18 April 2016   2 comments

The lower house of the Brazilian Congress has voted overwhelmingly to impeach President Dilma Rousseff.  The vote to impeach was more lop-sided than expected, and the bill to impeach now moves to the Brazilian Senate.  The vote reflects widespread disillusion with the state of the Brazilian economy (which is expected to decline by 3.8% this year, a similar decline to last year), charges of widespread corruption, including charges against the very politicians who voted to impeach Rousseff, and a sense that Rousseff is incapable of addressing the problems facing Brazil.  It seems likely that the Senate will vote to conduct an impeachment trial which means that Brazil will be in a state of limbo for some time.

Last week, research was published reporting a consensus among 97% of all climate scientists that climate change is occurring and that it is caused by human activity. The report can be accessed here but I will not ask any questions on the quiz about the report itself since it is quite technical.  This report sounds like old news, and in many respects it is.  But only 12% of the American people are aware of the high degree of consensus and instead believe that the climate change issue is a controversy within the scientific community.  Further, evidence suggests that “that three out of five high-school teachers in the US were unaware of the scientific consensus on global warming, and that one in three brought that ignorance to their classroom, encouraging their students to discuss the climate-change ‘controversy’.”  The data suggests a wide discrepancy between public and expert opinion, a situation which makes policy-making very difficult.

The US has announced that it will continue its process of increasing its commitment to Iraq by increasing the number of troops and helicopters sent to the country.  These troops will embed in Iraqi forces in small groups known as “advise-and-assist teams”, undoubtedly bringing them into combat arenas.  In addition, the US is going to increase its military aid to the Kurdish peshmerga which will likely anger Turkey even more.   The pressure on Daesh continues to grow, but the US is moving very slowly into another ground commitment in Iraq.  This movement is something to watch very carefully.

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Posted April 18, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

2 responses to “18 April 2016

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  1. Prof.

    Do you think these “advise and assist” teams sound eerily similar to the special forces “advisors” that we first sent to Vietnam? Do you think that this further involvement will be well received by the people of America? It seems like it’s something we’ve tried before and has only made things worse. With recent moves to help out the Kurds our relationship with Turkey is faltering and it doesn’t look hopeful that we will be able to remain allies with both Turkey and those who identify as Kurdish.

    • The similarity with Vietnam is exactly what worries. Whenever I hear jargon phrases, I immediately suspect that something is being hidden. And the road to escalation is slippery and easily taken. I also agree with your comment about the US and the Kurds. Push will come to shove between the US and Turkey, and I fear that the Kurds will be left hanging after they have given their lives to help US objectives. Another lesson from Vietnam.

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