Week in Review
18 May 2018
PALESTINIANS CRY, WHILE ISRAELIS CELEBRATE. On 14 May, the United States officially opened their embassy in Jerusalem; Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called it a “great day for peace”. Yet, it was a very different atmosphere on the Palestinian side. Thousands were injured, dozens dead after tens of thousands assembled near Gaza’s border fence. There were reports of the terrorist group Hamas attempting to use explosive to get through the border resulting in the use of lethal force. Nonetheless, President Donald Trump has demonstrated how much a pro-Israeli U.S. president can change the attitude in Israel.
IS KIM JONG-UN GETTING COLD FEET? North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, cancelled a meeting with high-level officials in South Korea this week and threatened to cancel his meeting Donald Trump. Citing concerns over recent joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises and the U.S. condition that North Korea unilaterally relinquish their nuclear arms. Yet, both of these have been long planned, leading many to believe this meeting will not be different than previous high-level talks with North Korea.
RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY BRINGS PEACE….FOR NOW. The Indian government has announced a ceasefire in its province of Kashmir. Kashmir, in the north of India, is claimed by both India and Pakistan, being a point of contention since independence from the British. Kashmir has experienced an ever-growing amount of protests, and violence over the last year resulting in more severe responses from the government. Yet, with the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, there has been a ceasefire announced. It remains to be seen if it will be effective, but those affected by the violence can only hope.
TRADE STANDOFF MAY BE ENDING, BUT WHOSE THE WINNER? China has put forth a $200 billion USD trade package to attempt to reduce the trade deficit that the United States has with it. Unfortunately, its promises are unlikely to be kept due to hurdles in Chinese domestic politics. Further, if Trump goes forward with the deal as a ‘win’ for his administration, he will lose leverage over sensitive technology being sold to China and Chinese corporations operating in the United States like telecommunications company ZTE.
EBOLA IS BACK AND AS DANGEROUS AS EVER. Ebola has been identified in at least 44 people with 23 dead in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo. The reason for concern is that the outbreak has spread from the countryside into the city of one million, which also happens to be a large transportation hub. Like the outbreak in 2014, once it is in cities, infection rates exponential rise and thus does lethality. If medical professionals cannot use what they learned from 2014, this may not be the last time it is in the news.
PROHIBITED CHEMICALS THREATEN OZONE ONCE AGAIN. The once ominous hole that opened in the ozone layer of Earth’s atmosphere was thought to be recovering after, in 2010, nations came together to ban harmful chemicals altogether. Now scientists are reporting high levels of CFC-11, a refrigerant that was one of the banned chemicals, coming from somewhere in East Asia. If the current amount of this chemical continues to be used the ozone could take an additional decade to heal itself. Scientists are hoping by raising this issue, it will encourage the nation cheating to cease emissions of CFC-11, allowing the ozone to recover as was established in the 2010 Montreal Protocol.
PUTIN LEGITIMIZES HIS CLAIM OVER CRIMEA. Newly re-elected President Vladimir Putin has taken another step to legitimize his claim over Crimea, a territory that was previously held by the Ukraine. He was present to announce a recently built bridge linking Crimea and Russia directly. While there is still some construction needed, and the economic value of Crimea to Russia is questioned due to sanctions, it is largely a symbolic achievement. Along with a Russian-built airport in Crimea, it adds to Putin’s legitimization of the territory as Russian. Putin is proving that he will continue his aggressive foreign policy as he begins his ‘last’ term as President.
WHO NEEDS ALLIES? Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, the leading body within the European Union, tweeted at Donald Trump, indirectly knocking him for his recent choice to renege on the Iran Deal. This epitomizes the current U.S.-E.U. relations. They are likely at the lowest point since the Iraq War, perhaps worse. The leaders of Britain, Germany, and France all tried to convince him to stay in it, but failed. This will likely lessen the probability Europe will assist the United States in important global matters, Trump has truly taken an America First policy and it is starting to show.