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A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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A Broad Spectrum Column
OK, I’m trying to figure out cars. Especially the electric and nuclear-powered ones. Mostly the fizzing and fuming about how great electrics are, or maybe the end of civilization, seems political. Liberals love them because they will prevent pollution, end global warming, and maybe stop hair loss. Libertarians hate them because they associate them with... Read More
Russia is under economic and propaganda attack from the US. Additionally, the US is surrounding Russia and China with military and missile bases, leading both countries to the conclusion that Washington is preparing a surprise nuclear attack. Despite the high level of threat that Washington represents to the two nuclear powers, the English language Russian... Read More
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The US submarine captain says, “We’ve all got to die one day, some sooner and some later. The trouble always has been that you’re never ready, because you don’t know when it’s coming. Well, now we do know and there’s nothing to be done about it.” He says he will be dead by September. It... Read More
In the Reign of Kaiser Don
Why do those inadequate little men in Washington and New York dream of new wars? Because the empire is near a tipping point. Washington must either either start a war in Korea, or get faced down by the North, its carriers ignored, its bombers “sending signals” and making “shows of force” without result. For the... Read More
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Washington and Brussels’ response to foreign affairs challenges, as they face their own political and economic disasters and decline, has been to impose economic sanctions, boycotts and issue increasingly reckless military threats against rival nations. The ruling and main opposition parties in the US and EU have taken over the major media, turning ‘news programs’... Read More
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Amid the proverbial doom and gloom pervading all things Syria, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune sometimes yield, well, good fortune. Take what happened this past Sunday in Beijing. The China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy organized a Syria Day Expo crammed with hundreds of Chinese specialists in infrastructure investment. It was a... Read More
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It is not an easy task for someone without a background in Chinese culture, including the language and the history, to write about this country. However, this becomes necessary when looking at the Chinese view of the outside world and especially when writing about the emerging Russo-Chinese alliance. There is very little doubt anymore about... Read More
President Donald Trump flew off for his first meeting with Vladimir Putin -- with instructions from our foreign policy elite that he get into the Russian president's face over his hacking in the election of 2016. Hopefully, Trump will ignore these people. For their record of failure is among the reasons Americans elected him to... Read More
Ancient Silk Road Routes.  Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Peter Frankopan's The Silk Roads: A New History of the World shows why we need to re-vision history
The word revisionist derives from roots meaning "to look again." And since history is an ongoing project, whose main purpose is to help us understand where we have come from and where we are going, we obviously need to keep taking fresh looks at the past as we propose new visions of the future. Obligatory... Read More
Pretty much everything our media tells us about China is wrong–or at least one-sided–including its tales of a China ‘debt problem’. The Chinese are, in all times and places, debt-averse and China’s government which, unlike ours, must take long-term responsibility for the economy, is no different. Mao set the example and grew GDP by 6.2... Read More
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Top Russian and Chinese leaders are busy comparing notes, coordinating their approach to President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg this weekend. Both sides are heralding the degree to which ties between the two countries have improved in recent years, as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visits Moscow on his way to the G20.... Read More
To one watching the advance of Chinese science and technology, or to me anyway, several things stand out. First, the headlong pace. Second, the amount of it that appears aimed at making China independent of the West technologically and getting the United States off Beijing’s back. Third, the apparent calculated focus. It looks like intelligent... Read More
There's a big to-do about an investigative thing by Australia's Four Corners/Fairfax Media concerning Chinese influence in Australia. ASIO investigation targets Communist Party links to Australian political system ASIO is the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, which curated the dossiers that Four Corners/Fairfax assiduously summarized and spun. I think the series is highly significant, perhaps not... Read More
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Who Will Take America’s Place in Asia?
Asia has been the future for more than a generation. When Americans try to glimpse what’s to come, images of the Pacific Rim flood the imagination. For movie audiences in 1982, the rain-soaked Los Angeles of Blade Runner looked like downtown Tokyo. By 2014, the City of Angels in the Spike Jonze film Her had... Read More
In case you hadn’t noticed, as in the Middle East and Europe, we’re in a new Trumpian age in Asia. If you want to confirm that, check out the recently leaked transcript of an April 29th phone conversation between the American and Philippine presidents (published in full at the Intercept). Donald Trump launches the call... Read More
If One Arm is Right, the Other Will Be Left, No?
