No one can ‘contain’ China: Chinese envoy on US selling arms to India

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

No one can ‘contain’ China: Chinese envoy on US selling arms to India

Political analysts in the west have described the sale of arms to India as a US move to contain China.

INDIA Updated: Oct 31, 2017 10:40 IST

Press Trust of India, Washington
US President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping walk along the front patio of the Mar-a-Lago estate after a bilateral meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, US.
US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping walk along the front patio of the Mar-a-Lago estate after a bilateral meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, US.(Reuters File Photo)

The Chinese envoy to the US said on Monday that no one could “contain” China now, expressing his displeasure over the formation of an “exclusive club” in the Indo-Pacific region.

Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai was responding to questions on the recent India-centric policy speech by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the decision of the Trump administration to sell to India high-tech military equipment, including state-of-the-art armed drones, and the Japanese proposal of a strategic quadrilateral dialogue involving India and Australia.

“I don’t think that the sales of advanced arms would really serve that purpose,” Cui said.

Political analysts in the west have described the sale of arms to India as a US move to contain China.

“By the way I don’t think anybody would be able to contain China,” the Chinese Ambassador asserted in his rare press conference at the Embassy of China here.

The top diplomat was addressing media ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to China early next month.

Trump is scheduled to embark on a 10-day visit to China. He would also visit Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Cui said China is “open to cooperation among the regional countries” for stability and prosperity.

The relationship between China and India “have been developing quite steadily over the years”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, he said, has always said that Pacific Ocean is large enough to accommodate that development both of China and the US, and the Asia-Pacific region is big enough to accommodate the development of China, India and Japan.

“In this regard I hope all parties will do things conducive to better relations, better mutual trust,” he said.

Without mentioning the recent stand-off between India and China, Cui said he does not think that “confrontation” is in the interest of either of the two countries.

“I’m quite confident that both countries have a clear recognition of what will serve their respective interests best,” he said, responding to a question on India and the move to have a strategic dialogue involving four countries – India, Japan, US and Australia.

Any relationship between any two countries in the region, between any regional country and another country outside of the region should not be a zero sum game, he said when asked about the strengthening of India US relationship, which many say is aimed at China.

“Good relations between China and the US is not at the expense of any other country. The same should be true for relations between US and India and Japan and India,” he said.

It is not in the interest of these countries if their aim is to sort of “contain” China, the top Chinese diplomat said.

Cui said all the regional countries in the Indo-Pacific have shared interests in greater stability, peace and better prospects for prosperity.

In order to achieve that regional countries have to work together and have to promote closer cooperation among them and maybe establish appropriate regional mechanisms, he said.

As such, China is open to cooperation with all its neighbours so that Asia-Pacific will continue to be a peaceful, stable and prosperous region.

“We are following developments in the region very closely and hopefully other countries will have the same approach as we have,” he said, responding to a question on quadrilateral dialogue between India, Japan, US and Australia.

Cui said he does not think that “any attempt to form exclusive clubs in the region following a so-called zero sum approach will help anybody”.

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India: Kaziranga Park Brings Down Rhino Poaching To 16 Year Low

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

With drones and AK-series rifles, Kaziranga brings down rhino poaching to 16-year low

With sophisticated weaponry, night-vision cameras and fast-track courts, which convicted eight this year, poaching in Kaziranga has slowed.

INDIA Updated: Nov 01, 2017 07:54 IST

Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
According to park data, poachers gunned down 143 of these endangered and protected animals in 12 years but almost 70% of them were murdered since 2012, triggering calls for better conservation efforts.
According to park data, poachers gunned down 143 of these endangered and protected animals in 12 years but almost 70% of them were murdered since 2012, triggering calls for better conservation efforts.(AFP File Photo)

Poachers’ guns were silent in Assam’s Kaziranga this year. Well, almost.

Only two rhinoceros were killed this year, the lowest count since 2001 for the national park’s world-famous residents prized for their horn that feeds a multi-million dollar clandestine international market for the ivory and its perceived aphrodisiac properties.

According to park data, poachers gunned down 143 of these endangered and protected animals in 12 years but almost 70% of them were murdered since 2012, triggering calls for better conservation efforts.

Park rangers turned to sustained surveillance, stakeouts and stealth to track down poachers, especially nightly intruders. They use night-vision cameras, drones and eight 90-foot towers kitted out with cameras that stream live video feeds to a control room.

“These cameras enable us to track poachers and take action before they strike,” Kaziranga director Satyendra Singh said.

