24 March 2019   Leave a comment

Italy has signed up to be a member of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese effort to revive the old Silk Road. Italy and China signed a number of agreements, the most important of which were agreements on the management of the ports of Genoa and Trieste. Italy is the first member of the European Union to make such an agreement, and other European states are suspicious of the initiative. Other countries, such as Sri Lanka, have made similar agreements and the terms of the agreements meant that when the Sri Lankans could not make the debt payments on the agreement, the critical port of Hambantota came under Chinese control. Additionally, many European states are concerned that these ports may give China a strategic entry into European affairs. The US is also concerned about the expansion of Chinese influence in Europe. But the US has done little to reinforce US-European ties over the last two years.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Reuters is reporting that two Russian airplanes, carrying a high defense official and 100 troops, has landed in Caracas, Venezuela. Russia is a strong supporter of Nicolas Maduro, the erstwhile President of Venezuela, but the sending of troops represents a dramatic and perhaps dangerous escalation of the crisis in Venezuela. Previously, Russia has flown two nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuela in an unmistakable show of solidarity. The Russians have also said they will be sending humanitarian aid to the country, even as humanitarian aid from the US and other countries sympathetic to Juan Gauido has been blocked. Russia is clearly challenging the US in the Western Hemisphere.

Posted March 24, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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