Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

China Jittery About Obama Amid Signs of Harder Line

January 24, 2009

Whether it was a shot across the bow or a simple restatement of his boss’s views, Timothy F. Geithner’s assertion that China “manipulates” its currency has complicated a crucial front in President Obama’s efforts to improve America’s relations with the world.

China experts here said there were several other signs that the Obama administration could take a harder line toward Beijing, including Mr. Obama’s emphasis on climate change and the environment in trade negotiations and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s focus on human rights.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce responded tartly to the charge by Mr. Geithner, Mr. Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary. “Directing unsubstantiated criticism at China on the exchange-rate issue will only help U.S. protectionism and will not help towards a real solution to the issue,” the ministry said late on Friday in a statement to Agence France-Presse.

China starts off on weaker footing with Mr. Obama than it did with his predecessor, George W. Bush. Mr. Bush and his last Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., cultivated Chinese leaders and refused to call Beijing a manipulator. Mr. Obama has little personal experience of China, and lacks senior advisers with a deep interest in or knowledge of the country. With the American economy in a deep slump, and China trying to ramp up its exports to cushion a sharp slowdown there, experts worry that trade relations between the countries could deteriorate.

By Mark Landler
The New York Times

If the United States repairs its image in many parts of the world, that could make it harder for the Chinese to present themselves as an alternative to American influence in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere.

“The Chinese are probably one of the few people in the world who were sorry to see President Bush go, and are nervous about his successor,” said Kenneth G. Lieberthal, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who worked on China policy for the Clinton administration.

“They saw the Inaugural Address as having some uncomfortable elements for them,” Mr. Lieberthal said. “They are uneasy about Hillary Clinton. She has, in their assessment, not been a friend of China.”

The Chinese news media played down the significance of Mr. Geithner’s remarks, which were made in writing to the Senate Finance Committee as part of the confirmation process.

Rather than dwell on or analyze the reference to China’s currency, the Chinese official newspaper, The People’s Daily, quoted Mr. Geithner as saying that the currency manipulation issue would take a back seat to working with China to alleviate the global financial crisis. The headline said, “U.S. Treasury secretary-designate vows to deepen U.S.-China economic ties.”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/24
/washington/24diplo.html

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China Denies It Manipulates Currency

BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese central banker denounced accusations by U.S. Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner that China was manipulating its yuan currency, calling them misleading and warning against “excuses” for protectionism.

Su Ning, a vice governor of the People’s Bank of China, called the comments by Geithner “out of keeping with the facts” and said they were “misleading in analyzing the causes of the financial crisis,” the official China News Service reported on Saturday.

Su also warned against trade protectionism.

“We believe that faced with the financial crisis there should be a spirit of self-criticism,” Su said while visiting a business newspaper office in Beijing, according to the report.

“The international community is currently working together in actively responding to the financial crisis, and it must avoid exploiting different excuses for renewing or encouraging trade protectionism,” Su said, adding that such steps would harm global economic recovery.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200901
24/ts_nm/us_china_usa_currency_3

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Bush Called “Healer” for Africa, HIV, AIDS

January 16, 2009

A legacy of President George W. Bush will be that he saved 10 million lives around the world.

That according to Doctor and Senator Bill Frist.

So many responded with anger and hatred and an anti-Bush visceral response to this article that we did a little (just a little) research.

“I salute President Bush for his leadership in crafting a plan for AIDS relief in Africa and backing it up with funding dedicated to saving lives and preventing the spread of the disease.”

That quote came from President-elect Barack Obama…..

Obama, Others Praise Bush for Work on AIDS, Africa
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/12/01/world.aids.day/
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Related:
“Worst president in American history?”
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Bush Got A Lot of Things Right: Obama Likely Chief Revisionist

President-elect Barack Obama boards his plane at Washington's ...

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By Bill Frist for CNN

His critics ignore it, but name another president about whom one can say that with such certainty. It is what historians will say a decade from now looking back. Not bad for a president who leaves office with the lowest approval rating in recent memory.

The bottom line is: George Bush is a healer.

First, a surprise proclamation came on January 29, 2003.