The park guards carry sophisticated weaponry now, advancing from the antiquated 303 service rifle that fired less and misfired more. And they built a better coordination network with other government agencies, especially the state police, in the fight to save the 430-square-km Kaziranga’s wildlife.

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“We use night-vision cameras and AK-series rifles in our fight against poachers,” said 51-year-old Deben Borah, officer in-charge of Jakhalabandha police station near the park, whose team caught 260 poachers in three years.

The government set up a fast-track court and eight killers were convicted this year alone.

Police confiscated illegal arms from villagers near the park, dealing a blow to poachers who pay poor locals and rely heavily on them for logistics.

Most poachers are members of insurgent outfits or sharpshooters from neighbouring states.

Villagers were warned about the consequences of helping poachers and provided alternative livelihood options by training them to weave clothes and make handicrafts. The authorities set up 38 eco-development committees to help the people.

“These confidence-building measures coupled with frequent interaction with villagers led to better intelligence gathering and more arrests of poachers,” Singh said.

Statistics point to the difference these efforts made in the 10 months of 2017, after 18 deaths the previous year.

Chattra Bahadur Thapa, panchayat president of Amguri village adjacent to the park’s Burhapahar range, said: “The efforts showed results this year.”

But officials are aware poachers would up their game too, with more advanced weapons and techniques. The lure of the rhino horn is not easy to resist. It fetches nearly Rs 1 crore a kilogram in the international market, especially China.

“We can’t be complacent as poachers are expected to change strategies,” Singh said.

Rhinos in Kaziranga were relatively safe this year, although torrential rain this summer flooded large tracts of the park and put the animals in a spot of bother.

The killers turned to Assam’s other reserved forests, killing two rhinos in Pobitora wildlife sanctuary and three in Orang national park.

“The winter would be crucial as some rhinos could venture out for greener pastures. The authorities will have to be vigilant,” said Bibhab Talukdar, the founder of wildlife NGO Aaranyak.

South Korea: Opposition party calls THAAD deal with China ‘humiliating diplomacy’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE KOREAN HERALD)

 

Opposition party calls THAAD deal with China ‘humiliating diplomacy’

By Yonhap

  • Published : Nov 1, 2017 – 11:47
  • Updated : Nov 1, 2017 – 11:47
  •     

The minor opposition Bareun Party criticized the government Wednesday for reaching what it calls a “humiliating” deal with China to end the row over South Korea’s hosting of the US THAAD missile defense system.

South Korea and China announced the deal Tuesday, ending more than a year of tensions sparked by Seoul’s decision to host a THAAD battery to better defend against North Korea. China strongly protested the decision and took a series of economic retaliatory measures.

In Tuesday’s agreement, the two countries put the dispute behind them and moved forward.

(Yonhap)

But critics denounced the agreement, accusing the government of making unnecessary promises not to deploy any more THAAD unit or to join the broader US missile defense scheme, nor to form a three-way alliance with the US and Japan.

Joo Ho-young, leader of the Bareun Party, called the deal “humiliating diplomacy.”

The government “failed to say confidently that THAAD is an inevitable measure to safeguard our security. Rather, it acted as if making a promise of ‘3 Nos,'” Joo said during a party meeting, referring to South Korea’s assurance that there would be no additional THAAD, no joining the US MD and no Korea-US-Japan alliance. “It’s wrong,” he concluded.

Joo also criticized the government for failing to point out China’s unfair economic retaliation.

“I’d like the government to answer what the difference is between this and the Korea-Japan agreement on the comfort women issue, which the government and the ruling party strongly denounced and demanded be renegotiated,” he said.

He was referring to the 2015 deal between Seoul and Tokyo to end years of tensions over Japan’s wartime sexual slavery. The so-called “comfort women” agreement has been deeply unpopular in South Korea and the government of then-President Park Geun-hye was criticized for agreeing to never raise the issue again in exchange for compensation without consent from victims. (Yonhap)

New Zealand’s new leader: We must be ready for ‘climate refugees’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

New Zealand’s new leader: We must be ready for ‘climate refugees’

New Zealand: We may have to take climate refugees 02:03

(CNN)New Zealand’s new leader, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, tells CNN that her country must be prepared to take in “climate change refugees” from surrounding island nations.

“We need to acknowledge that we are, unless we make dramatic changes, at the front of seeing refugees as a result of climate change,” Arden told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview, her first since taking office last Thursday.

