Blog Archives

FIDEL CASTRO – “A bloody war would inevitably start. There should be no doubt about it.”

So yeah, I’m going to be providing two perspectives of sorts (courtesy competing medias) and let’s play a game – “Pin the Tail on the Tyrant.”

Voice #1 (Fidel Castro/Chinese Media) –

“Attack on Iran would unleash “bloody war”: Fidel Castro”

HAVANA, Nov.14 (Xinhua) — Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro warned Monday that “a U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran would inevitably unleash a bloody war.”

“Because of its ability to fight, the number of inhabitants and the size of the country, an attack on Iran is not like the previous Israeli military adventures in Iraq and Syria,” Castro wrote in an article.

“A bloody war would inevitably start. There should be no doubt about it,” the 85-year-old former leader added, speculating that Israel intends to attack Iran as it did when targeting the nuclear facilities in Syria in 2007 and in Iraq in 1981.

Castro also cited U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice as saying that an attack on Iran is a real growing option and that the U.S. government is considering putting an end to the current Iranian leadership to prevent it from creating a nuclear arsenal.

Western countries are ratcheting up pressure on Iran after a report by the international nuclear watchdog IAEA said the country’s nuclear program had an agenda to develop weapons.

Tehran has completely rejected the report, calling it “unbalanced, unprofessional and politically-motivated.”

Voice #2 (Ret. Army Ge. John Keane/U.S.A.) –

“Iran Terror Plot Prompts Calls For Tougher Actions”

WASHINGTON — House Republicans gave the stage Wednesday to hardliners who called for everything from cyber attacks to political assassinations in response to Iran’s alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador on American soil, which was revealed earlier this month.

“We’ve got to put our hand around their throat now,” retired Army Gen. John Keane told a hearing of two key subcommittees of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Speaking of the Quds Force, which is accused of masterminding the foiled plot to use Mexican drug traffickers to carry out the hit in Washington, he implored the panel, “Why don’t we kill them? We kill other people who kill others.”

The bellicose testimony, which stopped short of calls for military action, was only the most colorful in a hearing in which lawmakers bandied about phrases such as “an act of war” and “red lines” that had been crossed. The joint hearing on “Iranian Terror Operations on American Soil” was called by the subcommittees on counterterrorism and intelligence and on oversight, investigations and management, and it featured a panel of neoconservatives who portrayed the plot as a last straw that demanded tougher actions against Iran.

The bungled plot was “a stunning rebuke to the Obama administration’s policy of negotiation and isolation with the Iranians,” Keane said, adding that neither Republican nor Democratic administrations since 1980 have dealt effectively with Iran.

“They have been systematically killing us for over 30 years,” he noted, recounting a series of Iranian-inspired attacks beginning with the 1983 bombing of the American Embassy in Lebanon and continuing to the arming of Shiia militia blamed for killing U.S. troops in Iraq to the latest alleged attack this month. He said the time for “half measures” was over and it was time to “begin to treat Iran as the strategic enemy they truly are.”

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer now at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neoconservative think tank, agreed and urged an array of covert operations against Iran. “It’s crystal clear they have the conception that now today in Washington, D.C., they can have a terrorist operation,” he said, “and could get away with it.”

Another witness, Matt Levitt, a counterterrorism expert at the conservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy, called for stepped-up diplomatic and financial pressure on Iran but also said in a written statement that “U.S. unilateral raids or raids undertaken in collaboration with Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service should be accelerated.”

Several witnesses accused the media of downplaying the plot and suggesting it was too implausible to be real, comparing the reaction to the complacency in the period before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Only Lawrence Korb, a former Reagan administration Pentagon official now with the liberal Center for American Progress, testified against “overreaction” to what he called a “Keystone Kops” plot that he said was “an act of desperation” by a country reeling under international sanctions. While “it might be emotionally satisfying” to ratchet up pressure on Iran, he reminded lawmakers that “unthinking military action by the United States has strengthened Iran’s hand” through the invasion and occupation of neighboring Iraq.

That was a message welcomed by Democrats on the committee, who cautioned against overreaction.

