15 March 2017   Leave a comment

Beware the Ides of March!

The Trump Administration is thinking about sending 1,000 more US troops to Syria, in a major escalation of the US ground commitment to defeat Daesh (the Islamic State).  The build-up is in support of the effort to dislodge Daesh from the city of Raqqa, and it would likely be in support of Kurdish and Arab rebels fighting against Syrian President Assad.  But the commitment also places US soldiers directly in opposition to Russian efforts to prop up the Assad regime.  There does not seem to be any overarching strategy dictating the disposition of the troops: what is the objective of additional military power?  The incremental build-up of combat forces is reminiscent of the American commitment to South Vietnam during the Kennedy Administration in 1961.

 

Exit polls are giving the party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte a decisive voice in the new Dutch Parliament.  Rutte’s center-right party apparently defeated the right-wing party of Geert Wilders, signalling a repudiation of the harsh anti-Islamic rhetoric of the Party for Freedom and its anti-EU stance.  Wilders has clearly had an effect on Dutch politics, as Rutte moved quite hard to the right to secure the victory.  But Rutte’s success gives hope to those who are opposed to the right-wing movements in both France and Germany.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gave a press briefing in Beijing at the end of the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress.  He spoke extensively on US-Chinese trade relations, warning against the possibility of a trade war between the US and China if US President Trump imposes tariffs on Chinese imports into the US.

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Posted March 15, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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