Will China’s paramount leader Xi Jinping disprove Lord Acton’s famous maxim that all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely? Are we entering an era where many of the world’s great nations are ruled by strongmen, despots or modern monarchs? Look at America’s would-be king, Donald Trump; Russia’s Vlad Putin; and India’s Narendra Modi. China’s... Read More
`We will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists, but great-power competition – not terrorism – is now the primary focus of US national security.’ Henceforth Russia and China will be America’s main enemies, with Iran and North Korea thrown in for good measure. So declared US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, last week in... Read More
There is much President Trump does not understand about the outside world. High up on the list is the crucial importance of US trade policy in creating and sustaining the American Empire. The key to the post-World War II US imperium was granting other nations commercial access to the huge, vibrant American domestic market. This,... Read More
China was blessed by two great leaders in the 20th century. Mao Zedong created modern China out of the wreckage of a nation devastated by war, western and Japanese imperialism, ferocious poverty and lack of national spirit. ‘Great Helmsman’ Mao made catastrophic mistakes that killed millions and was dotty at the end, but he put... Read More
Old Chinese saying: ‘when elephants battle, ants get crushed.’ Think of the current crisis on the Korean Peninsula in which the government in Seoul has been all but ignored. South Korea’s newly elected president, Moon Jae-in, keeps insisting that the US must not launch war against North Korea without South Korea’s agreement. President Donald Trump... Read More
Russia and US warplanes are flying way too close to one another over Syria and may soon, in Iraq. Drones are all over the place. An accident is inevitable. Civilian airliners are increasingly at risk over the Mideast. US ground troops may enter Syria. This week the missile destroyer, USS Lassen, openly challenged the maritime... Read More
The huge military parade held in Beijing this week was billed as a commemoration of China’s role in World War II. Over 15 million Chinese died in its eight-year resistance to Japanese invasion. China’s supreme leader, Xi Jinping, dressed in a finely tailored Mao suit, stood atop the Forbidden City’s Gate of Heavenly Peace to... Read More
My father, a New York financier, used to call dubious stocks or bonds, “Chinese paper.” Last week, we saw a blizzard of Chinese paper, both in China and around the world. As manager of a sizeable investment portfolio (an unwelcome second job from my main work, journalism), I watched last week’s near death experience on... Read More
As tensions in the South China Sea between the US and China continue to rise, the US Navy and Air Force are quietly gearing up to fight a war in the disputed region. If necessary, that is. Both sides say they don’t want any military confrontation on China’s extensive coastal waters, but both are acting... Read More
Hong Kong is at a gentle boil. As of this writing, tens of thousands of students have been politely demonstrating, calling for the Beijing-appointed chief executive, C.Y. Leung, to resign and be replaced through free elections. Politics don’t often divert Hong Kong’s manic obsession with business and finance, but the upsurge of youthful discontent has... Read More
GENEVA – Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin usually wears a perfect poker face. But last week in Shangahi, the icy-cold Russian president came awfully close to bursting into a big grin. And why not? Putin had just stolen a march on his western rivals. The US-British attempt to wound Russia’s economy and punish Putin for disobedience... Read More
Small wonder President Barack Obama’s hair is rapidly greying. Most second term presidents age rapidly from the constant pressure, tension, and need to make tough, painful decisions. This past week, Obama finally managed, after two cancellations, to get to Asia – the epicenter of his much-ballyhooed but now rather watered down “Pivot to Asia.” Any... Read More
World War II has never really ended for Japan. Sixty-eight years after the battleship US “Missouri” sailed into Tokyo Bay to receive the surrender of the Japanese Empire, Japan still behaves like a meek, defeated nation rather than one of the world’s great powers – and great peoples. Economically, Japan is a giant, albeit a... Read More
In the later 1990’s, I was invited to a small dinner in New York given for the Dalai Lama. All of the guests came expecting to hear His Holiness explain the meaning of life. To their bewilderment, the Dalai Lama gave a rather long, detailed talk about the history of Himalayan border problems between India,... Read More
On 30 January, a Chinese Jiangwei II-class frigate entered the disputed waters around the Senkaku Islands, a cluster of uninhabited rocks in the East China Sea claimed by China as the Diaoyu Islands. A Japanese destroyer was waiting. When the two warships were only 3 km apart, the Chinese frigate turned on its fire... Read More
