German Intransigence

Last Tuesday, the British Parliament voted to send Prime Minister Theresa May back to Brussels to renegotiate the status of Great Britain’s Northern Ireland border with the Republic of Ireland, which is part of the Brit-EU exit agreement that the Parliament had earlier rejected.  The same day, the Parliament also rejected an attempt by Labour to delay by nine months the actual departure of Great Britain from the EU, leaving the date set at 29 March.

European Council President Donald Tusk said through his spokesman

The backstop is part of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the Withdrawal Agreement is not open for renegotiation.

A Note about a Note

Ambassador John Bolton, at Monday’s noon press conference, had two brief notes at the top of his 8.5×11 yellow note pad, written in clear, black lettering.  One referenced Afghanistan, and the other said, “5,000 troops to Colombia.”

Naturally, the NLMSM jumped all over that second one and is wondering a) how could Bolton be so careless as to let the press see and photograph such a note, and b) whatever could it mean?

Progress

Even in the midst of the US government’s partial shutdown imbroglio and Great Britain’s Brexit fiasco, the two found time and energy to conduct joint operations training in the South China Sea.

Even though this only involved two ships—the Arleigh-Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell and Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll—it’s a critical beginning (not really a resumption; the last such joint exercise was eight years ago).

We need to expand on this, though.  We need, also, to run joint flotilla- and fleet-level exercises in the South China Sea, and then we need to involve Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, and Japan in this sort of joint exercise.  In their aggregate, they need to occur a couple of times per year—and they need to include island assault exercises.

Hysteria

Some Congressmen are working on bills that, in their aggregate, would bar sales of critical computer components to the People’s Republic of China’s communications companies Huawei, ZTE, and other PRC companies caught violating our export laws or sanctions on those companies or companies with which these do business.

The PRC is upset.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said it was all “hysteria,” and

I believe the action of these few representatives are an expression of extreme arrogance and an extreme lack of self-confidence[.]

The PRC’s insults and hysterical response, whether individual or taken together, are sufficient evidence that we’re on the right track.

A Telling Interview

Progressive-Democrat from Texas, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke gave a wide-ranging, disjointed, somewhat confused interview to The Washington Post.  Here are some highlights.

Beto on the wall:

[It would] cut off access to the river, shrink the size of the United States and force the seizure of privately-held land.
[He] noted that most undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States in the past decade came not over the border but on visas that then expired.
WAPO: So what should be done to address visa overstays?
Beto: I don’t know[.]

Russian Acquisitiveness

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is insisting that Japan accept the outcome of WWII as a necessary pre-condition to a peace agreement between Japan and Russia and “improved relations,” including trade, between the two.

That outcome includes Russian occupation of Japan’s Northern Territories, islands in the Kurile chain immediately north of the main body of Japan.  Russia, which joined the war against Japan only in the waning months after Japan’s war effort was in full collapse, seized those islands and now claims them as “rightful spoils.”

In Which the NLMSM and Politicians

…of both parties jumped the gun in their blind panic to disparage an actual attempt to end a war.  Recall the hooraw over President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw our forces from Syria and from a war with no coherent plan or victory conditions.

Now the facts of the withdrawal start to come out.  National Security Adviser John Bolton made these points in Jerusalem while on a diplomatic trip:

  • the safety of Kurdish allies is being considered as part of its pending withdrawal plan

Building a Wall

President Donald Trump has floated the idea that he could declare a national emergency and use the military to build a wall.  I’m not convinced that’s necessary.

The Navy’s Seabees, the Army’s Corps of Engineers, and the USAF’s Civil Engineers always can use an operational exercise in construction.

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: