Saturday, July 21, 2007

How others see us

By Carol Gee

News sources in rival countries report on current events the United States. Today's news round-up includes several interesting stories from the point of view of and Russia's *Ria Novosti, **China Daily, and ***Al Jazeera.

Hillary's the one -- RIA Novosti (Russia) reports that, "Most Americans think Clinton will be first female president." To quote from yesterday's blurb:

According to polls carried out by CBS television, 63% of Americans believe Democrat Senator Hilary Clinton is "highly likely" to win in the next presidential elections in 2008.

While RIA Novosti reports polls say Hillary will win, today Juan Cole at Informed Comment posted "The Last Neocon Attacks Hillary," clarifying who the administration's recent irresponsible source of attack of her patriotism turned out to be. To quote:

. . . as Fred Kaplan of Slate pointed out, it was a specific bureaucrat who criticized her, undersecretary of defense for planning Eric Edelman.

. . . Just one of the last Neoconservatives who hasn't yet been forced out of office because he abused the public trust or who hasn't yet slid into a criminality fostered by sublime arrogance.

By implying that Clinton is a traitor, Edelman inserted himself into a presidential campaign on the Republican side. That is not a legitimate role for the third man in charge of the Pentagon.

While China Daily reports on Cheney and the president's colonoscopy, Paul speaks for us -- Scott Paul at The Washington Note posted "Cheney to be President," noting the fact that the Veep will be in charge while OCP gets his colonoscopy. To quote:

. . . a lot can happen in 2 and a half hours.

On an entirely serious note, the Veep has pushed to expand his influence not only beyond the customary, but also the legal authority of his office. If there were one person in public life who would exercise Presidential power as a caretaker, does anyone doubt it would be Cheney?

In all likelihood, this is a big 'ol non-story. But I'm still going to breathe a big sigh of relief when Bush wakes up and relieves Cheney after an uneventful few hours.

You think?! Yesterday Russia's RIA Novosti carried this headline, "White House preparing to stage new September 11 -- Reagan official." To quote the intro:

A former Reagan official has issued a public warning that the Bush administration is preparing to orchestrate a staged terrorist attack in the United States, transform the country into a dictatorship and launch a war with Iran within a year.

Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, blasted Thursday a new Executive Order, released July 17, allowing the White House to seize the assets of anyone who interferes with its Iraq policies and giving the government expanded police powers to exercise control in the country.

Roberts, who spoke on the Thom Hartmann radio program, said: "When Bush exercises this authority [under the new Executive Order], there's no check to it. So it really is a form of total, absolute, one-man rule." . . . The radio interview was a follow-up to Robert's latest column, in which he warned that "unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from now the U.S. could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran."

China interested in Iraq war -- Tuesday, China Daily carried the AP story, headlined "Pace: US troops in Iraq could rise." Quote:

Marine Gen. Peter Pace revealed that he and the chiefs of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force are developing their own assessment of the situation in Iraq, to be presented to Bush in September. That will be separate from the highly anticipated report to Congress that month by Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander for Iraq.

A look at new UN Secretary General -- We do not know from where correspondent Mark Seddon of wrote this interesting profile last week on "Ban Ki-moon: Six months on." Quoting from his excellent portrait:

In Africa and the Middle East, I have watched as Ban takes leaders to one side, using every opportunity, even during short stop-overs in national capitals to squeeze more informal meetings into a packed day, to build up the personal relations that can really help to defuse crises.

. . . his supporters point to the slow but steady progress over Darfur. He promised to make Africa his "number one priority", and is doing his best to honour that promise.

. . . So far, Ban Ki-moon has demonstrated a sure-footedness that would have been the envy of his predecessors. He may not be charismatic, but he is an honourable man, whose smile marks an inner steel.

China news service looks at global warming -- A link to Ban Ki Moon's WaPo article ("hat tip" to China Daily for the #link below) began an absolutely fascinating (7/17/07) expanded story on the climate change big picture. The author, Pang Zhongying, is a research fellow with the Joint Program on Globalization under the CRF-Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. To quote from Pang's story:

The birth of the world's first atomic bomb can be seen as one of the key factors influencing world politics since 1945. However, the impact of global climate change on world politics could prove more significant than the invention and possible proliferation of nuclear arms. Global warming will continue, while the complicated politics of climate change will become an issue affecting all individual lives.

. . . Ironically, challenges and tragedies such as Darfur are not all that climate change has brought, meaning not all the news about climate change is bad. To some countries (governments), communities and international groups it also presents lots of opportunities, which is good news. Because the impacts of climate change on different countries, regions, communities and various interest groups are different, the politics of climate change is more complicated than many people think.

This writer has envisioned and predicted some short-term and long-term impacts or consequences of global climate on world politics: [see link for the list]

China changed by climate change -- Ma Lie at China Daily reports: "Climate change taking toll on glaciers." To quote:

XI'AN: The rapid shrinking of No 1 Glacier on Tianshan Mountain in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is a clear warning of the reality of climate change.

. . . Experts described the glacier as the hard disk of nature, recording a wealth of information on the environment such as climate and water distribution.

Environmental information shows that the rapid melting of the glacier will not only cause serious natural disasters such as floods and mud and rock slides, but also reduce glacial runoff. This will gradually reduce freshwater resources at lower reaches.

In conclusion, when reading from foreign websites it is useful to see what they say about themselves:

  • *News source -- about RIA Novosti -- states:
    The Russian News & Information Agency RIA Novosti is one of the most authoritative and professional sources of prompt information in Russia and abroad.

    The Agency has a correspondent network in the Russian Federation, CIS and over 40 non-CIS countries.
    Every day, RIA Novosti publishes on the Internet and via e-mail social-political, economic, scientific and financial information in Russian, the main European languages and Arabic.
  • **News source -- China Daily's intro -- To quote from the website:
    China Daily, established in 1981, is the only national English-language newspaper in China. The average daily circulation is more than 200,000, one-third of which is abroad in more than 150 countries and regions.

    . . . Headquartered in Beijing, China Daily also has branches in Shanghai and Guangzhou and correspondents in all major cities in China. English-speaking staff reporters, correspondents and editors with the newspaper group are known for their professionalism, ethics, enthusiasm and creativity. The newspaper's linguistic standards are reassured by teens of foreign staff members from the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and India.
  • ***A visit to Aljazeera is always worthwhile because we find stories about important subjects inadequately covered in the US mainstream media. A quote from Aljazeera's corporate profile explains: "With broadcasting centers in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington DC and supporting bureaux world-wide, the channel will set the news agenda, bridging cultures and providing a unique grassroots perspective from underreported regions around the world to a potential global audience of over one billion English speakers."


#Ban Ki Moon, writing at the The Washington Post, penned "A Climate Culprit in Darfur."

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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