Trump’s Connections With Dictators

Trump’s connections with a large number of dictatorships has raised several questions about his morality and political convictions. Since he became president, numerous human rights organizations have protested against him for welcoming human rights violators onto US soil. However, Trump has always denied those accusations, claiming that classic tyrants such as Al-Sisi (Egypt) and Erdogan (Turkey) are US allies who lead free countries.

Despite Trump’s efforts to manipulate public opinion, the recent visit of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan caused a political earthquake. During his visit to the Turkish embassy in Washington DC on Monday, Erdogan ordered his bodyguards to attack people who were peacefully protesting against him. As result, a number of protesters were injured and needed medical assistance. A few hours before that regrettable incident, Trump said:

We have had a great relationship and we will make it even better.”

Today, we face a new enemy in the fight against terrorism, and again we seek to face this threat together.”

Amnesty International said the meeting was, “an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the way that President Trump and President Erdogan are contributing to a global climate of toxic and dehumanizing politics.”

President Trump recently praised President Erdogan for winning a referendum in which dissenting opinions were ruthlessly suppressed, yet President Trump has been silent on Turkey’s alarming crackdown on the media,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

“The world will be watching, hoping that both presidents will reaffirm their commitments to protecting human rights.”

Despite Erdogan’s criminal act onto US soil, Trump said,

it was a great honor to welcome the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House today.”

Numerous Republicans and Democrats have come together to condemn Erdogan’s crime. Senator John McCain said,

We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America. This is the United States of America. This isn’t Turkey; this isn’t a third-world country, and this kind of thing cannot go un-responded to diplomatically.”

McCain added: “It should have repercussions, including identifying these people and bringing charges against them.After all, they violated American laws.”

Later in the day Wednesday, McCain and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., sent a joint letter to Erdogan to express their “grave concern” with the behavior of his security detail.

“The actions of your staff violate the constitutional protections of freedom of the press and freedom of assembly enjoyed by all Americans. Your staff’s blatant violation of these rights on American soil is an affront to those freedoms, and reflects poorly on your government,” the letter said. “We have long supported Turkey as a member of NATO and a key US ally in the region, and we expect conduct more appropriate to our decades-long partnership.”

Also on Wednesday, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., called for the arrest and prosecution of members of Erdogan’s security detail.

If Erdogan’s bodyguards who participated in this attack have entered the country on diplomatic visas, those visas should be revoked right away,” Lofgren said, slamming Erdogan as “authoritarian” and “an oppressor” and said that it was “unwise” for Trump to meet with him.

The United States needs to send a strong message that we will not stand by,” as Erdogan brings “thuggish tactics to our nation’s capital,” Lofgren said

Despite the demands presented by Republicans and Democrats, the government said it will not take further actions against Turkey. The Department of Justice added that it will further investigate the facts and will notify Erdogan of its concerns about the incident.

Days after the incident, the Trump administration announced its intentions to strengthen its ties with Erdogan because according to them, he is an ally and represents a free country.

Two months ago, Turkey held a rigged constitutional referendum which gave Erdogan super powers. The international observers concluded that the referendum did not comply with international standards. Under the new constitution, Erdogan can approve his policies without the previous approval of the parliament.

Before the referendum, Erdogan was already abolishing human rights in Turkey. Since July 15, Erdogan’s regime has sacked 138,147 citizens, detained 102,247, arrested 50,987, shut down 2,099 schools, dormitories, and universities, fired 8271 teachers, dismissed 4,424 judges, shut down 149 media outlets, and arrested 231 journalists. Furthermore, detainees are repressed, oppressed and in numerous cases executed without any trial.

Looking at these numbers, it is clear that Erdogan is a cruel dictator who has Trump’s approval. Erdogan’s has not been the only visit of a dictator to the US.

On April 3, Trump welcomed the Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to the White House (Obama always refused meeting him as long as he was a human rights violator.) During his meeting, Trump said,

we agree on so many things.” He said Egypt’s leader has “done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.”

He added: “We will fight terrorism and other things. We’re going to be friends for a long long period of time. We have a great bond with the people of Egypt.”

In a later press conference, Sean Spicer said,

Trump made clear that this is a new day in the relationship between Egypt and the United States and the president affirmed his strong support of the Egyptian people,” “It was a candid dialogue during which they discussed both areas of cooperation and of concern.”

