Kissinger’s Nuclear Deterrence and North Korea

When the Cold War began heating up in the 1950s, an expert in nuclear strategy named Henry Kissinger turned his theory of “delicate balance of terror” into policy. The idea was that threatening the Soviet Union with nuclear annihilation will keep them in check. Likewise, the Kremlin had its own weapons of mass destruction pointed towards the United States. It was essentially the nuclear version of a standoff.

Today, there are nine nations with nuclear weapons: China, Israel, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, United States, India, North Korea and Pakistan. The Russian Federation leads the pack with 7,300 nuclear weapons, of which 1,790 are operational. The United States is a close second with an estimated 6,970 total nuclear weapons.

While tension between Russia and the United States have been high recently due to possible election influence by Russia, and Putin’s support for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, the two Cold War foes have not had

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SJikzUwwOY

Ohio Lawmakers Pass Controversial Heartbeat Bill


The Ohio General Assembly passed the controversial Heartbeat Bill last Tuesday. The bill makes abortion illegal once doctors can detect a heartbeat in a fetus. Lower courts have previously struck down similar laws in North Dakota and Arkansas. A heartbeat is usually present at around 6 weeks of pregnancy. The bill still requires the signature of former Republican presidential candidate and current Ohio Governor John Kasich.

John Kasich Heartbeat Bill
Ohio Governor John Kasich

The Heartbeat Bill drew criticism from the fact that it also outlaws abortions even in cases of incest or rape. The Bill faced toughed challenges in the past as it was shot down over concerns that such as bill would be deemed unconstitutional. Ohio Senate President Keith Faber shared his opinion on how they managed to successfully pass the bill:

“A new president, new Supreme Court appointees change the dynamic, and there was consensus in our caucus to move forward… I think it has a better chance than it did before.”
Ohio Senate President Keith Faber

The Senate passed the bill last Tuesday with a 56-39 vote. The new law would classify abortions as a fifth-degree felony and would require physicians to check for a heartbeat prior to performing any operations on their clients. Failure to do so or proceeding with abortion despite the presence of a heartbeat will be punishable with up to one year in prison. Doctors could also face civil lawsuits from their patients, as well as further disciplinary action.

“This bill — which was tacked on as a last-minute amendment to a child abuse prevention bill — makes no exceptions for rape or incest victims. It is cruel and plainly unconstitutional — but it seems like Ohio Republicans don’t care about the Constitution. Trump’s vision for America is already alive and well in the Buckeye State.”
Columbus Dispatch, Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus Chair Kathy DiCristofaro

Updated News on Earthquake in Turkey

The earth is literally shaking as much as the rest of the people in the world are shaken by earthquakes here and then.  Today, another strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6 hit Turkey.  As of this moment, it is reported that 41 people are dead and we know that many else are missing.

Kovancilar, Turkey is one of the most affected villages in the country.  Most structures and homes in the village are made of bricks of mud.  Around a hundred plus are injured and the count goes high as the people are just trying to get up to figure out what to do next with their disgruntled homes.

This is intial news and we have more updates as the rest of the world awakes and realizes that another calamity is at rise.  Stay updated with news on Turkey Earthquake by subscribing to World Correspondents.

*photo credit yahoo.com

Air strike kills 27 Afghanistan civilians

In southern Afghanistan, 27 civilians died because of an air strike. It hit a suspected insurgent convoy and killed a number of individuals including women and children. Some were just injured in the said incident.

The attack was not part of a major Nato-led push in neighbouring Helmand province. Civilian deaths in strikes have caused widespread resentment in Afghanistan.

A statement from Nato said it was thought the convoy contained Taliban insurgents on their way to attack Afghan and foreign military forces.

The Afghan government condemned the air strike, calling it “unjustifiable” and “a major obstacle” to effective counter-terrorism efforts.

In a revised statement, putting the death toll at 27, the Afghan cabinet said four women and one child were among those killed.

The statement also called on Nato “to closely co-ordinate and exercise maximum care before conducting any military operation so that any possible mistakes that may result in harming civilians… can be avoided”.

Nato should be very careful next time before this incident will happen again. Justice should be given to the innocent individuals of Afganistan.

