Sunday, December 24, 2017

China Bullies Mr. Moon. Beijing wants South Korea to remove its missile defenses without helping with North Korea

China Bullies Mr. Moon.  By The Editorial Board
Beijing wants South Korea to remove its missile defenses.
The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 22, 2017 6:10 p.m. ET

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is learning that appeasement is a dangerous game. After he bowed last month to Beijing’s strong-arming and limited deployment of a U.S.-built missile-defense system, relations between the two countries seemed to be back on track. But China has now resumed its pressure tactics.

Mr. Moon’s predecessor began to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense in March to defend against North Korean missile attack. Beijing objected that the Thaad radar can peer into its airspace and demanded it be dismantled. China stopped its citizens from visiting the country on package tours and harassed South Korean companies. Those unofficial sanctions trimmed almost $7 billion from the Korean economy this year.

After his election in May, Mr. Moon suspended the Thaad deployment, officially for an environmental review. That angered Washington, which had paid for the system. The new President eventually agreed to deploy the launchers that were already imported.

But the delay showed Beijing it could intimidate Mr. Moon, and it pressed him harder. On Oct. 31 Mr. Moon again bowed to China, pledging not to deploy more Thaad units, join a larger U.S. missile-defense network or form a defense alliance with Japan. That compromised South Korea’s security, since the Thaad units deployed so far cover only part of the country and could be overwhelmed by North Korean short-range missiles.

Yet China still wasn’t satisfied, and the reconciliation started to unravel when Mr. Moon visited Beijing last week. He was met by low-level officials at the airport, a clear snub. Then security guards beat journalists traveling with him, one of whom was hospitalized. The two sides failed to issue a joint statement.

This week China raised tensions again by sending three fighter jets and two bombers into South Korea’s air defense identification zone, causing its military to scramble jets to intercept them. Chinese fishing boats, which double as a maritime militia, charged South Korean coast guard vessels, forcing them to fire warning shots. The flow of Chinese tourist groups to South Korea has again dried up.

Beijing wants to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul on the Thaad deployment, and it is pressing the issue. China wants Mr. Moon to remove Thaad entirely and support its proposed deal on North Korea’s nuclear program. The “freeze for a freeze” plan would have U.S. and South Korean forces suspend their joint exercises in return for the North halting its nuclear testing.

That would cripple the U.S.-South Korea alliance, which is Beijing’s goal. Without regular exercises, the two countries’ ability to deter provocations by the North would wither. And Pyongyang could continue its weapons development in secret.

Mr. Moon’s attempts to appease Beijing have only led to fresh demands. He can restore his credibility by deploying more Thaad radars and launchers that South Korea badly needs. If China doesn’t like Thaad, it can help eliminate the threat from North Korea.

Higher social class consistently related to lower levels of wise reasoning across different levels of analysis, including regional and individual differences

Social class and wise reasoning about interpersonal conflicts across regions, persons and situations. Justin P. Brienza, Igor Grossmann. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1870

Abstract: We propose that class is inversely related to a propensity for using wise reasoning (recognizing limits of their knowledge, consider world in flux and change, acknowledges and integrate different perspectives) in interpersonal situations, contrary to established class advantage in abstract cognition. Two studies—an online survey from regions differing in economic affluence (n = 2 145) and a representative in-lab study with stratified sampling of adults from working and middle-class backgrounds (n = 299)—tested this proposition, indicating that higher social class consistently related to lower levels of wise reasoning across different levels of analysis, including regional and individual differences, and subjective construal of specific situations. The results held across personal and standardized hypothetical situations, across self-reported and observed wise reasoning, and when controlling for fluid and crystallized cognitive abilities. Consistent with an ecological framework, class differences in wise reasoning were specific to interpersonal (versus societal) conflicts. These findings suggest that higher social class weighs individuals down by providing the ecological constraints that undermine wise reasoning about interpersonal affairs.

Correlation between gut microbiota and personality in adults: a cross-sectional study

Correlation between gut microbiota and personality in adults: a cross-sectional study. Han-Na Kim et al. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity,

•    Personality traits were correlated with gut microbiota composition.
•    Gammaproteobacteria was increased in high neuroticism group.
•    Low conscientiousness group showed increased abundance of Proteobacteria.
•    The low conscientiousness group showed decreased abundance of Lachnospiraceae.

Abstract: Personality affects fundamental behavior patterns and has been related with health outcomes and mental disorders. Recent evidence has emerged supporting a relationship between the microbiota and behavior, referred to as brain-gut relationships. Here, we first report correlations between personality traits and gut microbiota. This research was performed using the Revised NEO Personality Inventory and the sequencing data of the 16S rRNA gene in 672 adults. The diversity and the composition of the human gut microbiota exhibited significant difference when stratified by personality traits. We found that personality traits were significantly correlated with diversity of gut microbiota, while their differences were extremely subtle. High neuroticism and low conscientiousness groups were correlated with high abundance of Gammaproteobacteria and Proteobacteria, respectively when covariates, including age, sex, BMI and nutrient intake, were controlled. Additionally, high conscientiousness group also showed increased abundance of some universal butyrate-producing bacteria including Lachnospiraceae. This study was of observational and cross-sectional design and our findings must be further validated through metagenomic or metatranscriptomic methodologies, or metabolomics-based analyses. Our findings will contribute to elucidating potential links between the gut microbiota and personality, and provide useful insights toward developing and testing personality- and microbiota-based interventions for promoting health.

Keywords: Personality; Gut microbiota; Brain gut axis; Neuroticism; Conscientiousness

Political attitudes display interspousal correlations that are among the strongest of all social and biometric traits

The Politics of Mate Choice. John R. Alford et al. The Journal of Politics, Vol. 73, No. 2, April 2011, Pp. 362–379, doi:10.1017/S0022381611000016

Abstract: Recent research has found a surprising degree of homogeneity in the personal political communication network of individuals  but  this  work  has  focused  largely  on  the  tendency  to  sort  into  likeminded  social,  workplace,  and residential political contexts. We extend this line of research into one of the most fundamental and consequential of political interactions—that between sexual mates. Using data on thousands of spouse pairs in the United States, we investigate  the  degree  of  concordance  among  mates  on  a  variety  of  traits.  Our  findings  show  that  physical and personality traits display only weakly positive and frequently insignificant correlations across spouses. Conversely, political attitudes display interspousal correlations that are among the strongest of all social and biometric traits. Further, it appears the political similarity of spouses derives in part from initial mate choice rather than persuasion and accommodation over the life of the relationship.