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Senate Asian Geopolitics

Discussion in 'Community' started by Lord Vivec, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Bitterest Ex-Mod star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001

    "it also helps Mr Xi cover up a flaw in his argument. China, like Western countries, is a signatory to the UN’s Universal Declaration, which says: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” If the West is too selfish and cynical to put any store by universal values when they are flouted in China, it risks eroding them across the world and, ultimately, at home too."

    The whole point being that the UDHR exists as an agreed to framework rests on a notion that we, the global community, have elected to make them normative values. Not that they are, per se, but that we treat them as such by being signatories to the Declaration.
     
  2. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Bitterest Ex-Mod star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Headlines you don't see often...

    https://www.economist.com/news/asia...at-their-religion-militant-buddhist-monks-are

    Mantras of hateMilitant Buddhist monks are stoking sectarian tensions in Myanmar
    They claim the Muslim minority poses a mortal threat to their religion
    [​IMG]
    print-edition icon Print edition | Asia
    Aug 10th 2017 | Mandalay
    INSIDE a Buddhist monastery in Mandalay five teenagers are looking at a poster, bemused. A graphic collage of photos depicts children’s corpses, monks covered in blood and enraged jihadists brandishing weapons. A monk in a maroon robe approaches. “This is a reminder of what Muslims are like,” he says.
    Ashin Wirathu, the most famous resident of the Masoeyein monastery, expands on the theme during a break between meditation sessions. Buddhism, he explains, is in danger. Centuries ago, he points out, Indonesia was principally a Hindu and Buddhist country, but it has since “fallen” to Islam. The Philippines, meanwhile, is struggling with “hordes” of jihadists. Myanmar, he warns, is next. As the leader of the most extreme fringe of the Organisation for the Protection of Race and Religion, a Buddhist charity best known by its Burmese acronym, Ma Ba Tha, he is mounting a fierce campaign to rouse Burmese Buddhists to confront this danger.
    Muslims make up about 4% of Myanmar’s 54m people. Some claim to be Bamar, the country’s main ethnic group. Others are the descendants of immigrants from India during the British colonial period. Perhaps 1m are Rohingyas, a community of Bengali origin living in Rakhine state near the border with Bangladesh (see map). They are stateless, and have been excluded from Myanmar’s official list of 135 indigenous ethnic groups. The authorities consider them illegal immigrants, even though they have lived in Myanmar for generations.
    [​IMG]
    Indeed, by most accounts it is Muslims, and especially Rohingyas, who are under threat in Myanmar. In recent years there have been sporadic attacks on mosques and on Muslim homes and businesses. Sectarian clashes descended into a pogrom against Rohingyas in Rakhine state in 2012 that claimed some 200 lives, the vast majority of them Muslims. Last year, after Muslim militants attacked several police posts in Rakhine, killing nine officers and stealing numerous weapons, the army went on a rampage. The UN and various human-rights groups say soldiers embarked on a campaign of rape, murder and other horrors, including the burning of Rohingya villages. Some 75,000 people have fled across the border into Bangladesh. Yet the authorities deny that the violence is widespread or systematic: this week they produced a report exonerating the security services.
    Buddhists account for almost 90% of Myanmar’s population. There is no evidence that their share of the population is declining. The monkhood, or sangha, is as popular as ever with an estimated 500,000 members—almost 1% of the population. Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s leader, is a practising Buddhist.
    Nonetheless, Ma Ba Tha’s fear-mongering finds many receptive ears. More than 2m people signed one of its petitions. “Muslims are cunning,” says a young Burmese in a tea shop. “They will outbreed us,” laments another. A taxi driver insists that Muslims never use his services: “Muslim money goes to Muslim businesses; that’s the way they think.” Such prejudices are common: a survey conducted in 2015 by the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, a non-profit, found that almost 90% of the hateful online posts they reviewed were directed at Muslims.
    Wirathu’s ideas have also percolated through Myanmar’s government. The previous army-dominated parliament passed four laws in keeping with Ma Ba Tha’s agenda. Two are a sop to those who fear an army of Muslim babies: one allows local officials to order Muslim parents to wait up to three years before having another baby, while the other outlaws polygamy. The other two laws aim to reduce conversions, even though they are vanishingly rare: one requires people wanting to change religion to register with the authorities and submit to an interview; the other allows concerned third parties to prevent Buddhist women from marrying outside the faith.
    The new, civilian government has not been much better. It has allowed bureaucrats to close mosques and Islamic schools in Yangon at the behest of angry mobs. When members of the evicted congregations prayed in the street in protest, several of them were charged with “threatening stability and the rule of law”.
    “We feel like second-rate citizens,” says a veiled Muslim woman living in Yangon. “We have to be very careful: a simple incident can turn into a riot.” On July 4th in Rakhine, for instance, a Rohingya man was killed by a group of Buddhists amid an argument over the purchase of a boat.
    In recent months the authorities have tried to curb the extremists. The State Sangha, a government-appointed body of monks, banned the use of the acronym Ma Ba Tha in May, saying the group had not been set up in accordance with the proper procedures. Wirathu has responded by saying that it is the government, not Ma Ba Tha, that must go. Sympathisers have already set up a new charity and a separate political party. The leader of the party, Maung Thway Chon, says its mission is to “make Myanmar great again”.
    Miss Suu Kyi has little to say about all this. Some argue that speaking out would be counterproductive: as it is, angry monks began protesting earlier this month outside Myanmar’s most famous temple, the Shwedagon, accusing the government of failing to protect Buddhism. But in elections in 2015, her party, the National League for Democracy, did not put forward a single Muslim candidate for parliament.

