Archive for April, 2021

U.S Senator wants more aid to Taiwan

Taiwan has been auguring the claim that it is its own country. While China states that Taiwan is a part of China. The U.S government strongly agrees that Taiwan is a country and if China chooses to invade Taiwan, U.S is under obligation to aid  Taiwan military under treaty between the two countries. The U.S Senator Rick Scott believes that U.S can do more to counteract the pursuit to take over Taiwan. He wrote an opinion piece in Washington Examiner called “Communist China ended Hong King’s democracy. Will Biden let Taiwan be next?”. The articles states that Washington can do more such as working with allies to protect Taiwan’s freedom and prevent China from gaining more influence. Scott maintains that the Biden administration should work the allies Japan, Australia, and India to “stand up for democracy, reject appeasement of communist China, and stress that its actions in Hong Kong and Taiwan threaten our security interests and those of other democracies across the world.”. He also mentions the passing of the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act that he introduced to the Senate that proposed that the president to be able to use military force to protect Taiwan during an invasion, as well as increases military support for Taiwan through the State and Defense departments.
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https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4168931

Egypt threatened destabilize the entire horn of Africa

The horn of Africa had experienced an interesting development in the last two weeks. Besides the internal fugitive Ethiopia has been dealing within the last six months, Egypt and Sudan have been challenging Ethiopia’s sovereignty. Sudan takes advantage of the Ethiopian government law enforcement operation and entered Ethiopian soil. Sudan troops have killed Ethiopian farmers in the Al-Fashqa triangle. The Ethiopian military has not engaged with the Sudanese troops yet and still calling to mitigate the problem with diplomacy and negotiation. Egypt, on the other side, has been warmongering. Just recently, in the event that was held to celebrate the freeing of the giant ship that blocks the Suez canal, Egypt president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi send a threat to Ethiopia. He said, “Nobody will be permitted to take a single drop of Egypt’s water; otherwise, the region will fall into unimaginable instability.” Though he has not mention Ethiopia in his speech, the message is clear to Ethiopians. The Ethiopian government “stick to its gun” and made it clear that Ethiopia will fill the dam according to its plan despite multiple foreign intimidations. In a recent parliament speech, the Ethiopian prime minister Abiy (Phd) said Ethiopia will lose 1 billion dollars if the dam is not filled in July. This development is going to big concern not only to the countries involved but also to the US and the entire world. We all have experienced what the world looks like within just a week of an impediment in the Suez canal. If war happens to occur in the region where it consists of both the Red Sea and the Suez canal, the crisis will be much more detrimental than we have experienced.

Adonay Teklu

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-06/ethiopia-accuses-sudan-of-killing-civilians-in-border-dispute

https://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/407604/Egypt/Politics-/Ethiopia-to-go-on-with-second-filing-of-GERD-in-Ju.aspx

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-30/egypt-s-water-off-limits-sisi-says-in-message-to-ethiopia

Outside Perspective on The American Far-right

A recent piece in Al Jazeera takes a comprehensive look at the historical development and growth of the Western far right and draws a through line from World War II to the recent Q anon movements in the United States. I would recommend giving it a read and reflecting on the lessons that can be drawn from it. The most important thing that I wish to shortly discuss here is nothing specifically from the article but the way in which western history is explored and political developments are analyzed. I believe that unless you specifically go out of your way to read articles from the foreign press some of the ideas will be from an almost new perspective. This is because conceptions of the far right are often seen as only conservative or right leaning NOT far -right. Our culture has begun to normalize and authenticate far right ideas as legitimate aspects of the political debate (and has done so historically). In examining the far right in the West and United States we must also interrogate our own cultural conception of what “far right” really means in our cultural context.

Gabriel Matteson

(https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/3/31/how-the-far-right-got-a-stranglehold-on-the-west)

North Korea decides not to attend Tokyo Olympics

North Korea said on Tuesday that it has decided not to attend and participate in the Tokyo Summer Olympics due to the ongoing COVID pandemic. North Korean officials have stated that it is because they do not want to put the health of their athletes at risk. This decision does not come as a surprise, especially since the “hermit kingdom” has been even more hermit-like since the pandemic began. A concern in this case however is that, as I have previously stated in other posts, it is uncertain how COVID has affected North Korea, as they have reported no cases, yet have been caught attempting to obtain vaccine information. The Olympics is a breeding ground for diplomacy, it allows for countries to put their disagreements aside in the name of “sportsmanship.” It would have been interesting to see if the Biden administration could have used this opportunity to get a look at what is actually going on in North Korea and how the pandemic has actually affected it, however, it looks like that is not going to be the case.

