South China Sea

The area is in the news now because the US sent a destroyer close to a small reef claimed by China and China protested the intrusion. To fully understand the situation, please consult a globe, such as Google Earth. Bordered by the Philippines and Vietnam, the South China sea is dotted with small islands and reefs claimed by various nations that border the Sea. Depending on the size of the island or reef, territorial waters around them overlap and/or obstruct free passage by the shipping of the world’s maritime fleets. Besides the claims of the countries in the area, the South China Sea is the site of a confrontation between the US and China. The US wants free navigation in the area so that we have access to a shortcut between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans via the Strait of Malacca. The shortcut represents a significant time and cost savings for shipping.

Then look at it from the Chinese perspective. China is a mostly landlocked nation that depends on the sea for vital imports and an inexpensive method for exports. China’s exit to the sea is largely blocked by a chain of islands between Taiwan and Japan, leaving the South China Sea as the main route for China’s manufacturing and export industries along China’s southern coast. China worries that a blockade of its coast in a future conflict could interrupt vital supply lines. Before deciding that the US is right and China is wrong, please try to see the area from the Chinese perspective. I believe that a peaceful solution can be found, but the situation is complex and neither the US nor China trusts the other side.

Please see The South China Sea

Canada to stop bombing ISIS

Canada has elected a new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and announced that Canada will no longer bomb ISIS in Iraq and Syria. I say hoorah. The campaign to bomb ISIS and/or for the US to become more involved in the civil and religious wars in the Middle East is a combined conspiracy between US neocons and the terrorists in ISIS. Both factions want more US involvement in the wars, but probably for different reasons. I hope that the US will follow Canada’s lead and stop making war in the Middle East when we have no idea who to support or what results our actions might produce.

Rats are smarter than people

Not only do rats and mice know not to foul their living spaces, rats have been trained in Mozambique to sniff out buried landmines making their removal safer. Humans bury landmines to kill and injure other humans; rats help locate them so that the landmines may be safely removed and later destroyed. Hooray for those rats.


Carly Fiorina’s solution to the war in Syria is to establish a no-fly zone in Syria from which we would bar Syrian and Russian aircraft. Good luck enforcing that. Neocons inside and out of our government would welcome a wider war in the Middle East with the US having boots on the ground in Syria and Iran. If we must fight Russia in Syria and Ukraine too, so much the better. They seem to forget that Russia is the ONLY country, besides China, with nuclear weapons and the rockets to deliver them to the US. Russia’s military efforts in Syria are the perfect opportunity to join hands with the Russians and others to solve the situation by diplomacy, not military means.

Other worrying news from the area is the reported stopping of Iranian arms from reaching Yemen by sea by the Saudi navy. Saudi Arabia is no match for Iran. I for one am opposed to rescuing Saudi Arabia by pulling their chestnuts from any fire they may start.