1 February 2017   Leave a comment

The British House of Commons have voted, 498 votes to 114, to back Prime Minister Theresa May’s European Union Bill.  The overwhelming vote in favor of negotiating an exit from the European Union does not match the closer referendum vote, 51.9% to 48.1% in favor of Brexit.  But the vote reflects the decision of both the Labour and the Conservative Parties to honor the outcome of the election.  The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrat leadership voted against the bill, suggesting that Scottish independence may be back into play.

US General David H. Petraeus gave testimony to the House Armed Services Committee during its Hearings on “The State of the World”.  Petraeus is generally regarded as a very astute analyst and his testimony raised serious flags about the current trends in world affairs.  I recommend the testimony to all who want a clear statement of the US vision of the liberal world order, not necessarily as an endorsement, but as a framework to understand previous US values and motives.  Petraeus makes his position very clear:

“Americans should not take the current international order for granted. It did not will itself into existence. We created it. Likewise, it is not naturally self-sustaining. We have sustained it. If we stop doing so, it will fray and, eventually, collapse.”

President Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn gave a press briefing today  in which he said: “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.”  The statement refers to the decision apparently made by the Trump Administration that the ballistic missile test two days ago violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231.  Flynn also referred to the attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen, believed by some to be backed by Iran, on Saudi Arabian naval vessels. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the “missiles are conventional and not capable of carrying warheads.”   The European Union Representative to the UN Security Council indicated that it was up to the Security Council to determine whether Resolution 2231 had been violated.  According to Bloomberg:

“Nabila Massrali, spokeswoman for EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini, told reporters in Brussels that ‘the Iranian ballistic-missile program was not part’ of the 2015 nuclear pact with world powers and ‘hence the tests are not a violation of it.’ She said it was up to the top UN body to determine if they contravened its resolution 2231 on ballistic technology.”

It remains to be seen how the Trump Administration will respond to the missile test.

Posted February 1, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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