China’s OBOR Vision: No Development Masterpiece

China’s OBOR Vision: No Development MasterpieceThe One Belt-One Road summit held last weekend in Beijing is fundamentally the elaboration of a Chinese dream wherein participant countries appear only as facilitators and fade away when compared with the gains China would make out of it. A look at the extent of money China is planning to pour in justifies the contention…

Zheng He’s Modern Doppelganger

Zheng He’s Modern DoppelgangerThere is an uncanny resemblance between today’s China and the voyages of Zheng He in the early 15th century. The specific parallel I have in mind is China’s Belt and Road initiative, which is being celebrated by the May 14-15 summit meeting in Beijing of 23 leaders of nations along the routes. Back in the…

Trump’s Meddling in Asia

Trump’s Meddling in AsiaUnited States President Donald Trump’s focus on North Korea is playing into Chinese hands and, by default, further weakening the US position in a Southeast Asia increasingly subject to Chinese carrots and sticks. Trump’s “war” on the North makes little sense either at a time when the South seems about to elect as president Moon…

Xi Jinping’s Massive Urban Monument to Himself

Xi Jinping’s Massive Urban Monument to HimselfIn a bid to decongest the sprawling and polluted capital of Beijing, the government is developing a “subsidiary capital” covering 2,000 sq. km. about 160 km. south of the capital city that President Xi Jinping envisions as a “world-class, green, modern, elegant first-class city.” It is potentially the largest development project in modern Chinese history…

US Faces Growing Troubles in Asia

US Faces Growing Troubles in AsiaA bit more than two months into the new administration in Washington, DC, the US is arguably facing the severest threat since World War II to its military and diplomatic ascendency in Asia, a situation President Donald Trump seems, from his public statements, not to understand. And, although the president compounded the problems with his…

Pyongyang Finds an Ally in Moscow

Pyongyang Finds an Ally in MoscowOn Feb. 3, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent out Lunar New Year greeting cards to international allies. For the third year in row Russia was listed at the top of the list of friendliest countries, relegating China to second place.  Gone are the days when Beijing was by far the Democratic People’s Republic’s most…

China’s Coming Debt Crisis

China’s Coming Debt CrisisThe problem of debt in China is not the bursting of a bubble. It is much worse. As the Middle Kingdom approaches the worldwide record of accumulated debt, productivity losses are becoming increasingly apparent. That is very bad news. Every economy relies of a certain amount of debt. That is an empirical fact. But China’s…

Book Review: The Dictator’s Dilemma

Book Review: The Dictator’s DilemmaIn 1993, there were about 8,700 “mass group incidents” in China over a wide variety of grievances ranging from corruption to forced evictions to human rights abuses to ethnic protests to environmental disaster to unpaid wages as well as nationalist protests against foreign countries engineered by the government. In 2015, according to the Chinese Academy…

Book Review: Saving China’s Banking System

Book Review: Saving China’s Banking SystemIn the middle of the first decade of this century, Chinese officials led by then-Prime Minister Zhu Rongji set out to clean up one of the world’s biggest financial messes, the state-run banking system. It is estimated that just the amount poured into the four biggest banks alone was RMB2.4 trillion (US$348.7 billion at current…

Historic Climate Pact Endangered

Historic Climate Pact EndangeredUS President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to “cancel the Paris Agreement” is one step closer to reality after leaders from the Group of 20 richest economies backtracked on pledges to allocate $100 billion per year by 2020 for climate change response. The trend will hit hardest in countries that are not only vulnerable to climate…
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