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documentary

Where is Venezuela Heading?

Understanding Venezuela’s foreign policy

Venezuela often dominates the news agenda on account of its profound economic crisis and associated societal ills, including the dubious distinction of boasting one of the highest crime rates in the world.

Venezuela is often depicted as a revolutionary power owing to the so-called “Bolivarian Revolution” started by the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. Ideologically the Bolivarian revolution is a mix of Venezuelan nationalism, Pan-American regionalism and socialism.

Whilst enormous academic and media attention has focussed on how “Bolivarianism” has shaped Venezuela’s economic policy since 1998 (the year Hugo Chavez first came to power), comparatively small effort has been expended on understanding how the Bolivarian revolution has influenced Venezuelan foreign policy in the past two decades.

Welcome to KJ Vids. In this video we will examine the ideological, political and strategic considerations shaping Venezuela’s foreign policy.

 A Socialist revolution?   

Venezuela radically changed direction in the late 1990s with the advent of Hugo Chavez and his “Bolivarian” revolution. First elected to the presidency in December 1998 Chavez proved to be a remarkably resilient revolutionary leader in the face of massive internal and external opposition.

During his fifteen years at the helm of Venezuelan politics, Chavez faced determined opposition by US-backed political groups, widespread industrial unrest culminating in a general strike in 2002-2003 and an ill-fated coup attempt in April 2002. It is widely accepted in the expert community that much of the political, industrial and business opposition to Chavez was sponsored by the United States government.

But the nature of Chavez’s politics, and specifically his radical economic policies, intensified divisions in Venezuelan society leading to a highly charged polarised environment. Chavez’s support base was mostly amongst the poor – especially Venezuela’s indigenous (i.e. non-European) community – and the lower middle classes, whereas opposition to his rule was concentrated amongst the middle class, which is dominated by people of European origin.

Whilst drawing attention to Chavez’ shortcomings (in particular his demagoguery and single-minded pursuit of ideological-based economic policies) it is important to avoid the propaganda of his enemies who have tried to paint him as a dictator or failing that an authoritarian leader.

Throughout his 15-year reign Chavez operated within the confines of the Venezuelan constitution and by and large he respected the checks and balances of Venezuela’s democracy. By contrast, Chavez’s opponents consistently displayed disdain for Venezuela’s democratic institutions by continually fomenting unrest and attempting to overthrow Chavez through extra-illegal measures, notably an extended general strike and a failed military coup.

Chavez’s radical economic policies, and specifically his concerted attempt at the redistribution of wealth and opportunity, was fuelled by high oil prices in the first decade of the 21st century. The qualified success of some aspects of Chavez’s economic policies led to high hopes amongst left-wing activists in Latina America, and more broadly on the global stage, that Venezuela was successfully implementing a socialist economy.

But the reversal of these qualified successes, particularly after Chavez’s death in March 2013, has called into question the sustainability of “Chavismo”, Chavez’s quixotic take on the Bolivarian ideology. These shortcomings have come into sharp relief under the leadership of Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro.

In the past couple of years Venezuela has been gripped by a severe economic crisis interspersed with riots and widespread civil disorder. On top of this the country suffers from multiple systemic societal disorders, notably one of the highest crime rates in the world.

The combination of these ills points to the failure of “Chavismo”, and specifically the socialist economic policies underpinning it. But before we rush to judgement on Venezuela, it is important to note that the final script has yet to be written. To that end, it is noteworthy that Maduro’s government is proving to be resilient in the face of concerted and ferocious opposition.

More importantly, the socio-economic base of “Chavismo” appears to be largely intact, in spite of Venezuela’s profound economic crisis. This speaks to the intense polarisation of Venezuelan society and raises the prospect of civil war further down the road, especially in the event of foreign intervention in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.

The “Bolivarian” foreign policy

Named after the 19th century Venezuelan military leader, Simon Bolivar, who liberated vast swathes of South America from the grip of the Spanish Empire, the Bolivarian ideology is essentially a form of pan-American nationalism centred on national sovereignty as the building bloc of Hispanic solidarity.

