The PRC and Northern Korea

Harry Kazianis tried to explain, in his Real Clear World piece, why the People’s Republic of China “won’t solve” the northern Korea crisis for us.  It’s complicated for the PRC, he said.

He [Kazianis’ carefully unidentified “Chinese scholar” and “retired official of the People’s Liberation Army”] pressed his case, noting, “look at this problem from where I sit in Beijing. I see a world of trouble when it comes to North Korea. I see war. I see death. I see superpower showdowns. We must all agree we don’t want this. Yes, nuclear weapons are bad, but North Korea could create far more trouble than you realize, and China would have to deal with most of it.”

Handling Classified

FBI Director James Comey had this about Huma Abedin and her role in the ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) classified email scandal:

Somehow, her [Clinton’s] emails were being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information.  His then-spouse, Huma Abedin, appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to him for him to print out for her, so she could deliver them to the secretary of state.

Comey justified his lack of action with this:

We didn’t have any indication that she had a sense of what she was doing was in violation of the law[.]

EU and Brexit

The European Union is either demonstrating its lack of understanding of a main motivator for the people of Great Britain’s decision to quit the EU, or it’s intent on making the departure onerous pour encourager les autres, or some combination of the two.  Michel Barnier, the EU’s “Brexit negotiator,” has laid out the terms of his initial position.

One such term is

ensuring that EU citizens in the UK keep their welfare benefits and residency rights for their lifetimes.

Never mind that EU citizens drawing welfare benefits should have those benefits paid for by the EU or those citizens’ home country—which do not today pay the generous rates that the British government does.

The Apocalypse is Upon Us

Or so Lauren Collins would have us believe in her fearful piece in the New Yorker, titled The Future of Europe Hinges on a Face-Off in France about this weekend’s money round of the Presidential election in France.

After all, this election is a referendum between a globalist economy and a globalist identity (Macron) and a nationalist economy and a nationalist identity (LePen).  That does sound apocalyptic, but really, it’s more apocryphal.

EU Bad Faith

The European Union now says that any trade deal discussions with Great Britain must come after the terms of Great Britain’s going out from the EU have been agreed.  Fair enough; it’s tough to negotiate a trade deal before the nature of the relationship between the two has been identified.

But now there’s this, too.

…EU courts must continue to have a role in Britain after Britain’s exit from the bloc.

And

They [the EU leadership] emphasize the importance of ensuring no hard border is re-established between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and even touch on issues like the future legal status of Gibraltar….

It’s a Start

The Secretary of State wants to cut 2,300 jobs at State.  That might seem like a lot, until you recall that State has 13,000 Foreign Service employees, 11,000 Civil Service employees, and 45,000 Foreign Service local employees.  That’s 69,000 folks on the payroll (some estimates put the number higher, to 75,000); Tillerson wants to cut all of 3% of the employees.

Contra The Wall Street Journal‘s subheadline (The plan underscores the Trump administration’s preference for military spending over diplomacy), this is a good start on the true priority—downsizing the Federal government physically as well as fiscally.  Here’s hoping Secretary of State Rex Tillerson can follow through, and Congress and the other Cabinets and Agencies join the party.

Obama-Iran Axis

It sort of makes any Trump-Russia connection look awfully tenuous.  Politico has a long report out on what actually transpired during Obama’s “negotiation” of the Iran nuclear weapons deal, particularly with regard to the seven folks in American detention whom Obama released to Iran as a deal sweetener.

A couple of highlights (read the whole thing; it’s important):

In reality, some of them were accused by Obama’s own Justice Department of posing threats to national security. Three allegedly were part of an illegal procurement network supplying Iran with US-made microelectronics with applications in surface-to-air and cruise missiles like the kind Tehran test-fired recently, prompting a still-escalating exchange of threats with the Trump administration. Another was serving an eight-year sentence for conspiring to supply Iran with satellite technology and hardware.

Timidity Is

…as timidity does.  The Japan Times has it, too, as demonstrated in its editorial last Wednesday.  The editorial board is worried about Japan actually achieving an ability to defend proactively itself.  The board’s concern was triggered [sic] by a Liberal Democratic Party proposal that

Japan consider developing the ability to strike enemy missile bases.  …a response to North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches….

The board fretted that

an attempt by Japan to build up the capability to attack enemy bases could result in destabilizing the region’s security environment by giving an imagined enemy an excuse to carry out pre-emptive strikes on our country.

The False Premise of a Madboy

Harry Kazianis, writing in The Week Monday, portrayed northern Korea’s weekend military parading not as sabre rattling but as a demonstration of the fruits of development driven by military necessity.

Kim Jong Un—the leader of a nation that has an economy smaller than Ethiopia—knows all too well he has no way to match the United States, South Korea, and Japan ship for ship, plane for plane in a symmetrical sense. The only way he can hope to deter his enemies is to build the ultimate game-changer: nuclear weapons paired with missiles that can strike all the way across the globe.

Deal Outcomes

In a Sunday op-ed, The Wall Street Journal opined about whether President Donald Trump had reached an actual deal with People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping concerning putting an end to northern Korea’s nuclear weapons program and associated threats, or whether an agreement reached during the recent meeting between the two was merely a cosmetic exchange of niceties.

The editors closed their piece with this remark:

Mr Trump needs to make clear what he will do if China won’t make a Korean deal.