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looking beyond borders

foreign policy and global economy

Why Young Pakistanis Are Learning Chinese

In the past, English was the sole language of upward mobility in Pakistan, both a relic of British colonial rule and a means of accessing Western markets, educational institutions, and jobs. Now, Mandarin has become the “hot new trend,” said Abbas, the Mandarin instructor in Gilgit…In Pakistan, the growth in Mandarin-language learning has been fuelled by direct funding from the Chinese and Pakistani governments, as well as a mushrooming cottage industry of private teachers and institutes claiming to provide “the Chinese edge.”

Read Here – The Atlantic

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Sri Lanka Parliament ‘Votes Against Newly Appointed PM Rajapaksa’

Sri Lanka’s parliament passed a no-confidence motion against newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government on Wednesday, throwing the country deeper into crisis. The move comes a day after the Supreme Court overturned a presidential decree dissolving the legislature and calling for snap elections.

Read Here – Al Jazeera

The US-Saudi Relationship: Much Less Than Meets The Eye

Among the most magical urban myths floating around the Trump administration is that Saudi Arabia is America’s strategic partner and the relationship is simply too big to fail. Sadly, that relationship is already failing. Indeed, under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (also known as MBS), Saudi Arabia has willfully pursued policies that have undermined both American interests and values. Worse still, the Trump administration envisions a role for Saudi Arabia in its Middle East strategy that can only disappoint.

Read Here – CNN

The Geopolitics Of Language In The Himalayas

Photo by Kalle Kortelainen on Unsplash

The Himalayas are a global center for linguistic diversity. Setting out from Beijing or Delhi, the number of languages rises with altitude, conforming to global patterns that see linguistic diversity increasing in rough, mountainous terrain. This diversity is not neatly patterned: state, ethnicity, and language are not correlated. Knowing where someone lives or what identity they profess does not tell us what languages they speak.

Read Here – The Diplomat

Over 40 Years Of Diplomatic Drama, A Rising China Opens Up To, And Transforms, The World

Photo by Yang Shuo on Unsplash

Since Deng launched the opening-up policy in 1978, China has transformed itself from a backward, agrarian economy and politically isolated state into the world’s second-largest economy and an important player with global interests and influence. For instance, in the 30 years from 1949 to 1978, only 200,000 Chinese people travelled abroad. Last year alone, they made 130.5 million trips overseas, while foreigners made 139 million visits to China. The statistics speak volumes about how China needs the world, and vice versa.

Read Here – South China Morning Post

Trump Completes A Shameful Trip To Paris, Just As He Needs The Global Stage

In unrelenting rain, more than sixty world leaders—Presidents and Prime Ministers, kings and princes, from a third of all the nations on Earth—shared big black umbrellas as they marched together down the Champs-Élysées, in Paris, on Sunday. They gathered to mark the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice that ended the fighting of the First World War, and to express global unity. Donald Trump was not among them.

Read Here – The New Yorker

New Ripples In The Andaman Sea

The Andaman Sea is flanked by the Andaman and Nicobar chain of islands in the West, Myanmar to the north, the Thai-Malay peninsula to the east, and the Sumatra island to the south. It funnels into the Straits of Malacca that connects the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The large amount of shipping that enters the Andaman Sea from the east heads to Singapore, from where it turns the Pacific Ocean. Long seen as a political backwater, the Andaman Sea is rapidly regaining its strategic salience.

Read Here – The Indian Express

How To Respond To China In Africa

It is indeed true that China is ever more involved in Africa. And that involvement now includes a somewhat extensive security presence. Much has been said about the new Chinese military base in Djibouti. There has been finger-pointing and apparently laser-pointing too.

Read Here – The National Interest

Sri Lanka President Dissolves Parliament, Sets January Snap Poll

Sri Lanka‘s President Maithripala Sirisena has dissolved the country’s parliament and declared a snap election on January 5, hours after his coalition admitted that it could not muster enough parliamentary support for its designated prime minister. The move on Friday was the latest twist in a protracted political crisis triggered by the president’s shock move last month to sack Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replace him with Mahinda Rajapaksa, a controversial former president.

Read Here – Al Jazeera

ASEAN’s Torn Over China-US Struggle. Will Mahathir Lead The Way?

The Singapore meeting starting Monday – the second Asean summit this year – will be Mahathir’s first since he stunned Asia by defeating his protégé Najib Razak in May elections to reoccupy the political hot seat he held from 1981 to 2003. Diplomatic observers are hoping the firebrand nonagenarian, a self-professed regionalist, will inject some vigour into the bloc…And with Asean nations facing rising pressure to take sides in the escalating US-China rivalry, some insiders in the grouping are hoping for lessons from the elder statesman on how to balance the two powers without being dragged into their respective orbits.

Read Here – South China Morning Post

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