Monday, December 21, 2009

China a great nation?

China is flexing its muscles as it emerges as a power on the world scene. Consider its swaggering at the UN Copenhagen conference on global warming. Consider, too, the puff pieces, it transmits on its own Phoenix television channel. It ran a programme on the plight of fishermen of Hainan islands who when they venture in Vietnamese or Filipino territorial waters to fish, are caught for poaching on another country's fishing waters. Vietnam and the Philippines are portrayed in the darkest of lights for 'extorting monies' from these Hainanese, who once they greased the palms of greedy and venal authorities are let go. If Vietnamese or Filipino fishermen are caught in Chinese waters, well, they are well treated, and fined according to the law, and once the fine payed are sent gently on their way. Why? Because China is 'a great country'. Need one say more?
Wink, wink, wink...China is a past master on bribery and extortion and unbridled greed. Read China's own newspapers with summary execution of even Communist Party officials for malfeasance, bribery, extortion, the trampling on China's legal code.
Today China exports its own workers on projects in neighbouring Vietnam or faraway Africa. The Chinese act like the colonialists of 19 and 20 century European nations. Quickly even the lowliest Chinese labourer takes on the airs of a superior being like his European or American cousin of yore.
The locals of the country China invests in, grow to risent them, and realise how these representatives of 'the proletariat' exploit them with a fig leaf of saving appearances. Ask a Zambian, for example. He will fill one's ear with hours of complaint. Talk to Vietnamese, they will say the same thing.
Yes, China may be a great country who has crowned itself with the trappings of the old rotten Middle Kingdom, and with the racial superior attitude and ways of its own checkered past!

The rise of the temp proletariat in the US

The US is the bastion of capitalism at its brutal worst. Consider the rising tide of the unemployed which is almost 20 per cent, although the BLS [Bureau of Labour Statistics] say that it's 10 per cent and falling unevenly through the land. Among blacks and Latinos, especially the young, it has gone beyond 40 per cent with hardly an end in sight.
The global recession sparked by America's finance capitalists, have done much to destroy the US middle and the working classes, which since the reign of the Reagan administration has lost ground in earning power and social benefits.
Although the tax payers have put financial capitalism on a more steady course, the industry has repaid them by cutting them loose for the dole and erosion of savings and the titanic burden of paying for medical care. The corporate sector has followed suit.It is not uncommon to hear of a company 'divesting' itself of 20.000 employees or more. And this is not an extreme case!
Financial capitalists look after their kith and kin, but hardly anyone else. They cynically care for nothing but lust and greed. They hold a tight hand on the purse, denying small and medium businesses the wherewithal to hire and expand and give a vitamin B12 shot into the arm of a very anemic economic recovery. More, through manipulations and hedge funds and junk bonds, they prefer to invest abroad, for quick returns on the US dollar. The devil be damned for the US workers!
The full flowering of free market capitalism which is sending the superpower which is the US on the slippery slope to its ruin, which finds its embodiment in today's finance capitalism, has long sucked the blood out of the corpse of the labour unions and other non governmental organisations which once did but no longer act as countervailing restraints on unbridled power of the one per cent who own the lion share of wealth and manipulate like puppet masters the strings of power.
With a growing and very large army of the unemployed, among whom one finds the flower of say Harvard, the better and less educated, the skilled and the unskilled, the fat cats have found a way of keeping it on a tight leash through 'temporary jobs'.
As temporary employees or 'temps', they will earn enough to keep skin on bones, demoralised, running on a treadmill in order to not drown in the ocean of the permanently unemployed, the homeless, so on and on. As temps, they will remain docile, but disciplined as the employer whoever he may be, will bleed they white, getting every penny and more out of them, and for a miserable hourly wages.
For yes!, temps are hourly wage slaves, like the satanic mills of yore, but today with a more benevolent but hardly less 'Gradgrind face', referring to a Dickens' character in 'Hard Times'.
The hourly wage appears high compared to the average state or federal minimum wage, but this is a facade. For the temp, he has no health benefits, sick time, holiday leave. If sick, he does not get a Yankee dollar in compensation. And of course, he can be dismissed without cause and for talking out of line, if he complains of poor working conditions, abuse by the employer, and the like. Out on his ear, the logic is compelling, there are hundreds who will take his place, and probably for less money.
The temp is doubly exploited, for his employed does not remunerate directly. He is hired through an agency, like Manpower, who will take care of the cutting the temp's cheque, talk to him as the boss' representative, and do the employeer's bidding gladly. For the incidental services, the temp agency takes off a cool third of what the company that uses it. Consider the following example: temp x is hired by a financial institution's back office doing some sophisticated software manipulations. He earns say us$36 an hour, for 36 hours a week. Lunch or dinner is on his dime.
The temp agency gets at least us$54 or usually more per man hour, for its services.
After a year on the temp agency's books, if the temp is lucky, he is offered a Cadillac health plan with high premiums for himself, and even more if he wishes to cover his family, which is more unlikely since he may not have enough to pay rent, put food on the table, etc.
More like than not assignments will be 10 months or less with no renewal. The temp may reapply after a two or three month interval, but there is no guarantee, he will find a job.
So, we find a new twist to the brutal and naked power of capitalism. Something analogous to pages in Karl Marx's 'Das Kaptial'.
The temp has no union to defend him. Perhaps, he may find some lawyers with a social conscience to defend him. In the longer run, he will try to organise other temps. The employer and the temp agency will resort to firings, blacklists, use of infiltrators, spies, and the use of police to protect their big share of the pie of exploitation. The history of the US working classes are filled with such tactics, but should enough temps shout 'Basta ya!', we've had enough!, and come together in a strong organisation, the employer will blink.
Today, in a bleak down of demoralisaiton, the capitalists rule the roost...but time is not always on their side.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Israel & Iran

It is not sure the US will stay Israel's warlords from a preemptive air strike on Iran. The US may not steer the Likud government towards such action, but there is good reason if past history is any signpost, to posit that Washington won't impose it if US president Obama [BHO] and his EU allies and Russia cannot bring Iran around to some mutually agreeable solution to Tehran's nuclear programme. And even then, there is no guarantee that loose cannon Israel will do it anyhow, this inspite of doubts and objections to hawkish Israeli designs.
Of course BHO is no George W. Bush who formally shot down Israel's petition of the US green light to bomb Iran in 2008. But BHO is falling back on and pushing the envelope more on a return to a harder line on Teheran.
Were Netenyahu impetuous enough to allow such action, the US for sure will immediate disassociate itself from such an operation only after damage has been done.
The Israeli defence ministry and government are banging more often the pots and pans for preemptive strikes. Some will say, this is bluffing, others will disagree, saying, it's a matter of months before such attacks will occur.
If they do, Washington will have to back peddle so hard and so fast since an Israeli strike on Iran will lose BHO any credibility in the Arab world, cause war with Israel by the Arabs, cut off oil & gas supplies to the US, and put Washington in a war it may not have wanted but courted by not keeping Israel in check.

Obama 'chides' Wall Street fat cats

Chide is a weak verb. It simply goes to show us US president Barack Obama [BHO]does not hold a short leash on the irresponsible Wall Street fat cats. Far from it. Two examples will suffice. When BHO took his case to the New York Stock Exchange, none of the CEOs from the banks too big to fall came to hear him. Instead, they sent the flunky a step or down the ladder. The other days when BHO was holding his let's create jobs in Washington, Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup, and Morgan Stanley pretexting bad weather, couldn't be bothered to fly commercial to the nation's capitol, to attend the meeting in person. They took part on a conference call from the comfortable surroundings of their fortress banks in New York.
The US is a major shareholder in CitiGroup, but couldn't snap the whip to bring this dog to heel. It's partly BHO's fault, since, as is his wont, he put his big, flat foot in his mouth, saying at the moment or two after the taxpayer bailout of the failing US banking industry, he [read the government] was not in the business of running banks in the private sector. Mistake. He thereby give the very same banks who brought us a global recession, bordering on another great depression, carte blanche to do their worst. And they did.
More, BHO surrounded himself with advisers who in other administrations and in high office in investment banking or hedge funds, created the mess the country is in. Free marketeers to almost the very last one, who are more at the beck and call of finance capitalism than the interests of the country or the taxpayers who foot their bills.
BHO is the front man for finance capitalism. He's a believer in the free market, slow on imposing a programme of regulation....leave it to the venal Congress who greedily and readily in large measure hold out tin cups for the paltry alms that finance capitalism throws their way.
For sure the chief stooge is Timothy Geithner as BHO's secretary of the treasury, but he's the public's target, whereas the full share of responsibility fall on the shoulders of Larry Summers and Ben Bernanke, and in the private sector, the preponderant influence of Goldman Sachs [CEO Lloyd Blankfein famously boasting GS is doing 'God's work'!], Citibank, and Morgan Stanley who is in bed with GS and Citi.
GuamDiary suggests reading 'Rolling Stone's' Matt Taibi's eye opening articles on the poisonous tentacles of Goldman Sachs and the nefarious and deleterious influence of them Robert Rubin gang in the White House west wing, and in key economic posts in BHO's administration.
Taibi's reporting gives us much food for thought, and strikes the fear of the demons of finance capitalism who are intent of filling pockets with money on the back of the hard working and mostly unemployed Americans, and the unquenchable vampire thirst of finance capitalism for self gain, to the mantra of damn the future of country as long as we're living high off the hog and on the blood of America's down and out.
Little wonder, BHO jumps through bankers' hoops!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A year after war in Gaza, Israel gets the sweats

Israel's war of collective punishment against Gaza, has once and for all put into the ground, the myth of Israel as victim. The once rising tide of sympathy has crested. For truth be told,
Israel's arrogance in dealing with the 'road map peace' has angered its godfathers in Washington. A slight shift in European Union thinking on Israel's continued seizure of land, heavy handed treatment of Palestinians, let alone the people of Gaza left hanging to life in war torn Gaza, has caused an eruption of Israeli invective worthy of a major lava flow on Mount Etna. Despite the Likud coalition government has bent a slight knee to US president Obama's pressure, to halt new construction on illegally seized west bank territory for 10 months, it has stopped the ethnic cleansing of Arabs in east Jerusalem. It has fueled the rabid, nationalist and religious groups who occupy Palestinian territory, menace and threaten and won't at times, stop short of killing Arabs for land. Netenyahu may face down Israelis but for him Palestinians count for little. His goal is complete rule from the Mediterranean to the Jourdan.
However, Israel itself, through collective punishment as a weapon of aggression in Gaza, has laid deep in the ground that Israel is the big bully on the block, and a danger to peace in the Middle East. Dialogue is not between Israel and the Palestinians, but between Israeli and Israeli, for a single state with a captive Palestinian population of millions, unwelcome and outcast, only worthy of apartheid like Bantustans.
The waves of sympathy Israel has abroad notwithstanding, the veil of hypocrisy is rent on the pious fraud of Israel as David facing Arab Goliaths. The opposite is true, however.
And what the world press, with few exceptions document, do not talk of the growing religious radicalisation in Israel where Jewish law [Halaka] should rule the average Israeli's life. [Halaka would be equivalent to the Muslim Shari'a]. Owing to Israel's political structure, religious parties often and do hold the few votes which will keep a government in office. In consequence, the steady push towards the right and ultra orthodoxy finds the same echo in Israel as it does in the Taliban world of restoring the Califate; in Israel, it would restore the priestly caste, read ultra orthodox rabbis, to crow hardily in governing.
A yaer after Israel's war in Gaza, it has fallen from grace, yet has the power to bully and kill a two states solution. As GuamDiary has many times argued, a single state solution already rings the death knell on Zionism.

