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The raging civil war in Syria has dominated headlines as well as both the debate and emotions at the U.N. General Assembly. But beyond the grisly statistics of over 100,000 people killed as well as the toxic political aftermath of chemical weapons use, there remain three other glaring, but often overlooked, issues.
The Somalia-linked terrorist carnage perpetuated in a Nairobi, Kenya shopping mall killing 70 innocent bystanders, the attacks on a church in Peshwar, Pakistan by Taliban fighters murdering at least 75 worshippers, and the consistent harassment of Christians in Egypt by Muslim Brotherhood militants offer stark and stunning subjective evidence of Islamist militants perpetuating violence.
Presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens, and potentates will be in New York for the 68th annual U.N. General Assembly. The ongoing Syrian crisis and the toxic haze of recent chemical weapons use, clouds the diplomatic horizon at the global gathering as delegates confront issues of war, peace and widening humanitarian disasters.
We are witnessing an intense geopolitical chess game over Syria as I wrote last week. The players: Barack Obama, president of the United States, former senator and Chicago community organizer versus Vladmir Putin, president of the Russian Federation and former Soviet KGB intelligence operative. Moscow has just made a move which seems to have offered Obama a brief political respite, but equally has prompted Washington to do yet another policy turnaround on the Syria crisis.
The geopolitical chess game over Syria continues as the world enters autumn with the clouds of war swirling in the Eastern Mediterranean. The civil war which has engulfed Syria since 2011 killing 100,000, and now having crossed U.S. President Barack Obama's proverbial “red line” of chemical weapons use allegedly by the Assad regime, has triggered an American response set to punish the Damascus ruler.
I chanced upon Ronald Reagan walking towards Freedom Square here in Budapest. Actually his bronze statue, set in a brisk stride, larger than life, and facing a Soviet war memorial, sums up so many of the political emotions, poignant memories, and ghosts which still swirl round the Hungarian capital, even in the bright Summer sunshine. Budapest of course has seen darker days so it's all the better to celebrate freedom.
The Lone Ranger has galloped down the Champs d' Elysees on his trusty horse Silver. The little blue Smurfs are at the palatial Opera Garnier. As has long been the case in recent memory, the French remain enchanted and enthralled with American movies ranging from Wolverine and Pacific Rim to World War Z.
As the clock ticks down to an American military pullout from Afghanistan in late 2014, civilian deaths in the troubled country have ticked up as Taliban insurgents focus on “soft targets” and set the scene for wider intimidation in the wake of a Western pullout.
Sudan's embattled Darfur region has been cursed by the trauma of ethnic conflict and the continuing tragedy of displacement, refugees and hunger. As the decade long inter-ethnic conflict continues, the region's violence continues but in a void of being largely forgotten and forsaken by the outside world.
Perceptions often govern attitudes. Indeed the image of the United States worldwide is increasingly challenged by China in a number of key areas as Beijing asserts itself as on the international stage as an economic and political player. This shifting balance of power towards the People's Republic of China, or at least the perception, is especially pronounced in Africa and Latin America and significantly even among Americans.
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