Sunday, May 29, 2011




In the second quarter of 2010, China became the second largest economy in the world . It’s GDP by nominal value was $1.337 trillion bigger than that of Japan whose GDP by nominal value was $1.288 trillion. Japan had up until the second quarter of 2010 been the second largest economy. It was a time that the Chinese knew will come since It is only five years since China’s economy was half the size of Japan’s, a day which only highlighted a change which has been going on in the world for over four decades, a change brought about by a new force, which has taken the world by shock- “A RISING CHINA”. China has seen a rapid growth in all aspects of it’s nationhood which the world has never seen before. It is a rapid growth that has spanned for over three decades. China has a new found power that is fast making it a superpower. It’s rapid economic growth has also enabled it to grow it’s military capabilities as well it’s foreign influence rapidly. But what does China want to achieve with this new found power and what does it mean for the rest of the world. Before the advent of China, the direction and implementation of global policy was charted by one nation-The United States of America. The US still has the most powerful foreign policy and is still largely responsible for the direction of global policy but experts say China’s rise will challenge this dominance. Some experts even go as predicting that China could undermine and even overthrow the US as the world’s foreign policy power house. The US is seeing a gradual decline in it’s global influence although efforts by the Obama administration to stop this decline and rebuild the US’s influence appear to be paying off as he has succeeded in rebuilding and creating new alliances. The recent gradual decline in US influence made possible by the war in Iraq and Afghanistan has left the door open for China to step in and step up efforts to build it’s global influence and so far the Chinese appear to be doing so. But the manner in which it has been doing so has left many to wonder what exactly it’s motives and objectives are and to say that it’s foreign policy could create further global instability. While the US foreign policy has not been perfect, Experts agree that it has left the world in a much better shape and is responsible for global prosperity and the emergence of new powers. New powers such as China which is now really beginning to flex it’s muscles.
China has developed a foreign policy which is primarily based on soft power-the power to persuade and win hearts and mind. This soft power approach is primarily targeted at foreign governments in attempts to win over them and influence them. China foreign policy unlike that of the US has not been devoted to advancing any higher international ideological interests such as world communism or world democracy since the Cold War; that is, ideology appears to be secondary to advancing its national interest. China officially states it "unswervingly pursues an independent foreign policy of peace. The fundamental goals of this policy are to preserve China's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, create a favorable international environment for China's reform and opening up and modernization construction, maintain world peace and propel common development." But this has not been the case for Chinese foreign policy. China’s soft power strategy is based on using it’s deep pockets to get what it wants. The “unrestricted” nature of Beijing’s overseas loans and investments is attractive to foreign governments wanting swifter, more efficient, larger finances for their development problems than western lenders will offer. Most of these are undemocratic and authoritarian governments who due to the West’s stand on democracy and human rights cannot work with the West. In the aspect of maintaining world peace which China states as part of it’s foreign policy, many experts believe that China has failed as it’s policies of working with undemocratic or authoritarian governments most of whom undermine the rights of their people and threaten global stability as seriously disturbing and one that could lead to instability in the regions where these nations are found. It’s policy of national interest first means that it does not care if it deals with authoritarian or undemocratic governments as long as it’s national interests are met. While Chinese loans to these governments do come with some strings attached but not the kind that more established Western nations attach. China hasn't demonstrated much concern with reducing graft, increasing transparency, or improving conditions for private-sector firms; instead, it requires recipient countries, to varying degrees, to buy and hire from China. China has a very large and diverse National interest, from it’s hunger for more access to the world’s energy and mineral resources, it’s claims on territories and vital sea lanes around China, to it’s stance on Taiwan being part of China.
China’s foreign policy strength is fast growing but there is a lack of taking on international responsibilities in it’s foreign policy. This lack of international responsibilities experts say is as a result of a fear by China that taking on international responsibilities would entrap China and that would interfere with it’s development and rise as a Global power. China therefore places strongly it’s national interest ahead of all other things resulting in growing tensions with an ever growing list of countries. This is made worse by what many analyst have called a struggle between the military, civilian government and state owned companies to control China’s foreign policy. This new competition between the military, state-owned companies and across ministries to influence China’s foreign policy is as a result of an explosion of special interest has caused unease between China and it’s neighbors as well as within China itself. Tensions previously unnoticed by the outside world between the Peoples Liberation Army and civilian side of the government are becoming more visible. The island dispute is the latest instance of bodies other than the party's central leadership driving China's engagement with the outside world. The military is seen as the principal driving force for China’s claims of the seas around the country. This interference of China’s foreign policy has not gone well in the region as it has raised tensions and forced it’s neighbors as well the US which has a lot of allies in the region to counter China’s influence something which experts fear would lead to more tension and possibly confrontation.