“Bolivarianism” has been utilised by a variety of political movements in South and Central America and it is elastic enough to serve a multitude of political goals and ends. But in its native Venezuela, Bolivarianism is associated with militarism and a tough and uncompromising approach toward notions of national sovereignty and independence.

Hailing from a military background, Hugo Chavez fit the conventional Bolivarian mould perfectly, but he was also sufficiently innovative to marry up elements of the Bolivarian ideology with his own socialist ethos. The result was “Chavismo” which has had a profound impact on Venezuela’s foreign policy.

Immediately after coming to power Chavez pivoted toward Socialist Cuba, a revolutionary state with a legendary anti-imperialist reputation. By extension, Venezuela distanced itself from the United States which from the very outset has attempted to overthrow Chavez’s Bolivarian revolution.

Chavez’s tough stance on American hegemony was entirely in keeping with his nationalist ethos and more importantly it resonated widely and deeply amongst nationalist communities across Latin America.

In trying to understand Venezuela’s post-1998 foreign policy, it is helpful to think of it as forming three concentric circles. The first circle is composed of the main political-ideological pillar of the Bolivarian revolution, which is centred on anti-imperialist sentiments, and specifically opposition to the US role in Latin America.

The second circle is centred on achieving Latin American unity and wider notions of pan-Americanism. In practise this involves greater engagement with Latin American states, in some cases to the point of interfering in the internal affairs of regional states with a view to strengthening nationalist and socialist movements.

The third circle is concerned with developing global positions, and specifically using Venezuela’s oil wealth to develop influence and outreach beyond Latin America. To that end, Bolivarian Venezuela has sought to develop strong ties with major non-Western powers, notably Iran and China.

Pushing back against America

During the early years of “Chavismo”, Chavez’s huge reputation and his massive influence on public opinion across Latin America was interpreted as the locus of a continent-wide Socialist “Pink tide”. The “Pink tide” was depicted as representing a decisive political and economic tilt toward the left, and by extension a decisive rejection of the dominant neo-liberal economic model.

In so far as the United States is the chief proponent of the neo-liberal economic model, Venezuela was necessarily in opposition to it. But contrary to conventional wisdom Chavez’s anti-Americanism was not primarily driven by socialist ideology. For a start, in the early years of his reign Chavez proved to be a moderate socialist in so far as he refrained from the root and branch rejection of the capitalist model.

Instead Venezuelan foreign policy developed an anti-American trajectory for primarily two reasons. First, in keeping with the Bolivarian nationalist ethos – and mindful of America’s consistent intervention in Venezuelan domestic affairs throughout the 20th century – the “Chavistas” had to be by definition anti-American.

There was also an immediate practical need for a tough attitude towards the United States inasmuch as Venezuela had a pressing need to contain American influence both domestically and more broadly in its immediate environment. This need intensified when the US government openly reached out to the Venezuelan opposition and leading industrialists with a view to fomenting unrest in the country.

Under Nicolas Maduro’s leadership attitudes towards the United States have hardened still further. This development is a direct reaction to hostile US policies which seek to isolate Venezuela in South America, in addition to weakening it from within by fomenting unrest and insurrection.

The forlorn quest for Latin American unity

The Chavistas never stop talking about South American unity. To be fair their vision of “unity” is not entirely unrealistic in so far as they envisage a broad-based solidarity bound by minimalist principals revolving around nationalism and a rejection of neo-liberal economic models. These principles resonate widely across the continent and they continue to energise a multitude of political parties and movements in every Latin American country.

More specifically, despite its economic crisis, neo-Bolivarian Venezuela continues to be a source of ideological inspiration across the continent. Notwithstanding these positive features, it is fair to say that Venezuela’s policy of promoting South American unity has failed.

For a start, the continent is as divided as ever and by extension American influence, particularly in Colombia, Brazil and Chile, is arguably as strong as it has ever been. Second, Venezuela is politically isolated on the continent as demonstrated by its strained relationship with the continent’s biggest power Brazil.

