Don’t forget the Hippos

The current geopolitical scene today is dominated by two elephants, namely the USA and China. The USA remains the world’s largest economy and the American military remains the only military force on the planet that can fight two wars in the world at any given time. The other elephant is China, which in the last four decades has grown its economy to being able to challenge that of the USA (even American policy makers admit that it’s a question of when China becomes the larger economy) and with growing prosperity, its invested in its military, so much so that American military planners don’t take assume that they’ll automatically win any potential war with China.

Unfortunately for the rest of the world, both elephants have character flaw. China, under President Xi has become especially mean, nasty and secretive. Whatever growing rights that China’s citizens enjoyed under his predecessors have since vanished. In the handling of the Covid-19 outbreak, scientist in China who tried to warn the world ended up vanishing, which was something that didn’t happen during the SARS outbreak of 2003. Mr. Xi has used anti-corruption drives to consolidate power to such a point that he has decided that he’ll do away with the tradition of leaders handing over power after a decade.

While the USA under Trump isn’t nasty, it become something of an incompetent buffoon, which has become particularly noticeable in its handling of Covid-19. America, which used to be a donor nation in any disaster has needed to get mask from elsewhere and the world has been transfixed by images of American doctors begging for basic protective equipment. As this happens, you get daily scenes of the President bragging about the great job he’s doing. Even before the outbreak of Covid-19, the Trump Administration was unashamedly transactional in its foreign policy and its high staff turnover suggested that it could barely get its act together.

So, what can the rest of the world do? How do you choose between a nasty elephant and an unpredictable and stupid one? I’ve previously argued that small nations need to work more closely together, as in the case of the European Union. There’s another solution, which my favourite litigator reminded me of in a recent article that he shared on Linkedin.

The answer is to remember that while the elephants are by far and away the most dominant animals in the jungle of geopolitics, there are other large animals who can help small insects. For my favourite litigator, the two animals are the United Kingdom (the dominant global power before the USA) and Japan (the dominant power in Asia, before China). You could say that if the USA and China are elephants, the UK and Japan are hippos.

Hippos may not be as domineering as elephants but they have the potential to offer the world. Britain may not have the firepower of the USA; the British armed forces have been an invaluable ally in America’s conflicts. The British Armed forces are considered to be amongst the world’s most professional and experienced, so much so that I remember one of my favourite Englishmen reminding a group of Singaporeans that American Navy Seals go to the UK for training by the SAS and SBS. British Armed forces have defended British citizens in troubled spots and have shown themselves more than capable of defending their interest.

The economy of the UK isn’t something to be sniffed at either. London remains New York’s only competitor as the world’s main financial centre, even with the loss of unfettered access to Europe through Brexit. The UK remains the sixth largest economy in the world with a nominal Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”) of US$2.83 trillion and a Purchasing Power Parity (“PPP”) of US$10.4 trillion. It’s not the largest economy or largest market but it is still in the top ten places of markets to be.

The United Kingdom has serval key strengths which cannot be rivalled. It is the home of the English language; the language used in global commerce and has strengths in soft power exports like music and sport (90 percent of Manchester United Fans have never been to Old Trafford). The UK has the Oxbridge Universities, which are consistently in the top ten of the world’s best and British Universities have trained many global leaders. The Commonwealth of Nations, which was formed from the empire provides the UK with relationships to a quarter of the known world. Furthermore the “Common Law” Jurisdiction allows British Entrepreneurs to operate in a wide variety of familiar legal jurisdictions, a fact that my favourite liquidator is banking on. Britain is in many ways incredibly flexible and friendly for entrepreneurs.

In Asia, the forgotten player is Japan, which is the world’s third largest economy with a nominal GDP of US$5.1 trillion. While this is dwarfed by the US$14.1 trillion of China, the average Japanese remains wealthier and Japan has advantages in high technology manufacturing. Japan is in many ways a very futuristic society that has embraced technology in ways that no one else has done, as this video from Drew Binsky explains.

Japan may lack the sheer mass that China has, it has one crucial advantage, stronger soft power. While Japan has yet to atone for many of its crimes in the Second World War (which is a source of tension with its neighbours), it is perceived as a more benign force that China. Everyone in the ASEAN region worries about China swallowing their territory in the South China seas. There are no corresponding fears about Japan.

