing it to the China of today. When I said the USA was a model for China, I meant that the Chinese have studied the 19th Century USA and found a number of situations and issues that they found comparable. They have used the USA experience in the formulation of their current policies. I didn't mean that when someone looked at both 100 years from now they'd find uncanny similarities in policy. I apologize if that wasn't clear, and I can see how it wouldn't have been.

For example, as Dag Nabbit's pointed out there was a strong sense of state identity in the USA and it was a mosaical, multilingual society. However the federal government did seek greater unity, particularly after the secession issue. Secession was considered intolerable by the Union. Similarly the Chinese government in 1949 took over a country that was not particularly unified, where people spoke local dialects for the most part, and where three major (in their eyes) parts of the country -- Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau -- were not under federal control. The southern provinces, and particularly the west had never been ruled by Beijing as closely as the east coast.

Looking at how, in their eyes, the USA united disparate peoples under a common banner, they made it an objective to do the same in China. Whether they actual policies were identical or not isn't relevant. They took the policies they liked and jettisoned the ones they didn't. For example they have not invaded Taiwan, and didn't invade Hong Kong (much to my relief) or Macau.

On the language issue, the fact is that the USA did very strongly encourage the use of English as a common language. Whether through public schools or peer pressure, immigrants believed that even though they might not speak English well, their children should. This sentiment remains true today. China also sees a common language as vital to national unity. The fact that they dealt with the problem with overt force rather than cultural pressure is different, but the issue was similar.

I hope that clarifies things.
   62. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: August 05, 2008 at 06:32 AM (#2890507)
i'd like to keep personal attacks out of this, but if i was a chinese student, i'd be pretty angry if people kept comparing my country to nazi germany...

i'm interested in the motivation to make such an inflammatory comparison. yes, china has done and continues to do terrible things (like many countries), but i fail to see the instructive point of the nazi analogy other than to inflame or promote an agenda.


I'm not a Chinese student and I find the moral superiority expressed here and by many Americans I've met over the past 15 years, when I moved to Hong Kong, extremely irritating. Not that Europeans or Indians or SE Asians or Japanese are any better about this. Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders seem to be the most open minded in my experience.
   63. Swedish Chef Posted: August 05, 2008 at 06:42 AM (#2890511)
Hey, Ubuntu, Fedora, whichever flavor of Linux tickles your fancy. As long as it's not Windows they'll never get in.

Someone seems to have slept through the horrible, horrible Debian/Ubuntu OpenSSH debacle.

(For TWO ####### YEARS every Debian-derived distribution had an crippled key generator in their ssh which always generated one of a couple of thousand keys, instead of one of an uncountable number.)

It turns out that the idea that open source software is less buggy because "many eyes" can look at it is wrong, "Many eyes" are only interested in porn and puppies, not code.
   64. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 05, 2008 at 10:18 AM (#2890542)
The world is far too different now than it was in 1936, and the cultures couldn't be farther apart for a comparison. Whether or not it's FAIR to compare them is something I don't really want to get into as I would get depressed, but I simply don't think it's remotely ACCURATE to start to compare them as parallel.

See below. I'll reply to large father because his criticism of what I wrote is fairly typical of the generic reaction.

1. comparison to nazis/hitler is enough for godwin's law (corollary) to kick in.

That's true only if I were making any overall comparison, which I wasn't. There are plenty of similarities between much of the xenophobia you could find here in the 30's (and beyond) and the sort of anti-semitism you could find in Germany then (and directed against Muslims today). And it's worth noting this as well. Godwin's law is aimed at trolling and deliberate obfuscation, but it shouldn't be invoked as a way of cutting off honest observations.

2. i won't take issue with your list other than to point out that parallels can be made between nearly any two regimes (nsa spying on us citizens? us exterminated the native americans with great glee, etc etc).

Undoubtedly true, and if you want to try to demonstrate just how deep those parallels run in any specific cases, be my guest.

so you have your list and are implying a pretty loaded parallel. i'm wondering where you're going with it. china is evil? china will wage a campaign of extermination against european jews? china will make shiny black boots and black uniforms popular?

Don't be silly. If it's not beneath your dignity, stick around BTF for more than 21 posts before you start writing garbage like that.

There are several real "rebuttals" to an argument that I haven't, and don't make, which is that the Chinese government is "just like the Nazis." The two principal ones are

---governing a nation of over a billion people isn't just a matter of replicating the ideas and practices of (for instance) the United States. If we had a billion people to deal with, I doubt if we'd be doing a whole lot better, and at the very least, it's impossible to know that.

