Infidel Links, 11-27-12

27 Nov

It’s not a power grab, says Pharaoh Morsi! (The Guardian)

Australian minister apologises to military abuse victims (The Guardian)

Australia’s defence minister has apologised to military personnel past and present who were sexually abused or otherwise mistreated during their service. He also started an inquiry into hundreds of allegations of abuse over six decades.

Stephen Smith made the apology in parliament on Monday on behalf of the government as the latest step in a two-year effort to reform the culture of the Australian military and make it more accepting of women.

“Young men and women have suffered treatment which no member of our defence force or our community generally should experience,” Smith said.

“Young men and women have endured sexual, physical or mental abuse from their colleagues which are not acceptable and do not reflect the values of a modern, diverse, tolerant, Australian society,” he added.

Congo’s army accused of rape and looting as M23 rebels win image war (The Guardian)

America’s pivot to Asia and Asian akrasia (East Asia Forum)

On security affairs, managing the problem of territorial disputes in the South China Sea (or for that matter between Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea to the north) is the proximate challenge. There is real danger that the United States could be drawn into conflicts in which it has no core interests in this theatre. Encouraging China and ASEAN to make progress toward a formal code of conduct for the South China Sea at the same time as maintaining neutrality in disputes over conflicting claims was the primary objective. There was much commentary about how this issue rendered the EAS ineffectual; precisely the reverse is the case, with the ‘civilised conversation’ (as described by ASEAN Secretary General, Surin Pisuwan) helping to restore the status quo and keeping the door open to progress on core American objectives, shared by most regional partners. The principal danger to regional stability and prosperity over the past year has been the outbreak of akrasia among all the Asian parties principal to these disputes in the face of overwhelmingly more powerful interests in economic integration and engagement. Whatever the origins of the breakdown of reasoned self-interest among the protagonists in the South China Sea territorial disputes, the US interest is in helping define another, cooperative course, not to appear as a meta-protagonist toward China, and that interest increasingly shines through.

On economic affairs, the United States is pushing the TPP, to which some ASEAN members, but not Indonesia, have signed up, while ASEAN is promoting the more inclusive Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) ordered around tying together the trade arrangements that have ASEAN at their centre. These represent two very different pathways toward trade liberalisation and commercial reform in Asia and the Pacific.

Ahn Cheol-soo Quits Korea’s Presidential Race (ROK Drop)

Clippings (AMPONTAN)

It was reported in South Korea that the LDP campaign pledges would “return Japan to a war criminal state that included far right-wing views which will completely repudiate (what today’s Koreans consider to be) the fact that the Japan-Korea merger was a war of invasion.”

I visited the LDP website and read the Japanese version of the document. (It’s not in English yet.) Under the Education category, the LDP promises to encourage students to take pride in traditional culture, to improve and revamp textbook screening, and to remove the “neighboring country clause” adopted in the 1980s for including considerations of the wishes of neighboring countries when editing textbooks.

There’s nothing in there about any repudiation of a “war of invasion”. (Which is not to say that there shouldn’t be, if that is cited in history textbooks.)

But telling the truth would deny a significant portion of South Korean society its favorite pastime. They just aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy about Japan.

Then again, this same element also thinks Prime Minister Noda is also of the “extreme right”. That eliminates any possibility the Japanese will take what they say seriously.

And, Congratulations (Duck of Minerva)

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