Americans were beaten in Washington, DC at the hands of security guards employed by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he reportedly watched. Recognizing Erdogan’s long-running crackdown on dissent inside Turkey and international effort to stifle criticism of his government, the incident is a troubling development. If these body guards are found to have initiated the violence and/or committed a crime, they must be prosecuted and Turkish leadership must face swift penalties for their role. Where diplomatic immunity shields those involved in the incident, non-US citizens must be expelled from the US. No foreign government can be allowed to abuse US citizens, especially inside the US.
Days after this incident occurred, US forces acted against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in self-defense. Where it is easier to justify the use of force against armed factions in a civil war-torn, terrorist safe haven, a mounting number of civilian causalities around the world at the hands of international forces, including US forces, raise questions. The Turkish bodyguards claim they also acted in the defense of pro-Turkish protesters under attack from anti-Turkish protesters. One must ask: is the US simply hypocritical or is there a justification for the use of force against the Peoples and governments of other nations. To answer this question, one must ask whether or not there is such a thing as justifiable war.
China’s Silk Road Summit, TPP, and An Alternative Trade Approach: More Trade of Extracted Versus Produced Goods
Under the “One Belt, One Road Initiative,” also known as the New Silk Road project, China is expected to spend around $1.3 trillion on infrastructure to connect China’s industrial center to Western Europe via land and sea. During China’s 2017 “Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation,” which was held in Beijing and attended by representatives of over 130 countries, President Xi Jinping wholeheartedly embraced globalization and economic, though not political, liberalization, which is not surprising as the Communist government has been enriched by global trade. Having already made agreements with 70 countries, Beijing announced another $100 billion in infrastructure spending.
If Beijing is treated as the head of a massive umbrella corporation, the relatively small price of this initiative is a shrewd investment that will guarantee China’s highly competitive goods, and services, can reach the farthest corners of the global marketplace. Facing surplus inventory from overproduction, uncertainty due to weakened confidence in China’s financial markets, and slowing economic growth, “China Corp” needs a boost. Unable to rely on the Chinese People, who are committed to their own personal financial well-being and savings, Beijing hopes to open new markets and improve access to old ones. As labor costs rise in China and economic growth falls short, this will also help Beijing export Chinese workers and utilize cheaper foreign labor as needed in the future.
Ransomware known as WannaCry, a.k.a. WannaDecyptor and WannaCrypt, could have inflicted untold damage throughout the world and extorted billions for its creators. Thanks to the timely curiosity of an unidentified cybersecurity researcher known as MelwareTech, the threat from the current version of this ransomware was disarmed before it could spread even farther. With the damage mounting, the cyberattack has infected, at least, the computers of 200,000 individuals and 100,000 organizations in 150 countries. This threat to the global economy and the engine of modern life that is the Internet has reaffirmed the need for proper cybergovernance.
Although the looming threat posed by the weaknesses within the world’s cyber infrastructure is well-known, this particular story of ransomware does have an especially disconcerting twist. Those responsible for the ransomware had actually utilized a stolen NSA tool. America’s national security apparatus, as well as those of other nations, allegedly develop these tools to secure their homelands from national security threats. Not only has the NSA’s gamble to invest in these types of unsecured weapons of mass destruction raised concerns of national security overreach, it has endangered the American Peoples and the other Peoples of the world.
Corruption is a serious issue that concerns the Peoples of all nations. Because modern governments exist solely to serve their Peoples, versus non-modern governments that exist solely to address the interests of the ruling class and impose order onto the territory’s population, any misuse of an official’s influence to further the personal interests of public officials and their affiliates, or special interests, at the expense of the “public good” is a form of corruption. Nations, such as Brazil and Russia, face an infestation of systematic corruption; whereas, the US and others struggle to beat back the weeds of corruption before they completely strangle government.
Acts of corruption range from near benign to detrimental, but one of the most insidious methods for implementing systemic corruption is to install sympathetic officials to key posts, change policies, and change laws in order to legitimately engage in acts of corruptions as though they are legitimate decrees from the ruling parties. Whether public policy change is an act of corruption or not can, and should, be debated. In the US, there is a healthy sensitivity to potential abuses of power that compels Americans to strongly react to questionable events. The firing of FBI Director James Comey is one story that has triggered this reflex.
US President Donald Trump has largely been the central focus of the news cycle since he became the GOP front runner in the 2016 Presidential contest. Before Trump, the Syrian Civil War, as well as the Syrian Refugee Crisis, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, via the Ukraine Crisis and Russia’s intervention in Syria, took their turns dominating the news cycle. The Arab Spring Revolutions and the Great Recession also enjoyed protracted periods of obsessive coverage featuring the most minor developments at the expense of other stories.
There are many different reasons why the news tends to obsess over certain stories, but the common denominator is that these topics garner a great deal of sustained public attention. It appears people feel these stories represent the greatest threat and source of uncertainty when they emerge. Donald Trump is a wild card who enjoys all the powers of the US Presidency, so it is natural that he would attract as much attention as a global crisis. Not only is Donald Trump prone to unconventional and seemingly unpredictable decisions, he actively seeks ways to have a big impact on whatever topic he chooses to address.
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