He started with Georgia, with the 2008 South Ossetia War.
Now, by saying “Russia reserves the right to protect legitimate interests of its citizens & military personnel,” Putin creates a disastrous precedent. A precedent for Russia to invade former soviet nations, for China to invade Taiwan and the Senkaku Islands in Japan, for Argentina to invade the Falklands, and for any other country to invade whatever neighbour they wish.Sponsored Ads
Stop him now… or face the consequences!
So proclaims the provocative headline of commentary from the official Xinhua news agency that spread widely on major Chinese news sites on Thursday (in Chinese) and has since become the subject of much teeth-gnashing on Chinese social media sites.
The essay, which warns that China faces poverty and misery because of the destabilizing activity of its growing population of microbloggers, hits at the heart of the ideological divide in China and suggests conservatives are growing increasingly anxious about the direction Chinese president Xi Jinping might take as he looks to reform the Communist Party.
Is economics a science or a religion? Its practitioners like to think of it as akin to the former. The blind faith with which many do so suggests it has become too much like the latter, with potentially dire consequences for the real people the discipline is intended to help.
The idea of economics as religion harks back to at least 2001, when economist Robert Nelson published a book on the subject. Nelson argued that the policy advice economists draw from their theories is never “value-neutral” but foists their values, dressed up to look like objective science, on the rest of us.
If we look at how well Western firms have fared in China once they have gained significant market share, we may detect a worrisome pattern. They face unfair scrutiny from Chinese authorities and are often penalized for the same infractions for which their Chinese competitors suffer no consequences.
The most recent example of this pattern is the Chinese government’s anti-trust investigation of Western baby formula makers like Wyeth and Nestle in China. Tainted baby formula made by Chinese dairy firms has destroyed these Chinese company’s brands and sales, allowing Western baby formula makers to claim a huge market share. What’s the reaction of Beijing? Instead of enforcing tighter food safety rules on Chinese baby formula makers, they are attempting to hurt Western firms. The victims will be Chinese babies denied safe nutrition.
But perhaps we should be prepared for the pendulum to swing back and start thinking about the possibility of declinism in China. China expert Minxin Pei, for example, argues that China’s rise may have already peaked.
The predominant discourse on China currently focuses on its rise and how increased confidence and capacity urge China towards more assertive behaviour, but Chinese policy should not been seen exclusively through the prism of “rising Chinese power”. Chinese leaders may adopt aggressive foreign policy because of pessimism rather than confidence. Yet few, if any, scholarly works have even mentioned declinism among Chinese leaders, let alone considered the potential implications of this vision.
It is important to think about Chinese declinism even when fascination by China’s rise prevails. At some point – if they have not already done so – the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party will seriously start to consider the prospect of China’s decline and its implications as part of their long-term strategic vision.
This was supposed to be the Asian century, but the Eastern boom is dying of exhaustion
So here’s how it looks. Years of unsustainable, credit-fuelled growth are brought to a halt by a crushing financial crisis which exposes deep structural flaws at the heart of the economy. Rarely has the assumption of ever-rising living standards looked so vulnerable, with younger generations forced to pay not just for the crippling legacy of debt their parents leave behind, but for the mounting costs of an ageing population and the consequences of decades-long environmental degradation. Economic decline, austerity and inter-generational recrimination seem to beckon as populations adjust to the true mediocrity of their circumstances.
I’m referring to the tired old “developed” economies of the West, right? Actually, no: it’s China where these observations seem more appropriate, and perhaps other emerging market economies said to be about to eclipse the hegemony of the old world, with its lazy ways and sense of entitlement.
No country has aged as quickly as China is aging now, and virtually no poor country has followed a similar trajectory. This makes it very hard to predict what the consequences of China’s aging will be for China and the world. It is clear, however, that when a country’s working population shifts from growing at nearly 2 percent a year to shrinking by more than 1 percent a year, this should have a big negative impact on growth.
This demographic change should also have an impact on China’s trade with the rest of the world. For many years, as the working population grew faster than the overall population, production was likely to outpace consumption, creating pressure for China to run a trade surplus. In the next few decades, by contrast, China’s workforce will shrink faster than its total population, which means consumption should outstrip production. This should put pressure on China to run a trade deficit.
Unchecked, Tehran and its ally will emerge more aggressive than ever.
For those who have hoped that the Syrian quagmire might swallow up Iran’s influence in the region, it’s time to wake up: Tehran and its ally Hezbollah are set to emerge from the Syrian conflict more aggressive than ever.
Iran is also likely to continue leveraging the Assad regime to transport weapons to Hezbollah’s coffers, despite threats of additional Israeli airstrikes. …
Rather than confront the looming threat of Hezbollah, Western strategists are still grappling with concerns over which rebel group to arm, or what regime might replace Assad’s. They fail to realize that if Hezbollah’s involvement continues unchecked, these questions will become irrelevant. The time has come for the West to stop obsessing about the risks of stopping the Assad regime, Hezbollah and Iran, and start considering the consequences of not stopping them.
Mr. Nisman is the Middle East and North Africa intelligence director at Max Security Solutions, a geopolitical and security risk consulting firm.
The Iranians will complete their nuclear program unless somebody stops them, says Richard Clarke, former White House counterterror chief. But military intervention could have ‘apocalyptic’ consequences
They’ll have enough material to make many bombs — an arsenal in waiting. And the breakout time could be a matter of weeks after that
“We will not allow the Golan Heights to become a comfortable space for Assad to operate from,” Gantz told a conference at the University of Haifa. “If he escalates (the situation on) the Golan Heights, he will have to bear the consequences.”
Gantz said the situation is extremely combustible, and “a day doesn’t go by” where there could be a “sudden uncontrollable deterioration.” He warned, “Instability will be the only stable thing that will happen here.”