13 November 2018   Leave a comment

The Los Angeles Times has a well-documented article on the disengagement of the Trump Administration from foreign policy.  It is a disturbing article because there is increasing evidence that there will significant personnel changes in the Administration and one gets the sense that no one is minding the store at a time when the inventory of the store is changing rapidly as well.  It may be the case that American commitments abroad need to be pulled back.  But dropping those commitments is not the same thing as carefully ending them,

 

The New York Times has published a story indicating that satellite images show that North Korea is building 16 new ballistic missile testing areas even as it engages in talks on denuclearization.  The evidence undermines US President Trump’s assertions that progress is being made:

“The satellite images suggest that the North has been engaged in a great deception: It has offered to dismantle a major launching site — a step it began, then halted — while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads.

“The existence of the ballistic missile bases, which North Korea has never acknowledged, contradicts Mr. Trump’s assertion that his landmark diplomacy is leading to the elimination of a nuclear and missile program that the North had warned could devastate the United States.”

The very reputable blog, 38North argues, however, that discussions about denuclearization should be considered separately from ballistic missile development, and that the satellite images do not necessarily indicate duplicity.  This difference in interpretation is not unusual in arms control discussions, but point out the difficulties in interpreting intentions from capabilities.

 

Israel and Hamas have escalated the exchanges of rocket and aerial bombardment.   The escalation has been slowly creeping up over the last few weeks, but yesterday Hamas launched 400 rockets into southern Israel.   The recent violence is the most intense since the Israeli-Hamas war in 2014  and some analysts fear that another war is in the works.  The exchange of fire only deepens the misery of the Palestinians living in Gaza and is unlikely to lead to any political settlement that resolves the dispute.

Posted November 13, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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