19 December 2017   Leave a comment

The US vetoed, for the first time in the last six years, a resolution in the UN Security Council.  The resolution was introduced by Egypt and read, in part,

“…that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.”

The resolution also called upon member states “to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem.”

The vote was 14-1 in favor of the resolution.  Great Britain, Japan, and France voted in favor of the resolution, as did Russia and China.  The Palestinians called immediately for a meeting of the UN General Assembly to discuss the matter, indicating at the same time that it no longer considers the US to be an effective mediator in the peace negotiations.

 

In an editorial in Global Times, which often serves as a mouthpiece for the Chinese government, China has responded to the National Security Strategy report released by the US yesterday.  The editorial reads like a tutorial on the theory of international relations:

“US President Donald Trump on Monday released the new National Security Strategy, citing China and Russia as competitors. He defined China and Russia as ‘revisionist’ countries that ‘challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity.’ The document also pillories China for seeking to ‘replace’ the US in Asia and claims that China ‘expanded its power at the expense of the sovereignty of others.’

“Trump’s new strategy report directly highlights the rivalry between Beijing and Washington, which might be a result of changes in the balance of power. It also indicates the White House has now adopted a different view toward US-China relations. For instance, previous administrations concentrated more on developing Sino-US collaboration, through which they expected to mollify bilateral contradictions. The Trump government, on the contrary, may input more resources to rival and pressure China, in the hope that Beijing will seek cooperation with Washington on Washington’s terms.

“This report is a manifestation of the Trump administration’s tough posture, which counts on US power instead of international rules. It showcases Washington’s indisputable insistence on its global hegemony. Neither Beijing nor Moscow will buy it.”

China’s response is not surprising.  It views its return to great power politics as normal and its weakness in the 20th century as an aberration.  It remains to be seen whether President Trump shares that point of view.  Russia characterized the new strategy as “imperial”.

 

President Trump’s National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster, was interviewed by Norah O’Donnell on CBS News on Tuesday morning.  In the interview, McMaster was asked the following question by one of O’Donnell’s colleagues:

ANTHONY MASON: So General, you’re saying that there’s — is there any way in which the US can coexist with a nuclear North Korea?

MCMASTER: Anthony, I don’t think we can’t tolerate that risk. The world can’t tolerate that risk. I mean, if North Korea has a nuclear weapon, I mean, who are you going to try to prevent getting one? Look at the behavior of this regime, the hostility of this regime to the whole world.

I am not sure how to interpret McMaster’s response.  After all, North Korea is a nuclear power–it has exploded six bombs, and the US has “co-existed” with North Korea since its first nuclear test in 2006.  Experts estimate that North Korea could have between 30 and 60 nuclear warheads.  So, apparently, the US can coexist with a nuclear North Korea, as have Russia, China, South Korea, and Japan.  But McMaster has something else in mind.

 

Posted December 19, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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