Inadvertent Tapping and Leaks

As House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R, CA) revealed the other day enroute to the White House, intelligence community personnel, in the course of surveilling the communications and other activities of foreign nationals (vis., Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak), also surveilled incidentally members of then-President-Elect Donald Trump’s campaign and transition teams, and perhaps Trump himself.  Wire tapping, indeed, if loosely and metaphorically.

Of larger import, though, is this, also from Nunes.

…the intelligence “ended up in reporting channels and was widely disseminated.”

It was previously reported that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was “unmasked” in this way; however, Nunes said “additional names” were unmasked as well.

Well, It’s About Time, Ollie

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has spoken up in a way contrary to his predecessors regarding our policy—our very attitude—toward northern Korea.

Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended[.]

That’s not just on Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, though.  Our various administrations have tried for 20 years, or more, the idea of talking, cajoling, bribing (to the tune of $1.35 billion in “aid”) northern Korea’s various Kim dictators.  Baby Kim, in glad response, has only accelerated his drive for sticking nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles (he already has the warheads and the missiles).

Distrust of the CIA

President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency secret new authority to conduct drone strikes against suspected terrorists, US officials said, changing the Obama administration’s policy of limiting the spy agency’s paramilitary role and reopening a turf war between the agency and the Pentagon.

This is an odd way to show distrust of the CIA.  Maybe Trump’s war against the CIA is more NLMSM fake news.

Not Just for Northern Korea

Arthur Herman, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute wrote of an interesting idea over the weekend in The Wall Street Journal.  The title of his article explains the idea: There’s a Way to Stop a North Korean Missile Attack.

He wrote about a means of implementing a boost-phase missile defense system.  The advantages of intercepting a ballistic missile during its boost phase—the phase immediately after missile launch—are several

  • the missile’s first stage, its booster, is the hottest of them all, and so the easiest to detect
  • the missile is moving at its slowest speed, especially compared to the missile warhead’s reentry speed, which is enormous

Of What are they Afraid?

The People’s Republic of China has been vociferously objecting to the US deploying a missile defense system—THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense)—in the Republic of Korea, with the RoK’s blessing and at their behest.  The PRC has begun taking economic retaliatory actions against the RoK and threatening the Koreans and us with further, more serious action if we don’t desist.

So my question.

Europe Going Nuclear?

That’s what The New York Times says the European Union is talking about.

…a European Union nuclear weapons program.

Under such a plan, France’s arsenal would be repurposed to protect the rest of Europe and would be put under a common European command, funding plan, defense doctrine, or some combination of the three. It would be enacted only if the Continent could no longer count on American protection.

Defense

The People’s Republic of China objects to the US’ planned deployment of a missile defense system in the Republic of Korea to defend the RoK and Japan against northern Korean attack.  The PRC has already engaged in low-grade economic warfare, barring certain trade arrangements from going forward.  Now, however, the PRC is making threats against us and the RoK if we go through with the deployment.  Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang:

China firmly opposes the deployment of THAAD.  We will definitely be taking necessary measures to safeguard our own security interest.  All consequences entailed from that will be borne by the US and (South Korea).

Don’t Offend Russia?

Heaven forfend.  Or at least that was Michael O’Hanlon’s (Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution) concern when he proposed An Alternative to NATO Expansion That Won’t Antagonize Russia.  Never mind that what’s in American national interest is what matters, not that subset of it that won’t upset an enemy of ours.

[T]hese two countries [Ukraine and NATO], as well as other Eastern European neutral states, get no protection from NATO.

I’ll leave aside the value of NATO protection as that organization is currently constituted, funded, and armed; that’s a separate discussion.  No, the nub of O’Hanlon’s misunderstanding is this:

Part of the Problem with Claims of NATO Obsolescence

…is the Left’s and Europe’s lack of understanding of the meaning and the import of obsolescence.  This is illustrated by a piece in World Politics Review.

The failure to understand is illustrated with this claim:

[A]lthough Russia’s resurgence as a revanchist and norms-breaking power has conveniently thrust NATO back into the thick of European and American security concerns, Europe actually faces no threats for which the alliance is the most effective instrument. In fact, Europe faces no military territorial threats at all.

Mexican Terror Threat

Mexico is upset with President Donald Trump’s efforts to tighten border security and especially with his efforts to deal more thoroughly with illegal aliens present in the US, many of whom are Mexican.  A coalition has formed—a group of Mexican officials, legislators, governors and public figures planning to meet [in the US] with migrant groups—to plot ways in which to interfere with our enforcement of our immigration laws.

One of those ways was described by Mexican ex-Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda:

The backlog in the immigration system is tremendous [the idea is to double or triple the backlog]….