Archive for September, 2018

Opinion | Trump to China: ‘I Own You.’ Guess Again. – by Thomas Friedman – NYT

Shopping in China

“Early in the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” a Chinese-Singaporean father admonishes his young kids to finish their dinner, saying, “Think of all the starving children in America.” I’m sure that everyone of my generation in the theater laughed at that joke. After all, we’d all been raised on the line: “Finish your dinner. Think of all the starving children in China.”

That little line contained within it many messages: The first, which any regular traveler to China’s biggest urban areas can tell you, is that rich China today — its luxury homes, cars, restaurants and hotels — is really rich, rich like most Americans can’t imagine.

The second is that this moment was destined to be a test of who will set the key rules of the global order in the 21st century: the world’s long-dominant economic and military superpower, America, or its rising rival, China. And this test is playing out with a blossoming full-scale trade war.

What does such a test of wills sound like? It sounds like a senior Chinese official telling me at a seminar at Tsinghua University in April that it’s just “too late” for America to tell China what to do anymore on issues like trade, because China is now too big and powerful. And it sounds like President Trump, in effect, telling China: “Says who? Show me what you got, baby!” Or as Trump actually tweeted last week: “We are under no pressure to make a deal with China, they are under pressure to make a deal with us. … If we meet, we meet.” “

Source: Opinion | Trump to China: ‘I Own You.’ Guess Again. – The New York Times

Posted in: China, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy

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Opinion | That Thing That India and Pakistan Do – The New York Times

By Mohammed Hanif

Mr. Hanif is a Pakistani novelist.    Sept. 26, 2018

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The Pakistani military in Karachi this month commemorating its second war with India in 1965. Both sides claimed victory.CreditCreditAsif Hassan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“KARACHI, Pakistan — Four years ago when India elected the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.) to power, Pakistan’s iconic feminist poet and peace activist Fahmida Riaz recited a poem of despair, comparing new India to old Pakistan:

Turns out you were just like us,

Where were you hiding all this time, brother?

In Pakistan, Ms. Riaz is not only considered a hopeless peacenik but also a bit of an India lover. She has reason to be. In the 1980s, like many writers and activists, Ms. Riaz was made to leave Pakistan by the then military regime. While others took refuge in Western countries, Ms. Riaz chose to go into exile in India, where she then lived for more than six years. She is a much-loved poet who is not afraid of speaking truth to power at home and abroad. She is also not afraid of hoping.

Last Thursday other peaceniks in Pakistan and India were hoping, too, as the two countries agreed to resume talks. The wave of optimism lasted a day.”

Source: Opinion | That Thing That India and Pakistan Do – The New York Times

Posted in: India

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How to Stop Poaching and Protect Endangered Species? Forget the ‘Kingpins’ – by Rachel Nuwer – NYT

By Rachel Nuwer     Sept. 24, 2018

“In 2003, enterprising criminals in Southeast Asia realized that they could exploit a loophole in South Africa’s hunting laws to move rhino horns legally across international borders. Normally, North Americans and Europeans account for the bulk of South Africa’s rhino hunting permits. But that year, 10 Vietnamese “hunters” quietly applied as well.

Hunters are allowed to transport legally obtained trophies across borders under various international and domestic laws. The Vietnamese hunters each returned home with the mounted horn, head or even whole body of a rhino.

Word spread. Though Vietnam and other Asian countries have no history of big-game sport hunting, South Africa was soon inundated with applicants from Asia, who sometimes paid $85,000 or more to shoot a single white rhino.

That represented the beginning of an illicit industry referred to as pseudo-hunting — a first step toward the rhino poaching crisis that rages today. And the story of one of its chief practitioners shows the lengths to which criminals will go to move wildlife contraband.”

Source: How to Stop Poaching and Protect Endangered Species? Forget the ‘Kingpins’ – The New York Times

Posted in: The Sixth Extinction of Species

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Editorial | Will Donald Trump Stand Up to China? – The New York Times

“President Xi Jinping has imposed China’s most sweeping internment program since Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, when more than one million people were killed and millions of others were imprisoned, tortured and humiliated.

Citing credible reports, a United Nations panel last month said up to one million Uighurs, a Turkic Muslim minority, are being held in detention camps without benefit of any formal legal process. The repression is severe enough to have raised concerns even within the Trump administration — not known for a preoccupation with human rights abroad — and the administration is weighing possible sanctions against the regime, a step that justice clearly demands.

Mr. Xi is China’s most powerful modern leader, and he is turning his country into an economic and political powerhouse. But his achievements are deeply tainted by human rights abuses, including the repression of the Uighurs, the largest of the Muslim ethnic groups in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China.”

Source: Opinion | Will Donald Trump Stand Up to China? – The New York Times

David Lindsay:  I support this editorial, but not holding my breath.

Here are some good comments which I endorsed:

Jim Hugenschmidt
Asheville NC

How can we accuse China of violating the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights when was are the ONLY industrialized country that has never ratified that pact?

Our history of standing up for human rights in other countries has been based on self-interest. Why would we intervene on behalf of a people with no oil or strategic value?

I will say that while our own history of human rights violations is nothing to brag about, we have made progress, albeit uneven, and are doing better than many places. We need to hold the belief that we are committed to human rights here and abroad and that this commitment should be renewed by this administration.

The one thing that stymies my imagination is Donald Trump making a speech in sympathy with the Uighurs.

Larry Eisenberg commented September 18

Larry Eisenberg
Medford, MA.

I do hate at this point to tattle
D. Trump is outmatched in this battle,
Purely on IQ’s
Trump is bound to lose
The bars of his Playpen he’ll rattle.

Bikome commented September 18

Bikome
Hazlet, NJ

President Trump does not care two hoots about human rights. He instead admires dictators and autocrats. He could be hypocritical in many things but not when it comes to administration of totalitarian regimes.

Posted in: Bullies and Scoundrels, China

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