Watch the full interview

  
Watch the full interview09:22
“We see a duty of care there — both to champion internationally the importance of acknowledging and responding to climate change, but also doing our bit.”
The country currently takes in about 750 refugees each year, per United Nations mandates, according to the government.
“We’re looking to ways to build in the responsibility we have on climate change and the way that we approach, potentially, climate change refuges in the future amongst our neighbors,” said the prime minister.
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In order to govern, Ardern’s Labour Party entered into coalition with a conservative, anti-immigration New Zealand First Party.
She denied, however, that her government’s policy would be affected in the area of refugees, saying she had worked “very hard” to build consensus, and was committed on doubling the country’s refugee quota.

‘Never too late’ to talk with North Korea

Ardern takes office at a dangerous time in her region.
US President Donald Trump’s upcoming trip to Asia (though not New Zealand) is expected to focus extensively on North Korea’s nuclear weapon and missile programs.
A senior North Korean official told CNN’s Will Ripley in Pyongyang last week that the world should take “literally” a warning from North Korea’s foreign minister about a possible “strongest hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean.”
Ardern said her policy was simple: “It’s never too late to talk.”
“That is a message we’ll continue to send on the international stage,” while encouraging multilateral “dialogue.”

Questioning women in the workplace

At 37, Ardern is New Zealand’s youngest leader in 150 years, and its third female prime minister.
She has spoken openly about being a mother, but has forcefully condemned the idea that women should be questioned about how they balance work and home life. “Certainly it is an issue that’s come up for me personally in the role that I have in politics time and time again,” she told Amanpour.
“It will continue to be so until we speak only about the fact that it’s a woman’s decision when to chooses to have a family. It should not be something that’s raised when her future career prospects are speculated on or even if she enters into a job opportunity or an interview.”

Army supporters, Buddhist nationalists march in Myanmar city

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE PAKISTANI NEWS AGENCY ‘DAWN’)

 

Participants holding national and military flags attend a marching ceremony supporting the country's military and government servants on Sunday in Yangon, Myanmar.— AP
Participants holding national and military flags attend a marching ceremony supporting the country’s military and government servants on Sunday in Yangon, Myanmar.— AP

People marched in Myanmar’s largest city on Sunday to support the military, which has come under heavy criticism over violence that has driven hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.

More than 2,000 army supporters, including Buddhist nationalists and monks, took part in the march.

“I want to urge you to support the military. Only if the military is strengthened will our sovereignty will be secured,” a senior Buddhist nationalist monk, Zagara, told the crowd.

More than 600,000 Rohingya from northern Rakhine state have fled to Bangladesh since August 25, when Myanmar security forces began a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages. Myanmar’s government has said it was responding to attacks on police outposts by insurgents, but the United Nations and others have said the response was disproportionate.

The exodus of the Rohingya has become a major humanitarian crisis and sparked international condemnation of Myanmar.

Nyunt Yi, a 70-year-old retired military soldier who served in the army for more than 40 years, said Sunday that “only the army can protect the national security and stop the illegal intruders”. referring to the Rohingya.

Myanmar’s Buddhist majority denies that Rohingya are a separate ethnic group and regards them as having migrated illegally from Bangladesh, although they have lived in Myanmar for generations.

China: It Is Obvious Xi’s Jinping’s Road Map Is World Dominance

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST)

 

OPINION: CHINA CONGRESS – A MULTIPOLAR WORLD GOES OUT OF THE WINDOW

One suspects that what China seeks is not a multipolar Asia and multipolar world, but a hierarchical order where China ‘restores’ its primacy, first in Asia and eventually, the world

BY ASHOK K. KANTHA

After months of speculation and behind-the-scenes jostling, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has concluded with outcomes essentially along anticipated lines, with no major surprises. Xi Jinping has emerged with his political authority enhanced; his status as the most powerful Chinese leader in the post-Deng era has been reaffirmed, though it will be premature to put him on par with Mao and Deng.

Xi’s vision for the future of China is now enshrined in the party constitution as part of its guiding ideology. The new Politburo is packed with his close associates, though the Politburo Standing Committee is not dominated by his allies. The shift towards personalised rule of the “core leader” has acquired greater momentum (with its attendant risks), but the concept of collective leadership has not been abandoned. With no potential successor included in the new line-up of the Standing Committee, the possibility of Xi staying on as the paramount leader or as the power behind the throne beyond 2022 is kept open, though it is too early to predict how it would pan out.

