Posted on 28-11-2009
Filed Under (Current Affairs) by Rashtrakut

A link to an article describing the grisly election related massacre in the Philippines.  The location of the massacre, Mindanao has long been the troubled and violent underbelly of the Philippines.  Unlike the rest of the largely Catholic country, the island has a large Muslim population and a long running separatist movement.  It last showed up in American newscasts in the aftermath of 9/11 and the Bali bombings when the Bush administration dispatched American military advisers to combat some of the more extreme groups there.  In fairness to Mindanao, violence appears endemic in the political system of the Philippines.

This massacre appears to have jarred a country inured to bouts of violence.  However, with the country’s political establishment owing their offices and sinecures to similar (if not as brazen) violent methods it is unlikely that any meaningful steps will be taken to stem the rot in the Philippines political system.

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Barack Obama’s recent trip to China has received much criticism for its failure to achieve much of substance, giving a short-shrift to human rights issues and even raising a minor storm in India from an otherwise innocuous press release.  However, the trip may not have been entirely wasted.  Richard Wolfe notes that lost in the press coverage (and he charitably does not mention the American media’s obsession with Sarah Palin’s new ghost-written book) were agreements reached regarding emissions targets.  This along with talks held with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his state visit last week (which also helped defuse the brouhaha over the joint statement with China) could help break the deadlock at the upcoming Copenhagen talks.

The Chinese visit may have also contributed to the China joining the recent censure of Iran by the IAEA.  The deliverables may not be as groundbreaking as previous presidential visits abroad but address two upcoming issues on the President’s foreign policy slate.  Success in Copenhagen could reaffirm the goodwill that exists for the administration on the ground in Europe.  Bringing India and China into any global agreement to cut emissions will blunt one of the major criticisms of the Kyoto Protocol.  Likewise any Chinese help on Iran is to be welcomed.  These are small steps at present, but they could lead to greater rewards down the road.

 

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