26 May 2019   Leave a comment

The US and other allied countries, such as Great Britain and France, continue to conduct freedom of navigation operations (FONOP) in the South China Sea. Many of the Southeast Asian states are supportive of the US moves, but are leery of a direct conflict between the US and China. Even the Philippines, which initially moved closer to China’s position (despite its legal position being supported by an international tribunal), has begun to cooperate with US activities. The rhetoric of both the US and China concerning the status of various reefs in the Sea has slowly ratcheted up, but, at this point, it does not appear as if either side wants a direct confrontation.

We are getting preliminary results from the elections for the European Parliament, and those returns suggest that the next Parliament will be more fragmented than it has been in the past. In several states–France, Italy, and Great Britain–it seems likely that euroskeptic parties will do well. Indeed, in France it appears as if Marine Le Pen’s National Rally Party will gain more votes than President Macron’s en Marche Party. And Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will likely gain more votes than any other party, further complicating Great Britain’s exit from the European Union. Al Jazeera characterizes the tentative outcome:

“The European Parliament’s two largest political groups, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) are both on course to lose 39 and 38 seats respectively according to an aggregation of 14 national estimates and voting intentions where these were not available – unsettling their dominance and making this parliament the most fragmented so far.”

The Parliament has never been an effective law-making institution, but it serves as a good bellwether for the tenor of European politics.

Posted May 26, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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