7 March 2018   Leave a comment

There is a US diplomatic mission in Turkey right now as the US tries to repair its relations with what was once regarded as a key NATO ally.  Relations have been strained for a variety of reasons, but the major outstanding strategic difference right now is defining the US relationship to the Syrian Kurds who have fought well against ISIS but who the Turks regard as a serious threat.  Many Syrian Kurds, along with Arabs who fought together as the Syrian Democratic Force, a US-sponsored alliance, have left the battle against ISIS and have moved into position in the Afrin region of Syria to support the Kurds there.  The Kurds have shifted largely because the US is refusing to re-arm them and they feel betrayed by the US.  For the Syrian Kurds, the battle for autonomy is far more important than the fight against ISIS.  The Syrian government is moving to fill the vacuum created by the US move, and, in a major reversal, is now aiding the Kurds against Turkey.

 

A group of Indian scholars have been meeting to write a history of India that suggests that India is a Hindu nation.  The committee was not publicly appointed but its final report is expected to be embraced by the current government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who can be accurately described as a Hindu nationalist.  According to Reuters:

“Minutes of the meeting, reviewed by Reuters, and interviews with committee members set out its aims: to use evidence such as archaeological finds and DNA to prove that today’s Hindus are directly descended from the land’s first inhabitants many thousands of years ago, and make the case that ancient Hindu scriptures are fact not myth.

“Interviews with members of the 14-person committee and ministers in Modi’s government suggest the ambitions of Hindu nationalists extend beyond holding political power in this nation of 1.3 billion people – a kaleidoscope of religions. They want ultimately to shape the national identity to match their religious views, that India is a nation of and for Hindus.”

Needless to say, members of other religions are apprehensive about how the final report will affect their status in India.  But the report reflects the growing exclusivity of nationalism in the world.

Religions in India

 

We are beginning to get some of the dynamics arising from the recent Italian elections.  One possibility that has emerged is that the leader of the League Party, Matteo Salvini, may be tapped to form a coalition government.  Salvini is as close to a clone to Benito Mussolini, the leader of Fascist Italy during World War II, as one could imagine.  The Washington Post describes Salvini in these terms:  “He says he wants to close mosques, bolster Italy’s borders and take sovereignty back from the European Union. He praises Russian President Vladimir Putin for promoting traditional family values.”  Salvini has appropriated a favorite phrase of US President Trump and claims that he wants to put “Italy First”.

Matteo Salvini

Posted March 7, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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