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East Asia Watch
Dates of the wars:
1775 - 2005: 230 years
President Bush's plan for East Asian security has apparently not been very well conveyed to his ally Japan. In order to carry on the war in Iraq the Bush administration stated that it would cut back on its bases in Europe (Germany), Japan and, last but not least, South Korea which is what it has been doing. These reductions would help support the ongoing Iraqi invasion (2nd anniversary is March 2005). Meanwhile, seeing a bad situation getting worse, the Bush administration has been trying to figure out how to raise troop strength more in Iraq without the "D" word: "Draft." Raising the troop strength to 150,000 in Iraq to help guarantee "Iraq's peaceful and fair elections" is about all the US could muster, as of this date. We must recall that American generals have gone on record at the time the invasion of Iraq was launched that 400,000 troops would be needed. From the moment of those prescient proclamations the Bush administration has insisted that it could manage the war with lean and clean forces clean, meaning with a minimum of support. They sent the troops in with Humvees designed for the beach or maybe as dune buggies. "How about armored vests and armored vehicles?" someone asked. "Huh?" General Franks shrugged.
Along with the decline of the dollar is the decline in US trade, Americans aren't buying as much from overseas. And if you are Japan the closing of bases can be bad news. For all of the shoemakers, candlestick makers and toy stores next to the bases move out along with the bases. In fact, an entire city moves out along with a base, as it closes. For you who are history buffs and have seen a bit of Europe, you will note that all of the ruined castles once had villages around them to support them when they were guarding their realms. The castles are gone and the cities around them are nothing but ruins except Versaille, but Versaille never was intended to be a castle just a nice place to visit if you dressed as a properly attired fop. And of course if you pandered enough to king Louis XIV who built it you could live there (about 5,000 people lived in the castle). The problem with that deal was that lords and barons had to give up their own castles in order to properly rub shoulders with the panderers in Versaille's courts. A Japanese shogun used the same idea, and while both worked in consolidating their realms, the example didn't work as well in the halls of the White house under the Bush administration, as it would appear, since it attracted too many whores sorry, I got a bit off topic there...I think.
So the Bush administration is scrambling troops to Iraq, the old American castles world wide are falling down, and the world thanks to George W. Bush is at war worldwide against an enemy of America. The world is less secure.
Here's the problem from a Japanese point of view: If the US moves its bases in Japan and relocates its headquarters to Guam (Guam is an island in the middle of the Pacific near Midway Island that breaks up the monotony of an endless 12-14 hour flight from San Francisco or Tokyo), then the move of the bases means that Japan must be responsible for maintaining the peace in East Asia. It could be invaded, struck by a sudden North Korean or Chinese attack (over China's oil exploration) and it would have to defend itself alone, with the generals of its old ally puffing on cigars in a barcalounger, designed especially for viewing baseball games, out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Then there is also the ongoing quarrel Japan is having with Russia over the South Kuril islands. The Russian people in on-the-street interviews said they were willing to go to war over that problem. It turns out that the Kuril islands are mineral rich. So we have to add to Japan's threats the growing Russian threat.
Suddenly places that were not wanted by the old empires are wanted these days. Such is the world.
