World View: Opposing Sides in Ukraine Exchange Threats of Terror, Bankruptcy

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Switzerland votes to impose immigration quotas, violating EU agreements
  • Opposing sides in Ukraine exchange threats of terror and bankruptcy
  • U.S. General criticizes Japan, Philippines for China-Nazi comparisons

Switzerland votes to impose immigration quotas, violating EU agreements

The caption says: 'The excess is harmful! Stop mass immigration - YES.'  I'm not sure what the tree symbolizes, but in the picture its roots are strangling Switzerland.
The caption says: 'The excess is harmful! Stop mass immigration - YES.' I'm not sure what the tree symbolizes, but in the picture its roots are strangling Switzerland.

In a nationwide referendum on Sunday, Switzerland voted by a razor thin vote of 50.3% to re-impose quotas on immigrants from other countries, including EU countries. Switzerland is not a member of 17-nation eurozone bloc, nor is it a member of the 28-nation European Union, though it's surrounded by eurozone and EU countries. For 12 years, Switzerland's borders have been open to all EU countries (though not to other countries). The referendum was strongly opposed by the Swiss government. The greatest effect of implementation of Sunday's vote would be to close the borders to workers from the EU, many of them highly qualified.

The size of the vote varied across the country. Ticino is the only canton with an Italian language majority, and it voted 78% to curb immigration. Ticino borders Italy, and is having major social and economic problems from grossly underpaid foreigners, sometimes working as black market laborers. On the other hand, cantons in western Switzerland were strongly against limiting immigration, with 60-70% voting "no".

The "yes" vote threatens several agreements with the European Union, including trade agreements that permit most of Switzerland's exports to go to the EU. EU officials say that they're reviewing the situation to which of these agreements will have to be terminated. Swiss officials have three years to implement the new immigration quotas, and they've indicated that they plan to move very slowly. Geneva Lunch and Bloomberg

Opposing sides in Ukraine exchange threats of terror and bankruptcy

Some 30,000-50,000 anti-government activists rallied in Kiev on Sunday, the capital city of Ukraine, to demand the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych, chanting:

"A new constitution. A new president. A new government. A new country. This is what we want and we will prevail. Glory to Ukraine."

Many wore blue and yellow ribbons, the colors of both Ukraine and the European Union, to emphasize their demands that Ukraine should be more closely linked to Europe than to Russia.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) placed its anti-terrorist units on high alert, saying in a statement that it had received reports of terrorist incidents, including bomb threats at nuclear and hydroelectric power stations.

The government opposition warned that the country is headed for financial default. In the last month, the logic of bankruptcy has been reversed. Ukraine has been headed for bankruptcy for some time, but Russia's president Vladimir Putin offered to bail them out with a $15 billion loan, provided that they signed a trade agreement with his Eurasian Customs Union rather than the EU. However, as the riots and violence have grown, Putin announced that he would withhold the bailout money until Ukraine joins the customs union.

So now the opposition is saying that since Putin is withholding payment, the country is headed for default again. But opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk says that the U.S. and the European Union are ready to step in with financial aid. Good to know. AFP and Ukrainian News Agency and Bloomberg

U.S. General criticizes Japan, Philippines for China-Nazi comparisons

Gen. Herbert J. "Hawk" Carlisle, the commander of the Pacific Air Forces, is criticizing leaders of Japan and the Philippines for drawing comparisons between China's actions today and those of Nazi Germany prior to World War II. In these columns, I've repeatedly referred to China's current policies as being similar to Hitler's "Lebensraum" policies.

According to General Carlisle:

"The rise of Germany and what occurred between the U.K. in particular and Germany, and what happened in Europe, I don’t draw that comparison at all to what’s going on today [in the Asia-Pacific].

Some of the things, in particular that have been done by Japan, they need to think hard about what is provocative to other nations."

Carlisle urged all countries in the region to try to defuse tensions. In particular, he cautioned China not to extend an air-defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea as it did in the East China Sea separating China from Japan, because itoulw be "very provocative."

Several days ago, I quoted U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel as "Any Chinese claim to maritime rights not based on claimed land features would be inconsistent with international law." This statement turns out to be an official U.S. rejection of China's famous "nine-dash line map" claiming regions that have historically belonged to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. According to Russel, any Chinese claims "must be derived from land features," and not from a historical map not recognized by anyone else. According to a China analyst formerly of the Obama administration:

"[F]or the first time, the United States government has come out publicly with an explicit statement that the so-called 'nine-dash line' ... is contrary to international law."

According to China's foreign ministry, "Some US officials make groundless accusations against China." Bloomberg and Radio Free Asia


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