Tuesday Headlines

US Permitted Violence And Rape In Afghanistan To Continue
A shocking report in The New York Times on Monday described how member of the military were told to turn a blind eye to the practice of bacha bazi, which is a “game” in which boys are used as sex slaves by their elders. Soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan have been instructed not to intervene in the abuse of Afghan boys by U.S. allies, even in some cases in which it’s taken place on military bases.

Sadly, the New York Times’ report is not the first time concerns have been raised about the rising incidence of the abhorrent tradition.

“While the Afghan government has been able to address some of these issues since the Taliban’s ouster in 2001, archaic social traditions and deep-seated gender norms have kept much of rural Afghanistan in a medieval state of purgatory. Perhaps the most deplorable tragedy, one that has actually grown more rampant since 2001, is the practice of bacha bazi — sexual companionship between powerful men and their adolescent boy conscripts,” reported Chris Mondloch, an analyst for the U.S. Marine Corps for five years, wrote in Foreign Policy in 2013.

While rural Pashtun culture remains largely misogynistic and male-dominated due to deeply-ingrained Islamic values, teenage boys have become the objects of attention for most powerful men in the Afghan countryside.

On Details And Specific Issues, Americans Divided on Foreign Policy
The 2015 Chicago Council Survey finds the American public as committed to engagement in the world as it has ever been. However, on specific policies, public opinion often divides along party lines.

At a fundamental level, these divergent views reflect differing interpretations of how the United States can most effectively advance its interests—whether through military or other means— in an increasingly volatile world.

Decades Later, WWII Politics Continue To Shape Asia
Although 70 years have passed since Japan surrendered to end WWII’s conflict in the Pacific theater, animus continues to color relations among countries in the Asian peninsula, writes Walden Bello in Foreign Policy in Focus.

“The war left its mark not only on the relations between Japan and its neighbors, but also on class politics within these countries. How each country handled its collaborator classes, in turn, has had a considerable impact on how they’ve responded to the current Japanese government’s push to revise the country’s ‘peace constitution’ into irrelevance,” Bello notes.

While the memories of the war have shaped relations between Japan and China, South Korea and the Philippines, so too have the economic and political realities of today.

“For China and Korea, Japan isn’t just a former military overlord but a contemporary economic rival. Trade and investment relations with the Japanese are seen as a necessary evil to acquire the needed resources and technology to beat them.

“In the case of the Philippines, Japan was never seen as an economic competitor but a source of development aid, investment, and jobs. Japan’s image as a wartime enemy was transformed beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Japanese corporate investments starting producing local jobs in appreciable numbers,” he says.

 

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