The University of Southern California
's US-China Institute
has a huge number of videos on YouTube
regarding China, Taiwan, history, global diplomacy, etc. [more inside]
"The American homeland is the planet"
Not content with a militarized southern border, the U.S. is now militarizing borders around the world (slsa)
The big news yesterday was Miley Cyrus' twerking
on Robin Thicke at the VMAs, and revelations
of Syria's flagrant violations of international law by using chemical weapons against its own civilians. [more inside]
I'm here today to help prevent Egypt from becoming a commodity owned by one person. A 12-year-old Egyptian comments on the political situation in his country
Poland shaken by case alleging an illicit CIA prison there.
'For years, the idea seemed unthinkable, absurd. A secret U.S. detention center in a remote corner of Poland, where Al Qaeda suspects were brutally interrogated by the CIA? About as likely as "the Loch Ness monster," is how one Pole described it recently. That monster is now rearing its head.' [more inside]
The long strange trip
of a Singaporean Cold-War-era assault rifle into the hands of Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, and what it reveals about the unintended consequences of the global trade in small arms and ammunition. [slnyt]
US President Barack Obama is in Australia today
. The main policy announcement is a new
US Marine Corps presence on Australian soil. This is interpreted unambiguously
as a 'containment strategy' for China
and other Asian nations
, with Australia playing
deputy Sheriff. Most Australians don't think
we should be forced to choose
"Certainly, Uncle Sam, disowned by Pakistanis, has found innumerable devoted nephews in India. Indian and Pakistani perceptions of America now wildly diverge: A 2005 Pew poll conducted in 16 countries found the United States in the highest regard among Indians (71 percent having a favorable opinion) and nearly the lowest among Pakistanis (23 percent).
" Why do India and Pakistan see America in such opposite ways?
It is a strange, dubious and totally unaccepted moral purpose which holds the whole of the world to ransom.
On 1 March 1985, New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon David Lange
) addressed the Oxford Union
in support of the proposition that "Nuclear Weapons are Morally Indefensible
". That speech is online at publicaddress.net
) and still resonates today. [more inside]
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year
, NATO may lose in Afghanistan
, the UK gets a regime change
, China needs to chill
, India's factories will overtake its farms
, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum
, the stimulus will need an exit strategy
, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2"
, African football
will unite Korea
, conflict over natural resources will grow
, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled
, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable)
, technology will grow ever more ubiquitous
, we'll all charge our phones via USB
, MBAs will be uncool
, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest
, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world
. And so the Tens
The Economist: The World in 2010
. [more inside]
When Judges Make Foreign Policy.
"In a globalized, post-9/11 age, decisions made by the Supreme Court are increasingly shaping America's international relations. When the next justice is appointed, our place in the world may well hang in the balance."
Waving Goodbye to Hegemony.
"Just a few years ago, America’s hold on global power seemed unshakable. But a lot has changed while we’ve been in Iraq — and the next president is going to be dealing with not only a triumphant China and a retooled Europe but also the quiet rise of a 'second world.'" [Via The Washington Note.]
The Rise of China and the Future of the West: Can the Liberal System Survive?
"China's rise will inevitably bring the United States' unipolar moment to an end. But that does not necessarily mean a violent power struggle or the overthrow of the Western system. The U.S.-led international order can remain dominant even while integrating a more powerful China -- but only if Washington sets about strengthening that liberal order now." [more inside]
Battle plans for Iran...
resonates with the sad ring of real possibility.
Looks like George W Bush's Hague Invasion Act
might need amending to become a Madrid Invasion Act
, following a Spanish court order for the arrest of three US soldiers in response to the "Palestine Hotel" incident
Congressional Copy Editors Needed To Prevent Future Diplomatic Incidents
A minor typo in an unofficial transcript at a Congressional hearing a couple of weeks ago caused Sudan to think the U.S. had conducted a secret nuclear weapons test there in 1962. As one might expect, they didn't take the news well.
It snowballed: within a day, the Chinese news service was reporting that the Sudanese government held the U.S. responsible for "cancer spread in Sudan" caused by "U.S. nuclear experiments in the African country in 1962-1970."