Furthermore, the most obvious friendship in Japan’s favour is India, the only country that competes with China for sheer mass. India is what you’d call the proverbial third elephant that never quite lives up to its potential because of its schizoid politics. Like Japan, India has a rivalry with China and as Bloomberg Columnist Andy Mukherjee said many years ago, Japan’s most obvious bet is to build India up. Japan has the money and technology but does not have the size to compete, whereas India has size but remains poorer and more backwards than China. Hence, Japanese-Indian cooperation seems like the most obvious course to follow and the warm relationship between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe can only speed up this process.

Both Japan and the UK are in many ways, “sunset” powers that once occupied top spot and are now forced to find their global relevance by playing second fiddle to the American elephant.

However, the fact remains that both the UK and Japan are countries that play a role on the global stage. The British in particular had to build their global empire by learning how to operate as small units cooperating, have certain skill sets that the rest of us can learn from.

Working with elephants is important, even if one of them is stupid and the other one is nasty. However, they aren’t the only animals in the proverbial jungle and working with other large animals can also be a way of securing ones future.

 

Tang Li

*Although I’ve been based mainly in Singapore for nearly two decades, I’ve had the privilege of being able meet people who have crossed borders and cultures. I’ve befriended ministers and ambassadors and worked on projects involving a former head of state. Yet, at the same time, I’ve had the privilege of befriending migrant labourers and former convicts. All of them have a story to tell. All of them add to the fabric of life. I hope to express the stories that inspire us to create life as it should be.

 

 

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24 Responses to “Don’t forget the Hippos”

  • The Beast like no other:

    The Hippocrite is marked by 4 signs:

    As he talks he deceives;
    When he promises he will be untrue;
    When he’s entrusted he will betray;
    When he differs from you he will dispute and denigrate.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Who are you to be a PUNDIT on two Countries that you KNOW shit about except the Perception given in News one-sided lopsided or otherwise…

    Try discerning Singapore’s Place in ASEAN for starters and show your Intellect you claimed ie equivalent to Dog’s Pooh…try to STOP spinning and take readers for IDIOTS…you are a long way to reach the a$$e’s hair of Lie Con You a Master that you try to Emulate but Ya!!! you can Hug his Idiotic son and share somethings in COMMON!!!

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    patriot of TUMASIK:
    Who are you to be a PUNDIT on two Countries that you KNOW shit about except the Perception given in News one-sided lopsided or otherwise…

    Try discerning Singapore’s Place in ASEAN for starters and show your Intellect you claimed ie equivalent to Dog’s Pooh…try to STOP spinning and take readers for IDIOTS…you are a long way to reach the a$$e’s hair of Lie Con You a Master that you try to Emulate but Ya!!! you can Hug his Idiotic son and share somethings in COMMON!!!

    Ed…Do we need world views from an IDIOT claiming to be an Intellect???.. World views can be found in the NET by TRUE Intellects and Brilliant Minds with views of their OWN not Plagiarized or copy & paste and should you need such Views go get the REAL ONE a Coke… not a James Tangfastic and his SHIT

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  • Sojoürner:

    The logic in this article is flawed.
    The hegemony that once was the U.S. is now being usurped by China, Japan, Germany, Australia who are ‘too happy’ to step on the world stage.

    Ms. Merkel, the woman many consider not just the most important leader in Europe, but also the reluctant, de facto leader of the West”. So the Third Reich wins after all – It’s easy to understand why Britain, which withstood the Blitz, voted to get out of EU.

    Neither the Americans nor the Chinese see Europe as an equal, while the Europeans are happy to give away the mantle of global dominance. China is not the role model for freedom of expression and ‘joie de vivre’ that Europeans want, but it does have the money.

    The “world market” is also heavily uneven for reasons that have nothing to do with economics. For instance, China can’t buy advanced weaponry from the U.S. or E.U. period, because of sanctions. How much money China has is irrelevant. Chinese companies also can’t invest in the U.S. in strategic sectors (such as oil or technology) nor can U.S. companies invest in strategic sectors in China.

    China runs a very high risk of having more regional explosions, and this means that China is suppressing regional problems, which will produce uncontrollable outrages that threaten its stability on regional and even national levels. There is no such thing as basic human rights in China. Until these regional problems are addressed, China still can´t compete with the U.S. as a super power.

