22 September 2018   Leave a comment

The US has imposed additional sanctions on China for its purchase of 
Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and a S-400 surface-to-air missile system.  The purchase violated the sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.   The Chinese, however, view the action as an unwarranted interference in Chinese affairs:  the Global Times, a media outlet which reliably conveys the official Chinese position characterized the Russian sale as “a common practice between sovereign countries, and the US’s move embodies hegemony”.  China did not specify how it would retaliate, but it is certain to sour the now-cancelled trade talks between the US and China.  And the move will also move Russia and China closer, building upon the joint military exercise (Vostok 2018) the two countries conducted.

“Vostok 2018 wrapped up on September 14, but it started a whole new wrinkle in international affairs. Russia and China have agreed to continue to conduct joint military exercises, as the interests of Russia and China (once far apart) begin to align in response to US military power and a bellicose President Donald Trump.

The two countries are not close buddies, but they both find advantages in working together to counterbalance US power in Asia

There was an extraordinary attack on a military parade in Iran in the city of Ahvaz.  One could hardly imagine a more brazen challenge than a terrorist attack on a military column in the heart of the attacked country.  Iran blamed neighboring Arab states without naming them, but it likely blames Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for arming and training the terrorists who carried out the attack.  Moreover, Iran probably believes that both the US and Israel were involved in the attack.  Tensions in the Middle East continue to ratchet up. 

There have been widespread and unusual protests in Russia against Russian President Putin’s plans to raise pension ages from 60 to 65 for men and from 55 to 60 for women.  Euronews quotes political activist Nikolai Levshitz on the significance of the proposed increases: “They increased the retirement age to 65 years, the average life expectancy is 66 and a half years, so we have 40 percent of men who won’t survive until retirement.  So all the money they paid to the state, will simply go into the pockets of officials, Putin’s pockets, to his friends or to someone else”.  

Russian Protests

Posted September 22, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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