6 November 2014   Leave a comment

There are reports that US President Obama wrote a secret letter to the Supreme Leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Khameni, stressing the shared interests of the US and Iran in the Middle East.  The White House did not deny that the letter had been sent.  The revelation only confirms the obvious:  in the fight against ISIS and in propping up the government of Iraq, the US and Iran ought to be friends.   However, the letter should also be viewed in light of the very difficult nuclear negotiations currently being held.  Even if the leadership of both countries see a mutual interest, it is clear that there are domestic forces in both countries that are strongly opposed to any rapprochement between the two.

About 100,000 Belgians protested in Brussels against planned government cuts to pensions, wages, and public services.  The cuts are part of an austerity program designed to reduce the government’s public debt.  The protests were led by labor unions opposed to the plans of the center-right government of Belgium.  About a month of strikes are planned, culminating in a nation-wide strike  planned for 15 December.

On Sunday, Germany will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.   The Wall had been constructed in 1961 at the height of the Cold War by East German authorities to stop East Berliners from leaving the East Zone of the city to the relative freedom of the West Zone controlled by the US, France, and Great Britain.  Throughout its 28 year history, the Wall stood as testimony to the inability of East Germany to satisfy the interests of its citizens.  The collapse of the Wall took everyone by surprise: no one had anticipated that the change would come so quickly or so bloodlessly.  It marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War, culminating in the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

 

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Posted November 7, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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