Putin opens Benghazi door for Obama
Russian President Vladimir Putin's statement of solidarity with the United
States over the crisis in Libya - so strikingly different to "I-told-you-so"
homilies from China - amounts to a dramatic call for new thinking to mould the
Arab Spring. Were Barack Obama to take the hint and work with Russian views on
the political transformation of Syria, a new vista of possibilities would open.
- M K Bhadrakumar (Sep 14, '12)
where art thou?
The US administration is struggling to come to grips with the rage in the
Middle East and North Africa. It's not just that America's medieval bedmates,
the Salafi-jihadis, are showing their true colors; that was predictable. More
complex is its recent love affair with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood - now also
shaky. Still, Barack Obama has a few arrows left in his quiver - at home, the
foreign-policy ignorance of the Romney Republicans, and abroad, lots and lots
- Pepe Escobar (Sep 14, '12)
A tale of two (China vs US) stimuli
The world is in a Dickensian dilemma, with two starkly different models of
economic stimulus - China's and America's. Viewed rationally, China's favored
path to prosperity is now riddled with too many holes to be followed in the
long term, while the US has its own, very different, problems. However,
rationality is beside the point in both economies: Ideology is guiding the
debate, not toward heavenly success but "direct the other way". - Peter Lee
(Sep 14, '12)
General ducks Afghan scandal
Lieutenant General William B Caldwell, a former NATO commander in Afghanistan,
denied he blocked a corruption probe into "Auschwitz-like" conditions at a
military hospital because US congressional elections were looming at the time.
The hearing where Caldwell made the claim itself reflects lack of interest in
Washington in a scandal significant enough to warrant national debate.
- Gareth Porter (Sep 14, '12)
Rockets are launched during a live-fire training exercise in the South Korean
border county of Cheorwon. Some 28,500 US troops are based in South Korea under
a mutual defense pact to deter the North Korean threat, with the two Koreas
technically still at war.
Philippines on frontline of
The Philippines, among the countries affected by China's response to the United
States' Asian "pivot", is shifting closer to Washington - much to Beijing's
chagrin. That reliance will grow unless Manila can find a more creative,
multilateral stance. If rival territorial claims were to spark armed conflict,
there is no guarantee the US would intervene. - Richard Javad Heydarian
of John Kiriakou
In the now distant past, torture was considered a no-no in the American way of
war - at least for students of the subject. Now it is a commonplace hedged
around only by the small-print of bureaucrats and lawyers. The big sin is to
admit it takes place - as the case of whistleblower John Kiriakou attests.
- Peter Van Buren (Sep 14, '12)
by Bertil Lintner
Seemingly insignificant stopovers by US diplomats in Asia-Pacific backwaters
are one pointer to the expansion of Chinese interests in the region. The author
has done an excellent job of tracing the country's increased role over the past
three decades, but the absence of some developments means the work already
seems dated. - Kent Ewing (Sep 14, '12)
Japan and China on a conflicting
The latest handling of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands row showcases obvious
misperceptions between China and Japan. In so far as China's repeated claim on
the disputed islands is not recognized by Tokyo, Japan's purchase plan is seen
in Beijing as a serious encroachment. - Karl Lee
(Sep 14, '12)
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THE ROVING EYE
Mr Blowback rising
The attack on the US consulate in Benghazi may have been just an out-of-control
protest against a crude movie produced by an Israeli-American certified
Islamophobe - or a determined response to the death by drone of al-Qaeda number
2 (and former "freedom fighter"), the Libyan Abu Yahya al-Libi. Either way, Mr
Blowback has his day - again. So what now? Who're you gonna bomb? Who're you
gonna drone to death next?
- Pepe Escobar (Sep 13, '12)
Perfect storm over Libya
Diverse and powerful agendas converged unexpectedly in a tinderbox of tension
to make the Benghazi consulate attack happen. Whatever United States officials
say, the attack is likely to have serious repercussions on US policy in Libya
and the Middle East, shifting the nuances of debate in the White House.
- Victor Kotsev (Sep 13, '12)
Cambodia helps squeeze
Cambodia's deportation to Sweden of Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, co-founder of the
Pirate Bay file-sharing site, is shrouded by questionable processes and
doubtful justifications. Two things do seem plausible - his removal is linked
to US efforts to gain revenge for WikiLeaks, and Cambodia has again shown
willing to "export" wanted foreigners for cash.
