Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
US News & World Report gives its take on the most overrated careers.
Garry Kasparov on how The Godfather pertains to modern-day Russia.
Tim Ferriss lists his eight favorite beverages in the world. Needless to say, Pocari Sweat made the list.
A classic Outside article on the captain of the Exxon Valdez.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
- Listening for the customer's concerns, not for an opportunity to voice your own.
- Adapting your approach to those concerns. A customer who is in a hurry may not want to hear about this week's sale.
- Being knowledgeable about your product. You are supposed to be the resident expect and, if that is not the case, the expert should be readily available.
- Treating the customer like a human being and not a prospect or an account. Human beings have fears and vanities that are far from irrelevant and deserve attention.
- Doing what you say you will do.
- Following up to make sure that other members of your team did what they said they would do.
- Listening for ways in which products and services can be improved.
- Always being courteous and thanking the customer for being a customer.
- Making the person feel important.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
It was cultural, not economic. Begun by the elites, vast changes reshaped mainstream attitudes in the 1960s. Sex became fine outside marriage, and illegitimacy lost its stigma. Drugs were cool; social authority and tradition weren't. America was deemed a racist, unjust society that victimized and impoverished blacks, who could rarely better their condition and who therefore deserved generous welfare benefits as reparations for past and present oppression. If blacks committed crime, the system that drove them to it, out of poverty or as an act of protest, was at fault: we shouldn't blame the victim, as the saying went—meaning the poor criminal, not his prey. Since people shape their actions according to the ideas and beliefs they hold, when these new attitudes reached the inner cities, what could result but an epidemic of social dysfunction?
When the Allen Edmonds shoe company sought a controlling investor last year, a string of private-equity groups trooped through its Port Washington, Wis., headquarters. "When the buyers would come in, every single one of them would have brand-new Allen Edmonds on," says Mark Birmingham, the company's president. Then in walked the crew from Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison, an investment firm based in Minneapolis. "They had seven-year-old shoes on. They were customers," says Mr. Birmingham.
Guess who won the bidding.
Jet travel allows perishable goods to speed over oceans. Fishermen call in their catch across distant seas via satellite phone. Agents are able to sustain orders by quickly moving capital across currencies to out-of-the-way docks in developing countries.
As the world gets smaller, the selection in those glass cases gets bigger—and better. Nearly every business across the world has been in some way affected by the currents of global capitalism, but in few places are the complex dynamics of globalization revealed as clearly as in the tuna’s journey from the sea to the sushi bar.
In the sushi system, tuna is the trophy fish: the most demanded by diners, the one that is tested as a benchmark of a restaurant’s merit. A little over a generation ago, red tuna was worthless in most parts of the world, where an established market existed for it only as pet food, but the ability to make fresh tuna available to diners across long distances, and a newly acquired taste for fat among the Japanese changed all that. By the mid-1970s, it was common for a bluefin tuna caught in the Atlantic on a summer Sunday evening to be served for lunch in Tokyo on Wednesday. Over the course of the following two decades, the average price paid to Atlantic fishermen rose by 10,000 percent.
Read the rest of Sasha Issenberg on "The Sushi Economy" here.
- Jonathan V. Last
Friday, July 27, 2007
- They reassure followers and customers that the role-player's conduct will meet expectations.
- They provide a comfortable level of predictability.
- They give the role player an unwritten script with which to handle unexpected events; e.g., "This is how a professional [fill in the blank] is supposed to behave."
It is easy to regard role playing as phony or insincere. Those who ignore its benefits, however, need to create an alternative that possesses equally powerful positives.
The gap between rich and poor is great, and there is plenty of want, and also confusion. What the superrich do for a living now often seems utterly incomprehensible, and has for at least a generation. There is no word for it, only an image. There's a big pile of coins on a table. The rich shove their hands in, raise them, and as the coins sift through their fingers it makes . . . a bigger pile of coins. Then they sift through it again and the pile gets bigger again.
A general rule: If you are told what someone does for a living and it makes sense to you--orthodontist, store owner, professor--that means he's not rich. But if it's a man in a suit who does something that takes him five sentences to explain and still you walk away confused, and castigating yourself as to why you couldn't understand the central facts of the acquisition of wealth in the age you live in--well, chances are you just talked to a billionaire.
