The Farce of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

January 25, 2010

If you have been following the news on the Middle East lately, you will notice a general uptick in the rhetoric on peace between  srael and the Palestinian Authority.

Endless pronuncements from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on how Israel is ready for peace and just as desultory denunciations  from the PA’s Mahmoud Abbas, that anything the Israelis have to offer, is simply not good enough.

Most of this  back and forth has been driven by the  Obama Administration’s determination to wade into the Middle East morass, certain that it can dredge the swamp and find gold.     But in its  earnest, flailing attempts to reach some kind of accord between the sides, it continues to mischaracterize the true nature of the conflict or to discern the reasons the kind of peace the U.S.  expects in the region can ever take root.

Its of course nothing new.  Since 1993  and the signing of the Oslo Accords, no year has gone by without the presentation of another scene from this farcical pantomime.   It always goes something like this:   The U.S. Middle East envoy presents ideas for jump starting peace to the Israeli prime minister.   The  Israeli prime minister makes a public statement to the effect that he is  ” interested”  in the ideas.    The ideas are then presented to the Palestinian Authority leader  who mulls the over for a day or so and then summarily rejects them.

The same political dynamics that have always driven this useless pas de deux are still present.  Israel, for its part, recognizes the importance of American support for its ongoing war with the Muslim world and therefore is willing to play along, knowing full well that the Palestinian leadership is incapable of  compromise.  The Palestinian leader, well aware that not only his regime, but his life itself is forfeit if he concedes even  an inch of  Palestinian demands, stonewalls in the hope of buying himself time.   The United States, ever  eager to dislodge this bone in its throat and move on to more pressing problems in the Middle East, can’t bring itself to do very much more than pretend that it is dealing with real players in a real diplomatic engagement.

Of course it is nothing of the sort.   The Palestinian leadership, having won virtual recognition for the Palestinian Authority as a sovereign body,  has nothing whatsoever to gain from advancing  the U.S. peace agenda.   Its fat cats – from Saeeb Erekat to Mahmoud Abbas and  Ismail Jibrail have grown rich from  Western largesse and world famous as Palestinian celebrities .  They want to keep it that way.  They don’t want to lose control of the region which affords them their monopolies, while , at the same time, they are quite aware of their tenuous grip on power and the threat of their territory transforming, like nearby  Gaza, into a virtual Islamic  republic.   Placating Palestinian extremism has therefore always been far more important to them than mollifying the Americans.

These realities are beginning to dawn on Washington. Yesterday Obama finally admitted what every Administration since Truman’s has discovered to its chagrin:  that the Arabs simply don’t want peace with Israel  –  they want the country removed.  Palestinian nationalism, buttressed by Arab governments throughout the region,  has never been based on securing  a national home for the Palestinians but rather on the elimination of a national home of another people.  Say what you want  about the Palestinian drive for dignity and emancipation –  if they had wanted a state any time in the past 70 years, they could have had it.    But having a state also means  accepting Israel’s existence and its right to secure borders,  and to this day, no Palestinian leader has ever gone on record embracing such a notion.

Therefore it is not so surprising that Obama could finally admit yesterday:

“I think it is absolutely true that what we did this year didn’t produce the kind of breakthrough that we wanted and if we had anticipated some of these political problems on both sides earlier, we might not have raised expectations as high”

Expectations were raised high, because Obama thinks that diplomacy and statecraft can  override practical  realities.   But lets be very clear.  The U.S’ insistence on treating the Palestinian leadership as a genuine “peace partner” is itself one of the causes of the failed process.  Peace will never come to the Middle East while Palestinian intransigence is treated us a legitimate diplomatic position or when its  resistance to compromise is respected.   The peace process will continue to fail as long as its mediators  misunderstand that the Palestinian urge to statehood is a farce and that its leadership has far  more interest in perpetuating the conflict than in resolving its intractable problems

A New Challenge to Climate Change

January 22, 2010

Is the climate change industry under seige? According to this latest piece from the Wall Street Journal  Climate Change Claim on Glaciers Under Fire that may be exactly the case.

In its 2007 report the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPPC) claimed that the Himalayan Glaciers, which feed the rivers that in turn feed much of South Asia, were very likely to disappear by the year 2035.

