The Rohingya Muslims, Same sex marriage and North Korea
Some complex and seemingly intractable problems can have relatively simple solutions. The Rohingya Muslims are fleeing Myanmar because of apparent army violence towards them. These people have been living in Myanmar for generations yet are stateless because Myanmar will not grant them citizenship despite their being born in the country. Myanmar does not want these people and Bangladesh doesn’t have the room or resources to take them.
A possible solution would be for the Myanmar government to cede a certain amount of land to Bangladesh in return for taking all the Rohingyas. Myanmar would also need to provide Bangladesh with some financial assistance so that the latter country could properly settle the newcomers. Although there is no likelihood that the Myanmar military and government would consider this option it would certainly be preferable to ongoing violence and internecine strife. This desperate and impoverished people, if not aided, would certainly provide a fertile recruiting ground for Islamic extremists such as ISIS.
The same sex marriage debate has raged in Australia for many months and the government has just wasted more than 122 million dollars on the conduct of a voluntary, non-binding postal poll. The government could have run an online poll at virtually no cost and then simply done its job through the parliament. In reality this expensive farce is because Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is afraid of Tony Abbott’s conservative faction within the Liberal Party.
The debate about same sex marriage is simply a question of semantics. As long as all couples receive the same rights, duties and obligations the name isn’t really that important. To keep the churches and conservative people happy without alienating or denying the rights of the LGBTI community we could simply have two forms of marriage on certificates. We could have “Marriage D” (for different sex couples) and “Marriage S” (for same sex couples). Everything else would be the same. Wedding celebrants and ministers of religion can already refuse to wed any couples who don’t fit in with their views. The Catholic Church and some others will not allow people who have been divorced to marry in their churches.
North Korea and its nuclear tests and frequent missile launches have been in the news and rattled financial markets to an extent lately. It would seem that Kim Jong Un wants to ensure that his regime is completely safe from any outside attack. Also, North Korea’s becoming a fully-fledged nuclear power would be a boost to his ego and increase his popularity with the country’s not-so-well informed population. In the same way many Russians admire Putin for his strong man image regardless of unethical behaviour North Koreans are likely to respect Kim Jong Un’s status as a strongman despite his tyrannical regime’s crimes.
The US has already made it quite clear what will happen if North Korea actually uses a nuclear missile. Why one might ask, doesn’t China guarantee to defend North Korea from an external attack? Perhaps Kim Jong Un doesn’t sufficiently trust China to believe in such a guarantee to protect his regime.
This problem is one of those that seems to have no simple solution. If North Korea is allowed to keep its nuclear weapon and missile program and its new status is simply accepted then other countries, such as Iran, might want to follow the same path. Widespread nuclear proliferation almost certainly would result in nuclear catastrophe at some point in the future. Keeping and enforcing stringent sanctions against the rogue state for a very long time would cause further starvation amongst the poorest of its people.