28 July 2017   Leave a comment

 

I posted on 25 July about China’s military build-up along the North Korean border.  At that time, I discounted the idea that China had any plans to invade North Korea (and still do not believe that that is a likely outcome).  But some others have a different explanation: that China does indeed intend to take over North Korea in order to have direct access to the Sea of Japan.  In what China regards as an unequal Treaty, the territory blocking China’s access to the Sea of Japan was ceded to Russia in the Convention of Peking which ended the Second Opium War in 1860.  Most likely, China would not initiate hostilities but rather take advantage of turmoil created by a US action against North Korea.  If one wishes to be conspiratorial (and to use the pure lens of Realpolitik), it would not be unprecedented for the US and China to agree to such a course of action secretly.  The US could easily concede North Korean territory as the price for Chinese support for regime change in North Korea.

 

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was removed from office by an order from the country’s Supreme Court.  The order stems from the evidence implicating Sharif in financial fraud coming from the leaks from what are called the Panama Papers, evidence of financial accounts in Panama designed to avoid official scrutiny and taxation.  Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party will still control the Parliament and Sharif will undoubtedly continue to wield power behind the scenes.  Nonetheless, Pakistan is likely to experience a period of great political instability in the near future.

Russia has retaliated for the US Congress’s passage of additional sanctions.  It ordered the reduction of the US diplomatic staff in Russia and ordered the ouster of US diplomatic staff from various buildings in Russia.  The Russians made the move even before a decision by US President Trump to sign or veto the bill.  The statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is straightforward:

“On July 27, the US Congress passed a new bill on tougher anti-Russia sanctions. This measure is further proof of the Unites States’ extremely hostile foreign policy. Hiding behind its sense of superiority, the United States arrogantly ignores the stances and interests of other countries.”

It remains to be seen how President Trump will respond to the bill which was passed by overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress.

 

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Posted July 28, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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