2 August 2018   Leave a comment

Robert Fisk has published a story in The Independent in which he traces the serial numbers of weapons used in the Syrian civil war.   Not surprisingly, many of these serial numbers can be traced back to US corporations which sold them to the US or its allies.  Weapons sales need to have an End User Certificate (EUC) which certifies that the weapons are being sold only to users who are trusted to use the weapons in a manner consistent with US national security.  But many of these weapons have been used by actors in the Syrian civil war who are hostile to US interests.  Perhaps they are weapons that were “captured” by enemy forces from friendly allies.  But Fisk raises a number of questions which undermine that possibility.   Someone is making a lot of money selling American weapons to attack American interests.


Stephen Walt is one of the most rigorous realist thinkers in the field of international relations.   In this blog, I have posted many articles raising questions about the wisdom of letting the US-back liberal international order degrade in the absence of a viable alternative.  My position has always been that even a bad world order is better than no world order (think of what driving a car would be like without rules of the road and police to enforce those rules).  But Walt raises very strong questions about whether it makes sense to maintain the liberal world order and his essay has made me think more seriously about my position.


As the word war between the US and Iran continues, Iran has announced that it will hold its annual naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz.   These exercises are designed to make credible Iranian threats to close the Straits in the event of an attack against Iran.  But Business Insider notes that this year’s exercises will be larger–including up to 100 naval vessels, although none that seriously threaten the US Navy)–and earlier in the year than usual.  Oil producers who rely on the Strait of Hormuz, such as Kuwait, are getting prepared for a potential blockade of the Strait.

Posted August 2, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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