Dec 29, 2011

North Korea's Khrushchev

Scenes of Pyongyang citizens wailing the death of “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il remind us how easily dictatorships can manipulate public opinion. But are the rest of us so immune to similar manipulation? The commentaries after Kim’s death tell us repeatedly that the deceased ...

Nov 30, 2011

TPP: APEC's anti-China son?

The French have a saying: “The more something changes, the more it remains the same thing.” When the forerunner of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) grouping first emerged four decades ago, the aim was to create a trade bloc that would exclude China. Now ...

Sep 22, 2011

The economic morality play

World attention focuses on the problems of the Greek economy — no doubt with a large helping of schadenfreude added: There, but for the grace of God, go the rest of us is the thought. But Japan has already been there. Debt relative to ...

Jul 20, 2011

Murdoch's moral rise and fall

Recent U.K. phone-hacking revelations have made the Australian-born media tycoon Rupert Murdoch a symbol of all that is wrong with U.K. tabloid media — scoop mania, rampant political bias, sex, sensationalism and trivia. But it was not always like that. The Rupert Murdoch whom ...

Jun 3, 2011

The Fukushima disaster and Japan Disincorporated

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster is being used to convince the world that nuclear energy generation is inherently dangerous, especially in earthquake-prone Japan. But the two other nuclear plants facing the Japan quake area — Fukushima No. 2 and Onagawa — came ...

Apr 20, 2011

Between Japan and China

The visit to Japan by Australia’s Labor Party prime minister, Julia Gillard, reminds us that Australian foreign policy has never been known for its consistency. She will, of course, go out of her way to talk about Japan-Australia friendship. But for many years Canberra ...

Mar 24, 2011

Nuclear meltdowns and Japanese culture

Japanese engineers have a much deserved reputation for efficiency. How else could they have created a car industry that could defeat the U.S industry on its home ground? But the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant suggests a partial rethink is ...

Mar 1, 2011

Wrong choice in Kosovo

A recent Council of Europe report says that during and after the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict, militia leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) tortured and killed hundreds of Serbs and political rivals in secret Albanian hideouts, removed their organs for sale and dumped their ...