Guam -- wider militarisation

GuamDiary hardly talks of the island of Guam. Japan's kicking up a duster about the transferring of a US military base from one location to another in Okinowa, is forcing the Pentagon's hand. Soon massive construction on Guam will begin, to house a division of Marines. There is a lot of money to be made which would bring unequal economic advantages to that US possession across the International Date Line, in Asia. It has also stirred up worries and protest from Guamanians.
Guam has 64.000 inhabitants; its population is Chomorro, but also intermarriage among and with other emigrants from Asia and mainland US. As a vacation spot, it attracts tourism from Japan, mainly; it has always had a military presence, but with the coming to its shores of Marines, the Pentagon will hold sway on a tight little island with strip malls, an ersatz 'Rodeo Drive' for foreign tourists, as well as all the fast food American chains, K Mart, so on and on.
Already delegations of Guamanians NGOs and officials,co many women, have gone to Okinowa, to learn how to limit the sexual crimes and crimes which 60 years or more of US bases on Okinowa have spawned. Guam will have to deal with the mushroom like growth of honky tonk bars and licensed or unlicensed prostitution.
In spite of visions of ringing of cash registers, the military and their family will spend money at the base. Little will trickle outside but in outlets which feed the sex industry and feed on lawlessness which albeit subject to US law, will find the military using 'military law' which may excuse much and punish little.
And of course, the military will benefit from eminent domain, grabbing the best land on the island, disrupting the normal tempo of Guam's life and Guam's 'paradise'. It surely will challenge the sacred land of Chomorro beliefs and ancestry.
Thus, in other words, Guam will now experience the 'hell' other peoples have experienced under American military occupation. Guamanians can very well profit from the island of Puerto Rico's long history of opposing unrestricted military authority.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

US in Afghanistan to 2024 and beyond

A significant US presence until 2024 and beyond. Such are the headlines in the daily broadsheets and in radio and television reporting.
How then can the land of the free, home of the brave, economically, politically, and millitarily sustain such an effort, the more especially since it is in deep trouble owing to the global recession its investment bankers triggered?
Has anyone thought of encouraging US citizens to emigrate to Afghanistan? Like br ave forefathers of theirs, who broke the plains, plowed the earth, and tamed the wild west, they shall have the noble opportunity of creating a unified country in a hodgepodge of hopelessly contentious warring tribes and divided ethnic groupings.
Not only that, they will bring a capitalist work ethnic which Afghanistan sorely needs. Then surplus of US MBAs, unemployed university graduates, skilled and unskilled workers, will infuse a medieval people with the life blood of a 21 century dynamism.
Consider what creative investment bankers can do with opium. They can rationalise the pr oduction, the gathering and worldwide distribution of the drug, in such a way, that the endless flow of profits will be plowed into nation building and thus the fruit of sophisticated thinking will bear the fruits of 'US democracy' of sorts.
US emigration will revivify an ancient land and its people...the American genius will create gold out of dross.
Consider such emigration as colonising the dark side of moon. Its advantageous and opportunities are golden. In this way, instead of bankrupting the US, such a policy will bring rewards!

A US liaison office in Pyongyang?

A US liaison office in Pyongyang is not a far fetched idea. It is worth consideration. US special envoy Stephen Bosworth is in the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea] for three days of talks. Were we to rely solely on the western press, we would not learn until today [9 December 2009], that he has spent the last two weeks in the ROK [Republic of Korea aka South Korea], smoothing the rough and meaningless, hard line proposals towards dialogue with Pyongyang, proposed by South Korea's president Lee Myung bak. Bosworth had his work cut out for him, the more especially the John Bolton school of not trucking with North Korea, in Seoul and Washington has been trying to undermine any opening to the DPRK. [See earlier entries in Guam Diary].
Did Bosworth succeed in pushing Mr. Lee to echo US president Barack Obama's [BHO] determination to speak directly to Kim Jong il's regime? It seems so, though we can expect sniper fire and rear guard manoeuvres to derail BHO's efforts.
The old gray lady of US journalism, 'the New York Times' ran a story that makes the reader scratch his head. Bosworth, it appears, went to Pyongyang with nothing to offer North Korea, nor to reward the DPRK for bad behaviour. Read, walking out of the six party talks in Beijing, reactivating its nuclear programme, and proferring the standard threats. Well this seems an odd statement in itself: if a senior diplomat travels thousands of kilometres to a country that is technically at warwith the US, with empty hands, what then is the purpose of his trip? Of course, the 'NYT' is simply babbling the official line, which it buys without question.
The reader has to look elsewhere for information. Japan's press let the cat out of the bag. It spoke of a 'road map' to jump start stalled discussions two ways with Pyongyang. One, between Washington and Pyongyang, in order to discuss almost 60 years of outstanding matters, including the need to sign a peace treaty, ending the frozen Korean War; the other, to engage the DPRK to returning to six party talks on its nuclear programme, with a view to denuclearising the divided Korean peninsula. 'Al Jazeera English' repeated these 'leaks'; it had talked to the right wing journalist Donald Kirk, who has covered Korea for the past 30 years. For Kirk, Bosworth's presence in Pyongyang is nothing more, nothing less, than a Madison Avenue scoop and advertisement, for Kim Jong il. For Kirk, the sooner you dump Kim & co., the better. Of course, Kirk hobnobs with generals, neoconservative think tanks, right wing politicians, & the like, so his bravado and 'daring' comments are simply cheap talk, bereft of any political solution but the military operation.
South Korea's worries are easy to fanthom. Syngman Rhee did not sign the Armistice Agreement of 1953, putting a hot war in a cold locker. So, technically, the ROC cannot quality as a signatory to a peace treaty with the DPRK and China. More importantly, Mr. Lee fears that the US will make concessions behind Seoul's back, and thus, such agreements will 'demote' and dilute the ROK's special military and economic policy with the US. So little faith does Mr. Lee & co. have in repeated messages of support from BHO and from other branches of the US government.
On the other hand, Seoul's uneasiness and queasiness squarely fall on Mr. Lee's shoulders. Didn't he jettison the 'Sunshine Policy' towards the DPRK almost immediately after assuming high office in 2008? Wasn't it not he who was going to bring Kim Jong ril to his knees by drastically reducing or outright phasing out food aid, and shipments of fertilisers to North Korea? Didn't his government directly and indirectly give the green light to anti DPRK groups, especially evangelical Christians and ultra conservative force s, calling for destabilising the North Korean regime? Up and down the line, Mr. Lee's tack failed or his hand so transparent in these machinations that success was never within his grasp.
In the ROK, in spite of Mr. Lee, analysists, scholars, and thank tanks have not abandoned contact nor seeking more contact with DPRK. In fact, one came up with the genial idea of the US opening a liaison office in Pyongyang. If both Pyongyang and Washington are serious about resolving a multitude of outstanding matters going back more than a half century,it makes eminently good dollars or wons and sense, to have more than intermittent contact. It is an idea that its time has come! It will be vigorously opposed in the US.
BHO has a lot on his plate everywhere,at home and abroad, especially in Asia. War in Iraq, war in Afghanistan. He is looking to lighten the load on his shoulders, so finding a modus vivendi and opprendi, to come to a solution to the problems on a divided Korean peninsula, is for him a worthy goal.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A minaret a mosque doesn't make!

Swiss right wing parties have touched a raw nerve among voters in a referendum to stop the building of minarets on future mosques. Global Islamic terrorism, which like the fog slips across national borders, has much to tilt the vote towards such a ban. Like the Scarlet Pimpernel, it is here, it is there, it is everywhere. Elusive. Dangerous. Murderous. It also has to do with the seemingly snail pace integration of Muslim emigrants into Europe's sociocultural and political fabric. Often is heard the plaint, they're not like us; they do not fit in; they reject our ways. Some do, others don't, but that explanation satisfies.
Let's say this straightaway, a minaret a mosque doesn't make. A muezzin can and does make the call to prayer in a garden or even inside the mosque. Unlike Judaism, Islam doesn't require a minimum of 10, to pray in a mosque. It can be done individually or at home. An imam's sermon is not necessary.
So, labeling the Swiss vote as a violation of human rights is not useful. You can turn the argument on its head, by citing Saudi Arabia which forbids any church or synagogue. Or the second class rights of Christians or Jews or non Muslims in say Pakistan.
Switzerland does not forbid the propagation of Islam on its territory, but Arab and Muslim lands do formally and strictly forbid the right of Christians and Jews and other non Muslim faiths to proselytise, on the pain of death.
So much for considerations of human rights.
Were Switzerland 'racist' in this sense, it would've denied a safe haven for the so called moderate voice of a more liberal Islam, Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the founder of the much feared and aggressive Muslim Brotherhood.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Israel on the ropes?

