7 September 2017   Leave a comment

Catalonia, the northeastern region of the country of Spain, has a referendum on independence scheduled for 1 October.  The Catalans believe that they give more to the central government of Spain than they receive in benefits and that Catalonian culture is distinctive and constitutes a separate nation.  Spanish authorities have declared the referendum illegal and the Spanish Supreme Court will rule on its legality.  But Catalonian authorities have declared that they intend to go ahead with the referendum raising the possibility of a serious constitutional crisis in Spain.

Chetan Peddada is a former officer in the U.S. Army and he has written an article for Foreign Policy based on his impressions of the many war games the US military has run on potential conflicts with North Korea. War gaming is a complex undertaking as the military runs scenarios of conflicts based upon a number of different alternative conditions. Peddada’s analysis is understandably complicated, but unless one is interested in the intricate military details, it is sufficient to skim the article to appreciate his conclusion:

“We’ve never been closer to a conventional North Korean attack on South Korea, and I can attest that the U.S. military knows how devastating the consequences would be. We can expect a massive humanitarian crisis, enormous loss of life, and economic disaster. There’s almost no doubt that the North would lose — but in going down Pyongyang could take much of the Korean Peninsula with it.”

Turkey and the European Union have been negotiating the possible entry of Turkey into the Union since 2005.  Those negotiations have been stalled over a variety of issues: Turkey’s control over parts of the island of Cyprus; its commitment to democratic principles, and; the issue of migration and the treatment of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.  German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is campaigning to remain Chancellor and in a recent debate she argued that the accession negotiations should cease.  Other members of the EU, Finland, Lithuania, and, most recently, France, have resisted the call to end the negotiations.  The decision will not be easy for the Union.

Posted September 7, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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