cr> Some international events


(Introduction from moderator: these are excerpts from postings by
Madanmohan Rao, which he takes from his Internet World site  The first is quite
provocative and the second more newsy.--Andy)

Internet Aids U.S. Foreign Policy In The Information Age
The U.S. has strength in military power and economic production -
yet, its more subtle advantage is its ability to collect,
process, act upon, and disseminate information, according to
Admiral William Owens and Joseph Nye, former Chairman of the
National Intelligence Council and Assistant Secretary of Defense
for International Affairs in the Clinton administration. Like the
nuclear umbrella which aided nuclear deterrence, an "information
umbrella" could provide mutually beneficial relationships with
select countries by providing situational awareness about
military matters. In addition to the superiority of its
intelligence collection, surveillance and reconnaissance -
demonstrated by the precision-guided munitions used in Operation
Desert Storm - the U.S. should also capitalise on "the soft side"
of information power in the information age. This includes the
dominance of U.S. popular culture in international film,
television, and electronic communications, as well as the U.S.
higher education system which draws 450,000 foreign students each
year. The "slow, diffuse, and subtle process of winning hearts
and minds" can be met by the U.S. Information Agency, the Voice
of America, nongovernmental news organisations, and new
communications technologies. For instance, of the 15,000 networks
on the global Internet in early 1994, only 42 were in Muslim
countries - in response, the U.S. Information Agency and the U.S.
Agency for International Development have worked to improve
global access to the Internet in these countries. "The beauty of
information as a power resource is that, while it can enhance the
effectiveness of raw military power, it ineluctably democratises
societies," according to Owens and Nye. Congress should support
the efforts of the USIA to exploit new technologies, such as
setting up Web pages on democratisation and the creation of free
(Foreign Affairs; March-April 1996)

China Moving To Control Internet Access
Since the Chinese government started allowing commercial Internet
accounts last spring, the number of Internet users in China has
grown from a few thousand in the universities to 100,000. Martin
Hu of the Beijing Internet-Networking Institute predicts one
million people could be using the Internet in China by 2000. Of
the one million personal computers sold in China last year, about
20 percent went to families. 17 percent of urban homes have
phones now and up to 40 percent are expected to have them by
2000. For now, the strongest demand for the Internet comes from
businesses, said Yang Jie, a telecommunications expert for the
World Bank. Although the government is wary of the Internet, the
information it brings in is simply too important for economic
development. And China's leaders reportedly met several months
ago and concluded that full control of the Internet was
impossible in any case. The government's monopoly on access
enables it to keep certain newsgroups off China's personal
computer screens. While it is not hard to close certain sites,
"there's no way to automatically detect the content," said Chi
Chihong, a computer science professor at the Chinese University
of Hong Kong. The main abuse of the system so far has involved
pornography, Chi said. "China is not closing the door to all
information," said James Chu, CEO of the China Internet
Corporation. "It's just requiring that all information coming in
has to follow Chinese laws."
(Associated Press; April 8, 1996)

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