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Forever rising China

Amid all the hype about China becoming the world's new superpower, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that people have been expecting this moment for a long time. A really, really long time.

Here's a passage from Barbara Tuchman's excellent biography of Joseph "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, the U.S. general who tried in vain to prop up Chiang Kai-Shek and the nationalists:

America at this time [the early 1900s], newly directed toward Asia by the recent acqiusition of Hawaii and the Philippines, was dazzled by the vision of the opportunities for her enterprise and outlets for her commerce in the Far East. China seemed the area of America's future and took on vast importance. John Hay was credited with having said that whoever understands China holds the key to the world's politics for the next five centuries. "Our future history," declared President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905, "will be more determined by our position on the Pacific facing China than by our position on the Atlantic facing Europe."

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Live data and maps on pirate attacks

The International Maritime Bureau, a division of the International Chamber of Commerce, keeps up-to-the minute maps of global piracy, with linked data on the attacks. It's definitely worth checking out. 

Above, the purple tags denote "suspicious vessels," the yellow "attempted attacks," and the red "actual attacks."

Parsing the data, I counted that of 45 attempted attacks in the Gulf of Aden, 7 succeeded; in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia, of 31 attempts, 11 succeeded. This implies a pirate strike's more likely in the Gulf, and more likely to succeed in open waters. 

Peter Pham takes a closer look at the technicalities of pirate attacks, and stopping them, today on FP's website. 

(Hat tip: Global Dashboard)