Archive for the ‘superpower’ Category

Dalai Lama: China Unfit To Be Superpower

December 5, 2008

China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the Dalai Lama said Thursday during a European tour that has angered Beijing.

After addressing the EU parliament in Brussels, the Tibetan spiritual leader said China “deserves to be a superpower” given its huge population and economic and military strength.

“Now one important factor is moral authority and that is lacking,” he told a press conference in Brussels.

AFP

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama speaks to the press ... 
Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama speaks to the press at the EU Parliament in Brussels. China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the Dalai Lama said Thursday during a European tour that has angered Beijing.(AFP/John Thys)

“Because of its very poor record on human rights and religious freedom and freedom of expression and freedom of the press — too much censorship — the image of China in the field of moral authority is very, very poor,” he said.

“The sensible Chinese realize China should now pay more attention in this field in order to get more respect from the rest of the world,” the Nobel peace laureate said.

He cited the problems of Tibet and separatist factions in the southwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang as areas where such a moral authority should be displayed. He also named Hong Kong and reunification with Taiwan.

He said he continued to have confidence in the Chinese people while doubting the government wanted serious talks on Tibet’s future.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081204/wl_asia_a
fp/euchinatibetrights_081204183116

Naval Shps from Around The Globe Watch For Pirates. Where is China?

December 4, 2008

Among the naval forces of the world on guard against Somali pirates, China is conspicuously absent.  Today, a Chinese general asks “If China wants to be a world power, how come we are poweless so often?”

***

A Chinese general has called for the country’s navy to join the fight against Somali pirates, saying the mission would boost China’s international stature and give its sailors valuable experience in fighting open ocean combat operations far from their home ports.

Chinese ships have been among those seized in a wave of pirate attacks this year, including the fishing vessel Tianyu No. 8, seized in mid-November.

International warships from NATO and countries including Russia patrol the Gulf of Aden and have created a security corridor in the area under a U.S.-led initiative, but attacks have not abated.

Russia says it will send more ships to patrol the area off the coast of Somalia.
Russian Navy warship passes through the Suez canal and goes toward pirate patrol….

“Piracy doesn’t just interfere in our country’s navigational safety, it also impedes our development and interests,” Major General Jin Yinan told state radio.

“I think our navy should send ships to the Gulf of Aden to carry out anti-piracy duties,” Jin said, according to a transcript of the interview posted Thursday on the Web site of the official China News Service. The date of the interview was not given.

In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, ... 
In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, Indian warship INS Tabar, right, escorts the MV Jag Arnav ship to safety after rescuing it from a hijack attempt by Somali pirates. The Indian navy says the INS Tabar dedicated to fighting pirates has successfully fought off an attempted pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden, sparking explosions and a fire on the suspected pirate ship late Tuesday, Nov. 18.(AP Photo/Indian Navy, HO, File)

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy has little experience operating at long-range, its primary mission being coastal patrol. However, the service is believed to have major ambitions, possibly including the eventual deployment of an aircraft carrier.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_china_piracy_1

The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf ... 
The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden.(AFP/Eric Cabanis)

Time To Manage Iraq and Russia like flashing traffic lights

November 12, 2008

“Ready, Fire, Aim” caricatures how U.S. administrations and governments often behave. Had George W. Bush  not succumbed to this syndrome in going to war in Iraq, President-elect John McCain might be fashioning his transition. Instead, millions at home and abroad are congratulating and saluting the next American president, Barack Obama.  

By Harlan Ullman
Op-Ed
The Washington Times

Flush with a historic victory, the Obama team is planning his administration. President Bush has promised full cooperation. Despite the danger warnings, will Mr. Obama and his senior advisors fall into the trap of ready, fire, aim in translating campaign promises and slogans into policies and in selecting people for high office? The electoral rout of Republicans giving Democrats large majorities in both Houses of Congress will add political adrenaline rather than restraint to this transition process.

Clearly, economic and financial crises along with the war in Iraq and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan will rise to the top of Mr. Obama’s already overcrowded agenda filled with a myriad of other competing pressures and decisions that must be made. So what can Mr. Obama and his team do to ensure that his administration will reflect aims and objectives based on the nation’s best interests rather than on campaign sound bites, political IOU’s and partisan biases? Step one is defining the problems and the possible corrective actions. Step two is identifying the skill sets that will be needed in assembling a team for governing. Step three is prioritizing step one and connecting with step two. Given the on-going wars and economic crises, Mr. Obama will be under great pressure to make these choices quickly if only to build public confidence in his ability to lead.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev speaks during a meeting with ...
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev speaks during a meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow November 11, 2008.REUTERS/Natalia Kolesnikova/Pool (RUSSIA)

Consider three of the most pressing issues: the economy, Iraq and with President Dmitry Medvedev’s latest challenge to install short range missiles along its western borders to counter the missile defense systems being installed in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Mr. Obama’s economic team will extend far beyond his choice for Treasury. The heads of the National Economic Council and the Council of Economic Advisers are part of the team. The skill sets must include wide experience in economic crises; deep appreciation of macro-and microeconomics and business; and master political abilities to deal with diverse and often adversarial constituencies. No person has all of these qualities. But which are most important for each position? That judgment should drive the choice and not merely the need to name names of people who are competent but not necessarily in the crucial areas.

An employee shows dollar notes at a foreign exchange unit at ...

At the same time, Mr. Obama has promised to cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans. The other 5 percent however pay the lion’s share of taxes. And if the Bush tax cuts are not extended next year, everyone’s pocket book will be hit. A cardinal rule in times of recession is not to raise taxes. The new team better understand this reality, otherwise the economic mess will worsen irrespective of campaign slogans and promises.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran’s Ahmadinejad

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/n
ov/12/with-all-deliberate-speed/

Russia’s Defense Industry Hit by Credit Crunch, Ivanov Says

November 11, 2008

Russia’s defense industry is facing difficulties in meeting orders from the state because of the global credit crunch, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said.

Sergei Ivanov
Sergei Ivanov

Many companies are suffering from cash-flow problems, Ivanov said in remarks carried on state television. The financial crisis is “hitting some defense companies quite hard,” and the situation could prove “troublesome” for the industry, he said.

This video grab from Russian NTV channel shows the Russian nuclear ... 
AFP/Ntv
Above: This Russian submarine had an on board non nuclear accident that killed 20 this week.  She was on sea trials and scheduled to be tranferred to India.  She is now emblematic of Russia’s failing defense industry.


By Sebastian Alison, Bloomberg

Banks in which the state holds a large stake, including OAO Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank, VTB Group, the second largest, and state development bank Vnesheconombank, should consider lending to defense contractors, he said.

Ivanov was speaking today at a meeting in Moscow of a government commission on strategic enterprises and the defense industry.

“We’re talking about an industry with a lot of expenses and not too much revenue,” said Masha Lipman, an analyst at the Moscow Carnegie Center. She noted that Russia has recently made major arms sales to countries like Venezuela on credit with no repayments due for years.

Lipman said Russia’s Defense Ministry has been sending out mixed signals, for example by announcing cuts in military staffing numbers. This will produce tens of thousands of unemployed officers and the cost of retraining them for civilian jobs will be high, she said.

“Probably we will see that no such cuts will be made, because if you cut expenses in one place, you create them in another place,” she said.

Georgia War

Russia approved 344 billion rubles ($13 billion) in new defense spending last month following its five-day war with Georgia in August, Ivanov said on Oct. 16.

“Additional funds will be spent on purchases of modern weaponry, especially aircraft,” Ivanov, a former defense minister, said during a meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev.

At the same time, Russian state revenue may slump as the price of oil, its biggest export, plunges and capital flight accelerates on concern the global economy is entering a recession.

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/new
s?pid=20601095&sid=adH6D0VFaSVY

Russia sees hope of missile progress with Obama

November 9, 2008

Russia hopes for constructive talks with the next U.S. administration on Washington’s planned missile defense system in Europe, Russian media quoted Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Sunday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is seen in his Gorki residence ...
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is seen in his Gorki residence outside Moscow. Barack Obama is keeping people guessing about whether he will pursue a Bush administration plan to set up a missile shield in central Europe but analysts say Russia has shot itself in the foot with threats to deploy missiles in retaliation.(AFP/Ria-Novosti/Vladimir Rodionov)

A Russian deputy foreign minister said separately, in an interview with Interfax news agency, that Moscow would not carry out a threat to deploy tactical missiles near Poland if Washington scrapped its plans to deploy its missile system in Europe.

Washington says the missile defense shield, which would consist of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic, would help protect from missile attacks by “rogue states” such as Iran.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has supported work on a missile defense system, but says it must be “pragmatic and cost-effective” and cannot divert resources from other priorities until its effectiveness is proven.

“We have turned our attention to those positions which Barack Obama published on his site,” Russian news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

“They inspire a hope that we will be able to tackle these issues on a more constructive basis.”

Lavrov and Rice were taking part in a meeting of Middle East mediators.

Lavrov said proposals Russia had so far received from the outgoing U.S. administration to ease its concerns over the U.S. missile system “fall short of the agreements reached earlier at the level of the presidents.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged last week to station Iskander tactical missiles in the Kaliningrad region bordering Poland in response to the planned U.S. missile system.

Russia says it sees no prospect of Iran firing missiles at Europe and that the U.S. system is a direct threat to its national security.

The European Union this week expressed “strong concern” over Moscow’s plan to deploy the Iskander systems near Poland.

“There is a very important detail here — these plans (to deploy Iskander missiles) will be implemented only in case the U.S. missile defense system is launched,” Interfax quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko as saying.

“If the United States does not deploy it, then the very need for Russia to take these precautionary measures will be removed,” Grushko said.

He said the EU “should not have pretended they are bewildered that Russia would take relevant retaliatory steps, because the U.S. plans undermine Russia’s strategic potential, which is a basis for global security.”

Russia's "Iskander" missile system on display ... 
Russia’s “Iskander” missile system on display at a military exhibition in the Siberian town of Nizhny Tagil in 2005. President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia will place short-range missile systems on the EU’s eastern border to counter planned US missile defence installations in Eastern Europe.(AFP/VEDOMOSTI/File/Evgeny Stetsko)

(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Louise Ireland at Reuters)

Russia Aims to Be High on Obama’s Agenda

November 8, 2008

To the extent that he focused on Russia at all, Barack Obama’s attention was concentrated primarily on the need to keep Soviet nuclear weapons stockpiles out of the hands of terrorists.

But now, President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia has thrown down a gauntlet intended to demonstrate to the American president-elect that the post-cold war era may not be so post after all.

By Helene Cooper
The New York Times

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev looks at a banknote while ... 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has his eye on Russia’s oil, Russia’s money, Russia’s importance in the world and barack Obama; photo taken in St. Petersburg in Russia, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008.(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Serivce)

On Wednesday, while leaders around the world were falling over themselves to hail Mr. Obama’s election, Mr. Medvedev delivered a harsh welcome-to-the-new-cold-war speech in Moscow.

He never mentioned Mr. Obama by name, but Mr. Medvedev said he would deploy short-range missiles near Poland capable of striking NATO territory if the United States pressed ahead with plans to build a missile defense shield in Europe, something that Mr. Obama has said he supports.

Mr. Medvedev put Mr. Obama on notice on the Georgia crisis as well, vowing that “we shall not retreat in the Caucasus.”

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev visits cosmodrome Plesetsk, ... 
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev visits cosmodrome Plesetsk, October 12, 2008.REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Dmitry Astakhov

Even his one-paragraph congratulatory telegram to Mr. Obama was brusque. “I hope for a constructive dialogue with you, based on trust and consideration of each other’s interests,” Mr. Medvedev wrote.

“It was a giant, ‘Hey, welcome to the game,’ ” said George Friedman, chief executive at Stratfor, a geopolitical risk analysis company. “While Obama would like to deal sequentially with Iraq, Afghanistan and, when he gets to it, the Russians, the Russians themselves want to be a burning issue at the top of his list.”

A general view of the Russia's oil major LUKOIL oil refinery ... 
A general view of the Russia’s oil major LUKOIL oil refinery near the town of Kagalym in western Siberia, July 7, 2004 in this file photo.  (Viktor Korotayev/Reuters)
Russia's "Iskander" missile system on display ... 
Russia’s “Iskander” missile system on display at a military exhibition in the Siberian town of Nizhny Tagil in 2005. President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia will place short-range missile systems on the EU’s eastern border to counter planned US missile defence installations in Eastern Europe.(AFP/VEDOMOSTI/File/Evgeny Stetsko)

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/08/world/europe/08russia.html?_r=1&oref=slogin