---we know how the Nazi regime wound up; we don't know what China's eventual fate will be. And yes, I know that Mao has been dead for quite a while, and that his successors are not engaged in mass starvation and political madness. And believe it or not, I even recognize the historical forces that created Maoism. To use the old cliche, I was born at night, but not last night.

Acknowledging these two basic points should keep any outsider relatively humble about his criticisms and observations about China. But it shouldn't act as an excuse to shut off legitimate observations about disturbing trends in Chinese policies. China can use a bit more fresh air in more ways than one.

We have the responsibility to back up what we say. But you have the responsibility not to assume the worst about our motivations, without any evidence for your assumptions.
   65. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: August 05, 2008 at 10:40 AM (#2890546)
hey mess with baseball and make synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics official sports. How much more do you need to know about the olympics?

Don't forget the dressage.
   66. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: August 05, 2008 at 11:01 AM (#2890551)
When I said the USA was a model for China, I meant that the Chinese have studied the 19th Century USA and found a number of situations and issues that they found comparable.


Who, exactly, are "the Chinese" that did the study? The government? Intelligentsia? There is absolutely no evidence behind this statement.

You have not addressed the laughable assertion that 19th century America "[limited] the population's exposure to the outside world". Frankly that alone reduces your credibility to nil.
   67. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: August 05, 2008 at 11:07 AM (#2890556)
I find the moral superiority expressed here and by many Americans I've met over the past 15 years, when I moved to Hong Kong, extremely irritating.


They should feel superior. They enjoy much better political systems compared to Hong Kong, where political freedom is somewhat curtailed, and the mainland, where political freedom is zero.
   68. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: August 05, 2008 at 11:12 AM (#2890557)
i'm interested in the motivation to make such an inflammatory comparison.

The comparison was made because it was valid. Do the questions get any harder?

The partys strategy is to accomplish as many of these ends as possible within the existing political framework, thereby undercutting the argument for democratisation and power-sharing.

Yep. Got you pegged.
   69. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 05, 2008 at 12:13 PM (#2890573)
We never had an official language. A large chunk of the population was immigrant and contrary to common beliefs nowadays, they didn't always give up their native language right away.
My paternal great-great-grandfather immigrated from Germany in the 1840s. In the 1860s he settled in Oldenburg, IN, about an hour from Cincy. My grandfather, born in 1898, grew up speaking German in the house although he learned English too. Even my recently deceased great uncle Louie, his youngest brother born in 1914, spoke German as a child. I don't think that was all so unusual. The story is that WWI was a big influence on people switching to speaking in English, although my great-grandparents continued to speak German in the home until their deaths in the late 1940s.
Now my ancestors on my Dad's Mom's side and my mother's side, who moved to Cincinnati right after immigration, converted to English right away, as best as we can tell. My Mom's parents, born 1875 and 1884, spoke no German.
I'm sure the most pressure to get to a common language was economic. Important to switch in the big city (no matter how German it was); not very much in a farming town that was 90% German.
   70. tribefan Posted: August 05, 2008 at 12:58 PM (#2890597)
Totalitarian ostentation and Bob Costas. How can you not watch?

Costas has far more important issues to address, like bloggers.
   71. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 05, 2008 at 01:09 PM (#2890604)
Totalitarian ostentation and Bob Costas. How can you not watch?

Costas has far more important issues to address, like bloggers.


He won't have to worry about bloggers in China.
   72. . Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:03 PM (#2890648)
In both cases, western capitalists were their most reliable and valuable outside allies. Which makes sense, since most capitalists are thoroughly amoral. Give them their guaranteed profits, and they don't see nothing. And gee, don't those trains run on time?

Hitler's and Mao's brand management genius represent a great case study for our modern multinationals -- a point made with great skill in the recently-published "Iron Fists: Branding the 20th Century Totalitarian State."

In the author's words, “the design and marketing methods used to inculcate doctrine and guarantee consumption are fundamentally similar.”
   73. . Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:05 PM (#2890649)
You do realize that Chinese politics have changed a great deal since Mao's regime. To rail against the Great Leap Forward is equivalent to a Chinese poster railing against the US for its segregationist policies.

