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Monthly Archives: December 2008

SOUTH AFRICA, Race Attacks and Underlying Tensions Remain

SOUTH AFRICA, Race Attacks and Underlying Tensions Remain

By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent   -  SEOUL TIMES  -  SOUTH KOREA

 

Handshakes for the new South Africa.

The old South Africa was blighted by racial politics and the African National Congress was meant to usher in a “new dawn,” whereby society would be based on equality. However, events in the middle of this year clearly showed that a “new dawn” had not arrived. Instead you had mass hatred of different African foreign nationals and many people were killed or forced to flee. Of course if these deaths had been done by the Boers, then the world would have said that it was predictable. However, this is black South African nationalism, therefore, the world appears to be indifferent and the response was rather tame. So what went wrong in the new South Africa?

Firstly, these inter ethnic disputes are not unique to South Africa because we have seen similar events throughout Africa and other parts of the world. For example you have major ethnic tensions in Algeria, Burundi, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, and other nations in Africa. Meanwhile, Europe also remains blighted by ethnic tensions in the Balkans, the Caucasus region, and racial tensions remain in many nations despite positive policies.

However, the new South Africa was meant to be “colour blind” but clearly it isn`t when it comes to ethnicity, is it? Therefore, mass immigration from nations like Zimbabwe have upset the applecart too much and ethnic disputes are clearly potent. So why did the South African government get it wrong? Or were they too naive to notice the changing face of society?

Maybe the current leaders of South Africa are more focused on power politics rather than bread and butter issues? But these past killings are based on bread and butter issues and many South Africans are fed up with the current economic situation. Therefore, grinding poverty, inequality, a breakdown in certain sectors, alongside mass immigration, is a very potent mix and sadly it proved to be too potent.

Given this, the rainbow country, like it was dubbed, is not so much a rainbow but more like a patchwork of different ethnic groups and these ethnic groups do not pander to easy sayings based on so-called unity. Instead, the majority of South Africans want to share the apple pie, however, the apple pie is being cut open by small elites. Therefore, social tensions are based on isolation, poverty, and growing discontent within the political system.

Ex-President, Thabo Mbeki, called recent attacks “a disgrace” but the real disgrace is the failure of his own political party. He, and other members of the ruling party, allowed mass immigration while doing little about crime, poverty, inequality, and offering hope. So while these attacks may be “a disgrace” this should not cloud the real reasons behind these past massacres. Also, even today many immigrants reside in refugee camps and they are too scared to mix openly in parts of South Africa.

Therefore, recent events are a clear reminder that ethnic politics must not be ignored and “the rainbow nation” is nothing more than a society based on inequality. Until the leaders of South Africa admit this, then little will change. Also, once ethnic hatred turns into major bloodshed then it is hard to contain forces which have been unleashed. Yes, these troubles may lie dormant for a while, however, it is difficult to turn the clock back, and this is the problem. So how will the new leaders respond to their own failure and to the plight of immigrants who reside in fear?

Lee Jay Walker Dip BA MA

www.leejaywalker.wordpress.com

 

 

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Mongolia and the importance of this nation to America, China, and Russia

Mongolia and The Importance of This Nation to America, China, and Russia

By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent  – SEOUL TIMES – SOUTH KOREA

 
 
Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar Photo Courtesy of AP

The nation of Mongolia is very large in landmass, however, her population is very small and it would appear that this nation is not blessed by her geography. However, if we focus on this nation being democratic, independent, and neutral; then clearly Mongolia can help to soothe relations between China and the Russian Federation during times of difficulty. Therefore, can Mongolia play a good “hand of poker” and make the most of her geopolitical reality?

For leaders in Moscow, it is clear that Mongolia is important because this nation is surrounded by both China and the Russian Federation. Therefore, the geopolitical significance of Mongolia is obvious to both China and the Russian Federation. Given this reality, political leaders in Moscow desire to help this nation because it is vital that Mongolia at least remains neutral.

Also, America could encroach by offering vast economic and political support. Therefore, important policies are being implemented by the Russian Federation with regards to energy routes, transport networks, economic zones, for example the Tumen River Delta Economic Zone, and other dynamic policies. So the strategic importance of Mongolia to the Russian Federation is abundantly clear and Moscow desires to maintain a neutral Mongolia.

China shares similar views towards Mongolia because if tensions did develop with the Russian Federation, then Mongolia would be an important nation because of the geopolitical reality of this country. So Mongolia is deemed to be a vital “buffer” between both China and the Russian Federation. However, at the moment both Beijing and Moscow have cordial relations between each other and towards Ulan Bator. Therefore, Mongolia should upgrade her economy while both nations are working together on so many issues.

China is also worried about the “American card.” So it is in the interest of both China and the Russian Federation to shore up their relationship. After all, American meddling could upset the applecart. However, China does have one major “ace” and this applies to the economic angle. Therefore, China does have a lot of economic influence in Mongolia because China is Mongolia’s major trading partner.

