Eric X. Li had a wonderful op-ed in the NY Times. I really don’t know how he got a piece through, especially since all mine have been rejected. Anyways, hats off to him! Here is his op-ed, with some of my thoughts scribbled throughout. Read more…
Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2010, by Richard F. Grimmett, Specialist in International Security
Larry from Bear Canada just passed along a copy of this report detailing instances of use of U.S. armed forces abroad from 1798-2010. Thought it would be interesting to share this with everyone. I’ve also placed this in the our Recommended Reading List, which is grossly incomplete, but does give some reference to some interesting reads. Read more…
Today Li Na Wins French Open – and in the process becomes First Asian Woman To Win a Grand Slam! Read more…
Two weeks ago, Henry Kissinger’s new book “On China” went on the shelf. I have the honor of being asked recently to review the book. Henry Kissinger – preeminent American political scientist, diplomat, National Security Advisor and later concurrently Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford – requires no introduction. So I’ll go straight to the book.
In my opinion, “On China” is destined to become a best seller and an important resource on China – on the level of Jonathan Spence’s “In Search of Modern China” – for English readers. The book provides fascinating angles to so many chapters of Sino-American diplomatic history and has the character of an elder statesman telling not only a good story, but of imparting wisdom on a next generation of political leaders.
While focusing on 20th century Chinese history, the book also gave sufficient background on Chinese history to give context to current events – as well as a vision of what can be possible. Kissinger masterfully (but coolly) tells the story of China’s struggles through its centuries of humiliation, starting with the Opium War and its attempts to resist colonialism and foreign invasions. The book traces the story of the Communist rise to power, and the immediate turmoils – both domestic and international – that put the nascent state and the Chinese people immediately to the test.
One of my favorite aspects about the book is the way it tells – with wit, insight and cogency – the hair-triggering geopolitical games the Soviet Union, U.S., and China played. Read more…
A casual glance of English news bulletins on the web reveal articles such as the following:
- China cracks down in Inner Mongolia to thwart protests (LA Times)
- China Clamps Down in Bid to Halt Mongolian Protests (WSJ)
- China must avoid force in Mongolia: Amnesty (AFP)
I am dismayed at the tone of the coverage from the West.
If a potentially socially explosive situation arises anywhere in the world – whether it is in L.A. between blacks and whites or between tribes in Somalia – I’d think the responsible thing is to urge restraint amongst the people and for the government to make a show of force. It may even be time to impose some restrictions on movements (as local conditions dictate) for heads to cool down. I’d not call sending in police and guards to keep the peace and urge cooler head “crack down” – or “clamping down.” Read more…
Jim Hoge has been the editor of Foreign Affairs magazine since 1992. He holds the Peter G. Peterson Chair at the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a director of Human Rights Watch and the Foundation for a Civil Society. He is also the chairman of the International Center for Journalists.
He recently had this to say about China.
Despite wrestling with tremendous environmental problems associated with developing its economy, China has nevertheless been recognized as one of the top clean technology producers by World Wildlife Fund. This is not a small accomplishment on China’s part and is a testament of the continuous effort and progress China is making in this important arena.
According to this Washington Post report, Denmark tops list of clean technology producers; China is No. 2; US at 17 is rapidly expanding.
Here is a copy of the Washington Post report: Read more…
As you all know, Osama Bin Laden was killed by special U.S. op forces a couple of days ago in Abbottabad, Pakistan. According to Obama’s remarks in the immediate aftermath of Bin Laden’s death, Osama Bin Laden died in a firefight when he resisted capture.
Personally, I am ambivalent about the killing, especially the circumstances of Bin Laden’s death. The Whitehouse at first suggested Bin Laden put up resistance, but is already retracting that narrative.
I am especially skeptical of the U.S. sense of righteousness. To the extent it is wrong to assassinate a leader, I think the assassination of Osama is not justified. Some may point a finger: but Bin Laden is a terrorist. My response: to the extent Bin Laden is a terrorist, one might label the U.S. to be a terrorist, too. Al Qaeda may have a casual disregard for American life (about 3,000 died in New York), but so do the U.S. have a disregard for Muslim life (110,000 civilian deaths in Iraq, 9,000 civilian death in Afghanistan).
I spent over nine-years at UCLA and am (no surprise here) an avid alum supporter of the institution. Recently, I got wind that the Dalai Lama will be at UCLA next week.
A big part of the visit will be Dalai Lama’s participating in the symposium “Buddhism and Neuroscience: A Discussion on Attention, Mental Flexibility and Compassion,” with faculty and staff from UCLA’s Semel Institute.
Both UCLA and Harvard are my alma mater, and I have the highest respect for both. But it is one thing for UCLA or Harvard to sponsor a controversial figure like the Dalai Lama, but quite another to sponsor controversial figures in the name of science. Thus, if UCLA or Harvard were to sponsor Osma bin Laden – or even go back in time to sponsor Hitler, I’d be fine. It’s part of the process of pushing the boundary, if you will. But doing this dubiously in the name of science - this shocks my conscience.
