Sunday Blurbs - News You Should Know
Merkel's visit to White House Signals Good Times Ahead
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was hosted by US President Donald Trump this week at the White House. The two, who have had a less than stellar rapport thus far, seemed to turn a corner in their relationship.
Merkel admitted that she knows Trump is unhappy with the current trade relationship between their nations, and she stated that the issue, "obviously has to be reconciled." She also promised Trump that Germany would invest more in their military, easing the United States' strain in funding NATO.
In fact, the compliments from Merkel did not end there. She applauded Trump on his efforts in pressuring North Korea with sanctions, helping to create the climate where peace can be achieved between the Koreas. Trump responded to these compliments by calling Merkel an, "extraordinary woman" and stating that she is doing a, "fantastic job".
When Trump was first elected, I was very concerned by the cold reception that Merkel gave him. I feared that Trump's tenure in power would lead to broken relationships with key leaders in Europe. However, after this visit and last week's visit from French President Emmanuel Macron, I am relieved to see that even Trump is able to maintain the strong relationship between the United States and Europe. The next big European visit is to the United Kingdom where he has been invited to join Prime Minister Theresa May.
From the Koreas to significantly corrected relationships in Europe, there is much to be happy about right now.
Tensions Turn Bloody at Gaza Strip
While the world watches as the Koreas work to settle their differences, the world's other ongoing rivalry has been flaring up.
For weeks, Hamas has inspired tens of thousands of Palestinians to protest along the border fence of Israel at Gaza City. On five occasions these protests have proven to be violent and deadly.
This week, thousands of these protesters assaulted a border gate with Molotov cocktails and flaming tires, attempting to rush into Israel-occupied territory. Israeli officials responded with less-than-lethal rounds (aka rubber bullets and bean bags), injuring over 1,000 of the protesters and causing three reported deaths. Palestinian protesters claim the death count to be much higher.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict goes all the way back to the founding of Israel in 1947, with tensions rising to the point of outright warfare on multiple occasions. Recently, Israel has been able to maintain a technological superiority over the Palestinians to the extent that outright warfare is impossible without the assistance of third-party states.
Still, though, things are remarkably unstable.
No Country receives more foreign aid from the United States than Israel does. Tax payers will continue to foot the bill for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as long as the two parties remain hostile to each other. Multiple times in the past it appeared that peace was around the corner, only for it to all fall apart due to extenuating circumstances.
It is time for this to change.
If the world can see the Korean Peninsula find peace, then there is no reason why it cannot happen between Israel and Palestine.
It will not be easy, but it is absolutely possible.
US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, on two different occasions, made great leaps on this front, only for outside influences to ruin it. While it is a lot to ask, perhaps the current administration can try to work some magic after they complete a deal with the Koreas.
Peace in the Middle East is 100% reliant on peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. New Secretary of State Mike Pompeo absolutely needs to make it a priority to seek a resolution in this crisis. Simply getting the two sides to a negotiating table would be a great accomplishment, and one that I think is achievable.
The world has endured over 70 years of strife in this region. and it is time for it to finally end.
Note from the Writer:
I will be embarking this week on a nearly two-month long journey to East Asia. While away, I will continue writing while also giving relevant updates from my trip. I am going to some very exciting places and I cannot wait to share my experiences (and photographs!) with all of you.
I will have opportunities to meet with people from all backgrounds and all walks of life. If you have any questions you want answered, send them our way and I will be sure to find out for you!
Please make sure to follow my twitter at @JakeGavin_BT and my Instagram at @jtgavin91 for consistent updates!