Trump may not defend NATO allies

Donald Trump said that he may or may not come to the defense of a NATO ally if it were attacked.  Never mind the treaty commitment that an attack upon one is an attack upon all.  He said that the US action would depend on whether or not the country “fulfilled their obligations to us.”

He was referring specifically to what he would do if one of the Baltic Republics (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) were invaded by Russia.

Remember that Trump and Vladimir Putin have something of a mutual admiration society.  What would the international scene be like if the United States allies itself with Russia, instead of Western Europe?

[Read more…]

Japan flirts with World War II ideology again

Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party has just won a 2/3 majority in both of its houses of legislature, enabling it to amend its Constitution, which had been imposed by the United States after World War II.  The party wants to change the Constitution because it enshrines “the Western European theory of natural human rights,” including the freedom of speech.

Many in the party, including the Prime Minister, belong to a group that believes Japan was in the right during World War II.  These lawmakers want to rebuild Japan’s military capacity and to return to worship of the Emperor. [Read more…]

Pro-democracy coup in Turkey fails

Turkey has a tradition of practicing a more moderate type of Islam with a more secular government than other middle eastern states.  Thus, secular is one of the few Islamic countries with a long-standing democracy.  So not all Turks are happy with the government of President Erdogan, who, though democratically elected has become more and more authoritarian and seeks to impose Sharia law.

Last weekend, parts of the military staged a coup attempt, promising a restoration of democracy, human rights, and freedom.  But Erdogan called for the people to go to the streets, and they did.  With the help of police and the Turkish military that did not support the coup, the insurrection was crushed.  Thousands have been arrested.

Erdogan is blaming the coup on a moderate, pro-Western cleric named Fethullah Gulen, who has many followers–dubbed “Gulenists”–in Turkey.  Gulen, who denies involvement, has been living in Pennsylvania since 1999.  Erdogan is demanding that the United States arrest him and extradite him back to Turkey.

In principle, we might wish for a new  non-Islamist government to take over. Then again, Erdogan was democratically elected and is the lawful President of the country.  President Obama denounced the coup attempt and expressed his support for Erdogan, which I guess the world’s governments are obliged to do.  Even though Turkey might be an example of a democracy voting to end democracy. [Read more…]

UK’s new prime minister is Theresa May

British prime minister David Cameron stepped down from office after his efforts to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union were voted down.  Under parliamentary systems, the head of the party with a majority in the legislature becomes the Prime Minister.  So the new leader of the Conservative Party and thus the new Prime Minister is Theresa May.  She is the first woman to serve in that office since Margaret Thatcher.  She is also an active member in the Church of England.
I wonder if this heralds a trend of the world’s powerful nations being led by women. . . .May, Merkel, Clinton?  And yet they would have different political beliefs.

[Read more…]

Brewing crisis with China

China has been extending itself beyond its territorial waters in the South China Sea.  Japan and Vietnam have been affected, but the expansion is mostly at the expense of the Philippines.  China has gone so far as to build an artificial island in Philippine waters.  In doing so, it destroyed a coral reef, disrupted the Philippine’s fishing industry, and is interfering with its oil operations.

So the Philippines filed a complaint with an international tribunal.  China lost its case.  But it is refusing to comply with the ruling and is rattling its saber, blaming interference by the United States.

[Read more…]

On Britain’s “Independence Day”

Though the stock markets are reeling and Scotland and Northern Ireland–and maybe even London!— are considering leaving Great Britain, turning it into “Little Britain,” others are congratulating the United Kingdom for achieving “Independence” from the European Union.  Five more countries–France, Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Finland–are now considering their own exits.  UPDATE:  Also Italy, Poland, and Slovakia.  After the jump, thoughts supporting Britain’s action from ex-Republican George Will. [Read more…]


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