GLOBAL PULSE: Worries about Chinese safety in OBOR projects in Pakistan, Obama’s trolling ways and Israeli journalist is fined for defamation

WILL CHINESE NATIONALS BE SAFE IN PAKISTAN?

Pakistan is beefing up security around Chinese citizens streaming into the country to implement Beijing’s ‘Belt and Road’ infrastructure spending. This comes after the recent Islamic State claim that they had killed the two kidnapped Chinese teachers in Balochistan. China has repeatedly urged Pakistan to improve security after pledging around $57 billion to build power plants, railways, and roads that will cross the Himalayas to connect western China with Gwadar port. Now, Pakistan plans to deploy special police protection forces to guard Chinese nationals and projects in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative. In Balochistan, militant groups are opposed to CPEC. The challenge will increase in 2018, when trucks begin to cross from China through the remote areas of Balochistan currently off-limits to foreigners. Meanwhile, a growing number of Chinese students are learning Urdu to prepare for the jobs in Chinese companies carrying out CPEC projects.

 

AN ISRAELI JOURNALIST’S GOSSIPY FACEBOOK POST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, have won a defamation lawsuit against a journalist over a Facebook post he wrote claiming that the first lady had booted the premier out of the car in an official convoy after a heated argument. The judge ruled that the post was “malicious and ugly, intended to humiliate and shame the plaintiffs”. The damning post said the incident “makes a mockery of all the security”. Netanyahu said on the stand: “Anyone who knows anything about motorcade security knows that something like that can’t happen.” During the trial, the journalist refused to reveal his source. The journalist said he would appeal: “This kind of verdict is what is expected during these dark days. But this is just the beginning of the fight.”

 

OBAMA IS TROLLING TRUMP

One might be forgiven for thinking that Barack Obama is trolling Trump. Especially when Trump has left Europeans despairing about the trans-Atlantic relationship, his predecessor is in the middle of a Group of 7 reunion tour. As Trump lectures his fellow leaders about paying more for NATO or ignores their pleas not to pull out of the Paris climate accord, Obama appears on panels with allies to discuss food security or youth matters. The meetings are private, often conducted in Obama’s hotel, but they quickly end up on social media, often accompanied by wistful commentary. Foreign leaders also use a meeting with Obama to their political advantage at home. Justin Trudeau lost no time tweeting a picture of himself at dinner with Obama. The challenge is, “How does he do it without looking like the leader of the global progressive resistance?”

 

LOVING MARTIAL LAW

Residents in Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown think martial law is great. The selfies prove it. They smile and pose for selfies in front of the tank. Some ask to take photos with the military men on duty. Not everyone is clear about what it means or why it’s needed here. The town is several hours away from where the military is fighting extremists linked to the Islamic State, which is what prompted the introduction of martial law, but the president’s declaration has electrified supporters of his new, aggressive approach. The government has been unclear whether martial law will be used only to the fight against the Islamist insurgents or to fight drugs, street crime and the ongoing communist rebellion. Duterte has attempted to link the Islamist rebels to drug money, which would give him more leeway to manoeuvre.

 

TRUMP’S NEW FRIENDS WERE HIS OLD ENEMIES

“When it comes to foreign affairs, he is heedless of history, susceptible to blandishments and supremely gullible,” says The Washington Post. It’s disappointing but not surprising that in the fifth month of Trump’s rule, Germany, Mexico and South Korea are among the big losers. What’s surprising is the big winners so far — not Russia, nor Israel — but two countries Trump has spent decades disparaging: China and Saudi Arabia. So far, Asia’s rising superpower and the Middle East’s most reactionary autocracy have gotten everything they wanted from the White House. Trump has lauded China’s Xi Jinping as someone with whom he has made “tremendous progress”. Since visiting Saudi Arabia last month, Trump has swung fully behind its ruling family. China and Saudi Arabia also used as their prime conduit Jared Kushner, the presidential son-in-law.

 

Picture Courtesy: cpec.gov.pk

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