28 November 2018   Leave a comment

Since the crisis over the Kerch Strait developed over the last few days, I have been searching for information which would justify the Russian decision to blockade the strait to Ukrainian military vessels.  Pepe Escobar is a writer for the Asia TImes and is a good reporter who often takes contrary views and he offers an interesting defense of the Russian position:  “The Kerch Strait connects the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea. To reach Mariupol, a key city in the Sea of Azov very close to the dangerous dividing line between Ukraine’s army and the pro-Russian militias in Donbass, the Ukrainian navy needs to go through the Kerch….Yet since Russia retook control of Crimea via a 2014 referendum, the waters around Kerch are de facto Russian territorial waters.”  Escobar also cites Articles 7, 19, and 21 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas.  Escobar’s argument is pure hogwash.  It is only true if one accepts the Russian annexation of Crimea and its occupation of the Donbas region of Ukraine.  The UN and most countries of the world have most decidedly not accepted the Russian actions as a fait accompli.  Russia continues to accuse Ukraine of being the aggressor. 


Map of route of Ukrainian boats off Crimea on 25 November



An official report produced by several of the most relevant economic Departments in the British Government has concluded that under virtually every possible Brexit scenario, the British economy will be worse off after 10 years.  According to The Guardian:

“Officials modelled every scenario across a range, comparing them in nominal terms. Under the worst-case, no-deal scenario, GDP would be 10.7% lower than if the UK had stayed in the EU in 15 years’ time, assuming there is no longer any net migration into the UK from the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) after Brexit.

“The deal negotiated by May will probably end up somewhere between the two Chequers-based scenarios outlined, meaning the UK would be between 0.6% and 2.1% worse off in nominal GDP terms in 2035-36 than if it remained in the EU.

“The official analysis also concluded that:

 Under a Norway EEA scenario, favoured by some Tory remainers, GDP would be 1.4% lower in 15 years’ time, worse than the additional scenario produced after May’s deal was signed over the weekend.

 Under a Canada-style deal, supported by Boris Johnson and David Davis, the UK would be 4.9% worse off than remaining in the EU, the study concludes.”

It may be the case that sovereignty is more important than economic gains to many of the Brexit supporters.  The European Commission has accepted the most recent proposal advanced by British Prime Minister Teresa May.  But the deal still has to be approved by the British Parliament, and most observers right now think that it will be voted down in Parliament.  That may mean that Great Britain may need to hold a second referendum.  All these possibilities need to be accomplished by next March.  The situation still remains quite murky.



All eyes will be on Buenos Aires, Argentina this Friday and US President Trump and Chinese President Xi meet at the G-20 meeting.  CBS News reports:

“The president has already imposed 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods this September, and they’re set to rise to 25 percent on Jan. 1. Mr. Trump said this week he’s willing to raise tariffs on every good coming into the U.S. from China. “If we don’t make a deal, then I’m going to put the $267 billion additional on” Chinese goods at rates of 10 percent or 25 percent, Mr. Trump said in an interview this week with The Wall Street Journal.”

The new US tariffs on Chinese goods have already begun to show up in the US economy.  Business Insider gives depressing details about how the 10% tariffs have already affected US farmers and the automobile industry.




Posted November 28, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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