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國際現勢下的中、美角力
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0.  前言

大家好!理事長要我就去年在會員大會做的「中、美關係」分析,根據過去一年情勢,做個新的報告。去年花了不少時間討論「中、美關係」,目的是為了能清楚說明大家更關心的「兩岸局勢」。

過去一年國際事務發生許多變化,它們對「中、美關係」和「兩岸局勢」都有一定程度的影響。今天報告的題目是:「從國際現勢中、美角力」。重點放在「國際現勢」;然後切入到「中、美角力」;最後就中共對台政策新主軸「兩岸融合發展」提出一些淺見。

1. 
國際現勢

1.1
俄烏戰爭

一年來國際政治的重頭戲仍然是「俄烏戰爭」。先是俄軍大敗虧輸;然後烏軍的夏季反攻遲遲沒有進展;目前雖然在烏克蘭東部和南部突破俄軍防線;基本上戰場上還是膠著狀態。

另一方面,援烏大聯盟出現了「久戰無功,後繼成為黑洞」的困境。雖然還沒有政府打退堂鼓,面臨選舉的政治領袖很難向選民交代。選舉後是個什麼情況目前還不好說。


1.2
大金磚

第二個重要國際事件是「金磚五國」擴充。明年它將增加五或六個新會員國;目前沒有正式名稱,我把它叫做「大金磚」。後年將有更多國家參加。「大金磚」在人口、資源、貨幣、經濟力、地緣政治、和國內生產毛額等方面,都比七大工業國組織更強大。雖然 「大金磚」並非鐵板一塊,但來勢洶洶,儼然 全球南方諸國」的龍頭老大。水漲船高,扎卡瑞阿先生在2008年所說的「各國崛起」,終於成為國際現實。 

舉個例子,前幾天美國政府在白宮舉行太平洋群島領袖高峰會;索羅門群島總理不但沒有參加,還反嗆拜登總統:他缺席的原因是沒有興趣聽訓,以及自己另有重大議題需要處理。

1.3
「一帶一路」10周年

「一帶一路」目前有154成員;佔聯合國193個會員國的80% (《「一帶一路」計畫如何贏得世界》) ;可見它龐大的勢力。有學者把這個計劃叫做「具有中國特色的『全球化』」(《「一帶一路」10周年評估》)

1.4
南海風雲

菲律賓海岸巡防隊925日切斷中國黃岩島附近設置300米長的浮動屏障纜索。這是正在發生的事件;由於它涉及美國協防的議題後續發展值得密切注意

1.5
其它事件

歐洲各國政治與企業領袖,因為市場和貨物供應議題,對美國「圍堵」、「經濟制裁」等對華政策無法苟同;以法國總統馬克洪為首群起反對

中國斡旋下沙伊復交後,美國出面拉攏沙、以兩國關係正常化。巴勒斯坦頓時成為爹不疼,娘不愛的小孩。

亞塞拜然和亞美尼亞
都是前蘇聯的加盟國;兩國間1領土和少數民族的爭執不斷。過去都靠俄國老大哥維持秩序。最近亞塞拜然直接併吞了原來劃歸亞美尼亞的地區。這是俄烏戰爭導致俄國影響力下降的直接後果。

2. 
中、美角力

2.1
兩國現況

1) 
中國經濟遲滯 

中國經濟今年第一、二季的表現相當狼狽唱衰中國的歌聲四起。到今天早上為止,我還沒有看到第三季的數據;只好拭目以待。以我的淺見,中國經濟仍然是潛力股,隨時都能反彈回升。

2)
美國政治鬧劇

美國經濟由於前幾個月的通膨暫時被控制,目前仍然看俏。但是美國政治卻是一場再度上演的。川普先生因為「性侵」、「造反」、和「謊報財產」等罪名連續被提起公訴。

目前民調顯示,他不但在共和黨候選人群中遙遙領先,還有可能贏得2024大選。如果他在白宮再待個四年或八年,習總書記即便躺著,也能讓中國超越美國

2.2
科技爭鋒  

被炒作了至少五年的「冷戰2.0」,目前以「科技戰」面目出現。中國以後起之秀的身份上場,目前當然略遜一籌。在人工智慧、量子計算、和基因科技等領域,中國暫時落後應該無傷大雅。重點還是在晶片科技的研發,它是前兩個領域的基礎。前些日子華為雖然板回一城;這一方面仍有待中國科學家和工程師急起直追,迎頭趕上。

