new Zeland police are very ‘disturbed” by the decision of the Auckland University Students’ Association offer of $5,000 to anyone who would carry out a citizen’s arrest of visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Superintendent Brett England said anyone who attempts to cross police lines during her visit to Auckland this weekend will be stopped. ‘Operational planning for this visit has been in the making for several months and there are highly effective security measures I please, so I would strongly advise the association representatives who’ve put this challenge out, to withdraw it immediately so as to avoid being caught up in something much bigger than they may have anticipated.”
AUSA president David Do said the arrest would be for her role in “overseeing the illegal invasion and continued occupation of Iraq…. Student associations in New Zealand have a long history of being involved in fighting for global justice, dating back to student involvement in the 1981 anti-Springbok tour protests and the US war in Indochina in the 1960s and 1970s.”
Conventional wisdom is to regard this as a showboat activity on the part of students, but whether by design or inadvertently, the students are raising important issues. Should those in the Bush administration who lied to the American people about reasons for invading Iraq be held responsible in a court of law? Does the International Criminal Court have the right to issue warrants for Bush and his fellow conspirators who caused the death of over 4,000 Americans and the deaths of thousands of Iraqis? If a Serbian murderer can be arrested, why not American murderers?
The world wonders if sabres are being drawn or sheathed in the Middle East as Iran and Israel challenge one another with displays of missiles and simulated plane attacks. For the second straight day Tehran sent missiles on test runs while proclaiming defiantly to the world that it will not succumb to any Western pressures. It is clear Iran’s leaders do not with to portray any sign of weakness in the face of outside demands for change. It emphasized the Shahab-3 which can go about 1,250 miles is sending a “message to our enemies.” However, Pentagon experts noted only one missile actually was launched and, apparently, a second one never got into the air.
Secretary of State Rice responded to the Iran message by saying, “we are sending a message to Iran that we will defend American interests and the interests of our allies.” The Israel Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, also sent a message that “Israel has proved in the past it is not afraid to take action when its vital security interests are at stake.”
Undoubtedly, Western Union was scurrying hither and dither delivering all these messages, but the most important one has yet to be sent. The Middle East, at this juncture in time, can not be the scene of missiles flying from one country to another without creating complete chaos in the region. Barack Obama has urged diplomatic action and, hopefully, that will be an option come January of next year.
The Bush administration, whose record on creating one problem after another in the Middle East and never successfully resolving any of them, offered to assist Israel and the Palestinians to get back to the business of working out an agreement. Secretary Rice supposedly presented this offer to Prime Minister Olmert during his recent Washington D.C. visit. She suggested Americans could sit in on negotiations in order to facilitate the
process. Chief Palestinian negotiator, Ahmed Qureia, said both sides did agree on beginning the process of laying out their ideas on key issues.
The bottom line is both sides fundamentally differ on West Bank and East Jerusalem housing construction, borders, security and return of the refugees. At this point, Israel holds the stronger hand and it incumbent upon its leaders to take the initial step of backing down, at least somewhat, on key issues.
Meanwhile, in a minor issue, eight left wing activists protested against the separation fence. Perhaps, as a gesture of compromise, Israel could begin making it easier for Arabs to move around the West Bank without continually encountering check points.
Secretary of State Condi Rice told Chinese officials the United States will continue its support of the one China policy and regards any attempt of Taiwan to alter that relationship to be harmful to world peace. In talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jeichi, she reiterated her country’s opposition to any action on the part of the Taiwan government to take actions which would later the current relationship with China. She expressed opposition to a Taiwan proposal which would have a referendum on whether it should become part of the UN as an independent nation. Rice also urged China not to take unilateral action across the Taiwan Straits which might result in violence.
The Chinese government regards Taiwan as an integral part of its nation and any discussion about Taiwan is felt to be an intrusion into China’s sovereignty. Foreign Minister Yang welcomed Rice’s support because anything to the contrary would have resulted in a diplomatic incident. Taiwan has no support in the world for any desire on its part for independence. The people of Taiwan will simply have to accept the present situation and hope that in coming years a more democratic China will work out some form of mutual relationship that is beneficial to both parties.
Posted in Asia, China, George Bush, Human Rights, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged China, Rice, Taiwan