21 June 2017   Leave a comment

The successes of the Kurdish militias in battles against Daesh (the Islamic State) is leading to a conclusion that will roil the Middle East.  The Kurds have proven that they are able to hold and defend territory, that they have the passionate support of citizens who define themselves as Kurds, and that they are reliable battle allies.  These are all the characteristics of a nation-state, a demand that the Kurds have been pursuing since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.  Once the battle against Daesh is over, the Kurds will undoubtedly press the world to recognize their nation-state, much to the dismay of the Turks, the Syrians, the Iraqis, and the Iranians.

The cat and mouse game between the US and Russian pilots continues and is becoming incredibly dangerous.  Reuters  is reporting that a NATO jet buzzed a Russian Sukhoi-27 military jet carrying Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu from the Russian enclave in Kaliningrad back to Russia.  The incident follows similar buzzing incidents over the Baltic and Black Seas and the shooting down of a Syrian government fighter plane as well as three Syrian drones.  The collision between the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Fitzgerald and 29,000-ton Filipino container ship ACX Crystal on 17 June off the Japanese coast is an example of how accidents can occur.  An accident between US and Russian pilots would be a serious crisis.

In the case of a Russian-American confrontation, it is clear that President Putin enjoys far greater public confidence than does President Trump at this time.  The Pew Research Center conducted a poll that indicates that, despite an economic slowdown, Putin is very popular at home.

The United Nations has published its World Population Prospects 2017 and predicts that the global population will reach 8 billion in 2023.  The Guardian reports that:

“Half the growth in numbers of people will come from just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, the US, Uganda and Indonesia. By 2050 seven of the world’s 20 most populous nations will be African.”

Europe, on the other hand, will likely suffer a population decline and that “the number of people over 60 will top 1 billion in 2018 – and 2 billion by 2050.”

Posted June 21, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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