By Alejandro A. Tagliavini *
On December 23rd, Akihito, the emperor of Japan who will abdicate on April 30th, celebrated his 85th birthday and greeted a crowd from the palace while a speech was given three days before. Undergoing cardiac surgery and treatment to fight cancer, he will become the first emperor to abdicate in more than two centuries. With just a thread of voice and very excited, was heard he who is probably the most respected leader in the world: his righteousness, kindness and empathy, is recognized even by the opponents of Japan.
“It gives me consolation that the ‘Heisei Age’ – title of his reign – is coming to an end free of war in Japan” said the Emperor of the Rising Sun who reigned during an age of peace, harmony and great technological and, consequently, economic development. Avoiding explicit political messages, Akihito launched his undisguised preoccupation with the growing military and nationalist discourse sustained, among others, by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Meanwhile Putin warns that the risk of a nuclear war is underestimated, and a few days ago presided over the trial of the hypersonic missile Avangard – that traveled 6000 km between the Urals and Kamchatka – which, according to the Russian government, can overcome the US anti-missile shield. “We are the first to have this type of weapon,” Putin said. USA it has no defenses against hypersonic weapons that China also develops. Moscow has studied American vulnerabilities, and so it prefers speed and systems that do not trace predictable trajectories.
In another part of the world, the detention in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, vice president and daughter of the founder of Huawei – the largest global telecommunications provider – has unleashed a diplomatic storm. On December 11, she was granted conditional freedom while the extradition requested by the US attorney’s office that accused her of avoiding sanctions against Tehran is resolved. In retaliation, Beijing has arrested at least two Canadians.
In any case, there is a strong suspicion in the sense that the Chinese giant is in the sights of Washington and some of its allies because the company leads the rally in the development of 5G technology. In addition to the Chinese Huawei and ZTE, the other dominant companies in this technology are the European Ericsson and Nokia and the Japanese NEC.
“We are losing (…). Whoever dominates the 5G market will have a tremendous advantage for information, “says the US National Security Council. By the way, China for “security reasons” and to defend its state companies, published new rules for companies, foreign and Chinese, privately or state owned, which contain a “negative list” of four types of prohibited companies and other 147 categories that need government permits.
All this reminds me of the cases of Snowden and Assange. Let’s see. Information – the truth – is the most efficient “weapon” to achieve peace and economic development. For this reason, modern states – which base their “authority” on the monopoly of violence – seek to control and limit information and truth, because it leaves them unarmed. The greatest army is useless against a single citizen capable of knowing and advancing its movements and, then, avoid it or jeopardize it.
Termo heika banzai! – Ten thousand years of life to the emperor! – of peace, truth, and the development of his people.
* Member of the Advisory Board of the Center on Global Prosperity, Oakland, California