2.3
軍事對峙

中國老神在在;坐擁南海,望著台灣,心裏想著烏蘇里江以東,大興安嶺以北

美國印太戰略包括:「澳、英、美三邊安全協定」,以及、日、澳、印『四方安全』會議」4 + 1(南韓)4 + 2等等

2.4
中、美角力展望

1) 
我們通常可以從實力形勢領導人格局方面來評估角力」的結果。上面討論的「一帶一路」「大金磚」和「美國政治鬧劇」分別可以幫助我們預測和了解:中、美兩國目前是個平分秋色的局面;長遠來看,國不是中國的對手。

2) 
不論「俄烏戰爭」的後續演變如何,中國都會是最大贏家。只要俄國或反俄聯盟任何一方不得不求和或求饒,中國都能以斡旋者仲裁者或兩者雙重身分,漫天要價並藉以提高國際地位。

3) 
正在上演的「南海風雲」將給我們一個測試以上分析的案例。如果菲美兩國虎頭蛇尾的下台一鞠躬,表示我的分析正中紅心;如果中國前倨後恭的下台一鞠躬,表示我的分析差得多了去了;如果三方都草草了事各自找個台階下,表示我的分析還說得過去。

3. 
兩岸關係

最近中國軍機軍艦把台灣周邊的空域和海域當做遊樂場或訓練基地,實在有點欺人太甚。

但是,中共中央國台辦又擺出「兩岸融合發展」的笑臉攻勢。我沒有在中共政治局常委會安排個暗樁,所以不知道這葫蘆裏到底賣的是什麼藥。一般來說,這類政策宣示通常有三個不同的作用:

1) 
純宣示由於兩岸關係是一個長期議題,過一段時間「政策」需要重新包裝。就像廠商的廣告每三個月或半年就要更換是同一個道理,這樣才有新鮮感,也才會引起消費者話題。

2) 
政策改變「兩岸融合發展」包含許多可口的「牛肉」:例如,定居落戶、資格認證、社福保障等等。它和過去的「和平統一」、「一國兩制」這些政治口號有本質上的不同。有了實惠,自然就更有吸引力。

3) 
先禮後兵由於有上面說的種種「牛肉」,如果台灣同胞再「蹬鼻子上臉」的拿翹,中國政府自然順勢以「敬酒不吃吃罰酒」的姿態兵臨城下。有了這個宣示,到時候也能堵住國際輿論的嘴。

由於習總書記前一陣子曾經要求解放軍在2027年前做好「解放台灣」的準備;算算日子,看來我們還真不能輕忽上述第三個作用的可能性。

4. 
結論

4.1 
國際事務以「利益」為判斷標準;以「實力」為操作本錢。台灣既沒有可以交換的「利益」,更沒有拿得上檯面的「實力」;只能跟著風潮走,混一天是一天。

4.2 
五到七年後,「和平統一」應該是台灣最好的出路。

4.3  
如果台灣領導人還要繼續以跳樑小丑自居,那就叫一個「作死」。


後記 本文是我2023/10/01在台北湖北黃陂同鄉會年度大會的報告。

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《拜登將輸掉中、美的高科技戰》短評
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0.  前言

這一篇是在八月份發表的評論(本欄上一篇)
作者何曼博士號稱歷史學家。當時我身體不適,沒有精力寫評論;一直把它放在檔案夾中。繼華為的晶片後,這兩天看到長江存儲推出號稱世界首次尖端產品(見該欄《中國再下一城》)。我才把它找出來轉登在這裏。

該文原載於
哈森學會》網頁;此學會是右派智庫,全文處處可見超級鷹派的歇斯底里語氣(請見以下1-2)小段);毫無學者風範。值得一提的是:蓋茲基金會是此智庫主要支助者一員。此外,該學會的「中國研究中心」主任就是「個人榮辱不驚」的余茂春博士(見該欄專訪余茂春);從這一點也可了解哈森學會的性質

1.  原文與評論

原文是政論類,行文尚稱淺顯我就偷個懶不翻譯了(這裏要謝謝劉沅兄的建議)。以下摘錄七段精彩段落中文是我的評論

1) 
the Biden administration doesn’t understand the threat China poses to America and the free world, or how to deal with it.

