By Annisa Essack
Professor Scott Lucas, the founder of EA Worldview and professor at Birmingham University, provides a birds-eye view of world stories.
Scott began with the turmoil in Kazakhstan, where violent protests in recent days have seen the government resign and the declaration of a state of emergency in the Central Asian country to help quell the unrest.
Although the rioting began with protests of the rising fuel prices, Scott says the people want “more political space, they want more political participation, more rights.” With the death toll mounting, Scott alluded to the fact that there may be “agent provocateurs” trying to blame the protestors.
More concerning, though, according to Scott, is the involvement of Russia, who has sent some 2500 “peacekeepers” into the country, propping up the government led by President Tokayev whilst trying to suppress the unrest.
Moving over the discussion on Ukraine, Lucas says the hope is that Russia will be pulling back its more than 100 000 troops on the Ukraine border, threatening to enter the country. Secondly, there is a move to see the Russians’ intervention curtailed as it moves to separate the east of the country away. The talks are due to begin between Russia and the US today and then followed up with talks with European countries and NATO members.
Russia, playing the victim, will request security guarantees and scrapping of links between NATO and Ukraine, but he says this won’t happen as NATO will not capitulate. Putin’s decision will be square with how much further he would like to destabilise the situation.
Speaking about the threat to the democracy of the United States, Lucas talked about the anniversary of the January Capital attack in which Donald Trump’s supporters invaded the capital buildings, threatened the lives of senators, including the Vice President then and attacked officers. Although hundreds were arrested and tried for the crimes, Donald Trump continues claiming that the elections were stolen from him and Republican state legislators who, to remain in power, continue to block voter access.
Lucas says that the critical question that Americans need to ask right now is whether it will be “a country where everyone had the space to vote, the space to carry out politics peacefully, or do you give in to disinformation and the threats of violence?”
On the Iran nuclear talks, Lucas says these are focusing on three issues: the US returning to the deal made in 2015, which it left in 2018, the lifting of US sanctions and Iran returning to the terms of the agreement, including limiting its nuclear enrichment. With limited progress thus far, Lucas believes that the talks will take some time before there is a breakthrough. However, it hinges on whether the US and Europeans will have the patience with Iran’s, so far, unwilling to reach a stable agreement for the long term.
With the demise of Desmond Tutu, Lucas was asked to comment on how Tutu’s contribution to the Anti-Apartheid struggle and other global affairs was viewed in the international community. He described the Arch as “an analyst and just represented the epitome of decency, the epitome of kindness in the worst of circumstances. Kindness not only with those who agreed but with those with whom he disagreed, and those who oppressed him and oppressed all South Africans.”
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