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Understandably, a lot of the coverage analyzing the impact of Trump on Japan has emphasized the negative: Trump is a trade-war guy, he wants Japan to pay more for bases, he’d be happy to stand aside as Japan slugged it out in some military encounter with North Korea, he’s pulled the plug on TPP… Quite... Read More
There’s playing with fire and there’s dousing yourself with gasoline and jumping into a flaming pit. I do the latter in a piece for SCMP’s This Week in Asiamagazine, The British Forgery at the Heart of India and China's Tibetan Border Dispute. My proposed title, Uncle Sam Plays the Great Game in Arunachal Pradesh,didn't make... Read More
 Lt Gen Niazi signing the 1971 Instrument of Surrender under the gaze of Lt Gen Aurora. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
My current piece at Asia Times, Balochistan Is Not Bangladesh, looks at the 1971 establishment of Bangladesh in context of Balochi independence advocates’ imploring Modi to do Balochistan a solid like Indira Gandhi did for East Pakistan. Here’s a video of an independence advocate ringing the bell on Indian story short, there aren’t a lot... Read More
nuclearwarcartoon
Fidel Castro's 90th birthday celebrations might have been a bit more extravagant if Cuba had emerged from the 1962 missile crisis as the world's fifth nuclear power. Everybody loves to talk about the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, when America’s Best and Brightest under Jack Kennedy stared down Nikita Khrushchev and his attempt to... Read More
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To escape the soul-killing political minutiae inhabiting my Twitter timeline, I decided to trawl my own blog archive for diversion…and came across a piece I wrote in September 2013 on Alexander Hamilton! Yes, Alexander Hamilton, current darling of the Washington set and central figure of an ethnically enhanced hip-hop musical that apparently provides the soundtrack... Read More
Walter Liggett, Floyd Olson, and Minnesota
Most people die in deserved obscurity. Others have their memory and reputation snatched away by forces eager to diminish and deny their accomplishments. Walter Liggett was such a person. Walter Liggett was a pioneering muckraker, a journalist who lived—and died—pursuing the biggest story of his generation: the collision of money, power, crime, democracy, and freedom... Read More
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Brexit, 中国 Denialism, and the End of "China"
What does this map have to do with Brexit? The answer may surprise you! But first, the wait is over, people. My Brexit hot take is up at Asia Times: The Brexit Upside for China The PRC was not happy with Brexit, despite the Atlanticist fetish with spinning any difficulties with the neo-liberal project as... Read More
Ceterum censeo Sinisem esse delendam
I enjoy a simplistic historical analogy as much as the next blogger, but “Thucydides Trap” doesn’t cut it for me. “Thucydides Trap” is the “conflict inevitable between incumbent and rising empires” thing, tracing back to Thucydides’ analysis, the first example of the IR deep dive, which sidestepped the proximate cause of the Peloponnesian War (Athens... Read More
Was MacArthur a Japanese agent? For my generation, clickbait. For the younglings, it’s “Who’s MacArthur”? Douglas MacArthur was, in the words of an admiring biographer, “the American Caesar”, the brilliant military commander who won the Pacific War (the Japanese end of World War II), ruled postwar Japan with a sure imperial hand from 1945 to... Read More
I have a piece up at Asia Times To Hell and Back: Obama, Hiroshima, and Nuclear Denial, just in time for President Obama’s visit & promised non-apology at Hiroshima. “To Hell and Back” is a phrase that can bear a pretty heavy metaphorical load when it comes to talking about the atomic bombings of Nagasaki... Read More
The U.S. government and the Manila elite are pretty interested in hyping the naval confrontation with the PRC, while going all "bygones" on the bloody, corrupting, ongoing, and (for some elite Filipinos empowering and enriching) U.S. deep penetration of the Philippines' political and security regimes. Duterte upsets this script, because his political career has been... Read More
I have a piece up exclusively at Asia Times, Duterte’s Beef with America. Go read it! It unpacks the story of Duterte’s coolness to the United States dating back to the Michael Meiring incident in 2002. Duterte’s spokesman recently cited the Meiring case in explaining his attitude toward the U.S., leading to a New York... Read More
The Nuclear Security Summit in Washington is reminds us that President Obama won his Nobel Peace Prize in large part because of his stated intentions concerning nuclear non-proliferation. The two most recent achievements in US counterproliferation (Libya) and non-proliferation (Iran) have been tarnished by the destruction of Libya as a counter-proliferation example for North Korea... Read More
Around the corner from my home in LA’s Koreatown is the “Kim Young Oak Academy”. I had assumed it was a private cram school serving the local ethnic Korean kids, maybe with a punny name along the lines of “once an acorn, in the future a mighty oak” aspirations. Not true. KYO Academy is a... Read More
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Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
In the case of Martin Luther King, America's deep state intersected with politics and civil rights and Thurgood Marshall's strategy for African American legal equality in some ugly and dangerous ways. And they intersect at a most unpleasant and unhappy point, one that is largely ignored when putting an optimistic, feel-good gloss over Dr. King's... Read More
On December 7, Donald Trump issued a statement calling for “a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States…” A temporary ban? "… until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Well then, maybe never. Trump’s rabble-rousing is nothing new in American politics. It wasn’t even new last month. Remember... Read More
Sen. Joseph McCarthy.  Credit: Wikimedia Commons
I am not particularly impressed with protestations that the Fourth Estate is going to solve our Donald Trump problem by speaking truth to power, exposing his low, dishonest, and inflammatory rhetoric, and the filthy bigotry in which he traffics. There’s a lot of people—a lot of voters—down in the sewer with Donald Trump. Apparently the... Read More
Chinese are trying to build a canal in the right place: Nicaragua!
If history has taught us anything…it’s that it's hard to build an isthmian canal across Central America. That’s a lesson Chinese telecom entrepreneur Wang Jing is probably taking to heart now that 80% of his paper wealth evaporated in the PRC stock market unpleasantness, and he has to take a long hard look at how... Read More
On the occasion of the Supreme Court’s legal mainstreaming of gay marriage, and the decision by US corporate, political, and media arbiters that yes, maybe, the official presentation of the Confederate flag by the State of South Carolina and its symbolism in the institutionalization and celebration of racism and rebellion against the federal government (as... Read More
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When I was in Beijing during the protests in 1989, a middle-aged man came up to me and asked, “Couldn’t America send some B-52s here and…” and he made a swooping motion with his hand. Ten years later, on May 7, 1999, the American bombers did show up. Instead of showering freedom ordnance on China’s... Read More
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Perhaps one of the most remarkable elements of the United States’ two-hundred year participation in legalized slavery and its continual tango with racism is the minstrel show. The minstrel show, a highly ritualized and formatted performance of songs, dance, acting, and doggerel delivered first by white actors in blackface, then black actors…in blackface…and white actors... Read More
What's the Difference Between an "Unabashed Nationalist" and a "Fascist"?
“Fascist”, it appears, is the go-to epithet for characterizing nationalists and racists we don’t like. “Nationalist” is apparently the go-to epithet for characterizing fascists we do like. The Western media is coping with the conspicuous and undeniable presence of fascists in the Ukrainian paramilitaries by rebranding them. A recent case in point was in a... Read More
In early 1965, as Marin Luther King prepared to embark on his historic campaign to march for voting rights in Selma and Montgomery, and at the same time execute the delicate task of publicly enlisting the LBJ White House in the battle for federal voting rights legislation, the FBI mailed the odious “suicide letter” to... Read More
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