China and the Russian Federation also fear America having major military bases in Mongolia in the future. This applies to America having independent bases in Mongolia or via the framework of NATO troops. China is also worried about the Taiwan issue, therefore, China can not afford a weakness within her geopolitical zone of influence and Mongolian neutrality is a must for the leaders of Beijing.

America, on the other hand, desires to keep both nations in check and of course they hope to increase their influence in Mongolia for geopolitical and military reasons. America also understands that Mongolia is in a very strategic region and they desire to increase their influence within the “backyard” of both China and the Russian Federation. America also knows that Mongolia could be threatened, after all inner Mongolia lies within the nation of China. Therefore, it is a good way for America to keep an eye on her main rivals, while justifying this on past history.

Given this, the nation of Mongolia must utilize her geographic reality in order to boost the economy of Mongolia. Therefore, astute leaders are needed in order to play “a wise game.” If this happens, then Mongolia can gain from economic and political support from all the major powers. Of course this is not going to be easy, therefore, diplomacy and statecraft is badly needed in order to maintain the current status quo.

However, for now Mongolia is utilizing her geography well because international investment continues, despite the remoteness of this nation. Yet dangers remain within the political system of Mongolia because earlier this year you had mass demonstrations in this nation. Therefore, Mongolia needs to focus on democracy and transparency because internal political tensions will lead to international capital flight and it will reduce direct foreign investments.

Also, it is hoped that regional or global institutions will help this nation. This applies to the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, NATO’s Part­nership for Peace, the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue, and other major institutions. The European Union should also develop a robust policy and democratic nations throughout the region should implement favorable policies towards this nation, for example South Korea and Japan. Therefore, it is vital for Mongolia and positive outside forces to help this nation to develop and to utilize the natural resources of this country.

If Mongolia can maintain her neutrality in the future, then her economy will continue to benefit and her global influence within Northeast Asia will also blossom. In this sense Mongolia is already winning and maybe this weak nation can help to reduce respective tensions in this part of world via her diplomatic policy? Therefore, all major political parties in this nation must refrain from using violence and intimidation. Instead, they must focus on preserving the independence of this nation and creating a stable economic and political system. So it is vital for Mongolia to utilize the international political system because it is clear that this nation is of strategic importance.

Lee Jay Walker

www.leejaywalker.wordpress.com

 

 

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Bolivia is facing meltdown so can a solution be found?

Bolivia Is Facing Meltdown So Can a Solution Be Found?

By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent  – SEOUL TIMES – SOUTH KOREA

 
President Evo Morales of Bolivia

President Evo Morales of Bolivia faces a major internal crisis because his left-wing ideology is not going down well amongst the elites of this nation. Therefore, the most wealthy parts of this nation desire to obtain autonomy and this is clearly a threat to the Bolivian nation state. Because five out of nine states which make up Bolivia desire to obtain greater autonomy in order to control their own respective internal fiscal policies? However, can Bolivia afford such a patchwork system and will both sides abide by such major differences? Or will the internal political dynamics of Bolivia unravel and create mayhem?

If President Morales does not either seek a “genuine” compromise or clampdown on the pro-autonomy regions of Pando, Beni, Tarija, Chuquisaca and Santa Cruz, then surely events will only get worse? You can not have two governments within a nation and obviously for tax reasons, Santa Cruz is vital because of rampant poverty within Bolivia. Given this, President Morales must respond in either a positive and compromising way or if they decline this offer, then he must clampdown on this serious threat to Bolivia. His options, therefore, could be forced if the opposition is unwilling to seek a solution because both sides need to take a step back in order to solve this tense crisis.

However, does President Morales have the power to do this? After all, it is clear that in the past the extreme rich often paid for private militias in many nations throughout South America. Also, the armed forces were nothing more than a military unit which looked after the extreme rich and strong families who dominated society. This applied to the Somoza family in Nicaragua before the Sandinista Revolution and this same scenario was played out in other nations during the Cold War period. At the same time the judiciary may also cause political mayhem alongside the military and the police because these institutions may challenge the power base of Morales? So it is clear that divide and rule based on massive economic disparity was often the way in this part of the world and Morales must be getting worried.

Also, the issue of racial politics is very serious because the indigenous people have been marginalized since the Spanish conquest. Martin Arostegui wrote in the Washington Times (June 24, 2005) that “A growing indigenous movement has helped topple successive governments in Bolivia and Ecuador and, angered by the destruction of Andean coca crops, now threatens the stability of other countries where Indians are in the majority.

Drawing support from European leftists and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the long-marginalized Indians are tasting political influence for the first time since the Spanish conquest and beginning to wrest power from South America’s white elites…” This statement highlights the natural divisions within Bolivia, Ecuador, and other nations throughout the region. So it is clear that you have ethnic factors, economic reasons, and others, which have been fused together with the theory of socialism but the real underline cause of this is both economic and social alienation.