請注意 the free world”。如果只是中美之爭,那也不過是狗搶骨頭的事有了「自由世界」一詞,那就上升到「原則」或「理想」層級,聽起來冠冕堂皇一些。甚至可以跟「文明衝突」扯上邊,更顯得理直氣壯近於義正詞嚴了。下文提及「維吾爾」等是同樣的「修辭」技巧

2) 
in Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s case, almost literally kowtowing in body as well as spirit

上面已經評論。”kowtow”是中文
「磕頭」的音譯

3)  …
everyone, even Biden, understands that China is steadily overtaking us in the development and deployment of technologies that will dominate the future …

這段話顯示
哈森學會成員和跟她/他們一鼻孔出氣的人,因為中國國力即將「超越」美國而「主宰未來」的內心焦躁。這群人當然也包括該學會幕後老闆的渣男蓋茲。

從這篇文章可以看出
蘇西迪底斯難局不只描寫國際政治局勢(該文第三--2.2),也在描寫一種心理情境。

4) 
publicly traded companies are exempt from the ban. It’s aimed at private equity and venture capital firms

我以前就說過
禁運制裁等等都是嘴把式

5) 
It’s deceptive, and like so much of the administration’s approach to China, it tries to look tough while also trying not to offend.

我也說過:中、美兩國政府針對彼此的外交政策,大部分是為
內銷設計的

6) 
Meanwhile, Reuters quotes a Chinese embassy official saying more than 70,000 U.S. companies continue to do business in China—even as more than 5,000 Chinese corporate securities that ignore federal securities laws or disclosure rules are traded in U.S. capital markets. 

同以上4)。此點可參看拙作
國際政治,中、美關係,和兩岸局勢

7)  …
without seriously endangering the larger trading relationship that inevitably exists between the world’s two biggest economies.

這裏可以看出美國右派
又要吃掉蛋糕(中國市場賺錢),又要把它留著(打壓中國)」的尷尬局面。該文作者既然了解跟中國做生意是必須的,他有什麼立場或邏輯在以上2)4)5)三小段(以及整篇文章)中批評拜登的政策呢?拜登政府所為,不過就是又要賺錢又得敷衍國內右派這幫白眼狼。或許,智庫學者跟大學教授一樣,都有不出論文,就捲鋪蓋」的壓力三不五時需要出來咬咬中國交差

2
結論

1)  該
文從政策層次指出:拜登政府將輸掉中、美之間的高科技戰
華為和長江存儲則拿技術與產品打所謂高科技戰的臉

2) 
可以旁證我在開欄文所說和我
中、美關係的判斷

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拜登將輸掉中、美的高科技戰 - Arthur Herman
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Biden Is Losing the High-Tech War with China

A new executive order banning investing in certain technologies will barely dent China’s ambitions.

Arthur Herman, 08/30/23

It’s becoming all too clear that the Biden administration doesn’t understand the threat China poses to America and the free world, or how to deal with it.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on August 9 purporting to ban U.S. companies from investing in certain advanced technologies in China. But at the same time the administration was trying to look tough on Beijing regarding AI and advanced semiconductors, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo was flying to Beijing to stress how “profoundly important” a “stable economic relationship” with China is, tech bans notwithstanding. She’s just the latest in a long line of administration officials sent to kowtow to President Xi Jinping and his cohorts (in Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s case, almost literally kowtowing in body as well as spirit), in hopes that if we look fawning and acquiescent enough Beijing will behave itself on the international stage—at least until the 2024 election. 

