Mark Steyn is a gifted writer but, I submit, overly wordy and pedantic in this article. Nevertheless, his message is well worth contemplating. (See 1 below.)
When copying I was unable to make this letter, from many Congress persons to Obama, more readable and for this I apologize. Neither could I re-copy their names and signatures but there were more than 20 of them. (See 2 below.)
Italy's Prime Minister (Berlusconi) is in trouble with allegedly having a sexual affair with an under aged 'beautiful' girl and the media and press have gone wild.
If so, his was uncouth behaviour but at least he has good taste and at 72 maybe spaghetti is an Italian substitute for Cialis!
Obama has been 'messin round' with an entire nation, its freedom of health choice, its entire economy, appointing unelected czars at fabulous salary levels etc. and no one in the press and media seem upset. Is there a double standard here?
If 'Eve' Obama keeps doing his 180 degree turn to the right he might wind up having an 'affair' with himself.
What I find fascinating is, when 'Eve' Obama speaks now I don't believe the words are coming from his mouth. Were I less cynical, I would think he is softening up the business community in order to tap them for re-election campaign funds. His campaign plan is to spend 1 billion on telling the nation how conservative he has become.
I could have used more graphic words but I assume you get the message I am seeking to convey.
Krauthammer suggests Obama's actions are not so much a change in posture but more that of a pose.
I have repeatedly said that if 'Eve' Obama wants to get re-elected he might just attack Iran. Tony Blair has laid out the basis for such a road map. (See 2a below.)
It can start in Lebanon and escalate as Jumblatt aligns with Hezballah claiming he is under intense pressure. (See 2b and 2c below.)
Hillel Fradkin, an old and dear friend, expresses his thoughts regarding Lebanon's outlook. (See 2d below.)
It is getting close to tax time so thought I would provide a little humor for the weekend. (See 3 below.)
Will Chinese demographics alter their military strategy?
Two years ago I had Peter Liotta speak here on world demographics and he pointed out they were not favorable in the case of China and many other nations.
Two other articles regarding China.
Again, you decide.(See 4, 4a and 4b below.)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1) Dependence Day
By Mark Steyn
On the erosion of personal liberty.
Burke was right!
If I am pessimistic about the future of liberty, it is because I am pessimistic about the strength of the English-speaking nations, which have, in profound ways, surrendered to forces at odds with their inheritance. “Declinism” is in the air, but some of us apocalyptic types are way beyond that. The United States is facing nothing so amiable and genteel as Continental-style “decline,” but something more like sliding off a cliff.
In the days when I used to write for Fleet Street, a lot of readers and several of my editors accused me of being anti-British. I’m not. I’m extremely pro-British and, for that very reason, the present state of the United Kingdom is bound to cause distress. So, before I get to the bad stuff, let me just lay out the good. Insofar as the world functions at all, it’s due to the Britannic inheritance. Three-sevenths of the G7 economies are nations of British descent. Two-fifths of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are—and, by the way, it should be three-fifths: The rap against the Security Council is that it’s the Second World War victory parade preserved in aspic, but, if it were, Canada would have a greater claim to be there than either France or China. The reason Canada isn’t is because a third Anglosphere nation and a second realm of King George VI would have made too obvious a truth usually left unstated—that the Anglosphere was the all but lone defender of civilization and of liberty. In broader geopolitical terms, the key regional powers in almost every corner of the globe are British-derived—from Australia to South Africa to India—and, even among the lesser players, as a general rule you’re better off for having been exposed to British rule than not: Why is Haiti Haiti and Barbados Barbados?
And of course the pre-eminent power of the age derives its political character from eighteenth-century British subjects who took English ideas a little further than the mother country was willing to go. In his sequel to Churchill’s great work, The History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Andrew Roberts writes:
Just as we do not today differentiate between the Roman Republic and the imperial period of the Julio-Claudians when we think of the Roman Empire, so in the future no-one will bother to make a distinction between the British Empire–led and the American Republic–led periods of English-speaking dominance between the late-eighteenth and the twenty-first centuries. It will be recognized that in the majestic sweep of history they had so much in common—and enough that separated them from everyone else—that they ought to be regarded as a single historical entity, which only scholars and pedants will try to describe separately.
If you step back for a moment, this seems obvious. There is a distinction between the “English-speaking peoples” and the rest of “the West,” and at key moments in human history that distinction has proved critical.
Continental Europe has given us plenty of nice paintings and agreeable symphonies, French wine and Italian actresses and whatnot, but, for all our fetishization of multiculturalism, you can’t help noticing that when it comes to the notion of a political West—one with a sustained commitment to liberty and democracy—the historical record looks a lot more unicultural and, indeed (given that most of these liberal democracies other than America share the same head of state), uniregal. The entire political class of Portugal, Spain, and Greece spent their childhoods living under dictatorships. So did Jacques Chirac and Angela Merkel. We forget how rare on this earth is peaceful constitutional evolution, and rarer still outside the Anglosphere.
Decline starts with the money. It always does. As Jonathan Swift put it:
A baited banker thus desponds,
From his own hand foresees his fall,
They have his soul, who have his bonds;
’Tis like the writing on the wall.
Today the people who have America’s bonds are not the people one would wish to have one’s soul. As Madhav Nalapat has suggested, Beijing believes a half-millennium Western interregnum is about to come to an end, and the world will return to Chinese dominance. I think they’re wrong on the latter, but right on the former. Within a decade, the United States will be spending more of the federal budget on its interest payments than on its military.
According to the cbo’s 2010 long-term budget outlook, by 2020 the U.S. government will be paying between 15 and 20 percent of its revenues in debt interest—whereas defense spending will be down to between 14 and 16 percent. America will be spending more on debt interest than China, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey, and Israel spend on their militaries combined. The superpower will have advanced from a nation of aircraft carriers to a nation of debt carriers.
What does that mean? In 2009, the United States spent about $665 billion on its military, the Chinese about $99 billion. If Beijing continues to buy American debt at the rate it has in recent years, then within a half-decade or so U.S. interest payments on that debt will be covering the entire cost of the Chinese military. This year, the Pentagon issued an alarming report to Congress on Beijing’s massive military build-up, including new missiles, upgraded bombers, and an aircraft-carrier R&D program intended to challenge American dominance in the Pacific. What the report didn’t mention is who’s paying for it. Answer: Mr. and Mrs. America.
