FROM Jacques deLisle
The Challenge of Getting the Truth about China During Vice President Joe Biden's recent visit to China, he complained to the highest officials about the treatment of western reporters. After weeks of anxiety for some two-dozen western reporters, the Chinese government is renewing some press passes. Yesterday, Bloomberg News said its reporters' finally had been granted the annual renewal of their press cards. The New York Times says the same for some, but not all, of its staff in China. Visas will probably follow. But one veteran of 18 years may never return to the country, and others have now been warned. We hear what they've gone through. When stories about human rights and income inequality leak to Chinese audiences, they threaten the power of Communist Party leaders. Will western news agencies now censor themselves? Will the crackdown make it harder than ever to learn about the world's second-most powerful nation?
Is China's Communist Party Putting Itself on Trial? China's trial of the century is not following the political script that was widely predicted. On Day One, former Communist Party honcho Bo Xilai vigorously defended himself, and claimed his bribery confessions had been coerced. It's a crucial event for new Party Chief, Xi Jinping, against a background of public outrage over corruption and demands to restore the era of Mao Tse Dung. Will a trial that dramatizes graft and economic inequality lead to reform? Will it make any difference in China's relations with the US and the rest of the world?
The US gets deeper into Middle East wars. What's the endgame? President Trump welcomed Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to the White House today… just one of the changes in America's approach to the Middle East since Barack Obama left office. We hear about that and the escalation of warfare as well as civilian casualties.
GOP 'Nukes' the Senate filibuster on SCOTUS nominees Senate Democrats today blocked Judge Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the US Supreme Court… but just for the moment. The Republican majority has changed the rules to force a likely confirmation as soon as tomorrow.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?