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Leave it to the frogs...

Once again, France has decided that a disagreement that could erupt into a shooting war needs its special touch. This time, it's the longstanding dispute between Communist China and Taiwan, which on occasion has come close to armed conflict. And the valiant heirs to Petain have decided that they'd much rather side with the communists with a history of brutally conquering neighbors and oppressing its own people, and bail on 23 million happy, thriving, capitalistic democrats.

But while this is typically contemptible of the cheese-eating surrender monkeys, it might actually be a good omen for the people of Taiwan. Historically, having the French against you is virtually a guarantee of success.

Oh, please let France's history be prophesy, if only for the sake of the people of Taiwan...

J.


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» Simon World linked with Daily linklets 22nd April

» The LLama Butchers linked with Good news for Tapei

» A Clear Voice linked with First Saddam, Now China

» No Oil for Pacifists linked with France Repeals "La Marseillaise"

» RightPundit linked with French Integrity

» The Universal Church of Cosmic Uncertainty linked with *sigh* French being French #443

» Right Wing Nut House linked with FRANCE TO TAIWAN: SUBMIT OR PERISH

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» Brain Fertilizer linked with Oops! I Screwed Up Again!

Comments (16)

France has the weirdest geo... (Below threshold)

France has the weirdest geopolitical strategy. It seems to revolve around the consistent application of vindictive spite.

Spite against the U.S.A.

Correct me if I'm wrong, bu... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't these the same folks that cajolled us into bombing the crud out of Serbia so that Bosnia or Kosovo could break away? Do we take one position if its in Europe and another in Asia?

Well hell. I was thinking C... (Below threshold)

Well hell. I was thinking China was just saber-rattling -- and they may have thought so too.

But you get France involved and there will be a war. If we're lucky though, China and Taiwan will both declare war on France.

Fact check:Which nei... (Below threshold)

Fact check:
Which neighboring nations, exactly, has China brutally conquered?
Because I think I would have noticed if China had conquered Viet Nam, Korea, Russia, Mongolia, Japan, Kasakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Laos, or Burma.
So what nations have they invaded in, say, the last 300 or so years?
Viet Nam, got beaten, withdrew.
Tibet --by the invitation of the Dalai Lama, I might add-- which actually has some historical basis for re-unification...much stronger than the basis of our annexing, say, Hawaii.

And that's it.
No other nations invaded.

Shoot, we've done more than just in the last 3 years. Now, we have freed the countries we've invaded.

But let's not pretend China is some warmongering, expansive nation like the USSR was.

China has experience of conquering everything before, and they decided they didn't really like being in charge of and responsible for places that aren't "China", and preferred to take tribute.

...and before you pretend that the ChiComs are the only brutalizers of their own people, you might want to research Taiwan's history, including nearly 50 years of martial law by the occupying force that fled the mainland (checking out the KMT history of the 20s and 30s shows they were, if anything, worse than the Communists), not allowing the natives to vote until 1996, a few massacres of protesting Taiwan natives (the 2-28 Incident being the worst).

Now, China clearly does want to displace the US as the top power in the Asia-Pacific sphere, and that runs counter to our national interests and may engender an economic or even armed conflict with them sooner or later. That's nothing to take lightly, but there's no reason to distort the nature of that threat.

Oh, and there is no indication that the starvation that occurred in China was deliberate, unlike Stalin's efforts. Horrible, yes, and a clear warning against allowing bureaucracy to run amok, or to allow socialist ideology to trump common sense. Still, 20 to 30 million people died because the people in charge had created a situation in which they rewarded people giving them exaggerated production numbers. Manslaughter, not murder.

Nathan:As a leader... (Below threshold)
robert:

Nathan:

As a leader of our Table Tennis team at one time, I have been to China many times. I have also been behind the iron curtain many times in the Soviet era.

You are correct to note that the China government is not at all expantionist as was Stalin's USSR. This however is not an argument to be used in this case, as China regards Taiwan as another province.

While it is true that China is no longer the vision of Mao, I fear you have an unrealistic perception of today's China. The economy has been somewhat freed but strong regimented leaders still rule China with an iron fist. Their control is still absolute and party members still rake in most of the perks. Military leaders control much more than the military.