Within the next five years, the People’s Liberation Army, which is the largest employer on the planet, bigger even than the U.S. Department of Community-Organizer Grant Applications, will be entirely funded by U.S. taxpayers. When they take Taiwan, suburban families in Connecticut and small businesses in Idaho will have paid for it. The existential questions for America loom now, not decades hence. What we face is not merely the decline and fall of a powerful nation but the collapse of the highly specific cultural tradition that built the modern world. It starts with the money—it always does. But the money is only the symptom. We wouldn’t be this broke if we hadn’t squandered our inheritance in a more profound sense.
Britain’s decline also began with the money. The U.S. “Lend-Lease” program to the United Kingdom ended with the war in September 1946. London paid off the final installment of its debt in December 2006, and the Economic Secretary, Ed Balls, sent with the check a faintly surreal accompanying note thanking Washington for its support during the war. They have our soul who have our bonds: Britain and the world were more fortunate in who had London’s bonds than America is seventy years later. For that reason, in terms of global order, the transition from Britannia ruling the waves to the American era, from the old lion to its transatlantic progeny, was one of the smoothest transfers of power in history—so smooth that most of us aren’t quite sure when it took place. Andrew Roberts likes to pinpoint it to the middle of 1943: One month, the British had more men under arms than the Americans; the next month, the Americans had more men under arms than the British.
The baton of global leadership had been passed. And, if it didn’t seem that way at the time, that’s because it was as near a seamless transition as could be devised—although it was hardly “devised” at all, at least not by London. Yet we live with the benefits of that transition to this day. To take a minor but not inconsequential example, one of the critical links in the post-9/11 Afghan campaign was the British Indian Ocean Territory. As its name would suggest, it’s a British dependency, but it has a U.S. military base—just one of many pinpricks on the map where the Royal Navy’s Pax Britannica evolved into Washington’s Pax Americana with nary a thought: From U.S. naval bases in Bermuda to the Anzus alliance down under to Norad in Cheyenne Mountain, London’s military ties with its empire were assumed, effortlessly, by the United States, and life and global order went on.
One of my favorite lines from the Declaration of Independence never made it into the final text. They were Thomas Jefferson’s parting words to his fellow British subjects across the ocean: “We might have been a free and great people together.” But in the end, when it mattered, they were a free and great people together. Britain was eclipsed by its transatlantic offspring, by a nation with the same language, the same legal inheritance, and the same commitment to liberty.
It’s not likely to go that way next time round. And “next time round” is already under way. We are coming to the end of a two-century Anglosphere dominance, and of a world whose order and prosperity many people think of as part of a broad, general trend but which, in fact, derive from a very particular cultural inheritance and may well not survive it. To point out how English the world is is, of course, a frightfully un-English thing to do. No true Englishman would ever do such a ghastly and vulgar thing. You need some sinister rootless colonial oik like me to do it. But there’s a difference between genial self-effacement and contempt for one’s own inheritance.
Not so long ago, Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian and soi-disant Islamophobe, flew into London and promptly got shipped back to the Netherlands as a threat to public order. After the British Government had reconsidered its stupidity, he was permitted to return and give his speech at the House of Lords—and, as foreigners often do, he quoted Winston Churchill, under the touchingly naive assumption that this would endear him to the natives. Whereas, of course, to almost all members of Britain’s governing elite, quoting Churchill approvingly only confirms that you’re an extremist lunatic. I had the honor a couple of years back of visiting President Bush in the White House and seeing the bust of Churchill on display in the Oval Office. When Barack Obama moved in, he ordered Churchill’s bust be removed and returned to the British. Its present whereabouts are unclear. But, given what Sir Winston had to say about Islam in his book on the Sudanese campaign, the bust was almost certainly arrested at Heathrow and deported as a threat to public order.
Somewhere along the way a quintessentially British sense of self-deprecation curdled into a psychologically unhealthy self-loathing. A typical foot-of-the-page news item from The Daily Telegraph:
A leading college at Cambridge University has renamed its controversial colonial-themed Empire Ball after accusations that it was “distasteful.” The £136-a-head Emmanuel College ball was advertised as a celebration of “the Victorian commonwealth and all of its decadences.
Students were urged to “party like it’s 1899” and organisers promised a trip through the Indian Raj, Australia, the West Indies, and 19th century Hong Kong.
But anti-fascist groups said the theme was “distasteful and insensitive” because of the British Empire’s historical association with slavery, repression and exploitation.
The Empire Ball Committee, led by presidents Richard Hilton and Jenny Unwin, has announced the word “empire” will be removed from all promotional material.
The way things are going in Britain, it would make more sense to remove the word “balls.”
It’s interesting to learn that “anti-fascism” now means attacking the British Empire, which stood alone against fascism in that critical year between the fall of France and Germany’s invasion of Russia. And it’s even sadder to have to point out the most obvious fatuity in those “anti-fascist groups” litany of evil—“the British Empire’s association with slavery.” The British Empire’s principal association with slavery is that it abolished it. Before William Wilberforce, the British Parliament, and the brave men of the Royal Navy took up the issue, slavery was an institution regarded by all cultures around the planet as as permanent a feature of life as the earth and sky. Britain expunged it from most of the globe.
It is pathetic but unsurprising how ignorant all these brave “anti-fascists” are. But there is a lesson here not just for Britain but for the rest of us, too: When a society loses its memory, it descends inevitably into dementia. As I always try to tell my American neighbors, national decline is at least partly psychological—and therefore what matters is accepting the psychology of decline. Thus, Hayek’s greatest insight in The Road to Serfdom, which he wrote with an immigrant’s eye on the Britain of 1944:
There is one aspect of the change in moral values brought about by the advance of collectivism which at the present time provides special food for thought. It is that the virtues which are held less and less in esteem and which consequently become rarer are precisely those on which the British people justly prided themselves and in which they were generally agreed to excel.
The virtues possessed by Anglo-Saxons in a higher degree than most other people, excepting only a few of the smaller nations, like the Swiss and the Dutch, were independence and self-reliance, individual initiative and local responsibility, the successful reliance on voluntary activity, noninterference with one’s neighbor and tolerance of the different and queer, respect for custom and tradition, and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.
