A Blog Reporting on Reports, Conjecture,and Opinions on International Affairs

Friday, January 14, 2011

Solar Panel firm closes factory and Outsources to China.

The United States, the country that was the leader in green technology over the past few decades is losing its edge In the time of "greener consciousness" the US should be riding the wave of renewable energy sources to move the country forward In the past few years the US has been falling off the wave. China, the country that has outpaced the US as the biggest polluter has been emerging as the one of the biggest exporters green technology. China has taken the lead in the production and installation of wind turbines which harness wind energy. In regards to solar panels it has accounted for over half of the world's production. Its market share in the US has skyrocketed to 23% last year and is increasing fast.

Evergreen Solar the third largest manufacturer in the US has announced its closing its only American plant is now only going to manufacture them in China where it has joined a partnernship and has been getting aid from Chinese institutions. The Chinese produce solar panels more cheaply making it harder for American firms to compete in the US. Evergreen Solar's chief executive, Michael El-Hillow, has alluded that the Chinese government and its state banks are the main reasons for its Chinese ventures. The US does have programs to assist renewable energy firms but is a time consuming process and is very limited. The state of Massachusetts has previously stepped and provided some help but the company had issues with obtaining loans with US banks due to the financial crisis.

The Chinese government has done a lot to encourage foreign investment in the country. It provides subsidies, low interest loans, cheap currency and cheap labor. The US time after time has failed to call China out on these issues which violate trade rules in the World Trade Organization. China has been chipping away at every sector of American manufacturing. The US government is either unable or unwilling to do anything about it as more American jobs become permanently lost. Besides being a an economic issue, it can become a security issue with China replacing the Middle East for its energy needs. A lot more can be discussed with China, especially the fact that we are outsourcing technology that will no longer be able to produced in this country without a heavy cost... NY Times

Monday, July 05, 2010

The End of the Two State Solution?

For most of the last two decades middle east peace was founded on the concept of the "two state solution" between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The foundations of this concept was cemented by the Oslo Accords between Yassir Arafat's PLO and Yitzhak Rabin the Israeli Prime Minister, which gave the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza autonomy and the prospects for an independent Palestinian State. Many radicals in the Palestinian territories want to see Israel destroyed including Hamas. By recognizing a state in Palestine could legitimize the State of Israel as that was a part of the initial agreement. Palestinian radicals believe in a 'one state' solution where Israel ceases to exist. Luckily for groups such as Hamas which controls Gaza, many people in the Likud coalition government also seem to be toying around with a 'one state' solution.

Israeli Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, was quoted in saying that he would rather have "Palestinians living as citizens of this country then dividing up the land."- Al Jazeera

An impression of Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu is that they do not care for the two state solution. Currently, the government has refused to negotiate anything cohesive with moderate Fatah movement which runs the West Bank. It also doesn't help that its is increasing the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. The defense minister Ehud Barak a former prime minister, has warned against the idea of a one state solution saying that it could lead to an establishment of an apartheid state. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was a little bit more ominous saying that if the Palestinians and Israelis lived in one state that Israel would cease to exist. If the Palestinians cannot vote then it would resemble apartheid. If they did gain a right to vote it would no longer be a Jewish state. Al Jazeera Demographically speaking, Arab Muslims could make up the majority of the population with their already sizable presence and high birthrates.

Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition need to either start getting serious with the the West Bank and get the two-state solution back on track. Or throw in the towel on Israel as a Jewish state. A 'one state solution' is only in the best interests of Palestinian radicals.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Venezuela Continues Slide into Dictatorship

Guillermo Zulaoga, the owner of the independent Venezuelan television network Globovision, was arrested for comments he made at an international press association meeting implying that Hugo Chavez' government was cracking down on the freedom of expression. Venezuela's Attorney General Luisa Ortega said that he can face prison terms for making remarks that are offensive to the President. This comes after a former provincial governor accused the Venezuelan government of backing the Basque Separatist group Eta and making the county an epicenter for international drug traffiking while on Globovision.-NYTimes

Chavez has been striking hard against his critics even harsher now that the economic conditions in the country have been deteriorating. The arrests in these cases are blatant violations of the freedom of expression and it shows the world Hugo Chavez' true colors.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Karzai Angry about the Arrest of Taliban Number Two

According to an aide to Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, the President was very upset with the arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who is believed to be the Taliban's number two official. The aide said that he was planning to attend a peace jirga hosted by President Karzai. Other officials in Karzai's government have accused Pakistan of trying to sabotage peace talks with the Taliban and or gain more influence in the talks. -Yahoo

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mystery Surrounds the Arrest of Taliban Leader

Several days ago US and Pakistani agents arrested Mullah Abdul Ghani Brader, a key Taliban leader believed to be real close to Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban. His arrest appears to be a real coup for the US and its typically rocky collaboration with the Pakistani government. The Pakistani government, especially its main intelligence agency, the ISI have been real close to the Afghan Taliban and is believed to be protecting them, believing that if the US leaves Afghanistan, the Taliban will take over and the Pakistani's will regain its lost influence in the country. It was the ISI who propelled them to power back in 1996.

According to Al Jazeera, the former head of the ISI and a known Taliban sympathizer, Hamid Gul, says the arrest made by joint intelligence agencies was "unusual." The same article also suggests a theory that Brader had a falling out with other Taliban leaders. It is rumored that he was supportive of talking to the Afghan government and that he even attended secret peace talks with the Afghan government backed by the UN, and that Taliban hardliners gave him up.

From more than one article it could be concluded that Mullah Brader might have played a major role in the talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. It might have been the fact the US was playing an instrumental role in these negotiations leaving the Pakistani government out in the cold. The Pakistanis believed that they have the key negotiating cards with the Taliban; Mulla Brader might have proved them wrong. According to the New York Times, Pakistani intelligence were upset that the US was in touch with Mullah Brader's people. By supporting the CIA's capture of him, the ISI might have closed an important channel in negotiating with the Taliban. Again as previously mentioned, Pakistan's interest in Afghanistan is for the Taliban to regain power any real peace talks would have to go through Islamabad.

The US government denied that Brader was involved with any talks. They also said that the Pakistani government has increased its cooperation tracking down al Qaeda and the Taliban. -Dawn We shall see in the next few months what the results would be of this capure. Two things might happen, (A) if the capture is useful we have an increase in success with the war against the Taliban. (B)If negotiations with the Taliban fails, then we may know why.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Iran Executes Two for Being Enemies of God

Iran executed two people for being "Enemies of God" and for belonging to illegal organizations, the Kingdom's Assembly and the the Peoples' Mujahideen. The were also charged with trying to topple the Islamic Republic and of taking a part in the post-election protests despite being arrested before the presidential election. According to his lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh confessed only after the Iranian authorities have threatened his family. It is believed the executions took place to warn potential protesters what could await them if they protest on the Anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in February.- al Jazeera

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Supreme Court Rules that Corporations are allowed to have a big role in American elections.

In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are protected under the First Amendment to give money to support or oppose candidates running for office. Essentially they can intimidate elected officials if they try to legislate a law that is not to their liking. Its legalized corruption. Ordinary voters will have less if any, say in how the affairs of this country is managed. Read the editorial from the New York Times .