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Do Asian Realists Ever Agree?

20 Jan

0904-China_Asia_Clinton_full_600A conclave of East Asian scholars, realists all, got together in Beijing on January 16, and no two solons formed an alliance. It seems Chinese and American scholars and policy-makers, who seem hellbent on talking each other into submission – this was #8 of these confabs – are just as contentious as their political counterparts. According to Alan Alexandroff, “The other noticeable feature in the discussions over the last several days was not only the apparent growing diversity of opinion between the groups of experts but a greater diversity of opinion within the groups.”

First, the island disputes.  For these former officials and experts, it was evident that they understood the deep differences in the two island chain disputes.  But much attention was placed on the rising friction between and among disputants.

The island disputes moved China, as one expert acknowledged, from reassurance to resolve.  As a result it appears that China’s more assertive behavior has led to many of the disputant states to encourage increased US involvement.  As one expert suggested only China could contain China and as China has become more assertive it has accomplished just that.

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What’s The Deal With Tubbataha Reef ?

20 Jan

Coral reefs are now collateral damage in a bungled attempt to show the flag in support of our Filipino brothers.

The United States Navy said a minesweeper that ran aground on a coral reef in the Philippines was using a faulty map that misplaced the location of the marine sanctuary.

The Navy said digital nautical charts contained inaccurate data and may have been a factor in the Guardian’s grounding.

Navigator of the Navy Rear Adm. Jonathan White released precautionary guidance to all Pacific Fleet ships, saying that “initial review of navigation data indicates an error in the location of Tubbataha Reef” in the Philippines.

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The Shadow That Hangs Over Obama’s Second Term

20 Jan

The rub, of course, is that there are no accidental drone strikes. The Lethal President has built the Lethal Presidency from his own moral pedigree, from the notion that the Lethal Presidency exists not to kill but to end the killing. We have heard from this White House that it does not take killing lightly, and that the President himself takes the ultimate responsibility for the exercise of ultimate power. We have heard that each killing is carried out with precision technology, and is the result of intense and even agonized deliberation. The problem is that whenever the White House describes the process by which the killings are undertaken, it seems to be talking about a process that has killed dozens or maybe even hundreds of people, when in fact it has killed thousands, including children. By the White House’s own terms – its own advertising – the killing of children can’t be entirely accidental. There must be a calculation for it when the President’s advisors produce their disposition matrices; there must be room for it in the President’s own deliberations. War has always killed children, as part of its madness; what distinguishes the Lethal Presidency is that when it kills children it does so from the madness of reason.

Humankind has changed the definition of evil in the course of its existence. It once measured evil in terms of madness; now madness, duly medicalized, has become exculpatory. We know nothing of Adam Lanza, except that he was “troubled,” and perhaps on the autism spectrum; what intensified the initial apprehension of his evil was not the suspicion that he was in the grip of psychosis during the murders but rather the suspicion that he was not. It is evil that exists as a byproduct of reason that we find unforgivable now – evil advanced with cool calculation, for a cause, towards an end, with no feeling or regret – and it is reason rather than madness that hangs its shadow over the children killed by Barack Obama.

via The Shadow That Hangs Over Obama’s Second Term.

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