Well, for a fact or two, The Beirut Wall Isn't Falling
, Lebanon is not Ukraine
and it is not democracy that's on the march in the Middle East
. And while remembering all those arguments made 1,500 deaths ago
--not to mention those so far uncounted but estimated at 100,000+ civilian deaths
--let it be, all the while the Iraq War compels Pentagon to rethink Big-Picture Strategy
, it is that American military intevention which makes America as a Revolutionary Force
in the Middle East, according to some. Meanwhile, Kishore Mahbubani
, author of Beyond the Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust between America and the World
lists Five Strategic Mistakes
the West has made which continue to destabilize the Islamic world. Along related lines, comes The Origins of
al Qaeda’s Ideology: Implications for US Strategy
Sound bites, wishful thoughts and stage managed demonstrations aside, could it be something more thoughtful might be required? Say, like, Understanding Islamism ? (Now available in new slow acting convenient Word or pdf form)
Say, Which War Is This Anyway ?
On the Great Atlantic Divide
Published on Sunday, October 26, 2003 by TomDispatch.com. By Susan Sontag.
I came across this piece at dailyKos
"Two weeks ago during the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Association of German Publishers and Booksellers awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade) to Susan Sontag. She was cited for standing up for "the dignity of free thinking" and for her role as an "intellectual ambassador" between the United States and Europe. The association's director Dieter Schormann commented, "In a world of false images and distorted truths, she defends the honor of free thought." In its over half-century of existence, the Friedenspreis Prize has been awarded to Chinua Achebe, Max Frisch, Jurgen Habermas, Yehudi Menuhin, and Vaclav Havel among many others.
An excerpt from Susan Sontag's acceptance speech was published today in the Los Angeles Times Book Review section, but I thought the whole speech, which focuses on the increasingly embattled relationship between Europe and the United States, or rather between much of Europe, especially the various peoples of Europe, and the Bush administration, was well worth reproducing as a whole. Near its end is a rare moment in which Sontag considers an aspect of her early life in public. Her most recent book, by the way, is Regarding the Pain of Others. What follows then, with her kind permission, is her full acceptance speech. (The title and subheads are, however, mine.) Tom "
Poverty, Political Freedom and the Roots of Terrorism [pdf]
. "In the past, we heard people refer to the strong link between terrorism and poverty, but in fact when you look at the data, it's not there," says Alberto Abadie
, Associate Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.
A View from the Eye of the Storm.
An Arab intellectual in Europe ponders on the Muslim world and comes to some interesting conclusions. Israel is a sideshow. Iran is the most dangerous country in the world.. in the long run the only way for us (the West) to win the war of terror is to force the problem nations to reform both politically and culturally.via Steven Den Beste weblog
An American in Mongolia. A new breed of American soldier—call him the soldier-diplomat—has come into being since the end of the Cold War. Meet the colonel who was our man in Mongolia, an officer who probably wielded more local influence than many Mongol rulers of yore.
From 1995 through 2000, the U.S. government supported the establishment of an International Criminal Court
. In 2001, the Bush Administration ended US participation
in ICC meetings and, on 6 May 2002, officially nullified the previous signature of the Rome Statute. [more inside]
To Invade Or Not To Invade?
Many have expressed the sentiment that unilaterally invading other countries can be justified as serving the best interests of its people. We can all agree that brutal dictatorships are a bad thing. What should be done when they are identified? Engagement or invasion? Should cognitive dissonance by our leaders be ignored and/or accepted? Are double standards justified by financial interests? Here is another case where all litmus tests fail.
Friedman quotes a former Swedish prime minister.
"Our defining date is now 1989 and yours is 2001," I find this to be true. For most of the 90's, the US struggled to find a new purpose for its power. A few peace-keeping missions, a skirmish in Iraq (the first time), but for the most part, no real global strategy. Europe, on the other hand, has made significant progress with developing the EU, the euro (which no one believed would ever come about so quickly), and a semi-unified policy concerning the rest of the world (GB being the notable exception). NY Times
Stumbling Into War
by James P. Rubin, From Foreign Affairs
, September/October 2003
Why did most of the world abandon Washington when it went after Saddam Hussein? The war in Iraq could never have been an easy sell, but nor should it have been such a difficult one. The Bush administration badly botched the prewar maneuvering, presenting a textbook study in how not to wage a diplomatic campaign.
