Progressive-Democrats, Drugs, and Nuclear Weapons

It’s a long read, but Politico‘s piece is worth the time.

In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

Project Cassandra was making serious headway against Hezbollah’s drug dealing and money making—a $1 billion per year business that would seem to dwarf its terrorist activities—but as ex-President Barack Obama (D) and his (ex-)Secretary of State John Kerry got closer and closer to concluding Obama’s Executive Agreement with Iran that put a fig leaf over Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Cassandra was increasingly restricted.  David Asher, a DoD finance forensics analyst who helped establish Project Cassandra:

Vladimir Putin’s Image

Nathan Hodge is concerned.  He’s worried that our deprecating the Russian Chief Oligarch is only strengthening him at home.

For Russian President Vladimir Putin, being cast in the West as a global supervillain is proving a boon for his image at home.

It’s not at all clear, though, why it matters that any moves in the West, much less by us, might enhance Putin’s domestic image. It’s not like Russians have any say in how their government is populated or what those government men do.

What does matter is whether the West succeeds in circumscribing the nation of Russia’s behavior.  Putin himself isn’t relevant to that.

The Decision

After President Donald Trump announced that the US would officially recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital—a long-standing fact away from which US administrations had been ducking away for over 20 years—global (or at least European and Middle Eastern) expressions of angst have been loud.

Out come the pop psychology analyses.

Martin Indyk, former US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, former US Ambassador to Israel, and current Executive Vice President of the Brookings Institution:

It was an appeal to his evangelical Christian base, pure and simple[.]

Of course it was.

Confirmation

…of Palestinian lack of interest in peace with Israel.  Here’s Hamas Politburo Chief, Ismail Haniyeh:

We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy. …  We want the uprising to last and continue to let Trump and the occupation regret this decision.

And

…10 Palestinians were arrested in East Jerusalem overnight after Molotov cocktails were thrown.

Notice that: this isn’t just protestation of a decision with which the Palestinians disagree.  This is deliberately violent protest.  The decision with which these terrorists disagree is nothing more, in their minds, than an excuse to murder Israelis.

That’s the Point

Six months after it went into force, China’s tough new cybersecurity law is still troubling US technology executives who fear that it will put the intellectual property of their companies and the data they collect in jeopardy.

And

…while the law went into effect June 1, the Chinese government is still drafting specific implementation rules.

And

Company and trade-group representatives are also concerned that the network-equipment security reviews could expose proprietary source code, jeopardizing their trade secrets[.]

The US Embassy to Israel

Deutsche Welle is fretting about the potential for the US, finally, to move our Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.

The status of Jerusalem has been a key stumbling block in previous peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Sure, it’s been a stumbling block, but it’s not been the only one, nor even a key one, despite DW‘s angst.

And Naabil Shaath, a man of many portfolios within the Palestinian Authority and an advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas, is making veiled threats about the move:

This Makes No Sense

The German government wants to pay a bonus to refugees who’ve been rejected from consideration for remaining in Germany.

The German government wants to encourage rejected asylum seekers to voluntarily return to their home countries with a cash incentive, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told newspaper Bild am Sonntag on Sunday.

It’s also a cynical move.  Maiziere offered this as part of the bonus:

When you voluntarily decide to return by the end of February, in addition to startup help you can provisionally receive housing cost help for the first 12 months in your homeland

Naïve

It’s hard to believe that this level of naivete can exist in grown human beings, especially American journalists who hold themselves out as so smart and experienced.  But here it is.  Regarding northern Korea’s just-fired ICBM, the AP’s Foster Klug had this sort of thing:

Pyongyang may simply continue its torrid testing pace of its weapons, which, despite internal and global hype, are not yet a match for those of any of the established nuclear powers.

Showcase Potential

Brussels is worried, and we should be, too, but for different reasons.  The People’s Republic of China is gaining influence in eastern Europe, and it’s doing it with one of my favorite tactics: international trade as a national policy tool.

In Hungary it is hailed as the “Eastward Opening.” Serbian authorities see it as the glue in a “reliable friendship”, while the Polish government describes it as a “tremendous opportunity.” Yet the 16+1, a grouping of 16 central and eastern European countries led by China, receives more caustic reviews in leading EU capitals, with diplomats fearing it could be exploited by Beijing to undermine union rules and take advantage of growing east-west tensions in the pact itself.

Two Views of the Saudi Purge in Progress

One is that

the “purge” is not about removing political rivals who threatened MBS’s [Mohammed bin Salman, the newly anointed Crown Prince] position as heir apparent but rather about sending a message to political and economic elites that their entitlement to extreme wealth and privilege, and their impunity, is coming to an end.

Indeed,

With the exception of Minister of the National Guard Prince Mutaib bin Abdallah, the detainee list is made up entirely of individuals who had no capacity to challenge the succession.

The other view is that