"Democrats and Trump critics are now using the 'I' word."
Europe with two of its leading countries—France and Great Britain—is in turmoil.
Paris, the city of lights, has been darkened and rocked by massive street protests not seen since the turbulence of 1968. French President Emmanuel Macron who is only on the first year and a half of his term is facing calls to resign by demonstrators protesting the tax hike on fuel.
French police are fighting the violence by firing teargas into the rowdy crowd who defied truncheons and sporadic gunfire. Macron was to talk to labor unions, student groups and other leaders at the forefront of these protests which could bring down the government.
In Britain, Prime Minister Teresa May is also facing a challenge to her leadership on the issue of Britain’s exit from the European Union. A vote by Parliament on the issue has been delayed and MPs opposing Brexit and the Prime Minister have grown in number and making May’s own political future uncertain.
It has begun to appear that Brexit poses serious hardships for the Brits. They cannot avail of the EU benefits without paying for them. This includes British security under the mantle of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Entry of British products into the EU market including Ireland will be met with stiff tariff barriers.
There is also the prospect of Scotland which is part of the United Kingdom disengaging from the UK. The Brexit fever has also caught up in Italy where the Italians are grappling with the budget and encountering financial issues with the Brussels-based EU.
Across the Atlantic, US President Donald Trump’s legal problems has reached a level where critics and the Democrats are using the “I” word for the first time. Talk of impeachment and possible jail time are now circulating in the US capital. Washington is abuzz after former Attorney General Robert Mueller and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey issued statements that Trump and his campaign team associates lied about Russia’s role in the 2016 political campaign by providing derogatory information on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Trump is also under fire for being soft on Middle East ally Saudi Arabia which is being condemned worldwide for the killing of critic journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Adding to Trump’s mounting problems is the revolving door turnover of his appointed officials with very few takers for their replacement.
Trump’s America First policy has also dragged the US into an undeclared trade war with a rising China which some global analysts fear could lead to a military confrontation. The flashpoint in this looming clash between the two military powers is the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea which the US is trying to protect from the aggressive Chinese which is militarizing the area.
The US also has its hands full dealing with the nuclear weapon ambitions of Iran and North Korea. Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un but the latter’s pledge to dismantle his missile and nuclear arsenal appear to be just an empty promise. Satellite surveillance showed that Pyongyang is
hiding these weapons from inspection by the UN monitoring agency.
In eastern Europe, there is a crisis in the Crimean peninsula where Russia detained a Ukrainian ship and its men after a clash off Stavasnopol, the strategic naval base taken over by the Russians. Moscow has warned Kiev that an all-out war could erupt if Ukraine does not desist from its aggressive moves in the area.
Stavasnopol is vital to the Russian fleet in the Black Sea. It can be likened to the importance of Subic Bay to the United States Seventh Fleet in Asia and the Pacific. Subic with its natural cove protects US warships from turbulent typhoons that often visit the Philippines.
Observers view the departure of the Americans from Subic and Clark Air base to have emboldened China to pursue its aggressive moves in Southeast Asia. At stake under the South China Sea is the vast potential of oil, gas and mineral resources China needs to replace the US as the bigger superpower.