STEVEN SAHIOUNIE—As much as the Caribbean is considered an “American lake”, the South China Sea is being configured as a “Chinese lake”. As a matter of national security, the South China Sea is absolutely crucial for the Maritime Silk Road. Moreover, China will never accept being encircled and/or “patrolled” by a foreign power in its maritime borders. The ultimate aim is to expel the US Navy from the South China Sea. The US Navy and the Pentagon know very well, after gaming it extensively, that a military confrontation with China – in the South China Sea or Taiwan – will never be a cakewalk and may result in a serious imperial humiliation. In a nutshell, Cold War 2.0 will remain – in different levels, way more rhetorical and heavy on propaganda than yielding military facts on the ground.
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JON. COOK—Assange faces a terrifying new kind of extraordinary rendition – one conducted not covertly by US security services but in the full glare of publicity and, if the London court approves, with the consent of the British judiciary. If extradition is authorised, a precedent will be set that allows the US to seize and jail any journalist who exposes its crimes. Inevitably, that will have a severe chilling effect on all journalists investigating the world’s only super-power. It will not only be the death of journalism’s already enfeebled role as a watchdog on power but a death blow against our societies’ commitment to the principles of freedom and openness.
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A report from Bolivia by Max Blumenthal and his team, right after the elections that restored Evo Morales’ party to power. The question now is what is being done by the MAS patriotic movement to consolidate their victory, and what dirty tricks the US and its local allies in Bolivia and the region are plotting to weaken and roll back the popular gains. The empire never rests and never forgets. And it has almost infinite resources.
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In China, voting occurs at the local level for representatives to the local people’s congresses. Members of the local congress then elect from within that body those who will become members of the provincial congress, who then elect those to represent their province at the National People’s Congress. Thus each tier of representation becomes more selective, rigorous, and professional. While this differs from the direct suffrage practiced in the West, it promotes competence and dedication, and a government where all lives truly matter, and none are kept in ghettoes by design.
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FRANCIS LEE—Whether they obtain either is a matter of conjecture, however, as this would be almost certain to cross Russia’s red lines and result in a major geopolitical flareup. Europe’s centre of gravity is shifting. And while the process of joining the European Union is driving change within these countries, it is also changing the nature of Europe itself. Those Eastern European states which emerged from the break-up of the Soviet Union had been led to believe that a bright new world of West European living standards, enhanced pay levels, high rates of social mobility and consumption were on offer.
Unfortunately, they were sold an illusion: the result of the transition so far seems to have been the creation of a low-wage hinterland, a border economy on the fringes of the highly developed European core; a Euro version of NAFTA and the maquiladora, i.e., low tech, low wage, low skills production units on the Mexican side of the US’s southern borders. Moreover there are acute demographic problems confronting the ‘new Europe’.