The only major difference between now and the past, is that in most nations it is left-wing forces which are in power, therefore, regional nations may assist President Morales? Also, he does have a strong power base amongst the poor and marginalized, and he will surely take some comfort in this reality. However, wealthy leaders who are against him could easily cause havoc but some may fear retribution if they fail. Therefore, divisions may emerge within the five regions which desire greater autonomy or self-rule?

For now the situation is very delicate and President Morales must act in a brave way but he must not be naive because if he shows any weaknesses, then he may lose power? This situation needs to be solved quickly because the death total keeps on rising. Therefore, Bolivia needs a strong unitary state which can function but which allows some concessions in order to placate the leaders of Pando, Beni, Tarija, Chuquisaca and Santa Cruz. Yet “a new Bolivia” needs to be open to all the people of this nation and not just the rich elite like in the past.

Also, America must not meddle in this crisis because this will make the situation even worse. Therefore, regional leaders have rebuked past negative forces and the leaders of Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela, have also pointed the finger at America and this feeling is shared in other nations. For example Brazil is also very unhappy about the current crisis and the presidential aide, Marco Aurelio Garcia, stated Brazil “…will not tolerate a rupture in Bolivia’s democratic order.”

But the struggle within Bolivia goes on between the western Andean half of this nation, which is mainly populated by the marginalized indigenous population, and the more prosperous and conservative eastern lowlands which is dominated by the ruling European and mixed descent population. Also, economics and the desire to control the lucrative gas fields is also at play and of course Morales needs to exploit this wealth in order to develop a more equal and just society. However, the traditional ruling elites do not want to relinquish their economic and political power base, therefore, the current crisis is very complex and Bolivia is on the brink of meltdown. So can a compromise be found in the near future given the huge gaps in thinking?

Lee Jay Walker Dip BA MA

http://www.leejaywalker.wordpress.com

 

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IRAN and AMERICA, friends or foe?

Letter from Tokyo
Iran and America, Friends or Foe

 

By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent  – SEOUL TIMES – SOUTH KOREA

 

Iran and America, Friends or Foe

America and Iran are meant to be natural enemies, however, their relationship is very complex and sometimes both nations share a common vision in the realm of geopolitics. Yet to the outside world both nations do not trust each other and this is based on so-called tension and mutual loathing. However, do both nations really hate each other or are quotes taken out of context or do they have cultural meanings? Or do both nations use each other in order to salvage domestic support at home? So what is the real relationship?

If we focus on economics and the nuclear issue, then it is abundantly clear that America does enforce a strict economic blockade on Iran. At the same time the nuclear issue could be the one area which causes a possible limited conflict or where America gives Israel the green light. So it is clear that you do have major tensions within the relationship and maybe it is Iran which is forcing this breakdown? After all, if it wasn`t for the nuclear issue then tensions or conflicts could be contained, just like in the past. Given this, Iran should remember that America once had dealings with Saddam Hussein but he also over-stepped the mark.

Yet when we concentrate on the field of foreign affairs and geopolitics then we see a very different relationship because in recent times both nations have worked together. Sometimes this may have applied to mere tacit support and not directly working together, yet this tacit support did sometimes involve a shared common ground. Therefore, it is important to focus on this unspoken side in order to highlight the complex nature of their recent relationship.

If we turn the clock back to Bosnia and Kosovo respectively, then America and Iran had a shared interest in supporting the Muslims of the Balkans. During the Bosnian conflict the United Nations enforced a military embargo on all sides. However, America clearly gave Iran the green light to send military arms to the Bosnian Muslims and this is how the Bosnian Muslims, and Croatians, could turn the table against Serbia within both Bosnia and Croatia. Because the military arms embargo was clearly broken and Iran often sent in military arms in order to prop-up the Bosnian armed forces. Also, this American-Iranian policy in the Balkans shatters the myth that America is anti-Islamic. After all, during Bosnia, Kosovo, and Cyprus respectively, the armed forces of America and senior politicians sided with Islam every time.

If we even dig further and turn the clock back even more, then we even see covert dealings under the late Ayatollah Khomeini. This applies to the murky Oliver North scandal with regards to the Iran-Contra affair, whereby Iran was involved in supporting the Contras in Nicaragua, via American economic support. Therefore, elements within the American administration were adopting a different policy and sometimes elements within different departments were ignoring senior political leaders.

Now if we forward the clock to more recent times then the same situation happens again. For example, when America attacked the Taliban in Afghanistan they allied themselves with the Northern Alliance. The Northern Alliance in turn was supported by both the Russian Federation and Iran. More astonishing was the fact that Iran gave America secret information about the Taliban, after all, the Taliban hated Shia Muslims. So both nations, just like the Balkans, had a shared and vested interest.

