Wednesday, November 28, 2007
If I could change just one thing per continent...
The first four seem easy enough...
- Europe: Ukraine admitted as a full member-state of the European Union (consolidation of Europe against Russia)
- Asia: "Berlin Wall" moment as Korean DMZ becomes the conduit for a mass exodus (End of Kim Family Regime)
- Africa: Zimbabwe as joint South African - Chinese Condominium (UN starts outsourcing its colonial administration)
- North America: Cuba joins NAFTA/USA (End of Castro Family Regime)
But what should change in Australia? South America? Antarctica?
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
A number of unfortunate stories out of Beijing these days, two being China promotes Taiwan-focused military officers and China rejects use of sanctions to resolve Myanmar crisis. While neither are new developments (the Communist Party has protected the Burmese junta and opposed Taiwanese democracy for some time), the decision to look to the past says little about the strategic wisdom of the Hu Jintao Presidency.
President Hu has not lived up to the high expectations set for him. In spite of personal squabbles with former President Jiang Zemin that just don't end, the current generation of Chinese rulers are no more imaginative than the last. Things aren't getting better with respect to China's international behavior, but they aren't getting worse, either.
A sensible approach would be to assume that China's cautious glidepath toward development will remain unchanged. So we should keep growing trade links with China, and of course encourage helpful behavior from them. But we shouldn't have naive dreams, either. China is developing, but she is not a democracy. She has people, but does not have the security experience of India. She has wealth, but does not have an ocean of free capital like Japan. She has culture, but nothing like the vibrant democracy of Taiwan or the captive city of Hong Kong.
American policy in western and central asia should focus on the economic integration of China and the security integration of Japan, Taiwan, and India.
In both cases, the prime obstacle is the Democratic Party. But that is a post for another time...
Friday, September 21, 2007
Joacy, M. (2007). Giuliani Visit to London Aims to Bolster Credentials. Wall Street Journal. September 20, 2007.
My preference is to keep NATO as a keep-Russia-out-of-Europe club, and build up a Pacific NATO. Still, multilateralizing America's security guarantee to the geostrategically chaotic states of the western Pacific (Japan, South Korea, North Korea, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc.) would not be a bad thing, and Giuliani's calls to expand NATO into the Pacific are not foolish.
While Tom disagrees, this seems to be a case of the great (waiting for a Pacific Treaty Organization that includes all the western Pacific states) becoming the enemy of the good (providing east Asia's first institutional security guarantee).
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Malaysia is a country in the Gap, one of the regions that Tom Barnett describes as "largely disconnected from the global economy and the rule sets that define its stability" (that is, the country is Muslim and/or African). Gap countries tend to be pretty bad places -- bad governments, crazy laws, and all the violent bigotry that characterizes the bottom fifth of the world, it's perhaps not surprising that the racist Malaysian government has decided to free her citiznes from the like of Mark-Paul Gosselaar
and Sara Brinsfield
Courtesy carandmodel.com, somewhat sfw
Both Sara and Mark-Paul are "pan-asian," the current term for miscegenated East-, Southeast- or South- Asian, often with Caucasian ancestry thrown in. Panasians are particularly attractive for advertisers, because they are recognizably Far-Eastern without being particular to any one group.
In the words of the Asia Sentinel:
Beauty now has joined that parade, particularly as a rising tide of mixed marriages, not only in Malaysia but across much of Asia, seems to be creating a new super race of beautiful women. Over the past couple of decades they have taken Asia’s modeling world by storm and changed the very definition of international beauty. They largely dominate magazine advertisements, fashion shows and catwalks from Singapore to Manila to Hong Kong. Some modeling agencies, like Elite Model Management of Hong Kong, have built their business on the faces of mixed-blood models.
But the racist and Gap Malaysian government is dedicated to putting a stop to this glorification of miscegenation:
The Malaysian modeling and advertising industries are in shock after the government announced it was reviving a ban on the multiracial Asian faces that dominate billboards and magazines.
Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin said yesterday that models with so-called "pan-Asian" features were not representative of Malaysian demographics.
"Using pan-Asian faces means downgrading local faces," he said. "We have to give priority to models with local looks."
Pan-Asians are popular in ethnically diverse Malaysia, where advertisers tend to use their neutral features to avoid alienating any customers. A prime example is model and actress Maya Karim, 27, who is of Malay-Chinese-German parentage and is the latest poster girl for L'Oreal Malaysia.