In any event the Bush administration has apparently left Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan turning six different ways from Sunday (an American figure of speech meaning "too many options and totally confused"). [The Japanese dilemma: Daily Yomiuri]\
Australia refused to sign a non-aggression pact with the southeast Asian nations during the Southeast Asian Nations summit in Laos. Its reason for not joining New Zealand, Russia, China and others in signing the treaty is that it reserves the right of preemptive strikes if threatened by terrorists. Russia had previously made a similar declaration, following Bush's lead, and Russia's willingness to sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation is a sign of hope in a gloomy Bush-aligned world. [More on the non-aggression pact: bignewsnetwork via http://tajikistannews.net/]
12.02.04 Kurdistan region of Iraq booming without war
Employment is booming in northern Iraq. Suleimaniyah, an area once impoverished, is receiving an influx of foreign companies and increasing regional investment. The Kurdish region of Iraq is a safe place compared to the rest of the country. [More>>dailystar.com]
12.02.04 UN tells Israel to stop violating Lebanese airspace
The UN said 8 air violations involving 16 aircraft were recorded over Lebanon's airspace Wednesday. The aircraft attract anti-aircraft fire from the Lebanese army or Hezbollah guerrillas, who played a key role in ending the Israeli occupation. Israel had occupied the area 22 years and pulled out in 2000, but continued overflights. Thursday the United Nations asked Israel to stop the overflights violating Lebanese airspace. [More>>haaretzdaily.com]
12.02.04 Syria rejects Sharon's terms for peace talks
The Syrian government on Thursday afternoon rejected Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's proposal to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad "under the right circumstances." "We have proposed a resumption of negotiations without conditions," Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara told a press conference jointly held with visiting Jordanian Foreign Minister Hani Mulki.
12.02.04 Egyptian president advises Palestinians to work with Sharon
President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday described Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as the Palestinians' "best chance for peace." He voiced the opinion that Sharon is capable of making peace with the Palestinians if he wants to. [More..Jerusalem Post and Haaretz Daily]
12.02.04 All trapped miners are dead
All 166 miners trapped underground in a coal mine gas blast, the worst mining case ever reported in China, were confirmed dead yesterday. [More>>xinhuanet]
12.02.04 Auto sales slump in China
The booming auto sector in China you were told about a few days ago by the major networks isn't what we thought it would be. The latest news out of China is that auto sales have plunged. Apparently the growing middle class that was supposed to be fueling the boom didn't hear the good news about how well they were doing as a report says, referring to the middle class, "only to discover it's not quite there." [More>>xinhuanet]
Turkey insists that the problem between Turkey and Cyprus must be solved with its application to be admitted to the European Community (EU). Cyprus has been a member of the EU, but only the southern half of the island is in the EU. The northern half is a territory of Turkey. The capital city of Cyprus, Nicosia, is divided by a wall like the Berlin Wall where the Turkish / Cypriote border passes. In 1985, when I was there, people who lived on the southern side of the wall could not cross into the Turkish side, even to visit a family grave, where they once lived. Tourists were allowed through, however. The Turks complained about the Greeks in general: "The Greeks stir up storms in a glass of water with a toothpick," and the Greeks required (in answer) people coming from Turkey to Greek islands to wipe off their shoes on a mat on the dock before disembarking. They didn't want Turkish soil on Greek land. I didn't have to undergo the labor of cleaning Turkish soil off my shoes, but a friend with whom I had met several times in the Middle East related the custom to me as we were aboard ship heading for Haifa. Also, the Cypriote Greeks in Nicosia warned us not to go to Turkey, and if we should choose to do so we should guard our cigarette lighters, for (they said) "there are few cigarette lighters in Turkey and the Turks will steal them. I was surprised in arriving in Bodrum, Turkey, however, to find cigarette lighters all over the tabac stands. So you can understand there are ancient, hard feelings between the Greeks and the Turks (something like the Kashmir and Palestine situations maybe Musharraf can get this problem packaged into the Kashmir and Palestine issues.) In any event, Foreign Minister Abd Allah Gul said on Thursday Ankara will not recognize the Greek Cypriot government of EU member Cyprus until a durable solution is found to the 30-year conflict between the divided island's Turkish and Greek communities. [More on Abd Allah Gul's statement: Al-Jezeera]
Four people from a pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington were served with subpoenas before a grand jury as the FBI investigates whether Israel spied on the Pentagon. The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) had its files and 4 employees subpoenaed Wednesday. FBI has been investigating whether a Pentagon analyst in Rumsfeld's office passed secret papers to Israel about Iran. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
12.02.04 New meeting for progress in the Middle East and North Africa
As one reads about more intense hatred around the world it is worthwhile, perhaps, to pause and think about the responsibility of the world press and those contributing to the press as to what happened to a particular "hate monger, " Julius Streicher, in 1947.