Within little more than half a century, almost every item on the list had been abandoned, from “independence and self-reliance” (some 40 percent of Britons receive state handouts) to “a healthy suspicion of power and authority”—the reflex response now to almost any passing inconvenience is to demand the government “do something.” American exceptionalism would have to be awfully exceptional to suffer a similar expansion of government without a similar descent, in enough of the citizenry, into chronic dependency.
What happened? Britain, in John Foster Dulles’s famous postwar assessment, had lost an empire but not yet found a role. Actually, Britain didn’t so much “lose” the Empire: it evolved peacefully into the modern Commonwealth, which is more agreeable than the way these things usually go. Nor is it clear that modern Britain wants a role, of any kind. Rather than losing an empire, it seems to have lost its point.
This has consequences. To go back to Cambridge University’s now non-imperial Empire Ball, if the cream of British education so willingly prostrates itself before ahistorical balderdash, what then of the school system’s more typical charges? In cutting off two generations of students from their cultural inheritance, the British state has engaged in what we will one day come to see as a form of child abuse, one that puts a huge question mark over the future. Why be surprised that legions of British Muslims sign up for the Taliban? These are young men who went to school in Luton and West Bromwich and learned nothing of their country of nominal citizenship other than that it’s responsible for racism, imperialism, colonialism, and all the other bad -isms of the world. If that’s all you knew of Britain, why would you feel any allegiance to Queen and country? And what if you don’t have Islam to turn to? The transformation of the British people is, in its own malign way, a remarkable achievement. Raised in schools that teach them nothing, they nevertheless pick up the gist of the matter, which is that their society is a racket founded on various historical injustices. The virtues Hayek admired? Ha! Strictly for suckers.
When William Beveridge laid out his blueprint for the modern British welfare state in 1942, his goal was the “abolition of want,” to be accomplished by “cooperation between the State and the individual.” In attempting to insulate the citizenry from the vicissitudes of fate, Sir William succeeded beyond his wildest dreams: Want has been all but abolished. Today, fewer and fewer Britons want to work, want to marry, want to raise children, want to lead a life of any purpose or dignity. Churchill called his book The History of the English-Speaking Peoples—not the English-Speaking Nations. The extraordinary role played by those nations in the creation and maintenance of the modern world derived from their human capital.
What happens when, as a matter of state policy, you debauch your human capital? The United Kingdom has the highest drug use in Europe, the highest incidence of sexually transmitted disease, the highest number of single mothers; marriage is all but defunct, except for toffs, upscale gays, and Muslims. For Americans, the quickest way to understand modern Britain is to look at what lbj’s Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population. One-fifth of British children are raised in homes in which no adult works. Just under 900,000 people have been off sick for over a decade, claiming “sick benefits,” week in, week out, for ten years and counting. “Indolence,” as Machiavelli understood, is the greatest enemy of a free society, but rarely has any state embraced this oldest temptation as literally as Britain. There is almost nothing you can’t get the government to pay for.
Plucked at random from The Daily Mail: A man of twenty-one with learning disabilities has been granted taxpayers’ money to fly to Amsterdam and have sex with a prostitute. Why not? His social worker says sex is a “human right” and that his client, being a virgin, is entitled to the support of the state in claiming said right. Fortunately, a £520 million program was set up by Her Majesty’s Government to “empower those with disabilities.” “He’s planning to do more than just have his end away,” explained the social worker.
“The girls in Amsterdam are far more protected than those on U.K. streets. Let him have some fun—I’d want to. Wouldn’t you prefer that we can control this, guide him, educate him, support him to understand the process and ultimately end up satisfying his needs in a secure, licensed place where his happiness and growth as a person is the most important thing? Refusing to offer him this service would be a violation of his human rights.”
And so a Dutch prostitute is able to boast that among her clients is the British Government. Talk about outsourcing: given the reputation of English womanhood, you’d have thought this would be the one job that wouldn’t have to be shipped overseas. But, as Dutch hookers no doubt say, lie back and think of England—and the check they’ll be mailing you.
After Big Government, after global retreat, after the loss of liberty, there is only remorseless civic disintegration. The statistics speak for themselves. The number of indictable offences per thousand people was 2.4 in 1900, climbed gradually to 9.7 in 1954, and then rocketed to 109.4 by 1992. And that official increase understates the reality: Many crimes have been decriminalized (shoplifting, for example), and most crime goes unreported, and most reported crime goes uninvestigated, and most investigated crime goes unsolved, and almost all solved crime merits derisory punishment. Yet the law-breaking is merely a symptom of a larger rupture. At a gathering like this one, John O’Sullivan, recalling his own hometown, said that when his grandmother ran a pub in the Liverpool docklands in the years around the First World War, there was only one occasion when someone swore in her presence. And he subsequently apologized.
“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” But viewed from 2010 England the day before yesterday is an alternative universe—or a lost civilization. Last year, the “Secretary of State for Children” (both an Orwellian and Huxleyite office) announced that 20,000 “problem families” would be put under twenty-four-hour cctv supervision in their homes. As the Daily Express reported, “They will be monitored to ensure that children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.” Orwell’s government “telescreen” in every home is close to being a reality, although even he would have dismissed as too obviously absurd a nanny state that literally polices your bedtime.
For its worshippers, Big Government becomes a kind of religion: the state as church. After the London Tube bombings, Gordon Brown began mulling over the creation of what he called a “British equivalent of the U.S. Fourth of July,” a new national holiday to bolster British identity. The Labour Party think-tank, the Fabian Society, proposed that the new “British Day” should be July 5th, the day the National Health Service was created. Because the essence of contemporary British identity is waiting two years for a hip operation. A national holiday every July 5th: They can call it Dependence Day.
