Sep 21, 2008

The Japanese knack for choking in a slump

Japan used to be held up in the United States as a model example, both of efficient economic management and efficient enterprise management. That economic management image disappeared with the “bubble” burst of the early 1990s. The claims to superior Japanese enterprise management then ...

Sep 4, 2008

Fukuda hounded out of office

Japan’s PR-vulnerable public and lightheaded media have done it again. Between them they have got rid of yet another of Japan’s better prime ministers. I have no brief for Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda’s policies. On two key issues I think he was wrong. One ...

Aug 21, 2008

World gives Russia an unfair rap

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is an intelligent woman. So how can she possibly want to tell the world that Russia’s response to the Georgian attack on South Ossetia resembled the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The comparisons should be the reverse. ...

Jul 21, 2008

Birth of a massacre myth

With the Beijing Olympics looming we see more attempts to remind the world about the alleged June 4, 1989, massacre of democracy-seeking students in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The New York Times, which did so much to spread the original story of troops shooting student ...

Jul 2, 2008

Puzzle awaits G8 delegates

Spare a thought for the puzzle that will meet foreign delegations to the Group of Eight Summit in Hokkaido on July 7. On the one hand they will find a nation that organizes itself with clockwork perfection. Indeed, the summit organization will almost certainly ...

Jun 6, 2008

Japan sidelined on Taiwan

Arriving at Taipei international airport en route to a Taiwanese university conference on Russia, you are hit by the headline of a local magazine on display. In translation it reads: “The New Diplomacy Will Rescue Taiwan.” The new diplomacy, of course, is recently elected ...

May 12, 2008

Row that demonized China

So now we know, officially, that the U.S. military contemplated a nuclear attack on China during the 1958 Taiwan Strait crisis. But what few realize is how this then led to a violent slanging match between Beijing and Moscow, which in turn was to ...

Apr 27, 2008

U.S. democracy's history of violence

DEMOCRACY WITH A GUN; America and the Policy of Force, by Fumio Matsuo, translated by David Reese. Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press, 2007, 306 pp., $26 (cloth) As a child in wartime Japan, Fumio Matsuo, now a journalist, and his family were nearly wiped ...

Mar 21, 2008

Tibet and Olympic Games

Events in Tibet have turned ugly. Once again we see the harm caused by Beijing’s heavy-handed bureaucracy, and its panicky, untrained soldiers used for crowd control. But even when combined with all of Beijing’s other alleged sins — Darfur, pollution, human rights and other ...

Feb 21, 2008

Aussie personalist diplomacy

Australia is never short of surprises. One is the way it has produced a prime minister, Kevin Rudd, who can talk directly with the Chinese leadership in their language. Reports say his Mandarin Chinese is excellent. Yet only a generation ago anyone in Canberra ...