8 October 2016   Leave a comment

Politics in the US is often (incorrectly) defined in liberal/conservative terms.  The distinction is misleading because in political theory “liberal” refers to a special attitude toward the role of the individual society:  liberal politics maximizes human freedom, a position often attributed to “conservative” thinkers in the US.  Not only is the distinction misleading, it also seems to be increasing irrelevant.  A more meaningful distinction has emerged over the last 8 years.  Political controversies are better understood from the perspective of an attitude toward globalization.  Attitudes toward trade, immigration, and refugees are the issues being contested most directly today.

The UN Security Council discussed two competing resolutions on the Syrian civil war, but ultimately rejected both.  The Russian resolution called for a separation of extremist and moderate forces in Syria but did not call for a bombing halt against the city of Aleppo.  That resolution only received four affirmative votes.  The French resolution, which called for a truce on the bombing of Aleppo and for humanitarian aid, received 11 affirmative votes, but was vetoed by the Russians.  The Russians have used the veto power on five Syrian resolutions in the last five years.

The Guardian has a fascinating piece on Iranian objectives in Iraq and Syria.  The US and Iran are silent allies in this conflict.  Both want the defeat of Daesh (the Islamic State).  But Iranian aspirations are to develop a corridor of control from Tehran to the Mediterranean.  If Iran were to gain control over such a corridor using Syria and the Kurds as allies, it would certainly shift the balance of power in the Middle East away from the Sunni states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Egypt.  The US would be confronted with difficult decisions if such a shift were to occur.

Image result for shia crescent

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Posted October 9, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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