Does the fate of the other senior Anglophone power hold broader lessons for the United States? It’s not so hard to picture a paternalist technocrat of the Michael Bloomberg school covering New York in cctv ostensibly for terrorism but also to monitor your transfats. Permanence is the illusion of every age. But you cannot wage a sustained ideological assault on your own civilization without profound consequence. Without serious course correction, we will see the end of the Anglo-American era, and the eclipse of the powers that built the modern world. Even as America’s spendaholic government outspends not only America’s ability to pay for itself but, by some measures, the world’s; even as it follows Britain into the dank pit of transgenerational dependency, a failed education system, and unsustainable entitlements; even as it makes less and less and mortgages its future to its rivals for cheap Chinese trinkets, most Americans assume that simply because they’re American they will be insulated from the consequences. There, too, are lessons from the old country. Cecil Rhodes distilled the assumptions of generations when he said that to be born a British subject was to win first prize in the lottery of life. On the eve of the Great War, in his play Heartbreak House, Bernard Shaw turned the thought around to taunt a British ruling class too smug and self-absorbed to see what was coming. “Do you think,” he wrote, “the laws of God will be suspended in favor of England because you were born in it?”
In our time, to be born a citizen of the United States is to win first prize in the lottery of life, and, as Britons did, too many Americans assume it will always be so. Do you think the laws of God will be suspended in favor of America because you were born in it? Great convulsions lie ahead, and at the end of it we may be in a post-Anglosphere world.
Mark Steyn’s most recent book is America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It (Regnery
2)This will make you cheer - ACTUAL LETTER FROM CONGRESS TO BHO (OBAMA) ABOUT HIS TENDANCY TO MISQUOTE HISTORYPosted by Tony Rollo on January 1, 2011 at 9:23am in General, Town Hall
This should make you cheer !
This is a copy of the letter that was sent to me in relation to my position of Editor-In-Chief of American Liberty Magazine - and I have to admit I applaud these members of Congress for what they did !
2a)Iran balks at nuclear discussion. Military option aired
Iranian delegation leader Saeed Jalili was only willing to talk about Israel's reported nuclear arsenal when he met with the delegations of six world powers in Istanbul Friday, Jan. 21. European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, head of the multi-power delegation, physically blocked the exit of the conference chamber to prevent Jalili from walking out. He finally agreed to stay another day in response to Ashton's pleas but refused to change his position.
Western diplomats used very undiplomatic language to describe how "very angry and frustrated" they were with Iran's attitude to yet another US-led bid to solve the nuclear controversy with Iran by diplomacy and dialogue..
One Western diplomat recalled anonymously how on Oct. 5, 2000, Madeleine Albright, then US Secretary of State, locked the gates of a venue in Paris to stop Yasser Arafat walking out of a meeting with then prime minister Ehud Barak that Washington had called to try and avert the Palestinian uprising.
In London, Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair issued the strongest call yet from any Western statesman to take the gloves off with Iran.
"I say this to you with all of the passion I possibly can – at some point the West has to get out of what I think is a wretched policy or posture of apology for believing that we are causing what the Iranians are doing, or what these extremists are doing," he said. "We are not. The fact is they are doing it because they disagree fundamentally with our way of life and they'll carry on doing it unless they are met by the requisite determination and if necessary, force."
From his experience as Middle East peace envoy, Blair said, "…the impact and the influence of Iran is everywhere. It is negative, destabilizing, it is supportive of terrorist groups and it is doing everything it can to impede progress in the Middle East process."
Blair said bluntly that US President Barack Obama is "too soft" with Iran. His critical remarks were directed equally at the Netanyahu government in Jerusalem, which closely aligns its Iran policy with that of Washington. Sources report opponents of military force against Iran have lately gained ground in Israel's top military and intelligence ranks.
Iran's state media do not even use the word "nuclear" in reporting on the talks taking place between the head of its national security council and a group made up of the US, China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK – calling them only a search for "common grounds for cooperation."
Ahead of the Istanbul meeting, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared: "100,000 resolutions (sanctions) will not divert us from our course."
2b)Lebanon's rumor mill at full throttle
As political crisis over Hariri probe deepens, citizens transfer savings from local pound into dollars, international students advised by some embassies to leave country. Bus driver: There will be a war, and it will be soon
Lebanon's rumor mill is at full throttle, sparking panic and spreading a sense of foreboding, as a seemingly insoluble political deadlock that has left the country without government deepens.
A gathering of Hezbollah supporters in many western Beirut neighborhoods on Tuesday sparked rumors of a dry run in preparation for a takeover of the capital.
Support of Walid Jumblatt crucial for any candidate trying to form new Lebanon government
Anonymous mobile telephone text messages and even printed fliers this week have warned citizens to flee the city before all hell breaks loose.
"I got a BlackBerry message yesterday saying that the situation was bad and that we should leave Beirut," said one marketing student at the Lebanese American University.
"A lot of my friends got the same message."
Television channels have been feeding the psychosis, flashing any minor incident or loud sound as latest news.
Even the scheduled departure from Lebanon of a Western ambassador this week also sparked rumors she had packed her bags and fled.
"Our nerves are frayed," said a resident of Achrafieh, a Christian quarter in eastern Beirut.
"Everyone is jumpy and any rumor sends us into frenzy."
One woman, whose family is loyal to the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, an ally of Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah, said she had been called home this week after a relative received a tip-off.
"My brother called me yesterday in complete hysterics," said the 25-year-old, who requested anonymity.
"He said he had gotten news that something was going to happen that afternoon, and I left my office in Hamra (in western Beirut) and went home," she told AFP.
Lebanon's rival parties are headed for a showdown Monday, as MPs head to the president's office to appoint a new premier after the Iranian-backed Hezbollah last week toppled the government of pro-Western premier Saad Hariri.
The government's collapse capped a long-running standoff over a UN investigation into the 2005 murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Saad's father.
The deadlock has sparked fears of a repeat of the events of May 2008, when a protracted political crisis spiraled into sectarian fighting that left 100 dead and saw the Hezbollah camp force the closure of the Beirut airport.
Alarmed Lebanese have also begun to throng banks across the country, transferring their savings from the local pound into dollars and withdrawing massive amounts, bank officials told AFP.
A UN official in Beirut said the organization's staff had also been advised to take extra precautions.
"It's incredible how panicked people are, withdrawing money and stocking up on water and food staples," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"They have created an atmosphere that is unbearable. The rumor mill is at full steam."
While embassies have not yet sent out travel warnings to their citizens in Lebanon, international students have been advised by some embassies to leave the country before the situation worsens, university officials said.