This worthy and public-spirited column seldom dives into the thickets of military hardware, which it regards as excessively technical. However, the arms race between China and Washington is of enough gravity that its more exotic armaments may be of interest. Herewith, the truly dangerous weaponry of the contending sides. C-919 A Chinese narrow-body intended to... Read More
Readers of China Matters may have noticed there hasn’t been too much to read lately. That’s because since the beginning of the year I’ve been doing a weekly video reports for Newsbud, an online indy media outfit run by Sibel Edmonds. It started with China Watch, a weekly newsprogram that covers key China-related international affairs.... Read More
“The problem is that the world has listened to Americans for far too bloody long.” — Dr. Julian Osborne, from the 2000 film version of Nevil Shute’s 1957 book, On the Beach A reader asked why neoconservatives push toward nuclear war when there can be no winners. If all die, what is the point? The... Read More
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The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published a study, on 1 March 2017, which opened: It continues: This study was co-authored by America’s top three scientists specializing in analysis of weaponry and especially of the geostrategic balance between nations: Hans Kristensen, Matthew McKinzie, and Theodore Postol. Their report continues: This vast increase in US nuclear... Read More
The North Korean “crisis” is a Washington orchestration. North Korea was last at war 1950-53. N. Korea has not attacked or invaded anyone in 64 years. N. Korea lacks the military strength to attack any country, such as South Korea and Japan, that is protected by the US. Moreover, China would not permit N. Korea... Read More
Not everyone likes to hear about the threat of nuclear war. Some find refuge in denial and say that nuclear war is impossible because it makes no sense. Unfortunately, humankind has a long record of doing things that make no sense. In previous posts in recent years I have pointed out both written documents and... Read More
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Introduction: US Empire building on a world-scale began during and shortly after WWII. Washington intervened directly in the Chinese civil war (providing arms to Chiang Kai Shek’s army while the Red Army battled the Japanese), backed France’s re-colonization war against the Viet Minh in Indo-China and installed Japanese imperial collaborator-puppet regimes in South Korea, Taiwan... Read More
"Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem?" tweeted President Donald Trump on Easter Sunday. Earlier, after discovering "great chemistry" with Chinese President Xi Jinping over "the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake" at Mar-a-Lago, Trump had confided, "I explained ... that a trade... Read More
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
The insouciance of the Western world is extraordinary. It is not only Americans who permit themselves to be brainwashed by CNN, MSNBC, NPR, the New York Times and Washington Post, but also their counterparts in Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan, who rely on the war propaganda machine that poses as a media. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39573526 The Western... Read More
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Introduction: From their dismal swamps, US academic and financial journal editorialists, the mass media and contemporary ‘Asia experts’, Western progressive and conservative politicians croak in unison about China’s environmental and impending collapse. They have variably proclaimed (1) China’s economy is in decline; (2) the debt is overwhelming; a Chinese real estate bubble is ready to... Read More
To back up Defense Secretary "Mad Dog" Mattis' warning last month, that the U.S. "remains steadfast in its commitment" to its allies, President Donald Trump is sending B-1 and B-52 bombers to Korea. Some 300,000 South Korean and 15,000 U.S. troops have begun their annual Foal Eagle joint war exercises that run through April. "The... 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
I’ve met more than my share of famous people, just because I’ve lived mostly in big metropolises and hung around with journalists a lot. Among those encounters: one with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, back in 1984. I wrote up an account in a column back in 2003. Well, His Holiness is still among us... Read More
Donald Trump Is Giving the Phrase “Multipolar World” New Meaning
If there’s a single consistent aspect to Donald Trump’s strategic vision, it’s this: U.S. foreign policy should always be governed by the simple principle of “America First,” with this country’s vital interests placed above those of all others. “We will always put America’s interests first,” he declared in his victory speech in the early hours... Read More
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All Options Are “On The Table”
Forget those “bad hombres down there” in Mexico that U.S. troops might take out. Ignore the way National Security Adviser Michael Flynn put Iran “on notice” and the new president insisted, that, when it comes to that country, “nothing is off the table.” Instead, focus for a moment on something truly scary: the possibility that... Read More
Consider it an irony or simply a reality of our moment, but these days Donald (“America First”) Trump is looking ever less like an old-fashioned, pre-World War II isolationist. In a mere three-plus weeks in office, he’s managed to mix it up royally with much of the rest of the planet. He threatened to send... Read More
My latest Newsbud video looks at signals from Secretary of Defense Mattis' trip to Asia and what it means for the South China Sea, East China Sea, and North Korea flashpoints. https://youtu.be/2QvcTZt4DVI For now, Trump Asia policy looks pretty mainstream.One point I make in the piece is that Trump isn't necessarily eschewing bloody American military... Read More
Afghanistan, as a crossroads of empire and a key stage in the Silk Road, is dotted with important archaeological sites that go back 5000 years and can provide insights into the evolution of civilizations across Asia and, in fact, civilization itself. Most of these sites are beyond the reach of the Afghan government’s woefully underfunded... Read More
Over the last month, I’ve been busy making videos for Newsbud, the indie news outfit run by Sibel Edmonds. Don’t be a free media leech! Go to newsbud.com, view my stuff, retweet it, and pay a few bucks and become a member! My most recent Newsbud video keyed off the CCTV New Year’s Gala to... Read More
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I bow (in case you were wondering) to no one in my loathing for the Clintons, the Establishment, the Beltway Insulates, political correctness, BLM, radical feminists, the controlled media, Obama, Wall Street, neocons, Social-Justice Look-at-Mes, and the New York Oligarchs. After the election, I figured, having no choice anyway, to see what Trump actually did.... Read More
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Donald Trump wants to fundamentally change U.S. foreign policy. The President-elect wants to abandon the destabilizing wars and regime change operations that have characterized US policy in the past and work collaboratively with countries like Russia that have a mutual interest in fighting terrorism and establishing regional security. Here's an excerpt from the speech Trump... Read More
Mock-up of planned Russian-Chinese airliner to compete with Boeing and Airbus. To enter service by 2025. Ambitious? Oh yes. Remember when we laughed at Toyota, Airbus, and Trump? Credit: Sputnik News.
Make Money, Not War
Is Washington really going to start a trade war with China, or is it just huffing and puffing for position? I don’t know. Mr. Trump has inexplicably failed to brief me. A point worth bearing in mind: The United States cannot compete commercially with a developed Asia, or China. America has nowhere to go. It... Read More
Four Looming Flashpoints Facing President Trump
Within months of taking office, President Donald Trump is likely to face one or more major international crises, possibly entailing a risk of nuclear escalation. Not since the end of the Cold War has a new chief executive been confronted with as many potential flashpoints involving such a risk of explosive conflict. This proliferation of... Read More
It did not take long before we knew there was no hope of change from President Obama. But at least he went into his inauguration with an unprecedented number of Americans on the Mall showing their support for the President of Change. Hope was abundant. But with Trump, we are already losing faith, if not... Read More
“Did China ask us if it was OK to... build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don't think so!” tweeted President-Elect Donald Trump after shatteringnearly 40 years of U.S.-China diplomatic protocol by having a telephone conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. The call -- the first official contact... Read More
The U.S. Military’s Role in Asia in the Age of Trump
Despite the attention being given to America’s roiling wars and conflicts in the Greater Middle East, crucial decisions about the global role of U.S. military power may be made in a region where, as yet, there are no hot wars: Asia. Donald Trump will arrive in the Oval Office in January at a moment when... Read More
Trust mainstream media commentators to get their priorities right! While they dished out hell to Donald Trump the other day over his 10-minute conversation with the president of Taiwan, they could hardly have been more accommodative all these years of a rather more consequential American affront to mainland China: Barack Obama’s so-called “pivot” to Asia.... Read More
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Despite a bloody history, Japan and China are now cooperating in ways that shut out the United States
China is now widely seen as the coming superpower. But few even among the west’s China-watchers understand quite how fast this geopolitical freight train is approaching. Moreover, most western observers assume that China’s ambitions are being opposed by its East Asian rival, Japan. In the words of the Economist, Japan is “standing in the way”... Read More
Like a bolt of lightning, that call of congratulations from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to President-elect Donald Trump illuminated the Asian landscape. We can see clearly now the profit and loss statement from more than three decades of accommodating and appeasing China, since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger made their historic journey in 1972. What... Read More
The Coming War on China by John Pilger http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/02/the-coming-war-on-china/ Years ago when I was staff associate, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, a tutorial was provided on the destructive power of the Soviet ICBM SS-18, known as Satan. Employing hyperbole, the lecturer said that one SS-18 on Washington would kill everone from Boston to Atlanta. The Russian... Read More
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When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of... Read More
I don’t share the US FP handwringing over Trump’s retreat from overarching multilateral initiatives in favor of bilateral engagements in Asia. The point of the complex multi-lateral arrangements—the pivot, rebalance, whatever you want to call it, and TPP—were intended to position the United States as the “indispensable nation” in Asia, the glue that was needed... Read More
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The current (November 19th-25th) issue of The Economist has a striking long article about Chinese — more precisely, ChiCom — nationalism. Bottom line: it’s racial. I’ve made this point myself, e.g. in my 2001 China Diary: (You can argue that it’s really ethnic, not racial. After 4,000 years of absorbing border tribes and enduring long... 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
Topic Classics
A thousand years of meritocracy shaped the Middle Kingdom.
Cloudy, With Possible Tidal Wave