Gone are the halcyon days... Israel through faults of its own is on the ropes of global public opinion. Right wing prime minister Bibi Netenyahu more and more is putting his foot in his mouth. He's willing to negotiate with the Palestinians but in the same breath he imposes draconian conditions which are unacceptable.
Israel knows no limits to arrogance. Consider president and long lived politician Shimon Peres' remark to Egypt's Hosni Mbarek. Mbarek raised the matters of the unending, illegal land grab of Palestinian territory on the 42 year Israeli occupied west bank, as a thorn in the side of any peace talks with Israel. Peres in a display of utter deafness, labeled the Egyptian Rais' remark, swept it aside that illegal settlements and the ethnic cleansing in Arab east Jerusalem, were 'peripherals',mere bagatelles which should not delay the signing of a peace treaty.
Well the land grab sticks in the Palestinians caw; it inflames, it festers, it turns toxic, but for Netenyahu & co., it is hardly worth raising an eyebrow.
And yet, to retain a semblance of dancing to the tune of Israel's paymaster and protector, the US, they had to make a 'good faith effort', to slow down but not halt the mindless pursuit of dispossessing the lion's share of Palestinians from the land which is rightfully there on the west bank. Fi to international law. Israel has as its birth right the land of Judea and Samaria of the Torah, which the lord God on high has given it, according to myth.
As Guam Diary continually believes Israel's pursuit of a land of Jews from the Mediterranean to the River Jourdan will in the long run destroy Zionism. Zionism of the stripe of Ben Gurion or the school of Jabotinsky...the mainstream or the right wing extremes.
Israel's intransigence is wired to its own ideology. It feels all the more justified on another ground: the mistaken US policy of Israel's indispensability as an ally. US president Barack Obama [BOH] in his speech before the cadets at America's military academy at West Point on 1 December 2009, made a point of saying that under his administration, he's opened a window of dialogue with the Muslim world. His weak kneed response to his appeal to Israel to halt settlements went unanswered; his secretary of state Hillary Clinton in Jerusalem quipped that BOH wouldn't hold the Netenyahu government to his request, in her vain attempt to jump start negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, slammed that window shut tight. BOH did end up putting pressure on Netenyahu, but as we noted above, the Israeli fox put conditions on a 10 month 'halt' to new construction, but was ordering the finishing of 3000 units and the throwing out of Arab Palestinians from long occupied dwellings in east Jerusalem.
The American president is off in his own dreams, buoyed by his conservative allies in Cairo and Riyadh and Amman.
Thus, Israel continues having a freedom of action which suddenly is challenged by the international community, and before world public opinion, finds itself on the ropes. Cry as it might about the recrudescence of anti Semitism, it cannot escape say the judgment of the Goldstone report on its preemptive war in Gaza, nor on its ethnic cleansing, nor the 'enslavement' of Palestinians and herding them into 'Bantustans'.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Goldman Sachs & the divine rights of bankers

Slightly embarassed by Goldman Sachs chairman Lloyd Blankfein's boast that the house of Goldman Sachs was 'doing God's work', the mighty finance capitalists at 85 Broad Street, New York, set spin doctors to work. And guess what pence of atonement of lordly pride of finance capitalism they hit upon? Well, Goldman Sachs offers apologies for its despicable role in fomenting the crisis in world capitalism which we peon know as a global recession and for which we ratepayers are bearing its heavy cross and suffering a steady decline in our living standards and wages if we are lucky enough to have work! Yep, the house of Goldman Sachs in a publicity gesture 'pledges' us$500m over five, yes five, years to help 10.000 stressed US small business on the verge of bankruptcy and starved for credit which Goldman Sachs & co. have denied them whilst fattening corporate purses of 'banks too big to fail'.
What, pray tell, does this come down to? 2,3 per cent of its coporate profits in the first 9 months of 2009. Now this house of divine rights of finance capitalists has set aside us$16,7bn for compensation for these 9 months, and analysts project that the amount with climb to us$21,8bn by the end of the year.
Goldman Sachs is spitting in the eye of us common folk. It is having a Marie Antonette moment. 'Qu'ils mangent de la brioche' [let them eat bread], she said as her class was racing towards revolution and the guillotine.
Blankfein & his pack of avaricious finance capitalist should remember 'Proverbs' warning that 'pride proceedth the fall'. When, where, and how, Goldman's fall will happen, Guam Diary cannot say. Goldman's insulting offer simply adds oil to the burning fire of resentment among the us the 'third estate', for they and their ilk own 93 per cent of the US wealth, live high off the hog, and throw meagre crumbs to us to slake our thirst for retribution and justice.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Choppy waters in ill defined border between North and South Korea won't delay the Obama administration from its appointment in Pyongyang

The two minute fusillade on the murky, ill defined, watery boundary separating North and South Korea in the Yellow Sea this past week, gave much needed cheer to the hard line Pyongyang watchers. The South Korean navy fired a mere 50 rounds, hitting the North Korea vessel which 'strayed' across the boundary line, killing one man. Swifty North Korea threatened Biblical punishment in return, but not defined.
What emboldened the 'regime change' North Korean watchers, was the feeling that this incident would torpedo US president Barack Obama's plans to send special envoy and chief US negotiator with the North, Stephen Bosworth, to the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea] before the end of 2009, to initiate or at least to prepare the ground for direct talks.
Much to the chagrin of these North Korea hands, who endow Kim Jong il with magical powers to delay any final collapse of his regime, thereby sweeping away with a thud an 'axis of evil state' once and for all, secretary of state Hillary Clinton calmly seemed unruffled by the naval confrontation, and simply restated that the US will proceed as scheduled to meet DPRK officials in Pyongyang in the next 8 weeks.
In reading the articles of say Andrei Lankov or Donald Kirk or listening to the pronouncements of Victor Jha, Kim Jong il is a reincarnation of the Scandanian mischief maker Loki, or a successor to Sax Rohmer inscrutable, elusive Dr. Fu Man chu, or is a Svengali of immense powers to fool clever [read liberal or right wing realist] minds, looking to engage in talks or opening channels with Pyongyang.
Reading this school's writings, reveals a comic book quality--simplistic and ingenuous and cut thin on the manipulation of the facts, one one hand, and on the other, a tone deafness or a colour blindness to shades of meaning and subtle and not so subtle twists and turns in the spiral of the game of diplomacy. It reminds one of George Orwell's mantra in his much read 'Animal Farm', 'two feet, good; four feet, bad'. For we find the sun at noon without a shadow of doubt, only the searing oneness of the sun's brightness.
Like it or not, the Obama administration is pressing ahead on the matter of North Korea, and bringing it back to the bargaining table in Beijing, too.
Saying this, will not still the voices opposing any dealings with the DPRK. A sure sign of this, is found in the shrill, nay hysteric tones of the articles and the talks, and the mud slinging sliming the reputations and the judgments of centrists and conservatives who are looking to more contacts with Pyongyang.
What the regime changers seem to ignore, is the growing trend within America's business community who are multiplying missions of inquiry to the DPRK, with an eye on dealings with this mineral rich country. And Pyongyang encourages this. It has allowed a private Korean American to build a 'private', yes, not a DPRK controlled, technical and scientific university in Pyongyang proper. And the mighty financial house of Goldman Sachs, has issued a glowing analysis of the economic might of an eventual reunited Korea.
So, as the saying goes, follow the money! And the monied interests look to the DPRK, albeit in exploratory tours. This the regime changers ignore, and to the collapse of their own dreams of sugarplums and good fairies and the choir of angels.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Breaking down walls in Berlin and the Israeli occupied west bank

Yesterday [9 November 2009] marked year 20 of the 'Mauerfall', the end of the wall separating East Berlin from West Berlin, thereby heralding the collapse of Communism in Europe. End ink flowed; endless purple prose graced speeches of politicians; endless tales of where were you at the momentous moment?; in brief, a pause for joy and celebration in a changed world.
Yet, walls exist elsewhere! Most notably in the Israeli held west bank of Palestine where the Israeli government of moderate right, soft left, and hard core right wing, have continued building a wall on Palestinian territory to safeguard the sanctity of Israel. Mind you, not the 1967 borders, but on Palestinian land, which divides families from their land and livelihood, thereby furthering the illegal land grab of Jewish settlers, and the separation of contiguous Palestinian territory, with the result of creating 'Bantustans' and killing any two state solutions.
And on this anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Palestinians tore down sections of this Israeli wall, but hardly stirring comments in the mainstream global press. And thus silence prevails on the death of a people's homeland. Yet the Palestinians are not taking things lying down; they resist in symbolic actions, which in spite of the danger they incur, they are willing to face and 'submit' the Israeli Defence Force's repression. Such determination and courage will in the end spell the death of Zionism!

Friday, November 6, 2009

US finance capitalism and the H1N1 flu shots

Nothing is more telling as to who calls the shots in the US economic. Consider the dearth in H1N1 flu shots. Everyday the US media keeps up a benumbing tale of the insufficiency of supply to combat the H1N1 aka Swine flu vaccine.
Yet, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Citi Group has had no such trouble. These 3 too big too fail mega banks got the vaccine, for their employees. Now who's kidding who? The per centage of these financial institutions who are in the risk groups for the sera, is minimal, unless they are engaging in the unlawful practice of using child labout? The majority of their 'hires' fall into the less risky category of 30 toe 60, a generational span which is hardly at high risk.
So what does this tell us about the class skewered class structure in the US. The finance capitalists and their hanger ons in government and the monied interests, who brought us the great recession of 2008, count more in health, life span, and privileges than 90 per cent of the American people.
It's the survival of fittest [sic], the survival of a class of parasites who produce nothing but a steady stream of paper, mostly worthless, generating a life style which the hoi polloi can but dream of.
Crowding out the young is symptomatic of the decadence of the American ruling class.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Obama effect in the Middle East sputters badly

What a difference of a few months make. The 2 August 2009 issue of 'Jeune Afrique' wrote glowingly of 'l'effect Obama' in the Arab world. Patrick Seale enamoured by US president Barack Obama's [BHO] oratory, waxed eloquent on the way the American chief of state cleverly was squaring the circle in matters Israeli and Palestinian and engaging Iran. Three months later, BHO & co. have begun talks with Tehran. But sad to say, he squandered the capital he earned among the Arab world by tripping badly on picking up the stitches on Israel and Palestine.
As the world has come to know BHO's style of engagement, he's a mediocre hand at poker; he throws in his cards too easily. Consider his thunderbolt on illegal Israeli settlements which sent Arctic shivers up and down Israel. The right wing Likud government under the sorry leadership of Benjamin Netenyahu at first was caught up short. It didn't take him long to take BHO's measure, in order to make mince meat of BHO's speech in Cairo. He stared down BHO, and BHO folded like a tent.
This was never more obvious during secretary of state Hillary Clinton's 'visite eclaire' to Jerusalem. There she announced that the halt in illegal grabbing of Palestinian land was off the table, in the vain hope she could breathe life into the moribund 'road map to peace'. Standing besides her was Netenyahu looking very much like the cat that swallowed the US canary, and with the glint of hypocrisy in his eye, announced Israel sets no 'preconditions'[sic] in negotiating with the Palestinians. Wink, wink, wink. Who did he think he was kidding? Apparently everyone in the mainstream global press! No one had the courage to say aloud that Israel in negotiations with Palestinians always threw 'preconditions' in the spokes of any progress. Jerusalem would only do 'x' if the Palestinians did 'y'. And then the Palestinian authority would jump through the Israeli hoop, and get nothing in return from Israel.
BHO has strong cards in forcing Israel back to the bargaining table, but he won't use them since if he did his party's chances in the 2010 by elections would be sabotaged by the powerful Israel lobby and the philo Israeli members of Congress who depend on the largesse of lobbies, among which the Israeli is very powerful, and has proven very skillful in killing the hopes of many a Congressman or woman seeking re election, not to mention the Christian evangelicals who throw immense support behind Isreal.He has heard the rumble of discontent even among the most supine Arab rulers, and Mme. Clinton got an earful of Arab ministers' anger in a meeting in Morocco these past days. As a result, instead of returning to Washington, she immediately boarded a plane for Cairo, to soothe Hosni Mubarak's feather and to enlist him in cooling Arab tempers.
But the harm was done. BHO has lost any good will he may have garnered in June in Cairo.
BHO as is his wont, sets his sails to the lee side; he's cautious when he should be bold. In consequent, he does too little to be effective.
As Guam Diary keeps repeating--an it is not the only one--BHO has the whip to keep Israel in line.A mere threat of cessation of military and economic aid, would make Netenyahu & co. sit up straight, stand at attention, and salute smartly. BHO won't for his sense of Realpolitik. And thus no matter how pretty the speech making, the clever and insincere appeal to noble sentiments, the Obama effect has faulted and failed. BHO has the spine of a wet noodle when it comes to exercising political skills and will in the Middle East.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beijing hastens the tempo of war drums on the border with India

Tibet brings out the pathological worse in China's leaders.
His holiness the Dalai Lama has been China's bete noire for more than a half century. It is not difficult to grasp the reason. He has refused to become its puppet; he escaped to India, and there established a Tibet in exile, so to speak. In spite of the influx of Han emigrants into the high Tibetan plateaux, China's policy of making Chinese out of Tibetans has failed utterly, Guam Diary suggests. Suppression of uprisings has not quieted a visceral homegrown nationalism which Chinese troops have never been able to eradicate, short of genocide. The spontaneous 'revolt' in spring 2008, a few months before the Summer Olympics in Beijing and its harsh repression, spoilt Beijing's charm offensive to seduce the world in a false image of a Potemkin Village in China, and seriously made China lose face.
For China's Communist rulers, unrest and non ending challenge to its authority in Tibet lay at the feet of the Dalai Lama, a spiritual leader without an army who preaches non violence and reconciliation. They call him a 'splitist' who seeks to destroy the unity of China. And yet, the Dalai Lama is not calling for independence, but simply for autonomy within the Chinese nation, one yellow star among the 5 stars on China's red flag symbolising the major groups making up the country. But the Communist leaders admit nothing unless it's unconditional surrender to the steel fist of their control. And dehispite long years of trying, China has failed totally to gain the loyalty unless severly coerced, and even then, the Chinese leaders can never be assured.
Foreign pressure has moved Beijing to parliament with the Delai Lama's representatives, but like the Israeli 'negotiating' with the Palestinians, they are not playing from a straight deck. They do everything to make talks fail.
As mentioned above, the Delai Lama is soon setting out to visit the monastery in Twang. And the mere presence of this incarnation of a Buddha has setting the Communist leaders in Beijing to making threatens, quicken the pace of border violations with India, beef up military stationed on the Arunchal Pradesh border with India. They have grumbled, stamped feet, thumped tables with fists, beat a madding tattoo on the drums of war, issuing endless threats. Another spoon in the broth is the rising economic rival that India has become to China's 'industrialisation', thanks to foreign capital investment. India thus is a challenger to Beijing's self appointed role as 'referee' of all things Asian. A strong India reduces that posturing to dust.
The Indian province of Arunchal Pradesh is in the very area of the 1962 war with India which China 'won', in the sense it led to the end of the Jarawharlal Nehru's political life and the fall of his government. Nothing was achieved in the Himalayas to redraw boundary lines Beijing claimed, saying they were drawn by British imperialists at a time of China's weakness. India demurred. But the sting of war has left a sour taste in New Delhi's mouth since then, although relations with China have improved, and most recently. China's bullying will not move India's resolve one whit, since Arunchal Pradesh is its province, not even renewed war which won't serve China's purpose.
In addition, the mere presence of the Dalai Lama in Twang, in a region of his own birth, is enough to set Beijing's teeth on edge. The spiritual power of the man is enough to renew the devotion the majority of Tibetans accord him. It is a slap in the Chinese leadership's face, and make hollow the claim they own the hearts and minds of Tibetans. The causes are found in China's imperialist pretension; its ethnic cleansing; its cultural genocide; its demoralising corruption, and the list goes on and on. China, in a word, is its own worst enemy, not the Dalai Lama!
The Dalai Lama won't give into this form of blackmail. In Japan, for example, he has roundly criticised Beijing for its sham democracy and for holding the Chinese people in dictatorial bondage. Thus, the words of words continue unabated.
The Communist leadership's claim of its right to rule Tibet is belied by a 26 minute documentary shot by an amateur Tibetan film maker, now being tried by a Black Star Chinese court, out of public view, and the worst is feared for his sort. The Tibetans in the film, with a boldness to defy the Chinese warlords, speak without hiding their faces. They know they are risking their lives, but they do it to show they are loyal to the Dalai Lama, their true leader, and know the full measure of punishment they run if caught.
China's repression has not abated. In the last few days [today as of this posting, it is 1 November 2009], Beijing has ordered the execution of 4 Tibetans who dared protest China's colonial rule.
In a sense, China has hoisted its own petard.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Generous South Korea?

After ROC [Republic of Korea aka South Korea]president Lee Myung bak assumed the power of his office in March 2008, he trashes the 'Sunshine Policy' towards the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea] that his predecessors had initiated.He thus cut off all aid in kind--chemical fertilisers and foods, in his 'drag nach Norden', to bring Pyongyang to its knees, by softening its stance on the nuclear issue and in the belief he could give the DPRK a strong dose of its medicine. He failed completely.
Now in late October 2009, he is allowing 10.000 ton[ne?]s of corns and 20.000 ton[ne?]s of powdered milk for North Korea. Its his payment in kind for Pyongyang's 'ouverture' towards the US, since citizen Bill Clinton's mission of mercy to the DPRK in early July 2009. Mr. Lee fearful that his ally in Washington might abandon South Korea, has had to run fast to keep in place and save face.
US president Obama [BHO] expressed a willingness to engage in direct talks with the DPRK, but with a condition or two--Pyongyang's return to the six power talks Kim Jong il swore North Korea had left for good. Politics has a way of twisting threats, so the likelihood is that a dual track of talks with ensure as the modalities are worked out.
Seoul's Lee Myong bak, after lobbying long and hard for BHO's public iteration of never abandoning an ally, invoking protection of the ROC under the US' nuclear umbrella, and strong declarations similar to China's invocation of the Sung dynasty as a protector of North Korea, now Washington is the lips to Seoul's teeth.
Mr. Lee has floated an idea or two about lessening tensions on the divided Korean continent. They are hardly veiled proposals for North Korea's surrender. Little does he know his 'brothers to the North'. Had he read African history, his eye might have come across the name of Sekou Torre, who dared defy France's Charles DeGaulle. Torre flatly refused the neocolonial trappings of a French community of former colonies by opting out of DeGaulle's offer. He let it be known that he preferred his country proud yet poor to one suppliant on its knees before its old master.
Now what do we ascribe Mr. Lee's 'generous' [sic] 10.000 ton[ne?]s of corn? It's a one time payment in kind, to the tune of us$3,5m, for the resumption of uniting families in the North and the South separated since the Korean war which remains without a peace treaty.
Obviously, Mr. Lee has little intention of softening his stance towards the DPRK. He prefers a stalemate at best in the hope that the DPRK will collapse on its own weight. His bones will turn to dust before that happens. It is more believable that he will see the termination of his presidency first.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lankov on North Korea

Dr.Andrei Lankov has studied North Korea [Democratic Republic of Korea or DPRK]. His latest book
details the daily life beyond the 38 parallel, in the DPRK. He has written of the demise of Stalinism in North Korea. In the November/December 2009 issue of the prestigious house organ of the US Council of Foreign Relations [CFR], appears his essay 'Opening North Korea'.
Professor Lankov grew up in the Soviet Union; he received there his training as a Korea expert. Now he lives and teaches history at Seoul's Kookmin University, which financially helped underwrite his article. He also lived and taught in Australia. Like other former Soviet scholars, he looks for the vein of change in Kim Jong il's DPRK; his model, more or less, remains the instrumentality which led to Communism in the west's demise, on one hand, and nourishes the hope that Pyongyang will copy the road to capitalist development which China and Vietnam have taken. He, however, is less hawkish than other scholars trained in the East European schools, calling for regime change.
Obviously, his article is not 'value free'. Furthermore for all his learning, Lankov fudges. Consider his sweeping opening statement that 'North Korea, a small country with no economic potential to speak of'... Guam Diary suggests that he contact Goldman Sachs' analysts in Seoul for a copy of that investment house's glowing report on yes, the economic potential of the DPRK! If the world's foremost bankers smell profits in North Korea, why cannot Lankov. The Japanese colonisers tapped its rich mineral potential for their own economic development. If that is not enough 'the irritant that North Korea is', according to the Kookmin professor is on the cutting edge of rocket technology, and in nuclear technology, has proven to be no slouch. The DPRK has
the industrial wherewithal, if harassed to the good will and cooperation of the Republic of Korea [ROK or South Korea], to give Japan and neighbouring China a run for their money in trade and global market share.
Consider, Mr. Lankov's remarks on the lack of economic reform in North Korea. Pyongyang, willy nilly, since the abrupt ending of Soviet aid and certainly the great famine of the early 1990's, which caused a severe human and economic crisis, has by the force of things, allowed economic reforms. The writings of Rudiger Frank suggest this. the North Korean leadership has done much running to stay in place in the beginning, and then has seen, encouraged, and at times limited freedom of action in the economy. We see through the reports of Russian Korean hands and of NGO's, proof of a degree of decentralisation in the provinces, the rise of 'free markets' all over the DPRK, and 'experiments' of pale liberalisation on the Cholema model, which in other words reads as a North Korean solution sui generis [despite borrowings from elsewhere].
Now let's consider the contract with an Egyptian company to instill coaxial cable for the internet throughout the DPRK. No matter the restrictions, this 10 year contract is an example that the leadership in Pyongyang is quite away of the steps to modernisation of infrastructure it needs to take. Fire walls or attempts to fool them notwithstanding, Pyongyang is not the 'old duffer of failed Communism' critics describe it to be. It has its own agenda. And North Korea watchers would do best to follow the evidence more closely, and less eager to make rash predictions.
Now, let's turn to cultural exchange. Pyongyang is no stranger to cultural exchange. Take for example, the visit of the New York Philharmonic to Pyongyang. It was broadcast live from Pyongyang, and then rebroadcast. The Philharmonic's maestro Loren Mazel in a heartfelt message in English and some smattering of Korean, spoke of the hope for a wider exchange between the US and the DPRK. Pyongyang did not demur. Washington put the kabosh on any follow up. There was even talk of the Pyongyang orchestra performing in London. It appears the reluctance comes from the west.
As for North Koreans total isolation from the outside world. Well, here the claim is porous. North Koreans, and not only the DPRK's elite corps, know of the latest telenovelas produced in South Korea and Japan. Information follows through the 'Arab telephone', so to speak, out of China, visitors from Japan and Koreans living elsewhere through the world. Although it cannot be denied that after 60 years of state propaganda, their view of the world may be not larger than the diameter of a well looking at the sky of its bottom. But, it is surely interesting to note that information does filter trickle down to the far most villages in the DPRK.
Were the readers of 'Foreign Affairs' more savvy about the DPRK, they could and should quest Dr. Lankov's assertions. The CFR is the fount of America's elite, but on some issues they remain as ignorant as cabbages.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Obama's Nobel prize

Guam Diary steps timidly into the ring of opinion on Oslo's awarding the 2009 Nobel prize for peace to the US president Barack Obama [BHO]. Little did the august, restrained circle of judge misread the reaction. In the US, it caused a tempest of derision and scorn and cynicism; an award to a new president who has hardly had time to test his mettle. The bile and etching acid of criticism has come mainly from BHO's reactionary detractors, mainly Republican, and even some from the scolds on the left. One lefty equated the nomination to Bertold Brecht's receiving a Lenin peace prize! The right wingers have poured ice water on BHO's nomination with no amount of silly advice, and even the so called middle, read the 'New York Times' gassy Thomas Friedman has tilted towards putting acceptance off till BHO has done something worthy of the man. Others have called for outright refusal. Which betrays historical shortsightedness. Jean Paul Sartre refused his prize, but for the year he won it, he is still listed as recipient with in parathesis 'refused'.
To Guam Diary, it seems, the Nobel peace prize marks a decisive shift from fearing the specter of a unilateral, single superpower throwing its weight around arrogantly with little or no regard for the world, as exemplied by George Bush & co. bank of blind avenging angels. BHO has as a herald of high moral hopes and a message of cohering the US with the world at large. Called it the biblical 'balm of Gilead', if you will; it's comparatively speaking in the same league as the youthful JFK whose election like BHO's brought a universal feeling of youth and change, even though the potential might remain short in reality.
The detractors in the US, for all the Colonel Blimp patriotism they wear on their sleeves, they fail to recognise that the US in the person of BHO, is being honoured and restored to its own image as a beacon of hope and liberty and freedom. In this sense, they bear the onus of 'anti American', which at every turn possible they try smearing everyone else but them.
Like it or not, BHO is the 2009 holder of the Nobel prize for peace.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Israel stews in a broth of its own making

Israel is getting a taste of its own medicine.
Today [16 October 2009], the UN Human Rights Commission voted to send the findings of Goldstone report on Israel's 21 day war on Gaza, to the Security Council for consideration and action. A setback for the Netenyahu right wing government, and for the Obama administration, a dilemma, the more especially since the US will no doubt exercise its veto, thereby running the risk of damaging mending fences with the Arab and Muslim world which Mr. Obama [BHO] puht on track with his speech in Cairo.
Now, Israel's longstanding ties with Turkey are loosening. And Israel's blitzkrieg of a war 60in Gaza which targeted Gaza's civil population and infrastructure as a means of getting back at the Hamas government, and as such, as an martial exercise in 'collective guilt', a blatant violation of international law, which Jerusalem whimsically uses selectively and for its own purposes.
Turkey has cooperated with Israel almost from its founding 60 years ago. Military, economic, and diplomatic relations have withstood the turbulent wars Israel waged against Palestinians and its Arab neighbours. With the rise of renewed Muslim sensibility in secular Turkey, these ties began fraying.
It became noticeable at the 2008 Davos economic summit, when Turkish prime minister Erdogan criticised Israel's preemptive war in Gaza. Sharing the stage with Mr. Erdogan was Israeli president Shimon Peres who proceeded not only to rebuke the Turkish premier, but in a snit began shouting at him, which resulted in Mr. Erdogan stomping off the platform, as Mr. Peres continued his rantings.
Afterwards the Israeli president realising his mistake, apologised in the hope that Turkey would overlook Mr. Peres' display of diplomatic bad manners. Turkey obliged. And relations, it seemed, take on their normal pattern until Israel again ruffled Anakara's feather, and yes, the sting was Gaza. For on a visit of the Turkish foreign minister to Israel, the Likud government denied his request to visit the Gaza strip.
Israel's over the top war against Palestinians in Gaza, left Jerusalem with two black eyes. The unwarranted and seeming targeting and killing and maiming its civil population and deliberate bombing of roads, schools, mosques, churches, and hospitals, has won Israel few friends. And the 'tsuhal's' [Israeli Defence Force] brutality has turned a friendly Turkey into a critic. Denying a top government minister access to Gaza simply reopened the rift between Ankara and Jerusalem.
The upshot was immediate. Turkey canceled joint military exercises with the Israeli air. force.
And if that were not a wake up call for Israel, on Turkish television a documentary on the war in Gaza with a distinctly anti Israeli cast. Of course, Jerusalem presented its protests to the acting Turkish ambassador. It says something that Turkey has no appointed ambassador d to Israel: further proof of rapidly cooling of relations between Ankara and Jerusalem.
Consider the charm offense Israeli former and current diplomats, spy masters, and high officials, and spokesmen and women in the international media, to defend Israel against its own actions, especially during the war in Gaza, in particular, and its illegal land grabbing of land and bare knuckled treatment of Palestinians in the Israeli 42 year occupation of the west bank. Two examples will suffice here a BBC interview with a top ranking former diplomat which thanks to the spot on grilling of the broadcaster poked holes in Israel's oft recited script of blaming the victim the Gazans. The other: the PBS programme host Charlie Rose whose nightly transmissions enjoy a global audience. His guest another top Israeli official who presented a convoluted, long winded defence against the Goldstone report and for Israel, a limp boosterism for the right of his country to attack Gaza and its civilian population, saying more than less that every house, school, hospital, religious institution was a valid target since it housed rockets, which but on the basis of Israeli propaganda existed but never independently verified.
The US will shield, to the detriment of its own wider national interests, its client Israel. Israel is now more than ever thrown on the ropes of growing international criticism and isolation. The fault lies not in Israel's enemies, but in the nature of Israeli arrogance and belief that it is beyond the norms of international law and civilised behaviour. As such, it will have to taste more of its own bitter medicine.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Things coming together in divided Korea

As Guam Diary has continually noted, events are going in the directwhon of discussions of matters on a divided Korean peninsula, mucgh to the distaste of the hard liners in Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo dream of nothing but regime change or the complete collapse of the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea].
Instructive is today's article in 'Asian Times Online' by Dr. Kim Myong chol on Pyongyang's 'plan c' for breaking the logjam on denuclearising the Korean tpeninsula, Pyongyang's returning to the six party talks in Beijing, and the Obama administration's opening direct discussions with the DPRK. 'Plan c' is a 'bomb' in itself; its object is Washington's 'de jure' recognition of North Korea as a nuclear power.
For those who know of Mr. Kim, he is a Korean born and living in Japan, and who is called the 'DPRK's unofficial spokesman'. His utterances are never flights of fancy but herald the broad outline of North Korea's policy. So what he does say, should be read with an attentive eye, to say the very least, not dismissed out of hand. He is signaling president Obama, to state the obvious.
President Bush tacitly acknowledged the nuclear status of Pyongyang after it exploded a nuclear device. He immediately reversed his long standing hard line policy towards North Korea, quieted down his talk of regime change, and stopped twisting the North Koreans' tail by demeaning Kim Jong il. In fact, he opened more contacts, admittedly guarded and indirect with Pyongyang.
Kim Myong chol defines the US' 'de facto' recognition of the DPRK's advance in nuclear technology to citizen Bill Clinton's mission of mercy in July 2009. Such shading of fact has more to do with the DPRK's dislike of Mr. Bush. Weeding through Dr. Kim's article, his attention does dwell on the domestic scene in the US; he weighs its domestic policies which have eaten into president Obama's [BHO] poll numbers; he reviews with a longer view the sad story of DPRK US relations, mentioning the long forgot[for Americans] 'Pueblo incident'. In his attempt to flatter BHO, he suggests that the American president, now a Nobel Peace laureat, sweep aside anyt barriers by visiting Pyongyang, a la Nixon's trip to China in 1972, and what's more admitting the DPRK into the nuclear club of 8.
On the last point, Mr. Kim, astute student of the American scenery, misjudges the 'public mind', meaning not only the American people but and especially those diplomats and CIA analysts past and present, think tank pundits, and members of the chattering class who favour more openness toward the DPRK. Mr. Kim knows them, since they are the very people who maintain channels to North Korea, on one hand; on the other, he misreads them.
Consider the opinion of former diplomat and current president of New York's Korea Society, Evans Revere, and Gordon Flake, Korea expert and member of the Mansfield Foundation. These two men spoke at a panel on North Korea at New York's Japan Society at the beginning of August 2009. Both Revere and Flake to varying degrees, are for keeping channels open to Pyongyang. Nonetheless, on the matter of recognising the DPRK as a nuclear power, both bristled, and both were of one mind: 'totally unacceptable'. And that is the feeling, visceral it seems, of friends of North Korea.
So, in a way, Dr. Kim is proposing a maximal position of the DPRK. Obviously, it is an agenda item when direct talks between the US and DRPK take place. Yet, the suggestion is enough for the so called good guys on contact with Pyongyang, to take fright and run. And since they have BHO's ear more or less, to warn against any action on the matter.
Guam Diary has the feeling that the DPRK has always sought legitimacy, especially from the US and its allies. Were BHO willing to grant 'de jure' rights on the nuclear issue, the DPRK would renounce its nuclear programme and ambitions, much in the same way Libya's Colonel Qaddafi did. Of course, this requires diplomatic recognition, among other agenda items. Furthermore, Pyongyang's thirst for a place in the sun of normal nations is such that its admission to the comity of countries, is worth denuclearising the Korean peninsula.
BHO won't go to Pyongyang. Would Kim Jong il risk the trip to Washington?

