Talks and Conflicts

The Saturday Wall Street Journal had a piece that worried about President Donald Trump’s decision to add more tariffs to People’s Republic of China’s goods just prior to another round of trade talks with the PRC.

[T]he decision’s timing risks deepening the already bitter trade fight by starting another tit-for-tat round of tariffs.

And

The tariffs are bound to complicate—if not derail—talks with top Chinese officials, which are currently scheduled in Washington for Sept 27 and Sept 28, say people familiar with the plans.

Mao and Xi

Deutsche Welle reported on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s visit last Friday with People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in the PRC.  A couple of things jumped out at me that are separate from the emphasis the article put on the visit and the aid the PRC has promised Maduro.  Maduro tweeted

We began our state visit to the People’s Republic of China, paying tribute to its founder, the Great Helmsman, Mao Tse Tung.  His example and revolutionary struggle marked the twentieth century.

That was in connection with this:

“Some Feel It’s About Time for a US Retreat”

That’s the title of Friday’s Wall Street Journal Letters column.  One letter argues that point in particular.  The letter writer is mostly wrong, but his is right on one matter.

Who does he think will fill in behind us if we retreat?  It won’t be our friends; that should be clear.

On the other hand, he argued

The USSR no longer exists and China has emerged as our chief rival. The only thing that has remained constant is America’s footing the greater part of the bill for military defense, while nations we protect continue to grow rich at our expense.
The nations of the world that we are supposed to protect are going their own way, while we continue to spend and spend in the name of preserving an alliance that is no longer even necessary.

The PLO and Peace

The US is cutting off funding for the PLO, and we’re closing the PLO’s delegation office in DC.  Various apologists for the terrorist organization are up in arms over the Trump administration’s sterner stand.

…the administration that appear to be moving away from the 1993-95 Oslo accords before the administration has explained what it thinks should come next.

Walking away from the Oslo peace framework? That framework doesn’t exist; the PLO walked away from it long ago.  See, for instance, PLO leader Yasser Arafat’s intifada after walking away from the historic and generous Israeli peace offer brokered by Bill Clinton in 2000.

A Change in Tone?

Recall the start of President Donald Trump’s response to the People’s Republic of China’s economic conflict with us, when he began imposing tariffs on PRC goods over their continued theft of American companies’ intellectual property.

Vice President Wang warned US business chieftains there would be corporate casualties. President Xi told others that Beijing would “punch back” at the US.

Now we’re getting sweet words.

Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s economic-policy chief, told visiting American business representatives that US companies’ China operations won’t be targeted in Beijing’s trade-brawl counterattacks. “We won’t allow retribution against foreign companies,” Mr Liu said[.]

Little Nations

…and big nations.  There’s a meeting of 18 nations of the Pacific, the Pacific Islands Forum, occurring in the nation of Nauru, an island nation in the Pacific.  Nauru is 2500 miles north of New Zealand, and it would fit inside Providence, RI (in fact, it would fit inside my home town of Kankakee, IL).

The People’s Republic of China is present at the meeting as an observer; it’s not a member of the PIF.  You already know where and how big the PRC is.

Democracy

The Progressive-Democratic Party and the Left in general no longer believe in democracy, whether republican or popular.  Here’s Robert Reich, Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration:

The title of his piece is the gist of the position: Don’t Impeach Trump, Annul His Presidency.  Read past the irrational hysteria in his first several paragraphs, hysteria like this:

Even if he loses in 2020, we’ll be fortunate if he concedes without being literally carried out of the Oval Office amid the stirrings of civil insurgency.
Oh, and let me remind you that even if he’s impeached, we’d still have his loathsome administration—Pence on down.

Security and Hacking

The USAF and software company Merlin Cryption have developed a “cybersecurity technology”—and encryption technique—that has yet to be hacked, having been tried by the likes of Louisiana-based Cyber Innovation Center and the University of Louisiana in extensive testing.

The problem I have, based on published reporting and my status as a non-expert in the security field, is this from Brandon Brown, Merlin Cyrption’s CEO.

It uses a random data generator that never repeats a pattern. This puts it in a good position to overcome AI and Quantum computing….

Surprised

Writing on the topic of our applying economic pressure on Turkey as a means of getting an American hostage (among others) freed, Greg Ip expressed surprise and worry about the weaponization of trade in his Wednesday Wall Street Journal article.

Trade wars may be morphing into something more dangerous: financial wars.

This, though, merely exposes his misunderstanding of international trade.  Such trade is far more about national policy applied internationally than it is about economics, and international finance is just a tool of that trade venue.  Trade has always been “weaponized;” it has always been about achieving national political goals, of which economics is merely one.

Turkey and Natural Gas Pipelines

War on the Rocks has an interesting piece on Turkey’s desire to become a natural gas transshipment hub feeding Europe and perhaps Russia.  I think, though, that WOTR underplays the purpose of Turkey’s transshipment goal.

Recall the existing conflict between Turkey and Europe over immigration, economics, rule of law EU-style rather than as Recep Erdoğan does it, and a host of other excuses for Turkey to claim to be put upon.