The “Muslim Travel” Moratorium Case

The Supreme Court is hearing this case as it pertains to the current Executive Order that imposes a moratorium on entry into the US by persons coming from certain specified nations.  (In aside, I emphasize that calling the EO a “Muslim ban” is dishonest. It presents an impermanent moratorium on entry from nations representing a bare 10% of the world’s Muslims, and it presents the same impermanent moratorium on non-Muslim countries, like northern Korea.)

The Comey Memos

The memos can be read here.  Aside from all the commentary on the memos’ content, a couple of other things jump out at me.

One is the level of classification: SECRET/NOFORN.  Comey noted at their start that he was unsure of the memos’ classification, so he marked them SECRET and invited his addressees to correct that as required.  One or more of them considered NOFORN—nor for foreign viewing, even if otherwise cleared to the level of secrecy; this is an addendum that gets added to unclassified material, too, on occasion—to be a suitable addition.  Reading around the redactions, this seems an obvious need.

Progressive-Democratic Party Intransigence

Leaving aside Senator Rand Paul’s (R, KY) obstructiveness, the Progressive-Democratic Party Senators are opposing, as a bloc, Mike Pompeo’s confirmation as Secretary of State.  As The Wall Street Journal put it Wednesday,

Their new standard seems to be that any nominee who agrees with the elected President is disqualified.

And

What a message that would send to America’s enemies as President Trump prepares for his North Korea summit, decides on the fate of the Iran nuclear deal, and confronts a hostile Russia. Democrats say they don’t trust Mr Trump, but in denying him senior advisers they make it more likely he will govern by himself. Mark it down as one more example that hatred for Mr Trump has caused many of his opponents to abandon rational judgment.

Nonsense

Germany wants to be excused from American sanctions against Russia, sanctions that were imposed over Russia’s misbehaviors.  The misbehaviors include meddling in our elections, and Russia’s continued efforts to meddle in our upcoming elections.

Germany does a lot of business with Russia. Trade between the two countries rose to €54.5 billion ($67.4 billion) last year from €45 billion in 2016, despite increasingly stringent sanctions, and German companies have invested more than €20 billion in Russia in recent years.

“It is not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man the oath.”*

From Victor Davis Hanson’s The Second World Wars:

In France during the 1920s, teachers’ unions had all but banned patriotic references to French victories (which were regarded as “bellicose” and “a danger for the organization of peace”) and removed books that considered battles such as Verdun as anything other than a tragedy that affected both sides equally.

Sound familiar?

How about this:

A Simple Solution to the US-PRC Trade Dispute?

More like a simplistic one.  Martin Feldstein, ex-Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan, has one, summarized by the headline and subhead in his Wall Street Journal op-ed:

How to Make Trade Peace With China
A mutual promise to abide by the WTO’s intellectual property rules would solve much of the problem.

Feldstein is…naive. By his own acknowledgment later in his piece, the PRC routinely violates WTO rules–and international court rulings, lately seen by the PRC’s refusal to abide by a Hague ruling against them regarding the Spratly Islands. The PRC will promise to abide by the WTO’s intellectual property rules?

Readiness Capability

There’s a dismaying graph in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal that illustrates the combat readiness of several of NATO nations’ forces.

In essence,

If Europe came into conflict with Russia, only several thousand of the more than one million troops in its armies would be ready for rapid deployment, military planners fear.

Plans to correct this (using the term loosely) don’t come close to the capability regularly exercised during the Cold War, when the US planned for moving 10 divisions into Europe within 10 days.  Current planning goal is to feed dribs and drabs into the furnace.

Yemen and Spain

Is Yemen becoming like 1930s Spain?  Is the civil war in Yemen being used, like Nazi Germany did the Spanish civil war, by Iran as a test bed for doctrine and weapons development?

Iran certainly is trying out techniques for running terrorist clients there, just as it is in Syria and Iraq.  Iran has an active ballistic missile development program, too, and Iranian ballistic missiles have been tried out against Saudi Arabia, including a mini-barrage of seven tested over the weekend.

Which, just incidentally, also is giving the Iranians valuable data on the Saudis’ (read: our) missile defense capabilities and techniques.

John Bolton and Iran

Iran is dismayed over Bolton’s selection as National Security Advisor.

Iranian officials Sunday described President Trump’s decision to appoint John Bolton national security adviser as shameful and a sign that Washington intends to overthrow the Tehran theocracy.

It appears, then, that the selection is a wise one.

And: I certainly hope so.

There’s this, too:

Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, spokesman for the influential parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, told the semi-official ISNA news agency that Bolton’s appointment, as well as that of former CIA chief Mike Pompeo to secretary of state, “proves that the final US purpose is overthrowing the Islamic Republic.”

A Step in the Right Direction

President Donald Trump and Congress have finalized an agreement with the Republic of China that allows unrestricted two-way travel for officials from the United States and Taiwan, thus restoring direct official US contacts with the RoC.

Now we need to take the next step: exchange embassies with the RoC.  In parallel with all of that, we need to resume patrols of the Taiwan Strait and help the RoC upgrade their military’s capability, both offensive and defensive—especially the former, since merely parrying blows does not hurt the attacker enough to force it to stop.