19 April 2017   Leave a comment

BBC published an article with the intriguing title, “How Western Civilisation Could Collapse“.  The article analyzes several scholarly approaches to answering the question of why civilizations often degrade and comes up with two variables that seem to play an important role:  growing inequality within the civilization and environmental stress caused by the resource demands of the civilization.  The article is not particularly uplifting, but it does provoke a great deal of thought.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to Speaker of the House Ryan certifying that Iran is compliant with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the agreement with Iran on its activities with respect to nuclear fuels.  But the letter also raised issues, such as Iran’s “role as a state sponsor of terrorism”, which are not part of the Agreement.  In a statement to the press, Tillerson said:

“The Trump administration is currently conducting across the entire government a review of our Iran policy … an unchecked Iran has the potential to follow the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it. The United States is keen to avoid a second piece of evidence that strategic patience is a failed approach”.

In other words, even though Iran has honored the nuclear agreement, the US is thinking about implementing policies to isolate Iran once again.  If such policies are adopted, it is critically important that they be justified on grounds that are completely separate from the nuclear issue.  The US needs to stick to the agreement it signed.

Protests in Venezuela against President Maduro have continued and two protesters were killed in the most recent demonstrations.  The political process has completely collapsed in the country as Maduro continues to have many passionate supporters.  Eleven Latin American countries has signed statements urging the Venezuelan government to schedule new elections to restore the legitimacy of the state, but all indications are that Maduro has no intention of relaxing his grip on the country.

Click on the link below to see a video from Reuters on the demonstrations in Venezuela.
http://www.reuters.com/assets/iframe/yovideo?videoId=371514985

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Posted April 19, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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