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Another North Korean Missile Test Fails As Tensions Continue To Rise

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

The North Koreans failed to successfully test a longer-range missile again yesterday, but tensions on the Korean Peninsula seem destined to increase in any case.

Ivanka at the G20 Women’s Summit

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Via the BBC:  Ivanka Trump forced to defend father at G20 women’s summit An audible groan went up as she told the room her father was a “tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive”.

Macron and Le Pen Advance To Runoff In French Presidential Election

Marine LePen Emmanuel Marcon

French voters face a stark choice in the May 7th runoff for President. Hopefully, they’ll make the correct choice.

France: Electoral Rules Matter

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While the final numbers are not in, it would appear that Emmanuel Macron will win the plurality of the vote in the first round of of France’s presidential elections and Marianne Le Pen will come in second.  Due to the use of a two-round system that requires an absolute majority of the vote to win the […]

Despite Reports, U.S. Carrier Was Nowhere Near Korea

USS George Washington Battle Group

Just over a week ago it was reported that the United States was moving a carrier battle group headed by the USS Carl Vinson closer to the Korean Peninsula in response to increased provocation from the DPRK and the rumors that it would attempt some kind of demonstration as part of last weekend’s 105th anniversary of […]

British Prime Minister Calls For Snap Election On June 8th

British Parliament Building

A political surprise in Great Britain as Prime Minister Theresa May calls a snap election for June 8th.

Changes in Turkey

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By a narrow margin, Turks voted for some significant changes.

French Presidential Elections on the Horizon

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A week from today the French hold the first round in their presidential elections. See Matthew Shugart at Fruits and Votes for some France 2017 presidential scenarios.

Tensions Rise On Korean Peninsula As North Korea Threatens Another Nuclear Test

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

North Korea is threatening another nuclear test, the United States is threatening retaliation, and China is warning of a ‘gathering storm’ on the Korean Peninsula.

U.S.-Russian Relations Hit a New Low

Two powers

It’s been a bad week for U.S.-Russian relations.

U.S. Carrier Group Moves Toward Korean Peninsula

USS George Washington Battle Group

A warning to North Korea.

Headline Of The Day

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From The New York Times: Hindu Cow Vigilantes in Northern India Beat Muslim to Death Not to brush aside the seriousness of ethnic-based murders in a place like India, but the headline somehow brought the vision of vigilante cows into my mind.

Explosions At St. Petersburg Subway Stations Kill At Least Ten

St Petersburg Subway Bombing

An apparent terrorist attack in Russia’s second largest city.

The French Elections and the Russians

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Via The Economist is an interesting piece on the French presidential campaign:  France’s presidential race is a clash of worldviews.  The first paragraph raises an interesting point on the current state of world politics: WHAT did Marine Le Pen, the head of France’s National Front, expect to gain by visiting Moscow on March 24th? Her core […]

FBI Director Contradicts Trump On Wiretap Claims, Confirms Investigation Of Campaign

Trump Russia

Two big admissions from the Director of the F.B.I. today are likely to lead to real political headaches for the Trump Administration.

Britain To Trigger Beginning Of Brexit Process On March 29th

British European Flags

British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that she will formally invoke Article 50 of the European Union treaty on March 29th, thus officially beginning a Brexit process likely to take years.

Scottish First Minister Calls For Another Scottish Independence Vote

Scotland and UK flags

Scotland’s First Minister is calling for another independence vote in the wake of the beginning of the Brexit process, but she’s unlikely to get it.

South Korean President Removed From Office After Impeachment

South Korean Flag

South Korea removes a corrupt leader by peaceful means.

That Moment when you Realize the Best Picture is Selected more Democratically than is POTUS…

Actually, I already new that (indeed, even the older FPTP system is more democratic than the electoral college) but I was listening to a podcast yesterday that mentioned the Oscar’s voting procedure and it hit me that that was a good way to bring, in at least small measure, some attention to how voting rules […]

Mattis Right on NATO

mattis-nato

My latest is out at RealClearDefense.

Malaysian Police Say Kim Jong-Un’s Elder Brother Was Killed By VX Nerve Agent

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

Malaysian police have evidence that seems to clearly link North Korea to the death of Kim Jong Il’s eldest son.

Apparent Assassination Leading To Tension Between North Korea And China

China North Korea

The apparent assassination of Kim Jong-Un’s eldest brother has raised red flags in China.

Older Brother Of Kim Jong-Un Murdered In Kuala Lumpur

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

North Korean Intrigue…….

Rhetoric Matters: Trump and Iran

Iranian And American Flags

Trump’s combination amateur hour/tough guy approach is not going to make the world a safer place, nor will it advance US national interest.

Speaker Of British House Of Commons Says No Address By Trump

British Houses Of Parliament

When she came to visit President Trump during his first week in office, British Prime Minister Theresa May invited Trump to visit the United Kingdom. It has since been reported that such a visit, which apparently has not been scheduled, would be a formal state visit that would include an audience with Queen Elizabeth II […]

Elections have Consequences, Part 2

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Via the BBC:  MP Zahawi says Trump order banning him from US is ‘demeaning and sad’ Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi has said the executive order from President Trump bans him from the US and makes him feel discriminated against for the first time since he was a child. A British citizen born in Iraq, and […]

The Deep Significance and Importance of NAFTA

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As with so many things, the President is demonstrating that he really doesn’t know what he is doing.

