The road to rehab

Prisons, as Scott Stewart observes in ‘Tradecraft of Terror’, too often serve aseffective training grounds for extremists of any persuasion. But it seems defeatist to claim that ‘rehabilitation and deradicalisation programmes hav[e] little success’ when certain ‘ideological rehab’ programmes have been used in Europe and (to a lesser extent) the USin place of jail sentences with fairly successful results. Young extremists from across the spectrumhave been integrated back into society through the use of tailor-made courses and programmes that focus on their individual strengths, failings, needs and mindsets. True, it will take courageous representatives of the legal system to risk keeping these potentially dangerous youngsters at large, and of course they will have to be closely monitored for years, which some might say is no better or lesstigmatising than the UK’s Prevent strategy, But as an experiment in something better, it has to worth a shot.


Danish Abidi

Leyton, London

Strange style, no substance

Looks as though Maxwell Downman’s doubts about the Trump-Kim summit (‘Sober reality after Singapore’, July Asian Affairs) are proving well founded, particularly given how the US Administration’s recent high-level diplomatic talks with North Korea turned antagonistic, with Pyongyang accusing the US of having a ‘gangster-like mindset’after a visit there by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. What’s more, the lack of substance in the Singapore joint declaration, about which Downman and others have reservations, are shown up in the vague language and absence of specific timetables or goals of the summit agreement that has now become public.

President Trump can boast all he likes about this admittedly historic meeting, but he is already looking the weaker party, as the Pentagon suspended all military exercises on the Korean Peninsula, while North Korea is showing no signs of fulfilling its promise to return the remains of US service members who died during the Korean War, and is said to be expanding a ballistic missile manufacturing site and upgrading a separate nuclear facility. In case I am accused of unfair bias, I should add that Pyongyang has halted all missile and nuclear tests thus far this year, presumably as a result of the meeting. Let’s hope something so small can grow into something more meaningful.

Dermot O’Rourke



Losers all round

Dear Sir

Please continue to publish articlescovering the ongoing US-China trade war, as it is important to address its harmful consequences. This war is not a zero-sum game, but a lose-lose for both countries and a tragedy for the whole world, and it will change the global economic and political order of multilateralism.So far, the US has been aggressive, while China has been defensive. In essence, the trade war is thought to aim at curbing China’s technology development strategy, especially the ‘Made in China 2025’.Trade-dependent countries like Singapore will suffer, while North Korea will likely benefit from the deepeningUS-China conflicts.

In the short run, the US may gain a bit economically, but China will likely benefit more politically in the long run, as the US is undermining its national credibility and giving up its global leadershipr

Sun Xi


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