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China's Sphere of Influence

by Oui Mon Feb 1st, 2021 at 11:10:47 PM EST

China 'notes' Myanmar coup, hopes for stability | Reuters |

"We have noted what has happened in Myanmar and are in the process of further understanding the situation," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily news briefing in Beijing.

"China is a friendly neighbour of Myanmar's.

Continued below the fold...

China 'notes' Myanmar coup, hopes for stability | Reuters |

"We have noted what has happened in Myanmar and are in the process of further understanding the situation," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily news briefing in Beijing.

"China is a friendly neighbour of Myanmar's.

Continued below the fold...

We hope that all sides in Myanmar can appropriately handle their differences under the constitution and legal framework and safeguard political and social stability," he added.

Last month the Chinese government's top diplomat, Wang Yi, met military chief Min Aung Hlaing, who has now assumed power, during a visit to Myanmar.

China has long played an important role in the former Burma, standing by the country during its previous time as a military dictatorship, but also working closely with Aung San Suu Kyi when she became leader.

Global split over Rohingya crisis as China backs Myanmar crackdown | Dawn - Sept. 12, 2017 |

International divisions emerged on Tuesday ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on a worsening refugee crisis in Myanmar, with China voicing support for a military crackdown that has been criticised by the US, slammed as "ethnic cleansing" and forced 370,000 Rohingya to flee the violence.

Beijing's intervention appears aimed at heading off any attempt to censure Myanmar at the council when it convenes on Wednesday.

China was one of the few foreign friends of Myanmar's former junta.

Beijing has tightened its embrace under Aung San Suu Kyi's civilian government as part of its giant trade, energy and infrastructure strategy for Southeast Asia.

Opprobrium has been heaped on Suu Kyi, who was once a darling of the rights community but now faces accusations of turning a blind eye to ─ and even abetting ─ a humanitarian catastrophe by Western powers who once feted her as well as a slew of fellow Nobel Laureates.

The Cold War ... the need to confront Russia and China ... best foreign policy

Scorched Earth Policy White House

Great investment to secure our overseas trade routes in the South China Sea ... exercise close to the homeland ...

Britain Is an Aircraft Carrier Power Again

Asia-Pacific Nations Sign Huge Trade Deal With China While U.S. Sits It Out | NPR - Nov. 17, 2020 |

by Oui on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 08:29:43 AM EST
by Oui on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 08:38:24 AM EST
by generic on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 01:42:03 PM EST

Not that surprised it didn't work out honestly.

by generic on Thu Feb 4th, 2021 at 08:37:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Antony Blinken Pushes Reset Button

Left by Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. The US policy for Eastern Europe and specifically the Ukraine was the responsibility of Cheney leftover Victoria Nuland and VP Joe Biden.

Putin and Russia Are Familiar with harsh US policy of sanctions under the Obama/Biden years

by Oui on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 07:48:36 PM EST
by Oui on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 07:49:31 PM EST
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by Oui on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 07:50:26 PM EST
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Location of Court near Red Square

by Oui on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 07:51:21 PM EST
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US State Antony Blinken

by Oui on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 07:52:51 PM EST
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When the US manages to stop its police from killing black men for the crime of Walking While African I'll listen.  Until then they can STFU.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Feb 3rd, 2021 at 04:37:01 PM EST
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Yep. That is a huge problem in every way except statistically.

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Sun Feb 7th, 2021 at 09:57:57 AM EST
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by Oui on Wed Feb 3rd, 2021 at 07:23:39 PM EST
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by Oui on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 07:56:12 PM EST
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Meh. Was that alternative economic thinking on display when he cut pensions a few years ago? Which, if memory served, lead to much larger yet somehow much less publicized demonstration than the current round.
by generic on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 08:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He did not cut pensions, he raised the age requirement for pension, because Russians are now living longer than before while the population growth has stagnated. Which means there are more and more older people compared to the younger generations.

Oddly enough, one reason for the population fall is the Second World War, which caused generational cycle still visible in Russian demographics. Due to a huge population loss of the birth rate after the war was abysmal, and still is every 25 years or so.

Second of those cycles matched the extremely insecure times in the 90's, so instead of gradually dissipating the cycle is still strong.

So, it was very traditional economic thinking, and still is. Russia needs more babies (and immigrants) and less pensioners. Even if they are still doing somewhat better in that regard than EU, for example.

by pelgus on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 10:02:42 PM EST
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I think the larger point generic makes remains, Putin is here laying out a radical economic agenda that he so far hasn't showed in practise.

As far as I know Russia has a flat income tax on 13% and a higher sales tax, landing the tax burden proportionally on those with lower icomes (cause everyone has to eat). Russia does not practise full employment policies that would be necessary for the agenda he lays out, and Russia is rather high in GINI index.

Now, don't get me wrong, maybe Putin will institute for example a full employment policy, and in that case I will applaud it. (Also goes a long way to handle worker/non-woker balance). But words are cheap and so far he hasn't backed it up by action.

And also MoA's headline is wrong, that isn't why they attack him. If my recollection is correct the Bush government started attacking Putin around 2003 and he wasn't talking up any agenda like this back then.

by fjallstrom on Wed Feb 3rd, 2021 at 03:30:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One could say that if we accept something like 5% unemployment as "full employment", then Russia in principle has full employment. But I won't say so, because I know that Russia's labor system is more complex (wages adjust rather than workforce) than that and unemployment benefits so small that official numbers don't reflect the reality.

There are two problems that any reformer in Russia would face. First one is that in the 90's Gaidar and Chubais wanted to make sure communist system would not be able to return, and after Yeltsin beat Zyuganov in 1996 presidential election - nobody wanted Yeltsin, but he was the only viable option to Zyuganov - they got free hands and privatized everything they could and then some. They knew if would cause havoc, and still did it. Soviet economy was destroyed beyond repair. On purpose.

Secondly, a big chunk of the economy Russia inherited still relied on government subsidies to exists. What little money government managed to get, went to keep the industrial infrastructure running.

When Putin came to power, a slow reconstruction was started. Many companies, especially in the weapons industry, that had been privatized earlier were now restructured as public-private companies, with government calling the shots. Same happened with energy industry. They are competitive in the global markets, and profits are used to slowly (again) bring the rest of the industry that relies on government up to date.

So, reforming Russia means balancing between the wants of the public, wants of the (economic) liberals and wants of the dinosaurs (for want of better word for the Soviet era industrial giants). And they all pull in different directions.

I'm not saying I have the any idea what Putin aims at, or if he's just making noises for the fun of it. I guess what I mean is that Russia is a complex system and even if there was a reform happening right now, we wouldn't probably notice it easily, if at all, for years.

All kinds of things have been happening there constantly since perestroika, and it's really hard to say when it's intentional and when maybe a side-effect of something else. Or even caused by external forces. We barely know the internal forces involved.

I agree that "they" didn't attack him because in 2021 he spouted some social democratic (the old kind) ideas, but because under him (or whomever he was fronting for) Russia started to act like a sovereign country again.

by pelgus on Wed Feb 3rd, 2021 at 05:31:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, talk is cheap while telling your mates no is difficult. I'm pretty sure we had David Cameron talking about the EU needing to go easy on the Greeks when he was imposing crushing austerity on his own country.

MoA really seems to have fallen down some weird hole. The existence of a clear bad guy does not imply the existence of a good guy and I really don't see why you would hope for a new social model from Russia. If you want to project your hopes on a foreign country why not go with China instead?  They took stock of the pandemic situation and took reasonable action, which sounds like nothing special, but is actually extremely rare. Russia, didn't.

