Thursday, March 27, 2003

Freedom of speech is a double-edged sword. My freedom to say what I want gives me the ability to offend and criticise whoever, whereever, whenever and whatever I want. And vice versa, another person exercising such freedom has the ability to offend and criticise me. One thing this war seems to be doing is bringing out the ugly in people as they strive to express their views and vent their frustration because not everyone agrees with them. The peace protests are getting violent, the anti-peace protestors have delivered harsh viterpurations and are in some cases protesting agains the protestors. The reprecussions of this will be far-reaching. Just as the alliances of countries forged now based on who is for or against the war are beginning to map out a new landscape in global politics so too are domestic country divisions changing people's attitudes towards each other that will only breed mistrust, resentment and instability. If this goes too far, the freedom and way of life we are "fighting for" will be lost because of our own reactions to war rather than being in any way based on the war.

On a global setting, if this war does signify the proverbial final nail in the coffin for UN relevance as a forum to resolve inter-national disputes than the divisions we see now could be the outline for the formation of a new world order. The appearance of which, to me, is resembling the previously seen scenario of bloc alliances. Such blocs as we know were frequently at loggerheads and through this formation we were treated to "shock and awe" in the form of WWI and WWII. Though like the Baghdad "shock and awe" event it came across more as "shocking" with less awe. Perhaps my commentary goes too far and that it is way to early to know what will happen and to what extent UN has been damaged by the implementation of the"Bush Doctrine". But I just thought I'd apply my soothsayer skills to predict the return to a multi-polar world of alliance clusters.

Opinions about how North Korea is viewing the events in Iraq continue to be a hot point of speculation. My latest find is this article from Foreign Policy in Focus and this one. But, in the same way my speculation about the new world order is premature and simply one of a myriad of possible outcomes, so too are the predications and guesses about NK.

It seems that on top of being oveshadowed by the news on Iraq there is a lot of holding back on economic news, especially for Asia, as so many uncertainties from the war are undermining economic expectations and predicitons.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui