Archive for the ‘West’ Category

Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

March 5, 2009

President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday that Russia’s government needs new people in top positions, a signal that he wants more clout in leadership circles dominated by allies of his predecessor Vladimir Putin.


Russia‘s worst economic crisis in a decade has produced signs of strain in Medvedev’s tandem rule with Putin, now prime minister. Medvedev has repeatedly questioned the government’s response to the crisis in remarks seen as veiled criticism of Putin, who is responsible for the economy.

Meeting with potential candidates for senior government jobs, Medvedev said the failure to regularly rotate top officials has eroded the government’s efficiency.

“We can’t move forward because the personnel reshuffle, the emergence of new people, has been very slow,” Medvedev said. “We keep shuffling the same deck of cards.”

Medvedev met with several dozen officials, academics and public activists who recently had been pinpointed by the Kremlin as potential candidates for senior government jobs. He said his administration has singled out 1,000 potential candidates for government jobs and will continue reviewing the list regularly.

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Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”


By DAN PERRY, Associated Press Writer

 In some of his strongest criticism of his successors, Mikhail Gorbachev on Thursday likened Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party to the worst of the communists he once led and helped bring down, and said Russia is today a country where the parliament and the judiciary are not fully free.

In an interview with The Associated Press some 20 years after the Soviet empire started its rapid collapse on his tumultuous watch, Gorbachev also said the global economic crisis showed capitalism should be tempered with elements of the socialist system he played such a critical role in sweeping away.

The last Soviet leader was interviewed in the offices of his Gorbachev Foundation, a think tank founded in 1992 to promote “democratic values and moral, humanistic principles” — as well as, some say, Gorbachev himself. A little aged and more heavyset perhaps, Gorbachev, 78, seemed feisty, friendly and often reminiscent of the man who once ruled one of two superpowers on Earth.

Gorbachev is a paradoxical figure even after all these years — widely credited around the world with a historic convulsion he admits he did not intend. He sought to fix communism, not destroy it, and in the interview said that while he was willing to let Eastern Europe go its own way he very much hoped the republics that formed the Soviet Union would stay united.

“I was a resolute opponent of the breakup of the union,” said Gorbachev, who was forced to step down on Dec. 25, 1991, as the country he led ceased to exist.

He still holds out hope that one day Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus will join with Russia in forming a new union.

He seemed to view the global meltdown as partly the result of years of Western hubris and excess.

“The American media trumpeted … about the victory in the Cold War, that socialism is down. This disease of extreme self-confidence led to it — the (belief) that things would always go on this way. And it did last long … I think that now everyone is learning a hard lesson.”

“It is necessary to overcome these mistakes of super-consumerism, of super-profits.” he said. “We have to think about finding — through the G20 or other institutions — new models of development (and) cooperation.”

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Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev speaks during an interview ... 
Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 5, 2009. In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Gorbachev likened Vladamir Putin’s United Russia Party to the communists he once led and helped bring down, and said Russia is today a country where the parliament and the judiciary are not fully free.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Will China Play By Global Rules? Maybe Not….

January 2, 2009

For years, western leaders have been trying to figure out how to integrate China into the international system. It turns out that the Western debate has paralleled one inside China itself.

By Minxin Pei

In 2005, when the West first started asking China to abide by international rules in Africa, take a lead in climate-change talks, contribute more to international security and abandon its mercantilist trade policy, Beijing didn’t respond well. Who could blame it? Until recently, Chinese leaders had been obsessed with domestic priorities and rarely considered the foreign ramifications. When they did, they figured their greatest international contribution would be to feed and house 1.3 billion Chinese.

A conspiracy-minded minority in Beijing still views the West’s requests with suspicion. This group is best represented by Jiang Yong, director of the Center of Economic Security at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (an affiliate of the Ministry of State Security). Writing in mid-2007, Jiang warned that Washington’s calls for China to accept more international responsibility were really just a way to frustrate China’s rise. Because the existing global economic order and its rules were established by the West, Jiang argued, they serve the West’s interests, not China’s. Were China to comply with the WTO’s intellectual-property protections, for example, it would trap China in its role as a low-tech, low-cost manufacturer. Rules on environmental protection and resource conservation, similarly, would hurt Chinese economic development. To Jiang, it all amounted to a subtle strategy of keeping China down.

Few prominent thinkers publicly embrace such theories. That said, none believe Beijing does things purely on the West’s terms, either. The furthest moderates are ready to go is to accept China’s new obligations as a reality and argue that China should honor them the best it can.

As Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Beijing’s Renmin University, wrote in a People’s Daily online forum at the end of 2007, while China need not dance to the West’s tune, it risks alienating other countries—even in the developing world—if it keeps refusing to become a “responsible stakeholder.”

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China: Dead Children, Kangaroo Court, Punishment for the Innocent

Zimbabwe: Cholera introduced by West

December 13, 2008

The Zimbabwean government on Saturday accused the West of deliberately starting the country’s cholera epidemic, stepping up a war of words with the regime’s critics as the humanitarian crisis deepened.

The state-run Herald newspaper said comments by the U.S. ambassador that the U.S. had been preparing for the outbreak raised suspicions the West had waged “serious biological chemical war.”

Zimbabwean officials often blame their country’s troubles on the West. Their stranglehold on most sources of news to which ordinary Zimbabweans have access makes such rhetoric an important tool for a regime struggling to hold onto power.

Associated Press

A young boy prepares to drink clean water from a borehole in ... 
A young boy prepares to drink clean water from a borehole in Harare, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008. President Robert Mugabe declared that Zimbabwe’s cholera crisis was over Thursday, even as the United Nations raised the death toll from the epidemic to 783. Cholera has spread rapidly in the southern African nation because of the country’s crumbling health care system and the lack of clean water. The U.N. said 16,403 cases have been reported.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

After the first cholera cases, U.S. and other aid workers braced for the waterborne disease to spread quickly in an economically ravaged country where the sewage system and medical care have collapsed. Zimbabwe also faces a hunger crisis, the world’s highest inflation and shortages of both the most basic necessities and the cash to buy them.

President Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe has said the West was plotting to use cholera to invade

Please help the Red Cross in Zimbabwe:

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