22 February 2018   Leave a comment

A Republican Senator, Jim Risch of Idaho, made some very worrying statements about the prospects for war with North Korea at the Munich Security Conference.  The Intercept has published a video of Risch’s comments, and here are some of the excerpts:

“There is no more dangerous place on the earth than the Korean peninsula right now. …

“The president of the United States has said, and he is committed to, seeing that Kim Jong-un is not able to marry together a delivery system with a nuclear weapon that he can deliver to the United States. …

“The consequences of that are breathtaking when you think about how this could happen. …

“If this thing starts, it’s going to be probably one of the one of the worst catastrophic events in the history of our civilization. It is going to be very, very brief. The end of it is going to see mass casualties the likes of which the planet has never seen. It will be of biblical proportions. …”

He went on to say:

“Anyone who doubts that this president isn’t committed to that, I would suggest that they step back, take a breath, listen to what he has said, review the facts on the ground. This president has at his fingertips the ability to dispense what he has said he’s going to dispense, if the North Korean regime, if Kim Jong-un, that he is, uh, the president can do this quickly, and as I said, it is at his fingertips.”

Senator Risch is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but I am not sure how close he is to the President.  We should watch carefully what happens after the Olympics end to see if North Korea conducts any missile tests or if the US and South Korea conduct provocative military exercises.  The US has already announced the it intends to send highly sophisticated drones to South Korea when the Olympics are over.  According to Newsweek:

“On Tuesday, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo claimed the U.S. had scheduled the transfer of 12 MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned combat aerial vehicles to an air base in Gunsan, North Jeolla province in March and April. The report said the drones, which were upgraded versions of the MQ-1 Predator, would be used in military exercises that were to take place following the end of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The article said the weapons could be used to strike not only North Korean sites designated as high-priority targets, but individuals as well.”

The North Korean Press Agency characterized the drone deployment in these terms:

“They are raising the issue that these UAVs equipped with precision-guided bombs and missiles are aiming at the top leaders and important objects of the DPRK in case of emergency.

“The continuation of the new war equipment in South Korea by the US and the US is an insidious goal to block the atmosphere of improvement in the North-South relationship and to push the situation of the Korean Peninsula to the extreme.”

The situation seems to be highly precarious.

12 MQ-1C Gray Eagle Drone


Politico is reporting that the US State Department has been ordered to pare back the sections in its annual human rights report that deal with women’s reproductive rights and the sections on rights that protect individuals against discrimination.  For a copy of the 2015 Report, click here.

“State Department officials have been ordered to pare back passages in a soon-to-be-released annual report on global human rights that traditionally discuss women’s reproductive rights and discrimination, according to five former and current department officials.

“The directive calls for stripping passages that describe societal views on family planning, including how much access women have to contraceptives and abortion.

We will have to wait to see how the final 2017 report reads, but it seems as if the Trump Administration is deliberately trying to downplay the status of human rights in American foreign policy.
Temperatures in the Arctic are about 45°F above average right now, hovering just around the freezing mark (and the sun is still below the horizon).   The warmer temperatures is leading to one of the lowest extent of sea level ever recorded according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Posted February 22, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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