China is starting to get my attention

Imperialism

China


Fig. 1. “Map of Qing Empire filled with the flag.” Graphic by Daniel222potato [pseud.], via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

I’ve been inclined to dismiss a lot of what’s been said about China as overhyped xenophobia, particularly during the Donald Trump administration. Particularly as the disputes over the South China Sea rumble on and particularly with saber-rattling at Taiwan, doubts about that are creeping in.

None of this is new and I still don’t think China will actually invade Taiwan. I think Xi Jinping takes seriously a form of Teddy Roosevelt’s foreign policy advice to “speak softly and carry a big stick,”[1] strongly preferring soft (diplomatic and economic) power, but clearly backed by hard (military) power, advancing the latter where he can, pushing the envelope to gain more, and thereby improving his leverage in soft power, which also makes it easier to increase hard power.

It’s mostly annoying but we’re talking about a very big, nuclear-armed army, so it’s also frightening. And Xi’s pushing the envelope is inherently risky; it’s hard to imagine even the U.S. actually challenging the drip-drip of these incursions, but the risk exists.

Ishaan Tharoor, “U.S. and China lock horns at Asia’s top security forum,” Washington Post, June 4, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/04/us-china-shangri-la-dialogue/

Taiwan

Brad Lendon and Eric Cheung, “China accuses US of ‘provocation’ after near collision of warships,” Cable News Network, June 4, 2023, https://edition.cnn.com/2023/06/04/asia/china-defense-minister-shangri-la-speech-intl-hnk/index.html

Russia

Ukraine


Fig. 2. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[2] fair use.

Lewis Page, “A horrifying embarrassment for Putin stands to test Zelensky’s nerves of steel,” Telegraph, June 4, 2023, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2023/06/04/ukraine-russia-shadow-war-putin-belgorod-strikes/

Belgorod

Lewis Page, “A horrifying embarrassment for Putin stands to test Zelensky’s nerves of steel,” Telegraph, June 4, 2023, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2023/06/04/ukraine-russia-shadow-war-putin-belgorod-strikes/


Pennsylvania

Higher Education


Fig. 3. The Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh (“Pitt”). Photograph by “RealNordyNed,” December 17, 2015, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0.

It looks like universities in Pennsylvania face declining enrollment with low state support and high tuitions.[3]

Though Pennsylvania remains one of the states with the largest number of college students — it had the 10th largest college student body in 2022 — that number doesn’t align with its general population ranking. Pennsylvania is the fifth-most populous state in the nation. The four most populous states – California, Texas, Florida and New York – enrolled the most students in 2022. . . .

In terms of funding per public college student, Pennsylvania ranked 49th. In comparison, its neighbors ranked seventh (New York), 19th (Maryland), 27th (New Jersey), 37th (Delaware), 38th (West Virginia) and 40th (Ohio).[4]

Given the prominence of white Christian nationalism in Pennsylvania politics, it’s hard for me to imagine this situation improving.

Maddie Aiken, “New report finds enrollment and state funding at Pennsylvania colleges continue to decline,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 5, 2023, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2023/06/05/new-enrollment-finds-enrollment-and-state-funding-at-pennsylvania-colleges-continues-to-decline/stories/202306030068

Pittsburgh

Century III Mall


Fig. 4. “The exterior of the closed Century III Mall taken from a drone . . . in West Mifflin.” Photograph by Benjamin B. Braun, May 11, 2023, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,[5] fair use.

Jeff Himler, “Teen falls through roof of shuttered Century III Mall,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 4, 2023, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/teen-falls-through-roof-of-shuttered-century-iii-mall/


Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 5. “Jake Angeli (Qanon Shaman), seen holding a Qanon sign at the intersection of Bell Rd and 75th Ave in Peoria, Arizona, on 2020 October 15.” Photography by TheUnseen011101 [pseud.], October 15, 2020, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Jacqueline Alemany et al., “Trump lawyers meeting with Justice Dept. on classified documents case,” Washington Post, June 5, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/06/05/trump-lawyers-meeting-justice-doj/

Josh Dawsey and Amy Gardner, “Trump-funded studies disputing election fraud are focus in two probes,” Washington Post, June 5, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2023/06/05/trump-funded-studies-disputing-election-fraud-are-focus-two-probes/


  1. [1]Teddy Roosevelt, quoted in Mary Gormandy White, “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick: Meaning Behind the Proverb,” Your Dictionary, January 21, 2022, https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/style-usage/speak-softly-carry-big-stick-meaning-behind-proverb
  2. [2]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q
  3. [3]Maddie Aiken, “New report finds enrollment and state funding at Pennsylvania colleges continue to decline,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 5, 2023, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2023/06/05/new-enrollment-finds-enrollment-and-state-funding-at-pennsylvania-colleges-continues-to-decline/stories/202306030068
  4. [4]Maddie Aiken, “New report finds enrollment and state funding at Pennsylvania colleges continue to decline,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 5, 2023, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2023/06/05/new-enrollment-finds-enrollment-and-state-funding-at-pennsylvania-colleges-continues-to-decline/stories/202306030068
  5. [5]Neena Hagen, “The fall of the Century: Once a retail shopping jewel, the West Mifflin mall has been left to rot,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 21, 2023, https://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2023/05/21/centuryiii-west-mifflin-mall-slag-heap-kaufmanns-sears-police-closed-crime/stories/202305210039

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.