Northern Korea Sent Us a Bill

Northern Korea sent us a bill two years ago for $2 million for the hospital care of Otto Warmbier while he was a kidnapping prisoner in northern Korea. The bill was part of the process of getting Warmbier when his vegetative body finally was released.

Couple things about this.

One is that Warmbier received no medical treatment worthy of the name, much less “hospital” care.  It’s necessary only to review his condition when he was, finally, returned to his family in the US.

Satellites, Espionage, and Malware

It seems that the People’s Republic of China is using our geosynchronous satellites for its own ends, both economic and national security.  It seems the NLMSM is only just catching up to that long-standing fact.

That’s not cool (each of those things), but the former also presents some opportunities (the latter only serves for hand-wringing and click-bait).

One is to upload software to block communications from PRC sources—the data packets have the data necessary for the discrimination embedded within them. Of course, it’s a routine hack to alter those packet source data or to alt-route the messaging so as to disguise the data’s origin.  But that slows down the data stream, and that, with the latency inherently involved in a communications pathway that involves such faraway nodes can destroy the usefulness of some time-sensitive data.

Lost Brexit?

Great Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, went begging to the EU for a delay on Great Britain’s date of departure from the EU, and she got it—31 October, with a caveat that if the Brits can get their act together sooner, they can leave sooner.

European Council President Donald Tusk:

…the call for action will be entirely in the UK’s hands.
… But he added that the UK can also use the time to “reconsider the whole Brexit strategy.”
Tusk…warned the UK: “Please do not waste this time.”

Nonsensical

Prime Minister Theresa May has written to the EU begging for an extension until the end of June before Great Britain leaves the EU.  France is continuing to claim it opposes any further extension beyond the current 12 April date if Great Britain cannot form a coherent, reasoned plan for departure to offer the EU that would earn a longer extension for departure.

Take It or Leave Us

Here is one of the final steps in Brussels’ studied refusal to deal in good faith with Great Britain’s leaving the EU in all the long “negotiations.”  With the Brits’ departure now set for 12 April, the EU’s Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom Exiting the European Union, Michel Barnier, has issued the EU’s ultimatum:

  • The possibility of a successful “meaningful vote” on the withdrawal agreement in the next few days. “The only way to avoid a no-deal Brexit is and will be through a positive majority. We should continue to make this point in the public debate,” Barnier said.

There’ll Be Blowback

But it’ll be badly misplaced.  President Donald Trump is moving to stop further direct aid to the Caravan Triangle of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras over those nations’ failure to control those caravans by putting to actual use that aid—which was intended to support improved economies, the living conditions within those economies, and training to deal with gangs and the drug trade.

[T]he State Department…notified Congress that it would look to suspend 2017 and 2018 payments to the trio of nations, which have been home to some of the migrant caravans that have marched through Mexico to the US. border.

Crimea and the Golan Heights

A writer to the Letters to the Editor in a recent Wall Street Journal, actually tries to equate Israel’s hold on the Golan Heights with Russia’s occupation of Crimea and of the People’s Republic of China’s seizure of the South China Sea.

And he’s serious.

Approval of Israel’s seizure lends support to Russia’s claims that the Ukrainian territory seized by Russian “separatists” now belongs to Russia, as does Crimea. President Trump’s stance also gives sanction to China’s seizure and fortification of islets in the South China Sea.

Inconsistent

Venezuela’s interim President—and only legitimate President—Juan Guaidó has sent his emissaries, his ambassadors around the globe to represent his government to other nations, as ambassadors are designated to do.  He has sent Otto Gebauer to Germany to represent his government to the German government.

There’s the rub.  Germany recognizes Guaidó’s presidency, but that government refuses to recognize his ambassador.

For the purposes of conducting official talks, on March 13 the government described him as the “personal representative of interim President Juan Guaidó….”

The rationalization for this inconsistency has been articulated by the Social Democratic Party’s Helge Lindh (and per his resume, Head of Working Group “Strengthening Foundations” (together with Andreas Bialas MdL):

Naïve

A bunch of non-defense and non-foreign policy folks—and so experts on both—don’t think we should be moving to defend ourselves against our enemies.  Such actions might…provoke…them.

Dozens of scientists, health care professionals and academics have written a letter to the UN calling for an international ban of autonomous killer robots, saying recent advances in artificial intelligence “have brought us to the brink of a new arms race in lethal autonomous weapons.”

These tools might also fall into the hands of terrorists and despots.

Defying Trump?

That’s what the headline would have it.

The German government is poised to renege on its pledge to raise military spending, the latest gesture of defiance by Chancellor Angela Merkel toward President Donald Trump.

And

Under the new budget plan, unveiled by the finance ministry Monday, [Germany’s] spending would rise to 1.37% of GDP next year, but then decrease again to 1.33% in 2019, 1.29% in 2022 and 1.25% in 2023.

However.

Germany won’t be defying Trump. It’ll be betraying NATO and its fellow members.  Especially those eastern European members that front on Russia and behind which Germany ducks.