Growing up throughout the Cold War, the beginnings, height, and end, I have strong memories of China under Mao.
I can remember a China isolated and considered an international pariah by the West. If you were from the West and found yourself in China you generally disappeared.
And life under Mao Zedong was extremely harsh for most Chinese. Historians sometimes wonder who killed more of their own people – Hitler or Stalin?
Chairman Mao is usually left out.
Through the 1966 Cultural Revolution, I have read that during his reign while of course no exact count exists, up to 100 million Chinese were killed since the revolution in 1949 to enforce his Communism.
When we stopped treating mainland China like a pariah that should be isolated, and trade opened up, we had high hopes.
It was thought that with trade opening up for China would come a liberalization for the government.
China was admitted to the WTO in 2001 following lengthy negotiations, amid widespread expectations that membership in the world body would ease its transition from a state-run to a market-oriented economy.
The Chinese are shameless at copying Western products. Some of the copies are comical and some sinister, with their pilfering through the Internet highly-classified technical documents. (which I have wondered why we put some of the most sensitive documents on the Internet, but what do I know?).
Apparently with at least one weapon, they somehow got the ingredients wrong, although the Jordanians aren’t saying much.
Since the end of World War II, Turkey has been a strong ally of the West. They field the second largest army in NATO. They were a good ally in the Korean War, and critical for us during the Cold War. The Air Force has had an important base there since the beginning of the Cold War, in addition to listening posts along the (then) Soviet border.
With the election of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2014, there have been some fissures in this critical alliance. Turkish officials accused the U.S. in being complicit in a failed coup in 2016.
There have been disagreements over the US handling of Syria, and the policy over Iran.
For our part – we are facing a critical dilemma, all from the Turkish government’s ordering a Russian S-400 anti Aircraft system over a US or NATO anti aircraft system.
Francois Guillot | AFP | Getty Images
As heartbreaking as it is today, the thought came to me just now of a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia I took in the early 90s. We had traveled down the Volga River from Moscow to St Petersburg, and the highlight was, I believe, St Petersburg.
St. Petersburg, on the Neva River, the pride of the Tsars, was as beautiful as Moscow was drab. Even 75 years under the Communists could not completely extinguish its beauty. I have a book of prints I made, and one of these days I will have to scan them to post on the Net.
After nearly 7 years, and a change in government in Ecuador, apparently Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has worn out his welcome.
“We aren’t going to allow Ecuador to be turned into a center for hacking,” she said. “And we can’t allow illegal activities developed in the country to harm citizens from Ecuador or other countries or any government.”, said Ecuador’s Interior Minister, María Paula Romo.
“Aerial view of the Tienditas Bridge, along the border between Cucuta, Colombia, and Tachira, Venezuela, after Venezuelan military forces blocked it with containers, Feb. 6, 2019.” Courtesy Voice of America
It wasn’t long ago that Venezuela was one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America, and Caracas one of the most prosperous communities. They have more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia and more poverty than Columbia today.
The deterioration of their oil industry began with the election of Hugo Chavez.