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Strongmen & Superpowers

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Strongmen & Superpowers

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  1. Strongmen & Superpowers Putin’s Russia, Xi’s China, and Erdogan’s Turkey

  2. What is a “strongman”? • :a political leader who rules by force and runs an authoritarian regime • Authoritarian:a government that favors complete obedience to authority as opposed to individual freedom • For many countries now, the nationalist “strongman” leader is back in fashion • Russia, USA, China, Turkey, Philippines, India, Egypt, Hungary, etc

  3. Features of a strongman • They portray the outside world as full of hostile forces, conspiring against their nations. • Russia and China oppose the American THAAD missile defense system in South Korea • They promise to control corrupt elites • They want more regional and global influence • Russia took Crimea, China wants to control the South China Sea • They have encouraged personality cults • Pop songs have been written about both Putin and Xi • They often pride themselves on being blunt and not politically correct • Charismatic, aggressive • They often mistreat minorities in their country • Extreme sensitivity to criticism • Putin and Xi have cracked down on freedom of speech. Erdogan has sued almost 2,000 people for defamation.

  4. Why does this happen? • People turn to authoritarian leaders when they feel insecure, scared, unsure, frustrated • Economic recession, global terrorism

  5. Frenemies • Strongman leaders tend to get along well (at first) • They support each other’s expansionist policies • Russia supports China’s position in the South China Sea, and China has supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea • Erdogan used to have close relationships with Putin and al-Assad but these have turned into bitter enemies

  6. Russia and Putin

  7. What does Putin want? • Putin wants a Russia respected as a Superpower free of American meddling • He has: • cracked down on freedom of information, including shutting down websites • imprisoned many political opponents and journalists • banned some human-rights NGOs as "foreign agents" and "undesirable foreign organizations." • invaded Ukraine and annexed part of it • meddled in the US elections • helped Bashar al-Assad • declared war on shirts (okay maybe not that one…yet)

  8. Who is Vladimir Putin? • From the start he has wanted to increase Russia’s influence on the world stage • He has led Russia into an era of order, stability and progress - he is widely admired in Russia • Others describe him as a thug presiding over an oligarchy; others call him a 21st century Tsar • Oligarchy:a form of government where power rests with a small number of people. • These people might be distinguished by nobility, wealth, family ties, education or corporate, religious or military control. • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxMWSmKieuc From spy to president: The rise of Vladimir Putin, 9:05

  9. The Oligarchs • Oligarchs are rich Russian businessmen who are close to the seat of power in Russia • Almost any rich Russian businessman is an oligarch, because in Russia there is a close relationship between private wealth and public power

  10. Chechnya • It is a tiny, oil-rich province in Russia's North Caucasus region that had declared its independence, they had 2 wars, lots of terrorists come out of the region • Chechnya is a de facto independent state, although formally the leader, Kadyrov, shows loyalty to Putin and formally Chechnya is part of Russia

  11. Crimea • In 2014 Putin invades and annexes Crimea, a peninsula in Ukraine • Https://www.Youtube.Com/watch?V=ijakcv8bw9e What most people miss about the war in Ukraine, Vox, 3:07 • Https://www.Youtube.Com/watch?V=hc83kgouedg Why are Russia and Ukraine fighting?, Now This, 4:07

  12. Human rights in russia • LGBT rights • In 2013 Putin banned “gay propaganda”, in 2014 he made it illegal for gay couples to adopt • Surge of homophobic violence and hate crimes • Horrific stories about gay men being persecuted in Chechnya – over 100 men are being detained and tortured in camps • Media freedom • Ranks 148th out of 179 countries in the Press Freedom Index • After the Crimean invasion the government pressured the media to stay quiet

  13. Russia’s relationship with USA • Trump has said he wants to work with Russia; he called Putin “very smart!” during his campaign speeches • But Russia was not happy when the USA called for air strikes in Syria following the chemical attacks • 13 Russians have been indicted for tampering with the US election

  14. Russia in syria • Russia has helped keep Bashar al-Assad in power, they have sent troops and aircraft • Putin wants to defeat ISIS • Syria was an ally to the Soviet Union during the Cold War • Russia has a naval facility in Syria; they want stability in the region • There are some Chechen volunteers fighting against al-Assad; Russia doesn’t want them returning to Russia after having been trained

  15. Russia’s Relationship with turkey • Russia and Turkey are supporting opposing sides in Syria • Russia supports the Kurdish fighters • Russia keeps violating Turkish airspace, and Turkey shot down a Russian jet in 2015 • In December 2016 the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated in Ankara • Russia has effectively banned Russians from visiting Turkey • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIYtUXjWz9I Why Do Russia And Turkey Hate Each Other? Now this, 3:23

  16. Turkey and Erdogan

  17. Recep Tayyip ERdogan • Erdogan appeals to Turkish nationalism and a long repressed Muslim majority to win elections • He keeps changing the rules to expand his power base • He has • accelerated a brutal war on Turkey’s Kurds • jailed thousands of judges and opposition leaders • shuttered newspapers • fired tens of thousands of teachers

