2 April 2017   Leave a comment

President Trump gave an interview with the Financial Times (FT has a very strict paywall–my apologies to readers who do not have access to computers that can sign in) in which he stated: “Well if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.”  The interview was, in some sense, a foreshadowing of the upcoming meeting with Chinese President Xi, scheduled for this weekend.  The rhetoric was quite tough and it was designed to put pressure on China before the summit.  China would certainly like the North Korean nuclear capabilities addressed, but Trump is profoundly mistaken if he thinks that China has a great deal of slack in its North Korean policy. The Chinese will not do anything that even remotely suggests or regime change in North Korea–they fear a collapse of North Korea more than they fear a nuclear North Korea.  After all, Chinese is already threatened by North Korean nuclear weapons; Trump is trying to preempt a North Korean nuclear threat to the US.

There is a potentially inflammatory consequence of Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU):  the status of Gibraltar.  The peninsula was taken by an Anglo-Dutch force in the War of Spanish Succession in 1704 and ceded completely to Great Britain in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.  Since that time it has been ruled as part of Great Britain even though the peninsula is completely dependent on trade with Spain.  In the guidelines issued by the EU to govern Britain’s exit, there is a clause that says: “no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom.”  The clause was undoubtedly inserted at the behest of the Spanish Government even though the residents of Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.  The British have not reacted kindly to the clause, and a former Tory leader, Michael Howard, stated that Britain would “go to war” to preserve Gibraltar’s status.

 

The two year schedule for the British Exit from the EU.  This chart will be useful over the next two years.  It shows very nicely the complicated set of European politics that will accomapny the negotiations for Brexit.

 

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Posted April 2, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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