26 August 2017   Leave a comment

China controls the headwaters of some of the most important rivers in the world, many of which start in the Tibetan plateau.  There are ten major rivers, including the Indus, the Ganges, Mekong, Yangtze, Irrawaddy, and the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra, and about 2 billion people depend on these rivers.   The Chinese have built almost 10,000 dams on these rivers including many mega-dams which control the flow of water and sediment throughout South, East, and Southeast Asia.  The countries that are downriver and depend on these rivers are apprehensive about the degree to which China controls them, as well as the extent to which accidents, such as earthquakes, could have a dramatic effects over which they have little control.  Control of water is an important dimension of power in world politics.

 

Yesterday’s post on the three North Korean missile tests was incorrect.  Initial reports indicated that all three tests failed, but new evidence suggests that only one of the launches failed.  The other two actually indicated a new capability on the par of the North Koreans: the ability to fire a missile from a multiple rocket launcher.   The two successful launches flew about 150 miles, far enough to threaten US and South Korean forces on the peninsula.   The North Koreans have thousands of multiple tube rocket launchers which are easier to hide than typical missile launch pads.  Additionally, rocket launchers are much less expensive to manufacture and deploy.

The war in Yemen has almost completely destroyed Yemeni society.  The war, initiated by Saudi Arabia in 2014 and supported by the US, is a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, but the Yemeni people have paid a horrific price.  Yemen is suffering from a cholera breakout that has been made possible by the destruction of the medical and sanitary infrastructure of the country, and the suffering from the disease has been made worse by a famine.

Chart showing scale of the food crisis in Yemen

Posted August 26, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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