A New Category

There is a need for a discussion of how to handle terrorism and terrorists.  Before that discussion can be useful, though, we need to understand the relationship among terrorism, crime, and war.  This is a beginning of that discussion.

We currently have two categories of conflict participants which I’ll term—my layman’s terms, understand, not any legal or legalistic ones—criminal and soldier or combatant.  The one is a domestic (usually) question involving the violation of a nation’s domestic criminal laws.  The other is an international question involving a nation’s soldiers or combat arms engaging in more or less declared war and during the conduct of which the nation and its soldiers are subject, together and individually, to national laws and generally agreed international laws of war (for instance, the Geneva Conventions).

A Test

Recall the false alarm about an inbound ICBM that a functionary of the Hawaii State government apparatus triggered last weekend.  I’m not interested, here, in how the false alarm got triggered in the first place, or why it took so long—38 minutes—to send out a false alarm notice, or why the State apparently chose to not even consider sending out an All Clear notice and figure out the false alarm aspects later.  There’s another question that seems to be getting ignored.

Nuclear Weapons Proliferation

President Donald Trump has moved to fix or withdraw from ex-President Barack Obama’s (D) Executive Agreement with Iran, cosigned by the leaders of a number of European nations, covering Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Folks can argue that this step has taken too long (and the terms of Obama’s EA have not been fixed, yet, nor have we canceled it; the deadline for that is next May), and I’m among the impatient.  However, the delay isn’t all bad (so far), since discussions of the Agreement, both public and behind the scenes (I assume), over the course of this delay have made the problems with it plainly evident, and the other parties to the deal no longer have excuses—they’ve have plenty of time to make their positions plain.

We Can Help

And we should.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has pledged to step up defense spending to defend the self-ruled island’s sovereignty in the face of China’s growing military assertiveness in the region.

A good start would be to sell missile defense systems to the Republic of China along with modern aircraft—both air defense, like updated F-16s and F-15s, and ground attack, like F-16s and A-10s.

We also should resume sea and air patrols of the Taiwan Strait, something we’ve not done for far too long.

A Caliphate Has Collapsed?

That’s what Renée Rigdon, Tristan Wyatt, and Karen Leigh would have us believe in their recent Wall Street Journal piece.

It’s true enough that the Daesh—that JV team of ex-President Barack Obama’s (D) estimation—ran through the Iraqi “army” a few years ago, exploded through Syrian territory, and wound up controlling a significant fraction of Iraqi and Syrian land.  Their physical expansion was stopped in the immediacy of the situation only by Iraqi Kurds and the confused and fractious condition of Syria.  It’s also true that under President Donald Trump, a US-refurbished Iraqi army allied with those Kurds and local militias, with the support of an unleashed US-led coalition of air forces, recaptured nearly all of Iraqi territory in very short order while that same coalition of air forces supported a US-led coalition of rebels (albeit of at best dubious provenance) have disinfected most of Daesh-held Syria.

That’s the Point

Six months after it went into force, China’s tough new cybersecurity law is still troubling US technology executives who fear that it will put the intellectual property of their companies and the data they collect in jeopardy.


…while the law went into effect June 1, the Chinese government is still drafting specific implementation rules.


Company and trade-group representatives are also concerned that the network-equipment security reviews could expose proprietary source code, jeopardizing their trade secrets[.]


It’s hard to believe that this level of naivete can exist in grown human beings, especially American journalists who hold themselves out as so smart and experienced.  But here it is.  Regarding northern Korea’s just-fired ICBM, the AP’s Foster Klug had this sort of thing:

Pyongyang may simply continue its torrid testing pace of its weapons, which, despite internal and global hype, are not yet a match for those of any of the established nuclear powers.

Showcase Potential

Brussels is worried, and we should be, too, but for different reasons.  The People’s Republic of China is gaining influence in eastern Europe, and it’s doing it with one of my favorite tactics: international trade as a national policy tool.

In Hungary it is hailed as the “Eastward Opening.” Serbian authorities see it as the glue in a “reliable friendship”, while the Polish government describes it as a “tremendous opportunity.” Yet the 16+1, a grouping of 16 central and eastern European countries led by China, receives more caustic reviews in leading EU capitals, with diplomats fearing it could be exploited by Beijing to undermine union rules and take advantage of growing east-west tensions in the pact itself.

The VA Still Fails

The Veterans Administration is still creating waitlists and secret waitlists, even after all this time of reporting on and calling the VA out for its dishonesty and its disservice to our veterans.  Now a Colorado VA facility is—still—doing secret waitlists.

Investigators with the VA Office of Inspector General confirmed whistleblower and former VA employee Brian Smother’s claim that staff kept unauthorized lists instead of using the department’s official wait list system.

That made it impossible to know if veterans who needed referrals for group therapy and other mental health care were getting timely assistance, according to the report. The internal investigation also criticized record-keeping in PTSD cases at the VA’s facility in Colorado Springs.


The Wall Street Journal is justifiably dismayed with the implications of the Navy report on the collisions of two of our combat ships with civilian ships in peacetime and in peaceful waters.  However, the op-ed’s Editorial Board give short shrift to the question of training for our sailors and officers.

…Congress needs to allocate enough money to adequately train sailors so they can fulfill their missions.