North Korean leader Kim Jong-un resurfaced last week at the eighth Congress of his ruling Workers’ Party, where he admitted “almost all sectors” of his country’s economy had fallen short of their goals. Speaking for nine hours, Mr. Kim also said North Korea should bring its “arch-enemy” — the United States — “to its knees.”
Mr. Kim’s weapons of mass destruction program, which has long denied North Korea a path to economic prosperity because of punitive sanctions, reflects the internal contradiction of his policy of “byngjin” — developing the economy while simultaneously expanding its nuclear weapons deterrent. Mr. Kim has embraced his family’s tradition of seeking to hoodwink the world into lifting economic sanctions in return for empty denuclearization promises.… Seguir leyendo »
For the first time in history, a war has been won almost entirely by unmanned aircraft — by what are technically called “armed drones” or Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, guided autonomously).
On Nov. 10, Armenia surrendered to Azerbaijan, ceding control of the disputed enclave Nagorno-Karabakh located within Azeri territory. Nagorno-Karabakh borders Armenia, has a predominantly ethnic Armenian-Christian population that, together with Armenia, has fought to resist domination by predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan.
The Nagorno-Karabakh War has flared on and off for some 30 years, a long stalemate little noted in the Western press.
But now the decisive defeat of Armenia by futuristic RPVs portends a revolution in military technology akin to the invention of gunpowder or the use of manned aircraft in World Wars I and II that changed the dimensions and nature of warfare.… Seguir leyendo »
Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of arguably the worst congressional vote in this century.
On that day in 2000, the Senate approved Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with the People’s Republic of China by a vote of 83-15. President Bill Clinton signed the legislation into law, declaring: “China will open its markets to American products from wheat to cars to consulting services, and our companies will be far more able to sell goods without moving factories or investments there.”
Republican Rep. Bill Archer of Texas, the lead sponsor of the bill, remarked, “The American people support this agreement because they know it’s good for jobs in America and good for human rights and the development of democracy in China.”… Seguir leyendo »
In July, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio joined three Democratic colleagues, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, in a letter to President Trump urging action on a case that has gotten far too little media attention — the apparent detention of the son and daughter of Saad al Jabri.
The lawmakers expressed grave concern that Omar and Sarah al Jabri were being held against their will to compel their father’s return from Canada to Riyadh to face charges of corruption.
Mr. al Jabri served under former Minister of Interior Muhammad bin Nayef (widely known as MBN), the onetime next-in-line for the Saudi throne who has been displaced by now-Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS).… Seguir leyendo »
On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landings, Harris Poll asked young people in the United States and China what they wanted to be when they grew up. The results were strange. Most American youth surveyed — the young people who belonged to the only country to have ever placed astronauts on the lunar surface — admitted that they wanted to be professional “Vlogger/YouTubers” when they grew up. It was the Chinese youth who overwhelmingly aspired to be astronauts.
Speaking to Chinese state media in 2018, the head of China’s lunar program, Ye Peijian, outlined the Chinese view of their national space strategy in explicit geopolitical terms, specifically in naval terminology:
“The universe is an ocean, the moon is the Diaoyu Islands [sic], Mars is Huangyan Island.… Seguir leyendo »
At the dawn of the 20th century, America was feeling brash and bold. Having just defeated Spain in a war that ranged from Cuba to the Philippines, it was clear that we were an emerging power. But what was that going to mean?
The 19th century idea of “Manifest Destiny,” which required that, by some sort of divine right, we should rule the Western Hemisphere had faded, but — as the Philippines showed — the temptation of American colonialism was strong.
In that context, John Hay wrote a letter to a friend. Hay began his government career as private secretary to Abraham Lincoln and at the time he wrote the letter was U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
It’s not been a good year for major media.
First, they were caught red-handed as shills for the fake Russian collusion narrative that convulsed the nation for nearly three years.