    The U.S. built it’s huge economy at a unique time in history and the big difference compared to China’s is a result of that unique time. Since the end of the Post World War II boom growth rates in the U.S. have remained between 2-3% at best, a fraction of China’s since the 1980′s. The U.S. will not grow faster because there is no major increase of demand to fuel it. With China’s internal market growing, however slowly, it could support higher growth rates than in the U.S. despite the slow growth of the Global economy.

    I think that while China’s economy is half as big, circumstances still will result in higher growth rates than in the U.S. which over the long run will result in China’s economy becoming larger than the U.S. Politics, not economics. Overall “power” is inherently non-measurable by statistics.

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  • Top Money for Top Talents:

    Dear Tang Li,
    You are very uninformed.

    China will never be world power mainly due to:
    1. high corruption, China aircraft carrier will break up in pieces if it hit a storm
    2. PRC/ROC people are morally corrupted, they will even sell their mother away just to have good lives and even sell you fake medicine, hahaha.
    3. PRC/ROC people are unhygienic and uncultured people.

    Hahaha.. I had said it and I said it once more:
    PRC/ROC are the source of world mess.

    PRC/ROC are both copying our stellar PAP policy hahaha…

    PAP Tua Kee …

    GE2020.PAP.Guarantee.Win.All
    $PAP$ Tua Kee; Majullah $PAP$; $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$
    Singaporeans must be Cheaper, Better, Faster.
    Workers must accept wage sacrifices to keep businesses going.

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  • uselesstankinl:

    Hello, don’t worry.

    Buy more food to prepare for WW3.
    PAP MP WILL RUN ROAD.
    HELP YOURSELF.

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  • Hard time:

    Hard time ahead…
    Better to be prepared for it..will only get worse.
    Cut down spending and save as much as possible for raining day ahead…

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  • REGIME CHANGE is the solution:

    Do not bother with “elephants” and “hippos”. Just focus on local issues like getting rid of the greedy (white) pigs.

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  • Charlie Wong:

    patriot of TUMASIK:
    Who are you to be a PUNDIT on two Countries that you KNOW shit about except the Perception given in News one-sided lopsided or otherwise…

    Try discerning Singapore’s Place in ASEAN for starters and show your Intellect you claimed ie equivalent to Dog’s Pooh…try to STOP spinning and take readers for IDIOTS…you are a long way to reach the a$$e’s hair of Lie Con You a Master that you try to Emulate but Ya!!! you can Hug his Idiotic son and share somethings in COMMON!!!

    No need to be so nasty. Show some class and refinement

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  • Why SG yet abolish GE?:

    If China takes over USA as world leader, guess will SG adopt China authoritarian rule? Cameras all over, no elections?
    Absolute political stability? Internet firewall?

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Charlie Wong: No need to be so nasty. Show some class and refinement

    Point taken and I don’t need spurs on my hide to call a spade a spade and not a Daft

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  • trublu:

    Japan will take US side.
    Moat of the other Asian countries will likely bend towards Giant Panda for their own economic survival,like it or not.

    It is better for Little Red Dot not to offend The Giant Panda as far as possible.

    The USA is looking more inwards under Trump even though it wants to exert its BIG BRO image still.
    In the current world economic ties/AIDs are importantas most under-developed countries also hope to progress.
    If USA CANNOT MATCH CHINA IN THIS aspect,it will lose out.

    The WESTERNERS will always think they are SUPERIOR to others but ASIA IS FAST CATHCING UP as can be seen.

    Chins can potentially stand up against USA and it is best USA tries not to be too harsh ir there wouls be hell.

    Dont under-rate CHINA.

    IT IS NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH.
    And,me thinks DONALD N HIS CLOSE AIDES KNOW RHAT.

