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  • World War II haunts Japan's future

    2014-11-26 23:27

    There are obvious steps Japan could take to simultaneously recover its primacy in Asia and encircle China, but these would involve certain island sovereignty arrangements with Korea, Russia and Taiwan that would touch on the Japanese establishment's still simmering sense of injustice over World War ...

  • Simon Leys: An appreciation

    2014-08-22 15:27

    The void left in both Western and Eastern culture by the death on August 11 of Sinologist Pierre Rickman (aka Simon Leys), aged 78, will be felt possibly only in the years to come. Rickman/Leys had a unique voice on China and on literature in general, which has been very influential for many China w...

  • Times collide in Beijing's strategic vision

    2014-07-03 14:45

    The United States has reasons of its own to be both interested in and nervous about solving nuclear proliferation issues in North Korea and Iran, but China's need for peaceful development and growth means it has more at stake. Perceptions of a political situation that no longer applies still seem to...

  • THAILAND/ Where does the ultimate source of legitimacy come from?

    2014-06-23 07:43

    The issue of Thailand after the military coup is crucial for the country—and for all of Asia. It calls into question the problem of legitimacy and justification of power in the modern world and particularly in this region, the hub of economic development and growth for ev...

  • Look inwards, Washington

    2014-06-09 16:58

    The dozens of think-tanks seeking to direct policy in Washington predominantly focus on change outside the country. The US would benefit if more concerned themselves with the internal state of affairs, not least the US's disintegrating infrastructure or the spread there of Christian fundamentalism. ...

  • US-Europe divide looms over Ukraine

    2014-03-05

    BEIJING - Russia's quasi-military action in Ukraine is reawakening the ghosts of the old Cold War. Western plans to expel Moscow from the Group of Eight and to protect states bordering the new Russian empire threaten to throw up a new political and economic curtain around Russia and its leader, Pres...

  • A papal challenge to an Islamic conundrum

    2014-02-05

    BEIJING - In 2011, the Catholic Church had 278,346 priests in its dioceses, 135,072 priests affiliated with different religious orders, such as the Jesuits and the Franciscans, and 713,206 nuns. That's a little more than 400,000 shepherds to look after a flock of over one billion baptized followers ...

  • US pivot chafes at vital Asian ties

    2014-01-29

    BEIJING - Beijing and Taipei this week announced the beginning of their first ever government-to-government talks. It is to some extent a mutual recognition of each other's standing, and as well as a sure-footed step in the process of reunification - so important for the People's Republic of China -...

  • A devious blueprint to empower the party

    2013-10-01

    BEIJING - A few days ago, a junior official came to me asking to check the name of an Italian author and the thesis of a book. At first I really could not figure out the author, but then from the name of the book I made out the writer. The official wanted to apply the argument of the book to the Com...

  • Papal challenge rocks US's Syria plans

    2013-09-10

    Through his impassioned appeal to avert Western military intervention in Syria's conflict, Pope Francis has challenged the global American political centrality. This is toll bell ringing for Washington, but also for a Chinese leadership that is often forgetful of the weight of the Holy See. The me...

  • Abe's shrine visit calls for wider reflection

    2014-01-06

    BEIJING - In one of his last acts of 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in late December visited the controversial Yasakuni shrine, where among the souls of war heroes, 28 war criminals are also celebrated. The visit put a new spin to heightening tensions in East Asia, which had been rising af...

  • US pivot chafes at vital Asian ties

    2014-01-29

    BEIJING - Beijing and Taipei this week announced the beginning of their first ever government-to-government talks. It is to some extent a mutual recognition of each other's standing, and as well as a sure-footed step in the process of reunification - so important for the People's Republic of China -...

  • A papal challenge to an Islamic conundrum

    2014-02-05

    BEIJING - In 2011, the Catholic Church had 278,346 priests in its dioceses, 135,072 priests affiliated with different religious orders, such as the Jesuits and the Franciscans, and 713,206 nuns. That's a little more than 400,000 shepherds to look after a flock of over one billion baptized followers ...

