Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Foreign Digest: Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Switzerland, South Sudan

Hong Kong
            The people of Hong Kong are protesting the decision by the Communist Chinese government not to allow an open list of candidates to stand for election for the special territory’s executive.  After China took control of the British-leased territory in 1997, it had promised Hong Kong that it could maintain its liberty and free market system, as well as representative self-government.  A similar promise was made to Portuguese-leased Macau, which reverted to Chinese control two years later.  China has appointed Hong Kong’s leaders since that time, but has broken its promise of transitioning to elective representative self-governance by insisting that candidates it opposes be excluded from eligibility from being popularly elected to the territory’s government.  Freedom-loving people around the world should stand with the people of Hong Kong against totalitarianism. 

            The newly-inaugurated Afghan government has signed an agreement that will allow nearly 10,000 United States troops to remain in Afghanistan for up to two years after the significant drawdown of American forces at the end of 2014.  The residual force is necessary to avoid the mistake made by President Barack Obama in not leaving such a force in Iraq, which allowed the al-Qaeda offshoot, the “Islamic State,” to ally with Baathist holdouts in seizing territory to establish a terrorist safe haven, as predicted.  The U.S. and its NATO allies continue to battle Taliban and al-Qaeda in the Afghanistan-Pakistan front of the War on Terrorism in order to prevent them from reestablishing a safe haven in Afghanistan, from which the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks were planned.

The troop agreement came after the resolution of Afghanistan’s presidential election dispute, in which the U.S. brokered a power-sharing deal.  Its long-time ally, Abdullah, formerly of Northern Alliance, will be second in command.  The U.S. had recognized the Northern Alliance, which controlled northeastern Afghanistan, as the de jure government of Afghanistan, not the Taliban, with which it fought.

            In a recent referendum, Swiss voters opted against socialized health insurance, in favor of maintaining their private insurance system.  The negative example of the federalization of health insurance (“Obamacare”) in the U.S. probably influenced the outcome of the referendum in Switzerland.  Supporters of socialized health insurance usually cite Europe as an example to emulate, which makes especially noteworthy the Swiss rejection of such a scheme.

South Sudan
           The warring parties in South Sudan have reportedly agreed in principle to a power-sharing agreement.  It is hoped it will end the violence that has soaked the fledgling state in blood.  

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