Thursday, December 31, 2009

Let us not forget the dragon's appetite.

For if the future of the Republic is first decided by guns within our borders, the war with the international creditors to collect what they see as their due will surely follow.


From Real Clear World:

December 31, 2009

China Goes for the Gold

By Daniel McGroarty

Nearly lost in the news of would-be air terror, protests in Tehran and best-and-worst retrospectives for the fast-vanishing Double-Zero Decade was a story about a tiny investment deal that raises big questions about China's strategic intentions towards the United States.

The story, reported on the New York Times' business page, noted the decision of Northwest Non-Ferrous International Investment Company - a Chinese state-controlled mining conglomerate - to withdraw its request for U.S. Government approval of its purchase of a controlling interest in Nevada-based gold-miner. The withdrawal spared the Northwest Non-Ferrous/Nevada deal from becoming only the second proposed foreign investment since 1988 to be formally rejected by CFIUS - the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, chaired by the Treasury Department with seats for more than a dozen U.S. agencies including the Departments of Defense, State Homeland Security. (Trade wonk trivia spoiler alert: the first CFIUS refusal involved a proposed Chinese acquisition of a Washington State aerospace company, during the presidency of George H.W. Bush.)

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Daniel McGroarty China

In this week's case, the object of Chinese affection was FirstGold Corporation - a tiny Nevada gold mining company, small even for junior mining standards, with a single producing mine and a market cap just above $5 million. Precisely why the Chinese firm selected FirstGold from among scores of U.S. gold mining companies is not clear, but in recommending that the deal be refused, CFIUS apparently focused on "serious, significant and consequential national security issues" - namely, the proximity of one of FirstGold's projects to Fallon Naval Air Station, home to the Navy's TOPGUN training facility, as well as "other sensitive classified assets." What benefits China might enjoy from being a Nevada neighbor of TOPGUN were left to the reader's imagination. The New York Times also noted Obama Administration concerns that what might have interested the Chinese in FirstGold may not have been gold at all, but its rights to mine zinc and uranium - both of which are designated strategic minerals by the U.S. Government.

The setback for Northwest Non-Ferrous follows successful investments in Canada and Australia. The Chinese firm bought a Yukon mining company with lead and zinc assets in 2008, and made a second investment that same year in an Australian gold company which also holds prospective uranium properties. Northwest Non-Ferrous's non-Chinese purchases form part of a pattern: other Chinese state-controlled agencies have sought stakes in two Australian miners who happen to be among the very few non-Chinese companies that mine rare earth minerals critical to a range of military and commercial uses.

CFIUS' refusal parallels recent Australian decisions denying mining company acquisitions proposed by Chinese state-controlled firms. Earlier this year, Australia's Defense Department denied a proposed joint venture involving a Chinese state firm and an Australian resource company with properties near a missile test site. A second Australian mining company investment by yet another Chinese state firm was approved by Australian authorities, but only after a property near the same missile test site was excluded from the deal.

Is this month's CFIUS refusal merely a blip on the business page - or a harbinger of heightened levels of scrutiny for Chinese mineral and metals investments? Here's hoping it is a sign that the U.S. and its resource-rich allies are beginning to notice a pattern of Chinese commercial purchases with potentially serious geo-strategic consequences. China apparently sees value in the West's vast and varied resource base. Can we say the same?

Daniel McGroarty, principal of Carmot Strategic Group, an issues management firm in Washington, D.C., served in senior positions in the White House and at the Department of Defense.


Anonymous said...

If Nevada will not have the Chinese as investors, the Republic of South Africa surely will.

It is implausible that China, with its extensive manufacturing base, will not show an interest in securing raw materials.

Chinese renminbi are artificially depreciated; American dollars are artificially inflated. Assuming they have ample food stocks, developing nations will come to have more use for the Chinese unit of exchange. After all, how many SUVs can Third World nations absorb?


Larry said...

