December 1, 2016
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Following the death of former Cuban Prime Minister/ President/ Dictator Fidel Castro on November 25th. To the surprise of no one, President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to bash the Cuban revolutionary. He was by no means alone in doing so. Fellow Republicans and Cuban-Americans Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have come out against Castro and even President Obama for being sympathetic after Castro’s death. Castro is accused of human rights violations against his own people after running an extremely repressive regime. 2016 has seen a turning point in American and Cuban relations as the Obama administration has moved to eliminate the trade embargo against Cuba. With Donald Trump taking office in January, the world must wait and see if this still goes through. The President-elect claimed that we would close the door on fixing relations with Cuba unless the “Castro (Raul, Fidel’s brother) government made significant concessions on human rights and other freedoms” (The New Yorker). While the aggressive stance that Trump is taking isn’t shocking, this admittedly came as a bit of a surprise to me. Trump has never come off as a protector of human rights before. This could all just be a tactic to win over public support just as much as him not wanting to do anything with Cuba. Perhaps he really does want to help the Cuban people, maybe he doesn’t want anything to do with it and is just trying to anger Castro to stop negotiations. With Trump, who knows. Still, it is good to see that he is at least vocally taking a stance for human rights. I still believe that American and Cuban relations will continue to progress, especially with the death of Fidel and Raul being 85. With power Cuban-American politicians like Cruz and Rubio I think that this is just Trumps unorthodox way of starting negotiations. Maybe we will even see another Trump Taj Mahal in Havana by 2020.
President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro.
November 3, 2016
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With South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia all recently leaving the International Criminal Court, the international community began to worry that a trend could start among African nations. There have been accusations of the court having a biased against African nations due to the large amount of attention paid to the continent. To the outside world it is pretty clear that the attention was well deserved, perhaps less so in Africa. There are those in Africa that believe they are being targeted by Western nations, and that they are not doing anything wrong. The ICC was created after the Rwandan genocide; aimed to prevent further atrocities from happening not only around the world, but in Africa where there are so many there are so many different tribes and ethnic groups. Seeing South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia leave the court causes major concerns. Luckily nations like the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal, and many more have come out and said they have no intention of leaving the court. This is not just huge for the ICC itself, but mainly for the people in these countries that keep this level of deterrence from would be violations against them.
October 30, 2016
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For years now there have been calls for justice to be brought to Syria. Whether it is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad use of chemical weapons on his own people, war crimes committed by Russian Military forces, or anything done by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS); people must pay for the things they have done. There has certainly been no lack of international support for a trial, but there is no clear way to pull it off. The International Criminal Court (ICC) would take the case, but they have no jurisdiction in Syria. The ICC could have the case referred to them by the United Nations Security Council, consisting of the US, UK, France, Russia, and China, but there is no way that Russia would allow it. In allowing for a UNSC reference, Russia would be opening itself, and ally Syria up to war crimes. One potential option is an Ad Hoc trial like the ones used in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. The issues would be funding and finding an appropriate place to hold the trial. While Turkey would represent a local viable location, but there is no guarantee they would be open to it. Kurdistan could be another option in the region with enough stability to host the trial. Regardless of where a trial would be held, the West will likely have to do the majority of the funding. They way have a while to raise money for it, because it doesn’t look like any sort of trial is imminent.
September 22, 2016
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Considering the large number of refugees that are coming from Syria, the worlds biggest power, the United States, should be doing something to help. But what it the question? Where do we put them? Back in February former President Bill Clinton sat down with the Kurdish founder of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukaya. In this conversation Clinton mentioned an interesting idea, take Syrian refugees and put them into the 10,000 homes available in Detroit. Without getting too political, this seems like a good idea on the outside. It sounds like a nice solution for some of the refugees out there waiting for someplace to go. But I just don’t see how something this large scale will work out. We have seen in countries like German and France how having large number of refugees in one area has led to quite a bit of crime. Now all refugees obviously not all refugees are going to go around committing crimes, that’s ridiculous. Still I like John Layfield’s, otherwise known as pro wrestler JBL, idea of trying to fill some of these homes with some of the countless homeless veterans that we have in this country. We can find better places to work in refugees than just dropping 10,000 of them into one city. If you want to fill 10,000 homes, most of them should be from those already in this country that need help. Whatever your opinion may be and whichever side you agree with, this is a very interesting idea.
Start conversation at 10:00 for refugee topic.
September 15, 2016
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We have seen plenty of coverage about the ongoing situation in Syria. After all there is fighting going on between President al-Asaad and Syrian government, rebel groups, and the terrorist group ISIS. There is also intervention with outside nations like the United States and Russia. On top of all this there is the believed use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government on its people. This isn’t the violation of human rights I want to discuss. I want to talk about the mass displacement of Syrian refugees, and how many of them are getting caught up in the human trafficking world. This is largely due to the number of refugees that have nowhere to go and no way to make money. They end up in the hands of groups who take complete advantage of them, and violate the rights all people deserve. Since this crisis started we have also seen an increase in the slavery market. Terror groups ISIS and Boko Haram can be blamed for this as they have taken many prisoners and turned them into working and sex slaves, including many children. They are selling them off and making a large profit on this increasing market. This is a scary thought, and something serious needs to be done.
http://www.carbonated.tv/news/syrian-refugees-child-slavery-prostitution-survival-sex-lebanon (including image)