If we also focus on Iraq then a similar linkage emerges once more. Because Iran also gave covert support to America via knowledge they had obtained during the Iran-Iraq war. Also, Iran did little to prevent this conflict because they hated Saddam Hussein and his secular regime. Therefore, was the trade off an Islamic state? Because once the secular government had been defeated, then America installed Sharia Islamic Law which in turn persecuted the Christian community.

Given all this, then what is the truth behind the “veil?” Do both nations share similar aims and objectives within a limited geopolitical space? If they don`t, then how do you account for past dealings between both nations? This issue needs to be debated openly because nothing appears to make sense when it comes to the relationship between America and Iran.

Lee Jay Walker Dip BA MA

www.leejaywalker.wordpress.com

lee_jay_teach@hotmail.co.uk

w

 

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Japan Needs to Create an Independent Foreign Policy

Japan Needs to Create an Independent Foreign Policy

By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent – THE SEOUL TIMES   -   SOUTH KOREA

 

8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon (center) with Prime Minister of Japan, Taro Aso (his right) and Foreign Minister of Japan, Hirofumi Nakasone

World War Two (WW2) finished a very long time ago, however, in Japan it appears that time is standing still because this nation is over compliant towards America. Also, Japan is still alienated in Northeast Asia because of her past history. For unlike Germany, which became sincere after WW2, too many nationalists remain within the ruling inner-circle in Japan and symbolic nationalist issues like Yasukuni Shrine continues to add “fuel to the fire.” Therefore, Japan needs a sincere approach and to move closer to her natural environment, rather than “hanging on to the coat” of America. So can Japan revolutionize her thinking and establish an independent foreign policy?

Firstly, this article is not aimed at being anti-American, it merely applies to the need for Japan to develop an independent foreign and monetary policy. Of course relations should remain strong with the USA and shared interests will be natural. However, at the moment it appears that Japan is a mere “lackey” of America and this simply isn’t good enough. So of course both nations must continue to foster close relations but not at the expense of Japan’s independence. Given this, Japan must move closer to other regional nations and firmly set her sights on being independent.

Ex-PM Abe hinted at a shared alliance based on “democratic principles” and this applies to America, Australia, India, and New Zealand, respectively. Also, ex-PM Abe focused on NATO and how Japan can play a role within this institution. Much of his domestic thinking was a little strange and out of step with public opinion, however, his foreign policy objectives did make sense. Yet he suffered from two major weaknesses. Firstly, ex-PM Abe was “toothless” when it came to America, just like other past leaders. Secondly, and sadly, he embroiled himself in nationalistic scandals, for example speaking negatively about the “comfort women” issue and then endorsing “revisionism” with regards to historical events which took place in Okinawa.

So can a future political leader stand up and be counted? I certainly hope so because how can Japan be trusted within the international community if nations don’t take her independence seriously? This is a serious issue because Japan desires to become a permanent member of the United Nations but under the current circumstances, then many nations have reservations about this. Given this reality, it is vital for Japan to change direction and embrace not only Asia but the international community.

If Japan does not change her thinking then her reputation within the international community will be further weakened. Also, regional nations, for example China, the Russian Federation, North Korea, and South Korea, will merely ignore Japan’s thinking and they will not trust the motives of Tokyo. Therefore, the time is right to transform the foreign policy of Japan. After all, the current American “lackey” status is hindering Japan. So surely Japan needs to become independent and play a leading role within the United Nations and other major institutions.

This also applies to Japan’s monetary policies because even in this field it is clear that Japan is offering the hand of friendship towards America. For example, around 90% of all Japanese reserves are held in either American bonds or in the dollar. Yet with the current weakness of the dollar and the American economy, then is this policy justified? Also, what about supporting the Japanese yen with regards to major foreign transactions? To me this policy is either naive at best or at worse it is further evidence about her limited independence. Once more, Japan must diversify her monetary policies and look to the Euro, gold, and other currencies or international bonds, while of course still holding dollars and American bonds, but not at the current level.

So can Japan develop a new way? Sadly, under the current leaders of Japan, then the answer may still be no. However, to be fair to the current leader of Japan, PM Aso, then we can not judge him because he only took office recently. Yet, despite this, it would appear that PM Aso will maintain the current status quo and he will follow a pro-American foreign policy.

However, PM Aso should refrain from this and instead he should focus on regional powers and important international blocs, while preserving close ties with America. For if Japan wants to become accepted internationally, an independent policy is essential. Also, Japan must “build sincere bridges” with China, North Korea, and South Korea; and leaders in Tokyo must “break the chain” with regards to the Russian Federation. Yet can the current ruling party do this given past history?

www.leejaywalker.wordpress.com

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India Becomes Yet Another Major Victim of Radical Sunni Islam

India Becomes Yet Another Major Victim of Radical Sunni Islam

By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent  – SEOUL TIMES – SOUTH KOREA

 

Radical Sunni Muslim leader Abu Hamza al-Masri
Photo Courtesy of The Cleveland Leader

Mumbai is in turmoil after Islamic jihadists attack many parts of this commercial city. At that moment at least 125 people have been killed in this ongoing carnage and clearly the security forces of India are at a loss. After all, the response was rather aimless during the first 24 hours. Therefore, Islamists were given a free reign for far too long during the initial stages. Obviously, at the moment the mass media is clutching at straws with regards to why this attack was so violent.

