Mao’s Little Red Book in China and Beyond

The Diplomat speaks with Alexander Cook, editor of a collection of essays on Mao’s Little Red Book.

Nearly 40 years after Mao Zedong’s death, China continues to have an uneasy relationship with the Great Helmsman, as shown by the recent ambivalence towards the 100th anniversary of Mao’s birth. To get more perspective on China’s (and the world’s) past and present relationship with Mao, The Diplomat‘s Justin McDonnell spoke with Alexander Cook, the editor of Mao’s Little Red Book: A Global History, a collection of essays seeking to understand the Little Red Book as a global phenomenon.

How is Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong a reflection of the global radicalism of the 1960s?

The Little Red Book responded to the deepest anxieties of the postwar period: dissatisfaction with the unfulfilled promises of liberalism, disillusionment with the crushing realities of Soviet-style communism, and despair with the continued subjugation of the developing world. This was a generational phenomenon, but it also spoke to the shared, transcendent, existential fear of nuclear annihilation. The Little Red Book represented a rejection of the Cold War, and even more than that a rejection of the technological subjugation of humanity in the era of mass production. Needless to say, there are many bitter ironies in this story.

How was the book disseminated in China and why did it die out?

The book was originally conceived as a kind of ideological field manual for soldiers in the People’s Liberation Army. Its small size and rugged, waterproof cover were designed to fit the breast pocket of an army uniform. Leading up the Cultural Revolution, Defense Minister Lin Biao heavily promoted the cult of Mao in the military. He said Mao’s thought was a “spiritual atom bomb” and insisted that every soldier be armed with a copy of the Little Red Book. Continue reading

SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW Weekly Assessments & Briefings Volume 12, No. 38, March 24, 2014

Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the
South Asia Terrorism Portal

Critical Cusp
Ajit Kumar Singh
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management

With less than a fortnight to go for the all important Presidential Elections scheduled to be held on April 5, 2014, a wave of terror strikes has enveloped the length and breadth of Afghanistan. In the most recent of major incidents (each resulting in three or more fatalities) at least nine persons, including four foreigners and five Afghans (including two children and two women), were shot dead by Taliban terrorists inside the luxurious Serena Hotel complex in national capital Kabul, in the night of March 20, 2014. The attackers managed to smuggle pistols past security checkpoints and then hid in a bathroom, eventually springing out and opening fire on guests and hotel guards. All the four terrorists were killed in the subsequent operation by the Security Forces (SFs). The attack took place despite recent security reports rating Serena Hotel, guarded round the clock by dozens of security guards armed with assault weapons, among the highest-risk locales in the city. The hotel is frequented by foreign officials and the Afghan elite. Continue reading

Ukraine: And the Winner Is . . . China

Artyom Lukin

This essay is an expanded version of an article published originally by the Russian International Affairs Council.

There is one international player that stands to gain from the recent turn of events in Ukraine, regardless of its outcome. This player apparently has nothing to do with the crisis, which has engulfed Russia, the EU and the United States, and makes a point of staying on the sidelines. The country in question, of course, is China.

The leadership in Beijing must be secretly delighted watching the struggle between Russia and the West. The Ukraine mess can seriously poison Moscow’s relations with Washington and Brussels for a long time to come, thus reducing their mutual ability to coordinate policies on the major issues in world politics. One such issue, perhaps the most important, concerns geopolitical risks associated with China’s rise and its impact on the global economic and military balance.

Up to the present, Russia has pursued a relatively balanced and circumspect policy toward its giant Asian neighbor. Although the Chinese side recently has signaled that it would welcome closer strategic ties with Russia, even a security alliance perhaps, Moscow so far has been reluctant to transform their current “strategic partnership” into a full-blown geopolitical entente. In particular, Russia has not been ready to back Beijing’s assertive stance on the various territorial disputes in East Asia. Continue reading

Iran News Round Up March 18, 2014

Nuclear power plant "Kernkraftwerk Emslan...

Nuclear power plant “Kernkraftwerk Emsland” (Photo credit: flokru)

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by the AEI Critical Threats Project’s Iran research team. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online. 

(E) = Article in English

Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors

Nuclear Issue

Russian ruble becomes Crimea’s second official currency

The Crimean parliament has announced the Russian ruble will become the second official currency of Crimea and will be circulating alongside the hryvnia until it is withdrawn in 2016.

The decision marks the first step in the peninsula’s economic integration with Russia, after Crimea’s citizens overwhelmingly voted for joining Russia in Sunday’s referendum.“The official currency unit of the Republic of Crimea is the Russian ruble, and until January 1, 2016, the Ukrainian hryvnia would be also the official currency,” the parliament’s official website says. Continue reading

Libya-Egypt Border Suspicions Hit Port’s Trade

March 04, 2014  By MarEx


The port of Tobruk prior to the Libyan civil war

Mutual suspicion with neighbor Egypt threatens to halt a revival in the fortunes of Libya‘s eastern port of Tobruk, officials there said.

New restrictions on travelers and goods passing the nearby land border are hitting container volumes, said Nasser Zgogo, operations manager at the port.

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Egypt’s Economy and the Fall of the Beblawi Government

March 4, 2014 Mohammed Samhouri عربي

No Egyptian government will be stable unless it successfully addresses the country’s many interrelated economic troubles.


The unexpected resignation of the entire interim cabinet of Egypt on February 24 should serve as a reminder of just how acute and intricate the economic crisis is that faces the country since Mubarak’s ouster three years ago. The latest manifestation of this crisis came in the form of escalating waves of labor strikes that hit several parts of the country in recent weeks: doctors, pharmacists, public transport employees, low-ranking policemen, pensioners, post office employees, workers in the textile industry and

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