World Politics News

26 April 2017


On Tuesday, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) readings at the Manua Loa Observatory in Hawaii reached 410 parts per million (ppm) a level last reached millions of years ago.  When the measurements started in 1958, the levels were 280 ppm and it was only in 2013 that the levels passed 400 ppm.  At best, we can only slow the rate of increase–these levels will persist for many years even if CO2 emissions are cut drastically.  If unchecked, the levels will reach those of 50 million years ago by the end of the century.


China has launched its first domestically-made aircraft carrier.  Its first aircraft carrier was a retrofitted Russian aircraft carrier, and the new one reflects China’s rapid development as a maritime power.  The new vessel is designed primarily for coastal and close-shore combat:  it is diesel-powered, not nuclear-powered, which limits how long it can stay at sea;  it has a ski-lift jump for its aircraft which limits how much fuel and how many weapons each can carry; and it can hold only a relatively small number of aircraft.  The Navy Times places the new vessel in context:

“China is believed to be planning to build at least two and possibly as many as four additional carriers, with one of them, the Type 002, reported to be already under construction at a shipyard outside Shanghai. They are expected to be closer in size to the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered 100,000-ton Nimitz class ships, with flat flight decks and catapults to allow planes to launch with more bombs and fuel aboard.”

“According to Chinese reports, the new, as yet unnamed, carrier will carry 24 Shenyang J-15 fighters, based on the Russian Sukhoi Su-33, along with 12 helicopters for anti-submarine warfare, airborne early warning and rescue operations. That compares to 85-90 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters carried by a Nimitz-class carrier.

“As China expands its navy, it is projected to have a total of 265-273 warships, submarines and logistics vessels by 2020, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Naval Analysis. That compares with 275 deployable battle force ships presently in the U.S. Navy, China’s primary rival in the Asia Pacific.
“The U.S. operates 10 aircraft carriers, has 62 destroyers to China’s 32, and 75 submarines to China’s 68. The U.S. Navy has 323,000 personnel to China’s 235,000.”
The vessel represents a fairly constrained view of naval aspirations for China–it should not be viewed as a challenge to US naval power.
Buddhists have been involved in violent attacks against Muslims in Thailand, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.  The idea that Buddhists can engage in violent acts strikes many in the West as inconsistent with Buddhism. But Buddhists defend their ideas fiercely and Michael Jerryson, Associate Professor of religious studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Youngstown State University in Ohio, has written a fascinating essay on how many in the West misunderstand the fundamental tenets of this way of life.  Jerryson writes:
“Each Buddhist tradition has transformed with the times – and the times are always changing. But there are persistent patterns that keep pace with these changes. Buddhist monks in the early sixth-century China led revolts to defend Buddhism. Today, monks in Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka continue to fight – violently – for their religion and to call their followers to action. The cycle of violence continues in this final stage of the cycle of time: the Kali Yuga, the Age of Destruction.”