The news is not good for those hoping for peace around the world in the various sources that I have been reading today. The Goldstone report has apparently alienated Israel from Turkey as well as stirring troubles both between Israelis and Palestinians — and among the Palestinians as well. Bringing peace within the Israeli-Palestinian framework as well as between Israel and other Middle Eastern nations looks even more difficult now. Mitchell’s efforts both with the Israeli and Egyptian leaders look to have left him discouraged and more problems are arising daily.

The new natural gas pipeline that the Russians are building through the Baltic will leave them more latitude to pressure the Eastern European countries which are less likely to be offered support by Western European nations when cutoffs of gas don’t effect them directly with the new alternative gas line in place.

Pakistan is apparently none too happy about our trying to be helpful with funding which is being interpreted as American interference in their affairs and the weakness of their government versus military which may have mixed goals — some antagonistic to us — and makes that game a most tricky one. We probably can’t be of much help in their dispute over the Kashmir with India.

And Afghanistan? Apparently Obama has authorized sending some more troops — not the 40,000 demanded by generals:

Obama approves 13,000 more troops to Afghanistan – October 14, 2009

“President Barack Obama has approved the deployment of an additional 13,000 US troops to Afghanistan beyond the 21,000 he announced publicly in March, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

“The additional troops are primarily support forces — such as engineers, medical specialists, intelligence experts and military police — the paper said, bringing the total build-up approved by Obama to 34,000.”

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/obama-approves-13000-more-troops-to-afghanistan-20091013-gvtk.html

What they are to do there is not really all that clear and many a critical source suggests that this interim move will not help pacify any one. A number of these sources are quite persuasive and draw the Vietnam parallel. Will we be assisted by the other nations with troops there — a number of which are being pressured by their citizens — as is Obama — to pull out.

And then there are the economic disasters apparently bought on by climate changes — droughts that are starving people in such as Kenya and floods in India and elsewhere with many a low lying nation at risk from relative small rises in sea levels. When people are coping with disasters they can be dangerous — particularly when there are competing ethnic or tribal groups such as in Kenya.

Northern Iraq apparently also has a drought problem, too. Will it mess up peace there?

Not much that Obama can do about the hostilities in Sri Lanka.

And what of the mad tyrannies of such as Mugabe in Zimbabwe and Burma/Myanmar who are starving their peoples? We may be having some success with the latter. They showed up at the UN for the first time in 14 years, possibly as a result of our efforts to get through to their military leadership:

http://features.csmonitor.com/globalnews/2009/09/24/us-to-engage-burma-myanmar-clinton/

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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