Another Facebook Fail

Chinese firms Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL were among numerous handset makers that were given access to Facebook data in what the US company said was “a controlled operation.”

The social media giant’s vice president of mobile partnerships, Francisco Varela, confirmed a report in The New York Times Tuesday that Facebook had given Chinese device makers deep access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent.

A “controlled operation.”  Meaning the accesses were deliberately granted, consents were deliberately not requested in advance.  Which raises the question: were any consents actively withheld and those denials ignored by Facebook?

A New US-RoK Alliance?

That’s what Michael O’Hanlon, of the Brookings Institution wants.  He thinks a continued, but greatly reduced alliance would be a useful tradeoff for northern Korea’s elimination of its nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons development program along with a reduction in its conventional military forces.  Aside from the utter naivete of the suggestion that northern Korea would reduce its conventional capability along with giving up its nuclear capability—or especially in light of that cessation—one comment at the end of his piece really illustrates the naivete of his idea.

The heavy Army brigade now in Korea might be transformed into a light brigade, better suited for peacekeeping missions.

Thirty Days

That’s when NATO’s newly expanding rapid response force would be ready to act when called upon.

The alliance is planning to establish a pool of around 30,000 soldiers who could be operational within 30 days. They would be armed with several hundred fighter jets and ships, according to high ranking NATO diplomats cited by the paper [Welt am Sonntag]. The new troops would be in addition to the already established NATO Response Force (NRF), which has around 20,000 soldiers.

Australian Trade with the PRC

Australia is finding much of its exports to the People’s Republic of China piling up in PRC ports (Australian wine is the proximate subject of the WSJ piece at the link)—not because the customers no longer want them but because the PRC government objects to Australian policies designed to limit PRC meddling in Australian domestic affairs.

From that, there’s this remark by Rob Taylor, the piece’s author:

Australia faces an awkward diplomatic balancing act in trying to address concerns about political interference while relying heavily on China for its economic well-being.

The Libya Model and the NLMSM

Much has been made of National Security Advisor John Bolton’s remark that the “Libya Model” would make a good example for handling northern Korea’s nuclear weapons and its nuclear weapons development program.  That todo is centered on what the NLMSM is pleased to describe as the “Libya Model.”  Deutsche Welle‘s characterization is typical:

…North Korea could end up like Libya, which found itself in a civil war and its leader killed after giving up its nuclear weapons.

Europe, EU, and Iran

Walter Russell Mead had an op-ed in Monday’s Wall Street Journal wherein he suggested that, while Europe…is dismayed…with President Donald Trump, they still need us, as we need them.  There are, though, a couple of remarks that want response.

The Europeans should have checked the relevant clauses in the American Constitution, assessed the state of congressional sentiment, and realized that Mr Obama simply lacked the authority, political or constitutional, to commit the country permanently to such an agreement.

The Europeans knew—and know—this stuff full well. They’re just desperate for Iran’s post-JCPOA nuclear-armed missiles to fall elsewhere than Europe and hoping that their continued appeasement today might achieve that.

More Mindsets

Iran says that not only are Germany, France, and Great Britain not doing enough to satisfy the demands it’s made as a quid pro quo for staying in the nuclear weapons deal.  All of the EU must pay some vig.  Here’s Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif:

With the exit of the United States from the nuclear deal, the expectations of the Iranian public towards the European Union have increased….

That’s one mindset; unfortunately, it’s not unique to Iran: we exist, therefore, you owe.

Here’s another Iranian mindset:

The cascade of decisions by EU companies to end their activities in Iran makes things much more complicated[.]

Mindset

Here’s the new US offer regarding the Iran nuclear weapons deal; we’ll soon see pretty clearly the mindsets of Germany, France, and the UK.  And of Iran.

Iran must

  • end nuclear weapons development in perpetuity
  • stop all uranium enrichment
  • never preprocess plutonium
  • allow nuclear unqualified access to all sites throughout the country
  • withdraw all forces from Syria
  • end support for militant groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, youths militia and Taliban in Afghanistan, and the IRGC Quds Forces
  • stop sending arms to the Houthi militia in Yemen
  • release all US citizens

Selling Out Ukraine

German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Russian President Vladimir Putin a few days ago in the Russian city of Sochi, which is next door to Russia-partitioned Georgia and a short Black Sea hop from Russian-occupied Crimea and eastern Ukraine.  While the two talked of many things: of cease fires—and peace keepers—and pipelines—of Iran—and deals—and things—and why the region is boiling hot (they didn’t get to flying pigs), one thing they discussed jumped out at me.  Deutsche Welle cited Merkel as insisting that

…the Minsk accord was the “only basis” to achieve peace in eastern Ukraine….

“Iran deal: The European Union’s ugly options”

That’s the headline of a Deutsche Welle piece regarding the impact on Europe of President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the US from ex-President Barack Obama’s (D) Executive Agreement that sought to codify Iran’s “right” to obtain nuclear weapons, if Iran were to have only a little patience and wait until the Agreement’s blocks, such as they are, expire in a few years.

Then Ten Schultz, the author of the article, opened with this statement.

The United States’ withdrawal from the Iran deal, despite the personal pleadings of Europe’s most powerful politicians, has provided one more example that President Donald Trump has no hesitation in dismissing European interests and trans-Atlantic concerns.