26 June 2017   2 comments

On 6 April US President Trump authorized an air attack on a Syrian government air base in retaliation for what he claimed was the use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.  The attack was a dramatic shift in US policy.  Trump justified the attack with these words: “”There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council. Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically.”  Welt, a German media outlet, has published an essay by Seymour Hersh which raises serious doubts about the accuracy of that claim.  Most importantly, Hersh provides evidence that the US intelligence services knew that chemical weapons had not been used but that President Trump made the decision to attack before that information was provided to him.  Welt also published a transcript of conversations between a security adviser and an active US American soldier on duty on a key operational base about the events in Khan Sheikhoun to corroborate the story.

In a world of nation-states, the idea that states have complete control over their borders is incontestable.  Generally speaking, those borders create a clear distinction between citizens and non-citizens, and the traditional assumption is that the primary obligation of states is to their citizens.  Thus, states have the power to either allow or bar refugees.  A larger question than the simple legal question, however, is whether there are moral obligations to allow entry to refugees who face discrimination, mortal danger, or extreme deprivation.  The world is currently facing the largest number of refugees in recorded history, and the moral imperatives to allow entry to such persons is being strained.  Joseph Carens, a professor of political theory at the University of Toronto, makes the argument in favor of refugees. 

Syrian refugees attempting entry into Turkey in 2015

A third study published this year indicates that ocean levels are rising faster than anticipated.  The rate of sea level increase in 1993 was 2.2 millimeters a year and in 2014 the rate of increase was 3.3 millimeters a year.  Most of the increase comes from thermal expansion of the seas due to higher water temperatures and melting of land-based glaciers in the North and South Poles and in other areas of the world.  Both causes are related to climate change, and the studies suggest that the rate of increase will increase in the future.

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Posted June 26, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

2 responses to “26 June 2017

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  1. Pingback: 27 June 2017 | World Politics News

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