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News stories have Donald Trump being mocked by France’s Macron at a Buckingham Palace reception for the NATO leaders meeting. A nearby open mic caught the incident. Trump’s response was to call Macron two-faced.

Macron returns to a France paralyzed by the biggest strike in years. Teachers and transport workers are alarmed by his plan targeting their traditional pension scheme. They would now have to retire later or accept lower benefits.

Trump returns to face impeachment. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked the House to get on with it and draw up the Article of Impeachment. Trump also wants the same. So he said upon his return from Europe. He wants it over so he can get on with running the country, which he says has a bustling economy, the lowest unemployment in recent history and a booming stock market.

The source of Trump’s self confidence: a Republican majority in the senate bound to acquit him. Truth be told, this is an unusual impeachment in that it has not managed to obtain the support of a single member of the president’s own party. Prior impeachments of others had more substantial grounds and always some bilateral support.

This impeachment is also unusual for its triviality. Taking together the partisanship and the weak reasons, some legal scholars warn it sets a bad precedent, and the possibility that future presidents might well face the prospect not as rarely as in the past.

To summarize the issue: it stems from Joe Biden’s son Hunter earning $50,000 per month serving on the board of Burisma, the notoriously corrupt Ukrainian gas enterprise, while lacking any professional expertise in the company’s area of business. The clear implication is that it was due to his father being Vice President of the United States. Trump simply asked for an announcement from the Ukrainian president that they were opening an investigation. So what is worse nepotism or an inquiry into it?

From the relatively trivial to the deadly serious. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hear the case against Myanmar for the Rohingyan genocide. Aung San Suu Kyi as tarnished as her Nobel Peace Prize remains obdurate. Her country’s claim the genocide case stems simply from the world”s inability to understand the complexities of the issue.

Forget the BBC film clip of one incident where the perpetrators boasted proudly of their handiwork as smoke from a village they had set alight rose in the background. Killing or stealing livestock, destroying crops to make return impossible was another tactic in the event villagers escaped. Rape, mass murder, people being burnt alive locked in their houses are well documented. Later, the UN Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission confirmed convincing evidence of genocide.

Aung San Suu Khyi will face a legal team from Gambia. Why? Well it’s a story of happen-chance. Last year Gambia’s Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou visited Bangladesh for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s annual conference. What he saw and heard there recalled for him painful memories of the Rwandan genocide where he had prosecuted cases.

With the OIC delegation he visited Rohingya refugee camps to hear repeated stories of rape, murder and arson, and on his return he was able to convince the OIC to file a case with the ICJ. It is the first of its kind since the 1990s from the then demised Yugoslavia — the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina versus Serbia and Montenegro charging genocide filed in 1993.

And a timely warning to over-enthused promoters of religious nationalism willing to step over the line of human decency and respect for the other. Look where it leads.

Dr Arshad M Khan (http://ofthisandthat.org/index.html) is a former Professor based in the U.S. whose comments over several decades have appeared in a wide-ranging array of print and internet media. His work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in the Congressional Record.


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One Comment

  1. Trump accused Trudeau of being ‘two-faced’ not Macron