China’s current 18th Party Congress may prove even more important that America’s just-fought election whose outcome was perfectly predictable. Both nations maintained the political status quo. The Republican Party, as I’ve been saying in recent columns, is headed for irrelevance unless it can change its membership, end religious fundamentalism, and stop getting women angry at... Read More
Two major events in China are sure to shape the world’s newest superpower: the sensational murder trial of Madame Gu Kailai, and the top secret leadership conclave at the seaside resort of Beidaihe. Madame Gu, as widely reported, was charged with poisoning Neil Heywood. a British businessman, fixer, and possibly her former lover. Gu is... Read More
NEW YORK – US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the major portion of US naval power will shift to the Pacific by 2020 as part of the Pentagon’s new “pivot to Asia” strategy. Though not totally unexpected, this news has caused quite a stir across Asia and raised tempers in China. However, there’s rather less... Read More
I’ve a lovely little painting in my study of Germany’s first emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm I. It was painted soon after the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War and the creation of a united Germany with Wilhelm as its monarch – thanks to the great German statesman, Prince Bismarck. United Germany’s fast-rising economic and military power was seen by... Read More
Those Cassandras who believe Cathay is about to rule waves after launching its first aircraft carrier are getting way, way ahead of themselves. One swallow does not make the spring, and one aircraft carrier does not make a battle fleet in being. The Red Chinese Navy is not about to steam up Chesapeake Bay and... Read More
Once, while driving in rural Virginia, I saw a billboard that proclaimed, "Jesus Saves." Some wag had scrawled across the bottom, "But Moses invests." Today, change that to "the US borrows while China lends." As my friend and veteran columnist Arnaud de Borchgrave writes, while the US has wasted $1.5 trillion on its Afghan and... Read More
When China’s president, Hu Jintao, visits Washington this week, discussions will inevitably focus on money rather than grand strategy. Washington keeps pressing Beijing to raise the value of its controlled currency, the Yuan. The Chinese have so far refused more than minor increases totaling about 6%, insisting a low Yuan is essential to keep China’s... Read More
China used to be one of the world’s leading naval powers. But in the 1400’s, the isolationist Ming Dynasty ordered China’s large fleets dismantled and its ports closed. The next time Chinese warships put to sea was during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894 when they were quickly demolished by the Imperial Japanese Navy. Now, China... Read More
One day, the emperor of ancient Babylon summoned his treasury overseer and exclaimed, "I need more money to wage war on those filthy Hittite terrorists! "But I looked in my great treasure chest and it's nearly empty. There are hardly any gold coins left," he thundered. "Oh Light of the Euphrates," groveled his terrified minister,... Read More
Will there be a major war between China and India? That’s the 64,000 rupee question addressed by the highly respected British magazine “The Economist” in a major article in their 21 August issue. The “Economist” warns that the long contested border between the two giant Asian rivals risks sparking future clashes or even a full-scale... Read More
The current Tibetan rebellion against Chinese rule has captured world attention and sympathy. Protests from Katmandu to New York have ensured it stays on TV screens almost everywhere — except China, of course. China's government, which has been preparing a massive, carefully orchestrated Olympic summer extravaganza in Beijing, has been deeply embarrassed and lost a... Read More
Diplomacy is the art of discreetly convincing other nations to do things you want them to do by convincing them it's in their best interests. The deft French have turned diplomacy into an art form, both in foreign and boudoir affairs. Few, by contrast, would accuse the Bush Administration of any diplomatic finesse. To the... Read More
NANJING — This ancient Chinese imperial capital, former headquarters of Generalissimo Chiang-kai shek, and site of the infamous 1930's massacre of 300,000 Chinese by Japanese troops, is haunted by its magnificent but often sinister history. History has also been on US Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld's mind. Last June, Rummy warned China's military buildup was threatening... Read More
Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia.
He is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Lew Rockwell. He appears as an expert on foreign affairs on CNN, BBC, France 2, France 24, Fox News, CTV and CBC.
His internet column www.ericmargolis.com reaches global readers on a daily basis.
As a war correspondent Margolis has covered conflicts in Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Sinai, Afghanistan, Kashmir, India, Pakistan, El Salvador and Nicaragua. He was among the first journalists to ever interview Libya’s Muammar Khadaffi and was among the first to be allowed access to KGB headquarters in Moscow.
A veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East, Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq.
A native New Yorker, he maintains residences in Toronto and New York, with frequent visits to Paris.