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Archive for the tag “geopolitics”

Conflicted about Trump

This last week has seen lots of controversy involving US President Donald Trump. He has been accused of disrespecting world leaders at the G7 summit. Very undiplomatic.

So there are all these cartoons and photos showing Trump as being immature and childish, and how bad it will be for the USA if he annoys these important world leaders who are supposed to be US Allies.

And then I recall that in the past when these G(numeral) summits have been held there have been massive protest demonstrations at the summit venues, which have tended to be very disrespectful towards the gathered world leaders. I don’t recall reading about such demonstrations this time. Perhaps they were there, but if they were, the media didn’t report on them much. According to the media reports, the one carrying the anti-globalisation flag this time was none other than the much-despised Donald Trump.

Now Trump is meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

And on TV there is this bloke complaining bitterly that Trump is not going to demand that North Korea give up nuclear weapons totally and unconditionally  Not that he expects that the US would offer to give up nuclear weapons unconditionally itself as a quid pro quo. That seems to be quite unthinkable in the eyes of the media pontificators. Previous US presidents were criticised for being too imperialistic, but now Donald Trump is being criticised for not being imperialist enough.

So if a world leader like Donald Trump does the right thing for the wrong reasons, is he any worse than his predecessors who did the wrong thing for the “right” reasons — like Bill Clinton and Tony Blair with their “humanitarian” wars?


Good question

What is the difference between what the Syrian army did in Homs and what the U.S. military did in Fallujah? And why?

What Happens in Homs … Blog:

What is the difference between what the Syrian army did in Homs and what the U.S. military did in Fallujah? And why?

Hat-tip to The Pittsford Perennialist: The Syria Narrative.

A good question.

And it prompts another:

How loud were the calls from “the international community” for military intervention to stop the US Army doing what it was doing in Fallujah?

New NATO: Germany Returns To World Military Stage

New NATO: Germany Returns To World Military Stage:

‘If somebody had announced in 1989 that, well, the Berlin Wall has come down, now Germany can unite and send military forces back into Yugoslavia — and what is more in order to enforce a partition of the country along similar lines to those it imposed when it occupied the country in 1941 — well, quite a number of people might have raised objections. However, that is what has happened, and many of the very people might who have been expected to object most strongly to what amounts to the most significant act of historical revisionism since World War II have provided the ideological cover and excuse.’ [6]

The campaign was not without effect in Germany as subsequent events have proved and has been accompanied by the rehabilitation, honoring and even granting of veteran benefits to Nazi collaborators, including former Waffen SS members, in Croatia, Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine in recent years.

Yesterday Yugoslavia, tomorrow the world!

By successfully demonifying the Serbs, and transferring the guilt of its Nazi past to them, Germany has succeeded in perpetuating the past rather than burying it.

Fearful pride: North Korea’s WMD

After all the media hype about North Korea’s second nuclear test, here’s an article worth reading.

CounterPunch: Fearful pride:

So, what does the DPRK leadership hope to gain by brandishing nuclear arms? The DPRK leadership’s deepest desire is that of all elites everywhere: a long-term guarantee of its privileged position within the undisturbed extent of its domain. The DPRK wants to interact with the rest of the world in a way that sustains the physical and economic existence of their state but without introducing any ideas or social forces that weaken the control of the DPRK leadership, and the fealty of the population to that leadership. Clearly, the present DPRK regime is skeptical it can follow the Chinese example of introducing a state-directed form of capitalism while maintaining ideological control and sufficient popular obedience, so it is resistant to allowing the population wider exposure to foreign influences. The DPRK nuclear arsenal is the equivalent of a 10 foot (3.3 m) high wall topped with glass shards surrounding an estate with Pit Bulls and Doberman Pinschers running loose. It is a shield built with pride and motivated by fear.

And it seems to me that the countries that demand that North Korea abstain from developing weapons of mass destruction without dismantling their own nuclear arsenals are probably also motivated by fearful pride.

Last remaining superpower crumbles

Since the end of the Cold War at the beginning of the 1990s, the Western media have referred to the USA as the “last remaining superpower“. But, as Notes from a Common-place Book: Vlad to the Rescue points out, that is no longer the case. There are no more superpowers, and “balance of power” tactics among ordinary powers have once again taken the place of the “superpowers”.

Though many Americans have not realised it yet, one US columnist notes that from afar, America resembles a 2nd-rate power. And meanwhile, the civilizations are still clashing.

Telling it like it is

Christians suffer for the Iraq policies of the US and UK governments, says the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Christians in the Middle East are being put at unprecedented risk by the Government’s “shortsighted” and “ignorant” policy in Iraq, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, says today.

In an extraordinary attack, Dr Williams accuses Tony Blair and the US of endangering the lives and futures of many thousands of Christians in the Middle East, who are regarded by their countrymen as supporters of the “crusading West.”

He has been backed by bishops across the Church of England, who say that Christians in the Middle East are now paying the price for the “chaos” in Iraq after the British Government failed to heed their warnings about the consequences of military action.

