31 August 2017   Leave a comment

The US has sent its most advanced fighter planes, the F35B Lightning II stealth fighters, to the Korean peninsula, and, for the first time, they flew a joint mission with B-1B Lancer bombers.  The planes flew along side fighter planes from South Korea in a massive show of military force.  The US Pacific Command “executed this mission to emphasize the combined ironclad commitment to the defense of Allies and the U.S. homeland.”  On the other hand, the North Koreans likely interpreted the mission as a clear threat of invasion and probably reinforced their decision to develop nuclear weapons to deter such an attack.  The relationship between the US and North Korea is a classic case of the Security Dilemma–the situation where one side believes it is acting defensively and the other side believes that the actions are aggressive.

B1-B Lancer Bombers and F35B Lightning II Stealth Fighters

U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan fly alongside 2 U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, over waters near Kyushu, Japan, August 30th. The F-35Bs and B-1Bs made contact with 2 Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) F-15J fighters in Japanese airspace in direct response to North Korea’s intermediate range ballistic missile launch, which flew directly over northern Japan on August 28 amid rising tension over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development programs.

I do not usually post op-ed pieces, but Daniel Drezner, professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, has written one for the Washington Post entitled “Why Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should resign”.   One should read the piece to assess the current state of the State Department and not necessarily to ponder the question of whether Tillerson should resign.  There are legitimate concerns about the health of the State Department which desperately need to be addressed by Tillerson or someone else.   The unilateral disarmament of the diplomatic arm of one of the great powers in the world should be of concern to everyone, including non-US citizens.

I know that it is inappropriate, but I cannot help but think about Hurricane Harvey and climate change.  It is a serious mistake to link weather to climate, but the immensity of Katrina, Sandy, and Harvey, as well as the monster storms in Asia–Haiyan, Nina, Lionrock, and Nepartak–make it a difficult link to ignore.  Climate change will force more moisture into the atmosphere, rendering some places wetter and some places much drier.  If there is indeed a link, then we must figure out better ways to address the phenomenon of monster storms in our future.

Hurricane Harvey from the International Space Station

Posted August 31, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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