The Octant
Insights and reporting from Caleb Maupin

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As CNN reporter, Gary Tuchman, mocked supporters of Donald Trump who displayed signs supporting the internet “Q-Anon” movement, he blatantly misrepresented a well-established fact.

Tuchman taunted one Trump supporter who said mainstream media was ‘weaponized by the CIA’ saying: “I don’t know anyone in the CIA except for a few people I’ve interviewed over the years? But weaponized by the CIA? What does that even mean?… Do you think I’m weaponized by the CIA?”

Xi Book

Politics in Western countries often involves celebrity gossip, scandals, rumors, and tweetstorms. Political leaders pander to adolescent sentiments among the public, cultivating a mindset akin to sports fans -- cheering on their favorite teams while booing their opponents.

However, when one opens the pages of Xi Jinping's "The Governance of China," the second volume now available in English, the pages present a lost art, something that was essential in building civilization: statecraft.

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Why does the US media have an anti-Russian fixation? It’s not what the American people want to hear. 71% of the Ronald Reagan-loving, military-obsessed Republican Party approve of Trump meeting with Putin. On the other side, top liberal CNN commentator and former President Obama’s adviser, Van Jones has admitted in a video recording that the “Russiagate” story is a “big nothing burger” which Democrats are not interested in.  The Russia-fixated, Hillary Clinton-DNC liberal establishment now faces an upsurge of opposition from Democratic Socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, who emphasize the need for populist economics reforms.

Conservatives don’t want to hear it. Liberals don’t want to hear it. Hating Russia is just not a bandwagon the U.S. public is ready to jump on. Yet, if one turns on American television, in the aftermath of the summit in Helsinki, the rhetoric and accusations against the government of the Russian Federation are almost endless.

Like Trump, Obama was also unable to resolve the tensions now being described as the “New Cold War.” Let’s not forget that Obama was elected saying he would “talk to Putin”. In the early years of Obama’s first term, he said he intended to “reset” relations with the Eurasian superpower, and was attacked for it by the Tea Party. The American people favor better relations with Russia, and politicians win votes for promising it, yet the dangerous trajectory continues. Why?

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One definition of the word ‘pessimism’ is “a lack of hope or confidence in the future.” Pessimism is certainly pervasive in western politics in the present epoch. The far-left, no longer drawing from Marxism and historical materialism, but rooted in New Left mysticism, post-modernism and de-construction, presents the future as an unfolding ecological catastrophe and high tech authoritarian nightmare. The right-wing narrative presents a nightmarish future of chaos, crime, and cultural decay, while advocate walls and isolationism to retreat from the global community.

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Throughout Trump’s presidency, the memory of Nixon has been invoked by both opponents and supporters of “The Donald.” Richard Nixon stands out as the only President in U.S. history to have resigned, and not completed his term in office.

During Trump’s presidential campaign, Trump used Nixon’s famous catch-phrases, referring to the “silent majority” and calling himself a “law and order” candidate. Roger Stone, who worked for the Nixon administration’s Office of Economic Opportunity, was notably on board with the Trump campaign. Meanwhile, outspoken Trump opponent Meryl Streep starred in the recently released film “The Post” dramatizing the Washington Post’s legal battle against the Nixon administration. Rachel Maddow and other liberal voices have compared allegations against Trump to the revelations surrounding the infamous Watergate Scandal.

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American investors are salivating as a wave of Chinese tech "unicorns" (private startup corporations worth over $1 billion) are set to go public. Lufax, the online entertainment group and lender, Xiaomi, the cell phone manufacturer, and the giant known as Didi Chuxing Technology are all in the process of making an initial public offering. A headline in the Wall Street Journal proclaims: "China's Biggest Tech Unicorns Stampede to Go Public."


While American financial circles are excited about investing in tech unicorns, they overlook that the very existence of these huge, creative, wealth-generating entities disproves a central tenant of free-market ideology. Mark J. Perry, of the American Enterprise Institute, writes: "Socialism has always proven to be a formula for tyranny and misery." He goes on to state: "By their failure to foster, promote, and nurture the potential of their people through incentive-enhancing institutions, centrally planned economies deprive the human spirit of full development. Socialism fails because it kills and destroys the human spirit…"

SteelMillKorea

Import quotas have long been out of fashion among U.S. leaders in the age of free trade and globalization. However, on April 30th, the White House announced that the United States has now revived the practice, with South Korea being the first country subject to this harsh economic measure. The deal reached between the Trump administration and the administration of Moon Jae-In involves a quota of 2.63 million tons of steel from South Korea per year.

South Korea is the third largest foreign supplier of steel to the United States. The new quota is set at roughly 70% of the average import number for the past 3 years. The Wall Street Journal, noting the devastating impact of the new quota, reported that “nine out of 54 categories of South Korean steel exports to the U.S. have already had their annual quota filled.”

Why does South Korea have a steel industry?

The steel industry of South Korea was the result of a number of geopolitical maneuvers throughout the Cold War. Following the Korean War, the Soviet Union poured huge amounts of resources into industrializing and developing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the northern part of the peninsula. Technicians from the Soviet Union helped the DPRK to begin exploiting the coal from its mountainous regions.