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The Roots of Russia’s Revanchism – Energy

Gazprom Russsia Gas MonopolyWestern energy disarmament is proving suicidal.

by William Tucker

On Wednesday, the New York Times published a very nice account of a speech President Vladimir Putin gave to a group of the Russian elite in the Grand Kremlin Palace. Reported by on-the-scene correspondents, it was free of the usual filtering that takes place in Washington or most of the country’s newsrooms:

In an emotional address steeped in years of resentment and bitterness at perceived slights from the West, Mr. Putin made it clear that Russia’s patience for post-Cold War accommodation, much diminished of late, had finally been exhausted. Speaking to the country’s political elite in the Grand Kremlin Palace, he said he did not seek to divide Ukraine any further, but he vowed to protect Russia’s interests there from what he described as Western actions that had left Russia feeling cornered.

This isn’t exactly the picture John Kerry and Angela Merkel are giving us. According to them, President Putin is “in another world, “behaving in 19th century fashion,” “completely isolated” and “has a huge price to pay.” Close your eyes, however, and you are listening to Hitler lamenting the humiliations visited upon Germany by the Versailles Treaty. They said the same thing about him. You know what happened next. [Read more...]

Handing Over the Keys to the Internet

Putin Russia Internet Big-Brother CensorshipIt’s nuts to cede control of the Internet to countries with poor records on free speech.

by Charles C. W. Cooke

If at least for the sake of variation, those charged with riffling through last Friday’s news dumps must have been relieved to find neither new Obamacare delays nor abandoned red lines hiding among the detritus. And yet, while the less technically proficient could have been forgiven for having missed it, an announcement just as vexing was waiting in lieu: that America was planning to give up control of the Internet.

At this point in the proceedings, one is customarily chastised by pedants who note impatiently that the United States does not really “control” much of the Internet at all — at least not literally. The Internet, our dogmatists record, is a wildly decentralized network of computers, servers, and services that are run by non-governmental agencies, individual citizens, and private businesses, and fleshed out by the enthusiasm and the creativity of civil society. They are right, of course. In its structure, the Web is a libertarian’s dream — an explosion of spontaneous order and of mutual cooperation that would have made Hayek blush. It don’t need no stinkin’ Man.

And yet, as with all good things, it does have some framework — a slim skeleton on which the meat and the gristle might be laid. As Forbes’s Emma Woollacott confirmed on Saturday, should the U.S. government go through with its plan, the responsibilities to be farmed out will include the administration of changes to the DNS’s authoritative root zone file — the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains — as well as managing the unique identifiers registries for domain names, IP addresses, and protocol parameters. [Read more...]

Global Internet governance proposals threaten sovereignty, freedom of information

Internet Governanceby Peter Roff

The evolution of the Internet has not only changed the world of commerce; it’s revolutionized the diplomatic sphere and helped democratize the foreign policy process.

Up until the end of the 20th century the United States relied heavily on human intelligence to learn the truth about what was happening inside countries that had closed themselves off to the rest of the world. The Internet’s penetration of even the most authoritarian of nations has created a window through which the U.S. and the other democratic nations that make up the first world can see for themselves what is going on.

It is through the Internet that America has been able to follow the story unfolding inside Iran, and it is the Internet through which the western powers were able to confirm that the Assad regime in Syria both had chemical weapons and had used them against opponents of the government. There was no need to wait for a group if inspectors working on behalf of a global body to confirm the allegations. With the web the world could see with its own eyes just what had occurred. [Read more...]

What does the future hold for the People’s Republic of China?

Chinaby Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi

In China, history is always viewed through the prism of a peculiarly inverse political logic. The fact that tyranny in the form of a communist dictatorship triumphed in 1949 was a testament to the ability of the Communist Party of China to apply this logic and to turn almost two centuries of national humiliation by a diverse collection of foreign powers into the illusion of victory.

Presently, witnessing the seemingly steady economic and military progress of the People’s Republic of China, the majority of the Chinese people and foreign observers have succumbed to this illusion and thus have failed to see the inherent weakness of the political foundation and the ephemeral quality of the economic growth. [Read more...]

The high price of Obama’s Mideast peace push

Syria Assad Middle Eastby John Bolton

The breaking news that al Qaeda has captured Fallujah and Ramadi raises the question whether America’s sacrifices in Iraq were made in vain. It also highlights the utter inadequacy of President Obama’s Middle East policy, especially his disregard for critical regional threats.

