Sunday Blurbs - News You Should Know

"Religious cleansing" in Myanmar

With so much going on in the world, it is easy to miss something that is happening far away.

But what is happening in Myanmar cannot be ignored. 

Myanmar is a Buddhist-majority nation in Southeast Asia of about 52 million people; of these people, about one million of them are Muslims. In late 2016 the government began "cracking down" on the Muslim population. 

The government has been accused of the following offenses by both the United Nations and the United States: murder, rape, infanticide, and arson. Since the persecution began in the fall of 2016, 75% of the Muslim population of Myanmar has either been killed, imprisoned, or has fled the nation. Bangladesh alone has received over 600,000 refugees. The United Nations has deemed it to be a genocide and a United States official described it as "no less than a religious cleansing."

Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's State Counselor (Head of State) and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, has been ridiculed for her inaction to protect the persecuted population of her nation. Rather than offer a solution, she simply questioned whether or not the Muslim minority population of her country can even be considered citizens.

Ellie Wiesel, the world renowned author and holocaust survivor one said, "We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented...indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil." 

Right now, his words could not ring truer.

North Korea Denuclearization

Shocking news came out of North Korea this past week: Kim Jong Un claims he is willing to end North Korea's nuclear program and he is not going to demand the United States withdraws its troops from the South. 

I cannot believe. 

Literally. 

Up to this point I have been cautiously optimistic about the upcoming summit between President Donald Trump and Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. I have expected that Kim Jong Un would be willing to denuclearize his nation in exchange for the removal of US Troops from the peninsula. The newest reports from him contradict this, and I simply believe what I am hearing is too good to be true.

It was recently announced that CIA Director and future Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Kim in secrecy. Since this meeting, North Korea has continued to surrender more and more in the lead up to this meeting.

Red flags have gone off for me. 

North Korea is the "Hermit Kingdom" with a communist regime so brutal that millions die of starvation so that bombs can be built.

What has possibly changed?

My only guess is that the sanctions placed against the regime have done enough damage to warrant desperation. North Korea is suspect to famines, and with the increasing prevalence of outside media entering the country, perhaps Kim fears that a revolution is on his hands. Perhaps he knows that his time is up and that if he wants to live to see life as an old man, he needs to act now. 

Unfortunately, I do not know more than you do, but hopefully in the coming weeks we will learn more about what is on the horizon for Kim and his nation. Perhaps he really has changed his tune and better days are ahead.

I really hope so.

Russia and China Listed as Threats to World Security

What do North Korea, Iran, Myanmar, China, and Russia have in common? 

The United States State Department has them all labeled as "threats to global society".

That's right. 

The State Department announced that due to on-going human rights violations, these two nations would be categorized with nations of conflict, such as Liberia and Mexico, and nations of oppression, such as North Korea and Myanmar.

Russia's addition to the list likely has to do with their continued support of Syria's government against the US-led international coalition. Most recently, after Bashar al-Assad's Syrian government launched another chemical attack on its own citizens, Russia vetoed a UN investigation into it. Additionally, Russia has been accused of targeted assassinations in the United Kingdom against political enemies of Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

China, on the other hand, is a more difficult picture to paint. 

There's no denying that China is far from a paradise, but to list it with cartel-controlled nations and genocidal regimes seems like a stretch. 

China, one of five remaining communist countries in the world, does place a significant amount of limitations on its citizens, especially concerning freedom of speech and movement. You will not find that in the West, but outside of controversial military moves in the South China Sea, they have done very little to directly anger any foreign powers. No reports have come out of China in recent years that even suggest that a situation exists in the country that compares to the human rights crises of the 1960s.

Obviously, I know less than our political leaders, but I fear that this move is simply a symbolic move used to spite China in the on-going trade war between our nations. If this is the case, it only hurts diplomatic attempts at resolving this situation.

Jake GavinComment