From Rational Ignorance:
A guy from Japan recited the first 83,000 decimal places of the number pi.
Oddness aspect number one is the obvious question of why bother to do that.
Of course, the answer appears to be: to get a world record by beating another guy from Japan.
That other pussy could only recite pi to 42,000 decimal places.
Michael Turton has a good post and a lively debate on the likelihood of a Chinese attack on Taiwan. He considers my earlier post (among others) to be naive - both in its assessment of the capabilities of Taiwan and its allies and on my assessment of the Communist Party of China being a rational actor.
From many years of reading and watching history I put very little faith
in the ability of leaders to rationally manage events. Asia watchers
especially should be the first to discount the idea that leadership
will avoid war to get rich, or for some similar material goal. Prior to
WWII Japan followed policies whose goals were to bring it into war with
China, Russia, the US, and the UK, the four largest political entities
on earth, all at the same time.
This is a fair point and, to clarify, I certainly don’t think that the CPC are rational over Taiwan. On cross-straits matters, the CPC has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to be irrational. I could imagine numerous scenarios where they would launch an assault on the island. If, for instance, there were an indication from Washington that it would not intervene (or the perception that Washington would not intervene). Or if Pan-Green forces did manage to formalize the island’s independence.
However, the basis of the Gertz article (which Michael rightly characterizes as propaganda) is that China is positioning itself to attack within two years. I do not discount that there are events that would prompt China to irrationally attack Taiwan - but I do not see anything that would encourage China to do so in that timeframe. Moreover if China did attack by end 2007, it should not expect victory.
If pushed, the CPC will indeed act irrationally. For now, Hu Jintao has probably been more rational on the Taiwan issue than previous leaders. The tone of official CPC propaganda has shifted away from the threats of yesterday. Instead we are each day bombarded with flattery of Taiwan’s Pan-Blue camp and tales of cross-strait corporate co-operation. I won’t debate whether this will benefit the KMT and others, but it is paying dividends for Hu. Despite the military buildup, the trend that I’m seeing is an increasing demilitarization of the Taiwan issue.
I’m not a seasoned Sinologist and Hu plays politics with his cards close to his chest, but I think it’s safe to say that China’s senior leadership is finally getting the fact that lobbing missiles during elections is not the way to achieve unification.
But yes, counting on the CPC to remain rational is not a good basis for a defense policy. China’s military buildup does need level-headed consideration - Rumsfeld’s comments were welcome, Gertz’s paranoia isn’t.
Late-linkage after a blogging-free Friday.:
A new group blog for the Indian blogosphere DesiPundit
US conservatives attack Hollywood, but they should love Bollywood:
1. No sex. If you’re lucky, you might see some wet sari.
2. The films often revolve around finding a wonderful spouse and getting married.
3. The bigger the wedding, the better.
4. Lots of piety. Religion is *never* mocked or portrayed in a negative light.
Even former ROC President Lee DengHui got on the bandwagon by posing as as the fictional character Edajima Heihachi of the anime series Sakigake!! Otokojuku. It’s no secret that Lee is a pocket ‘Japanophile’. He was educated in Japan and can speak Japanese quite fluently (he was given a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University). His cosplay was widely seen as a way to shore up support from young people for his Taiwan Solidarity Union party’s Taiwan independence platform.
The first issue of the Cambodia Economic Review is online.
I mentioned that Bill Gertz’s Washington Times item on China’s rising military threat would be a good template for a Phillip K Dick-style novel, a libertarian site in the US has developed an initial treatment:
China has emerged as the world’s largest and fastest-growing economy.
After retaking Taiwan in 2007, and annexing North Korea a year later,
China then successfully "Finlandized" Japan, and now oversees a vast
Pacific empire that would have made the 1942 Japanese government green
with envy. China’s thirst for the Middle East’s oil leads it to support
radical Islamic clerics, but this support goes unpunished, as no major
country stands a chance if it goes against China’s wishes.
xhiang, introduced in 2009, is now the world’s premier currency,
followed by the euro, the Canadian dollar, and the U.S. dollar.
Kevin in Pudong translates offensive reaction on Chinese bulletin boards about the London bombings:
Terrorism is the only way for the weak to fight back against the strong. No matter what reaons they may have, the US-British attack on the people of Iraq was wrong and constitutes blatant terrorism. All the weak can do in response is to bring you down with them.
"Terrorism is the only way for the weak to fight the powerful"… it’s not surprising that so many Chinese netizens think this way. Perhaps its because they can’t access messages from birthday boy Dali Lama.
On the bombings, there was the typical reaction from the left to blame Blair and blame Bush. Reaction to the bombings from some in the anti-CCP camp was equally distressing.:
America, the United Kingdom, and the rest of the free world will never be secure until China itself is free. The road to victory in the War on Terror does not end in Kabul, Baghdad, Tehran, or Damascus, and it certainly doesn’t end in Jerusalem. The road ends, and lasting victory can be found, only in Beijing. Until China is on the list for liberation, preferably peaceful, the War on Terror will never end.
Rebecca McKinnion has a roundup of Arab reaction and displays a banner Muslim bloggers can use to show their disgust at the bombings.
Has Howard found his cajones? Australia has granted Chinese defector Chen Yonglin a visa.
More musings on Sinofascism.
Free condom distribution is helping the people of Uttar Pradesh, though not necessarily with birth control or AIDS prevention.:
Some workmen mix them with tar and concrete to give a smooth finish to roads, or to make waterproof ceilings, and some villagers use them to carry water when working in the fields. And, of course, youths turn them into water bombs. But the main use here is in the sari industry, where they’ve become an essential part of the production process
In Japan, it’s time to scare the neighbors - though anti-Japan sentiments from Chinese and Korean political leaders no doubt helped gain support for the constitutional amendment. An East Asian war is still unlikely. But Japan faces other security threats.
In our continuing series of links useful for tourists in Pyongyang, here’s a useful site on the city’s subway system.
The author of a slanderous tome on former Malaysian deputy PM Anwar Ibrahim has gotten one year in jail. The book’s financiers have not been established or punished.
Kenny Sia treats himself to a two ringgit luxury public toilet experience.
Imee Marcos, the glamor-shot savvy daughter (see left) of Ferdinand and Imelda, says Filipinos should not tolerate liars and thieves (chortle). More on the situation in the Philippines at MLQIII, PCIL, By Jove and Sassy. Also Gateway Pundit has a selection of links.
Inflation in North Korea, yes the NK won has continued to become more worthless.
GI Korea and explore the even-handedness of Seoul’s press.
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