Netenyahu strikes a Jehovah like pose

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netenyahu spoke like Jehovah before the Beth Kenesset [parliament]. Casting thunderbolts of scorn and disdain at the findings of the Goldstone report, he vowed that not one Israeli is going to be tried for crimes of war which Israel's 21 day 'blitzkrieg' visited on the population of Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009. South African jurist Richard Goldstone, a Jew and a Zionist, commissioneds by the UN Human Rights Commission, issued a report on war crimes committed during the war in Gaza. His conclusions did not exempt Hamas from guilt, but they did point the finger of condemnation on the overwhelming blame of the Israeli army. The 'tsuhal' or Israeli Defense Force overwhelming targeted the Palestinian civilian population and the Gaza strips infrastructure as prime targets, resulting in at least 1400 dead, children, women, and men, an even higher number of wounded, but hardly delivering the 'knockout blow' to the ostensible object of the war--Hamas.
The war brought into out living rooms thanks to the media, did Israel more moral harm than Netenyahu can imagine. The iconic halo that Israel wears on with arrogance, may be tarnished beyond saving in the eyes of the world. Even its stout defenders began questioning Israel's motives.
And Netenyahu resorted to Israel's damage control, for the Goldstone report documents Israel's brutality against Gaza in a war conducted as an exercise in 'collective guilt' which contravenes norms of international law. He couldn't act otherwise. He poured hot bile on the report's findings and recommendations that Israel be brought before the international court of justice for crimes of war. He cast Israel's responsibility on the shoulders of Hamas, for launching home made rockets after Israel, to break an Israeli strangehold on the economic and social life of Gazans, with the view of reducing the will of resistance throw slow starvation. He preaches the valour of Israel's democracy which keeps its own Arab citizens in second class status, and in its 42 year occupation of the west bank continues to steal Palestinian land for settlers thereby fulfilling the Zionist goal of an Israeli state from the Mediterranean to the Jordan river; the Arab owners of the land properly dispossessed and abandoned to tight little islands in Bantustans, killing any hope of an independent Palestine.
Netenyahu's boasts won't win him more friends, but more likely than not turn Israel into a pariah state, in pursuit of a dream which as Guam Diary suggests, means the end of Zionism and the fall of any purely Jewish state

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Boomerang on shelving the Goldstone report. US powerless to stop Israeli land grabbing in east Jerusalem and the west bank. The end of Zionism!

Pliable Palestinian Authority [PA] president Mahmoud Abbas [Abu Mazzam] turned tailewed on his refusal to advance the UN Human Rights Goldstone report to the UN Security Council. Putty in the hands of secretary of state Hillary Clinton to stop the report from ever reaching the Security Council, Mr. Abbas willing obliged. But the Palestinian streets was swift in condemning him as as a traitor denying them justice in condemning Israel's war of collective guilt in December 2008 and January 2009. Faced with a groundswell of anger, he reversed himself.
The Barack Obama [BHO] administration has shown itself incapable of pressuring Israel on negotiations of a two state solution, and unable to throw lest in complete and total support of it. Instead once again he is sending his special adviser George Mitchell, in the spirit of an elusive hope that he can revive the road map to peace which for Israel is dead in the water. Israeali prime minister Benjamin Netenyahu has responded to BHO's initiative to get the two states solution off the ground by inflicting on BHO a humiliating rebuff. He simply continues the illegal gobbling up of Palestinian territory in Israeli occupied west bank and the spoiliation of Palestinian property in east Jerusalem. What does Senator Mitchell hope to gain from further discussions with the right wing Likud government? Not much. In fact, the ultra national Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has never shied away from pursuing Israel's version of 'Lebensraum' in the occupied territories, put a big stick in the spokes of any US effort in support of a 'viable Palestinian state'. Lieberman without a blush of shame nor hypocrisy, simply put BHO on notice that any resolution of the 60 year old Palestinian question, is year's away. [Read, till hell freezes over.] BHO reacts mildly to Israel's rebuffs. His unswerving support of Israel, annuls any 'public relations' offense by the Obama administration to sway the Arab and Muslim main street and heads of state, on its determination to birth an independent Palestine.
The US simply wont slap Israel hard on the knuckles in the same way that Dwight Eisenhower did during Israel's preemptive seizure of the Suez Canal in 1956. Then the US president threatened withholding military and economic aid unless David Ben Gurion withdrew Israeli troops, which he immediately did. Now, we find Washington has become Israel's cat's paw.
It is more and more obvious that the two state solution has not future today. Israel is intent in marginalising millions of Palestinian Arabs in disconnected islands of poor land, thereby realising the political goal of Zionism, of a Jewish state from the Mediterranean to the river Jordan. A state called 'Israel' with a minority ruling Jewish population with complete rights and an Arab majority with little or no rights; second class citizens condemned to an unequal and separate status similar to the non white population of apartheid South Africa. The minority may rule for years but ultimately its centre won't hold; it is doomed to failure unless it resorts to an ethnic cleansing which the world community won't allow. Ultimately, too, Arabs will regain full rights, and a Jewish state will perish in favour of a secular state with full rights for all. Confident as Israeli leaders are today they are digging Zionism's grave.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The New York Times floats rumours about Iran's nuclear capabilities

US NSC [National Securtiy Council] chairman General Jones today firmly shot down the Sunday 2 October 2009 'New York Times' lead story that the Islamic Republic of Iran is designing nuclear warheads. The general stood firmly by the Pentagon's 2007 assessment that Iran was not capable of producing nuclear weaponry. The story written by David Sanger, the 'Times' man with an in at the Pentagon, William Broad, and Mike Mazzetti spoke of an IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna] report, not made public yet.
The more attentive eye would and should have picked up on the fact that the 'Times' article is based on third party accounts, on sources which had heard of the IAEA report, but which few had read. So in brief, the paper of note is peddling rumours and hearsay.
Guam Diary then asks why did the 'Times' allow the story to run as a lead article in its much read Sunday edition? It is more noteworthy since it appears that there is a good crack in the 30 years ice of no contact between Washington and Tehran, not since the hostage crisis of 1979! Discussions between the US and its allies with Iran look promising, and an Iran watcher in the US in his commentary called it 'the October suprise in US Iran relations'.
The 'Times' did cover its tracks by saying, the 'scoop' needed verification, but its prominent place on page one demands further digging as to the sources of the article's rumours.
It is an open secret in Washington that the old guard in the Pentagon and state deepartment are fighting a rear guard fight with the Obama administration. Proof of this is General McChrystal open criticism of vice president Joseph Biden's view on fighting in Afghanistan, during an interview in Great Britain, at a time president Obama is weighing the commitment of more troops to Afghanistan. And then there is the element in the military and state who side with the Israeli view of how dangerous Tehran is in developing a nuclear programme which they qualify as nefarious and hostile to the US client Israel.
General Jones stand should for the moment quiet the overt differences on talks with Iran, but the battle is joined to derail any thaw in US Iran discussions and resumption of normal relations. This is yet another indication of a seemingly life and death struggle in defence of the Bush polices which have been deleterious to US aims and role in the world. Guam Diary suggests that we have not heard the last of such sleights of hand, manipulation of the media, and the go for broke reactionary designs which bode ill for a peaceful resolution of differences.

Israeli vice premier fears arrest for crimes of war, Mme Hillary Clinton spares Israel from being tried in the Hague for war crimes

Bully Israel may throw out its chest in the Middle East, but abroad it is not feared. Consider the refusal of Israeli vice premier Moshe Yaalon's cancellation of a trip to attend a fund raising dinner for the Jewish National Fund, a private organisation. Although he would ultimately be protected by diplomatic immunity, Yaalon had feared arrest in Britain for alleged crimes of war, the more especially since he was coming to Britain for a non official reason. As he was military chief of staff, Israel dropped a one tonne bomb in Gaza City killing 15 people including a Hamas leader and 8 children in 2002, as part of Israeli strategy to assassinate Palestinian leaders whoi refuse to bow to Jerusalem's will. So, to avoid embarrassment at best and losing face internationally at worst, Yaalon elected to remain in the cozy comfort of his country.
Israeli prime minister have in the recent past been the object of arrest warrants for war crimes, but they had gone abroad on official business. As such, the request for their arrest were denied on the grounds of diplomatic immunity. In Yaalon's case, this was not so.
In a move which may very well erase the good will US president Barack Obama's [BHO] speechor in Cairo, calling for better relations and understanding of Arabs and Muslims, his secretary of state successfully twisted the arm of Palestinian Authority's president Mahmoud Abbas [Abu Mazzan] from presenting the finds of the UN Goldstone report before the UN Security Council. Washington swift action assures that the US client state Israel won't face charges before the International Court of Justice [ICJ] in the Hague for war crimes in Gaza where Israel's blitzkrieg killed at least 1400 civilians, women, children, and men, and destroyed the enclaves schools, hospitals, municipal buildings, roads, and the like. The Goldstone report, as Guam Diary noted, pinned the tail of crimes of war on Israel, responsible for 95 per cent of the human and physical destruction; it also blamed Hamas for war crimes.

Had the Palestinian Authority brought the Goldstone report before the Security Council, Israel would come under harsh cri ticism for its preemptive war in Gaza. It would have faced a serious blow to its own manufactured image of a pygmy among armed Arab giants. A serious twisting of the truth, to say the least, the more especially since Israel with its powerful military industrial complex, untold billions of military and economic aid, and a nuclear stockpile of more than 200 bombs, can believably be qualified as 'helpless' in a Palestine not yet born but whose lands it is stealing piecemeal in violation of international law on the west bank it occupies for the last 42 years, and millions of its Arab neighbours!