Chinese politics are fundamentally unfree and the Great Leap Forward bears little resemblance to US segregation.
   74. . Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:06 PM (#2890653)
i'm interested in the motivation to make such an inflammatory comparison. yes, china has done and continues to do terrible things (like many countries), but i fail to see the instructive point of the nazi analogy other than to inflame or promote an agenda.

Objective historical accuracy and understanding?
   75. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:12 PM (#2890663)
Someone seems to have slept through the horrible, horrible Debian/Ubuntu OpenSSH debacle.

Well, I didn't loose too much sleep about my cryptographic protocol being poorly seeded, and I doubt you did either, Mr. Snarkypants.
   76. bunyon Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:18 PM (#2890668)
mm1f - where were you? Emeigh, bunyon, Dial and myself were there as well (meetup). Nice blown call(s) on the double hit, huh?

Yeah, I feel snubbed. :)


So, who won the 8th inning?
   77. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:21 PM (#2890673)
So, who won the 8th inning?


No one. No runs were scored.

-- MWE
   78. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 05, 2008 at 02:40 PM (#2890698)
The double hit play was a joke. How the umps didn't see what happened immediately was embarrassing... it was right in front of you blue!


One of the few plays in my lifetime where BOTH managers came out to argue, different aspects of it.

With runners on first and third, Canada's Emmanuel Garcia hit a tapper in front of the plate. The ball hit his bat, which was about 10 feet in front of the plate in fair territory, and deflected away from USA C Lou Marson. Marson recovered nicely, but his throw to first pulled Terry Tiffee off the base (it wasn't close). Despite that, the 1B umpire called Garcia out. Davey Johnson came out to argue the call on the ball hitting the bat, while Canada's Terry Puhl went at it with the 1B umpire over his call on Garcia. Puhl and his 1B coach (not sure who it was, since he was wearing a jacket; probably a pitcher, as coaches Greg Hamilton and Denis Boucher were in the dugout and coach Rob Ducey was over at 3B) were both bounced.

The umpires actually got the call on the bat right, believe it or not. I double-checked the rule (6.05(h)) and this is what it says:

"If the batter-runner drops his bat and the ball rolls against the bat in fair territory and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, the ball is alive and in play."

That's exactly what happened. I learned something today.

-- MWE
   79. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:06 PM (#2890731)
Would Godwin's Law come into play if I were to compare Pere Ubu's "Final Solution" to Billy Bragg's "Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards"?
   80. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:28 PM (#2890747)
Sure, but my point is "why?" It would serve no purpose other than to accentuate the black hat and handlebar mustache. Sure the Chinese government could do it if they wanted to, but why the hell would they want to?


Well, if the whole world knows what they're doing, and they go ahead and do it anyway in spite of all the publicity, the message it conveys to their subjects is as clear as consecutive knockdown pitches. It makes 99% of the population less likely to dig in for the next fifty plate appearances.

I think it's less complicated than that. Why would the Chinese want to install spyware on athlete's computers? To spy on the athletes!

China's government *really* wants it to win the most medals in the Olympics this year as a matter of national pride, and have been pushing to make this happen for nearly a decade. In that context, the idea that they would spy on on competing athletes, even to gain the smallest advantage, is at least plausible. I'm not sure what advantage they could really gain--perhaps finding information about strategies, or training programs, or illegal substances being used. I don't know, but I don't expect them to leave any potential competitive advantage on the table this year.
   81. Spahn Insane Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:33 PM (#2890755)
1. comparison to nazis/hitler is enough for godwin's law (corollary) to kick in.

And therefore, such comparisons are categorically invalid.

Does not follow.
   82. Dan Evensen Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:48 PM (#2890780)
#16 is wrong -- the Nazis took power in 1932. They just hadn't started invading other countries in 1936. Ever wonder why there were Nazi flags hanging everywhere for the games?

Having lived in China, I remember quite clearly the massive amount of spyware and viruses floating around there. If you go, be very careful about using flash drives in internet cafes. I'm not entirely convinced that the spyware in question is designed for the Chinese government's benefit, though. Those who created the spyware are probably more interested in your bank account information than your views on Tibetan independence.

Regardless, we're moving back there on the 21st, and I'm looking forward to it.
   83. bunyon Posted: August 05, 2008 at 03:55 PM (#2890791)
So, who won the 8th inning?



No one. No runs were scored.



Not surprisingly, I find this very, very hard to believe.

As to the rule on the bat, huh. That also surprises me.

#16 is wrong -- the Nazis took power in 1932. They just hadn't started invading other countries in 1936. Ever wonder why there were Nazi flags hanging everywhere for the games?


