Brexit Talks

In a Wall Street Journal article about the general government paralysis in Great Britain as the Brexit question is allowed to consume all of Parliament’s energy, one statement jumped out at me.

Instead, her [Theresa May’s] premiership is being defined by the Brexit negotiation itself.

What negotiations? Brussels is dictating punitive terms, and May and her team are meekly rolling over and accepting them. They’re even agreeing to discuss an effective partition of Great Britain rather than rejecting the question out of hand and walking out of all of the “negotiations” over the calculated insult and attempt to dismantle Great Britain.

Cold War Mentality and Objectivity

As Australia and Papua New Guinea work together to reconstitute a WWII naval base on the island, a People’s Republic of China official objected to those two nations moving to improve their ability to defend themselves.  Lu Kang, the PRC’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Information Director-General, said

We hope the relevant countries, and relevant people, can discard the Cold War mentality…and view China’s relations with Pacific islands in an objective way.

Trade and the People’s Republic of China

The Wall Street Journal wrote in its Thursday edition that the US was “refusing” to resume trade negotiations with the PRC until the latter made a formal offer to us.  That’s a bit of a misnomer, though, since there’s nothing about which to negotiate until the PRC makes an offer.  Absent that, any discussion about trade would be just idle musings over an afternoon tea, a whiling away of some time between more important things.

A couple of other things jumped out at me in that article, too.

Leaving the INF Treaty

The treaty that purported to limit the intermediate range nuclear forces possessed by the USSR (at the time of its agreement) and the US has long been violated by Russia, as the Obama administration acknowledged some years ago.  Now President Donald Trump has decided to withdraw from the treaty if both Russia and the People’s Republic of China (which is not a signatory to this Euro-centric treaty) don’t come to the table with meaningful steps to measurably and verifiably limit/eliminate such weapons.

The EU and National Sovereignty

Poland enacted a law at the start of the year that lowered the mandatory retirement age of all of its judges from 70 to 65.  This resulted, among other things, in the required retirement for 27 of the nation’s 72 Supreme Court judges (a too-big Court, anyway IMNSHO, and they ought not be replaced, but that’s a separate story).

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS [Prawo i Sprawiedliwość]) party says the changes are necessary to a justice system they say is controlled by an untouchable “caste” of judges steeped in communist-era mentality.

The European Union has demurred.

Drift

Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, had some thoughts on how the US should interact with today’s People’s Republic of China.  Among other things, he wants three key areas of disagreement to be accepted and…managed.  (I’ll leave aside his blithe, and erroneous, assertion that the “trade war” between the PRC and us is our doing and not the PRC’s.)

The most realistic option for the future is to focus on managing the two countries’ major disagreements. This approach has worked for four decades when it comes to Taiwan.

Decisions

In a Wall Street Journal article Monday, Google’s MFWIC, Sundar Pichai, defended his decision to support the People’s Republic of China with a Google “search” engine that’s carefully compliant with PRC censorship requirements.

What interests me this time, though, is this bit:

Mr Pichai…played down the idea that the Project Maven decision was made only based on employee feedback. He said Google has also listened to experts in ethics and artificial intelligence.

Project Maven is a DoD program intended to develop artificial intelligence for American national defense purposes—including, yes, an improved ability to kill our enemies when they attack us.

Doing Business with the PRC

The People’s Republic of China is stepping up their corporate espionage.

Starting November 1, police officers will have the authority to physically inspect businesses and remotely access corporate networks to check for potential security loopholes, according to the regulations released Sunday by the Public Security Ministry. Police will also be authorized to copy information and inspect records that “may endanger national security, public safety, and social order,” the rules said.

And

The new regulations also reinforce requirements on censorship and surveillance laid out in the cybersecurity law.

And to steal company secrets and classified information, and to plant malware for future use.

Free Trade in North America

With a Mexico-US trade agreement in nominally in hand (our two nations’ legislatures have ratify it, and our own Progressive-Democrats in the Senate are already saying #NO, #RESIST, and too many Republicans are acquiescing, though), Mexico wants Canada to join the agreement.  Mexico’s President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, after speaking with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

There is still time to achieve a trilateral agreement[.]

And

We hope they reach that understanding so that it will be a trilateral agreement.

It’s a Start

The Trump administration has agreed to sell $330 million worth of spare parts to the Republic of China.  The spares will support the RoC’s F-16s, C-130s, and other of the island nation’s military aircraft.

It’s a start.  However, we need to do more.  We should be selling uprated F1-16s, F-15s, and A-10s to them.  We should be selling missile defense systems to them and brokering deals between the RoC and Israel for the latter’s Iron Dome and Arrow missile and rocket defense systems.  We should be selling the RoC anti-ship and anti-aircraft weapons systems.  We should be selling them land-attack cruise missile systems.