World View: Obama Invokes War Powers Act, Sends Troops to Help Nigeria

This morning's key headlines from
  • Russia and China sign 'historic' energy deal
  • As reality sets in, east Ukraine public turns against Russian separatists
  • Boko Haram strikes again, this time in northern Nigeria
  • President invokes War Powers Act, sends troops to help Nigeria

Russia and China sign 'historic' energy deal

Russia's president Vladimir Putin and China's president Xi Jinping in Shangai signed an energy deal that specifies that Russia, starting in 2018, will deliver 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year to China, meeting a quarter of China's current natural gas demand of 150 billion cubic meters. Over 30 years, the deal, which is being described as "historic," is expected to be worth around $400 billion.

Putin was extremely anxious to get this deal signed. As the Ukraine crisis has unfolded, the Europeans have increasingly discussed being less dependent on Russian energy. Furthermore, the gas to be supplied to China will come from Russia's Far East, where there is no natural buyer except China. On the other hand, China has a number of other potential sources.

The announcement was something of a surprise, and occurred after a number of news reports had said that Putin's visit to China had failed to produce an energy deal. However, details of the deal, particularly the price, were not revealed, and it's believed that China forced a desperate Vladimir Putin to accept a rock bottom price, much lower than he would have liked. Many analysts believe that 2018 date is extremely optimistic, and that a 2020 date is more realistic. Whether the deal continues to appear "historic" remains to be seen. Forbes and AP

As reality sets in, east Ukraine public turns against Russian separatists

A new survey shows that only 22% of people living in eastern Ukraine, where separatists are active, of the people want Ukraine aligned with Russia, while 32% say it should be closer to the European Union. This is happening because the initial "revolutionary" excitement is dying down and reality is setting in. Rotting garbage is piling up in the hallways of the government office building seized by separatists in eastern Ukraine. And the separatists who are supposedly government separatist in reality have almost no authority over anything except themselves. According to one analyst, the annexation of Crimea is already causing problems for Russia: "It's already too costly for Russia to swallow Crimea. It will be just impossible to swallow the east of Ukraine, but the public is expecting it. So that's the difficulty." Washington Post and VOA

Boko Haram strikes again, this time in northern Nigeria

A day after a double bombing in the central Nigerian city of Jos killed 118 people, a Boko Haram assault on three villages in northern Nigeria on Wednesday killed 48 people. The terrorists attacked villages, forcing people to hide in the bush, from where they could watch as their homes were burned down. 

As Boko Haram has abducted over 200 schoolgirls and perpetrated one terrorist bombing after another, Nigeria's government has appeared to be increasingly helpless, and Nigeria's army has been almost completely invisible. National Post

President invokes War Powers Act, sends troops to help Nigeria

The United States is sending 80 military personnel and at least one unarmed Predator reconnaissance aircraft drone to Chad as part of the international effort to defeat Boko Haram. The unmanned drone will join similar aircraft based in Niger that have already been participating in the search for the kidnapped schoolgirls. The President sent a letter to Congress invoking the War Powers Act: 

"Approximately 80 U.S. Armed Forces personnel have deployed to Chad as part of the U.S. efforts to locate and support the safe return of over 200 schoolgirls who are reported to have been kidnapped in Nigeria. These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area. The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required. 
This action has been directed in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. 
I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in these actions."

ABC News and White House

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Russia, Vladimir Putin, China, Xi Jinping, Ukraine, Crimea, Nigeria, Jos, Boko Haram, Chad 

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