In Europe, migrants attempting to reach Europe through the Mediterranean Sea are continuously facing difficulties due to unstable boats, bad weather conditions, and even being abandoned by their smugglers. The migrants are risking their lives to hopefully live in Europe, which has stability that most of the conflict zones in Africa and the Middle East lack.

Even though migrants’ boats going through the Mediterranean Sea are reportedly launch from Northern Africa, some migrants have traveled far to reach Europe. There are Syrian refugees, people from sub-Saharan Africa, and others from war torn conflict zones (France 24 5/5/2015). While the EU leadership and the Italian government as well as other non-governmental organizations are executing plans to rescue and provide humanitarian support for the migrants, the continuous flow of people fleeing to Europe is posed to develop into a greater problem for all EU member states.

The nationalist parties are projected to object any plan to allow these migrants stay in Europe permanently, and while providing care for the migrants is arguably morally right to do, there is also the question of how the EU member states will be able to cope with the rising cost of taking care of the refugees. There is also the concern by the general population on whether the migrants would integrate into the European society culturally.

All the debate on the short term solution or policy on handling these migrants, however, does miss a larger picture. The long term solution to handle the migrant problem is to identify and eliminate the reason why migrants flee to Europe in the first place. The EU leadership needs to evaluate its foreign policy in terms of restabilizing conflict zones that generates the greatest number of migrants.

It should be remembered that the migrants are not fleeing from their homes by choice. If there are daily conflicts within their towns and there is no safe area to flee within their own country, then these people naturally would flee to another area, where they can settle their lives. Europe, which has a relatively culturally and demographically diverse society compared to Africa and the Middle East, is an attractive area for migrants to flee.

EU needs to shift its foreign policy focus on restabilization in conflict zones abroad. This is a difficult task given the threat of terrorist groups and incompetent governments, but in order to tackle the migrant problem in the long term, the EU leadership as well as other world partners needs to guarantee societal and economic stability within the conflict regions. The way this policy would manifest to action might be controversial, given that there is a possibility of an foreign occupancy in conflict regions. However, unless restabilization does not occur in conflict zones, more people will be fleeing.

Again, there is stagnation in Japan’s effort to make any diplomatic progress with China and South Korea because of Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s offerings to the controversial Yasukuni shrine. The shrine is controversial, because it honors many Japanese war criminals from World War II, including those responsible for ravaging many regions in China and South Korea in the era of the Empire of Japan.

This year, again, brought in the predictable rebuke from both China and South Korea for the Japanese Prime Minister’s offering to the shrine. The Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Abe’s offering was merely an act as a private citizen (Korea JoongAng Daily 04/21/2015 – US Time), but not surprisingly the explanation failed to pacify the angry reaction of government officials from both China and South Korea.

In December 2014, Prime Minister Abe enjoyed renewed support by winning the snap election with a comfortable margin (BBC 12/14/2015). Mostly driven by the public’s approval of “Abenomics”, the Prime Minister has won an economic mandate. “Abenomics” are driven by three major points: massive fiscal stimulus, aggressive easing of monetary policy, and heavy structural reform in Japan (Financial Times Lexicon 04/21/2015). While the aggressive economic policy has lifted the Japanese economy in the short-term, there are doubts whether the revitalized economic growth is sustainable. If “Abenomics” fails, then not only this would be an expensive failure for Japan, but the failing Japanese economy would also hurt the economies of both China and South Korea due to intraregional dependencies from intraregional trade.

Ultimately, it is in the Prime Minister Abe’s interest to make diplomatic progress on China and South Korea as various regional issues, such as North Korea matter, require regional cooperation. Prime Minister’s office has been making great effort to make diplomatic progress, but if the pinnacle diplomatic achievement is merely a cold handshake or an informal meeting with a head of state (The Wall Street Journal 11/10/2014), then there is a long road ahead.

Prime Minister Abe and his government need to reconcile how to balance diplomatic progress with their propensity towards the controversial shrine. Even the current Emperor of Japan Akihito has maintained the imperial household’s embargo on visiting the shrine (Japan Times 8/14/2013).

Prime Minister Abe can probably make “Abenomics” more successful if there was some type of regional cooperation from China and South Korea. Also, the Prime Minister needs China and South Korea to address effectively on the North Korea’s threat. Ultimately, the Prime Minister can do a lot of things more effectively if there is significant diplomatic progress with China and South Korea.

In the long run, if some of Prime Minister Abe’s major policies fail due to lack of regional cooperation from China and South Korea, then serious questions ought to be raised whether the Prime Minister Abe’s personal propensity towards the Yasukuni shrine was worth sacrificing decades of potential Japan’s progress in economic and regional political fronts.

US President Obama has been working to normalize relations with Cuba, and his possible move to remove Cuba from the US designation as a state sponsor of terrorism might facilitate an ever closer relation with the country (The New York Times 4/10/2015). Recent diplomatic shifts are quite a contrast from decades of US policy of political and economic isolation against the socialist regime that jailed political dissidents.

