When 16th and 17th century European explorers sailed west in pursuit of a trade route to Asia, their search for a Northwest Passage was foiled by Arctic ice.Sponsored Ads
Five hundred years later, melting icecaps have set off a global race to control new shipping lanes over the North Pole. Just as the discoveries of Ferdinand Magellan and Vasco de Gama gave seafaring Portugal routes around Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, the opening of the Arctic, with its shortcut from the Atlantic to northeast Asia and its untapped oil reserves, can redraw the geopolitical map and create new power brokers.
As of the evening of Feb. 13 in China, Mao’s tweet had been forwarded more than 25,400 times and had generated more than 18,500 comments. This is serious traffic for a political issue on Sina Weibo (which tends to be more concerned with celebrity gossip and reality television), even one as popular as the Diaoyu Islands. Nonetheless, it’s very much the case that most of those comments were negative, with feedback ranging from the polite (“I do not agree with what you write”) to the more direct (“You are a traitor”) to certain profanities quite harsh to be directed at an 84-year-old man.
Still, Mao Yushi isn’t without his supporters, the most prominent and political among these being Chen Zhiwu, a reform-minded Chinese national who is a professor at the Yale School of Management and has amassed an amazing 6.5 million followers on Sina Weibo.
The shift appears to be very marginal by a few prominent writers who are against war. However, they are getting a lot of criticism. At this point, there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that China is changing its position toward the Diaoyu Islands.
Are the Diaoyu Islands worth war? If you just look at the islands, then of course the answer is no. But it’s not just about the islands. It’s also about honor, humiliation and history. The Diaoyu Islands would be simply an excuse for war, but not a reason for war. And if one thing can be an excuse, then another can be as well. Solving the Diaoyu Islands problem only delays the beginning of a real crisis.
China’s peaceful rise is at an end. Now we are seeing the real China, and it’s not pretty.
Advisers reach consensus that current arsenals are larger than needed to target foes
Senior Obama administration officials have agreed that the number of nuclear warheads the U.S. military deploys could be cut by at least a third without harming national security, according to sources involved in the deliberations.
They said the officials’ consensus agreement, not yet announced, opens the door to billions of dollars in military savings that might ease the federal deficit and improve prospects for a new arms deal with Russia before the president leaves office. But it is likely to draw fire from conservatives, if previous debate on the issue is any guide.
Last night’s Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates featured a lively discussion on whether or not Israel could maintain its security, sovereignty and existence in the face of a nuclear Iran. Take a look at two arguments from both sides of the debate below.
For the motion was James Dobbins, Director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center, and Reuven Pedatzur, Israeli Military Affairs Analyst of Ha’aretz. Pedatzur explained that if Iran wanted to destroy Israel, it would have already launched an attack by now.
Against the motion was Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, who said that Israel would only last three years in the face of a nuclear-armed Iran.
Which side did the audience agree with? Watch the entire debate below and decide who presented the more convincing argument.
However, speaking at a conference, JP Morgan’s Adrian Mowat said that the slow down has been much more severe and would characterize a hard landing. From Bloomberg’s Weiyi Lim:
“If you look at the Chinese data, you should stop debating about a hard landing,” Mowat, who is based in Hong Kong, said at a conference in Singapore yesterday. “China is in a hard landing. Car sales are down, cement production is down, steel production is down, construction stocks are down. It’s not a debate anymore, it’s a fact.”
“One should be concerned about what’s happening in the China property market,” Mowat said at yesterday’s conference. “People are too complacent that the government can turn what’s going on in this market.”
“What you can look forward to is to see a pickup in property demand that will clear up the inventory; that doesn’t appear likely,” Mowat said in an interview after the conference yesterday. “I don’t see any evidence of a policy move that will cause the economy to reaccelerate.”
Japan’s nuclear power advocates have pulled out all the stops since the Fukushima crisis, even arguing that the only nation to suffer an atomic attack needs to keep its ability to build its own nuclear weapons.
Once, merely the public suggestion that Japan should debate ending its ban on such weaponry was enough to get a politician fired. But worries about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and an expanding Chinese military are eroding that taboo .
The Syrian crisis is no longer a purely Syrian affair. Its wider dimension was highlighted 4 February 4 when Russia and China cast their veto at the UN Security Council, thereby aborting a western-backed Arab Resolution, which had called on President Bashar Al Assad to step down.
At a stroke, the debate was no longer simply about Syria’s internal power struggle. Instead, with their vetoes, Moscow and Beijing were saying that they too had interests in the Middle East, which they were determined to protect. The region was no longer an exclusive western preserve under the hegemony of the US and its allies.
FRONTLINE travels to three continents to explore the debate about nuclear power: Is it safe? What are the alternatives? And could a Fukushima-style disaster happen in the U.S.?
North Korea’s latent nuclear weapons program is rightfully the main point of concern for its neighbors and the international community. But far less publicized is Pyongyang’s ongoing efforts to build upon its capabilities to produce and maintain chemical and biological weapons (CBW).
On the question of chemical weapons, this problem is easier to understand – North Korea isn’t a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and has never been subject to inspections of its chemical industry facilities or sites believed associated with its CW program. Regardless, there’s little debate about the existence of the North’s CW program, with intelligence assessments from Russia, Britain, the United States and South Korea all indicating that Pyongyang continues to produce CW stocks.
FEARS OF ENCIRCLEMENT
That sense of insecurity — and the resulting debate — comes across in the statement and positions of Chinese officials, state-run newspapers and think tanks.
One theme is that the United States is bent on “encircling” China, an idea reflected in recent commentaries in state-run newspapers suggesting that U.S. pressure was behind Myanmar’s decision to suspend work on a controversial Chinese-funded dam.
China has seen the former Burma as a bulwark on it southwest border, and a conduit for trade and energy imports.
“(China) fears that some countries are pulling in major powers from the outside to counter-balance China, or that some neighbors are teaming up against China,” a team of researchers from a Chinese state think tank said in a recent study of Beijing’s regional dilemmas.