The Sword Is Blunted

The developed nations of the West are still trying to figure out ways to deal with the new China. On the eve of China’s biggest coming-out party, the world is not the gracious guest admiring the balustrades. Instead, the world’s media are pointing at the servant in the backyard and frowning at the dirt on … Continue reading “The Sword Is Blunted”

The Dragon or the Snake?

The biggest threat to the success of the Beijing Olympics this coming August is China itself. Come August, the world will see China for what it truly is, many for the first time. Although China’s human rights record, environmental issues, and recent export scandals are both widely reported and known, it will be the theatrical … Continue reading “The Dragon or the Snake?”

Chaos in the Great Game

With increased U.S. pressure on Iran and Israel’s small-scale invasion of Syria, the stage appears set for an ultimatum concerning Iran’s nuclear aspirations that many analysts and even foreign dignitaries warn may result in war. At the same time, both Russia and China have announced that long-delayed energy-development projects with Iran are finally on the … Continue reading “Chaos in the Great Game”

A Counterweight,
or a Bloc of Foes?

There is no question that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is growing into a counterweight to U.S. and NATO power in Asia. The SCO has been under close scrutiny by geopolitical analysts since its inception, and early predictions that the organization would eventually challenge U.S. hegemony have proven true. The questions now are: How will … Continue reading “A Counterweight,
or a Bloc of Foes?”

China’s ‘Nuclear Option’

Wednesday’s article in the Daily Telegraph titled "China Threatens ‘Nuclear Option’ of Dollar Sales" strikes a raw political and emotional nerve in the U.S. – coming just a day before stock markets around the world dipped – and sets the stage for another demon to accompany terrorism in the minds of many Americans. The "nuclear … Continue reading “China’s ‘Nuclear Option’”

Keeping Up Appearances

The Chinese government has responded to the product crises that resulted in deaths and recalls around the globe. The execution of State Food and Drug Administration director Zheng Xiao Yu met with approval here in China, where death is seen as the only deterrent for corrupt officials. In addition, the government has shielded and defended … Continue reading “Keeping Up Appearances”

China’s Crises Will Pass, With Help

Old Fan prides himself on his chicken-choosing abilities. He is comfortable declaring the superiority of his chicken dishes above all others, due in large part to the fine chickens he manages to wriggle out of the hawkers’ hands. But now the hawkers have upped the ante: Old Fan’s most recent chicken-procuring mission ended in disaster … Continue reading “China’s Crises Will Pass, With Help”

Pride and Prejudice in Chengdu

The South Korean reporter Cha Han-phil stirred up a hornet’s nest with a post on his personal blog about "Shameless Chinese People." In the post he describes a scene on a train ride through Henan province that leads him to conclude Chinese people "lack public morality." For his comments, Cha was labeled a racist. He … Continue reading “Pride and Prejudice in Chengdu”

From China to Cairo

There were few constants during my stay in Egypt. One was the wiggling of the eyebrows and winks of passersby, an abbreviated version of an Egyptian’s first words to most any visitor: "Welcome." Another was the gently put yet insistent question of religion. Are you Muslim, Christian, or Other? There are the People of the … Continue reading “From China to Cairo”