There are seven billion people on planet earth and last week a surprisingly large number of them were making news or otherwise disturbing the peace. From the Via Meadia newsdesk, some of the events we followed.
One Chinese town continues to stand up to police and the government. Also in Asia, developing economies, like India’s and Vietnam’s, are suffering: “extremely grim and complicated”, said one Chinese official. American movie star Christian Bale got attacked in China, and the Chinese have begun negotiations over a naval base in the Seychelles.
Over in the Middle East, American troops depart Iraq, but what are we leaving behind? Many of those Iraqis that helped our forces are in danger. Meanwhile, Iran is making overtures to the Saudis, only a few days after the Saudis threatened to counter an Iranian bomb with one of their own, and just weeks after Washington accused the Iranians of trying to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US. At the same time, Turkey and Iran grow further apart. And, troublingly, there are signs that Turkey’s economy is overheating. Lastly, an investigation by the Treasury Department and the DEA suggests that Hezbollah is more of a drug cartel than a humanitarian NGO.
Our big essay of the week put the “international duty to protect” in its place: a far-fetched idea to begin with, the bloodbath in Syria shows just how far the world is from a real consensus that the international community can and will stand up to murdering despots.
In other news, December 17 marks the anniversary of the date on which France recognized the US as a sovereign nation 234 ago.