Archive for February, 2008
February 24th, 2008 -- Posted in World Politics |
Well these last few weeks of my life in Ireland have been a bit interesting especially with the revelation to some of my Chinese friends that I believe Taiwan should be independent. They adamantly refused to listen to anything I said even with historical evidence available on the internet that states that the first Chinese settlers were brought to Taiwan by the Dutch in the 1620’s hence China having not historical claim over Taiwan.
Taiwan has had an unsettling history since those times but China wants Taiwan back for the most illogical reason out there which is “face.” Many western people may not be familiar with the term but it is kind of like honour which is not a bad principle to have but simply the wrong reason to impose a totally different regime on people who do not want it. “Face” was used by some of my friends to justify China’s policy on Taiwan and it kind of makes sense when you look back at the Treaty of Shimonoseki (1895) where the Chinese were defeated by the Japanese and forced to cede Taiwan to them. This is one of those century old wound’s that have never healed and I think the Chinese government wants to prove how great a nation it is for no practical reason.
The next century or so proved eventful but culminated with the election of President Chen Shui-bian who has had a tumultuous career but has ensured Taiwan remain stable in the year of economic upheaval. The reign of the DPP (President Chen’s part) is now over because the Nationalist Party scoring a landslide victory in last month’s elections will have control over the future of Taiwan. The NP advocates a better relationship with China which is not such a bad idea but I think they are ignoring the core of the Taiwanese population who wants Taiwan to be independent. If you look at this poll conducted by the NCCU which shows that more Taiwanese identify themselves as being Taiwanese rather than Chinese and this has been an increasing trend.
Let’s also look at Hong Kong as well which was ceded back to China on the 1st of July 1997. There are some people in Hong Kong who wish independence from China which I think is a great idea but having spoken to a friend of mine from there who identifies with being Chinese I think the people of Hong Kong are also divided on the issue. I honestly don’t understand this idea of having to be associated with one country? What is wrong with just being associated as a citizen of Hong Kong or Taiwan? I simply believe that if the majority of the population indicates that they wish independence than it is the responsibility of the government to follow the wishes of the population and then it is the responsibility of every democratic loving nation to support that declaration.
Take the declaration of Kosovo as independent, over 90% of the population supported independence and who would blame them when you consider the violence they suffered at the hands of the Serbs? Can you imagine that if Taiwan does not achieve independence soon that China will eventually take Taiwan over because no one will be in a position to stop them in the future. Have a look at the Goldman Sach’s report which was released in 2003 that first coined the term “BRICS” also known as Brazil, Russian, India, and China. They foresee China being one of the most powerful nations by 2050. My question is what is to stop China taking over Taiwan in line with its “One China” policy? I believe the current political environment prevents such a thing from happening now but who is to say it will not happen in the future?
China has made a lot of improvements since the Mao Zedong day’s but they are still a regime of sorts with no democracy, no ability to elect representatives and maybe the Chinese people are happy with that at the moment because the country is doing so well but what about the future? China still has a terrible human rights record because they still imprison and “disappear” dissident journalists as well as possibly killing thousands of Falun Gong supporters. You just need to Google “China and human rights” to see the string of articles about the government’s lacklustre record.
You know the worst part of it is that in the West we have reached a point in Global history where we ignore such things. We ignore the human rights abuses and the fact that Western companies actually help send dissidents to jail all because the Chinese are a Superpower. Don’t get me wrong, I do not dislike any Chinese people but I do dislike their government and its policies. The USA and the EU need to take a stance against the “One China” policy and make China relinquish its claim on Tibet and Taiwan. Both of these places have more than the majority support for independence and this is something that should be nurtured and supported.
I hope more nations will support the independence of Kosovo regardless of what the Serbs, Russians and Chinese say. Having looked at UN resolution 1244, the declaration does violate this resolution but I think we need to look at the bigger picture here in that the majority want independence and should be allowed to have their own nation as it is their choice. The remaining Serb’s should either stay or go to Serbia but Kosovo has reiterated that they want peaceful relations with Serbia so I honestly don’t see what the problem is? People have criticized this move stating that it will undermine the sovereignty of nations around the world and to these critics I say:
Does one population have the right to inhibit the independence of another nation within a given territory? Morally they do not because if people want to be free, they are entitled to this basic human right.
