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.

Speedy Trial

As I write this on Tuesday, the question of bail for Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou remains unsettled.  The problem centers on a couple of things.  One is her husband’s offer to be responsible for Meng, guaranteeing her appearance at all court proceedings.  The presiding judge, Justice William Ehrcke, is having trouble believing that offer, even were it sincere.  Meng’s husband, Liu Xiaozong, is not a Canadian citizen, Meng’s lawyer had no information on any other immigration status for Liu, and Ehrcke expressed doubt over his ability to control Liu’s whereabouts—and so of Meng’s whereabouts.

Brexit Botch

British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday pulled today’s planned Parliament vote on her Brexit deal with Brussels when it became clear that not even her fellow Tories supported the deal in sufficient numbers to pass.  What’s more, she’s not suggested a new date for the vote, even though something is required to be presented to Parliament by 21 Jan 2019.

The deal as it stands is a terrible one, worse IMNSHO than a plain, unadorned breakout from the European Union.  It represented May’s meek submission to Brussels on nearly every one of their demands—including functional retention of EU immigration “rights” and EU court rulings within what used to be sovereign Great Britain for several years after the British nominal departure.

Bring It

With President Donald Trump’s formal notice to Russia that the US will pull out of the Treaty on Intermediate-range Nuclear Force, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened an arms race.

Our American partners apparently believe that the situation has changed to such an extent that the US should have such weapons.
What answer will they have from our side? It’s simple: we’ll do it too.

In addition to that,

The head of the Russian armed forces warned that if the deal collapses, the targets of subsequent military exchanges would be US missile sites hosted by allies within striking distance of Russia rather than American soil.

Brussels Interferes Again

Now the European Court of Justice has decided to weigh in on Brexit.

The European Court of Justice’s opinion, which requires confirmation in a final court ruling, says the U.K. can unilaterally stop the process of leaving the EU, something that Brussels and the U.K. government had sought to oppose. A final ruling is expected within the next few weeks.

This is yet another cynical effort by Brussels to interfere in the domestic affairs of a sovereign nation, this time compounded by Brussels’ insistence on punishing the Brits for their impertinence.