Furthermore, Venezuela faces hostility from neighbouring Colombia as Caracas has supported left-wing political and guerrilla groups in Colombia for the past 20 years. This has largely been a reaction to Colombia’s outreach to anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela.

A “global” foreign policy?

The Chavistas have always aspired to a global standing. Buoyed by high oil prices, in the first decade of the 21st century they set out to develop influence and sympathy across the world. This led to some strange policies, notably the decision in 2007 to supply cheap fuel to bus services in London, the capital of the United Kingdom. The deal was a flamboyant demonstration of gesture politics designed to strengthen the position of London’s then left-wing mayor Ken Livingstone.

Theatrics aside, Venezuela has undertaken serious moves on the international stage. The most important and far-reaching, both in terms of Venezuela’s global outreach and the reaction it elicits from the US government, has been Caracas’s alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran.    

Originating in the close personal bond between former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez, the embryonic Iranian-Venezuelan alliance has persisted to this day (albeit at a less dramatic level), thus allowing Iran to establish a firm foothold in Venezuela. This is in keeping with the broader Iranian policy of penetrating Latin America with a view to achieving strategic parity with the United States.  

By developing strong ties to countries like Iran and China, Venezuela both improves its global standing and simultaneously acquires an insurance policy against American threats to overthrow the Bolivarian revolution.

In conclusion, whilst Venezuela has failed to achieve its core foreign policy objective of creating a united Latin American front, nevertheless it has successfully raised its international profile by developing sustainable ties with major non-Western powers like China and Iran.

The Ottoman Dynasty – Rise of Muslims Episode 6

Based entirely on the book by Ali Mahmood titled “Muslims” –

Purchase using this link – https://www.kjvids.co.uk/product/muslims/

The Ottoman dynasty governed the Muslims and built one of the largest empires the world has ever seen

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The Rise and Fall of Muslims by Ali Mahmood – Episode 1

Based on the book by Ali Mahmood titled “Muslims” – Purchase using this link – https://www.kjvids.co.uk/product/muslims/

When the Prophet Muhammad left Mecca for Medina, he had less than a hundred followers. Within a century after he passed away, the Muslims had conquered all the territory from the Atlantic Ocean to China, and the empire of Islam led the world in science, education, medicine, culture, commerce. This empire dominated the world for a thousand years. The two empires that followed after the seventeenth century were, in comparison, short-lived—the British Empire lasted for two hundred years and its successor, the American Empire is in decline after only sixty years.

Between the seventh and the seventeenth centuries, Muslim power shifted from the Arabs to the Persians, the Turks and the Moguls. The capital of the Islamic empire moved from the sands of Mecca and Medina to Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo, Cordoba and Istanbul, as new dynasties replaced the old—the Umayyad, the Abbasid, the Fatimid—followed by Tamerlane, the world conqueror, and the three gunpowder empires—the Ottoman, the Safavid and the Mogul.

The golden centuries of the world of Islam flourished while the Dark Ages of Europe kept life, brutish and short. The great libraries of the caliphs in Cordoba and Baghdad ran to half a million books while the great European collections did not even reach a thousand volumes. The Canons of Avicenna (Ibn Sina) dominated medicine in Europe for five hundred years and Ibn Firnas demonstrated flight at the age of 76, a hundred years before Da Vinci drew his sketches, but never risked an actual attempt to fly. The thousand years of the Islamic Empire were a time of great achievement, great institutions, great cities and most of all great men.

When Saladin conquered Jerusalem and Balian, the Christian general reminded him of the cruelty and barbarism of the earlier Christian conquest. Saladin gently but firmly replied, ‘I am not of those men. I am Saladin’. He gave away all that came to him as ruler and died penniless without even the money for a decent burial. Suleiman the Magnificent before whom the world trembled, was the pre-eminent sovereign in both Asia and Europe.

This remarkable era is the legacy of The Prophet, and of those he inspired to pursue education, justice and merit. It was these values and attitudes that took the Muslims up; and it was the loss of these values and attitudes that, in the seventeenth century, brought the Muslims crashing down.

After one thousand years at the top, the Muslims spent two hundred years at the bottom; the former masters of the universe were deprived and humiliated by their new lords from the West. They became a people without hope.

Why is Japan Rearming?

The gradual but firm shift in Japan’s defence posture is among the most notable developments characterizing the Asia-Pacific’s international dynamics in the past few years. Its efforts to increase its military power, accompanied by attempts to change the Constitution to expand the means and the duties of its military forces are to be interpreted in a broader context of growing security challenges. But what exactly are the drivers behind Japan’s re-arm?

Japan’s defence policy after WWII

Japan’s past is the first element to consider to understand the importance of its changing defence posture.

After being defeated in WWII, Japan abandoned its pre-war militarism to embrace pacifism and rejection of the use of armed force. This principle was enshrined in Article 9 of its Constitution, which entered into force 1947 with US support. According to its terms, Japan denied its own right to belligerency, rejected war as a mean to solve international disputes, and renounced to develop any war potential. This meant that it could not possess its own armed forces and could not participate in any conflict abroad, not even for collective self-defence. Initially, the US had favoured this constitutional provisions as a guarantee that Japan would never try again to conquer the Asia-Pacific region has it had done in the past. Moreover, immediately after the war it seemed that the area would become a hub of peace and stability.

But the situation changed soon. In 1949 the communists took power in mainland China, thus radically changing the region’s geopolitical landscape. Only one year later, the pro-Soviet North Korea attacked its southern counterpart, triggering the three-years-long Korean War. Following the emergence of these threats, Washington applied the containment policy to counter the assertiveness of Moscow and its allies in Asia as in Europe. In this logic, the US started pressuring Japan to adopt a larger security role. However, this achieved very limited success. In 1951, America and Japan signed a Peace Treaty, and along with it a separate Security Treaty (later revised in 1960) that committed Washington to defend its ally. But under the Premiership of Yoshida Shigeru, Japan preferred to minimize its military expenditures in order to focus on reconstruction and economic growth, all while relying on its powerful American ally for protection. This approach, later named “Yoshida Doctrine” after its inspirer, became the cornerstone of Japan’s foreign policy for decades, and it was an extraordinary success. Thanks to it, Japan managed to avoid international conflicts and to achieve an impressive GDP growth, rapidly turning into one of the world’s leading economic powers. As of today, Japan is still the third largest economy in terms of nominal GDP.

Yet, this does not mean that Japan did not have its own military. The terms of Article 9 notwithstanding, the country still had to make concessions. In 1954, it established its armed forces, which took the name of Japanese Self-Defense Forces (or JSDF). But as their name suggests, they were not comparable to the full-fledged militaries that other states had. The JSDF could not field any equipment considered to be “offensive” such as strategic bombers or aircraft carriers, and their role was strictly limited to defending Japan’s territory from an external (most likely Soviet) invasion. They could not participate to collective self-defence operations, as this would imply fighting abroad to protect an ally, and not even to peacekeeping missions. In 1976, the practice of limiting the defence expenditures to no more than 1% of its GDP became official. All this deeply influenced Japan’s role in overseas conflicts, even those occurring very close to its territory and whose outcome could affect its own national security. The first case is the Korean War: in spite of the geographical proximity and of their anti-communist stance, the Japanese limited their contribution to providing bases and equipment for the US-guided coalition. Still, with time new events pushed Japan to slowly change its stance.

