“Peace” in Donbas

Russia and Ukraine say they have agreed a ceasefire, to be effective by year’s end, in eastern Ukraine, currently occupied by Russia (along with Crimea) and Russia-instigated and -backed “rebels.”  It’s an unsatisfactory ceasefire.

There is no agreement on a timetable for free elections in the occupied eastern oblasts, even assuming the dubious need at all for elections there separate from the regular national elections. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wants Russian troops out of those oblasts before the elections; Russia’s President Vladimir Putin insists merely that Ukraine should give those oblasts autonomy before the elections. Zelenskiy is right: elections have no possibility of being free with Russian troops occupying the region.  It’s an unsatisfactory ceasefire.

Expanding Surveillance State

Want a new phone in the People’s Republic of China? You have to give up an image of your face to the government.

The requirement, which came into effect Sunday, is aimed at minimizing telephone fraud and preventing the reselling and illegal transfer of mobile phone cards, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a notice in September.

Right. That’s believable.  Never mind that

…facial recognition becomes more and more prevalent in [the PRC], with authorities applying artificial intelligence to sift through reams of data collected in a bid to boost the economy and centralize oversight of the population.

A NATO Disconnect

French President Emmanuel Macron extended his “NATO is braindead” criticism.

The French leader has been critical of the United States after it abruptly pulled troops out of northeastern Syria, allowing NATO member Turkey to launch an incursion against the Kurdish YPG militia fighting against the “Islamic State” group. The US and Turkey did not coordinate their moves with NATO members.

Nor were either required to, regardless of what anyone thinks of the moves themselves or the rudeness of the lack of advisement.  Syria has nothing to do with NATO, for all that it’s on the rear porch of Europe’s nations.  Coordination with NATO was, and is, not required.

Nuclear Disarmament

Pope Francis wants it—completely, totally, for any purpose, even deterrence (assuming, for now, that this can be done verifiably and verifiably maintained).  The Pope thinks an arms race involving nuclear weapons adds to the danger of their existence, never minding the race, at least on the US’ part, is for self-defense and the defense of our friends and allies—the very purpose of NATO stationing nuclear weapons in Europe, for instance.

The Pope, though, avoided addressing how a non-nuclear nation with a small conventional military establishment would defend itself against an aggressively acquisitive non-nuclear nation with a large military establishment.  Like, say, the Soviet Union against the nations of Europe, individually or collectively. Or like, perhaps, the People’s Republic of China against the Republic of Korea or Japan—or us.

The Coming End to the Crisis in Hong Kong

The Wall Street Journal, in its piece on the latest and bloodiest overreaction by the People’s Republic of China’s President Xi Jiping to the protests in Hong Kong, asked how “the Hong Kong crisis can be deescalated.”

It will be in the same way that the Tiananmen Square crisis was deescalated; this is made clear by Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Wu Qian. The WSJ cited him as saying that [emphasis added]

[President Xi Jinping] gave “the highest direction of the central government” to end violence and restore order in Hong Kong. He called it the army’s most pressing task in Hong Kong.

Naming Conventions

The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a bipartisan body set up by Congress to look into our…economic and security relations…has become willing to begin calling a spade a spade, instead of hiding behind euphemisms. At least in one narrow area.

The group believes Mr Xi should be known by his party title, general secretary, as a more accurate description of his role.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China is certainly apt.  I suggest, though, a title more consistent with Xi’s actions, which are throwback to, and repetitive of, an earlier period: Emperor.

National Sovereignty

The Paris Peace Forum met earlier this week; fortunately, we didn’t send any government representative to it.  National sovereignty, this claque held, is a danger to the world.

French President Macron advocated for multilateralism and a “balanced cooperation” between the nations.

Balanced cooperation is good, but that requires not the open borders and come one, come all—no matter who the one or the all are—but coalitions built for specific times and purposes.  And those coalitions, even treaties between or among States requires…nation-states with actual borders, nation-states with internal, coherent cultures, nation-states that put their own interests first.

“Enemy of the People”

The good citizens of Hong Kong continue to protest the despotism of PRC President Xi Jinping’s satrap government in Hong Kong, and Xi’s Governess, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam is coming unraveled as she’s squeezed from one side by the ongoing protests against her rule and from the other side by Xi’s increasing demand that she get this right.

Her police, for some time, have taken to shooting protestors at point blank range, firing water cannon with dyed water so protestors can be identified and arrested for their effrontery—260 arrests from Monday’s protests alone—siccing Hong Kong’s mafia-esque thugs on the protestors.

Ambassadorships

Unable to make a case against President Donald Trump for anything else that’s remotely impeachable, House Progressive-Democrats now are going to obsess over our erstwhile Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s removal from her post.

There are some questions that won’t be asked on this matter, though, whether by Congressman Adam Schiff’s (D, CA) Star Chamber inquisitors or by anyone in the NLMSM.

  1. Is an ambassadorship a lifetime sinecure?
  2. Who appoints (subject to Senate confirmation) our ambassadors?
  3. For whom does any ambassador work—what’s his chain of command?

And, given accurate answers to those questions,

They’re Only Uighurs

People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping and his government henchmen are sending their representatives to “sleep with” the wives of Uighurs whose husbands have been interred in the PRC’s concentration camps reeducation locations for the crime of being Muslim.

The excuse for this?

Party officials who are called “relatives” (but not actually related) visit Uighur families every two months, stay for up to a week, and in some reported instances, share a bed with the women, [Radio Free Asia] reported.

Because, says a PRC Government Man,