A Reuters report claims that a series of “sister marches” took place in Australia and New Zealand over the weekend in protest against US President Donald Trump. The denounced what they say is his misogyny as well as xenophobia, among other things. Read more here.
It is official. Donald J Trump is president of the United States. The inauguration and swearing in took place this morning and a glamourous ball followed where all the Trump women decked out in white and pale colors. President Trump and his wife Melania shared an awkward first dance to Frank Sinatra’s song “I did it my way.”
With her attorney by her side, former Apprentice star Summer Zervos announced her intentions to sue incoming US president Donald Trump who she claims subjected her to unwanted sexual advances during filling of the popular TV series. Mr Trump subsequently denied the charges and accused Zervos of perpetrating a hoax for publicity and money. Her attorney said in a press conference that this is Defamation against her client and they will be suing.
More on Reuters
China is on the prowl to expand its influence and carve out new friendships. In Venezuela, where civil unrest erupted following food shortages and hyper inflation, Chinese citizens and business owners in Venezuela were being targeted by looters and protesters. They appealed to their government through the Chinese embassy and the government has instructed the Venezuelan regime to ascertain that no harm comes to Chinese citizens during the revolts.
In the Philippines, the Chinese government has reportedly gifted strongman Duterte $14 million in arms and boats – no strings attached – to help Duterte fight an virulent drug crisis in his country. In exchange, Duterte’s regime will pull back a case the country lanced against China at the Hague concerning China’s shenanigans in the South China sea.
Read more here.
According to Quartz, there are a slew of foreign policy situations that are extremely worrisome for foreign policy experts and it is anybody’s guess how a President Trump will handle them. There are:
Likelihood: Moderate; Impact: High
A serious military confrontation between Russia and a member of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
A severe crisis in North Korea involving nuclear or inter-continental missiles
A cyber attack on US infrastructure
A terrorist attack on US soil
The question is how will the new president handle these with finesse? Especially a conflict involving Russia? It is easy to predict how he might respond to a terrorist attack on US soil on his watch but not so easy to predict a military confrontation between Russia and a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance. Do you agree?
President Kim Jong Un of North Korea gives leaders of the more powerful nations constant headaches. Nobody seems to know what to do with, and/or about, the recalcitrant thirty-something leader in the Korean Peninsula. He is just wild; off the rails; and not even China seems to be able to rein him in. Will Donald Trump? At his annual New Years address this year he apparently hinted, though did not expressly say, that he will be testing an inter-ballistic missile soon. Cause basically he is fed up. According to a CNBC report:
Kim threatened in the address to boost his country’s military capabilities further unless the U.S. ends war games with rival South Korea. But he also said efforts must be made to defuse the possibility of another Korean war and stressed the importance of building the economy under a five-year plan announced in May.
“The political and military position of socialism should be further cemented as an invincible fortress,” Kim said, according to an outline of the speech carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency. “We should resolutely smash the enemies’ despicable and vicious moves to dampen the pure and ardent desire of the people for the party and estrange the people from it.”
A lot of experts think that Kim is crazy. Maybe that is why nobody dares to mess with him.
President Xi Jinping of China realizes that his country needs to do a better job with “influence” in the global community. In spite of being the second richest country in the world, China lacks the influence of many lesser states such as Russia, France and UK. One reason might be that the country and its leaders have not done a good enough job of spreading China’s voice and showcasing its strengths and contributions to the world community. This is all probably going to change with the creation of CGTN, a rebranded version of CCTV that has been given the presidential stamp of approval;
The broadcaster published a congratulatory letter from President Xi Jinping on Saturday urging the newly launched CGTN to “tell China’s story well, spread China’s voice well, let the world know a three-dimensional, colorful China, and showcase China’s role as a builder of world peace.”
The government has long grumbled about the Western news media’s hold on international discourse and has spent vast sums in recent years to enhance its own influence and shape global opinion, with CCTV as one of its spearheads. The broadcaster has channels in English, Arabic, French, Spanish and Russian, and production centers in Washington and Nairobi.
This will hardly be enough to change China’s reputation as not such an important global player but at least it is a start. For sure the country will have to do a better job of getting its hands dirty with some of the numerous global problems and crisis from which it often keeps its distance. They will have to commit greater resources and capital – military, economic and humanitarian in order to tellement rebrand their image. But certainly the TV network is a good place to commence.
Impeached South Korean president Park Guen Hye is not going to go without a fight. Holed up in the presidential palace, the Blue House, since early December, the beleaguered leader has been working on devising a strategy for her own defense despite the fact that, for months, hundreds of thousands of South Koreans have been marching in the streets demanding her ouster.
According to a recent Reuters report, Ms Guen Hye has come out of the starting block punching. She has been quoted as saying that the charges are all “fabrications and falsehoods.”
The convoluted case against Ms Guen Hye involve her relationship with longtime friend Choi Soon Sil, who Ms Guen Hye is accused of giving inappropriate access to state affairs. It also involved the country’s pension funds and a merger between two Samsung groups. Guen Hye is accused of colluding with Choi to pressure certain conglomerates to “make contributions to certain non-profit foundations backing presidential initiatives.” There is also some talk about “negligence” in her handling of a sinking of a ferry in which 300 people perished.
How all these dovetail, is not easily understood but suffice to say is that the net result is that Guen Hye’s job is on the line and she is now put in the uncomfortable position of fighting for her political life.
Tayyip Erdogan vows to free Turkey from terrorist attacks following a recent massacre at an Istanbul discothèque over the New Years Eve celebrations. Thirty-nine people were left dead. According to Reuters, the Turkish president issued a written statement which said in part:
“As a nation, we will fight to the end against not just the armed attacks of terror groups and the forces behind them, but also against their economic, political and social attacks.”