Then, they were exposed as barkers for the fake Ukraine scandal while the real thing — Joe Biden’s pay-for-play scheme and $1 billion “quid pro quo” while he was President Obama’s vice president — still goes largely unexamined.
Truth be told, this kind of slanted reporting involving Russia and Ukraine has a long pedigree.
In 1932, The New York Times’ Moscow bureau chief, Walter Duranty, won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Joseph Stalin’s USSR.… Seguir leyendo »
The death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, caused by a raid by Army Delta Force operators based in Iraq, was an enormous but not fatal blow to that dangerous terrorist network. Others among the ISIS leadership are being hunted and killed.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was outraged that President Trump didn’t notify Congress before the raid, though he did notify Russia. Custom, not the law or the U.S. Constitution requires notifying Congress, so she’s way off base. The sad fact is that we had to notify Russia because Russia controls the airspace our Delta guys had to fly through to get to their target.… Seguir leyendo »
Early into what would become a three-decade career in government service, I was completing an escape-and-evasion training exercise in the woods on Nov. 9, 1989, when, after weeks of unrest, the East German government announced that its citizens could visit West Berlin.
Upon entering the community room at our base, one of my fellow trainees, his fatigues covered in mud, saw the rest of us glued to the television. Watching the news coverage, he exclaimed, “What were we doing, training in the woods, when we should have been overseas helping to win the Cold War?”
Construction of the Berlin Wall began at the height of the Cold War in 1961.… Seguir leyendo »
It’s easy, especially thousands of miles away, to jump onto the bandwagon of Turkey-blamers following its recent military incursion into Syria. However, Ankara has legitimate reasons for its actions. Its own national security as well as creating a sustainable solution for the Syrian refugee problem are at stake.
Turkey is not the only actor to be blamed for the mess in Syria. Major mistakes by Washington and Brussels have significantly contributed to the problem. However, Turkey, having a long border with Syria, suffers more from the instability in Syria and must act in order to secure its territory.
The United States made major mistakes in Syria.… Seguir leyendo »
President Xi Jinping believes China’s ascent to global dominance is inevitable, because its authoritarian government and socialist-market economy can better deliver technological progress and prosperity than decadent Western democracies. Established elites in the West may be proving him correct.
The euro is overvalued for the Mediterranean region and undervalued for Germany and other northern states. Consequently, Italy and others must run large trade deficits with Germany and pile up foreign debt or accept perpetual austerity and high unemployment.
Eurozone rules strictly limit national deficits. When the League and Five Star Movement won enough seats to form a coalition government that would break Italy loose from those rules, Sergio Mattarella — president and de facto protector of the establishment — refused permission to form a government unless the coalition effectively pledged not to implement policies that could eventually exit the country from the euro and EU.… Seguir leyendo »
Most people want to survive. What could be more natural than that? Most peoples want to survive, too. That’s no less natural.
For a thousand years, the lands inhabited by the Hungarian people have been invaded, their settlements sacked, men, women and children enslaved and slaughtered. Mongols, Ottomans, Nazis and Soviets were among those who conquered and ruled the Hungarians. Somehow, they’ve survived.
Hungarians today, a clear majority, believe their national existence — their unique identity, language, culture and traditions — is threatened again. This time, however, it is not by nomads on horseback or soldiers in tanks. It is by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Union.… Seguir leyendo »
Results in Ukraine’s first round of presidential balloting yielded no surprise with TV actor and comedian Viktor Zelenskiy placing first with 30 percent of the vote. Instead, the surprise was his margin over the sitting president, Petro Poroshenko, who received about 16 percent. Ukraine’s constitution requires a winner receive more than 50 percent of all ballots cast, so these two candidates will be the only contenders in a final vote on April 21. Mr. Zelenskiy is favored to win election to the five-year term.
