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Posts Tagged ‘Patten’

We Are Hong Kong

Posted by hkarner - 31. Mai 2020

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

With his recent decision to impose a draconian new security law on Hong Kong, Chinese President Xi Jinping has ridden roughshod over the Joint Declaration and directly threatened the city’s freedom. Defenders of liberal democracy must not stand idly by.

LONDON – In my final speech as Hong Kong’s governor on June 30, 1997, a few hours before I left the city on Britain’s royal yacht, I remarked that, “Now, Hong Kong people are to run Hong Kong. That is the promise. And that is the unshakable destiny.

That promise was contained in the 1984 Joint Declaration, a treaty signed by China and the United Kingdom and lodged at the United Nations. The deal was clear, and the guarantee to Hong Kong’s citizens was absolute: the return of the city from British to Chinese sovereignty would be governed by the principle of “one country, two systems.” Hong Kong would have a high degree of autonomy for 50 years, until 2047, and would continue to enjoy all the freedoms associated with an open society under the rule of law.But with his recent decision to impose a draconian new security law on Hong Kong, Chinese President Xi Jinping has ridden roughshod over the Joint Declaration and directly threatened the city’s freedom. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Dealing with China After COVID-19

Posted by hkarner - 22. April 2020

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

In the midst of a fire, it makes no sense to point fingers at the principal arsonist. But knowing how the COVID-19 pandemic started is central to learning how to prevent similar disasters in the future.

LONDON – With the coronavirus continuing its brutal global rampage, it takes a particular sort of malign genius to put the United States in the political dock as the death toll mounts and economic devastation spreads. Yet, that is what President Donald Trump is doing.

The disruption in the European Union caused by the COVID-19 pandemic should be temporary, but only if EU leaders take the extraordinary measures needed to avoid long-term damage. Fortunately, there is an easy, fast and low-cost way to finance the proposed €1 trillion European Recovery Fund.

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Britain Enters the Unknown

Posted by hkarner - 1. Februar 2020

Chris Patten

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

Compared to the threats posed by climate change and China’s hostility to liberal democracy, the consequences of Brexit may seem far less significant. But the United Kingdom has chosen an odd and dangerous time to decide to go it alone.

LONDON – A history teacher at my school believed that every great event in the past should be approached on the basis of a tripartite analysis of its causes, pretexts, and results. He would list these in columns on the blackboard, and we would then have to learn them by heart: the causes of the eighteenth-century War of the Spanish Succession, the pretexts for the French Revolution, the results of the American War of Independence, and so on. 

Of course, life and further study teach us that things are not that simple. Causes can be a combination of accident, ambition, and coincidence, together with more profound economic, social, and technological changes. Results can be equally difficult to gauge neatly. After all, history rarely brings closure, and it is hard to know when the effects of a great event begin and end.In that regard, the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union at 23:00 GMT on January 31 is probably the most important national political event in my lifetime. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How Truth Survived 2019

Posted by hkarner - 30. Dezember 2019

The „truthiness“ of US President Donald Trump and other world leaders cast a dark shadow over public life in 2019, and probably will continue to do so next year. But fortunately for those who care about both democracy and the planet, the actual truth remains a powerful force.

LONDON – “Truthiness,” a concept coined by the American comedian Stephen Colbert, involves saying things that you want to believe are true even if there is no factual evidence to support these assertions. And without doubt, truthiness has had a great run in 2019 – from US President Donald Trump’s Washington, to the Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom, to events in Asia.

This disturbing trend was partly reflected in Time magazine’s choice of candidates for its 2019 Person of the Year. The shortlist of five included Trump, who, although he did not win the prize of seeing his picture on Time’s cover, exemplifies the political triumph of today’s ubiquitous mendacity. In the opposite corner were two other candidates: the whistleblower who exposed Trump’s attempt to extort Ukraine’s president for political gain, and Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, who presided over the chamber’s recent vote to impeach the president.The two remaining contenders also represented old-fashioned honesty and political courage. The winner was Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate-change campaigner. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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What Happens to the United Kingdom Now?

Posted by hkarner - 1. November 2019

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

Even after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, the country will face years of talks in which it will be negotiating from a position of weakness. The UK will be less prosperous and influential than before, and will be under increasing internal strain because of policies driven by malignant English nationalism.

LONDON – The United Kingdom’s Brexit psychodrama continues. Although the UK government and the European Union reached a revised withdrawal agreement in mid-October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was unable to push the deal through Parliament so that the UK could leave the bloc by his hoped-for date of October 31. EU leaders have therefore granted a further three-month extension of the Brexit deadline until January 31, and the UK will now hold a parliamentary election on December 12, which may help to resolve the current impasse. 