One aspect of the results of the Congress that will be closely watched by the international community relates to China’s increasingly explicit “great power” ambitions and its quest for regional and global leadership. In his work report, Xi talked about China becoming “a global leader of composite national strength and international influence” and moving closer to the centre-stage by mid-century. A Xinhua commentary on October 24 put it more candidly: “By 2050, two centuries after the Opium Wars, which plunged the ‘Middle Kingdom’ into a period of hurt and shame, China is set to regain its might and reascend to the top of the world.”

WATCH: Xi Jinping’s marathon speech in 3 minutes

Delegates attend the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: Reuters

The narrative is all about the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” and “restoration” of China to its rightful great power status by mid-century. There is considerable focus on China as a “strong country” or “great power”, phrases which appeared as many as 30 times in Xi’s report. Not surprisingly, building up China’s global combat capabilities gets special attention in Xi’s vision. By 2020, China’s military mechanisation will be achieved; the modernisation of the armed forces will be completed by 2035; and the PLA will be transformed into a world-class military by 2050. Xi also presents an interesting shift from the assurance proffered over past decades that China does not seek to export its model. He has argued that “the Chinese path … offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence, and it offers Chinese wisdom and approach to solving problems facing mankind”.

Analysis: what China’s leadership reshuffle means for Xi’s New Era

While it is to be seen whether China will actively promote its political and economic model worldwide as a counter to the Western model, there is no doubt about its keenness to play a larger role in global governance, positioning itself as a “defender of the international order” and champion of globalisation, even as it seeks to rearrange the global order towards its primacy. The congress also signals that China will intensify its efforts to shape its periphery and forge a “world community of shared destiny” centred on it. Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative is the preferred instrument in this grand strategy and it is now embedded in the party constitution.

Chinese performers celebrate the 19th Party Congress. Photo: AFP

Looking back, we can see that the movement away from Deng’s dictum of hiding capabilities, biding time, keeping a low profile and never claiming leadership gained traction after the global financial crisis of 2008-09, which was seen in China as a manifestation of the West’s decline and thereby offering it a strategic opening to expand its role.

The second phase of China’s quest for regional and global leadership began with Xi’s ascendance to power in 2012 and his Chinese dream. This period has been characterised by China’s readiness to deploy its economic, military, political and diplomatic clout to advance its interests, defined in increasingly expansive and unilateral terms. These interests include territorial claims in the South China SeaDoklam and elsewhere.

A tourist at the national-flag raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square. Photo: Simon Song

We are on the cusp of a third and more assertive phase in China’s pursuit of its great power ambitions. While ‘multipolarity’ was part of Xi’s lexicon at the congress, one suspects what China seeks is not a multipolar Asia and multipolar world but a hierarchical order where China “restores” its primacy, first in Asia Pacific and eventually, globally.

With the US in temporary retreat and the West distracted by internal challenges, China considers this to be another opportunity to take its great power project to the next level in the new era Xi has envisioned. While the Chinese dream is understandable, the manner of its pursuit has generated widespread anxieties, including in India. Some of the signals coming from the 19th Party Congress may deepen these worries. 

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A former ambassador of India to China, the author is Director of the Institute of Chinese Studies and Distinguished Fellow at the Vivekananda International Foundation in New Delhi

Why The West Grew Rich

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE PAKISTANI NEWS AGENCY ‘DAWN’)

 

ABOUT 1,000 years ago, when Europe was supposedly traversing through its dark ages, the Muslim empire was the envy of the world. Its wealth and material standards were such that Cordoba alone was pronounced as the ‘ornament of the world’ by Hrotsvitha, a mediaeval German writer and Nun. By 1500, it was China and India whose riches and wealth became the stuff of fables. By the 17th century, the tide had started turning in favor of northern European nations. By the mid-19th century, this turnaround was complete. What accounts for this transformation?

The literature on this topic, suffice to say, is so vast as to be almost incomprehensible. One can, though, make a general distinction. Some of this literature concerns the question of ‘how’, the other concerns the question ‘why’, with the remaining being a combination of both. In this article, I want to briefly share the findings of two excellent new books on this topic by Jared Rubin (Rulers, Religion and Riches) and Joel Mokyr (A Culture of Growth), that tackle the question of ‘why’.

