14 January 2018   Leave a comment

The Huffington Post has published a leaked draft of the Nuclear Posture Review for January 2018 (the full text of the draft is at the end of the Huffington Post article).  The Review is an analysis of the future needs for nuclear weapons drafted by the US Defense Department, the final draft of which will likely be published after President Trump’s State of the Union Address.  The draft calls for the building of many new, smaller nuclear weapons designed to build a credible deterrent at lower levels of violence.  The proposal hearkens back to US nuclear policy in the Kennedy Administration that called for the ability to launch a “flexible response” to small strategic threats.  The Union of Concerned Scientists published a critique of the proposal, pointing out the elevated risks for actually using nuclear weapons as well as the very high costs associated with the US nuclear weapons program already.  David Barash has written a very insightful critique of the entire notion of nuclear deterrence, the fundamental underpinning for all nuclear doctrine.  Deterrence is certainly flawed, but there seems to be little sentiment in the world for complete disarmament.

 

Turkey is preparing for an assault on Kurdish forces in northwestern Syria’s Afrin province.  The attack is in response to the US supporting a 30,000 soldier force among various Syrian and Kurdish allies opposed to the government of Syrian President Assad.  Turkey and the US are both NATO allies, but they have been working in strongly opposite directions as far as the Syrian Kurds are concerned.  Turkey fears a separatist movement among the Kurds, not only in Syria but is Turkey as well.  For its part, the US has a very confusing policy toward the Kurds.  It supports the Syrian Kurds, but flatly opposed the Kurdish bid for independence in Iraq.  The difference is easy to explain: the US considers Iraq an ally, and does not wish it to be torn apart by Kurdish independence; but Syria is an enemy, supported by Russia, and the US welcomes that friction.  But, if one were a Kurd, the policies are contradictory.

 

RT is not a reliable news source.  It is a media outlet controlled by the Russian government and makes little pretense of reporting news that portrays Russian actions that are the least bit unflattering.  But it is sometimes useful to see how foreign sources use news from the US for propaganda purposes.  Its reporting on US President Trump’s comments about immigrants from Africa and Haiti is instructive.  The discussions in the US about those comments are meaningless to an international audience.  The RT take on the comments is what the world will take away from this sordid incident and it is also what the world will remember.

Posted January 14, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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