A ban on pan-Asian faces is already in force at two government-owned television stations that cater mainly for majority Malays, who form 60 per cent of the population.
The announcement on Sunday extended the ban to advertising carried by private television stations, the print media and billboards.
The minister said the ban would eventually cover all media, but it was unclear when it would take effect.
However, love triumphs over hate, and beauty triumphs over bias.
Joshua over at One Free Korea already has placed his bet on the eventual victor:
I, for one, welcome our new fembot overlords, and I’d like to remind them that as a trusted blogger, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.
Pan-Asian Beauties: work with them now, or for them later.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Gruchow, M. (2007). Bringing news to the people: Mongolia honors Sioux Falls man for founding TV station. Argus Leader, 10 March 2007, http://argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070310/NEWS01/703100324/1001/NEWS.
A South Dakotan has, in a fit of inattention, become a Mongolian media magnate:
[Craig] Lawrence, a founder of Sioux Falls-based marketing and advertising firm Lawrence and Schiller, helped start a television station called Eagle Television, based in Mongolia's capital city of Ulaan Baatar. It was an unexpected offshoot of what started as a Christian missionary effort, he said.
"Outside the government itself, we're the largest employer in Mongolia," Lawrence said of the television station. "And we're the longest-lasting American partnership with Mongolia."
The South Dakotans became involvedin Mongolia as part of Christian missionary work. What began with the Gospel, and involved armed soldiers and a scene worthy of a Hollywood film, is now a great story:
Originally, after the communist government fell in the early 1990s, Lawrence was approached by the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization Lawrence had worked for, to consider a missionary trip to Mongolia.
Not long after, 23 Sioux Falls businesspeople and others, including Lawrence, were in Mongolia, doing humanitarian projects including showing a movie on Jesus Christ, Lawrence said.
The film, in what had been an overwhelmingly Buddhist nation, caught the attention of men drafting the country's new, democratic constitution.
"We showed the film, and one morning, there was a knock on my door, and when I opened it, there were two soldiers with guns. And they said, 'You must come with us,' " Lawrence said.
The soldiers took Lawrence to meet with those drafting the constitution, which would incorporate articles ensuring religious freedom, he said.
"They asked, 'Do you think this Jesus could help us write our constitution?' " Lawrence said. "So we got to help draft the constitutional elements that outlined their articles of religious freedom."
The TV station soon followed. Today it broadcasts 16 hours of news daily throughout the country.
Lawrence has now won Mongolia's Star of Liberty award, and has a long-term view of hope for the Mongolian people:
Lawrence, who years ago worked as editor of the Brookings Register newspaper and spent several years in television journalism, said one looming challenge is continuing the education of the next generation of Mongolian journalists.
Many of the current Eagle TV staff went through Russian journalism schools or were former employees of the state-controlled television station, he said.
It is a constant challenge to keep corruption out of the media, instill journalistic values and try to divorce the Mongolian people from the idea that media was meant only to control the minds of citizens, Lawrence said.
"It's going to take a long time to build this," he said. "It's going to take generations."
Besides doing good works for others, South Dakota has enjoyed the generosity of others, as well.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Good: Bush's State Department (hat-tip to the Democratic Underground) wisely removes a hurdle from even closer Viet-American ties. Washington and Hanoir are natural allies that should speed their inter-governmental, inter-military, and inter-market cooperation.
Bad: However, the Congress (hat-tip to The Corner) foolishly prevented Normal Trade Relations with Vietnam. To some Congressmen, know-knothing anti-foreignerism is more important that free trade, free markets, and free minds.
Tom has his own thoughts on Viet Nam Sai Gon.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
"Taiwan: The Tail That Wags Dogs," by Michael Turton, The View from Taiwan, 26 July 2006, http://michaelturton.blogspot.com/2006/07/taiwan-tail-that-wags-dogs.html.
Later today I will be going on my third Greyhound voyage this month. The first was from Omaha, Nebraska, to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the second was from Fort Wayne to Nacogdoches, Texas. Now I am going to
The Good Life, Nebraska, possibilities...endless. But before I go, something more serious:
Below is an excerpt from an attack on a report by Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt (retired), of CNA. Admiral McDevitt wrote a report, Taiwan: The Tail That Wags Dogs, for the National Bureau of Asian Research. McDevitt pushes the same fear of Taipei's influence that some other strategists do, so I am grateful to Michael Truton of The View from Taiwan of highlighting the reports rhetorical slights-of-hand.
Instead, Taipei's new guidelines accepted the PRC as the legitimate government of the part of China that Beijing controlled. This move effectively nullified the underlying premise of the 1972 Shanghai Communique that "Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that it is a part of China." As Harry Harding has stated, "Taiwan basically abandoned the vision of one country, one legitimate government that had been pursued by Chiang Kai-shek, Chiang Ching-kuo, and for that matter Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping." The 1991 Guidelines for National Reunification softened the political blow of backing away from the old formulation of "one China" by stating that the ROC still envisioned a "one country, one system" future but only when the PRC had become"democratic, free, and equitably prosperous"—just like Taiwan.
This move effectively nullified the underlying premise of the 1972 Shanghai Communique that "Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that it is a part of China."
Whoa! McDevitt does not add that prior to the Shanghai Communique the US position was that the status of Taiwan was undetermined (the ethically, democratically, and politically appropriate position). McDevitt does not add that Shanghai Communique was a memorandum of understanding among two governments about the status of Taiwan, neither of whom was the legitimate owner of the island, and none of whom consulted its people about its disposition. If don't get the consent of those whose lives and property you dispose of, you are hardly in a position to complain if they later decide your plans are worthless. But then the Czechs were not invited to Munich either....
In other words, Taiwan democracy is not the problem here. The problem is that the original plan to sell out Taiwan to China failed to take into account the wishes of the people of Taiwan, and policymakers are now paying the price for their urgent need to enjoy that feeling of Playing God with Other People's Lives. It was easy in 1972 to anticipate that the Taiwanese would take steps to avoid being annexed by China if given democracy, as that was known to both the Chiang government and to US policymakers (lobbying for Taiwan independence began in the 1960s, and there were numerous public and secret reports that gave accurate accounts of the island's political attitiudes). McDevitt represents a foreign policy establishment that resembles a man who becomes infuriated that the marriage he arranged for his daughter to make himself rich has been rejected by her.
Essentially, this analysis simply blames the people of Taiwan for the errors of US foreign policy decisionmakers. Had the US maintained its original position that "the status of Taiwan is undefined", it would currently have a great deal more strategic flexibility and it would still retain the moral high ground. It would not be locked into the clearly unacceptable goal of "pushing Taipei into a unification dialogue in order to bring an end to Washington's 50-year security obligation." Kissinger, not Taipei, trapped Washington in this moral and political nightmare where it has to sell out a democratic state to an authoritarian dictatorship.
Read the whole thing. The Mandate of Heaven is also impressed.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Thursday, July 06, 2006
"Taiwan to Test-Fire Missile: Report," Reuters, 6 July 2006, http://reuters.myway.com/article/20060706/2006-07-06T090829Z_01_TP235236_RTRIDST_0_NEWS-TAIWAN-CHINA-MISSILES-DC.htmlhttp://reuters.myway.com/article/20060706/2006-07-06T090829Z_01_TP235236_RTRIDST_0_NEWS-TAIWAN-CHINA-MISSILES-DC.html.
Taiwan, an island democracy in the western Pacific, is preparing to defend itself from an invasion by the People's Liberation Army of the People's Republic of China
Taiwan plans to test-fire a missile capable of hitting China, alarming the island's main ally, the United States, a cable news network said on Thursday.
That range would put areas along China's coast from Fuzhou in Fujian Province to Nan'ao in Guangdong within striking distance of the missile, the Web site said.
This is probably a mistake. A much smater policy would combine unconventional warfare and Taiwan's science and engineering infrastructure. Taiwan should build nuclear weaponry, and deploy bomb-wielding commando teams to the Pearl River Delta, Shanghai, and Tianjin, and Beijing.
Republic of China (Taiwan)
China may rationally calculate that in a first strike, she can prevent Taiwan from launching her missiles in defense. But if nomadic nuclear Taiwanese patriots were in position in critical parts of China, Beijing would not tempt invasion.
Defend democracy. Think different.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
"Failed Mutiny?," by Jimmy Chuang and Rich Chang, Taipei Times, 22 March 2006, page 1, http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2006/03/22/2003298577 (from The Korea Liberator).
"C.I.A. Fires Senior Officer Over Leaks," by David Johnston and Scott Shane, New York Times, 22 April 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/22/washington/22leak.html (from Just One Minute, hat-tip to Larwyn).
During the run-up to the Iraq War, remember how the neocons kept claiming that the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department are subverting our elected government.
Well, they were right.
And surprise, surprise, the latest ne'er-do-well is a Kerry supporter.