This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Gun Control versus 3D printing
- Asians increasingly talk about war between China and Japan
Gun Control versus 3D printing
Supposedly the world's first 3D-printed gun
In my article yesterday, "26-Dec-12 World View -- Andrew Sullivan and the Gun Control Fantasy", I pointed out that there's no evidence that
prohibitions in the past -- of alcohol, drugs, abortion and
prostitution -- had any actual effect, but they had a large negative
effect of creating bootleggers, organized crime, drug cartels and
A web site reader complained of a flaw in the argument because, guns
are different from alcohol and the others, because "gun manufacturers
and importers can be legally controlled and illegal weapons can be
In other words, he's claiming that although you can distill your own
alcohol in your basement or garage, you need a gun manufacturer if you
want a gun.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Just google the words "how to make a gun," and you'll find plenty of
information on how to make a home-made gun from ordinary construction
materials, such as metal tubes, bars, nuts and bolts. It's no more
difficult to make a home-made gun than to make home-made moonshine.
And that doesn't take into account 3D printers. These devices have been
around for decades, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and capable
of "printing" or manufacturing 3D plastic models of anything designed by
CAD (computer-aided design) software.
Basically, you can design anything you want -- a house, a car, a
bridge -- on you CAD software, click the "3D PRINT" button, and your
design is sent to the 3D printer. Within a couple of hours, you have
a precise plastic model of your design.
The thing that's changed recently is that the prices of 3D printers
have fallen dramatically. You can now get very nice desktop models
for a few thousand dollars, and that should be below $1000 by the end
of 2013. If you'd like to learn more, go into YouTube and do a
search on 3D printers, for demonstration videos.
The gun pictured above is claimed to be the world's first 3D printed
gun. A couple of standard metal parts were combined with parts from
the 3D printer, and a new gun could be in your hands within a few
hours. Once you've figured out how to do it, you can clunk out
several new guns every day -- for your own use, or to sell.
There are already 310 million non-military firearms in America, and
5,400 licensed firearms manufacturers. Given those numbers, any
attempt to get rid of all guns is simply a fantasy. Gun control,
except for some trivial prohibitions, will never become law.
But suppose the fantasy of gun control DID come to pass. It wouldn't
be more than a few months before tens of thousands of basements and
garages turned into homemade gun manufacturers. Organized crime and
drug cartels would quickly move into gun manufacturing. Some would do
it the "old fashioned" way, with metal tubes and bars. But within 2-3
years, the technology for 3D printing would have advanced to the point
where thousands of them would be done with 3D printers.
Actually, even without gun control, it will soon be possible to
manufacture guns and a lot of other stuff in your home spare room.
Most people today would be lost if they didn't have a computer. Well,
within a few years you'll be lost if you don't have your own 3D
printer. Extreme Tech and CNN
Asians increasingly talk about war between China and Japan
Normally, the mainstream media never talks about possible war, for
fear of getting people angry or, in the worst case, for fear of
triggering a war themselves. So it's surprising to suddenly see so
many year-end editorials talk about a possible war between China and
Japan in 2013.
Here's an editorial from Wednesday's Sydney Morning Herald:
"THIS is how wars usually start: with a steadily
escalating stand-off over something intrinsically worthless. So
don't be too surprised if the US and Japan go to war with China
next year over the uninhabited rocks that Japan calls the Senkakus
and China calls the Diaoyu islands. And don't assume the war would
be contained and short.
Of course we should all hope that common sense prevails.
It seems almost laughably unthinkable that the world's three
richest countries - two of them nuclear-armed - would go to war
over something so trivial. ...
Where will it end? The risk is that, without a clear
circuit-breaker, the escalation will continue until at some point
shots are exchanged, and a spiral to war begins that no one can
stop. Neither side could win such a war, and it would be
devastating not just for them but for the rest of
The article contains a lengthy historical analysis comparing the
relationship between Japan and China to the relationship between
Sparta and Athens that led to the Peloponnesian War. That's not a
However, the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands are far from worthless. Along
with ownership of these islands comes a huge exclusive economic zone
(EEZ) that provides the right to take advantage of rich fishing
grounds, as well as huge oil and gas fields.
