AS THE WORLD TURNS: News Weekly
China's shameful massacre of unborn girls; Soft power and no plan for Iran; Countering terror; Scientific establishment forfeits public trust
, May 1, 2010
China's shameful massacre of unborn girls
In the cruel old China, baby girls were often left to die in the gutters. In the cruel modern China, they are aborted by the tens of millions, using all the latest technology.
There is an ugly new word for this mass slaughter: gendercide.
Thanks to a state policy which has limited many families to one child since 1979, combined with an ancient and ruthless prejudice in favour of sons, the world's new superpower is beginning the century of its supremacy with an alarming surplus of males.
By the year 2020, there will be 30 million more men than women of marriageable age in this giant empire. ... Nothing like this has ever happened to any civilisation before. ...
These problems were starkly obvious when I visited the country districts around the medium-sized city of Danzhou. ...
I visited several state comprehensive schools, primary and secondary, in Danzhou and in the nearby countryside.
And in every cheerful classroom there was a slightly sinister shortage of girls, as if we had wandered into some sort of science fiction fantasy. ...
In one class of 10-year-olds, only 20 out of 80 were girls. In another classroom, it was 25 out of 63.Extract from Peter Hitchens, "Gendercide: China's shameful massacre of unborn girls means there will soon be 30m more men than women", Daily Mail (UK), April 10, 2010.
URL: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1265068/China-The-worlds-new-superpower-beginning-century-supremacy-alarming-surplus-males.htmlSoft power and no plan for Iran
The Tehran menace is not simple nuclear proliferation; the entire Levant is slipping its strategic moorings under the fog of a banal debate about micro tactics, like "soft power", in South Asia. ...
The most immediate existential threat comes from Iran.
A recent (US) Department of Defense memo addressed to the National Security Council expresses alarm that the Obama administration has no contingency plan should sanctions against Tehran fail.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates claims that the "the United Sates does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran's steady progress toward nuclear capability".
According to the 17 April New York Times
report, unnamed White House officials have dismissed the "wake up call" from DOD.Extract from G. Murphy Donovan, "Soft power and no plan for Iran", American Thinker, April 21, 2010.
URL: www.americanthinker.com/2010/04/soft_power_and_no_plan_for_ira.htmlCountering terror
How can terrorist movements be defeated or at least rendered harmless? Two insightful new works point the way forward.
Audrey Cronin, a professor of strategy at the US National War College, has just publised How Terrorism Ends
(Princeton), while the former US Treasury counter-terrorism expert Michael Jacobson has suggested ways to increase the number of terrorist dropouts.
Cronin has analysed government responses to terrorism, from repression via auto-implosion to negotiation.
Blanket repression, of the sort Uruguay visited on the Tupamaros, can lead to a 12-year dictatorship.
Decapitation of a leadership succeeds only when the terror group is based on a cult of personality such as Shoko Asahara of Japan's Aum Shinrikyo.
Exhibiting them in courts dissipates their spell, as it may do with the human shambles that is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed if and when the US tries him. ...
Interrupting the spiral of radicalisation is also important. There are a number of "decompression" programs for young extremists and jihadi drop-outs in Egypt, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, schemes which aim to reintegrate young men into family life and normal careers.
These schemes may work in rich countries but are unlikely to be efficacious wherever youth unemployment is rampant.
Raising the jihadi drop-out rate is Jacobson's main concern in a report published last August by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Since a person of Muslim origin is 54 times more likely to be killed in an al-Qaeda attack than a non-Muslim, we should be emphasising each instance of terrorist "mis-targeting", such as the incidents in which a 12-year-old Egyptian girl was killed or an entire Jordanian wedding party wiped out, provoking an angry backlash.Extract from Michael Burleigh, "Terror tactics", Standpoint (London), March 2010.
URL: www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/2750/fullScientific establishment forfeits public trust
Is volcanic ash the new swine flu? That is not a rhetorical question: along with the rest of the public, I honestly haven't a clue. ...
We do not know. And the reason why we do not know is more important than the dilemma to fly or not to fly. ...
We do not know because we can no longer trust the sources from which we would normally expect to receive authoritative information.
There is a complete breakdown in confidence between the public and the politico-scientific establishment.
On the face of it, the facts should be reasonably ascertainable: in an age when we can send space probes to the far reaches of the universe, it should be possible to establish with some accuracy whether or not it is safe to fly between London and Paris.
But the agencies involved in making that assessment are no longer perceived as trustworthy by the public. ...
That is the condition to which we have been reduced by the relentless lying and self-interest of all agencies of government and authority.Extract from Gerald Warner, "Is volcanic ash the new swine flu?", The Telegraph (UK) blog, April 19, 2010.