Rubin’s book concentrates its analysis on the divergence between the West and the Muslim world (especially the Middle East), and what factors gave rise to disparity in development outcomes. He debunks the idea of ‘backwardness’ of the Islamic faith, which supposedly held back the Muslim world. If that were the case, he argues, there never would have been a wealthy Muslim Spain. In general, he traces the great divergence between the West and the Middle East in the way that religion and government interacted over time.

The separation of religion from statecraft set the stage for European ascent.

Before the divergence began, the Christian West and the Muslim East used to derive their authority and legitimacy from religion. The real source of power lay with religious figureheads like the pope, followed by the rulers and their cohorts. Whatever economic activity there was, it was shaped in a way to benefit these entrenched groups. But then Europe gradually broke away from religion as its source of legitimacy. As the tight bond between religion and state loosened, economic and financial concerns became top priorities.

As nation states like Britain and the Netherlands adopted the parliamentary system of governance, the hold of the entrenched classes started to relax since parliamentary legitimacy required participation of the common man. This participation meant they could now stake a claim in the state’s riches, and also realise it through good policies.

What accentuated this break between religion and the state in Europe? One of the most iconic inventions of history, the printing press! In 1440, Gutenberg invented the printing press, revolutionising the spread of knowledge and ideas. Once restricted to only the church, knowledge now began to spread to all parts of Europe as books and pamphlets became easily available to the public. This, over time, gave rise to a movement (reformation and enlightenment) that gradually withered the grip of papacy and kings.

This marvellous invention, however, did not make it to the Muslim world till 1727 as leading religious figures saw it as a threat to their monopoly. They convinced successive sultans not to let this ‘un-Islamic’ invention enter their blessed lands. This 300-year gap, Rubin argues, is one of the most important factors (though not the only one) in explaining the divergence in wealth between the West and the East. At a time when Europe moved towards economic empowerment, technological change and inclusion, the Muslim world’s energies were focused on preserving orthodoxy and exclusion of people from the fruits of knowledge and empowerment.

Mokyr’s book, in contrast, focuses on reformation and enlightenment that drove Europe ahead of others. Why did these not occur in China or the Muslim world and only in Europe? His narration revolves around the political fragmentation in Europe that beset it in the wake of the rise of nation states. Political fragmentation gave rise to fierce competition, not just in commerce and trade but also in ideas which spread as innovations like the printing press made their presence felt.

Nation states, as they raced to embrace science and technology, also competed for leading scholars and thinkers. This spawned a culture of openness, not just in science but also in ideas. No longer did it remain possible to repress ideas and criticism since critics could now always find refuge in another state open to ideas and criticism. This cycle of openness became unstoppable with time, and complemented advances in technology and knowledge. This, argues Mokyr, explains to a large degree why European nation states were able to leave others behind.

To summarise, for Rubin, the answer lies in legitimacy derived from religion changing to legitimacy derived through people. This was made possible by inventions like the printing press, which tilted the balance in favour of trade, commerce and the people. For Mokyr, the answer is to be found in a cultural change brought on by the rise of nation states, their intense competition in various spheres of life and political fragmentation within Europe. Importantly, a common strand in both these books is to be found in the separation of religion from statecraft which set the stage for European ascent.

The above is but a tiny fraction of the wealth of knowledge available on this particular topic, and in no way does justice to such an important question. Interested readers can access hundreds of books and other material to contemplate this issue, such as the outstanding Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, or How the West Grew Rich by Nathan Rosenberg. What can be concluded is that there is no single factor that can explain the rise of the West. It’s the coming together of a host of factors that propelled economic growth. What we also know is that almost 500 years since this divergence in Europe’s favour is supposed to have begun, the pendulum is now again swinging towards the East (China and India, for example). Their rise is another interesting story, perhaps worthy of a future column.

The writer is an economist.

[email protected]

Twitter:@ShahidMohmand79

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2017

 

 

President’s Of China-Russia Want North Korea To Nuke U.S.

President’s Of China-Russia Want North Korea To Nuke U.S.

 

I am aware that this title is a pretty brash statement yet if I did not believe that it is the truth I would not have used it. When I say that the governments of China and Russia and their current Presidents want the crazy mass murderer in North Korea, Kim Jong Un to nuke the U.S. I am referring to our military bases in the Pacific. It is no secret that the leaders of China and Russia do not want the U.S. military to be in the Pacific Ocean. We have bases in southern Japan, Hawaii and Guam as well as ports of call in South Korea and the Philippines and lets not forget the Naval Base at Long Beach California.

