3 October 2016   Leave a comment

India has signed the Paris climate change agreement.  It is the 62nd country to do so and the signature is significant.  The agreement was designed so that it would not come into effect until 55 countries signed it and only when those 55 countries account for 55% of the emission of greenhouse gases.  India’s accession brings the total emissions up to 52% of the global amount, not yet enough to activate the agreement, but close enough to inspire hope.  If India had not signed, there was probably no way for the agreement to come into effect.  Now the pressure is on the countries that have yet to sign on.

Iraq is the first country to respond to the passage of the Justice Against Sponsor of Terrorism Act (JASTA) which allows American citizens to sue Saudi Arabia for damages incurred in the attack on 11 September 2001.  Stephanie Ross DeSimone has initiated a suit against Saudi Arabia for the death of her husband who was on the flight that was crashed into the Pentagon.  A group in Iraq has asked the Iraqi Parliament to pass a similar law which will allow Iraqi citizens to sue the US government for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  The can of worms has definitely been opened.

The US has broken off diplomatic discussions with the Russians, and the question is whether the rupture signals a decision by the US to step up its efforts to support the rebels opposing Syrian President Assad.  The Russians certainly believe this to be the case.  If the US does intend to more openly oppose Assad, then a confrontation with the Russians will be hard to avoid.  On the other hand, the decision not to deal with the Russians may simply indicate that the US has decided not to become more involved in Syria and to accept President Assad.  The latter course of action would undoubtedly be view as a defeat for the US and a victory for the Russians.  But much depends on how one defines the US national interest in Syria.  As long as the Russians continue the fight against the Islamic State, then that objective can be served.  But the humanitarian objective of defending the Syrian people against Assad would be completely lost.  A third objective could simply be to thwart Russian objectives in the Middle East, and that interest would also be lost.  Which of these three considerations is most important to President Obama?

Posted October 4, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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