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Chinese officers monitor  the South China Sea
Chinese officers monitor the South China Sea
Andrej Mrevlje

At 6 a.m. on Feb. 18, 2001, the roar of the engines from 12 Russian-built SU-27s ripped through Vietnamese airspace. Within minutes, burning phosphorus, shrapnel and delayed-reaction mines were falling on Vietnam's main naval base. Operation Dragon Strike had begun. An hour later, a Chinese M-17 troop transport helicopter fired warning shots while six fiberglass raiding crafts, powered by twin 150 horsepower engines, sped towards Discovery Reef in the Spratly Islands, where 30 Vietnamese workers were busy testing oil wells due to start the production in April. Within a few hours, the Far East was at war. The world was in crisis. Four days later, American Satellites detected Chinese nuclear missiles being prepared for launch.

This is a summary of Dragonstrike, a novel published in 1997, predicting that China would strike and create the world havoc. Humphrey Hawksley and Simon Holberton, two accomplished British journalists, penned the scenario based on the knowledge they had gained after years of reporting from China. At that time, Chinese nationalism and saber rattling were still more tied up with spurring on the national economy and supporting its political leaders than actual military capacity to do harm. Nevertheless, to feed the masses with ever higher doses of patriotism, in spring 1996, the People's Liberation Army conducted a huge military exercise along China's eastern coast, while pointing hundreds of missiles towards Taiwan. The maneuvers were orchestrated to demonstrate the strength and determination of the proud Chinese people and to show off for the "voters" of the Communist Party.

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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