Debate in the Security Council would embarrass Israel's protector the US. Mme. Clinton couldn't lap dog Washington is, he will continue to gobble up west bank land. And the Palestinians will end up in encircled colonies by Jewish settlers. Any hope of a state viciated!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

'Trends not in Israel's favour'

Reading the American Jewish press is instructive. 'Trends not in Israel's favour' is an assessment of Res, General Danny Rothschild, former head of Israeli military intelligence, which appeared in a recent issue of the 'Jewish Week'.
General Rothschild is a star for the more liberal Jewish lobby J Street, which the 'New York Times Sunday Magazine' featured recently. J Street 'introduced' the general to members of the two houses of Congress, the White House, and the liberal think tanks and chatting classes.
Nonetheless, he sang the old refrain that Israel needed iron clad guarantees of defence, in order to settle the Israel Palestine question, and create conditions of peaceful relations with the Arab and Muslim world.
Is Israel which is armed to the teeth-- and what's more has a large nuclear stock pile [but not a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and publicly boasts that it will never sign it!], and has a state of the art military industrial complex, seconded by very active intelligence services, which engage in propaganda and black arts--so absolutely unsure of its ability to defend itself? You would be led to think so by General Rothschild's patter.
Israel has engaged in at least 5 wars, mostly preemptive, against its Arab neighbours and the Palestinians. Only once it was caught napping. And that was 35 years ago in what is known as the 'Yom Kippur War', from which it emerged victorious. Its recent war in Lebanon and Gaza have serious damaged its reputation. Furthermore, as the fortune's of its superpower protector the US has changed, for Washington the once ultra strategic role of Israel has diminished; yet its largess in unstintingly lavishing us$ billions in military and economic aid to its client in Jerusalem has not lessen an iota. Nor has it stopped forgiving the loans which if repaid would greatly benefit the health and welfare of the American rate or tax payers.
Thus, in the larger scheme of things, Washington's interests are less parochial than Israel's concerns for remaining the bully in the Middle East. And here the we have the nub of General Rothschild's presence among the movers and shakers of US policy. His bag of tricks are shop worn, but they have lost the power to influence and twist one way or the other Americans around Israel's fingers!
Israel has grown increasingly concerned about the rise of Iran at a time US president Obama [BHO]c and his major allies in Europe are preparing to enter into direct negotiations with Tehran. Its partisan US president George Bush rebuffed its plans for the stealth bombing of Iran's burgeoning nuclear programme, which from all accounts is centred on the development of the peaceful use of the atom for electricity, and under the watchful eye of the IAEA. Even a hawk as Mr. Bush realised the geopolitical catastrophe an Israeli preemptive attack on Iran would obtain. And he was a president who never shied away from pushing the envelope on war and skating on the dangerous and more oft than not reckless edge of foreign policy.
BHO offers a challenge to Israel. On one hand a sympathetic US president to the concerns of Israel and its survival as a state; on the other, a president aware of the need to broaden US policy in the Middle East and Muslim world. BHO has committed the heresy of mild slapping Israel's hand on illegal settlements in the Palestinian west bank, now 42 years under Israeli occupation, and rcalling for the recognibtion of and a peace treaty with the Palestinians. Suddenly,
BHO is cast as the devil incarnate, as an avatar of Adolph Hitler, as an anti Semite, so on and on. And suddenly, too, Mr. Obama not only has fallen out of favour with Israelis, but his policies in the Middle East must be undermined, sabotaged through misinformationt, guile, and other dirty tricks, in order that Israel's 'defence' remains under a seamless American protective sky.
Here the role of General Rothschild comes in. He will stoke American Jewish opinion to pressure BHO and Congress; for Israel realises that among American Jewry, its appeal has tarnished. He will stroke the ego of US lawmakers to continue the generous support of Israel that it receives; he will appeal to the Christian right to second loudly its continued favouring of Israel's aims of preeminence and domination in the Middle East. As a former head of military intelligence, he will feed America's paranoia of an Iran with nuclear bombs which a much detested Irani president Mahmoud Ahmadi nejad will lob at Israel [even though historical evidence shows that Tehran is not an aggressor state, but one who will resist invaders, to wit Saddam Hussein's war against Iran].
Mr. Rothschild's task is not difficult. Consider the Israeli intelligence misinformation campaign against Iran's 'hidden' uranium enrichment plant, which is hardly a secret. Satellite photographs which the 'New York Times' put on its front page [29 September 2009] shows that it was obvious what Tehran's intentions were when they began building the facility. Israeli intelligence poured oil on the fire by saying, ah, yes, uranium enrichment for nuclear bombs, and a plant built next to a military installation.
Well if you were a country that Israel kept pushing to bomb for years, wouldn't you build a public utility providing cheap electricity for your people next to a military facility, in order to protect it from hostile foreign forces intent on destroying you!
The retired Israel general of military intelligence 'expertise' will make his appointed rounds, but with small influence. For BHO and his allies will began discussions with Iran within the week. Each side is posturing to influence the other. BHO bangs the drum loudly on suspicious exaggerated Israeli and perhaps US intelligence estimates, threatening harsher sanctions which are easily flouted; Iran has tested short range missiles as a warning against any preemptive strike against it, translation if Israel attacks which it is chomping at the bit to do, Tehran's bombs, not with nuclear warheads, but standard ordinary warheads, would rain down on every Israeli town and city, and bring a wider war in the Middle East, damaged the hardly sterling performing US economy, and lead to vast ruin and global warfare.
Yet, Israel is intent on invading Iran preemptily. For the moment, it seems, BHO will stay its hand, as George Bush did. US cable television talking heads are flashed across global networks; they wearily admit an Israeli invasion is in the cards, yet they won't criticise Israeli policy.
General Rothschild will make his case; he will find sympathetic ears, but Israel's wishes are and should continue to be resisted.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ahmadinejad treats Netenyahu the same way Netenyahu treats the Palestinians!

On 24 October 2009, Israeli prime minister Benjamin 'Bibi' Netenyahu took the podium before the
UN general assembly. With grand gestures, he unfolded a Nazi plan of a concentration, in order to silence the 'holocaust denier' Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the president of the Islamtic Republic of Iran. He then proceeded to excoriate Tehran which his old ally and former US president George Bush, had labeled an 'axis of evil' state. Israel has a nervous finger on the bomb button to teach Iran a lesson by 'pre emptively' attacking one or two or many underground nuclear installations. But his American proconsul in Washington has denied him that opportunity. Little wonder, an Israeli attack on Iran would ignite the fuse on the powder keg that is the Middle East. And so short of the black art of propaganda and sabotage, Mr. Netenyahu has little choice but to vilify Iran.

Iran's Ahmadinejad, a wily politician he, knows how to tweak the tail of the Lions of Judea. He simply denies that the Holocaust took place. Which understandably serves one purpose: to set Israel's nerves on edge. It matters little that Holocaust survivors are alive and living in Israel and in other lands, the Irani president willingly speaks out that the destruction of some 6 million Jews and more millions of Poles, Communists, dissident Christian clergy, homosexuals, mentally and physically disabled, and Roms or Gypsies, perished in a Nazi lunatic plan of 'Lebensraum' or what we today call 'ethnic cleansing'. It is a deliberate ploy of the Irani president. Usually in the same breath, Mr. Ahmadi nejad speaks of the sorry plight of the Palestinians who are living under sorry conditions and badly treated by 42 years of Israeli occupation where day by day they are subjected to the complete disdain of the Israeli occupier who not only demeans and debases their humanity, by steals their land, in a calculated move to redeem the Biblic'. al Judea and Samaria, and realise the Zionist dream of one country from the Mediterrenean to the banks of the Jordan river. Not only that, it has waged brutal military assaults on Palestinians, especially those in Gaza who refuse, under the democratically elected Hamas government, to recognise the state of Israel.

Now, president Ahmadi nejad might not or might truly belong to Holocaust deniers, but he has the authority of a rival state in a neighbourhood that Israel's military and economic might think that they control. Wrong. By his 'denial', he has Mr. Netenyahu by the short hairs. By insisting on the rights of, and the wrongs done to the Palestinians, the Irani president has challenged Israli's monopoly on the Palestine narrative. And there is little Israel can do about it short of ''manu militari'. Israel's brutal war against Gaza the victims of which were overwhelming civilian, has lost it friends, or if not, has raised serious doubts or questions of its political sense and sensibility if not sanity.
And that is the object all sublime of Mr. Ahmadi nejad's 'denial of the Holocaust'. It is a hard lesson for Israel to learn. It is not anti Semitism as such but it does wash Mr. Netenyahu in the clotted mud that Israel has for the last 60 years tried to bury Palestinians' rights and aspirations, in. Mr. Ahmadi nejad has dare to vilify, to treat with utter contempt the right to another people's land. Since the Likud government that Mr. Netenyahu heads refuses the littlest of acknowledgements of Palestine's right to exist as a sovereign nation, nor stop illegally grabbing Palestinian land, but affirms Gold Meir's contemptable utterance, 'the Palestinian people, they don't exist', Iran's attacks against it won't strong. They will encourage more questioning of Israel's intransigeance in bringing peace to Palestine. And that is the lesson, Mr. Netenyahu hasn't learnt, nor, it seems, is capable of understanding and correcting. Mr. Ahmadi nejad's denial of the Holocaust simply put, says that Israel is a usurper of other people's land, and therefore illegitimate in its claim to a state and a seat among other nations. It's a hard lesson to learn for Israel.
Israel and Iran were friends once upon a time. Certainly during the days of the Shah. And yes, they co operated even after the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Remember Ronald Reagan's underhanded banking rolling the Contras in Nicaragua. And Israel served as the middle man. [Vide, Trita Parsi's ground breaking study of the exchange of money for guns!]

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Obama falters on Palestine and Israel

US president Barack Obama [BHO] may know a thing or two about dealing with street gangs in the ghettos of Chicago, but he's outclassed and klewless on bringing peace to Israel and Palestine and furthering negotiations for a two state solution.
Talking about a gang of thugs in the Middle East, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netenyahu takes the pride of place as king pin. BHO is no match for him, even though the American president holds a hand full of aces. He has softened his mild stand on illegal settlements in Palestinian land which Israel holds in its steel vice of occupation since 1967.
BHO can and should exert economic pressure on the Likud government. Israel is a US client, but the way things are going it looks as though the US is Jerusalem's eunuch. BHO should take a page out of Dwight Eisenhower's book. During the Suez crisis, Mr. Eisenhower sent a strong message to Israel's prime minister David Ben Gurion: either you withdraw from Suez or we are going to stop economic and military aid. And Ben Gurion folded his tent and sneaked away in the night. This is not BHO's style, which is a cream pie in his own face.
Unless the US tells its client to whom it furnished untold billions in economic and military aid, without demanding reimbursement!, to stand down, the two state solution is condemned to the dung heap of fantasy.
BHO may deliver moving speeches, but he does not follow through. He's congentially unable to talk the talk, walk the walk. And the victims of his spaghetti spined policy are the Palestinians whom the Israeli have caged in Bantustan islands of their own territory which Jerusalem has the termity to Samaria and Judea, long gone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Goldman Sachs evaluates North Korea?

