5 September 2015   Leave a comment

There is increasing evidence that Russia is building a military base in Syria in order to prop up the regime of President Assad.   Russia already has a naval base in Tartus and there is satellite evidence that the Russians are building an air base at Latakia from which the Russians can fly missions against the Islamic State (the same objective as current US policy).  Nonetheless, US Secretary of State Kerry has expressed concern to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov about the build-up.  Obviously, the US does not believe in the balance of power proposition: “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

US President Obama met with Saudi King Salman in Washington and discussed the Iranian nuclear agreement.  Saudi Arabia has expressed great anxiety about the prospect of Iran developing nuclear weapons, but King Salman left Washington apparently satisfied with Obama’s assurances that the agreement will prevent that outcome.  The US-Saudi alliance has been under great strain in recent years, but it seems clear that both sides believe that they need each other in the Middle East.  The successful outcome of the meeting gives additional impetus to the Iranian agreement which the US Congress will debate on 17 September.

Vietnam and the Philippines are close to agreement on a strategic partnership.  Such an alliance would be truly historic and reflects the apprehension on both sides about increased Chinese power in the South China Sea.  The Philippines already has a relationship with both Japan and the United States.  It is likely that China will find the proposed relationship offensive, a classic problem of the security dilemma.


Posted September 5, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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