I find the ordinary chinese very warm and pleasant, but the government is anything but. Most hotel rooms are bugged and secret folks sometimes follow foreigners. I have witnessed government death threats to family members of certain athletes who might beat the home team. These are to expatriate chinese who still have family in China. Believe me, these are taken very, very seriously - people still dissappear in China.

China, by the way, did invade Vietnam and has a poor record in the assumption of Hong Kong and in Tibet. My friends in Taiwan take the threat of invasion very seriously.

I suppose though, that it is just a question of time before all these European countries with moribund economies, fall all over themselves to suck up to China and throw Taiwan under the bus.

I never denied China might ... (Below threshold)

I never denied China might invade Taiwan; in fact, I consider it a likelihood.

I don't consider Taiwan a part of China, either: if you can't collect taxes or enforce laws, it isn't part of your territory.

...and yet, Taiwan still retains all the Chinese historical treasures its leaders plundered when they fled the mainland. If they aren't part of China, by what right do they keep those artistic and historic items? If they are a part of China, why don't they return them to the proper location for historical context?

Other than that, my post stands as it is. Every single point can be verified through research.

Ok, I'm going to jump in he... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Ok, I'm going to jump in here as I have some experience in the area, though less than others might. First this from Nathan:

Tibet --by the invitation of the Dalai Lama, I might add-- which actually has some historical basis for re-unification...much stronger than the basis of our annexing, say, Hawaii.

I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that the Dalai Lama invited the Chinese to take over Tibet, but I'm guessing it in some way stems from Chinese propaganda. The Tibetans and the Dalai Lama recall it very differently. On the point that China has more of a claim over Tibet than we did over Hawaii, you're right, but I don't believe we encountered anywhere near the level of resistance (in sort of per capita terms, not effectiveness) in annexing Hawaii as the Chinese did in invading Tibet. As for the historical basis for re-unification, this is mostly hogwash. China may have "ruled" Tibet in name for a short time (even Tibet conquered parts of China not too long ago), but had never really governed there, allowing the region autonomous control during its short (relatively) rule.

including nearly 50 years of martial law by the occupying force that fled the mainland (checking out the KMT history of the 20s and 30s shows they were, if anything, worse than the Communists), not allowing the natives to vote until 1996,

I'm assuming you mean the transgressions of the KMT/GMD on the mainland during the 20's and 30's, not in Taiwan. Other than that, I think you are right on regarding the intentions of the Chinese (sabre-rattling, as McGehee wrote), the starvation during the Great Leap Forward and subsequent campaigns, and the treatment of Taiwanese natives after the occupation by the Chinese. However, as far as national treasures go, the people who brought them to Taiwan are Chinese, and have as much a claim to them as the CCP. Furthermore, they still contend that they are the rightful Republic of China, and would (wishingly) love to control all of China themselves. This, of course, is where things get tricky.

Who do you support in this struggle? It is fairly easy here for many due to the fact that China is communist and Taiwan is not, but there is much more history there than we are used to in this country. These sorts of problems have tended to take centuries to work out, so maybe 24 hour news is not the best barometer.

As to robert's comments, I have heard many stories similar to yours, especially regarding high-profile guests (atheletes of course included). However, I wonder if you have been to China recently. My experience there is all in the past several years, but I can assure you that they do not, for one thing, but most hotel rooms. An understanding of how the tourism industry has grown in China over the past decade would reveal what a nightmare keeping up with all of the tapes/records this would be. As a three-time visitor to the country, I have never encountered any sort of government influence nor restriction on my behavior (high priced hotels do take your passport number, but that is it). This of course does not include travelling to Tibet, which is somewhat more difficult (the CCP isn't too keen on getting too much press out of the region, but of course it still happens), but still fairly easy for the traveller with means.

As for the French, while regulars here may recognize me as being pretty liberal, I think this is positively dispicable. While I don't believe that China will invade Taiwain, to sell Taiwan down the river only to sell arms is just sickening. I normally pay very little attention to the French gov't, but this certainly brings my estimation of them down a good bit.

excuse me, "but most hotel ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

excuse me, "but most hotel rooms" should be "bug most hotel rooms". And let me add that we recognized the Republic of China, as it is in Taiwan, until Nixon decided we should switch over. Apparently we can only recognize one as legitimate from the asian perspective. I tend to agree with Pres. Bush on this one (excepting of course his military rhetoric, as there is enough of that in the region).