The first one was the outbreak of the Gulf War in 1991. Since Japan was (and still is) largely dependent on Middle Eastern oil for its energy supplies, the US expected that it would give a sensible contribution to the conflict. But on the basis of its constitutional limitations, Japan refused to do so, limiting its participation to providing financial aid to the international coalition. This form of “checkbook diplomacy” was largely criticized by the US, and as a result Japan adopted a new legislation allowing it to take part to peacekeeping missions with strictly non-combat roles. A few years later, North Korea’s withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1996 increased Japan’s fear of being involved in a regional conflict. Then, the test of the DPRK’s first ballistic missile in 1998 shocked Japan, thus prompting it to start cooperating with the US on anti-missile defence. Another change occurred in the aftermath of 9/11. As America begun its “War on Terror” under the Bush administration, it asked Japan to contribute to operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Tokyo was again reticent, but in the end it accepted to deploy its forces to provide non-combat support. In 2004 it also adopted a new national defence document that called for an increase of its military capabilities, and most importantly Article 9 was reinterpreted to allow self-defence in case of attack on American forces defending Japan or even abroad, provided this represented a threat to Japan itself.

In spite of all this, strong restrictions remain on Japan’s military. Still, it maintains a well-trained and well-equipped military. As a matter of fact, despite the 1% GDP gap on defence expenditures, the sheer size of its economy means that its budget is one of the world’s largest in absolute terms. Nevertheless, until recently it has kept a low-profile defence posture. But with the emergence of new challenges, Japan is gradually moving out from its traditional policy to take a more important role in regional security, which also implies increasing its military capabilities and re-interpreting (if not changing) its Constitution.

The drivers of Japan’s re-arm

As seen, the earliest driver of Japan’s efforts to empower its military came from the need to give a greater contribution to international operations. This was the answer to its American ally, which criticized it for being a free-rider who takes benefit from US protection without giving much support to American-led actions. Gradually, Japan started participating more actively in international missions, dispatching its forces for peacekeeping, disaster relief, or maritime law enforcement.

But there are two other factors to be considered, the first of which is North Korea. Its ballistic missiles and the possibility of a new war in the Peninsula are considered serious threats by Japan. This explains both its diplomatic efforts to favour a negotiated settlement of the issue, but also its commitment to deploy anti-missile systems like Patriot Advanced Capability 3 batteries (PAC-3) or AEGIS-equipped destroyers.

Yet, this is only one part of the story. Coping with a potential conflict in Korea does not reveal why Japan is increasing its maritime and air power, nor why it is acquiring Anti-Access / Area Denial (A2/AD) systems and practicing amphibious operations. To understand this, the third factor should be considered, which is by far the main driver of Japan’s military build-up: the rise of China.

After it started its economic boom in the 90s, the PRC soon initiated a military modernization programme. Combined with its increasing assertiveness, this has resulted in heightening tensions with the US. While much remains to be done for China’s armed forces to match America’s military on an equal level, this has turned Beijing into Washington’s near-peer competitor, at least in the Asia-Pacific. In this context, Japan has started feeling concerned about China’s rise as well, something that clearly emerges from its official documents.

The reasons are double fold. First, its relations with China are problematic, and sometimes even tense. There is much animosity between the two about Japan’s invasion of China in the 30s and the war crimes it committed during that period. There is also a territorial dispute between them over the Senkaku / Diaoyu islands. Maritime security is another major issue: Japan’s economic prosperity and energy security depends on the sea lanes of communication (SLOC) connecting it with Europe and the Middle East; therefore, it is afraid that China may cut these maritime routes, thus posing an existential threat to its survival. Then, China does not appreciate Japan’s status as an American ally; which brings to the second aspect to consider: the role of the US.

As noted before, Washington has been asking Tokyo for a greater contribution to regional security. For decades, Japan has resisted these demands, but now that China is emerging as a military power capable of damaging the interests of both Japan and the US, Tokyo is more willing to expand the roles and the capabilities of its military; also because it understands that not doing so would alienate Washington and may ultimately result in the loss of its main ally, which remains essential for its national security.

This was also the main justification behind the reinterpretation of the Article 9 of the Constitution. The text of the Article has not been changed, as that would require a complex procedure including a referendum that would likely fail given the popular attachment to the pacifist principles of the Chart. But in 2014 Abe’s government introduced a new interpretation, which was approved by the National Diet the following year. According to it, Japan will be able to use the military even to protect a foreign country, provided that Japan’s survival is at stake, that there are no other means, and always by limiting its action to the minimum necessary measures. This move was strongly criticized by Japan’s neighbours, first and foremost China.

