7 August 2017   Leave a comment

The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed  UNSCR 2371, a resolution imposing additional sanctions on North Korea for its recent launching of two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).  The new sanctions include:

  1. Expand the existing sanctions on North Korea’s economy to include a full ban on the export of coal, iron, iron ore, seafood, lead and lead ore;
  2. Expand the list of designated entities and individuals by adding four entities and nine individuals;
  3. Expand sanctions on joint ventures and commercial cooperation with North Korea; and,
  4. Prohibit countries from allowing additional North Korean laborers into their territories.

These sanctions will definitely hurt the economy of North Korea and it is notable that both Russia and China voted in favor of the sanctions.  But the real stumbling block to resolving this issue is the insistence of the Trump Administration that North Korea agree to abandon its nuclear program.  North Korea firmly believes that its program is the only thing preventing a US invasion and will never give up its nukes.  The US needs to initiate concessions, such as halting its joint military exercises with South Korea if it sincerely wishes to begin negotiations.

Joint Security Area of the Demilitarized Zone Between North and South Korea

 

NBC NewsUS is considering airstrikes against  is reporting that the Daesh (the Islamic State) in the Philippines.  The strikes would most likely be carried out by drones, but if they occur, would constitute a serious commitment to the government of President Duterte, a leader who has been accused of 1,400 extra-judicial killings by various human rights organizations.  The decision reflects the relative priorities of the US: security interests outweigh the issue of human rights.

 

Progress is one of the most important values in a liberal society.  For some societies, stability and tradition are more important; for other societies, faith in an after-life is more important.  But liberal society promises a better future for one’s children and that future is measured in material terms.  It is a difficult value to measure, but some aspects of a better future seem to be pretty simple.  For example, artificial light makes life significantly easier (although for some it has ruined humanity’s appreciation for the normal rhythms of natural light).  Guido Mingels has written a short essay on how the costs of producing light have come down over the years:

“One hour of light (referred to as the quantity of light shed by a 100 watt bulb in one hour) cost 3200 times as much in 1800 in England than it does today, amounting to 130 euros back then (or a little more than 150 dollars). In 1900, it still cost 4 euros (close to 5 dollars). In the year 2000, we arrived at a cost of 4 euro cents (5 U.S. cents).”

Think on this the next time you flip a switch.

Infographic: The Cost of Light Through the Ages | Statista

 

 

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Posted August 7, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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