Saturday, September 11, 2010

When Should You Retire?

With this blog post, I am seemingly coming out of a short retirement, so it seems appropriate to start with a discussion of retirements.** As you may know, France has recently been witnessing (larger than usual) protests and strikes against a proposal by President Nicolas Sarkozy to raise the retirement age there from 60 to 62 years of age.

Friday, May 28, 2010

China is Low on "Threat Priority" List

In the past couple of weeks, two important documents have been released by NATO and the US government. Insofar as China is concerned, these strategic reports make it clear that the "China threat" is, in fact, not perceived as such a threat by those currently in power in the US and Europe.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Radio Free Asia and the May 4th Flash Mob

Radio Free Asia (RFA) has hit a new low.

A few days ago, Kai Pan at china/divide discussed the less-than-accurate reporting by RFA on Twitter usage in China with regards to the visit of Kim Jong Il.

Friday, May 7, 2010

NYC Bomber, Faisal Shahzad: Lone Wolves Are Also Bad Omens

By Ashesh Prasann
The failed Times Square car bomb attempt which came to light this weekend is tough to analyze because the investigation is not yet complete and there is still uncertainty about the facts. Gen. Petraeus has recently ruled out Pakistani Taliban’s involvement, describing Faisal Shahzad, the individual arrested for attempting the attack, as a “lone wolf”. 

Friday, April 30, 2010

PLA Modernization ≠ US-China War

If you’re familiar with international relations theory, then you know the school of thought called “realism”. As it pertains to China, in a nutshell, realists say that China and the US are headed for great conflict because history and the dynamics of international power say so.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When Superpowers Fall

History has demonstrated that power in the international system is rarely static. But, while empires are now falling at an increasingly rapid pace, today’s power transitions are more peaceful than they have been for much of the past few thousand years. These changes have seen two opposing trends strengthen simultaneously—one that gives the world’s preeminent power more security, the other making it more uncertain of its position at the top.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shanghai's Future Concrete Graveyard

As we read about the upcoming Shanghai Expo, we're constantly amazed by the seemingly unreal scale of construction. The city has spent US$45 billion to prepare for scores of pavilions to be spread out over 1,300 acres and welcome some 70 million visitors over six months. And many of the pavilions are massive works of architecture in and of themselves, costing some countries well over a hundred million dollars, like Japan's "Purple Silkworm", which has a price tag of US$133 million.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Leaked Video of Americans Killing Iraqis

On 5 April, Wikileaks, an organization that reveals once-confidental material, released a July 2007 video of American apache helicopters engaging Iraqis in Bahgdad, including two Reuters reporters and two children. None of the soldiers were prosecuted of wrong-doing.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A War on “Westernization” in China

A fair share of readers have taken international relations or global economics courses in college. And even more people reading this currently mow through a daily assortment of news and blog content. It would not be presumptive of me, then, to assume that you know the ubiquity with which the term “Westernization” is used in both academic and daily communication.
But the word “Westernization” is usually meaningless. Authors and laypeople alike need to quickly reduce the frequency with which they use this term.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chinese Censorship in Action

We often read or hear about the oversight and restrictions imposed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on Internet content in China. But amidst the fallout from the recent Google announcement to forward its Chinese searches to Hong Kong, China Digital Times translated orders that were transmitted on March 23 directly from the CCP State Council to various news outlets and websites. (The State Council is basically the Chinese cabinet of ministers.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

China Gets Ready to Invade America

If you haven't heard yet, in November 2010, a remake of the film Red Dawn will hit theaters. In 1984, this film depicted the Soviet Union invading the U.S. This time, of course, it will be the Chinese.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

China's Democratic Reforms

Today, the Associated Press reported on the wrap-up of China's National People's Congress. A largely rubber-stamp legislative body of 3,000 delegates, this year's Congress passed the Communist Party government's annual report with 97.5 percent approval.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Who Else Might Be Mad at Alice? China

What Does China Have to do with Alice in Wonderland?

Nothing, should be the obvious answer. Yet, somehow, the screenwriter for the new film adaptation of Alice, Linda Woolverton, figured out how to fit the Opium Wars into the plot with neither necessity nor justification.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Earthquake Index

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan -- Two months ago, Haiti lost over 200,000 people to a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. Last week, Chile saw about 800 casualties and extensive from an 8.8 rumble. As I drank my coffee this morning, my apartment in Kaohsiung City, along with the rest of Taiwan, was shaken by a 6.4 quake. As of now, there are 13 people injured as a result.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Young People Will Save U.S.-China Relations

Here's my post from today's blog on RearClearWorld:

Recently, Gallup surveyed Americans on their views of other countries. Some of the results have been mentioned already on this [Compass] blog.

The results are particularly notable for the age-group breakdown.


A solid 62% majority of 18 to 34 year-old Americans had a favorable view of China at the beginning of February. Compare this to the general population: 42%. At the same time, in a 2007 survey (PDF) by the Committee of 100, 69% of Chinese 18 to 29 expressed a positive view of the U.S., where the general population was at 60%.

In general, younger people in both surveys are more likely than their older countrymen to throw love at other nations. But this doesn't make the results less significant. Rather, young people might be more internationally-oriented than previous generations.

More than their parents, young people in America have traveled to China, watched Chinese movies, and etched Chinese character tattoos on their arms -- whether or not they know the meaning. In China, youth have increasingly lived or studied in the U.S., learned English, and, as a result, watched a daily assortment of American TV shows and movies. This is all good for future U.S.-China cooperation.

Unless, of course, you're over the age of 34. In your case, those damn kids don't know anything.

Monday, February 15, 2010

China's Preparing for Oil Scarcity, But Is America?

The economic recession is now out of its most acute phase, but the systemic damage and slow recovery will be felt for years in many Western countries, particularly the U.S. Conversely, China grew at about 8% last year and a top Chinese think tank has predicted10% growth in 2010. As China roars into its year of the Tiger, America will be dealing with high unemployment and low single-digit growth for half a decade or more.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Chinese Bombs and Chinese Aid

The past week's headlines are significant for highlighting the two potential manifestations of China's growing global clout. First, China announced that it had successfully tested anti-missile technology. Four days later, after Haiti was devastated by a magnitude-7.0 earthquake, China announced that it would provide $4.4 million worth of aid to support the global effort.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Costs of Imperialism

A friend recently sent me a presentation at TED by a doctor named Hans Rosling, who has already gained some fame at TED for his first talk, in which he made statistics more visually palatable and effective for learning. In the latest video, which you can view below, Rosling estimates that China and India will reach the per capita income level of Western countries by 2048. Seeing as growth models often change, this is open to debate.