Showing posts with label Soviet Union. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Soviet Union. Show all posts

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Hong Kong: Antennae Problem?

Hong Kong’s extradition law mess: don’t blame Beijing, blame naive Carrie Lam In underestimating the pushback from Hongkongers from all walks of life, the chief executive has shown a lack of political antennae ..... She could have avoided much of this quagmire had her government not bypassed proper procedures and, instead, consulted the public ...... Blaming “foreign forces” for causing havoc in Hong Kong has always been the official mainland media’s default position but the Hong Kong government’s current crisis is largely of its own making. ....... no matter how the crisis ends, no one is a winner and Hong Kong as a whole loses – its reputation, the independence of its judiciary and the confidence of the international community in its status as a leading financial centre. ....... There has been intense speculation in Hong Kong and elsewhere that Lam pushed for the law at the request of Beijing. She herself strongly denied this and said she had not received any instruction from Beijing and the bill was not initiated by the central government. ....... This is probably true. .......... would also make it much easier for the central government to hunt down and extradite businessmen and corrupt officials who often hole up in Hong Kong after they fall foul of the mainland authorities......... the extraordinary pushback from Hong Kong people from all walks of life, particularly from the usually docile but powerful business community in the city, over their

deeply held fears and concerns about the lack of rule of law on the mainland.

..... Trained as a career civil servant, Lam, along with senior officials in her cabinet, seems to lack political sophistication and acute political antennae. ....... In the name of urgency, the government bypassed the proper procedures and process and failed to allow public consultation over the proposed law. In contrast, some cynics pointed out that in April, the government launched a three-month consultation on how to better protect animals and ensure owners will have their dogs and cats fed, cared for and given adequate medical attention....... With Taiwan’s presidential election cycle already heating up, both the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and a potential opposition candidate – the electronics tycoon Terry Gou – have both used Hong Kong’s mass protests as proof that the mainland’s “one country, two systems” formula has failed. ....... Beijing has expressed full support for Lam’s efforts and so long as the pro-government legislators, who command a majority in the local legislature, stay united, the bill has a high chance of passing.

Xi Jinping’s speech shows China’s Communist Party is still haunted by the fall of the Soviet Union Xi’s warning of the long struggle ahead between socialism and capitalism is being circulated as the People’s Republic reaches its 70th anniversary – a mark the USSR never reached ....... Chinese leaders’ speeches to their inner circles, particularly those on sensitive issues, are always guarded with the utmost secrecy. ....... Citing Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Xi said socialism would triumph over capitalism but cited Deng Xiaoping as saying that it would be a long historical process, which would probably take

several dozens of generations

...... He warned that the collapse of the Soviet Union served as a painful lesson for the party. ..... he floated a new narrative to bolster the legitimacy of the party by arguing that one could not use the period following reform and opening up to negate the period before it, nor vice versa. ....... he recognised that Western developed countries would maintain long-term economic, technological, and military advantages and China must be fully prepared for the two systems – socialism in its primary stage and a more advanced capitalism – to cooperate and struggle for a long time to come. ........ As China must learn and borrow from capitalism, it must face the reality that people would compare the strong points of Western developed countries with the shortcomings of China’s socialist development and be critical, Xi said...... Xi’s speech was previously circulated only among party officials with county level ranking and above....... its leaders are still smarting from the collapse of the then 69-year-old Soviet Union in 1991.

China’s media companies are failing at home, failing abroad and failing Xi Jinping China is spending billions in an effort to tell its stories to the world ........ The explosion, which occurred shortly before 3pm on March 21, initially killed 62 people and injured 640 others, but failed to make it to the front page of the People’s Daily the very next day – or any other page for that matter, the last time I checked. The death toll now stands at 78 and is expected to rise. ...... At a time when the official media is at full throttle in worshipping Xi, any news about the president takes pride of place on the front page while any other item, no matter how newsworthy, must give way......... on March 22, Xi, in an answer to a question from Roberto Fico, president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, about his feelings as the Chinese president, said that he would be selfless and determined to devote himself to serving the Chinese people. .......

the inherent nature of China’s propaganda machine determines that its primary target audience is the Chinese leaders and officials at various levels of the government