Peggy Noonan elaborates on the relationship of "great wealth and lousy manners."[My take: I don't think wealth has anything to do with it. Manners and the concept of nobleness receive far less attention than in the past.]
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Some directors who chose to resign rather than approve executive pay increases.
Seth Godin giveds an update on permission marketing.
Taylor Dinerman on Robert A. Heinlein's legacy.
Tim Berry on whether happy employees make good companies.
Elizabeth Brown Pryor on the secrets of Robert E. Lee.
Then came 9/11! Muslims everywhere cheered. Not all cheered, but those who did made history. I took part in debates; I wrote op-ed articles. I argued that there was a link between the attacks and the failed assimilation of Muslims in Holland and in Europe. The suicide killers of New York and Washington were motivated by belief and not poverty. Education in civilization was the answer and the emancipation of women for the Dutch Muslims. For that I was threatened. My generous and naïve Dutch friends had no idea what to do. So they sent me to America. When I returned to Holland and to the parliament, I refused to adjust my message to the polls of the day and thus caused my party and the coalition some headache. The jihadi elements in society continued their threats. Meanwhile, Theo van Gogh, the nation's greatest provocateur, and I made a small film with verses from the Koran on women's bodies.
I have similar experiences on the race punditry scene. At least once a day someone approaches me on the street. Often, they say they were prepared to loathe me, but that after reading one of my books they realized that I am sane. “I don’t agree with everything,” they usually say. But I’m not the Antichrist. Yet, while in linguistics, I find that it is relatively easy making people see that all I am doing is trying to make some sense, with race, it’s harder.
There are only a few thousand linguists, but countless millions of people interested in race. I can’t lecture personally to any but a sliver. And for every person who has bothered to read one of my books, there is another one who has heard some shard about me as “anti-Affirmative Action,” “hating rap,” “wanting black people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.”
I have neither written nor said any of that. But those who think I did, reasonably, never put forth the effort to read my books. And why would they trawl through my opeds written over seven years?
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I can understand her points. Such sites may well attract malcontents unless there is a method for getting a larger cross-section.
One safeguard: The malcontents usually overplay their hand and you can tell that they are unfair.
Monday, July 23, 2007
- A clear purpose.
- No more than 12 members. [Beyond that and it gets very strange. The personal dynamics become too complicated.]
- An agenda circulated in advance if it is a major meeting. If not, have everyone stand and limit the meeting to 10 minutes.
- Cover the easy items first to create a climate of cooperation and progress.
- Call on the senior people last and make sure they don't dominate the discussion.
- Identify items as Action items, Information items, and Analysis items. Make sure the Action items are completed.
- Unless there is an extraordinary reason, stick to the agenda and prevent detours.
- At the end of the meeting be crystal clear on specifically who (avoid the vague "we") will do exactly what ( both in quality and quantity) by precisely when (beware of "as soon as possible").
Sunday, July 22, 2007
- Have periodic discussions with your boss regarding the priorities of the job. Don't simply rely on your job description. Most job descriptions are obsolete within weeks of their creation.
- Learn what it takes to get fired in your organization.
- Study and gain an expertise in your responsibilities. If you are doing just enough to get by then some day you won't.
- Listen carefully to your subordinates. Odds are, many - if not all - of them know more about various aspects of the job than you do. Respect their level of expertise until they give you reason to think otherwise.
- Don't take yourself too seriously but require basic respect.
- Recognize that although your team may be very capable, you were placed in that job for a reason. You bring a perspective that the team may lack. Know what it is.
- Don't badmouth upper management to your team. It won't score points with either side.
- Shield your employees from unnecessary hassles from the outside.
- Make sure that your employees eat or rest before you do.
- Learn how to walk into a room and sense the morale of the occupants.
- Ignore trivial infractions unless they are linked to a major one and never ignore a major one.
- Act promptly to squelch factions.
- Avoid sarcasm. It will gain you little and may cost you much.
- Strive to build a workplace in which trust is the centerpiece. This requires both integrity and competence because without either then trust cannot be given.
- Evaluate all of your actions to determine whether they are merely superficial or are capable of making a real achievement.
- Give a sense of urgency to important tasks. If you don't convey it, where will it be found?
- It is nice to have both but, given the choice, pay less attention to form than to substance.
