25 April 2016   Leave a comment

It is always difficult for those of us trained in liberal thought to interpret the policies of non-liberal doctrines.  Such is the case with China, and, in particular, the politics of President Xi.  On April 6th, Xi launched a new ideological campaign named “Two Studies, One Action”.  The new statement was in line with Xi’s earlier pronouncements, especially the emphasis in January 2015 on the role of ideology in Chinese universities.  Whether President Xi intends to move further down the ideological road remains to be seen.  But ideology is no substitute for the sense of progress among the citizenry at large.

US President Obama gave a speech in Germany today which was an attempt to restore the bonds between Europe and the US.  Those bonds have always been strong, but people on both sides of the Atlantic are beset by problems and concerns that are especially unnerving.  Obama has a special gift for rhetoric and this speech was no exception:

So I say to you, the people of Europe, don’t forget who you are.  You are the heirs to a struggle for freedom.  You’re the Germans, the French, the Dutch, the Belgians, the Luxembourgers, the Italians — and yes, the British — (applause) — who rose above old divisions and put Europe on the path to union.  (Applause.)

You’re the Poles of Solidarity and the Czechs and Slovaks who waged a Velvet Revolution.  You’re the Latvians, and Lithuanians and Estonians who linked hands in a great human chain of freedom.  You’re the Hungarians and Austrians who cut through borders of barbed wire.  And you’re the Berliners who, on that November night, finally tore down that wall.  You’re the people of Madrid and London who faced down bombings and refused to give in to fear.

And you are the Parisians who, later this year, plan to reopen the Bataclan.  You’re the people of Brussels, in a square of flowers and flags, including one Belgian who offered a message — we need “more.”  More understanding.  More dialogue.  More humanity.

That’s who you are.  United, together.  You are Europe — “United in diversity.”   Guided by the ideals that have lit the world, and stronger when you stand as one.

The Egyptian transfer of the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia continues to roil Egyptian politics.  The backdrop to this controversy is the deepening economic distress of the country, but the transfer of land to Saudi Arabia acts as a lightening rod to the discontent.  Today marks the day the Israel returned the Sinai peninsula to Egypt in 1982, land that Israel had seized in the 1967 war.  Usually it is a day of celebration, but today it was an occasion to protest the government of General Sisi.  Sisi remains firmly in control, but the situation cannot continue to deteriorate without some explosion of discontent.

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Posted April 27, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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