The media preoccupation with Ukraine has caused attention
to be diverted from many other international developments,
many of which are significant to U.S. relationships around
Most recent were parliamentary elections in France in which
newly reelected President Emmanuel Macron lost his
centrist party’s majority as a coalition of parties on the left
made notable gains to be the largest opposition group in
the parliament, and Mme. Marine Le Pen’s party on the
right also made gains to become the next largest party.
In order to pass legislation, M. Macron will probably have
to work with the fourth largest party, a conservative group,
and legislators from smaller parties. President Macron,
after German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent retirement,
had become the leading political figure in the continental
European Union (EU), will likely now have to look more to
his domestic programs, and renewed unrest in France.
Across the Channel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
recently survived a “no confidence” vote in his parliament.
Although the vote was not as close as the hostile British
media said it was, it was serious enough for Mr. Johnson to
need to attempt internal repairs within his party which controls
the parliament if his government is to survive until the next
election. Plagued by controversies, he has been on the
defensive in the House of Commons over various domestic
issues, but has stepped up to be Ukraine’s most consistent
booster in Europe. He is probably much more popular in
Kyiv than London these days.
The European story, of course, is Russian President Vladimir
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, and still ongoing.
The Russian army’s initial efforts failed when Ukraine resisted
the invasion, and gained, under Ukrainian President Vlodomyr
Zelensky’s charismatic leadership, almost universal sympathy
and support in Europe, including Germany which, like so many
of its neighbors, depended on Russian oil and gas. Putin has
now shifted his military operations, and although the outmanned
and outgunned Ukrainian military is holding on, there is
increasing talk of a negotiated settlement. The impact of this
Russian “special operations” has not been limited to Europe, but
has reached China and India, Africa and the U.S. Support for
Ukraine is not global, particularly not among nations which are
customers of Russian resources The consequences of a
long-term Russian military effort in Ukraine is unknown.
In the Philippines, the son of the former dictator Ferdinand
Marcos was recently elected president. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr..
(known as “Bong Bong”) Marcos brings back a Marcos family
member to power after more than three decades.
In Australia, conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison lost
his bid for a 4th term to Anthony Albanese of the Labour Party.
In South Korea, People Power Party candidate Youn Sur-Yen
won the closest election in the nation’s history.
BREAKING NEWS: The eight party right-to-left coalition which
has led Israel for a year under Prime Minister Naphtali Bennett
has decided to dissolve the Knesset and call elections (the fifth
time in 3 years). Likely date is late October. Recent polls
indicate that the current opposition party, Likud (which is led by
former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), leads all other
parties among Israeli voters, but is one vote short of the majority
necessary to form a new government. Foreign Minister Yair
Lapid will now take over as prime minister until the election.
Copyright (c) 2022 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.