China’s actions don’t reflect its words – The China Post

Fu Ying, now vice foreign minister, explained China’s position on economic sanctions in a major speech on China’s relations with the West in October 2008 when she was ambassador to the United Kingdom. She said: “Economic sanctions and military force are not serious options in China’s diplomatic toolkit. China will become strong, but never hegemonic.”…

Unfortunately, this stated principle does not seem to be reflected consistently in Chinese actions.

Thus, the month after Fu’s talk, China canceled the planned December 2008 summit with the European Union because of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s announcement that he would meet with the Dalai Lama.

Immediately afterward, China set out to punish France through economic warfare.

China’s actions don’t reflect its words – The China Post

China won’t apply economic sanctions to Iran, Syria or Sudan, but will apply it to France, Japan, Norway and now the Philippines is in China’s crosshairs.

The Essence of Putin – Mikhail Kasyanov – Project Syndicate

So who can Putin III be? How will he use the enormous powers granted the Russian president in a political system that lacks any real checks and balances?

Putin’s pre-election monologues and articles suggest an ominous answer: his presidency will be based on a genuine misunderstanding of the structure of contemporary international relations, markets, and democracy, and will be driven by his uncontrollable messianism. Calls for liberalism coexist with statist dogma, and bloviating populism trumps regard for complexity and hard choices.

In fact, Putin has nothing to offer Russians aside from his own vulgar, hackneyed rhetoric. He no longer understands the problems facing the country, and therefore has no idea what needs to be done. Nor does he have any anxiety about the damage that his misrule portends for Russia’s future. Putin’s third presidency will be a reign of instinct and appetite, rather than a government of reason and restraint.

The Essence of Putin – Mikhail Kasyanov – Project Syndicate

Why U.S., China Destined to Clash | The Diplomat

The ideological conflict – between American liberal democracy and China’s one-party state – has grown sharper in recent years. Those who advocate engagement with China have based their argument on the assumption that China’s economic modernization and integration with the West will promote political change and make the one-party state more democratic. This “liberal evolution” theory has sadly not panned out. Instead of embracing political liberalization, the Chinese Communist Party has grown more resistant to democratization, more paranoid about the West, and more hostile to liberal values.

As a result, of the three pillars of U.S.-China relations, security, economy, and ideology, only one – shared economic interests — remains standing. In the realm of security and ideology, U.S.-China relations are growing more competitive and antagonistic. If anything, strategic competition will most likely become the principal feature of U.S.-China relations for the foreseeable future – as long as China’s one-party state remains in power. The underlying cause isn’t difficult to identify. Because genuine strategic trust is impossible between an America infused with liberal democratic values and a China ruled by a one-party state, the security competition between the U.S. and China will only intensify. Chinese leaders shouldn’t bemoan the so-called “trust deficit” because they know very well why it exists. In addition, the political economies of a liberal democracy (which favors free competition) and an autocratic regime (which favors state control) are fundamentally at odds with each other. Such institutional differences are responsible for economic policies that are bound to collide with each other. So the risks that even shared economic interests between the U.S. and China could erode as a consequence of the clash of their political systems are real.

Why U.S., China Destined to Clash | The Diplomat

U.S. Dismisses China’s Role in Downing of Drone | Washington Free Beacon

Facta quoted a British MI-6 intelligence expert in London as saying: “It seems Chinese experts hacked the RQ-170′s communication system and rewrote it to make the plane misjudge that it was approaching its base and to make it land on the Iranian territory.” The source also said: “This is a typical example of attacks in the cyber space.”

DEBKA reported Feb. 3 that its military and intelligence sources claimed “the Americans know Iran did not bring the RQ-170 down because their intelligence agencies discovered the culprits were a Chinese cyber warfare team which seized control of the drone; Iran was given the passive role of being told where and when to hold out their arms to catch it.”

According to the newsletter, “the Obama administration is keeping this information to itself so as not to compromise U.S. economic relations with China, especially in a presidential election year.”

