Category Archives: World Affairs

Assault on US Capitol showed Trump where his market is now (The Irish Times Jan 12, 2021)

There’s an American cliché: Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes. It emerged from the advertising industry in the Mad Men era. It’s what you do with an idea that’s a bit outlandish but that just might work; … Continue reading

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How to respond in the US when your brand comes under political attack

While the American election is finally over, one company is still monitoring for potential damage after being caught up in false allegations of voting fraud.

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How will Biden’s strategy on South Asia differ from Trump’s?

US president-elect Joe Biden’s foreign policy will be very different from that of President Donald Trump. Biden has vowed to bring back US global leadership, value international diplomacy, restore US alliances and promote democracy and human rights abroad. He intends to undo … Continue reading

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Empires come and go. Has the decline of the American empire begun?

Recent events have highlighted weaknesses in American society. There is much uncertainty about the future of the struggling empire but a look at other empires in history may shed some light on the matter.

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Trump’s insurrection has been advertised for months

Spare us, at least, the mock horror. On the morning after the US presidential election of November 4th, The Irish Times ran a headline: “At 2.23am, the US president launched an attempted coup.” This was merely factual reporting.

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There’s a term for what happened at the Capitol this week: ‘whitelash’ (Politico 9.1.21)

The whiplash from the Georgia elections to the storming of the Capitol mirrored a familiar pattern in US history of Black advancement followed by white backlash.

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Trump, the Capitol and the erosion of reputation

Can a country so bitterly divided  be an effective global leader. Its system is seen to have failed. It is perceived as at war with itself . … America’s international reputation has tumbled mightily.

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Bojo and the undermining of Scottish democracy

The United States is not the only Western country having difficulties with its democratic credentials. Under Boris Johnson’s chaotic regime, the UK has its own particular type of democratic deficit, especially concerning Scotland.

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Words matter: Was the attack on the Capitol a rally, protest or insurrection? (Center for Public Integrity)

What happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6? Depends on whom you ask. To some, the attack by hundreds of mostly white men and women was an insurrection. To others it was a coup.

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The truth about Trump’s mob

The storming of the US Capitol on January 6 is easily misunderstood. Shaken by the ordeal, members of Congress have issued statements explaining that America is a nation of laws, not mobs.

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Storming the Capitol to destroy an election is the least of what happened

The ultimate travesty of Trumpism is not simply its shocking aggression at the Capitol on January 6, but what that action revealed as the depths of division within the US polity and society. Biden and Harris have a formidable job … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 40 Comments

Noam Chomsky: Three major threats to life on earth that we must address in 2021

Large parts of the world—outside of China and a few other countries—face a runaway virus, which has not been stopped because of criminal incompetence by governments.

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Hong Kong’s future now lies with China

The past year and a half has transformed Hong Kong. Following prolonged, intense and often violent protest in 2019, COVID-19 drove activists off the streets in early 2020. This year’s passage of the National Security Law (NSL) by China’s National … Continue reading

Posted in China | 48 Comments

The long history of colonialism by both the UK and the US.

The New Cold War with respect to China points to an even more serious conflict than the one with Russia, since it involves a direct challenge to U.S. hegemony over the world economy.

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The coup in Washington: Why is anyone surprised by Trump’s fascist politics?

As I write this, pro-Trump protesters have stormed the U.S. Capitol building seeking to impose Trump’s attempted coup on America. Trump’s hand in stoking the coup is apparent on multiple fronts. He’s been disseminating and mainstreaming baseless electoral fraud conspiracies … Continue reading

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EU/China investment deal splits the West?

At a time when the United States and China are distancing themselves from each other’s economies, especially in the area of investment and high tech, while at the same time doing their best to undermine the global system for trade … Continue reading

Posted in China, World Affairs | 10 Comments

The Confederacy stormed the Capitol. The unfinished civil war.(The Nation 7.1.20)

And then, because the rioters were white, they were allowed to walk away. But just imagine if they had been Black…Authorities would remove and arrest Trump—if he were Black.

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Asian language learning in Australia was a disgrace 40 years ago. It is now much worse.

An important issue we worked on in the Department (of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs) was foreign language learning. We set the pace in the early 1980s, with not many supporters. I felt quite lonely.

Posted in Asia, Education, Politics | 10 Comments

Ireland and Brexit: Time to NIxit? – Part 2: The Economy, Stupid

In Part 1 – A Question of Identity, I examined the question of whether Brexit will hasten the reunification of Ireland from the point of view of how it has affected the identity of Northern Ireland unionism. In this part, … Continue reading

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Sinophobia as a political weapon

Morality racketeering’ is Australian academic Dr Ian Wilson’s shorthand for Indonesian white-clad mobsters who dress in religious righteousness to terrorise their animus-du-jour. Last century it was vice. More recently it’s been blasphemers.  Now it’s the government of President Joko Widodo.

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Ireland and Brexit: Time to NIxit? – Part 1: A Question of Identity

Four and a half years after the United Kingdom referendum in which a majority voted in favour of leaving the European Union, the Brexit project is at last formally complete. Now we await the consequences. One question is whether Britain’s … Continue reading

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China Series: Where To From Here? (A repost from 23.12.2019)

A SERIES of posts on this blog in the last two weeks have highlighted aspects of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that are often overlooked in discussion of the bilateral relationship. We have to get used to living with … Continue reading

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Searching for silver linings in relations with China

In a year that has been harrowing in so many ways, these last few weeks have been particularly unpleasant for many of us involved in the increasingly ugly and fractious “China debates”. Well before Senator Abetz’s alarming inquisition into the … Continue reading

Posted in China | 10 Comments

Joe Biden should end the US pretence over Israel’s ‘secret’ nuclear weapons

The cover-up has to stop – and with it, the huge sums in aid for a country with oppressive policies towards Palestinians.

Posted in World Affairs | 14 Comments

Assange decision welcome but sullied by legal chicanery

The British judge’s ruling that Julian Assange cannot be extradited to the United States is welcome, but it comes after the charade called justice in which British authorities held an unconvicted person in a top security prison and made his … Continue reading

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Europe and China’s year-end breakthrough

 America’s real intention in opposing China has nothing to do with human rights. Particularly under Trump’s lawless administration, US policies have been motivated by a hunger for dominance, plain and simple.

Posted in China, Politics | 13 Comments

China enters 2021 a stronger, more influential power — and Australia may feel the squeeze even more

Great power competition in the Asia-Pacific region has been building for years. But COVID-19 has turbo-charged the shifts taking place and China is finishing 2020 in a significantly stronger position compared with the US than when the year started.

Posted in China | 23 Comments

China’s ‘vaccine diplomacy’: A global charm offensive. Winning hearts and minds!

As wealthy countries scramble to buy up the limited supply of big-name coronavirus vaccines, China is stepping in to offer its homegrown jabs to poorer countries. But the largesse is not entirely altruistic, with Beijing hoping for a long-term diplomatic … Continue reading

Posted in China | 18 Comments

NARA Treaty debacle

Today our intelligence agencies and bureaucrats tell us that China is the enemy. But less than 50 years ago the same agencies and bureaucrats (or their predecessors) were warning us that the enemy against which we had to prepare was … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Politics | 3 Comments

Small nail, big hammer

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, a leader prone to blunders (he initially took the Trump no-worries approach to Covid-19 now ravaging the Republic), may have made another serious error. He’s banned a Muslim organisation that’s become the loudest and most militant … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 2 Comments