The current world order is grossly unfair … historians of an enlightened future may come back to view our times as the dark ages … when humans remain bonded to and oppressed by the hegemony and ideology “markets,” “rule of law,” “freedom” and “democracy”.
The pure hypocrisy of the world is never ending. And here is just one other small case study…
It’s never good to dip into one’s savings just to live large. Gluttony and largess – when one can ill afford it – is foolish … and a sign of decadence. To me, the U.S. so-called pivot to Asia – emblemized by President Obama’s trip to Japan – represents just that.
TOKYO — President Obama encountered setbacks to two of his most cherished foreign-policy projects on Thursday, as he failed to achieve a trade deal that undergirds his strategic pivot to Asia and the Middle East peace process suffered a potentially irreparable breakdown.
Mr. Obama had hoped to use his visit here to announce an agreement under which Japan would open its markets in rice, beef, poultry and pork, a critical step toward the trade pact. But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was not able to overcome entrenched resistance from Japan’s farmers in time for the president’s visit.
This trip was supposed to show that the U.S. is back – and that the pivot is back on track. Yet, on the Washington Post, you will not see any article on Obama’s Japan trip on the top (home) page. On New York Times Home Page, you see just one (the one linked above) – with that one lamenting the visit’s failure.
Instead of a proper review, this is more like a sketch of the thoughts which struck me while reading Henry Kissinger’s On China.
In the past, writers were often individuals who saw things differently. Being different helped them to highlight alternative perspectives and popular social ills. Once in a while, they turned out to be right, and even listened to; and their visions delivered impact. Nowadays, books are written for a mass market. Guided by publishing preferences, more and more writers build their positions on opinion polls and market surveys. It is therefore refreshing to read Kissinger who, at nearly 90, has neither the time nor incentive to appease popularised prejudice. Continue reading Kissinger’s “On China” – not quite a book review→
The Economist is often held prisoner by its own prejudice arising from its whatever-China-does-internationally-is-wrong stance, and a recent article on the South China Sea disputes proves it. Behold the latest offering from intellectual dungeons of the The Economist: “The devil in the deep blue detail”.
Sadly, but not surprisingly, the newspaper warns against the dangers of viewing the dispute through cold war lenses, and then proceeds to do exactly that. In a nutshell, the article can be summed up as follows: China is the bad guy. (Of course, that applies to mostarticlesabout China that it publishes).
Ma Ying Jieu has won what has been a tough and closely watched election in Taiwan. Emphasizing close relations with the mainland, Ma celebrated the victory as a victory for the people of Taiwan. The DPP, with charismatic (and “native Taiwanese”) Tsai, gave stoic (and “外省人”) Ma a much bigger challenge this time (characterization by my deep-green family-in-laws), losing to Ma by what looks like a 51.6 to 45.63 margin (compared to the 58% to 42% margin in 2008). While the issue of independence has been much toned down this time, relations with the Mainland still dominated the election, with issues of the economy also a major issue.
(On January 5, 2012, I sat down with Shaun Rein, founder and Managing Director of the China Market Research Group, to talk about China. He gave us his insights into major events of 2011. In this hour-long interview, we touched on many topics: pollution, CNN and Christian Bale’s recent run-in with Chinese police, food safety, Weibo, and so on.)
YinYang:2011 was another eventful year for China. Just when her bullet train seems unstoppable, a fatal collision left the whole country in doubt. China achieved space docking, something only the U.S. and Russia have managed. Then there was Tiger Mom.
I have invited a real China expert to weigh in on these events and other events that mattered to China. What were the Chinese narratives? How did the Chinese feel about them? I couldn’t have found a better person to do this with. Continue reading A conversation with Shaun Rein on China→
I am sure many of you have been following Chinese President Hu and U.S. President Obama’s speeches and Q&A’s with the media over the last couple of days. The governments are absolutely trying to be constructive in their relations. For that, it’s been refreshing to see.
After hearing them speak directly, I must say though, the nuances in the Western media are largely lost. They are not going to be respectful of China having a different political system as Obama acknowledged. They are not going to accept that China has a different history as Obama apparently understood. They are not going to be respectful of China as Obama has shown. Continue reading A simple take on the Hu Jintao U.S. visit with respect to Western media→
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? Continue reading An Anti-Interventionist Looks at China→
President Obama has not exactly started out making a great impression that he will bring U.S.-China relations to a new high – what with unwelcomed vague belligerent references against communist and authoritarian governments in his inaugural speech, followed up by now Treasury Secretary’s Geithner’s sharp tone and use of the legally-loaded term “currency manipulation” in Geithner’s confirmation hearings (I don’t want to get into the “currency manipulation” debate here since we will have specific posts on those topics soon). Continue reading Should Obama Learn to Engage the Chinese People through the Internet?→