Perhaps we should discard the ideological prejudice that assumes the universalization of liberal democracy. We might then be able to see dispassionately the true multiplicity of political forms, how they came into being and what they portend.
The specific socioeconomic conditions that enabled both liberalism and democracy, such as the Reformation’s stress on individual responsibility or industrial capitalism, were particular to Western Europe and America…
But it is China that poses the bigger challenge to the Anglo-American faith in the onward march of liberalism and democracy. It has achieved spectacular growth without embracing electoral democracy. Moreover, the state controls the commanding heights of the globalized economy. This won’t change anytime soon.
A really interesting piece in the Japan Times this morning
Not sure I agree 100% with all of it, but the author makes some really, really salient points (particularly if they are, as I suspect, aimed at America).
Straight talk from Japanese PM Shinzo Abe on Japan’s wartime record, Abenomics, the Senkakus, and more in our exclusive interview.
This is such an interesting read, especially considering the many, many reasons Abe has been in the news lately. The interviewer asks a ton of fantastic questions and even gets some substantive answers, notably on economic reform (and Japan’s decision to start negotiations through the TPP, which was the subject of a JETRO event I went to the other day) and Abe’s conservative nationalism. The TPP thing is especially interesting, though, because TPP is a free trade agreement, which would really hurt Japanese farmers, who get a shit ton of subsidies (very similar to US). The farmers are Abe’s main constituency and also the reason Japan keeps electing LDP folk. So it’s interesting that Abe is so supportive of it when his voter base is really, really not. It speaks to the idea that Abe isn’t just a crazy ultra-nationalist—he’s a pragmatic leader and might actually be able to pull Japan out of the recession (maybe! who knows!).
But also, on the subject of economics, the interviewer asks about how Abe will solve the country’s economic problems, citing the agricultural subsidies, Japan’s sky-high debt, poor immigration, AND, the underutilization of women (something my professor writes a lot about). And interestingly, Abe addresses all of those concerns… except the one about women. Hmm…
“Among all the petitions submitted by Chinese netizens, there are political ones, environmental ones and even ones that deal with individual rights. But what they care the most seems to be tofu soup (豆腐脑, doufunao).
There are not one, not two, but three petitions submitted to ask the Obama administration to rule on whether tofu soup should be made savory or sweet. The very first of such petitions was in Chinese: “We petition to the US government to set salty as the official taste of tofu soup, the kind that has cooking wine, soy sauce, jelly fungus, mushroom, day lily and eggs as gravy ingredients.” The entreaty so far has 1,713 signatures.”
This actually began after a serious use of the White House page to call for justice in the case of college student Zhu Ling, who was poisoned in 1994 and who has recently made waves online in China again after a very similar poisoning case in Shanghai some days ago.
More info on Zhu Ling here
Government may be the protector of the citizenry in principle but is often a predator of the populace in practice.
becoming increasingly aware of the fact that daniel deudney knows what’s up
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed that his Cabinet would stand firm against threats from neighbors, and he was not even referring to North Korea’s saber-rattling on missile launches…
Abe also seemed to place the blame for the recent controversy on the changing stances taken by Japan’s neighbors.
Regarding criticism from South Korea about visits to Yasukuni by Cabinet ministers, Abe said, “There was some criticism” when Kim Dae-jung was president from 1998. “There was very little before that.”
He made the same point about China.
“There was no protest when the prime minister visited after Class-A war criminals were included among those memorialized there (in 1978),” Abe said.
I actually cannot handle this
OH MY GOD YOU TWO NEED TO STOP BUT ESPECIALLY JAPAN THIS TIME
(from Sinocism, which, if you have any interest in China, you should subscribe to immediately)