    * * * *

    So, this is a pretty common sentiment - the "overrun by Muslims" argument put forward, in a vaccuum of fact or example, but with very real insistences and fears behind it. (The fears aren't valid, but I've no doubt people believe what they're saying, in other words). But in a part of the world where Buddism is so strong? It's normally Christians - who, in America, are sadly persecuted as part of a campaign of White Genocide - who express this view.

    Thailand, Cambodia, Burma/Myanmar - these are not countries with significant Muslim populations but they've got issues with Muslims - mistreatment of Rohingyas, namely - in common.
     
  3. SergeyX2017

    SergeyX2017 Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Thai Muslims are related more to Malaysians, actually. Or, are ethnic Malaysians, in fact.

    But, yeah, the Burma conflict is fascinating and disturbing on many levels. Including Aung San Suu Kyi, the supposed progressive freedom fighter that she is, not speaking out at all against this, that I heard of...
     
    Gamiel likes this.
  4. TheAvengerButton

    TheAvengerButton Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 11, 2011
    As of this morning, The DPRK has fired a missile that passed over the Japanese islands. IMO this is escalation of a disturbingly high degree.
     
  5. Rogue_Follower

    Rogue_Follower Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2003
    Developing now: ~6.3 magnitude earthquake about an hour ago in North Korea, so likely another nuclear test. Preliminary interpretation is that this may be a thermonuclear device, as North Korea hinted at earlier today. Possibly even in the megaton range if the napkin calculations are correct. For reference, their previous test last September was around 10-30 kilotons.

    EDIT: Another model is suggesting 45 - 70 kilotons for this test. So perhaps not as high as feared. But that's still larger than anything they've tested before and it's still early...
     
  6. dp4m

    dp4m Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2001

    This will end well...

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-...ea-after-north-korean-bomb-test-idUSKCN1BE0OB

    I can't even pick which sentence he uttered was worse in here...
     
  7. Chewgumma

    Chewgumma Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Now, to be fair to Trump, today's nuclear test would be a strain on any POTUS. There are very nervous US allies in the region that expect a demonstration of commitment in the face of an increasingly aggressive adversary. That South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-In, has gone from dovish to hawkish within months over the North's continued belligerence is testament to the fact that the DPRK's actions are bringing the region to the edge.

