Archive for the ‘superpower’ Category

Obama May Need To Articulate, Manage American Decline

January 3, 2009

Obama built his campaign on a positive vision, but in reality he will be the first US President to manage an empire in decline

By

How often does a leader know, before he asks us for our votes, what office will ask of him? He mouths the promises of the moment but history may have a different task in mind. The role may be glorious, it may be tedious, but – count on this – it will be different.

Barack Obama declares and believes that he will change America, and that this “makes possible incredible change in the world”.

The accent throughout has been on the positive. Making things possible has marked the whole tenor of his campaign. Hope, optimism, ambition, confidence, reform amounting almost to renaissance – such has been his appeal. “Yes, we can” was a cocky, but not an empty slogan. A deep and swelling sense of the possible, focused on America’s future but rooted in America’s past, has dominated the struggle for the presidency. It would hardly be an exaggeration to call Mr Obama’s promise transfigurative.

But maybe destiny has other plans. America’s fate in the half-century ahead is not to be transfigured, but to be relegated. Steering your team through a relegation can be as important a test of leadership as handling a promotion, but it is a different test. Though he may not yet know it, the role for which the US President-elect has been chosen is the management of national decline. He will be the first US president in history to accept, and (if he has the gift) to teach, not the possibilities but the constraints of power.

Read the rest:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment
/columnists/matthew_parris/article5435148.ece

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China: Redefining “Superpower” to Mean Economic and Military Strength Without Human Rights

January 2, 2009

Human rights abuses, kangaroo courts, poor safety standards and a seeminingly callous disregard for human life in China means that this great nation is redefining the word “superpower.”

The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s religious leader, pointed this out in Europe early in December 2008, but few paid much attention.

China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the Dalai Lama said. 

“Because of its very poor record on human rights and religious freedom and freedom of expression and freedom of the press — too much censorship — the image of China in the field of moral authority is very, very poor,” he said.

“The sensible Chinese realize China should now pay more attention in this field in order to get more respect from the rest of the world,” the Nobel peace laureate said.

Ever wonder why so many schoolchildren were killed in last year’s earthquakes in China?  The schools were built poorly, so poorly that they collapsed upon the first quake.  Many were poorly built because of goernment corruption: the builders paid communist officials to ignore poor building practices and shoddy materials.

Why does China have such a high number of deaths in mining?  Because mine safety standard are very weak and regulation and inspection is worse — where they exist at all.

So how does China hope to gain this superpower status?  By emulating the actions of a superpower, of course.

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese ... 
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Hu Jintao, center, Premier Wen Jiabao, 4th left, and other Chinese top leaders attend a New Year tea party hosted by the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. From left are, Zhou Yongkang, Li Keqiang, Li Changchun, Wen, Hu, , Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Xi Jinping and He Guoqiang.(AP Photo/Xinhua, Liu Weibing)

China is expanding its military and has grown to own much of the U.S. in terms of property and wealth and American debt.

File photo shows Chinese amphibious tanks and marines storming ...
China proving here it is a superpower and master of Taiwan.  File photo shows Chinese amphibious tanks and marines storming a beachhead in an amphibious assault drill in China’s Shandong Peninsula. (AFP/Xinhua/File)But some of those “human rights” and “moral authority” issues discussed by the Dalai Lama are foreign and indecernable to the Chinese.

China’s recent poisoned milk scandal and the subsequent trial of  Tian Wenhua, chairwoman of the now-bankrupt Sanlu Group, are good examples.

Melamine is poisonous.  Sanlu put melamine into milk.  For the Chinese government, case closed.

Except in China, workers put melamine into all kinds of food products for years.

Melamine, which is poisonous to humans in great enough concentrations, had been routinely mixed into food products in China for years — and other similar tainted substances for decades. 

“Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed,” said Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company, which sells melamine. “I don’t know if there’s a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says ‘don’t do it,’ so everyone’s doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren’t they? If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”

Ji Denghui made that statement in 2007 to New York Times reporters  David Barboza and Alexei Barrionuevo.

China is able to get away with this kind of callous disregard for truth, honesty and its own citizens because the government controls the media, the legal system, and everything else.  The people only “vote” for representatives selected by the communist government which works tirelessly to stay in power by keeping order — not by obeying the kinds of basic laws and rules for human dignity most Westerners would expect — and take for granted.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Soldiers of Chinese navy special force attend an anti-piracy ... 
Soldiers of Chinese navy special force attend an anti-piracy drill on the deck of DDG-171 Haikou destroyer in Sanya, Hainan province December 25, 2008 in this photo released by China’s official Xinhua News Agency. The fleet – two destroyers and a supply ship – would have about 800 crew, including 70 special operations troops and will join in the multi-national patrolling of the Gulf of Aden and waters off the coast of Somalia, the official Xinhua news agency said. Picture taken December 25, 2008. REUTERS/Xinhua/Cha Chunming

100-yuan notes are counted at a bank in Shanghai. The US Treasury ...

