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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 2-Sep-2014
2-Sep-14 World View -- India, Japan leaders meet to counter rise of China

Web Log - September, 2014

2-Sep-14 World View -- India, Japan leaders meet to counter rise of China

Russian lawyers: 'Stealth invasion' of Ukraine is legal

This morning's key headlines from

Britain's David Cameron announces new anti-terrorism measures

David Cameron in House of Commons (Reuters)
David Cameron in House of Commons (Reuters)

Having raised UK's terror threat level last week to "severe," meaning that a terrorist attack is "highly likely," but not necessarily imminent, Britain's prime minister David Cameron on Monday announced a new set of anti-terrorism measures.

The new measures are targeting a specific issue: Would-be jihadists going to Syria to join the Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS) for training, and them coming back to the UK to use those skills in terrorist attacks. According to published statistics, approximately 500 British citizens have traveled to fight in Syria, and 200 of them have already returned home.

The first measure pertains to suspected citizens traveling abroad. It will give police the power to temporarily confiscate a passport, in order to prevent the suspect from leaving the country.

The second measure applies when a suspected citizen returns. Police will have the power to exclude British citizen suspects from reentering the country. If the citizen is allowed into the country, the legislation will give police new powers to track suspected jihadists and to take advantage of "enhanced relocation powers." Suspected terrorists will required to undergo "de-radicalization programs."

Consideration was given to the power to revoke a suspect's UK citizenship, but unless the suspect had a dual citizenship, such a power would leave the subject stateless, in violation of international law.

In addition, airlines will be forced to hand over more information about passengers travelling to and from conflict zones. BBC and CNN

Russian lawyers: 'Stealth invasion' of Ukraine is legal

Russia's government is hearing complaints from the liberal media to explain why a group of Russian paratroopers, captured by the Ukrainian army, were deployed to Ukraine by Russia's president Vladimir Putin without authorization of the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia's parliament.

Soldiers' mothers are complaining loudly that their sons are coming home from Ukraine as "cargo 200" -- as dead servicemen shipped home are referred to in Russia, based on the standard weight of a coffin -- without telling their families that they were deployed to Ukraine in the first place.

However, apparently Putin can do pretty much anything he wants under Russian law, thanks to a "universal mandate" that the Federation Council issued to the president in 2009, allowing him to invade any other country without further approval.

About 190,000 members of the 760,000-strong Russian army are "volunteers," serving upon their own volition. They earn 18,000 rubles ($500) per month, a huge sum by Russian standards. They can be ordered into combat in Ukraine or anywhere else at any time, and there isn't even a contractual requirement that relatives be notified if volunteers are killed in the line of duty.

The Russian government is disavowing soldiers who are being killed in Ukraine, according to Russian activists. Numerous reporters, both Western and Russian, have investigated what appear to be freshly dug, unmarked graves of soldiers. All online accounts of the men who were buried there have been removed from the Internet, as have photos of the soldiers that their families placed on their graves. When Russian journalists traveled there, the BBC reported that men told them they would "never be found" unless they left.

But for Putin, it's all perfectly legal. Moscow Times and Washington Post and Telegraph (London)

India, Japan leaders meet to counter rise of China

India's prime minister Narendra Modi met with Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Monday, supposedly to improve economic ties, but it was clear that the threats posed by China were high on the agenda. Their joint statement said, "The two prime ministers reaffirmed the importance of defense relations between Japan and India in their strategic partnership and decided to upgrade and strengthen them."

Abe and Modi agreed to hold regular joint naval exercises with the United States, and to increase Japanese military exports to India. This agreement was particularly significant in view of Abe's recent reinterpretation of Japan's pacifist constitution, which permits military action only for Japan's self-defense. Abe has reinterpreted this to mean "collective self-defense." I discussed this issue in detail recently in "5-May-14 World View -- Japan debates 'collective self-defense' to protect America and Japan".

This reinterpretation of the constitution will permit the armed forces to use the military to defend allies, such as the United States or India, even if the ally is being attack but Japan is not. It will also permit the Japan to rescue Japanese civilians in remote locations.

According to a Defense Ministry statement on Monday:

"The recent approval of the exercise of the right to collective self-defense means that it could become possible, depending on the situation, for the MSDF [Maritime Self-Defense Force] and the Indian Navy to jointly patrol the sea lanes."

In a press conference, Modi took a swipe at China:

"The 18th century situation of expansionism is now visible. Such expansionism would never benefit humanity in the 21st century. ...

The world knows the 21st century is Asia's century. But its shape and quality are not yet clear. This will be decided by how Japan and India work together. I think our relationship is moving to a new level."

Australian and Reuters and Asahi Shimbun (Tokyo)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Sep-14 World View -- India, Japan leaders meet to counter rise of China thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Sep-2014) Permanent Link
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