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Geopolitics

China: Economics, Political Control And “The Pursuit Of Happiness”

Editorial: A French daily sees links between Arab uprisings, American founding fathers and China's hard choices.

China: Economics, Political Control And “The Pursuit Of Happiness”
Shanghai

America's Founding Fathers considered the "pursuit of happiness' one of man's "inalienable rights," alongside "life and liberty." And so it was that the right to happiness was inscribed in the Declaration of Independence, adopted on the 4th of July 1776.

There is no way of knowing whether the Chinese Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao, is a regular reader of the writings of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and the other great figures who gave America its founding creed. Either way, Monsieur Wen has recently spoken about the Chinese people's right to pursue their happiness. The world should congratulate him for this, no doubt, and also encourage him to take the widest view possible of his compatriots' "happiness."

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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