29 March 2017   Leave a comment

Great Britain has formally initiated the process of leaving the European Union.  Prime Minister Teresa May’s letter to the EU triggering Article 50 of the EU Treaty which allows departure can be found here.  It seems as if the tone of the letter suggests that May has softened her earlier position from a “hard” Brexit, indicating that she is open to discussions about how Britain can maintain some relationships with the EU as a whole.  There is little question that this is an historic moment for the Union and the future of Europe.  The Brexit negotiations have a time limit of two years, and it will be interesting to see the pace that Great Britain and the EU decide upon.

The US has admitted that it may have been involved in an attack in Mosul, Iraq which killed perhaps as many as 200 civilians.  Non-governmental groups claim that the US military activities have killed about 3,000 civilians in Iraq and Syria since 2014, but the US military puts the figure at closer to  220 civilians.  The new information gives special urgency to review whether the military has changed the rules of engagement in the two countries which may put the lives of civilians at greater risk.  Civilian casualties undermine the very effort to displace daesh (the Islamic State) from the region.

Last December, the UN General Assembly voted to begin to “negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination“.  The vote in favor of these negotiations was 113 for and 35 against, with 13 abstentions.  Forty countries have refused to participate in these negotiations, including the United States, Britain, China, Russia, North Korea, India, Pakistan, Albania, South Korea, and France.  The states in favor of the treaty are led by Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa, and Sweden.  Even though all nine of the currently nuclear-armed states oppose the treaty, this discussion is long overdue.

Posted March 29, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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