22 December 2016   Leave a comment

Russian President Putin and US President-elect Trump injected a troubling note of uncertainty into world politics.  Both leaders called for greater attention to nuclear weapons, with Mr. Trump signaling the need to “expand” US nuclear capabilities.  I am still having a hard time trying to figure how to treat foreign policy by tweets and sound bites, so I don’t know exactly how to assess the seriousness of these statements.  But ever since the Cuban Missile Crisis, both the US and Russia have tried to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in their arsenals.  That crisis proved that once a certain level of destruction can be assured (the technical phrase is Mutual Assured Destruction [MAD]), the actual number of weapons is irrelevant.

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There was to have been a vote in the UN Security Council today on a resolution sponsored by Egypt which condemned Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank.  The US has in the past vetoed such resolutions, but there were many reports that the US would abstain on the resolution, allowing it to pass.  Egypt abruptly withdrew the resolution and the suspicion is that both Israel and President-elect Trump put a lot of pressure on Egypt to withdraw the resolution.  Given the weakness of Egypt’s economy and the fragility of its politics right now, it is unlikely that Egypt wanted to risk alienating either Israel or the US.

Posted December 23, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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