Monday, November 14, 2011
Recently I've been watching a lot of Cesar Millan, Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic Channel and feel like a lot of his ideas can be extrapolated out into life outside of dogs. Why is this possible? Well, because Cesar is basically correct in the tools he uses to deal with problem dogs and their dysfunctional owners. This is because his methods are based on certain simple truths, meaning that they can easily be placed onto other unconnected issues and still be very applicable. For example, I find that the way he refers to energy levels really helps me with my one-year old daughter. A memorable quote was when he rebuked a dysfunctional dog-parent for all the troubles with her pet, as Cesar so eloquently put it, "You are to blame because you are the parent. You are the source of their information." These are wise words that can certainly be used outside of dog training.
So ok, I may sound a little crazy using a dog expert to help me bring up my one-year old daughter, but would it be a step too far to apply Cesar Millan's methods to International Relations and specifically the increasingly fractious Sino/US dynamic?
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Sunday, November 13, 2011
The TTP is the US vision of the future for Asia Pacific rehashing ideas such as;
- Comprehensive market access
- Regulatory coherence
- Government Procurement
- Protection of Intellectual Property
- Legal and labour rights
None of these ideas are new, but are concepts that are seen as been diluted in other agreements, especially where China is gaining traction. Therefore the US aims to realign Asia Pacific under the values that it cherishes and it has prospered from in the past.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
China is openly saying that it will use US debt holdings as a weapon against the America, either now or in the future, so just get it over with now. Sell um the planes!
By Ding Gang (China Daily)
Now is the time for China to use its "financial weapon" to teach the United States a lesson if it moves forward with a plan to sale arms to Taiwan. In fact, China has never wanted to use its holdings of US debt as a weapon. It is the United States that is forcing it to do so.
The US House of Representatives just passed a debt ceiling bill on Aug. 1. On the next day, a total of 181 members of the House of Representatives signed a letter sent to US President Barack Obama stating that the federal government should approve the sale of F-16 C/D fighter jets to Taiwan as soon as possible to help ensure peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
The US Senate passed the debt ceiling bill on Aug. 2, and Obama signed it into law. Shortly thereafter, the US Treasury obtained the authorization to issue 400 billion US dollars in new debt. Will China become the largest buyer of US debt again?
Despite knowing that major creditor countries, especially China, would be the main buyers of its new debt, certain arrogant and disrespectful US Congress members have totally ignored China's core interests by pressuring the president to sell advanced jets and even an arms upgrade package to Taiwan.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
First though a little perspective. It is certainly true that the US Navy makes many port calls to Hong Kong every year and there are many local businesses that are very dependent upon the ships, whether in selling trips, souvenirs, restaurants or providing huge quantities of provisions, but despite this these trips don’t always go like clock work. As was demonstrated so well by the USS Kitty Hawk debacle in 2007. Plus, every time the US and China fall out military exchanges are the first to go and this includes port visits in Hong Kong, leaving heaps of local businesses high and dry.
So even though these trips can be perceived as standard and run of the mill they can also take on immense significance and this has never been more so than in the last couple of weeks with the CCP openly using the US Navy as a tool in its own propaganda campaign.
Doesn’t make sense? Well read on
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Oriental Morning Post
August 26, 2011
Everything that has happened in Libya up to now only proves yet again the inevitable proposition that if people are not given the right to choose, this shuts off the path to peaceful negotiation and closes off all routes of escape available to the whole of society, those in power included.
On the situation in Libya, the position of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was this: “We have noted the changes in the situation in Libya in recent days, and China respects the choice of the Libyan people.” The significance of this statement lies first of all in the fact that it admits that the subject of change in Libya over the last six months and more has been the “people.” Second, it is significant because it admits that the fulsome struggles of the Libyan people in action over the past half year have been an exercise of their “right to choose,” and that [the exercise of this right] is normal and should be respected.
This wave of political change has spread, one after another, through many nations in the Middle East, so why was Libya singled out for attention [by the foreign ministry]? Clearly, this is because changes in other countries were swift and clean while changes in Libya came about only as the culmination of more than half a year of bloody civil war.
The Libyan people have paid a heavy price to realize their right to choose. The whole of Libyan society has suffered, including Gadhafi and his supporters. Many of the costs will become evident only in the future. It is difficult to say how the social scars of civil war and domestic enmities will impact the unfolding political situation in Libya. Blood and fire may voice the determination, courage and honor of the Libyan people in seeking their freedom, but they cannot heal the country’s wounds or dispel deep-seated concerns.
In this sense, the “weakness” of rulers in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries made it possible under particular circumstances for these countries and their people to avoid, much to their benefit, the path of violence . . .
Look at Gadhafi and how he was given the opportunity to compromise, but how he failed to cherish this opportunity. Violence was his only religion, and he wished to use the blood of the opposition to plunge the whole nation into war. By the time his mind turned to compromise, the opportunity had passed.
Of course, Gadhafi’s refusal to compromise has always been done in the name of “the people of Libya.” It’s certainly no secret that his use of the word “people” has from the very first day tallied a lousy record of misrepresentation and abuse. Today we understand that Gadhafi does not in fact represent “the people.” In truth, he and the forces he represents stand in opposition to the people of Libya.
But this is not something that was apparent only after the writing was on the wall. It could be seen on the day they threatened and massacred their own people, and even earlier, on the day they robbed the people of their right to choose. It was then that they cleaved themselves from “the people.”
