In the predawn hours of June 14, 2017, a refrigerator caught fire in an apartment at Grenfell Tower in London. Within the hour, the fire had spread out of that apartment, ignited the block’s flammable external cladding, and spread at a speed which shocked fire safety experts.
Wu Jianmin, one of China’s most influential and outspoken diplomats, passed away in a car accident in Wuhan on June 18, 2016. His views on China’s security environment and open opposition to expanding nationalism and populism had made him a controversial figure, winning both acclaim and abuse.
Critics have argued against supporting Donald Trump by making historical parallels between his call of banning Muslims and undocumented Hispanic immigrants from entering the US, and the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which virtually banned all Chinese immigrants from entering the US.
Chinese opinion surveys consistently show that more than 70 percent of survey respondents agree that their government is responsive to public opinion. In contrast, in the same surveys, only a little over 30 percent in democratic Taiwan feel the same way.
The domestic conditions that Trump has addressed in this US presidential election include a yearning for a restored middle class, a sense of increasing economic insecurity, and anger over wage stagnation and widening inequality. This domestic-centric sour national mood will spill over into US foreign policy.
The effectiveness of China’s new food security strategy remains doubtful, as it might turn out to be extremely difficult, if not entirely impossible, for it to achieve absolute security or self-sufficiency in staples. China’s attempts to boost staple production could bring huge economic, social and environmental costs to the country.
The results of applying the model of the nation-state in Asia have not been encouraging. There are recurring problems of ethnic conflict, religious polarization, and separatism, which erupt now and then in violence.
The concept of soft power is advocating a sophisticated way of using hard power, involving use of persuasion, drawing on a country’s cultural and intellectual resources where possible and appropriate. It does not rule out the use of pressure and force.