  • Obama oils China-Vatican links

    2014-03-24

    BEIJING - In a way, his heart will be in China and his mind in Rome. On March 27, when US President Barack Obama meets Pope Francis at the Vatican, he will have wrapped up an important European tour focusing on transatlantic ties and Russia's new posturing in the world, especially in Ukraine, recent...

  • Internet lessons to learn

    2013-10-29

    BEIJING - The whole issue of cyber security exploded in recent days in Europe, as news of America wiretapping its European allies has huge and multi-faceted implications for global safety and development. There are roughly three interrelated aspects to it, and China, although not part of the present...

  • Common folk aren't US's cyber-targets

    2013-06-18

    BEIJING - Can we be honest? With the development of new technologies, there are no more secrets for anybody. It is possible now - the technology exists - to tap every single call made by all the mobile phones in a country, record them, and store them. Recording and storing is cheap, so it can be don...

  • Faded war wounds still raw in Asia

    2013-01-18

    In analyzing how the legacy of World War II and the Cold War impacts on European and Asians countries today, it is only fair for this author, as an Italian, to start with Italy. The country was the third and weakest member of the Axis nations defeated in World War II, yet it emerged from the conflic...

  • US shames China's leadership change

    2012-10-25

    BEIJING - It should be the best-guarded secret in China, and perhaps because of this it is the most talked about story in the country at the moment: who will be named to sit at the top of China's political pyramid during the next party congress due to open on November 8? Many events are described ...

  • Vietnam's Dr Strangelove at war with the Mandarins

    2011-06-23

    BEIJING - After the recent publication of a Chinese document [1], many people sent new ones. Most were not interesting; one, however, caught my attention. The person who gave it to me is a Westerner who had just come back from Hanoi. There, after a business meeting, a junior official fumbled aroun...

  • Many roads, and no collective mind

    2011-06-16

    BEIJING - How big are the differences of opinion between the Democratic and Republican parties in United States? Huge, one would say in America. Yet, looking at the political debate from the other side of the Pacific, the gap between the two parties could seem negligible, as neither is challenging -...

  • Tensions with Rome on smoother track

    2011-04-28

    BEIJING - Although there is not yet a thaw in relations between Beijing and the Vatican, the climate is much warmer than it was during the tensions of last year. Beijing felt soothed after a conciliatory statement from the Holy See last week at the end of the yearly summit on China. In fact, there...

  • In the shadow of Vesuvius

    2010-12-09

    BEIJING - China is seeking answers to the question of what its future will look like by studying the ruins of Pompeii. In groups of 20, five times a year for the past six years, delegations from the Central Party School, the top institute for selecting the country's high-ranking leaders, have gone a...

  • Neighborly love running out

    2010-11-30

    BEIJING - In the almost 60 years since the end of the Korean War in 1953, never has the possibility of conflict on the peninsula seemed more likely. In just a matter of days, North Korea boasted to the world of its new uranium-enriching facilities and shelled a South Korean island, without any cle...

  • US toe-dipping muddies South China Sea

    2010-07-29

    BEIJING - Washington last week decided to step into a delicate international territory it had previously left alone, and that underscored the many strategic challenges brewing in economically booming Asia. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the 10-member Association of Southeast...

  • The slick alternative to oil

    2010-06-17

    BEIJING - It sounds like a mantra to avoid being jinxed, a way to save face against domestic and international public anger, a pre-emptive defense before years of drawn-out litigation, or a rumination on personal angst. Carl-Henric Svanberg, the chairman of BP, told an audience of European business ...

  • Flaws in pulling plug on North Korea

    2010-06-03

    BEIJING - It is right, as the Washington Post said in its May 31 editorial, China has been shielding the regime of Kim Jong-il in North Korea that torpedoed and sank a South Korean warship on March 26. Although an international investigation blames North Korea, Beijing has refused to point the finge...

  • Tough love for an unstable neighbor

    2010-05-29

    BEIJING - As with the traditional cry of ''wolf, wolf!", threats of war between North and South Korea have been heard many times in the 57 years since the end of the conflict on the peninsula. They sound so often that even the current situation could be considered a false alarm, especially since Chi...