Nathan: I suggest ... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Nathan:

I suggest more historical research.

In 1962, China invaded India. It continues to occupy several hundred thousand square kilometers of territory, south of the McMahon Line.

In 1969, Chinese forces ambushed Soviet troops on Damanski Island, in the Ussuri River. The Chinese claim was that the island was theirs, but contemporary treaty terms make it clear that the island was on the Soviet side of the border.

In 1979, of course, there was the Sino-Vietnamese War.

In the 1980s, there were repeated Chinese clashes with Vietnamese and other nations' forces in the South China Sea over the Spratlys. This included the sinking of three Vietnamese ships, as well as the occupation of the aptly-named "Mischief Reef" claimed by the Philippines.

As for the millions who died under Mao, there might be some justification for the idea that it was not exactly deliberate during the Great Leap Forward (1957-1960). About as much as claiming that Stalin was not aware of every death that occurred during the Purges.

However, the millions who were killed during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) were absolutely the function of a deliberate policy. Look at the Wuhan Uprising, for example.

The Chicoms have been very ... (Below threshold)
KenS:

The Chicoms have been very unconcerned about territory that is clearly not theirs. They are totally obstinate about territory that might be theirs under any possible historical scenario.

One interpretation would be that they think foreign affairs are only settled by force. i.e. negotiation, mediation, or arbitration cannot be used because China might not get 100%. When they lack the force needed, they wait.

Or they may regard any reasonable settlement as a loss of face likely to lead to internal revolt.

Others suggest it is a type of racism/nationalism that allows no rights to any other peoples.

Whatever the collective mind of the leadership may be, it has lead to a Chinese variation of the Brezhnev Doctrine. (what is once ours (in the socialist bloc) can never be given up.)

I believe they will attack Taiwan and also fight over each acre of disputed sea or land with Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines, India, etc. Any future sass in Tibet, the muslim provinces, or Hong Kong will be utterly crushed.

I do not say they will prevail in every case. But they will not settle.

Better that I am mistaken! It has happened.


I think I made myself prett... (Below threshold)

I think I made myself pretty clear, but I'll repeat and clarify:

China launched a full-scale invasion of Viet Nam, yes. They got their butts kicked and withdrew. That's hardly "brutal conquering". I read an interview with the Dalai Lama from about 10 years ago in which he regretted asking for the Chi-Coms to come into Tibet. I think he was filled with the idealism of Wealth! and Progress! for everyone that Communism promised, just like the rest of China. I think China would have invaded anyway, and was just looking for a pretext...however, the Dalai Lama did provide that pretext to go along with the historical angle.

Okay, so it is not disputed that Tibet was a part of China at various times during history? You can argue that historical territorial lines mean nothing...but that is an American chauvenism, isn't it? How can a nation with less than 250 years of history make judgments on the applicability of something that happened 500 years ago to a socio-political entity that has existed for more than 4000 years?

Just stop and think about how we actually gained Hawaii and Texas: Americans moved into a territory, used force of arms and economic means to take control away from the natives, then begged for admittance into the Union against the wishes of the natives. We picked a fight with Spain so we could seize all their overseas territories. Do we just a get a pass for what we did? Does the KMT govt in Taiwan get a pass for its brutality against native Taiwanese, and not allowing them to vote until less than a decade ago? What does China need to do to get a pass for its invasion of Tibet more than 45 years ago? Especially since the Dalai Lama has come full circle and admitted that is a part of China? (See also: One and Two

To understand the border disputes with Russia and India, you have to keep in mind the number of "treaties" forced onto China since the early 1800s. China helped in WWI to try and get its own territory back, but the Western powers gave the land held by Germany to Japan. And much the same sort of thing happened after WWII, when the Western powers didn't really care much about ensuring Chinese territorial integrity; Russia seized a great deal of territory by playing the Communists against the KMT. Who really had the authority to negotiate those deals? That doesn't justify those incursions, no; but it's not quite the same thing as the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq's occupation of Kuwait.

