28 May 2017   Leave a comment

In what can truly be called a defining moment, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech in Bavaria today that “The times when we could fully rely on others have passed us by a little bit, that’s what I’ve experienced in recent days…For that reason, I can only say: We Europeans really have to take our fates in our own hands.”  The lack of faith in both Great Britain and the US after the Brexit vote and the election of President Trump signals the end of the post-World War II structure of global and regional cooperation designed to minimize the need for Germany to defend its interest unilaterally.  It seems to be clear that Merkel, after meeting with President Trump personally and, more recently, in the G-7 meeting, has decided that the US is no longer to be trusted.  US President Trump called his foreign trip a success, but time will tell.  Mr.  Trump tweeted: “Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!”  At this point, one can only have great doubts.

For the third time in as many weeks, North Korea has fired a missile toward the Sea of Japan.  It appears as if North Korea is deliberately testing the US, but US President Trump continues to rely upon China to rein in the missile and nuclear activities of North Korea.   The US has limited its testing of Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea and has also held up a large weapons sale to Taiwan in order to persuade China to lean more heavily on North Korea.  The US needs to understand that China will not do anything that will compromise the existence of North Korea and that North Korea understands how important it is to act as a buffer between South Korea and China.

The Guardian posted an article on what it calls “the world’s most toxic town”.  It is the site of a lead mine and smelter which operated for over one hundred years and was closed in 1994.  But the legacy of the smelters persists and the children in the region have been dramatically affected.  According to the article:

“The blood levels of lead in children in Kabwe are also known to be very high – a recent study revealed that every one of 246 children tested were above the safety limit of 5 micrograms per decilitre of blood. The vast majority were over 45 micrograms per decilitre, which causes brain, liver and hearing damage, and eight were over 150 micrograms per decilitre, at which point death is the likely outcome.”

Clean-up efforts have not been effective and it is doubtful that Zambia has the resources to address the problem.

Posted May 28, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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