"Some Arab embassies including Jordan and Saudi Arabia called their students yesterday and advised them to leave the country given the current situation," an American University official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"Up until now, no one has left, but the university has asked all students to stay in their dorms and remain in contact with the dean of students."
Meanwhile, Lebanese across the country are doing their best to carry on with their daily lives.
But they cannot shake off the hovering fear that the next round of deadly violence is just around the corner.
"It's obvious that something is going to happen. After so many years, you learn to read the signs. All these feuding politicians are definitely not going to sit down and say a prayer together," said bus driver Hussein Ezzedine.
"There will be a war, and it will be soon. That's what I believe," the 56-year-old told AFP.
"Our rich leaders have the luxury to send their kids abroad, while we have to struggle with gas and bread prices on a day-to-day basis and worry about war and the safety of our children on top of that."
2c)In blow to Hariri, Jumblatt pledges support for Hizbullah
By ASSOCIATED PRESS AND JPOST STAFF
Druse leader makes announcement after saying he's under pressure, warned nominating Hariri would lead to "catastrophic consequences."
BEIRUT — A potential kingmaker in Lebanese politics threw his support Friday behind Hizbullah, a major boost to the Shi'ite militant group that brought down the country's Western-backed government last week.
Walid Jumblatt, the influential leader of the Druse sect, refused to say exactly how many lawmakers are with him, but his support is key for any candidate trying to form a government.
In recent days, Jumblatt has gone to Damascus for meetings with Hizbullah's patron, Syria.
"The party will stand firm in support of Syria and the resistance," Jumblatt told reporters, referring to Hizbullah by the popular term.
On Thursday, Jumblatt said he was under great pressure not to name Hariri as the government's next premier despite earlier statements throwing his support behind him, Lebanese paper an-Nahar reported.
He told members of his party that insisting on Hariri as the country's new prime minister would lead to "catastrophic consequences" for the security of the Druse party, himself, and the Druse population in Hizbullah-controlled areas. He added that things "have become greater than him and his ability to maintain the middle ground in a harsh battle in which Hariri's regional and international backers only resort to statements, while his opponents (Hizbullah) turn to all manners of military and popular pressure," according to the report.
Jumblatt said that he is under pressure to name former Lebanese prime minister Omar Karami in place of Hariri.
Lebanon is enduring a serious political crisis over a UN tribunal investigating the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Many fear Hizbullah will react violently if its members are named in the court's indictments, which is widely expected.
Ministers from Hizbullah and its allies walked out of the government, forcing its collapse, last week when Prime Minister Saad Hariri — the son of the slain statesman — refused to renounce the tribunal.
Once one of the most ardent supporters of the tribunal, Jumblatt on Friday launched a scathing attack on the court, saying it poses a "threat to national unity and national security."
The support of at least 65 lawmakers is required to form a government in Lebanon's 128-seat Parliament. Hizbullah and its allies already claim 57 seats.
Saad Hariri — who has stayed on as caretaker prime minister and will seek the post again — has 60.
Jumblatt refused to say whether he had secured the support of enough lawmakers to allow Hizbullah and its allies to form their own government. But he is known to have at least five from his 11-member bloc, which means he needed to get just three more to tip the balance.
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman will launch formal talks Monday on creating a new government, polling lawmakers on their choices before nominating a prime minister. According to Lebanon's power-sharing system, the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the parliament speaker a Shi'ite Muslim.
Each faith makes up about a third of Lebanon's population of 4 million.
Lengthy negotiations could lie ahead between Lebanon's Western-backed blocs and the Hizbullah led-alliance. If those fail, Lebanon could see a resurgence of the street protests and violence that have bedeviled the country in the past.
Hizbullah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, is Lebanon's most potent military force.
2d)Lebanon on the Brink
By HILLEL FRADKIN and LEWIS LIBBY
The perennial Middle East crisis known as Lebanon has entered a new phase with the fall of Sunni prime minister Saad Hariri’s government. The proximate cause of the government’s collapse was the withdrawal from Lebanon’s coalition Shiite and opposition ministers aligned with Hezbollah. They object to Hariri’s support for the U.N.-authorized Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) investigating the 2005 assassination of his father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. It’s little wonder —the Party of God’s general secretary Hassan Nasrallah fears that the STL will soon indict members of Hezbollah.
Such indictments would have significant implications for Hezbollah and its patrons in Syria and Iran, for Lebanese democrats, and even for Israel and the U.N. But the stakes are large for us, as well. America has, to this day, given its full rhetorical support to the tribunal. But, more importantly, that support reflected America’s long-term interest in a moderate government in Lebanon, and in reducing Syrian and Iranian influence at the Eastern edge of the Mediterranean. Our broader interests are entangled in the unfolding crisis in Lebanon.
More by Hillel Fradkin
Twilight of the Arabs
Blessing and Burden
Iran Won't Budge
Reading Ahmadinejad in Washington
Faith in Politics
The elder Hariri had opposed Syria’s and its allies’ chokehold on Lebanon. The truck bomb that ripped his life away left a crater in the streets and in Beirut’s politics, for the scale of the attack led many to suspect Hezbollah, aided by a foreign hand. Around that crater rose the Cedar Revolution of democratic forces that reclaimed their land and, with Western support, ultimately drove Syrian troops from Lebanese soil. Americans of both parties praised Lebanon’s new freedom. But punishment and further geopolitical consequences from the assassination were postponed pending the STL’s findings.
Knowing indictments would one day come, Hezbollah and its allies predictably delayed the investigation and prepared their defenses. Obdurate Lebanese pro-democracy figures have been killed or pressured. In May, 2008, Hezbollah seized the streets of Beirut and negotiated new political arrangements, as the West watched. Emboldened, a stronger Hezbollah has proclaimed that it would “cut off the hands” of any who serve indictments on its members. And now, with flair, Hezbollah has brought down Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s government while he visited the White House. “What a coincidence,” the State Department spokesman said acridly. If it was expected that Hariri would be quickly re-nominated to the post, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt’s decision to join officially the Hezbollah-led opposition, a choice apparently made under threat of violence, may forestall Hariri’s candidacy.
