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      A few months ago I read a couple of books by the Singaporean intellectual Kishore Mahbubani. In “Has China Already Won he discusses Taiwan. The one exceptional trigger for a war involving China is Taiwan. Most of the time, the Chinese leaders have a lot of policy flexibility. There are no strong domestic lobbies to worry about. But the one issue where the Ch […]
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World in Chaos Open Thread

Brain fog

Brain fog

My brain isn’t working too well this morning, thanks to a nasty head cold. Still I got up as usual and surfed around to see what’s going on in the world. Is it just me, or are things even more chaotic out there than usual? Let’s see…

Robert M. Morgenthau, district attorney of Manhattan has indicted Li Fang Wei, a Chinese businessman, for selling nuclear raw materials to Iran and using U.S. banks such as Bank of America, Citibank and J.P. Morgan Chase to launder the financial transactions. Supposedly the banks were unwitting accessories. Hmmm… why don’t I buy that excuse?

Chinese and Russian “cyberspies” have infiltrated the U.S. electric grid.

Authorities investigating the intrusions have found software tools left behind that could be used to destroy infrastructure components, the senior intelligence official said. He added, “If we go to war with them, they will try to turn them on.”

Officials said water, sewage and other infrastructure systems also were at risk.

Now isn’t that special?

Pirates have captured a U.S. flagged ship and taken 20 American crewmembers hostage off the coast of Somalia.

The container ship, the Maersk Alabama, was carrying thousands of tons of relief aid to the Kenyan port of Mombasa, the company that owns the ship said.

The ship was taken by pirates at about 7:30 a.m. local time, 280 miles southeast of the Somali city of Eyl, a known haven for pirates, a spokesman for the United States Navy said. It is owned and operated by Maersk Line Limited, a United States subsidiary of A.P. Moller – Maersk Group, the Danish shipping giant.

The Maersk Alabama was at least the sixth commercial ship commandeered by pirates this week off the Horn of Africa, one of the most notoriously lawless zones on the high seas, where pirates have been operating with near impunity despite efforts by many nations, including the United States, to intimidate them with naval warship patrols.

The death toll continues to rise after the earthquake in Italy.

At least seven strong shocks hit the region during the night, killing one person and waking people from their sleep in the tent shelters.

The tremors brought down masonry from already damaged buildings and one tremor was felt as far away as Rome.

President Obama has finally returned to Washington, D.C. after his triumphant global tour. Will that help or hurt our economic situation? Will he finally wake up and realize that Geithner and Summers are wrecking our economic system in order to save their rich friends? Or does he already know that and think it’s a good idea? Will Obama’s wooing of Muslims in Turkey make a difference or is it “just words?”

A “turning point,” a “fresh breeze” — even a “light in the darkness.” Arabs and Muslims have been charmed by President Barack Obama’s first venture into the Islamic world.

Obama’s visit to Turkey this week was full of gestures calculated at showing he is a friend to Muslims, like his headliner sound bite that the U.S will never be “at war with Islam” and his mention of the Muslims in his family. Even throwaway lines like a comment that he had to wrap up a town-hall meeting with Turkish students “before the call to prayer” showed he was no stranger to Muslims’ way of life.

To many, the town-hall format for a meeting with students in Istanbul on Tuesday sent a significant message. The sight of a U.S. president being questioned by Muslims was dramatically different from the perception many had of Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush.

What do you think? And what are you reading/hearing/watching this morning?