Sunday Blurbs - News You Should Know

USA-DPRK Summit is Back On…For Now.

Last week Donald Trump abruptly (perhaps so abruptly he did not have time to proofread his statement) canceled the summit between the United States and North Korea after high-level officials from North Korea mocked Vice President Mike Pence.  

Well, shortly after the cancelation of the summit, North Korean officials were invited to visit with Trump and Co. in New York City and Washington, D.C. to discuss the relationship between the two countries.  At the White House portion of the visit, a North Korean official hand-delivered a letter from Kim Jong Un addressed to the President. 

What the letter says specifically, I do not know, but the meeting is back on.  It is scheduled for June 12th in Singapore.  

One key detail did reveal itself, however, during this saga: what has to happen for North Korea to denuclearize.  I originally expected that the DPRK would demand that the United States withdraw their forces from the peninsula in exchange for denuclearization; Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has already stated this will not happen.  What appears to have been revealed now, though, is that the DPRK is not as concerned about the US military presence on the peninsula, but its economic presence.

I am specifically speaking about sanctions. 

North Korea has had to endure sanctions by the US government for years, but Trump double-downed on the sanctions and really put his economic boot on the throat of North Korea.  North Korea is so desperate for the economic sanctions to be lifted that they are considering denuclearizing and opening their country up to outside investment. Perhaps this is where many of us do not give the Trump Administration enough credit; I honestly believe without the additional sanctions that were implemented that we would not be on the verge of peace in Korea right now.  

Of course, one thing that we do not have right now is any sense of stability.  This summit can be canceled again just as quickly as it was rescheduled.  The image has become clearer for what needs to happen for peace to be attained, and as long as the summit is back on the docket, this is a possibility we can only be excited for.  

Can Canada Handle the United States’ Immigration Deflection?

Canadian President Justin Trudeau has received criticism recently for his administration’s struggles with illegal immigration.  

Since Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, many migrants who previously sought refuge in the United States are now heading north to Canada, and Canada is not handling it well.  

There are as many as 200,000 undocumented immigrants currently living in Canada.  Most of these people were granted legal access to the country with tourist visas and then just never left.  On top of those overstaying their visas, there are an additional 53,000 unprocessed asylum requests.  The Provinces of Quebec and British Columbia have complained that they are not receiving enough funding nor the proper personnel to handle this crisis, and are afraid about what will happen in the upcoming summer months when Canada faces a significant increase in illegal entries.

In 2017, over 25,000 immigrants seeking asylum entered Canada, with 10,000 of them coming from June through July.  So far, this year through April, over 7,500 have already entered Canada, a rate 250% more than last year through April.  

Canadian officials have reached out to officials from both Nigeria and Haiti, two countries where many of the immigrants originate from, in hopes of working together to find a solution to this crisis, but there is little the home-nations can do since many of these migrants are using legal means to enter Canada.  

The Canadian public response has been mixed.  At some unofficial borders, groups of people hand out flags and drinks, welcoming the migrants to the nation.  At others, especially in Quebec, they are met with protests and demands to go back home. 

Immigration is a newer challenged for the geographically-isolated nation of Canada.  Many of the immigrants flooding into Canada today previously sought refuge in the United States, but now fear what will happen to them under Trump’s America.  Will Prime Minister Trudeau be able to make the adjustments he needs to ensure that Canada maintains its image as a welcoming and friendly nation?  

Mattis Focuses on Growing Tensions with China

United States Secretary of Defense Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis has recently withdrawn an invitation to China to participate in a the “Rim of the Pacific” joint-military exercises due to China’s continued actions in the South China Sea.  China has previously participated in these exercises as a regular member.  

Mattis accused China of purposefully provoking and intimidated nations in the region by occupying and expanding small islands in the body of water and repurposing them for military use.  China has claimed that these islands, and therefore the water surrounding it, are in their rights to use, even though the international community recognizes them as in international waters, subject to free-navigation.  

Mattis asserted that the United States would, “modernize their alliance”, with South Korea and Japan as they face, “the threats of the 21st Century”, alluding to China’s expansionist objectives.  

As we are on the verge of peace in the Korean Peninsula, tensions between China and the global community are only rising as China attempts to position itself to become the next world power.   

Spain’s PM Booted out on vote of No-Confidence

The Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, was booted out of office in a vote of no-confidence.

Rajoy served as Prime Minister since 2011 and has been a prominent figure in Spanish politics for two decades.  He helped dig the country out of a financial crisis, but lost his job due to a newer corruption scandal. 

This leaves Spain’s government in a state of disorder, aligning itself well with the rest of the world where disorder seems to be in vogue. Right now, Spain’s Socialist Party sits in power, but none of the four different parties elected to parliament can claim a majority hold of power.  

Rajoy, who faced the Catalonian secessionist movement by imposing harsh, if not brutal, civil rights limitations on his people.  The next PM will have to have an answer for the movement, and how they respond to it will be of great interest to me.  Spain is not as susceptible to a populist takeover as Italy was, but the Spanish government is in a precarious position and the instability is apparent. Spain needs someone to come in and stabilize parliament and hopeful find an answer to the Catalonian situation that is best for everyone. 

Jake GavinComment