Britain's Local Elections in May Won't Forecast General Election Result -- The June 8 general election in the UK will follow by five weeks elections to some of the country's local councils on May 4. The temptation among pundits, pollsters and politicians will be to try predicting the June outcome based on the May results. The data will be fresh, the interval between the two elections is close, the parties involved will all be the same (save of course for the candidates themselves). Analysts will demand to know how the local elections could not possibly be an indicator of the general election outcome. The answer is simply that the similarities are deceiving, and the differences are too great for the events to be linked. [21 April]
Trump Rattles Sabres Toward Iran -- Having just demonstrated to the world that it cannot dispatch an aircraft carrier and its escort ships to Korean waters in a direct and timely fashion, the Trump foreign policy team has turned its attention to Iran. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged yesterday that the Iranians are abiding by the 2015 agreement governing their nuclear program. He then announced, "An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea and to take the world along with it." After that, he announced a review of the nuclear deal, which is actually a check on Iran. One must wonder whether the problem is a basic ignorance of foreign policy, an unfamiliarity with the fundamentals of logic or an inability to use the English language. [20 April]
US Aircraft Carrier Wasn't Headed to Korea After All -- When North Korea launched a test missile that failed almost immediately, the American response was measured, decisive and prudent. The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and its escort ships were sent to the region as a show of American resolve. It would provide extra air power and logistical support in the event things on the peninsula got violent. North Korea would be deterred, South Korea and Japan would know America had their backs. The only trouble is that the Trump, administration lied. The battle group wasn't going to Korea. [19 April]
PM May Calls Snap Election in UK -- British Prime Minister Teresa May has surprised the world by announcing she wants a general election on June 8. This is a U-turn for her as she had stated repeatedly that she wouldn't go to the country until 2020 when this parliament comes to its statutory end. However, the pressures of Britain leaving the EU have forced her to change her tune. The nation is going to get the election it should have had last summer when the referendum went against then-PM David Cameron. [18 April]
Erdogan Wins Turkish Referendum, Can Rule Till 2029 -- Turks voted in a referendum that ended yesterday with those favoring a new constitutional arrangement carrying the day with 51.4% of the vote. The new constitution ends Turkey's parliamentary system and replaces it with a presidential one. The closeness of the vote, and the irregularities the opposition cited, suggests Turkey remains a divided nation, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will go ahead with his ambition to end secularism in Turkey and be the strong man until he is just too old to carry on. [17 April]
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