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  • Tracey Ching:

    Tang Li, you are no foreign policy expert!
    Japan is dying. Too many old people but not enough young people. Japanese women are not having children. Villages are empty of people. The country’s economy is still suffering from deflation effects. Recently, they tried to open their doors to foreigners but very few takers and also due to general reluctance of the Japanese to follow the example of singapore’s Open legs immigration policies and their evil effects.
    India is a basket case. India have resources. US $100 million Indian wedding is the latest record. But why India is still poor? Because of corruption and mismanagement. And stupid Singapore still want Ah nehs to come here via ceca and DBS Ceo???
    Britain used to be known as Great Britain. But it will never be great again but it will do relatively well and survive due to the smart decision to exit the dysfunctional EC. But this will take some time especially with this China wuhan virus.
    China will never be a global superpower because of their inferior communist system. Communist system will never be able to engender intellectual superiority. Most if not all of its technological output are copied from the west. Communist China is a coward. If China and Xi are not cowards, they would have sent their armed forces to invade Taiwan and to send their armies to Hongkong to quell the rebellion. Why? Because they are afraid of the US. If there is a real face to face armed conflict between the US and China, China will definitely lose. That’s why China will try to avoid it and utilising argumentative and talkative diplomacy.
    US despite all its inadequacies, is still the world sole superpower. Donald was never the messiah but he is better than all of Singapore Politicians. Definitely more superior than Singapore mediocre PM and all of his inferior cabinet ministers. The purpose of Donald was to shake things up unlike all his predecessors who merely want to maintain the status quo. Donald has succeeded.
    And you, Tang Li is participating in a social phenomenon in Singapore known as hypergamy. It mean the Singapore women are marrying up by marrying angmohs like tony and wooden Lau Goh’s daughters and Singapore men are marrying down like Thai, China, Filipino and Vietnamese women. Based on my research, these Singapore men are shit and local rejects! Local Singapore women don’t want Tang Li.

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  • SheMan Ho & his Longan Lee:

    Top Money for Top Talents:
    Dear Tang Li,
    You are very uninformed.

    China will never be world power mainly due to:
    1. high corruption, China aircraft carrier will break up in pieces if it hit a storm
    2. PRC/ROC people are morally corrupted, they will even sell their mother away just to have good lives and even sell you fake medicine, hahaha.
    3. PRC/ROC people are unhygienic and uncultured people.

    Hahaha.. I had said it and I said it once more:
    PRC/ROC are the source of world mess.

    PRC/ROC are both copying our stellar PAP policy hahaha…

    PAP Tua Kee …

    GE2020.PAP.Guarantee.Win.All
    $PAP$ Tua Kee; Majullah $PAP$; $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$
    Singaporeans must be Cheaper, Better, Faster.
    Workers must accept wage sacrifices to keep businesses going.

    Yes. China is a COPYCAT of anything. It started out trying to be free market or capitalistic. To an extent it is. In its core is a system ruled and dictated by Communist party which has betrayed the true spirit of communism. It’s a communist party only in its structure and not in its spirit.

    Why so? Any political system has DNA of a warlord system. A country system is derived from a warlord system. It’s a self interest system of the ruler.

    China just make believe many things in order to achieve it’s goals. Look at how brutal it is handling HK and TW and Australia.

    USA is a dictatorship in her own right but given a choice, USA is still a proven edible apple among bad apples.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Tang Li

    I BEG TO DISAGREE WITH YOU ON INDIA on ‘ECONOMY” – this comes from informed awareness of reality. The CORRUPTION is as thick and implacable of economic fruition even worst than African nations or Georgia or Kyrgyzstan. At local level, you need to pay corruption money for permission to hang up your business signboard. Guess, soon you need to pay just to fart too, huh? I have invested in mining Australian entities – lost every cent before I learnt of these happenings.

    Read these weblinks.

    How Niko Resources fell from TSX high-flier to delisting

    https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/how-niko-resources-fell-from-tsx-high-flier-to-delisting-1.1228241

    This Canadian oil explorer made a big discovery in the Bay of Bengal. Via means of inscrutable chicanery, it lost that fortune to corruption extraction.

    This is no difference from Centerra’s Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan – its CEO practically kidnapped of life extermination in bargaining.

    https://business.financialpost.com/commodities/mining/former-centerra-ceo-shocked-by-lack-of-canadian-action-after-controversial-arrest-in-bulgaria

    And India also wanted to tax Cairn Energy for its oil/gas production based ON SALES REVENUE, not gross profit. If your margin is 20% and tax is also 20%, you worked for nothing and risks all your capital for nothing. In every other country is -if you earned 20% margin and tax is 50%, the enterprise still get to keep 10% on sales for all his risks capital and hard work.

    Who wants to invest in business in India, except assembly-line type cheap labor?

