Refugee crisis is everyone’s problem
Thank you, Asian Affairs, for once again drawing attention to the heartbreaking plight of people displaced by conflict and the failure to fully tackle it. This is, and has been for some time, a crisis of global proportions that world leaders seem powerless – or reluctant– to face head-on. Such failures will be to the detriment of us all. It is a huge ask to expect governments to resolve every conflict or prevent new ones, but they do have a moral obligation tocommit to resettlinga number of the world’s refugees annually, particularly the richest nations. If the citizens of countries such as Greece and Italy, which are in an economic mess, can welcome in refugees with the humanity many of them have shown, there is no excuse for governments to do less.
The use of power
I found David McNeill’s article ‘Caught between Trump and Kim’ (Asian Affairs, November issue) a fascinating read in that itillustrates a deep understanding of Japan’s complex relationships with its allies and adversaries, and the difficult task facing its leadership. With North Korea arguably the most pressing issue in the region today, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will need all his newly gained popularity and stronger grip on power to play a decisive role in helping to forge stability in the region and the wider world. His recent views on deepening cooperation, particularly on responses to North Korea, expressed to Chinese President Xi Jinping(himself recently furtherempowered) on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Vietnam,offer hopefor dealing with North Korean aggression in a way that will move further away from the prospect of war.
Abe clearly recognises the heavy responsibility borne by Japan and China for peace in the regionand sees improvedties between the two countries as a key to negotiations. Japan’s thawing relations with America under Trump, meanwhile, are of a more delicate nature, combining the need to keep a vital ally onside whilenot bowing to Washington’s every demand when it would be counterproductive to do so.
No back-out from Brexit
Sadly, I cannot agree with former Labour MP Denis MacShane on the Brexit question (Book review, ‘Can Britain escape from Brexit?’, Asian Affairs, November). A departure date has been set and heels are being dug in to deliver the ‘will of the people’, which was based on shameful misinformation. I fear we have set out on a course from which there will be no ‘brack-tracking’.
Whither Ummafor Rohingyas?
The tragedy that has engulfed the Rohingyas of Myanmar has been in spotlight for the world community to see for a long while now. Yet sad to say there is not the slightest flicker of light or hope at the end of the tunnel. More than half a million refugees have already walked through mud, rain and disease to Bangladesh from Myanmar which has for long denied the very right of abode and citizenship to the luckless Rohingya Muslim minority.
As things stand there is little hope of Myanmar’s military authorities listening to the inner voice of the country’s Buddhist philosophy or to the outer voices of world powers pressuring Myanmar to change its ethnic cleansing mission.What is even more baffling is the virtual silence of the Islamic Umma, especially the richer Arab nations. This comity of elite Arabs hasn’t thought of shelling out a few dinars or petro dollars from their pockets to help poor but brave Bangladesh cope with the enormous relief and rehabilitation problems. Will the Umma rise to the occasion even at this late hour?