Numerous human rights organizations protested against Al-Sisi’s visit:

Inviting al-Sisi for an official visit to Washington as tens of thousands of Egyptians rot in jail and when torture is again the order of the day is a strange way to build a stable strategic relationship,” said Sarah Margon, Washington director at Human Rights Watch.

Giving more money to the Sisi government is to the detriment of US and Egyptian interests,” Margon said. “Neither side in this relationship seems interested in promoting human rights, but the gross abuses being committed by Egyptian authorities should compel Congress to keep limiting support.”

As Defense Minister, Al-Sisi overthrew the country’s first freely elected president in 2013. He also killed 1150 protesters in the following weeks. Since then, his security forces have arrested tens of thousands of Egyptians, committed abuses, tortures, enforced disappearances, and extra-judicial executions. According to several human rights organizations, Al-Sisi has arrested 60.000 innocent citizens and accused them of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

In 2014, Al-Sisi arrested an American citizen who founded the “Belady Foundation For Street Children.” Last February, Al-Sisi shut down several human rights organizations, including a center for rehabilitating people who have been tortured by the government. Al-Sisi alleged that these organizations were funded by foreign countries. As a result, numerous human rights defenders are now liable to face a 25-year sentence. This decision contravenes the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR.)

Despite all these facts, the Trump administration contends that Egypt is a free democratic country that is fighting Islamist terrorism. However, the above-mentioned violations of human rights indicate that Egypt is actually, the harshest dictatorship in the Middle East.

Since 1987, the US has provided 1.3 billion of dollars in annual military aid to Egypt in the form of equipment, training, etc. Obama suspended the program when Al-Sisi became “president” in 2013. However, two years later, he reinstated military aid although now limited to training. When Trump became president, he announced that he would resume military aid to Egypt again.

If that were not enough, Trump visited Saudi Arabia to sign a 100 million dollar arms deal on Friday. On Sunday, he gave a speech on Islam and peace. When asked if Saudi Arabia is a dictatorship, a government spokesperson said,

Saudi Arabia is a democratic country and our most important ally in the fight against ISIS in the Middle East.”

On Saturday, Trump scandalized his supporters when he bowed to the Saudi King while receiving a medal. Until then, Trump had always been one of the most prominent anti-Muslim speakers in US politics. However, it appears from the fact that Trump went there to sign a massive contract that he has changed his mind. By bowing to the Saudi King, Trump has supported one of the worst human rights violators in the world.

In the past, Saudi Arabia has curtailed the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly by detaining and imprisoning critics, human rights defenders and minority rights activists on vaguely worded charges.

Coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia have committed serious violations of international law, including war crimes, in Yemen. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition bombed thousands of Yemenis, including children. It also caused a permanent shortage of basic supplies, water, and electricity across the country, leading to outbreaks of diseases and starvation.

Security officials continued to torture detainees with impunity, and imposing and administering corporal punishments, particularly floggings. In February, the Palestinian poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh was sentenced to 800 lashes and eight years imprisonment.

Women remain legally subordinate to men with respect to marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance. They cannot access higher education, take paid employment or travel abroad without the approval of their male guardian. Women also remain banned from driving.

Courts have continued to impose death sentences including for non-violent crimes. Many defendants are sentenced to death after unfair trials by courts that convict them without adequately investigating allegations that their “confessions” were coerced, including with torture. On January 2 authorities reportedly carried out 47 executions, 43 by beheading and four by shooting, in 12 locations around the country.

With this record, it appears that not even Trump could deny that Saudi Arabia is a dictatorship. He is not the first president to have good relations with the Saudi Kingdom: Obama and Clinton also had strong ties with the dictatorship, but never at the current high level.

Trump’s motivations to strengthen his relationships with dictators are unclear. Moreover, he criticized this style of politics until he became president. Perhaps Trump has realized that dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia are more powerful than the US.

What is clear is that by strengthening his ties to dictators, Trumps is indirectly endorsing their violations of human rights. For that reason, there is increasing concern that Trump may try to install a new dictatorship in the US. It is important to remember that the US system was created to prevent these scenarios. But if most republicans support his mental gymnastics, he may soon turn the US system into a “Banana republic.”

