Month: November 2015

The World’s Divide After The Paris Attacks

ISIS, or Daesh, as France has begun calling them, has proven that they are more organized than we originally thought. In the past two weeks, they have attacked France with gunmen and bombs, set off two bombs killing dozens of people in Beirut, and downed a Russian commercial airplane full of over 200 civilians.

I’ll be focusing on the Paris attacks today. While every terrorist attack is tragic and deserves further insight, the world reaction to Paris is what gives us the insight that should be focused on.

While the world has agreed that the attacks committed in Paris by Daesh are horrific and senseless, there is not one thing unifying the world against Daesh. In order to confront the Daesh effectively, each country needs to essentially be on the same page. There are conflicting views because the United States and other nations do not want anymore boots on the ground. The Middle East has a lack of alliances between the countries that keep them from organizing a formidable coalition, Russia does not believe in Regime change, and other countries don’t want to be a part of the conflict at all. They are more than willing to handle terrorism in their own country and sympathize when other country’s are attacked, but are not able to send troops or resources to help.

The attacks in France were orchestrated by European nationals that are believed to be in Syria now, and were carried out by at least a few French nationals mixed with men from other nations, and possibly a Syrian refugee.

Right now, the world is still deciding on how to react to Daesh. In the meantime, France has sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East. Russia and the US have pledged their support to France.

One director of a political science center in Russia was quoted saying,

“Yet, it is quite possible that the US-led NATO countries will devise an algorithm of coordination between the Western anti-terrorist coalition and Russia. A historical parallel is quite appropriate. During World War II the Soviet Union’s western allies in the anti-Hitler coalition — the United States and Britain — opened a second front. And they won together. These days the hope remains that politicians will pool efforts to provide a resolute response to the terrorist challenge to the security of humanity,” Markov told TASS.”

Are the days returning when the world will unite against an evil such as this? While it’s true there are historical parallels between now and WWII, this war is completely different. Daesh has fewer numbers than the Nazis and are using that to their advantage by slipping into large populations under the radar to inflict the most damage against the civilian population. The tactics are different because the world is different.

Waleed Aly, a muslim tv host from Australia, Stated this:

“They want you to fear them. They want you to get angry. They want all of us to become hostile and here is why: ISIL’s strategy is to split the world into two camps. It is that black and white. Again we know this because they told us.” Aly said ISIL wanted to create World War III, and for societies around the world to turn on each other, and for countries like Australia to vilify Muslims. He said this “evil organisation” believes if they can make Muslims the enemy of the West, then Muslims in France and England and America and here in Australia will have nowhere to turn but to ISIL.”

If his statement proves to be true, then Daesh might be getting what it wants. After these attacks, many nations have closed their borders. Multiple governor’s from the United States have refused to accept Syrian refugees, because they fear their states would be subject to further terrorist acts.

Bashar Al-Assad, the President of Syria, is at the center of conflict fighting Daesh and rebels. He had this to say about the attacks:

“Act in the interest of your people,“ Mr. Assad said, referring to the foreign policy of French President François Hollande. ”The first question asked by every French citizen today is, ‘Have the French policies over the past five years brought any good to the French people?’ The answer is no, so what I ask him to do is to act in the interest of the French people—which means changing his policies. We can’t speak about intelligence sharing to fight terrorism when French government policies all feed into supporting terrorism,”

Al-Assad may have a strong opinion but he’s not alone. There are certainly other nations, like Russia, that believe that the west created ISIS and is responsible for much of the turmoil in the region. The truth is that there are no clean hands in this conflict. Whatever happens now depends on the choices our world leaders make. ISIS is utilizing smart tactics, and they are not just savages fighting without a plan. It’s time for the world to have our own plan that counters this ideology.

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Myanmar’s Historical Elections

History has been made in Myanmar. For the past five decades they have been under military rule. The last free elections were held in 1990 but the results were overturned when the military leadership decided against it.

The winner of the most recent elections is the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, The National League for Democracy. Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for almost 15 years after her party’s last win in 1990, and the constitution states that she specifically cannot be president, but since her party has won she has more power than she use to.

While the military has given up a significant amount of power, it stills retains quite a bit. The military will still hold 25 percent of the seats in parliament.  Democracy has made significant strides, the restrictions imposed but the military will bar them from making any changes to the constitution. (They need more than 75 percent of parliament to make any changes to the constitution)

There are also some restrictions that make it difficult to decide who will be the president. both houses of the parliament and the military will suggest candidates. While this election did open the door for democracy, Myanmar still has a long way to go. They are struggling economically and many positions in the government will need to be negotiated. Suu Kyi’s leadership and negotiation skills with the military will definitely come into play in the coming months and years.

While the elections were mostly fair, there where still some people who were not allowed to run, most of them Muslims. Myanmar has been under the rule of very firm Buddhists. Only four percent of the nation are considered to be muslims but the representation they once had in parliament was lost.There were also many muslims that weren’t allowed to vote. The government has been trying to keep Buddhism front and center in front of any other religion.

South China Sea Territory Dispute

You may have heard the term “international waters”. International waters, high seas, or mare liberum for those of you that speak Latin, are waters that are not under the control of any one nation, but are free for travel without having to get permission. Internationally it is considered that twelve miles off the coast is international waters in most nations, but there are so many disputes. These disputes happen for security reasons and can be quite dangerous between countries that are trying to make a point.

China has been creating artificial islands trying to claim the territory as their own. the United States has been concerned with these actions because of their trade routes that carry over a trillion dollars worth of cargo every year through the South China Sea.

To assert  power in the region, the United State’s Secretary of Defense sent a United States Navy ship to sail within a few miles of the new islands. The entire time they were being tailed by a Chinese ship.

The President of China has claimed a right to those islands since ancient times. and he attributed the building up of the islands to China’s rapid development.

“Some people have been hyping China’s threat,” Mr. Xi added. “This is either due to the ignorance of Chinese history, culture and current policy, or out of some misunderstanding and prejudice, and probably for some ulterior reasons. China wishes to integrate its development closer with that of its neighbors,” Mr. Xi said, “and China welcomes neighboring countries to take a fast and free ride with China’s development so that it can better benefit the neighborhood and allow everyone to enjoy the good life.”

President Xi of China has stated that he wants peace in the region, and hoped to work through these problems to keep stability in the region.

There are clearly two sides to this story with each claiming they have a right to protect their interests, but it’s apparent this isn’t the end of tension between the United States and China. As long as China grows and continues to develop and become an even larger world power there will be tension between the US and China.