Posts Tagged ‘Beijing’

Links of Interest 03/06/2011

March 6, 2011
A panorama of Beijing's CBD - China World Trad...

Image via Wikipedia

  • H/T Small Wars Journal

    tags: FC China rise Taiwan

    • The prospect of failing to attain the level of economic development before its elderly population places an unbearable strain on the country’s economy while simultaneously coping with tens of millions of idle and alienated young men may present the vaunted PRC technocracy with a challenge beyond its capabilities. As Hudson and den Boer ominously warn, “At some point, governments [will] consider how they can export their problem, either by encouraging emigration of young adult men or harnessing their energies in martial adventures abroad.”
  • tags: FC China defense budget

    • BEIJING—China’s government plans to increase its defense budget by 12.7% this year, a pickup from last year’s sharply slower growth that comes amid widening concerns about the capabilities and intentions of China’s military.
  • tags: FC China

    • China’s counterproductive policies are better understood as reactive and conservative rather than assertive, and Beijing should be encouraged by the United States and its allies to return to the more assertive but more constructive policies Beijing adopted in the two years just before the financial crisis.

      In that period China was actually more innovative, proactive and assertive than it is today. By softening its traditional prohibitions on interference in the internal affairs of other states, Beijing was able to play a constructive leadership role in addressing global problems and improve U.S.-China relations in the process.

  • tags: japan Military buildup China FC

  • In December, Tokyo announced plans to strengthen its forces in the southwestern Okinawan islands, including adding a dozen F-15s in Naha. The increase is part of a broader shift in Japanese defensive stance southward, toward China, that some analysts are calling one of Japan’s biggest changes in postwar military strategy.This strategic shift is another step in a gradual and limited buildup of Japan’s forces, aimed at keeping up with the changing power balance in Asia while remaining within the bounds of Japan’s antiwar Constitution and the constraints of its declining economic power. Political analysts say Japan is slowly raising the capabilities of its forces to respond to a more assertive China and a nuclear-armed North Korea — and to take a first, halting step out of the shadow of the United States, its postwar protector, which many Japanese fear may one day no longer have the will or ability to defend Japan.
  • The Decline of U.S. Naval Power – WSJ.com

As China’s navy rises and ours declines, not that far in the future the trajectories will cross. Rather than face this, we seduce ourselves with redefinitions such as the vogue concept that we can block with relative ease the straits through which the strategic materials upon which China depends must transit. But in one blink this would move us from the canonical British/American control of the sea to the insurgent model of lesser navies such as Germany’s in World Wars I and II and the Soviet Union’s in the Cold War. If we cast ourselves as insurgents, China will be driven even faster to construct a navy that can dominate the oceans, a complete reversal of fortune.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Odds and Ends

February 27, 2011
National Sun Yat-sen University

Image via Wikipedia

So the new academic semester is underway here in Taiwan – week two will begin on Tuesday after the 228 Memorial Day holiday. This will be my final semester studying in Taiwan, and should be quite different than my previous three semesters here, in that I have no classes this time around. I was able to complete all my course requirements during my first three semesters, so now I am free to focus on the final piece of the puzzle – my thesis.

I’ve been pretty satisfied with my progress on my thesis thus far. A month ago, I hadn’t even written the proposal, and now I’ve already got a pretty good first draft of the first two chapters done. My deadline is mid-May to turn the final product in to my advisor, and the defense should go in the first half of June. It’s going to be a lot of work, but already in the short time I have been working on it, I have enjoyed the fact that its production is truly my responsibility and that I can basically follow the research where it leads.

June will be our last month in Taiwan. Yes, nothing lasts forever, and I’ve already got orders to my next assignment. As luck may have it, I’m headed to Denver, Colorado to be a company commander. I am looking forward to that duty. I guess I will have to decide at some point whether or not I want to continue with exclusively Asia-Pacific focus for this blog after that, or if perhaps a transition to a more “general-purpose” military blog would be more in order (something like, I don’t know, maybe Wings Over Iraq? – by the way, I just noticed this blog made the blogroll there – thanks, Crispin!). Regardless, rest assured that Taiwan, China, and the Asia-Pacific will remain vital interests of mine and that material related to the same will appear here from time to time whether or not the overall focus shifts once I move from Taiwan.

But in the meantime, it’s nose to the grindstone for me! That, and a little traveling to indulge in a hobby, triathlons. I will head to Singapore next month for a race and then to the Beijing area in May for a final hurrah before heading back to the U.S.

Completely unrelated to all that, but of interest nonetheless, I commend your attention to a new blog written by one of my classmates at National Sun Yat-sen University. It’s only been around for a little over a month, but already Observations, Comments, and Whatnot is chock full of opinion and well, commentary on Taiwan, China, and more. Head on over and check it out: http://observerlhs-observations.blogspot.com/. The author, Nathan Novak, is averaging greater than a post a day so far in February, and they are not short ones, either. Finally, at least one of his posts has been picked up for publication by the Taipei Times after he posted it to his blog. Take a look.

Links of Interest 02/13/2011

February 13, 2011
Rumsfeld

Image via Wikipedia

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Links of Interest 02/09/2011

February 9, 2011
US military bases in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan

Image via Wikipedia

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

China’s environmental degradation as a national security issue?

July 29, 2010

In China, Pollution Worsens Despite New Efforts,” by Andrew Jacobs, July 28, 2010

I saw this timely article in the New York Times and couldn’t help but note the coincidence of my current visit to Beijing.  Immediately upon arriving earlier this week, I just couldn’t believe the degree of smog and pollution in the city; it really is the worst I have ever seen and worse than I had imagined possible.  I can’t just say something like that and not show examples, so here are a few photos from our recent visit to Tiananmen Square.

If that doesn’t tell the tale, then these photos taken from the window of our accommodations should do the trick:

I figured that the anti-pollution efforts taken in advance of the 2008 Olympics here would have made a positive impact on the air quality in Beijing, but according to the article

Many of the most polluting industries were forced to relocate far from the capital before the 2008 Summer Olympics, but the wind often carries their emissions hundreds of miles back.

And it goes on to add

In Beijing, driving restrictions that removed a fifth of private cars from roads each weekday have been offset by 250,000 new cars that hit the city streets in the first four months of 2010.

Finally, I can’t help but wonder at what point does this degree of pollution become a national security liability?  I can’t imagine that the citizens of Beijing are happy with it, and at some point the positive returns that the economic development driving the pollution increases will have to be outweighed by the fact that it is no longer safe to go outdoors and young kids are coming down with emphysema.  Then what?  Will the Chinese then seek changes to address environmental concerns of a political nature that are unacceptable to the ruling authoritarian Communist Party of China?

Once more, here’s the article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/world/asia/29china.html?src=twt&twt=nytimesglobal

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