If the nay sayers do not see movement on dealing with the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea], the mighty investment house of Goldman Sachs' analyst suddenly discover the economic clout, Pyongyang would bring to a re unified Korean peninsula. Goldman Sachs smells money in Korea. Suddenly, in spite of its planned economy, the economic strong suit of North Korea suddenly emerges like a genie out long time imprisoned in a bottle.
The mighty Wall Street investment banking house's conclusion that one Korea would surpass the Germany and Japan in growth in the next 30-40 years. Now, that's hedging one's bets!
Pointing out the DPRK mineral wealth which the ROC [Republic of Korea aka South Korea] lacks, North Korea would benefit from the lessons Seoul's first world economy can teach it.

Goldman Sachs is peddling warmed over rice. And it is engaging in gimcrack research on what anyone with mild curiosity could copy from the 'Encyclopedia Britannica'. Until now, for the US
the DPRK has been a 'pariah state', and one unworthy of attention. This has dramatically changed, the more especially owing to Washington's inept diplomacy in discussions with Pyongyang on a host of questions, not the least being its nuclear programme.

Within the last fortnight the US state department announced 'quietly' that the Obama administration will engage in direct talks with North Korea; for its part the DPRK will soon rejoin the six party talks in Beijing which he swore that it would never do.

Citizen Bill Clinton 'private mission of mercy' has opened the floodgates of diplomatic activity on issues with North Korea. And South Korea's hard line president Lee Myung bak has soften his approach to the North, in line with Washington's change of heart.

Even the doyen of business magazines 'Fortune' in its 15 September 2009 issue carried a long article on 'the man who loves North Korea', a certain Mr. Kim, originally from the ROC now living in the US, who is building a private science and technology university in Pyongyang, which the articles says will also award MBAs.

Goldman Sachs' analysis talks of the weaknesses of the North Korean ecovnomy which the pundits and talking heads have been predicting complete collapse for the last 15 years, but it does not track the flexibility that Pyongyang has initiated or overtaken by severe famine which loosened coontrol of family farming and open air 'free' markets, nor the slow reforms put in place. It fails to appreciate that the fiercely nationalistic North Korean state acts in its own interests on its own terms.

Nonetheless, the Goldman Sachs 'report' is a bellwether for the big bracket banks and business to look seriously at investing in North Korea, and of course, with the long term view of re unifying the divided Korean peninsula.

Guam Diary wonders how much the house that Goldman and Sachs built pays attention to history and the political realities of both Koreas. But you can count on one thing, where Goldman Sachs sticks it nose in, there is lots of money that it is hoping to be made!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Xinjiang twists the Chinese dragon's tail

Meeting Chinese official abroad, say, at symposia or luncheons or informally, is interesting. The younger ones and more oft than not the middle aged ones, and the few, old and more senior ones are polite, and schooled in a civility and a pattern of speech agreeable to foreign ears, especially westerns'. Furthermore, they have matriculated in US or British or continental European schools of higher learning. They have done their homework, and the results can be impressive.
Yet, mention Tibet or the Dalai Lama or Xinjiang or Rebiya Kadeer, now residing in the US and spokeswoman of her fellow Turkmans' aspiration, the tone of the conversation turns south and frosty, if not hostile.
China's central government, ruled by the CCP [Communist Party of China]'s reaction is more extreme, and might be designated by 'ballistic' or 'off the wall' in icalumny, viciosius misinterpretation, character assassination, and downright slander and gutter language.
Consider the film 'The 10 conditions of love' about the once feted, now damned documentary on the World Qyghur Congress' leader Rebiya Kadeer. Shown at an Australian film festival, Beijing not only lodged complaints of interference in the internal affairs of China but the festival organisers were handmaidens of the devil splitters of the Chinese motherland, by trying to estrange the Qyghurs of Xinjiang from the bosom of the Han motherland. The organisers were not amused nor persuaded by high emotions; they did not give into black mail easily. So, Beijing played a strong suit: it forced its own film makers to withdrew from the festival. The festival went on anyway, but the only casualties were China's 'metteurs en scene'!
Now '10 conditions...' is coming to Taiwan, which mainland China is trying to woo back into its fold. 'Resolutely opposing' the projection of the film which brings the horrible plight of the Qyghurs in Xinjiang to the wider world, blue in the face with indignation, its 'demarches', protests, strong pungent language, won't stay Rebiya Kabeer's image from flashing across the cinema screen. Beijing forgets that on Taiwan a flourish democracy prospers, and a degree of free speech exists which is what dreams are made of on mainland China.
In less that 8 weeks, China has had to drink bowls of bitter tea when its come to Taiwan. It had to swallow the visit of the Dalai Lama, after the torrential rains and mud slides which laentombed thousands in the south of Taiwan. And now, another arch enemy of the Han, Rebiya Kabeer's appeal for the indigenous rights of the Qyghurs, long abused by the CCP, gains a hearing on Taiwan.
Beijing cannot escape the fallout of its repressive policies in Tibet and in Xinjiang. One October, the CCP will be celebrating year 60 of its seizure of power. On the matter of the right of self determination of its minorities, Tibetan or Qyghur [Turkman], it has failed miserably through armed repression, encouraging emigration of the Han majority to swamp Tibet and Xinjiang by massive infusions of Chinese settlers with privileges denied to Tibetans and Qyghurs, repressive regulations and laws, the marginalisation of minority culture, language, religious practices, so on and on. In brief, a mental genocide and a factory line production of ersatz Han. China has created its own shameful legacy and it cannot nor won't be erased by threats and objections and childish stamping of feet.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Another black eye for Israel

The much awaited Goldstone Report on Israel's war in Gaza, commissioned by the United Nations [UN] is out. The 574 report did not have Israel's Likud Government support nor cooperation. Its conclusions are damning for Israel. It is quite damaging to Israel the more especially since South Africa's international respected jurist Richard Goldstone is not only Jewish but he is a Zionist. Yet, which his heart may inform him, does not in any way influence his judgment, probity, and integrity.
Hamas does not escape blame, and may be guilty of war crimes. But the lion's share of the judge's censure belongs to Israel. Its IDF [Tsuhal or Israel Defense Force] committed crimes of war against the civilian population of Gaza. It is estimated that 1400 defenceless women, children, and men perished in Israel's 21 day war in Gaza in June 2009. The destruction of property ranges in the hundreds of millions of $US. Jerusalem carried out a war of collective guilt which is against the Geneva Convention. Israel suffered 13 deaths and minimal damage to property, but its citizens near Gaza's borders may have sustained psychological distress, they are at least alive and enjoy very little damage to infrastructure damage, nor spend nights in bombed outbuilding or in tents, nor are they subject to a deliberate policy of obtaining the very minimum nourishment which a steel trapped Israeli blockade enforce.
Israel and Hamas have a period in which to reply to the report. Jerusalem has brazenly announced, it won't. In fact, it has reissued an IDF report which absolves it of any blame. If Israel persists, the International Tribunal in The Hague will consider charges of war crimes against Jerusalem.
Israel's protector and banker the US will block any such move.

Meanwhile the major American newspapers have already begun skewering the Goldstone Report's conclusions, apportioning equal blame to Hamas and Israel. The blame of course is not evenly shared. The facts are there to see that Israel should and has to shoulder the consequences and the blame for a brutal war against a civilian population. But Americans on the whole do not go in for facts much, so willful ignorance will absolve blame of Israel in the US.

Judge Goldstone's daughter speaking in Hebrew to the Israeli media, defended her father's record and his integrity. Nonetheless, judging by anyone who dares criticise Israel, the internationally renowned jurist will be smeared with the brush of 'self hating Jew'.

Still, Israel's war in Gaza has stripped it of any pretensions that it is a David battling the Arab hordes. Israel is armed to the teeth; it has a nuclear arsenal; its arms industry is flourishing; and it has to don the clothing of the bully in the Middle East. It can never escape the judgment of the Goldstone Report, nor its sagging reputation and the moral decline of a corrupt country.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The US takes the diplomatic road

Yesterday Guam Diary's 'US DPRK breaks the ice'. Yet the Obama administration's breaking ground on North Korea [DPRK or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea] has got lost in the media shuffle, going greatly under reported. Today's it signals a willingness to sit down to discussions with the Islamic Republic of Iran breaks out in large and occasionally banner headlines, which momentarily burying in the back pages news of a new initiative in talks with the DPRK.
The grand market place that the United Nations becomes every September when the leaders of its members take to the podium, and cross paths in VIP lounges or ranking diplomats run into one another or talk in shaded alcoves or share drinks, will tell of the direction the talks will take.
It is reasonable to point out that any items on announced agendas or press releases or stories in the press, are starting points, for the long weeks or even months of sharp horse trading, in order to arrive at agreed upon outcomes.
Yet, the DPRK and Iran are part of a larger diplomatic thrust that the Obama state department has launched. The influential US press bruit stories of a breakthrough with Castro's Cuba, where New Mexico's governor and old Clinton administration trouble shooter, Bill Richardson turned up a few weeks ago. [See, Guam Diary's 'the peripatetic Bill Richardson] Rumours abound that Mr. Richardson might be Washington's first ambassador to Havana should restoration of normal diplomatic channels take place. Nonetheless, rumours are simply bits and snippets of gossip which usually have little substance.
On the Dafur front, president Obama [BHO] is forging ahead with crafting an agreement which would put a final chapter on a horrible onslaught against Sudan's nomadic Muslim population.
BHO's diplomatict offeinse has so far no echo in the NATO war in Aghanistan. Already powerful committees in the houses of Congress and in more senior military circles are having second thoughts of persecuting a war which suddenly reminds them of the fiasco that was Vietnam.
It is hoped that secretary of state Hillary Clinton who has a hawkish position on Afghanistan, is also exploring back channels with amenable Taliban elements, the better to wind down a draining war in Central Asia.
Little mention is made of Spanish and Portugese speaking America. Mme. Clinton has dragged her feet on the coup in Hondorus which stays afloat thanks to the Yankee economic and military dollar. Will she extend BHO's hand to smooth ruffled feathers in a vast continent with its oil reserves, mineral resources, and its growing sense of this continent's standing and power?
Africa poses a delicate problems. Furthermore, solutions are less easy to come by, owing to endemic corruption, immense health problems, drought, and general low level of development.
And finally, there the push by veteran negotiator George Mitchell, to untie the knots of the Israeli Palestine imbroglio. He has his work cut out for him: he has to contend with a feral Israel, an anemic Palestinian Authority, which suffers from the steel grip of more than 40 years of Israel
occupation. He has to somehow, way, shape or form, bring Hamas into the equation. He has his work cut out for him. The outcome is far from secure.