4 September 2019   Leave a comment

Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti have written a very detailed and well-informed article for The New York Times entitled “The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran”. The article does an excellent job of interpreting the objectives of the three major actors in this elaborate diplomatic dance: the US, Israel, and Iran. The essay highlights the different bureaucratic factions within each and how those differences affected day-to-day decisions. Given that Iran figures prominently among global concerns that could lead to war, I would recommend that citizens read the essay carefully. The most interesting part of this conflict is the extent to which it seems to be clear that neither the US or Iran are really interested in war; it seems to be Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that is the main driver behind the path toward conflict.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has formally withdrawn the extradition bill that led to weeks of demonstrations by Hong Kongers who believed that the bill violated the British-Chinese agreement on “One Country, Two Systems”. It is unclear whether this decision will bring an end to those demonstrations. The Straits Times makes this assessment:

“Although Mrs Lam had previously suspended the Bill – saying it was ‘dead’ – her move did little to appease demonstrators, who continued protesting and expanded their demands to include calls for greater democratic freedom. Without the Bill’s formal withdrawal, it could be reintroduced in a matter of days. 

“Mrs Lam’s announcement essentially responds to one of five demands protesters have asked for. The others are: the retraction of the word ‘riot’ to describe rallies; the release of all arrested demonstrators; an independent inquiry into the police; and the right for Hong Kongers to democratically choose their own leaders. 

But the government’s response to the demonstrations has eroded public trust to an extraordinary degree. Vox quotes several protesters who have vowed to continue the protests in an effort to forestall a future clampdown by the Beijing government. The central government will determine its future course of actions depending on how other movements, such as in Taiwan, interpret the outcome of the protests.

Posted September 4, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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