Tag Archives: china

Will Iran’s Nuclear Deception Stand?

There was an article in a paper the other day that said while so many Americans were focusing their ire at Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi, their real concern ought to be Iran.

Looks like that article got it right. The Iranians now admit they have a second uranium enrichment facility. This one looks to be fully capable of producing bomb making material. So much for Ahmadinejad’s statement the other day at the UN that Iran has fully cooperated with weapons inspectors. He certainly made no mention of this second facility in his remarks to the General Assembly.

Ahmadinejad

So now what to do? Even those who might think the Iranians have a right to develop nuclear power for the nation’s energy needs are at a loss. This appears to be out and out deception.

Presidents Obama and Sarkozy, as well as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown were quick to respond to Iran’s admission. President Obama said the new facility “is inconsistent with a peaceful program.”  He demanded Iran present detailed information to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) as to the scope and intention of the new plant.

However, CNN is quoting sources who say Western powers have known about the existence of this so-called secret plant for several months. It was that knowledge that led Iran to send a letter to the IAEA admitting the new plant existed.

So the question must be asked again. What to do now? President Obama and France’s Sarkozy talk about new and “serious” sanctions. Can they work, and to what end? Demanding the Iranians close the new plant is like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.

And while the West may see Iran’s nuclear ambition as war-like, what about the rest of the world. The Chinese have a longstanding problem with ratcheting up sanctions against Iran. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it has the power to veto any such action, rendering the tough talk of Obama, Sarkozy, and Brown effectively moot.

So it seems the road to getting Iran to scale back its nuclear program runs right through Beijing. Which leads to the question, what will the West have to concede to get the Chinese to pressure Iran despite their strong economic ties? It’s obvious any progress here will come in increments, and perhaps despite the tough words we heard Friday morning. Unlike the previous administration, no  one is talking about a military option.

So what would you do? How would you respond to Iran’s new nuclear plant? Do you think they want to make a bomb? You tell me.

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Who Will Win the Battle of Global Warming?

Yes, folks, it’s back in the news, and with good reason. Climate change is on the front burner in Washington, where the Senate is taking up the climate change bill the House passed recently. It’s also being debated at the G-8 summit in Italy.

global_warming_panic

In the Senate, one should keep in mind a climate bill has been rejected three different times. We ought to pray there isn’t a fourth, but the politics of the environment isn’t always a cut and dried thing, Al Franken’s swearing in not withstanding.

What’s troubling about the latest round of “what should we do about the environment?” is the strong pushback against the idea that global warming is even a problem. Don’t believe me? Keep in mind that Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe once called global warming “the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people”. He’s still at it, and at the same time arguing about the cost, and whether US action alone will make any difference.

That’s where the G-8 comes in.

G8_2009_logo

Despite most developed countries agreeing in principle with the notion of fighting global warming, some countries are resisting the idea, especially during this time of economic crisis. That’s all the cover Senate Republicans need. Their thinking goes like this. If countries like China and India aren’t ready to work on the problem, why should the US? At the root of their argument, however, is Imhofe’s skepticism about the need for any action at all. Global warming, the argument gores, just doesn’t exist.

Al Gore speaking at Oxford and comparing the threat of global warming to that of the Nazis only pours gasoline on the flame. To top it off, the media seems to be giving more and more time to scientists who side with Inhofe. Some have fall back positions. They argue against the need for unilateral action, then the need for immediate action, then the need for any action at all.

Part of the problem is that the consequences of inaction could take years to be made manifest in a tangible way. Despite what many of us say about making the world a better place for those coming behind us, if we have to sacrifice in any real way, our words ring hollow. The Republicans know this. That’s why they try to link nuclear power with solar energy in legislation. They don’t figure any of them (or us) will be around for the next Chernobyl. Or will we?

Reasonable people may disagree about how long it will be before the effects climate change smack us in our collective face. Yet the science is there. The world, no matter what the temperature where you may be now, is getting warmer, little by little. The question is whether our Beltway lawmakers have the guts to tackle the issue.

What do you think? Do they?

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Uighurs Back in the News- How Much Do We Really Know?

We posted about the plight of the Chinese Muslim minority group the Uighurs some time ago. Then, the question was whether the US would resettle a small number of them freed by the courts in this country.

Now, they’re back in the news, and again, American media is largely playing catchup. This time, the Uighurs are making news in their homeland as they clash with Han Chinese in the western desert region of the country.

The violence, which flared over the weekend, has left 156 dead and more than 1000 injured. The Chinese government, apparently fearing whatever governments fear when people freely express themselves, have locked down the regional capital of Urumqi. They’ve also taken the trouble to cut off cellphone and Internet service. They want accounts of what’s been going on to be their accounts. However, things reportedly aren’t going exactly as the government has planned.

Hundreds of Uighur men, woman, and children are defying police and crashed a state run tour of the riot torn area for Chinese and foreign journalists.

Sometimes stage managing of human misery doesn’t work.

Xinjiang

The protestors want the government to release Uighur men they say have been detained after the violence started. Make no mistake. This is the worst ethnic violence in China for some time. And what is at its root? Could it be the inability of Uighurs to freely practice their Islamic religion without government interference?

There’s also the issue of continuing tense relations between the Uighurs and the Han. The Uighurs charge the Chinese government favors the Han when it comes to jobs and services. In fact, the rioting that took place last weekend reportedly began as a peaceful protest demanding an investigation into a deadly brawl between Uighurs and Han that took place thousands of miles away. Despite the paucity of information western news media have had access to, new technology has played as great a role in this situation is it has in Iran.

Published reports say the calls for protest by Uighurs were spread through Web sites and the most popular instant messaging program in China.

That would explain why the government prioritized shutting down cell service in the region, as well as cutting off Internet service. Hopefully, it won’t work.

Despite our ignorance and suspicion about Uighurs living in the US, their situation in China cries out for our scrutiny and concern.

Violence, be it religious, ethnic, racial, whatever, ought to be condemned. Despite the secretive nature of the Chinese government, they’re not immune to international calls for justice and fairness.

What’s happening to the Uighurs makes you wonder. What other people around the world are crying out for a level of basic humanity from their government and their fellow citizens?

Uighers.dancers

I’ll bet there are more than a few we don’t know about.

The question is, do we care?

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