The testimony recorded against him reflects what we might expect to hear from a hate monger:
When one reads these and many other statements made by Streicher words he used to condemn others and were in the end used to condemn him to death one is reminded how much they resemble statements commonly being made throughout the world press today but against different peoples. Fatwas against the Jews issued by Moslem clerics could have been written by Streicher. George W. Bush's comment on his "crusade" against the [Islamic] terrorists could have been written by Streicher. Many teachings in Christian churches, Jewish Synagogues and Islamic mosques resounding over prayers every sabbath, could have been written by Streicher.
For a man and a wife to maintain peace between themselves, or two differing societies to maintain peace between themselves, there is the need for human compassion. Not the kind of compassionate conservatism George W. Bush applies, but compassion with prudence. The ancients have reminded us time and again the need to have prudence. Socrates, in fact, insisted that his students first acquire prudence before they try to acquire skills in speaking and efficiency in affairs. "For he believed that those faculties, unless accompanied by prudence, increased in their possessors injustice and power for mischief." [Xenophon, Memorabilia IV.III]
Repeating his position voiced last week, President Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday underscored that the disputes of Kashmir and Palestine are ripe for solution. He said that failure was not an option any more. Expressing this to the Argentine media the president said that he desired peace. Referring to his meeting with the Indian prime minister in New York and the joint statement issued, President Musharraf emphasised that he saw light at the end of the tunnel but there could not be clapping with one hand alone. "Pakistan is ready, India will have to come along," he added. [More>>jang.com]
An interesting Nov. 30 article by Christian E. Weller and Scott Lilly investigates a correlation between the drop in the dollar and rise in oil prices. Since oil producers sell their products in dollars, if the dollar drops, they would lose money. Weller and Lilly speculate that the producers may be compensating for their expected loss through the drop in the dollar by a proportionate increase in the price of oil. Their measurements note that the rise in the price of oil in euros is less marked than in dollars. [More>>americanprogress.org]
Richard Black, BBC environment correspondent, writes, "Emissions of greenhouse gases have more than doubled the risk of European heatwaves similar to last year's, according to a study by UK scientists. In 2003, temperatures across western Europe soared by several degrees Celsius above normal and five degrees in the case of Switzerland. It is thought that the unusually hot summer caused tens of thousands of excess deaths. Details of the study appear in the latest issue of the journal Nature." [More>>BBCnews]
12.01.04 Not a gunfight at the OK corral, just a visit of Powell to Haiti
WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 US Secretary of State Colin Powell and his delegation escaped an intense gunfight that erupted outside Haiti's presidential palace on Wednesday. No one in the delegation was hurt. Other scheduled talks with Haitian leaders will be relocated, a senior State Department official said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hatsuhisa Takashima said on Wednesday that all permanent members of the UN Security Council should be treated the same as other members. "Japan considers it unfavorable to have permanent Security Council members that have veto power and those that don't have it," Takashima said. But the spokesman added that Japan would bow to the majority within the UN "if it is the consensus of the international community". [More>>Al-Jezeera]
12.01.04 Another coal mine explosion in China 13 dead
With 166 workers believed dead in the Shaanxi province coal mine explosion, China endured another mine explosion in Guizhou province. The coal mine explosion killed 13 miners, with three others missing. A total of 49 workers were underground when the explosion occurred. [More>>xinhuanet via Al-Jezeera]
12.01.04 Egyptian troops to beef up Israeli-Egyptian border
Egypt and Israel have reached an accord to add 750 Egyptian troops to the Israeli-Egyptian border at Gaza to stop smuggling into Gaza. The accord modifies the 1979 Camp David agreement that allowed only a few Egyptian policemen to guard the border. [More>>haaretzdaily.com]
12.01.04 More troops heading for Iraq
The US Department of Defense announced that more troops from the 82nd Airborne Division are being deployed to Iraq in anticipation of the January 30 elections in Iraq. At least two Army brigades that are now operating in Iraq will have their tours extended by two months, until after the election [More>>AP, New York Times]
BEIJING, Dec. 1 Morgan Stanley's chief Asia economist Andy Xie warns China against devaluing its currency. He says it could damage the economy and create an economic "bubble" like Japan. China will be trapped with low growth, low interest rates and low inflation but a strong currency. He says that the macro economic situation in China resembles that of Japan when its currency was pressed to revalue during its fast growth period. At the moment 1.2 billion dollars of speculator money is in China waiting for a revaluation of the RMB.
12.01.04 US business group may invest $100 billion in Southeast Asia
Asia Times journalist Pepe Escobar says that when the Iraqis write their history they may compare the [ongoing] offensive in Fallujah to Guernica. While Picaso's famous painting, "Guernica" (1937) in the Prado Museum, Madrid, comes into mind for Americans who are interested in wall hangings, the now priceless work of art remembers a horrifying event history will never forget.
[Escobar's story is at atimes.com]
MOSCOW , Dec. 2 (Asia Times article by Sergei Blagov) India may be committing billions of dollars to develop oil and gas fields in Russia. A series of hydrocarbon deals is likely to be clinched during President Vladimir Putin's December visit to India. Russia and India have long discussed investments by India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) in Russia. "Russian companies are keen to invest heavily in India in core sectors like energy," Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov announced on the eve of Putin's trip, which is due to start on Friday. He indicated that Moscow was "looking at possible cooperation in oil and gas." India already holds a 20% stake in the energy-rich Sakhalin-1 block. The Sakhalin-1 project is to begin natural-gas production in late 2005. It is likely to generate up to 8 million tons of oil and 9.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year eventually. The $12 billion project at Sakhalin-1 Exxon-Mobil is run by Exxon-Mobil with a 30% stake in the project, while Sodeco of Japan has a 30% share and Russia's Rosneft 20%. [More>>atimes.com]
12.01.04 Ukranian Parliament passes Yanukovych "no confidence" vote
KIEV, Dec. 1 (RIA Novosti's Viktor Demidenko) - Ukraine's Parliament, the Rada, today passed a vote of no-confidence in the Viktor Yanukovych government, adopting a resolution that it be dissolved and a new cabinet of ministers be formed to replace it. The motion got through with 229 "yes" votes, three votes above the threshold. Only one MP of the 240 in attendance voted against.
Russia will be putting new ships in sea trials 2006, said Vladimir Kuroedov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, in an interview with RIA Novosti. Tests of the Korvet-type warships and the new submarine APL-995 of the Borei type will begin in 2006. The 100 meter long Korvet vessels have 2,000 tons displacement and incorporate updated attack missile systems: antiship, antiaircraft, antisubmarine with a new artillery system. The nuclear powered Borei submarine has 17,000 tons displacement,170 meters long with a crew of 130, features a leading-edge underwater noise-suppression system. It will be equipped with twelve strategic solid-fuel missiles. [More>>rian.ru]
MOSCOW Nov. 29 Russia's new space program promises new vigor. Since 1989 when the budget was 6.9 billion roubles (then $4.3 billion) it has languished, with current funding being 20 percent less than that of 1989. However, state funding for the space program has been growing in the last few years. Allocations surged by 71.2% in 2002 as against 2001, and exceeded the 1999 figure by 300%. In 2003 and 2004 annual growth was 30%. The draft 2005 federal budget stipulates 18,269.63 billion roubles for the Federal Space Program, or 133.47% of the 2004 level.
11.30.04 China unhappy over Dalai Lama's visit to Russia
BEIJING, Nov. 30 A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tuesday described Russia's allowing the Dalai Lama to visit the country as something "incomprehensible," and hoped Russia would strictly follow principles on the Tibet issue enshrined in the political documents between the two countries. "The Dalai Lama is a politician in exile disguised as a religious figure, and engages in separatist activities against China," said spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue at a press conference.
11.30.04 Outflow of capital from Russia slows
Russian Finance Minister Aleksey Kurdrin, during a press conference Monday, said that the outflow of capital from Russia stopped in the fourth quarter of the current year. According to forecasts from finance ministry specialists, the rate of foreign investments in Russia during the fourth quarter of 2004 exceeded the rate of the capital outflow by two billion dollars. Specialists believe that the notorious Yukos case became one of the main reasons, which cut the volume of foreign investments in Russia. Aleksei Kudrin, however, disagreed with such an opinion. The minister stated that the capital outflow had been caused with more attractive interest rates abroad. In addition, the Central Bank of Russia has been hampering the ruble rate. The bank crisis in summer has also played a negative role at this point. [More>>pravda.ru]
BEIJING, Nov. 30 Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has cricicized the United States for not taking measures to halt the slide in the dollar and insisted that China will not revalue the yuan under pressure. "We have to ask a question. The US dollar is depreciating and it is not managed," he told reporters in Laos late Sunday when asked about pressure to change the yuan's decade-old peg to the dollar.
11.30.04 More than 300 people feared dead from Philippine flood
A storm in the Philippines triggered flash floods and landslides that left thousands homeless and more than 300 dead. The floods came a week after a storm, that left about 160 people dead or missing, had hit the Philippines. The worst-hit area was Quezon province, east of Manila, where houses, bridges and roads were swept away. Another storm, nicknamed Nanmadol, is approaching the islands. Officials warn it is more powerful than the last one. [More>>bbc.co.uk via Tajikistannews.net]
11.30.04 Pilot whales and dolphins stranded in Australia
Long-finned pilot whales and bottle-nosed dolphins stranded on Sea Elephant Beach on Tasmania's King Island in Australia November 29. Over 100 of the mammals mysteriously beached themselves in a mass stranding which was repeated at another beach on the island states' south-east coast. More than three-quarters of Australia's whale strandings occur in Tasmania. [China Daily/Reuters]
Monday the IAEA announced that Iran has frozen all uranium enrichment activities, following Tehran's accord to add 20 disputed centrifuges to the activities suspended. The chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei said Monday, "We have already verified these 20 centrifuges and they are under (the) agency surveillance system. We have now therefore completed our verification of Iran's decision to suspend all enrichment and reprocessing related activities." ElBaradei made the announcement as he headed into a meeting of his International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), according to AFP. [More>>Iranmania.com]
UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 30 The United Nations on Tuesday unveiled a sweeping proposal to overhaul the organization, including the Security Council, in what would be the biggest UN reform since its founding in 1945. [jang.com]
11.30.04 Health crisis in Iraq, especially for children
Medact, a UK-based medical charity, said on Tuesday that the ongoing conflict in Iraq has produced a public health disaster. Many thousands of deaths and injuries and high levels of illness have been produced by the conflict. It says that there has been an alarming recurrence of previously well-controlled communicable diseases, including diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections and typhoid, especially among children. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said the world is experiencing an oil-induced "pervasive sense of uncertainty." It said Tuesday that growth will dampen next year but rebound in 2006. The Paris-based organisation with 30 member countries cut its growth forecasts for most leading economies in 2005. It said: ³Households seem to have been lacking confidence OECD-wide.² It publishes its economic outlook twice a year. [More>>Financial Times]
11.30.04 Red Cross files reports on Guantánamo abuse
According to a confidential report filed by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the American military has intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion "tantamount to torture" on prisoners at Guanánamo Bay, Cuba. These complaints were filed in a confidential report with the US government, subsequent to the Red Cross review during most of the month of June. Their team concluded that doctors and medical workers had committed "a flagrant violation of medical ethics." [More>>New York Times via Financial Times]
11.30.04 British Embassy in Iraq says dangers in Iraq are growing
BAGHDAD Nov. 30 Journalist Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad reports, "Disintegrating security in Baghdad was underlined in a sombre warning yesterday from the British embassy against using the airport road or taking a plane out of Iraq. The embassy says a bomb was discovered on a flight inside Iraq on 22 November. It shows that insurgents have been able to penetrate the stringent security at Baghdad airport. The embassy says its own staff have been advised against taking commercial planes.
