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Posts Tagged ‘China

What Will it Take For Us to Get Serious About Global Warming? Serious Global Warming

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hope y'all like swimming

hope y'all like swimming

Let’s start with a little history of something totally unrelated. Cigarettes.

Smoking and global warming have very little in common, except this. They both show that human beings are not too great at getting a message. It was in the early sixties that a definitive link was made between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer. And yet here we are forty-five years later with people dying in their droves the world over. Sure, communication is better than ever, as are the scare tactics, let alone the evidence, but cigarettes are still a very profitable business.

There’s only one reason for that, and it can be summed up in a few very simple words. “It ain’t gonna happen to me”.  Humans are eternal optimists. Half a million people a year are dying of smoking-related diseases each year. But it ain’t gonna happen to little old me. Right.

Now let’s take global warming. For years a vast preponderance of experts have been telling us that global warming is coming. Only a few days ago, the Intergovernmental Panel and Climate Change (IPCC) said that they’d got it wrong in their earlier reports which they pretty much said were politically watered-down to make their recommendations even remotely workable. Turns out that they’d figured we’d be more energy efficient by now, and stop with our coal addiction. But efficiencies flattened out and coal is now the fossil fuel du jour for China and India. Their forecasts for serious global warming just got way more dire. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sudan’s Al-Bashir Indicted. Time to Save Darfur.

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tispdarfur2

Human rights isn’t exactly China’s strong suit, so their exhortation to the UN to back off the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant for the war-crimes arrest of Sudan’s President Al-Bashir seems pretty much par for the course. China’s in deep in Sudan, as they are all over Africa spreading around their wealth and patronage and laying waste to the land.

Chinese style colonialism is very much your run of the mill old-school exploitation without the actual raising the flag bit (it’s always the silly part that really pisses off the locals). Their MO? Bribe the hell out of the government, bosses and warlords, put some personnel with big smiles and bigger wallets on the ground and grab every shred of natural resources they can get their hands on. So far the world has been far too preoccupied with other issues like our Iraq disaster and the small matter of the economic meltdown to get a bead on China’s resource-grab, but as of today that might just change.

If nothing else China’s very loyal to Al-Bashir. Not many world powers are going to back a guy indicted on charges of genocide. But China’s sticking its neck out for this guy even though from a PR perspective it seems like a bad idea. Of course, the Chinese don’t do anything without a damn good reason, and that reason usually has to do an awful lot with money. Perhaps the alternative to Al-Bashir is less China friendly, but whatever Beijing’s motivation, China has the ability to neuter the arrest warrant by vetoing it as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. If they do they run the risk of becoming indelibly linked to the Darfur genocide, and not in a good way.

That possibility opens up some interesting avenues for the United States. As the State Department looks to recalibrate our relationship with China – and stop them loading the dice in their favor, this Al-Bashir moment might just give us the focus we need. As mentioned on this blog a number of times, China is our number one adversary, and we need a much more forthright policy that emphasizes what America needs out of the relationship rather than merely what China can offer us. A big part of the problem we face with Beijing is China’s virtual invasion of Africa which has gone on uncontested for far too long. It’s time to shine some light on it, challenge it, and most importantly do what should have been done years ago – use US military forces to stop the genocide in Darfur.

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Continuing The Neo-Liberalism Discussion

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Badd Bob of Planned Obsolescence has built on my discussion about Neo-Liberalism with a thought-provoking post that asks some fascinating long term questions about where US hegemony could lead. Badd Bob puts China at the top of his list of adversarial states, but he questions how forceful the US can be in establishing and directing its power without generating blow-back.  There’s still plenty of work to be done in shaping the concept. Discussion open.

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Written by coolrebel

February 27, 2009 at 12:32 am

The Rise of Neo-Liberalism

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it all starts right here

it all starts right here

The Neo-Cons are dead. Long live the Neo-Libs.

It’s not just conservatives who believe that the continued hegemony of the United States is critical to the wellbeing of human-kind.  But the Neo-Lib prescription veers from the Neo-Cons very substantially after that. We neo-libs do not feel that military power is the key to our continued dominance. Instead Neo-Liberalism calls for a Wilsonesque revival of America’s power through goodwill and largesse, backed by  a Rooseveltian (and I mean Teddy) “big stick”. For too long, under the Neo-Cons, we talked loudly and carried a stick that frankly got smaller and smaller the deeper we fell into the morass of Iraq and Afghanistan.

It may seem like an odd time to be talking about American hegemony.  Our nation is in an economic crisis unlike any it has experienced in decades. The threat to our continued power is probably at its highest point since the Second World War, which would seem a perfect time to reassert it. Fortunately, our adversaries around the globe aren’t in any better shape than we are, and in many respects have further to fall. Even more fortuitous is the presence of a new President who could be the beacon for Neo-Liberalism. While Obama may have shown some early weakness on the domestic policy front, particularly with his reluctance to detach himself from tried-and-failed centrism, but on the foreign stage, he has an opportunity to rebuild and reinvigorate US power.

So let us begin to forge a plan for the rebuilding of American power. Here’s how. Read the rest of this entry »

Time For A Change – China Policy

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tiananmen

has china really changed that much?

Sometimes it takes an aging rock band to make a great point. Take Guns n’ Roses new album, its first for seventeen years. The band’s insightful leader created a fabulous oxymoron, bringing together the words “Chinese” and “Democracy” for it’s title. Now that’s comedy.

The Chinese authorities did what they always do in these situations and censored everything about the album they could get away with at the same time as lashing out at the band for its insulting stance on the People’s Republic. How dare some old rock stars attack China’s non-democracy?

But does the vast plastic toy police state protesteth just a little too much? The irony seems completely lost on most of the world’s leaders, who are busy toadying to the Chinese to keep them buying the mountain of freshly issued Western debt. The British have backtracked on their decades-long fudge about Chinese control of Tibet to appease Beijing, and America, which has been pushing democracy like Avon pushes makeup is simply too scared to issue any kind of statement about censorship or human rights abuses in China. We allowed them into the World Trade Organization even though they brazenly broke its rules before and after they joined. Slowly but surely, we seem to be handing China superpower status on a plate. Another word for it is appeasement. And just like back in Munich in 1938, it strikes me as a very bad idea. Read the rest of this entry »

Lost Opportunities at State

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Sounds like her ladyship, Hilary Clinton is going to get the nod at the State Department. There are two far better choices out there, one of whom didn’t get a look-in, the other who was sold short. Read the rest of this entry »