Weekly Links

By Patrick Pierson.

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The Great Wall of China. Photo by mariusz kluzniak.

This week marked the beginning of the annual Malabar exercise, a joint naval exercise between the US, Japan, and India. This comes as US authorities accused Chinese aircraft of making an unsafe intercept of a US spy plane in international airspace. Relatedly, Taiwan declared this week that it will not recognize any Chinese effort to establish an ‘air defense identification zone’ in the South China Sea. In nearby Japan, the Chinese ambassador was summoned on Thursday to account for a Chinese navy ship in the East China Sea which was found sailing close to what Japan considers its territorial waters. In spite of such tensions, China appears unfazed. With a pending ruling from a Dutch court regarding a case brought against China – by the Philippines – in the South China Sea, Admiral Sun Jianguo declared, “We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble.’

And while this report highlights China’s changing position – and potential for leadership – on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), others note the country’s ‘paltry’ humanitarian contributions. Some are questioning what impact Brexit could have on development assistance, while The Economist contends that foreign aid is “as coordinated as a demolition derby.” Similarly, this report argues for ‘less paper, more aid.’ Bill Gates is looking past the paper in a plan to donate 100,000 chickens to individuals and communities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Last week, the US revealed a near total ban on the sale of ivory. While the move is certainly welcome, the issues surrounding animal poaching and illegal wildlife trade are complex, with one leading activist contending that corruption is a primary driver of the trade. Further complicating matters, East and South Africa – two key regions in the fight against poaching – possess opposing views on how to best address the surge in demand for ivory. In other animal news, Kenya experienced a nationwide blackout when a vervet monkey landed on a transformer – miraculously, however, the monkey survived and is now in the care of the Kenya Wildlife Service.

News this week suggests the US is ratcheting up its military mission in Yemen. In a somewhat contradictory move, however, the US has stalled a delivery of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. And in case you missed it, human rights groups have been in an uproar this week after the UN placed Saudi Arabia on a blacklist for committing ‘grave violations’ against children and then backtracked under pressure from Riyadh. All this comes as the humanitarian crisis in Yemen only grows worse.

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