” The receding and thinning of the Glaciers can be attributed to the (sic) global warming due to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.”     The report stated.

But that, apparently is not the case, as IPPC chief, Rajendra Pachuari stated this week when he acknowledged that the claim was ” pooorly substantiated”

The IPCC report stated that the total area of Himalayan glaciers would likely shrink from 500,000 square kilometers to 100,000 square kilometers by 2035. The report cited a 2005 study by the World Wildlife Fund, an environmental advocacy group. That study cited a 1999 article in New Scientist magazine that quoted Indian glacier expert Syed Hasnain as saying Himalayan glaciers could disappear “within forty years.”

The  funny thing is that this is a self-correction – coming as it does directly from the mouth of the very organization that has been the most forceful proponent of man made global warming.

So  lets get this straight:   The data that operated as the basis of the IPCC report was based on a quote from a 2005 report by another environmental group which had relied on a 1999 quote from an Indian glaciologist.   Does that sound like sound scientific inquiry to you?  It doesn’t  to me and nor does the rest of the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  The charter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is

… to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy.”.

This makes it a high-profile single-focus organization whose existence depends on its own reports. In other words it has a vested interest in promoting claims that would guarantee its funding and justify its continued existence.

This alone would be reason enough to closely examine its procedures and claims but the situation is made worse by the involvement of governments. These governments not only fund the IPCC but apparently accept its claims without question and allocate funding for climate research on the basis of those findings, then repeat the process when the next IPCC Assessment Report draws on the findings of that government-sponsored research to support its hypothesis.

In case you have forgotten the IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore and is the organization most lauded as having provided the world with the certainty of anthropogenic global warming.

But from the very beginings of its creation in 1988, the IPCC has been a political body first and a scientific body only second.

The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its mission, to assess the risk of human-induced climate change  has turned it into a single minded attack machine for anyone who dissents from the conventional view of anthropogenic global warming.

But from its earliest years inthe 1990s, this flagship of the global warming armada developed a distinctly political purpose.  One of the more alarming revelations is that of the controversy which surrounded the IPCC’s second report, The Science of Climate Change in 1995.  According to insiders, the report had originally concluded that there was no evidence that human beings have had any influence on the climate. Yet the original version of the report was substantially edited with 15 different sections of Chapter 8 ( the chapter dealing with the extent of human influence) being amended to reflect the opposite point of view. The Executive Summary to the report, the only part that in practise most politicians ever read, clearly hewed to the accepted fact of human interference, contrary to the conclusions of the original manuscript.

That editorial hit job was almost certainly the work of IPPC’s first chairman, the alarmist Swedish professor Bert Bolin. But he did not get away scot free. Professor Frederick Seitz, the former chairman of the American Science Academy, wrote in the Wall Street Journal on June 12th, 1996 that  ” I have never before witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer review process than the events that led to this IPCC report.”

He proceeded to demand that the IPCC process be abandoned. From then on,the IPPC’s serial campaign of disinformation only grew more robust and continues today as the flagship of the global warming armada.In discussions with the AGW proponents climate skeptics have often been often told that their views should first be published in peer-reviewed journals before they can be taken into consideration. At first sight this seems a reasonable requirement. But on closer scrutiny this argument is open to criticism. It is a good tradition in science that anybody may criticise any scientific statement with good arguments, irrespective of his or her position or background. However, often the climate establishment does not respect this tradition. On the contrary, as a rule only insiders are allowed to participate in the discussion. In this way an official though flawed idea can survive for a very long time. This has happened many times before in the history of science.

This perhaps explains how an  orphan idea central to the global warming community is coddled and nurtured within the  walls of fortress of climate change and any attack upon it viciously thwarted as an an attack upon reason itself.

The fact that the IPPC is beginning to eat its own young, is a sign that that the tables have turned.  Watch out in the next 12 months as the fortress walls begin to crumble under reaction to  such attacks as ‘Climate Gate’ and the work of other dissenters which will gain much greater public traction.

It is about time the IPCC is challenged in this way.  And it will be a blessing to the millions of people in the West whose lives have already been adversely affected by perverse and inimical legislation based on spurious science.