Why cannot UCLA have picked Joe Shmoe, my neighbor, as the face of the symposium? Do not the characteristics of attention, mental flexibility and compassion not exist in all of us? Why does it have to be the Dalai Lama and why with such fanfare? Is this symposium about science or politics?
This symposium has gotten me thinking: is UCLA still a venerable institution of education and science, or has religion, politics, and cult personality bankrupted it? Should I be ashamed to be a UCLA Bruin? Is it time for me to sever all my financial ties with the institution, diverting my annual contributions to better causes elsewhere?
As many of you already know, the New York Times is now requiring people to “pay” for their content. Actually, it’s a little more complicated then that. While NYT wants to realize additional revenues for their content, they also don’t want to chase away too many people and have the effect of reducing advertising revenue. The wall is thus “leaky” by design. Read more…
Here is a transcript (as found on youtube): Read more…
There is a lot going on in the world. A natural disaster in Japan. Ravages of war from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestinian territories, to now Libya. The world is still in a recession. There is global warming. And population is still set to reach 9 billion by 2045.
Still I think there is still time for some comic relief. Obama made his NCAA picks last week. And the Dalai Lama recently announced (as brought up recently in the Open Thread) that he is retiring from politics.
Dalai Lama – retiring from politics?
Yes! Read more…
In light of several recent posts we have had relating to Shaun Rein (see, e.g., this one on how to mend relations between West and China), I thought some of us might actually want to meet someone with intelligent things to say … face to face.
Here is a recent video of Shaun on CNBC sharing some his observations on current events in China. On a blog, this is as close as we can get to “face to face.”
Recently I wrote about the unfair suspicion and distrust and bad mouthing systemically heaped upon China and Chinese companies by many in the U.S. Well, finally, one company – Huawei – has decided to fight back. Read more…
Here is another story about hackers from China.
Allegedly some organization have tracked yet another hacking that originated from some computer from China.
Red alert – we are under attack from China!
I found it interesting that we never hear from hackers from U.S., Britain, Germany characterized as that. We are more specific than that. Bad hackers are individual bad apples. They may be deranged individuals or part of standard industrial espionage operations. But when it comes to hackers form China, it has to be “hackers from China” – they are coming after us! Read more…
For the last three weeks, we witnessed something extraorgdinary in the Egypt. A unpopular leader is finally brought down by revolts in the street. A gallant people finally brought a hated tyrrant down to his knees.
Yet, if one really think about it, even by the most optimistic of figures, at most (perhaps) one million people at one time or another added together protested against Mubarak over the last three weeks. Egypt is a land of 80 million. That means the vast majority of the people never took to the street over the last three weeks.
I had an interesting chat with a friend from Egypt a couple of nights ago. We were friends from graduate school. He told me that while most people he knew did not think highly of Mubarak - who is deemed by most to be unsympathetic to the people, tolerant of corruption, and incapable of bringing prosperity to Egypt - most also did indeed fear instability and violence. Read more…
Once in a while, I run across an article that resonates deep with me.
Most discussion of China in the mainstream press, especially the left-liberal press, focuses on China’s “human rights” record, or freedom of press and speech, or labor issues, or family planning policies. One may argue endlessly about those matters. But they are China’s internal affairs, and for a genuine anti-interventionist, they are none of our government’s business and have no place in setting foreign policy. There is a world of difference between an anti-interventionist and an advocate for “humanitarian” imperialism, witting or not. How does an anti-interventionist look at China? Read more…
Before this year really gets going (yes I know I have been out of commission from blogging for a while, a state which may continue for just a while longer), I thought I’d post my own little post reflecting on the Wikileaks incidient – which I think illustrate important issues relating to “freedom.”
The controversy over Wikileaks has evoked strong emotions on all sides here in the U.S. On the one hand, you have those like the U.S. government preaching responsibility, claiming that publication would harm the lives and U.S. interests around the world – that being responsible is necessary to preserving our liberty. On the other hand, you have those like Assange clamoring free speech, raising the specter of a government that can never be trusted.
In the midst of these debates, many have understandably come to see freedom as a balance between competing needs. This is however a mistake.
Balance is the domain of politics, not freedom. Read more…
The EU begins officially to investigate Google for alleged anti-competitive practices. According to this aljazeera report,
European Union regulators are to investigate whether Google has abused its dominant position in the online search market in what will be the first major inquiry into the internet giant’s business practices.
The competition watchdogs formally announced their investigation on Tuesday after complaints by rivals that Google gave their services “unfavourable treatment” in unpaid and sponsored search results.
Authorities will investigate whether Google’s services are being given preferential placement in search engine results, some of which may lead to consumer spending.
One of the complainants, British search site Foundem, said in a that its revenue “pales next to the hundreds of billions of dollars of other companies’ revenues that Google controls indirectly through its search results and sponsored links”.