Instead, Obama has focused on Israeli-Palestinian issues, essentially to no avail. Despite Secretary of State John Kerry’s repeated visits, including one just ended, the “peace process” has seen no significant movement.

Proponents of “peace processing” ignore this reality, asserting that the process itself has an inherent value, and that real movement comes only when deadlines loom and decision-makers realize “it’s now or never” to “take risks for peace” and achieve “a peace for the brave.” And when all else fails, peace processers say, “What have we got to lose?” [Read more...]

How China Is Behind the Nuclear Program of Iran—and Every Other Rogue State

China_moneyBeijing proved masterful at enabling Pyongyang to expand its program, and did the same for Pakistan. Now it’s Tehran’s turn.

In November, immediately after the announcement that Iran had reached a deal with Western negotiators concerning its nuclear program, China’s former ambassador to Tehran, Hua Liming, made the case that Beijing—not the American Secretary of State John Kerry or the European Union envoy Catherine Ashton—ultimately deserved credit for brokering the agreement. “When the two parties came across irresolvable problems, they would come to China, which would ‘lubricate’ the negotiation and put things back on track,” Hua, apparently speaking at the direction of the Communist Party, told Chinese state media.

There has been considerable disagreement about whether the interim arrangement, which partially freezes Iran’s nuclear program, is a good deal for the international community. Beijing’s enthusiasm is sufficient evidence that it is not: China is Iran’s best big-power friend, and if Hua is to be believed, then Beijing thinks it has just scored a triumph for its friends in Tehran. [Read more...]

Fact-checking President Obama

by George Landrith

Let’s fact check President Barack Obama’s debate statements. He spent a lot of time since the first debate and during the second debate complaining that what Gov. Mitt Romney said wasn’t true. Yet, the facts do not support Obama’s claims. Here is the proof on Obama’s poor record on truthfulness during the second debate:

The attack in Libya — a terrorist attack? Or a spontaneous protest that got out of hand because of an offensive internet video?

On the issue of Libya, Obama said, that the day after the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, “I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. That this was an act of terror and I also said that we’re going to hunt down those who committed this crime.”

Romney challenged Obama’s characterization that he had identified the Benghazi attack as terrorism on day one. Obama doubled down. Just as Romney was about the snare Obama in his lie,  the the moderator erroneously sided with Obama and claimed that he had identified the attack as terrorism. After the debate, the moderator admitted that she was wrong and that Romney was correct. But let’s not rely on her retraction and correction, let’s go straight to the record. [Read more...]

Communist China on the verge of collapse

by Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyikina-thumb-large-e1323304577872

The People’s Republic of China appears to be a normal nation-state on the surface. Yet, alarmingly close to this tranquil surface, society is in a volcanic turmoil. Total political control by the party, the state and local authorities is becoming increasingly unacceptable. Opinion surveys regularly conducted by universities and the printed media have found that almost 50 percent of the Chinese are unhappy with their living conditions. While giant state-owned and state-controlled enterprises in industries that the party and the military considers “strategic” prosper, private and joint public-private entities are steadily subjected to official meddling and harassment. [Read more...]

China’s Hazardous Present and Uncertain Future

by Dr.  Miklós K. Radványi

Regardless of their shades, dictatorships universally worship might.  For this fundamental reason, the precarious existence of every revolutionary regime rests on two essential criteria – veneration of those who command power and faith in their ability to perpetuate the status quo.  Having attained absolute power by force in 1949, the Communist Party of China had governed the most populous nation on earth by the myth of the infallibility of either a single individual or a seemingly homogeneous leadership.  For almost three decades, the centralization of political, economic, social and cultural powers by an inexperienced, incompetent and self-appointed minority had resulted not only in political destruction and economic ruin, but also in pervasive corruption and immorality. [Read more...]

China’s Approaching Implosion

by Dr. Miklos K. RadvanyiChina_money

From its genesis until its overthrow on February 12, 1912, imperial China was driven throughout its history by a permanent tension between the despotic state’s boundless hostility toward society and the violent anti-state sentiments of society.  The result of this uncompromising and—at times— merciless antagonism between the omnipotent state and the ruthlessly oppressed society was a political culture in which absolute power alternated between the terribly powerful bureaucracy and the frightfully brutalized people. [Read more...]