Monday, August 25, 2008

Type as you go

1. Interesting piece on the shootdown of the falling US satellite. Not surprisingly, the US used the Chinese test as a cover for their own test. They call it a gift that keeps giving because it has provide justification for several other new technologies including "quick ground-based counterstrikes to disable enemy antisatellite jammers and lasers, and better space-based sensors to detect these attacks and perhaps enable the United States to forestall them by going “pro­active.”

2. Same magazine, intriguing piece on Burma, by Robert Kaplan. Mr Kaplan is no ordinary person. He's written several bestsellers (I've read his Hog Pilots and Blue Water Grunts), and is known to have readership among influential people, right upto the level of President. His centerpiece argument is about how United States should confront the Chinese influence in Burma by playing the tribal factions, with the help of India no less, and undermine the present military regime there. His tool: evangelical missionary types who have the wherewithal and determination to utilize these innate tribal forces to US advantage. The article itself is extremely sober. Let its focus on missionaries not discourage you from reading it. Mr Kaplan is Jewish.

3. Anne Applebaum on China's Olympics. Some gems among them:

"Human Rights Watch went even further, calling the Olympics a "catalyst for human rights abuses," and declaring that the 2008 Games "have put an end—once and for all—to the notion that these Olympics are a 'force for good.'"

"In the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, Londoners will complain about the traffic; politicians will carp about the cost; critics will call the ceremonies tasteless; no one will use the phrase Olympic triumph. But there won't be arrests or police intimidation; there won't be forced expropriation of property; there won't be stony-faced acrobats marching in formation—and in the end, the whole thing will be a lot less sinister, a lot less damaging, and a lot more fun."

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