A Political Death in Massachusetts

January 21, 2010

No one can say that history doesn’t have  a sense of humor.  Twelve months ago you would not have found an American alive who believed that the senior Senate seat in the State of Massachusetts would remain anything but eternally Democratic.    Afterall, it had been occupied for nearly 50 years by the same man -a liberal lion who happened to be the scion to the family that had dominated Massachusetts politics since the early 1950s.

To say that the Democrats owned Ted Kennedy’s senate seat, is to understate the matter.  Most of us believed that to dislodge a Kennedy or any Democratic successor would  require the  political equivalent of a comet striking Boston.

Republican Scott Brown’s victory yesterday, which  upended more than 70 years of Democratic rule, was therefore not just historic;  it was proof that  American politics are never static, that change can come as quickly – and as brutally- as the time it takes to fashion a political agenda that is out to lunch on the way most Americans think and feel.

For Barack Obama this could not be a more depressing indication of the degree of national outrage and disappointment about his young Administration.  Coming at exactly the one year mark of his accession to power, this voter statement was not a rejection of  the Kennedy legacy per se, as much as a deliberate  swipe at the big government, welfare programming and economic naivete of the current Administration.

Yet nor should it be read as an endorsement for the Republicans.  The election of  Scott Brown should rather be understood as a warning to them that the electorate will no longer tolerate politics as usual,  nor will it give latitude to candidates who are out of touch with the basic concerns of life – jobs, housing economic stability and national security   – or  to those who prefer to gamble away the country’s future on health care reform,  global warming obsessions or deficits that will saddle their children and grandchildren with onerous obligations for years into the future.

The lesson of Masschusetts, ultimately, is that Americans – liberals and conservatives alike, are fed up.   They are not looking for a Messiah, as some wanted to paint Barack Obama;   nor are they looking for big government, as both Bush and Obama presented to them.   They are looking for common sense and stability. 

Those are not qualities that our political system seems to produce in abundant quantities.  But maybe, just maybe, an emerging leader in one of the parties will get the message and bring back to the White House  those elements with enough time to stave off a true national disaster.

A Truth Too Hard to Handle

January 20, 2010

If anyone wants to get a close look at the way both our government and military delude themselves about fundamental dangers this country faces, then go no further than the recently issued Department of Defense report on the Fort Hood slayings- Protecting the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood.

In this 85 page report, released last week and which relates to the November 5th massacre of 13 enlisted men and women together with an unborn child, you will find recommendations for tighter security for recruitment purposes, updated procedures to help the Department of Defense identify contributing factors to violent conduct and the suggested development of programs to educate DoD personnel when individuals might commit violent acts or become radicalized.

What you won’t find is the following:

  • The name of the assassin
  • Documentation on his Islamic background
  • The characterization of his motives
  • Information on how signs of his radicalism were manifested in his actual military career
  • The kinds of communications he received from a Yemen based sheikh in the weeks and months prior to the killings.
  • The Jihadist inspiration behind the attacks.
  • Why the details of the killer’s behavior at Walter Reed Hospital, referred to in his file, were not passed on to his military superiors

So lets fill in the blanks for those military researchers who still remain mind-numbingly agog that such an event could have occurred at all:

  • The killer (not the alleged killer) at Fort Hood was Major Nidal Malik Hassan
  • He is a Muslim
  • His writings, communications with fellow officers prior to the events of November 5,  all provide convincing evidence that that he was a Jihadist, driven by a religious ideology
  • He took inspiration from Yemen-based preacher named Imam Anwar AlWaki and had at least ten email communications with him in the 30 days prior to the shootings;
  • He shouted “Allahu Akbar “as he sprayed  the dining room with bullets
  • He admitted that he committed his acts of murder in the name of Islam

In fact, not once in the report are the words “ Islam,”  “Jihad”  or “anti-Americanism” employed.   Nor are we given a sense that this event registered as anything more than another case of criminal behavior which can be adequately dealt with by the criminal justice system.  Hence the military’s apparent unwillingness to ascribe motivation to the attack or even a name to the ‘alleged’ offender.   After all, to do so would be prejudice Hassan’s upcoming trial, a prospect the report’s authors seem to fear more than the truth itself.