Yet in the “cold light of day” it is clear that terrorism is a growing threat in India. Therefore, what are the long-term consequences of this event? Also, can India’s security forces restore confidence because this major incident does not speak well for India’s security services?

At the moment reports are sketchy, therefore, it is easy to make wrong conclusions because the situation is so chaotic. Yet before focusing on this event, it is important to remember that terrorist attacks are on the increase in India. Indeed, Mumbai was attacked in 2006 and this led to the loss of hundreds of people being killed after Sunni Islamists caused mayhem. More recently, you have had a spate of terrorist attacks by Indian Muslims, and not only by outside forces, which was often the case in the past. Therefore, the threat of terrorism is real and it is a growing problem in India.

Turning back to the current crisis, then it is noticeable that many Islamic shahid fighters are very young and this attack resembles young Muslims in Thailand who launched an offensive against the central government several years ago. Also, this might be the start of a fresh uprising by the Muslim minority in India? However, this is purely guesswork, because the finger is also being pointed at radical Sunni Islamists in Pakistan.

This does not imply that this was blessed by the government of Pakistan, because it certainly was not but you always have fear of rogue elements within Pakistan causing mayhem. Yet, at the moment it is pure speculation if this was an internal attack by Muslims from India. Or if this attack was aided by outside forces so for now we have to wait and see.

Yet it is abundantly clear that radical Sunni Islamists desire to cause mayhem and carnage in Mumbai, and in other parts of India. At the same time they also want to kill international nationals because of their “Sunni Islamic one world point of view.” So this attack is aimed at destabilizing India and killing citizens from India and other nations.

International support can be heard loudly and the main opposition leader in the United Kingdom, David Cameron, was clear in his views. For David Cameron commented that “Our sympathy must be with the victims, yes of course, but also our support for the Indian government at this time,” he says. “[The attackers] want to separate countries like Britain and India and we should be saying our trade, our tourism, everything we do together, our relationship together, will get stronger.”

Other comments of support have been stated by the next leader of America, Barack Obama. He focuses on the need for collective unity in order to “root out and destroy terrorist networks.” Meanwhile, the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, commented that “Militancy and extremism in all its forms and manifestations have to be eliminated and all countries need to co-operate with each other in this regard.”

Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, spoke from the heart by stating that “The monstrous crimes of terrorists in Mumbai arouse our wrath, indignation and unconditional condemnation. The inhuman terrorist attacks on hospitals, hotels and other public places aimed at killing peaceful civilians, taking and murdering hostages are crimes directed against the very basis of civilized society. Those guilty of them should be severely punished. We support resolute actions of the Indian government to cut short terrorist actions. I would like to pass my deepest condolences to relatives and friends of those killed and wish the swiftest possible recovery to those injured.”

Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, who must be fearing the worse, condemned this deplorable attack against innocents. He also stated that the attacks were coordinated and launched by people outside of India. Manmohan Singh made it clear that these attacks were.” well-planned and very orchestrated attacks, probably with external linkages, were intended to create a sense of panic by choosing high-profile targets and indiscriminately killing innocent foreigners.”

He added further that “It is evident that the group which carried out these attacks, based outside the country, had come with single-minded determination to create havoc in the financial capital of the country.” Therefore, the Prime Minister of India vowed “the strongest possible measures” to stop a further terrorist attack. Manmohan Singh also made it abundantly clear that India.” will take up strongly with our neighbours that the use of their territory for launching attacks on us will not be tolerated and that there would be a cost if suitable measures are not taken by them.”

However, when we look at the bigger picture we can draw some conclusions. Firstly, India’s security services had no idea about this major terrorist attack. Secondly, if armed militants can attack a place like Mumbai, then other major cities are open to similar type of attacks. Thirdly, this will lead to further communal tensions within India. Fourthly, international business may decrease their investments in Mumbai because of this terrible carnage.

So overall, the nature of this attack will certainly cause major shockwaves throughout India and the international community. Also, if the finger can be pointed at outside forces, then how will India respond? Yet before the jigsaw can be put together, it is abundantly clear that India’s defences were not prepared and intelligence gathering also failed.

www.leejaywalker.wordpress.com

LEE JAY WALKER Dip BA MA

 

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MEXICO — President Calderon Is in a Flux because of the Growing Drug Insurgency

MEXICO — President Calderon Is in a Flux because of the Growing Drug Insurgency

By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent   -  SEOUL TIMES – SOUTH KOREA

 

Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa, the President of Mexico

The United States went to war in both Afghanistan and Iraq, however, some would argue that the real war should be in Mexico and America itself. This does not mean a war with Mexico or the people of America, but it does mean the need to contain both drug cartels and illegal immigration. Once containment is reached, then it is vital to eradicate major drug cartels. Therefore, can President Calderon contain these drug cartels or will democracy be further eroded in Mexico?

