Nations in the looking-glass: the war in changing retrospect, 1945-2005
During 2003 and 2004 the talk of the town in Beijing’s political, media and diplomatic circles was the ‘peaceful rise of China’ to superpower status. China’s leadership, led by president Hu Jintao, had presented a new vision: China’s rise would be different from those of Germany and Japan, whose arrival on the world stage triggered two world wars. Riding the wave of globalization, China would rise through long-term economic growth, trade and investment, regional cooperation and integration, all guided by deft and peaceful diplomacy.
Maritime piracy has become a focal point of media attention. Together with governments and military experts, the media tends to link maritime piracy with international terrorism as an ongoing threat in the post-Cold War era. In particular the Strait of Malacca, the strategic sea-lane linking the oil fields of the Middle East and the production economies of East Asia and beyond, is portrayed as a future battlefield.
Diplomats from around the world are currently discussing final revisions to the UN Draft Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to be presented at the forthcoming meeting of the General Assembly. It remains doubtful whether agreement will be achieved on outstanding issues – from definitions of key concepts like ‘indigenous people’ to the granting of particular rights ...
Asia accounts for more than half of the world’s population. China is the only Asian nation with a permanent seat on the Security Council. Japan, a member of the G8 and a major contributor to the UN, the IMF and the World Bank, is completely under-represented in their leadership. Asian nations are virtually excluded from the ranks of those thought to underwrite global order and stability. The setting of ‘global standards’ seems to be the preserve of non-Asian powers.
China’s first email, according to legend, was sent by professor QIAN Tianbai and was entitled ‘Crossing the Great Wall to join the world’. Since that first email was sent on 20 September 1987, China has been using the internet to join the world in remarkable ways, making the Great Wall not just crossable, but rather meaningless.
Four of the ten fastest-growing elderly populations worldwide can be found in Southeast Asia, and Indonesia has perhaps the most striking profile of them all. As the strengths and weaknesses of current provisions for the elderly are the best guide to the future, a sound knowledge of existing arrangements and their limitations is a necessary baseline for any examination of the issue. Is current support adequate? What gaps are there? How may a good level of support be defined? What capacity is there in current family and community arrangements to encompass a three or fourfold increase in the elderly? What role can local and international organizations most effectively play? These and other searching questions need to be asked, and the need to delve into the workings of local support networks means that answers will depend on data that economic and social surveys alone cannot provide.
Picture a grid connecting existing urban centres, avoiding the areas that are considered uninhabitable due to altitude, lack of water, extreme climatic conditions, and some other factors. In his effort to map the future of the city and urbanization, the famous Greek urbanist C.A. Doxiadis, who published the journal Ekistics, projected this world city and called it Ecumenopolis (Doxiadis 1972). Then and now many feel horrified by the thought of a completely integrated settlement structure covering the earth’s crust with tentacles on all continents. This article introduces this issue’s theme ‘Mega-Urbanization in Asia’.
Academic interest in the history of psychiatry and a general fascination with how ‘madness’ fared during the modern period were particularly prominent in Western countries during the 1970s and 1980s in the wake of Foucault’s ground-breaking work on Madness and Civilization and the high-profile campaigns of the anti-psychiatry movement. More recently, problems arising from the de-institutionalization of the mentally ill and the search for safe and financially and socially viable community care options and preventative mental health care measures have rekindled this earlier interest.
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