The Bad Guys: China

For the West, failed states are a problem. For China, they’re an opportunity.

You’ve probably heard by now that China, in its bid to lock in access to energy and mineral riches in far-flung corners of the world, is causing heartburn for the legions of do-gooders working to turn the world’s most fragile countries into stable, prosperous states. Everyone from the president of the World Bank to Bono has blamed Chinese companies and government officials for threatening the hard-won progress the West has made in the global south, while warning of dire consequences for countries on the receiving end of Chinese largesse.

What’s less well known is the key role such states as Brazil, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, South Africa, and Venezuela are playing in China’s international diplomatic game.

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The Worst of the Worst – Bad dude dictators and general coconut heads

[China is #10 on the list of bad dude dictators.]

10. HU JINTAO of China: A chameleon despot who beguiles foreign investors with a smile and a bow, but ferociously crushes political dissent with brutal abandon, Hu has an iron grip on Tibet and is now seeking what can only be described as new colonies in Africa from which to extract the natural resources his growing economy craves.
Years in power: 7

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The Failed State Index for 2010

The interactive map of failed states shows the status of all states. For example, Mexico, Brazil and Russia are borderline states that have not failed but could potentially fail in the future. China is classified as an “In Danger” state because the risk of failing is higher than that for Mexico, Brazil and Russia.

China barely missed the list of 60 problem states by coming in at #62.

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Angry Putin issues warning to US over damaged relations – Worldnews.com

Notice the aggressiveness coming out of Russia and the weakness coming out of America. Putin is angry, but the U.S. state department hopes this won’t hurt relations. Is this insanity or what?

It is the U.S. that should be angry. It is the U.S. that should be punishing Russia and damaging relations. It is the U.S. that should be making Russia pay. Instead the U.S. state department is worried about Russia’s reaction.

It is the Russian aggressiveness and American weakness that should make you worried. This is going to end badly for America.

Ties between Russia and the United States were placed under an unexpected new strain yesterday as Vladimir Putin reacted angrily to the arrest of a ring of 10 alleged under-cover agents, telling the US: “Your police have let themselves go.” The suspects are accused of posing for years as ordinary Americans while seeking to infiltrate “policy-making circles” in Washington and pass intelligence back…

Angry Putin issues warning to US over damaged relations – Worldnews.com

King Abdullah wants to wipe Israel and Iran off the map | FP Passport

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah probably refrained from expressing at least half this sentiment in his meeting today with President Obama: On June 5, he reportedly told French Defense Minister Hervé Morin that “There are two countries in the world that do not deserve to exist: Iran and Israel.”

King Abdullah wants to wipe Israel and Iran off the map | FP Passport

Dashing Soviet WWII myths – Washington Times

Mr. Mosier, one of the more entertainingly contrarian military historians writing today, convincingly dashes these myths – and more – in an important and groundbreaking book about the Eastern front. A reviewer of one of his earlier books writes that Mr. Mosier “tosses military history hand grenades on almost every page…” Such grenades certainly resonate throughout “Deathride,” which looks beyond Soviet propaganda claims to present a truly eye-opening account of the campaign. Mr. Mosier teaches history at Loyola University in New Orleans.

Mr. Mosier accepts that Stalin’s prewar purges stripped the Red army of its leadership and left it ill-prepared for the German invasion in June 1941. (Another factor was that Stalin scoffed at intelligence reports, many emanating from his own spies, that Hitler planned to break their 1939 treaty and invade.) And that many Russian soldiers fought valiantly, despite the lack of leadership and equipment, is beyond doubt. (See most notably Catherine Merridale’s 2006 work, “Ivan’s War.”)

But the price paid in blood was horrific.

Dashing Soviet WWII myths – Washington Times

Israeli ambassador: Iran sanctions could inadvertently lead to war | The Cable

What better way to divert attention from a sanctions regime than by starting another Middle East war?” the ambassador, historian and author Michael Oren, asked. Iran might respond to severe restrictions on its ability to buy gasoline and finance its state-owned companies by returning to the negotiating table, or use its connections to Hezbollah and Hamas to fight back by having those groups attack Israel and perhaps others, Oren said.

Israeli ambassador: Iran sanctions could inadvertently lead to war | The Cable

The 1967 Soviet-Egyptian intervention in Israel is a lesson in how not to block a Mideast bomb

You are the leader of a strong Middle Eastern state. You have fairly solid intelligence that your most formidable adversary is about to acquire nuclear weapons. The leaders of this rival nation, while uttering pious but ambiguous statements to the contrary, have spared no effort to ensure that no one believes them. The superpower friendly to this incipient nuclear state goes through the motions of opposing the nuclear project, but it is unlikely to exert meaningful pressure or enforce effective sanctions. To your consternation, your own superpower ally has abruptly shifted its approach and has tried to engage this hostile neighbor—to no avail. A bomb in your enemy’s possession will change the rules of the neighborhood rivalry dramatically and irrevocably to your disadvantage; in public statements, you charge that it will pose an existential threat to your country. Now that you have learned the program’s fruition is imminent, should you take advantage of the shrinking window of opportunity and strike, regardless of any collateral consequences?

In mid-1966, this was the dilemma faced by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, when he received—from his Soviet backers and others—convincing reports that Israel was about to cross the nuclear threshold.

Bomb Proof – by Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez > Tablet Magazine – A New Read on Jewish Life

Israeli Rules Out Palestinian State by 2012 – NYTimes.com

In remarks that could further strain peace efforts, Israel’s foreign minister said Tuesday that there was no chance that a Palestinian state would be established in the next two years.

“I’m an optimistic person, but there is absolutely no chance of reaching a Palestinian state by 2012,” said the minister, Avigdor Lieberman. “One can dream and imagine, but we are far from reaching understandings and an agreement.”

Israeli Rules Out Palestinian State by 2012 – NYTimes.com

China becoming scientific superpower

The emergence of China as a nascent scientific superpower raises questions about the U.S. relationship with Beijing. Ever since the United States opened the door to Chinese students in the 1970s, hundreds of thousands have flocked to America. Most have studied science or engineering and have been welcomed in research institutions across the land. But with China becoming a competitor, U.S. experts have begun to question that practice.

FBI officials allege that there is a large-scale operation in the United States to pilfer American industrial, scientific, technological and military secrets. In the past few years, dozens of Chinese have been convicted of stealing American technology and shipping it to China.

Nation & World | China becoming scientific superpower | Seattle Times Newspaper

China Pulls Taiwan Closer With Historic Trade Deal (Update1) – BusinessWeek

“Taiwan will become more dependent on mainland policies, markets and business connections for its economic development,” said James Sung, a political scientist at City University of Hong Kong. “Taiwan, whether it is the KMT or the opposition regime, will have to think about the economic benefits it enjoys when it comes to making political decisions.”

China Pulls Taiwan Closer With Historic Trade Deal (Update1) – BusinessWeek

FBI arrests of 10 “Russian spies” reveal a sloppy operation

Yet a closer look at the FBI’s investigation shows a sloppy Russian operation that appears to have gathered little in terms of solid information. The FBI tracked the receipt for a mobile phone bought by Anna Chapman, an alleged conspirator caught in New York, the day before her arrest on Sunday. The address she gave Verizon was: “99 Fake Street.”

Russia | USSR | KGB | Espionage | John le Carre