15 June 2017   1 comment

We have noted the contradictory comments made about Qatar by US President Trump and US Secretary of State Tillerson in an earlier post.  US policy toward Qatar took another confusing twist as the Pentagon announced that it was selling F-15s–advanced fighter jets–to Qatar for $12 billion.  It is hard to square the sale of advanced weaponry to what President Trump called a “funder of terrorism at a very high level”. Qatar also hosts the largest US military base in the Middle East.

Al Udeid Air Base

Antarctica’s 2016 summer was apparently warmer than normal as ice melts on the West Antarctica ice shelf lasted longer than usual and covered areas as wide as the US state of Texas.  We are slowly learning more about the South Pole and the effects of climate change on the weather there.  The accumulating evidence suggests that we knew far less about Antarctica than we thought, and that climate change is already having a dramatic effect.

Click on the link for a video of a rare waterfall in Antarctica

//www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/faedeb0a-251d-11e7-928e-3624539060e8

There is, however, growing evidence that the world is taking climate change seriously.  One of the most effective ways to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases is through carbon pricing–essentially taxing users for their damage to the environment.  Carbon pricing is slowly becoming effective in a growing number of countries, as this graphic from Sightlines indicates:

Dominic Tierney has written an interesting essay for The Atlantic about a topic that is almost always on the minds of students of international relations whenever a leader gets into trouble at home–whether a foray into foreign affairs can divert the attention of a dissatisfied populace.  As Tierney recounts the history of such diversions:

“In the real world, many historians interpret the Crimean War of 1853-1856 as an effort by French Emperor Louis Napoleon to buttress his support among French Catholics by fighting the Orthodox Russians. Karl Marx wrote that the emperor ‘has no alternative left but revolution at home or war abroad.’ In 1857, President James Buchanan sent troops to reassert federal control over the Mormon regime in Utah, and in the words of one confidant, drown out ‘the pipings of Abolitionism’ with the ‘almost universal excitement of an Anti-Mormon Crusade.’ Shortly after the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904,  the Russian minister of the interior said: ‘We need a little, victorious war to stem [the tide of] revolution.'”

We worry about these possibilities because difficulties abroad stoke feelings of nationalism which can tamp down domestic differences.  Fortunately, this pattern is not hard and fast and we can hope that US President Trump does not intend to use this gambit to divert attention away from his domestic problems.

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Posted June 15, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

One response to “15 June 2017

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  1. Pingback: 17 July 2017 | World Politics News

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