Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the head of the Iraqi government, has said that no American troops should remain in Iraq at the end of 2011. “The last American soldier will leave Iraq…. This agreement is not subject to extension, not subject to alteration. It is sealed.” The Prime Minister also granted assurances that his nation will not be pulled into an alliance with Iran, even though that is what some Iraqi politicians want (Iran and Afghanistan have recently signed a memorandum of understanding which brings those two nations into closer cooperation).
The First Vice President of Iran, Mohammed Reza Rahimi, one of the closest political allies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, faces charges of corruption in Iran. The story, which follows on the heels of a recent agreement signed between Iran and Afghanistan, reveals just how unsavory international politics can be.
China has declared that so-called “House Christians” are a cult and must be suppressed. The State Administration for Religious Affairs, which is the Communist watchdog agency in China responsible for supervising religious activity, claims 7 million members in its Three Self-Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and Pew Research estimates that there are 70 million Chinese Protestants who worship in their own home churches, ungoverned by the state. There is a similar split between state "catholicism," with about 5 million Chinese, and 12 million who follow traditional Catholic belief in the religious primacy of the Pope.
Totalitarian nations have always viewed procreation as an activity that is state business, not the hopes and dreams of ordinary people. Nazi Germany encouraged the right sort of people (in the eyes of the State) to have as many children as they could, and then made sure that the wrong sort of people could not procreate at all. The Fascists, less obsessed with race than the Nazis, also encouraged Italian families to have as many children as possible.
Frank Dikotter, an historian from Hong Kong, has been allowed wide access to Chinese Communist Party archives. Speaking at the Independent Literary Festival, Dikotter described Mao Zedong as the greatest mass murderer in human history. According to the historian, the entire death toll from the Second World War was 55 million people. Mao alone was responsible for the death of a mind-numbing 55 million in the years after the war.
The culture, the religion, and the attitude toward government of people ultimately determine how a particular nation behaves. The Americans of 1789 had a culture of self-reliance (which ended the “need” for much of what the world today has as government) and Americans also combined a wholesome capacity for self-defense with a desire for domestic tranquility.
Americans are rightly troubled by much in modern Islam. There is one area, however, in which America might find laudable approaches from Muslims. The government of Kelantan, a state within the nation of Malaysia, has introduced a new monetary system that is based upon standardized weights of gold and silver coins. These dinar and dirham coins were once common within the old Ottoman Empire, just as species — gold and silver money — was once common within most of the civilized world.
Reuters reported that a United Nations tribunal has tried and sentenced Kaing Guek Eav, the first Khmer Rouge commander to face charges of crimes against humanity for murder, rape, and similar horrific crimes.
What is the political ideology that governs the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea? Communism, its government proclaims. Communism, on paper, rejects dynastic rule. The party may govern the state and the state may be given almost unlimited power over the lives of its citizens (or, rather, subjects), but those who rise to high positions in government or party jobs earned that honor by slavish devotion to the Communist Party — or so the story goes.
Ethnic violence is rocking Kyrgyzstan. Uzbek citizens of the central Asian nation are alleging atrocities committed against them by Kyrgyz gangs roaming those parts of their nation in which ethnic Uzbeks form a significant part of the nation. The death toll so far stands at 117 killed with many more homes burned and Uzbeks injured. This is particularly curious because Uzbekistan has almost five times as many people as Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan has twice the land area as Kyrgyzstan.