People seem to have this idea that whatever the borders were at the end of WWII, that's the way it should stay forever and ever, amen. That runs so strongly counter to the way things have been throughout history, I have to wonder where that notion came from.

Mantis,

I'm assuming you mean the transgressions of the KMT/GMD on the mainland during the 20's and 30's, not in Taiwan.

Actually, I was referring to the actions of the KMT on the mainland in the 20s and 30s, which serves as a baseline for continued atrocities on Taiwan after they fled there.

However, as far as national treasures go, the people who brought them to Taiwan are Chinese, and have as much a claim to them as the CCP. Furthermore, they still contend that they are the rightful Republic of China, and would (wishingly) love to control all of China themselves. This, of course, is where things get tricky.
That's exactly the point. I set that up as a sort of trap, because it is just this reason that China claims Taiwan is still a part of China: the Taiwanese own attitudes about their Chinese-ness.
It is fairly easy here for many due to the fact that China is communist and Taiwan is not, but there is much more history there than we are used to in this country. These sorts of problems have tended to take centuries to work out, so maybe 24 hour news is not the best barometer.
Also: exactly. China-Taiwan is not a simple issue at all. And that was my overall point. You can't just demonize Mainland China as being a rapine, brutal conquerer with Taiwan as merely the first in their master plan to rule all of Asia with an iron fist. Rather, Taiwan is a special case for special reasons. China could re-unify with Taiwan and never take a single step toward threatening any other neighbor.
Who do you support in this struggle?
That's the big question. I'm not sure I support either side. It is Taiwan that prevents close connections with China because they fear the people wanting to re-unify peacefully. After E. and W. Germany reunited, the fervor on both sides of the strait seemed to want to re-unify, as well. Taiwan made a series of demands that China needed to enact for it to happen. China has done about 80% of them, but with each step, Taiwan actually seems to be moving farther away from re-unifying peacefully and willingly. To me, that seems as if they are acting in bad faith; particularly since Chen Shuibian and Lee Tenghui stirred up separatist fervor only for their own political benefit. If China really wants to unify, what does that leave? Since both sides still all consider themselves Chinese, why should China abandon its goal of re-unification? Still, Chen Shuibian (and his supporters) being selfish pondscum doesn't mean Taiwan should be invaded and subdued militarily. [sigh] I don't see a good/easy solution forthcoming any time soon.

LO,

I suggest more historical research.

Collectivism came about in China when Mao Zedong was traveling on a train and saw a banner that someone put up in revolutionary zeal: "Collectivization is Good!". A reporter heard him and it was the headline of every newspaper the next day. "Your wish is my command' was the attitude of everyone toward Mao at that time, and they fell all over themselves trying to bring about an order Mao Zedong didn't even intend to make. Then no village wanted to be the one to report disappointing results of production, and so not enough grain was left in the villages to feed the people. 10s of millions starved.
Is that the deliberate murder of 20 million people.

In the Great Cultural Revolution, Mao ZeDong had felt his power slipping away, and also noticed that the current leaders were not being as ideologically pure as he wanted them to be. He turned to the youth who idolized him as his power base. They ran with his urgings, going farther than Mao intended. Once aroused, they were the genie that could not be stuffed back in the bottle.

So you are trying to insist that Mao Zedong wanted and planned for all that to happen. Unsupportable.

The Wuhan Uprising was deliberate, yes. And so the Govt response to the uprising was equally as deliberate. That's like saying the huge death toll of the War Between the States was the direct result of a deliberate policy by the US govt.

China is not as pure as the driven snow, and I'm not defending the country or their govt. I am saying that exaggerations, demonizations, and gross over-simplifications don't help us to figure out a way to defuse a situation growing more volatile by the month (if not by the week).

Y'all can be concerned about millions killed through incompetence and bureaucracy 40 years ago. I'm more concerned about trying to prevent millions from being killed tomorrow. Because if it happens, a significant portion of those killed will be American military, maybe including me. Begging your pardon, but I'd rather that didn't happen. Accurate assessments of the situation are necessary to know where/how to apply the pressure.

