Misplaced Push

Too many Republican Senators are joining their Senate Progressive-Democrat colleagues in pushing Senator Tommy Tuberville (R, AL) to drop his blocking of President Joe Biden’s (D) military appointments and flag officer promotions.

Tuberville is holding up—not blocking—final confirmation votes on those appointments and promotion lists over SecDef’s insistence on using taxpayer funds to pay for abortion and abortion-related services used by military members and/or families.

Tuberville isn’t holding up anything; he’s merely blocking blanket moves to use unanimous consent for approval. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY) readily enough could bring each of those appointments and promotion lists to the Senate floor for votes, but they refuse. Apparently, they want, instead, the spectacle of the holdup.

Biden’s Ongoing Betrayal of Ukraine

The lede in the Wall Street Journal article says it all.

The slow pace of Ukraine’s counteroffensive against entrenched Russian invaders is dimming hopes that negotiations for an end to the fighting could come this year and raising the specter of an open-ended conflict, according to Western officials.

The terms of negotiation have been clearly, and repeatedly, stated by Ukraine’s President Volodymir Zelenskyy. President Joe Biden (D) has steadfastly ignored them, as he’s more terrified of Russian President Vladimir Putin than he is supportive of actual Ukrainian victory, territorial integrity, and national sovereignty.

And this, in the immediately following paragraph:

Investing in the People’s Republic of China

Foreign direct investment in the PRC has fallen to $20 billion in the first quarter of this year, compared with $100 billion in last year’s first quarter. This is strongly influenced by, if not a direct result of, PRC President Xi Jinping’s “security” policy that explicitly targets foreign investors as likely spies.

A Xi-led campaign this year has hit Western management consultants, auditors, and other firms with a wave of raids, investigations, and detentions. Meanwhile, an expanded anti-espionage law has added to foreign executives’ worry that conducting routine business activities in China, such as market research, could be construed as spying.

Security Guarantees

In an editorial regarding this week’s NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, The Wall Street Journal‘s editors dropped this line:

A debate is underway over whether Ukraine should benefit from a formal Western security guarantee, or perhaps join NATO.

A Western security guarantee for Ukraine is utterly worthless, as the Budapest Memoranda demonstrate. Marginally better would be NATO membership. Ukraine has some security and government integrity criteria to meet, but it’s working to meet them and would benefit from assistance in that direction.

Ben Franklin and the Republic of China

The good citizens of the Republic of China are watching the barbarian invasion of Ukraine, the so far successful attempt by the Ukrainians to beat back the barbarian, and the destruction the barbarian is inflicting on Ukrainian cities and its atrocities perpetrated on Ukrainian women, children, civilian men, and prisoners, and some of those RoC citizens are drawing the wrong conclusion.

Others draw the opposite lesson from the images of smoldering Ukrainian cities. Anything is better than war, they say, and Taiwan should do all it can to avoid provoking Beijing’s wrath, even if that means painful compromises.

Useful, but Insufficient

The Biden administration is looking to restrict—but not block—Peoples Republic of China companies from accessing American cloud-computing services.

That’s a useful move, to the extent it actually comes to fruition and to any meaningful extent, but it’s not enough by itself, or even against the backdrop of existing restrictions on technology exports to the PRC.

Some are concerned, though, that this could further strain relations between the world’s economic superpowers.

[The Peoples Republic of China] set export restrictions on two minerals the US says are critical to the production of semiconductors, missile systems and solar cells….
The minerals—gallium and germanium—and more than three dozen related metals and other materials will be subject to unspecified export controls starting August 1, Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce said Monday.

Rebellion, or…?

Wagner MFWIC (perhaps ex-MFWIC) Yevgeny Prigozhin now claims his move through Rostov-on-Don, then up the M4 highway through Voronezh on the way to Moscow, was not an attempt to overthrow the Russian government, or even the Russian Defense establishment. (Note: the cite actually is a Moscow Times reprint of an AFP article.)

We went to demonstrate our protest and not to overthrow power in the country[.]

The move, which involved attacks on the Wagner units by Russian army and air force units and Wagner shootdowns of a number of helicopters and a command and control airplane, was the Russian iteration of a mostly peaceful protest.

What are Biden and Austin Up To?

US military retirees living in Turkey are about to lose access to the US base at Incirlik and to all other American bases in the country. The loss will take effect 1 October of this year. Among other things, this will mean our veterans will lose access to

  • base commissaries, which sell American groceries
  • Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores—Base Exchanges—which3 sell American goods
  • US post office services, including PO Boxes through which our veterans
    • receive and send back their absentee ballots for American elections
    • receive American medicines

It Won’t Limit Much of Anything

The Biden administration is about to release billions of dollars to the Iranian government on the hope and promise that Iran will pause its nuclear weapons program and in ransom for some Americans held in Iranian prisons. The arrangement

reportedly limits the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in exchange for freeing Americans imprisoned and easing sanctions.

And

The United States’ goal is purportedly to come to an informal, unwritten agreement with Iran to prevent hostile relations between the two nations from further escalating—as Iran cracks down on internal protesters, stockpiles highly enriched uranium, and gives drones to Russia to use in Ukraine. The deal would also ease sanctions on Iran.

You Must Accede to Us

That’s the message the People’s Republic of China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Qin Gang, has given to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a phone call with Blinken prior to Blinken’s upcoming hat-in-hand trip to the PRC. Qin instructed Blinken,

The relationship between China and the US has encountered new difficulties and challenges since the beginning of the year. It’s clear where the responsibility lies.

Qin went on, paraphrased by The Wall Street Journal:

Qin called on the US to stop using competition as a pretext for damaging China’s sovereignty and security, according to the Chinese readout. He also urged the US to take steps to implement a plan to manage differences and stabilize ties….