Instead the report is content to commend the military personnel at Fort Hood on how effectively they responded to the attack (in other words ‘it was bad but could have been a helluva lot worse’) and reaches the astonishing conclusion that “identifying potentially dangerous people before they act is difficult” and that “religious fundamentalism in itself is not a risk factor.”

The report screams the word “denial” at us, bathed as it is in the politically correct milk of multicultural sensitivity.   In this regard, of course, it is completely in keeping with the sentiments of Chief of Staff, Gen. George Casey, who, in the wake of the massacre, proclaimed that, “as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”

No, sir, what is far worse is the obfuscation of a basic truth – that Islamists are among  us and want to kills us.  What registers as an graver issue than even  this however, is the way such cognitive dissonance leads to the eclipse of good judgment within our military leadership.  For underlying this empty report is the notion that the country is not at war at all, but rather faces occasional incidents which amount to little more than isolated criminal nuisances.

It is extraordinary that the most violent act of murder committed against U.S. troops on American soil in modern times, should be summed up as a case of a good soldier gone bad.

But Hassan didn’t ‘go bad.’   He was already bad.   The fact that his colleagues and superiors failed to notice, despite all the warning signs he offered them, is an indictment of the system in which he operated – a system apparently quite comfortable with its soldiers’ regular expression of  rabid anti-Americanism and the spouting of Jihadist ideology.

The true report of what happened at Fort Hood is not yet available.  But when it does become available it will almost certainly not bear the stamp of the Department of Defense.   The truth, apparently, in Jack Nicholson inimitable words, is just a little  too hard for that institution to handle.

Martin Luther King Jr. and the Victimhood Culture

January 19, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday celebration  has always been something of a  puzzle to me.  King has stood since his death as a symbol of America’s break with its own past –  a means of redressing the United States’ troubled relationship  with slavery and the century long denial of civil rights to its black population.  So it is well and good that a day be taken once a year to recall  that legacy  with the understanding that  slavery and the civil indignities that followed its abolition, were violations of  the freedom and liberty this republic was founded to promote.

King himself may have been a courageous warrior for civil rights.   But he was also someone who believed  strongly in the idea of a meritocracy involving all individuals, of whatever color, religion or gender competing equally for income and jobs.    He certainly propounded the idea that blacks had all the capabilities and capacities of whites and that given the appropriate opportunities would be able to  compete successfully with them for any job or position in the land – including the office of the presidency.

Unfortunately his successors have not been quite as assured in their advocacy for the rights of blacks. For decades  they have argued that affirmative action in our educational system is a cure for the rise of black crime, homelessness and single motherhood in African American  neighborhoods.   But they have also well known that affirmative action cures nothing.   It only adds to the sense of black entitlement.   And it is this entitlement  which itself that has become the focus of  black advocacy over the last several decades from  leaders such as Jesse Jackson Jr. , Rev. Al Sharpton, Hazel Corby, June Jordan  and the Congressional Black Caucus.

It certainly is the raison d’etre for the Reparations Movement.  This is the idea that the descendants of the white Americans who enslaved the black population of this country should be made to pay for the injustices meted out to their ancestors.    Of course the notion that white America has not already paid dearly in billions through an extensive welfare system, community activism and affirmative action policies, is almost laughable.  But th question e more challenging to black leaders is, even given the efficacy of their  claims, what would  the black community actually do with the billions they are claiming?  Would they create social programs, black universities, training institutes or job incentive programs?

Almost certainly not.   If the actions of Jesse Jackson and his followers are any indication of what would happen to those billions, then you only need to look the way his Rainbow /PUSH  Coalition  is run and the way it  fleeces millions from corporate America.

A principal tactic by which Rainbow/PUSH is to encourage public protests and threats of a widespread boycott  and negative publicity for corporations it sets in its targets. It employs this technique with considerable success.  The shakedown works time and time again for Jackson and has resulted in millions being paid by corporate America to causes which only go to further poverty and the failure to stimulate black employment.

The website Discover the Networks, adequately illustrates this:

“In 1998, for instance, the Coalition declared that the lending and employment practices of the mortgage institution Freddie Mac were racist, and Jackson encouraged major shareholders in that company to sell their stock. Shortly thereafter, Freddie Mac pledged to earmark $1 billion in mortgage loans specifically for minorities; it donated more than $1 million directly to Rainbow/PUSH  and became a sponsor of Jackson’s annual Wall Street Project.”

