Saturday, June 9, 2018

Trump arrives last, will leave first at G7 summit

By Raymond Dragunaitis

On the first day of the two-day annual G7 summit, which brings the global economies of the US, Canada, the UK, France, Italy, Japan, and Germany, the division between President Trump (who was the last leader to arrive) and the other global leaders was high. The divisions come primarily from the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, but also include climate change, Iran, and the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Although Trump advocated letting Russia back in the G8 after it was expelled for its annexation of Crimea, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said all the European Union members at the summit were opposed to this unless "progress" was made on Ukraine, and Canada joins them in this opposition. Trump will leave the summit early for his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore, and "will miss the talks on climate change, the environment and probably gender equality on Saturday."

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

"Kim Jong-un’s Image Shift: From Nuclear Madman to Skillful Leader" ANdrew honig blog 10

The article I read on the New York times this week was interesting to say the least. It pertained to Kim's appearance since the North Korea standoff this past year. He has gone from a belligerent dictator style approach to a happy, responsive and cooperative leader. This has been however very recent and it is still in flux whether or not that he will comply with the agreements that he made to the United States and South Korea. Especially since he still has to meet with Trump in Singapore on June 12. I am fully convinced that he will never give up his military weapons and that this is all a show to boost his image in the global atmosphere. The articled that was written also agrees and believes to entail the same idea. He has been smart to advance his image with the South Korean president Mr. Moon. He has worked closely with him to find a peaceful solution and end the war that they have been waging for years. He doesn't understand the total implications of lying if that is the case and the United States will be hesitant to work with him or even meet with him if he doesn't comply to the agreed terms. Kim is someone that seeks attention from other country's and while that is okay he is letting his own suffer at the hands of his regime.

By Andrew Honig

Tariffs on steel and aluminum might cost the U.S. 400,000 jobs — and Canada could get hit too

A report released Tuesday finds that the tariffs would increase employment in the steel and the aluminum sectors, but what it shows is that a large number of other workers would lose jobs in the process as higher steel costs ripple through the economy. Trade Partnership Worldwide LLC released the report this week, which claims that over 400,000 jobs will be lost in other sectors of the economy. In addition, almost 7,000 jobs will be lost in agriculture and 20,000 jobs will be lost in manufacturing, and almost 1,000 lost in the energy sector, for a total of 402,445 jobs, the report said. Senators from both parties plan to force President Trump to obtain Congress’ approval before imposing tariffs on national security grounds. 

Noel Corral

Trans Mountain deal fails to change Suncor position on Canadian competitiveness

The CEO of Suncor Energy Inc. says he will continue to avoid spending on large growth projects in Canada, despite the Canadian federal government’s move last week to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline system. Several groups are opposing any oil and gas production and pipelines, but this would mean that Canada would be unable to afford its own environmental policies, while the other side wants zero limits on production, but are ignoring the consequences long-term to climate change.The CEO hopes to make Canada more competitive, especially in comparison to the United States.

Noel Corral

Trump lawyer says Kim 'begged' for summit by Jesus Ponce

Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani has said North Korea's leader "begged" for their summit to be rescheduled after the US president cancelled it.

While in Israel, Giuliani said Trump's tough stance had forced Pyongyang's hand. Trump had called off the summit in May after it seemed both sides were willing to meet. Trump being Trump decided to cancel it. It wasn't that big of a surprise since things seemed too good to be true.

The remark was made in Israel while speaking at an investment conference. The Wall Street Journal had a quote that was quite excessive. "Well, Kim Jong-un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in."

I may not know I.R. that well but that's probably something you shouldn't say especially to North Korea.

Source: BBC

Obama Gave Iran Access to US Funds

It has just been reported that Obama supposedly gave Iran access to our US financial system as part of their nuclear deal. This has raised a lot of controversy as some say it never happened while others are suggesting it did. Iran was granted a license that allowed them to do so, which was not considered illegal under the laws of the United States. Iran used this license to convert nearly billions of dollars, but since we have retracted our deal with them, they have sought out continuing these operations with countries in Europe.

Kimi Epker

Trump Jokingly Blames Canada for Burning of the White House

In this article, it discusses how President Trump, in a recent call with Justin Trudeau joked that it was Canada who burned the White House during the war of 1812. The purpose of the phone call was to discuss the latest tariffs imposed on Canada, Trump's reasoning being national security. It later talks about what really happened with the burning from the war caused by British troops. Trudeau stated that while it was intended to be a joke, he did not think it was funny and felt the situation was not a laughing matter as the tariffs will significantly effect Canadian citizens.

