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THE INTERNATIONAL OBSERVER

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GLOBAL SURVEY

            

 

 

 

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    Our 37th year of publishing The International Observer

The Latest Issue

VIEWING THE WORLD

 

Walling off Mexico from the US could become an ecological disaster for both countries.

Erecting a wall separating the United States of America from Mexico, ostensibly to protect the country and keep out illegal migrants from southern America, is a pet project of US politicians, first George W. Bush and now of the current president. Judging by the checkered history of such walls and the unfavorable comparison of high cost vs. desired benefit, US public support is less than 50 percent, partly because of cost, tradition of being an open country, abhorrence of the recent Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall of Soviet Russia, and the unfavorable image among Central and South American neighbors. 

On 24 July, renewed reasoning against a wall for ecological reasons appeared in the monthly BioScience journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) in McLean VA-Washington DC. A total of 2,556 scientist signatories from 43 countries, including 1,472 from the US and 616 from Mexico, warned of devastating natural results from such an obstacle between the two countries. Already it threatens 62 species. The findings of 18 researchers entitled Nature Divided, Scientists United: US–Mexico Border Wall Threatens Biodiversity and Binational Conservation, by Robert Peters et al, forewarns that the wall will hinder seasonal migration and reduce the habitat of animals, cause species to split into less viable groups, and hinder bi-national conservation. 

August 2018

 

 

Two Summits - A selected press fallout

12 June Kim-Trump Summit meeting in Singapore

 12 June

Trump: ‘We are taking care of a very big problem for the world’1

Trump: ‘We’re prepared to start a new history and we’re ready to write a new chapter between our nations’2

Trump’s vow to end military drills with Seoul stuns a region3

 13 June

Donald Trump declares North Korea ‘no longer a nuclear threat’ despite no denuclearization timeframe4

16 June

Trump praises teams authoritarian rule, says ‘I want my people to do the same’1

 3 July

Trump: Without him, ‘we would now be at War with North Korea’4

 7 July

North Korea says talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were ‘regrettable’5

 18 July

Singapore Sham6

 25 July

North Korea’s ruling party informs officials Kim regime will not give up nukes7

 16 July Putin-Trump Summit meeting in Helsinki

15 July

Trump calls EU a ‘foe’ before arriving in Finland for Putin Summit8

 16 July

‘I don’t see any reason why’ Russia would meddle, Trump says after Putin meeting1

 17 July

‘Treasonous”: Trump-Putin Summit leaves US leaders aghast1

Trump forks back from Putin Summit remarks, says he ’misspoke’9  

Trump dismissed the idea that Putin wanted him to win. Putin just admitted that he did.10

McCain: ‘No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly for a tyrant’11

1The Age  2Press conference in Singapore  3The Japan Times  4ABC Australia  5Associated Press  6The New York Review of Books  7Radio Free Asia (RFA) 8Reuters 9Wire services 10The Washington Post 11The New York Times

July 2018

 

Leaders supporting nuclear agreement with Iran

International and European leaders are making strenuous efforts to keep the nuclear agreement with Iran after the US president not only denounced the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) but cancelled US participation on 8 May. Ironically, he steadfastly supports a vague exchange with North Korea on denuclearization that he hoped would earn him the Nobel Peace Prize and most recently led him to claim that he prevented war. Britain, France, and Germany have hinted at compensating Iran if it upholds the undertaking, The Age reported on 8 May. A day later, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran was “subject to the world’s most robust verification regime” and attested to Iran’s consistent adherence to its commitments.

June 2018

US president's gun remarks outraged France

The defense for carrying a weapon by the US president speaking to the National Rifle Association on 4 May by saying “strict gun laws failed to prevent the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris,” immediately brought forth outraged retorts from France. The foreign ministry voiced its “firm disapproval” and asked for “respect of the victims” of this close ally. François Hollande, who served as president at the time, denounced the US president’s word as “shameful” and “obscene play-acting,” noted le Monde.

June 2018

 

French government prepares for major institutional reforms

An outline of proposed reforms of institutions – in line with the president’s campaign promises - was revealed by the prime minister on 4 April, BBC reported. On 9 May, the Council of Ministers will deal with draft bills on constitutional law, organic law, and ordinary changes. 