Enough sensible black community  leaders have stood up to Jackson’s  intimidation to prove that his culture of victimology is not  universally embraced by all black Americans.    Ward Connerly, a central Californian businessman led the successful  campaign against affirmative action in California.   Comedian Bill Cosby has become an outspoken advocate for strengthening black families and for black men to take responsibility for their lives.     Thomas Sowell, John McWhorter and Shelby Steele  have all written eloquently against the culture of  victimology which has prevented black integration and advancement in traditional white professions.

As McWhorter states in Losing the Race: Self Sabotage in Black America states: ” ……( In the Black community)  victimhood is not a problem to be solved but an identity to be nurtured,” while “separatism encourages black Americans to conceive of black people as an unofficial sovereign entity, within which the rules other Americans are expected to follow are suspended out of a belief that their victimhood renders  them morally exempt.” Shelby Steele adds in his majesterial work  White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era ” blacks made a deal with the devil by exchanging responsibility and control over their destiny for handouts.”

The black movement since King’s assassination in 1968 has not moved forward as he might have once envisaged.   The  election of a black president has done little to change the repetitive  social dynamic in which the black community finds itself thwarted by its own leaders’ insistence on entitlements.    The disservice King’s successors have done to  their own constituency in failing to promote self reliance, independence and hard work,  is something King himself might have decried as a betrayal of his vision.

Therefore if we are going to remember King each year, perhaps then we should also remember that his “dream” was first and foremost an American dream to which he urged all black men and women to subscribe.   That they, by and large, have not, sullies the memory of their greatest leader and should give us pause for reconsideration of his legacy on this anniversary date.

The Last Station

January 18, 2010
Director: Michael Hoffman
Cast: James McAvoy, Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti, Helen Mirren, Anne-Marie Duff
1hr 52min‎‎ – Rated R‎‎ – Drama‎

The last years of Tolstoy’s life have provided  endless fascination for biographers and novelists alike.   The great novelist’s new found commitment to asceticism, his estrangement from his wife and family and his growing repugnance of wealth and fame, made him a figure of enormous interest in pre-War Russia.   An entire Tolystoyan movement, based on his precepts of abstinence and renunciation of worldly goods, arose in Russia in the early years of the 20th Century, a testament to the power of  author’s commanding personality and literary  influence.

The one thing that  those who profess to know something about the life of Tolstoy all agree upon,  is that he died in a remote railway station , far from his own large estate in central Russia, supposedly  fleeing both his wife and his life of privilege.  Dressed as a Russian peasant and with only a small coterie of friends and admirers, he ended  his life a virtual fugitive from his own legacy.

This movie centers on the  events which led to that flight –   the battle for Tolstoy’s  written legacy.  It was  waged by his wife Sofya Andreyevna – who wanted the copyrights for his great books to remain within the family,  and his leading disciple Vladimir Cherkov – who believed that the copyrights belonged to Mother Russia ( ie: the public domain).    Torn between them is  Tolstoy’s newly appointed 23- year -old secretary, Valentin Bulgakov,  who appreciates both Cherkov’s and Sofya’s points of view, but ultimately sides with Tolstoy’s histrionic wife.   It is often painful to watch the desperation with which the broken Sofya throws herself upon her husband of 48 years, still passionately in love with him and yet unconvinced that her aging husband has any further use for her.

In this dramatic pas de deux, the acting of Christopher Plummer ( remembered 45 years ago as the suave Captain Von Trapp from The Sound of Music)  provides an extraordinarily convincing Tolstoy, emiting his mystical , if confused philosophy and portraying the author  as a tragic figure who has lost control of his own destiny.  Helen Mirren, still quite alluring at 65, plays  the tempestuous ,  devoted Sofya, whose jarring mood swings dominate the movie.   The ever versatile Paul Giamatti plays the devious Cherkov with enough verve  and determination to make us remember his extraordinary performance in HBO’s  triumphant series, John Adams.   And finally James McAvoy ( remembered for The Last King of Scotland) plays the ingenuous Bulgakov who innocently stumbles into a struggle of wills for which he is totally unprepared.

