The EU and National Sovereignty

Poland enacted a law at the start of the year that lowered the mandatory retirement age of all of its judges from 70 to 65.  This resulted, among other things, in the required retirement for 27 of the nation’s 72 Supreme Court judges (a too-big Court, anyway IMNSHO, and they ought not be replaced, but that’s a separate story).

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS [Prawo i Sprawiedliwość]) party says the changes are necessary to a justice system they say is controlled by an untouchable “caste” of judges steeped in communist-era mentality.

The European Union has demurred.

Drift

Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, had some thoughts on how the US should interact with today’s People’s Republic of China.  Among other things, he wants three key areas of disagreement to be accepted and…managed.  (I’ll leave aside his blithe, and erroneous, assertion that the “trade war” between the PRC and us is our doing and not the PRC’s.)

The most realistic option for the future is to focus on managing the two countries’ major disagreements. This approach has worked for four decades when it comes to Taiwan.

Decisions

In a Wall Street Journal article Monday, Google’s MFWIC, Sundar Pichai, defended his decision to support the People’s Republic of China with a Google “search” engine that’s carefully compliant with PRC censorship requirements.

What interests me this time, though, is this bit:

Mr Pichai…played down the idea that the Project Maven decision was made only based on employee feedback. He said Google has also listened to experts in ethics and artificial intelligence.

Project Maven is a DoD program intended to develop artificial intelligence for American national defense purposes—including, yes, an improved ability to kill our enemies when they attack us.

Doing Business with the PRC

The People’s Republic of China is stepping up their corporate espionage.

Starting November 1, police officers will have the authority to physically inspect businesses and remotely access corporate networks to check for potential security loopholes, according to the regulations released Sunday by the Public Security Ministry. Police will also be authorized to copy information and inspect records that “may endanger national security, public safety, and social order,” the rules said.

And

The new regulations also reinforce requirements on censorship and surveillance laid out in the cybersecurity law.

And to steal company secrets and classified information, and to plant malware for future use.

Free Trade in North America

With a Mexico-US trade agreement in nominally in hand (our two nations’ legislatures have ratify it, and our own Progressive-Democrats in the Senate are already saying #NO, #RESIST, and too many Republicans are acquiescing, though), Mexico wants Canada to join the agreement.  Mexico’s President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, after speaking with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

There is still time to achieve a trilateral agreement[.]

And

We hope they reach that understanding so that it will be a trilateral agreement.

It’s a Start

The Trump administration has agreed to sell $330 million worth of spare parts to the Republic of China.  The spares will support the RoC’s F-16s, C-130s, and other of the island nation’s military aircraft.

It’s a start.  However, we need to do more.  We should be selling uprated F1-16s, F-15s, and A-10s to them.  We should be selling missile defense systems to them and brokering deals between the RoC and Israel for the latter’s Iron Dome and Arrow missile and rocket defense systems.  We should be selling the RoC anti-ship and anti-aircraft weapons systems.  We should be selling them land-attack cruise missile systems.

Talks and Conflicts

The Saturday Wall Street Journal had a piece that worried about President Donald Trump’s decision to add more tariffs to People’s Republic of China’s goods just prior to another round of trade talks with the PRC.

[T]he decision’s timing risks deepening the already bitter trade fight by starting another tit-for-tat round of tariffs.

And

The tariffs are bound to complicate—if not derail—talks with top Chinese officials, which are currently scheduled in Washington for Sept 27 and Sept 28, say people familiar with the plans.

Mao and Xi

Deutsche Welle reported on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s visit last Friday with People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in the PRC.  A couple of things jumped out at me that are separate from the emphasis the article put on the visit and the aid the PRC has promised Maduro.  Maduro tweeted

We began our state visit to the People’s Republic of China, paying tribute to its founder, the Great Helmsman, Mao Tse Tung.  His example and revolutionary struggle marked the twentieth century.

That was in connection with this:

“Some Feel It’s About Time for a US Retreat”

That’s the title of Friday’s Wall Street Journal Letters column.  One letter argues that point in particular.  The letter writer is mostly wrong, but his is right on one matter.

Who does he think will fill in behind us if we retreat?  It won’t be our friends; that should be clear.

On the other hand, he argued

The USSR no longer exists and China has emerged as our chief rival. The only thing that has remained constant is America’s footing the greater part of the bill for military defense, while nations we protect continue to grow rich at our expense.
The nations of the world that we are supposed to protect are going their own way, while we continue to spend and spend in the name of preserving an alliance that is no longer even necessary.

The PLO and Peace

The US is cutting off funding for the PLO, and we’re closing the PLO’s delegation office in DC.  Various apologists for the terrorist organization are up in arms over the Trump administration’s sterner stand.

…the administration that appear to be moving away from the 1993-95 Oslo accords before the administration has explained what it thinks should come next.

Walking away from the Oslo peace framework? That framework doesn’t exist; the PLO walked away from it long ago.  See, for instance, PLO leader Yasser Arafat’s intifada after walking away from the historic and generous Israeli peace offer brokered by Bill Clinton in 2000.