But perhaps there’s no contradiction here. A closer look reveals that the August 9 executive order, far from getting tough with China and its U.S.-based financial enablers, barely interrupts the U.S.-China high-tech nexus that feeds China’s global ambitions at America’s—and freedom’sexpense

Of course, everyone, even Biden, understands that China is steadily overtaking us in the development and deployment of technologies that will dominate the future like AI, quantum, 5G telecommunications, and supercomputers

For example,  already by 2017, Chinese venture-capital investors made up 48 percent of all AI venture funding globally, surpassing the United States for the first time, while in 2020 former Google CEO Eric Schmidt was warning that China would soon overtake the U.S. in AI capabilities. (One area where we still have something of a lead is semiconductors for AI and other advanced uses.)

With that in mind, according to Reuters, “The long-awaited order authorizes the U.S. Treasury secretary to prohibit or restrict U.S. investments in Chinese entities in three sectors: semiconductors and microelectronics, quantum information technologies and certain artificial intelligence systems.” The goal is “preventing American capital and expertise from helping China develop technologies that could support its military modernization and undermine U.S. national security.”

In fact, there’s far less here than meets the casual eye.

For example, the ban only affects future investments, not existing ones, although Treasury reserves the right to ask an American company to disclose how long it’s been indirectly helping Chinese intelligence services to spy on the Uyghurs, or helping the People’s Liberation Army use AI to develop its long-term war plans.

Secondly, and most astonishingly, publicly traded companies are exempt from the ban. It’s aimed at private equity and venture capital firms which, according to market data firm Pitchbook are already losing interest in investing in China, given the political and economic risks.

This means America’s biggest companies—not only Google and Amazon, but JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America—won’t feel any pressure to sever or reduce their ties to Communist China’s high-tech sector. 

This isn’t how you win the high-tech war with Beijing.  

Moreover, the fact that whatever private Chinese companies develop automatically belongs to the Chinese military and intelligence services under the guidelines of the CCP’s Military-Civil Fusion policy means that trying to restrict AI investments only to those systems used for “military, government intelligence, or mass-surveillance end uses,” is more than useless. It’s deceptive, and like so much of the administration’s approach to China, it tries to look tough while also trying not to offend.

Besides, most of these restrictions are too little, too late. Chinese companies and the government have been feasting on U.S. intellectual property and technology transfers for two decades now. China is already moving fast to develop its own capabilities in all these areas, including the advanced microchips that will enable its most sophisticated AI applications, with or without the U.S.

Meanwhile, Reuters quotes a Chinese embassy official saying more than 70,000 U.S. companies continue to do business in China—even as more than 5,000 Chinese corporate securities that ignore federal securities laws or disclosure rules are traded in U.S. capital markets. 

Many of these same companies that reap the benefits of American investment use child and slave labor, while many others are part and parcel of China’s military-industrial complex

There are ways to significantly reduce or even sever the U.S.-China cash nexus that is letting American companies directly feed China’s rise to global hegemony—including using the U.S. tax code—without seriously endangering the larger trading relationship that inevitably exists between the world’s two biggest economies. 

The Biden ban isn’t one of them. It’s a cosmetic fix done for appearances only, while the real China threat continues to grow—with American capital speeding it along.

Read in The Dispatch.

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中國稱霸波斯灣 -- Tom Sharpe
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每日電訊報大概是主流媒體裏對中國最有敵意之一這篇評論的標題相當勁爆但內容完全不能支持這個論斷」,甚至毫無關聯。我的評語是全文介於「造謠」和「歇斯底里」之間。


Iran makes two moves, US carriers shift, and today China rules the Gulf

It's a lot like the start of a wargame – one modelling an Iranian war on the West

, 10/24/23

Tracking major warship movements in response to the developing situation in Gaza and beyond has been interesting. Most people have focused on the comings and goings of the US Navy in or towards the Eastern Mediterranean. Even the USN itself seems to have taken its eye off other potential flashpoints, as something has happened which never normally would: the most powerful naval force in the Gulf is Chinese.

Just fourteen days ago, US Navy movements were being passed off as ‘business as normal’. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Gerald R Ford was in the Mediterranean anyway. The Dwight D Eisenhower (Ike) carrier group deployment was planned anyway, just brought forward.

