8 July 2018   Leave a comment

The USS Mustin, a guided missile destroyer, and the USS Benfold, an anti-aircraft destroyer, have sailed through the Taiwan Strait in a show of support for what China regards as a renegade province.  But the move was substantially less provocative than many had feared.  China Times offered a nuanced interpretation of the move:

“The Pentagon told the media last month that the country would sail warships through the Taiwan Straits, triggering a round of media speculations.

“It now appears that Washington has chosen a more discreet approach: It opted for sending destroyers instead of aircraft carriers at the weekend, no drills were conducted, and the US military hasn’t officially announced the voyage.

“Since a vast stretch of the Taiwan Straits is considered an international waterway, Beijing cannot raise the issue if Washington’s passage is uneventful.”

The US has taken numerous steps on the issue of Taiwan, including allowing high level officials to visit the island, even though it acknowledged in the Shanghai Communique in 1972 that Taiwan was part of China.  It is not clear why the US continues to make the status of the island an issue, particularly in light of the trade dispute with China and the need for China’s support in the denuclearization of North Korea.


The Turkish government has fired more than 18,000 civil servants, including nearly 9,000 police officers, “over suspected links to terror organizations and groups ‘acting against national security.’”  The decision is based upon emergency decrees granted to the Erdogan government and represents further consolidation of his power in Turkey.  Erdogan is scheduled to be sworn in as President on Monday, and he has been in power for over 15 years.  The emergency has been going on for two years in response to a failed coup attempt against Erdogan which he has blamed on supporters of an exiled political figure, Fethullah Gülen, who is currently in the US.  Turkey has most definitely decided not to develop into a liberal democracy.


The US has historically taken in more refugees than any other country in the world: “Since 1980, the U.S. has taken in 3 million of the more than 4 million refugees resettled worldwide.”  But the Pew Research Center has determined that the US pattern has now changed dramatically:

“But in 2017, the U.S. resettled 33,000 refugees, the country’s lowest total since the years following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and a steep drop from 2016, when it resettled about 97,000.

“Non-U.S. countries resettled more than twice as many refugees as the U.S. in 2017 – 69,000 – even though refugee resettlement in these nations was down from 92,000 in 2016.

“Previously, the closest the rest of the world had come to surpassing the U.S. on this measure was 2003, when the U.S. resettled about 28,000 refugees and the rest of the world resettled about 27,000.”

Unfortunately, the number of refugees in the world has increased significantly even as the doors are being closed on them.

“The decline in refugee resettlement comes as the global refugee population increased by 2.75 million, and reached a record 19.9 million in 2017, according to UNHCR. This exceeds the high in 1990, following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“Refugees represent nearly a third (30%) of the world’s displaced population – people forced to leave their homes due to persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. The number of internally displaced people – those displaced within their home country – reached about 40 million in 2017, bringing the world’s total displaced population to 68.5 million in 2017 (a total that also includes Palestinian refugees and asylum seekers).

We should all think seriously about the way we would probably want to be treated if we were refugees.  The current trend is intolerable.

Number of refugees resettled in the U.S. falls below total from the rest of the world for the first time in 2017

Posted July 8, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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