That's true, but I think the point was that the games are usually awarded more than four years in advance (at least they are now). So, before the Nazis took over, Germany got the games. I seem to recall there was some talk of taking the games away but it was too logistically difficult and no one really wanted to piss the Nazis off that much (not to mention that they invaded Czechoslovakia and still no one did anything so...)
   84. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 05, 2008 at 04:03 PM (#2890800)
#16 is wrong -- the Nazis took power in 1932. They just hadn't started invading other countries in 1936. Ever wonder why there were Nazi flags hanging everywhere for the games?

Beyond what bunyon said about the timing of the awarding of the games, Germany invaded and took over the Rhineland in March of 1936 without a peep out of the other European countries, in direct violation of the Versailles treaty. This was when Hitler first realized that he could pretty much get away with anything, and with good reason. The whole idea that nobody could have foreseen what Hitler was up to is little more than a comforting myth. There were reports of Nazi pogroms and saber rattling on the front pages of every newspaper in the world beginning with the very first weeks of the regime.
   85. Zonk Didn't But He'd Do It Again Posted: August 05, 2008 at 04:30 PM (#2890860)
Beyond what bunyon said about the timing of the awarding of the games, Germany invaded and took over the Rhineland in March of 1936 without a peep out of the other European countries, in direct violation of the Versailles treaty.


Well, technically -- the Rhineland was still German territory after WW1, though the French had designs on annexing it outright - that never came to pass, it was just 'de-militarized'.... it wasn't so much an invasion and take over as it was flouting one of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, sort of on par with the German army exceeding the Versailles limits.

It's incorrect to compare the reoccupation of the Rhineland -- which was still German territory, after all, with the Anschluss, Sudetenland/Munich or outright annexation of Czechoslovakia...

Eighteen years after WW I -- without the benefit of foresight -- I really don't see how any nation would have realistically considered going to war with Germany for basically re-establishing control over what was considered and accepted by the world as it's territorial borders.
   86. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 05, 2008 at 05:04 PM (#2890909)
zonk, just about every history of that period says the same thing: That "re-occupation" of the Rhineland was first and foremost a case of Hitler testing the waters to see what he could get away with. Memoirs by several German military men have said that if the Europeans had put their foot down at that point, Hitler would have had to beat an immediate retreat, and seriously reconsider his whole grand strategy of conquest.

None of this has anything to do with the justness of the Versailles treaty, and that's a separate question. But Hitler had begun rearming Germany from Day One, and there was no mystery about his intentions to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention, either to the news or to the scores of books (in English, BTW) that were being published on the subject well before 1936.

In many ways this whole dispute is analogous to the situation in Eastern and Central Europe after WWII, when Stalin overran it (though not by directly military means) without any resistance from the West. Unfortunately for Poland, Hungary, etc., the U.S. and our allies were in a state of rapid demobilization and in no way willing to put the uniforms back on and save these smaller states from Russian dominance. In both cases the domestic politics of the time made the passivity understandable, but in neither case did it make it any less shortsighted in the long run.
   87. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 05, 2008 at 05:16 PM (#2890926)
No one. No runs were scored.


Not surprisingly, I find this very, very hard to believe.


That's what really happened, honest :)

Canada inserted TJ Burton to pitch, and he was outstanding. The USA used Brian Duensing for 2/3 and Casey Weathers for 1/3.

I was more than a bit annoyed that USA Baseball didn't have lineup sheets for the Canadians. Here is Team Canada.

EDIT: James Avery is a last-second replacement for Scott Richmond, called up by the Blue Jays. He was cleared to play on Friday; there was some question as to whether he'd be eligible because the move occurred after the roster deadline.

-- MWE
   88. Zonk Didn't But He'd Do It Again Posted: August 05, 2008 at 05:24 PM (#2890939)
Andy -

Sure, no doubt things might have turned out differently had England/France issued more than mild protests to the Versailles breaches -- but I think that's as irrelevant as saying things might have turned out differently if an allied sniper in WWI had taken out Hitler in 1917...

My dispute with pointing to the Rhineland reoccupation as a point where Hitler "could" have been stopped -- and also calling it analogous to Eastern/Central Europe -- is that we are ultimately talking about a nation basically reoccupying its own territory... we're not even talking about territory it formally ceded away -- we're talking about territory that was recognized as German territory.