In 2008 more than one thousand people have been killed in Mexico because of drug cartels and growing crime. Therefore, what happened to democracy, the North Atlantic Free Trade Association, and America`s war on drugs and terror? After all, Mexico along the border with America is a no-go zone for the majority of people. Added to this is the internal crisis within American society because President Calderon made it clear that the USA must be held accountable. This applies to America having the largest number of drug consumers in the entire world.

The flow of immigrants into America from Mexico also undermines the national security of America because how can you have genuine drug and terrorist prevention policies, when you can not even control your own border? This fact alone should wake up a complacent America because sooner or later this information will be manipulated by would be terrorists. However, getting back to the narcotic issue, then once more America can not solely point the finger at Mexico because these drug cartels are mingling within the immigrant population. Also, drug cartels can find new gang members easily because of social inequality in both nations.

Turning back to Mexico, it is clear that President Calderon can not contain forces within Mexico. After all, the military now have 30,000 troops on the frontline but these forces still can not contain the countless number of drug cartels in Mexico. At the same time, international business leaders are increasingly worried about this crisis because it does not look good for the image of Mexico and you will have capital flight if this conflict is not contained or repulsed.

Mexico, therefore, is at a crossroads and this nation can not turn back because criminal organizations and drug cartels will merely go on the offensive. So America must also give a guiding hand in order to crush these cartels and criminal organizations on both sides of the border. Given this, it is clear that the current problem applies to both Mexico and America, however, it is Mexico which is suffering the most because these drug cartels are creating many no-go areas.

Once the world focused on Colombia with regards to narcotics and this nation suffered because of this with regards to international finance. Therefore, Mexico must wake up and control these negative forces which are destroying the fabric of society. After all, who really rules Mexico, is it the national government backed by the military or are drug cartels and major crime syndicates in control?

Also, America can not be complacent because it is the drug market in America which is creating this crisis and this can not be ignored. So will both nations stand up and forge a common policy or will the current crisis lead to mutual antagonism? The time for action is needed badly because this crisis will continue to grow.

www.leejaywalker.wordpress.com

THE SEOUL TIMES – SOUTH KOREA

 

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Armenia and Azerbaijan Are Still in Dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh?

Armenia and Azerbaijan Are Still in Dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh?

By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent – THE SEOUL TIMES -  SOUTH KOREA

 

Nagorno-Karabakh occupation map

The collapse of the Soviet Union led to many tensions within the former Soviet Union and since then you have had many frozen conflicts. This certainly applies to the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. The outcome of this brutal civil war meant many deaths on both sides, however, Christian Armenians overcame their numerical weakness and managed to control this region. However, today, with increasing energy wealth, the nation of Azerbaijan may be thinking about starting a fresh war with Armenia in order to re-take Nagorno-Karabakh?

Before concentrating on this, it is important to look at the regional balance and possible dangers for Azerbaijan. Therefore, if we look at the region we see many frozen conflicts or current tensions in Abkhazia (Georgia), South Ossetia (Georgia), Chechnya (Russian Federation), Daghestan (Russian Federation), Ingushetia (Russian Federation), and the Kurdish issue in eastern Turkey. Some of these fault-lines are based on religion or ethnicity, or over the control of resources. However, with a heavy mix of ethnicity and two major faiths, Orthodox Christianity and Islam, then this region is a real melting pot.

Another dimension is the Russian Federation supporting Armenia while Turkey, a member of NATO, is pro-Azerbaijan. Also, the American angle is complex and sadly based on energy issues and self interests. After all, the Armenian lobby is very strong and potent within parts of America and the government is sympathetic. But geopolitics and realism still controls, therefore, the USA is using Azerbaijan in order to counter the influence of both the Russian Federation and Iran. This applies to energy routes which bypass both the Russian Federation and Iran.

Also, if we look back into history, then we must remember the 1915 Armenian Christian genocide (other minority Christian groups were killed, including the Assyrians) by Turkish nationalists. So past history haunts this region and this certainly applies to Nagorno-Karabakh. However, I must point out that Turkey refutes this genocide because this nation claims that most Christians died because of the war, famine, and other consequences of World War One.

If we now focus on modern times, then clearly it would appear that the economic gap between potential military spending is vastly different and this certainly favours Azerbaijan. The one main comfort at the moment for Armenia is the support they get from the Russian Federation and Iran. For Iran the situation is complex because most Azeri people are Shia Muslim, like Iran, however, Iran fears a greater Azerbaijan because of the sizeable Azeri community in northern Iran. So outwardly, Iran talks about Islamic unity, but covertly, they do not want to see Armenia weakened.

Before concluding, it is important to mention that in recent times the government of Turkey is now reaching out to Armenia. Also, Iran promised to mediate between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Therefore, rays of hope do remain and both sides need to talk openly and frankly because both communities suffered during the war. Also, the EU and Commonwealth of Independent States could also help with regards to this delicate issue.

However, increasing Azeri purchases of military equipment is alarming many Armenians. Also, you have many divisions within Armenia with regards to politics. Therefore, the current leaders of Azerbaijan may try to re-start this frozen conflict which erupts from time to time? If so, we could see a real clash of titans because the Russian Federation and Turkey have major self interests and NATO would be in a flux. So will the leaders of Azerbaijan or Armenia re-start a fresh war over Nagorno-Karabakh? Or can a deal be made over Nagorno-Karabakh based on genuine autonomy?

Lee Jay Walker Dip BA MA

https://leejaywalker.wordpress.com

lee_jay_teach@hotmail.co.uk

 

 

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KOSOVO and the crisis of ignoring international law and global opinions

Kosovo and the Crisis of Ignoring International Law and Global Opinions

 

By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent  -  THE SEOUL TIMES – SOUTH KOREA

 
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Kosovars celebrate their independence in Pristina and show off their new flag. Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

Kosovo obtained part independence when America and many European nations gave the go ahead for the creation of this new nation. However, it is clear that things are not plain sailing because many other nations did not support this elitist adventure, therefore, the wider international community was ignored. So today we have a situation where some nations support this new state (47 nations currently support this nation), however, the majority of nations in Africa, Asia, and South America, have not given their consent. Also, the Russian Federation, Spain, and some other European nations, refuse to accept this American led adventure. So what does the future hold for Kosovo and international law?

Firstly, the current status of limbo is a shock to America and many European nations because they believed that the majority of other nations would follow suit, however, at the moment this isn`t happening. Therefore, the influence of the Russian Federation, China, India, and other nations who are against the independence of Kosovo, is much deeper than America imagined. Also, many nations are aghast by the elitism of this new venture and of course many nations worry that the same may happen to them.

Another negative side effect is the fact that Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia have clear justifications to claim the same rights, with regards to the American model of bypassing international law and the United Nations. So if America can violate international law so easily, then America should expect other nations to follow suit. Therefore, many other would be nations in other parts of the world also claim to have the same natural rights. Of course the United States, the United Kingdom, and others, are claiming that Kosovo is unique, but this is not based on reality because you have too many conflicts all over the world. So a “can of worms” is the real cause and effect of this naive policy.

Nations which are against this American led venture have stated clearly that they are very unhappy with the blatant attitude of elitist Western nations. The Foreign Minister of Argentina, Jorge Taiana, stated “if we were to recognise Kosovo, which has declared its independence unilaterally, without an agreement with Serbia, we would set a dangerous precedent that would seriously threaten our chances of a political settlement in the case of the Falkland Islands.”

The newly elected President of Cyprus, Dimitris Christofias, was even more outspoken because he stated “The one thing that Kosovo and Cyprus have in common, as far as the situation in these regions is concerned, is that in both cases, the basic principles of international law and legality, as well as UN decisions, are constantly being violated.” A similar comment was made by Miguel Angel Moratinos, the Spanish Foreign Minister, because he made it clear that “the Government of Spain will not recognise the unilateral act proclaimed by the assembly of Kosovo [...] We will not recognise because we consider [...] this does not respect international law.”

Therefore, this issue is very important and complex and it is not about denying either the majority Kosovo Albanians independence or supporting minorities like the Serbians, Roma, and other minorities in Kosovo. It is about a deeper issue and this applies to international law. So if America and her supporters can justify Kosovo then what about creating new independent nations for the Abkhazians and South Ossetians in Georgia, Palestinians, Karen in Myanmar, Tamils in Sri Lanka, West Papuans in Indonesia, Basques in Spain, Balochis in Pakistan, and the list can go on and on; so do these ethnic groups deserve independence?

This is the problem because you can not seriously claim that Kosovo is special or unique. After all, you have countless conflicts in the world and many ethnic groups face terrible persecution. Therefore, many other ethnic groups are aghast by events and Yasser Abed Rabbo, a Palestinian politician, stated “Kosovo is not better than us. We deserve independence even before Kosovo, and we ask for the backing of the United States and the European Union for our independence. If things are not going in the direction of continuous and serious negotiations, then we should take the step and announce our independence unilaterally.”

Also, the international community, on a whole, is saying that this colonial attitude is really not warrented and of course major institutions, like the United Nations, have been violated and the same applies to international law. So we have a genuine dilemma over this issue and again if the United Nations and international law can be violated, then why have either? Sadly, nations like the United States believe that they are above the international community because they also bypassed international law when they attacked Iraq and bombed the former Yugoslavia.

You also have problems within Kosovo itself and major divisions still exist. This especially applies to northern Kosovo because the Serbian community is relatively sizeable throughout this region. Therefore, you still have major flashpoints and Serbians, the Roma, and other minorities, feel isolated or abandoned. Also, the international community must still guard and protect Serbians, the Roma, and other minorities, throughout the whole of Kosovo. This in itself is evidence that the institutions of Kosovo are weak.

Therefore, the longer this situation remains in limbo the worse it will get because we have already seen convulsions in Georgia based on the Kosovo model. Whereby nations can now clearly state that America, the United Kingdom, France, and others, violated international law, therefore, other nations can follow suit and support their own self interests. So what does the future hold for Kosovo, countless other conflicts throughout the world, the United Nations, and international law?

Lee Jay Walker Dip BA MA

https://leejaywalker.wordpress.com

lee_jay_teach@hotmail.co.uk

 

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IRAQ and destruction of Christianity since the invasion by America

Iraq and Destruction of Christianity since the Invasion by America

By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent  – THE SEOUL TIMES  – SOUTH KOREA

 

Iraq and Destruction of Christianity since invasion by America.

The American invasion was meant to install democracy and fresh hope. However, democracy is a long way away and secular law, which protected the rights of Christians, women, minorities, and others, during the reign of Saddam Hussein, was replaced by Islamic Sharia law. Therefore, the Christians of Iraq have not only been betrayed by the American led coalition but they have also seen their legal status diminish. So why did America pave the way for the destruction of Christianity in Iraq?

Before we focus on this neglected issue it is important to look back at Iraq prior to the invasion. Therefore, when we look back we notice that terrorism was not a problem in Iraq and Islamic radicalism was put down by the central government. More important, from a Christian perspective, it was clear that Christians had options within the old Iraq under Saddam Hussein because Christmas and Easter was openly celebrated and they mixed freely with their Muslim neighbours. Given this, the Christians of Iraq had a future and they felt that they belonged to the nation state.

Of course major problems existed for people who challenged the government of Saddam Hussein, however, for the majority of Christians they merely got on with their lives and inter-mixed freely with the majority Muslim population. Indeed, the Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, was Christian and his co-religionists had a vital role to play in society. Given this, Christian women could dress how they liked and Christians never feared radical Islam, terrorism, or being murdered by Muslim radicals. Of course political persecution applied to the whole of society if they challenged the regime, but this applied to people of all faiths and the Kurds and Shia who opposed the regime were dealt with brutally. Yet for the Christian community it was the American led invasion which would turn their world upside down.

Because shortly after the invasion radical Sunni Islam began to spread via wealthy Muslim nationals who opposed the American led invasion, organizations, and via international terrorist networks. These militants began to turn on both the Shia Muslim majority and the Christian minority. Within months many churches had been destroyed and Christians were killed alongside the more numerous attacks against the Shia community. Therefore, new Iraq, from its birth, was a nightmare and this nation would witness a huge exodus of Christians and Mandaeans from their homeland.

But why is it that the majority of Christians and Mandaeans fled Iraq under America and not Saddam Hussein? The answer put simply appears to be obvious. Because unlike the regime of Saddam Hussein which did not support the destruction of the Christian community, the Americans, and their allies, simply do not care enough about this issue. Therefore, Christians and minorities have been abandoned and now it is open season against them and other minorities.

Of course many American soldiers have tried to protect churches and minority communities, however, the leaders of the USA and United Kingdom are indifferent at best, or at worse, they simply do not care about their plight. Instead both nations focused on introducing Islamic Sharia law and no special zones were created to protect the Christian community and other neglected minorities, like the Mandaeans, Shabaks, Turkmens (who are Muslim), and Yazidis, . This policy led to alienation and Christians and other minorities became easy targets because they had no military forces to protect them.

Before my conclusion it is important to mention the other point of view. After all, it is vital to mention that many Sunni Muslim fighters believe that they are fighting to protect their rights and they feared losing power to the Shia majority. Also, many Sunni Muslims were caught up in a war they did not start and with each new death the spiral of violence increased. Therefore, the Shia, Kurds, and the Christian community, were deemed to be traitors in the mindset of many Sunni fighters.

Also, vast numbers of Sunni Muslims have been killed by coalition forces and by Shia Muslim militia groups. Shia Muslims have also persecuted minorities in places like Basra, however, these attacks are on a lesser scale when compared with Sunni attacks. Yet the Christians, Mandaeans, Shabaks, and Turkmens, are innocent at all levels because they don`t have any major militias to protect them and they have no power within the government of Iraq.

Therefore, the destruction of Christianity in Iraq is taking place because of misguided American policies and because the Christian community is not deemed to be important. So did more Christians leave Iraq under Saddam Hussein or under the American led coalition? And did Saddam Hussein introduce Islamic Sharia law or was it introduced under the American led coalition? Both times the negative answer belongs to the American led invasion because Christians and other minorities have fled their homeland because they feel abandoned and completely marginalized.

Lee Jay Walker Dip BA MA

lee_jay_teach@hotmail.co.uk

https://leejaywalker.wordpress.com

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