“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."
Saturday, May 30, 2015
Wasn’t free trade with China a great idea?
Finding supports American suspicions that Beijing is building up reefs in South China Sea for military purposes
U.S. surveillance imagery shows China has positioned weaponry on one of the artificial islands it is developing in the South China Sea, American officials said, supporting their suspicions that Beijing has been building up reefs for military purposes.
The U.S. imagery detected two Chinese motorized artillery pieces on one of the artificial islands built by China about one month ago. While the artillery wouldn’t pose a threat to U.S. planes or ships, U.S. officials said it could reach neighboring islands and that its presence was at odds with China’s public statements that the reclaimed islands are mainly for civilian use.
“There is no military threat,” a U.S. official told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. “But it is about the symbolism.”
While posing no military threat to the U.S., the motorized artillery was within range of an island claimed by Vietnam that Hanoi has armed with various weaponry for some time, the American officials said. Vietnamese officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
A Chinese Embassy spokesman in Washington wouldn’t comment specifically on the weaponry, but said its development work within the Spratly Islands—known by the Chinese as the Nansha Islands—was primarily civilian.