Podcast: geopolitics of the Barbie affair

South China Sea

In Episode 181 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill WeinbergĀ discusses the strange reality that the Barbie move has been banned in VietnamĀ over a brief image of a world map appearing to show the “nine-dash line”Ā demarcating China’s unilaterally claimed territory in the South China Sea. WhileĀ US-China brinkmanship over Taiwan has won headlines recently, Beijing’s maritime dispute with HanoiĀ holds unsettling potential for escalation. In a nearly surreal paradox (for those who remember their history) Vietnam has actually been tilting to the US in the new cold war with China. It has also been increasingly resorting to internal police-state measuresĀ to protect the interests of foreign capital in the country. All of this constitutes a rebuke both to the neoliberals, who cling to the discredited dogma that “free markets” inevitably lead to peace and democracy, and to the tankies, who rally around both the regimes in Beijing and Hanoi, in defiance of political reality.

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Production by Chris Rywalt

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Map via IDSA