- Treat everyone with courtesy.
- Never permit turf concerns to overwhelm the concern for the mission.
- Don't tolerate bigots, bullies, and jerks.
- Lead by example. Always.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
- Refuse to play power games that are stacked against you. Walk away.
- Don't let your inherent courtesy permit another to exert control over you.
- Buy time if you feel that you are on the verge of being manipulated.
- Develop a sizable zone of indifference to the feelings of scoundrels and to issues over which you have no control.
- Identify points that may be used as leverage against you. Eliminate them or reduce their potential impact.
- Avoid slippery roads; i.e. those occasions and projects where your control is likely to be reduced.
- Practice dealing with your classic fears and try mocking them. If necessary, get professional help.
- Review your priorities and jettison ones that are not truly your own.
- Don't permit nonethical values, such as success or popularity, to cause you to ignore or subvert ethical ones, such as honesty, caring, or fairness.
- Rein in your imagination. It can be a colossal fear-generator and most of those fears will never transpire. Put them on a scale of 1 to 10 and seriously evaluate the likelihood of them occuring. We often treat fears as if they are 9s and 10s when they are really 1s or 2s.
- Shun perfectionism. It is the enemy of reasonable control.
- Remember the old saying: This too shall pass.
- Nick Schulz, writing in The American, July/August 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
John F. Kennedy: Collegial management and pragmatism.
Dwight Eisenhower: Formal hierarchy with hidden channels to gain unfiltered information.
Mahatma Gandhi: Weekly periods of silence.
Charles de Gaulle: Formal hierarchy combined with periodic semi-isolation.
George Marshall: A black book containing assessments of his colleagues.
Margaret Thatcher: Being better briefed than her subordinates on their specialties.
Jimmy Carter: Frequent micromanagement and absorption with detail.
Adolf Hitler: Dependent followers willing to create fantasy worlds rather than suspend belief in the leader.
Joseph Stalin: Management by terror.
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Intentional overlapping of assignments with the CEO at the hub of the organization.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
There might be a dissenter somewhere out there somewhere so I'll say that almost everyone likes Paul.
He is always friendly. He takes care of his team. He's a good listener, His high ethical standards are smoothly integrated into everything he does. He quietly achieves things and is willing to give credit to others.
I've never seen him playing power games or manipulating others. He's never pushed for recognition. His reputation has been that of a thoroughly reliable and thoughtful manager.
Paul was promoted to executive positions and he held several that were very challenging. He performed well in each of them. He should have been promoted even further but was not due to a promotion board that was grossly unappreciative of his accomplishments.
Paul was not soured by that setback. He never complained. He continued to work and help others as he had done before. I know what some of you are thinking. "He should have touted more of his achievements." "He failed to make political alliances."
That may be true. He is certainly smart enough to know about those options. He didn't completely neglect those strategies and yet I suspect there was a line that Paul decided not to cross, perhaps out of fear that if he did so he would stop being himself.
Paul is on my short list of one of the best leaders and most decent human beings I've ever encountered. He is far from being weak and yet sometimes I wonder, "Did the promotion board fall prey to the notion that Paul is too nice to be a chief executive officer?"
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
As a result, Leeson argues, pirate ships developed models that in many ways anticipated those of later Western democracies. First, pirates adopted a system of divided and limited power. Captains had total authority during battle, when debate and disagreement were likely to be both inefficient and dangerous. Outside of battle, the quartermaster, not the captain, was in charge—responsible for food rations, discipline, and the allocation of plunder. On most ships, the distribution of booty was set down in writing, and it was relatively equal; pirate captains often received only twice as many shares as crewmen. (Woodward writes that Privateer captains typically received fourteen times as much loot as crewmen.) The most powerful check on captains and quartermasters was that they did not hold their positions by natural right or blood or success in combat; the crew elected them and could depose them. And when questions arose about the rules that governed behavior on board, interpretation was left not to the captain but to a jury of crewmen.
If you want an amusing read that eviscerates reality TV programs, don't miss Ben Elton's Dead Famous.
A watch with a simple concept.
CareerJournal gives signs that a job may be on the chopping block.
80 percent of the MBA programs launched in the past ten years have been outside of the United States.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
There are thousands of ways to do a bad job as a supervisor. But great supervisors do the same things in pretty much the same way. And if you learn to do them, you can get the results they get. Here's a list.
