A Dysfunctional Racist

No, that’s not a redundancy—not in this case.

Via Shannon Davis, @shannondd76:

Yeah—this is one thing that Donald J Trump has been a miserable failure at.

Responsibilities

Iran, as I write this (Monday), has rejected efforts to defuse the situation in the Arabian Gulf, a situation it has created with its piracy of and extended threats toward oil shipping in the Gulf and transiting the Strait of Hormuz.  Indeed, in response to a planned British redeployment of a couple of small combat ships to the Gulf to add to the protection of British tankers, Iran had this:

But Mr [Ali, Iranian government spokesman] Rabie warned Sunday that a European military deployment in the Gulf would be viewed as an escalation of the crisis. “Such moves under the current conditions are provocative,” he said, according to IRNA.

A Foolish Question

In a piece about British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new Brexit architect Dominic Cummings, a question was raised that’s central to the next three months of Great Britain’s future and perhaps to its future’s subsequent years.

The question now is whether he [Cummings] will steer the Johnson government toward swallowing a compromise divorce deal with the EU or prepare it to quit with no deal at all.

This is a foolish question. Not only are they not mutually exclusive, they must be done in parallel—or rather the better question must be done in parallel with the no-deal: steering the matter toward a better compromise from the EU.

Finally

Great Britain, early in this latest stage, might finally have a Prime Minister who’s serious about Brexit because he’s committed to it in his soul, unlike the Remainer Theresa May (whom I think made a good faith effort, but because her heart wasn’t in it, she couldn’t perform).

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out a hard-line negotiating stance with the European Union, setting the stage for fraught Brexit talks before the UK’s scheduled departure from the bloc on Oct 31.

Among other things,

One More Reason

…to be clear and overt in our support for the Republic of China.

We sailed a guided missile cruiser through the international waters of the Taiwan Strait last Wednesday, and the People’s Republic of China objected.  Then it threatened.

China said it would take all necessary military measures to defeat “separatists” in Taiwan.

This comes, also, after the PRC threatened military action against the people of Hong Kong because they’ve been uppity enough to insist that the PRC honor its commitment to Hong Kong’s (semi-)autonomy IAW its handover agreement with Great Britain.

Sanctions on Turkey?

That’s the question being asked regarding Turkey’s decision to buy—and subsequently to take delivery on—Russia’s AS-400 anti-aircraft missile system and the impact that has, or should have, on our alliance with Turkey.

The question, though, assumes we have an alliance. Formally, one exists, but it’s in name only outside of NATO (and with Turkey cozying up to Russia, that one is in flux, too); Turkey has chosen functionally to walk away from any bilateral arrangement.

I think, though, the decision to cancel Turkey’s F-35 buy is sufficient. We don’t need to apply sanctions; we don’t need to have much of anything to do with Turkey, good or bad, outside our NATO obligations.

Much Ado

…is being made about the People’s Republic of China’s slowing economic growth rate.

The Chinese economy has suffered a loss of momentum in the second quarter, with the GDP falling to 6.2% from a 6.4% expansion in the first three months of the year, figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday.

This is the slowest growth rate in 27 years, goes the alarm.  That’s supposed to apply pressure to the PRC to start negotiating seriously with the US on trade.  In truth, it does add some pressure, but it’s necessary to keep in mind a couple of other things, too.

A Thought on Huawei

John Hemmings made some interesting and critical points about the “security” (my metaphoric quotes) of Huawei equipment.  In doing so, he cited a study by Finite State, a cyber-security organization that looks deeply into the Internet of Things and resulting vulnerabilities—an IoT of which Huawei is aiming to be a central part (as well as a central part of national communications and defense systems and of governments).  Finite State’s analysis investigated “more than 1.5 million files embedded in 9,936 firmware images supporting 558 different products within [Huawei’s] enterprise networking product lines.”

Hemmings’ points center on these:

A Continued Power Grab

The People’s Republic of China objects to the sale of defensive weapons to the Republic of China.

China will sanction US firms that participate in arms sales to Taiwan [The Wall Street Journal‘s conflation of the island with the nation that sits on the island], after Washington approved sales of $2.2 billion in tanks, missiles and related military hardware, Beijing said.

The PRC’s Foreign Ministry has justified the threat with this:

the arms sales “harmed China’s sovereignty and national security”

A Thought on Tariffs

The tariffs as used by President Donald Trump are viewed by many as having no impact on our overall trade deficit, and much is made of Trump’s disdain for trade deficits.

Thirty months into the Trump Presidency, the US economy continues to import more than it exports. This isn’t a problem, since the trade deficit is of no great consequence as an economic measure.  But in President Trump’s telling this is a clear and present danger….

Suppose something else, though.