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Barack ‘Lead From Behind’ Obama Says Goodbye to World Stage After 8 Years 

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a press conference at the conclusion of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit in Lima, Peru November 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

LIMA (AFP-Jiji) — U.S. President Barack Obama bid farewell to the world stage Sunday, pondering his legacy and offering advice to his successor at the end of his final foreign tour.

His historic presidency and charisma have made Obama a rock star on the international scene, even at times when the daily grind of politics dimmed the glow around his election as the United States’ first black president in 2008.

Obama spoke to both the American people and the world as he gave his final foreign press conference in Lima. Read the rest of this entry »

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Conrad Black: The Clintons, Bushes and Obamas are Finally Finished

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The public’s loathing and distrust of the media is richly deserved and indicative of one of Western society’s greatest failings: the free press has failed. 

The public’s loathing and distrust of the media is richly deserved and indicative of one of Western society’s greatest failings: the free press has failed. Only the fact that there is no alternative keeps it going. Few people now pay much attention to the common misrepresentation of public issues and people; nor should they. The American media turned itself inside out trying to portray Trump as a misogynist, a racist and an authoritarian populist whipping up mobs and inciting violence. All this was unmitigated rubbish. President Barack Obama strutted about the campaign trail in a last-ditch effort to salvage the Clinton campaign (despite the notorious absence of any affection between the Obamas and the Clintons), and accused Trump of being a sympathizer of the Ku Klux Klan. The president would have his listeners believe that Trump, who has an unblemished record as an equal opportunity employer, approves of thugs surging about in hoods and bedsheets, burning crosses on the lawns of African-Americans, Jews and Roman Catholics (most of whose 30 million voters cast their ballots for Trump).

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“Fareed has generously invited me back this Sunday. But his program wasn’t fair comment or thoughtful information: it was propaganda, less virulent and hateful, certainly, than that of infamous promoters of the big lie in totalitarian states, but almost as lacking in integrity or balance.”

The media screamed for Trump’s blood when the Clinton campaign released an 11-year-old tape of boorish remarks about women, though what Trump said was the bland and pious reflection of a Baptist minister compared to the normal conversation of Lyndon Johnson, or the actual conduct, while discharging presidential business, of Bill Clinton. It was magnificent watching the Clinton News Network (CNN) robots on autocue scurrying around like asphyxiated roaches as it became clear that Trump would do the impossible and win, and that the public saw through the animosity of the lazy, complacent, boot-licking, myth-making claque of the Washington media, with its liars, defamers, frauds and idiots.

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[Read the full story here, at National Post]

Last Sunday, I was a token expositor of a positive view of Trump, though I am no Clinton-basher, on Fareed Zakaria’s television program GPS. Fareed, a pleasant and capable man and a friend of many years, opened with a frenzied recitation of Trump’s status as a sexist, racist, xenophobic and crooked demagogue. What followed for 45 minutes, apart from Zbigniew Brzezinski’s artful debunking of the Obama foreign policy (“engaged but ineffectual”), was a sequence of Clinton-parrots. There was a debate between two pollsters about the breadth of Hillary Clinton’s almost inevitable margin of victory. I politely demurred from all this when my turn came after 50 minutes, and Fareed has generously invited me back this Sunday. But his program wasn’t fair comment or thoughtful information: it was propaganda, less virulent and hateful, certainly, than that of infamous promoters of the big lie in totalitarian states, but almost as lacking in integrity or balance. Read the rest of this entry »


BEAST MODE: China Debuts J-20 Stealth Jet in Show of Strength

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ZHUHAI, China (Reuters) –Tim Hepher and Brenda Goh report: China showed its Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter in public for the first time on Tuesday, opening the country’s biggest meeting of aircraft makers and buyers with a show of its military clout.

“It’s a change of tactics for the Chinese to publicly show off weapons that aren’t in full squadron service yet, and demonstrates a lot of confidence in the capability, and also a lot of pride.”

— Sam Roggeveen, a senior fellow at the Sydney-based Lowy Institute

Airshow China, in the southern city of Zhuhai, offers Beijing an opportunity to demonstrate its ambitions in civil aerospace and to underline its growing capability in defense. China is set to overtake the U.S. as the world’s top aviation market in the next decade.