– not least because they control the budgets and careers of Chinese state media workers. So long as officials are happy with the coverage, the job is done........ Chinese propaganda officials, who are not accountable to their own media, have little idea of how to engage overseas journalists and respond tactfully to their criticisms. Previously, when their campaign to shape China’s image was largely defensive, they simply ignored criticisms or seethed with anger behind closed doors. ....... Now as the Chinese leadership makes no bones about its ambitions for world leadership, propaganda officials are more forthright about criticism in the overseas media but in a much less tactful way ....... either out of ignorance or arrogance, they thought they knew what the foreign audience wanted to hear and read about China, but in fact they did not. So their products are often found wanting, reeking of nothing but propaganda...... in the parlance of cynical journalists at the state media, they often liken their filing of stories to “sending things into the sky” – showing they have done their job.

Chinese must live with a dead Baidu, as Google’s return looks doomed

China’s sophisticated internet censorship regime has blocked numerous overseas websites, including the South China Morning Post

, and search engines and social media platforms including Google, Twitter and YouTube........ there is a widespread perception that the Great Firewall could be one of the few red lines on which China is unlikely to budge....... China’s digital barriers are facing increasing pressure from within as Chinese businesses, academics, and intellectuals have been increasingly vocal about the negative impact of the Great Firewall on the country’s economy, academic research, technological innovation, and its competitiveness in attracting overseas companies and talents.......

Baidu, long a source of bitter complaints and frustration among Chinese internet users for its poor quality search results

and questionable advertising practices, was the target of renewed public anger in January......... Google’s exit from China in 2010, triggered by China’s increasing online censorship, has further cemented Baidu’s lead. Before its exit, Google commanded about 30 per cent of China’s market share, trailing Baidu but providing healthy competition and a far better alternative for Chinese internet users seeking high quality search results........

as Baidu’s quality of service has declined rapidly over the past few years, the public clamour for Google’s return has become louder.

....... China’s academics and businessmen alike have argued the country’s severe restrictions on cross-border data flows – including slow cross-border internet speed and the inability to access global online tools like Google – have damaged China’s competitiveness and innovation. ..... Back in March 2017,

Luo Fuhe

, a prominent academic and a vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top consultative body, caused quite a stir by publicly releasing a proposal urging the Chinese government to ease internet restrictions to enable faster access to overseas news and academic websites and search engines.........

Anyone who has tried to search for English-language information on Baidu should know how lousy its service is.

........ AmCham China, which represents American businesses in the country, said more than 90 per cent of respondents felt slow cross-border internet speeds and the blocking of online resources harmed their competitiveness as well as their operations. ........ the US media suggesting that Google was planning a return to China and had been working on a censored version of its search engine, code-named Dragonfly..... even a filtered version of Google would be much better than Baidu.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Bernie: The Progressive Ronald Reagan?

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ronald Reagan wearing cowboy hat at Rancho del...
Ronald Reagan wearing cowboy hat at Rancho del Cielo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I don't seem to like anyone on the Republican side, and it is not because I am a Democrat, I am not. But I have been neutral on the Democratic side. I guess I like them both. I like the idea of a first female president, I also like the idea of someone who is a policy wonk with executive experience, who has been to all parts of the world. But then Bernie is Jewish and that is a plus. He would also be the first Jewish president. Dean 2004 was grassroots 1.0. Obama 2008 was grassroots 2.0. If Bernie 2016 is grassroots 3.0, what are the structures? Bernie should be able to build something 10 times better than what Obama built, because now we have technology Obama did not have. I have not been following the campaign too closely, so I don't know. But if he had built that, it would have made news. And it is not for lack of money. The guy seems to be breaking his own record every month for several months now.

It just hit me that Bernie Sanders could be the progressive Ronald Reagan. Bernie does have executive experience. He was not Governor, but he was Mayor. And just like Reagan, he has been saying the same things for decades, until finally the dog seems to have caught up with the car. Any of the two Democrats would win. So it is not about November worries. And, no, Bernie would not have governing problems. If you think he will, you don't understand the powers of the presidency.