Coalition of the willing (if they know what's good for them).
A decent little collection of articles about one of the most shameful events in Australian political history: the Whitlam dismissal
. From an article that begins with a quote from former CIA agent Victor Marchetti: "Australia is going to be increasingly important to the United States, and so long as Australians keep electing the right people then there'll be a stable relationship between the two countries."
to an interview with Christopher Boyce
, whose experiences and actions were recounted in the book The Falcon and the Snowman
and in the later John Schlesinger film
of the same name.
Attach some platitude about the virtues of friendship.
Joshka Fischer Said What? That The U.S. Needs Another Boston Tea Party?
Hidden in the depths of this very interesting article by Timothy Garton-Ash
, on Europe's misplaced anti-Americanism, is a very interesting revelation from Germany's Green Party-carrying Foreign Minister. To what extent are relations between the pro-American and the anti-American Europe and the United States - the so-called "Old and New Europe" - based on misperceptions? Is Europe, like the Middle East and, well, the whole wide world, too complex for the current U.S. administration to understand? Is it really possible for American foreign to swerve round France and Germany? [Fwiw, my two centimes is that it is.
Unprecedented victories for Republican foreign policy.
A new survey from Pew Global shows that in the past 2 years the Muslim world has been further alienated from the US, Europe wants to be more independent of the US, and the UN's reputation has been dramatically weakened. The Cliff notes.
A wide variety of other interesting results are in the
U.S. loses faith in Canada
"We would be there for Canada, part of our family. And that is why so many in the United States are disappointed and upset that Canada is not fully supporting us now," says Paul Cellucci, U.S. ambassador to Canada. As pro-US sentiments from prominent Canadian figures are harshly criticized while blatant (and rather tasteless) anti-US remarks go more or less ignored by the government, has the relationship with our longtime friends up north been irreversibly soured?
Dr. Robert Muller, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, and one of the people who witnessed the founding of the U.N., says the global body is fulfilling its ultimate purpose: "Never before in the history of the world has there been a global, visible, public, viable, open dialogue and conversation about the very legitimacy of war".
Old And In The Way.
Their economy has lost any resemblance of dynamism, their military might has shrunk to the point of irrelevance, and their society is regressing towards a centrally planned socialist political system. Now with their standard of living dipping below even the poorest sub-group of Americans, is Europe a dying continent, with all its glory days already way behind it? [more inside]
Official Hired to Improve U.S. Image Resigns
I don't know about you guys but I find this hilarious. I can't say I blame him. This current administration has the worst bed side manner that I've ever seen in a government.
"A little invasion is precisely what Canada needs"
wrote Jonah Goldberg last November. According to Rush Limbaugh, Canada isn't a country, it's a "country"
. Tucker Carlson on CNN has said Canada "should be bombed" so that they are taught a lesson. Doesn't he remember April 17th
? No matter. Since Canada will never be able to defend itself from the US using conventional means, it's time for Canada to reactivate it's nuclear weapons program.
Is the currency that oil is denominated in the real reason for the Iraq War?
"The Federal Reserve's greatest nightmare is that OPEC will switch its international transactions from a dollar standard to a euro standard. Iraq actually made this switch in Nov. 2000 (when the euro was worth around 80 cents), and has actually made off like a bandit considering the dollar's steady depreciation against the euro. (Note: the dollar declined 17% against the euro in 2002.)"
From UPI: Israel is embarking upon a more aggressive approach to the war on terror that will include staging targeted killings in the United States and other friendly countries, former Israeli intelligence officials told United Press International.
I am so NOT trolling. I am simply curious to see what MeFi users have to say about this interesting news item.
The End of the American Era?
Well, at least according to that person. However, this guy
says that America is the future, and Europe is the past. Is Europe becoming another Soviet Union?
have something to say about it.
What do you think? 20 years from now, who will be leading the world?
What is America
and what is its role in the world today
? Not being American
, I often find myself in conflict when speaking to them about their country. Looking for a way to express my views, I find myself agreeing more and more with Fareed Zakaria’s viewpoint
President Bush is in fact doing just about everything his critics demand:
If the administration really had contempt for the UN, it could withdraw its support and let that organization complete its collapse into a Third World debating society. If Bush wanted to lash out at every threat in the world, America's near-$400 billion defense budget could provide the soldiers, tanks, airplanes, and missiles to wage several small wars at a time, from Libya to North Korea (and most places in between). If America were trying to seize the world's oil reserves, we could have swept aside the Saudi sheiks long ago. If we were indifferent to the casualties of enemy civilians—and the only alternative is to be indifferent to the deaths of our own soldiers and civilians—then anti-war academics would have to give up tallying those casualties one-by-one. But none of this is actually happening.
is a new report by the Council on Foreign Relations
on al Qaeda's financial network. It claims that the Bush administration "appears to have made a policy decision not to use the full power of U.S. influence and legal authorities to pressure or compel other governments to combat terrorist financing more effectively." The most important source of al Qaeda's funds are charities and wealthy individuals from Saudi Arabia
. But while the Bush administration may be unwilling to confront the Saudis directly, they are seeking to have their financial assets in Europe frozen
The End of Empire?
"You can't sustain an empire from a debtor's weakening position--sooner or later the creditors pull the plug. That humiliating lesson was learned by Great Britain early in the last century, and the United States faces a similar reckoning ahead."
Talk about culture clash
-- the personal opinions of a U.S. military attache/observer concerning Arab military practices. See also the EgyptAir Flight 990 investigation
. Big question: how can we make some progress here? [courtesy aldaily.com
interference in bolivian elections by usa (why if he is unlikely to win?)
The US Ambassador to Bolivia has told the Bolivian people not to vote for the indigenous Indian candidate
for the Movement for Socialism (MAS), Evo Morales Ayma. If he is elected next Sunday, the USA will suspend
economic aid and will review its agreements.
why?.. he is unlikely to win, this will surely give him a boost in the polls instead
eu seeks closer ties to iran
This approach has got to be better than calling states 'evil'. This is the same as the US keeping links with China, a less than perfect regime, and one that could be called a sponsor of terrorism.
" Mr Patten told the BBC: "It can't seriously be anybody's idea of a good way of promoting stability in the region to think that we should isolate and cut Iran off for ever."
He said there should be recognition of the strength of the reform movement and be aware that there were other elements which were far less friendly to the West.
"If you don't talk to the reasonable people, you fetch up with fewer reasonable people to talk to."
it's been over a decade since i was in Iran (1992) and the reformers/moderates ahve gained very significant ground since then. The Axis of Evil speech did tremendous harm for moderate Iranians, as it seemed to justify the hardliners stance on the west.
The Saudis are about to deliver an ultimatum to Bush In a bleak assessment, he [Prince Abdullah] said there was talk within the Saudi royal family and in Arab capitals of using the "oil weapon" against the United States, and demanding that the United States leave strategic military bases in the region. Such measures, he said, would be a "strategic debacle for the United States." How should Bush respond?
Muslim states hate us because their culture is backwards and corrupt,
according to a Wall Street Journal editorial. The writer, tired of America-bashing, explores the inferiority complex of the Arab world: "Like Third World Marxists of the 1960s, who put blame for their own self-inflicted misery upon corporations, colonialism and racism--anything other than the absence of real markets and a free society--the Islamic intelligentsia recognizes the Muslim world's inferiority vis-à-vis the West, but it then seeks to fault others for its own self-created fiasco. Government spokesmen in the Middle East should ignore the nonsense of the cultural relativists and discredited Marxists and have the courage to say that they are poor because their populations are nearly half illiterate, that their governments are not free, that their economies are not open, and that their fundamentalists impede scientific inquiry, unpopular expression and cultural exchange." via kuro5hin