Putin May Be Willing To Offer Refuge To Syrian Dictator
Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled in an interview that he may be willing to provide asylum to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if he should seek it, although he said it was too early to begin discussions at the moment, the Washington Post reports.
In the interview with the German newspaper, Bild, Putin expressed his support for Assad but would not characterize him as an “ally.”
He also said he believed the rift which has opened up between Iran and Saudi Arabia will certainly make negotiations more difficult.
“As for whether this will lead to a major regional clash, I do not know. I would rather not talk or even think in these terms,” he said.
Philippine High Court Gives Okay To Longer US Presence
On Tuesday, the Philippines Supreme Court ruled 10-4 to permit the US to expand its military presence in the country, which has competing claims with an increasingly bold China in the South China Sea. The decision will pave the way for the construction of military facilities and for the US military to maintain ships, aircraft and troops in the former American colony on a rotating basis.
For most of the 20th century, military bases were actively maintained in the Philippines for most of the 20th century, but were expelled following the passage of a law in the Philippine legislature that banned any foreign government from operating a military base in the country without a Senate-approved treaty.
While the government and the US welcomed the ruling, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary General Renato Reyes, Jr. expressed his opposition to what he deemed a loss of the nation’s sovereignty.
“We shall immediately consult with our lawyers regarding a possible motion for reconsideration, especially since the SC vote was not unanimous. We shall continue to expose and oppose U.S. military intervention in the Philippines,” he said in a statement.
North Korea Policy Needs A Reevaluation
Regardless of whether North Korea actually detonated a hydrogen bomb or not, it is becoming clearer that US policy toward Pyongyang needs to be reevaluated, says Michael O’Hanlon in The National Interest.
“[North Korea] remains demonstrably unfazed by Western sanctions and unafraid of Chinese retaliation. And the world’s tentative conclusion, that it failed to detonate a true hydrogen bomb in its recent test, is only likely to stoke its interest in trying again down the road. We can stick with an ethically justifiable and morally pure policy that is failing, or we can try something else,” he writes.
In the long term, he suggests striving toward a goal of denuclearization and a normalization of relations, while focusing in the near-term on persuading the North Koreans to halt any further nuclear tests.
To achieve this short-term aim, O’Hanlon says the West might propose a gradual relaxation of many existing sanctions on North Korea, “in return not only for the near-term nuclear restraint noted above, but for an end to the production and testing of ballistic missiles above a certain range, and a pullback of some potent weaponry from near the DMZ.”