So far, Trump has appointed a republican as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. This greatly strengthens his position with respect to the judiciary, increasing the likelihood of ultimate success for any laws passed by his Republican allies in Congress. However, US citizens will be crucial in stopping Trump’s plans. Bad results for Republicans in the mid-term Congress and Senate elections in 2018 would open the door for an internal rebellion, leading to Trump’s impeachment. Given what we have seen so far, the words “IMPEACHMENT” and “DICTATORSHIP” will be the most popular words of the coming year.

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James Comey’s Dismissal: A Nixonian Move

On Tuesday night, Trump unexpectedly fired the director of the FBI James Comey, alleging that he had lost confidence in him after the latter mishandled the investigation of Clinton’s email. This move comes after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions was ordered to find reasons to recommend that Trump dismiss Comey. These facts have raised concerns among opposition and civil rights organizations. They think Comey’s firing was intentionally done to hide misconduct last year by the Trump campaign

After receiving the news, Democrats contended that the fact that Sessions advised Trump to terminate Comey was deeply troubling. Even more so since Sessions had recused himself from any investigation into Russian meddling a few weeks ago. This fact raises several questions about his real involvement with this potential collusion.

At the time Comey was fired, he was carrying out an investigation into a possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian administration in order to help him win the last election. According to several sources, Comey was getting close to finding clear evidence directly linking Trump with the Kremlin.

Comey learned of his dismissal from televisions tuned to the news while he was addressing the workforce at the FBI office in Los Angeles, law enforcement sources said. The source said he made a joke about it to lighten the mood and called his office to get confirmation. In a letter to Comey, the president wrote:

While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”

It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.”

Trump has insisted via Twitter that he fired Comey because no one could trust him any longer. He also added that the Democrats are behaving very hypocritically since they were all demanding Comey’s dismissal a few weeks ago.

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Trump added,

The search for the next head of “our crown jewel of law enforcement” will begin immediately.” Comey’s deputy, Andrew McCabe, takes over in the interim.”

“He’s a showboat, he’s a grandstander, the FBI has been in turmoil,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with NBC News. “You know that. I know that. Everybody knows that.”

For their part, Democrats and civil rights organizations have demanded that Trump appoint a special prosecutor to continue the investigation into Russian meddling. They contend that if this does not happen, US citizens will have reason to think that Trump is trying to hide something from the public. Democrat Adam Schiff, a ranking member of the House intelligence committee, said:

The same president who has called the investigation into the Russian hacking of our democracy and the potential complicity of his campaign a ‘fake’ cannot pretend to have made such a decision uninfluenced by his concerns over Comey’s continued involvement in the investigation.”

It is more imperative than ever that an independent prosecutor is appointed.”

Civil rights groups also expressed alarm at the day’s events. Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said:

The independence of the FBI director is meant to ensure that the president does not operate above the law. For President Trump to fire the man responsible for investigating his own campaign’s ties to the Russians imperils that fundamental principle.”

Mr. Trump’s accusations came even as officials in the FBI rose to defend the reputation of their former director by debunking Trump’s lies and saying that they endanger relations between the FBI and the White House.

Speaking before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Andrew McCabe, the Acting FBI Director, declared, “it is the greatest privilege of [his] career to have served with Mr. Comey.He added, “I can tell you that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI, and still does to this day.”

Numerous GOP officials have described Trump’s actions as “Nixonian,” pointing out that there has never been a similar situation since the Watergate case.

While Trump is trying to halt any sort of investigation against him, the Senate has called on Comey to testify behind closed doors at the Senate to further discuss his investigation. It now appears that next week will pivotal in determining whether Trump colluded with the Kremlin. Meanwhile, while awaiting for the conclusions of the investigation, there are already numerous civil organizations, including some republicans calling on the GOP to initiate impeachment proceedings.

 

 

 

Can Marine Le Pen Still Win the French Presidential Election?

Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron are competing furiously to become the next French president in the run-off election on May 7. When both candidates won the first round of the election a week and a half ago, most experts contended that Macron would win the run-off vote with ease. However, during the last week, Le Pen has proved herself to be more intelligent than her rival, and it now appears that she has greatly increased her chances of becoming the next French president.

A few days ago, Marine Le Pen launched a national campaign to clean up her xenophobic image in order to convince the French people that she represents them. To that end, she stepped down as a National Front leader to appear more moderate. This action has already attracted thousands of Fillon’s supporters who will now vote for her in the run-off vote on May 7.