    Cairn Energy ready to reinvest in India if retro tax issue is resolved: CEO

    https://www.livemint.com/companies/news/cairn-energy-ready-to-reinvest-in-india-if-retro-tax-issue-is-resolved-ceo-1564898649921.html

    WHY DID LEE-jiapore invests in CECA is mind-boggling to me.

    I won’t touch anything of any listed entity whose income is significantly exposed to India’s sovereign risks.

    Tang Li, you also forgot the tyranny of geopolitical strangulation India face. Up north it is enclosed by Himalayas and China’s military posturing on border disputes unresolved. In the north west, there is hostile Pakistan which India, helped to dismembered into Pakistan and Blanga Desh (formerly East Pakistan) – this historical baggage will lives forever. In the south, India is surrounded by Indian Ocean. There is no big economy to absorb India’s production and its waters are unwelcoming of foreign investments in oil and gas production (Nikko Resources are baggage legacy that won’t be forgotten). Periodically, India put out tenders for foreign bidding for oil and gas exploration in shallower waters of Bay of Bengal (not deep ocean in the south)….NO TAKERS from outside India. Without security of oil supply to fuel transportation, India will collapse fast if remain hostile to the Muslim oil-rich nations.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Tang Li

    Adding on to the preceding, India has lost at least 5 decades of opportunity to compete with China and the rest of the world. Playing catch-up is very difficult WITHOUT MASSIVE ORGANISED EFFORTS unlike China. To get there, India has to invest in massive infrastructural spending of ports, roads, rail, air transportation to unleash its economic bottlenecks everywhere for raw materials to come in from abroad and final finished goods to ship to consumer markets globally. ITS ISOLATED GEOGRAPHY is insurmountable as much as its caste division and much divided political architecture of corrupt provinces to local govt to New Delhi.

    Take a look at this tangled mess of overhead wire.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-LaRLvr8gQ

    How to detect electrical supply fault cable without shutting down the whole village/ business districts or manufacturing industrial estate to repair and restore electricity supply?

    IT IS NEARLY MISSION IMPOSSIBLE TO DISCOVERING AND ALLEVIATING ECONOMIC MALAISE, forget about progress.

    My bet is that 50 years from now, India will make snail pace progress as the rest of the world leap-frog on the 4th industrial revolution.

    A lot of national energy is focused on development of its military might and space technology trying to catch up with China and be threatening of Pakistan – all glamor prestige projects with little transformation and handover relevance to its economic development forward.

    Its banking system is a laughing joke of offering high rates for deposits and low-rate for loans. When the economy vibrates, WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR ALL THOSE BAD DEBT OF MONEY LOANED OUT?

    India’s banking has not change one bit since this publishing.

    India’s Banks Are Seen as Antiquated and Unproductive

    https://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/23/business/worldbusiness/23india.html

    Its banks operates more like pawnshops in perverse rather than kopitiam-like branch banking.

    IT IS ECONOMIC STRANGULATION.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Tang Li,

    Read this on how US destroyed the Japanese economy via the Plaza Accord.

    How the Plaza Accord helped the US destroy the Japanese economy.

    https://medium.com/@kendawg/how-the-plaza-accord-helped-the-us-destroy-the-japanese-economy-b4b24c20a9af

    Remember history what John Conally said in the Nixon era.

    THE DOLLAR – OUR CURRENCY BUT YOUR PROBLEM

    https://pivot.mias.org.au/2019/10/11/the-dollar-our-currency-but-your-problem/

    WILL THE US TURNED BACK THE CLOCK OF US DOLLAR SUPREMACY, and let the Chinese Yuan (digitised or otherwise) takes over and in so doing unravel the dominance of the US economy, parasiting on the rest of the world?

    I think not.

    The Japanese would want the Plaza Accord to walk backward too. Trump knows this is economic suicide.

    Trump has to contain China alone – the “Hippos” of India and Japan is just as dangerous to US as China.

    Remember India is Soviet-aligned of political allegiance whilst US is pro-Muslim of its political fabric enmeshed with Arab oil politics. China will continue to outclass Japan and India – each in isolation or collectively. I don’t see massive Japanese investment in India or Indian integration and investment into Japanese economic sphere of endeavors either.

    Japanese culture is very color conscious – they don’t invest in resource-rich Africa even though they are very desperate for natural resources and its security of supply.

