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.


Israel Vs. Palestine, The Third Intifada

You may have heard the word intifada to describe certain events happening in Israel. Intifada means an uprising, something that Palestinians have done in Israel more than once to rebel against Israeli rule over them. The Palestinians are rebelling against the Israelis because they feel as though they are not being treated fairly. An article released by describes the situation like this. “The humiliations that are a daily byproduct of living almost 50 years under occupation have left deep emotional scars of frustration, anger and desire for revenge. Currently, these emotions are exacerbated by a belief that Israel is altering gradually and systematically the status quo on the Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif) in favor of more organized Jewish prayer in the vicinity of the mosques.

Both sides of this conflict believe that they deserve to have Israel. The Palestinians want the Israelis out and vice versa. The international community has sent in mediators, and are currently working with the government of Jordan and the United States, but this is a very heated debate that is only going to get hotter. One very prominent Israeli rabbi has stated, “The struggle can go either way – for better, or for worse. If we listen to the failed political commentators and world leaders – we will decide to withdraw and bring a catastrophe upon ourselves, as we did with the tragic Oslo Accords. If we follow our instincts – we will press forward, settle the Land, and achieve victory.”

He later stated that he hoped that the arabs that are living in Jerusalem would emigrate to another country and find their place elsewhere. This rabbi feels what is felt on both sides of the conflict. Each side wants to live in peace but they feel like their country would be better without the other side there.

Palestinians feel trapped in their own country, and feel like second rate citizens. The Palestine Chronicle reported, “Solutions are being applied most savagely in East Jerusalem, where Palestinians are being locked even more tightly into neighbourhood ghettoes. Israel’s “eternal, unified capital” is being carved up by roadblocks. Palestinian residents are made to endure daily searches and insults that will sow the seeds of yet more fury and resistance.”

“The current unrest may recede, but more waves of protest of ever greater intensity are surely not far behind.
Jafar Farah, a Palestinian leader in Israel, has warned of it heading slowly from a national conflict into a civil war, one defined by the kind of debased one-state solution Israel is imposing.
The chaotic violence of the past weeks looks like a warning from the future – a future Israel is hurtling towards.”

History is repeating itself and what happens next will determine the future of Israel.

Who shot MH17 down?

You may recall that over a year ago, a plane was shot down over Ukrainian airspace. All 298 civilians on board were killed. To this day, there is still debate on who shot it down. The two sides involved are the Pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian military. The plane crashed into rebel territory. The missile used was confirmed to be of Russian origin, but the Russian government went on the record to say that the missile used was no longer in their arsenal, and they have since denied supplying weapons to the rebels.

The Russian experts on the case have stated that the missile used in question is in the Ukrainian military’s arsenal. They have even claimed that there were up to 100 vehicles carrying that type of missile in that region that could have taken the shot.

The Ukrainian government conducted their own investigation, and they claim that the missile originated from a part of the country that was under rebel control. The Dutch government has also conducted their own private investigation because the vast majority of the passengers on the plane were Dutch citizens.

Due to the fact that there were military planes shot down before MH17,  there was a no fly zone with a ceiling of 32,000 ft. in effect. MH17 was flying at 33,000 ft. just above the no-fly zone. The Dutch government issued in its findings that there should have been absolutely no flights flying through the hostile territory.

The reports issued up to this point have not stated specifically who is to blame.  but next year, however, when the findings of the international criminal investigation are published, it will be discovered who is at fault.
The tension is rising on both sides, and understandably so. Whoever is found at fault will be responsible for the deaths of almost 300 innocent civilians.


Trans Pacific Partnership Deal

For the past five years, several countries from the Asia-Pacific region have been working on a deal that would remove barriers to trade and set collective ideals for twelve countries. This agreement is huge, because it is the biggest agreement that has been made in over 20 years. This agreement covers 40 percent of the world’s economy.

The countries included are the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and Malaysia. With any agreement of this size there is opposition, especially when it involves this much of the world’s economy. The deal’s criticism comes from how secretive the meetings were conducted, and how much the deal is in favor of corporations and monopolies that could drive up the prices of medicines worldwide. Since congress will not be able to vote on it until next year, President Obama will have to deal with the unpredictable congress (considering it is an election year).

The most controversial element of the deal permits corporations to have power over governments in which investors can bring governments to arbitration. This part of the deal makes it a lot harder for the government to regulate them.

Shawn Donnan, and Demetri Sevastopulo for stated: “The deal represents the economic backbone of the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia, which is designed to counter the rise of China in the Pacific and beyond. It is also a key component of the “third arrow” of economic reforms that Mr. Abe has been trying to push in Japan since taking office in 2012.

The trade deal also helps developing countries, such as Vietnam, establish labor unions, and will help Malaysia to decrease human trafficking.

Russia, America and Syria – The World’s Newest Love Triangle

In the last 48 hours, there have been some very interesting events between the Russia, America and Syria.

To begin, Syria is involved in a civil war where opposition forces are in constant battle against President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. To make things worse ISIS, the terrorist group that has caught headlines recently, is embattled in the region as well. The United States has launched a campaign of airstrikes called Operation Inherent Resolve to prevent ISIS from gaining ground in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

Russia has been supplying Syria’s government with weapons for some time, but has only recently begun airstrikes in the region to attack ISIS threats. In a recently released article from CNN, the US accused Russia of not attacking ISIS targets and bombing non strategic targets.

In a comment made by the Secretary of State, Kerry, he stated, “the fight against ISIS should not be confused with support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” It is clear where this conflict of interest is forming. The United States does not support the Assad government in Syria, but the Russians do. The one thing they have in common are that all three countries are against ISIS, but there are different motivations and different interests that could set Syria on fire even more. 

On the other hand, Russia is not convinced of the United State’s intentions either.The US and Russia are fighting over who gets to be in charge of the fight against terrorism in Syria, while both are trying to have the moral high ground. In an article reported by TASS, the Russian News Agency, Foreign Minister Lavrov was reported saying, “the air strikes of the Russian Air Force in Syria are surgical and target only the positions of the Islamic State group. Moscow has no information on civilian casualties.

“You have heard the speech of John Kerry and other colleagues today at the meeting of the UN Security Council, this stance boils down to the following: if Russia really helps to fight with Islamic State, this is hailed. Let’s agree on how to avoid unintentional incidents, since the coalition’s aviation is also working in the skies over Syria,” Lavrov said.

From the Saudi Gazette, A Saudi Arabian newspaper, comes an article that blasts both Russia and the United States.  “President Barack Obama did his latest policy backflip and landed very unsteadily on his feet. The latest change is that the Syrian dictator, Basher Assad, can stay in office while a political solution is sought to end the revolution. Obama insisted, of course, that Assad could not be part of the solution, because he is a major part of the problem.

“And Putin’s message that Russia wants to join the international fight against Daesh comes with a scorpion’s sting. Washington and its allies, including the Kingdom, should be assaulting the terrorists at the behest of a sovereign Syria, whose leader is the butcher Assad. Those are the terms under which the Russian military seem about to be engaging Daesh. Thus it is equally likely that Moscow’s war planes and special forces will be helping Assad do his dirty work, by engaging units of the Free Syrian army as well as the terrorists.”

There are clearly tense feelings on all sides of the situation. The United States does not support the government of Syria, but wishes to get rid of ISIS. Russia believes that they should support the Syrian government but also fight ISIS. Saudi Arabia, which is unsupportive of the Assad government, accuse the US President of not sticking to one policy to resolve the conflict of Syria and worry that Russian involvement will not only help get rid of ISIS, but that Russia will simultaneously attack the Free Syrian Army that fights against the government of Syria.