Hillary Clinton in Gulf to keep pressure on Iran

In Qatar, Mrs Clinton will address the annual US-Islamic World Forum and meet Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country opposes the sanctions. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in the Gulf to rally Arab support for tougher sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.

The three-day tour will include her first ever trip to Saudi Arabia. The Obama administration is stepping up pressure on Iran by launching a diplomatic offensive in the Gulf.

Washington wants the UN Security Council to impose a fourth round of sanctions on Tehran.

Iran says its nuclear programme is to generate electricity so it can export more of its valuable oil and gas, but the West suspects it of trying to develop atomic weapons.

Four Politicians from United Kingdom faced charges

In the recent news from BBC, MPs Elliot Morley, Jim Devine, David Chaytor and Lord Hanningfield will be charged under the Theft Act. Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said that 3 Labour MPs and one Tory peer will face criminal charges over their expenses.

All of them have said they denied any charges and would defend their positions robustly. Revelations about MPs’ expenses emerged in May last year with the police going on to investigate a handful of cases.

Mr Starmer said there was “insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction” in the case of Labour peer Lord Clarke but said a sixth case remains under police investigation.

Former minister Elliot Morley, MP for Scunthorpe, will face two charges in relation to a total of £30,000 of mortgage interest claims on a property in Winterton, Lincolnshire between 2004 and 2007.

Paul White – the Conservative peer Lord Hanningfield – is accused of “dishonestly” submitting claims “for expenses to which he knew he was not entitled” – including overnight stays in London.

He denies the charges and says he will defend himself against them adding: “All the claims I have ever made were made in good faith. I have never claimed more in expenses than I have spent in the course of my duties.”

More news about these will be posted on our next update. So stay tuned!

Envoys of Tibet’s Dalai Lama in new China talks

Discussions broke down in acrimony in 2008, with Beijing saying that no progress had been made.
One of the Dalai Lama’s representatives said he thought the resumption of talks may signal a change in approach from China.

A statement on the website of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism, said the five-person group would return to India at the beginning of February.’

News of the resumption of talks was released by the exiled Tibetan leadership, based in Dharamsala in India.

Chinese President Hu Jintao told those at the meeting that China would maintain efforts to prevent “penetration and sabotage” by supporters of Tibetan independence.

World’s tallest building opens in Middle East

The world’s tallest building has been opened in a dramatic fireworks ceremony in the Gulf emirate of Dubai. The Burj Khalifa was revealed to be 828m (2,716ft) high, far taller than the previous record holder, Taipei 101.

Known as the Burj Dubai during construction, the tower has been renamed after the leader of Dubai’s oil-rich neighbour, Abu Dhabi. Last month, Abu Dhabi gave Dubai a handout of $10bn (£6.13bn) to help it pay off its debts.

Construction of the Burj Dubai began in 2004, at the height of an economic boom. Clad in 28,000 glass panels, the tower has 160 floors and more than 500,000 sq m of space for offices and flats.

The tower also lays claim to the highest occupied floor, the tallest service lift, and the world’s highest observation deck – on the 124th floor.

The world’s highest mosque and swimming pool will meanwhile be located on the 158th and 76th floors.

U.S. plans to shift their troops in Afghanistan for a bigger role

The United States government to shift their plans for their elite units in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, to play a bigger role. They want to lower down its combat role in Afghanistan a year earlier than expected relies on shifting responsibility to Special Operations forces that hunt insurgent leaders and train local troops.

This news is according to senior officials and military officers from the Pentagon. The US armed forces could remain in Afghanistan after the NATO mission ends in late 2014. This plan was already approved by the president Obama. He also sent 32,000 more troops in Afghanistan last week.

American conventional forces will be the first to leave, while thousands of American Special Operations forces remain, making up an increasing percentage of the troops on the ground. The number of troops to be assigned in Afghanistan will relatively grow in the months to come.

Officials and military planners from the Pentagon say the new plan for Afghanistan is not a direct action to the deteriorating conditions in Iraq. The planned shift could give Mr. Obama a political shield against attacks from his Republican rivals in the presidential race who have already begun criticizing him for moving too fast to extract troops from Afghanistan.