Reagan's thing was primarily messaging. He distilled it all into a few neat phrases, and that is the primary thing he did. For example, phrases like strong on defense, or small government, or tax cuts, or personal responsibility, freedom. Bernie does not have quite the short phrases yet, but he also seems to have been moving towards the five clear ideas. He wants money out of politics. He wants to break the big banks. He wants to build on Obamacare to give more to the needy, as in get closer and closer to the Canadian model until he does have the Canadian model. If the people want it badly enough to bother to get organized, of course it is possible. He has similar thoughts on education. He is so strong on health and education, you have to think this guy "gets" the knowledge economy. America's sorry state of investments in health and education is why America keeps taking faltering steps towards a knowledge economy, a knowledge economy that works not just for the Silicon Valley elite, but for all.

But Bernie is not concretely building the grassroots structure. And he has not yet distilled his key ideas into a few short, neat phrases. As for execution, Reagan appointed the key people to that end, and went to sleep. Hard work never killed anybody, but I figured why take a chance, he said. Bernie seems too sprightly to go to sleep. He might actually put in the hours. Bernie's physical vigor should make you want to run marathons. That is how he did it.

My advice to Bernie: hire Alanna Krause, the thought leader in the space, and put about 10-20 million into it, and build something to last. As in, the grassroots is integral to your governance. It is about building a one person, one vote, one voice structure. People should gather, people should speak, and people should be heard.
Just as early waves of technological innovation in education and health care simply attempted to digitize old practices — putting an analog class into a MOOC or a patient’s file into the cloud — early forays into governmental technology involved bringing civil services online and enabling citizens to follow government protocols on websites instead of in buildings. .....

new governance technologies preparing to reroute lines of authority and change what it means to be a citizen in the 21st century.

....... Others are helping teams to build consensus and budget together, dynamically and elegantly. Still others are creating operating systems for political parties that are already winning seats in government. .....

Whether we're facing climate apocalypse on Earth or colonizing Mars, the deciding factor between human civilization being extractive and oppressive, or cooperative and generative, will be how much we as a species have practiced the skills of equitable collaboration on a day-to-day basis — hearing diverse viewpoints and synthesizing them, consciously understanding the flows of power dynamics, and designing in the key factors of human wellness.

......... Human beings have been sitting in circles listening to one another for millennia, but software and the internet allow us to scale up these practices in a way we never have before. ....... Cobudget for funding and Loomio for decision-making. ........ Many of the worst aspects of command-and-control, mechanistic, hierarchical governance are consequences of limited communications technologies. If we can make distributed cooperation just as efficient, the need for those old governance forms — which cause a lot of human suffering in the name of efficiency — could be obviated. ..... The key difference is: are you privatizing everything, or are you building the commons? The real distinguishing factor isn't the governing practices, which may be similar to a point, but the governing purpose. Are we building in service of the people and the community, deeply rooted in social values and human rights, or are we in service of private interests, which only answer to their own internal logic of profit and power? ....... Already, in our network, Enspiral, where we run businesses in service of positive social outcomes, we constantly have to 'hack' company structures to make them reflect how we actually want to work. We're sticking to the law, of course, but there's some legal gymnastics involved and we're constantly having to blaze a trail. Are we a community? A company? A charity? None of the current forms actually quite fit, and the distinctions seem contrived. ........ One of the protections against government corruption in democracies is that the moment of the vote is hidden and blind. ......

the very idea that our key moment of agency as a citizen is ticking a box every three or four years is the insane part

..... Our 'democratic' system is another example of something developed a couple hundred years ago because of very limited communications technology — election dates in the US are still determined by how long it took people to go on horseback between cities. ..... What's actually incredible is when you create a society where people not only feel safe being open about their political opinions, but they genuinely discuss them with different people, and their opinion can evolve through that interaction — they can change their minds.

When citizen deliberation is possible, that's when truly amazing solutions can emerge, from synthesizing different views.

......... What can users of SMS-enabled mobile banking in Africa teach us about how our apps could work? People in war zones and disaster areas know a ton about decentralized networks, because centralised infrastructure fails them. Activists threatened by oppressive governments have heaps to teach us about privacy, identity, and leveraging online communications tools for effective action and resistance. ....... most people in this space are running completely analog processes using technologies like neighborhood meetings and science-fair like exhibitions of citizen-generated ideas. They are willing to pound the pavement.
If Bernie is the Democratic nominee, he is the next president. And if he is, he is going to govern just fine. Right now I don't know if he is, but he does seem to be running neck and neck. He seems to have momentum.