Also is there really a birth decline after WW2 in Russia? In the US the post war generation is literally called after the baby boom.

by generic on Wed Feb 3rd, 2021 at 08:04:15 PM EST
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Reforming the Public Pension System in the Russian Federation | Working Paper IMF - August 2012 |

As in many other countries, public pension reform in Russia is a key policy challenge. To combat the effects of the global financial crisis on the economy in 2009-10, Russia undertook a large fiscal stimulus of about 9 percent of GDP, mainly comprised of permanent measures including an increase in pension benefits. Though some of the stimulus has now been withdrawn, the end-2011 nonoil deficit--which is a relevant measure of the fiscal stance in oil-producing countries, given the volatility of oil prices and nonrenewable nature of oil reserves--is still more than double the level considered consistent with equitable use of the oil wealth across generations (Gust and Zakharova, 2012) and should be reduced in coming years. This will be needed to avoid procyclical policies that fuel inflation and real appreciation--which undermine competitiveness and contribute to boom-bust cycles--as well as to reduce fiscal vulnerabilities (IMF , 2011a). Given that discretionary spending at the federal level is now only about one-third of total expenditures, durable fiscal consolidation will need to be underpinned by fundamental structural reforms, including in pensions and healthcare. At the same time, an aging population means reforms will be needed to contain future pension spending.

In Search of "The Russian Path": Impact of the 2008 Crisis on Russia's Economic Policy

Russia's Response to the Global Financial Crisis | Carnegie Endowment |

The changes in US-Russia relationship worsened under Medvedev's presidency. The War with Georgia in August 2008 and the agreement in a session of the UN Security Council with Western "partners" on R2P policy of intervention in Libya. This led to US and Neocon execution of regime change across the Middle East.

by Oui on Wed Feb 3rd, 2021 at 06:35:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The real story behind Putin's Syria strikes | Politico - Sept. 2015 |

The roots of Russia's bold intervention in Syria -- which began in earnest on Wednesday with airstrikes against opponents of President Bashar al-Assad's government near the city of Homs -- extend to the beginning of the Arab Spring in early 2011, when Vladimir Putin served as prime minister nominally under his protégé and hand-picked successor, Dmitri Medvedev. Many in Russia and beyond had placed in Medvedev their hopes for a steady, if slow, political transition away from Putin's authoritarian instincts during his two terms as president.

Meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at the level of Foreign Ministers | Dec. 2007 |

by Oui on Wed Feb 3rd, 2021 at 06:36:20 PM EST
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The United States and Western allies ousted the Russian Federation and Putin at the Bucharest Conference in 2008 ... making Russia a pariah State became a new propaganda goal in order to expand NATO to the Russian frontier. Putin's policy became a reaction to Cold War 2.0.

EU Governments Colluded with US on Rendition - Council of Europe
Posted by Oui | Jun 7, 2006 |

Bush's "No Plan to attack Iran" looks like a Big Fat Lie
Posted by Steven D | Jan 30, 2007 |

NATO Summit of Bucharest - A Declaration of War - Part 2

A number of Colour revolutions were successful. Others failed but created chaos which led to massive human suffering. The bullying policy of economic sanctions causing intolerable hardship and animosity. Winning the hearts and minds.

Cyber Warfare Conflict Analysis and Case Studies by Mohan B. Gazula

by Oui on Wed Feb 3rd, 2021 at 07:04:22 PM EST
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by Oui on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 08:00:05 PM EST
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by Oui on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 08:11:12 PM EST
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Israel Tightening Security Ties With Myanmar, Despite Western Sanctions | Haaretz - Sept. 16, 2015 |

In an unusual move, the visit by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing was not announced by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's office. The general met with Ya'alon, IDF Chief of General Staff Gadi Eisenkot, and President Reuven Rivlin.

Myanmar, which is holding elections in November, has had diplomatic relations with Israel since 1955, and had reportedly scheduled this visit to open a new chapter in bilateral relations and advance security cooperation. Hlaing was accompanied by a delegation of senior military officers from the country's ground, air, and naval forces.

During his four-day visit, Hlaing visited a number of military industries, like Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit and Elta. He also visited the Israel Air Force base at Palmahim, the Ashdod naval base and the Gaza Division base.