It was his psychology of “whoever stands at the end represents the people,” or “victory justifies the victorious,” that made Gadhafi refuse to set violence aside. His logic, in which whoever is smiling in the end represents the will of the people, is at base a philosophy of violence, of the supremacy of arms. The natural outcome of this logic is that when those in power have lost all popular support, and when the people have no prospect of using legal means and procedures to exercise their right to choose, violent overthrow is their only alternative. [Under such a political environment] words and promises of negotiation, deliberation and “reform” are often no more than policies of deception. From the day the people’s right to choose was no longer respected, or was even trampled, Gadhafi left no exit for the people, and he left no way out for himself either . . .
Gadhafi came to power through violence, and he made his exit in the midst of violence. The difference is that in leaving power, he left behind even more blood, leaving Libya with wounds from which it will be all the more difficult to recover. When there is an unwillingness to face the existence of the people, when the people are not permitted to voice their own demands, when the people are not allowed to exercise their right to choose, the only form of change that remains is ultimately the fiercest, most extreme and bloodiest . . .
Broadly speaking, every change in the nature of society, every rebalancing of power and interests, is a transformation (变革). But owing to different attitudes toward the choices of the people [by those in power], the outcomes will be markedly different. There might be a gradual process of improvement, or there might the terrible prospect of “a successful revolution, in which millions fall to the earth.” On the other hand, of course, there is the possibility that revolution will not succeed, and millions will fall to the earth still. There have been many such terrible precedents. [NOTE: The portion here in Chinese referring to unsuccessful revolutions is a reference to the words of Sun Yat-sen, who said that if the Chinese revolution was not successful, the people must push on.]
The core measure of a civilized society is not how those in power came to be in power, but how they step down. When [those in power] are seduced by the desire to protect their personal interests, or those of their families or cliques, when they are tempted to grasp power firmly for all time, and will stoop to any false or fabricated notion of the popular will to extend their own legitimacy, then they ultimately leave the people no choice but to choose the extreme path of indiscriminate destruction. When such a situation emerges, the people may not understand or be adept at how to employ peaceful means to voice their demands, but given the fact of an authoritarian society, responsibility must be placed first on the shoulders of those rulers who lack political wisdom and a sense of historical undertaking.
Each and every day there might be powers big or small that exit the center of power [in this or that country]. The biggest difference between them is the extent to which they affirm the right of the people to choose and submit themselves to it. “When I left the Kremlin, hundreds of reporters thought I would weep. I did not weep, because I had already attained the chief goal of my life. For a true politician, this goal is not to hang on to one’s power and position, but to promote progress and democracy in one’s country.” These words were spoken by Gorbachev. Twenty years ago, he relinquished power. His merits and shortcomings will be determined by future generations. But we must at least admit this, that while those nations in transition, including Russia, have struggled through dramatic changes, little or no blood was shed. Meanwhile, Libya, which for such a long time was “stable” (but in fact stagnating) now faces terrible social divisions.
Gadhafi’s error was a pernicious and ancient illness repeated by men through the ages: “The men of the Qin had no time for sorrow [so swiftly did they fall], but were pitied instead by those who followed, even as they failed to learn its lessons, sowing the pity of future generations for themselves.” The people must be granted the right to choose gradually but resolutely, otherwise the frightening prospect of having no escape [from violence] will be the recurring nightmare facing any society in transition.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
With the current buzz around the PLA capabilities hitting an all time high, it is not uncommon to come across sensationalist articles that are big on speculation and low on actual facts. One such piece which is doing the rounds on the Internet is the article, Bad News for The US Navy, by Eric S Margolis. In it he confidently claims that China’s new ASBM really is “bad news” for the US carrier fleet. His opening sentence boasts,
“The mighty US Navy won’t say so publicly, but it’s increasingly worried by China’s development of new anti-ship missiles”.
Margolis certainly pulls no punches in trying to sensationalize his piece but in reality the article reads like he only found out about China’s ASBM yesterday and hasn't thought it through at all.
Margolis starts off by confidently proclaiming that, “According to Chinese sources, the DF-21D Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) has recently become operational in limited numbers.”
Well no, this isn’t actually true. According to US sources this is the case but not according to Chinese official sources. Even the Chinese media refers to US sources as evidence of the ASBM’s readiness. Currently there are no official Chinese sources confirming the operational validity of the ASBM and it is more than likely to stay that way as an air of mystery suits the ASBM perfectly. The Chinese military thrives in the gaps of knowledge that conflate its abilities and the ASBM is the poster boy of this strategy. Even the US assessment has to be taken with a pinch-of-salt as the terms that are used are not transferable between the two militaries and at best refer only to the DF-21D rocket and not the entire ASBM system. So, it is more than likely that some DF-21Ds may have been initially deployed, but whether these are connected to a fully integrated ASBM system is very remote and completely unknown.
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Monday, August 22, 2011
The documentary itself was otherwise meant as praise to the wisdom and judgment of Chinese military strategists, and a typical condemnation of the United States as an implacable aggressor in the cyber-realm. But the fleeting shots of an apparent China-based cyber-attack somehow made their way into the final cut.
The screenshots appear as B-roll footage in the documentary for six seconds—between 11:04 and 11:10 minutes—showing custom-built Chinese software apparently launching a cyber-attack against the main website of the Falun Gong spiritual practice, by using a compromised IP address belonging to a United States university. As of Aug. 22 at 1:30pm EDT, in addition to Youtube, the whole documentary is available on the CCTV website.
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