I can't see how anyone could reasonably expect to sell Germany's re-militarization of the Rhineland as a casus belli, no matter what the Treaty of Versailles said about it.

Should England/France perhaps have recognized the Rhineland incident as a call to arms -- and used it as a lesson to be applied 2 years later in 1938? Certainly... but Germany was ultimately going to be taking back control of the Ruhr-Rhine area regardless of what Versailles said.
   89. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 05, 2008 at 05:42 PM (#2890966)
Should England/France perhaps have recognized the Rhineland incident as a call to arms -- and used it as a lesson to be applied 2 years later in 1938? Certainly...

Which I agree is the heart of the matter.

but Germany was ultimately going to be taking back control of the Ruhr-Rhine area regardless of what Versailles said.

But again, regardless of the justice of the Versailles treaty, and the fact that the Rhineland had previously been German territory, the fact that the European powers did nothing to resist the reoccupation helped set the stage in Hitler's mind for his subsequent steps. Merely having Europe take this as a "call to arms" wouldn't have done all that much, until Europe showed by action that it was willing to use those arms. And by ceding the Rhineland back to Germany, and by letting Hitler use it as a demonstration of German might*, the first step towards WWII had clearly been taken.

*This ability to demonstrate German might was even more important to Hitler than the Rhineland itself.
   90. bunyon Posted: August 05, 2008 at 05:48 PM (#2890973)
The idea that Germany would have retaken the Rhineland eventually anyway is a tempting one. I agree that Versailles or no, either you should hand that land to France as part of the treaty or acknowledge that Germany will re-take it. However, later events show that this isn't what the Allies were thinking. They were simply not going to stand up to Hitler. You can make a plausible argument for letting them re-arm the Rhineland. The later acquisitions that met with similar Allied inaction has no plausible explanation other than timidity and cowardice.
   91. The Good Face Posted: August 05, 2008 at 05:49 PM (#2890975)
China should have its one child taken away.
   92. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: August 05, 2008 at 05:56 PM (#2890987)
Who, exactly, are "the Chinese" that did the study? The government? Intelligentsia? There is absolutely no evidence behind this statement.

You have not addressed the laughable assertion that 19th century America "[limited] the population's exposure to the outside world". Frankly that alone reduces your credibility to nil.


I didn't think I was making a very controversial statement, but since I've apparently not stated it very well, I'll try to clarify. I really don't see what's so amazing about a newly founded country wanting to learn from the experience of what it considers a similar situation in another country it views as successful. Obviously this wasn't done in one discreet study, and rather it's an ongoing process.

19th Century Americans did have limited contact with the outside world due to transportation and communication barriers. It was expensive and inconvenient to travel to and communicate with outsiders for most people. The government did have a policy of high tariff barriers to limit exposure to English cotton and other goods made by the colonial powers. I had thought this a commonly accepted fact. Is there any evidence to the contrary?
   93. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: August 05, 2008 at 06:05 PM (#2890999)
I find the moral superiority expressed here and by many Americans I've met over the past 15 years, when I moved to Hong Kong, extremely irritating.They should feel superior.

Response: They enjoy much better political systems compared to Hong Kong, where political freedom is somewhat curtailed, and the mainland, where political freedom is zero.


Being fortunate enough to enjoy greater participation in the political process does not make a person morally superior.
   94. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: August 05, 2008 at 06:07 PM (#2891005)
i'm interested in the motivation to make such an inflammatory comparison. yes, china has done and continues to do terrible things (like many countries), but i fail to see the instructive point of the nazi analogy other than to inflame or promote an agenda.

Response: Objective historical accuracy and understanding?


Thanks, this made me chuckle.
   95. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: August 05, 2008 at 06:15 PM (#2891016)
Acknowledging these two basic points should keep any outsider relatively humble about his criticisms and observations about China. But it shouldn't act as an excuse to shut off legitimate observations about disturbing trends in Chinese policies. China can use a bit more fresh air in more ways than one.

I'm curious. Are you saying that China's progress since 1979 is anything but stunningly successful? What are these "disturbing trends"? Are you really saying that policies in 2008 are in any way worse (defined however you want) than in 1978?

