BY significantly sharpening the focus of his demand for so-far-and-no-further red lines of containment to be imposed on Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has in effect delivered an ultimatum over possible military action that Tehran would be foolish to ignore.Sponsored Ads
In the blogosphere and elsewhere, those who invariably carp about the Jewish state are falling over themselves to deride Mr Netanyahu’s use of the crude drawing of a bomb with a red line at the fast-approaching 90 per cent mark to illustrate his UN General Assembly speech’s contention that time is rapidly running out to stop Iran.
Such derision is misplaced. …
“Today it became clear that a person who writes in their blog the words ‘party of crooks and thieves’ is a stupid, c*cksucking sheep :),” said the tweet, written by Konstantin Rykov, a media-savvy Duma deputy. It was a clear reference to [Alexei] Navalny, who coined the popular phrase “party of crooks and thieves”, disparaging Putin’s United Russia. A short clip of Navalny yelling the “cocksucking sheep” insult at a first protest against Putin’s rule on Monday had already gone viral.
Medvedev’s official Twitter account promptly retweeted Rykov’s note, sending the Russian blogosphere into a frenzy. It was quickly deleted – but caches of the act spread far and wide.
Anonymous, a global group of hacker-activists, has had a remarkable string of successes lately, from helping Occupy Wall Street to taking out government websites of repressive regimes in Egypt and Tunisia. But when the group this month launched a plan called OpCartel, threatening to release stolen data exposing 100 collaborators of Los Zetas, one of Mexico’s most savage drug cartels, the U.S. security firm Stratfor, among others, warned the hackers they were out of their depth. In September, the Zetas showed their displeasure with a blogger who contributed to an anti-cartel website by dumping her decapitated body near a monument in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. The victim’s detached head was wearing a pair of headphones, and a computer keyboard lay next to her torso.
And when Masters asked me when I thought this hypothetical attack might hypothetically occur, I blithely suggested September. I was only adding two plus two: a September attack would allow Netanyahu to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities and wreck plans for a U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood, which is slated for September. I would have added that in the Middle East, two plus two rarely adds up to four. But I was definitely out of time.
When I hung up the phone, I was sure Masters had lost more than a few listeners. After all, what I’d said was a tedious rehash of various media reports. I would have forgotten it altogether were it not for the blogosphere’s version of a Pacific hurricane. I don’t know where it started, but soon the choice bits of our conversation were being rebroadcast as a danger signal flashing bright red: “Former CIA Official: Israel Will Bomb Iran in September,” read the headline in the Huffington Post.
There are three main takeaways from evaluating the Chinese blogosphere’s response to the events in the Middle East, which also reflect negative perceptions of American pre-eminence. First, most bloggers believe that the Arab Spring is evidence of “chaos”, rather than “revolution”, and the Chinese word for “chaos”, “saoluan”, is the same word used to describe the Tiananmen protests of 1989.
Second, there are a considerable number of bloggers who think that external factors, including the media, the Internet, and foreign funds and influence played an important role in producing the protests. Third, many bloggers think that the unrest in the Middle East is Western-driven and the United States, because of its own economic and political interests, covertly planned and guided the movements.
If America wins the “war on terror” and significantly reduces the threat of Islamic terrorism within the next decade, the blogosphere in China suggests that China is already on alert in case it becomes the next focus of US power projection.
Sun Liping is a professor in the Sociology Department of Tsinghua University. He was also the PhD superviser of Xi Jinping, the current vice-president of the People’s Republic of China. Professor Sun’s main research area is modernization and transitional sociology. He wrote the following post on his sociology blog on Feb. 28. It is being widely read in the Chinese blogosphere, and has appeared in major news websites such as Netease and Southern Net.
The entire post has been translated by CDT’s Linjun Fan. Please click here to read Part I. Here is the second section: