Categories: Editorial, OpinionIt seems odd that Dean Acheson, one of history’s great diplomats, felt a need to explain why he wrote a memoir of his years at the State Department — the masterpiece “Present at the Creation,” published in 1969. In those pages, Acheson chronicled a dozen of the most consequential years in world history: the wrecking of civilization in World War II and the building, atop the rubble, of an alliance for liberty that has given humanity its longest period of great-power peace since the Roman Empire. A fascinating, chilling report in the new issue of Wired magazine shows how rapidly the Chinese economy has moved to mobile-phone payments — and how easily that change is being leveraged into a network to track every movement and activity of the Chinese people.Vast databases are being compiled, containing everything from DNA to college aptitude tests, shopping histories to social circles.Those Chinese who pursue party-approved lives will be rewarded, while free-thinking dissent meets stern punishment.The BBC reports that China will have more than half a billion surveillance cameras installed by 2020, using artificial intelligence to recognize faces. “We can match every face with an ID card and trace all of your movements back one week in time. We can match your face with your car, match you with your relatives and the people you’re in touch with,” Yin Jun of Dahua Technology told a BBC reporter. “With enough cameras we can know who you frequently meet.”Without doubt, this all-seeing state will use its data to deepen the repression of its people.Among Xi’s first acts upon gaining power in 2013 was a crackdown on non-party civil society. Acheson wrote, he explained, because the 1960s “have brought the country, and particularly its young people, to a mood of depression, disillusion, and withdrawal.”In such a moment, he felt it important to “tell a tale of large conceptions, great achievements, and some failures, the product of enormous will and effort.”We find ourselves in a similar moment, profoundly disillusioned, anxious as well as depressed, apparently eager to withdraw from world leadership into heated discussions of trysting FBI agents and the president’s consumption of diet soda. Yet the world presses in.Even with an economy in tatters (the GDP of Russia is barely half that of France, despite having twice the population), Vladimir Putin rules like a czar while waging a cyberwar on the West, seeding chaos and fomenting division.Worse, Chinese dictator Xi Jinping in October announced plans to tighten his grip on a nation once again leaning toward totalitarianism, and to directly challenge the United States and its allies for global influence. If you like Big Brother, you’re going to love what Xi has planned for China. Arrests and denunciations have followed; in July, writer and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo died in custody, becoming the first Nobel Peace Prize recipient since the Nazi era to die a prisoner. Today, as in the days when Acheson executed the bold decisions of President Harry S. Truman, the world has no good alternative to American leadership.That’s why President Trump’s inaugural address was so disheartening to many of us.Trump seemed to reject the idea of mutually beneficial alliances and partnerships in support of free people and free markets, and against collectivist tyrannies.But glimmers of hope showed from the National Security Strategy published by the White House on Monday.Though it’s not a perfect document, the strategy takes several strides in the right direction, acknowledging Russia’s hostile schemes, identifying the long-term China challenge and beginning to reconcile Trump’s “America first” rhetoric with the imperative to rebuild, renew and expand Team Liberty around the world.“Some of the greatest triumphs of American statecraft resulted from helping fragile and developing countries become successful societies,” the paper declares in a welcome rejection of the zero-sum Bannonism of the early Trump administration. “These successes, in turn, created profitable markets for American businesses, allies to help achieve favorable regional balances of power, and coalition partners to share burdens and address a variety of problems around the world.”The task of bracing ourselves and our allies for the work ahead is more difficult than it might have been without Trump’s impulsiveness and base pandering over the past year.But on the bright side, the president has arrived at a national security team capable of producing a tempered, resolute and wide-ranging strategy on a tight time frame.If Trump will rely on it for information and advice — rather than on the whims and cranks that periodically distract his attention like jangling keys — there is time yet to repair the foreign policy damage of the recent past and start in the right direction.The next volume of our history need not be “Present at the Destruction.”David Von Drehle writes a twice-weekly column for The Washington Post. He was previously an editor-at-large for Time Magazine.More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census
In past blogs I have been somewhat hard on travel teams for young athletes. Here is something that is very positive about these programs. If your son or daughter enjoys the sport and is competitive in it, it obviously enhances their skills. However, I think it does something even more important for a young athlete.With all that is going on in society today, it is fun to watch these young kids gain new friends through these traveling teams. They certainly broaden their experiences through contact with different races and ethnic groups. It is very refreshing to see a group of young men/women getting along. Not all the arms and heads in the pictures are one color, one race, or one ethnic group. To these young athletes they are just friends and teammates.
Beckham will captain a Great Britain and Ireland XI, managed by Ferguson, against a Rest of the World team coached by Carlo Ancelotti on November 14 at Old Trafford. A number of Beckham’s former Manchester United team-mates will take part in the match, which aims to raise funds for UNICEF, but Keane will not be one of them. “That is part of the problem with some of the other players we wanted to play. “We have to pick a weekend where we felt we would get a lot of support and 3pm on Saturday does not happen very often.” Had Keane been able to accept the offer, it would have been just the second time the former midfielder had played for Ferguson since their famous bust-up in 2005. Keane had been an integral part of Ferguson’s team for 12 years, but Ferguson became angry with his captain after he delivered a damning critique of his team-mates on the club’s in-house TV station MUTV following a defeat to Middlesbrough. The Scot was unhappy about Keane’s brutally honest assessment of his team-mates and shortly afterwards he was sold to Celtic. Keane played again under Ferguson during his testimonial between United and Celtic in 2006, but the pair have had something of a frosty relationship since. Ferguson and Keane traded jibes about each other in their respective autobiographies. :: The UNICEF game featuring Beckham, which pits a Great Britain & Ireland XI v a Rest of the World XI is on 14 November, 3pm, at Old Trafford. Tickets available from manutd.com Beckham wanted Keane to play, but the former United captain had to turn the offer down because he is busy that week due to his commitments with the Republic of Ireland. “We have asked Roy but obviously he is on international duty,” Beckham said of Keane, who is assistant to Republic manager Martin O’Neill. David Beckham has revealed he wanted Roy Keane to return to Old Trafford and play under Sir Alex Ferguson in his charity match next month. Press Association