Erin M.

China seeks a rule-based international order like the US

In a recent meeting with Chinese officials, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken stated that “our administration is committed to leading with diplomacy to advance the interests of the US and to strengthen the rules-based international order… the alternative to this is a world in which might makes right and winners take all, and that would be a far more violent and unstable world for all of us.” This claim, that the US seems to follow an international order while China does not, has been identified as misleading for three reasons.

First, it overlooks the United States’ own willingness to ignore, evade, or rewrite the rules whenever they seem inconvenient. Second, China accepts and even defends many principles of the existing order, according to Harvard University’s Alastair Iain Johnson. Lastly,  statements such as Blinken’s imply that abandoning today’s rules-based order would leave us in a lawless, rule-free world of naked power politics, unregulated by any norms or principles whatsoever.

This can be seen as simply not the case. Both the US and China are seen as competing to shape the global foundational system. This can be seen through the United States generally wanting a multilateral system that has certain core liberal values such as democratic rule, individual freedom, rule of law and market-based economies. On the other hand, China wants a rather more Westphalian system, where state sovereignty and noninterference are supreme, where liberal notions of individual rights are really downplayed if not completely dismissed. Nonetheless, both visions of world order are completely opposite of each other.

What exactly does this mean for the Biden administration in their future dealing with relations across the globe in order to establish this order? The administration will have to continue to engage and remain in constructive diplomacy, rather than the infamous Trump approach that almost burned a lot of bridges, such as the NATO alliance. However, this can only take an alliance so far. All allies want is for the US to follow this international order in a more serious fashion.

Miguel Terrazas

China Wants a ‘Rules-Based International Order,’ Too

Rift in Jordan’s Monarchy

The Arab state of Jordan has long been an ally to the US and the west. They were not part of the Arab Spring in 2010 and enjoy stability and support in a region otherwise filled with turmoil. But Jordan is not tolerant of dissent against their King Abdullah, and the Prince Hamzah is accused of conspiring against the king. Prince Hamzah was the next in line for the throne until his brother King Abdullah replaced him with his eldest son. The prince denies any wrongdoing but does accuse the government of corruption.

This is important for the US because Jordan is one of our best allies in the region. They’re a buffer between the surrounding states of Iraq, Syria, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, so they have significant geographic importance. King Abdullah had yearly visits to the White House before Trump, and Jordan has a lot of US support. The State Department has already come out and said that they support King Abdullah. Jordan is too important an ally to lose, and internal strife like this could have far-reaching effects.

Eleanor Haas

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-56637430

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/how-jordan-s-royal-drama-could-threaten-middle-east-stability-n1263016

Al-Shabab Strikes at Two Military Bases

https://www.dw.com/en/somalia-al-shabab-strikes-at-two-military-bases/a-57092800

Recently the Somali military reported two attacks by the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabab organization. Car bombs were detonated before attackers attempted to storm the bases, both located sixty miles from the capital of Mogadishu. Al-Shabab was able to barely breach the bases and only able to torch a limited amount of military supplies. It was reported that between 19 to 45 militants were killed by Somali forces in defense of these bases.

The Biden administration needs to take notice of Al-Shabab and their ties to major other terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram, as well as their potential to continue destabilizing the Horn of Africa. The group enforces strict sharia law and opposes Western interference along with humanitarian operations in Somalia. The Somali government is already unstable and has the potential to collapse if Al-Shabab gains more control of Somalia. The UN Security Council has already authorized the African Union’s peacekeeping forces called AMISOM to try and combat the influence of Al-Shabab in Somalia but it may not be strong enough. Somalia has geopolitical importance to the U.S. because of their access to major trade routes in the Gulf of Aden and the Ban el-Mandeb strait which could potential prove disastrous if not under some kind of stable control by the Somali government.

-Marissa Fedora

Boko Haram Claims To Have Shot Down Fighter Jet

Nigeria’s air force has plays a critical role in holding back the influence of Boko Haram and winning battles against their fighters. For one of their jets to have been shot down is a serious blow to its defensive and offensive capabilities. A masked fighter took a video of plane wreckage and a corpse, claiming it is that of the fighter jet. The government has yet to say whether the jet was actually shot down, or if crashed in another manner. 

This issue needs to be addressed immediately because of how important the role of air superiority is in the fight against terrorism. Unfortunately, defending against shoulder-mounted rockets is not an easy prospect. They can be deployed quickly, with surprise, and have devastating effects. In the end, this problem has no one clear and easy solution to it. 

Hunter M

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-04-02/boko-haram-claim-shooting-down-of-nigerian-air-force-jet 

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