Editorial (197)


Public debate has been heated again among Britons after Prime Minister Theresa May showed signs of considering the transition period of Britain's exit from the European Union (Brexit). May plans to extend it in the next few months. However, the extension plan proposed by May turned out to be sharply criticized by the British public, both Brexit supporters and European Union (EU) supporters.EU supporters expressed frustration with the prolonged Brexit negotiations. On the other hand, Brexit supporters say Britain must pay billions of pounds if it is to stay in the European Union.The reaction to May's plan does not only stop there. She also faced resistance from her coalition partner in parliament. The Northern Ireland United Democratic Party (DUP), threatened to oppose the government budget. European Union MP from DUP, Diane Dodds, views the extension of the transition period would actually disrupt her party. Even the opposition accused Theresa of "betraying" Brexit.Less than 6 months before the UK's formal exit from the European Union, Brexit negotiations are still not showing much progress regarding the border issue between the British Northern Ireland Province and Ireland. The problem is centered on a backstop policy that guarantees that there will be no redevelopment of physical boundaries on the Irish Island if future trade relations do not go well. With this extension, Britain will also remain in the EU single market and be the subject of EU rules and regulations, for three years after the official Brexit date in March 2019.The European Union has stressed that the backstop policy must be agreed by the UK if it wants to get a Brexit agreement with the EU, inspite of the extended transition period . Last February 1, 2017, the vote count in the British parliament showed that 498 members gave approval to Prime Minister Theresa May to start negotiations on Brexit, while the remaining 114 opposed.This means that PM Theresa May has the support of a majority of British parliamentary members and the public, to leave the European Union. But after running for almost 2 years, the reality in the field was not that easy.Will Britain really leave the European Union? PM Theresa May still has time to make the final decision until summer 2019.


Good relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States are being tested. The alleged death of journalist Jamal Kashogi involving the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul has triggered the test of bilateral relations between the two countries. The United States threatens to sanction its partner if it is proven that the alleged death of the Washington Post journalist was due to Saudi Arabia's actions. Jamal Kashogi is a Washington Post journalist, who is critical of the Saudi Arabian government. Although Saudi Arabia has denied the allegations, President Donald Trump has said he would give punishment if Riyadh was proven involved in the disappearance of Jamal Kashogi.The Trump threat has reduced good relations between the two countries which have been exacerbated by Saudi Arabian interference in Yemen. The threat has caused strong reactions in Riyadh. An unnamed government official for instance, responded to Washington's threat, saying he would do the same in return. As reported by the AFP news agency, Saudi Arabian government officials said they would retaliate if the United States gave economic sanctions. One form of retaliation is by transferring good relations to Iran. Iran is now a common enemy of Saudi Arabia and the United States. Al Arabiya television said further that the oil-rich Saudi Arabian government had 30 steps to repay the United States and Western countries if the sanctions were imposed. The rhetoric about the retaliatory action is being questioned.If Saudi Arabia had not been involved in the case of the disappearance of Jamal Kashogi in Istanbul Turkey since October 2, then Riyadh should not have reacted strongly to the threat of Trump. There are two steps that can be taken taken: First, through diplomatic channels. In the name of friendship and good relations, the government in Riyadh can actually convey its position and state that the alleged murder of Jamal Kashogi by the elements of his government is not true. The second step is to allow a transparent and open investigation into the alleged Jamal Kashogi murder. With this investigation it will be proven that Turkey's accusation that the Saudi Arabian government has fabricated the loss of Kahogi, killed and dismissed it is not true. Saudi Arabia should understand why then Donald Trump threatened Saudi Arabia. Domestically, Trump is politically pressured by a number of lawmakers in Capitol Hill.Will the relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia continue to deteriorate, of course is yet to be seen from the efforts of Saudi Arabia to follow up on the alleged Jamal Kashogi murder.