People also use the analogy of Hawaii breaking away from the USA which in the 21st century would not happen. There is not a single state in the USA that would want to break away from the whole so let us look at the facts and the present day when dealing with the issue of an independence declaration. You cannot compare the Kosovo situation to the USA, Israel or any other nation. The variables and the circumstances are totally different. The arguments do not pan out so I hope people will stop trying to resist this global and life changing precedent.
My greatest hope is that the people of Taiwan will realize that they can declare independence without the wrath of China. They should realize that people like me and other’s around the world would support Taiwan. The people of Taiwan should also realize that despite the Bush administration’s policy of maintaining the status quo; after the open support of Kosovo, the USA will also support the people of Taiwan. I urge Congress to adopt a resolution officially supporting the people of Kosovo while removing the hypocrisy of not supporting Taiwan.
February 24th, 2008 -- Posted in PodCasts, World Politics |
This has been a crazy week in global politics but a shortened political podcast because I have been a little sick and find it hard to talk. For Episode 3 I will be talking about the state of Kosovo, Freedom, Iran’s Nuclear Amibitions, Turkey’s Northern Iraq incursion and Robert Mugabe hopefully retiring as president of Zimbabwe.
Episode 3 [6:54m]
February 22nd, 2008 -- Posted in American Politics, World Politics |
I am a big believer in the written and the spoken word but I suppose that is a given considering I am writing this blog on a Friday night. In recent weeks, the freedom of people all around the world has been compromised with the shutdown of Wikileaks.org by Judge Jeffrey White of the Northern District in San Francisco. Many people are aware of the prefix “Wiki” as in Wikipedia however not too many people know about Wikileaks.org in my humble opinion. This is a great site because it allows people from all over the world to anonymously post documents or media to expose corruption, unfair practices and injustices around the world.
To the bloggers who do read this site, you should have a look at some of the mirrors for the moment because there are a lot of useful articles for future posts.
Wikileaks is a great balancing mechanism in a world where government and big business are so closely allied that it is hard to tell them apart on certain days. Companies, governments and people in power take advantage of the system for their own benefit which is why we need sites like Wikileaks around. These sites do their best to even the odds in modern society and provide the biggest political punch for the ordinary citizen. The Judge shut down the site because someone anonymously posted confidential documents from a Swiss bank Julius Baer onto the website. The bank did not want these documents up there so they went to court in the USA to have it shut down however the information had already dispersed to people around the world as well as other mirror sites like:
These are just two of the sites that have exactly the same information that the American Wikileaks was shut down for. Why Julius Baer went this far is beyond me since their lawyers must have told them that there was no cost efficient way that they could shut down every Wikileaks site around the world. The only other logical conclusion that I can figure out is that they are hoping to lessen the impact of these leaked documents by closing down the American site therefore reducing the traffic somewhat? I highly doubt that but beyond that stretch of a reason, it was just a waste of money and time.
The interesting ponderings from this case show how censorship has increased in the USA to a certain extent. The title of this blog is how the judiciary decides the balance between freedom and the safety of the people. I believe that censorship is justified if it protects the physical well being of the population from eminent bodily harm i.e. terrorism. Beyond that there is no other excuse to shut down a site like Wikileaks or any other site that actually makes society a better place. An interesting tidbit of information is that the judge in charge of this case was appointed by President Bush who I am sure got some calls from some very irritated rich people when their questionable finances were disclosed all over the internet.
I am not a Bush Basher but it is an interesting coincidence that when some of the richest and most influential people are exposed online in terms of them hiding their money from the IRS that all it takes is a simple call to the President who then makes another call and “bob’s my uncle” we have a ruling that clearly violates the “Safe Harbor” provision of the DMCA.