Aware that this gesture was not enough, on Wednesday, May 26, Marine Le Pen began to disguise her political ideas by presenting herself as the working class candidate who, if elected, would eventually fight against the European establishment. To this end, Marine Le Pen visited striking workers in Amiens while her rival, Macron, was meeting union bosses some miles away.

During her visit, Le Pen dealt the first blow by being welcomed and cheered by the vast majority of the workers. Her 15 minute visit was enough for her to be portrayed by the media as the workers’ defender. On the other hand, Macron was unwelcomed, booed and portrayed as the establishment candidate when he tried to visit those same workers. When these facts were spread by the media the next day, millions of French citizens began to believe that perhaps Le Pen represents them.

Le Pen’s latest blow came recently when she adopted Mélenchon’s rhetoric in one of her speeches to convince leftist voters to vote for her. She contended that she shares their desire to fight against the European oligarchy. Although it is hard to measure the real impact of Le Pen’s words, Mélenchon’s party, La France insoumise, recently decided to advocate for cast a blank vote or abstain in the runoff on May 7, which benefits Le Pen.

Despite her many small victories little more than a week, Le Pen was involved in a scandal on May 1 when she plagiarized an entire speech by Fillon when she spoke at a Labor Day rally. For an instant, it appeared that this fact would ruin her candidacy. However, her rapid response, suggesting that she did it on purpose to attract Fillon’s voters, has given her even more popularity.

On Wednesday, during the presidential debate, Le Pen was able to bring the debate onto her swampy home field. Although Macron appeared to be more prepared than her to become president, he was not able to avoid going negative against Le Pen. And Le Pen is the best at that.

What many said, that Le Pen would not have any chance of winning the run-off vote, appears to be obsolete. According to several polls conducted before the TV debate on Wednesday, Marine Le Pen will obtain the 41% of the final vote. Considering that a few months ago the media contended that she would not get more than 18%, she still has a real chance of becoming the next French president.

As seen during the last week, it appears that, in the end, Marine Le Pen has been able to disguise herself as the candidate of the working and middle class who will fight against the French establishment. However, the main problem is that Le Pen is simply hiding her real intentions from the public in order to become president. But what would really happen if she did so?

If Le Pen became president, she would soon return to her political roots by trying to install what she has always advocated for: a fascist dictatorship where immigration and whoever who does not support her ideas will be oppressed and repressed on a daily basis. To that end, she will try to implement several measures, like holding a referendum on membership in the European Union or reinstating the death penalty in France (hopefully, she will never use the guillotine to behead prisoners as happens in Saudi Arabia).

For those who still think that Marine Le Pen is like Donald Trump, they are completely wrong. Although it is true that there are some similarities between them, Le Pen has been participating in politics since her youth. In addition, she inherited the National Front (her current political party) from her father. These facts make her more dangerous than Trump and also indicate that she is determined to govern by decree and, if necessary, by violating French and international law.

On May 7, around 47 million French citizens will determine the political future of France and the EU. Many of them are not even aware of the importance of their vote. But hopefully, in the end, all of them will make the right decision in order to avoid past mistakes that once spread fascism across all of Europe. The truth is that Le Pen is a fascist imperialist who wants to implement similar ideas to those governments who adopted fascist ideas during WWII.

If you are a French citizen, you should remember that after the election you will not be able to change the situation with ease. So if you do not want Le Pen to bring chaos to France, you should act before it is too late The destiny of France and the world are now in your hands!

 

Donald Trump: the Despicable Warmonger

When Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, not many people, including his most fervent supporters, could ever have imagined that his belligerent actions would one day place us on the brink of WWIII.

Despite his many promises, three weeks ago, Trump directed a tactical strike on al-Shayrat air base (Syria) that was designed to weaken Syrian military defenses against rebels and terrorists, but which also jeopardized diplomatic relations between Russia and the United States.

Prior to that, Trump had attempted to garner a green light from the international community at large in order to launch a preemptive strike against Iran. However, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hans Blix, warned him that,

“it would be disastrous for the world if the U. S. that it would be disastrous for the world if the U.S. tore up the Iran nuclear deal in which Iran agreed to scale down its nuclear aspirations in exchange for sanctions relief, which brought stability to the region.”