Related:
http://www.hrichina.org/public/index

 China Poisoned Food, Children Died; “Show Trials,” Punishment for Innocent Next?

2008: U.S. Eclipsed Amid Marked Changes in World’s Political, Economic Landscape

December 29, 2008

The United States has been acting as the world’s only superpower in 2008, but the financial turmoil, which broke out in Wall Street in September, showed its vulnerability.

In addition, the country is still deep in trouble with its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has undermined its international image.

Pedestrians walk pass the New York Stock Exchange. US share ...

The world has undergone remarkable changes this year, but international security situation on the whole remained stable with “peace” and “development” prevailing as the themes of the times. 

 In 2008, the world has continued moving toward multi-polarization, resulting in a distinctive shift of international forces. Globalization is developing in depth and regional cooperation is gathering momentum.

By Sun Ruijun and Bao Erwen
Xinhua

BeijingOlimpicGames2008-08-08.jpg
Above: Opening of Beijing Olympics

The world has been confronted with one hotspot issue after another and non-traditional threats are increasing. The world economic growth took a turn for the worse due to the outbreak of the global financial crisis.

Read the rest:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-12/28/content_10571543.htm

Despite Setbacks, America Needs To Lead the Way

December 21, 2008

We bankrupted ourselves first ideologically through unilateralism, then militarily through “global war,” and now financially through the debt crisis. Rising great powers, we are told, now lead the way.

But where do we locate this new leadership? In Europe’s self-absorption over its rising Muslim quotient? In Russia’s self-inflicted economic penance for its smackdown of Georgia? In India’s crippling obsession with Pakistan? In  China’s super-cooling economy and the social unrest it’ll trigger? In  Japan’s … whatever Japan is doing nowadays?

So which foreign leader has captured the world’s attention with his promise of changed leadership? Ah, that would be Barack Obama, president-elect of that has-been superpower.

Thomas P.M. Barnett
The Washington Times
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Amidst the most destabilizing global economic crisis since the Great Depression, no great power has stuck its neck out to claim new authority in the international system. Instead, our presidential interregnum has triggered an odd calm, with even last month’s global economic summit effectively postponed until Mr. Obama’s inauguration.

I’m not suggesting we haven’t reached the end of an era, because we have, just that the new boss is going to look an awfully lot like the old boss.

The world remains a dangerous place. Not in terms of state-on-state war, but because the previously enclave West has exposed itself, through globalization’s rapid expansion, to a host of lower-trust environments – the “wild” East and South.

So failed states rank higher than Pentagon fantasies of high-tech war with our biggest creditor, China. So do transnational terrorists capable of temporarily sowing chaos across networks, like they recently did in Mumbai.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/d
ec/21/world-still-needs-us-to-lead/

Anti-Piracy: Where’s China’s Navy?

December 14, 2008

Among the naval forces of the world on guard against Somali pirates, China is conspicuously absent.  Today, a Chinese general asks “If China wants to be a world power, how come we are poweless so often?”

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By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer

A Chinese general has called for the country’s navy to join the fight against Somali pirates, saying the mission would boost China’s international stature and give its sailors valuable experience in fighting open ocean combat operations far from their home ports.

Chinese ships have been among those seized in a wave of pirate attacks this year, including the fishing vessel Tianyu No. 8, seized in mid-November.

International warships from NATO and countries including Russia patrol the Gulf of Aden and have created a security corridor in the area under a U.S.-led initiative, but attacks have not abated.

Russia says it will send more ships to patrol the area off the coast of Somalia.
Russian Navy warship passes through the Suez canal and goes toward pirate patrol….

“Piracy doesn’t just interfere in our country’s navigational safety, it also impedes our development and interests,” Major General Jin Yinan told state radio.

“I think our navy should send ships to the Gulf of Aden to carry out anti-piracy duties,” Jin said, according to a transcript of the interview posted Thursday on the Web site of the official China News Service. The date of the interview was not given.

In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, ... 
In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, Indian warship INS Tabar, right, escorts the MV Jag Arnav ship to safety after rescuing it from a hijack attempt by Somali pirates. The Indian navy says the INS Tabar dedicated to fighting pirates has successfully fought off an attempted pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden, sparking explosions and a fire on the suspected pirate ship late Tuesday, Nov. 18.(AP Photo/Indian Navy, HO, File)

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy has little experience operating at long-range, its primary mission being coastal patrol. However, the service is believed to have major ambitions, possibly including the eventual deployment of an aircraft carrier.

Related:
China Conducts Massive Anti-Piracy Drill; May Send Ships Near Somalia

Indian Navy Captures 23 Somali, Yemeni Pirates

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_china_piracy_1

The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf ... 
The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden.(AFP/Eric Cabanis)