 

As most of you are aware, China under their Dictator President Xi Jinping has decided that all of the ‘South China Sea’ belongs to them. China is making an unprecedented push to take away all of the Sea, Air and Land rights of all of the other Nations in South East Asia. The only other nation with the ability to say no we will not allow this to happen is the U.S.. China is also making major land claims to their southwest, west and northwest. What China is trying to do is to create a situation where they control all chemical and mineral deposits in all of these regions. They also are trying to create a situation where no freight or air travel is allowed in ‘their’ region without their approval. I personally also believe that once China has secured this power that they will then insist on a ‘toll’ system where no freight or air travel is allowed without paying China’s ‘fee’s.’ If you think that what I am saying is a stretch, China’s debt to income ratio is currently at 328%. Economists have told us for years that once a country passes 100% debt to income ratio that the country is in danger of financial collapse.

 

China and Russia’s President Putin would love nothing more than for the U.S. to leave the Pacific. They both complain about the military drills each year that the U.S. and South Korea hold off of the east coast of South Korea yet China and Russia hold their own combined drills off the coast of North Korea. Yesterday in Beijing the Communist Ruling elite gave President Xi Jinping unprecedented authority making it to where if a person says any thing against their President that in doing so you have committed a crime against the Communist Party which in almost all cases will get you life in prison with hard labor or simply hung or shot. The main thing that seems to hold the alliance of Russia with China is Russia’s President Putin’s hate of Democracy and that right now Russia is selling China a lot of Russian oil. Economics and power folks, economics and power.

 

China with the help of billions of dollars from Wal-Mart each year has been spending a huge part of their GDP each year under Xi Jinping on their military buildup. Russia and North Korea have been doing the same thing, minus Wal-Mart’s help. Russia and North Korea have been starving their own people for many years in order to use that money for their leaders personal gains (the Pentagon says that Putin has salted away about $200 billion dollars for himself), I haven’t heard or read any comments on how much wealth Kim Jong Un as stolen from the North Korean people, as he starves them.

 

The Pentagon says that they believe North Korea has about 8-10 Nukes at this present time. We have the ability to shoot down many missiles in all of the regions where we have Pacific military groupings yet reality is that a missile here or there could possibly get through our defenses. Even if we are successful at shooting down every missile in doing so would cause and EMP which will knockout all electronics for many miles around in every direction. My question to our government/military is, if North Korea fires a nuke at a location, lets say Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and we shoot it down thus causing an EMP, if another missile is following 5 or 10 minutes later, will we be able to shoot it down? Will the EMP kill our defense systems leaving us wide open for a second or third missile?

 

President Trump keeps saying that he wants China to do more to pressure North Korea to stop and to dismantle their nuclear program and yes, I do believe that President Xi Jinping could easily do this if it was in his interest to do so, but it is not! If you think that President Xi Jinping or Russia’s President Putin care at all about the people of North Korea you are being delusional. China has made it very clear to the United States government that they will never allow a non-Communist government to be in place in North Korea. They have also made it very clear that if the U.S. or any of our allies do a preemptive strike again North Korea that China will come to their defense. One would think that all parties involved know that if North Korea fires a Nuke at us or our allies that we would then totally destroy North Korea. Yet if this event happened at the same time the U.S. military bases in their area of the globe were destroyed, China’s government as well as Russia’s would be more that willing to except those results.

How the Vietnam War prepared Puerto Ricans to confront crisis

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘WAGINGNONVIOLENCE.ORG)

 

How the Vietnam War prepared Puerto Ricans to confront crisis

Members of Movimiento Pro-Independencia de Puerto Rico picket the White House in March of 1965. (Claridad / Biblioteca Digital UPR Río Piedras)

This week, as Puerto Ricans feel once again like a White House afterthought, it is hard not to conclude that Puerto Rico matters to Washington only when mainland political and business leaders need to conscript the island itself for some larger financial or military purpose.

Consider the impact of Vietnam War policy on Puerto Rico. Thanks to a new Ken Burns documentary and Hurricane Maria, the headlines have us talking simultaneously about Vietnam and Puerto Rico for the first time in 50 years. Today, few Americans remember the impact of the Vietnam War on Puerto Rico. Yet the war struck the island with the force of a political hurricane, tearing at Puerto Rico’s social fabric, raising the same questions of colonialism that are again in the news in the wake of Maria, and fueling its independence movement.