    The Chinese? They invest in Africa, Latin America, Russia, Krygzstan to Greenland, to Madagascar – where is there is smoke, there is money, the Chinese will be there to MAKE LOVE to local inhabitants.

    BUT US IS STILL AHEAD OF TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION and national renewals in any crisis. In China, they shut down even a doctor’s warning on coronavirus pandemic breakout – HOW STUPID IS THAT OF OWNSELF-FARKED-OWNSELF oppression??

    LEE-jiapore is its miniature clone.

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  • BK:

    @Sojoürner

    Brilliant. Agree about China growth. I think within the decade, the biz community must offer a vastly different vision to CCP for China to play a bigger role. Now the biz community is being absorbed under State companies. They are seething but helpless so far.

    But I’m not sure if China really has the money. No one talks about Belt & Road anymore. China will be constrained by massive unemployment. Its regional problems both land and maritime mean it will spend disproportionate of fiscal on military.

    EU is going into perpetual bonds. A simple default will crash the Euro and finally break the EU.

    US is the only one who can spend. But it is no longer a willing leader. It is extracting it’s pound of flesh.

    And the HK peg will be under massive Attack in June. Already the long term outflow is unsustainable, the short term supported by interest rate hike. But US taking away its privileges for HK will kill it.

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  • All are guesses:

    All are guesses. Until it happens.

    China property still never crash , just some correction here and there. Slow down but still hanging afloat.

    So is Sg property.

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  • oxygen:

    @ All are guesses

    CAN’T BE RIGHT of these observations. Heavily leveraged business will go under. Even digital technology will hit the wall – small business can’t keep up with cloud technology. Real estate showflat will be quiet given social distancing. And generally income will have to fall to meet the new normal.

    Even Heng Swee Keat warned of these – Singapore’s financial position will be “a lot weaker” in the coming years, and it will need to find ways to manage this “difficult financial situation”, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat….

    https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/singapores-financial-position-weaker-in-coming-years-heng

    HSK was not talking about a weaker Singapore financial position, he spoke of ‘A LOT WEAKER” financial position in the coming years ahead.

    All are guesses: All are guesses. Until it happens.

    China property still never crash , just some correction here and there. Slow down but still hanging afloat.

    So is Sg property.

    Of course, financial market behaves that it was just ill-wind just blown past, and everything is hunky-dory thereafter.

    They are wrong.

    Even the rich are tightening belt as Stanley Druckenmiller warned of “fasten your seat belts”

    Druckenmiller Says Risk-Reward in Stocks Is Worst He’s Ever Seen

    https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/druckenmiller-says-risk-reward-in-stocks-is-worst-he-s-ever-seen-1.1435356

    Of course this hedge fund manager’s investment performance is well noted……Druckenmiller, 66, the former chief strategist for George Soros, converted his hedge fund into Duquesne Family Office in 2010. His long-term track record, making returns of about 30% a year over three decades, established him as one of the world’s top money managers.

    Who can match him?

    Singapore property market is heading for a big fall….just wait and see.

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  • Sojoürner:

    @BK
    The purpose of the Belt and Road investment was to absorb the excess capacity that China had after two decades of malinvestment in construction and infrastructure. Its’ sole purpose was to absorb the overcapacity in labor, steel, cement, copper, glass and other construction material China is saddled with.

    How China was paying for all this. Taxes, I was told, and people are not particularly pleased. Of course, in China, it’s the rich who carry much of the tax burden (vs. the US).

    All these projects are ill thought out and most of them are not commercially viable. When these loans go bad, it leaves behind a toxic mess and China does not have control of international institutions like IMF and World Bank it can use to mitigate the bad loans and bail out its banks like the US does. It is a lose-lose situation for China that it will regret for decades.

    The fear among Washington policy makers that Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative would mount a Beijing capture of worldwide influence and power must be easing as China itself falls back from efforts to please Xi’s dive under the guidance of financial leaders domestically and foreign evaluations internationally as to ‘worthiness’ for one or the other.

    Projects under the Belt and Road Initiative might be redefined by the Wuhan Coronavirus.

    Above and beyond this, there is a real danger of serious military conflict in the region, between Pakistan and India, because of Chinese funding of military projects in Pakistan. History shows that when Pakistan becomes overconfident of its military might it launches military adventure against India. Since its decisive defeat by India in 1971, it has not done so. It is only fighting proxy battles via terrorists in Kashmir, because such battles are what it could possibly afford to fight, short of a full scale conflict with India.