The Wall Street Journal Asia edition says the following:
"The past year was a turning point in Sino-Japanese
relations: Japan suffered a total defeat. Beijing realized
practically all its diplomatic objectives, whereas Tokyo could not
achieve any of them. But this victory may prove self-defeating for
Since the Japanese government's purchase of the Senkaku Islands
from their private owners on Sept. 11, Chinese forces have
regularly violated the territorial waters around the islands. As
of Dec. 18, some 62 Chinese vessels entered the area on at least
Beijing has also firmly established a national narrative that
these islands were grabbed by Japan from the falling Qing Dynasty
at the end of the 19th century. China and Taiwan have found common
ground on this issue despite some obvious policy differences over
the islands. Lastly, Beijing's economic retaliation has harmed
Japanese companies. ...
If Beijing considers that the Senkakus belong to China and Japan's
ownership of the islands is unfounded, it has every right to say
so in the bilateral talks and elsewhere. It might mobilize the
Chinese diaspora to buy full-page advertisements in major
U.S. newspapers. It might even take diplomatic measures to
pressure third countries to curtail ties with Japan.
But there is one measure from which China must absolutely refrain:
changing the status quo by force. And entering the territorial
waters or airspace where another country has implemented effective
control already for 117 years with an objective of establishing
its own jurisdiction is precisely that.
This is one of the most serious challenges to the post-World War
II order of peace and security under the United Nations
Charter. Achieving territorial claims by force is a crude state
behavior usually defined as hegemonism, which China itself firmly
denounced in the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship of
Beijing's present behavior is a reversion to the crude imperialism
of the late 19th century. It seems China's leaders have not
learned from the mistakes of Imperial Japan and all the peaceful
diplomacy that Japan painstakingly undertook since its defeat in
This article fails to mention the source of China's "reversion to
crude imperialism": Increased widespread nationalism, and a thirsty
desire for revenge against Japan for wrongs committed prior to 1945.
The Strategy Page, which reports on military matters worldwide, says
that both China and Japan are rapidly preparing for war:
"Newly selected Chinese Communist Party chief (and
ruler of China) Xi Jinping has come out strongly in favor of
stronger and more aggressive armed forces. ...
The new Chinese leadership openly called for the military to get
ready for regional (with the neighbors) war. Newly elected leaders
in Japan and South Korea made similar pronouncements, in response
to growing Chinese aggression. In particular the Chinese are
claiming all the islets and reefs in the South China sea,
including some that are clearly in the waters (as recognized by
international law) of other nations. Outside the South China Sea
China and Japan are contesting ownership of the Diaoyu (in
Chinese) Islands (Senkaku in Japanese and Tiaoyutai in
Currently, the Japanese have the most powerful naval forces in the
region, and are backed up by a mutual defense treaty with the
United States. China was long dissuaded by that, but no
more. China is no longer backing off on its claims, and neither is
Japan. So these confrontations are becoming more serious. ...
[On a related subject:] Indian officials repeated their belief
that China was now India’s major military threat, not
China's Global Times looks upon the new government in Japan, led by
Shinzo Abe, with apprehension:
"The Abe cabinet was officially installed
yesterday. ... It is already impossible for China and Japan to
resume the friendly ties they had before the Junichiro
Koizumi-era. In the short term, it's impossible for the
relationship to be what it was before the outbreak of the
[Senkaku/Diaoyu] Islands conflicts. ...
Officials from both China and Japan will continue to stress
mutually beneficial relations. However, we cannot realistically
expect this. Tension has existed in the Sino-Japanese relationship
for more than a decade. Given that the situation in the
Asia-Pacific hasn't improved, the relationship of the two
countries cannot really become warmer.
China does not intend to confront Japan. However, at this stage,
we can only adjust our policies based on reality.
The "cold politics but hot economics" relationship between the two
countries is transforming to "cold politics and cold economics."
China's economy has also suffered from this.
Sino-Japanese relations have been filled with suspicion and
misunderstandings. Both sides expect the other to be overawed by
hard-line attitudes, while they also worry about escalation
leading to war. We should have the proper strategic vigilance to
avoid war. However, we should not transform this vigilance into
excessive anxiety. ...
There's a possibility that Japan may decide to tie its future to
the US and become an anti-China country even more radical than the
US. However, whether this comes true depends on the overall
situation in the region. China does not have the capability to
take the initiative to prevent this from happening. China's
increasing strength may be more effective in defusing Japanese
As I've said many times in the past, China is preparing for preemptive
war on multiple fronts. It's beginning to look like 2013 will be the
year. This will be the worst war in history, killing billions of
people. The survivors, including the Chinese, will regret that it
ever occurred, even if they "win."
Sydney Morning Herald and Wall Street Journal and Strategy Page and Global Times
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