22 January 2019   Leave a comment

Brett McGurk was the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL who served in senior national security positions under Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. He resigned from his position after US President Trump announced that the US would pull its troops out of Syria. He has written an op-ed explaining why he believed that Mr. Trump’s decision was wrong and why that decision will likely make ISIS stronger. McGurk’s conclusion is telling: “The irony is that defeating the Islamic State is what the president identified as his goal from the beginning. In 2016, he vowed to “knock the hell out of ISIS.” His recent choices, unfortunately, are already giving the Islamic State — and other American adversaries — new life.”

In 1997 Great Britain left its colony of Hong Kong and turned over control to the central government of China. It did so with an important caveat: that China continue to respect the liberal laws governing human rights for a period of 50 years under the governing rubric “One Country, Two Systems”. The Chinese central government in Beijing has repeatedly tested that proposition, leading to demonstrations in 2014 that were known as the “umbrella” movement. That movement was repressed and Beijing continues to try to exert control over the Hong Kong citizenry. The most recent attempt is a new law that makes it a criminal offense to disrespect the Chinese national anthem, “The March of the Volunteers”. The proposed legislation will likely encounter resistance, as suggested by The Economist:

“Such restrictions are not endearing the Chinese government to Hong Kongers. A survey by the University of Hong Kong found that in May 54% of respondents lacked confidence in ‘one country, two systems’—a near-record high. At the time of the handover fewer than one in five had misgivings about the idea. Over the same period those who expressed distrust in the central government rose from fewer than a third to nearly half of those surveyed. A poll last month conducted by the same university found that Hong Kongers would sooner call themselves ‘global citizens’ than ‘Chinese’. “

The new legislation will be closely watched by people on the island of Taiwan which is experiencing greater pressure from Beijing to accept control by the central Chinese government.

Posted January 23, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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