About ten days ago this changed. Ford’s stay in the Med was extended and it was stated that Ike was going to join the Ford. Two super-carriers in the same place – that’s big medicine. Articles were written noting this, by me among others. We armchair admirals also noted that the USS Bataan and USS Carter Hall, amphibious ships carrying the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) were dispatched from the Gulf to the Red Sea and the command-and-control ship Mount Whitney, complete with a 3* Admiral and his staff, was pulled off Nato duties and sent to take charge in the eastern Med. This could no longer be passed off as ‘planning adjustments’.

Then, just as everyone thought they knew what was happening, someone in Yemen – I’m going to take a punt on the Houthis – launched four cruise missiles and nineteen drones up the Red Sea in the direction of Israel. Destroyer USS Carney, having come through Suez southbound only the day before, then had what could only be described as ‘a good day on operations’ as she shot all of them down, with a combination of her own missiles and her gun. That is an outstanding effort.

Just a few hours later, one more announcement, and now Ike isn’t joining Ford: she’s going through Suez. At some point the Ike group will meet the 26 MEU ships heading the other way and they will need escorting. Carney’s work is not yet done.

The only way to work out what’s going on is to take away the drinking straw through which you are looking at Gaza and zoom out, a long way out.

One thing jumps out straight away. The US Navy, for now at least, is not the preeminent naval force in the Gulf. That distinction now belongs to the 44th and 45th naval escort groups of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). The two groups, one of which has just arrived to take over from the other, have a total of six ships. Two are Type 052D destroyers equipped with YJ-21 hypersonic anti-ship ballistic missiles.

There was some breathless reporting on how this was a takeover move by China: but as with the US movements above, it’s worth looking at what is pre-planned and what is reactive. The handover between the two groups was long planned as part of their established operating pattern in the region. Granted, this handover has now been extended (as in the case of USS Ford) but the total number of ships is not an immediate response to what is happening in Gaza.

That doesn’t mean it’s not important though: for a few reasons.

First, every malign actor who thrives off disruption either is, or is about to, exploit the current situation to maximise this. That includes the Houthis last week in the Red Sea, Hezbollah to Israel’s north, Russia (everywhere) or the Chinese Coast Guard in the South China Sea. The water is warm in Chaosville and everyone is jumping in.

If you take away assets from the Gulf as the US has done, who is left to carry out the more routine tasks that Western navies have been doing there for so many years? In mid August, the Marines of the 26th MEU were tasked to prevent Iranian disruption of commercial shipping in the Gulf, a problem which has been building for some time. This task hasn’t gone away – who is tending to it now? That part isn’t clear.

In the wider Middle Eastern region, there are US-allied coalition ships aplenty. France, Spain and Japan have warships in the area. There’s also the Royal Navy’s HMS Lancaster and some US ships. And the Ike is coming. But in the Gulf itself, right now, there is a naval power vacuum – one filled, at the moment, by China.

This leads to the second issue, the ongoing risk of miscalculation there. Historically, when ships and fast boats of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN – the maritime wing of Iran’s fanatical Revolutionary Guards) swarm your ship or generally behave like maritime hooligans in your vicinity you carry out your countermeasures, do everything you can to avoid escalation and then go on your way. You do this knowing that if it does escalate, either by accident or design, Uncle Sam will appear over the horizon momentarily.

If this happens right now you would be more likely to find a Chinese hypersonic armed warship offering to ‘help’. If the IRGCN want to ratchet up their bad behaviour in the Strait of Hormuz, and it generally doesn’t take much encouragement, now would be the perfect time.

Third, we know there is an arm-wrestle going on now between ‘the West’ and China for the respect of key players in the region, and you just know that recent PLAN port visits were used to discuss future basing options. US Central Command, US 5th Fleet and the UK Naval Support Facility remain in Bahrain so it’s definitely not an abandonment. I would imagine that high-level conversations between CentCom and the Saudis are happening right now, possibly even looking at counter-Houthi options as the Ike passes by.

