15 September 2016   Leave a comment

The Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean has been the dream of many explorers since it would avoid the lengthy transit through Tierra del Fuego or (much later) through the Panama Canal.  Ice pack has restricted the use of the Northwest Passage through much of modern history, but that seems about to change with global warming.  China intends to use the Northwest Passage extensively since it cuts off many days of ocean traffic to European markets.   But the crucial question for the world is whether the Northwest Passage will be considered an international strait or a passage through Canadian territory.

Image result for map northwest passage

The International Criminal Court was established in 2002 and it was hailed as an important step forward in the prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity.   In truth, the record of the ICC has been mixed in terms of its effectiveness, but its failures have been due to the lack of support from many nation-states–including the US which refuses to sign the ICC treaty. Nonetheless, the ICC has announced that it is enlarging its mandate to include environmental crimes as a subset of crimes against humanity.  The expansion could offer tremendous protections against what are known as landgrabs, where states award private corporations certain land rights that intrude upon traditional uses of land by indigenous peoples.

Image result for land grabs

In response to the joint Russian-Chinese naval exercises in the South China Sea, Japan and the US have announced that they will be holding joint naval exercises in the Sea as well.  There will be many armed vessels in the South China Sea–let us hope that the rules of engagement are well understood by all sides so that there are no misunderstandings.

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Posted September 16, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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