Economic success does not assure peace, but economic failure and disintegration almost assures conflict. It is incumbent on the leaders of the major nations of the world to figure out how to achieve more rapid and sustained economic growth. A commitment to maintain strength, to uphold the international order, is an inherent and deeply-seated part of any successful global system. Great powers can never bluff. When they bluff, when their intentions are uncertain, they are tested. When they are tested, questions arise, and the prospect of conflict mounts.
U.S. President Barack Obama is visiting Tokyo at a unique moment in my country's history, with Japan's economy moving onto a stable new growth path that will take full advantage of its geographic position. Japan no longer considers itself the "Far" East; rather, we are at the very center of the Pacific Rim, and a neighbor to the world's growth center stretching from Southeast Asia to India.
This week, U.S. President Barack Obama is visiting Asia to meet U.S. allies and assure them of America's backing as China rises to become the dominant power in the region. In light of the West's weak response to Putin's takeover of the Crimea, some Asian allies are concerned about whether the U.S. will stand steady in the event a conflict breaks out between one of its allies and China.
Misguided nationalism is rearing its ugly head in some instances. The political dynamics of the region is shaking the geopolitical plate from under the surface. Dr. Kissinger once said, "history knows no resting places and plateaus." To me, history knows no end. Here in Northeast Asia, it is returning with a vengeance.
Dealing with resource scarcity will compel companies to adopt new technologies, new manufacturing processes, and new management practices -- all of which will drive innovation faster and faster. As the global middle class expands, there will be massive opportunities for entrepreneurs to create more efficient industries and more productive business ecosystems. Technologies and industries will collide in new and unexpected ways, and these entrepreneurial mashups, inspired in part by scarcity, will potentially produce greater utility and prosperity for society at large.
Foreign scholars are more interested in looking back at World War I and its implication for Asia, but in China they have their sights set even farther in the past. Chinese military officers are using the memory of one of China's most humiliating defeats to argue for the importance of modern-day issues like reform, a naval build-up, and the need to be wary of Japan. The implication is clear: follow Xi's prescriptions, or risk another national humiliation.
Currently, India's labor laws only apply the 20 to 25 million workers in what is called the "organized sector," which includes registered corporations and businesses. New higher minimum wages must also be made to apply to the other 175 million workers who work in the unorganized or unincorporated sector, as farm hands, pushcart vendors, construction workers, private security guards, household help, drivers, shoe shiners, waiters, shop help etc. Currently, this is not happening.
On April 18, the Russian Foreign Ministry clarified the meaning of Russian agreements. They required immediate disarmament of "illegal groups" referred to as the Right Sector, the Ukrainian nationalists. And in terms of releasing the captured buildings, they are making an ultimatum for Kyiv's Maidan supporters to disarm as well. Moscow basically said: disarm "your people," and then we will think about disarming our agents in eastern Ukraine, withdrawing Russian Special Forces and releasing captured buildings in Donetsk region.
Surely Putin has long understood, better than anyone else, how a few calls and promises from the Kremlin could readily recruit many of these local leaders in eastern Ukraine to win their cooperation in organizing local residents for pro-Russian demonstrations. To an unappreciated provincial councilor who has gotten words of assurance that he or she would be warmly welcomed into Putin's party of power, the idea of secession from Ukraine into Russia could become quite appealing. No bags of cash would be needed.
A woman hits a child, who appears to be her son, on one corner. A hundred yards further on, two men get in a fight because one stepped on the other's shoe. I arrive home thinking about this aggressiveness, just under the skin, that I feel in the street.
It would be too easy to wash one's hands and blame politicians for their failure to address climate change. Any failure would be collective. Responding to climate change is everyone's responsibility.
I cannot even express my condolences. I would like to tell the victims: "Kids, you are allowed to take a nap in heaven. You don't have to do homework, study for the college entrance exam, or prepare for employment. It will be sad not to see your family and friends, but they will always think of you and miss you. And we will try harder to fix this country so that your sacrifice won't be in vain."
When a friend dies, you are left with deep pain and a multitude of memories of the moments you shared. After all, as Gabo wrote: "Life is not the one you lived but the one you remember and how you remember it to tell it."
The leadership in Beijing must be secretly delighted watching the struggle between Russia and the West. The Ukraine mess can seriously poison Moscow's relations with Washington and Brussels for a long time to come, thus reducing their mutual ability to coordinate policies on the major issues in world politics. One such issue, perhaps the most important, concerns geopolitical risks associated with China's rise and its impact on the global economic and military balance. The Western push to "isolate" Russia may prove self-defeating. Rather than forcing Moscow to withdraw from Ukraine, it will draw it closer to Beijing.
"I am afraid that, in South Africa, we have not done with our freedom what we said we were going to do. And that makes it now the worst of times because it is a great disillusion."
Provocation, intimidation and propaganda are intended to create a pretext which is followed by invasion and occupation. That's the pattern that Stalin made notorious, just as Hitler had done when plotting his invasions around Europe. Camouflage with no insignias and masks are elements peculiar to Putin himself. They reveal the mindset of a man who was, after all, a KGB colonel skilled in subterfuge.
For the last thirty years, almost all the incentives operating on companies have been to lower the pay of their workers while increasing the pay of their CEOs and other top executives. It's about time some incentives were applied in the other direction.
Four years ago this week, BP's Deepwater Horizon drill platform exploded. Eleven workers died that day. Their bodies were never found. Over the next 87 days, 210 million gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico. It fouled fishing grounds, ravaged the coastline, and shut down tourism. The world got an ugly look at some of the terrible hidden costs of fossil fuels. Spill-related health problems plague the people and the wildlife of the Gulf to this very day. I personally hoped that we, as a nation, would quickly learn from this tragedy and move swiftly to prevent a repeat disaster in our most vulnerable coastal environments. So it boggles the mind that Shell Oil is still determined to drill in one of the most fragile and remote ecosystems on Earth: the Arctic Ocean -- the last bastion of America's polar bears, endangered bowhead whales and other rare wildlife.
The story of 60-year-old builder Altair Antunes Guimarães from Rio de Janeiro, illustrates a "collateral effect" of the mega-events in Rio that has fallen under the radar lately. With the first kick getting nearer -- less than 60 days now! -- people seem to have forgotten the thousands of families who at some point faced eviction to give way for the enlargement, improvement, or establishment of infrastructure for the 1-month tournament. The feeling is that the battles are lost to the construction companies, who indeed profited immensely during the construction of the stadiums -- and that families have by now resigned to leave their homes.