Republican rhetoric “may be premature and could inflame an already fragile climate,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee’s ranking Democrat. He warned against taking actions “that would lead us down the path to another war.”

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) also called for “sober, reasoned discussion,” especially given recent reports showing that sanctions have set back Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

“Iran’s leaders must be held accountable for their action,” she said, “but we cannot take any reckless actions which may lead to opening another front in the ‘War on Terror,’ which the American people do not want and cannot afford.”

You decide…


China – Developed or Developing? – An ITD Special Report.

China still a developing nation   2011-11-25 13:44:00

by Martin Khor

BEIJING, Nov. 25 (Xinhuanet) — Is China still a developing country, or has it joined the ranks of developed countries? The question became more topical after US President Barack Obama reportedly told Chinese leaders that China had to act more responsibly now that it has “grown up.”

By saying it is now a “grown-up”, Obama wants China to be treated like the United States or Europe in terms of international obligations. For example, China should take on binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, cut its tariffs to near zero and stop subsidizing its agricultural and other sectors, provide aid to poor countries and let its currency float.

The West not only wants India and Brazil to do likewise, but also mentions South Africa and wealthier or bigger ASEAN countries in the same breath. Its focus, however, is China. There has been growing respect for, rather fear of, China because it is growing so fast and has become so big and powerful that it could “swallow” the Western world in a decade or two.

And hence, the question: Is China a developed country? The answer depends on the criteria used to describe a developed country. China is indeed a big economy. Its GDP is second only to the US. And it has overtaken the US in greenhouse gas emission.

The fact is, with more than 1.3 billion people, China is also the world’ s most populous country. India is not far behind with 1.2 billion people and is on track to overtake China in two decades. And despite the world media giving it a mighty image, China looks like a very ordinary developing country in terms of per capita indicators.

According to the United Nations, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the most important criterion to judge whether a country is developed or developing is its per capita income. By that yardstick, China is very much a developing country.

In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF classifies China as a developing country because the mainland’s per capita GDP was 4,382 US dollars in 2010, ranked lowly at 92 among 184 economies.

Six African countries (Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Botswana, Mauritius, South Africa and Namibia) have per capita GDP higher than China. And its per capita GDP is less than one-tenth of the US.

The World Bank classifies countries into four income groups. Its latest report divides economies according to per capita gross national income (GNI):

Low-income: Countries with per capita GNI below 1,006 US dollars.

Lower-middle-income: Countries with per capita GNI between 1,006 US dollars and 3,975 US dollars.

Upper-middle-income: Countries with per capita GNI between 3,976 US dollarsand 12,275 US dollars.

High-income: Countries with GNI above 12,276 US dollars.

The World Bank classifies all low- and middle-income countries as developing. According to its figures, China’s per capita GNI was 2,050 US dollars in 2006, 2,490 US dollars in 2007, 3,050 US dollars in 2008, 3,650 US dollars in 2009 and 4,260 US dollars in 2010, which means it was a lower-middle-income country until 2009.

Many economists use per capita purchasing power parity (PPP) to categorize a country, because people living in countries with a lower cost of living could enjoy a higher living standard than their country’s GDP implies. With per capita GDP (at PPP) 7,544 US dollars in 2010, China was placed 96th in the world . It was just below Ecuador, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and just above Albania, El Salvador, Tonga and Guyana. In contrast, Malaysia was at 58th with per capita PPP of 14,744 US dollars while Singapore was 3rd with 56, 694 US dollars.

The UN Development Programme has a human development index (HDI) that measures quality of life in terms of income, schooling, life expectancy and other factors. The 2011 Human Development Report shows China lies at 101 in a list of 187 countries and regions with an HDI of 0.687 and in the category of “medium human development”. It is below many other developing countries such as Chile, Argentina, Barbados, Uruguay, Cuba, Bahamas, Panama, Malaysia, Libya, Grenada, Lebanon, Venezuela, Mauritius, Jamaica, Ecuador, Brazil, Iran, Tongo and Tunisia.

