Category Archives: american culture

Imperial Corruption

This series of essays debuted in January 2000 with a meditation on tech stocks. I forecast that – contrary to the then-prevailing wisdom – internet equities would blossom by feeding on the moral rot of the society underneath them.

Not in my darkest rumination could I have envisioned the corruption of a whole generation of American youth through smart phones and social media, as documented by Professor Jean Twenge of the University of California San Diego. I repost below my maiden essay, “What if Internet Stocks Aren’t a Bubble?”

Read more at “US elites’ imperial corruption compares to Opium War”

Leave a comment

Filed under american culture, chinese culture, workplace insights

Privatize Hybrid Wars

Afghan debacle underscored the need to unleash America’s latent private sector capabilities to restore lost credibility and deterrence.

Four and a half years ago I offered the Trump administration an off ramp for the continuous loop of failure America faced in Afghanistan. A similar package was previously suggested to Team Obama and finally to Team Biden in January this year.

Sadly, the administrations’ set of “credentialed” experts rejected a common-sense rationalization for letting US troops depart. This summer’s graphic self-immolation of American credibility was the result. It didn’t have to be this way.

Read more at “Time for America to privatize its hybrid wars”

Leave a comment

Filed under american culture, chinese culture, workplace insights

Consensus or Conflict

“Consensus or conflict?” is a hard question to ask in the midst of a trade and technology war between the US and China. The Trump administration imposed a tariff of nearly 20% on most US imports from China and imposed the first-ever technology sanctions with extraterritorial reach, banning sales of semiconductors and the means of manufacturing them from third countries that employ substantial amounts of US technology.

The US persuaded the Dutch government to stop sales of advanced chip lithography equipment to China by ASML – the only manufacturer of extreme ultraviolet machines, which are required to make the most advanced chips.

With a bi-partisan political consensus hostile to China, the Biden Administration has shown no inclination to walk these measures back – although it did rescind one extraterritorial measure, namely the detention of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.

It is hard to envision a significant change in the US stance during the next 12 months, when an increasingly unpopular Administration must pull out every stop to maintain its thin majority in Congress.

Read more at “Finding paths through a bumpy world”

Leave a comment

Filed under american culture, chinese culture, workplace insights

Missile Attacks

Despite spending billions of dollars, the US still lacks a credible ballistic missile defense to protect its territory from Russia, China or Iran. The US does have some defenses against a possible missile strike from North Korea but even these systems require billions of dollars in new investment for needed improvements.  

A good interim solution for the US would be to adopt Israel’s Arrow-3 for homeland security defense, buying time to develop a new and capable ballistic missile defense system.

The US has three land-based missile defense systems and one sea-based system. Of the land-based systems, the Ground Based Midcourse Interceptor (GBI) is potentially the most important to protect US territory from an ICBM launch.  

Read more at America is highly vulnerable to a missile attack

Leave a comment

Filed under american culture, chinese culture, workplace insights

Sparks of Chinese Light

There are potentially huge, positive implications in the resolution of the three-year stalemate between China and the United States over the detention in Canada of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. She was released and returned to China after admitting some wrongdoing in her management of the company.

Initially, Beijing claimed Meng’s arrest was totally politically motivated; it was a blow against Huawei for its 5G global ambitions. Thus, it reacted by arresting two Canadian citizens, demanding Meng’s release, and refusing to discuss the accusation.

By confessing at least to misconduct, Meng acknowledged the arrest was not political, and it had actual legal basis. In return for the admission, the US gave up on sentencing Meng for something more severe or deporting her to America.

Read more at “Meng Wanzhou: Sparks of Chinese Light”

Leave a comment

Filed under american culture, chinese culture, workplace insights

Twenty Years After 

The question of “Islamic fundamentalism” became of general interest only after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Before that tragic date, it was a subject for specialized scholars. After 9/11, it is discussed both in Parliaments and in coffee shops, every time the world witnesses a “Muslim” terrorist attack.

What did we learn from this discussion? I believe we learned four theses, which are important for understanding the issues and also for defending religious liberty.

First, not all Muslims are fundamentalists. This thesis seems obvious. Everyone repeats it, from President Biden to my barber. But what does it mean, exactly? To understand it, two preliminary questions should be asked.

Read more at “Twenty Years After: Islam, Terrorism, and 9/11”

9/9 and 9/11, 20 years later

Afghan debacle

Leave a comment

Filed under american culture, workplace insights

US China Stalemate

John Kerry flew to Tianjin for a video link with his Chinese counterpart, who remained secluded in Beijing due to fears of contracting Covid-19. Couldn’t Kerry have avoided the trip and instead made a zoom call?

Chinese officials used climate envoy John Kerry’s visit as occasion to snub cooperation and call on US to ”rectify wrongdoings.” Twelve years ago in autumn, the Year of the Ox according to the traditional Chinese horoscope and a year after the massive 2008 financial crisis, then-US president Barack Obama went to Beijing to propose a mega deal to China.

It was a pact about the environment that could include technology transfer from the US to China. The pact didn’t gain traction in China and was finally scuttled at the climate conference in Copenhagen that December.

Last week, again in the Year of the Ox, US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry went to Tianjin to broach the environmental issue with the Chinese. Kerry, secretary of state for Obama from 2013 to 2017, didn’t fare much better this time.

Read more at US, China stuck in a loop spinning out of control”

Leave a comment

Filed under american culture, chinese culture, workplace insights

STEM PhD Graduates

In an earlier article, China-US contest will come down to education, I wrote about the crisis in American primary and secondary education. As promised then, this article addresses the relative decline of American universities in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

This change is not readily apparent. A large share of the best universities in the world are in the United States and they have a deserved reputation for excellence.

For example, the seventh annual ranking of the Best Global Universities conducted by US News & World Report and published in October 2020 found that 19 of the top 25 schools were American.

However, the arguably more internationally-minded QS World University Ranking published by UK company Quacquarelli Symonds in July this year found that 12 of the top 25 universities were in the US, five in the UK, three in China, two each in Singapore and Switzerland and one in Japan.

Then, at the beginning of August, the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) at Georgetown University in Washington issued a report entitled “China is Fast Outpacing US STEM PhD Growth,” which concluded that: “Based on current enrollment patterns, we project that by 2025 Chinese universities will produce more than 77,000 STEM PhD graduates per year compared to approximately 40,000 in the United States.”

Read more at “US falling further behind China in STEM PhD’s”

Leave a comment

Filed under american culture, chinese culture, workplace insights

And To Die Is Gain

On a sizzling summer’s day in 1925, 17-year-old Bill Wallace sat in a garage working on a dismantled Ford, but his thoughts were on the future. Putting down his wrench, he reached for his New Testament and scrawled a decision on its grease-stained flyleaf. He would become a medical missionary.

Ten years later he arrived at Stout Memorial Hospital in Wuchow, South China. War was brewing between the warlords of Kwangsi Province and the government of Chiang Kai-shek, and many missionaries had fled. Wallace remained at the hospital, performing surgery, making rounds, and sharing Christ.

He survived the dangers only to face a greater one. It was Japan, intent on a conquest of the Chinese mainland. Still Wallace stayed, treating the wounded and performing surgery amid exploding bombs and flying bullets. Not until 1940 did he return to America on furlough.

When time came to return, his friends questioned him; but he said, “When I was trying to decide what I should do with my life, I became convinced God wanted me to be a medical missionary. That decision took me to China. And that, along with the fact that I was extremely happy there, will take me back.” He returned on August 14, 1942, and began dispensing medical and spiritual help during World War II.

Then an even greater threat emerged—the Communist takeover of China. Still Wallace stayed, performing duties with a hero’s valor. Finally, during predawn of December 19, 1950, Communist solders came to arrest the “best surgeon in China” on trumped-up espionage charges. He was placed in a small cell where he preached to passersby from a tiny window.

Brutal interrogations followed, and Wallace, wearing down, stuck verses of Scripture on the walls of his cell. When he died on February 10, 1951 from the ordeal, the Communists tried to say he had hanged himself; but his body showed no signs of suicide. He was buried in a cheap wooden coffin in a bamboo-shaded cemetery. The inscription on his grave simply said: For to Me to Live Is Christ.

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:20-21)

50 Years After: Bill Wallace and the Meaning of Heroism

Dr. Bill Wallace, medical missionary to Communist China

Leave a comment

Filed under american culture, chinese culture, workplace insights

Overcoming Fear

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4).

You have probably heard many preachers warn against the dangers of fear. Of course, fear is toxic and can kill your faith. However, God doesn’t expect His people to just dismiss fear as irrelevant. Jesus is always real, and He wants us to be real in sharing our feelings with Him.

The first step, when we face the kind of unstable situation millions of believers find themselves in today, is to be honest. If we are afraid, we should tell the Lord and ask for His help, power, and deliverance. To pretend that fear doesn’t exist is not helpful. King David knew a lot about fear. His life was in constant danger, but he prayed, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.”

Nehemiah was a man who was greatly used by God, but when the Lord first put it in his heart to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls and gates, Nehemiah said, “I was very much afraid” (Nehemiah 2:2). Despite being terrified, he conquered his fears and asked the king’s permission to return to his homeland, where he gradually overcame the taunts of the enemy. One brick at a time, Nehemiah and his construction teams worked hard until they finally completed their great task.

Read more at The First Step to Overcoming Fear in a Fallen World

Leave a comment

Filed under american culture, chinese culture, workplace insights