Under the pretext of defending the U.S. against North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Trump obtained the long-awaited international support needed to implement his imperialist, warmongering plans. Although the international community at first supported Trump, in the end, it established some boundaries aimed at avoiding global instability.

Ignoring international demands, Trump recently announced the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its carrier group to waters off the coast of the Korean Peninsula. Furthermore, with his usual belligerence, Trump threatened Kim Jong-un, saying that the next time that North Korea conducts either a new ballistic missile or other variety of nuclear test, the U.S. will launch a preemptive strike against North Korea.

According to yesterday’s breaking news revealed by the New York Times, the aircraft deployment was fabricated:

The carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the four other warships in its strike force were at that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula.”

“The Carl Vinson is now on a northerly course for the Korean Peninsula and is expected to arrive in the region sometime next week,” Defence Department officials said. The White House declined to comment on the misunderstanding, referring all questions to the Pentagon.”

Amidst growing tension, China, and Russia warned the international community that the U.S. and North Korea are set for a head-on collision and called on Trump to de-escalate the tension in Korea.

Several pundits noted that North Korea does not yet have the capacity to fit miniaturized nuclear warheads on long-range missiles. Nonetheless, North Korean military forces possess conventional weapons that can easily reach South Korean and Japanese targets and deal catastrophic damage.

Despite a multitude of warnings, Trump does not appear to be considering the consequences of a potential war with North Korea, and continues instead to escalate the tension with his usual belligerent rhetoric against Kim Jong-un. Each time this happens, Kim Jong-un announces counter-measures and elevates his nuclear threats against the U.S.

On Saturday, during the traditional military parade for the birth of Kim Jong-il, North Korea showed its armament’s capacity, including what appears to be an ICBM (an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching U.S. soil) However, most pundits think that it has never tested, and its purpose was to send a clear message to Trump.

On Sunday Kim Jong-Un unsuccessfully attempted to test a new ballistic missile, which exploded a few seconds after launch.

Due to the relentless escalation of the conflict, citizens living in the region are preparing for an imminent outbreak of violence. They say that they are used to this kind of narrative between the two countries. This time, however, it appears to be different with Trump, who is a very unpredictable president.

With the drums of war beating, the international community is warning Trump, saying that if he follows through on his threats and attacks North Korea, the outcome would cause up to 1,000,000 or 2,000,000 casualties (according to an investigation conducted two years ago by the Obama administration). It would primarily affect civilians in South Korea and Japan, but also the thousands of U.S. troops deployed in the region.

In response to the constant international pressure, Trump could decide not to attack North Korea. However, it is important to remember that Trump also said that he would never attack the Syrian government, but ended up putting the lie to those words and launched a nighttime attack.

Regardless of the outcome of the Korean conflict, it appears that Trump will continue following in the footsteps of previous warmongering presidents in pursuit of power and popularity. Thus, the only left question is whether Trump will cause more carnage than George W. Bush.

U.S. Strike on Syria

On Thursday night, Donald Trump directed a strike against a Syrian military airbase, which targeted fighter planes, ammunition bunkers, radars, and petroleum storage. The Syrian regime said that the attack killed 7 soldiers and wounded 3.

In a brief press conference, Trump assured the American public that the strike was in retaliation for the last chemical attack against innocent civilians in Khan Sheikhoun in north-western Syria, which caused as many as 80 casualties, including many children.

Despite the fact that the UN could not reliably determine the accountability of the Syrian regime over the chemical attack, the U.S. government and the mainstream media launched a campaign to accuse them.

Ignoring the resolution of the UN, the NATO and other allies expressed their support for the strike and said that it was proportional. On the other hand, the Russian government condemned the attack and said that the U.S. is helping terrorists on the ground. Furthermore, the Russian Army announced the cessation of its communications with the U.S. in Syria and reiterated its support for the Syrian regime.

48 hours after the strike, in a joint statement, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, and several local militias said that the U.S. had crossed the line and that the next time they will respond with force. According to this coalition, there are many reasons to think that the U.S. wants to exert utter control over Syria due to its geolocation.

Despite their many lies, Russia and the U.S. have committed several war crimes in Syria. For years, the U.S. has bombed civilians and assisted rebel groups with ties to terrorist organizations, which have killed thousands of innocents. And Russia has supported the Syrian regime, which has also killed thousands of innocent civilians.