The axes of Japan’s re-arm

The central importance of China as the main driver of Japan’s re-arm is evident when examining the specific nature of its military reorganization. Its defence expenditures have been growing constantly in recent years, reaching around 4.94 trillion yen.

The land component of the JSDF is being reduced in favour of the air and naval forces. This is because in the case of an open conflict with China, the best defence for Japan would be to achieve the aero-naval superiority over its surrounding seas (in cooperation with the US) so to keep the Chinese forces away from its territory. In this context, Japan is deploying to the south more air squadrons equipped with F-15J fighters, as well as support aircraft like tankers and airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) planes. Recon drones like the RQ-4 Global Hawk could be adopted as well. A total of 42 F-35A fighters are also scheduled to be fielded, the first of which has been deployed at the beginning of 2018.

But it is the maritime part of the JSDF that is being developed the most. There are five notable trends in this. First, surface ships are being modernized and new ones are entering into service to bring the total from 47 to 54. These include new guided missile destroyers equipped with the AEGIS system, whose task is to patrol and protect the SLOC and the seas around Japan, contribute to air and naval superiority, and intercept incoming missiles. Second, the number of attack submarines is to increase from 16 to 22. Their mission is to counter the subs that the PRC is also fielding in larger numbers, to have assets that are not threatened by its anti-ship missiles, and finally to threaten the SLOC that are vital for China as well. Third, in a similar logic Japan is procuring more antisom aircraft for its naval forces. Fourth, it is enhancing its mine warfare capabilities, both in the form of deploying and removing naval mines. But the fifth and most notable development is the introduction of helicopter destroyers, which has also caused controversy. Currently, Japan has four ships of this kind: two belong to the Hyuga class while the other two are more recent Izumo-class units. They are the largest ships in Japan’s maritime force and, in spite of being smaller than their US counterparts, they are often described as de facto aircraft carriers. However, this is misleading. Currently these ships do not operate any fighter jet, but only helicopters; mainly because their deck cannot resist the extremely high temperatures generated by jet engines. Still, while it is a complex endeavour, it is technically possible to modify the deck of the two Izumo units to enable fighter operations, and there have been rumors that Japan is actually considering this option so to allow the ships to operate up to 10 F-35B fighters; something that has caused criticism from the PRC. Moreover, the number of planes they could carry is relatively limited, as their autonomy. As such, rather than for sustaining large-scale naval battles or as power projection means, these ships are more suitable for antisom missions thanks to their helicopters or for supporting amphibious operations along with dedicated landing ships, as they can carry 400 marines and around 50 light vehicles.

This brings us to the role of the land forces, which also have an important role that reflects Japan’s new strategic needs. The marines units are being expanded, a sign that Japan wants its military to be able to defend and if necessary retake remote islands to the south like the Senkaku or the Ryukyu. Also, radars and five regiments armed with anti-ship cruise missile (consisting in the Type 88 and the more recent Type 12) are being deployed on these islands along with anti-aircraft missile units. The aim is to create A2/AD zones over the East China Sea both for protecting the SLOC and for denying the access to the open ocean to China’s aero-naval forces; in the logic of keeping them at bay until the US Navy arrives. New missiles are also under development, among which the most notable is the HVGP (Hyper Velocity Gliding Projectile), a hypersonic missile explicitly designed to defend remote islands and a sign that Japan wants to enter in the race to develop such systems.

What next?

Considering all these aspects, it is clear that Japan is taking a greater role in regional security and that appears more determined to protect its interests in a challenging international environment. Yet, it seems unlikely that it will opt for full militarization. The large majority of Japanese oppose a change in the Constitution and even the recently-approved reinterpretation was met with resistance. Japan remains more willing to solve international issues by diplomacy and economic assistance rather than by the use of force. Yet, to ensure its vital interests and to preserve the alliance with the US, which remains essential for its national security, Japan will likely continue on this course and increase its military capabilities. But this is something that is not only up to Japan: much depends on its American ally; and much, if not the most, on its Chinese rival.

