US anti-Tehran moves may boost Turkey-Iran axis : ‘White House an ‘adult daycare centre’ | Sunday Observer

US anti-Tehran moves may boost Turkey-Iran axis : ‘White House an ‘adult daycare centre’

“To the brink of World War 3,” raged a few frustrated US Government politicians publicly about their own President’s provocative and threatening postures towards both Iran and North Korea as Washington tries to bully these two maverick states into submission. One top Government Senator insultingly likened the Trump White House to “an adult daycare centre”.

Meanwhile, the subject of this stinging political criticism from his own party, further upped the ante with emerging nuclear power, Iran, by an administrative order that undermined Washington’s commitment to the 6-power treaty that currently constrains the Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. And, as the world breathlessly awaits Tehran’s response to Trump’s ominous action, Iran and Turkey are busy building a new alliance that could help West Asian stability albeit free of US influence.

Meanwhile, the exodus Myanmar Rohingya people from their homeland in the Rakhine province of Myanmar has topped the half a million mark, according to the UN and other relief agencies now engaged with the refugees arriving in Bangladesh. Analysts predict that the nearly two million-strong ethnic Rohyngyan population – mostly Muslim with Hindu and Buddhist minorities – is likely to be pushed out of Myanmar en masse in the on-going ethnic conflict in that part of Burma.

Arbitrary boundaries

According to this writer’s reading of available sources over several years, the Rohingya of Myanmar are an ethnic community closer to the Bangla peoples, being on the southern fringe of the region now known as Bangladesh. They are like many other ethnic communities the world over subjected to arbitrary European (and other) colonial division of their territories into different colonies of different invading colonial powers.

Thus, the boundaries arbitrarily carved out between Myanmar and the former British-ruled India cut across the territories of numerous tribal and ethnic communities of various religious affinities. They include the Nagas, Kachins, Mizo, Ahom among many other groups further north-east, straddling the Indo-Myanmar border and, the Rohingya and Arakanese in the south, straddling the Myanmar-Bangladeshi border.

Being ethnically and religiously distinct from the majority Burman and Buddhist population of Myanmar, the Rohingya were not given the citizenship rights as the other citizenry of modern Myanmar. Their sense of marginalisation worsened due to poverty and hostility from the majority Buddhist Burman population.

The Rohingya have been subjected to some harassment in the past and did have their own community politics of resistance to ethnic oppression. But it was due to the recent whipping up of Burman-Buddhist ultra-nationalism by certain regional sangha factions (not representing the bulk of the highly respected Myanmar Sangha) that prompted worsening of communal tensions in Rakhine.

Social violence

Just as it has happened in Sri Lanka where violence against Muslims broke out following local militant campaigning by small groups of monks, in Myanmar too there emerged a similar pattern. Tellingly, the leader of a monks’ faction in Myanmar actually visited Sri Lanka during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime and were effusively hosted by the leaders of a similar militant Buddhist-Sinhala movement in this country.

When social violence broke out across Rakhine province, the Myanmar military was deployed to suppress what seems to be the beginnings of an armed resistance by Rohingya youth. The resulting insurgency and counter-insurgency seems to be the cause of the fleeing of the bulk of the Rohingya population in what most human rights groups as well the UN are calling ethnic cleansing. Sadly, the civilian Myanmar government of today, which came to power following a long pro-democracy movement, seems to be too dependent on the Burman-Buddhist majority for its political legitimacy to acknowledge the ethnic oppression and resolve the problem peaceably.

Not that the ‘Leader of the Free World’ (so-called), Donald Trump, cares. He is too busy grandstanding as usual, either in defense of himself and his family or just for the heck of it – like recently claiming high scores in his game of gold, scores that golfing aficionados have publicly doubted given the 73-year-old President’s lack of agility.

The almost daily chaos and succession of embarrassments in the White House with persistent reports of a President apparently losing his grip on affairs, has prompted much speculation over the future of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Reckless public tweet

In recent weeks Donald Trump has more or less announced his readiness to undermine the Iran Nuclear control treaty while simultaneously badmouthing nuclear-armed North Korea’s bullish dictator Kim Jong Un. Worse, the American President who rubbished the carefully crafted (perhaps, too carefully) Obama foreign policy during his election campaign, is now attacking his own Secretary of State (foreign minister) Rex Tillerson’s policy of negotiations with Pyongyang with China’s help.

In reckless public tweet, the US president told his own Secretary of State not to waste his time over North Korea.

The infuriated Tillerson is reported to have reacted to this humiliating undermining of his painstaking diplomacy by privately describing his boss as a “moron”, which aside was duly leaked and reported in the US news media. Tillerson called a news conference to expressly deny that Washington was giving up on negotiations with Pyongyang but did not quite categorically deny that he had called his President a ‘moron’.

A most senior Republican Party Senator, Bob Corker last Friday stunned America by telling a national newspaper that the current White House was “an adult day-care centre” implying that various senior White House officials were tasked with nursing the President and keeping him under control. As if that was not enough, Senator Corker also declared that Trump’s derisive remarks about Tillerson’s diplomatic efforts were a ‘castration’ of the Secretary of State by the President.

These US Senators and Representatives now rebelling against their own President, Donald Trump, are the latest in a growing litany of voices across America and across the world, especially among its allies. What is now significant is that there is a small but growing number of Republican Party politicians who are beginning to publicly question the very competence of Trump to govern.

There are provisions in the US constitution that empower Congress to assess the behaviour of an incumbent President and declare him as physically or mentally unfit to rule. While no previous president has been so removed, there is now discussion in Washington of the relevance of these provisions for the Trump presidency.

The latest spur is President Trump’s aggressive speech at the White House last Friday in which he all but declared that the US wanted to end the Iran Nuclear Control Treaty. In his speech the President threatened to pull out of the Treaty - which freezes AND progressively reverses Iran’s nuclear program - if Congress and US allies do not agree to strengthen it.

US hostility

While Trump’s announcement does not have immediate effect, it now leaves the door open for an actual US withdrawal from the Treaty and a resumption of sanctions against Iran. As with any other self-respecting, sovereign country, Iran is expected to act to pre-empt any hostile US move with measures to re-arm as well as build alliances that would offset US hostility.

After all, the US is the biggest nuclear power and the only one that has not hesitated to actually use nuclear weapons to attack whole cities, not once but twice. So which country will dare to leave its population to such a threat when it can build its own deterrent?

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