The region senses the new, compromised Lebanon bowing to the new reality – power, not justice, is in the air. Lebanon feels the pull of rising, unchecked powers that would claim Lebanon as their instrument against the West. Saad Hariri has had to pay obeisance in Damascus and Tehran to the patrons of his father’s alleged murderers. It would be nice to think that the son had learned that these patrons played no part in the crimes of the past or the defense of the guilty, but none in the region believe that to be his view. Meanwhile, Iran arms Hariri’s enemies, while some in Lebanon hail the self-proclaimed Shia champion of Islam. A more assertive Turkey enters as well; when his government fell, Hariri did not linger in Washington, but quickly went to Ankara.
Now comes the next phase of this prolonged race between a legal process and an armed resistance. If the indictments so long in coming go long unfulfilled, if they leave untouched those widely believed to have instigated the assassination, then the region will conclude that the victims and their friends have little will left for this fight.
This will mark the final success of the perpetrators’ strategy. They will have understood well the lands against which they plotted. Pursuing these indictments will bring violence, or even civil war, Western experts on the politics of the Levant say, adding with knowing resignation that few there want more violence now. That, as far as it goes, may be true enough. But the judgments of the democrats in Beirut are based on the forces they have come to know for six bloody years. They have no cause to suspect that those who killed in 2005 have abandoned their goals. By contrast, Western support will seem to have brought but temporary solace to our friends; the Cedar Revolution, which began with a bang, may leave only smoke.
The finely tuned ears in the region have not failed to catch the sounds of Washington edging toward the door. Just last week, before sealed indictments were filed, Secretary Clinton, echoed by the State Department spokesman, already pronounced our readiness to treat charges as limited to “individuals,” not “the groups to which they belong.” This must strike oddly Middle Easterners, who have long heard us call Hezbollah a “terrorist organization” and repeatedly proclaim that the U.S. is determined to end impunity for political murder in Lebanon.
Ironically, even as the Saad Hariri government fell, Secretary Clinton lectured the region on the virtues of political courage and the strength of American will. In Doha, she urged Arab leaders “to put away plans that are timid and gradual” and make bold, democratic reforms. “This is a test of leadership for all of us,” said Clinton. “I am here to pledge my country’s support for those who step up to solve the problems that we and you face.” Did some in the chamber think, “Lebanon?”
The Hezbollah leader, in his first public comments since toppling the government, mocked America’s empty promises of support. He publicly warned Hariri that the West had promptly turned on its former ally, the recently toppled leader of Tunisia, by denying him sanctuary.
In days to come, the region will recall Hariri’s fate, much as the assassins intended. If your friends can neither protect you nor deter attacks to come, then you best curb your course or face your fate. There is nothing exotic in this wisdom of Beirut; it sounds the same coming from the streets of old Chicago.
The West stumbles forward along the precipice of a slow motion defeat. Lebanon’s complexities focus us too often on the tactical, but it is the strategic shift to which the region responds. It has been years, not days in the making. Democratic forces in Lebanon have been the best, most peaceful, long-term hope for containing the terrorists of Hezbollah and blunting the forward edge of Iranian power. Tremors will be felt in the Arab-Israeli dispute and in countering radicalization across the region. Prospects for peace grow dimmer.
The future of a region that we still call vital lies in the shadows of such troubled places as Lebanon. We may have a limited taste for bearing burdens in such places; but then we should not be surprised at the course events take or the price we pay in the end.
Hillel Fradkin is director of the Center on Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World at the Hudson Institute. Lewis Libby is senior vice president of the Hudson Institute.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3)The Recession has hit everybody.....
America's CEO's are now playing miniature golf.
Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.
Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.
My cousin had an exorcism but couldn't afford to pay for it, and they re-possessed her!
A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.
A picture is now only worth 200 words.
When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now share a room.
The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.
Congress says they are looking into this Bernard Madoff scandal. Oh Great! The guy who made $50 Billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $1.5 Trillion disappear!
The cost of batteries has gone sky high so wives are back to making love to their husbands.
I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., I called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call center in Pakistan , and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.
4)China: Danger Before the Doom?
By J. Robert Smith
With Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington, there's a lot of talk about the rise of China as an economic and military power. But the Chinese may have only a small window in time to assert global dominance -- and Chinese leaders have to know it. China is, perhaps, twenty years from the start of a demographic implosion, one that will cause enormous internal strains, economically and socially.
Could awareness of the hard demographic realities that lie ahead for China drive the Chinese to advance their interests militarily, if need be, before China is hampered by an aging population? Will the Chinese military, alarmed by the coming demographic crisis, push its nation to imperialism, similar to that inflicted on Asia-Pacific by the Japanese through World War II?
An increasingly assertive Chinese military may be providing the answer. Chinese leaders -- party and military -- may well appreciate that China needs to secure its position as a great power before tackling the huge challenges of a graying population.
The root of China's coming demographic crisis is the nation's longstanding one-child policy; that policy has markedly skewed the Chinese population older. Not far off, many more old people and fewer young people mean greater strains on China.
Neil Howe and Richard Jackson, with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in the Washington Post about China's demographic plight:
Consider China, which may be the first country to grow old before it grows rich. For the past quarter-century, China has been "peacefully rising," thanks in part to a one-child policy that has allowed both parents to work and contribute to China's boom. But by the 2020s, as the huge Red Guard generation born before the country's fertility decline moves into retirement, they will tax the resources of their children and the state. China's coming age wave -- by 2030 it will be an older country than the United States -- may weaken the two pillars of the current regime's legitimacy: rapidly rising GDP and social stability. Imagine workforce growth slowing to zero while tens of millions of elders sink into indigence without pensions, without health care and without children to support them. China could careen toward social collapse -- or, in reaction, toward an authoritarian clampdown.
Howe and Jackson aren't alone in their assessment of China's future. AT's Thomas Lifson notes that because Chinese parents widely prefer that their one child be a male, aborting female fetuses, there will be about 40 million bachelor males in 2020 unable to find a female spouse. Not only does this reduce births, it provides an ample supply of unattached males suitable for military service.
Rodger Baker wrote recently at Stratfor about the end of China's economic miracle in the "not-so-distant future." But the Baker article chiefly addresses the evolution of the Chinese military into a broader leadership role within the country.