Indonesia successfully held two major events in October 2018. The first one is the Asian Para Games held in Jakarta on 6-13 October 2018. While the second one is the Annual Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group (IMF-WBG) in Nusa Dua, Bali, 8-14 October 2018. At the 2018 Asian Para Games, Indonesia succeeded in becoming a good host for 43 countries participating in the event. This is evidenced by the statement of the President of the Asian Paralympic Committee -APC, Majid Rashed to the media before the closing ceremony. Rashed was very impressed by the organizing of the third Asian disability sports event in Jakarta October 6-13 2018. According to Rashed, the Asian Para Games Organizing Committee (INAPGOC) has worked very well and professionally. He also said that the 2018 Asian Para Games was much bigger in terms of the number of participants, the number of media that covered and the number of spectators who watched, and more lively than the two previous Asian Para Games. The second event was the International Monetary Fund-World Bank Group Annual Meeting –IMF-WBG held in Nusa Dua, Bali, 8-14 October 2018. Managing Director of IMF, Christine Lagarde and President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim also expressed their appreciation for Indonesia's success in organizing the international meeting. This appreciation was even followed by the provision of assistance worth US$1 billion dollars for disaster victims in Central Sulawesi and Lombok by the World Bank. The praise and appreciation for the two big events are given because of the hard work and good cooperation among the organizing committee, the government, the security, and the Indonesian people as a whole. At the closing of the Asian Para Games on Saturday, October 13, 2018, Vice President Jusuf Kalla affirmed that the Asian Para Games was more than sports event among Asian countries. He considered that the Asian Para Games 2018 gives a spirit of equality in humanity and is an important momentum or part of the history of Asian nations, especially Indonesia. Hopefully, the 2018 Asian Para Games and the Annual Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group can give a good impression, not only to the guests who come, but also to the country and the people of Indonesia. The success achieved is a proof that Indonesia is a country that deserves to be taken into account and has more value in international world now and in the future.


Yuan Devaluation

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The United States of America feels inconvenient to see the value of Yuan fall. US Treasury Secretary, Steven Munchin in Nusa Dua, Bali on Wednesday (10 October 2018) warned China not to devaluate its Yuan. The US wants this monetary move is discussed in the US-China trade agenda. In fact, that China devaluated its Yuan is not done for the first time when  the US has imposed tariffs on Chinese products. Several years earlier, China also devalued its  Yuan against the US dollar. In August 2015, this action was carried out by China in a bid to boost the performance of Chinese exports which experienced a decline. A weaker Yuan makes the competitive edge of products made in China be able to compete in the global market. When this was carried out, Trump has not been in power in the US and has not yet begun trade war between US and China. As a result, Yuan's devaluation at that time made the flow of funds worth US$8 trillion dollars withdrawn from stock exchanges throughout world. Last April, US President Donald Trump accused Russia and China devalued their currencies, when the US raised interest rates. Since in January 2017,  Trump has served as US president, the US dollar value actually has dropped against Yuan, reaching more than 8%. Why does the United States object to the devaluation of the Yuan, Ruble or other foreign currencies? The answer is if the value of the foreign currencies is low, the products are more competitive. High interest rates in the US make the dollar value rise and make US products more expensive. In addition, if Yuan is evaluated, the application of high tariffs carried out by President Trump towards Chinese products will be in vain. This is due to the high price of Chinese products because of the US tariff, it drops as the value of low Yuan makes the tariffs decrease. In addition to the Yuan or Ruble whose value may be deliberately lowered, Indonesia does not reduce the value of its money. But, Indonesia’s need for dollars is high because of the debt payment needs and imported product. Consequently, this causes the US dollar value has risen significantly so far. Actually, this makes the value of Indonesian products is more competitive. The question is that whether we will take the opportunity to devaluate rupiah to boost revenue though there is an economic slowdown due to the US-China trade war.


Brazil is still on the democratic process to get a new president. The first round of the Presidential Election which has taken place still cannot determine who the President of Brazil is. None of the candidates who participated in the Election received a majority votes of above 50 percent. Candidate President Jair Bolsonaro for instance, although leading still has not managed to collect votes beyond the threshold. Of the almost 99 percent of votes that have been entered, Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing member of parliament has only won 47 percent. In the second position was Fernando Hadad, a left-wing MP with 28 percent of the votes. Based on the results of the vote, Jair Bolsonaro and Fernando Haadad will advance to the second round. The first phase of elections in Brazil is not only colored by the bustle of democracy, but also violence. Jair Bolsonaro, when campaigning was stabbed and had to be hospitalized. The racist-leaning figure of parliament succeeded in advancing to the next round to get rid of other figures who got party support in parliament and got a large portion of coverage on television. Jair Bolbonaro, successfully utilizing social media namely Twitter and Facebook to influence voters. Jair Bolbonaro spread his message and vision and mission with promises to end corruption, crime and economic sluggishness. He also promised to restore the traditional value of his country. The effort and the way Jair Bolbonaro feels remind many people of what Donald Trump did when fighting to win the US election. The slogans echoed by Jair Bolbonaro to restore Brazil's glory sound like what Trump said, “Make America Great Again”. Even the racist-leaning approach is also taken by Jair Bolbonaro. However, the fate of Jair Bolbonaro, who in the first stage of the election won surprisingly, will still be determined in the second stage of the elections which will be held on October 28. The majority of the Brazillian people will determine who is the future President who will be driving Brazil to a better future.