Repeated because the blockq... (Below threshold)

Repeated because the blockquote function didn't work too well:

I think I made myself pretty clear, but I'll repeat and clarify:

China launched a full-scale invasion of Viet Nam, yes. They got their butts kicked and withdrew. That's hardly "brutal conquering". I read an interview with the Dalai Lama from about 10 years ago in which he regretted asking for the Chi-Coms to come into Tibet. I think he was filled with the idealism of Wealth! and Progress! for everyone that Communism promised, just like the rest of China. I think China would have invaded anyway, and was just looking for a pretext...however, the Dalai Lama did provide that pretext to go along with the historical angle.

Okay, so it is not disputed that Tibet was a part of China at various times during history? You can argue that historical territorial lines mean nothing...but that is an American chauvenism, isn't it? How can a nation with less than 250 years of history make judgments on the applicability of something that happened 500 years ago to a socio-political entity that has existed for more than 4000 years?

Just stop and think about how we actually gained Hawaii and Texas: Americans moved into a territory, used force of arms and economic means to take control away from the natives, then begged for admittance into the Union against the wishes of the natives. We picked a fight with Spain so we could seize all their overseas territories. Do we just a get a pass for what we did? Does the KMT govt in Taiwan get a pass for its brutality against native Taiwanese, and not allowing them to vote until less than a decade ago? What does China need to do to get a pass for its invasion of Tibet more than 45 years ago? Especially since the Dalai Lama has come full circle and admitted that is a part of China? (See also: One and Two)

To understand the border disputes with Russia and India, you have to keep in mind the number of "treaties" forced onto China since the early 1800s. China helped in WWI to try and get its own territory back, but the Western powers gave the land held by Germany to Japan. And much the same sort of thing happened after WWII, when the Western powers didn't really care much about ensuring Chinese territorial integrity; Russia seized a great deal of territory by playing the Communists against the KMT. Who really had the authority to negotiate those deals? That doesn't justify those incursions, no; but it's not quite the same thing as the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq's occupation of Kuwait.

People seem to have this idea that whatever the borders were at the end of WWII, that's the way it should stay forever and ever, amen. That runs so strongly counter to the way things have been throughout history, I have to wonder where that notion came from.

Mantis,
I'm assuming you mean the transgressions of the KMT/GMD on the mainland during the 20's and 30's, not in Taiwan.
Actually, I was referring to the actions of the KMT on the mainland in the 20s and 30s, which serves as a baseline for continued atrocities on Taiwan after they fled there.
However, as far as national treasures go, the people who brought them to Taiwan are Chinese, and have as much a claim to them as the CCP. Furthermore, they still contend that they are the rightful Republic of China, and would (wishingly) love to control all of China themselves. This, of course, is where things get tricky.
That's exactly the point. I set that up as a sort of trap, because it is just this reason that China claims Taiwan is still a part of China: the Taiwanese own attitudes about their Chinese-ness.
It is fairly easy here for many due to the fact that China is communist and Taiwan is not, but there is much more history there than we are used to in this country. These sorts of problems have tended to take centuries to work out, so maybe 24 hour news is not the best barometer.
Also: exactly. China-Taiwan is not a simple issue at all. And that was my overall point. You can't just demonize Mainland China as being a rapine, brutal conquerer with Taiwan as merely the first in their master plan to rule all of Asia with an iron fist. Rather, Taiwan is a special case for special reasons. China could re-unify with Taiwan and never take a single step toward threatening any other neighbor.

Who do you support in this struggle? That's the $64,000 question. I'm not sure I support either side. It is Taiwan that prevents close connections with China because they fear the people wanting to re-unify peacefully. After E. and W. Germany reunited, the fervor on both sides of the strait seemed to want to re-unify, as well. Taiwan made a series of demands that China needed to enact for it to happen. China has done about 80% of them, but with each step, Taiwan actually seems to be moving farther away from re-unifying peacefully and willingly. To me, that seems as if they are acting in bad faith; particularly since Chen Shuibian and Lee Tenghui stirred up separatist fervor only for their own political benefit. If China really wants to unify, what does that leave? Since both sides still all consider themselves Chinese, why should China abandon its goal of re-unification? Still, Chen Shuibian (and his supporters) being selfish pondscum doesn't mean Taiwan should be invaded and subdued militarily. [sigh] I don't see a good/easy solution forthcoming any time soon.