I was in the first row in the House chamber when three quarters through his State of the Union address, the president boldly said: “I ask the Congress to commit $15 billion over the next five years … to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean” and “lead the world in sparing innocent people from a plague of nature.”

In this  Sept. 4, 2008 file photo, Bill Frist speaks at the ...

And lead the world we did. No president in history had made such a commitment against a single disease. Those words and the action that followed meant that instead of another 30 million people dying from HIV infections, maybe just another 20 million will.

Later that night in an interview for CNN in my Capitol office, I predicted that five years later, this commitment to fight HIV would be the single most significant thing the president said that night. It was.

But even I — who as physician in Africa had witnessed how this virus was hollowing out societies — did not predict the huge global impact this Bush commitment would have on generations to come.

By Bill Frist
Special to CNN 

Editor’s note: Bill Frist, a physician, is former Republican majority leader of the U.S. Senate and a professor of medicine and business at Vanderbilt University.

US President George W. Bush in Washington, DC, January 13.(AFP/Jim ... 
US President George W. Bush in Washington, DC, January 13.(AFP/Jim Watson)

Read the entire article:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/1
5/frist.bush/index.html

Countries that will miss George Bush

January 13, 2009

A lot has been written about George W Bush’s unpopularity around the globe – but what about those places where the outgoing president was popular?

As he leaves office with a record high domestic disapproval rate – 73%, according to an October ABC News/Washington Post poll – President George W Bush can perhaps take some comfort from the fact that this feeling is not uniformly shared abroad.

By Kim Ghattas
BBC News, Washington

Related:
In China, Bush remains a popular president

While the shoe-throwing incident in Iraq may come to symbolise the world’s opinion of a president who is often referred to as the worst in America’s history, some corners of the world will miss the 43rd president of the United States.

He has approval ratings of around 80% in Africa, according to some polls, and in Kosovo a main street was named after him to thank him for supporting Kosovo’s independence.

“It is generally accepted in the US that Bush has generated hatred for America around the world,” says Peter Berkowitz, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution.

“But the picture is not black and white,” he added.

Israeli ties

In the last days of his administration, Mr Bush again demonstrated his unwavering support for Israel as it pounded Gaza.

Your view on George Bush depends upon…..your point of view!
It’s Obama Time But: “He Doesn’t Get It” or “Did The Right Thing” Depending Upon Your View
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 Bush Personally Redirected SecState Rice To Support Israel

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7821449.stm

China’s tanks, aircraft challenge Russian sales in Africa

January 1, 2009

Ghana traditionally has been a client country of Western weapons manufacturers. It does have some Russian equipment in service, however, including SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles, Zu-23-2 air defense machine guns and D-30 122-mm howitzers.

UPI

The People’s Republic of China is now promoting its latest gun-launched laser-guided projectiles on the African continent. At least one African country is already equipped with the Chinese-made GP1 155mm laser-guided projectiles, which are a Chinese version of Russia’s Krasnopol GLLGP, the technology for which was transferred to China by Russia’s KBP Design Bureau in 1997.

Chinese arms are also actively penetrating North Africa’s Arab countries. Algeria has been a typical purchaser of Russian equipment. The Algerian army has 320 T54/55 Main Battle Tanks and 350 T72 Main Battle Tanks, as well as AT-3, AT-4 and AT-5 anti-tank missiles, 289 BMP-1/2 IFVs and SAM-7, SAM-8, SAM-9 and SAM-14 ground missiles.

The Algerian air force is armed with 43 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MFs, 30 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23B/Es, 28 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23Fs….

Read the rest:
http://www.upi.com/Security_Industry/2008/12/31/Chinas_
tanks_aircraft_challenge_Russian_sales_in_Africa/UPI-9
9791230754263/

Child trafficking spreads from Africa to US

December 29, 2008

Late at night, the neighbors saw a little girl at the kitchen sink of the house next door. They watched through their window as the child rinsed plates under the open faucet. She wasn’t much taller than the counter and the soapy water swallowed her slender arms.

To put the dishes away, she climbed on a chair.