Everyone still remembers, when in 2003, at an assembly of the UN, the then U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, assured that the Iraqi government had WMD, which could soon cause carnage in the region and perhaps worldwide. As a result, the international community created a coalition to invade Iraq, which caused as many as 1 million of deaths. It was not until after some years that the international community found out that the CIA deliberately fabricated that story to intervene in Iraq.

By attacking Syria, Trump has gained as much popularity as Bush did during the Iraqi invasion. Since the strike, the mainstream media, including the most critical such as CNN, and The New York Times have praised Trump’s military action and elevated him as an excellent President.

It is deeply troubling that Trump has found out the key to gain popularity. Due to his incapacity to govern the country, it appears that he will launch more military interventions in countries such as North Korea and Iran.

It is important to remember that for years, Donald Trump suggested that Obama’s intervention in Syria was a political move to gain popularity. However, he is now adopting the same ploy. Fortunately for everyone, he could not delete his past tweets and here there is a sample of them:

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Despite the complexity of the Syrian conflict, this will only end when all parties negotiate a realistic resolution. Apparently, Trump is not willing to do so, but a strong antiwar movement may force him (like in the past with previous administrations) to step back in his bellicose decisions.

While the U.S. antiwar movement is organizing to become stronger, Trump is deploying warships, and troops in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula. Over the next months, the world will observe whether the antiwar movement succeeds or Trump causes chaos everywhere.

 

North Korea and the U.S.: Dangerous War Games

Over the last month, the escalation of the conflict between the U.S. and North Korea has seriously threatened the social peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. For the first time in 20 years, the U.S. government is seriously considering the launch of a preemptive strike against North Korean nuclear facilities to reduce its nuclear capacity.

In a recent visit to South Korea, the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a quixotic statement,

“Certainly we do not want to, for things to get to the military conflict,…If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, then that option’s on the table.”
“Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures.”

On the face of Tillerson’s threats, the young North Korean Supreme leader Kim Jon-Un has intensified his endeavors to endow the regime with a modern nuclear defense system capable of repelling any form of aggression.

Since Trump got into office, the North Korean regime has successfully tested ballistic missiles capable of reaching South Korean and American military bases in the region. Besides that, North Korea is also developing a new long-range ballistic missile capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction as far as the U.S.

According to the American Intelligence, the regime is in advanced stages of testing this new weapon, which will endow the regime with new military power. Further, this month, the North Korean government announced that it will test the above mentioned ballistic missile some time soon.

While the escalation of the conflict in the Korean Peninsula is reaching an unsustainable level, the weak South Korean government has merely suggested that North Korea is a global threat. These weak statements come after its former President Park Geun-Hye was impeached.

The North Korean regime has always used the same belligerent narrative against its enemies to repel any potential aggression. In fact, the continual American threats against North Korea, far from calming the situation, have encouraged the regime to adopt stronger bellicose positions.

Without a doubt, the North Korean development of new long-range ballistic missiles is bad news and should be halted somehow but always intelligently. For that to happen, the international community should soon present a new realistic nuclear disarmament program, including all of the parties involved in the conflict.

It is a fact that the North Korean regime is a tyrannical one, which punishes its citizens on a regular basis. However, it is hard to think that North Korea is willing to begin a conflict in the region because it would be a suicidal act.

Despite the fact that several countries think that a preemptive strike against North Korea is the best option at this point, the truth is that there are better alternatives that would not entail a potential war that could cause a real carnage in the region.

Over the last decade, the international community has routinely failed in its endeavors to normalize its relations with the North Korean regime. In part, this is due to the bellicose narrative directed at them by the U.S. However, this strategy has been demonstrated to be inefficient with “delusional” leaders such as Kim Jon-Un who has the courage of his convictions and will follow them to the bitter end.

China is probably the only country which can exert influence over the North Korean regime. Such being the case, to de-escalate the conflict in the region, the international community should count on the Chinese government.

Several experts gainsay this approach, on the grounds that China would never, in their opinion, cooperate with the international community to solve this conflict. However, the bottom line is, the Chinese government does not want North Korea to expand its nuclear arsenal. They know that a potential war in the region would jeopardize part of its territory. And if a North Korean failed launch accidentally drops a rocket on its territory it could cause countless casualties.