The movie does tend to drag in place  and the scenes in which the virginal Bulgakov is seduced by the free spirited Tolstoyan Masha, seems out of place in the movie and adds a love interest that distracts from the truly passionate struggle between Tolstoy and Sofya.

The success of the movie is that we end  feeling for both Tolstoy and his wife , who seem unable to thwart the lot that fate has thrown them.   Tolstoy emerges , not as the author of the book that is universally regarded as the greatest work of fiction ever composed, but as a latter day aesthete, carried away by his own imagination and philosophies, which had very little to do with  a world that only four years later would plummet  into a desperate world war.   That war would sweep away forever the world Tolstoy, his wife and their coterie had known, making their  ideas of passive resistance and universal love, hopelessly out of step with the time.   Tolstoy had longed to be remembered , not for the magnificent literary achievements of War and Peace and Anna Karennina but for his moral philosophy.  That is one legacy, however, time has yet to grant him.  And perhaps we should be thankful for it.

Google’s China Problem

January 17, 2010

Ten years ago, when I was working with Israeli internet  start ups, I brought a representative from an Israeli internet voice recognition company to Los Angeles.  In the course of his presentation to a group of investors, he described a meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing.   He said that for hours they peppered him with questions about security, questions he had never encountered  from  any government official before.    When he asked what was the source of fascination, it  was explained to him that his interlocutors were not as concerned with how to bring the new technology into the country, as with  how to keep it out.

Everyone has known for years that China is the fastest growing  market in the world for both the production and sale of goods.   But with its 1.3 billion person population, China also happens to be the world’s largest  potential market for information technology.

In recent years many of the landmark Internet operations of the United States, including Microsoft, Apple and Google have created beachheads in this market hoping to cash in on the likely explosive opening of this new frontier once Chinese state controls are loosened.

Last week Google became the first of the big three to finally accept that the Chinese fist is not going to be unclenched anytime soon.  Its threatened withdrawal from the Chinese market, after access to many of the major websites such as ebay, Youtube and Facebook had been blocked by the Chinese firewall known as Green Dam, was a last straw.  In recent weeks, at least 700 Web sites seem to have been shut down or blocked—on top of tens of thousands of foreign online services that were  already inaccessible. Individuals have been banned from registering new domain names in China, and authorities are turning the heat up on existing domains.

The lockdown has many companies worried because it is not simply access to information that is involved.   It is also access to proprietary technology that can apparently be scooped up by the Chinese firewall.  Cyberspying is a great threat to companies such as Google which rely on an interlinked network of proprietary technologies to engineer its formidable search engines.   Such piracy , is, of course, one of the known hazards of doing business in China.  But when you talk about theft of the very technology which makes a service such as Google unique, then there is cause for alarm.

For years, companies doing business in China recognized that they had to play by the Chinese rules if they wanted to succeed there.  Tough government regulations have always made it clear to companies from General Motors to  Motorola that they could reap the harvest of the Chinese market only if they were prepared to play by the rules.   For the past twenty years they have done just that.

But Google’s defiance at the latest outrage may be the first stone thrown in a battle with the Chinese which will involve not just companies but governments all over the world.   Already the White House has  come forcefully to the defense of Google demanding that China’s business practices conform with Western standards.  Other countries may soon follow suit.

What is clear is that the Chinese government is attempting to buy itself time.   It well knows that it was information that ultimately brought down Communism in Eastern Europe and the way to stem the ever present threat of a burgeoning counter-revolutionary force is to build barriers to that information.   But economic liberalization is meaningless without access to this information.  And prosperity, the one thing the Chinese leaders are certain is going to vouchsafe the longevity of their regime, will not continue to grow without it.

Unfortunately for the Chinese, growing prosperity also brings with it the demand for civil rights – as has been shown in almost every middle class -led revolution of the past 250 years.  The Chinese are fighting a battle they will not be able to win, and they know it.  One day the regime will topple, under the weight of a popular revolt from those who have access to information about the West and its many freedoms and will demand the same for themselves.

When it will happen , we do not know.   But as events in Berlin 20 years ago revealed to us,  a regime so seemingly certain of its longevity,  can be swept away in less time than it takes it punch a hole in a wall.

Or maybe in the time it takes to say ” Google.”

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