Tag Archives: China

Assad, Chemical Weapons, and MOAB, Oh My! … by Jada Giddings

Recently in the past two weeks, the U.S. fired the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), or “Mother of All Bombs,” into a network of tunnels filled with ISIS fighters in Afghanistan. Killing at least ninety-four ISIS militants terrorizing the Afghan people, a majority of the citizens of Afghanistan supported this bomb dropped. This weapon, MOAB, was the first time the United States military have used it.

The Mother of All Bombs.
The Mother of All Bombs.

The bomb was dropped from the C130 Hercules jet and guided to its target with a GPS of sorts. It accelerated thirty-two feet per second from where it was dropped causing it to be pulled down by gravity at insane speeds. The bomb has a one mile range and practically flattened everything in its blast radius. Despite the high casualty rate of this air strike, ISIS fighters continue to attack American troops and Afghan security forces, which led the U.S. to threaten to call in more airstrikes to known militant positions throughout Afghanistan.

 

Along with last week’s event of MOAB, Bashar al-Assad committed genocide against the Syrian peoples in Khan Sheikhoun. After this chemical attack, the United States responded by holding the entire Assad regime accountable for the blatant human rights violations. Killing around five-hundred thousand innocent lives, the United States is taking Syria’s disregard for human rights seriously. It is intended that all financial networks that participated in the making of chemical weapons, used to attack these many innocent lives, will be shut down. Though, it is little known that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons before. “In response to findings by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism, that the Syrian regime was responsible for three chlorine gas attacks in 2014 and 2015,” A recent press release stated, shedding new light on chemical attacks by Assad. Why he has committed genocide against the people of Syria; a mystery. Just the week after the 2017 chemical attacks took place, China and Russia vetoed a United Nations resolution that was backed up by the West, the resolution imposing sanctions in Syria of its chemical weapons.

Assad“It was the seventh time that Russia, Syria’s top military ally, has used its veto power to shield the Damascus regime,” AFP reported. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, claimed it was “completely inappropriate” to impose sanctions on their ally, Syria, believing that it would disrupt the peace talks with them.

Trade and Trump…Story by Isaac Solly

On January 24th, the president officially pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, ending the ongoing efforts dating back to 2010. TPP aimed to free up tariffs and trade barriers between fourteen Pacific countries, the wealth of which added up to 40% of the world’s GDP. The deal was spearheaded by Obama’s administration, but over the campaign trail Trump rallied against it, citing globalism as a threat to American jobs.

The world’s response has been quick—in a recent Davos conference China’s President Xi Jinping attended and acted as a leader in free trade, stating, “No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war.” Jinping went on to explain how the US abandoned its role as a leader in capitalism, and as such, China was forced into this position.

In fact, an intended effect of TPP was to isolate China economically

Global Trade...The TPP proposed members included Pacific nations, with the noticeable exception of China. Photo by obiter-dicta.ca
Global Trade…The TPP proposed members included Pacific nations, with the noticeable exception of China. Photo by obiter-dicta.ca

from their neighbors. With the collapse of the deal, the reverse is quite possible—Australia cited possible deals with China, and New Zealand still hopes for a deal without US involvement. General diplomacy with the region has not been positive anyway, with a hostile phone call between the Australian Prime Minister and President Trump, and the development of Chinese encroachment on the South China Sea.

The president seems more than willing to use trade as a tool with which to negotiate, as seen with threats of an import tax on Mexican goods based on Mexican retaliation over the proposed wall, raising the possibility of a 20% tariff. This would contradict NAFTA, another

Capitalist China...President Xi Jinping of China speaks at the Davos conference on globalism and free trade. Photo by: www.weforum.org, Valeriano Di Domenico
Capitalist China…President Xi Jinping of China speaks at the Davos conference on globalism and free trade. Photo by: www.weforum.org, Valeriano Di Domenico

trade agreement including Canada, the US, and Mexico. NAFTA was the source of many campaign attacks from President Trump, despite evidence showing negligible economic impact on American workers.

Another example of dealing over trade was seen last week, with the British Prime Minister May’s visit to the US. In the press conference both leaders stressed

the “$1 trillion invested in each other’s economies” and “future economic cooperation and trade.” The meeting set a different tone to a traditionally protectionist President Trump, and shared optimistic views on the speed of such a deal. However, with Britain leaving the European Union’s trade zone and America pulling out of other such agreements, the two countries are likely to embrace bilateral trade.

President Trump’s official website calls for “tough and fair agreements” and does not hold back from threatening US withdrawal on deals such as NAFTA. However, most of the claims are vague and do not inform much—for example, the page says that negotiators will be the “toughest and smartest” yet doesn’t give any names or direct policy. Based on this aggressive approach, it is likely that the President will look for strategies as if they were being directed by a business. Whether this approach will reap benefits is yet to be seen.