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Is Britain Becoming a Failed State?

Posted by hkarner - 21. August 2019

Date: 20-08-2019
Source: by Chris Patten

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

Failed states used to be largely the preserve of the developing world, where the institutions of democracy do not have deep roots. But given the extent to which the Brexit campaign has undermined Britain’s institutions through lies, it is reasonable to worry that the country will soon come to resemble a tinpot dictatorship.

LONDON – What is a failed state? Not so long ago, when I was Britain’s Overseas Development Minister, and later European Commissioner for External Affairs, I would probably have tried to answer the question by pointing to specific examples, including several countries in Latin America and Africa.

I would have highlighted tribal conflicts, military coups, economic failure, extremes of poverty, and high mortality rates. I might have referred to the failure of more prosperous societies to ensure that globalization helped everyone and did not leave some communities trapped in deprivation. In addition, I would certainly have mentioned systems of government that had ceased to deliver what they were intended to do, and certainly what outside well-wishers hoped and assumed they would do. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Brexit Hour Has Come

Posted by hkarner - 31. März 2019

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

With Brexit possibly just two weeks away, most British voters and members of Parliament are still in the dark. Sadly, the national interest has taken a back seat to ideological obsession and the leadership ambitions of some of Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet colleagues.

LONDON – Do you want to know what is happening in British politics today in the great debate about the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union?

Join the club. With Brexit possibly just two weeks away, most British voters are in the dark. So are members of Parliament. So are the million people, including three of my daughters and three of my older grandchildren, who recently marched in London to protest against Brexit. And so are the six million who have signed a petition calling on the government to remain in the EU.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that during my travels this month from the United States to Ireland to Southeast Asia and then Tokyo, everyone seemed so bemused about how Britain had plunged itself into such a damaging crisis. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Playing Chicken with Europe

Posted by hkarner - 15. Februar 2019

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

The philosopher Bertrand Russell believed the Cold War nuclear standoff resembled a high-risk game played by „youthful degenerates.“ British Prime Minister Therea May is playing a similar game, and if her Brexit brinkmanship goes wrong, the victim would be Britain.

LONDON – The game of chicken is simple to describe but dangerous to play. Based on evolutionary game theory, it was sometimes used to describe nuclear brinkmanship during the Cold War.

Bertrand Russell, the great British philosopher and campaigner against nuclear weapons, reminded us that the game is usually played between what he called “youthful degenerates.” The players drive cars towar d each other at high speed from opposite directions; the first driver to swerve away from a head-on collision – or, in some variants, to jump from the driver’s seat before it reaches a cliff edge – is the “chicken.”Russell believed this to be a description of the putative statesmanship of the nuclear powers in the Cold War. One miscalculation, one failure to swerve, and the result could be Armageddon: hundreds of millions of deaths, flattened cities, the end of civilization.

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Brexit Sweat and Tears

Posted by hkarner - 29. Januar 2019

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

For years after World War II, Britons were aware of the palpable shift in the country’s fortunes. But there was a deep aversion to accepting the UK’s diminished status, and the failure – beginning with Winston Churchill – of successive generations of politicians to address it is what has led to the current impasse.

LONDON – I recently saw an American play in London called “Sweat,” written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Lynn Nottage. It was performed previously on and off Broadway and was described by the Wall Street Journal as a play that helped to explain Donald Trump’s election as president.

Nottage had spent some time talking to the residents of a poor city in Pennsylvania which was losing jobs and its modest prosperity because of the contraction of the steel industry. Competition from cheaper manufacturers and lower-paid workers around the world had devastated an already-weak economy and provoked conflict between friends, relatives, and races.

Economically marginalized workers were also feeling culturally beleaguered. The world in which they had grown up – its values and fixed identity – was, it seemed to them, being systematically trashed. They turned – not necessarily in the expectation of answers – to a billionaire outsider who, unlike the political elites, had not yet let them down and appeared to share their contempt for the establishment. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Sum of All Brexit Fears

Posted by hkarner - 31. Dezember 2018

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

The Leavers lied: The costs of withdrawing from the European Union were always destined to outweigh the benefits. Alas, the responsible, imaginative, and inclusive political leadership needed to minimize the damage is nowhere in sight.

LONDON – Day after day, week after week, most British citizens think that the turmoil over their country’s proposed exit from the European Union cannot get any worse. But, without fail, it does. Turmoil turns into humiliating chaos; a political crisis threatens to become a constitutional crisis.

Meanwhile, the date of the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU gets closer. It is fewer than 100 days until the UK leaves, and at the moment there is no deal in sight that is acceptable to both Parliament in Westminster and the European Commission and European Council in Brussels. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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