Over Easy

(Picture courtesy of mhaithaca at flickr.com.)

As formerly, I’m exploring news today from foreign sources, something that Southern Dragon did for us not so long ago, and that we appreciated.

Unsurprisingly, the lead article is a revelation about our own practices, the location of CIA drone facilities in Saudi Arabia.   The war continues as our troops are withdrawn, not exactly suited  to the taste of seekers of actual peace.

Kristian Coates-Ulrichsen, an expert on Gulf politics at the London School of Economics, told the BBC that Saudi anxieties about the growing threat of AQAP would have been behind the government’s decision to allow the US to fly drones from inside the kingdom.

“The Saudis see AQAP as a very real threat to their domestic security,” he said. “They are worried about attacks on their energy infrastructure and on the royal family, so it fit their strategy to allow the drone attacks.”

The existence of the base was likely a “sensitive issue” for both Washington and Riyadh, Mr Coates-Ulrichsen added.

The role of Saudi Arabia is a complex one in the ‘sphere’ of our influence.   Noam Chomsky has good observations on the matter.

Concern about political Islam is just like concern about any independent development. Anything that’s independent you have to have concern about because it might undermine you. In fact, it’s a little ironic, because traditionally the United States and Britain have by and large strongly supported radical Islamic fundamentalism, not political Islam, as a force to block secular nationalism, the real concern.

So, for example, Saudi Arabia is the most extreme fundamentalist state in the world, a radical Islamic state. It has a missionary zeal, is spreading radical Islam to Pakistan, funding terror. But it’s the bastion of US and British policy. They’ve consistently supported it against the threat of secular nationalism from Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt and Abd al-Karim Qasim’s Iraq, among many others. But they don’t like political Islam because it might become independent.

While western nations ignore facts, China seems to be learning the lessons of austerity.

China has unveiled sweeping tax reforms to make wealthy state-owned firms, property speculators and the rich pay more to narrow the gap between the urban elite and hundreds of millions of rural poor.

The plans approved by the state council – China’s cabinet – also included commitments to push forward market-oriented interest rate reforms to give savers a better return and more security.

Public interest from the country we consider autocratic even more sets apart our government’s resistance to prosperity and the means to insure it, the lessons we’ve learned over and over – and still refuse to make part of economic planning.

Analytics by the methods available with computers has vastly increased available knowledge, and standards are changing with scientific possibilities.   The rainforests have been protected, but other climates have failed to receive consideration as threatened, until available data increased.

An analytics project Dr. Sanchez-Azofeifa leads in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais changed the way 16,000 square kilometers of tropical “dry forest” was classified under Brazilian law – allowing it to come under federal conservation protection in a court case that will likely transform how environmental protection is granted across South America.

Tropi-Dry, an effort of the University of Alberta funded by the Inter-American Institute (tself supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation) utilizes several years’ worth of ecological and social science research. In this case, a logging consortium faced a court challenge when it wanted to harvest within one of Brazil’s so-called tropical dry forests. While rainforests receive the lion’s share of environmental interest and protection in South America, tropical dry forests play a special part in maintaining ecological balance.

Growing capacity creates growth in care for environment, wonders never cease.

Still we persevere;  Never.Give.Up.