Hudson Institute senior fellow Richard Weitz is calling attention to what he deems an “emerging China-Russia Axis” built around a military relationship between the two nations which is bolstered by arms sales, joint military exercises, battlefield technologies and other mutual defense ties. Mr. Weitz suggests the powerful pair have overcome “many of their Cold War tensions.”
The situation is, of course, complicated — but it’s also evolving.
“Both countries are concerned by the risk of becoming entangled in each other’s military conflicts with third parties. The United States and its allies must nonetheless plan for future military contingencies in which China or Russia could exploit U.S. conflicts with one of them to achieve gains at U.S. expense,” Mr. Weitz writes.
Find his succinct report here, at Hudson.org.
And from the complicated side of things: Russia’s news agency Tass reported this on Tuesday: “Russia and China are prepared to provide security guarantees to North Korea after the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRACY AT ‘MODERN-DAY HIGH’
Democratic socialists may be dismayed to know that the actual fate of democracy on planet Earth is very promising, despite persistent media reports or political communications that suggest otherwise. Simple numbers speak the loudest here.
“Concern has been growing for the past several years about the future of democracy, and there is considerable dissatisfaction in many countries with how democracy is working in practice. But public support for democratic ideals remains strong, and by one measure, global democracy is at or near a modern-day high,” writes Pew Research Center senior analyst Drew DeSilver.
As of the end of 2017, 96 out of 167 countries with populations of at least 500,000 (57%) were democracies of some kind, and only 21 (13%) were autocracies. Nearly four dozen other countries — 46, or 28% — exhibited elements of both democracy and autocracy. Broadly speaking, the share of democracies among the world’s governments has been on an upward trend since the mid-1970s, and now sits just shy of its post-World War II record (58% in 2016),” Mr. DeSilver said.
BETO CITES A BLUNDER
One Democratic hopeful now questions his own judgment following his appearance in a splashy Vanity Fair cover story based on his quest for the White House and the presidential race itself.
“I want to be in it. Man, I’m just born to be in it,” Beto O’Rourke told the publication.
Such assurance might not play well with grassroots voters, and Mr. O’Rourke now appears to regret his comment.
“I think it reinforces that perception of privilege. And that headline that said I was born to be in this — in the article I was attempting to say that I felt my calling was in public service. No one is born to be president of the United States of America, least of all me,” the candidate noted Tuesday in an appearance on ABC’s “The View.”
New York City politics grows fuzzier.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson has introduced legislation to ban all sales of fur apparel in the Big Apple — and will hold a public hearing on that bill Wednesday. Will the fur fly? Consider that the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco already have banned fur sales.
A new Mason-Dixon poll of 625 registered New York City voters found that 75% of the soft-hearted New Yorkers would support a city-wide law prohibiting the sale of fur apparel — an opinion shared by the town’s Republicans, Democrats and independents alike.
“The results show that New York City needs to take action to catch up to what is clearly society’s sentiment, that cruelty is not fashionable. New York City can be the ultimate fashion forward role model by passing this legislation,” declares Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, a nonprofit advocacy group.
It looks like Great Aunt Madge’s old mink coat and other furred fare will be grandfathered into the bill, however.
Ms. Feral points out that bill prohibits the sale of any fur apparel — “including any skin in whole or part with hair, fleece or fibers attached.” The bill does not ban leather or the sale of “used furs.” It does not prevent residents from wearing fur apparel they own — and it also contains an exemption for fur worn as a matter of religious custom.
Oh, but controversy rages.
Opponents of the legislations contend that fur is natural and “environmentally sustainable.” Opponents insist the fur apparel industry uses environmentally harmful chemicals which protect the fur from “the decomposing and decomposing of mink feces,” among other things.
The International Fur Federation, in fact, paid for a billboard above Times Square which advised “Fake fur kills fish” — referencing its claim that fake fur is composed of unfriendly chemicals and synthetics.
Meanwhile, the animal rights folks have organized into a coalition called Fur Free NYC, which consists of 60 different organizations who want the new legislation passed. They include PETA, the Humane Society of the United States and such groups as Project Coyote, the Animal’s Battalion and Global Strays.
Fox News Channel remains the most-watched cable news network according to Nielsen Media Research, garnering 2.4 million prime-time viewers; MSNBC drew 1.7 million, CNN 805,000. Presentations of “Hannity,” “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “The Ingraham Angle” and “The Five” claimed 17 of the top 40 cable telecasts overall in total viewers, Nielsen said.
And one specific rating of note: A Fox News town hall meeting featuring Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar had 1.4 million viewers. When Ms. Klobuchar appeared on a town-hall broadcast on CNN, the audience was 869,000.
“The town hall with Sen. Klobuchar marked the third most-watched town hall featuring 2020 Presidential candidates so far this year, beating all of CNN and MSNBC’s town halls with the exception of Democratic Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris on CNN on January 28th,” Fox News advised Tuesday.
POLL DU JOUR
• 72% of Americans say their personal definition of wealth is based on “the way they live their life.”
• 60% say they are optimistic they’ll have enough money to be considered wealthy “some day.”
• 60% wonder how friends can afford “expensive experiences” that they post on social media.
• 54% would buy a house, buy a car, or travel if they suddenly had $1 million.
• 28% would pay down their debt with the inheritance.
• 23% would invest it, 21% would save it, 7% would donate it.
Source: A Charles Schwab Modern Wealth Index Survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 8-14 and released Monday. Respondents could give multiple answers on what they would do with a sudden $1 million.
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