Is China colonising Africa?

China’s economic interests in Africa is one of the most recognised and talked about international engagements. Earlier this month, Xi Jinping pledged to provide Africa $60BN over the next 8 years.

But the portrayal of China’s investments in Africa have been particularly negative in the West with headlines such as “Is China Good or Bad for Africa?” China in Africa: Collaboration or Colonialism?

So, is China colonising Africa in a new form of colonialism? What do African’s think? And what do the facts say? I’m Kasim, this is KJ Vids and in this video, we will look at China’s investments in Africa.

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Plastic in Oceans – 5 Fast Facts

Our oceans are slowly turning into a plastic soup and the effects on ocean life are chilling. Big pieces of plastic are choking and entangling turtles and seabirds and tiny pieces are clogging the stomachs of creatures who mistake it for food, from tiny zooplankton to whales.

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The South China Sea Dispute | The Rise of China Mini Documentary | Episode 4

The South China Sea Dispute | The Rise of China Mini Documentary | Episode 4

KJ Vids is pleased to have launched the fourth episode in our Rise of China 2017 documentary series. In this episode you will learn more about the Sino-American conflict in the South China Sea.

Once both China’s dominant economic market and its physical infrastructure have integrated its neighbours into China’s greater co-prosperity area, the United States’ post–World War II position in Asia will become untenable.

The attempt to persuade the United States to accept the new reality has recently become most intense in the South China Sea. An area approximately the size of the Caribbean and bordered by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines and others of Southeast Asia, the sea includes several hundred islands, reefs, and other features, many of which are under water at high tide.

In 2012, China took control of Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines. Since then, it has enlarged its claims, asserting exclusive ownership of the entire South China Sea and redefining the area by redrawing the map with a “nine-dash line” that encompasses 90 percent of the territory. If accepted by others, its neighbouring countries have observed that this would create a “South China Lake.”

China has also undertaken major construction projects building ports, airstrips, radar facilities, lighthouses, and support buildings, all of which expand the reach of its ships and military aircraft and allow Beijing to blanket the region with radar and surveillance assets.

The United States has no doubt about what is driving this undertaking. As a recent Defense Department report notes, China’s “latest land reclamation and construction will also allow it to berth deeper draft ships at outposts; expand its law enforcement and naval presence farther south into the South China Sea; and potentially operate aircraft that could enable China to conduct sustained operations with aircraft carriers in the area.”

China’s longer-term objective is also clear. For decades it has chafed at the operation of US spy ships in waters adjacent to its borders.

While Chinese military planners are not forecasting war, the war for which they are preparing pits China against the US at sea. The powers that dominated China during the century of humiliation all relied on naval supremacy to do so.

Xi is determined to not make the same mistake, strengthening the navy, air, and missile forces of the PLA crucial to controlling the seas, while cutting 300,000 army troops and reducing the ground forces’ traditional dominance within the military.

Chinese military strategists, meanwhile, are preparing for maritime conflict with a “forward defense” strategy based on controlling the seas near China within the “first island chain,” which runs from Japan, through Taiwan, to the Philippines and the South China Sea. A third world war is not inevitable, but if there is to be WW3, it will certainly begin here.

Previous Episodes

Link to Episode 1 | https://youtu.be/MJLpGiHhr8E

In the first episode we had a look at the scale of China’s Economy today and China’s economic development, to understand why China has become a favourite by analysts around the world to become the great power of the 21st century.

Link to Episode 2 | https://youtu.be/73k3v-AxJvM

In the second episode we took a look at the challenges that China will have to overcome in order to assert its influence over the world. Is there a China economic bubble? Will China’s Economy collapse? This video will hopefully develop your understanding of the Chinese Economy.

