15 January 2018   Leave a comment

Ronin Bergman has written an op-ed piece for The New York Times about the recent Israeli attack on targets in Syria.  The Israeli attack was in response to an Iranian drone entering Israeli territory and some of the aerial sorties came close to Russian military personnel.  Bergman is reporting that planned additional attacks by Israel were stopped because of strong Russian opposition, a judgment that, if true, means that Russia is now calling the shots on how the Syrian conflict will evolve.  Israel is very concerned that Iran, and its allies, Hamas and Hezbollah, are gaining strategic advantages in Syria over Israeli interests.  The configuration of forces suggests that American influence is virtually irrelevantIf Israel believes that the US will not support it in the crisis, it will undoubtedly take whatever unilateral actions are necessary without regard for American interests.


The US is unique in the world in terms of gun ownership and gun violence.  Dylan Matthews points out that:

“Think about it this way. In 2013, the US had 106.4 gun deaths per million people. That same year, the UK endured 144 gun deaths total — or 2.2 gun deaths per million people.

“To get to UK levels, we’d need to reduce gun deaths by over 98 percent. Even if we wanted to reach the same levels as Switzerland — the country with the third-highest rate of gun deaths in the OECD grouping of developed nations, after Mexico and the US — we’d need to drop from 106.4 deaths per million to 30.1, more than a 71 percent reduction.

Just how much of an outlier is the US?  Look at this chart by Josh Tewksbury:

What is amazing is that the US is not, in fact, and outlier in overall crime.

Violent and non-violent crime in the US and other rich countries

The issue confronting the US is not that it has more criminals.  It is, rather, that its criminals have easier access to guns.


Spiegelthe US is engaging in a protectionist trade war has published a piece that highlights the increasing danger that .  The focus of the piece is on the US willingness to weaken the dollar, which makes its exports cheaper and its imports more expensive.  But the article also highlights the US actions restricting imports through tariffs and quotas.  Protectionism only works if a country’s trade partners do not respond in kind.  It is clear, however, that both Europe and China will respond to the US actions in kind.  A trade war simply means higher prices and less economic activity for everyone.

Posted February 15, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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