Once our republic is reestablished, can't we just pay them back with whatever wealth we can get back from the thieves in the Federal Reserve and their co-conspirators at Goldman Sachs? It may be a naive idea, but since we are able to freeze bank accounts worldwide now, why not then? Same with whatever companies they have purchased with our money, where ever they may be in the world.

We just need our own Mossad to ferrit them out.


Happy D said...

Hey we could pay the Chinese back by rounding up the more unconstitutional government by and for deficit voters. Lets call them the gimmes. And sending them over to work off the debt they incurred.

Anonymous said...

Happy new year



aughtsix said...

The western world has never, and does not now, comprehend the eastern mind, neither of the 'middle east' nor of the 'far east'.

The Chinese take a strategic view so long (a civilization 3000 years old might be expected to do so) that western politicians and diplomats are ADD 12 year old boys by comparison. In addition, the Chinese, like their Muslim counterparts, have NO reservations about deceit, deception, backstabbing and betrayal, to an extent that we can hardly appreciate.

In the Muslim world, these are raised to a high art form, an integral part of the fabric of daily life. Indeed, they are prescribed as the preferred form of interaction with non Muslims.

Until we understand these basic facts of life, we will continue to be blindsided and sandbagged by "the Orient."

As far as the Chinese "owning" any real part of us...

They would do well to remember Yamamoto's reluctance to invade us.
And we should remember the reason why.

Anonymous said...

Why do I suspect that the only reason this deal didn't go through was that the Chinese didn't offer enough money to the right
person(s) in this administration?

Anonymous said...

[C]an't we just pay them back with whatever wealth we can get back from the thieves in the Federal Reserve and their co-conspirators at Goldman Sachs?--Larry

You will experience difficulty getting anything of worth from the Federal Reserve these days. They swapped out their Treasury holdings (T-notes and T-bills) for the worthless mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations held by AIG, Wells Fargo, Chase Morgan, et. al.

The Fed is now just as insolvent as your neighborhood bank.

With lunatic monetary policy such as this, is it any wonder the Chinese are moving to eclipse us as a manufacturing power?


Anonymous said...

The Chinese are playing chess, while the West plays checkers.

Anonymous said...

At least insofar as the above-the-table debt to China is concerned, it is denominated in Federal Reserve paper, and we have plenty of ink and cellulose. I have no worries about this aspect of things.

One does wonder whether in the near future newly issued Treasury bonds will be denominated in yuan, SDR, or whatever else.

And one wonders whether Taiwan and a piece of the ME oil action haven't already been promised to China, as we wait for a pretense to expand our ME involvement, in exchange for their continued financing and cooperation.

Overall, my geopolitical view is as follows. That US, Russia, and China have an understanding whereby:

- Russia will gain considerable wealth supplying the captive market of Europe with oil and gas, and will regain regional primacy as EU (and NATO) shrink amidst cost cutting and financial woes

- the US (with Israel's help) will in the meantime park on top of ME and supply itself and Asia with oil

- China and India are late to the game, without an effective means of projecting their power. They'll be paying for ME oil rather than occupying ME directly. China will be getting a sweet deal however, and other concessions.

- Africa's resources are slated for massive re-colonization, "legitimized" by local crony governments.

Notable in this model is the fact that all of the major players have Muslim problems of one sort or another.

(Heck, it seems all non-Muslim-majority states the world over have Muslim problems).


Anonymous said...

- Africa's resources are slated for massive re-colonization, "legitimized" by local crony governments.--Anon

When the fiat currencies of the world blow up from excessive issuance, commodities will assume new significance. This means geopolitical influence will be held by those with control of natural resources that result from mining and agriculture.

Re-colonization or neocolonization will look much like its 19th century predecessor.


Toastrider said...

Huh. I guess the Chinese have moved up from dealing in imaginary gold.

(China is a well-known locale for 'gold farming', generating in-game currency for various and sundry massively-multiplayer online games and then selling said currency for real world money).