International Press Syndicate

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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: Katsuei Hirasawa

Viewpoint by Katsuei Hirasawa *

TOKYO (IDN) – The world is now shaken by the terror of Islamic extremists and Japan is not unrelated to this terrorism.

Japan is an island nation that does not have a direct border with another country. We do not accept many immigrants as in Western countries and, therefore, we do not take enough counter-terrorism measures because of our peace of mind as a unified nation.

Some of us even regard large-scale terrorist attacks in many parts of the world as the opposite bank of the fire. In the past, the Asama-Sansō hostage-taking case and JAL plane hijacking by the Coalition Red Army occurred, which were theatrical crimes and were reported live on TV. Most Japanese people may have not recognised them as terrorism. SPANISH | GERMAN | HINDI | JAPANESE

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: NATO Summit in Washington 1999. | Credit: GMF

Viewpoint by Karen Donfried *

WASHINGTON (IDN | GMF) - The implications of the Brexit vote are stark, not only for the United Kingdom and for the European Union, but also for the United States. Since the end of World War II, successive U.S. administrations have strongly supported the project of European economic and political integration – initially, to ensure peace among the continent’s great powers; more recently, to enlarge the area of democratic stability and economic prosperity across the continent. 

For seven decades, the U.S. security umbrella, represented by the NATO Alliance, helped defend our European allies and gave them the opportunity to concentrate on building the European Community and later the European Union (EU). With the U.K. poised to leave the EU, leadership from the United States is needed to keep the U.K. and its continental partners working closely together in NATO and beyond in the aftermath of last week’s referendum.

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: Roberto Savio. Credit: Christine Sunbean.

Viewpoint by Roberto Savio*

ROME (IDN | OtherNews) – Polling specialists say that when voters do not feel comfortable in saying how they will really vote, it is because they are not comfortable at a rational level with how they will actually vote. In other words, voters act because of their guts, not because of their brains.

This is what happened when the exit polls after the June 23 British referendum on whether to remain part of or leave the European Union showed the 'remain' vote in a slight lead, only to be proved wrong overnight. 

The Brexit referendum was really based on gut feelings. It was a campaign of fear. The 'leave' campaign was about a massive invasion of Great Britain by Turks because of the possible admission of Turkey to the EU (totally false) and that Great Britain was paying the EU 50 millions pounds a day (again false).

Photo: The parliament buildings in Astana, Kazakhstan. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Viewpoint by Erlan Idrissov | Reproduced courtesy of The Hill

The author is Foreign Minister Kazakhstan. This article originally appeared with the headline High time for Central Asia and Kazakhstan to have a voice in UN Security Council.

ASTANA - No organisation has a greater global responsibility than the United Nations Security Council. The Council has the solemn task of maintaining international peace with the power to intervene if threats put it or the safety of civilian populations at risk. Its effectiveness has a huge impact on our world and the lives of millions of people.

The Council’s authority stems from the UN Charter and the support of the international community. But it is strengthened when its membership is as representative as possible. Its decisions, too, benefit when drawing on differing global perspectives. It is why from the beginning, the Council’s membership included not just the great powers but a rotating group of countries elected on a regional basis.

Photo: Will Dag Hammarskjöld serve as a model for the new UN Secretary-General? Credit: UN/DPI derivative work - 1959. Wikimedia Commons.

Analysis by Franz Baumann *

NEW YORK - Three months before his tragic death, Dag Hammarskjöld gave a powerful lecture in Oxford, entitled The International Civil Servant in Law and in Fact. He positioned the Secretary-General’s role and that of the Secretariat in the architecture of the United Nations.

Hammarskjöld implicitly built on the conclusions formulated by the great U.S. political scientist Inis L. Claude in his classic 1956 study Swords Into Plowshares: The Problems and Progress of International Organization, namely that there are two United Nations: firstly the arena of member states, secondly the Secretariat.

Since it cannot be assumed that the results arrived at in the arena of sovereign states are perforce optimal from a world-wide perspective, the Secretary-General, supported by an independent, effective and loyal Secretariat, has special responsibilities as the guardian of the global interest. And since today’s challenges do not stop at national borders, an effective global institution is ever more crucial.

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