    Now with the Chinese funding big military infrastructure in Pakistan, the scenario of full war might be less remote. This warrants US attention lest the situation get out of hand in the next few years. Such a conflict will likely have consequences throughout the Indian ocean and Southeast Asia because of the Chinese involvement in Pakistan. This will alter the geopolitical economic balance against the US in the region for a long time to come.

    Some say that China’s policies are intended to placate its domestic population. But it could also be nothing less than an “economic cold war” waged against the American led order.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Sojouner

    Mate, not quite correct there. The past construction/infrastructural malinvestment is correct, so is the surplus labor when this will be forced to cutback forward. But there is no surplus of materials such as iron, nickel, c (for steel manufacturing) copper, manganese etc etc. They are still buying huge qty from OZ.

    Sojoürner: The purpose of the Belt and Road investment was to absorb the excess capacity that China had after two decades of malinvestment in construction and infrastructure. Its’ sole purpose was to absorb the overcapacity in labor, steel, cement, copper, glass and other construction material China is saddled with

    Yes, host countries are waking up – like Malaysia – it revised project design and total budgeted costs. If China overpriced these projects, they “export” debt to OBOR partners. Anybody can see Chinese sovereign debt climbed Mt Everest since GFC -the same in USA. So malinvestment of white elephants with CHINESE LABOR INPUT, might end up a generation or more of debt servitude to China or debt write-off funded with Chinese peasants.

    Sojoürner: All these projects are ill thought out and most of them are not commercially viable.

    OBOR host nations realize the risks dependency on too much China reliance. Yes, this is correct too. When China screws up, it is BIG TIME AND COVER-UP THEREAFTER.

    Sojoürner: Projects under the Belt and Road Initiative might be redefined by the Wuhan Coronavirus

    KASHMIR IS GEOPOLITICS WITH MASSIVE ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF WATER SUPPLY AND AGRICULTURAL SURVIVAL CALCULUS.

    If in next war, the Chinese/Pakistani forces retook Kashmir, the water from Indus could be re-directed solely for Indus to its river basin of Punjab’s rich agricultural benefits. Or China – without warfare -helps Pakistan to redirect water from Indus away from Indian territory, it must mean war with both Pakistan and China.

    Sojoürner: It is only fighting proxy battles via terrorists in Kashmir,

    The Ganges in India has its water source mostly in Nepal. If Kashmir geopolitical landscape change, Nepal could come under Chinese influence, damming all of its water sources into cheap hydroelectricity energy export to China. The Ganges will dry up to some extent threatening the agricultural livelihood of 600 million Indians. Nepal dare not dam its rivers but with China in support, the geopolitical/economic landscape completely change.If Nepal change side. It is war with China!

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  • Oxy misses:

    @ All are guesses.

    Surprisingly, someone here shared the same sentiments. Hahaha.

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  • Sojoürner:

    oxygen: @ Sojouner
    Mate, not quite correct there. The past construction/infrastructural malinvestment is correct, so is the surplus labor when this will be forced to cutback forward. But there is no surplus of materials such as iron, nickel, c (for steel manufacturing) copper, manganese etc etc. They are still buying huge qty from OZ.

    @ oxygen, good to hear from ya!

    The Chinese want it all and they are positioning themselves to get it all. They have taken the cap off the number of babies a family can have to correct their demographics which will lead to a population boom and they need to secure increasingly scarce resources in resource rich countries like Australia to assure their prosperity, continued expansion and eventual global domination. Big miners have expanded their production and shipments while China’s crackdown on illegal furnaces that use scrap for production in the first half spurred demand for seaborne iron

    orehttps://www.mining.com/china-imported-record-amount-iron-ore-2017/

    It’s worth noting that partnerships between Canadian mining companies and China are doing massive ecological damage in South American countries. China operates internationally in many more and less developed countries, on all continents, via the stick and carrot.

    Australian author Clive Hamilton solemnly wrote in “Silent Invasion” about his first epiphany of China’s influence in Australia.

    The Chinese have found a new way to expand it’s sphere of influence. They use their economic clout to sway the Australian Government to support it’s position on Taiwan, and expand its’ hegemony. This is far more insidious than war.

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