A report by Amnesty International 10 years ago stated that Israel was exporting weapons to Myanmar even though it was considered a consistent violator of human rights and was under the EU weapons embargo, which is still in place.

The UK government's silence on Myanmar is shameful | Al Jazeera Opinion - Nov. 22, 2017 |

by Oui on Wed Feb 3rd, 2021 at 10:16:08 AM EST

Min Aung Hlaing: the heir to Myanmar's military junta

by Oui on Wed Feb 3rd, 2021 at 03:27:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UN Security Council fails to condemn Myanmar coup

The UN Security Council has failed to agree on a joint statement condemning Monday's coup in Myanmar, after a two hour long emergency meeting failed to secure the support of China, a key Myanmar ally and a veto-holding permanent member of the council.

Diplomats said discussions on a statement would continue.

The military has said its coup was constitutional and promised to hold new elections, claiming last November's poll was fraudulent without evidence. A state of emergency will remain in force for one year.

"Let us be clear, the recent outcome of the election was a landslide victory for the National League for Democracy (NLD)," Schraner Burgenershe said. "The military's proposal to hold elections again should be discouraged."

Capitol Assault "Stop the Steal" | Fortune |

by Oui on Wed Feb 3rd, 2021 at 08:39:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, no one has said anything about the Uighur, why should they care about Myanmar?

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Feb 5th, 2021 at 10:07:57 AM EST
by Oui on Sat Feb 6th, 2021 at 05:53:56 PM EST
by Oui on Sun Feb 7th, 2021 at 01:08:24 PM EST
Bombshell White House document reveals US plan to defend Taiwan against China

A US national security document stamped "SECRET" has been declassified and published, revealing the superpower would defend Taiwan against an attack from China.

The 10-page "US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific" report, approved by President Donald Trump for implementation in 2018, was previously not for release to foreign nationals.

Its declassification and public release by the Trump administration, ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, would have otherwise occurred in 2043 after a maximum 25 years.

"The United States has a long history of fighting back against repressive regimes on behalf of those who value freedom and openness. As the world's largest economy, with the strongest military and a vibrant democracy, it is incumbent on the United States to lead from the front."


O'Brien said it demonstrates America's strategic commitments to not only the Indo-Pacific but its regional allies and partners, ensuring preservation and protection of their sovereignty.

"This confirms that US strategic policy in the Indo-Pacific was in substantial part informed and driven by allies and partners, especially Japan, Australia and India," Professor Rory Medcalf, head of the Australian National University's National Security College, said in his analysis of the document for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Declassification of secret document reveals US strategy in the Indo-Pacific

Release declassified China policy documents [archive]

by Oui on Sat Feb 13th, 2021 at 07:55:46 PM EST

U.S. B-1B Lancer debuts at Aero India 2021

by Oui on Sun Feb 14th, 2021 at 08:35:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Wed Feb 17th, 2021 at 11:43:09 AM EST
by Oui on Wed Feb 17th, 2021 at 09:55:41 PM EST
One Year Into COVID-19, Racist Attacks Against Asian Americans On Increase

"The coronavirus doesn't discriminate" is one public health message we've heard since last March. That may be true, but everything in the virus's shadow -- who gets tested, who gets treated, who gets vaccinated, who dies -- does discriminate, reflecting the inequities and discrimination baked into the culture and institutions that define the United States. The anti-Asian attacks that have recently surfaced in the news are no different, marking a year since fears over the novel coronavirus began manifesting as racism and xenophobia against Chinese people and, in many countries, anyone who passes for Chinese.

Biden promotes racial equity for Asian Americans in wake of Trump's anti-China talk | LA Times |

by Oui on Wed Feb 17th, 2021 at 09:57:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]

The introduction of an oath of allegiance for District Councillors is a further step by Beijing to erase democracy in Hong Kong

US Patriot Capitol in Mar-y-Lago, pledge allegiance to Donald Trump, the Golden Calf of the GOP and Bible carrying god fearing flock.

