|Asia News Digest
U.S. Appears To Change Its Tack with Karzai
May 12 (EIRNS)Facing an impossible situation in Afghanistan, President Obama, who had been discourteous to Afghan President Hamid Karzai during his recent "under the cover of darkness" visit to Kabul, was all graciousness to Karzai, who is now visiting Washington.
The shift was the result of two events which are in progress. To begin with, the U.S. and NATO have amassed about 35,000 troops in and around Kandahar province, with the intent of creating a security corridor between Kandahar and Helmand provinces in southern Afghanistan. Taliban insurgents are pretty much in control of this area. However, the non-Taliban locals are under the control of President Karzai's brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, and Washington has come to realize that without the permission of Karzai and his brother, a military operation in Kandahar is a non-starter.
Second, prior to Karzai's arrival in Washington, his advisor Masood Stanekzai made public that Karzai is talking to the insurgents, and, in four of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, the insurgents have agreed to lay down their arms. These insurgents are Pushtuns; they are anti-Pakistan, anti-U.S./NATO, not pro-Saudi and not anti-Iran. Although the London Daily Telegraph has attacked Karzai's reconciliation process, which is aimed against the British-Saudi nexus, some in Washington, particularly Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, have come to realize the importance of this development.
Thailand's Anglophiles Hysterical over U.S. Role
May 10 (EIRNS)The May 8 visit of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell to Thailand, where he held a meeting with former cabinet members of the (deposed) Thaksin Shinawatra government and others in the opposition "Red Shirt" movement, evoked hysteria among the British assets in Thailand's government and media. U.S. Ambassador Eric John was summoned by Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, who reprimanded Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's top assistant for Asian affairs for meeting with "opposition politicians linked with an illegal protest" that has "terrorists" in its midst, according to Kasit's secretary. Ambassador John stood his ground, and told Kasit that the U.S. would not take sides, and that the government should "avoid using force."
The British plan to blow up Thailand, to disrupt mounting support for Asian unity, seems to have been given a severe blow, with U.S. help.
The leading British/Wall Street newspaper in Thailand, The Nation, is frantic. One article ranted, "We all know the Red Shirts have committed serious crimes deserving of capital punishment." It accuses the Army of helping the demonstrators and refusing orders to crack down, a "neglect of duty," and an affront to "the monarchy and the nation."
Japan 'Re-Imports' Nuclear Technology to the U.S.
May 9 (EIRNS)Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been chosen by Dominion Power of Virginia to build a large nuclear reactor outside Richmond. Mitsubishi says it will sign a contract with the utility to construct the reactor at Dominion's power station, after obtaining necessary approvals. The reactor is rated at 1,700 megawatts and will cost about $5.5 billion.
The reactor will be a U.S.-APWR (Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor) originally designed by Westinghouse, but enhanced by Mitsubishi. Beyond increasing the reactor rating from the original 1,000 megawatts, Mitsubishi modified the design to meet new U.S. safety standards. The core technology remains that developed by Westinghouse.
Soros: Environmental Bribery in Indonesia
May 12 (EIRNS)Speculator and drug-pusher George Soros was in Jakarta, Indonesia, openly offering bribes to the government to sequester more of the country's forest and wetlands from development, in the name of preventing climate change.
After a meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, Soros said at a press conference that the UN Secretary General's High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, of which he is a member, was raising funds internationally to support Indonesia's efforts to cope with climate change. "Clearly by protecting the forests and particularly the peat areas, Indonesia has to bear some opportunity costs, and doing it benefits the entire world," Soros said.
President Yudhoyono indicated his willingness to sell off even more of his country as long as the money keeps flowing. "The President stressed Indonesia's commitment to reducing [carbon] emissions by 26% by 2020, and up to 41% if international support is forthcoming," said Dino Patti Djalal, an advisor for international affairs, at the Presidential Office. Djalal is slated to be Indonesia's next ambassador to the United States.
The Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing was created by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in late February with little fanfare. Besides Soros, the 19 members of the group include Gordon Brown, Lawrence Summers, and Nicholas Stern.