For three decades now, the Chinese have been reorienting its military from a primarily land-based border defense to a military that can project its strength in the air, on blue water, and through advanced weapons' technology and systems.
Baker writes that China's rapid economic expansion has led to China's dependence on resources across the globe. China, though not a resource-poor island like Japan, has an estimated population of 1.33 billion. Economic growth and growing consumer demands require that the Chinese obtain resources overseas. China's leadership is seeking to project military power to ostensibly protect vital sea lanes to ensure access to raw materials.
But one wonders if China's buildup in projectable military power doesn't allow for a contingency. China, facing an end to its economic miracle, and facing a demographic crisis in a mere twenty years, may find its beefed up military useful in securing resources sooner through intimidation or, in some cases, through outright seizure -- particularly in Asia, where China's military would have its strongest reach.
Stratfor's Baker writes that the growing power of China's military leaders is permitting Chinese officers to insert themselves into a range of issues that the Chinese military, heretofore, played only a secondary role.
Over the past year, Chinese military officers have made their opinions known, quite openly in Chinese and sometimes even foreign media. They have addressed not only military issues but also Chinese foreign policy and international relations.[i]
Though no parallel is perfect -- and as odious as the parallel may be to the Chinese -- there's a disquieting similarity between the rise of imperial Japan and China's rise today. In Japan, the Meiji government (1868-1912) played a primary role in the rapid modernization and industrialization of the Japanese economy. The government, along with Japanese plutocrats, procured Western technology to accelerate modernization -- not only of Japan's economy but military.
In those years, Japan developed into a mercantilist economy, depending on raw materials from abroad to manufacture at home. As Japan moved into the 1920s and 1930s, so grew the country's nationalism and militarism. Japanese militarism and conquest in Asia-Pacific were driven by the aim to create a "sphere of influence" in Asia-Pacific, whereby raw materials access and access to Asian markets would be guaranteed.
The rise of modern China begins with Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s. Deng's rule started China's Meiji period, a period still underway. By all accounts, China isn't yet militarily strong enough to contend with the United States for dominance in Asia-Pacific, but China is making noticeable strides.
The United States Defense Department, in its yearly report to Congress about China ("Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China - 2010"), states:
The pace and scope of China's military modernization have increased over the past decade, enabling China's armed forces to develop capabilities to contribute to the delivery of international public goods, as well as increase China's options for using military force to gain diplomatic advantage or resolve disputes in its favor. [Italics added]
The Defense Department report also notes:
China's leaders describe the initial decades of the 21st century as a "strategic window of opportunity," meaning that regional and international conditions will generally be conducive to China's rise to regional preeminence and global influence, and seek to prolong that window of opportunity as much as possible.
But the Defense Department report highlights a number of factors that could turn China from the peaceful path of international cooperation and competition to an adversarial approach. Two factors are worth mentioning, per the Defense Department report:
Continued economic development remains the foundation of the Party's popular legitimacy and underwrites its military power. Unexpected increases in resource demand, global resource shortages or price shocks, or restricted access to resources, could affect China's strategic outlook and behavior, and might force its leadership to re-examine its resource allocation priorities, including those for the military. [Italics added]
Demographic stresses will increase in the future, creating a structural constraint on China's ability to sustain high growth rates.
To the United States' credit, the nation is anticipating possible threats from an "imperial" China. The United States has a quiet, ongoing effort to strengthen or develop strategic alliances throughout Asia-Pacific, most notably with Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, and Vietnam. The United States is also pushing a "counter basing" strategy, in which Guam figures prominently.
Will China act militarily to secure its place as a great power more quickly, given the demographic crisis it faces in just twenty years? That question may loom larger sooner than most Americans now suspect.
4a)Despite Lovefest, U.S.-China Tensions Will Mount
By Massimo Calabresi
The reason Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao went to such great lengths during Wednesday's White House lovefest to declare that the U.S. and China can get along in peace and prosperity for years to come is that neither man is convinced they will. In fact, the U.S. and China are entering a dangerous two-year period during which the pressures for confrontation are as likely to build as they are to abate.
It was partly in the hope of defusing already mounting pressures on both sides that Obama and Hu went to such lengths of civility. Major power centers on both sides want a more confrontational policy. The Chinese military, driven by nationalism and self-interest, has accelerated its push for a blue-water navy and expanded its claim to the South China Sea. State-run industries, and their protectionist backers in the State Council, have sought to tighten access to China's manufacturing contracts. And the propaganda department of the Chinese Communist Party has heightened the rhetoric of confrontation.
At the same time in the U.S., calls for economic punishment of Beijing are growing louder — and more politically popular. In September, the House passed by 348 votes to 79 a bill that would slap tariffs on China's exports in retaliation for it manipulating its currency value, which the bill's authors believe drives up the price of U.S. products and costs Americans their jobs. That legislation came close to passing the Senate in the final days of the lame-duck session, when Senators from both parties tried to "hotline" it straight to the floor of the chamber where it could pass without a vote while no one was looking. A GOP Senator called the cloakroom hours before the bill was to reach the floor and put a hold on it.
The Administration has been eyeing the mounting tension with concern. "It's very dangerous because at the moment you have both in China this deeply nationalist, insecure, fear-ambition-arrogance thing going on," says a senior Administration official, "and you have a bunch of Americans who are scared and angry and feel it's all unfair."
Some U.S. officials hope that last year's confrontations are behind the U.S. and China and that Beijing learned that its own interests were jeopardized by taking a hard line with Washington. Senior Administration officials argue that the deployment of the U.S.S. George Washington carrier battle group in the Yellow Sea following North Korea's unprovoked attack on a South Korean island last fall sent a message that Beijing's unwillingness to rein in Pyongyang would bring unwelcome consequences. Likewise the growing unease of neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan, which had been drifting toward China but more recently became spooked by its more aggressive behavior, has convinced China's political leaders to tone it down, the White House argues.
But top U.S. officials fear that the next two years could generate more trigger points for confrontation as both the U.S. and Chinese political systems gear up for a transition of power. In China, Hu is to be replaced as President in 2012, and everyone's job is on the line, including those of reformers who would like to move the economy in the direction of freer market reforms. Toughness rather than accommodation to U.S. demands will be the order of the day.