11.30.04 Tom Ridge resigns while boss is ducking abuse in Canada
Tom Ridge has resigned as Homeland Security Secretary. His news conference was held at 12:00pm.
BERLIN (Reuters) Nov.30 Lawyers acting for a US advocacy group will today file war crimes charges in Germany against senior US administration officials for their alleged role in torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. According to the group, German law allows war criminals to be investigated where ever they may be living. Those named in the case to be filed include Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, former Central Intelligence Agency chief George Tenet and eight other officials. [More>>Reuters.co.uk via
11.30.04 Criminal Charges may be filed against Bush while in Canada
An article by Charlie Smith Nov. 25 Lawyers may file criminal charges against George W. Bush while he visits Canada Tuesday, Nov. 30. Vancouver lawyer Gail Davidson told straight.com that Bush has been accused of war crimes, which is grounds for refusing someone entry into Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. She added that her group is examining the possibility of laying criminal charges privately against Bush while he is in Canada on November 30.
US DEBT & ECONOMICS
11.28.04 Asia complains about falling dollar and US has no savings
BUSH & WAR CRIMES
11.28.04 Protesters to attend Bush Inaugural Jan. 20; War Crimes complaint against Bush
11.29.04 Bush administration rattling sabers over Iran nuclear agreement
While this story has been breaching for several weeks, it will continue to be a big item in the news until the world press loses interest in the money others are losing. So we're keeping it at the top of the page.
The US deficit, being the source of the declining dollar, perpetuates further debt and increases interest rates and inflation. About half of the US $6 Trillion debt is owned by foreign investors (primarily banks). When investors redeem their bonds in a period when the dollar is declining, as is the case in the two Bush administrations, they lose money on their investment in US bonds. This causes potential buyers of US bonds to back out of the US bond market. When buyers back away from the US bond market, the US has to raise interest rates to draw them back into the market. Following the increase in the prime rate, mortgages and other loan rates increase.
The National Debt is an exponential debt. The adding of interest, plus continued borrowing / sales of US Bonds, compounds the debt. The debt takes on the form of a "J" curve. President Bush claims that he will "halve the debt," presumably in the next four years. The Clinton years, 1993-2000, represented the most fiscally responsible administration since Nixon (see "Running a government with a credit card" below). During Clinton's term Congress had adapted and applied a "pay as you go" process, preventing further borrowing to fund the government and actually paid down the National debt through their diligence. The dedication of Congress and the President during the Clinton years is not present in the current administration of Bush II, and reducing the deficit, let alone the National Debt, would seem improbable. It appears that the National Debt has reached a point of no return, where interest on the debt alone will consume any efforts to retire the debt. The debt from 1974 through 2009 (the data are current as of 11.22.04, from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); the years 2004 - 2009 are OMB estimates) look like this:
The National Debt data are as follows: US Office of Budget & Management National Debt
A forty-year amortization table on a loan of $5 trillion (double everything for a loan of $10 trillion) at 7% interest:
It is no wonder that foreign governments are concerned about the decline in the dollar. Americans should have studied some basic fundamentals in home financing It is no wonder that foreign governments are concerned about the decline in the dollar. Americans should have studied some basic fundamentals in home financing and not allowed their spendthrift President to get out of hand. Then again, there is hope that Americans will start to pay attention to their accounts and those they elected to manage them. Total receipts estimated in the Federal Budget for 2004 are just short of $2 trillion." Growth in receipts. Total receipts in 2004 are estimated to be $1922.0 billion, an increase of $85.8 billion or 4.7 percent relative to 2003. Receipts are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 7.0 percent between 2004 and 2008, rising to $2,520.9 billion. This growth in receipts is largely due to assumed increases in incomes resulting from both real economic growth and inflation." [2004 FEDERAL RECEIPTS AND COLLECTIONS, p. 57]
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President Bush launches illegal war
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