  • Different takes on coping with change

    2010-03-11

    BEIJING - In recent weeks on Chinese movie screens there has been a confrontation: Oscar-winning Avatar from the United States pitched against the home-grown Confucius. Both have single-word titles and huge productions in common but - independent of their artistic evaluation - the films are entirely...

  • A radical empire looms

    2009-12-17

    BEIJING - With 30,000 more United States troops on their way to Afghanistan, it is growing clearer that they will not suffice and that larger challenges loom. Afghanistan is also increasingly developing into a political proxy war between India and Pakistan. Pakistan, which backed the mujahideen ag...

  • Asia steels for challenges ahead

    2009-10-15

    BEIJING - On October 10, China's state-run Xinhua news agency saluted the meeting between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Japanese Premier Yukio Hatoyama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, as "a new starting point for tripartite cooperation".
     
    The meeting explored the idea of a free-t...

  • Russia plays pipeline politics

    2009-09-25

    BEIJING - While the United States is engrossed in Iraq and Afghanistan - even planning a troop surge in the latter - a new and bigger strategic risk looms in a much more sensitive area - Europe and Russia. The challenge is about energy and influence in the "old continent", still the richest industri...

  • A rising sun sets

    2009-09-03

    BEIJING - The landslide victory on Sunday of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) over the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) - which has ruled Japan almost without interruption for the past six decades - is the latest signal of a momentous transformation in Asia. The past many decades, marked by Japan...

  • China, please invade North Korea

    2009-07-16

    BEIJING - In 1979, China waged war against Vietnam with America's blessing. It proved to Washington - with actions, not just words - that Beijing was on the right side in the grand clash of the Cold War. It also served to check Vietnam's ambitions in Southeast Asia, as Hanoi had recently invaded C...

  • China makes a choice in Iran

    2009-06-25

    BEIJING - A movie recently released in China, The Empire of Silver by Guo Taiming, describes the cunningness, betrayals, fights, tribulations and passions accompanying Chinese traders' earnings and fortunes along the Silk Road. Their monumental mansions, still standing in modern Shanxi around the ci...

  • How to turn the tables on Pyongyang

    2006-12-19

    BEIJING - After the North Korean nuclear-weapon test of October 9, the leading countries of the six-party talks have initiated a blame game to point out who is in a position to receive the greatest profit from Pyongyang's action. Conservatives in China argue that the Japanese will likely gain most ...

  • The Spratlys pact: Beijing's olive branch

    2002-11-06

    BEIJING - While the rumor mill in Beijing keeps on whirling and spitting out names for the future leadership that will emerge from the Communist Party Congress that gets under way this Friday, China has made a significant geopolitical breakthrough on its most sensitive territorial claim, that of the...

  • THE AMERICAN EMPIRE Part 1: Reluctant hegemon

    2002-10-16

    Part 1: Reluctant hegemon BEIJING - "Hegemonism" has recently become a derogatory byword of US foreign policy. Unilaterally, driven by the selfish pursuit of its national interests, the US is said to be willing to step on anybody's head to keep and protect its primacy in the world...

  • THE AMERICAN EMPIRE Part 2: Righteous king

    2002-10-17

    Part 2: Righteous king Part 1: Reluctant hegemon BEIJING - Unfortunately, haughty ideologies live off selfish interests. To fight fascism and impose democracy in Europe and Asia the United States needed more than a superior ideo...

  • THE AMERICAN EMPIRE Part 3: The fear within

    2002-10-18

    Part 1: Reluctant hegemon
    Part 2: Righteous king BEIJING - The Gulf War of 1992, by which time the Soviets were no longer a danger, should have brought the ...

  • Universal values in a diverse world

    2002-06-06

    BEIJING - In a column in last weekend's New York Times titled "War of ideas", Thomas Friedman appealed to the United States to join forces with Islamic moderates in a war of ideas against those who use Islam to attack the West and impose conservative ideas in Islamic countries. The proposal is sensi...

  • Is Myanmar more dangerous than Iraq?

    2002-05-16

    BEIJING - On August 28 last year, not long before the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Asia Times Online singled out Afghanistan as the greatest source of instability in the world. Sure enough, a few days later Osama bin Laden launched the boldest ever attack on the US from his A...

  • A new media empire: The Roman connection

    2002-04-03

    ROME - Italy, for a long time the country with the lowest profile among the four largest European economies (with Germany, France and Britain), has been recently drawing more attention. Although this has not always occurred for the right reasons, some of the moves taking place could have far-reachin...

  • Risky business: Exporting the American dream

    2002-03-15

    BEIJING - A nation's conception of its history is important as it influences how the nation will move into the future; it's especially important now, when states with different civilizations, ie vision of their histories, are confronting each other. The world is no longer divided into mutually excl...

  • The reformist road, trod with care

    BEIJING - From now, the peak of winter, to then, early autumn, the time of the 16th Congress, the 80-year-old but still buoyant Chinese Communist Party will tread carefully. It has just one objective in mind: to produce the correctly balanced political alchemy that will hold the fourth generation of...

  • Stability and instability beyond Afghanistan

    BEIJING - As was the case centuries - and millennia - ago, stability and instability in what is now Afghanistan extend far beyond its borders. Many voices in India suggest the very existence of Pakistan has been called into question. Anti-Pakistani feeling is being voiced in India in the form of ar...

  • The Grand Game in Afghanistan

    BEIJING - The Han dynasty, after which the majority of modern Chinese name themselves, started by taking control of the land that once belonged to the Qin emperor, then stretched its empire along the Silk Road as far as far as the Caspian sea. Around 56 BC, the Han created a protectorate of the west...

  • The propaganda war, and why bin Laden is winning it

    BEIJING - Call it public diplomacy, or public affairs, or psychological warfare, or, if you really want to be blunt, propaganda. Whatever it's called, formulating what this war is really about in the minds of the world's billion Muslims will be of decisive and historic importance. Yet every expert o...

  • Afghan fallout raises the stakes in China's west

    BEIJING - In Shanghai for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the three world leaders with the greatest leverage on Afghanistan and Central Asia - the presidents of the United States, Russia and China - will be meeting face to face. They will have more to discuss than just the future of Afg...

  • 'Wo shi meiguoren' - I am American

    BEIJING - Apart from the Middle East, future terrorist action against the United States could come from Africa or Latin America. In some African countries the state structure has collapsed and central governments are in no position to control their official territory. In Latin America, large swathes...

  • Palestine: the cornered have cause

    BEIJING - "When shall we stop pretending we are not at war?" "Smart enemy gets you where you think you are safe." The recent movie Pearl Harbor, already a blockbuster, has President Franklin D Roosvelt and a bright naval intelligence officer utter these two crucial lines before the attack that in m...

  • Non-aligned Russia a vital buffer in Asia

    BEIJING - With the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) being expanded to include the Baltic states, and subsequently Russia, a number of important questions are raised, notably, what effect will this have on Japan and China, and whether they, too, should be admitted. However, first one needs ...

  • Expanded Atlantic alliance raises Asia dilemma

    BEIJING - In recent weeks, influential American personalities such as former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, and senior officials, such as National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, have given high marks to Russian President Vladimir Putin and tried to reassure Moscow about the enlargement of t...

  • Smaller organizations may spur political evolution

    BEIJING - There will surely be more democracy in China after the 16th Congress of the Communist Party next year. But as fierce debate rages among the leadership about the degree of democracy to be allowed, there is a deeper cause for concern in smaller social organizations challenging the Communist ...

  • US nourished by China's seeds of uncertainty

    BEIJING - The United States will take to heart the bitter lesson of exclusion from the United Nations Human Rights Committee in a vote which gave the impression of an isolated superpower, a US spokesman said on Friday. "The United States, whether through inadequate lobbying or because of unpopular ...

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