Asian Para Games 2018 was officially opened last Saturday (6/10). President Joko Widodo using sign language opened the third Asian Disabled Sports event. For more than a week, until October 13, 2018, the attention of the Asian community, especially sports lovers will return to Indonesia, especially Jakarta. After last month, the Asian Games 2018 ended its implementation, with a record of Indonesia's success, being a successful host, and success in medal achievements. Indonesia is again committed to being successful as an organizer and medal gainer through the Asian Para Games. The Asian Para Games 2018 is an arena for more than 2,700 athletes from 43 countries to compete in 18 sports. In the sports event that is held once every 4 years, athletes who have physical limitations display their best to win medals for their country. The community is certainly waiting for the record of achievements. The opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Para Games has been witnessed by many people who assessed the success of organizing a sports event from its opening ceremony. Indonesia has successfully held the opening ceremony of the Asian Para Games 2018. The opening ceremony of the Asian Para Games 2018 had a lot of meanings from the theme “We Are One” until the programs. This theme embodies not only the motto of the Indonesian people, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika –Unity in Diversity, but also the unity of nations in Asia. One of the contents of the Asian Para Games 2018 opening event that attracted the attention of many people was the presence of the word "Ability". President Joko WI dodo along with the disabled athletes and a small girl with a disability tore down the "DIS" from the word "Disability". So, what was left behind was the word "Ability". Through the ability word, Indonesia reminds that those who have physical limitations still have the ability, ability and ability. The word reminds that everyone has the ability in his or her way, and has the right to get equal treatment. Disability is no longer shortage, but is strength. All Asians can take advantage of the momentum of the Asian Para Games 2018 to provide equality and opportunity for anyone. They may compete in a healthy manner, support equality and unite Asia. More importantly, they strengthen brotherhood. As stated by President Joko Widodo, a lot of values have emerged from the 2018 Asian Para Games event: the spirit of competition, human values and brotherhood. Everyone can certainly do that. Have a fair competition and record achievements at the Asian Para Games 2018!


Iraq carried out the first parliamentary election in May this year. The result of the election was not immediately announced, because disputes occurred among the participants of the general election. This is the first election in Iraq, since ISIS, which controlled Iraq, could be defeated. Based on the result of this election, none of the parties won absolutely. Among 329 parliamentary seats, the clerical group Shia, Moqtada Al Sadr won 54 parliamentary seats, the Shiite group won 47 seats and the former Prime Minister Alliance Group, Haider al Abadi won 42 seats. The remaining was  won by other groups, including Kurdish parties. In accordance with conventions made since the United States intervened in the Iraqi issue, the President's position will be held by the Kurds, the Prime Minister by the Shiites and the Speaker of Parliament by the Sunnis. However, there is no agreement on who the Kurdish representative  becomes president. This has made two Kurdish parties: the Democratic Party of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Patriotic Union in parliament propose their respective candidates. Voting was conducted to determine who the President of Iraq is. As a result, Barham Salih, a veteran politician who was the Deputy Minister won 219 votes against 22 votes obtained by Fuad Hussein. Salih has 15 days to appoint a Prime Minister. During the next 2 weeks, Salih will move quickly by appointing a senior Shia politician, Adel Abdul Mahdi as the prime minister who has 30 days to form a government. Although no one is a majority winner in the parliament, and there may be challenges in forming a government. This is good news for the democratic festivity in Iraq. We do not expect any more splitting in Iraq because heavy duty awaits anyone who is the leader of Iraq. Rebuilding Iraq that was destroyed by war requires hard work by all parties.


