The lack of majority support for Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement is an example of developing nations’ inclination towards pragmatism, not liberalism and civil rights.
The goals of the Umbrella Movement did not resonate with much of Hong Kong’s public. (Photo: Pasu Au Yeung / Flickr Commons)
While thousands of young elites risked their career future to launch an Occupy Central campaign for democracy (focus on free nomination for government’s chief executive candidateship), more than half of the Hong Kong citizenry disagreed with either their ideals or strategies, and asked them to go home. Such a cleavage has provided an insight for understanding the dynamics of international tensions in the 21st century.
After two university polls showed that 55% and 83% of the respondents said respectively the protests should cease, and a group “collected 1.8 million signatures from citizens (total population 7 million) who want the protest to end” [Note 1], many Western analysts and journalists observed that “the protests have cracked the city in two” and accurately described the polarization as a “generational divide” [Note 2].
Malala Yousafzai has been used as a propaganda tool, while Nabeela Rahman lost her family to a drone strike.
Malala Yousafzai said she was ”heartbroken” by the Taliban attack at Peshawar that killed 132 children. (Photo: Mark Garten / UN / Flickr Commons)
So Malala Yousafzai recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, and everyone all around the world is singing her praises. Rightfully so.
In fact, Malala’s case is probably the only one wherein all media verticals seem to be in absolute agreement, be it Al Jazeera, or Press TV or even Fox News. That girl deserves praise for her efforts.
However, whilst Ms. Yousafzai was receiving her Nobel Prize, my attention was drawn towards the case of another young girl from Pakistan: Nabeela Rahman. Much like Malala, Nabeela too recently travelled to the Western part of the world, albeit the latter went to USA with an altogether different purpose.
China appears to be aiding Iraq its fight against the Islamic State.
The East Turkestan Islamic Movement is an extremist movement founded by Uighurs. (Image: DPA.com)
“China’s official policy is of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs,” reports the Financial Times (behind a paywall). However
Growing economic and strategic interests have tested that policy. China’s navy began escorting ship convoys around the Horn of Africa after Somali piracy threatened oil and ore cargoes. Last year for the first time it contributed troops to a UN peacekeeping operation in Mali. A battalion of 700 Chinese troops is now joining UN Peacekeepers in South Sudan, with a mandate to guard Chinese-invested oilfields there.
The third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons was, in effect, a testimonial to the suffering of women, children, and other civilians at the hands of militaristic men.
Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow’s testimony was a highlight of the third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. (Photo: Dragan Tatic / Flickr Commons)
Winding up on Dec. 9 in Vienna, the third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons included representatives from 155 countries, as well as the United Nations and the Red Cross. In the second of her three articles for Open Democracy, Rebecca Johnson wrote: “the conference heard a range of panellists who addressed nuclear doctrine, operations, failures of deterrence in theory and practice, risks, accidents and other human and technological mistakes and nuclear dangers.”
At one time non-nuclear weapons states were expected to accept nukes possessed by nuclear weapons states as a “temporary trust.”
A nuclear warhead. (Photo: Steve Jurveston / Wikimedia Commons)
Occasionally, I like to surf JStor, the resource for scholaars, for articles about nuclear weapons and disarmament. I found a piece in the May 2007 issue of International Affairs by William Walker titled “Nuclear enlightenment and counter-enlightenment.” Since it’s not germane to the post, we’ll skip explaining what that means. Instead we’ll go straight to this quote: “A highly dangerous absence of political and instrumental mastery accompanied the rapid development and accumulation of nuclear weapons and delivery systems in the early Cold War.” In other words, our technological achievements outstrip our ability to make moral choices about them. Or, perhaps, we just suffer from a blind faith that if we’re able to develop advanced technologies — from nuclear weapons to artificial intelligence — we should certainly be able to develop the ability to manage them. On the face of it, that would seem light years less difficult.
Being the world’s top economic power comes with many responsibilities, which China may be trying to sidestep.
Just as with the U.S., at times, there’s a house made of cards quality to the Chinese economy. (Photo of an abandoned construction site: Nico2302 / Flickr Commons)
In the January 2014 Vanity Fair, Joseph Stiglitz, the esteemed progressive economist, writes about China’s ascension to the world’s number one economy.
The latest assessment, released last spring, was more contentious and, in some ways, more momentous than those in previous years.
… The source of contention would surprise many Americans, and it says a lot about the differences between China and the U.S.—and about the dangers of projecting onto the Chinese some of our own attitudes. Americans want very much to be No. 1—we enjoy having that status. In contrast, China is not so eager.
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden acts as if he were the real victim of the CIA’s torture program.
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden feels like he’s being treated unfairly in the Senate Intelligence Agency report on torture. (Photo: Kevin Wolf / AP)
In the wake of the release of the “executive summary” of the Senate Intelligence Agency reports on the CIA’s torture program, Michael Hirsh of Politico magazine scored an interview with Michael Hayden, President George W. Bush’s third CIA director. The report alleges that Bush, Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, and Secretary of State Colin Powell were out of the loop when it came to key details of the “enhanced” — heck, why not just call them value-added? — interrogation programs. Hayden took, um, umbrage at that.
The president personally approved the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah [in 2002]. It’s in his book! … What I can say is that the president never knew where the [black] sites were. That’s the only fact I’m aware that he didn’t know.
Britain justifies the existence of Trident, its submarine-based nuclear weapons system, by attempting to pose North Korea as a threat to the UK.
Britain’s Trident submarine fleet has outlived whatever usefulness it might have had as a deterrent. (Photo: Bodger Brooks / Wikimedia)
One hundred and fifty seven nations got together in the Austrian capital Vienna from December 8-9 for a conference on ‘the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons’. Among the more notable absentees were more than half of the world’s nuclear weapons states (Russia, France, China, Israel, North Korea).
Kudos then to the U.S. and Britain, as well as nuclear outlaws India and Pakistan, for at least turning up. That said, the statement to the conference of the U.K.’s representative, the improbably named Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, was far from positive, at least if you believe in nuclear disarmament.
The French vote to recognize Palistine as a state came on the heels of similar moves by the U.K., Irish, and Spanish legislatures.
The French Assemblé Nationale. (Photo: Jean Marc / Flickr Commons)
On 2 December the French Assemblé nationale, the equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives, adopted a resolution calling on the government of wildly unpopular President François Hollande to recognize Palestine as a state. The vote was presaged by a lengthy speech on the issue by socialist foreign minister and multi-millionaire Laurent Fabius, who declared that France would extend official recognition to Palestine two years hence if talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiations continue to go nowhere (at present they’re not even talking).
The vote in France came on the heels of similar moves by the U.K., Irish, and Spanish legislatures. Most significantly of all, the government of Sweden at the end of October courageously broke ranks with the rest of western Europe and officially recognized Palestine, although the country’s foreign minister observed that the decision might have come ‘too late’ to do much good.
Pakistan is playing fast and loose with the precautions to nuclear war.
The Pakistan-India border. (Photo: Storm Crypt / Flickr Commons)
Most people think that, since the end of the Cold War, chances that a nuclear war will break out are slim to none. Though some nervousness has surfaced since the Ukraine crisis, it’s true that, barring an accident, the United States and Russia are unlikely to attack each other with nuclear weapons. Southeast Asia is another matter, as Gregory Koblentz warns in a report for the Council of Foreign Relations titled Strategic Stability in the Second Nuclear Age. Interviewed about the report by Deutsche Welle, Koblentz pointed out: “The only four countries currently expanding their nuclear arsenals are China, India, Pakistan and North Korea.”