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April 16, 2024

PI Newsletter #78

  1. 16 Muslim Countries Endorse China Forcing Muslims to Eat Pork        What really effective diplomacy looks like

The war of letters began when 22 countries penned a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council condemning China’s treatment of Uighurs and “other Muslim and minorities communities.”

The letter in defense of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang was signed by France, Germany, Canada, Sweden and 18 other, mostly Western and European, countries. The case of the missing Muslim signatories was solved when the People’s Republic of China fired back with its own letter signed by 37 countries.

This letter in defense of China’s crackdown on Islam was signed by 16 Muslim countries.

While some of the Muslim signatories were drawn from African countries, the letter was also signed by ambassadors for the leading Arab governments including Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, and Kuwait. Pakistan, the world’s second largest Muslim country, also signed on.


It’s hard to imagine a greater diplomatic triumph.

[…..]the Communist dictatorship has effectively leveraged its economic power in its national interest. It has also made it clear that it will not tolerate criticism of its domestic policies.


America spends a great deal of time worrying about being loved. Our diplomacy is meant to convince the world to love us. China does not need to be loved. It never apologizes for its strength. We should stop apologizing for our strength. And start putting our national interests first.


Editor’s comment: In this incident, there are lessons in effective diplomacy, to be learned not only by the U.S. but by all other countries as well.


  1. The Demon in Liberalism

“Why has Sweden become the North Korea of Europe?” That’s what a Dane semi-facetiously asked Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks at a conference I attended in 2014. Mr. Vilks unconvincingly muttered about Swedes’ partiality for consensus.

Now, along comes Ryszard Legutko, a Polish professor of philosophy and leading politician, with a better answer. His book, translated by Teresa Adelson, “The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies” (Encounter), methodically shows the surprising but substantial similarities between Soviet-style communism and modern liberalism as defined by Sweden or the European Union or Barack Obama.

Mr. Legutko does not claim liberalism resembles communism in its monstrosity, much less that the two ideologies are identical; he fully acknowledges that the first is democratic and the second brutally tyrannical. After recognizing this contrast, however, he gets down to the more pungent topic of what the two have in common.



  1. Military buildup in Arctic as melting ice reopens northern borders

The climate crisis is intensifying a new military buildup in the Arctic, diplomats and analysts said this week, as regional powers attempt to secure northern borders that were until recently reinforced by a continental-sized division of ice.

That so-called unpaid sentry is now literally melting away, opening up shipping lanes and geo-security challenges, said delegates at the Arctic Frontiers conference, the polar circle’s biggest talking shop, who debated a series of recent escalations.

Russia is reopening and strengthening cold war bases on the Kola peninsula in the far north-west of the country. Norway is beefing up its military presence in the high Arctic.

“Right now, the reasons we are seeing more military activity is that countries are worried by the spectre of open water,” one of the speakers, Klaus Dodds, a professor of geopolitics at Royal Holloway, University of London, told the Guardian. “The unique Arctic security architecture has shape and form that come from natural extremities. If the Arctic becomes just another ocean, this breaks down. It’s elemental.”



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