China’s Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage

China, Policies

China’s Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage

A 2013 book by Hannas and two other contributors to the present volume focused on the many ways that China gets hold of advanced U.S. technology. Since then, as reported by contributors to this new, deeply researched and sophisticated volume, the Chinese government has vastly increased its technology-acquisition programs, not only in the United States but also in Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Europe.

As before, some Chinese methods are illegal, such as hacking and theft, but many are carried out in the open, including investing in foreign companies, conducting joint research projects with foreign universities and companies, using “talent programs” to bring Chinese and non-Chinese scientists to China, and offering returned scholars venture capital to start businesses. Thousands of university centers, technology-transfer parks, and startup incubators convert the imported technology into products that increase China’s competitiveness, upgrade its military, or strengthen the government’s ability to control society.

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Russia: Frustrating Foreign Wars

Demographic, Russia

Russia: Frustrating Foreign Wars

Russia admits that about a third of its population is living in poverty. Many Russians, and foreign economists, believe the real rate is nearly 70 percent. Russian living standards have suffered continuous disasters since 2013 when the price of the major export (oil and has) fell by more than half and has not recovered. In 2014 Russia declared it was at war with NATO and Ukraine. That resulted in economic sanctions that have gotten worse since then. When the current Russian government took power in 2000 it became very popular by keeping a key campaign promise; to reduce the poverty rate. The poverty rate fell from 29 percent of the population in 2000 to just under 12 percent in 2012.

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Identity Politics With Chinese Characteristics

China, Demographic

Identity Politics With Chinese Characteristics

What is China? The answer is less obvious than it seems. Is the vast territory primarily a country, a civilization, or a political construct? Is it an empire or a nation-state? Is it a region with different languages and cultures or a (mostly) homogeneous people in which the great majority are closely connected by common traditions and ancestors?

For most of the past two millennia, the area known today as China was the center of empires. Some of those empires were large, extending into Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, and the northern Pacific. Others were smaller, containing only parts of present-day China. At times, the area was made up of a number of small states competing for influence, in patterns not unlike what existed in Europe after the fall of Rome. But, in general, empire has been the rule rather than the exception.

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Leadership: Russia Faces Four Front War

Demographic, Russia

Leadership: Russia Faces Four Front War

For over a decade Russia has been preparing for the dreaded four front war. How did it come to this? It wasn’t easy or preordained. It took a century of bad decisions, botched diplomacy and internal misrule to make it happen. It’s one of those Russian traditions that has evolved into a curse.

A century ago, Russia only feared war on one front, the one facing West. The Western Front was where Russia fought Germany and Austria-Hungary for three years during World War I, before conceding defeat. Russia was forced to ask for a peace deal because it turned out Russia had severe internal problems and another revolution. This was caused by the economic disruption and heavy casualties of the war. This was the second such crises of the 20th century and the primary demand was an end to the war, and the monarchy. Then things got worse as the second revolution escalated into a civil war that went on longer that Russian participation in World War I. The democratic government that won the first revolution and signed the peace treaty that got Russia out of the world war, then lost to a smaller radical socialist (communist) faction that brought back stricter and bloodier autocratic rule than the monarchy ever imposed.

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Climate Migration: An Impending Global Challenge

Immigration, Policies

Climate Migration: An Impending Global Challenge

For months, we have watched the crisis at the Mexican border as migrants tried to enter the U.S. In March, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office estimated that there were 171,700 people attempting to cross the border—the highest number in 20 years. About 30 percent were families, of which one third were refused entry under Title 42, a public health statute.

The number of unaccompanied children arriving and being held in custody in U.S. border shelters hit over 5,700 in March. And this week, five unaccompanied girls between the ages of seven and 11 months were found at the Texas-Mexico border. While a migrant surge occurs every year as people come to the U.S. for seasonal work, the record number of children being sent by themselves is likely a sign of desperate conditions back home.

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The Case Against a New Concert of Powers

Demographic, Wild Cards

The Case Against a New Concert of Powers

Global politics today is a mess, and it can be tempting to turn to history for clues about how to clean it up, as Richard Haass and Charles Kupchan did recently in “The New Concert of Powers” (March 23). But one must be careful to learn the right lessons. Haass and Kupchan argue that the nineteenth-century Concert of Europe provides a model for managing great-power relations, avoiding major wars, and balancing an imbalanced world. These are worthy goals, but the Concert of Europe failed to achieve them—and so would any new organization inspired by it.

In 1815, Austria, France, Prussia, Russia, and the United Kingdom founded the concert to maintain their power and stabilize a continent roiled by wars and revolutionary uprisings. The concert is sometimes depicted as producing a golden age of diplomacy: a time when diplomats and statesmen fostered mutual respect, maintained a balance of power, avoided one another’s spheres of influence, and eschewed war in favor of joint sorties to the opera and late-night discussions over whiskey and cigars.

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The controversial future of nuclear power in the U.S.

Energy, Policies

The controversial future of nuclear power in the U.S.

As the climate crisis worsens, the discussion intensifies over what role nuclear power should play in fighting it.

Cold War on Trial: Truth Commission details horrible crimes akin to Native American genocide and slavery

Other Atrocities, State War, Threats

Cold War on Trial: Truth Commission details horrible crimes akin to Native American genocide and slavery

With a new Cold War heating up between the U.S. and Russia and China, Witness for Peace Southwest, Addicted to War and CodePink organized a Truth Commission on the original Cold War on March 21st, which brought together the testimony of historians, activists and others who lived through the period.

Following a hearing three years ago, the Zoom event was hosted by Frank Dorrel, publisher of the popular anti-war text Addicted to War, and Rachel Bruhnke, a high school Spanish teacher and member of Witness for Peace Southwest.

In her opening remarks, Bruhnke emphasized that the Cold War should rank as one of three great crimes in U.S. history, the first two being the genocide of the native Americans, and enslavement of African-Americans.

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This crisis is different’: the dramatic rebound in the global economy

Economy, Policies

This crisis is different’: the dramatic rebound in the global economy

From an economic point of view, it is almost as if the last year was just a bad dream.

As recently as October, the IMF was warning that coronavirus will cause “lasting damage” to living standards across the world with any recovery likely to be “long, uneven and uncertain”.

Yet the forecast it released this week is very different. By 2024, the IMF now believes, the US economy is likely to be stronger than it had predicted before the pandemic. For most advanced economies, it says, there will be only limited scars from the crisis.

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8 Events that Led to World War I

State War, Threats

8 Events that Led to World War I

World War I, which lasted from 1914 until 1918, introduced the world to the horrors of trench warfare and lethal new technologies such as poison gas and tanks. The result was some of the most horrific carnage the world had ever seen, with more than 16 million military personnel and civilians losing their lives.

It also radically altered the map, leading to the collapse of the sprawling Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and Russian empires that had existed for centuries, and the formation of new nations to take their place. Long after the last shot had been fired, the political turmoil and social upheaval continued, and ultimately led to another, even bigger and bloodier global conflict two decades later.

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