LO,
Collectivism came about in China when Mao Zedong was traveling on a train and saw a banner that someone put up in revolutionary zeal: "Collectivization is Good!". A reporter heard him and it was the headline of every newspaper the next day. "Your wish is my command' was the attitude of everyone toward Mao at that time, and they fell all over themselves trying to bring about an order Mao Zedong didn't even intend to make. Then no village wanted to be the one to report disappointing results of production, and so not enough grain was left in the villages to feed the people. 10s of millions starved.
Is that the deliberate murder of 20 million people?

In the Great Cultural Revolution, Mao ZeDong had felt his power slipping away, and also noticed that the current leaders were not being as ideologically pure as he wanted them to be. He turned to the youth who idolized him as his power base. They ran with his urgings, going farther than Mao intended. Once aroused, they were the genie that could not be stuffed back in the bottle.

So you are trying to insist that Mao Zedong wanted and planned for all that to happen? I consider that an unsupportable assertiion.

The Wuhan Uprising was deliberate, yes: by the people rising up. And so the govt response to the uprising was equally as deliberate. That's pretty much like saying the huge death toll of the War Between the States was the direct result of a deliberate policy by the US govt. Every govt exists primarily to keep itself in power, and will use military force to prevent overthrow.

China is not as pure as the driven snow, and I'm not defending the country or their govt. I am saying that exaggerations, demonizations, and gross over-simplifications don't help us to figure out a way to defuse a situation growing more volatile by the month (if not by the week).

Y'all can be concerned about millions killed through incompetence and bureaucracy 40 years ago. I'm more concerned about trying to prevent millions from being killed tomorrow. Because if it happens, a significant portion of those killed will be American military, maybe even me. Begging your pardon, but I'd rather that didn't happen. Accurate assessments of the situation are necessary to know where/how to apply the pressure.

Let's see... how to derail ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Let's see... how to derail a topic:

1) Fixate on a trivial detail, such as whether an adjective is appropriate or not. ("Your honor, I object. My client, Mr. Dahmer, did NOT kill and eat 8 people. It was only seven!")

2) Make moral equivocations between the current offender with examples from the US' past. ("Your honor, while it is true Mr. Dahmer ate those people, at least he used clean silverware and washed his hands after each meal, unlike Mr. Gein.")

3) Drown the audience in excessive details and minutiae, simultaneously establishing yourself as an "expert" not to be questioned and boring them with the topic at hand. ("...and if you'll turn to page 47 of my brief, Your Honor can see that victim number six was most likely killed by a person six feet all, 185 pounds, and right-handed. My client is five feet eleven and one-half inches tall, 182 pounds, and primarily right-handed, but does let his left hand dominate for certain activities.")

So, Nathan, let's cut through all the bullshit and acknowledge that you know way, WAY more about Chinese history than the rest of us, that the US has been naughty in the past, and get right down to the facts:

China is threatening to invade Taiwan and achieve reunification with the 23 million people there by force, killing as many of them as necessary in the process. The stated position of the United States is to oppose this. France, for what I and many others presume are for purely selfish reasons (economic and spiting the US) is saying they support China's intentions. Which side do you take, Nathan?

And please answer "with Communist China" or "with Taiwan." It's really that simple a question, Nathan, and I'm sure I speak for many others who say they really don't feel like wading through your yards of evasion, equivocation, and bullshit.

J.

Jay Tea,Taiwan.... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea,
Taiwan.

It's obvious that anything else I might say in response/defense would just make things worse, so I won't.

Oh, and can you delete the ... (Below threshold)

Oh, and can you delete the first version of my last long entry?
I reposted for clarity because the blockquotes didn't work quite right.

You could delete all of them if you wanted to, actually, but then the other comments wouldn't make sense any more.

The 11:04 p.m. comment, Nat... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

The 11:04 p.m. comment, Nathan? Normally I am loath to do such things, but I think it's reasonable this time around. Confirm that, and it's gone.

J.




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