Republicans pledge undying loyalty to Trump three weeks after his failed coup | Vanity Fair |

by Oui on Wed Feb 24th, 2021 at 07:11:29 AM EST
to erase democracy in Hong Kong

Where comes this notion that Hongkong somehow had a democracy to be erased?
I was a British colony, completely ruled by a governor appointed by the British Monarch. Just before the British left, they did give the locals some say in the lower levels of government. True power was in the hands of the few rich families that owned most the land.
by pelgus on Wed Feb 24th, 2021 at 07:44:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Fri Mar 5th, 2021 at 07:18:12 PM EST
How 'ping pong diplomacy' brought Nixon to China

Soon after the U.S. team's trip, Nixon, not wanting to lose momentum, secretly sent Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to Peking to arrange a Presidential visit to China. Nixon's journey seven months later, in February 1972, would become one of the most important events in U.S. postwar history. "Never before in history has a sport been used so effectively as a tool of international diplomacy," said Chinese Premier Chou En-lai. For Nixon, it was "the week that changed the world."

In February 2002, President George W. Bush, in his second trip to China, recalled the meeting that came out of Ping-Pong diplomacy, telling President Jiang Zemin: "Thirty years ago this week, President Richard Nixon showed the world that two vastly different governments could meet on the grounds of common interest and in a spirit of mutual respect."

US-China relations: nations should be competitors not rivals, Beijing's envoy to Washington says | SCMP |

by Oui on Fri Mar 5th, 2021 at 07:21:31 PM EST
by Oui on Fri Mar 5th, 2021 at 08:21:23 PM EST
Biden China Policy 2.0 - Onshoring

Reversing globalization ...

Tough on China, (re)making friends - US trade policy in 2021

President-elect Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, has recently stated the administration will "have a period where he can consult with our partners and allies in Europe and Asia and elsewhere to talk about how together we can bring leverage to bear on China to change its most problematic trade abuses." 

That confirms earlier stated plans to not rush into a reduction of tariffs on imports from China and the plan to tie together trade and geopolitical coalition building. A "phase 2 trade deal" to build on the agreements signed by President Donald Trump in January 2020 looks unlikely at this stage. Both sides may choose to sweep the phase 1 deal, where China's purchasing is well behind commitments, under the carpet. 

The details of the 14th Five Year Plan will emerge during the first quarter of 2021 but will likely aim to reduce reliance on U.S. technology supplies. The Biden campaign has already committed to industrial policies to encourage onshoring of critical supplies, a term that could cover a wide swathe of technology, medical and manufacturing industries.

by Oui on Sat Mar 6th, 2021 at 10:16:05 AM EST
by Oui on Sat Mar 6th, 2021 at 10:17:26 AM EST
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Scotch Single Malt to Replace Irish Whiskey on the U.S. market after lifting of 25% tariffs.

Whisky redemption: Biden administration lifts hated tariffs on Scotland's most famous export | Fortune |

by Oui on Sat Mar 6th, 2021 at 10:27:28 AM EST
EU must be united over Russian, Chinese COVID-19 vaccines: French minister | Reuters |

by Oui on Sat Mar 6th, 2021 at 12:32:25 PM EST
by Oui on Sat Mar 6th, 2021 at 12:42:11 PM EST
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Defying U.S., China and Iran Near Trade and Military Partnership | NY Times - July 11, 2020 |

by Oui on Sat Mar 6th, 2021 at 08:03:30 PM EST
Biden to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 12957 sanctions on Iran.

The CENTO nations formed by the Baghdad Pact of 1956 under Eisenhower has been lost to Russia and China. Voiding the JCPOA made the economic crisis in Iran untenable. The preference to look westward has been abandoned. The E3 showed no backbone whatsoever.

by Oui on Sat Mar 6th, 2021 at 08:04:46 PM EST
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by Oui on Sat Mar 6th, 2021 at 08:05:48 PM EST
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`Quad' summit backs `democratic' Indo-Pacific region, cites Chinese `aggression' | SCMP |

US President Joe Biden and the leaders of three major Asia-Pacific countries, an alliance known as the "Quad", discussed "aggression" and "coercion" against members of the group by China, while agreeing to cooperate on development of 5G and other advanced technologies, in their first summit meeting on Friday.

Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, meeting by means of large flat-screen televisions, discussed China's "coercion of Australia, their harassment around the Senkaku Islands, their aggression on the border with India", US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a briefing in Washington after the talks.

A statement issued by the group called for the region to be "anchored by democratic values" - and for freedom of navigation and overflight as key objectives - while avoiding any direct reference to China. They also announced a "Quad Vaccine Partnership", which will provide financing and other assistance to manufacture and distribute Covid-19 vaccines, a move that comes as Washington faces criticism for hoarding the protective jabs.

U.S., India, Japan and Australia counter China with billion-dose vaccine pact | Reuters |

Europe left hanging in a void as the U.K. and US part ways to serve their citizens and interests first. Biden's appeal for multilateralism on its terms.

by Oui on Sat Mar 13th, 2021 at 11:44:07 AM EST
by Oui on Sat Mar 13th, 2021 at 11:46:28 AM EST
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by Oui on Sat Mar 13th, 2021 at 11:49:54 AM EST
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by Oui on Tue Mar 16th, 2021 at 11:29:15 AM EST
by Oui on Tue Mar 16th, 2021 at 11:35:14 AM EST
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Boris Johnson aims to build a full nuclear bomb proof command bunker under Whitehall ...

Soon to open ...

"Inside Johnson's (secret) Subterranean Nuclear WWIII Bunker Under Whitehall"

BoJo will be remembered in history 🥵

Inside Churchill's Secret Subterranean WWII Bunker in London

by Oui on Tue Mar 16th, 2021 at 11:50:52 AM EST
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by Oui on Tue Mar 16th, 2021 at 12:29:15 PM EST
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by Oui on Wed Mar 17th, 2021 at 05:56:08 PM EST
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by Oui on Tue Mar 16th, 2021 at 05:42:27 PM EST
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Trident Nuclear Warheads

by Oui on Tue Mar 16th, 2021 at 10:04:58 PM EST
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by Oui on Tue Mar 16th, 2021 at 10:07:12 PM EST
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by Oui on Tue Mar 16th, 2021 at 11:36:45 AM EST
by Oui on Tue Mar 16th, 2021 at 05:37:46 PM EST

In Texas no child's play: You Just Round 'em Up!

Atlanta shooting hearing: Grace Meng gives tearful testimony as Chip Roy `glorifies lynching' | The Independent |

by Oui on Thu Mar 18th, 2021 at 10:24:54 PM EST
by Oui on Fri Mar 19th, 2021 at 08:55:18 AM EST
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by Oui on Fri Mar 19th, 2021 at 10:17:49 AM EST
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by Oui on Fri Mar 19th, 2021 at 10:19:09 AM EST
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by Oui on Fri Mar 19th, 2021 at 05:32:52 AM EST
Malaysia will not follow US sanctions against 24 Chinese companies, says ambassador | Straits Times - Sept. 26, 2020 |

Malaysia will not take sides and follow the United States and impose sanctions on 24 Chinese companies the latter accuses of advancing China's militarisation of the South China, Malaysian Ambassador to China Raja Nushirwan Zainal Abidin told the Global Times in a recent exclusive interview.

While tensions are escalating between China and the US over South China Sea issues, and countries in the region are being pressured by the US to pick sides, the diplomat stressed that since the country's independence in 1957, its foreign policy stressed having good relations with all countries, and this continues today.

He said Malaysia is not a "pawn" in the bigger-power rivalry between China and the US.

Under Joe Biden ... A China Relations Reset ...

US sanctions 24 more Chinese and Hong Kong officials ahead of China talks

by Oui on Fri Mar 19th, 2021 at 09:05:26 AM EST

First U.S.-China meeting under Biden gets off to a rocky start | CNBC |

by Oui on Fri Mar 19th, 2021 at 09:09:01 AM EST

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