3 April 2017   Leave a comment

One hundred years ago, the US entered World War I.  On 2 April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked the Congress for a Declaration of War, and on 4 April 1917 the Congress passed the declaration.  Wilson had campaigned on a promise to keep the US out of the war in 1916, but the announcement by the Germans that they would be conducting “unrestricted” submarine attacks in January and the interception of the Zimmerman Telegram on 16 January 1917 changed his position.  The Zimmerman telegram was an offer by the Germans to help Mexico regain the territories lost to the US in the war of 1845 if Mexico were to open up a front on the southern border of the US.  The entry into the war was a dramatic change in US foreign policy, but a change which was reversed after the war was over as the US retreated back into isolationism.

South Africa’s credit rating was cut to junk status as political turmoil deepened in the country.  President Jacob Zuma, the leader of the African National Congress, sacked his finance minister Pravin Gordhan, andd many in the country see the dismissal as a sign that the country is becoming increasingly fiscally responsible.  The South African economy has slowed significantly and its currency has depreciated sharply in recent days.  The African National Congress is quite divided on whether Zuma is becoming a serious liability, and it appears as if the power of the ANC will be diminished as a result of what seems to be growing incompetence and corruption.

An explosion occurred at a metro station in St. Petersburg, Russia, and a second bomb was disarmed at a second stop.  Right now, there has been no claim of responsibility and authorities have yet to apprehend a suspect.  Russia is no stranger to such attacks:  Chechnyan rebels have launched such attacks in the past as they fight for independence from Russia.  I suspect that the attack will have the initial effect of bolstering support for President Putin, but the long-term consequences are hard to predict.

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Posted April 3, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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