From Volume 8, Issue 18 of EIR Online, Published May 5, 2009
Asia News Digest

Thai Foreign Minister Exposed as Tyrant

April 27 (EIRNS)—Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, who was a leader of the fascist gangs that shut down Thailand's Government House and international airports last year, spoke at Georgetown University, his alma mater, on April 23. His participation in the anarchy by the "yellow shirts" on the streets of Bangkok earned him the Foreign Ministry post in the British-controlled government of Abhisit Vejjajiva, which was subsequently placed in power.

At Georgetown, Kasit praised the anarchists and their military and monarchist sponsors, for running three coups against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his supporters over the past three years. His complaints against Thaksin and his supporters included: putting too much emphasis on business expansion; spending too much time in China; and working too hard to integrate the Mekong region through infrastructure development with neighboring countries. And, of course, corruption.

EIR asked Kasit if he truly believed that his dislike for the previous government's policies justified his personal participation in acts of insurrection and anarchy. Kasit tried to defend himself by ranting about Thaksin's corruption. However, the next question came from a Georgetown student who said: "I'd like to go further than the last questioner—how can you claim to be a democrat when you support a government placed in power by the elite, and call for the King to appoint the members of Parliament?"

Kasit responded that Thaksin was responsible for the deaths of many drug dealers in his war on drugs, and for many Muslims in the insurrection in the South, implying that a military/monarchist coup was justified. But, he lied: "The monarchy is above politics," failing to note that the King's Privy Council ran every aspect of the yellow shirts' anarchy, the decisions of the military-appointed courts, and the military coups themselves.

30 Million Chinese Migrants Lose Jobs

April 30 (EIRNS)—As many as 30 million of China's vast migrant workforce have returned to their villages, because they could not find other jobs in the urban areas—a figure 50% higher than what the government reported just a month ago. Cheng Guoqiang, deputy head of the State Council's Development & Research Center, told a Beijing conference April 22 that the "global financial crisis has led to job losses in China, and many migrant workers had to return to the rural areas. Earlier reports put the estimate at 20 million people. According to our estimate, about 30 million farmers have lost their jobs," Hurriyet reported.

The Chinese government is reporting that at least 225 million people, 28% of the rural population, have left villages and farms to find work, either in local towns or in East Coast factories, a figure almost double that (130 million) being used until recently. Many of these are second-generation migrants, who still must maintain their official registration in their own or their parents' birthplace in the countryside. Wages sent back to the villages made up 40-50% of the income of the rural population; many are now losing this income.

Gates: Troop Strength in Afghanistan Near Soviet Level

May 2 (EIRNS)—U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told CNN that there will be 100,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan this year. "That's only about 10,000 shy of what the Russians had, and I think we need to think about that," he said, adding that it would be a "hard sell" to request more U.S. troops this year, over the 21,000 that President Obama has already ordered.

The Soviet Army moved into Afghanistan in December 1979, and had to pull out nine years later, as the war proved as much of a disaster as the U.S. war in Vietnam—including in the effects of drug addiction and demoralization on the Soviet troops.

Pakistan's Army Chief Skips Trip to Washington

May 3 (EIRNS)—Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani will not accompany President Asif Ali Zardari to the U.S. for a trilateral summit next week, which also involves Afghanistan, to discuss a regional policy to tackle terrorism. The U.S. administration was keen that Kayani should head the Pakistani military team. Kayani supposedly chose to stay home in light of the growing insecurity in Pakistan.

But the real reason could lie somewhere else. It is evident that the Obama Administration has begun to identify Zardari as a lame-duck President, and is now talking to the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader and Prime Minister for two terms, Nawaz Sharif, as a desired replacement for Zardari. The Washington Post's David Ignatius wrote in his column today that the U.S. "is looking increasingly" to Nawaz to replace the weak Zardari.

The Pakistani Army never accepted Zardari as President, and sees Nawaz as a better alternative. Nawaz is Punjabi, endorses Islamic law (Sharia), has good contacts with the Pakistani Taliban leaders, is definitely much more anti-India than Zardari, and is very close to Saudi King Abdullah.

To some in Washington, replacing Zardari with Nawaz would provide an opportunity to start negotiating with the Afghan Taliban. The Saudis have close contacts with Mullah Omar, the Taliban supremo, and Team Obama is making its move to begin negotiations with the Afghan Taliban in order to set the ground for an exit at some point—say, in two years.

"One of the most stupid things that was done, was getting rid of Musharraf," Lyndon LaRouche commented. "And the motives for doing it were evil. Now, we have an uncontrollable situation, because of that policy, the dumping of Musharraf. Whatever you want to say, he could hold the country together, and our objective should have been, 'Hold the country together!' But the Administration had a different policy.

"You're creating a situation in which one figure you use to replace another, is less competent than the person he's replacing," LaRouche continued. "And this is where the damn problem comes: You're losing credibility, in the ability to manage the international situation, by destroying anybody who has any credibility. That's what really the British are doing! Destroying anybody who has credibility, and that way you can manage the situation."

Japan's Economy Hits New Lows

May 2 (EIRNS)—Every economic sector is reporting negative numbers that tend toward the superlative—"fastest falling," "worst," "lowest," etc. Japan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in March grew at the fastest pace in more than 40 years, to hit a four-year high of 4.8%, with a record number of people being laid off, the government said May 1.

Japan's unemployment hits hardest at "non-regular" workers, employed by temporary agencies or in seasonal work. A government survey shows that a growing number of non-regular workers are losing jobs, with the figure likely to exceed 207,000 by the end of June. Only about 21% of the confirmed job seekers were able to find work.

The Land and Infrastructure Ministry reports that housing starts in Japan last year fell to a 42-year low, partly due to devastated condominium sales. Housing starts in fiscal 2008 were just over 1.03 million, the lowest level since 1966.

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