If this current trend continues, then new opportunities are available for both Americans and Cubans, including economic, academic, and cultural cooperation between the two countries. Initially, the short term economic gain in Cuba might be driven by tourism, but due to good medical and educational infrastructure in the country, there is a good possibility of economic diversification with good leadership.

Removing economic and political isolation ought not to be seen as Obama simply conceding to the Cuban regime. The US President needs to make sure that the future partnership with Cuba not only brings opportunities to the US in terms of cooperation on terrorism and other international issues but also the partnership would bring domestic change that would lead Cuba to another liberal democracy.

There are still risks for the US. Cuba might simply take new the economic and political opportunities to only strengthen the regime and continue to jail political dissidents and make no changes in the totalitarian structure of the country. As mentioned with the Iranian nuclear negotiations (DS NETS 4/5/2015), the longer Cuba takes advantage of the open economy with the US, the more it becomes dependent on the US. If Cuba does not make necessary domestic changes in the country, the US simply can leverage the economic influence on Cuba to incentivize directly to make positive democratic changes to the country.

If President Obama can make significant progress on both Iran and Cuba before the end of his presidency, then he might have sealed his foreign policy accomplishments. The upcoming Presidential election debates on foreign policy would be interesting to watch as the global politics finally shifts little by little.

It is quite remarkable that there has been significant progress in the ongoing Iranian nuclear negotiations, but there is still a long road ahead. The US and Iranian negotiators have to return to their respective country and try to convince their leaders that the current framework of the potential final nuclear deal is the best interest for the country.

Secretary of State John Kerry has to battle a skeptical Republican led US Congress while his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif needs to convince his conservative, isolationist leaders that Iran did not simply gave in by western pressure.

The possibility of having economic sanctions lifted is great news for the younger, growing population of Iran. With the Internet, young Iranians have known all the possibilities of global trade denied to them due to the nuclear issue. With a sizable, educated population and the Iranian petroleum industry, the potential economic growth in Iran is huge.

The western skeptics have pointed out the possibility of Iran reneging on the agreement (World Politics Review 11/20/2014). From the current nuclear deal, however, the international community would not commit to lifting economic sanctions until outside inspectors are able to verify that Iran is complying with the nuclear agreement (US State Department 4/2/2015). If Iran is planning to reneging on the agreement prior to having economic sanctions lifted, then it would contradict their agreement to this initial nuclear deal in the first place.

Now, it is entirely possible that Iran might renege on this agreement after the economic sanctions are lifted. Consequently, this itself would burden the country with a huge political cost due to the country's economy having to readjust back to an isolationist economy. This might cause a public out roar as something palpable like the lifting of economic sanctions has been taken away for the price of having started the illegal nuclear program again, which most Iranians don’t see a direct, palpable benefit.

In a way, having access to the global markets consequently leads to interdependence, and interdependency raises the domestic cost of going back to isolationist era and even preparing for war. Perhaps this has been the West’s plan all along, gently bringing long-term stability via opening up international trade with Iran.

Some US officials worried about the decreased effectiveness of drone strikes against al Qaeda in Yemen due to lack of on-the-ground intelligence caused by the US embassy closure back in middle of February (Reuters 2/12/2015). Now, with most of US presence gone from the country, Yemen is becoming an unstable ground for a proxy war between Saudi Arabia-led coalition and Iran (The New York Times 4/1/2015).

The sad part of this continuous escalating conflict is that most major participants of this conflict do not seem to prioritize the welfare of the people of Yemen. This is the war on regional influence, and the foreign participants of this conflict believe that Yemen should become a country of their own vision.

Granted, there are legitimate reasons to why foreign intervention might be justified. First, it is in the best interest of all civilized world that Yemen does not turn into a haven for terror groups to train, coordinate, and launch their terrorist activities abroad. This has been the primary public reason for the US intensive involvement in Yemen. Second, it would be in the interest of protecting basic human rights of Yemenis that the country does not turn into an oppressive totalitarian regime. In order to intervene Yemen with these reasons, an international coalition led by the UN Security Council is needed.

Unfortunately, the current conflict in Yemen has developed into an inter-regional proxy war with opposing coalitions fighting in order to win a sphere of influence in this country. The real victim in this conflict are the Yemenis people, who simply want to live their own lives in stability.

As with any regional conflict, there is the call for the United Nations to act (The New York Times 3/26/2015), but with the ongoing Iranian nuclear talks complicating the matters (ABC 3/29/2015), any significant international intervention is unlikely.

The real question is, how did Yemen came to be like this? The answer is quite complicated.


This is my writing depository containing analysis and opinion on current events. Online since 2004, DS NETS continues to strive to contribute to the general online discussion on the ongoing political, societal, and cultural events around the world and at home.

It is my belief that through good writing that not only I can think beyond the headlines and abstract summary of articles but also my writings can open new avenues for further research and discussions.


In order to maximize capability among visitors, this website does not depend on bloated javascript and other code to display the content to the audience. There are no external advertisements, and the website is relatively lightweight for the web browser of all kinds.

The website design was done by scratch (by me), and readability of the content, as well as the aesthetics, was the focus of the design.

Hopefully, the lightweight nature of the website can make the browsing experience more pleasant.