Russia Gets Nervous?

That’s the thesis of James Marson and Thomas Grove in their recent Wall Street Journal article.  It seems the US and allies have been running a number of training exercises in the Baltic Sea and in eastern Europe, and we’ve agreed to plus up (trivially) the number of soldiers we station in Poland—at Poland’s request.  This is making Russia nervous.

Mikhail Barabanov, of the Moscow-based Center for the Analysis of Systems and Technologies:

Russia sees the exercise as a preparation to deploy large NATO forces across the Baltic region[.]

It’s a Start

Germany has shown, with its welching on its commitment to spend 2% of its GDP on bolstering NATO, that it has no interest in Europe’s mutual defense.  That, though, does not alter the threat to European security represented by Russia other than to increase it.

I’m reminded of a remark President Abraham Lincoln made about General George McClellan and the army the latter commanded: If McClellan does not want to use the army, I should like to borrow it a while.  Since Germany isn’t interested in Europe’s defense, isn’t even interested in getting up a serious defense establishment of any sort (McClellan was strongly interested in this much), our forces are better placed elsewhere.

A Misunderstanding

…and why a Labour Party government would be a disaster for Great Britain (and not just because of Jeremy Corbyn’s blatant socialism bent).  In a Deutsche Welle piece about Boris Johnson’s move to replace Theresa May as party head (and presumably as Prime Minister, at least until the next general election), the news outlet quoted Labour Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer:

The debate on Brexit in the Tory leadership contest…[n]one of the likely candidates for the top job has a credible plan for how to break the deadlock before the end of October.

Another Reason

…to not have these things in our homes.

According to internal documents seen Wednesday by local media, German interior ministers are considering a proposal that would allow data from speech assistants to be legally permissible as evidence for the prosecution of crimes.

“Speech assistants”—is that what the kids are calling these things?  The speech assistants to which those German interior ministers refer are “smart” home devices like Alexa, Siri, smart TVs, presumably Cortana, and on and on—any device we allow in our naivete into our homes—that listen to our every word, every sound we sigh, and records the most current of them.

Tariffs on Mexico

There is some hue and cry over President Donald Trump’s threatened tariff on Mexico in an effort to get the Mexican government to take seriously its role in the crisis on our common border.

Critics of the tariffs, including those within the administration, have said the ratification of the pact would be threatened by the tariffs.

There’s no threat to ratification of the USMCA from these tariffs. There is a threat from the Progressive-Democrats who hate the treaty separately from this.  However, the lack of threat is illustrated by Mexico; since the tariff threat, that government has said it still intends to ratify the treaty.

Rewriting History

Here is an example of the level of integrity of the men reigning over the People’s Republic of China.

Thirty years ago, a man stood in front of a column of tanks, halting their hulking passage from Tiananmen Square a day after the bloodshed of June 4.

“Tank man” images are ruthlessly excised from Chinese social media, according to monitoring services.

Now the Chinese government is seeking to exert the same sort of control over how China’s history is seen in the rest of the world.

Trump Commentary

There is much commentary, generally negative, over President Donald Trump’s statements, among others, that he likes the idea of Boris Johnson succeeding outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May.  It’s unbecoming. It’s unpresidential. Mostly, though, it’s simply not supposed to be done for one foreign dignitary to comment on the doings of another nation’s political debate.

I’ll ignore the foolishness of “unbecoming” and “unpresidential;” those objecting on these grounds routinely shy away from saying what they mean by “unbecoming” or “unpresidential.”  We’re simply supposed to accept their august pronouncements without question.

There’re a couple of larger issues in play here, though.

Venezuela is not Grenada

That, there, is a true fact. The University of Georgia’s Emeritus Professor (of Agricultural and Applied Economics) Glenn Ames used that as an argument for why the US ought not invade Venezuela in his Letter to the Editor of The Wall Street Journal.  After all, he wrote,

Venezuela is a large, complex country politically, not a tiny island in the Caribbean.

Also a true fact.  But then he went astray, here and on a couple of other points.  For one, our military is not the disjointed, uncoordinated collection of disparate forces that went into Grenada; it’s much better integrated, and it has demonstrated that improvement many times since.

“Normalize Relations”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif travelled to the People’s Republic of China in an effort to get its help in saving the nuclear weapons deal with Iran that the US walked away from and that Great Britain, Germany, and France, along with Russia and the PRC, remain in.  Zarif insisted that

the world must normalize economic relations with Tehran and take “practical steps” to save the nuclear accord….

No, we don’t.  There’s nothing to save: all the accord did and does is create a brief delay in Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons so it can use them against Israel and, through its proxies and affiliates, others.

A Shift May Be Beginning

As the tariff volleys in the People’s Republic of China’s years-old economic war (of which trade is just one component) against us begin to grow, some potential changes in international trade and production for trade are becoming visible.  If these apparent changes represent the beginning of a solid trend, the changes and the trend will not be to the PRC’s benefit.

It’s true that consumer prices might start to rise in both our nation and in the PRC, but as a population—and as a people—we’re better able to absorb those increases than is the population of the PRC.  Our per capita GDP is $62,500, more than three times the PRC’s $19,520.