15 December 2016   Leave a comment

Last September, Chinese President Xi pledged to US President Obama that “China does not intend to pursue militarization” in the reefs it has built up in the South China Sea.  Photographs of those “islands” clearly show that that promise has not been kept.  The photos clearly indicate that anti-aircraft defense systems have been built up and that runways have been built that can accommodate any plane in the Chinese arsenal.   The Obama Administration has quietly challenged the Chinese claims of sovereignty by navigating near the islands in an assertion of the freedom of the seas.  These new weapons systems will make similar acts by the US significantly more dangerous.  It is unlikely that Obama will try to challenge these moves, instead leaving the issue for President-elect Trump.

Johnson Reef

US President-elect Trump’s cabinet appointments clearly suggest that he is likely not to support the sanctions regime against Russia that have been in place since Russia annexed the Crimea.  It also appears as if there is strong sentiment in Europe for dropping the sanctions as well.   As the year ends it appears as if Putin’s gambits in Ukraine and Syria will result in, at least, short-term victories.  We will have to see how strong Russian support for maintaining such a vigorous foreign policy can persist over the long-term.

The Pew Research Center has done another study on international migration.  According to the study:

“If all of the world’s international migrants (people living in a country that is different from their country or territory of birth) lived in a single country, it would be the world’s fifth largest, with around 244 million people. Overall, international migrants make up 3.3% of the world’s population today.”

The countries that send out the most migrants are India, Mexico, Russia, China, and Bangladesh, countries with relatively large national populations.  The flows are dynamic:  Mexico used to send a lot of migrants to the US, but the flows now are actually negative, with more leaving the US for Mexico.

 

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Posted December 15, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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