What about climate change? Again mainly because of its huge population, China’s GHG emission is high. China emitted 7,232 megaton of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent in 2005. The US was second with 6,914 megaton and India fifth with 1,859 megaton. But in per capita terms, China’s emission level was 5.5 megaton of CO2 equivalent and it was the 84th highest GHG emitter among 186 countries and regions. In contrast, the US’ per capita emission was 23.4 megaton of CO2 equivalent, Australia’s 27.3, Canada’s 22.9, Russia’s 13.7, Germany’s 11.9, Japan’s 10.5, Singapore’s 11.4, Malaysia’s 9.2, South Africa’s 9.0, Brazil’s 5.4, Indonesia’s 2.7, India’s 1.7, Tanzania’s 1.5 and Rwanda’s 0.4.

Therefore, being 92nd in terms of per capita GDP, 101st in HDI and 84th in terms of per capita emission, China is a middle-level or even lower-middle-level developing country, with not only all the developed countries, but also many developing countries ahead of it.

Besides, China shares quite a few characteristics with many developing countries. More than 700 million of its 1.3 billion people live in rural areas, and as of 2008 there was a large imbalance between urban and rural areas, with urban disposable household income being 3.3 times higher.

According to China’s criteria, 43 million of its people belong to the low-income (below 160 US dollars a year) group. But by UN standards, 150 million Chinese are poor, for they live on less than 1 US dollar a day. Besides, around 12 million Chinese people, more than Greece’s entire population, enter the job market each year and it’s quite a task to get them employed.

Despite all this, China has its high points. Its GNP is big in absolute terms, and it has a high rate of economic growth and high foreign reserves (over 3 trillion US dollars). Nevertheless, China is still a middle-level developing country and is burdened with socio-economic problems that most developing countries have.

So if China is forced to take on the duties of a developed country and forego the benefits of a developing country, the West could soon ask other developing countries that are ahead of China (at least in per capita terms) to do the same.

Thus China’s fight to retain its developing country status is of interest not only to the Chinese people, but also to their counterparts in other developing countries.

The author is executive director of South Centre, a think tank of developing countries, based in Geneva.

(Source: China Daily)

Editor: Yamei Wang

China’s looming crisis?

On the shoulders of only children…?

I am curious to see what will happen to China when the peak generation resulting from China’s One-Child Policy comes into middle-adulthood. The implications for China could be dire; likewise the implications for the world.

I’ll be doing more on this topic in an on-going series that takes a look at the one-child policy, it’s origins and it’s implications. Having lived in China and having gone through the process of pregnancy with my wife in China, there’s so much to discuss. Let’s start with this installment and see where it goes.

U.N. Control of the Internetz…?

I’m kinda just bringing this one to the table. As it gains a footing within the U.N., I’m sure we will be discussing much and much more. Guess you could say that this post is serving as something of a head’s up!

Yue Yue: The Tragedy of a Two-Year Old


This is a problem that plagues the world…

Again, my apologies for the tardiness of this vid. This entire event has weighed heavily on me because of my unique connection to China. I often speak of Chinese accolades and the misinterpretations made by the west, but this story proved to be quite the reality check for me, the world, not only China (but China included) is a messed up place wherein the newer system of “values,” greed, acquisition and power have replaced the building blocks of compassion, sympathy, empathy and altruism. We MUST reevaluate our condition because I fear that said condition will lead unto our demise. #OCCUPY is a huge movement, but I’ve learned from this event that we must begin with #OCCUPYING our hearts first.

Part I – The “Culture of Compensation”

In this vid, we take a look at the socio-cultural factors that may have contributed to the actions, reactions and lacks of action witnessed during the event. This vid was perhaps the hardest to make because I wanted to be as objective as possible (though, should you ask me, I failed miserably). Basically I break down the factors I believe to be an influence into three categories:

1.) Anomie and Strain, reevaluating values based upon economic prosperity and ideology.

2.) Chinese Law and the “culture of compensation.”


3.) The culture of family, Confucianism and the gap that society should occupy.

I really hope that this does answer some of your questions. Although I have studied China for some years, I’d like to take a moment to admit that I am not “certified” per say. All that I have are my studies and my experiences.

Part II – “Chinese people have no souls,” SERIOUSLY!?!

“The Chinese are not immoral, people are immoral,” I can’t remember who made that comment. but they were spot-on in saying it. If we were to judge an entire nation based upon the actions of the few, as a Citizen of the United States of America, I/we’d be screwed through and throughout!

The ignorance displayed via bigotry is no different than the ignorance presented to Yue-Yue on the cold hard street. What it is, is the turning of a blind eye to the problem that plagues the human condition – a failed prioritization of human and societal values. So to those of you that insist on continuing with your discriminatory rhetoric I ask you this one very important question – How does your predisposition rectify, and more importantly, solve the problems that plague the human heart and our world?

Part III – Yue-Yue’s Wish

I feel that this is the most important vid in this series. The message is applicable to all the peoples of the world. More importantly, I feel that if Yue-Yue had a voice in this, a voice at all, this is what she’d say – show the world what wasn’t shown me, show it and let it shine brightly for all and forever.

On Chinese/Japanese relations with Gimmeabreakman…here we go again…

You still just don’t get it, do you Victor? Oh, and this isn’t drama, I like to think of it as an intervention. If you want a more detailed list of books to read, drop me a line, I’d also recommend “Blowback,” by Chalmers Johnson, the first unit in the book is on how horribly the Americans have treated Japan when considering our military installations in Okinawa and surrounding regions.

Oh, and I also know that I come off as uncharacteristically smarmy in this vid (for those of you that know me), apologies, but I’ve been told that this “style” is the only way to interact with Victor from multiple people and the indifference/ignorance of his statements get me really fired up…it’s this lack of understanding on behalf of so many people, epitomized by him, that have led to the tension and lacking understanding we all face today.


The China/Libya Connection? Demonizing the “East”

It’s not only about resource acquisition for the West, it’s about keeping the East out.

Trade Enforcement Action – USA vs. China…

…again and again and again.

One has to wonder, when will it come to a boiling-over point?

U.S. to announce China trade enforcement action

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. trade officials will announce a major trade enforcement action against China on Tuesday, according to an advisory from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.

The advisory, which was obtained from a business group, said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk “will hold a press conference to announce a major trade enforcement action against China.” It gave no other details.

One possible action could target China’s export restrictions on rare earths, which are crucial for global electronics production and the defense and renewable energy industries.

They are also used in a wide range of consumer products from iPhones to electric car motors.

The United States, the European Union and Mexico recently won a case against China for similar restrictions on exports of raw materials used in steel and other industrial products.

China appealed that decision and a final ruling is still months away.

In recent weeks, Democrats have raised alarm about Chinese solar panel subsidies that they said are driving U.S. producers out of business.

They also have pressed Kirk’s office to investigate charges China is pressing GM to turn over technologies for its electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, in order for it to qualify for generous Chinese government subsidies to encourage consumers to buy it.

Many Democrats also have long complained about China’s currency practices and have urged the U.S. Trade Representative’s office to bring a case.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently criticized President Barack Obama for not doing more to push China to raise the value of its yuan against the dollar.

A currency case would be a major departure for the Obama administration after refusing to formally label China as a “currency manipulator” in a Treasury Department report.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Peter Cooney)

My Buddy Mike (Mullen this time) and I

So I took some time out of my ever so busy schedule to interview Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff upon his recent return from a visit to China…yeah right. Either way, I’d like to take a moment to dissect just a few of the statements he’d made at Renmin University in Beijing to Chinese students, Chinese officials and the Chinese media, collectively, a group that tends to be demonized by the “West,” and more specifically, by Americans. Yes, I know that the Chinese government and incorporated medias has problems, but then again so do we, the only difference is that the majority of the Chinese do not harbor within their hearts the distrust and outright hatred some Americans hold towards them. Don’t believe me, try living there, I have for quite some time. So let’s get started then.


A quote from Admiral Mullen –

China has arrived as a world power. China today is a different country than it was 10 years ago, and it certainly will continue to change over the next 10 years. The United States is changing as well, as are the context and global order in which both our countries operate. I believe that our dialogue needs to keep pace with these changes. It needs to move from working out the particular issues and conditions of our bilateral relationship to working together to meet broader — and common — goals we share.”

Ok, this seems rather straight up sir. China’s changing, got it. America’s changing, got. Hell, the world’s changing, got it. As to the working relationship between the United States and China, I’m sure we could come in on this from a great many vectors, some might take the trade route, which to some degree, I’d agree with – the current system of tariffs and barriers, an unchecked value for China’s currency, U.S. debt to China and corporate loopholes, in terms of both taxation and regulation, that contribute to the disparity of wealth in the United States need considerable revision. One could also come at this from the human rights angle, yes, China has wound its way into the spotlight when considering human rights abuses, one need only look to the imprisonment of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Liu Xiabo to recognize this problem. And at the same time, China’s publication on the human rights abuses in the United States were entirely valid as well, China had every right to publish said document and I actually thank them for doing so (If my own government won’t look out for me, then I should be grateful towards one that will, xie xie). So we’ve knocked out the trade issue, the human rights issue, where then will I continue this dialogue…you got it…I’m talking about the stability of southeastern Asia, the impending military buildup and the role of “superpowers” in this world.

With that being said, let’s continue on with Admiral Mullen –

“It is certainly the United States’ expectation that these be worked out by countries … in a responsible way, so that a specific incident does not rise to a level of miscalculation which could become very dangerous and get out of control.”

What Admiral Mullen is referring to is the sea dispute going on between China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and Malaysia centering around the Spratley Islands in the South China Sea. This dispute centers specifically around an item that nearly all disputes revolve – material resources, or in this case, natural gas and oil. The United States could write the book on conflict via the acquisition of natural resources. But back to region of interests, the Admiral Mullen stated that China had to engage in multilateral, or at the very least, bilateral talks with the other nations of interest. And yet, the United States just engaged in a series of joint military drills with the Philippines and plans to do the same with Vietnam in the coming months. How does this maintain stability in said region? A good question right? Well some could argue that the presence of the U.S. equalizes the playing field, but when considering the extent of American imperial overreach, is that the message that’s registered in Beijing – in other words, perceived threats equal military buildups (on one more related note, travel abroad and ask citizens from other countries, “who’s the most dangerous nation in the world?).When concerning stability, we could also look no further than Taiwan, but we’ll come back to that in a bit.

Let’s move on with Admiral Mullen and the potential for a military build-up in China –

“With greater military power must come greater responsibility, greater cooperation and, just as important, greater transparency. Without these things, the expansion of military power in your region, rather than making it more secure and stable could have the opposite effect.”

The United States lecturing another nation on the topic of military-buildups is analogous the tick lecturing a mosquito on the detriments of sucking blood. It hypocrisy at its worst or finest, take your pick. Not only has the United States been the single most greatest purveyor of military technology and resultant aggression, but has enabled other countries, or contested countries, like Taiwan to likewise, expand in military influence. Mark my words, and in no way do I support Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan, but Taiwan remains a zero-budge issue for Beijing, asking them to relinquish Taiwan is akin to asking the U.S. to amputate California. This particular stance has quite the root for time being, though a sovereign Taiwan is not without possibility, only time will tell.

Concluding with Mullen’s final quote, let’s make us a checklist within which the U.S. military must meet the criteria he laid out, a responsibly utilized military, nope, a military that embraces global cooperation, nope, save Britain and our new illegal engagement in Libya (we’re fighting for French and Italian oil people), the U.S. is more than ready to tackle any issue unilaterally and without global consensus. Back to the checklist, a military the displays transparency? Hah! So when the above mentioned items are lacking in parallel to a military build-up, does this in fact create instability and insecurity within this shared world? Admiral Mullen, you are absolutely correct! The build-up and misuse of the United States military has done just that, created instability and insecurity from the deserts of the Middle East to the forests of Central America, hell, look at the mess it’s made of America (why again are contemplating raising the debt ceiling?). So at the end of the day China, take the advice of Admiral Mullen, if you are going to continue a military buildup (wow, one aircraft carrier built by the Ukraine comparing to the “how many” floating islands we operate?) do so in a manner unlike the United States, should you follow in our wake and upon the same path, time will pass you by too, and let the historians of the future judge you a fool as well.