Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Xi Jingping takes on Mao-like powers and status of his "People's Republic of Capitalism"

Chinese president Xi Jingping has outdone Donald Trump, getting his name in the Chinese “constitution”.  Vox has a typical story by Zeeshan Aleem, here

His powers are said to be Mao-like. His ideology sounds like statist nationalism, curiously echoing Donald Trump.  And he plans to crack down on dissent even further.

It seems that authoritarian leaders are getting more determined that only they can right-size everyone and guarantee every citizen that everyone else is kept in his place.  But is this real communism, or statist capitalism?  Mao was serious about the commie stuff.

Yet, everybody (but me) has to do business in China. (Even Facebook tries.)  Blogger is banned in China.  Trump has to count on him to sanction North Korea. 
I wonder why Wordpress is allowed but Google products are not.  It appears that my non-Google hosted sites are accessible in China despite their heavily political content.

Wikipedia attribution link of 2015 meeting by Iran Khamanei with Xi, CCSA 4.0, owned by Iran. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Trump could try a strike after visit to DMZ in November, to "get it done" before the Winter Olympics in South Korea in Feb. 2018, but "Milo-Dangerous"

President Donald Trump is supposed to visit Asia between Nov. 3 and Nov. 14 and is supposed to visit the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea during that period, which could escalate tensions, story

Others have noted the 2018 winter Olympics are to be held in PyeongChang, South Korea, Feb. 9-25.
That means that if Trump wants to start a surgical war to stop the DPRK from keeping its nuclear weapons (as if nears the ability to hit he US with thermonuclear weapons and EMP, and may already have that capability), he would risk the South Korean people immediately but the risk to the US would increase in early 2018.  So Trump would appear to have every reason to act before the end of November, to remove the regime "in time" for things to settle down for the Winter Olympics.  A morbid fantasy, maybe/ 

Observers say there is no sign of increased activity at he Pentagon – lights on at night, or Metro traffic.

Here’s a long article by Evan Osnos in The New Yorker, Sept. 18, 2018, “The risk of nuclear war with North Korea”. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Assassination of "Panama Papers" anti-graft journalist in Malta shows independent bloggers can be at risk even in democratic countries

The New York Times has a very disturbing editorial about the recent assassination by car bomb of an independent journalist (that is, blogger) in Malta, “a developed democratic country”, that is, Daphe Caruana Galizia, link here. The opinion rather speaks for itself.  She was known as the “Panama Papers journalist”.

The Washington Post has a detailed story by Eli Rosenberg. Does this filer down to real amateurs?

By Inkwina (talk · contribs) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Singapore's educational system: a model for the world, or authoritarian?

A reader sent me an article on Singapore’s education system as a “world leader”.  That is CM Rubin’s World’s article.  


One can wonder if this education system particularly promotes the values of an authoritarian and nationalistic city-state which, however. Is stable and prosperous and has very activist methods to force various national groups to interact, as Fareed Zakaria has often explored. 
By Erwin Soo from Singapore, Singapore - view of MBS from the gardens, CC BY 2.0, Link

Monday, October 2, 2017

Catalonia may become independent; could Spain break up?

Catalonia leaders seem determined to make Catalonia a sovereign country, it would seem from this article this evening by Raphael Minder on the New York Times, link here

I visited Bilbao in 2001, stayed near the ETA quarters, where the Basque region has sought similar independence.

Catalonia used to refer to itself as “a country in Spain”.  Isn't that true of Portugal, too? 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Vietnam War myths exposed

Lan Cao has a long piece in the Outlook section of the Washington Post, Sunday Oct. 1, p. B3, “Five Myths: The Vietnam War”, in response to Ken Burns film (TV reviews blog, Sept. 17).

One of the myths is that the War was fought mainly by draftees, although draft calls increases sharply from 1965 through 1968. Another is that the Viet Cong were ragtag;  they were professional North Vietnamese soldiers.  Still is that South Vietnamese soldiers were unwilling to fight.  They were overwhelmed after lack of support in the final years after the US pulled out.

All of this provides lessons for how to handle Korea now.