Sunday, Oct 21, 2018
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Chaos to conversation


The Summit of the Americas will go on without President Trump this weekend in Peru. Opting to stay in Washington while a response to the Syria gas attack is being planned, the President is sending Vice President Mike Pence to represent the United States at the triennial, 35-nation meeting.

The summit may not be well known to the public, but it has proved to be an important event for nations in the Western Hemisphere since its 1994 inception.

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With leaders of all countries present, there’s no getting around the most vivid problems. The chaos in Venezuela, where misgovernment of a country with substantial resources has led to enormous human suffering, is paramount. Cuba is still drifting through the final days of Castro family rule, with the future not clear ahead. Brazil is approaching crucial October elections, having just imprisoned for corruption former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, possibly a favorite to actually win those elections. It might even be a venue for Canada, Mexico, and the United States to iron out differences over the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

Back at the White House, the Syrian response issue became more complicated on recently. Russia announced that, first, it would man Syria’s air defenses against any U.S. missile attack, and, second, that it would pursue its defense to punish the source of any U.S. missile attack — which is to say, U.S. destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea off Syria. If it does, that would risk direct hostilities between the United States and Russia, a grave development indeed.

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