11 October 2017   Leave a comment

NBC News is reporting that at a meeting in July with top military staff, US President Trump indicated that he wanted a ten-fold increase in the number of nuclear weapons possessed by the US.   The report also states that Mr. Trump’s request “rattled” the military staff and represented a return to the arsenal the US possessed in the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War.  The US never needed 30,000 nuclear weapons, even at that time.  That number merely reflects a mindless arms race between the US and the then-Soviet Union in which both sides thought that a willingness to spend and build weapons was a measure of credibility.  The actual number of nuclear weapons to deter a nuclear attack in a world in which the delivery of nuclear weapons is assured, even after a devastating nuclear attack, is probably on the order of about 200 weapons–enough to destroy completely the country that launched the first strike.  The comments, if accurately reported, suggest a terrifyingly dismal understanding of nuclear deterrence and, again if accurately reported, justifies the Secretary of State calling the President a “moron”.

 

The rescheduled Kenyan elections were thrown into disarray when the leading opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, announced that he would not run.  The Presidential elections held last August were  nullified by the Kenyan Supreme Court because of election irregularities.  A new election between Odinga and the current President, Uhuru Kenyatta, was scheduled for 26 October but Odinga dropped out because he did not believe that enough has been done to assure the integrity of the new election. It is not clear what the next step will be.  Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA) party may find a new candidate, or Kenyatta may run unopposed.  Odinga has called for national protests and the uncertainty will roil Kenya for some time into the future.

Raila Odinga

 

Israel has announced that it intends to build 4,000 new homes in settlements in the Occupied West Bank.  The plans include homes in Hebron which has not been part of the settlement process as of yet.  According to The Daily Star:

“…..if the Hebron housing is approved it would be the first time for the southern West Bank city since 2002.

“Hebron is home to around 200,000 Palestinians, with about 800 settlers living under Israeli army protection in several heavily fortified compounds in the heart of the city.”

The Trump Administration responded to questions about the proposal:

“A U.S. official said ‘while we are not going to respond to every announcement or report, our policy toward settlements remains unchanged.

“‘The administration has made clear that unrestrained settlement activity does not advance the prospect for peace. At the same time the administration recognises that past demands for a settlement freeze have not helped advance peace talks.'”

Most states regard the building of settlements in Occupied Territories to be a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which reads:

Article 49

Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.

Nevertheless, the Occupying Power may undertake total or partial evacuation of a given area if the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand. Such evacuations may not involve the displacement of protected persons outside the bounds of the occupied territory except when for material reasons it is impossible to avoid such displacement. Persons thus evacuated shall be transferred back to their homes as soon as hostilities in the area in question have ceased.

The Occupying Power undertaking such transfers or evacuations shall ensure, to the greatest practicable extent, that proper accommodation is provided to receive the protected persons, that the removals are effected in satisfactory conditions of hygiene, health, safety and nutrition, and that members of the same family are not separated.

The Protecting Power shall be informed of any transfers and evacuations as soon as they have taken place.

The Occupying Power shall not detain protected persons in an area particularly exposed to the dangers of war unless the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand.

The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

 

Occupied West Bank

Posted October 11, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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