The changes agreed with the Senate, according to Le Monde include

  • Cutting the number of deputies and senators by one-third resulting in 404 deputies (from 577) and 244 senators (from 348).
  • Electing 15 percent or 60 lawmakers by proportional representation starting in 2022.
  • Banning an accumulation of mandates with certain exceptions.
  • Reducing the size of the 233-member Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) by half.
  • Inserting an explicit reference to Corsica in the Constitution.
May 2018

 

China’s newly acknowledged president comes up with new ideas and initiatives not quite every day but often enough to bolster his effort to shape a uniform society under tight party control, increasing social management of the people of China,  controlling and limiting internet and social media, especially when it comes to the free world spreading practical ideas of democracy and freedom, introducing nationwide discipline enforcement, turning non-Chinese ethnic inhabitants of Tibet and Xinjiang into Chinese, bribing, forcing or persuading the country’s neighbors to obey the new middle kingdom’s demands and support it, advancing the Belt & Road infrastructure project, asserting sovereignty in the East and South China Seas, dispatching party delegations to meet with political parties abroad to build support for common concerns (especially rewarding in Africa), propagating party views among students in foreign universities, and diminishing, impairing or undermining influence and strength of the world’s other countries and powers.

In March, China’s president called for deepened military-civilian integration. Addressing military and police on 12 March, he outlined the strategy: "Implementing military-civilian integration is a prerequisite for building integrated national strategies and strategic capabilities and for realizing the Party's goal of building a strong military in the new era," noted Xinhua. He said party committees and governments at all levels should do more to support the cause of defense and military advancement, while the armed forces should render their service to economic and social development.

April 2018

 

The president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) called for an international conference to restart peace in the Middle East during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on 20 February. Addressing the Council for the first time since 2009, he proposed that the meeting be held by the middle of the year, that parties refrain from unilateral actions during negotiations, the US suspend the move of its embassy to Jerusalem, and that Israel halt its settlement activity.

March 2018

Defending a multi-cultural and diverse world, the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), on 20 January, warned against getting used to hate in language, mindsets and symbols: “We must reject those who fail to understand that as societies become multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural, diversity must be seen as a source of richness and not a threat,” he underscored. In his remarks, the UN chief cited examples from around the world showing the rise of the neo-Nazi threat as well as the growing concern that such groups are trying to “rebrand themselves” and present themselves as kinder or gentler to win wider favor – “They are less crude and more dangerous.”

Presidential BIG record – Unsavory Statistics: He is known to use BIG letters in his internet outbursts. Here is one he did not send out: Donald Trump made 2,140 false or misleading claims during his first year, fact checker Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post wrote in a half-page article on 21 January. The New York Times, on 29 January published a two-page spread authored by Jasmine C. Lee and Kevin Quealy “All the People, Places And Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter Since Being Elected President of the United States.” 

About the newly recurring shutdowns of the US government, the Truman Project under its President Michael Breen, commented on 19 February: “It is entirely disingenuous to paint this historic failure to keep the government operating – despite a single party controlling both houses of Congress and the White House – as an attack on defense spending or our military…. To be clear: The military will continue to be funded through the Republican shutdown, and the Congress can choose to pass legislation ensuring pay for military and Department of Defense employees as they did in 2013…. Leaders in Congress know all of this, making it unclear why they would borrow talking points from their notoriously uniformed president.  This shutdown is the result of infighting within one party concerning the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Trump Administration made the deliberate decision to throw the lives of DACA recipients and their families into legal limbo, and they did so maliciously and to no security benefit to the United States.”

February 2018

 

Beijing’s assertiveness and activity are characterizing the Middle Kingdom’s role abroad. After continuing positioning in Africa and the Americas and the “Belt and Road” initiative, the Communist Party of China (CPC) is now energizing the party-to-party approach and taking it worldwide. From 30 November to 3 December the “CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties” High-Level Meeting was held in in Beijing. Designed to find influence in foreign non-communist parties, the initiative is portrayed as one to consolidate and deepen friendly cooperation to promote global development, share prosperity and guide the world’s future, notes Xinhua.

Turkey’s repressive president is making sure that his country is receiving close attention from international organizations and countries alike. Cozying up to Iran and Russia and picking fights with the United States of America may even jeopardize the nation’s standing in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). While the government will reject any form of affiliation, such as associate or privileged membership or partnership, other than full membership in the European Union (EU), according to the Minister for the EU Affairs, neither France nor Germany are currently willing to welcome it. The new Austrian government even adopted opposition to Turkish EU membership as part of its program. While its majority Islamic population is a problem for some EU members, resisting admission is strategic, political and personal. Bordering on the volatile Middle East, a next door member would expose and involve the EU immediately in conflicts and unsettled situations there. The Ankara government’s bloody conflict with its Kurdish citizens, the political feud with a former ally and his supporters, continuing violation of human rights and cultural and democratic values of the EU, progressive Islamic influence in public affairs, and the relentless pursuit of the president for near total control of the government, weigh heavily against proceeding with membership negotiations.

Bolivia’s Constitutional Court, packed by presidential supporters, has come up with a new ploy to justify staying in power perpetually. It recently ruled that term limits are a denial of human and political rights.

January 2018

 

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