Great supervisors understand that they always have two jobs. One job is to accomplish your mission through the group. The other job is to care for your people. Great supervisors help people succeed as individuals and as a team.
Great supervisors understand the strengths and limits of their position. When you become a boss, you have less power than you did before because your performance is measured by the performance of your team. But you have far more influence.
Monday, July 16, 2007
The theme of all such therapeutic curricula is relativism. There are no eternal truths, only passing assertions that gain credence through power and authority. Once students understand how gender, race, and class distinctions are used to oppress others, they are then free to ignore absolute “truth,” since it is only a reflection of one’s own privilege.
By contrast, the aim of traditional education was to prepare a student in two very different ways. First, classes offered information drawn from the ages—the significance of Gettysburg, the characters in a Shakespeare play, or the nature of the subjunctive mood. Integral to this acquisition were key dates, facts, names, and terms by which students, in a focused manner in conversation and speech, could refer to the broad knowledge that they had gathered.
Second, traditional education taught a method of inductive inquiry. Vocabulary, grammar, syntax, logic, and rhetoric were tools to be used by a student, drawing on an accumulated storehouse of information, to present well-reasoned opinions—the ideology of which was largely irrelevant to professors and the university.
Some lawyers think so.
"Just don't even deal with them," said Dennis Brown, an attorney in the San Jose, Calif., office of Littler Mendelson whose firm recently advised employers about the dangers of video resumés in a seminar. "My advice to my clients who have asked me about video resumes -- and I have had a lot of clients ask lately -- is do not accept, do not review video resumes."
Brown's main concern with video resumes is that they reveal information about a person's race, sex, disability, age -- all details that could wind up in a discrimination lawsuit.... "This is one of those instances where a little bit of unnecessary knowledge is dangerous." ...
- Before embarking on a major project, list your key assumptions and then vigorously challenge them.
- Most fires are extinguished but a few simply go underground.
- Sensitivity is not always a virtue.
- Risk overcommunicating.
- With some issues, the continuing problem is the solution.
- Organizations either grow or rust and beware of mistaking expanding rust as growth.
- A simple action has more substance than the most eloquent promise.
- All projects have vital responsibilities and they need to be clearly assigned, not assumed.
- Quickly determine if anyone regards turf as more important than mission.
- Pay attention to your intuition.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
The global mayhem since 9/11 has not affected film in America, nor television in Britain, to anything like the degree a reasonably well-informed media buff would have predicted on the day. Hollywood has produced documentaries, from Paul Greengrass's poignant United 93, which recaptures the uprising by passengers against their hijackers, to Michael Moore's seedy Fahrenheit 9/11, which portrays Saddam Hussein's Iraq as a happy land of playful children and blushing lovers. But when we turn to Hollywood fiction we find that the 'war on terror', or whatever it is we're meant to call it these days, has barely shown its face.
The absence is all the more perplexing because before 9/11, when there had been no serious Islamist assault on America, Middle Eastern villains were so common in films Hollywood faced plausible charges of anti-Arab racism. In Back to the Future, Executive Decision, True Lies and dozens of others, Arabs were off-the-peg bad guys. Yet after 9/11, the stereotypes weren't fleshed out with an all-too-real psychopathic ideology, but abandoned.
The Sopranos, created and produced by David Chase (The Rockford Files, Northern Exposure), has done far more than change the lexicon. Probably no series in the history of television has garnered more extravagant praise. The Chicago Tribune calls it “the most influential television drama ever”; Vanity Fair, closely echoed by papers like the Detroit Free Press and the Dallas Morning News, sees it simply as “the greatest show in TV history”; upping the ante, the New York Times has judged that The Sopranos “may be the greatest work of American popular culture of the last quarter-century.” The industry has agreed, showering the series with Emmys, Golden Globes, and Peabodys.
How to explain this phenomenal success? Begin with the main characters—outsized but believable, grotesque but familiar, each a unique concoction of lusts, ambitions and, above all, lies. The main character is, of course, the mob boss Tony Soprano, who at the start of every episode drives west out of Manhattan through the Lincoln Tunnel. While the opening credits roll, the sequence takes Tony down the New Jersey Turnpike, past Newark Airport and the industrial wasteland of northern Jersey, into run-down Newark—we see the old butcher shop where Tony’s thugs congregate, and also a tiny boxlike pizza store—and then past rows of modest houses that eventually give way to a lushly forested road. The sequence ends as Tony pulls into the driveway of his suburban McMansion, gets out of his SUV with a scowl, and slams the door shut.
