17 March 2017   Leave a comment

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made the remarkable statement that diplomacy “has failed” to halt North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.  The statement is an accurate description of diplomatic failures thus far, but offers little hope for anything other than a military response to the matter.  The Chinese were clearly rattled by the US position, but they have failed diplomatically as well.  But it is a sad state of affairs when a country’s chief diplomat gives up on diplomacy.  Tillerson went on to say that the US had lost its “strategic patience” and that military options were “on the table.”



US President Trump and German Chancellor Merkel met today in the White House for what appeared to be a very awkward moment.  During a photo opportunity, the press requested that Trump and Merkel shake hands, a gesture that is standard fare in most diplomatic meetings.  When President Trump ignored those requests, Chancellor Merkel leaned over and noted that the press wanted a handshake.  President Trump continued to ignore both Merkel and the press and refused to shake Merkel’s hand.  It is difficult to describe the depth of that diplomatic insult.  One should not underestimate the significance of a handshake in diplomatic circles. 



The US has been accused of causing significant civilian casualties in an air attack in Syria.  The attack was against suspected al Qaeda rebels in Syria, but observers on the ground claim that a mosque was destroyed in the attack.  The attack signals a stepped up US military role in Syria and there are reports that the rules of engagement for US forces have been expanded to include decisions made exclusively by the CIA and military commanders on the ground.  The Obama Administration had tightly restricted the role of US forces in Syria in order to prevent the alienation of the civilian population in Syria, but those restrictions apparently have been relaxed.

Posted March 17, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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