Of late, President Ma Ying-jeou has been dogged by flying shoes thrown at him by protesters and hecklers, so frequent and threatening that Taiwan's police spent about US$16,000 to buy 149 “shoe-catching nets” to protect the safety of the president, although none of these projectiles has yet hit the bull's-eye.
I was struck this week by local news coverage in photos and reports that focused attention on young women and their bodies.
The United States may have averted a debt default, and ended the federal government shutdown, but costly political reverberations continue. The experience of Democratic and Republican leaders frozen in unmoving partisan positions has been unnerving, abroad and at home.
Forget about currency wars. The dollar may go up, the yen go down and RMB could be the next big currency. But what determines the value of the currency will be the quality of human talent. Money is man-made and the real value is not gold, not GDP, but sheer human power.
Recent elections for the new non-permanent members of the U.N. Security Council went off with a predictable yawn. Countries representing regional groups gained the coveted two-year rotating membership without opposition and basically by acclimation. A secret ballot was set; vote for one out of one. So when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia won a coveted seat for the Asian group, there was polite applause, wry smiles, and then later political shock and awe when the Saudi's rejected the seat and renounced the Council's role in the Syrian war.
When Prime Minister Najib Razak, wearing his finance minister's hat, presents the 2014 budget today, the big question is whether he will lead Malaysia to finally bite the bullet to strengthen the economy.
If you believe that all politics is local, you will have to apply that to economics as well. Bank of Thailand Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul spoke at a Harvard gathering recently about why what happens in “emerging markets” matters. His main take: ultimately, growth depends on what happens at home.
Guiding North Korean defectors to a secure and stable life here may be a key touchstone of Seoul's capability to smoothly integrate the two disparate societies in the event of national reunification. Defectors who have successfully settled in the South would be able to play a bridging role to facilitate the integration process.
Ever since the Second World War, the United States has played an indispensable role, ensuring peace and order in the world and creating conditions that allowed for the revitalization of the war-torn countries of Europe and Asia. During the Cold War, of course, the U.S. also expected the beneficiaries of its support to line up on its side against the Soviet bloc.
2013/10/23, 5 Comments
After the U.S. lifted its embargo following former president Richard Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972, China began learning from Western examples. The establishment of a series of special economic zones was part of the lesson China learned, which has now prompted it to set up the Shanghai free trade zone (FTZ).