International Press Syndicate

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Formerly Globalom Media Information . Communication . Publishing Agency Established in March 2009

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Robert J. Burrowes

Viewpoint by Robert J. Burrowes*

DAYLESFORD, Victoria | Australia (INPS) - Two of the drivers of world affairs that manifest in the daily decisions that affect our lives are ideology and religion.

Ideology is the term widely used to describe the underlying set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that shape the behavioural approach to political, economic, social, cultural and/or ecological activities of an individual or organization.

This organization might be a political party, government, multinational corporation, terrorist group, non-government organization, community or activist group.

Photo A U.S. Air Force Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker from the Ohio Air National Guard's 121st Air Refueling Wing at Rickenbacker International Airport, Ohio, touches down on the flightline at Incirlik, Turkey. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) -The Incirlik air base in southeast Turkey – from which U.S. pilots launch bombing raids on ISIS forces in Syria – is home to about 50 B-61 hydrogen bombs. That makes it NATO’s largest nuclear storage facility.

Each bomb has a yield of up to 170 kilotons, nearly a dozen times more powerful than the weapon that destroyed Hiroshima. The bombs are stored in underground vaults within aircraft shelters that in turn are protected by a security perimeter.

Recently, Incirlik was in the headlines because it appears it was one of the command centres of the attempted coup, meant to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

After the coup had been put down the commander of Incirlik was arrested and charged with complicity in the overthrow attempt.

Photo: Anti-war protest in London, 2002. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - The crime of aggression ("planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression”) was described by the Nuremberg Tribunal that tried Nazi leaders as "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole".

President George W. Bush and British prime minister, Tony Blair, have been accused by many as war criminals for starting the war against Iraq and, second, for not watching carefully enough to make sure that war crimes carried out by individual soldiers were not covered up, and for the torture that Bush initiated and Blair appeared to tolerate.

Photo: Prime Minister Modi addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on June 24 in Tashkent. Credit: www.narendramodi.in

Viewpoint by Shastri Ramachandaran *

BEIJING (IDN) - Tashkent and Seoul were both in the news in the last week of June, for events which may have set in motion changes with far-reaching consequences for power equations in Asia and the Asia-Pacific. Hence, the two cities may well be remembered as the trigger-point of developments on which Sino-Russian strategic partnership may have an impact.

Seoul was the venue for the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) plenary, which frustrated India's attempts to gain entry. Around the same time, although Tashkent was witness to more momentous events, the bilateral meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping stole the thunder. Only because the Modi-Xi meeting was about India's bid for NSG membership, widely publicized as enjoying unstinted U.S. support.

Photo: Student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on Virginia Tech's campus in 2007. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - After Hitler’s Final Solution – the elimination of the Jews – came Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge and the murder of two million of the country’s people. After that came Rwanda when at least a million of the Tutsi people were slaughtered en masse by the Hutus. More recently we have seen large-scale killing in Sudan and now in Syria. The latter two can’t be called “genocide” – the attempt to totally eliminate a people – but the first three certainly were.

However bad that sounds the evidence is, whether it be genocide or mass slaughter, there has been significantly less of it during the last 50 years, despite the fact that most of us recall the horrors – thanks to the TV news producers’ mantra “if it bleeds it leads” – not the steady lessening of its frequency.

Photo: President of the European Council, Donald Tusk and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Credit: NATO

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - NATO has just announced a plan to send troops to the Alliance’s eastern flank, close to the Russian border. NATO says it is attempting to deter potential Russian aggression.

The UK, the U.S., Canada and Germany will lead four battle groups to be based in Poland and the Baltic states. Diplomats say the troops will be a deterrent to Russian aggression by acting as a “tripwire” that would trigger a full response from the alliance if necessary

On June 26, 2016 the foreign minister of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, condemned Western “sabre-rattling and war cries”. He said, “Anyone who believes the symbolic tank parades on the Alliance’s eastern border will increase security is wrong”.

Photo: Coalition airstrike on ISIL position in Kobani, October 2014. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - Within a matter of days a self-appointed Isis “lone wolf”, Omar Mateen, with no actual links to home office Isis has created mayhem in Orlando, Florida, with his killing of 49 people in a gay club, and the Iraq army has pushed Isis troops out of most of the important city of Fallujah.

Maybe it is an exaggeration to say that Isis is on the run in its bailiwicks of Iraq and Syria but it is certainly taking very bad hits. Two years after sweeping through northern Iraq and capturing the oil city of Mosul in 2014 they are now on the defensive.

Isis has lost nearly half of the Iraqi territory it held. (i.e. an area about half that of the UK). It has lost much of its oil infrastructure. It is taking lots of casualties. In Syria it is fighting on two contradictory fronts – the regime in Damascus, supported by Iran and Russia and against the non-Islamist rebels, supported by the U.S. and the Arab states. 

Photo: 2016 Elections in Argentina Credit: posadiststoday

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - Is there a democratic recession? No, not an economic one. Rather one of the voting kind. In other words: Is democracy going backwards? It is not. Democracy remains resilient. Authoritarianism is being held at bay, despite recession in Russia, Turkey and China.

“Democracy may be receding somewhat in practice, but it is still globally ascendant in people’s values and aspirations,” writes Larry Diamond in a new book, “Democracy in Decline”. In fact, Diamond’s positive conclusion is less positive than I believe the facts say. By and large democracy is not receding.

Photo courtesy: UNFPA

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - Over 200 years we have watched with a mixture of fascination and horror the explosion of population in most parts of the world. In the 1960s and 70’s many people were convinced that it was the single most important issue of our times.

Government aid agencies, especially in the Western world, gave overriding priority to distributing condoms wherever and whenever they had the chance.  Some people like the bishops of the Catholic Church and the mullahs of Iran got very hot under the collar. Indeed, these two groups would unite together to vote the “no” in UN population conferences.

In the Third World militants argued that this was one more perfidy carried out by the West – to rid the world of dark skinned people.

Photo: ‘Coalition’ airstrike on ISIL position in Turkey/ Kobane, Syrian border on 22 October 2014. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - “ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States,” President Barack Obama told Jeffrey Goldberg of Atlantic magazine recently.

What becomes clear in this long article, much of it Obama’s own words, is that Obama shies away from the idea that war can make bad things good. The unquenchable wars that he inherited – Iraq and Afghanistan – were set alight by his predecessor, George W. Bush, and no amount of Obama fire engines have been able to douse them with enough water to put them out.

As for the rest of the waterfront of foreign affairs, he argues that after a period of uncertainty he decided that the U.S. should not militarily involve itself in the civil war in Syria. He decided that Ukraine is not a core American interest, although it is a Russian one, and he was convinced that Iran would agree through peaceful negotiation to renounce the dangerous parts of its nuclear program.

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