30 August 2016   Leave a comment

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade deals such as NAFTA and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have been controversial issues in world politics and have figured prominently in the current American presidential election.  I suspect that trade negotiations will be placed on the back-burner for a while because of the controversies (both the French and the German governments think that the TTIP is dead).  One key part of these deals is a method of dispute arbitration that sidesteps the normal judicial review of sovereign states–the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause. The clause gives companies the right to seek damages if the laws or regulations of a state change in a way that damages the profits of the company.  But instead of going to court, the ISDS clause creates an arbitration panel that is comprised usually of corporate lawyers.  These clauses undermine the integrity of law and should not be adopted by any state.

The Indo-Gangetic Basin stretches east to west over 618 million acres and supplies fresh water to Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.  750 million people rely upon this water, but scientists have found that 60% of the water is too contaminated by either salt or arsenic to drink safely.  Moreover, the groundwater is being pumped out at an unsustainable rate.  Addressing the problem of access to safe water is going to be the most important issue facing the people in this region for the foreseeable future.

Image result for Indo-Gangetic Basin

Most Americans do not think very much about how the US military is staffed.  Since the onset of the volunteer army, most citizens no longer worry about the draft (even though men at age 18 must register for the draft).  Unfortunately, the composition of the US military has changed dramatically in recent years and the trend is for lower-income individuals to join. This change has gone unnoticed, but it has important effects on how the country cares for its veterans, most of whom lack the necessary financial resources to afford the medical care they require.  Secondly, lower-income individuals also lack the political clout to make sure that sufficient resources are allocated toward the medical conditions of veterans.  When Americans are polled very few are aware of the socioeconomic reshaping of the American military in ways that are significantly different from previous militaries.

 

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Posted August 30, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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