Back when I was playing wargames a lot as a staff officer, we found that if a war with Iran was going to start, the Bab el Mandeb strait at the bottom of the Red Sea and/or the Eastern Med were likely places for the Iranians to start it. This is partly because it exposes the problems of having three US Combatant Commands converging, but mainly because it draws assets away from the root of the problem – Iran. And now we have attacks happening in both places, launched by Iranian-backed organisations in both cases. Suddenly there are not many assets left near the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran menaces all traffic in and out of the Gulf. It all looks a bit like the beginning of some of those Iran-vs-the-West wargames.

Large naval deployments affect oceans and continents way beyond the coastlines off which they sail. Experts in land power and followers of land wars sometimes forget this. One has to zoom way out and look at all of the moving parts to even have the first idea of what effect things like carrier strike groups may have and even then, don’t be surprised if you are wrong or if it changes.

Winston Churchill got this when he said, “a battleship exercises a vague general fear and menaces all points at once. It appears, and disappears, causing immediate reactions and perturbations on the other side”. There will be many conversations along these lines in the corridors of Washington DC and Whitehall – and it’s to be hoped that the planners remember that Churchill used this phrase to compel the deployment of Force Z, with its battleships without air cover, against the advice of the Admiralty. More than eight hundred British sailors paid the price.

US Navy ship movements and those of her allies are certainly causing ‘reactions and perturbations’ but, strategically, will they work? Only time will tell. But we have definitely learned that despite what’s happening in Gaza, Ukraine, the Red Sea, the Baltic, the South China Sea and elsewhere, we should never take our eyes off Iran and the Persian Gulf.

Tom Sharpe is a former Royal Navy officer and frigate captain

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South China Sea: China coast guard hit Philippine ship, Manila says

, 10/22/23

The Philippines has accused China's coast guard of colliding with a Filipino supply boat in the South China Sea

The Filipino vessel was on its way Sunday to a Philippine outpost in the Second Thomas Shoal, where tensions have escalated in recent weeks.

Manila said Beijing's "dangerous blocking manoeuvres" endangered the safety of the Filipino crew.

However, China said the Philippines "deliberately stirred up trouble".

Chinese and Philippine ships have routinely played cat-and-mouse around the shoal as a handful of Filipino troops on the outpost, a marooned and crumbling navy ship, require monthly rations.

But Filipino authorities say China has grown more aggressive since Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr took office in June 2022 and sought closer military ties with Washington, Beijing's chief rival for influence in the resource-rich and strategic sea.

In a second incident also near Second Thomas Shoal on Sunday, Filipino authorities said a Chinese militia vessel bumped into a Philippine coast guard ship.

A second supply ship was able to reach the Philippine outpost in the shoal, Manila said.

Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, including the Spratlys where the Second Thomas Shoal is located. Its claims to the sea overlap with claims by other countries, including the Philippines and Vietnam.

In 2016, an international arbitration court at The Hague ruled that China's vast sea claims had no basis, acting on a case brought forth by Manila. Beijing has refused to recognise it.

What is the South China Sea dispute?

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Republicans still can’t choose a speaker of the House. Now what?

How Congress got here, what it means for you and what comes next.

,·Chief National Correspondent, 10/21/23

Over the 17 days since Republicans ousted their own leadership in the House of Representatives, the party has not only failed to choose a new leader, but it has also become more fractious and dysfunctional.

“We are in a very bad place,” former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, said Friday.

The vacuum has left the lower chamber of Congress paralyzed and unable to function for three weeks, and on Friday they were no closer to a resolution of the problem.

Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio was cast aside by members of his own party after three days of fruitless attempts to strong arm his way into the speaker position.

So now what?

It’s back to square one

Republicans, who control the House but have a very narrow majority, left D.C. Friday afternoon after Jordan lost a private vote on whether he should remain their nominee as speaker.

The vote was 112 against Jordan, and 86 for him. He needed a majority to remain the party’s internal choice for speaker. To be elected speaker, a nominee must win the majority of the full House.

Immediately, other Republicans said they would run for speaker. Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma was one of the first to declare he would run. Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia was another quick out of the gate. Soon after that, Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the third-ranking Republican in the House, said he too would run.

Several other Republicans said they may put their name in the ring, ahead of a candidate forum expected for Monday. One big question will be whether McCarthy, the California Republican who was pushed aside a few weeks ago, is called on again to return to the job.

