Monday, August 15, 2016

Shuttling, Shifting, & Gobsmacking

Hello, I must be going...

Ilaria Maria Sala on the real likely reason Japan's Emperor wants to abdicate:

... But constitutional reforms take time in Japan maybe more so than elsewhere. And the urgency with which Akihito has been pleading for early dismissal from the heavy honour of being the official symbol of the state means that revising the constitution to allow him to step down would have to take precedence on the army’ role. 
“In terms of the constitution issue, certainly it could be a distraction from Abe’s legislative programme and committee debate on changing the constitution. Whether the emperor intended it that way is another question. Ultimately, it is impossible for Abe to railroad through parliament a proposal to greatly change or eliminate Article 9 completely. Even if Abe prioritises Article 9 revision, it will take a lot of consensus building with the ruling parties, the opposition parties, and consideration of what the public will accept. This could take quite some time and the process might even outlast Abe’s administration,” observes Wallace.

In this fashion, the pacifist emperor would have found a last minute recourse to prevent, or at least severely delay, Abe’s determination to change the constitution and unshackle the military. Some think this might be the real reason behind Akihito’s push for retirement. Others see it as a welcome side-effect of a genuine desire to step aside.

Laura Tingle on how the Nauru Files revelations are shifting Australian politics on the asylum debate:
... Labor has been cautious about delving into the issue of asylum seekers because it has felt vulnerable on the issue in the past and not wanted to appear 'soft'. But this position is shifting in light of revelations of abuse and amid outrage from the opposition over the weekend admission by former prime minister Tony Abbott that he should have supported Labor's so-called 'Malaysia solution'... 
... Labor was on a rare attack over offshore detention on Sunday with Labor frontbencher Stephen Conroy saying detention on Nauru and Manus Island would not have been necessary had the Coalition, in opposition under Tony Abbott, agreed to the Gillard government's Malaysian solution. 
In a speech in Adelaide on Friday night,  Mr Abbott said his opposition to the Malaysian solution had in hindsight been a mistake. The former prime minister said that while he doubted the scheme would have stopped the boats, letting it stand "would have been a step back from the hyper-partisanship that now poisons our public life". 
Senator Conroy told Sky News he was "absolutely gobsmacked" to read of Mr Abbott's backflip.

Yusho Cho observes emerging diplomatic flexibility from Laos, traditionally seen as China's client:
But landlocked Laos, surrounded by five countries, including China, seems to have the skills to survive the region's tugs of war. 
These skills could be seen at the ASEAN ministerial meeting, where the host managed to include this phrase in the joint communique despite China's opposition: "We further reaffirmed the need to ... pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law." 
In the statement from the ASEAN Regional Forum's chairman, Laos stated parties should "pursue peaceful resolution of disputes ... in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)." A senior Japanese foreign ministry official said he gives Laos full marks for its performance.

Murat Yetkin outlines the secret shuttle diplomacy facilitated by Kazakhstan to reconcile Turkey and Russia - before the recent coup attempt:
According to high-ranking diplomatic and security sources who asked not to be named, the secret diplomacy ending the Turkish-Russian crisis unfolded as follows: 
Late April, Akar told Erdoğan that there might be a channel that could be used to solve the crisis. He told Erdoğan that Cavit Çağlar, a textile investor, had business in the Russian Federal Republic of Dagestan. Çağlar used to be in politics in the 1990s, serving as a minister of state in Süleyman Demirel’s cabinets and knew the Dagestani president, Ramazan Abdulatipov, well from those times. Abdulatipov had access to Putin through his chief adviser, Yuri Ushakov. When Çağlar was a minister, Akar was the chief of the cabinet for the then-chief of General Staff, and they had known each other well since then. Çağlar had been beneficial to the state as a minister and then as a businessman before, Akar told Erdoğan. He was the channel between Ankara and Heydar Aliyev of Azerbaijan in Nakhchevan and in Baku in the mid-1990s and it was he who gave his private jet to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) team to fly to Kenya in 1999 to arrest PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in a joint operation with the CIA. Akar told Erdoğan in a meeting where Kalın was present that Çağlar had financial problems in 2000s and faced court for that but was reliable in state operations. After meeting with Çağlar and Akar in Istanbul on April 30, Erdoğan gave the green light for the operation.
Appointed by Erdoğan as the contact person for Turkey in relations with Ushakov for Russia, Kalın started to pen the draft of the letter from Erdoğan to Putin. Through Çağlar and Abdulatipov, shuttle diplomacy started between Ankara and Moscow, where the content and form of the letter was edited by the two parties a number of times during May and early June.

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