Kimi Epker

Europe Asks U.S. for an Exemption From Sanctions on Iran

Kevin Druger
                This article discusses the fallout from the U.S. withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. It states that there are officials in European nations that fear that because of the U.S. withdraw and the added sanctions the U.S. has placed on European companies are increasing the likelihood of deal, that the other countries are still apart of, will fall apart. As the article states it is unlikely that the European companies will continue to do business in Iran, if it means that they will no longer be doing business within the U.S.. It’s interesting to think of how the U.S. withdraw has placed added further barriers to company’s witch really threaten the nations ability to maintain an agreement. These nations have asked the U.S. to lift their sanctions on the companies. I believe the U.S. knows that with the sanctions they are greatly impacting the other countries abilities and is using this as a means to influence the other nations to take the action they want them to. It’s interesting to see how the economic strength of a single nation can be used to influence other portions of global politics.

Taking Migrant Children From Parents Is Illegal, U.N. Tells U.S.

Kevin Druger
This article discusses the United States immigration practices, and how the United Nations has expressed its concerns with them. The article states that on the U.S. is separating children from their parents as they attempt to cross the border. The U.N. has declared that doing so is a violation of the children’s human rights. I find this article interesting and relevant to what we have discussed in class. As we have discussed the U.N. has been created to supply the global political community with a form of structure. But, as we have also discussed much of the U.N.’s policies lack the teeth to be enforced. Regardless of one’s views of what is taking place on the border, this article is a great example of this. The U.N. has declared that the actions of the U.S. are a violation of human rights, but the U.S. has basically stated they will not change their practices. As the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. stated “Neither the United Nations nor anyone else will dictate how the United States upholds its borders.” This is a perfect example of how the nations that are in the United Nations are more concerned with their State sovereignty than the views of the U.N.

Mexico imposes tariffs on $3 billion worth of US exports

This article discusses the recent decision by the Mexican government to impose a valued 3 billion dollars in tariffs on the United States. This tariff increase could the decrease the value of the dollar in relation to the peso by 25%. Mexico is such an important trade partner with the United States, and it is interesting and kind of encouraging that the United States' neighbor stood up the the great power that is the United States. This is the kind of behavior that is needed in order to balance out the world order. We need lower powers to stand up to great powers and challenge what they believe is there's.

By: Josh Simmons

"Saudi Arabia issues its first driver's licenses to women"

Timea Mozsi

For my final post I was going to write about the volcano that erupted in Guatemala. However, since it has been covered by several others, I am going to shed light on another shocking matter in the Middle East; Saudi Arabia’s ban on women drivers. This is said to be ending on June 24. Ten driver’s licenses to women had been issued, however, before that date. Two-thousand more are planned to be issued to women in the next week.

 Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud submitted a plan last year to reform Saudi Arabia by 2030. One of the important goals in this plan was to have more women in the workforce. The ban on women drivers was put into place because Saudi Arabia follows Islamic practices. More specifically, they follow Wahhabi Islam which has many restrictions on how people, especially women, are expected to behave.

According to the article, women often have to ask permission from their “male guardians”, whether that be fathers or husbands, to do many/most activities, especially if they are public ones. In May 2017 King Salman had a list released by the government of activities that women could do without seeking permission from “male guardians”.

My hope is that they continue on this path and realize that they can reform their way of life, making it fair for everyone—women, especially—without having to give up on Islamic beliefs.

Guatemala Volcano: almost 200 missing and 75 dead - Alexis Reese

Sunday the Guatemalan volcano, Fuego, erupted without proper warning to the residents. Officials say that the local residents have training on how to deal with situations similar to his one, but they say that this eruption occurred too fast for the residents to react quick enough. The village close to this volcano is completely gone with many of the residents gone along with it. I am curious to see how the international community will respond to this disaster and how much, if any, aid will be sent to help the people impacted by this disaster.

North Korea suspends high level talks with South Korea over military drills with US

North Korea suspends the planned talks with South Korea over US-South Korea military drills, which North Korea calls provocation. The state-run North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) called the Max Thunder drills between South Korea and the US Air Force a rehearsal for an invasion of North Korea. This suspension comes only one month before the planned talk between the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the United States president Donald Trump, which will allow both leader to talk about their nuclear weapons programs. North Korea has not canceled these talks yet with the United States though. The two-week Max Thunder drill involve about 1,000 military personnel along with 500 South Korea personnel. Both sides have agreed to stop these drills in order to encourage North Korean participation in the 2018 Olympics games.