  18. He has jailed opponents and critics, including a 16-year-old, who insulted him and a Miss Turkey who shared a poem criticizing him. • More than 50,000 people have been detained since a thwarted coup. • Turkey has the most jailed journalists of any country in the world. • Some 120,000 public servants have been fired

  19. Coup attempt • On 15 July 2016, a coup d'état was attempted in Turkey • Factions of the military attempted to seize control of several key places in Ankara, Istanbul, and elsewhere, but failed to do so after forces loyal to the state defeated them • President Erdogan cracked down on his opponents and the army • He purged military officials, police officers, judges, governors, teachers, and every university dean in the country

  20. terrorism • Much of the IS violence inside Turkey in the last few years can be put down to reprisal attacks for the Ankara government's policy on Syria • October 2015: more than 100 people died, many of them Kurds, in a double bombing on a peace rally near Ankara station • January and March 2016: suicide bombers murdered tourists from Germany, Israel and Iran in attacks on Istanbul • June 2016: forty-five people were killed in a coordinated attack targeting Turks and foreign visitors alike at Ataturk airport in Istanbul • August 2016: A suicide bomber was blamed for murdering 54 people at a wedding party in the southern city of Gaziantep. Twenty-nine of the victims were children • 1 January 2017: a gunman kills 39 people at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul

  21. China and Xi

  22. Xi Jinping • Xi wants China to be the most important power in East Asia • He has been accused of: • Extra-judicial detention, where detainees are tortured and mistreated, including as a tactic against political opponents and activists • Leading the world in executions • “Enforced disappearance of critics" • Identified as "the world's worst jailer of journalists" in 2014 and 2015. • China is ranked near the bottom (176 out of 180) in the World Press Freedom index, beat out only by Syria, Turkmenistan, Eritrea and North Korea • Clamping down on access to the internet and censoring it. • Google left the country last year despite the huge potential market • Lack of religious freedom. • Uighur Muslims are labeled extremists and terrorists • Families of Tibetan self-immolators have been punished

  23. China wants to be the superpower • By making massive trade and investment deals with Latin America and Africa, China had established its presence as a superpower along with the European Union and the United States • The Belt and Road Initiative is a development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. • Seen as a push for Chinese dominance in global affairs with a China-centered trading network

  24. China & North Korea • China is the DPRK’s most important ally • China wants to reclaim its status as sort of the predominant power in East Asia, and in order to create that sort of perception they have to stand up for their allies in the region • China is their biggest trade partner, but they have tried to teach them lessons, like sanctioning their coal shipments • If there was a war in North Korea, that is a potential 25 million refugees that could flood the borders; China doesn’t want that and so will help stabilize the area

  25. China and Japan • Lots of tension due to their war-ridden past and current conflicts, like in the South China Sea • But they are massive trade partners • Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have met face to face several times to try and build a friendlier relationship between the countries

  26. China’s many divisions and territories • It has 22 provinces and: • 5 autonomous regions • Guangxi, inner Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang, Ningxia • 4 direct-controlled municipalities • Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing • These cities have the same rank as provinces • 2 mostly self-governing special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau) • They claim sovereignty over Taiwan

  27. Autonomous regions • Like Chinese provinces, an autonomous region has its own local government, but these have more legislative rights. • They have a higher population of a particular minority ethnic group.

  28. Free Tibet • China took over Tibet in 1950, the young Dalai Lama fled and has been in exile ever since • China suppresses Tibetan culture and language, some call it a cultural genocide • China spins it like they were “liberating” Tibet from a miserable existence and bringing them back into the motherland

  29. Hong Kong • It is an autonomous territory and former British colony • China got it back in 1997 • It has its own currency, British-based legal system, and parliament (for the next 20 years anyway) • They get their own flag and Olympic team • Their “Chief Executive” is appointed by Beijing

  30. Hong Kong

  31. macau • Similar to Hong Kong, it is an autonomous region • It was a Portuguese territory until 1999 • Known for its massive casinos

  32. Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) • The original Chinese government was defeated by the communists in the civil war, so they fled to Taiwan • Both groups continue to claim to be the legitimate government of all China • Only 21 nations recognize Taiwan as independent • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X6ejraWoqE why China and Taiwan hate each other, Now This, 3:27

  33. The Uighurs • An indigenous group that lives in the west • They are Muslims and resist assimilation • About 1 million of them are imprisoned • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpsSpeHGyzk The plight of the Uighurs, Al Jazeera, 2:20

  34. Why is China mad at us right now? • Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was taken into custody by Canadian authorities to face extradition to the US over alleged Iran sanction violations on December 1, 2018 • Shortly after Meng's arrest, two Canadians were placed in Chinese detention, vanishing into the system without explanation, before later being given consular assistance. • Then in January, Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was retried and sentenced to death over drug smuggling charges in a one-day trial