Well good for him, for them. The Anglican moral compass seemed to have lost its bearings with all the wild gyrations about homosexuality, but it’s encouraging to see some clear thought about Iraq, which, unlike homosexuality, is an issue of life and death.

Iraq: the new Thirty Years War

War could last 30 years:
New report calls for complete rethink on Iraq

The recent political changes in Washington may make very little difference to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there is every prospect of the ‘war on terror’ extending for 30 years or more.

This is the stark conclusion of the 2006 International Security Report, Into the Long War, launched today by Oxford Research Group (ORG), one of the UK’s leading global security think tanks, and published by Pluto Press.

The report, written by ORG’s global security consultant, Professor Paul Rogers, analyses events over the last year in Iraq and the wider Middle East and points to the transformation of the war on terror into what the Bush Administration now calls the “Long War”.

The dilemma facing the United States now is that if it withdraws from Iraq, jihadists groups may be able to operate without restraint in the heart of the world’s most important oil-bearing region.

If it stays, though, then US soldiers become an increasing magnet for radical factions, with Iraq becoming a training ground for new generations of paramilitaries, just as Afghanistan was in the 1980s against the Soviet occupying forces.

The fundamental mistake was to terminate the Saddam Hussein regime by force, since this provided a “gift” to al-Qaida and other radical groups by inserting 150,000 American troops into the heart of the Arab world as what is seen across the region as an occupying force.

Meanwhile, the war in Afghanistan itself is now into its sixth year with a marked increase in Taliban activity at a time of record revenues from opium production. As well as NATO’s forces, the United States has committed 20,000 troops to the country in a largely unreported
counter-insurgency operation that shows no sign of ending.

In spite of all of these problems, though, the hard-hitting report concludes that:

“There still lies the enduring importance of the Persian Gulf oil reserves, with both the United States and China increasingly relying on the region, which means that it would be entirely unacceptable for the United States to consider withdrawal from Iraq, no matter how insecure
the environment.” pp.135-36

What is required is a complete re-assessment of current policies but that is highly unlikely, even with the recent political upheavals.

This is because, although the Democrats now control both houses of Congress, there is virtually no commitment to a full withdrawal from Iraq. Instead there are various moves to modify policy, including the option of withdrawing from the cities to a few major bases, but none
amounts to a really substantial change.

Commenting on those changes needed, Professor Rogers said

“Most people believe that the recent elections mark the beginning of the end of the Bush era but that does not apply to the war on terror.

In reality there will be little change until the United States faces up to the need for a fundamental re-think of its policies.

So far, even with the election results, there is no real sign of that.”

ORG’s Executive Director, Dr. John Sloboda, added:

“There is a growing consensus among those who have actually seen service in Iraq that the coalition presence is inflaming the problem, rather than being part of the solution.

Our June 2006 submission to the Iraq Study Group urged that ‘the coalition should find no dishonour in recognising that most Iraqis want an end to occupation and a fresh framework could support them better in future’.

The carnage of the last six months has eroded any lingering doubt that the coalition must leave, and leave soon.”

Notes to editors

1) Paul Rogers writes the International Security Monthly Briefings for the ORG website. Each year ORG compiles the briefings from the previous 12 months, together with new analysis, into an annual International Security Report. The latest of these, Into the Long War, will be published by Pluto Press on 20 November 2006. In this, Professor Rogers examines events in Iraq since May 2005 and assesses how they impact on other countries including Afghanistan, Iran and the wider Middle East.

The report charts a tumultuous period in the conflict, including a wider international perspective on the terrorist attacks in London and Sharm al Sheik, and an assessment of how US public opinion has changed as the war drags on.

2) Press copies of the report are available in hard copy only from Chris Abbott at Oxford Research Group. Please email or call +44 (0)20 7549 0298 to request a copy. Unfortunately, no electronic version is available.

3) The report’s author, Paul Rogers, is available for interview and comment. Please email or call +44 (0)7867 982 061. ORG’s Executive Director, John Sloboda, is also available for interview. Please email or call +44 (0)7787 975 689.

4) Paul Rogers is Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, and Global Security Consultant to Oxford Research Group. Professor Rogers has worked in the field of international security, arms control and political violence for over 30 years. He lectures at universities and defence colleges in several countries, and has written over 20 books. He is also a regular commentator on global security issues in the both the national and international media.

5) Oxford Research Group (ORG) is an independent British think tank which seeks to bring about positive change on issues of national and international security. Established in 1982, it is now considered to be one of the UK’s leading global security think tanks. ORG is a registered
charity and uses a combination of innovative publications, expert roundtables, residential consultations, and engagement with opinion-formers and government, to develop and promote sustainable global security strategies. In 2003, Oxford Research Group was awarded
the Niwano Peace Prize, and in April 2005 The Independent newspaper named ORG as one of the top twenty think tanks in the UK.

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