Social Mood in Europe, Russia & SE Asia

Russia wants its own 'straight' Eurovision
Lawmakers in the Kremlin-controlled parliament picked up on swelling outrage in the socially conservative country at Conchita Wurst's weekend triumph by proposing a Russian-based contest in which family values prevail.

"The last Eurovision contest's results exhausted our patience," Communist Party deputy Valery Rashkin told the Interfax news agency.

"We must leave this competition. We cannot tolerate this endless madness."

Rashkin said he would push for the creation of a "Voice of Eurasia" songfest instead, which would primarily group nations from the former Soviet Union.

It was a suggestion picked up quickly by advisers to Belarus President Aleksander Lukashenko - a ruler who has overseen his isolated country for 20 years and was once branded by Washington as the last dictator of Europe.

"Conchita Wurst's Eurovision victory symbolizes the complete collapse of the European Union's moral values," the country's advisory Slavic Committee said in a statement.

"We do not need Europe!"
This shows how far along things have gotten in the battle between the post-Christian West and the increasingly Orthodox Russia. Culture has truly become a weapon of war, similar to how in Nigeria, education of girls has become a weapon. The Islamic reaction is different from the Russian reaction because the Russians are playing the game at the level of state. Russia kicked out US-EU front groups and the anti-gay propaganda law is designed to keep these groups out. In contrast, the Islamists use targeted violence.

Behind it at all is a direct state vs state confrontation between the US and Russia, but on the surface it appears as a cultural battle. There is no ideological war taking place (or if there is, it is the American government that is pushing ideology, not Russia), but culture is being used to whip up anti-Russia sentiment in the West, which plays into the current social mood. People will look for an enemy and at this point, it appears that enemy is Russia. The target of public anger can shift quickly though, and if social mood declines, one can only hope that Russia is no longer the target because violent conflict, internal or external, is more likely in the coming years as social mood declines.

Vietnamese mobs ransack foreign factories in anti-China violence
Yue Yuen Industrial, the world’s biggest sports shoe maker, which supplies Nike, said it was not affected but had suspended production in Ho Chi Minh City as a precaution. Li & Fung, the world’s biggest sourcing company, said some of its suppliers in Vietnam halted production on Wednesday as a precautionary measure.

On Wednesday evening, the industrial zone’s management said police and security guards had “re-established security control”. It said 99 tenants had been hit by the protests and that four Chinese and Taiwanese factories had been set on fire.

The attacks, in a country like Vietnam whose economic strategy is pinned to foreign investment, highlight the effect of a spat between China and Vietnam over disputed parts of the South China Sea.

More here: Vietnamese Mob Burns Foreign Factories In Anti-China Riots (21 Dead, 90 Injured)

A loss for Vietnam, China or both? In The Logic of Strategy: Yuan Devaluation and the Road to Trade War, I mainly focused on the currency, but the main point of Luttwak is that slowing China's economy should be the main strategic goal of any nation that is worried about China's rise and that this can be done peacefully by enacting policies that also one's own economies—although in the case of a trade deficit nation like the U.S., restrictions on trade can boost GDP in the short-term. The U.S. might enjoy faster growth for much longer than a presidential term, since the loss of competitiveness might take a decade or more to set it, which could make it a very attractive twofer policy for American president.

The mob reaction in Vietnam is neither peaceful nor logical, but it does move events in the direction of reducing economic growth by disrupting the global supply chain because, if Vietnam can riot, why not Malaysia, Indonesia or the Philippines, all nations with similar maritime disputes? To this point, no nation has talked openly about trade sanctions against China, but logically that has to be a consideration for nations that cannot hit China militarily. It can be done in indirect ways, such as allowing riots (as China did against Japan) or shifting domestic policies, and it can be done directly.

Political and military tensions are going to add to any economic slowdown in the region, and any slowdown will lead to more political and military tensions. China no doubt recognizes this potential threat, which is why domestic economic reform is paramount.

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