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I expect the PRC government has a team of spooks and doctors whose main job is to monitor the Dalai Lama’s public appearances for indications concerning his health. The Dalai Lama’s April 8 visit to Tawang probably gave them something to chew on, because he didn’t look that good to me. He was mentally acute... Read More
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Here are embeds to my two most recent videos for Newsbud. They pair together nicely as they track the evolving stories on Pakistan/Afghanistan and North Korea. Trump may be sucking all the oxygen out of the mediasphere, but the usual suspects are still out there conducting the usual business of murder and mayhem. The most... Read More
If by fascist, you mean “adherent of a movement determined to seize state power with the help of violence committed by a disciplined and armed auxiliary, if necessary, to reorder society to achieve extra-constitutional, self-defined racial or ethnic objectives embodied by a charismatic leader”, that is. Narendra Modi and his BJP party, in my reading,... Read More
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In my opinion, all political campaigns are identity based. Shaking the money tree to the tune of $1 billion + it now takes to run a national campaign demands access to big money, deference to capital, and a willingness to promote political loyalties on the basis of identity, not class. George Soros is not going... Read More
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
Is Japan the America’s Pit Bull or Lap Dog… …or Dog in the Manger?
As I discuss in my most recent piece for Asia Times, Duterte v. United States: The Empire Slaps Back, I find the US tunnel vision concerning Asian attitudes toward engagement with China puzzling. The big story in Asia IMO is the smaller powers trying to integrate with the PRC economically while keeping it at arms’... Read More
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…But It’s Really Racism
I find the spectacle of liberals heroically mounting the barricades against Trump-fascism rather amusing. For one thing, liberals don’t crush fascism. Liberals appease fascism, then they exploit fascism. In between there’s a great big war, where communists crush fascism. That’s pretty much the lesson of WWII. Second thing is, Trump isn’t fascist. In my opinion,... 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
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Awkwardly, apparently. Awkward facts surrounding Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's awkward estrangement from the United States seem to produce some awkward reporting. I have a piece up at Asia Times about “Sonofawhore-gate” i.e. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s alleged insult delivered to President Obama that got the Duterte-Obama confab in Laos canceled, and was breathlessly reported in... Read More
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Hillary Clinton affirmed “American exceptionalism” in a speech to the American Legion in Cincinnati on August 31. Her speech was another episode in the chronicle of Clintonian triangulation: the continual search for positions that co-opt and neutralize critics of Clinton and Clintonian policies. And by declaring the “indispensable nation” doctrine, Hillary Clinton convincingly shed the... Read More
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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
I have a piece in CounterPunch magazine about the constellation of whistleblowers surrounding HSBC Bank, HSBC and the Five Whistleblowers. Buy it! HSBC has yet to be brought to book in any serious way for a litany of transgressions in multiple jurisdictions. When I say “not in a serious way” while cognizant of the fact... Read More
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For me the central tragedy of this week is not the massacre in Dallas, horrific as it is. It is the video shot in Falcon Heights of the aftermath of the police shooting of Philandro wrenching to watch. And it should be watched to the very end. It is a heartrending depiction of a family... 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
It's a long way from landlocked Afghanistan to the South China Sea, but... The May 21, 2016 U.S. assassination by drone of Mullah Mansoor, the supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban, would have seemed to be a bad thing for the People’s Republic of China. Mansoor, after all, was the chosen instrument of the Pakistan... 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
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I recommend Sandernistas read Joy Reid’s Fracture for an understanding of some of the passion and vitriol pervading the Democratic primaries. Based on long and disapproving observation of Hillary Clinton’s policies as Secretary of State, I am not a fan. She relies on the lazy conflation of political advantage with national interest, and confounds frontrunning... Read More
That’s the theme of my most recent piece at Asia Times. Read it here. The U.S. sailor suit brigade is obsessed with playing profitable pattycake with the PLAN in the South China Sea. But a more significant and dangerous confrontation is brewing over the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. India doesn’t like the CPEC, and China... Read More
...With Its Own Floating Nuclear Power Station!
I’ve been a somewhat skeptical concerning Western handwringing about perceived PRC intentions to islandbuild Scarborough Shoal, seeing them as perhaps pivot-promoting alarmism. But, as Freud said, sometimes a cigar is a cigar and sometimes a threat to build the shoal is…a threat to build the shoal. My rethink was prompted by the appearance on a... Read More
I’m expecting tactical nuclear weapons to reappear overtly in the US military equation for Asia… …but only after the US Navy gets its chance to feast at the pivot trough for its long-for but perhaps strategically less-than-vital conventional forces buildout in Asia. I have an article up exclusively on Asia Times, The Case of the... Read More
In this post I’m developing at length several themes that I touched upon in my most recent article up exclusively at Asia Times on the current pivot hot button: South China Sea Dispute: Rewriting the History of Scarborough Shoal. There is currently a great deal of handwringing as to whether the PRC will island-build the... 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
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Stupid Sh*t: US Failure, Denial, and Escalation in the South China Sea
By most metrics the US campaign to deter and modify PRC behavior in the South China Sea has been a colossal bust. The US “Freedom of Navigation” initiative for the South China Sea is, to put it bluntly, completely bogus. The PRC has no interest in impeding the movement of ships in the South China... Read More
George W. Bush destroyed the state and army of Iraq, but it was located within a constellation of relatively powerful and capable states interested in some form of stability or control. The United States also poured massive doses of money and power into Iraq in an attempt to influence its outcomes. However, when the US... Read More
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On January 25, 2015, 44 members of the 84th and 55th Companies of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force or SAF died in an engagement with Muslim insurgents near Mamasapano on the island of Mindanao. Perhaps there have been worse days for special forces, but I can’t bring any to mind. The bloodbath is... Read More
There has been a concerted campaign to depict the South China Sea as an indispensable artery for commercial shipping and, therefore, a justifiable object of US attention and meddling. This flagship of this effort is invoking the “$5 trillion dollars” worth of goods that pass through the SCS each year. Reuters, in particular, is addicted... 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
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Did the DEA hijack Sean Penn’s expedition to El Chapo’s lair in order to implant a tracking device? Before readers roll their eyes at the prospect of such elaborate and reckless derring-do, consider the little-known scope and intensity of US military and law enforcement activities south of the border when it comes to nailing somebody... Read More
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In my opinion, a lot of the mockery of the North Korean nuclear test—the silly little man with his silly little bomb—is racism that reassures. It evokes the explanation for why many poor rural whites adopted a posture of racial exclusion instead of class solidarity with poor rural blacks in the American South: “because 'If... Read More
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Seymour Hersh created a stir with his most recent piece in the London Review of Books, Military to Military. Hersh reported that the Joint Chiefs of Staff under General Dempsey had actively sabotaged President Obama’s Syria policy in 2013, when they took issue with the White House’s apparent acquiescence to Turkey secretly funneling support to... 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
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I recently characterized the tsunami of analysis about the Paris attacks as a case of Orientalism. What isn't important is what may have happened. What's important is that we control the alien entity: we define the problem, we dictate the proper response and, natch, we get to declare victory—or at least what victory would look... Read More
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One byproduct of tensions with the People’s Republic of China over the South China Sea (to be followed, shortly, I believe by tensions over the friction between the PRC and Taiwan ruled by the DPP) is the opportunity for the United States to abandon the useful but by now threadbare fiction that the massive U.S.... 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
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A few years back, Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State declared that G-2—a US-PRC great power condominium much dreaded by advocates of a muscular attitude toward the Chinese menace—was dead. Don’t worry, China hawks. G-2 is still dead. What’s left is G-Zero: a world in which the PRC and US governments go their separate ways... Read More
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Japan, the United States, and the Security Laws
The passage of the collective self defense bills-- enabling Japanese participation in military activities beyond its home territory under restrictions that appear to be rather elastic-- --had a feeling of inevitability to me. They give more freedom of movement to the Japanese government in its security policy, more leverage in its foreign relations, and more... Read More
Think of the PRC September 3 military parade, officially "Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War", as a tabula rasa, a blank screen upon which observers can project their PRC-related hopes, fears, anxieties, and fantasies. And, for Xi Jinping,... Read More
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It’s “Why Didn’t Interference Work?”
I suppose much of the journo commentariat was born since 2008 and therefore has no memory of TARP, Too Big To Fail, or Jamie Dimon rolling around naked inside a gigantic vat of taxpayer money, so there has been a considerable amount of handwring about how the CCP defiled the purity of the stock market... Read More
Actually, that was a title of a post I wrote in July 2010, before island-building, before the Senkaku crises, before the rare earths brouhaha, even before Hillary Clinton declared that the US had a “national interest” in freedom of navigation at the 2010 ASEAN foreign ministers’ conference in Hanoi and formally kicked off the “pivot”.... 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
The Guardian published an adulatory feature on “The Women Fighting on the Frontline in Ukraine”. One of the women profiled was “Anaconda”, fighting in the Aidar Battalion bankrolled by Igor Kolomoisky: Anaconda was photographed in combat dress resolutely holding an assault rifle in front of a rather decrepit van. The caption read: As reported by... Read More
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Jeffrey Goldberg opined on his twitter feed that the Netanyahu-Obama grudge has its roots in Obama not letting Netanyahu bomb Iran. That’s BS, I think. I suspect that if Netanyahu really wanted to bomb Iran’s hardened and dispersed nuclear facilities--and enrage its population and a good chunk of the Muslim world and virtually guarantee that... Read More
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India is now the belle of the ball, as most of the world and Asian regional powers make pilgrimages to New Delhi to flatter and flirt with India’s dynamic Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Modi and India come with a certain amount of unpleasant baggage, which their suitors do their best to ignore. Modi himself is... Read More
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