28 October 2017   Leave a comment

US Defense Secretary Mattis warned that North Korea’s capability to hit US territory with nuclear weapons is “accelerating”.  In a speech given in Seoul, South Korea, Mattis asserted that “I cannot imagine a condition under which the United States would accept North Korea as a nuclear power”.  The speech was given a week before US President rump was scheduled to visit South Korea as well.  I am not sure what Mattis means when he says that the US would not accept North Korea as a nuclear power since North Korea is already a nuclear power having successfully tested six nuclear weapons.  Mattis must be well aware that there is no way that North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons.  The Congressional Research Service has completed a report that argues that even a conventional war between North and South Korea would be devastating: even if the conflict was limited to “conventional munitions, estimates range from between 30,000 and 300,000 dead in the first days of fighting”.


Despite US President Trump’s announcement that the US will leave the Paris Agreement on climate change, the actual truth is that the US cannot formally leave the agreement until 2020.  The agreement, which was signed by the US, stipulates that no state can leave the agreement until November 2020.  Thus, the US will attend the next conference on the agreement which will be held in Germany between 6-17 November.  The purpose of the conference is to develop the rules on the proposed shift away from fossil fuels.  There is a fear among some of the parties that the Trump Administration might play the role of spoiler in articulating the rules given Mr. Trump’s desire to reinvigorate the coal industry in the US.


Somalia has been wracked by violence ever since the overthrow of the dictator Siad Barre in 1991.  The violence has taken a serious toll: “An estimated 2.5 million Somalis were displaced with about 1 million leaving the country. Up to 1.5 million died as a result of the conflict, mostly civilians”.  There really is no central government at all–the territory is carved up by a number of clans that fund themselves by demanding protection money from everyone.  Al Shabaab is perhaps the largest and most well organized of all these groups and its espousal of radical measures to enforce its interpretation of Islam has made all efforts at reconciliation impossible.  Spiegel has an article that describes what life is like under these conditions:  life is apparently cheap and terror is a lucrative business.

Posted October 28, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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