Not unlike Puerto Rico’s recent fiscal crisis, the Vietnam War brought into sharp relief the island’s unequal status as a territory of the United States, particularly after President Lyndon Johnson escalated the war in 1965. Draft-age men in Puerto Rico were subject to the Selective Service Act and called for induction into the U.S. military — even though they had no representative in the Congress that passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and even though many did not speak English.

A political cartoon published by Claridad in August of 1968.

As a result, Puerto Rico’s independence movement quickly condemned the war and called for widespread draft resistance. In July 1965, Claridad, the newspaper of the Movimiento Pro-Independencia de Puerto Rico, or MPI, published its first antiwar and anti-draft column, stating: “Because Puerto Rico is an American colony, Puerto Ricans are obligated to serve in that country’s army, are used like cannon fodder in imperialist wars carried out against defenseless peoples, wars in which Puerto Rico has no interest.”

One week later the MPI called on Puerto Ricans to resist the draft and condemned American aggression in Vietnam as a guerra sucia — a “dirty war” — against “the heroic people of Vietnam.” In response, students for the first time protested outside the Selective Service’s offices in San Juan.

Soon, the MPI likened its own quest for independence with that of the United States’ enemy in Vietnam. As reported in Claridad, the MPI “expressed its full solidarity with the National Liberation Front in its just fight for independence from North American imperialist dominance” and called on the United States to honor the 1954 Geneva Accords, to withdraw from Vietnam, and “guarantee the independence and neutrality of all of Indochina.”

For the MPI, the draft represented a “blood tax,” a “taxation without representation” that Americans aware of their own revolutionary heritage should have understood. Independentistas pointed to the composition of local draft boards (which were called “juntas” in Spanish) as proof. According to Selective Service Director Lewis Hershey, draft boards were “little groups of neighbors,” best suited to look out for America’s sons. But the MPI complained that the local boards were made up of “members of the richest families, statehood proponents … members of the Lions Club, Rotary, Exchange, Citizens for State 51 and other fiends” who “funneled” the poor into the military. These draft board members were Puerto Rican mandarins, agents of the colonizers.

An image published in the Fall of 1970 by the U.S. Committee for Justice to Latin American Political Prisoners.

In 1965 and 1966, long before a coordinated draft resistance movement took shape stateside, 33 members of MPI and two others refused to be inducted. Prosecutors indicted them promptly. When they went to trial in federal court, the proceedings were conducted in English — which often meant that some of the best Puerto Rican lawyers were unavailable — and if one wanted to appeal a conviction, the appeal was heard 2,700 miles away, in Boston, also in English.

In August 1966, the first Puerto Rican draft resistance case, that of Sixto Alvelo Rodriguez, came to trial. Alvelo won support not only from the MPI — which enlisted the radical New York law firm Rabinowitz, Boudin, and Standard for his defense — but also from mainstream supporters who formed Comite de Defense Sixto Alvelo. More than 200 students signed a statement in support of Alvelo, pledging that they, too, would refuse induction. In September, the court asked Alvelo’s draft board to re-induct him (it never did) and dismissed his case and all other MPI draft resistance cases.

The independence movement interpreted the court’s ruling as a major political victory. The MPI speculated that Alvelo’s case revealed “one of the most tyrannical manifestations of our colonial subjugation” and that Washington had backed down in the face of the threat of thousands of induction refusals in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Ricans attending the Fifth Annual Youth Conference of the Pro Independence Movement in Santurce on January 21, 1967. (Claridad / El Mundo, Biblioteca Digital UPR Río Piedras)

At the same time, however, the Selective Service continued to call Puerto Rican men for induction, and support for the draft resistance movement continued to go mainstream. On Mother’s Day in 1967, Puerto Rican mothers organized a protest against the draft in San Juan. The Puerto Rican Bar Association passed a resolution in 1968 calling for the exemption of Puerto Ricans from compulsory U.S. military service, and one year later, the Puerto Rican Episcopal Church passed a resolution at its Diocesan Convention condemning both the war and the conscription of Puerto Ricans.

Federal prosecutors ultimately indicted more than 100 Puerto Rican men, most of whom were convicted. On the day that Edwin Feliciano Grafals — a 26-year-old MPI member who described himself as a “nonreligious conscientious objector” — became the first Puerto Rican draft resister convicted since World War II, students at the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras burned down the campus ROTC building. Six weeks later, 10,000 Puerto Ricans marched through San Juan protesting against the draft. “This is the time to decide; you’re either a Yanqui or you’re a Puerto Rican,” MPI leader Juan Mari Bras told the crowd. “Not one more Puerto Rican should convert himself into a criminal by fighting against the Vietnamese people.”

In the end, Puerto Rico’s draft resistance did not end the Vietnam War nor did it win independence. But it did help to prevent further escalation of the war in 1968, and it brought many Puerto Ricans both to the antiwar movement and to the cause of independence. Moreover, draft resistance in Puerto Rico combined with draft resistance throughout the United States to compel the Nixon administration to introduce a draft lottery and, ultimately, end conscription altogether.

Protest against the draft in Puerto Rico and throughout the United States worked because it targeted an institution that few could defend as fair. Today, with the federal government seemingly unable to deliver post-hurricane relief to Puerto Rico in a manner equal to its assistance in Texas and Florida, we have yet one more example of discrimination against a people who right now need only compassion, sympathy and generous aid.

The devastation of Puerto Rico’s recent fiscal crisis (a crisis rooted in mainland lending policies) has now been compounded by natural disaster. It is in moments like these when, as during the Vietnam War, the second-class treatment of Puerto Rico by Washington is most obvious. The island itself has been treated as a conscript by successive U.S. governments for more than a century, for far too long.

The question is how islanders will respond to Washington this time. Will they protest? If so, what form will the protest take? Now may be a good time, in fact, for Puerto Ricans (and for the rest of us) to look to the island’s resistance to the Vietnam War as a model worth following. Fifty years later, it is worth remembering the place of Puerto Rican draft resisters in the American tradition of dissent. And it is worth remembering its place in a tradition of resistance to American colonialism. By escalating protest against the war and by risking their own freedom, Puerto Rican draft resisters kept alive the notion that resistance is a valid mode of citizenship.

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China’s security obsession is now a point of national pride

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC.NET)

 

China’s security obsession is now a point of national pride

Updated 

China is the world’s ultimate security state.

Beijing police proudly boast there is no corner of public space that surveillance cameras cannot see.

Every subway entrance involves bag scans and metal detectors.

Armed military police stand guard at major public spaces.

Various levels of lower down security guards are ever present, right down to the elderly civilian volunteers who keep watch on the street when big political events take place.

Away from the capital of this authoritarian superpower things are more relaxed, but the political culture prioritising stability permeates deep.

Recently I was in the city of Dandong — bordering North Korea — where an airport video showed off SWAT patrol officers marching around empty streets.

Then a cartoon showed how they would respond to Islamist terrorists bringing fire and fury to Dandong — an unlikely scenario to contemplate in a city more well known for being China’s gateway to North Korea.

Over in far western Xinjiang the prospect of Islamist terror is far more realistic, and in recent months authorities have mobilised thousands of military police in several public displays of force.

The underlying rationale for all this security is to ensure the Communist Party’s control of China remains unchallenged — meaning some political activists and crusading lawyers have felt the full force of China’s security apparatus just as much as terror suspects.

The total annual domestic security budget hasn’t been published since 2013, when overseas media noted how it outstripped the rapidly growing funding for China’s military.

China’s massive internet censorship operation is also deeply linked to the overall concept of safeguarding stability.

Safer than other countries?

The normalisation of such a huge security presence is helping create a growing belief here that China is far safer than countries abroad.

Well-publicised cases of Chinese students and young nationals being kidnapped or murdered in the United States, Australia and elsewhere along with news coverage of mass shootings and violent protests in the West appear to affirm the idea that China’s security state is superior.

When similar incidents happen domestically, such as a violent face-off between a group of Muslims and police in the northern city of Tangshan in August, censors scrub any mention of it.

Events that could dominate the news agenda for days in a country like Australia can be neutralised and snuffed out before most people have a chance to hear about them.

“Chinese society is stable and orderly, people happily live and work in peace,” President Xi Jinping recently told an Interpol conference in Beijing.

“More and more people believe China is one of the world’s safest countries.

“This is China’s contribution to the world for security and stability.”

This emphasis on stability and security is only likely to increase in the weeks ahead as Mr Xi presides over a major Communist Party meeting confirming his leadership for another five years.

“The idea of stability is central to the Chinese Communist Party”, said Dr Michael Clarke, a specialist in China’s domestic security policies at the Australian National University.

“It also plays into this wider narrative of China returning to its place of great power status and its ability to be a leader in international affairs.

“So I think there’s a real link between stability and Xi’s concept of the China Dream.”

Topics: world-politicsdefence-and-national-securitycommunity-and-societychinaasia

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