- Justine Drennan (Sep 13, '12)
NAM to boost Palestinian cause at
Israel, backed by its Western allies, has been very successful at obscuring the
Palestinian issue under such smokescreens as Iran's "nuclear threat". The
recent Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran paved the way to put the issue
back in the international spotlight where it belongs. The NAM declaration on
Palestinian solidarity will ensure the issue gets a proper hearing at the
upcoming summit of the UN General Assembly.
- Kaveh L Afrasiabi (Sep 13, '12)
Tribals blame Haqqani offshoot for
A bomb-blast that took the lives of at least 14 Shi'ites and injured scores
more in a busy Pakistani tribal area marketplace has left furious Shi'ite and
Sunni elders pointing the blame at an offshoot of the US-proscribed Haqqani
Network, which earlier vowed not to slaughter innocent Muslims.
- Malik Ayub Sumbal (Sep 13, '12)
India scores in space
The Indian Space Research Organization has demonstrated its ability to deliver
in spite of being a state-owned entity with its 100th successful mission,
sending French and Japanese satellites into orbit from its space center north
of Chennai. Fifty-eight more money-earning missions are already on the books,
but the big target is Mars.
- Siddharth Srivastava (Sep 13, '12)
US election sets poser for Taiwan
At first glance, it would appear from the Republicans' campaign bluster that a
Mitt Romney administration would be a boon for Taipei at Beijing's expense, but
neither major Taiwanese party is betting heavily on that. In the first place,
campaign rhetoric is often quickly forgotten once a candidate is installed in
the Oval Office. In the second, the new state of cross-strait relations has
changed the rules of the game.
- Jens Kastner (Sep 13, '12)
Point of no return in the South China Sea
As tensions over rival territorial claims in the South China Sea rise to
worrying levels, serious actions are required to turn back from a point of no
return. In this effort, much will be expected from the United States and China
to lead the way toward stability.
- Nazery Khalid (Sep 13, '12)
Turkey does u-turn on trans-Caspian
Ankara, which a decade ago failed to capitalize on the first trans-Caspian
pipeline, is now revisiting the project, aligning itself with the European
Union, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in supporting the transportation of Turkmen
gas to Turkey and onward to Europe. - Vladimir Socor
(Sep 13, '12)
Ground Zero redux
A walk in the dead of a New York night to Ground Zero, where our
post-apocalyptic modernity began 11 years ago is to hear the echoes and sense
the ghosts of when it became evident, even under a thick shroud of
as-yet-unanswered questions, that turbo-capitalism is not only in crisis;
turbo-capitalism, in shorthand, IS crisis.
- Pepe Escobar (Sep 11, '12)
Pakistan to industrial realities
The deaths of nearly 300 people in a garment factory blaze in Karachi have
exposed the grim, corrupt intimacy of industrialists and authorities in
Pakistan's industrial and financial hub. Laws and regulations are ignored and
unions curbed in the pursuit of profit, already squeezed by extortionist gangs
and dire energy shortages. - Syed Fazl-e-Haider
The Asian management myth
Countless volumes have been written, and numerous PowerPoint presentations
compiled, to look at whether managing in an Asian environment differs from
managing in a Western environment. Close study reveals, however, that most
alleged differences are matters of nuance rather than substance. - Raja
Thuraisingham and Antony Feeny
Apple harvest - for free
Apple's launch of its latest smartphone model, the iPhone5, has been marked by
hype and the revelation that tens of thousands of students and school interns
have been coerced into producing the gadget without pay. That did not prevent
the company's share price surging on its launch.
Martin J Young surveys the week's developments in computing, science,
gaming and gizmos.
CREDIT BUBBLE BULLETIN
Diverging like it's 1929
The European Central Bank's "Draghi Plan" and the Federal Reserve's open-ended
quantitative easing in the United States effectively puts "shorts" in the
crosshairs worldwide. The destabilizing effect is all too reminiscent of 1929.
Doug Noland looks at the previous week's events each Monday.
|TONY ALLISON (1953-2012)
Asia Times Online's Editor-in-Chief Anthony Allison died on June 20 after a
short illness. We extend our sympathy to Tony's family for their tragic and
bids for peace
Uzbek President Islam Karimov has a reputation for blunt talking. But his
mastery lies in nuancing his bluntness, such as warning that wars could erupt
in Central Asia over water disputes. It may sound a contrarian trait but then
Karimov is a leader of many parts ... - M K Bhadrakumar
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