- Elliot Kang
Saturday, July 14, 2007
The evidence has become overwhelming that the SAT no longer serves a democratizing purpose. Worse, events have conspired to make the SAT a negative force in American life. And so I find myself arguing that the SAT should be ended. Not just deemphasized, but no longer administered. Nothing important would be lost by so doing. Much would be gained.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Beautifully written, the book contains compelling portraits of Lincoln, Grant, and Lee and the leadership skills of each. An excerpt:
At the military academy, Grant discovered that a clerk had mistakenly written down his name as "Ulysses Simpson Grant," and instead of insisting on a correction, the insecure Grant just shrugged his shoulders and submissively accepted it as his own. He was an unremarkable cadet ("a military life holds no charms for me," he lamented, "and I had not the faintest idea of staying in the army even if I should be graduated, which I didn't expect"), who read romantic novels rather than study hard, could never quite keep in step with the rhythm of marching or compare with the stylish demeanor of the more refined Eastern and Southern boys, and actually prayed that a resolution introduced in Congress to abolish West Point would pass. Contrary to his worst fears, though, he did graduate, but only a lackluster twenty-first in a class of thirty-nine, and he later failed to get the cavalry duty he so argently wanted.
The problem with this approach is that it collapses a vital distinction between diseases and health conditions that harm the health and well-being of others, and conditions that adversely affect only those with the condition. A sharp increase in the prevalence of a dangerous infectious disease like tuberculosis is no doubt a public health emergency, but the same is not true for an increase in back pain. In the case of tuberculosis, drastic public actions, including quarantines and forced treatment, may be justified; in the case of back pain, such actions would be wildly inappropriate.
A wide range of unhealthy behaviors could be framed in similar fashion. Smoking, skydiving, salting our food, motorcycling, freeway driving, and sleeping too little (to name a few) are all behaviors that increase our risk of illness or worse. If an increased risk of illness is all it takes to transform these behaviors into public health crises, then the government has a broad license to limit our freedom to do many potentially unhealthy things. Concentrating public health efforts on behaviors that hurt others, not just ourselves, lets us choose behaviors that make us happy while limiting the damage to others. If smoking causes secondhand damage, then it is a public health concern. If overeating brings only private costs, it is not.
- Declaring war on a person or department..
- Withdrawing assistance.
- Hiding resources or information.
- Frequent and senseless reorganizations.
- Focusing on turf instead of the greater good.
- Taking undue credit.
- Misrepresenting another's position.
- Staying in the job when it is time to leave.
- Seeking undeserved promotions.
- Being careless about quality.
- Letting personal problems overwhelm effectiveness.
- Treating everyone in exactly the same manner.
- Engaging in bigoted behavior.
- Using hiring quotas.
- Refusing to establish procedures.
- Being a slave to procedures.
- Failing to take initiative.
- Listening only to what is said and not to what is meant.
- Failing to maintain confidentiality.
- Pretending to work.
- Confusing what is good for you with what is good for the organization.
- Filtering bad news.
- Squandering time.
- Mistaking abusive behavior for toughness.
- Constantly giving alibis.
- Failing to confront.
- Excessive fear of change.
- Shooting the messenger.
- Excessive upward delegation.
- Rewarding "face time" over actual performance.
- Undue emphasis on speed.
- Lack of intellectual diversity.
- Emphasizing equal results instead of equal opportunity.
- Overpromising and underperforming.
- Managing to the dysfunctional.
- Paralysis by analysis.
- Management by best seller.
- Reinventing the wheel.
- Undue emphasis on results.
- Ascribing bad motives.
One bit of advice I give to clients: When people come in to file an internal discrimination complaint, give them an information sheet describing where else they can file; e.g. federal and state enforcement agencies. It provides a service to the employee, enhances credibility, and sends the signal that you are not afraid of outside scrutiny.