U.S. Dismisses China’s Role in Downing of Drone | Washington Free Beacon

After taking on FBI and Stratfor, Anonymous declares war on the US

Anonymous has long defended Wikileaks, most notably in its attacks against Visa, Mastercard and Paypal after those companies blocked customers from using their services to donate money to the secret-sharing site last year. But this appears to be the first time the two organizations have cooperated so directly.

Analysts say that Anonymous’ collaboration with Wikileaks, along with recent hacks against the FBI and its release of a video Monday declaring “war” on the US government, has elevated the hacker group in the eyes of US security agencies from its previous status as a petty annoyance to a real threat.

By teaming with Wikileaks, Anonymous gains in notoriety | GlobalPost

Saudi Arabia Is Arming the Syrian Opposition

What could possibly go wrong?

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah scolded Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week for failing to coordinate with Arab states before vetoing a United Nations resolution demanding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down. Emboldened by the lack of international action, Assad’s forces are now slaughtering civilians in the streets at an even greater rate. Referring to the bloodshed, the king ominously warned Medvedev that Saudi Arabia “will never abandon its religious and moral obligations towards what’s happening.”

The last time the Saudis decided they had a moral obligation to scuttle Russian policies, they gave birth to a generation of jihadi fighters in Afghanistan who are still wreaking havoc three decades later.

Saudi Arabia Is Arming the Syrian Opposition – By Jonathan Schanzer | Foreign Policy

Thinking of Joining Islam? This May Happen to You

If you join Islam, but later change your mind, then you could end up like this Christian pastor. He has been sentenced to death for leaving Islam.

Supporters fear Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old father of two who was arrested more than two years ago on charges of apostasy, fear he may be executed at any time, as death sentences in Iran can be carried out immediately or dragged out for years.

Iran’s Christian Pastor Alive, Execution Looming | Fox News

Conflict looms in South China Sea oil rush – chicagotribune.com

PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines (Reuters) – When Lieutenant-General Juancho Sabban received an urgent phone call from an oil company saying two Chinese vessels were threatening to ram their survey ship, the Philippine commander’s message was clear: don’t move, we will come to the rescue.

Within hours, a Philippine surveillance plane, patrol ships and light attack aircraft arrived in the disputed area of Reed Bank in the South China Sea. By then the Chinese boats had left after chasing away the survey ship, Veritas Voyager, hired by U.K.-based Forum Energy Plc.

But the tension had become so great Forum Energy chief Ray Apostol wanted to halt two months of work in the area.

Insight: Conflict looms in South China Sea oil rush – chicagotribune.com

Gordon Gekko, Meet Lei Feng – NYTimes.com

The Chinese Communist Party knows it has a problem. A billion Gordon Gekkos are blooming, but moral standards are withering on the vine. Corruption pervades. Villainy abounds.

Everybody seems to be cutting corners. Contractors add too much sand to their concrete, causing bridges and buildings to collapse. Shoddy designs send bullet trains running off their rails. Milk producers add poisonous chemicals to baby formula. Government officials gamble away municipal funds in the casinos of Macao. A third of China’s wealthiest billionaires are senior leaders supposedly living on meager government salaries — while their kids party in exclusive clubs and flout traffic laws in absurdly expensive cars. Everyday citizens are increasingly angry at the excesses of the so-called Red Nobility, and the societal rift between town and country grows ever more bitter.

Enter Lei Feng to the rescue.

Gordon Gekko, Meet Lei Feng – NYTimes.com

The end of state capitalism in China?

A report out of the World Bank on Monday called for China to scale back on the dominance of state-owned companies and complete the transition to an open market economy, or face potential collapse. The report apparently has the endorsement of Beijing’s most powerful leaders. But can it really be as simple as that? And what are the implications for South Africa, which has only recently begun to emulate the Chinese model? By KEVIN BLOOM.

Slightly over a month ago, The Economist ran a cover story that examined how and why state-backed companies – which account for 80% of the value of China’s stockmarket – are on the offensive. The feature, under the header The rise of state capitalism, noted that as recently as the 1990s most state-owned companies were “little more than government departments in emerging markets,” and that the strategy back then was to either close or privatise them as the economies in these markets matured.

Daily Maverick :: The end of state capitalism in China?