8 April 2018   Leave a comment

A study produced by the British House of Commons library has come to a very depressing conclusion about the trajectory of wealth inequality in the world.   The conclusions were summarized by The Guardian:

“An alarming projection produced by the House of Commons library suggests that if trends seen since the 2008 financial crash were to continue, then the top 1% will hold 64% of the world’s wealth by 2030. Even taking the financial crash into account, and measuring their assets over a longer period, they would still hold more than half of all wealth.

 The world is returning to feudal times even as it seemingly transforms itself in terms of technology.  The trend will be very difficult to reverse:  the power of labor has been seriously compromised and it can only be restored through political change:  market capitalism will always reward capital, not labor.
There are reports of a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government against rebel-held areas near the city of Douma.  The reports are as of yet unconfirmed, but the videos released are horrific.  Both Russia and Syria have denied any responsibility, but the reports assert that the chemicals were released in barrel bombs dropped by aircraft and the rebels opposing Syrian Assad do not have access to airplanes.  US President Trump released a series of Tweets about the incident (I cannot believe that I actually typed that phrase) but it is difficult to determine what Mr. Trump intends to do.  On 7 September 2013 Mr. Trump , then a private citizen, urged President Obama not to bomb Syria.  The chemical attack also comes a year to the day after President Trump launched a missile attack (which consisted of 59 cruise missiles) against Syria for using chemical weapons in 2017, a strike that clearly did not communicate the message Mr. Trump wished to send.  If Mr. Trump wishes to communicate a stronger message, it is hard to imagine one that would not provoke Syrian allies–Russia and Iran–to respond to protect their ally.
Mr. Trump’s Tweet today:

“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price…..to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!”

One should remember that last week Mr. Trump stated that he wanted to withdraw US troops: “I want to bring our troops back home.”  Any attack he launches now would be assessed against that diplomatic backdrop which means that the attack would be viewed as ephemeral.  I cannot characterize US policy toward Syria as anything other than incoherent.  Perhaps the best approach would be for the US to step back and strongly support an EU or a NATO response.  A UN response is unthinkable because of the Russia veto in the Security Council.

Posted April 8, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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