In the U.S., candidates looking to focus their campaign rhetoric on jobs will find an easy target in China's manipulation of the value of its currency. "We had a period of time around the [midterm] elections where there were a lot of races where there were ads that were quite negative about China and members who supported engagement were criticized," says Myron Brilliant of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He expects that to be worse in the coming presidential election cycle.
Hu got a taste of that mounting anger Thursday when he went to the Hill for meetings with members of Congress. The meetings were private, but accounts of the discussions suggest the legislators were significantly less welcoming than the White House had been. House Speaker John Boehner registered his party's "strong, ongoing concerns with reports of human-rights violations in China, including the denial of religious freedom and the use of coercive abortion." The new GOP chair of the House Foreign Relations committee, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, gave Hu a letter expressing "grave concerns" over human rights, currency manipulation and Chinese aggressiveness.
So it's not surprising that Hu and Obama tried so hard to make the relationship appear healthy and improving. But it will take more than nice talk to push back against the powerful confrontational currents that are building in both countries as they head into a period of political transition.
4b)Lawrence Solomon: China’s coming fall
By Lawrence Solomon
Like the Soviet Union before it, much of China’s supposed boom is illusory — and just as likely to come crashing down
In 1975, while I was in Siberia on a two-month trip through the U.S.S.R., the illusion of the Soviet Union’s rise became self-evident. In the major cities, the downtowns seemed modern, comparable to what you might see in a North American city. But a 20-minute walk from the centre of downtown revealed another world — people filling water buckets at communal pumps at street corners. The U.S.S.R. could put a man in space and dazzle the world with scores of other accomplishments yet it could not satisfy the basic needs of its citizens. That economic system, though it would largely fool the West until its final collapse 15 years later, was bankrupt, and obviously so to anyone who saw the contradictions in Soviet society.
The Chinese economy today parallels that of the latter-day Soviet Union — immense accomplishments co-existing with immense failures. In some ways, China’s stability today is more precarious than was the Soviet Union’s before its fall. China’s poor are poorer than the Soviet Union’s poor, and they are much more numerous — about one billion in a country of 1.3 billion. Moreover, in the Soviet Union there was no sizeable middle class — just about everyone was poor and shared in the same hardships, avoiding resentments that might otherwise have arisen.
In China, the resentments are palpable. Many of the 300 million people who have risen out of poverty flaunt their new wealth, often egregiously so. This is especially so with the new class of rich, all but non-existent just a few years ago, which now includes some 500,000 millionaires and 200 billionaires. Worse, the gap between rich and poor has been increasing. Ominously, the bottom billion views as illegitimate the wealth of the top 300 million.
How did so many become so rich so quickly? For the most part, through corruption. Twenty years ago, the Communist Party decided that “getting rich is glorious,” giving the green light to lawless capitalism. The rulers in China started by awarding themselves and their families the lion’s share of the state’s resources in the guise of privatization, and by selling licences and other access to the economy to cronies in exchange for bribes. The system of corruption, and the public acceptance of corruption, is now pervasive — even minor officials in government backwaters are now able to enrich themselves handsomely.
This ethos of corruption is captured in a popular song in China, I want to marry a government official, whose lyrics explain why an official makes for a good matrimonial catch: “He has power, a car and house; He only needs to drink tea and read the newspaper during work; He never spends his own money on cigarettes and alcohol; He can get free food every day; He can get promoted by only kissing his boss’s ass.”
If the corruption were limited to awarding contracts to friends and giving mines, power plants, and other public assets to relatives, the upset among the poor, who would realize some trickle-down benefits, would be constrained. In fact, the corruption deprives the poor of their homes, livelihoods, health and lives.
Take golf courses, a status symbol among China’s new rich. To obtain the immense tracts of land needed near urban markets, developers have been cooking up deals with local officials that see land expropriated and typically tens of thousands of residents and businesses evicted per golf course, generally with unfair compensation. Although the construction of new golf courses is officially banned, thousands more are expected to be built in the next few years.
Golf courses aside, countless other real estate developments abetted by officialdom likewise wipe out entire communities. Then there are resource projects such as hydro dams that can displace numerous people and businesses — the Three Gorges Dam alone displaced several million people.
The corruption extends to the enforcement of regulatory standards for health and safety, which few in China trust. In recent years China has endured a tainted milk scandal and a tainted blood scandal, each of which implicated corrupt officials in widespread death and debilitation. In a devastating 2008 earthquake, some 90,000 perished, one-third of them children buried alive in 7,000 shoddily built “tofu schools” that skimped on materials. Nearby buildings for the elites that met building standards, including a school for the children of the rich, were largely unscathed.
The government tries to tamp down the outrage over the abuses inflicted on the public by banning demonstrations and censoring the Internet. But it is failing. Year by year, the number of demonstrations increases. Last year alone saw 100,000 such protests across the county, directly involving tens and indirectly perhaps hundreds of millions of protesters.
China is a powder keg that could explode at any moment. And if it does explode, chaos could ensue — as the Chinese are only too well aware, the country has a brutal history of carnage at the hands of unruly mobs. For this reason, corrupt officials inside China, likely by the tens of thousands, have made contingency plans, obtaining foreign passports, buying second homes abroad, establishing their families and businesses abroad, or otherwise planning their escapes. Also for this reason, much of the middle class supports the government’s increasingly repressive efforts.
What might set off that spark? It could be high unemployment, should China be unable to control inflation or the housing bubble that now looms. It could be another natural disaster such as the 2008 earthquake which spawned outrage — rapidly organized via cellphones and the Internet — that the government had difficulty containing. It could be a manmade disaster — many fear that a “tofu dam” might fail, leading to hundreds of thousands of downstream victims.
Whatever might set off that spark, it is only a matter of time. The government shows no interest in relaxing its grip on power — if it did so, the officials in power might face retribution.
Meanwhile, we in the West see a China that by all measures is becoming stronger and stronger, not realizing that it is also becoming more and more brittle. The Soviet regime, when it fell, went out with a whimper. China’s will more likely go out with a bang. No regime can contain the grievances of a billion people for long.
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and Urban Renaissance Institute, and the author of The Deniers.