BITS AND PIECES
Thought I'd post a few odds and ends here today. It's a relatively slow day for me. I do a workshop after lunch but not much else going on.
Yesterday the Int'l Meeting of the World Conference against A & H Bombs began with about 16 speeches to the assembled group of 230 people. I was one of the speakers.
There will be several different conferences going on in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the coming days. Sort of like competing peace conferences if you will.....my hosts, Global Network board members living in Japan, are independent activists and try to work with everyone and thus had the connections to get me invited to many different events.
The Egypt's Ambassador to Japan, Walid Mahmoud Abdelnasser, was one of the speakers at the international meeting. I want to share a few of his words:
Today, Egypt notes with great concern that while all states of the Middle East have become parties of the NPT, Israel regrettably persists in ignoring repeated calls for its adherence to the treaty and the placement of all its nuclear facilities under full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards; therefore, perpetuating a dangerous imbalance; a trigger for a nuclear arms race and a threat to peace and security in the region that needs to be adequately addressed.
This is very interesting to me because it reflects the tremendous hypocrisy of US policy in that region. Today Israel, and the US, refuse to publicly acknowledge that Israel has about 200 nuclear weapons. The US and Israel berate Iran for "possibly developing" nuclear weapons, and in fact even threaten to attack Iran. But Israel is allowed to thumb its nose at the international community without a mumbling word from the US or virtually any one else.
I saw an interesting quote from our V-P Joseph Biden from the end of July that jumped out at me. First please remember that Obama has said he intends to "reset" relations with Russia. So Biden, fresh on the heels of his NATO-expansion visit to Ukraine and Georgia, further poked a stick into the belly of Russia with this one:
The reality is, the Russians are where they are. They have a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, they're in a situation where the world is changing before them and they're clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable.
Russia was not happy with this statement, sensing that the Obama team is clearly pursuing a path of good cop-bad cop. (Obama the good cop and Biden the bad cop). The Kremlin response questioned whether the president or the vice-president was shaping US foreign policy. The Obama team is slowly but steadily heating up the US-Russia relationship. Not a good sign.