Of Concern To Barbadians

China’s Financial Meltdown

Your point is well taken about China, however one must remember and certainly consider that China now holds over $1 TRILLION dollars in debt based on US securities (in other words, they are financing a large part of the US accumulating debt.) It is true China has an aging population, so does the U.S.. But the U.S. also has massive legacy costs, namely Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. All of those programs will go bankrupt, the first being Medicare in probably no more than 15 years. The U.S. has gone from the largest creditor nation in history to the largest debtor nation, in approximately one generation. China indeed has problems in auto parts industry, but the U.S. is looking down the barrel of a financial meltdown of biblical proportions, the social programs and war costs are and will do us in. Now back to autos, Ford and GM are toast.

Source: Mutual Differences

Unfortunately, we don’t have any economists in the BU household but the quote above piqued our interest nevertheless. It is no secret that the Barbados dollar has been pegged to the US dollar for ‘eons’, and a significant portion of our imports does originate from the United States. We expect the adage ‘if the USA sneezes, countries like Barbados must catch a cold’ was born from this state of affairs. It seems to us that in recent times the foreign policy of the Owen Arthur administration has shifted significantly to a deepening of the longstanding relationship with China. Chinese involvement in the economy of Barbados has been the source of vigorous debate of late. We are beginning to wonder whether Prime Minister Owen Arthur has a similar view to the author above and the move to expand relations with China is a precursor to a bigger move to wean Barbados from its dependence to the US economy over time.


Historically United States of America has shown a willingness to use her military might to protect its status as the lone ‘Super Power’. As China continues to increase its economic dominance on the world stage, how will the USA respond?

Further questions for the BU family, including our friends from the University of the West Indies:

Is there any credence to the statement quoted and if the answer is yes, why are we not discussing this matter to get a better understanding of the implications it would have on the economy of Barbados?

Why is it that foreign policy issues did not factor high on the list of concerns when it was polled recently by CADRES? Should we not reasonably expect that an educated Barbadian should appreciate the symbiotic nature of the relationship with the world economy, especially with China and the USA?

In the last two decades there is a sense on our part that the interest shown by Barbadians to issues related to foreign affairs has lessened. This is ironic given that we now live in a world which is intrigued by the movement towards globalization.

6 thoughts on “Of Concern To Barbadians

  1. China’s ‘arsenal’ spurs warnings

    46 minutes ago ago by chinaview. Spam? Tags: Social, Politics, Economy, World, Asia, Law, China, Taiwan, News, USA

    By Bill Gertz, The Washington Times, U.S. November 22, 2007-

    The U.S. military is vulnerable to China’s advanced war-fighting systems, including space weapons and computer attacks that would be used in a future conflict over Taiwan, according to a congressional commission’s report released yesterday.

    The full report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission also provides more details than the summary released last week, showing that China is engaged in a “large-scale industrial espionage campaign” with “scores” of cases involving spies seeking U.S. technology.

    The full report presents a harsh assessment of China’s military buildup and plans for a war against the U.S. if Beijing decided to use force against the island nation of Taiwan.

    The report provides evidence countering statements by Chinese officials, and some U.S. officials, who say China’s buildup is peaceful.

    “The Commission concluded that China is developing its military in ways that enhance its capacity to confront the United States,” the report stated. “For example, China has developed the capability to wage cyber-warfare and to destroy surveillance satellites overhead as part of its tactical, asymmetrical warfare arsenal.”

    On Taiwan, the report said tensions between the island nation and China produced an “emotionally-charged stand-off that risks armed conflict if not carefully managed by both sides.”

    “Such a conflict could involve the United States,” the report said.

    The U.S. military is “significantly exposed to such attacks,” because of its reliance on systems of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, the report said.

    The report also warned that “China also could target America’s critical infrastructure in a confrontation” and said China’s arms buildup appears aimed at “acquiring the ability to overwhelm the defenses of, and successfully attack, U.S. carrier battle groups.”

    Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Strategic Command commander, told the commission that China “is actively engaging in cyber-reconnaissance by probing the computer networks of U.S. government agencies as well as private companies.”

    On anti-satellite weapons, China used a laser to “blind” a U.S. satellite in 2006, and it is testing microwave weapons to jam satellite communications.

    “The successful anti-satellite test conducted by the PLA in January 2007 demonstrated the PLA’s ability to destroy satellites through the use of kinetic weapons as well,” the report said, using the acronym for the People’s Liberation Army, the communist-controlled military.

    The report said China’s space-weapons program is being carried out in secret “so China can maintain a positive international image.”

    China’s space weapons are planned for use against satellites that pass above China and against U.S. Global Positioning System satellites. The weapons include a combination of ground-launched missiles, weather-monitoring rockets and ground attacks on earth stations.

    To fuel its military and civilian economy, China’s government has engaged in what the report called “espionage and industrial theft activities” identified as “the leading threat to the security of U.S. technology.”