Link to Episode 3 | https://youtu.be/nvm0V95yjeA

In the third episode we took a look at the Chinese President, Xi Jinping. What are his ambitions? Can he achieve them? In 2012, China’s President, Xi Jinping, said “The greatest Chinese dream is the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

The research for this video was based on an excellent book by Graham Allison called “Destined for War”. If you wish to buy it, using the link below will allow KJ Vids to generate a small commission which would help our YouTube Channel. Thank you.

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Why do American’s Fear Terrorism more than Gun Crime?

Why do Americans fear Terrorism more than Gun Control?

What this boils down to is a quirk in human reasoning uncovered by psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, called the availability heuristic. “[A] person evaluates the frequency of classes or the probability of events by availability, i.e., by the ease with which relevant instances come to mind,” they wrote in a heavily cited 1973 paper. “In general, availability is correlated with ecological frequency.” The easier it is to think of something, the more likely you’ll think it is to happen.

This would be an accurate guide if the information we received about the world perfectly represented the contents of life, but the media-political discourse does not represent current events in the same way a map portrays a landscape. Rather, as media scholars have found time and again, people construct their models of the world though the media they consume, in line with the availability heuristic. You are what you eat; the world is what you see, hear, and read.

This is why Americans have also, since the early 2000s, thought that the crime rate was increasing, when in reality it was decreasing — until violence in Chicago and a handful of other cities started pushing it up.

Scholars call the product of it-bleeds-it-leads news cycles and violent entertainment Mean World Theory. Since the average kid sees 8,000 dramatized murders by the time they turn 12, they take the world to be more violent than it actually is.

It’s the same case with Muslims, terrorism, and the consequent Islamophobia. In an analysis of network and cable news shows from 2008 and 2012, communications scholars Travis Dixon and Charlotte Williams found that Muslims were greatly over-represented as terrorists; they cite FBI stats finding that just 6 percent of terrorist acts in a separate four-year period were committed by Muslims, while 81 percent of terrorists on TV news were portrayed as Muslim.

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China’s Risks and Challenges | The Rise of China Mini Documentary | Episode 2

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The “Rise of China” Mini Documentary | Episode 2 | China’s Economic Risks and Challenges

KJ Vids is pleased to have launched the second episode in our Rise of China 2017 documentary series. In this episode we will have a critical look on China Economy.

In the previous episode (https://youtu.be/MJLpGiHhr8E) we had a look at the scale of China’s Economy today and China’s economic development, to understand why China has become a favourite by analysts around the world to become the great power of the 21st century. In this episode we will take a look at the challenges that China will have to overcome in order to assert its influence over the world. Is there a China economic bubble? Will China’s Economy collapse? This video will hopefully develop your understanding of the Chinese Economy.

In May 2017, the Credit rating agency Moody’s cut China’s debt rating for the first time since 1989 and warned that the country’s financial health is suffering from rising debt and that China’s Economy is showing a slowing economic growth. More recently S&P Global Ratings downgraded China’s sovereign rating for the first time since 1999, citing the country’s greater economic and financial risks. Many other analysts also argue that there is a China debt crisis.

These Fears about debt levels in the world’s second-largest economy have reignited debate over the fundamentals of China’s future – whether the country is leaping over the middle-income trap with a leaner and more sustainable growth model or whether it is on a debt-fuelled path to disaster.

In this episode we will explain China’s economy and take a look into China’s Debt Bubble, China’s State Enterprise, China’s Employment, China’s Competition, China’s Fiscal System, China’s Real Estate, China’s Domestic Consumption and China’s Greatest Fear.

Watch Previous Episode of China Documentary | China’s Economic Miracle

The research for this video was based on an excellent book by Graham Allison called “Destined for War”. If you wish to buy it, using the link below will allow KJ Vids to generate a small commission which would help our YouTube Channel. Thank you.

Amazon Buy Book Link – http://amzn.to/2nGp1Cb

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We’re also currently running a crowdfunding campaign to help our operation produce more and better videos. You may donate what you towards our project here – http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/kj-vids

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