The Party Is Not Forever

Human beings approaching 100 normally think about death. But political parties celebrating their centennial, as the Communist Party of China (CPC) will on 1 July, are obsessed with immortality. Such optimism seems odd for parties that rule dictatorships, because their longevity record does not inspire confidence. The fact that no other such party in modern times has survived for a century should give China’s leaders cause for worry, not celebration.

12 June 2021

The Virus Next Time

As more developed countries begin to feel as though they have made it to the other side of the COVID-19 crisis, two striking realities are coming into view. First, one can clearly see just how vulnerable many developing countries still are to rapidly escalating outbreaks of the type we are witnessing in India. The results of failing to distribute the most effective vaccines equitably and strategically are being laid bare.

11 June 2021

Vaccinating The World

Although we have come a long way in the fight against COVID-19, the only thing that will alter the course of the pandemic decisively is a genuine act of global solidarity.

9 June 2021

Reform Or Revolution In Global Health?

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) governing body of health ministers has responded to a call from dozens of world leaders for a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response, and will hold a special session in November devoted to such a treaty. It is a positive step. But the global response to COVID-19, and adequate preparation for future pandemics, requires much more.

8 June 2021

Xi’s Historic Mistake

Late last month, the American actor John Cena issued a grovelling public apology after having referred to Taiwan as a “country” in an interview to promote his latest film. Though he was using the term to refer to a linguistic media market with a discrete distribution channel, not to the status of the island of Taiwan in international law, the Chinese government would make no allowance for such distinctions. What are we to make of this episode?

5 June 2021

China’s One-Way Diplomacy

The late George Shultz, United States (US) Secretary of the Treasury under President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan, was one of the finest public servants in recent American history. When I was the last British governor of Hong Kong, he once offered me wise advice about dealing with the People’s Republic of China.

2 June 2021

Philippines: Is The VFA Hanging By A Thread?

The security alliance and relationship of the Philippines and the United States (US) is among the oldest, and most complex in Asia. The close ties between the US and the Republic of the Philippines (RP) can be traced back to the colonial period when the Philippines was a protectorate of the US.

30 May 2021

Criticising The Pandemic

It has now been a year and a half since we started living with – and too often dying from – COVID-19. Although the pandemic is by no means over, it is not too soon to take a step back and draw some preliminary conclusions from the experience.One conclusion that has turned out to be especially tentative concerns the source of the pandemic.

29 May 2021

Statistics And The Pandemic

“There are three kinds of lies,” Mark Twain famously wrote. “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Too often, the COVID-19 crisis has lent support to the suspicions Twain’s bon mot expresses. Data is critical to fighting the pandemic, but cross-country comparisons have focused too much on the wrong sort.

27 May 2021

US, Human Rights And Israel’s War On Palestine

Israel’s attempt to justify its latest brutal assault on Gaza rings hollow to anybody familiar with events in Israel, where the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, backed by anti-Arab racists, has systematically, cruelly, and persistently violated the basic human rights of the Arab population. Human Rights Watch (HRW), a global non-governmental organisation (NGO) with many Jewish leaders, has recently condemned Israel for crimes against humanity.

26 May 2021