China plots strategic coup in the Pacific

Despite commentary that China and the United States are moving closer together, the opposite is the case. In fact, China is mounting a direct, if subtle, challenge to the international order the United States created in the Far East after World War II. Most are aware that China is attempting to leverage growing military strength into a larger, dominating position by laying claims to islands in the East and South China Seas. Few realize that China is attempting to overturn the legal underpinnings of the US position in the western Pacific.

Like the Chinese proverb “to point at the mulberry tree to curse the locust tree”, Beijing’s challenge to Japan’s sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands is in fact a bid to abolish the entire structure of Far Eastern international relations established by the San Francisco Treaty of September 1951. (The Chinese refer to the Senkakus as Dyiaoyutai, literally a “fishing platform”, but in recent months Beijing has taken to calling Dyiaoyutai the Dyiaoyu Islands to add legal heft to the dispute.) Continue reading

Turkey plans legal reform to prevent coups

The Turkish government has plans to make a slight change to its laws to prevent coups. The contentious point in the constitution – Article 35 – has been used as justification by instigators of past coups.

Since 1960, there have been four military coups in Turkey that threw out elected governments. The last time a coup threatened the government in Turkey was 2007, when the military had a stand-off with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Now, the government is considering a historic step: changing Article 35 of the Turkish military’s internal laws. This would be an attempt to avoid future military coups by passing an amendment that would remove the possibility of the military getting involved in domestic affairs. The change in Article 35 would make the military only responsible for “threats from abroad.” Continue reading