    That being said, I don't understand what Trump is trying to achieve by picking a fight with South Korea over trade while this is going on. In the face of these threats the US should be showing complete solidarity with its allies in the Pacific. This kind of behaviour makes the US look wish-washy on its allegiance to SK and can only serve to embolden Kim-Jong Un's behaviour on a regional level.

    On another note, in the last year there's been a lot of statements calling for China to exercise its influence on North Korea to reign it in. I worry that the international community still doesn't understand Kim Jong-Un and that they think they're dealing with his father. While Kim Jong-Il was more likely to listen to China, Kim Jong-Un has purged China friendly elements from his military. It's believed to be why he executed his own uncle. North Korea has become a state that doesn't see China as an ally, but as an asset. This is backed up by the reports earlier this year that Pyongyang would not accept Chinese diplomats in the face of what China saw as an imminent US invasion.

    The only things that China can do in the face of such an attitude is one of two 'nuclear' options. Completely cut off the DPRK economically or resort to their own decapitation strike and capture as much territory as they can to act as a buffer between China and South Korea. The former would inevitably cause the collapse of the North Korean regime, and China would have to deal with a great deal of the fallout. The latter would mean China would have to not only deal with the aforementioned fallout, they would have to rebuild a great deal of North Korea's infrastructure. China only has bad, costly options in the face of the Korean crisis.

    That means that the only realistic options the rest of the world has in the face of the current situation is either a horrifying war with potentially terrifying circumstances globally, or forming a unified deterrent in the face of an unstable nuclear threat. The latter would be preferable as it would allow for dialogue that could, under a future regime, lead to the nuclear disarmament of the peninsula.

    That does raise the question though, is Donald Trump capable of being a long term thinker and can he help sow the seeds of any future change? Or does he expect immediate results?
     
  8. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Bitterest Ex-Mod star 10

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    Feb 18, 2001
    "That being said, I don't understand what Trump is trying to achieve by picking a fight with South Korea over trade while this is going on. "

    He's a ****ing moron, mate. There's nothing more to it.
     
  9. Vaderize03

    Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 25, 1999
    This is what happens when a country is led by a man who lets Twitter do his thinking for him.

    I would rather have Watson working on solutions to the Korean situation than Trump. At least computers are logical.
     
  10. Alpha-Red

    Alpha-Red Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Apr 25, 2004
    So why don't we just work out some deal where Kim Jong-Un leaves power, goes into exile in China, is given immunity for whatever crimes he committed and lives out his life in comfort...and in exchange he dismantles his nuclear weapons and allows the North to be absorbed by the South. American military forces can then leave the Korean peninsula, which would make China happy too.
     
  11. Point Given

    Point Given Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Probably because at least four countries would have to agree to it (more likely six) and they all have varying aims. Saying "why don't we just..." dramatically simplifies something that is anything but.
     
  12. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Oct 13, 2003
    China would never let the North be absorbed by the South... and reports say Kim Jong Un is a figurehead for the North Korean military who really run the show.
     
  13. True Sith

    True Sith Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 10, 2015
    Which reports are those? From what I've read it seems to be quite the other way around.
     
  14. Alpha-Red

    Alpha-Red Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Well all six want North Korea to de-nuclearize, and really the only sticking point has been that China doesn't want the U.S. military on its border and also doesn't want a flood of refugees across said border either. Kim leaving power peacefully ought to make sure there's no refugee crisis, or hopefully a minimal one, and we can simply tell China that once there's no more North Korea there's no need for us to be there.

    And then what it comes down to whether Kim Jong-Un is willing to trade his sense of pride for physical security.
     
  15. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Bitterest Ex-Mod star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Yeah, it actually boils down to understanding a nearly-century old conflict beyond a few headlines.

    The North is horribly indoctrinated and desperately poor. The South would be more heavily impacted than Germany was - in social, cultural, and economic terms. So assuming the international community loaned Korea the funds to offset the insane costs of reunification and SK didn't collapse under the weight of their cousins to the north, they'd still have to undo decades of intense psychological conditioning.