At 41, Mr. Zelenskiy is 12 years younger than Mr. Poroshenko and has no political experience. What he does have is what every politician wants: extensive name recognition.… Seguir leyendo »
With very few exceptions, liberals in the United States favor high levels of immigration; and the American left goes further, calling to “Abolish ICE” (a reference to Immigration Customs and Enforcement, America’s border security agency). But developments in Europe suggest this near-unanimity could one day shatter.
Since the end of World War II, Europe’s left has overwhelmingly seen the free movement of labor and immigration as the best ways to challenge corporate interests; in the words of progressive writer David Adler (on whose article, “Meet Europe’s Left Nationalists,” I have relied here), these “hastened the pace of history and heightened capitalism’s contradictions.”… Seguir leyendo »
An Alabama woman, who willingly left her family to join the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is now begging to return home to the United States. The simple answer to that? No.
As the Sun reported, “An American ISIS bride who once called for Muslims to ‘spill American blood’ is now begging U.S. authorities for the chance to return home to Alabama. Hoda Muthana was 20 when she used her college tuition money to join ISIS in 2014, during which she became one of ISIS’s most vocal agitators with a series of blood-curdling Twitter posts.”
As President Trump’s successful destruction of ISIS in Syria continues, these women are now being captured, in Ms.… Seguir leyendo »
Pope Francis is increasingly showing his hand. He came into the papacy promising to clean up the church, especially on matters of sexual abuse. In doing so, he raised hopes among the laity, especially in America and Latin America. He said all the right things or at least many of the right things. He traveled the world. Now it is increasingly obvious that he means none of it.
Pope Francis comes from Argentina. Yet, the more I see of him he looks and sounds like a fat alderman from Chicago. He is slippery, evasive, and I think we all know where he is going to go.… Seguir leyendo »
In Warsaw last week, the Trump administration convened a conference on peace and security in the Middle East. The two-day ministerial did not change the world. But it did highlight significant ways in which the world has changed.
Envoys arrived from more than 60 countries, including 10 Arab nations. The one head of state was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was clearly pleased to be getting together with his neighbors. And they did not seem displeased to be getting together with him.
For this significant change there is a simple explanation: The Arab states and the Jewish state agree, as does the current U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
For a half-century, Qatar has been a tiny, desert oasis for the Muslim Brotherhood and many of the world’s most virulent Islamists. In the 1960s, as Egypt’s Gamel Abdel Nasser once again banned and cracked-down on the Brotherhood, thousands of the group’s agitators, clerics, and community organizers were forced to retreat elsewhere into the Middle East, Europe, and North America.
Since then, Qatar has been the Brotherhood’s most hospitable base of operations. In time, Brotherhood Islamism would soon emerge as Qatar’s de-facto state ideology, as the ruling al-Thani family welcomed the Islamists with lavish funding, the highest state honors, and the establishment of new Islamist institutions that would seek to indoctrinate thousands.… Seguir leyendo »
We need to stay in Syria, and it has very little to do with ISIS.
In many ways, President Trump’s foreign policy in the Middle East and Afghanistan is admirable. He is attempting to end the “endless” wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Syria. He wants to make a clean break with his predecessors who he believes embroiled the nation in conflicts where the United States had limited control over success or failure. President Trump’s approach is to bring the troops home, while relying primarily on airpower to deter aggression in the region.
If successful, the drawdown would theoretically allow Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
There are reasons for concern about a second U.S.-North Korea summit. If there is no tangible movement on denuclearization, public support for dialogue with North Korea will erode quickly, with the potential for a return to a policy of “maximum pressure.” If this were to happen, it would be a major diplomatic failure with far reaching consequences.
In 2017, when North Korea had 18 ballistic missile launches, to include two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) launches capable of reaching the United States, and a test of a thermonuclear warhead, the prospect of military conflict with North Korea was real.
Fortunately, Kim Jong-un quickly pivoted, in his January 2018 New Year’s address, to an appeal for better relations with South Korea and the United States, stating that a nuclear North Korea could now focus exclusively on economic development.… Seguir leyendo »