As China continues it’s very rapid growth so will it’s global influence grow rapidly. But whether or not it will have any positive impact globally is left to be seen. So far China’s foreign policy has been fueled by special interest and without any attempt to meet globally challenges. While other nations like the US also consider their national interest in their foreign policy they also tackle global issues and try to and do implement policies of which the world has benefited a lot. This is not the case with China as it’s foreign policy is now clearly seen to be benefiting only one side-China. But for China to continue to grow rapidly it will have to begin to consider the world in it’s Foreign Policy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The year 2010 saw Wikileaks making headlines as it’s actions won it both praise and criticism. WikiLeaks is an international new media non-profit organization that publishes submissions of otherwise unavailable documents from anonymous news sources and news leaks. Its website, launched in 2006, is run by The Sunshine Press. But it was until 2o10 that it gained international recognition. First came the posting of a video from a 2007 incident in which Iraqi civilians and journalists were killed by U.S. forces, on a website called Collateral Murder in April 2010. In July of the same year, WikiLeaks released Afghan War Diary, a compilation of more than 76,900 documents about the War in Afghanistan not previously available for public review. In October 2010, the group released a package of almost 400,000 documents called the Iraq War Logs in coordination with major commercial media organizations. Perhaps in it’s most controversial and bold move yet, in November 2010, WikiLeaks began releasing U.S. State department diplomatic cables. The release of these new cables from the US State department has sparked outrage from the US and has seen Wikileaks now become the target and focus of many governments. WikiLeaks and its members have seen continuing harassment and surveillance by law enforcement and intelligence organizations, including extended detention, seizure of computers, veiled threats, “covert following and hidden photography” and this has gotten worse since the release of the US Diplomatic cables. Even private organizations and companies have also been cutting off Wikileaks. It’s director Julian Assange has felt the pressure the most and has an extradition request against him approved. The US diplomatic cables are classified documents of detailed correspondence between the U.S. State Department and its diplomatic missions around the world. The contents of the cables describe international affairs from 300 embassies dated from 1966–2010, containing diplomatic analysis of world leaders, an assessment of host countries, and a discussion about international and domestic issues. They take an unaltered look and describe in detail events and incidents surrounding international affairs from 274 embassies dating from 28 December 1966 to 28 February 2010. The diplomatic cables revealed numerous unguarded comments and revelations: critiques and praises about the host countries of various U.S. embassies, discussion and resolutions towards ending ongoing tension in the Middle East, efforts and resistance towards nuclear disarmament, actions in the War on Terror, assessments of other threats around the world, dealings between various countries, U.S. intelligence and counterintelligence efforts, U.S. support of dictatorship and other diplomatic actions. While the extent of the Damage done by the cable leaks is yet to be seen, reaction to the US cable leaks has been split along two lines. Western governments have led the criticism and a wide range of efforts to undermine Wiki leaks which is paying off while News outlets, Human right organizations and left leaning Nations have praised Wikileaks and it’s director Assange.
The support for Wikileaks and the lack of crticism by several influential media organizations has raised fears that Western governments which might now begin to curtail media freedom more than ever and that this could be done in the shadows. The Diplomatic cable leak has once again spurned the debate on Press freedom. Experts argue that these leaks which gives access to information that is suppose to be secret would force the US and other western governments to begin to take black actions in order to protect their secrets. This kind of leak would not be tolerated by Russia or China who would do anything to prevent such a leak. Since 9/11, press freedom in the West has come under attack as governments argue that national security is more important than transparency. The Diplomatic cable leaks by Wikileaks only gives more credibility to this claim. In countries that have enshrined the right to free speech in their constitutions, it has until now been taken for granted that disclosures of confidential government information must be measured by the yardstick of the law. The Wikileaks saga has seen talks about limiting Press freedom for National security reasons arise again in western nations. While Julian Assange claims to have done good in publishing the diplomatic cables by claiming that it will help keep the US government in line, these so-called "legitimate and newsworthy" government secrets which entail publications of secrets that may harm national security and have substantial "value as a step to truth", it’s effects and blowback has not been fully seen. Western Governments might be forced to refrain from taking action against organizations like Wikileaks in public because of their nations Ideals and Values but what is to stop them from doing so in secret.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation with a population of over 150 million people, Africa's second largest economy is set to celebrate her 50 years of independence on the October 1 2010.Nigeria is a nation with over 250 ethnic groups, rich in culture and traditions with the number of languages currently estimated and cataloged in Nigeria over 521. Nigeria is expected to put on a star studded show for the world in celebration of it's 50 years of independence. But before we Nigerians begin to celebrate, let us look back at the last 50 years to see what and if we have achieved anything. As a nation Nigeria has come to be plagued by a very deadly and contagious disease-"THE NIGERIAN MENTALITY".
