3 June 2017   Leave a comment

Last Tuesday, the US conducted a test of an anti-missile defense system which was sent as a message to North Korea that there were defenses against a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).  The test was billed as “successful” but it was the 10th successful attempt out of 17 tries.  There are significant reasons to doubt the ultimate effectiveness of an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system since the objective is extraordinarily complex: the effort is viewed as firing a bullet to hit a bullet.  Nonetheless, an ABM system cannot be used as a message to a single state.  Both China and Russia view the American efforts as an attempt to destabilize the nuclear balance of power.  An truly effective ABM system would allow the use of nuclear weapons without any fear of reciprocal nuclear damage.  The US needs to be far more circumspect in describing its effort to build an ABM system.

The US decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement is not the first time the US has recently abdicated its position as a leader in the international liberal system.  The first step in that abdication was its decision to drop the trade agreement among Pacific countries.  In both cases, however, China has indicated its willingness to become a decisive player in both arenas.  On trade, Chinese President Xi made it clear at the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland, that China was willing to emerge as a more reliabel trade partner than the US.  Similarly, China’s position as a leader in developing renewable energy sources is clear. While US President Trump wishes to “bring coal back”, China as cut back substantially on its reliance on the worst of all the carbon-emitting energies.  Willingness, however, is not the same as capability.  We should wait to see whether China’s formidable domestic constraints allows it to become a dominant leader in the international system.

Floating Solar Farm in China

Even though the US and Great Britain have a “special relationship”, the bond between the US and Germany since 1945 has been the strongest of all the American alliances.  It was a shock to me, therefore, to see this headline in Spiegel, one of Germany’s pre-eminent news magazines: “Donald Trump’s Triumph of Stupidity“.  If one wishes to plumb the depths of European disillusionment with American policy, then I would highly recommend this article.  It was written by the staff of Speigel, so it is not simply the screed of a lone reporter.

Posted June 3, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: