Of Course They Can

President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China increased pressure on the Republic of China to surrender and be “unified” with the PRC.

Mr Xi said differences in political systems can’t be used as an excuse to resist unification.

Of course they can. Those differences are what makes the two nations separate from each other.  Never mind that the two have been independent of each other ever since the mainland under Mao Tse-tung won then-China’s civil war and drove the Kuomintang off the mainland onto the island of Taiwan, with Mao then creating the PRC.  The reason for the civil war was precisely those differences, differences over which the Communists were willing to kill those who opposed them.

Brexit and a Pan-European Military Establishment

Recall the year-old EU effort with PESCO (the EU’s carefully euphemistically named Permanent Structured Cooperation), the bloc’s effort to form an EU army that would represent and act in the (sovereign) name of the European Union in defending Europe from outside incursions.  Oh, and be less dependent on us and our nuclear umbrella, our treasure, and our blood for their defense.

We’re seeing yet another example of the too-broad effort to unite all of Europe under one political flag, as this PESCO effort continues to lag.  More importantly, we’re seeing the cost to the EU of Brexit.  As Handelsblatt Today observed, the current situation is one of military failure:

Afghanistan and A World’s Policeman

The US currently supplies 14,000 of the 16,000 foreign soldiers in Afghanistan trying to shore up the government and rid the nation of Taliban, al Qaeda, and Daesh terrorists.  President Donald Trump is thinking about cutting our contingent in half over the coming year.  Trump’s rationale is that we shouldn’t continue to be the world’s policeman—unless and until other nations start picking up some of the costs of that role (or, in Trump’s terms, pay us something).

Germany objects.

What We Can Look Forward To

Former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan called out California’s sanctuary laws after the murder of a Newman police officer by a suspect who is in the US illegally.

That murdered cop, by the way, was himself an immigrant—a legal one from Fiji.

I’ve mentioned before that House Speaker-to-Be Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, NY) refuse at all to negotiate.

Too Much Retrenchment

Christian Whiton, in an op-ed for Fox News‘ online outlet, espoused a large retrenchment and withdrawal of the US (he couched it in terms of withdrawal of our troops only) from Europe and the Middle East.  In one region, though, he’s badly mistaken and goes much too far (he’s mistaken in the other areas, too, but this really stands out).

Threats

General Anthony Tata (former Deputy Commanding General of US forces in Afghanistan) laid out his concerns regarding America’s helplessness in a determined enemy’s cyber war inflicted on us, particularly the threat from the People’s Republic of China.

In the cyber warfare domain, many experts believe America faces a “Sputnik moment” as China plans to exceed US artificial intelligence capabilities by 2030.

China’s deliberate plan to accelerate artificial intelligence capabilities by 2020, catch up to the US by 2025, and surpass the US by 2030 is disconcerting in its forthrightness. China seems to have had its own “Sputnik” moment and has now developed its own project to become the world leader in artificial intelligence.

Half Measures

President Donald Trump has decided to bring our troops home from Syria, asserting that the Daesh has been defeated.  It is, after all a season of homecomings and military families across America are being reunited for the holidays.  With this…victory…our troops can come home with their heads held high.

Never mind that the Daesh still have a presence on the Syria-Iraq border.

It’s another half-measure withdrawal, and aside from many in Congress who recognize this, so do some of our putative allies.  But they expose their own half-measure goal in the matter.  Here’s France’s Defense Minister Florence Parly, for example:

Threats

Your moves to strengthen your ability to defend yourselves will be met by us with greater force.  So says Russian President Vladimir Putin.

If the US puts intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Russia will take countermeasures, Putin said at his end-of-year press conference. He warned the “threshold” for the use of nuclear weapons was getting lower.

And this:

In a wide-ranging press conference, Mr Putin also blamed the US for triggering a new arms race and raising the threat of a nuclear war, slamming Washington for abandoning Cold War-era missile treaties even as he boasted of Moscow’s plans to develop new weapons.

Russia, whose military budget is only about a 10th of that of the US….

Another Schumer Shutdown?

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, NY) told NBC NewsMeet the Press that there would be no money for a border wall “in any form.”  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) has been saying much the same thing the last couple of weeks, but she doesn’t have the votes to block the money, and she doesn’t have the votes to become Speaker next month if she doesn’t say no this month.

Google’s Boss Testified

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai testified before the House Judiciary Committee earlier this week.  In the course of his testimony, he made some interesting claims.

“Even as we expand into new markets we never forget our American roots,” Mr Pichai said in his opening statement.

Not just roots, though. It’s important that Pichai and his team remember our American culture and values, too.  It’s not at all clear that he/they do.

As an American company, we cherish the values and freedoms that have allowed us to grow and serve so many users.  I am proud to say we do work, and we will continue to work, with the government to keep our country safe and secure.