2 December 2015   Leave a comment

NATO has decided to invite Montenegro to join the alliance.   The military alliance, created in 1949 in response to the growing Cold War, has expanded its membership since that time as the Soviet alliance (the Warsaw Pact)) disintegrated and the Soviet Union itself disappeared.  NATO expansion has always been a sore point with the Russians which believes that NATO still exists to constrain the power of Russia.  The move to invite Montenegro has rankled the Russians and it is not at all clear why NATO chose to make this decision in a time of very strained Western-Russian relations.

President U Thein Sein of Myanmar promised a smooth transition of power after the recent elections.  The National League for Democracy party, led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, won nearly 80 percent of the seats in the national election, ending a long period of military rule (1962-2010).  Suu Kyi is constitutionally prohibited from becoming President (the military insisted that the constitution bar anyone with a foreign spouse from that post), but it is widely acknowledged that she will be setting the agenda for the country.  The issues confronting Myanmar are quite serious and the top of that list is the growing hostility toward Muslims in the country.

John Cassidy of The New Yorker has written an interesting essay on the climate talks in Paris.  He is optimistic that an agreement will be reached during the two-week conference; he is not optimistic that the agreement will really tackle the problem of climate change.  The conference will not produce a treaty–neither the Americans or the Chinese are interested in a treaty.  The US fears a treaty because it would unquestionably be defeated in the US Senate.  The Chinese fear a treaty because they do not wish to give up any control over their economy.  The problematic country in the mix is India which believes that the treaty must address the economic inequities implicit in carbon controls over poor countries at this time.  In an op-ed for the Financial Times, Indian Prime minister Modi wrote:

Justice demands that, with what little carbon we can still safely burn, developing countries are allowed to grow. The lifestyles of a few must not crowd out opportunities for the many still on the first steps of the development ladder.

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Posted December 2, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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