By: Samantha Kouba


Mexico and US trade disputes - Alexis Reese

Donald Trump has recently put tarrifs on imported steel and aluminum. These are mostly hiring countries like Mexico, the European Union, and Canada, some of the US’s biggest allies. In response, Mexico has put tarrifs on imported pork, apples, potatoes, bourbon and some cheeses. These items were choosen to hit the Republican Party the hardest to the the demographics of their constituents. With midterms coming up, congressmen are under pressure to resolve this current trade dispute.

Beijing may have removed missiles from disputed South China Sea island

Thang Duong

Beijing may have removed missile systems from a disputed island in the South China Sea even as it accused the US of sending "attacking weapons" to the region.The deployment of a number of missile systems to the Spratly and Paracel Islands in May sparked an angry rebuke from Washington about Beijing's "militarization" of the sea, almost all of which is claimed by China.New analysis from Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International (ISI) suggests the Chinese missile systems may have been removed or relocated. "Despite China's claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapon systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion," US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said at a summit in Singapore this week "Make no mistake: America is in the Indo-Pacific to stay. This is our priority theater."Other delegates to the gathering of regional defense chiefs also expressed concern over increasing activity Of China at South China Sea and its attempts to disrupt what is known as the "rules-based order."

    Monday, June 4, 2018

    Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupts, killing at least 25

    A volcanon in Guatemala erupted killing 25 people and leaving a ton of destruction behind it. More than 3000 people have been evacuated and over 1 million people are expected to be affected. It will be even more interesting though to see how the world reacts to these developments as we see poor people being affected. Guatemala could also experience eruptions in the future. International relations interactions will be interesting in this situation as we will see diplomacy in action in terms of duty to help.

    By: Josh Simmons

    Sunday, June 3, 2018

    CONIFA: The alternative World Cup for stateless people and unrecognized nations

    Out of all the blog posts on world affairs I've written this term, this one is by far my favorite. The article written for CNN by Chris Giles covers CONIFA: a football (soccer) tournament hosted for stateless people and unrecognized nations. The official name of the tournament is Barawa 2018, named after a small region of Somalia. The tournament represents the nations of around 334 million people, which is why I found it so important. The event is a great way to unify people in certain countries that don't have the ability or resources to support a national soccer team. One of the clubs even had to crowdfund their way into the tournament because the nation lacked the resources to travel. I loved this article because it showed how soccer, also known as the beautiful game, has the ability to bring people from all different backgrounds together.

    by: Michael Dieckman

    Syria's President Assad 'to visit North Korea' by Jesus Ponce

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad plans to make a state visit to North Korea. This will be the first time North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has hosted a head of state since assuming power in 2011.

    He has been quite active since lately. In May he met with China's president. BBC reports state that both countries have been accused of co-operating on chemical weapons. But both nations deny the accusations.

    I'm assuming the visit makes Trump quite uneasy. He is not a fan of both countries, and I'm almost certain he'll make a comment on the visit soon enough. The visit should be taken into consideration since the summit between North Korea and the US is back on.

    The date has not been set, but the US will keep a close eye on it. I'm sure Trump really wants to know what's going on.

    Source BBC

    "Senate Republicans Are Newly Hopeful About the Midterms. For Good Reason" Andrew Honig

    For this weeks blog I read up on the Republicans and how optimistic they are in winning the midterms. This is quite interesting especially since the Republicans thought recently that there chances would be hurt with Donald Trump in the Presidents seat. With recent developments of Trumps approval ratings going up they are feeling more optimistic about the midterms. Recent developments in Missouri may help there chances because of the recent corrupt governor stepping down form computer fraud. Senator Roy Blunt from Missouri is more sure that the republicans will take seats now that the governor has resigned. Trump in the past few months has not gotten horrible press and that is what is driving up his approval ratings. Democrats are not worried because the blue wave will hit and when it does it will be major. The Senate will be important to swing into the democrats hands to push for change.

    By: Andrew Honig

    Gay in India, Where Progress Has Come Only With Risk

    For Gays in Indian they have been behind in making progress within their society. Currently people are petitioning to change a law to cover for blackmail, harassment, and assault to gays. Right now in India gays can be handcuffed and the police can enter the house without consent. The article then goes on to say that this summer India’s Supreme Court is considering changing a law that has been implemented for years. Even with this movement going on it is still a risk to identify as gay in public or even advocate for change. For current gay Indians the cost of living in India is expensive with being shunned by parents, social isolation, and few protections in the workplace makes it a risky world for them to live in. One example mentioned within the text would be a woman who was gang-raped four times and beaten with a stick for simply coming out about her sexuality. One reason India has not changed this law was from the “low” numbers of the population who are gay, however since many people are in fear of coming out the numbers are not accurate.