In the Web world, widgets are modules of software that people can drag and drop onto the personal page of their social network or onto a blog. There, widgets typically look like a little window or box, packing a bit of the functionality that you would get with a stand-alone Web site or software package. The result can be as mundane as the WeatherBug, or a YouTube clip of your favorite video of a bulldog riding a skateboard, or your wish list from online jewelry retailer Blue Nile (NILE ).
But widgets also can be storefront windows for selling products and services or digital billoards to which customized ads can be affixed. Create one that plays your favorite song and it can send visitors through to Amazon.com (AMZN ) to buy the band's album. Random House Inc. has a widget that lets you click through to buy new book releases from the company's online store. You might even share a slice of the proceeds.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
9:00 A.M.: Dan turns on computer.
9:01 A.M.: Dan checks e-mail.
9:10 A.M.: Dan surfs news sites.
9:30 A.M.: Dan considers writing referee report that was due ten days ago; decides it's better tackled after lunch.
9:31 A.M.: Dan opens up Word document containing manuscript du jour and stares blankly at it for a while.
9:41 A.M.: Dan decides that he's really itching to work on the other manuscript du jour, because this is where his mind is wandering. He opens up that document and stares blankly at it for a while.
9:51 A.M.: On a good day, Dan gets a small piece of inspiration that he quickly converts into a paragraph of prose that will buttress his thesis.
9:56 A.M.: Dan scratches his ass.
[HT: Instapundit ]
- If you had a short period of time to brief someone on your responsibilities, how good of a job would you do?
- Would you have the priorities clearly identified or would you ramble?
- Would you be able to state in one clear sentence why it is in the best interests of the organization that you should be kept on?
Wood advanced several ideas to “fix” the earth’s climate, including building up Arctic sea ice to make it function like a planetary air conditioner to “suck heat in from the midlatitude heat bath.” A “surprisingly practical” way of achieving this, he said, would be to use large artillery pieces to shoot as much as a million tons of highly reflective sulfate aerosols or specially engineered nanoparticles into the Arctic stratosphere to deflect the sun’s rays. Delivering up to a million tons of material via artillery would require a constant bombardment—basically declaring war on the stratosphere. Alternatively, a fleet of B-747 “crop dusters” could deliver the particles by flying continuously around the Arctic Circle. Or a 25-kilometer-long sky hose could be tethered to a military superblimp high above the planet’s surface to pump reflective particles into the atmosphere.
Far-fetched as Wood’s ideas may sound, his weren’t the only Rube Goldberg proposals aired at the meeting. Even as they joked about a NASA staffer’s apology for her inability to control the temperature in the meeting room, others detailed their own schemes for manipulating earth’s climate. Astronomer J. Roger Angel suggested placing a huge fleet of mirrors in orbit to divert incoming solar radiation, at a cost of “only” several trillion dollars. Atmospheric scientist John Latham and engineer Stephen Salter hawked their idea of making marine clouds thicker and more reflective by whipping ocean water into a froth with giant pumps and eggbeaters. Most frightening was the science-fiction writer and astrophysicist Gregory Benford’s announcement that he wanted to “cut through red tape and demonstrate what could be done” by finding private sponsors for his plan to inject diatomaceous earth—the chalklike substance used in filtration systems and cat litter—into the Arctic stratosphere. He, like his fellow geoengineers, was largely silent on the possible unintended consequences of his plan.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
[You can't make this stuff up.]
Her fame grows and the former classmate, possibly with an eye on how some day this might affect her chances for a Supreme Court nomination, is not amused.
Naturally, lawyers are now involved.
In my book, it is better to have no mission statement than to have a mediocre one.
Ruling out the ones that I've written for clients - each of those, of course, has the silver-tongued eloquence of Demosthenes - my favorite is that of the Phoenix Fire Department:
Prevent harm - Survive - Be nice
Are there any mission statements that you love?
What is China trying to do and to be? As a free society, America trumpets its goals. By contrast, China tends to hide its goals. Its stated aims are peace and development. Its real aims are to sustain its economic growth, have a tranquil set of borders for that purpose (China has 14 borders), eclipse the United States in East Asia and regain “lost” territory. (Taiwan is only one of the territories that, because the Chinese emperor once possessed it, the Chinese government believes should return to China.) While Beijing does enormous business with us, it regularly launches anti-American diatribes. And while it advocates a world free of arms, it has lined up 800 missiles opposite Taiwan.