8 April 2017   Leave a comment

North Korea has stated that the US strike on Syria confirms that its decision to develop nuclear weapons was correct.  North Korea withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 after US President Bush placed it on the list of the “axis of evil” along with Iraq and Iran.  The US subsequent decision to invade Iraq in March 2003 was, for North Korea, vindication of its decision to develop a nuclear capability.  North Korea exploded its first nuclear bomb in 2006.  For North Korea, a nuclear weapon is the only effective deterrent against an American attack.  The North Koreans have justification for their fears.  According to NBC NewsUS National Security Council has presented President Trump with a number of options, the for dealing with North Korea, including reinserting US nuclear weapons into South Korea, assassinating Kim Jong-un, and sending US special operation troops into North Korea to commit acts of sabotage.  These options are the height of lunacy.

We will have to see whether the US strike on the air base in Syria actually does deter Syria from using chemical weapons in the future.  But it does seem to be clear that the air strike did nothing to degrade Syria’s capability to conduct air operations against its own citizens.  Indeed, Syrian planes took off today from the Shayrat air base that was attacked.  I continue to be amazed by how many consistently overestimate the efficacy of military action.  

The Venezuelan government has banned Henrique Capriles from public office in a move that further degrades the legitimacy of the state.  Large protests followed the announcement, but it seems that President Maduro is moving toward an outright dictatorship without any pretense of democracy even though elections are scheduled for 2018.  The political dysfunction has crippled the economy for years and there are widespread shortages of virtually every necessary item.  It is hard to imagine any outcome other than an outright revolution in Venezuela.

Protest in Caracas

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Posted April 8, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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