18 April 2017   Leave a comment

The Guardian is reporting that the US military is considering shooting down any North Korean missile tests as a way of preventing North Korea from testing an intercontinental ballistic missile.  A successful test of such a missile would mean that North Korea had the theoretical possibility of hitting the US homeland with a nuclear attack.  A Pentagon spokesperson was quoted as saying

“North Korea’s unlawful weapons programs represent a clear, grave threat to US national security. North Korea openly states that its ballistic missiles are intended to deliver nuclear weapons to strike cities in the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan.”

Actually, South Korea and Japan are already under threat of a North Korean attack since the country has tested missiles with sufficient range to hit those countries.  So the only issue that really concerns the US is an ICBM.  It is unlikely that those two countries would be willing to serve as a battleground between the US and North Korea simply in order to prevent the US homeland from being at risk.  In the meantime, even though it was announced (and this blog reported) that the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group was heading toward North Korea on 8 April, it turns out that the Vinson was actually heading in the opposite direction toward the Indian Ocean.   Indeed, President Trump told Fox News on 12 April:

“We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier….We have the best military people on Earth.  And I will say this: he is doing the wrong thing.”

I am not sure how to interpret this information–perhaps it is a psychological ploy by the US.  More likely, it is simple incompetence.

The French first-round election is five days away and the top 4 candidates are clustered at the top of the opinion polls.  It still seems as if Marine Le Pen of the National Front Party and centrist Emmanuel Macron will be the top two vote-getters, but the race is becoming too close to call.  Le Figaro conducted an interview with Le Pen and she articulates her positions with great conviction.  Her rhetoric about France resonates strongly with that of US President Trump and his America First position:

“This presidential race is virtually a referendum for or against unbridled globalization. Our values, codes, customs and lifestyle are being dissolved. When a country loses its identity, it no longer knows what it is or where it comes from, and what its real worth is. So it dissolves. I want to write into the constitution the idea of defending and promoting France’s historical and cultural heritage, and give back to our country the status of a political power. That will be the launching pad for us to conquer the world anew! Yes, I for one want to set off to conquer the world! Relaunch ties with Africa, defend the French language abroad.”

The election merits close attention.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama is the current governor of Jakarta in Indonesia.  He came into office when the former governor, Joko Widodo, became President of Indonesia.  He is running for re-election and the campaign is incredibly ugly.  Mr. Purnama is currently under indictment for blasphemy for a comment he made about the Quran.  He is a Christian and his opponent, Anies Rasyid Baswedan, is a Muslim. Indonesia’s population is 85% Muslim, but it has a reputation for being very tolerant and secular.  This election, however, has been marked by rising intolerance with many arguing that Muslims cannot vote for a non-Muslim.


Posted April 18, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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