After One Week, Donald Trump Has Soured Relations With Mexico

Nice work, Mr. President.

Tweeting A Cancelled Meeting

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Trump’s tweet may have been casual bluster posted while sitting at the breakfast table (presumably eating Wheaties®—The Breakfast of Champions). We can’t know. And finally it matters not because what really matters is that it was taken at face value by President Peña Nieto.

Trump Administration Not Rushing To Move U.S. Embassy To Jerusalem

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Despite campaign promises, President Trump appears to be putting off any immediate decision on the location of the U.S. Embassy to Israel.

Trump To Move Embassy to Jerusalem, Needlessly Inflaming Region

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This will get people killed. Quite likely, including American citizens.

British Prime Minister Theresa May Aiming For A ‘Hard Brexit’

Brexit Puzzle Pieces

British Prime Minister Theresa May made it clear that she intends to move forward with Brexit.

A Real Life “The Terminal” (of Sorts)

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Via WaPo:  Colombia deports U.S. tourist who was stranded at a Bogota airport for three months.

John Kerry Is Right About Middle East Peace, But It Hardly Matters At This Point

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Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Middle East peace was largely correct, but his words are pointless given the fact that neither Israel nor the Palestinians seem serious about peacefully resolving their differences.

United Nations Resolution Vote Leads To More Tension Between U.S. And Israel

Obama Netanyahu

While you were celebrating Christmas, Israel was blasting the Obama Administration and cozying up to the incoming Trump Administration.

Another Example of Growing Nationalism (and the Putin Connection)

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Via the NYT:  Austria’s Far Right Signs a Cooperation Pact With Putin’s Party The leader of the Austrian far-right Freedom Party has signed what he called a cooperation agreement with Russia’s ruling party and recently met with Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the designated national security adviser to President-elect Donald J. Trump of the United States. […]

Economist’s Country of the Year

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Colombia. A worthy choice for good reasons.  

Apparent Berlin Terror Attack Kills 12, Injures Dozens

Berlin Market Attack

Another attack in what has been a bloody 2016 for Europe.

Russian Ambassador To Turkey Assassinated In Ankara

Russian Ambassador Turkey Assassination

The situation in the Middle East just potentially became much more complicated.

The Problems with Safe Zones

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The president-elect has suggested that we will be able to create “safe zones” in Syria: “We’re going to build safe zones,” he told supporters at a rally in Florida. “We’re going to get the Gulf States to pay for the safe zones.” First, as a side note, what is it with Trump and the assumption […]

South Korean Parliament Impeaches President

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Political upheaval for an important Asian ally.

Duterte’s Philippines

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A chilling photo essay in the NYT: ‘They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals’ I had come to document the bloody and chaotic campaign against drugs that President Rodrigo Duterte began when he took office on June 30: since then, about 2,000 people had been slain at the hands of the police alone. […] I HAVE WORKED […]

French President Francois Hollande Won’t Run For Re-Election

French Flag And Ballot Box

French President Francois Fillon announced today that he would not run for a second term as President of France: PARIS — President François Hollande stunned France on Thursday when he announced that he would not run for a second term in next year’s presidential election. In a televised address from the Élysée Palace, Mr. Hollande […]

French Center-Right Party Picks Presidential Candidate

French Flag And Ballot Box

The players are almost completely set for France’s 2017 Presidential elections, and the choice seems likely to come down to center-right candidate Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen, France’s Donald Trump.

Obama And Biden Will Skip Castro’s Funeral

Diana Nyad

Neither President Obama nor Vice-President Biden will attend Fidel Castro’s funeral.

India And Pakistan Exchange Fire In Kashmir

India Pakistan Flags

As America prepares for a Presidential transition, an old conflict with a history of turning dangerous rears its head.

Angela Merkel To Seek Fourth Term As German Chancellor

Angela Merkel

Political change coming to Germany? Or more of the same.

Oops: Dell Offers $33 Laptops in Mexico

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Via the BBC:  Dell error hands Mexicans $33 laptop bargain Mexican officials have ordered Dell Computers to honour the sale of laptops that had been mistakenly advertised online for just 679 pesos (£27; $33). The computers normally sell for up to 50,000 pesos (£1,990; $2,500). But because of an apparent software malfunction, only the shipping […]

A Photo for Friday

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Since Colombia has been in the news this week, here is a photo I took of the opening ceremonies of the first round of the 2014 presidential elections, where I was acting as an electoral observer.  This process eventually led to Juan Manuel Santos’ second term in office.  This issue of the peace plan was central to that […]

Santos Wins Peace Prize

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Via the BBC:  Nobel Peace Prize for Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the 52-year conflict with left-wing rebels. The Nobel committee in Norway praised him for his peace agreement with Farc rebels, signed last month after four years of […]

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