Two J-20 jets, Zhuhai’s headline act, swept over dignitaries, hundreds of spectators and industry executives gathered at the show’s opening ceremony in a flypast that barely exceeded a minute, generating a deafening roar that was met with gasps and applause and set off car alarms in a parking lot.

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“I think we learned very little. We learned it is very loud. But we can’t tell what type of engine it has, or very much about the mobility. Most importantly, we didn’t learn much about its radar cross-section.”

— Greg Waldron, Asia Managing Editor of FlightGlobal

Experts say China has been refining designs for the J-20, first glimpsed by planespotters in 2010, in the hope of narrowing a military technology gap with the United States. President Xi Jinping has pushed to toughen the armed forces as China takes a more assertive stance in Asia, particularly in the South China and East China seas.

“It is clearly a big step forward in Chinese combat capability,” said Bradley Perrett of Aviation Week, a veteran China watcher.

State-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) was also bullish on China’s appetite for new civilian planes, estimating the market would need 6,865 new aircraft worth $930 billion over the next 20 years.

The COMAC forecast – similar to long-term outlooks from well-established rivals Boeing Co and Airbus Group – said China would make up almost a fifth of global demand for close to 40,000 planes over the next two decades. Read the rest of this entry »


Reason to Avoid Quarreling

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[VIDEO] What does China want in the South China Sea? In 60 Seconds

DigitalGlobe overview imagery from June 3rd, 2016 of the Fiery Cross Reef located in the South China Sea. Fiery Cross is located in the western part of the Spratly Islands group.  Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images.

Unlike China’s neighbors, the South China Sea‘s islands are not within China’s exclusive economic zone. So what do they want there? AEI Research Fellow Michael Mazza describes China’s motivations for its claims in the waters near the Philippines and Vietnam.

 


No Respect for POTUS in Asia

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The president emerged from a smaller staircase in the belly of the aircraft, and many saw it as a deliberate sign of disrespect by the Chinese.

 reports: On President Obama’s final trip to Asia, his impending lame-duck status is showing.

Mr. Obama, who arrived in Laos late Monday night to become the first U.S. president ever to visit the Southeast Asian country, is encountering more than his usual share of friction and confrontation on his 10th trip to the region.

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It started with his arrival at the airport in China, where Chinese officials failed to provide a portable staircase for Mr. Obama to disembark from the upper door of Air Force One with the typical grandiose visibility befitting a visiting head of state. Instead, the president emerged from a smaller staircase in the belly of the aircraft, and many saw it as a deliberate sign of disrespect by the Chinese.

Republican nominee Donald Trump said he would have refused to meet with Chinese officials if they treated him like they treated Mr. Obama. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘Laos!’ Obama Meets Laotian President in First U.S. Presidential Visit

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VIENTIANE, Laos (AP) — President Barack Obama on Monday became the first sitting U.S. president to step foot in the isolated Southeast Asian nation of Laos, opening a three-day visit meant to rebuild trust and close a dark chapter in the shared history between the two countries.

Obama is one of several world leaders coming to the country of nearly 7 million people, where the one-party communist state tightly controls public expression but is using its moment in the spotlight as host of the annual meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to open up to outsiders.

Under a steady, tropical rain, Obama arrived late Monday and began a full day of ceremony and diplomacy Tuesday morning with a meeting with Laotian President Bounnhang Vorachit. The president was greeted by a military band and a display of the troops at the presidential palace.

The visit comes during what is probably Obama’s final trip as president to Southeast Asia, a region that has enjoyed intense attention from the U.S. during his tenure. Obama’s frequent visits to oft-ignored corners of the Asia Pacific have been central to his strategy for countering China’s growing dominance in the region. By bolstering diplomatic ties in Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, the Obama administration has declared it wants to compete for influence and market access in China’s backyard.

In Laos, Obama will wrestle with the ghosts of past U.S. policies.

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In the 1960s and 1970s, the U.S. rained bombs on Laotian villages and the countryside as America’s war with Vietnam spilled across the border. The Laotian government estimates that more than 2 million tons of ordnance were released during more than 500,000 missions — one bomb every eight minutes for nine years. Read the rest of this entry »