The Syrian Kurds always knew they would be betrayed by the United States, but no one could have expected that their abandonment would be so sudden or so brutal.
In a shock reversal of American Syria policy, President Trump declared on Twitter, to the horror of his Kurdish-led SDF allies and his own administration, that he would not stand in the way of Turkey’s long-threatened invasion of the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria (AANES).
In doing so, Trump overturned America’s Syria policy, demolishing assurances to both local allies and international partners alike that the SDF’s sacrifice of 11,000 fighters in the bloody war against the Islamic State would be repaid with some form of negotiated settlement with Turkey, or at least protection from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vengeance.
That this move comes immediately after US troops oversaw the destruction of the SDF’s carefully-prepared defensive positions, constructed to slow the progress of a Turkish assault, has only emphasized the sense of betrayal amongst to the SDF.
“The sacrifices we made to defeat the Islamic State were not just a service to our people but also a service to the United States, Europe, and the entire International community, who faced a real and present threat from terrorism,” wrote Ilham Ahmed, co-chair of the AANES’ Syrian Democratic Council governing body in an op-ed in the Washington Post. “We expected our sacrifice and commitment to be repaid in kind. Instead, now we have been betrayed.”
Now, SDF forces are not only fighting desperately to preserve their hard-won autonomy along the entire 300-km stretch of the border, they may very well be fighting for their survival.
Source: Trump’s Betrayal of the Kurds Is as Incoherent as It Is Dangerous – VICE
The idea of paying reparations for slavery is gaining momentum in the United States, despite being long derided as an unrealistic plan, to compensate for state violence committed by and against people long dead.
The topic saw substantive debate in the July 30 Democratic primary debate, with candidate Marianne Williamson calling slavery “a debt that is owed.” Some Democratic congressional representatives are also pushing for financial recompense for the descendants of enslaved people.
Calls for reparations in the U.S. are generally met with skepticism: What would reparations achieve? Who should receive them, and under what conditions?
Other countries have tackled these questions. In 1995, South Africa established its Truth and Reconciliation Commission and paid reparations to the victims of apartheid. Eight years before, the United States apologized to 82,000 Japanese Americans unduly imprisoned during World War II and paid them US$20,000 each to compensate for their suffering.
Even Germany, birthplace of the worst racism ever institutionalized and elevated to official policy, has some lessons for the United States as it considers reparations.
Compensating victims of Nazi enslavement
I am a professor of political science who studies the relationship between democracy, citizenship and justice. My recent work on Germany examines how the country dealt with the horrors of the Holocaust.
Nazi Germany not only killed millions of Jews between 1933 and 1945. It also forced over 20 million people into slave labor, working them to their death in German industries. By 1944, a quarter of the German workforce was enslaved laborers.
Source: If Germany atoned for the Holocaust, the US can pay reparations for slavery : The Conversation
All members of the G20 reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate deal on Saturday, excluding the United States.
The 19 signatories have agreed on the “irreversibility” of the treaty on climate, signed in Paris in 2015, and have committed to its “complete implementation”.
The commitment was achieved with difficulty as the members faced opposition from the only G20 member not to sig: the United States.
“We must do a lot more on climate,” French President Emmanuel Macron said. “Scientists remind us of our duty every day. Young people remind us of our duty, too. We have signed the declaration with 19 members, except the US. We will continue to progress on the essential topic of climate.”
Macron added: “I did the maximum in 2017 to convince Trump to ratify the Paris agreement. I can only regret the American position.”
Source: G20: 19 members recommit to Paris climate agreement, without US | Euronews
US President Donald Trump once again falsely claimed on Tuesday that his father was born in Germany when he was in fact born in New York in 1905.
Trump made the comments from the White House where he was meeting with the head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg, and admonishing Germany for “not paying its fair chair” in defence spending.
“I have great respect for Angela (Merkel, the German Chancellor) and I have great respect for the country. My father is German, right. Was German and born in a very wonderful place in Germany. So I have great feeling for Germany,” Trump said.
According to a tally by the Washington Post and Buzzfeed News, it is the fourth time the American leader has publicly made the erroneous claim. He appears to confuse his father with his grandfather.
Friedrich Trumpf (later known as Frederick Trump) arrived in the US from his native Germany in 1885 at 16, US immigration records show.
His son – Donald’s father, Fred Trump – was however born in the Bronx, New York, in 1905.
Trump’s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, was born in Europe. She acquired the American nationality in 1942, twelve years after leaving her native Scotland for the US.
Source: Donald Trump falsely claims, again, that his father was born in Germany | Euronews
When was the last time you agreed to keep a secret?
Perhaps it was a personal confidence shared by a close family member or friend. Or it might have been in a contract with your employer to safeguard confidential information. Either way, you probably felt a strong sense of obligation to keep that secret.
At least when it comes to the workplace, that’s no accident. In the United States, the idea that workers owe their employers a duty of loyalty goes back more than 100 years. It is deeply ingrained in legal rules and American culture.
But it has been fraying, most recently in the form of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s damning congressional testimony against the president.
This trend was also on full display when the #MeToo movement went viral in 2017. #MeToo was, of course, about sexual harassment and assault. But it was also a form of mass whistleblowing. The movement signaled victims’ willingness – at an unprecedented scale – to defy promises of secrecy to their employers in service of a larger truth by revealing their experiences of workplace harassment.
While researching a book on the duty of loyalty, I realized that the #MeToo movement isn’t merely a rift in the ordinary order of workplace relationships in the United States. It is part a larger legal and cultural shift that has been in the works for decades.
The duty of loyalty is the idea that you “cannot bite the hand that feeds you and insist on staying for future banquets,” as an American labor arbitrator wrote in 1972.
It’s a bedrock principle that courts apply to employment disputes, even if you didn’t sign a contract promising to keep an employer’s secrets.
The duty of loyalty is why employers can demand that you sign a confidentiality agreement at the start of employment. It’s why workers can’t download their employer’s trade secrets on a thumb drive and use it in their new job. And why companies are able to persuade judges to enforce noncompete agreements.
Source: #MeToo whistleblowing is upending A century-old legal precedent in US demanding loyalty to the boss : The Conversation
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The trade war between Washington and Beijing is forcing Dutch health technology company Philips to move “hundreds of millions” of euros worth of production from the United States to China, and vice versa, to avoid punitive tariffs.
Source: Philips shifting ‘hundreds of millions’ of production due to trade war | Reuters
When US President Donald Trump began his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, laughter erupted from the hall. “In less than two years,” Trump said, “my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the entire history of our country.” There was a pause. Then Trump continued, “America’s – so true” – but he was interrupted by laughter.
Not laughter at a joke that Trump had cracked. Nothing like that. The laughter was directed at him. “Didn’t expect that reaction,” Trump said, “but that’s OK.” There was more laughter, even raucous laughter.
Source: No laughing matter: Trump’s speech threatens world order and peace | Asia Times
President Trump’s former campaign chief has sought a plea deal with the special counsel investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
Lawyers for Paul Manafort, 69, who was found guilty of tax fraud last week, held talks with federal prosecutors in an attempt to forestall a second trial on a further set of charges he is due to face in Washington next month.
The talks broke down over objections raised by Robert Mueller, the prosecutor leading the justice department inquiry, The Wall Street Journal said. After Manafort’s conviction in Virginia last week, President Trump praised him for not striking a deal with Mr Mueller, and did not rule out giving the political consultant a pardon.
The disclosure that Manafort’s legal team had…
Source: Manafort seeks plea deal with Robert Mueller’s Russia inquiry | World | The Times
President Donald Trump justifies tariffs on imports by arguing that “unfair trade policies” have harmed American workers. This has led to a trade war in which the U.S. and China have placed tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s products.
Most recently, China said it’s ready to slap tariffs on US$60 billion in U.S. imports if Trump goes ahead with his threat to tax another $200 billion of Chinese goods.
Since the president claims to be acting on behalf of working-class Americans, it’s fair to ask: How do tariffs actually affect them?
Scholars of international political economy, such as myself, recognize that trade hasn’t always been good for poorer Americans. However, the economic fundamentals are clear: Tariffs make things worse.
Source: How Trump’s trade war affects working-class Americans : The Conversation
CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico —Angélica, a grandmother from Mexico, reached for her granddaughter’s hand and moved up the pedestrian walkway on the Paso del Norte International Bridge to the weathered U.S.-Mexico boundary sign that marked the promise of a new life.
In a soft voice, she said, “We’ll see if they let us pass.”
Angélica, originally from Michoacán, Mexico, was accompanied by a group of journalists and immigrant rights advocates as she traversed the bridge between Juárez and El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday.
Her goal was to get past the Mexican half of the worn, gold-lettered sign that tells passersby where her country ends and the United States begins and to the U.S. station where she could apply for asylum, seeking refuge from violence in Mexico. She spoke to reporters on the condition that her last name and exact age not be used to protect her and her granddaughter.
A CHECKPOINT CLOSER TO THE U.S.-MEXICO BOUNDARY
Usually, officers — who are prohibited from crossing into Mexico — wait at a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspection station at the bottom of the bridge on the U.S. side and process border crossers and asylum seekers as they come through the official port of entry.
Source: Try later: It’s getting tougher for migrants to claim asylum at U.S. ports of entry :NBC News