World View: Soldiers of Central African Republic Commit Gory Lynching

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 tobring peace to the CAR, brutally lynched a man on Wednesday, right atthe end of a ceremony for the new president, Catherine Samba-Panza.Speaking to the assembled soldiers, Samba-Panza said they would bepaid salaries for the first time in five months, and said:

I would like to renew my pride in those elements ofFACA [Armed Forces of the Central African Republic] who are hereand to ask them to support my actions wherever theyare.

As soon as she left, soldiers grabbed a bystander, accused him ofbeing from the Seleka militia, and then lynched him with knives andbricks, kicking him to the ground, stripping him to his underwear, andstabbing him over and over. Attempts to save the man only made themob even more furious. All of this took place in front of reportersfrom 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 genocidalmonster president Bashar al-Assad conducting “industrial strength”torture and extermination on his own civilians. The war in Syriamight well end if al-Assad stepped down. In the case of al-Qaeda-linked jihadists, you have mass murder through bombings of markets andmosques, 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 thatit’s done by soldiers in front of international reporters. The onlyother country where this level of personal viciousness is occurring isBurma (Myanmar), where Buddhist mobs are slaughtering entire Muslimcommunities.

As I’ve explained several times, CAR’s last generational crisis war wasthe 1928-1931 Kongo-Wara Rebellion (“War of the Hoe Handle”), whichwas a very long time ago, putting CAR deep into a generational Crisisera, when a new crisis war is increasingly likely. This isbecause all the survivors of that war are long gone, and nobodyin the younger generations has any personal memories ofits horrors.

Many people are describing the CAR war in religious terms, as Muslimsversus Christians, and that’s true to an extent. However, there’s noevidence that religion has anything to do with it except to identifymembers of the two groups. There have been no stories ofpriests or imams telling their respective “flocks” that they should goout and kill people. This is a raw ethnic/tribal war, with the masshatred and lynchings coming from ordinary people, not from theirpoliticians or their clerics. Week after week it’s building intoa 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 theminds of many Chinese, almost nothing concerns Chinese officials morethan food security and food self-sufficiency. Yet with a huge andgrowing population and demand for food, in the face of fast-depletingwater, land, and labor resources, China is actually lessself-sufficient, and depends on food imports, especially from theUnited States, to feed itself.

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

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

China is expanding agricultural trade with Europe, especially leadingfood exporters in France, the Netherlands, and Germany. An interestingfootnote to the continuing political confrontation in Ukraine is that Chinahas loaned $3 billion to Ukraine to develop its agriculture, in returnfor which, Ukraine exports corn to China.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, China is headed forboth a world war and an internal civil war. The internal war would betriggered by unemployment or food shortages, as has happenedrepeatedly 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 leadersnot to “appease” China and drew a parallel to the 1938 decision togive Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland to Adolf Hitler’s Germany. This isthe same point that I’ve been making for several years, when I referred to China’s “Lebensraum” policy. China is claiming vast areas of theSouth China Sea, including regions that that have historicallybelonged to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines,and has threatened to use its vast military power to threaten andsubdue any neighboring nation that disobeys its orders.

Last year, the Philippines decided to challenge China’s claims bysubmitting the case to a United Nations tribunal for adjudication.China contemptuously denounced that attempt, saying that everything inthe South China Sea belongs to China, and nobody but China has theright to decide what belongs to China.

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

Any Chinese claim to maritime rights not based onclaimed land features would be inconsistent with internationallaw.

China could highlight its respect for international law byclarifying or adjusting its claim to bring it into accordance withinternational 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, andthousands 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’smilitary belligerence. Russel’s statement is certain to bring newangry denunciations from the Chinese. AFP

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