These developments are leading up to an inordinate mutual distrust between the two major powers in the world.

If there is one thing that is certain, it is that a preemptive war against North Korea would cause an undetermined number of casualties in the region. If it is true that the North Korean regime will never begin any war, it is also certain that if it ever feels attacked, the regime would then launch a mass ballistic missile attack against different locations (including South Korean and American military bases in Guam and Hawaii). Without a doubt, it would be devastating for the Korean Peninsula, and would constitute a point of no return in the conflict, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake.

Whether you are from Europe, China, South Korea, or the US is not important anymore. The most important thing for one to better understand is that the potential outbreak of a new conflict on the Korean Peninsula would negatively impact on your everyday life.

By coming to this understand, every citizen of every country, first of all, is morally obliged to explain the conflict to the political cast of his or her country, and secondly, demand a change in their strategy on the North Korean conflict.

 

Wilder’s Defeat and the European Union

On Wednesday, the Netherlands held the most important general election since the creation of the European Union. Most analysts suggested that, without a doubt, its results would determine the political future of the European project (including a potential dissolution).

After the rise of fascism in countries such as the UK and the US, the odds of victory for xenophobic and anti-European parties represented in the Netherlands by Geert Wilders, were higher than ever.

Over the last year, Wilders had expressed his desire to split with the European Union countless times, and the fear of that happening turned the Dutch elections into a referendum. As a result, the 13 million citizens eligible to vote had in their hands the hard task of deciding whether to remain in the EU or open a Pandora’s Box and begin its dissolution.

Months before the elections, the predictions were clearly favorable for Wilders. Most of the national polls suggested a clear victory for him, and some of them gave him 46% of the vote. On the other side, his great rival, the previous prime minister and candidate, Mark Rutte, spent most of the campaign persuading Dutch citizens that Wilders was “on the wrong side of populism.” His chances of winning were very low since most of the polls gave him catastrophic results.

However, (and fortunately for the European Union), the above-mentioned prognosis was erroneous, and despite winning 5 more seats than in the previous elections, the VPP of Wilders obtained 20 seats out of 150.

The winner of the elections was the VVD of Rutte who obtained 33 seats, 13 ahead of Wilders. Despite losing 8 seats compared to the previous elections, he declared that he was euphoric with the results. Considering that not even the most optimistic person believed in his victory, the final results were extraordinarily good.

Despite his victory, Rutte will have a hard task going forward if he wants to become the next prime minister for the third consecutive time. His victory is insufficient to form a government. For that reason, he will need to negotiate with at least three more political parties to form a coalition. Due to the complexity of the situation, it will take several months before he can form a stable government.

Dutch citizens delivered a clear message to the international community:

“We want neither bigotry nor populism in our country.”

Despite the citizens’ clear message refusing bigotry and populism, no one should forget that millions of them voted for Rutte because it was considered the best option to defeat Wilders. He represents the establishment, and as such, he will put the interests of the wealthy before those of the middle and working class.

Without a doubt, the defeat of Wilders was great news for the European Union, and this will contribute to decreasing populism in other countries. However, there is still a lot of work to do in the Netherlands to build a fair society where no one is discriminated against regardless of sexual, political, and religious orientation.

For the moment, the European Union has been able, temporarily, stall a critical threat to its existence. But unless its structure changes soon and the EU brings about equality among all its Members States, the alleged fascist’s populism will become a serious menace for the EU again.

The Truth is that the European Union has lost the appeal that it once had. The existing inequalities among member states in the EU, (notably ascendent Germany, which during the hardest moments of the global financial crisis, far from being supportive, took away benefits from the poorest countries in the Union), have contributed to the rise of populism all across Europe.

When countries such as Greece were going through catastrophic times, the German economy was in perfect condition without any signs of weakness. Later it was revealed that Germany took away vitality from countries such as Greece by demanding they pay back loans with exorbitant interest rates.

It is clear then that, without structural changes and more equality, the dissolution of the European Union will soon be inevitable.

Pending the arrival of big structural changes, the European Union will soon be tested again in upcoming elections in Germany and France. Fortunately, now that the Dutch elections are over, populism will not have many chances to win, but as I have said, structural changes must soon be done or it (populism) may increase its odds to obtain good results.