Regarding China being able to use more fresh air, I don't think anyone disputes that. What the Chinese I've met, and I, dispute is who is qualified to lecture them on this point. I know I'm not. They, and I, also question the motives of those doing the lecturing -- is it because the lecturers are genuinely concerned about the best interests of the Chinese citizenry, or that they want to feel morally superior and compete for influence on the world stage? They, and I, suspect the latter.
   96. Sexy Lizard Posted: August 05, 2008 at 06:42 PM (#2891075)
FWIW, in the Federal Period Americans very famously didn't go abroad to do much studying or anything other than making commercial contracts in a few port cities. When Americans started going overseas again (mainly to England and the German states) there was almost no support network for them to do so. Over and over again in the 1820s you read about young Americans going abroad who got help from Washington Irving, because he was pretty much the only prominent American in Europe who wasn't there for reasons of either commerce or government.

However, this stay-at-home attitude was either voluntary or caused by little things like the massive disruptions of the Napoleonic era, not by government fiat. If the government got involved in limiting travel it was as a part of the endless conflicts over shipping that had such a prominint place in US foreign policy questions from Independence to 1812.

The other note from this thread is that we shouldn't underestimate American nationalism in the first half of the 19th century. State loyalty was a part of American nationalism. We can't understand this now, but state vs. federal wasn't the binary choice that it became in the period from the 1830s through the Civil War. Before 1830 you had nationalism in a decentralized nation. A Virginian would have no doubt that Americans were the best people in the world, he would only add that Virginians were the best of the Americans.
   97. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 05, 2008 at 06:43 PM (#2891080)
is it because the lecturers are genuinely concerned about the best interests of the Chinese citizenry,

Define Chinese citizenry. Does this include everyone the Chinese government considers Chinese?
   98. . Posted: August 05, 2008 at 06:45 PM (#2891081)
19th Century Americans did have limited contact with the outside world due to transportation and communication barriers. It was expensive and inconvenient to travel to and communicate with outsiders for most people. The government did have a policy of high tariff barriers to limit exposure to English cotton and other goods made by the colonial powers. I had thought this a commonly accepted fact. Is there any evidence to the contrary?


You honestly can't discern the fundamental difference between exposure being limited because the means to achieve it didn't exist, and because the government forbids it by force?

You might as well have said, "What's so bad about China banning internet access? 19th century Americans had limited contact with the internet."
   99. Padraic Posted: August 05, 2008 at 07:22 PM (#2891186)
That "re-occupation" of the Rhineland was first and foremost a case of Hitler testing the waters to see what he could get away with. Memoirs by several German military men have said that if the Europeans had put their foot down at that point, Hitler would have had to beat an immediate retreat, and seriously reconsider his whole grand strategy of conquest.


But if France and England had used military force as early as that, how much madder, more bitter, and more milataristic would the German population have become? It's easy to see what an appeasement strategy led to, but that doesn't necessarily mean another course would have been preferable. Germany was a growing power with an axe to grind...no matter what France and England did, there was probably going to be another war. Maybe if they kept Germany down another 5-10 years, another charismatic leader comes along to incite the country to war...after Germany develops nukes.
   100. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: August 05, 2008 at 07:25 PM (#2891197)
Define Chinese citizenry. Does this include everyone the Chinese government considers Chinese?

Hmmm...good question. I was thinking of citizens of the PRC and permanent residents of Hong Kong and Macau. I hadn't thought about Taiwan, and in that instance I'm inclined to believe that outsiders have a greater interest in the best interest of the Taiwanese than does the PRC government. I'm definitely not including citizens of other countries who are of Chinese ethnicity.

You might as well have said, "What's so bad about China banning internet access? 19th century Americans had limited contact with the internet."

I wasn't saying either was "good" or "bad". It's not a moral competition for me. I'm looking at China as an businessman from St Louis working in Hong Kong who wants for personal and professional reasons to see China succeed, and for China's relations with the USA, Europe, SE Asia, Japan and India to be warmer than they now are. I have a business and a house in India. I have a house, business and girl friend in Hong Kong. I'm all for learning from the history of the USA and anywhere else that's relevant.

FWIW I don't agree with repressive policies of the Chinese, or any other government, but I do feel encouraged by the progress they've made. For that matter, repressiveness seems to be on the decline worldwide, which makes me feel good. I thought this went without saying.

The exposure to the outside world issue is relevant in that both China and the USA came out of situations (British colonial rule in the USA) and European Colonial and Japanese influence in China whereby each felt it necessary to establish a strong national identity among its citizenry. I find the parallels interesting. I didn't mean to get sucked into a discussion on comparative moral fitness. I don't see how repeated strident explanations on how one's own country is morally superior to others are productive.
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