Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (8/16/19)

Global Unrest: Hong Kong Protests, Chinese Tariffs, US Near Recession and More!

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time. 

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways has been caught up in the fallout of ongoing pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese city. Hundreds of flights were canceled this week because of protests at Hong Kong International Airport, and the airline has threatened to fire employees who take part in the demonstrations. It was announced Friday that the company's CEO Rupert Hogg and Chief Commercial Officer Paul Loo are resigning. The airline's stock has fallen almost 24% since April. What’s going on in Hong Kong and why?

Greenland is not for sale. That's what Ane Lone Bager, Greenland's foreign minister, told journalists who asked her about reports that US President Donald Trump has talked about the possibility of buying the territory with advisers. She said, "We are open for business, but we're not for sale." The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Trump has repeatedly asked advisers about buying Greenland with "varying degrees of seriousness." He's said to have asked the White House counsel to look into whether it could be done. What's with the interest in Greenland?

The Trump administration is moving ahead with an $8 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan despite strong objections from China. The State Department late yesterday submitted the package for informal review. It would be the largest and most significant sale of weaponry to the self-governing island in years, and comes amid stalled trade talks and a deteriorating US relationship with China. Lawmakers from both parties had questioned whether the White House would scuttle the sale to soften the ground for a US-China trade deal, or otherwise use the fighter jets as a bargaining chip in deadlocked negotiations.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) said Friday that she would not travel to Israel under “oppressive conditions” to see her 90-year-old grandmother after the Israeli government reversed course and said it would allow her to make the trip. After initially banning her and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from entering the country, Israel relented Friday in response to a request from Tlaib to see her grandmother, who lives in the occupied West Bank, during a four-day trip planned for next week. Hours later, Tlaib said she had decided not to travel to Israel under conditions that would have included a pledge in writing not to “promote boycotts against Israel” while there. Your thoughts?

[My related articles: Sacrificing Gaza: The Great March of Zionist HypocrisyZionism In The Light of Jerusalem]

How bad will the next recession be? Prognostications vary, and we don’t have great data on future events. But we’ve got plenty on what happened in the past, and we can look there for clues.

Gibraltar’s government Thursday released an Iranian supertanker detained on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions on oil exports to Syria, authorities said, in a move likely to soothe tensions with Iran even as it drew opposition from the Trump administration. The Grace 1 tanker was seized last month near Gibraltar, a British overseas territory, with 2.1 million barrels of oil, which the government suspected was destined for the Syrian port Baniyas. Its detention was at the center of a brewing crisis between Iran and the British government, which helped Gibraltar authorities impound the ship.

[My related article: Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back]

On Monday we discussed how Yemeni separatists over the weekend seized key government and military posts in Aden – the de facto capital – raising the prospect of the South seceding. The power grab, carried out by UAE-backed forces, calls into question the unity and purpose of the Gulf Arab coalition in Yemen, launched in 2015 to restore the Yemeni government to power and roll back gains made by the Houthi rebels. Thursday on Capitol Hill there was a vigil in honor of the 41 Yemeni students killed last August in Sa’dah by an American bomb.


Jim Kavanagh — Political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist.

Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.

Daniel Lazare — Journalist and author of three books: "The Frozen Republic," "The Velvet Coup" and "America's Undeclared War." 

Mac Hamilton — Executive manager at STAND: The Student-led Movement to End Mass Atrocities.

Listen to "Global Unrest: Hong Kong Protests, Chinese Tariffs, US Near Recession and More!" on Spreaker.

The Critical Hour is a daily 60-minute news analysis and talk radio program on Radio Sputnik hosted by Dr. Wilmer Leon. Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.

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