In his recent, monumental book ¨On China,¨ which consists of 608 pages, Henry Kissinger, offers us the key to understanding the strategic thinking of the Chinese. To do so makes it unnecessary for one to learn Mandarin or to read the 608 pages. Thanks to Doctor Kissinger, understanding the complexities of the Chinese mindset is now available to the whole world.
The secret, informs Kissinger, is in the Chinese board game ¨Go,¨ also called ¨weiqi¨ in Chinese and ¨igo¨ in Japanese, a game with more than 2,600 years of history. The game is of a devilish complexity which consists of 180 identical tokens that move along 361 squares (details here). Of course, there is also an online version.
The West’s strategic thinking, says Kissinger, is dominated by chess, where the goal is to obtain control of the center of the chess board and from there attack with all might the opponent’s King
The ambassadors were very polite. In an appeal issued one year after the Bosnian elections, they called on the leaders of the six main parties to “fulfill their democratic obligation to the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina” and finally create a government. The Peace Implementation Council (PIC) of 55 states and institutions which have an interest in peace in Bosnia authorises the ambassadors of its member states in Bosnia to issue such declarations – and thanks to that someone in Sarajevo noted the anniversary. Apart from the ambassadors, only a group of activists, having set up their own government on the pavement in front of the government office, attempted in vain to get inside. The reminder of Bosnian public opinion reacted to the continued lack of government with a collective shrug.
On one hand one could almost envy the Bosnians: the activities of other European governments
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Today, as part of our Reinvention of Europe initiative, we published an opinion piece by George Soros in which he warns that the financial markets are driving the world towards a second Great Depression, and outlines the three bold steps needed to avoid it.
Also on Reinvention:
Meanwhile, following last weekend’s announcement that Putin will stand for his third term as Russian president in 2012, Ben Judah has been examining what “Putin 3.0” will mean for relations between the world’s largest country and the EU.
Igor Ivanov, Putin’s former foreign minister, paid ECFR London a very well-timed visit on Monday (about which Ben has written this
I have spent the past two weeks travelling around China, including Shanghai and Chongqing, with my ECFR colleagues Mark Leonard and Alice Richard. In Chongqing we went out to eat the local hot pot; a quite delicious treat with meat and vegetables thrown into the hot pot in the middle – from which you then try to retrieve something good with your chopsticks. During dinner, I mentioned the ‘gutter’ oil phenomenon, which dampened appetites somewhat.
Gutter oil is what it sounds like: used and discarded oil that is being resold as new for local food stalls. Chinese police have recently busted large criminal gangs that trade in the oil. A friend and seasoned observer of China warned me when I was in the country back in March-April that new food scandals were on the horizon. The reason was simple: the government puts price quotas and controls on basic foodstuffs like oil in order to curb
After a weekend in which Vladimir Putin’s candidacy for the Russian Presidency in 2012 was announced, ECFR hosted Putin’s first foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, at the latest in our series of ‘Black Coffee Morning’ discussions. Few Russian diplomats have been as continuously involved in Russian decision-making as Mr Ivanov. He served in the 1980s as an aide to the legendary Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko, then as deputy foreign minister to Yeltsin’s first and Russia’s most pro-Western foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev, filling the post himself between 1998 and 2004. Today he serves as President of the new think tank the Russian International Affairs Council and a board member of the oil giant Lukoil.
The former minister spoke of how Russia needs to diversify not just its economy away from oil and gas, but its foreign policy away from hydrocarbons and force: “The question
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