By Jane West
The decision by Yingluck Shinawatra to call a snap election in Thailand in response to a determined attempt by the right to overturn her democratically elected government is a high risk strategy, despite the fact that her party would almost certainly win in any fair election. The right-wing monarchical elites and the army in Thailand know they cannot win in a free election and so are looking for an opportunity to delegitimise or distort the electoral process and impose an army or so-called technocratic ‘people’s council’ government instead.
The decision of the United States to fly two B-52 bombers unannounced through Chinese strategic airspace was nothing less than a calculated, and extremely dangerous, act of aggression against China, further whipping up tensions in the East China Sea.
The B-52 fly-through was directly aimed at toughening up Japan’s stance vis-a-vis China. Two Japanese airlines that had previously agreed to inform China of flights over the disputed Diaoyu islands withdrew this agreement following the US action.
The following article by John Ross evaluates China’s contribution to the reduction of human poverty. It previously appeared at Socialist Economic Bulletin.
In 2010 Professor Danny Quah, of the London School of Economics, noted: 'In the last 3 decades, China alone has lifted more people out of extreme poverty than the rest of the world combined. Indeed, China’s ($1/day) poverty reduction of 627 million from 1981 to 2005 exceeds the total global economy’s decline in its extremely poor from 1.9 billion to 1.4 billion over the same period.' The aim of this article is to analyse the situation taking data published three years after Quah's analysis; look at the trends not only of extreme poverty, which the World Bank calculates using expenditure of $1.25 a day or less; examine a slightly wider poverty definition ($2 a day expenditure), and compare the trends in other regions of the world economy.
By Paul Roberts
In the wake of the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines last week the US is moving to re-establish its military presence in its former colony.
The bellicose response by the US and others to the latest developments in North Korea is in no way a proportional response to any real threat from the small East Asian state, but an excuse for quite other military objectives.
The US used its known language of war – ‘a real and clear danger’ – to announce its decision to extend its advanced missile defence system to the Pacific island of Guam. As no one in their right mind believes that North Korea has the capacity to hit the US – or virtually anywhere very far from its own borders – with a nuclear-armed missile, this step has other purposes. The country in the US’s binoculars is not North Korea but rising China, and the Guam move is a further step in its announced ‘pivot’ to Asia aimed at militarily encircling China.
The following article by John Ross analyses the economic policies underpinning the slowdown and then the accelerated growth of China's economy in 2012. Since the article was published on china.org.cn on 1 January, the release of new economic data confirms the article. They show that China's GDP expanded by 7.9 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter of 2012, accelerating from 7.4 per cent in the third quarter, and resulting in 2012 full-year growth of 7.8 per cent.
China's economy in 2012 was "a tale of two halves": In the first six months slowdown, even a feeling of developing crisis; in the second half recovery and accelerating growth. The story therefore had a happy ending. But it is worth noting what went wrong in the first half, and how it was corrected in the second, as this contains lessons for the future.
By Neil Martin
The outcome of the Japanese general election marked a sharp turn to the right in Japanese politics.
The poll delivered an overwhelming victory for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior ally the Komitei, following the failure of the Democratic Party (DPJ) to take steps to revive the economy.
The following article by John Ross which evaluates the economic projections of the recent Chinese Communist Party congress, appeared in Global Times on 12 November.
The central economic goal outlined in General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Hu Jintao's report to the 18th National Congress of the CPC is achieving a "moderately prosperous society". This created discussion of whether this goal is realistic and in what time scale.
By Jane West
The recent visits by the leader of the opposition and two members of the Japanese cabinet to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in Tokyo solidifies a lurch to the nationalist right in Japanese politics.
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