Timidity Is

…as timidity does.  The Japan Times has it, too, as demonstrated in its editorial last Wednesday.  The editorial board is worried about Japan actually achieving an ability to defend proactively itself.  The board’s concern was triggered [sic] by a Liberal Democratic Party proposal that

Japan consider developing the ability to strike enemy missile bases.  …a response to North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches….

The board fretted that

an attempt by Japan to build up the capability to attack enemy bases could result in destabilizing the region’s security environment by giving an imagined enemy an excuse to carry out pre-emptive strikes on our country.

The False Premise of a Madboy

Harry Kazianis, writing in The Week Monday, portrayed northern Korea’s weekend military parading not as sabre rattling but as a demonstration of the fruits of development driven by military necessity.

Kim Jong Un—the leader of a nation that has an economy smaller than Ethiopia—knows all too well he has no way to match the United States, South Korea, and Japan ship for ship, plane for plane in a symmetrical sense. The only way he can hope to deter his enemies is to build the ultimate game-changer: nuclear weapons paired with missiles that can strike all the way across the globe.

Deal Outcomes

In a Sunday op-ed, The Wall Street Journal opined about whether President Donald Trump had reached an actual deal with People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping concerning putting an end to northern Korea’s nuclear weapons program and associated threats, or whether an agreement reached during the recent meeting between the two was merely a cosmetic exchange of niceties.

The editors closed their piece with this remark:

Mr Trump needs to make clear what he will do if China won’t make a Korean deal.

Threat or Warning?

The People’s Republic of China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, has…said:

The United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent, and there have been storm clouds gathering.

If they let war break out on the peninsula, they must shoulder that historical culpability and pay the corresponding price for this[.]

Pay the corresponding price: is the PRC warning northern Korea and us, or is it threatening us in favor of its client—losing face as the PRC will do in the event of an attack by its client and the response that must come?

A Misunderstanding

…between the roles of State and Defense and how those roles should be carried out.  The misunderstanding is illustrated in (though it’s not the primary subject of) a Friday Wall Street Journal piece by Dion Nissenbaum and Maria Abi-Habib.

President Donald Trump is (very properly) backing away from a Lyndon Johnson- or Barack Obama-esque micromanagement of what the military is permitted to do, including target selection, timing of engagement, and weapons permitted to be used on those targets.  Instead, he’s encouraging DoD to have its commanders on-scene to exercise more initiative, with less mother-may-I delay waiting for permission from the White House (and notice that use of the chain of command from the top down, too).   From that, as illustrated by General John Nicholson’s decision to drop a MOAB on his own initiative on a Daesh network of tunnels and caves in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border, we’re seeing a more aggressive military with more timely activities.

Potemkin Missiles?

The Yonhap News/Zuma Press image, below, appears to be a new ICBM, and apparently a transportable one, shown in a military parade in Pyongyang, northern Korea, last Saturday.

Also paraded were missile launchers with “never-before-seen missile canisters” (imagery not provided in the Wall Street Journal article at the link).

“Never before seen” and “new.”  Are these truly so, or are they only new to the NLMSM and haven’t actually been successfully concealed from the world’s intelligence services?

Or: are these real weapons, or are they just shams, empty containers?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Hot Air and a Strong United States

Recall the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was going to heavily reinforce “all ocean features controlled by Manila” and plant the Philippine flag on them.

Now, it turns out that the People’s Republic of China has instructed its newest client state not to do so, and Duterte has obeyed.  He’s withdrawn his “threat”

because he values Chinese friendship.

PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang:

Beijing is “happy to see the Philippine side working more closely with the Chinese side.”

Duterte’s strong words having been exposed as so much hot air clearly demonstrates the need for a revitalized and strong American presence everywhere in the South—and East—China Seas.

False Premise

University of Alberta Political Science Professor Wenran Jiang had a piece in The Globe and Mail claiming that the road to peace on the Korean peninsula lay exclusively through diplomacy.  In attempting to downplay the degree of influence the People’s Republic of China has over northern Korea and the boss of its gang, Baby Kim, Professor Jiang made this claim:

Beijing has to walk a fine line between persuading the North not to pursue nuclear weapons and not being seen as colluding with the United States and Japan to undermine its security.

Syrian Refugees

One Syrian, Kassem Eid an erstwhile media activist in Syria, and a victim of the gas attack that was Bashar al-Assad’s calling of then-President Barack Obama’s (D) bluff of a “red” line and that exposed Obama has being too timid to back his words, had a thought about aid and support to Syria’s refugees in a recent Wall Street JournalHere’s the money quote.

America, if you really care about refugees, then take to the streets, call your representatives, and ask for even further action against the murderer who displaced us. President Trump could order strikes to fully ground Assad’s air force, whose bombing forces civilians to flee. The Assad regime still has more than a dozen operational military airports from which to continue its attacks. Help civilians by creating safe zones and no-fly zones.

Restrain

In a piece about PRC President Xi Jinping telling President Donald Trump that the former wants a peaceful resolution to the problem of northern Korea, The Wall Street Journal‘s Te-Ping Chen quoted John Delury, an Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at Yonsei University in Seoul:

Beijing is in somewhat of a new dilemma here, where they’re trying to restrain both Trump and Kim Jong Un[.]

This is inaccurate on a couple of counts.  On the one hand, Xi is in no position to presume to restrain Trump, what with his own naked aggressions in the East and South China Seas, nor is he in a position to restrain when he has steadfastly refused to take meaningful steps to restrain Baby Kim, and his father Kim the Younger before him.