Thursday, May 25, 2006

News of the Day (May 25)

Pentagon criticizes Communist military buildup and upgrade Taiwan defense plans: Communist China is now "ever closer to a longer-range military reach" (CNN), thanks to a military buildup whose "pace and scope . . . already place regional military balances at risk," according to the U.S. Defense Department (quoted by the BBC). Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman, who commented on the report to the press, noted that "the balance between Beijing and Taiwan is heading in the wrong direction" (Worldwide Standard). More interesting, Rodman called U.S. military involvement in Taiwan's defense from a Communist invasion a "virtual certainty" (Bill Gertz, Washington Times). Meanwhile, the Pentagon has also upgraded its plan for such a "certainty" to a military operations plan, according to William Arkin (Washington Post) who for some reason doesn't understand why Taiwan is worth defending, and thus scores the Ignorant Comment of the Day. Dan Blumenthal, of the American Enterprise Institute, has a far more clear-eyed assessment in the same paper, while China Freedom Blog Alliance member The Korea Liberator reprints the Pentagon report's executive summary for "those of you who are too lazy."

More on Communist China and the United States: Dana Dillon and John J. Tkacik, Jr., both from the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, examine Communist China's ambitions in Southeast Asia, and why the U.S. must thwart them, in Policy Review. The Epoch Times profiles anti-Communist Ohio Congressman and Democratic Senate candidate Sherrod Brown. The Justice Department reports what went wrong with the Katrina Leung fiasco (Washington Post). The Jamestown Foundation examines two areas of friction between Communist China and the U.S. - the Middle East and Central Asia, respectively.

Canada file: John Gleeson (Winnipeg Sun) calls for Prime Minister Harper to treat head-tax victims and their widows equally. Lost in the argument is the fact the under Harper, the amount of money headed to pro-Communist groups in Canada would fall from $2.5 million to zero (sixth, lead, second, second, second, third, and second items); that said, yours truly thinks Gleeson does have a point. Meanwhile, Warren Kinsella finds out his website is banned in Communist China. This quarter hopes it will lead Mr. Kinsella to realize one of the few things his best friend (Jean Chretien) and worst intraparty enemy (Paul Martin) shared (fealty toward the Communist regime) was a terrible mistake.

As for the Communists' Korean colony, it decided to cancel a planned railroad demilitarized zone crossing (BBC); Daily NK examines the possible reasons why. The U.S. Treasury is still worried about Stalinist counterfeiting of American currency (United Press Int'l via Washington Times). Moody's Vice President Thomas Byrne throws cold water on the notion that the Stalinist regime has any interest in economic reform (Daily NK).

Taiwan President's son-in-law held for questioning: Chao Chien-ming is a lead suspect in an insider trading scandal, which has greatly damaged the reputation of his father-in-law, President Chen Shui-bian (tenth item). Reports: BBC and UPI via Washington Times

Bank of China swindles, ahem, raises $9.7 billion in stock sale: The regime-owned bank did quite well despite its shady history (fifth item).

A badly needed antidote for Kudlow's disease: Ellen Bork reviews Minxin Pei's China's Trapped Transition in the Weekly Standard. Pei, a previous Enlightened Comment of the Day winner (last item), carefully takes apart the idea that economic development automatically leads to the end of political tyranny - especially when the tyrants can distort said development to preserve their power. Evidence to prove Pei's point pops up in Communist crackdowns against the internet (Radio Free Asia via Epoch Times), Gao Zhisheng (Epoch Times, see also sixth, tenth, fifth, lead, third, last, twelfth, eighth, third, second, third, eighth, eleventh, eighth, fourth, fourth, last, fourth, fifth, twelfth, fifth, second, lead, next to last, seventh, last, next to last, lead, second, last, sixth, tenth, eighth, second, eighth, ninth, lead, sixth, eighth, seventh, fifth, fourth, last, fifth, seventh, next to last, fourth, last, twenty-first, twenty-second, seventh, fourth, sixth, fourth, sixth, eleventh, eleventh, and fourth items), and even voodoo dolls (Newsweek). Then there's the corrupt Communist court system, exposes of which won New York Times reporters Joseph Kahn and Jim Yardley the Pulitzer Prize (Epoch Times).

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