By Jan Arden
A few events on the world scene happening more or less coincidentally deserve some mention.
The ongoing eight-month long war in Ukraine between invading Russian troops and bravely resisting Ukrainians has not unfortunately been pregnant with hope for an early resolution if it were not for the first phone conversation between the US and Russian military leaders last week, a token gesture which could pave the way for a diplomatic rather than a purely military end to a destructive crisis that even held the folly of nuclear overtones.
The planetary economic costs, more directly to Europe’s gas and fuel supply, the US-led sanctions policy and the food, fuel and logistics costs to the rest of the world which have neither reason to applaud nor to condemn NATO’s belligerent stance, have been sobering just as the worldwide pandemic was receding and hopes for economic recovery rising. When will common sense and international diplomacy prevail over geopolitical and military considerations to bring this confrontation to an end?
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The morality police strikes again
For eight long weeks in Iran, challenge to the imposition by a theocracy of retrograde rulers of a repressive regime has been fuelled by continuous demonstrations by brave women, students and sympathisers, fed up with daily harassment by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (RGs) and a “morality police” that sounds more like legalised street perverts, all exacerbated by the death in police custody of young Mahsa Amini.
The 83-year-old Al Khameini has dismissed the street protests as scattered “minor incidents”, while the RGs are busy attributing the challenges to external agents (the usual…) or even the brazen morality-corrupting Internet. But, says a Guardian article, when the average age of the protesters is about 20, some clerics say soul searching is required about how they lost a large strata of the nation’s youth and a large majority of Iranian womenfolk.
Despite being inheritors of an ancient civilisation that has contributed such imposing figures as the temporal ruler Kourosh (Cyrus the Great) or the spiritual leader Zarathrusta, the mollahs that were welcomed to rid the Shah’s decadent regime may not be ready yet to return political power to normal democratic processes but the brave protests have touched sympathy chords around the world.
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In the Middle Kingdom
The Congress gathering every five years of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) beginning on 16th October has been closely watched by neighbours, wary of the emerging Chinese superpower, the USA keeping similar tabs and in particular its meaning for the ongoing tussles for Taiwan and free navigation in the South China sea and the rest of the world observing the Chinese system at work first-hand.
Current two-term President Xi Jinping, heading all three powers of the Party as Secretary General, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Presidency, has had far-reaching impact, eliminating rival factions ruthlessly and pitching an aggressive external policy, has been elected for an unprecedented third five-year term with a new concomitant purge of his own previous henchmen, bringing in a cohort of powerful new generation of administrators, chief of whom will be his new Number 2, the Shanghai party head Li Qiang as the country’s PM.
Li Qiang is a tech-savvy supporter of high-tech entrepreneurship (Jack Ma, Huawei, etc) who believes that China’s future lies in the digital economy, has supported technological entrepreneurship as the leading edge of China’s development and brought, for instance, Elon Musk to invest in a large capacity electric car manufacturing unit in Shangai.
This 20th CCP meeting was a turning point say some China observers: Deng Xiaoping’s 1979 reforms eventually moved nearly 700 million Chinese from countryside to city, replacing the rural economy of traditional China with an economy dominated by state-owned enterprises. But these in turn are now judged insufficiently efficient or proactive to lead Xi’s orientation to a digitized industrial economy for the Middle Kingdom and are in fact obstacles that had to be swept aside. Neatly done… Read More… Become a Subscriber
Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 28 October 2022
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