    Recent Chinese spy cases outlined in the report include the case of FBI-penetration agent Katrina Leung, Chinese-born defense contractor Chi Mak, and Xiaodong Sheldon Meng, who supplied military technology illegally to China.

    The report stated that “scores of other instances of espionage go unprosecuted or undetected.”

    “As Chinese espionage against the U.S. military and American businesses continues to outpace the overwhelmed U.S. counterintelligence community, critical American secrets and proprietary technologies are being transferred to the PLA and Chinese state-owned companies,” the report said.

    The report concluded that “surprises” about Chinese military and technology developments raise questions about the quality of U.S. intelligence on China.

    It also revealed that China continues to sell weapons and technology to rogue states and unstable regions.

    China is providing military goods to North Korea for use in its missile program and warned that unchecked transfers “could result in the transfer of weapons or technology to North Korea that could destabilize the military balance on the Korean Peninsula and further entrench that regime’s dictatorship,” the report said.

    China also allowed North Korea to use ports and airfields to ship military goods to Iran and other states, the report said.

    The commission recommended improving the protection of U.S. technology from Chinese spies, and working with U.S. allies to counter China’s cyber-attacks.

    – Original report from The Washington Times


  2. China supplies weapons to rogue states?

    Who defines these supposed “rogue states” and what are their characteristics.

    Is Israel a rogue state, Pakistan or India.

    If so is being a rogue state a badge of honour.

    Or is a rogue state one that refuses to bend its knee to the almighty dollar.

    If so rogue states may become an increasing minority as global power shifts and floats as dangerously as icebergs in an unfathomable sea.

  3. Home growing
    Published on: 11/23/07.

    AT 72 years, St Clair Maynard has no intention of giving up on his kitchen garden that has blossomed into a small farm.


    BARBADIANS who grow their own food are supporting Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s call for people to plant some of what they eat.

    While backyard gardening, or kitchen gardening, as it is more widely known, is slowly dying, there are still many people who are involved in planting their own staples and vegetables.

    When the WEEKEND NATION spoke to some of these people, they all agreed with the Prime Minister, with some saying that Barbadians should not wait for someone to tell them to plant their own food.

    All over the island, people, especially women, have small gardens in their backyards where they grow potatoes and yams and a variety of vegetables, herbs and seasonings.

    Seventy-five-year-old Eulene Wilkinson, of Bridgecot, St George, said the proceeds from her backyard farming helped to provide for her large family of 11 children and husband.

    “At that time I had a lot of ground in the back of the house and I used to plant to put food on my table, but one day a friend came to me and he said he was going to take some of my produce to the hotels. He did and I started selling to them.”

    Now that all of her children have grown and moved away from home, Wilkinson said she did not give up on farming even though she only had two mouths to feed now.

    Fresh produce

    While she plants on a small area at the side of the house, she said there was nothing like picking fresh food from her small garden.

    “I don’t spray them, so I know what I am eating,” she said, while confirming that planting her food had reduced her grocery bill.

    In Airy Hill, St Joseph, St Clair Maynard, who could be considered a true son of the soil, started backyard gardening when he was eight years old, helping out his parents.

    It became his life and blossomed into a career for the 72-year-old.

    “I plant everything,” he stated, pointing to a field of fresh lettuce almost ready for picking. “I spend about four hours every day out here. It helped me to send my nine children to school and to build my house,” he said with pride.

    In relation to the Prime Minister’s statement, the elderly man said: “Nobody should wait for someone to tell them to plant food.”

    When Carron Burgess moved to a new housing development in Westview, Rock Hall, St Thomas, five years ago, she thought about following suit by planting flowers and plants around her house like so many of her neighbours.

    But then she realised she could kill two birds with one stone – she could plant a kitchen garden instead which would look pleasing, and yet satisfy the needs of her family.

    It worked. She created neat garden beds at the front of her hardwood home, separated the beds with concrete blocks and began planting vegetables including cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach and sweet peppers.

    Now the 35-year-old woman, who is also involved in the food business, and neighbour Alicia Willoughby, 25, work diligently on the six-bed garden.

    “We split what we sow and even give to some of the neighbours. When I heard what the Prime Minister said, I told myself that everybody should try to plant something. These days people are looking for everything in a can but there is nothing wrong with having fresh vegetables.”

    Also in Rock Hall, another woman, who did not want to give her name, said: “I grow everything,” while pointing to beds of corn, cucumbers, seasonings, potatoes, yams and other starches. She also has sugar cane, as well as a variety of fruit trees such as lime, grapefruit, orange and apple.

    “I grew up in the country and my mother use to plant, so when I moved up here I decided to plant my own food and share it with my mother because she is too old to do that now.

    “Earlier this year I reaped 60 pounds of potatoes and 40 pounds of yams. I shared them with my friends and family. I am not going to buy anything which I know I can grow in the ground!”

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