    Kaleigh Walsh

    "Whale dies in Thailand after eating more than 17 lbs of plastic"

    Timea Mozsi

    This article is about a whale dying because he ingested 17 pounds of plastic. I chose this article because it correlates nicely with my last reflection paper that was written for the Sustainability Series. It is simply devastating how much our world is designed to only care about immediate individual needs and convenience. One-time-use plastic such as bottles, bags, utensil, and straws are convenient in the moment but are extremely harmful to other living creatures and our planet.

    This article describes a short-fin whale in Southern Thailand that died because of the insane amounts of plastic that he ate. The veterinarians autopsy revealed that he ate more than 80 plastic bags! This whale is but one example of what human littering does to animals, the natural world, and soon, we will see that this will lead to the destruction of the entire planet. I think that this is something that can only be ignored for so long and soon will be something that everyone will see, will be affected by, and will have to deal with.

    "Dozens of Migrants Drown Off Tunisia and Turkey; Hundreds Rescued Off Spain" By Kostantina Taseva

    The article discusses the ongoing consequences of the huge migrant crisis which started back in 2015. Precisely, here the author points out that despite of the many agreements and that border securities along Turkey and Greece have been tightened up, human trafficking is still very well present. On Sunday at least 46 of 180 migrants died off the coast of Tunisia when their boat sank. Furthermore, the author points out that of the Spain coast the authorities saved 240 migrants who were trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Overall, the article discusses these two instances not only to show that the migrant crisis is not over yet but also to show how many people are dying, while looking for a better life.

    -By Kostantina Taseva

    No sanctions relief without steps to denuclearize, Mattis tells North Korea

    Thang Duong

    North Korea will not get any sanctions relief until it has demonstrated "verifiable and irreversible" steps to denuclearization, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Sunday. The comments come less than 10 days before a planned summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. This show that US hopes will lead to North Korean nuclear disarmament. On Friday, Trump confirmed that his on-again off-again summit with Kim would go ahead on June 12, in a remarkable about-turn following a previous decision by the US President to cancel the meeting.Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera noted that while recent developments with North Korea have been positive, expectations needed to be grounded in reality and long term peace can only be secured through concrete action. In the end, "I know that President Trump said that he would not lift sanctions until North Korea agrees to denuclearization and I understand that pressure will remain in place" Onodera said.

    Saturday, June 2, 2018

    Gabbi Gruver- Repression is worsening in Cameroon amid an uprising over language

    Repression is worsening in Cameroon amid an uprising over language

    On May 20th, the celebration of Cameroon’s national day continued with massive parades and portraits of President Paul Biya. He hoped the parade would show national unity, but instead showed a massive division between the countries. In the two English-speaking regions, there has been an uprising met with repression. Starting in October 2016, lawyers complained that the English speakers were being discriminated against by the officially bilingual state. The English speakers, who make up less than a fifth of the population, say that they receive less money and the government forces them to use French. Mr. Biya’s government responded by arresting activists and cutting off the Internet in English-speaking regions, making peaceful protests into violent ones. Moreover, both sides have committed atrocities. Peter Henry Barlerin, America’s ambassador to Cameroon, says that April was the bloodiest month. Accusing the government of authorizing killing and causing thousands to flee to Nigeria. Looking for a peaceful solution, Mr. Biya called his first cabinet meeting since October 2015. The future of the state and government appears to unknown.

    Gabbi Gruver

    Gabbi Gruver- Italy, at last, gets a new government

    Italy, at last, gets a new government

    After 88 days of intense negotiations, on June 1st, Italy got their new Prime Minister: Giuseppe Conte. Conte’s cabinet is filled with political novices whom are apart of the anti-establishment Five State Movement and hard-right populists. On May 27th, the president Sergie Mattarella, refused to swears in the populists’ finance minister, Paolo Savona. One of his jobs will be to oversee the introduction of drastically lower tax rates as a means to kick-start Italy’s slow-growing economy. Italy’s public-sector debt is 130% of the GDP. Mr. Salvini has pledged to expel hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants. Guilia Bongiorno, one of 5 women in the cabinet, has been given the job of reforming Italy’s tangled bureaucracy. If implemented, the new cabinet’s tax cuts and spending increases threatens to send Italy’s budget deficit out of control.

    Gabbi Gruver