On October 1 1960, Nigeria gained her independence from Britain, it was a day of celebration for a nation which many held high hopes for. This hopes however, have long vanished barely few years after her independence. It first began with a coup on January 15, 1966 which was followed by a civil war from 1967-1970. These two events are often regarded by experts as the source of Nigeria's problem. The 1966 coup which was the first in Nigeria was the beginning in a long line of military coups and leadership that spanned for more than 3 decades. The civil war exposed divisions amongst the people-religious and ethnic. Decades of military rule which brought severe hardships on the people has left the ordinary Nigeria with a stigma-hopelessness. Nigerian leaders and her political elite are known for being inhibitors of progress and for their very bad qualities, qualities which the masses has not only learnt but adopted in order to survive, qualities which make up-"THE NIGERIAN MENTALITY"
The bad qualities that make up THE NIGERIAN MENTALITY are so many that one tends to wonder if we as a nation will ever outgrow it. From corruption, sheer wickedness, lack of compassion,laziness, cowardism to the i don't care attitude only to mention but a few. But perhaps of all these negative qualities, corruption, cowardism and the i don't care attitude stand out from the rest. Nigeria is one of the world's most corrupt nation with an estimated $241 billion looted by it's leaders since her independence. Corruption in Nigeria began as political corruption but soon quickly poisoned our public institutions. Political corruption is not a recent phenomenon that pervades the Nigerian state. Since the creation of modern public administration in the country, there have been cases of official misuse of resources for personal enrichment. The rise of public administration and the discovery of oil and natural gas are two major events seen to have led to a litany of ignoble corrupt practices in the country.What once started as political corruption is now a common act performed by virtually every citizen across social, ethnic and economic background.The international community has come to know Nigeria as a state where anything goes due to corruption. Corruption has and continues to be the single biggest problem in Nigeria and has left the nation in a state of backwardness. Since the end of the civil war which saw corruption peak in Nigeria the nations has seen very little or no development at all. From infrastructural development( power, transport and other basic amenities), agricultural, education, health and human development, Nigeria has seen little progress in it's national development due to immense corruption. This has left the nation stagnant and even moving backwards in certain areas of national development. The current administration has launched an ambitious agenda under it's "VISION 2020" which will see Nigeria become one of the top 20 nations in the world in terms of her economy. For this to happen, Nigeria will have to build up her infrastructures which have suffered decades of neglect. But with corruption now more rampant than ever one tend to wonder just how the VISION 2020 will be achieved. Corruption is a major cause of poverty and a barrier to overcome it. There are so many causes of corruption in Nigeria. They include;
1. Weak Government institutions
2. Poor pay incentives
3. Lack of openness and Transparency in public service
4. Absence of key anti corruption tools
5.Ineffective political processes
6. Culture and acceptance of corruption by the populace
7. Absence of effective political financing
8. Poverty
9. Ethnic and religious difference
10. Resource scramble
Despite the ongoing fight against corruption being executed by the nations EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Unit) and ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission), corruption is stronger than ever. The fight against corruption in Nigeria is not working because of the following factors:

1. Insincerity of Government
2. Pre-bargaining and Negotiation, highly placed officials caught of corrupt practices are made to part with some of their looted funds and are thereafter set free.
3. Low deterrent- the punitive measures for corrupt practices need to be strengthened
4. Lack of virile political and social movements to tackle corruption. The mass of the people are yet to be mobilized in the fight against corruption
5. Lack of access to public information. A lot of secrecy still pervades Government documents, and this underlies the need for the passage of the freedom of Information Bill presently before Nigeria’s National Assembly.
6. Insecurity of Informants-There is a need to enact laws to protect informants as well as reward them
7. Low public participation in Governance
8. Corrupt Electoral system
9. Nepotism
10. Systemic disorder
11. Weak Government Institutions
Corruption is a cancer-worm that has stunted the growth of Nigeria in all ramifications.Corruption in all facets of our economic life will be minimized if everybody will take a decision to effect a change. This change will not be easy but it is necessary for a change to take place in Nigeria.Corruption has affected all aspects of our lives, religious, political and economic.Corruption has also led to the adoption of the "i don't care attitude", an attitude which has also contributed to the detriment of our society. Nigeria is where it is today not only because of corruption but also because of the attitude of it's people and that makes us the cause of corruption. In the fight against corruption, many probes on frauds, looting have not yielded anything reasonable as politicians as well as ordinary Nigerians in positions of influence sit on peoples wealth comfortably without remorse thanks to our Judiciary whose inaction has not helped matters as they only inflame it.It is no wonder why when the government says it it is fighting corruption, it is merely lip service as fighting corruption in Nigeria will live us without a government because they are corruption itself and since we the people are now part and parcel of it,it might entail no more Nigeria.Corruption has,is and will continue to be the source of Nigeria's problem and it seems to be getting worse under our democratic government.It is the sole cause of our problems and has given birth to perhaps an even bigger problem-POVERTY.(PART 1)to be continued.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) for a long time has been raising tensions between itself and International community. The World’s most isolated nation has succeeded in further isolating itself. The North Korean government is a dictatorship well known for it’s blatant defiance of international rules, as well as it’s seemingly imperiousness to outsiders especially to the United States. North Korea, the world’s most militarized nation, having the fourth largest army in the world, at nearly 1.2 million armed personnel, with an estimated stockpile of 6-8 nuclear weapons, has been demanding the attention of the world for a long time.
