27 October 2015   Leave a comment

The USS Lassen, an Arleigh Burke class destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of  Subi Reef (which the Chinese now call Nansha Island), one of the reefs that China has claimed as its national territory.  The US insists that international law does not recognize sovereignty over reefs (an accurate portrayal of international law); the Chinese insist that they have built up the reef to become an island which does qualify as national territory (again, an accurate position except for the fact that international law does not recognize “man-made” islands).  The Chinese protested the action and declared that additional forays by the US Navy may “trigger eventualities.”  The Chinese called in the US Ambassador to lodge a formal protest and the Chinese navy shadowed the Lassen as it sailed passed the reef.

USS Lassen

Despite President Obama’s promises that the US would not send ground troops into Iraq again, the US Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, told Congress that the US would begin  “direct action on the ground” against the Islamic State.  The change was likely made in response to Iraq’s overtures to Russia to aid it in its fight against the Islamic State.  But it is just another confusing action in a war that defies explanation.  In another weird move, Turkey has just launched attacks against the US’s most reliable partner in the fight against the Islamic State, the Kurds.  I do no believe that one can characterize US policy in the Middle East as intelligent or deliberate.

Research published in the journal, Nature Climate Change, indicates that temperatures and humidity in the Persian Gulf may become so unbearable because of climate change that lives will be in danger.  The evidence suggests that the combination of heat and humidity may be so intense that children, the elderly, and those who have to work outside may be unable to sweat sufficiently to lower body temperatures and may die of hyperthermia.  The Gulf region may be the place where we first experience the upper limit of human adaptability to climate change.

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Posted October 27, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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