I am neutral because Barack Obama is neutral.

America can be taken to a 5% growth rate, absolutely. It is just that when you destroy 13 trillion dollars, the resultant wage depressions will take some time to recover.
The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. ....... There are three reasons why today’s transformations represent not merely a prolongation of the Third Industrial Revolution but rather the arrival of a Fourth and distinct one: velocity, scope, and systems impact. The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent. When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace. Moreover, it is disrupting almost every industry in every country. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance.
What might be some Bernie catch phrases that progressives might repeat for 20 years?

  • Take money out of politics
  • Strong on education, strong on health
  • Too big too fail it too big to exist 
  • One person, one vote, one voice 24/7, local to global 
Maybe I am not that neutral. Both on message and the organizational structure, Bernie seems to get me. I was a Deaniac in 2004, in Indiana, of all places, and I was Barack Obama's first full time volunteer in New York City in 2007. 

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Nehru, Tibet, Aur Britain Ka Pret

Nehru ne Tibet mein ja ke Chin ke sath yuddh kyon nahin kiya? Ye bahut ajib baat hai. Nehru ne khud apni ajadi ke liye yuddh nahin kiya. Shanti ke raste se gaye. To fir Tibet ke liye banduk uthane ka sawal kahan paida hota hai?

Britain ka tha ki hum India par raj is liye kar rahe hain ki ye jungli log khud apne par shasan kar nahin sakte. Agar hum tumhe independence de dete hain to aapas mein kat mar karte rah jaoge. You don’t know how to govern. To World War II ke khatm hote hote British samrajya ka sharir to khatm ho chuka tha. Lekin British samrajyavad ka pret khatm nahin huwa. Usne wo shrir chhod diya. Usne wo sharir chhoda aur Amrika ke sharir mein ja ke ghush gaya. To on the behalf of Britain tab Ameriki wahi baat kahne lage. Ki tum ajad kyon huwe? Dekho, tumhari banegi nahin Pakistan se. To Pakistan ko prop karna shuru. To ye to galat baat hai. Ek desh ajad huwa hai aur aap usko harass par harass kiye ja rahe ho. Desh ajad bhi huwa ya nahin?

India Pakistan partition ke baad jo log mare wo Hitler ke yahudi hi the. Bengal famine mein jo log mare wo Hitler ke yahudi hi the. India Pakistan ka border demarcation janbujh ke kuchh is kism se kiya gaya ki log bhari tadat mein mare jate. Jis bande ne wo demaracation kiya, wo usi raat desh chhod ke bhag gaya. Kyon ki use bakhub malum tha usne kya kiya. Log marne wale hain, ye use maloon tha. Log mare usi style mein demarcation huwa tha.

To ye kahna ki Nehru ne Chin se jang kyon nahin lada, ye to Amrika ke sharir mein Britain ka pret bol raha hai. Chin ne galti ki. Tibet mere ko behad priya hai. Jitna Bharat priya hai utna Tibet priya hai mere ko. Lekin Nehru did not have the option to go to war. Jab Britain aur Amerika kah rahe ho ki tumne achha nahin kiya ajadi le liya, to Soviet Union ke tarah haath badhana, asha karna ki Chin ke sath dosti ho jata to achha rahata. Wo to understandable baat hai.

Yuddh kiya Amrika ne. Korean War, abhi tak chal raha hai. Jab ki Korea Tibet ke tarah remote nahin hai. Tibet abhi remote hai to us samay kaisa raha hoga? Bharat khud apne Akshay Chin ilake mein nahin ja sakta tha to Tibet to dur ki baat thi.

Yuddh kiya to Amerika ne Vietnam mein. Dekho kya huwa. Abhi tak sab afsos kar rahe hain.

Chin ne us samay galti ko. Lekin aaj ka solution wo hai jo Dalai Lama khud kah rahe hain. Tibet ko independence nahin chahiye, lekin Dalai Lama ko Chin ke bhitar jaa ke ghumfir karne ki ijajat ho. I support that.

Pakistan aur Bharat ko ye British divide and rule mindset ko 60-70 sal late hi samajh lena chahiye. Britain ke pret. Ki tension se fayada nahin. Chalo relationship ko normalize karte hain aur ek dusre se jam ke byapar karte hain. Shanti banate hain. Tarakki ki sonchte hain. Chhota sa tapu hai Britain. Kya hai? Aaj kya hai Bharat ke samne?

