15 September 2017   Leave a comment

Many, myself included, are perplexed by the use of violence by Buddhists in Myanmar against the Royingha.  One of the cardinal tenets of Buddhism is ahimsa, meaning “not to injure” and it is difficult to find any endorsement of violence in any Buddhist teachings.  Buddhists, however, are human and there is a history of Buddhists using violence either to defend Buddhism or in the practice of self-violence–usually self-immolation–to protest ill-treatment.  In the Mahavamsa, one of the great works of Sri Lanka, one can learn about King Dutugemunu (164 BCE – 140 BCE) who waged war against Tamils who were regarded as invaders from South India to the island.  There is a tradition of some Buddhists using violence to protect other Buddhists, but it is a dangerous departure when applied to ethnic or religious violence.   The idea is very close to the concept of the Just War in the Christian Tradition.

  Stone Figure Of King Dutugemunu At Anuradhapura

 

Every four years, the Russian military conducts military exercises on a massive scale.  The exercises are called Zapad (“West”) and this year they are being conducted in Belarus.  War games in Europe are loosely regulated by agreements between Russia and the West which allow observers from both sides to witness the maneuvers and limit the size of the contingents involved. This year, however, the Russians and Belarussians seem to be ignoring these conditions, leaving some observers worried that the large cache of armaments involved may remain in Belarus, giving the Russian military a pre-positioned advantage in a future invasion of the Baltic states.

 

The US has called on the Iraqi Kurds to call off the independence referendum scheduled for 25 September.  The US considers the scheduled vote to be “ill-advised” and “ill-timed.”  The White House statement was as follows:

“The United States does not support the Kurdistan Regional Government’s intention to hold a referendum later this month. The United States has repeatedly emphasized to the leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government that the referendum is distracting from efforts to defeat ISIS and stabilize the liberated areas. Holding the referendum in disputed areas is particularly provocative and destabilizing. We therefore call on the Kurdistan Regional Government to call off the referendum and enter into serious and sustained dialogue with Baghdad, which the United States has repeatedly indicated it is prepared to facilitate.”

The referendum, if approved by Iraqi Kurds, does not demand the immediate independence of Kurdistan, and is most likely to be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the Iraqi government.  Nonetheless, Turkey and Iran, both of which have significant Kurdish populations, are also adamantly opposed to the referendum.  The President of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, rejected the plea from the US.

Posted September 15, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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