25 October 2017   Leave a comment

I do not usually quote from Vice News, but Nick Turse is a very reliable reporter and he has published an article on US operations in Africa.  As I  indicated in a previous post, I was unaware of the US military operation In Niger, but Turse suggests that the US presence in Africa is massive.  Turse says that the US is conducting “3,500 exercises, programs, and engagements” in Africa every year and that US Africa Command has increased the number of such operations by 1,900% since it was created a decade ago.  Turse estimates that there are between 5,000 and 6,000 US troops currently deployed in African countries.  This military commitment is substantial and has been conducted pretty much under the radar for most Americans.

US Military Presence in Africa

U.S. military outposts, port facilities, and other areas of access in Africa, 2002-2015 (Nick Turse/TomDispatch, 2015)

 

Pandemics occur sporadically, but sometimes they are devastating.  The bubonic plague decimated parts of the European population in the 14th century.  In 1918, a flu virus, commonly called the Spanish Flu at the times, killed nearly 50 million people.  In recent years, there have been outbreaks of unanticipated viruses, such as SARS and MERS, as well as outbreaks of known viruses, such as Ebola, in West Africa in 2014 which was the largest outbreak ever recorded.  There are an unknown number of viruses in the world, but, fortunately, only a limited number can effect humans.  We suspect that the next pandemic will occur at some point, undoubtedly accelerated by the ease of travel in a globalized world, but it is impossible to predict when it might occur.  Experts are working on the problem of how to prepare for such pandemics, but the difficulties in responding are formidable. 

 

The US now has three aircraft carriers and their associated strike groups in the Pacific region as US President Trump goes on an extended tour of Asian countries.  The USS Theodore Roosevelt will join the USS Carl Nimitz and the USS Ronald Reagan the convergence is undoubtedly a signal to North Korea.in the 7th Fleet.  It is unusual for the US to have three aircraft carrier groups in the same region, and it is likely that the deployment is meant to send a message other countries in the region as a symbol of the US commitment to the region.  Nonetheless, the North Koreans remain committed to the development of their nuclear capablity.  Speaking of the threat made earlier by the North Koean Foreign Minister to explode a Hydorgen Bomb, a North Korean  senior diplomat, Ri Yong Pil, said that “The foreign minister is very well aware of the intentions of our supreme leader, so I think you should take his words literally”.

Posted October 25, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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