Duniya ke do sabse bade loktantron ko ek dusre ka number one ally ban jana chahiye. Jis tarah Madhesi Nepal mein kah rahe hain, Abhi Nahin To Kabhi Nahin. To abhi accha mauka hai. Obama ke final year mein. Bharat ko bhi regional outlook se upar uth kar ek global outlook ke or badhna chahiye. Militarily nahin, lekin trade, commerce ke raste to tatkal kar sakte hain.

Britain ka dhona chhodo. 21st century aa gaya hai. 1947: A Love Story ko bye bye karo. Bit gayi so baat gayi.

Chin ko bhi chahiye ki thoda maturity dikhao.

Nehru ne Chin ke sath Tibet mein ja ke yuddh nahin kiya is liye tumne Pakistan ko apna military ally nahin banaya. Tumne Pakistan ko apna military ally is liye banaya ki Britain ka pret tumhare sharir mein ja ke ghush gaya.

Monday, September 01, 2014

A Comprehensive War

In the book, Blair writes that he hoped that G...
In the book, Blair writes that he hoped that George W. Bush would win a second term as President of the United States in 2004. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Russia is unfinished business. Just like George W Bush prematurely declared Mission Accomplished after a few days of airstrikes in Iraq, it can be argued Bush Sr. did the same thing when the Soviet Union collapsed. It was a tectonic milestone, no doubt, but unless Russia becomes a democracy, it will keep causing trouble.

Suddenly there are two broad fronts. There is Russia. And there is ISIS, which is in a stronger shape than the Al Qaeda ever was, with the same ill intentions to match. It would not flinch to unleash a biological attack somewhere, it would detonate a dirty bomb if it could. The dangers are grave. Obama might have similarly prematurely declared the death of Al Qaeda with the death of Bin Laden.

I happen to think the top idea here is what Google has. Beam internet from the skies and flood the earth with cheap Android phones. Google already has the prototype. I think the US government should massively scale it. If Google is thinking one billion, the US government should pump in 100 billion into the same effort. That would go a long way to the spread of democracy.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Israel Can Defend Itself

English: Map showing the maximum territorial e...
English: Map showing the maximum territorial extent of countries under the direct influence of the Soviet Union — between the Cuban Revolution/21st Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union/Sino-Soviet split. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For Iran to say if the US attacks Syria, Iran will attack Israel is kind of like suggesting a few things. One is that Iran and the US are equivalent powers, like the Soviet Union and the US back in the days. I have a hard time believing Iran is the new Soviet Union. It is a little itty, bitty state.

During the Cold War it would have been like the Soviet Union saying to the US, if you attack Cuba, we will attack your ally Turkey. That was proportionate talk somewhat. This talk by Iran is outlandish. Oh really? You are going to attack Israel?

I don't mean to take sides, but objectively speaking, in terms of sheer military capability, Israel could take Syria and Iran at once. Or Israel would not have been talking - like it has for years - in terms of going solo into Iran to take out its nuclear sites.

This is kind of like if Poland threatened a trade war with the United States. China threatening a trade war would be plausible. But Poland?

The president should not worry about Israel and do right by the people of Syria.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Am For Direct Dialogue With Iran

Iran Twitter Flag
Iran Twitter Flag (Photo credit: People's Open Graphics)
The US talked to the Soviet Union and it had nuclear weapons. Iran does not have nuclear weapons, it might get them.

I belong in the war as a last resort school of thought. I think, in this case, dialogue is not the step before war. Dialogue will render war unnecessary.

Frankly, I think it is plain stupid not to talk.

Obama: Will 'Make a Push for Dialogue' with Iran on Nuclear Program
In President Barack Obama's Wednesday afternoon press conference, his first in eight months, he addressed the issue of negotiations over the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear program. ...... We've imposed the toughest sanctions in history. .... There should be a way in which they can enjoy peaceful nuclear power while still meeting their international obligations and providing clear assurances to the international community that they're not pursuing a nuclear weapon. ...... open up a dialogue between Iran and not just us but the international community .... we're not going to be constrained by diplomatic niceties or protocols.
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