French legal search engine ejustice.fr and Microsoft-owned shopping site Ciao also lodged complaints against Google with the EU commission in February. Read more…
Over Thanksgivings weekend, my family and I went to watch “127 Hours.” “127 Hours” is a movie about the inspiring story of Aaron Ralston – who after five days of getting pinned by a falling boulder while hiking in the desert in the Utah Canyons had to self-amputate his arm to save himself. The movie is made by Danny Boyle – the same director who made Slumdog Millionaire. While the movie itself is not particularly well-made (in my personal opinion, the music was too loud and the story telling comic-like), I’m writing because the movie apparently reduced Aron’s experience to a single “Lesson: Don’t buy a cheap made-in-China multi-tool!” If Aaron had just brought along a set of non-Chinese-made swiss army knives – according to the movie – all would have been well… Read more…
I don’t understand this. There has been all sorts of accusation that Miss Norway did not win Miss World in China because of the political rancors that have been raised since the recent Nobel fiasco.
Well – here are a picture of the two ladies side by side.
Peter Lee recently penned an interesting article in the Asia Times. There has been a lot of posturing and false reports about China’s use of rare earth ban as political leverage against Japan – and maybe even against the U.S. and the E.U. Despite the hot air, none of these reports have been substantiated and most are probably media reports (i.e. propaganda) planted by politically savvy parties. Read more…
One of my surfing friends tipped me off to this recent surfing event in China. This is the first time I learned about the phenomenon of tidal bores. The Qiantang River appears to feature the biggest tidal bores in the world (up to a height of 9 meters or 30 feet!).
Seems pretty cool … at least from a distance…. Enjoy!
In response to Wukailong’s recent comment, I dug up an old post I had left undone from a few months ago.
In the run up to the World expo, I was surprised to see how the coverage of Shanghai in the West had been much less politicized than those on Beijing (and China in general) in the lead up to the 2008 Olympics. Check out for example, these interesting articles on Shanghai from National Geographic and Time.
When later I ran across an old pamphlet on China (titled “Our Chinese Ally” by Owen and Eleanor Lattimore) produced in America in 1944 and compare that with the venom spewed about China in the lead up to the current U.S. election, I am again reminded how politicized our views of otherwise ordinary things in the world can be - how the the demonization of other peoples and nations can derive from political expediency.
The pamphlet is not short, but it is definitely worth a read. While the pamphlet was written at a time when China was an ally to the U.S. and still a very poor (impotent) nation, it is nevertheless amazing to note how much of what was written is consistent with what many in the West today blindly refer to as communist or Chinese nationalist propaganda.
Sometimes, to see beyond the ripples and warts of the times, you have to turn to historical narratives from another era.
Despite the recent China bashing, which I believe is serious and dangerous, I can’t but keep myself from smiling when I read stories like this, which reveal the thousands upon thousands of bonds formed between ordinary Chinese and Americans every year…
By Jeanne Kniaz, Voice Reporter
While most travelers abroad seem content to return with souvenirs such as porcelain or silk, Maria Schapman, 23, of Memphis brought home a living, breathing treasure made in China and nurtured here. Read more…
Many in the West have tried to coax China to act more “responsibly.” But is it possible for China to ever act “responsibly”? I don’t think so – not because China is inherently not “responsible,” but because an “irresponsible” China is born out of the imagination of an insecure West. In this atmosphere, the only way for the West to deem China to be “responsible” is for China to stop being an independent polity and tow the Western line. Here is a case in point.
Today James Fallows wrote an interesting article on whether China is merely Self-Interested (as any power is) or “Actively Maligned” against the International Order. I won’t repeat what he wrote, suffice for me to quote his reasonable conclusion that: Read more…
Here is a translation of an op-ed from a Chinese blog about Liu’s Nobel that we at FM found interesting.
So here goes the news again: Public Enemy Number One in China, Liu Xiao Bo, has been awarded the Nobel Prize! Not sure where that infamous title of Liu came from. But this latest Nobel prize must be giving people in the U.S. quite a laugh.
The award of a Nobel to Liu is certainly controversial. Allegedly, the Nobel committee itself was internally divided. But given Liu’s high profile conviction last year, this decision is not totally unexpected. I originally did not plan to write about Liu. However, given the renewed and widespread interest of Liu’s Nobel, I have decided to wade in with my thoughts. Here is a translation of what a typical report in the West is like. Read more…
Last week, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that authorized the Obama administration to raise tariffs against Chinese goods in response to China’s alleged manipulation of its currency, purportedly to gain an unfair trade advantage. According to this article , while the Obama administration “has not taken a position on the bill … [t]he vote ‘shows lawmakers have serious concerns about this issue…’.” Leaders of the European Union appear also to join the chorus in bashing the Yuan, claiming that the Yuan may hurt prospects of overall European economic recovery. Read more…
The U.S. Congress is running scared. With a mid-term election coming up and a populace that is unhappy about the economy, they have resorted to be mad about something, and that something appears to be China – specifically China’s valuation of the Yuan (RMB). The argument goes:
China is keeping the yuan artificially low. In keeping the Yuan low, China is stealing job from America, preventing America from undergoing a quick economic recovery. China is artificially manipulating its currency to gain an unfair trade advantage against America. America must wake up and do something. China doesn’t listen to reason. If the U.S. must go into a trade war with China, so be it.
Let’s take a look at the engine under the hood of such reasoning. Read more…