Shyima Hall, 19, discusses her domestic enslavement Tuesday, ... 
Shyima Hall, 19, discusses her domestic enslavement Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008, in Beaumont, Calif. Shyima was 10 when a wealthy Egyptian couple brought her from a poor village in Northern Egypt to work in their California home. She awoke before dawn and often worked past midnight to iron their clothes, mop the marble floors and dust the family’s crystal. She earned $45 a month working up to 20 hours a day. The trafficking of children for domestic labor in the United States is an extension of an illegal but common practice among the upper class in Africa.(AP Photo/Ric Francis)

But she was not the daughter of the couple next door doing chores. She was their maid.

Shyima was 10 when a wealthy Egyptian couple brought her from a poor village in northern Egypt to work in their California home. She awoke before dawn and often worked past midnight to iron their clothes, mop the marble floors and dust the family’s crystal. She earned $45 a month working up to 20 hours a day. She had no breaks during the day and no days off.

The trafficking of children for domestic labor in the U.S. is an extension of an illegal but common practice in Africa. Families in remote villages send their daughters to work in cities for extra money and the opportunity to escape a dead-end life. Some girls work for free on the understanding that they will at least be better fed in the home of their employer.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081229/a
p_on_re_af/the_slave_next_door

China’s Growing Naval Reach May Cause Worries

December 26, 2008

China’s Pacific neighbors worry that the superpower’s growing naval power could cause regional tensions to rise and fester…

The first deployment of three Chinese ships to the coast of Africa in hundreds of years means China is becoming more involved in world and international matters.  The pirates in Somalia are causing insurance prices to rise for everyone.  So China’s committment and involvement causes many to applaud.

But not everyone is applauding China’s naval moves.  Many worry.

Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, to name just a few nations, worry that China’s growing naval strength means China will eventually want something in Asia and have the power to take it without too much discussion.

Even Pacific Ocean nations like Australia worry that China will become too dominant in the region.

Here at Peace and Freedom, readers from Vietnam, Japan and South Korea have swamped us with questions about China’s actual strength at sea — and China’s intent.

And why does China need a large navy?  What is China’s “Grand Strategy”?

“I think the objective of the grand strategy is to squeeze out, very slowly and very gradually, the influence of the United States in East Asia, without war, with economy and culture,” said Chong-pin, Professor at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan.

The “Grand Strategy” will ultimately include aircraft carriers.

China will “seriously consider” building aircraft carriers to protect its vast maritime territory, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense said on just last week as the anti-piracy mission was being prepared.

Huang Xueping made the remarks at a news conference called to announce details of a Chinese flotilla that departed for Somali waters on Friday to protect Chinese ships from pirates.

Asked whether the Chinese navy’s first deployment abroad is a good opportunity to build a carrier, Huang said the government would seriously consider the issue.

“Aircraft carriers are a symbol of a country’s overall national strength as well as the competitiveness of its naval force,” Huang said.

“China has a long coastline and the sacred duty of China’s armed forces is to safeguard the country’s marine safety and sovereignty over coastal areas and territorial seas,” he said.

Above: Near the Republic of Korea (Oct. 7, 2008). The ROKS Gangkamchan (DDH 979) steams by a line of  warships during the International Fleet Review “Pass and Review.”

China has many mineral rights and oil disagreements at sea with Japan, Vietnam and other nations — and a poweful navy means to these countries that China will, before long, lay down the law from Beijing on other regional neighbors.

According to Japan’s Navy Retired vice admiral Fumio Ota, currently director of the Center for Security and Crisis Management Education of the National Defense Academy, “One reason is China wants to make advances in the sea to secure energy resources. The other is to survey and expand the area of its operational waters in preparation for a war with Taiwan ….. China’s State Oceanic Administration has said: ‘The one who controls the sea will survive and grow. China will build a powerful and modern maritime state.'”

Most worriesome to the United States and those neighbors of China is this: no one really knows how big and capable China’s navy has become or how much China is spending on naval programs.

Beijing’s rapidly growing military spending, estimated at $85 billion to $125 billion last year, is still dwarfed by the United States, where a half-trillion dollars is shelled out for defense spending each year, not counting money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office last year said the U.S. Navy needs to spend about $21 billion annually on new ship construction over 30 years to meet its goal of a 313-ship fleet. That is far above the Pentagon’s average spending between 2000 and 2005, and about $6 billion more than President Bush requested for this year.

But it is China’s secrecy on military spending and programs that causes so many to worry in Asia — and that is why U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates frequently speaks about the need for “transparency” in both China’s military investments and their intentions.

China’s military spending and intentions are hidden behind a fog of state controlled media and government secrecy.

On the aircraft carrier issue,  China’s Maj. Gen. Quan Lihua said:

“The question is not whether you have an aircraft carrier, but what you do with your aircraft carrier.  Even if one day we have an aircraft carrier, unlike another country we will not use it to pursue global deployment or global reach.”

Of course: we can all trust China.

Related:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf
/12/26/china.pirates/index.html

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Piracy draws China back to the ranks of maritime giants
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China’s “Grand Strategy”: U.S. Out Of Asia?
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China Launching First Long-Range Naval Mission Since 15th Century

General Hints China’s Navy May Add Carrier

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, seen here on December 2008, ... 
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, seen here in December 2008.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Scott Olson)

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From the Associated Press

China’s willingness to send ships so far from home is also the latest example of the growing power and confidence of the country’s navy. In recent years, the military has been loading up on warships, planes, missiles and other weapons — a beef-up that has worried its neighbors and the U.S.

Those most concerned include the Japanese and South Koreans, who have long-standing disputes about territorial waters that occasionally flare up. China has also been locked in an uneasy stand off with the Philippines, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations over the ownership of the potentially oil-rich Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

Denny Roy, a senior fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii, said countries in the region will view China’s mission off Somalia differently.

“For Japan and some in South Korea, this is another step in the unwelcome growth of the Chinese navy as a capable blue-water force, which has only downsides for Tokyo and Seoul,” said Roy, an expert on China’s military.

“I think the objective of the grand strategy is to squeeze out, very slowly and very gradually, the influence of the United States in East Asia, without war, with economy and culture,” said Chong-pin, Professor at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan at Princeton.

But he said most Southeast Asian countries may see China’s involvement in the anti-piracy campaign as a positive thing. It would mean that China was using its greater military might for constructive purposes, rather than challenging the current international order.

However, the analyst added, “The Chinese deployment gets at a question the U.S. and other governments have been asking: ‘Why the big Chinese military buildup when no country threatens China?’ Or more bluntly, ‘Why do the Chinese need a blue-water navy when the U.S. Navy already polices the world’s oceans?”‘

Roy said the answer is that China is unwilling to rely on the U.S. to protect China’s increasingly global interests. Beijing still believes it needs to enter the field, Roy said, and that leaves open the possibility of a China-U.S. naval rivalry in the future.

China has said the mission’s purpose was to protect Chinese ships and crews that have come under attack from pirates. The vessels would also be willing to share intelligence and conduct humanitarian rescue operations with other countries involved in the anti-piracy efforts, Senior Col. Huang Xueping, spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense, said Tuesday.

Read the entire article:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,473044,00.html

China’s Naval Task Force Departs For Historic Near Africa Mission; International Hopes

December 26, 2008

Three Chinese warships departed their homeland today a seemingly minor and some say symbolic anti-piracy mission near Somalia.

But the “out of area” deployment of Naval Warships from China is really the first such adventure in hundreds of years.

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a ceremony ... 
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a ceremony is held before a Chinese naval fleet sets sail from a port in Sanya city of China’s southernmost island province of Hainan on Friday, Dec. 26, 2008. Chinese warships, armed with special forces, guided missiles and helicopters, set sail Friday for anti-piracy duty off Somalia, the first time the communist nation has sent ships on a mission that could involve fighting so far beyond its territorial waters.(AP Photo/Xinhua, Zha Chunming)

The three ships are the Guided Missile Destroyers Wuhan (DDG-169)  and Haikou (DDG-171), and the supply ship Weishanhu. The ships have about 800 crewmen and 70 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Special Forces soldiers embarked. 

China hopes this naval mission will be the first in many to foster cooperation and respect between Chinese forces and the naval forces of the international community.

Ships participating in the anti-piracy mission come from Britain, India, Iran, the United States, France and Germany.

On Wednesday, Japan said it was considering joining the coalition.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese ... 
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese naval fleet including two destroyers and a supply ship from the South China Sea Fleet set off from Sanya, a coastal city of South China’s Hainan Province on Friday, Dec. 26, 2008. Chinese warships, armed with special forces, guided missiles and helicopters, set sail Friday for anti-piracy duty off Somalia, the first time the communist nation has sent ships on a mission that could involve fighting so far beyond its territorial waters.(AP Photo/Xinhua, Zha Chunming)

See a video:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7799899.stm

See CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asia
pcf/12/26/china.pirates/index.html

Related:
Japan Readies Naval Mission to Fight Pirates

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, soldiers ...
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, soldiers of Chinese navy special force carry out an anti pirate drill on the deck of DDG-171 Haikou destroyer in Sanya, capital of South China’s Hainan Province Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008. On Friday, warships armed with special forces, missiles and helicopters sailed for anti-piracy duty off Somalia, the first time the communist nation has sent ships on a mission that could involve fighting so far beyond its territorial waters.(AP Photo/Xinhua, Zha Chunming)

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The Chinese naval fleet set sail at 1:50 p.m. on Friday from a port here in the southernmost island province of Hainan for Somalia. The ships will take part in an escort mission against piracy.

The warships of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, decorated by colored ribbons and flowers, were unmoored at the military port by crew members in white naval uniforms who saluted the crowds who saw them off.

China Daily and Xinhua

Two destroyers, DDG-169 Wuhan and DDG-171 Haikou, and the supply ship Weishanhu from the South Sea Fleet will cruise for about 10 days to arrive in the Gulf of Aden, joining the multinational patrol in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes where surging piracy endangers international shipping.

Read the rest:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2
008-12/26/content_7344989.htm


Above: Missile Destroyer Haikou 171 of the PLA Navy’s South China Sea Fleet.  She departed with two other Chinese warships on a mission to the Gulf of Aden near Somali on anti-pirate patrol on Friday.  Many in the West see this as a sign of renewed cooperation between China and other military powers.

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A Chinese naval task force departed from Sanya, a port in the nation’s southernmost province of Hainan, to fight pirates in waters off Somalia, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The ships sailed about 1:50 p.m. local time today, Xinhua reported. China is sending two destroyers and one supply ship supported by two helicopters, Senior Colonel Huang Xueping said on Dec. 23.

In the first 11 months of this year, 1,265 Chinese commercial ships passed through Somali waters, a fifth of which were assaulted by pirates, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Dec. 18.

Pirates operate along Somalia’s Indian Ocean coast, as well as in the Gulf of Aden, a transit point for the 20,000 ships a year using the Suez Canal.

By James Peng: Bloomberg


Related:
 China Says It Needs an Aircraft Carrier for “Comprehensive Power”
.
China Tells Somalia Pirates It Will Use Force if Necessary
.
China Anti-Pirate Mission Another Step in International Engagement

U.S. admiral wants China military ties resumed

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/1
2/25/somalia.germany/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/as
iapcf/12/22/china.pirates/index.html

Pope’s Message of Peace, Stability: Warns of Ruin in Selfishness

December 25, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI has called for peace in the Middle East and stability in Africa in his Christmas Day message.

Speaking from the Vatican, the Pope prayed for the opponents of the “twisted logic of conflict and violence” to prevail in the Holy Land.

BBC

The Pope decried instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and Somalia, and lamented the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans.

He also called for solidarity in the face of an ever more uncertain future.

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates christmas night holy mass at the ... 

Read more:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7799628.stm

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By FRANCES D’EMILIO, Associated Press Writer

Pope Benedict XVI in his Christmas message Thursday warned that the world was headed toward ruin if selfishness prevails over solidarity during tough economic times for both rich and poor nations.

Speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica on the day Christians commemorate Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, Benedict declared that the “heart of the Christian message is meant for all men and women.”

The traditional papal Christmas Day message “Urbi et Orbi” — Latin for “to the City and to the World” — usually covers the globe’s hot spots, but this year Benedict also addressed the gloomy economic conditions worrying many across the planet.

Amid near daily news of layoffs, failing companies and people losing homes they can no longer afford in many parts of the world, Benedict’s words seemed tailored in part to the global economic crisis.

He said his Christmas message also applied to “wherever an increasingly uncertain future is regarded with apprehension, even in affluent nations.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081225/ap_o
n_re_eu/eu_vatican_christmas_15

America Must Rebuild To Thrive; Obama Must Deliver Real, Lasting Goodies

December 25, 2008

America needs to reboot and re-invent itself.

Internationally, Israel wants a smackdown on Iran.  Medvedev and Putin want U.S. Missile Defense out of Europe.  And others are lining up too.

Americans want prosperity and jobs.  GM and Chryler want all the auto bailout they can get and the UAW wants a raise.

President-elect Obama, blissfully in the Hawaiian nirvana as we write, faces a long line of seekers looking for goodies this Christmas and next year.

Can he possibly deliver? 

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From Thomas Friedman
The New York Times

We’ve indulged ourselves for too long with tax cuts that we can’t afford, bailouts of auto companies that have become giant wealth-destruction machines, energy prices that do not encourage investment in 21st-century renewable power systems or efficient cars, public schools with no national standards to prevent illiterates from graduating and immigration policies that have our colleges educating the world’s best scientists and engineers and then, when these foreigners graduate, instead of stapling green cards to their diplomas, we order them to go home and start companies to compete against ours.

….

America still has the right stuff to thrive. We still have the most creative, diverse, innovative culture and open society — in a world where the ability to imagine and generate new ideas with speed and to implement them through global collaboration is the most important competitive advantage. China may have great airports, but last week it went back to censoring The New York Times and other Western news sites. Censorship restricts your people’s imaginations. That’s really, really dumb. And that’s why for all our missteps, the 21st century is still up for grabs.

John Kennedy led us on a journey to discover the moon. Obama needs to lead us on a journey to rediscover, rebuild and reinvent our own backyard.

Read it all:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24
/opinion/24friedman.html?em

Art Below by Steve Broder in the New York Times

No Peace and Joy at Christmas: World Boiling With War, Terror, Violence

December 25, 2008

Peace may not come on Christmas for many.  And the days ahead may be even rougher.  Israel is fed up with rocket attacks in Gaza.  The U.S. Army is looking for more troops for Iraq and Afghanistan.  Pirates seem to rule the Gulf of Aden.  Pakistan eyes India and India glares back….and on and on….

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We are today in one of the world’s most violent and unstable periods since perhaps World War II.

In the past seven years the world has seen major terror attacks in the United States, Great Britain, Spain, Africa, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India, horrific genocidal slaughter in Darfur and outright war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of citizens, soldiers, insurgents, men, women, children, the innocent, the guilty and the in-between have been killed, wounded, maimed, blown apart, beheaded, executed and otherwise dispatched from the land of the living. Tensions are heating to the boiling point and could explode into major war between India and Pakistan; the Kurds and Iraq/Turkey/Iran/Syria; Iran and the United States/Israel; Hezbollah and Israel; and Russia and Georgia – among others. War and rumors of war dominate our lives.

A U.S. soldier looks at a skateboard during a routine patrol ...
Looking for explosive devices.  This may not be a toy.  A U.S. soldier looks at a skateboard during a routine patrol in eastern Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008.(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

Somehow the spirit of joy and happiness that normally characterizes this time of year seems strangely out of place. Far more than presents this Christmas, we are in desperate need of the gift of peace.

By Daniel L. Davis
Washington Times

The editorial pages of the nation’s leading newspapers are stocked full of pundits explaining how we can “win the war on terror” by using strong-armed tactics, co-opting the weak and employing intimidation to attain our ends. Many recommend we threaten military action against Iran if it doesn’t bend to our will. Others argue that the new president ought to hold to a tough and aggressive policy regarding Russian “aggression.”

Still more enthusiastically endorse a deepening and widening of the war in Afghanistan, perhaps even to Pakistan – whether the government in Islamabad agrees to it or not. What is consistent about all these efforts is that they posit that to achieve peace, we must employ ever greater amounts of violence and force. The result seems only to be a festering of the violence, an increase in the amount of terrorism and more antagonistic relations between nation states.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/
dec/25/another-war-on-the-horizon/