Mt. Mantap collapse: Not news. Structural integrity was lost and partial collapse occurred in the last test, 3 Sept 2017 and was widely reported. Everyone understands that the site is no longer usable. However, as of yesterday, 38 North and other news outlets were still saying the site was fully functional so Kim can argue that he had the site dismantled and contrarian opinions will sound like whining and wheedling. The US will have to invent a bargaining position – it can’t use military threats if the DPRK does not pose a significant threat to the US and the threat to Japan seems fleeting at best. Kim and Moon, with China’s help, will work out a peace treaty between the North and South with or without the US, which the US will have to accept. It will not include the North getting rid of its nukes.
No chemical attack in Syria: Of course there wasn’t. Assad had no reason to invite a US attack, so it didn’t happen either time. The US pushed Russia into moving S-300s to Syria but they won’t be integrated into the Syrian air defense system or manned by Syrians because even with good weapons, Syrian defenses are transparent to Israel. Therefore Israel still has an open window into the Syrian military and Russia will develop work-arounds.
The US is off the deep end for myriad reasons and the rest of the world sees the glitter falling off. North Korea/Syria/Ukraine/Taiwan/Et al. could easily mark our loss of global hegemony.
Pakistan is still seeking NSG membership and the US is applying sanctions. Sanctions, trade restrictions and tariffs are relatively inexpensive acts of war and we are applying them globally, even to Japan and Germany. We are doing that because we gave away so many trading concessions in order to buy allies that we can’t sustain them any longer. But allies have to be earned, not bought. Our policy of “Do what I say or else” may work locally but it no longer works globally.
In point of fact, so much debt exists in the world that there is not enough money…or potential money..to cover it. Most countries (and even individuals) struggle to pay the interest. There is no possibility the principal amounts can ever be repaid. The only solution left is to renege on the debts. Invariably this leads to war.
Afghanistan: No one cares. It’s a shithole. We went there to ‘get’ Bin Ladin. Then we let him get away. After we found him in Pakistan, we stayed in Afghanistan and began supporting the Al Qaeda franchise in Syria. Why are we still there after 17 years? Not because of Bin Ladin.