So are we finally going to be getting that water war everyone talks about?
Ethiopia on Wednesday said it planned to build a huge dam on the Nile despite a long-running row with Egypt over use of the river and concern the dispute may spark a war.
The nine countries through which the river passes have for more than a decade been locked in often bitter talks to renegotiate colonial-era treaties that gave Egypt and Sudan the lion’s share of the river’s waters.
However, six of the nine upstream countries — Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi — have signed a new deal stripping Egypt of its veto. “The Great Nile dam construction is scheduled to commence presently near the Ethio-Sudan border,” Water and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said.
In November, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told Reuters that Egypt was backing rebel groups in his country because of the Nile dispute and that if it went to war with upstream countries over the river it would lose.
Via. Egypt could be in something of a squeeze here. There’s currently a major drought affecting China’s grain producing areas. Beijing says it won’t affect the harvest, but it’s already buying quite heavily on international markets. If that drives prices up, the first elected Egyptian government could already be looking at bread riots and a longer term prospect of either water shortages affecting domestic crop raising or conflict in order to prevent this happening. And if the Egyptian army gets sick of the hopey-changy thing, it’s the perfect excuse to declare a state of emergency.
More generally, if there’s a post tsunami collapse in Japanese economic activity and therefore less demand for oil, the various middle eastern governments which have chosen to alleviate their little local difficulties by throwing money at them my find the price of their major export dropping.
Check out all these former serfs...getting their emancipation on at the third annual Serfs Emancipation Day. Don't they look "emancipated" to you? There's so much emancipation in these photos, I think I just emancipated in my pants.
Currently viral in the Sinosphere: This traffic safety video uploaded by the cops in Heze City, Shandong. Not so much Green Cross Code. More Death Race 2000, complete with music track that suddenly shifts from cheesy sub-classical to death metal two thirds of the way in. Probably NSFW.
"By then, a political order stable enough to replace the previous one had been found; it had taken thirt years and countless deaths. It consisted of a one-party state run by a strictly temporary autocrat, pledged to an ideology of revolutionary nationalism yet committed to a path of intensive capitalist development. The system was to last over fifty years. Its creators believed in state-led development based on modern-agricultural production and financed by a combination of public and foreign private investment. From then the elite, operating through the Party, embarked on a program of state-led industrialization through import-substitution and protection for domestic enterprises.
Over the following decades the growth of the economy was prodigious. The country was transformed from an agricultural nation into a predominantly urban and industrial society, with an average growth rate of over 6 percent a year. The growth of the manufacturing industry was even higher at an average growth rate of 9 percent. Just over half of the population livedi n urban areas; twenty years later the urban population had grown to 69 percent.
The stategy, in industry as in agriculture, was to promote development by creating a partnership of private business and the state. The state provided the infrastructure and the basic utilities through its corporations, while the private sector followed the broad lines of development indicated by government planners in a business environment protected from external competition by high tariff barriers and stimulated by easy credit from state banks. The Party's control of the trade unions assured private business of a co-operative labour force."
Mexico, 1940-1990. (It's from the Penguin History of Latin America, slightly tweaked to remove dates and names). They even had their own student massacre. Anyway, this is in service of a point I like to make when Chinese start claiming the "China model" is unique, special, etc; it's to a large-degree, a relatively developmental model that has had a unique impact because of *size,* not quality. But the CCP should definitely change its name to the "Party of the Institutional Revolution."
This is absolutely essential reading, though I think that “arming the rebels” has always been a pretext for inserting ground forces in the same way that a "no fly zone" was a pretext for giving them close air support. We’re in another long war and it’s a consequence of adopting war as a casual instrument of foreign policy.
Hmm. Some people within the Ugandan government have taken $740 million from the defense budget to buy unspecified military aircraft from a country they decline to name. I bet they’re special invisible planes too.
And as the Libyan edition of 'Wacky Races with air raids' continues, the boys in Cote D'Ivoire show how it's done.
More from Claud Cockburn’s autobiography. This time on why he decided not to become an anti-communist after leaving the Party:
If a man was fooled enough to be fooled by a lot of fools who he now declares to be fools, and furthermore was fooled for years on end, should any intelligent person pay much attention to his testimony?