North Korea’s rhetoric has for a greater part of two decades been targeted at the United States, whom they regard as imperialists. Part of this rhetoric is North Korea’s regard of the US as it’s perpetual enemy, when in reality expert’s say it craves America’s attention and wants to have a good relationship with the US. The relationship between North Korea and the US has been filled with tension ever since the Korean war which began in 1950 and ended in 1953 in an armistice. However, experts blame the US for fueling much of North Korea’s rhetoric as well as rise in tensions between both nations. The tension experts say, began to build-up after the US labeled North Korea as a “Rouge state”. This labeling pushed the US towards as a default strategy of containment and isolation. This pushed North Korea to adopt a very aggressive strategy towards the US and the international community (mainly the west). North Korea’s military buildup is also seen as one of the byproduct of the US strategy of containment and isolation. But implementing this strategy has been virtually impossible for the US; as North Korea does not fit a rouge state. The Clinton administration recognized this and had to exclude North Korea from it’s adopted one-size-fits-all approach to so-called “rouge states”. The US labeling of North Korea as a rouge state has stuck her in a conundrum: either it must talk to and negotiate with a regime that it would normally not talk to nor negotiate with, or it should try to isolate North Korea even more. Isolation, however, is no longer possible as North Korea is now in possession of nuclear weapons and that cannot be ignored. During the Clinton administration, good diplomatic progress was made with North Korea in terms of negotiations on key issues such as: Human rights, missile technology proliferation and it’s nuclear weapons program. This negotiations between the US and North Korea translated into positive progress on the ground on some of the issues, despite several irrational actions undertaken by the North Koreans during that period. Actions such as the testing of a ballistic missile (Taepodong I) in 1998 which flew over Japan and the submarine incursion into South Korea. This successes culminated in the 2000 Inter-Korea summit meeting which was the most important reconciliation event that the Koreas had taken part in since the division of the peninsula. A change in the administration in Washington and the September 11, 2001, attacks ended the window of opportunity with the North. Compared with 2000, 2001 and 2002 showed a death in the relationship between the US and North Korea, mostly because of the terrorist attacks and President Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech (in which he labeled North Korea alongside Iran, Libya, Iraq, Cuba, and Syria) in early 2002. President Bush’s change in policy towards North Korea, shown by it’s decision not to pick up where President Clinton had left off, drove a wedge in the already warming relationship between both countries. This left North Korea with no choice but to turn to it’s rhetoric of war and that of wiping out the US. North Korea’s military build-up is due to a real of a potential US military attack which was reinforced by the Bush administration’s goal of confronting rouge states (which includes North Korea) and also it’s firm believe in and support of preemptive strikes against such nations. The North Koreans also blame the US for being the root cause of the suffering and misfortune of it’s people. Both nations for over two decades have been using strong language to label each other and the their leaders. Experts believe that recent negative and aggressive rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang was due to the lack of a negotiating relationship between the United State and North Korea as well as President Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech. Experts also believe that North Korea is being affected by the United State’s negative rhetoric as it does not like been called names and that this could be a stumbling block in terms of of potential negotiations.
North Korea has conducted two nuclear weapons test (October 2006 and May 2009) ,the first test which was widely believed to be triggered by the Bush administration’s strong language and policies towards North Korea. However, it is also known that these tests as well as the ballistic missile tests by North Korea are means of attracting attention from the international community especially attention from the US. The North Korean threat is merely a mirage as it lacks the industrial capacity to build large numbers of long-ranged missiles which are it’s greatest assets of threats. They will not be able to build so many weapons as to become a strategic factor in the region. North Korea only poses a threat to the South and it’s leadership knows that an attack on the South means an end to the regime. . North Korea does not want war neither does it want to destroy the US, no far from it. It wants a friendly relationship with the world especially the United States. Why would the leader of a nation that wants to wipe out the United States spend so much time learning about US history? The North Koreans want peace and security but it does not know how to achieve this and sees it’s rhetoric of war as the only way to achieve this. The US should stop it’s negative rhetoric towards North Korea and should rather engage North Korea. Isolating North Korea further could threaten the stability of the immediate region surrounding North Korea. Instability within the region would most likely spill over and upset Global security, since North Korea’s neighbors are amongst some of the most powerful nations in the world. Engagement with North Korea is thus needed, as containing and confronting North Korea would only heighten it’s resolve, whereas engagement would be more successful.