Another Cynical Mueller Leak

Special counsel Robert Mueller is examining what role, if any, former national security adviser Mike Flynn may have played in a private effort to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, according to people familiar with the matter.

It’s becoming increasingly crystalline that, whatever purpose Special Counsel Robert Mueller has in his “investigation,” it’s a dishonest one.  That’s the only reason that occurs to me for his careful string of “leaks” to the public, of which this is only the latest.

Why am I not Surprised?

The International Institute for Security Studies has the story.

North Korea’s missile programme has made astounding strides over the past two years. An arsenal that had been based on short- and medium-range missiles along with an intermediate-range Musudan that repeatedly failed flight tests, has suddenly been supplemented by two new missiles: the intermediate-range Hwasong-12 and the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Hwasong-14. No other country has transitioned from a medium-range capability to an ICBM in such a short time. What explains this rapid progression? The answer is simple. North Korea has acquired a high-performance liquid-propellant engine (LPE) from a foreign source.

Technology Theft

In a piece on American CEOs’ (and Apple’s in particular) cowardice in their dealings with the People’s Republic of China’s government—censor your stuff or you can’t operate in the PRC, give up your technology to or you can’t operate in the PRC, and these worthies meekly comply—comes this reminder on the latter bit:

Just about everybody in the US capital is complaining about how China forces foreign companies to give up technology in return for market access.

In truth, the PRC isn’t alone in this: willing participants are those American CEOs who acquiesce in the name of short-term profit rather than long-term gain.

A Good Idea

The sooner, the better, too, and make it broader.

The US is considering deploying Patriot surface-to-air missiles in Estonia, US Vice President Mike Pence told Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas on Sunday.

“We spoke about it today, but we didn’t talk about a date or time,” Ratas told state broadcaster ERR after the meeting.

This would be excellent.  We also should talk Estonia about deploying THAAD and ABM systems there.  And then we should deploy all three.

And put systems in Poland and Czech Republic, if they’ll have them after ex-President Barack Obama (D) suddenly cancelled the missile defense systems we were going to set up there.  And put systems in Ukraine.

Space-Based Defense

LtGen James Abrahamson, USAF (Ret) and Ambassador Henry Cooper, who were directors on President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, had some thoughts on this in their recent Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor.

Brilliant Pebbles, the space-based interceptor we advocated, promised a high probability of kill (over 90%) of all of a “limited” strike of up to 200 attacking re-entry vehicles—the number then controlled by a Russian submarine commander. It’s better than anything we have today. It became the SDI era’s first formally approved ballistic-missile defense system, with a validated cost estimate of $10 billion in 1988 dollars (now $20 billion) for concept definition and validation, development, deployment and 20 years operation of that constellation of 1,000 Brilliant Pebbles. This isn’t expensive….

What Happens

China’s already formidable internet censors have demonstrated a new strength—the ability to delete images in one-on-one chats as they are being transmitted, making them disappear before receivers see them.

What happens when the People’s Republic of China starts reaching inside other nations to do this?

The PRC and Northern Korea

The People’s Republic of China trade relations with northern Korea appear to be robust and growing, despite efforts by President Donald Trump to get PRC President Xi Jinping to do more to curb his dog.  Imports from northern Korea have actually fallen 13.2% in the first six months of this year compared to the first six months of last year, but exports have risen 29.1%, for a net increase in trade over 10%.

Huang Songping, representing the PRC’s customs agency, said

As neighbors, China and North Korea maintain normal business and trade exchanges[.]

A Good Move

…if risky from a security perspective.  After all, such installations can make lucrative targets for intelligence gathering.

The US State Department says it’s prepared to approve the sale of Patriot missile defense systems to Romania. The purchase is a further signal that Bucharest is concerned about the Kremlin’s role in the Black Sea area.

Aside from strengthening Romania, it’s also a good spot for us to gather intelligence.

Brussels Misunderstands

This time on the matter of the deal with Iran that codifies its legal capacity develop nuclear weapons.

European diplomats say they are increasingly concerned the Trump administration will stretch out its review of the Iranian nuclear deal, undermining the agreement by curbing the economic benefits designed to ensure Iran’s compliance.

This is at the heart of their misunderstanding.  Regardless of the intent professed by those who negotiated this thing, those economic benefits do not at all “ensure Iran’s compliance.”  What they do do is fund Iran’s nuclear weapons development program and backfill its funding of its terrorist minions in the Middle East and proxies in Europe and the US.

A Plan for Dealing with Northern Korea

Ex-SecDef Robert Gates has one, as described by Gerald Seib in The Wall Street Journal.

Under the Gates approach, the US would make China the following offer: Washington is prepared to recognize the North Korean regime and forswear a policy of regime change, as it did when resolving the Cuban missile crisis with the Soviet Union; is prepared to sign a peace treaty with North Korea; and would be prepared to consider some changes in the structure of military forces in South Korea.

In return, the US would demand hard limits on the North Korean nuclear and missile program, essentially freezing it in place, enforced by the international community and by China itself.