People have to able to say what they want to say, this is what makes America and other countries around the world great. The freedom for me to say I think the current President is somewhat incompetent is essential in a modern and progressive society. I often criticize the Chinese government to my friends for their open censorship of blogs like my own and other sites in the West. I don’t think that this kind of censorship is moral in this day and age, freedom needs to increase as oppose to decrease. That being said I would like to encourage everyone to support Wikileaks in California by writing to your congressman or political representative to tell them about this injustice, you can also support Wikileaks by pledging some money to this email:
This is supposed to be a Political blog and some people who read this may question this post’s relevance but that is what I am trying to assure people, this is an issue that not only effects Wikileaks but people all around the world. Freedom is truly precious and we must treasure it and fight for it when we need to. For people in America have a look at project Global Integrity and their comparative study on censorship around the world and observe how the USA is no longer number 1 in terms of the most free information nation in the world. I would also like to extend my pledge of support to the Wikileaks group and wish them the best of luck with their upcoming court date.
February 18th, 2008 -- Posted in American Politics |
Well I was browsing through Digg when I came upon this video (see sidebar) that was Senator Obama’s response to Senator Clinton’s criticism of his words being rhetoric and nothing more. I am writing this entry to respond to that but also to a few of my friends who have said the same thing about Senator Obama. A few friends of mine often belittle the meaning of a word however in every language around the world; it is words that inspire us to action. Without words there are no actions. Words are the beginning of actions so we must not lose their importance in the spectrum of daily life that emphasizes action. You know one of the things that I love about America is that you can have crazy dreams without people criticizing you for it and reminding you that reality is the word of the day and you should not “have your head in the clouds.”
You know the great thing about being in the clouds? You can see everything from there and that is a real strategic advantage. America and the world need hope, people in Ireland need hope and people all around the world need hope. Referring to the American election, hope is what has made the democrats come out in greater number than the republicans because as my previous entry stated, democrats are more open to different ideas and philosophies of thought. I am a big fan of hope and always tell my friends here that it is something you should always keep inside of you so that your actions can be spurred by it. At the age of 25 I would never have been to all the places that I have been too and seen the things that I have seen without this word.
At the age of 25, I would never have lived in three different countries and met so many different kinds of people that have truly enriched my life. This and more are what hope is about, Senator Clinton is correct in criticizing Senator Obama when it comes to a lack of experience but she is wrong in criticizing him about being only about rhetoric. I believe that Senator Obama is more than just hope; he is the only solution for America in a world that has changed immensely in the past decade. We need a leader that can step up to the global platform and inspire the people of America as well as the leaders of the world.
It is through this inspiration that effective change can occur within the country as well as the world. This effective change can solve the problems like a slowing economy, lackluster healthcare and a burgeoning national deficit. Americans need change, and electing John McCain or Hillary Clinton will not achieve that. Democrats, Republicans and Independents need to unite and that can only be done under Senator Obama. Hillary Clinton will not win the nomination because of this simple comic:
Senator Clinton is a great lady and an experienced leader but if she wins the nomination, Senator McCain might as well sit back and let the incensed conservative base elect him. I am not going to repeat what has been said in the press but emphasize what every Republican knows, they don’t like Senator Clinton. Exit polling has shown that Senator Obama is capable of winning Republican votes and that is what the democrats need.
I hope in the next few months running up to the DNC that people will think about leadership and past leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela. Some of these names may not have had the greatest experiences in life but they are the greatest leaders of our time. These are some of leaders who have inspired people around the world and given them hope, and in this age of uncertainty about global warming, terrorism and economics, isn’t that what we need?
February 17th, 2008 -- Posted in PodCasts, World Politics |
Well I have been trying to figure out how to RSS my podcasts for a while without much success. I have just discovered though how to remedy this problem. That being said it means that I will be writing about my Global Podcasts each week in a short exercpt covering the issues that I will be talking about. For Episode 2 I will be talking about the Independence of Kosovo, Hugo Chavez, Dmitry Medvedev and Criticisms of China.
Episode 2 [8:20m]