Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Xi In Moscow

Call me anytime: Zelenskyy plays the long game with Xi Jinping Ukraine is conspicuously diplomatic in its dealings with Vladimir Putin’s top ally.
What Zelenskyy should know before he talks with Xi
Russia and China want to disrupt the world order, NSC spokesperson says “They’d like to rewrite the rules of the game globally,” John Kirby said.
Xi Jinping visits Moscow to meet Putin (March 20)
Blinken slams Xi for providing ‘diplomatic cover’ to Putin during Moscow visit
Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin meet in Moscow, discuss Chinese peace plan for Ukraine Washington and its allies are skeptical that Xi can be an honest broker; US urges China and Russia to ‘respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity’ ....... The two leaders meet for 4.5 hours, and Russian media reports that Putin ‘went out into the street’ to see Xi off as they parted, a rare move for him .
Xi Jinping says China ready to ‘stand guard over world order’ on Moscow visit Chinese leader expected to position himself as peacemaker but US condemns Xi for providing ‘diplomatic cover’ for atrocities in Ukraine .
Putin rips West as trying to stifle Russia, China's 'development,’ while Xi arrives in Moscow
Putin and Xi prepare for second day of talks in Moscow as Japanese PM heads to Ukraine Chinese and Russian leaders to discuss Ukraine in formal talks after friendly dinner, while Fumio Kishida meets Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv .
China bills itself as a Ukraine peacemaker but US says Xi’s talks with Putin provide ‘diplomatic cover’ for war
Xi: China's proposal on Ukraine reflects unity of global views Xi has been seeking to present China as a global peacemaker and project it as a responsible great power.

20 years on, George W. Bush’s promise of democracy in Iraq and Middle East falls short the main arguments for the invasion: that there were weapons of mass destruction. ....... “it turned out that the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and in some cases deliberately misleading.” ........ “The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution,” Bush said in November 2003. He also said that the U.S. would be pursuing a “forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East.” ........ In 2003, there was indeed, as Bush noted, a “freedom deficit” in the Middle East, where repressive authoritarian regimes dominated the region. Yet, in spite of tremendous upheaval in the Middle East over the past two decades, many authoritarian regimes remain deeply entrenched. ......... The non-profit group Freedom House evaluates countries in terms of democratic institutions and whether they have free and fair elections, as well as people’s civil rights and liberties, such as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and a free press. Freedom House rates each country and its level of democracy on a scale from 2 to 14, from “mostly free” to “least free.” ............ In 2003, the average Freedom House score for an Arab League member was 11.45 – far more authoritarian than the global average of 6.75 at the time. ......... the Freedom House report in 2003 classified a little over 46% of all countries as “free,” but no country in the Arab League met that threshold. ......... The fall of Hussein’s regime in April 2003 produced a nominally more democratic Iraq. But after fighting a series of sectarian insurgencies in Iraq over an eight-year period, the U.S. ultimately left behind a weak and deeply divided government. .......... Rivalry between Iraq’s three main groups – the Sunni and Shiite Muslims as well as the Kurds, the largest ethnic minority in the country – paralyzed early attempts at political reorganization. ........

in 2023, Freedom House continues to score Iraq as “Not Free” in its measure of democracy.

........ In 2014, widespread protest movements associated with the Arab Spring toppled dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya. In other countries, such as Morocco and Jordan, monarchs were able to offer concessions to people and remain in control by delaying public spending cuts, for example, and replacing government ministers. ........ In Egypt, the military has reasserted itself and the country has slid steadily back to authoritarianism. In Yemen, the political vaccum created by the protests marked the start of a devastating civil war. ........ The average Freedom House democracy score for members of the Arab League is today 11.45 — the same as it was on the eve of the Iraq invasion. ........... It is hard to know if a different approach might have yielded better results. ...... the vision of an Iraq as an inspiration for a democratic transformation of the Middle East has not come to pass.

The collapse of major US banks leads to bills calling for more regulation bipartisan-backed deregulation in 2018 led to the banks’ collapse ......... lax government policy that included overspending – which Barr says, fueled inflation, as well as long-term low interest rates – not deregulation, was behind the banks’ failures. ........ banks with US$50 billion in assets be subject to strict standards ....... But the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act of 2018 loosened the standards, raising the asset threshold to $250 billion, meaning fewer banks were under strict controls. ........ During 2022, Silvergate’s deposit base grew dramatically, almost doubling its assets to $210 billion. But the bank did not have either the administrative capacity or market demand to lend out all of the money, as banks normally do. So, it invested the excess deposits in Treasury bonds and mortgage investment products. ......... Industry leaders, among them Greg Becker, CEO of Silicon Valley Bank, lobbied Congress in 2015 to roll back some of the Dodd-Frank Act provisions. ........ These standards were arguably designed to specifically prevent and address the type of circumstances that triggered these recent bank failures: multiple failures and contagion in the financial system, market panic, deposit runs and liquidity crisis. .

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