    This would leave a fractured state on China's border that would look to the US and others for help, which China does not want. It would mean troops, advisors, money flowing in and using the reunification as a pretense to spy on China.

    But sure, it's like a 2 turn diplomatic resolution in Civilisation V. Next up, we take on Genghis Khan before he gets advanced rocketry!
     
  16. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Oct 13, 2003
    Jang Jin-sung is a North Korean defector who says that Kim Jong-un is not an absolute ruler but is a figurehead controlled by a party organization called the Organization and Guidance Department (OGD) consisting of Kim Jong Il's former friends, and allied with the military. He says the real leader of North Korea is Hwang Pyong-so. Kim's uncle Jang song-Thaek was protected by his relation to Kim Jong-Il but after Kim Jong-Il's death he was no longer protected so the OGD got rid of him. Also Kim Jong-Il supported moderates in the North Korean Foreign Ministry but after his August 2008 stroke the military gained more influence over foreign affairs, which is why North Korea did not return to Six-Party talks after early 2009. That the legacy of the past nine years is a loss of power of the Kim family, and isolation of Kim Jong-un to his much older Generals and the OGD.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organization_and_Guidance_Department
     
  17. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Bitterest Ex-Mod star 10

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    Feb 18, 2001
    Jesus Christ, Ghost. You'd have been useless debriefing defectors during the Cold War.

    Though to be fair, that's the kind of **** American intelligence likes to believe. Hence their reputation as cashed-up imbeciles.
     
  18. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Oct 13, 2003
    Experts say North Korea's latest ICBM test shows they can now hit New York City or Washington DC. Their last step is to be able to fit a nuclear warhead on it and it still able to go that far. Basically, the only test more provocative they can do to further escalate this is to do a nuclear test via ICBM in the Pacific, it seems.
     
  19. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Bitterest Ex-Mod star 10

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    Feb 18, 2001
    So they're as big a risk as the US then Ghost?
     
  20. dp4m

    dp4m Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2001
    Also, where are we getting that range?

    Basically they tested something -- without nuclear capabilities -- that went 600 miles. Yes, the science community says if they fired it on a normal ballistic trajectory that it could hit DC or NY... without any sort of actual payload. There's no indication yet of anything further than what we know: they could almost certainly pick a target on the West Coast and eradicate it, depending on reentry vehicle and almost certain lack of ability to shoot it down by the US. Still, Hawaii and Guam remain the largest potential tarrgets off the mainland, and Seattle (most likely) on the mainland.
     
  21. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Oct 13, 2003
  22. Alpha-Red

    Alpha-Red Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Apr 25, 2004
    That still looks infinitely preferable to the situation we're in now. Suppose Kim and the North Korean political elite leave power peacefully and go into exile, and North Korea falls apart. If China doesn't want the bad Westerners on their doorstep, then they can go in and fix it themselves...and the rest of the international community can help foot the bill. It might take a few decades and a couple trillion dollars, but if we end up with no more nukes, no more humanitarian catastrophe, and no war, that's a pretty good ending by me.
     
  23. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Bitterest Ex-Mod star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001


    Preferable for whom?

    The South Koreans, who will lose out massively in quality of life?

    The region, which will be destabilised by a glut of refugees from Korea?

    Who, precisely?
     
  24. Alpha-Red

    Alpha-Red Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Apr 25, 2004
    All right...I'm making the assumption that a lower quality of life is an acceptable price to pay for not having nuclear weapons pointed at you. Unless South Koreans really are fine with that, in which case, why do we even bother defending them? As for China, well they supposedly want the U.S. military off the peninsula...that can happen once the threat from North Korea disappears.

    Also is it really even a given that there would be a flood of refugees into South Korea and China? If North Koreans really are so indoctrinated, they'd probably be too bewildered by the disappearance of the regime to think about going anywhere. And why flee a regime that no longer exists? As long as the international community is quick about providing food and other humanitarian aid, this should be manageable.
     
  25. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Bitterest Ex-Mod star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    I would assume their empty bellies and emptier markets would have something to do with it Alpha?