World View: Soldiers of Central African Republic Commit Gory Lynching

This morning's key headlines from
  • Another gory lynching in Central African Republic, this time by soldiers
  • China struggles to import food from around the world
  • U.S. challenges China on South China Sea claims

Another gory lynching in Central African Republic, this time by soldiers

Soldiers in the Central African Republic, the ones who are supposed to bring peace to the CAR, brutally lynched a man on Wednesday, right at the end of a ceremony for the new president, Catherine Samba-Panza. Speaking to the assembled soldiers, Samba-Panza said they would be paid salaries for the first time in five months, and said:

I would like to renew my pride in those elements of FACA [Armed Forces of the Central African Republic] who are here and to ask them to support my actions wherever they are.

As soon as she left, soldiers grabbed a bystander, accused him of being from the Seleka militia, and then lynched him with knives and bricks, kicking him to the ground, stripping him to his underwear, and stabbing him over and over. Attempts to save the man only made the mob even more furious. All of this took place in front of reporters from AP, AFP, and Reuters.

What makes this different even from the conflict in Syria is its raw, personal, man-to-man brutality. In Syria, you have the genocidal monster president Bashar al-Assad conducting "industrial strength" torture and extermination on his own civilians. The war in Syria might well end if al-Assad stepped down. In the case of al-Qaeda-linked jihadists, you have mass murder through bombings of markets and mosques, and some tortures and individual murders.

In CAR, this kind of lynching is going on now across the country by self-directed individuals. What makes today's story unique is that it's done by soldiers in front of international reporters. The only other country where this level of personal viciousness is occurring is Burma (Myanmar), where Buddhist mobs are slaughtering entire Muslim communities.

As I've explained several times, CAR's last generational crisis war was the 1928-1931 Kongo-Wara Rebellion ("War of the Hoe Handle"), which was a very long time ago, putting CAR deep into a generational Crisis era, when a new crisis war is increasingly likely. This is because all the survivors of that war are long gone, and nobody in the younger generations has any personal memories of its horrors.

Many people are describing the CAR war in religious terms, as Muslims versus Christians, and that's true to an extent. However, there's no evidence that religion has anything to do with it except to identify members of the two groups. There have been no stories of priests or imams telling their respective "flocks" that they should go out and kill people. This is a raw ethnic/tribal war, with the mass hatred and lynchings coming from ordinary people, not from their politicians or their clerics. Week after week it's building into a new generational crisis war of ghastly proportions. National Post (Toronto) and Telegraph (London)

China struggles to import food from around the world

With memories of Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward of the late 1950s when tens of millions of Chinese died of starvation still in the minds of many Chinese, almost nothing concerns Chinese officials more than food security and food self-sufficiency. Yet with a huge and growing population and demand for food, in the face of fast-depleting water, land, and labor resources, China is actually less self-sufficient, and depends on food imports, especially from the United States, to feed itself.

To better safeguard the country’s food security, China is trying to diversify its food imports away from the US, to build its own global food supply system by investing in overseas agricultural resources. In Central Asia, China leases or controls hundreds of thousands of hectares of farmland in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.

In 2012, China contributed $1 billion to a joint Russia-China fund to invest in agriculture and timber in Russia, leasing 600,000 hectares of land and 800,000 hectares of forests.

China is expanding agricultural trade with Europe, especially leading food exporters in France, the Netherlands, and Germany. An interesting footnote to the continuing political confrontation in Ukraine is that China has loaned $3 billion to Ukraine to develop its agriculture, in return for which, Ukraine exports corn to China.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, China is headed for both a world war and an internal civil war. The internal war would be triggered by unemployment or food shortages, as has happened repeatedly in China's history. S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)

U.S. challenges China on South China Sea claims

Philippine President Benigno Aquino recently called on world leaders not to "appease" China and drew a parallel to the 1938 decision to give Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland to Adolf Hitler's Germany. This is the same point that I've been making for several years, when I referred to China's "Lebensraum" policy. China is claiming vast areas of the South China Sea, including regions that that have historically belonged to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, and has threatened to use its vast military power to threaten and subdue any neighboring nation that disobeys its orders.

Last year, the Philippines decided to challenge China's claims by submitting the case to a United Nations tribunal for adjudication. China contemptuously denounced that attempt, saying that everything in the South China Sea belongs to China, and nobody but China has the right to decide what belongs to China.

On Wednesday, Danny Russel, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said: 

Any Chinese claim to maritime rights not based on claimed land features would be inconsistent with international law.

China could highlight its respect for international law by clarifying or adjusting its claim to bring it into accordance with international law of the sea.

I believe that the reference to the phrase "claimed land features" means that if the James Shoal is right off the coast of Malaysia, and thousands of miles from China, then that region belongs to Malaysia, not to China.

Tensions have been growing in the South China Sea because of China's military belligerence. Russel's statement is certain to bring new angry denunciations from the Chinese. AFP

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