The Foreign Policy Week

Syrian Airstrikes: Early Saturday morning, President Trump ordered the launch of seventy six missiles at three targets which were mostly chemical weapons research fascilities used by the Assad regime. According to coalition forces, these strikes were successful in their mission, and it has reportedly set the Assad regime back “years” in their advancement of chemical weapons. The strike, however, did not necessarily end the regime’s ability to launch chemical strikes, but rather “sent a message” that there would be repercussions with the additional hope that they would not be able to develop as many weapons in the future. The $90 million price tag for the missiles used in the strike were the price to pay to destroy buildings that the Russians, and as a product the Syrians, were told were going to be the targets. While it is possible important equipment was destroyed, it can be certain that digital copies of data storage and other important information were transported out of the building. While this does not excuse the use of these abhorrent weapons, it once again represents questionable strikes that may or, like in the case of the American strikes one year ago, may not deter the regime in the future.

The Chinese Tech War: The FCC voted unanimously on Tuesday to prevent federally subsidized telecommunications carriers from using suppliers that are perceived to jeopardize national security. While no specific companies were named in the ruling, it was almost certainly directed at the wave of Chinese technology companies looking to move into American markets. China has publicly stated in their Made in China 2025 plan that their goal is to achieve technological and military parity and supremacy with the rest of the world, specifically the United States. This plan follows the blueprint President Xi’s has laid out so that the world will soon, if not already, consider China a Great Power in their own right. To accomplish this goal, Chinese companies with ties to the government have utilized tactics such as hostile takeovers and extreme costs of entry for American companies to gain access to the vast Chinese markets. In doing so, these companies are able to bridge any technological gaps by requiring the American companies to hand over patents and trade secrets in the process of any mergers or entries. The FCC passing these rulings are a direct response to these acts and seek to limit the use of the aforementioned tactics on businesses that deal with technology seen as integral to the United States national security apparatus. This represents yet another escalation on the trade front that doesn’t necessarily include the same publicity as something like tariffs do, but nonetheless represents an important move in the gambit to control the technology of tomorrow.  

Women’s Rights in India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India is once again in hot water over his handling of a high profile rape case. This case specifically is one where an eight year old girl was attacked by a gang of men who claimed that attack was perpetrated to dive away the nomadic Muslim community she was a part of out of the mostly Hindu region. The lack of response by Modi is yet another example of the government’s apathetic response to violence against women in the country of 1.3 billion. In fact, lawmakers from his own party attended a rally in support of one of the men who had been arrested, claiming that the investigation should be taken out of regional (predominantly Muslim) hands and should be handled by federal (predominantly Hindu) law enforcement. His response on Friday of last week, came months after the crime took place in January, and spoke only of vague promises of justice for the victims and for women as a whole. This pattern of evasion and silence is especially reprehensible and frustrating for those who believed his 2014 campaign promises of making the government more responsive to attacks like these. The protests against Modi’s lack of action are promising, as their growing strength and passion is hopefully indicative of change coming in the near future.


Shawn GilloolyComment