29 December 2014   Leave a comment

China’s economic progress over the last thirty years has been the most dramatic in human history.  Such unprecedented change is rarely without consequences and often the consequences are not obvious except in retrospect.  One such consequence is the Chinese diet and its focus on pork products.  From a situation where eating pork was once considered a luxury, China now finds itself in a situation where pork is the preferred meat for almost the entire population.  China’s demand for pork products and feed for its pigs are having widespread global effects that may signal difficulties in the future if not properly managed.

James Fallows is one of the US’s pre-eminent military observers, often in the role of critic.  He has published a rather long article in The Atlantic assessing the role of the American military and its relationship to the political economy of the country.  It is a superb essay–judicious and straightforward.  He excuses no one, and raises the fundamental question of whether the US is well-served by maintaining an arms-length military where the activities of the military are carefully insulated from the daily lives of most Americans.

The US is stockpiling a large amount of military hardware in Kuwait.  The material is from Afghanistan, and is being stockpiled in Kuwait as the US makes a decision about its future role against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.  President Obama has promised the American people that the US would not have a combat role against the IS, but the number of troops being deployed in Iraq has slowly crept up from the initial 350 soldiers mentioned by Obama.  According to US News and World Reports:

On Friday, the Pentagon announced Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had ordered 1,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division to join other advisers and trainers at headquarters in Baghdad and Irbil, as well as facilities elsewhere in the country. Roughly 1,700 troops are in Iraq already, with as many as 1,300 more to deploy.


Posted December 29, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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