6 May 2017   Leave a comment

Tomorrow the second round of the French presidential election will be held.  The two candidates are Marine Le Pen, the candidate of the far-right National Front Party, and Emmanuel Macron, a relative newcomer and the candidate of an independent party, En Marche.  Macron is young (39), a former banker, and politically inexperienced, but he is also the leading candidate right now.  Macron is the beneficiary of the collapse of the Socialist Party, led by Hamon,  and the smell of scandal surrounding the center-right, led by Fillon.  Those in Europe who support the European Union hope that the French follow the Austrians and the Dutch in repudiating the anti-EU, anti-globalization sentiment in Europe.

Syria’s Kurds have been instrumental in the battle against Daesh (the Islamic State) in the Syrian city of Raqqa.  They announced that they intend to push on to take territory to the west until Kurdish control extends to the Mediterranean Sea as a reward for working so effectively against Daesh.  Those aspirations conflict strongly with Turkish interests and place the US, which is allied with both Turkey and the Kurds, in a very difficult diplomatic position.  Presumably the territory would be controlled by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), an amalgam of different groups opposed to Daesh and Syrian President Assad, and suggests that strong consideration is being given to a carve-up of Syria as a solution to the civil war.  Whether the Arabs and Kurds can live together, and whether the US and Russia can agree on the terms by which Assad can remain in power of a truncated state, remains to be seen.

Areas with Kurdish Populations

It is the 135th anniversary of the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act.  The law “prohibited all immigration to the U.S. by Chinese laborers” and “was one of the first major U.S. policies that banned a group of people on the basis on race.”  The act was passed in response to the number of Chinese immigrants who came to the US–some voluntarily, many not voluntarily–to work on the railroads.  The law was not fully repealed until 1965, but the echoes of its roots in American culture resonate strongly today.

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Posted May 6, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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