Latin America is seen as such a good investment by the Chinese government that Beijing plans to sink $250 billion in the continent over the next 10 decade as it steadily increases government loans and expands Chinese exports. Learning from the successes and failures of the United States, China has embraced the Monroe Doctrine when it comes to foreign interference in Asia, yet seized upon Manifest Destiny to rationalize its need for global influence. In contrast, the United States has accentuated declining investment and trade in Latin America with continued political disengagement. The US has gone so far as to praise the death of the Monroe Doctrine instead of reviving it.
The Monroe Doctrine, as a governing philosophy, compelled the US to protect itself from European intrusion by regarding new efforts to colonize the Americas and interference in the politics of the hemisphere as acts of aggression. When the Roosevelt Corollary was embraced, it allowed the US to avoid conflict with Europe and block European interference. Although Teddy Roosevelt’s willingness to intervene on behalf of Europeans was practical and balanced US-European interests, it thoroughly undercut the interests of Latin America. Regrettably, it also paved the path for some of America’s most destructive foreign policies while setting the stage for interventions across the globe.
Political Agendas Versus Public Consent: Climate Change, Syrian Civil War, and Western-Russian relations
European, Chinese, and Indian officials, among many others, believe the US lacks commitment after the Supreme Court delayed the adoption of new regulations. In truth, political leaders, including President Obama, made promises at the 2015 UN Climate Conference in Paris without the consent of their Peoples or sound economic policies. Meanwhile, TPP members will also likely find themselves increasingly irritated at the US when domestic politics derail the trade deal. The problem is not that the US lacks commitment or cannot be trusted on climate change and trade. The problem is that public officials act as though their policy agendas trump public consent when engaging the world.
US officials have abused American power to pursue policies that supported tyrannical leaders and terrorist groups while undermining American democratic ideals and the interests of many Peoples. Where those who seed anti-American sentiments love to divide the world against the US as a hegemonic power, the world must understand that the actions of the US government do not always reflect the will of the American People. This is why US leadership, and policy priorities, change with every elections. America is not, however, the only offender nor is the US the worst. Unfortunately, the governments of the world too often put their agendas above the interests of their peoples.
Taiwan in the wake of the South China Sea Crisis and the election of a US-leaning government could soon play a pivotal role on the international stage. Should some catastrophic event or natural disaster like the Tainan earthquake force the Republic of China to ask for US aid, the People's Republic of China would assuredly find US forces in what the Communists of the PRC consider their stolen territory to be unacceptable. For the time being, however, the focus on the collapse of the Weiguan Jinlong high-rise building offers an opportunity to discuss regulatory issues that face all of Asia and much of the underdeveloped world, especially with the recent signing of TPP.
Having buckled in a 6.4-magnitude earthquake, the Weiguan Jinlong building was clearly not up to the task, especially when compared to major earthquake disasters. Looking at the Great Japanese Earthquake of 2011, for example, the 9.0-magnitude tremor lasted almost five minutes with nearly 10,000 aftershocks, including some that were more powerful than the Tainan earthquake. The Earthquake was so powerful it literally pushed the main Japanese island Honshu eight feet away from Asia. Like the Great Japanese Earthquake, the damage done by the Tainan earthquake could have been far worse had the Weiguan Jinlong building been the standard across Taiwan.
Asia stole the economic spotlight when the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement was signed in Auckland, New Zealand despite heavy resistance to the free trade deal that will affect 40% of the world’s commerce and nearly a billion people. With US membership still in limbo, India abstaining, China excluded, and Russia absent from TPP as well as China’s Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific, TPP has also made Asia a focal point for volatile geopolitical forces. Increasingly dependent on the policies and fortunes of the US, China, India, and Russia, the interests of the many Asian Peoples are at the mercy of these conflicting giants.
This writer disapproves of TPP over its deleveraging nature, the threat it poses to national sovereignty, and the anti-domestic business climate it propagates, but the standards TPP imposes across signature nations clearly offers benefits. The dubious economic benefits of TPP have not, however, been the main selling point. Unfortunately, the political desire to “write the rules” of global trade and balance the influence of China has been the major motive for embracing TPP instead of sound economic policy. TPP could help member states gain economic leverage over China as a country, but Beijing’s economic agenda is more akin to the rebalancing of an investment portfolio than an economic policy.
Rape became a capital offense in India after the 2012 gang-rape of a student in Delhi, yet India recently added another two high-profile cases of sexual violence to its infamous record. The rape of a recovering15-year-old rape victim at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Hospital by a security guard demonstrates the lack of security Indian women face. Meanwhile, the refusal of onlookers in Bengaluru to help a 21-year-old Tanzanian woman, who was pulled from her car, stripped naked, and sexual assaulted, as she ran through the streets in search of safety reveals how cultures that disenfranchise others make the abuse and rape of individuals acceptable throughout the world.
Where much of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America still need to make violence against women a far greater priority, India has only begun to tackle the issues that North America and Europe continue to struggle with after decades of progress. Unfortunately, groups like the “Return of Kings” and their push to decriminalize rape on private property to allegedly fight rape by perversely encouraging woman to consider their actions resonates in many corners of the world. Consequently, the effort to combat rape starts with understanding the mentality of those who commit acts of sexual violence and those who protect them from the consequences of their actions.
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