After more than one year of the referendum that resulted in  Britain out of the European Union, or Brexit, the two sides continue to negotiate. The talks are expected to pave the way so that  Brexit does not to make economic relations between the UK and European Union member states fall apart. Michel Barnier, who was appointed as European Union Brexit Chief Negotiator, recently  met Spain's Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Maroto Reyes. As written on his Twitter account, Michel Barnier implies his view that Brexit must not damage the economic order of the European Union countries. He said that the European Union continues to strive so that the formal exit of  the British government will still ensure good economic cooperation. In fact, the referendum did not necessarily make Britain leave the European Union. It takes a long time to prepare both sides. Politically, some EU countries want Brexit not to make domestic politics shaken. Various approaches in negotiations were also considered so that the British Prime Minister Theresa May would not go deeper into internal political conflicts. As is known, there has been a difference between Theresa May and two Brexit supporters that led to a government crisis. David Davis and Boris Johnson, two of Brexit's main supporters in the Theresa May government had resigned in protest, When negotiations take place with the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May must be able to ensure that her government is in a stable and safe condition. Theresa May's political efforts were carried out as the Conservative Party Congress took place 3 days ago. Theresa is facing a tough test both domestically and out. The grace period until the signing of the agreement between the UK and the European Union in November, will really determine whether the Brexit referendum decision will run smoothly, or cause new problems, both for Britain and European Union countries. This is where ideality interferes with reality.


Indonesia is in grief again. A tectonic earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter Scale shook Donggala Regency, Central Sulawesi on Friday, September 28, 2018 at around 17.02 WIB. This earthquake caused a tsunami that hit Palu and Donggala. The earthquake with tsunami left more than 830 people dead and hundreds more injured. This disaster is one of the most tragic tragedies in the history of Indonesia. The central government immediately assisted local governments in Palu and Donggala, Central Sulawesi to deal with earthquake and tsunami affected the victims. This is needed considering that the disaster causes significant infrastructure destruction and hampers the distribution process. President Joko Widodo came directly on the hit locations to monitor the current situation at several points affected by the disaster, including the evacuation posts and hospitals. The earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Palu and Donggala become the world's spotlight. Some foreign media highlighted how the tsunami in Palu and Donggala occurred dramatically. Meanwhile, other media reported that the death toll was estimated, at least, 1,000 and more than 800 bodies had been found in Palu, not including in Donggala area and others that are difficult to access. Among the victims, there are 71 foreign nationals who are casualties of the earthquake and tsunami in Palu City and Donggala Regency. Some foreigners are still unknown. Head of the Data, Information and Public Relations Center of the National Disaster Mitigation  Agency -BNPB, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that most of the foreigners in Central Sulawesi during the earthquake in Palu and Donggala were reported to be safe. Some foreign tourists have also been evacuated to Jakarta. The grief of Palu and Donggala is the sorrow of not only the people of Central Sulawesi Province, but also all Indonesian nation and the world. Expression of sympathy and sorrow over the disasters that struck Palu and Donggala, even offers of humanitarian assistance from various circles and friendly countries begin to arrive. The European Union, for example, will distribute emergency assistance amounting to 1.5 million Euros or Rp25.97 billion for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Palu and Donggala. In addition, the United States and China also offers assistance to the Indonesian government. The earthquake and tsunami in Palu and Donggala should further strengthen the brotherhood. Amidst the political temperature that is starting to heat up ahead of the legislative general elections and 2019 Presidential Elections, the Indonesian nation should be increasingly united by helping each other who are in trouble. Because the grief of Palu and Donggala is the grief for all.


More dominant control of China in Asia through the initiative of One Belt, One Road Policy seems to trigger less conducive situation for European Union. The reason is that China’s initiative brings about debt burden for countries joining in the program. Some countries in Asia have taken part in the cooperation scheme. Sri Lanka, for instance, builds a seaport worth US$1,5 billion dollars. In fact, the country cannot return its foreign debt and has to let China control the seaport for 99 years, exactly until 2116. Another project in Malaysia is also put off by Malaysian government under the leadership of Prime Minister  Mahatir Mohamad. In Indonesia, project of express train funded by China has not shown significant progress and it has been criticized. Another country in Asia, Pakistan tries to consider some aspects before continuing the project with China. Why does European Union pay more attention to Asia? Asian is the region that has developed dynamically. Total population of Asia reaches about 4,5 billion people, including 600 million people of ASEAN, as one of the regions of the world’s economic driver. Huge population can be potential market for European Union and its growth is less favorable. European Union is aware that China’s control is easy to be overcome because China is royal to help some Asian regions. Meanwhile, European Union with some problems are difficult to disburse huge funds to cope with China. What has European Union offered to Asia? European Union has offered employment, economic growth with environmental and social standards. According to European Union, these points become crucial for China. European Union expects its member states to support Asian Connectivity Strategy. Based on the planning, the draft will be one of main discussions in the summit of European Union and Asian leaders in  October. Of course, there is no rivalry between China and European Union for good initiative to trigger new conflict in the region. Both sides should develop multilateral cooperation in Asia which being shaken by US President, Donald Trump. 

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