The clock is ticking

The GOP cannot drag its feet forever. The government will shut down in mid-November if Congress does not pass a funding bill.

The Republican Party’s total collapse in the House means that the Senate — which is controlled by Democrats — will be in the driver’s seat when it comes to what that funding bill looks like.

A group of eight Republicans who worked to oust McCarthy did so because he failed to get a funding bill through the House with only Republican votes. Republicans could not agree on the specifics of the bill, forcing McCarthy to work with Democrats to pass funding legislation and avoid a government shutdown.

President Biden is also planning to submit a request for $100 billion in emergency aid to Israel and Ukraine next week. The Senate will have almost total control over what gets into that package and what does not, thanks to the circus in the House.

Can Republicans get their act together?

Nobody knows. If a consensus pick doesn’t emerge, they will be back to square one again, which is a place they seem to keep coming back to.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina Republican, will remain the speaker pro tempore for now. That means he presides over the chamber but has limited powers.

There has been talk of naming McHenry as temporary or acting speaker if the GOP cannot agree on a candidate. That conversation has been put on the back burner for now while Republicans go through another round of opening up the bidding for a new candidate.

But like the option of reelecting McCarthy, the McHenry option could bubble back up again if the GOP finds itself in another cul-de-sac it can’t stumble out of.

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這個鬧劇的另一位主角 -- 眾議員格茲,正在因吸毒、不正當性動作、和其它當行為,被美國眾議院倫理委員會進行調查和聽證。有可能被美國眾議院除名


House vote to oust McCarthy could mean 'weeks' of chaos and higher odds of shutdown

, 10/04/23

A small group of far-right Republicans responded to last weekend’s shutdown deal by ousting House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday, the first time a lawmaker revolt has successfully ousted a House speaker in American history.

"The office of speaker of the House ... is hereby declared vacant," announced Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.).

The effort was led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who voted yes on the resolution and was joined in the effort by seven additional Republicans and 210 House Democrats to cap a raucous day on Capitol Hill. The historic maneuver — formally known as vacating the chair — hadn't been tried in over 100 years.

As the debate dragged on Tuesday afternoon and the outcome became increasingly clear, lawmakers predicted an extended wave of government dysfunction in the days and weeks ahead.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) perhaps put it most succinctly when he predicted that "the House will be paralyzed, we can expect week after week of fruitless ballots while no other business can be conducted."

 

Economic observers also pointed out that the likely gridlock to come could have economic consequences and is perhaps the last thing needed with a new government shutdown deadline looming in just weeks.

"Markets might react negatively to government dysfunction," noted Stifel chief Washington policy strategist Brian Gardner of the possible immediate market impact. Tuesday's vote finished up in the late afternoon after markets had closed for the day.

"We’ve never seen anything like this," added Greg Valliere, chief US policy strategist of AGF Investments, in a note to clients Tuesday morning before the vote.

For now Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) is the House's speaker pro tempore and is temporarily in charge until lawmakers can pick a new speaker.

Increased chances of a government shutdown

The chaos also appears likely to increase the odds of a government shutdown next month.

Perhaps Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) was the most blunt, reportedly saying behind closed doors in a meeting of Republicans before the vote that "if we vacate the chair, the government will shut down," according to a report in the New York Times.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith added in a statement that the chaos could weaken the GOP negotiating position in the fights to come, saying "today’s actions actually empower those who want to increase spending and those who want to give a blank check to Ukraine."

Lawmakers have until Nov. 17 to search for another government spending compromise following last weekend's deal. That 71-page measure passed the House by an overwhelming 335-91 vote with 90 Republicans and 1 Democrat voting no. It extended the government shutdown deadline, provided $16 billion for disaster relief, and reauthorized the FAA through the end of the year.

But for now, Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.) notes that work in the House to head off a shutdown will likely be stopped. The wrangling to come, she said, "will put this House in a stalemate and paralyze our ability to fight for our constituents and instead create a fight amongst one another."

"We have 43 days to restore fiscal responsibility," she added in a reference to the new government shutdown deadline.

This post has been updated with additional developments.

Ben Werschkul is Washington correspondent for Yahoo Finance.



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