The officials from the White House confirmed in broad terms the shift to a Special Operations mission, and said a formal announcement on the future of the mission was expected at the May summit meeting of NATO leaders in Chicago.

Currently, the U.S. has around 90,000 troops in Afghanistan, with 22,000 of them expected to leave by this fall. No schedule has been set for the pace of withdrawal for the 68,000 American troops who will remain in Afghanistan. Some administration officials are advocating for Mr. Obama to order another reduction by the summer of 2013.

Aid & Politics in Africa

“The worst drought in 60 years has thrown some 13 million people across the Horn of Africa into crisis. In Somalia, ravaged by two decades of conflict, the consequences have been disastrous. We ask if aid in this region of the world has become politicised? And has Washington’s pre-occupation with terrorism in the Horn of Africa contributed to the deadly consequences of this disaster?”

Al Jazeera English

 

Photo courtesy of David Axe.

 

The answer to the first question is, “Duh.”

Aid work in Africa has been tied to politics since the first time outside governments decided to step in. I think the grassroots Christian groups and other non-profit organizations (like Doctors Without Borders) do a better job at maintaining aid. OK, so there are some bible-thumping on the part of the Christian groups and the other NPOs tend to lean left, but this does not affect the fact that they are helping out in practical terms. When it’s a government involve, not just Washington in this example, the rice and anti-malaria kits come with diplomats. Famine should never be used as a pawn in a political chess game. The only benefit of a government body bringing aid is that they are backed up by millions of tax payer money and logistical resources.

Now, this goes deeper than that. In the book “Dead Aid”, which I read a while back and is a book worth checking out at your local library, the author, economist Dambisa Moyo, states that aid actually harms Africa more than it helps them. What you get (and this is obvious) is a system of dependence. Dependence on outsiders is what set Africa back to begin with, like colonialism for instance, in which they had no choice but to depend on their European colonizers. You see, food is politics. Famine is one of the best ways to gain power over a region politically.

On to the second question. Pirates, Muslim militants and warlords have been conducting a bloody orgy in the Horn for some time now. It doesn’t help that western-made guns end up there either. The U.S., I think, still remembers the Blackhawk incident in Somalia. But if top officials are found in the Horn, the U.S. will go there and destroy them. And it has been conducting operations there, even if just intelligence gathering.

So, what you have now is an imbalance of priorities. Do we go after terrorists or aid the civilians? There are really no one-way options here. It’s like a branch with an intricate set of twigs protruding out. You can’t have access to the civilians without dealing with the political elements of the country. In this case, before you can even bring aid you need to do some politicizing, which may contradict with my first argument, but in this circumstance you have no choice but to give in to the push-pull mechanism of political bargaining.

The West is good at setting up sanctions and that may work well for countries like Iran and North Korea, because they’re major players in the global stage, but a nation in the Horn won’t flinch a nerve over threats of sanction. To them this is nothing new. When was the last time anyone had truly done anything in Africa that affected the region? Oh, right, Libya. But when it comes to sub-Saharan Africa, it’s as if these government suits show a kind of guilt. Oh dear, we made a mess of that continent. Let’s just throw them money from afar. Stepping into a sub-Saharan African country is like stepping back into your own crime scene.

Quelling terrorism anywhere is an important priority, but the local governments in that area need to step their game up as well. American/NATO operations are still in Af-Pak. We don’t need another front. We just pulled our troops out of Iraq; Let’s give them a rest. Washington should focus more on humanitarian efforts (with as less politics involved if possible) and diplomatic missions than military actions. This can be done by taking a more regulatory role, in that making sure aid money and supplies actually get into the hands of civilians and the non-profit organizations already working there. The U.S. and the EU needs to make sure that medicine and canned foods don’t end up being filtered through local governments and are used for their personal profit. Helping with economic programs might also work. Tell the local government to either get with the program or face a larger crisis. If aid—medical, food and educational—isn’t put to use properly, the country could sink deeper into a death pit. The links between terrorism and poverty has been well-studied in developing countries. I’d rather see people being fed than being blown up in a guerrilla war between western forces and militants.