I am delighted to be back in the New Internationalist as guest editor. This issue’s keynote and supporting articles are the result of two years’ work on a documentary film about the shift of the world’s economic power east, to China, and the US reaction to this challenge to its dominance. Losing its economic prowess, Washington has turned almost obsessively to its military might; and the prospect of nuclear war is no longer unthinkable. What I found in Asia, the Pacific and the US, was not only evidence of great risk and folly, but extraordinary resistance to a coming war among island people on the frontline: the Marshalls, Okinawa, Jeju: faraway places of which we may know little but which offer an inspiring example as they face the most powerful military machine. This NI is both a tribute to them and a warning, and will, I hope, raise an issue we all need to understand and act upon.
Also in this issue is a special feature on Tax avoidance by Richard Swift and Josh Eisen. They write:
One of the great privileges involved in writing for NI is the chance to vent over an issue that has been getting under one’s skin. The obsession from almost all political quarters that we should be ‘tightening our belts’ is an excellent example of this. It’s usually people who can barely afford said belts who are asked to do the tightening – refugees, the unemployed, those facing health challenges – in short, the vulnerable. So with a topic like tax avoidance we get to turn the tables and ask why the vaunted rich and powerful – who make much of government ‘waste’ yet live lives of frivolous expense – can’t at least pony up their fair share. Very satisfying.
John Pilger for the New Internationalist co-operative.
A major US military build-up – including nuclear weapons – is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China. John Pilger raises the alarm on an under-reported and dangerous provocation.
When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of 6 August, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, unforgettably. When I returned many years later, it was gone: taken away, ‘disappeared’, a political embarrassment.<...
John Pilger visits the Marshall Islands and its bomb survivors, still blighted by US nuclear weapons.
It’s not elves, but underpaid Chinese workers working around the clock that will enable you to unwrap your presents, writes Amoge Ukaegbu.