China and it’s Hemisphere of Influence.

In the age of global superpowers or even hemispheric powers, China is not on the same level as the United States (US) or even Russia. The United States has enjoyed unparalleled power and influence in the western hemisphere since the Monroe Doctrine in 1823.

Since American expansion and the spread of liberalism following the end of World War two and the Cold War, the United States has gone unmatched in terms of influence, not only in their own hemisphere but around the world.

China has serious military and monetary power. It had begun to spread it’s influence, most notably in Africa while struggling to command similar influence in it’s own hemisphere. The subject of hemispheric influence or lack thereof has come to light in recent months. Following the election of Donald Trump to the office of President of the United States, the US has taken a more aggressive foreign policy toward Pyongyang. Trump had asserted that North Korea is “behaving very bad” and “China has done very little to help” in a tweet sent out in March.

As tensions have risen between the United States and North Korea, China is being dragged into the role of mediator as the Unites States threatens unilateral action against Pyongyang. During a meeting between both Presidents of China and the United States, President Xi Jinping informed President Trump that China does not have as much influence over North Korea as is assumed.

What does this mean? well, if China lacks influence over Pyongyang that means the Americans will step in with military action. With possible support from China, Russia, Japan and South Korea. The consequences of such action would be an unimaginable death toll. For China to show it is a superpower and has hemispheric influence, they would need to act. Be it diplomatically or militarily. If they wish to reduce the influence of the US in the region.

Now is the time for China to step up and on the other hand, now is the time for the Us to grow its influence to greater levels.

I’ll finish with this: How would China feel about a divided North Korea or a Korea occupied by American forces? that would US forces on the door to China and on the border of Russia.

History.state.gov. (2017). Milestones: 1801–1829 – Office of the Historian. [online] Available at: https://history.state.gov/milestones/1801-1829/monroe [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].

Twitter. (2017). Donald J. Trump on Twitter. [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/842724011234791424?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.latimes.com%2Fpolitics%2Fla-pol-updates-everything-president-1489761191-htmlstory.html [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].

Uni(ted States)lateral Action

Donald Trump has suggested that he now believes the United States should begin unilateral action, not only against North Korea but possibly against Bashar Al Assad following more despicable chemical attacks in Syria. What we are beginning to see are nations acting in self interest. Russia in Ukraine may be one example.

Trump today said that the chemical attack in Syria crossed “many lines” in response to a reporters question which had a reference to Obama’s red line in 2013. He failed to offer any real details on the possible unilateral action the United States would take but his comments have set the US up in such a way that action is now required and expected.

The conflict in Syria will never end unless someone steps in and finds a way to bring it to an end. Civilian deaths should no longer be accepted and safe zones should now be established and protected with no fly zones. Full access given to the United Nations to give the necessary care to the population. A ceasefire should be implemented with areas of influence remaining for a short time until dialogue can be agreed by those involved. The removal of Assad and the establishment of a cooperation council which should include Assad forces and the moderate opposition but not limited to them. An end to the blood shed should be priority number 1 from today. Too many have suffered and a stable middle east is in the interest of everyone.

Fraction. 

The rise of the far right isn’t the major worry for today’s global democracy and stability. We are now faced with the possibility of a more fractured world. We have far right candidates whom question institutions like the United Nations, the European Union, NATO and African nations are leaving the International Criminal Court. We are witnessing the roll back of a world order that has been in existence following World War One, WW2 and the Cold War. The idea of creating mutual interests to detour nations from going to war against one another. 

The world that we knew, that I grew up in has changed and will continue to change as those with completely different agendas will take over the reins of power in the major countries. 

This can be halted with a radical mobilisation of people. Senator Bernie Sanders showed exactly what can be achieved. On the 21st of January 2017, a global mobilisation of people in support of women, known as the women’s march, was a huge movement with millions of people taking to the street with plackcards, chants, poems and songs but united in representing the voices of progressive thinking. This could be a catalyst and an opposition to the fractured world we are heading toward. 

Sowed Seeds

Trump triumphs, brexit rolls on and all things in the middle are questioned. With Trump’s win in the USA, on the back of a campaign inspired by hate and division but powered bytrump the simple need of jobs, of an income, trumped the ideals of the left. The working class were left behind, that’s a fact, not only in the USA but across the globe. As society progressed on through the 80’s and the middle classes increased, people and politicians no longer had to worry about poverty or low income, they could then turn their focus on how they lived. Human rights, work life balance, yoga, new cars and other technologies.

As we entered the era of making ‘money from money’ things became a lot riskier. As the globe became interconnected through the financial markets (globalisation) what happened on one side of the word now affected the other side of the world.

The crash of 2008 shrunk the middle class, people were now less well off, in debt, behind on mortgage payments and with no disposable income for luxury good or vacations to distract them from the world’s woes, people were now forced to become politically aware and politically engaged.

Over the past 8 years of recession, with slow change and a loss of confidence in the financial policies of the neoliberals, a loss of confidence in the well established politicians and now the media, people have begun to revolt. As mentioned above, Donald Trump won the USA Presidential election and Britain have voted to separate from the European Union. Left wing and right wing parties have gained significant ground. Duterte in the Philippines, openly confessed to killing people has been pushing a new war on drugs with thousands dead in three months, killed by the police, killed by other gangs and vigilantes. Marion-Le Pen, a far right politician in France, presidential hopeful for 2017. Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain which has
transformed the Spanish political scene. fractured-eu

Whats next for 2017? will Europe begin to separate?
will France elect a far right President?
how about war in the South China Sea or in Eastern Europe with the build up of NATO forces in Poland. All I know is that some bad seeds have been sowed and what grows wont be good for anyone.

Trumpland (No for real this time). 

UPDATED :
Since 2008 and the financial crisis, a lot of people have been jumping between political parties. Going against the traditionally strong and against the establishment. Europe, following the bailouts in the peripheral countries and some central governments, voted right wing. If they voted left wing as the did in Greece, they were forced to implement right wing austerity policies. This had a knock on affect. People no longer took politicians or their parties for what they campaigned on. Trust, or what remained of it, died out.
What we have been witnessing since 2008 is a continuous shaking of the political table. The pieces are yet to settle.
As in Britain, the Tories offered the public a chance to attack the establishment, they diverted the anger from themselves onto the European Project and now what we have is Brexit. The UK has voted to leave the European Project. The question remains, have they solved the underlining problems that caused the anger?? very unlikely. We could now have a more fractured Europe and even a broken up U.K.,
In the United States, Obama ran his 08 campaign on ‘change’. The change he offered was a new America, a fairer America, a more equal America, an America were African Americans would be treated equally (finally). Obama has done a lot but not what the voters wanted. The crash upset the working classes of the United States, it angered the elderly and typically the Republicans wanted ‘their’ country back. When you eliminate money or at least a great chunk of it from the pockets of citizens they become more political, more involved because as individuals, they now have a reason to be involved. Restoration of resources, of pay, health benefits, public services and so on.
Today, a business tycoon, whom encourages racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and most other phobias has just won the White House. It didn’t happen in the last 18 months but it was a much longer process that began through the 80s and maybe longer. Today is just the result of that process. It was as much of a vote against the establishment than it was a vote for Donald Trump. If the establishment fails to change with society, then society will change the establishment.

Aleppo

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What we have allowed to happen to Aleppo is a disgrace and we all should be ashamed. We have facilitated the destruction of a an enitre country, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, including women and children. We have allowed war crimes to go on unchallenged and yet, it continues. It needs to end now.

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