26 July 2014   Leave a comment

The outrage over the downing of the Malaysian airliner has grown more intense in Europe as the task of recovering the bodies from the crash has been dilatory and insensitive.  But Europe depends heavily on oil and natural gas exports from Russia.  So the question of whether to base a foreign policy on values or interests has been raised in stark relief.  The overwhelming dependence of Europe on Russian exports can be seen from the map below.

Europe_gas

As the Islamic State has consolidated its control over territories in Syria and Iraq, the nature of its rule is becoming more overt.  The al-Khansaa Brigade is an all-women group that enforces a strict code of behavior over the women in the Islamic State.  The contrast between a liberal conception of human rights and the conception espoused by the Islamic State is quite dramatic.

Following the details of the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict is very difficult–much is asserted and little evidence is verifiable.  There is, however, a much broader context in which the conflict is occurring.  The entire region is in turmoil: Libya is disintegrating, Syria has experienced some of the worst fighting of the civil war in recent days, and, hovering over all of these immediate crises, the Arab Spring remains tumultuous but unfulfilled. The countries that have traditionally acted as “brakes” on local conflicts in the Middle East (mostly for ill, but sometimes for good) are withdrawn and unreliable.  We are witnessing the unraveling of the regional system that has governed the Middle East for over a century.  It is virtually impossible to imagine what the outside world could possibly do to mitigate the turmoil–the impotence of power is palpable.

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Posted July 27, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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