Dear America: Your News Media Absolutely Hates You

Ben Domenech, the founder of The Federalist has noticed something many of us have. The American media hates America and Americans.

It’d be nice to say that American media doesn’t hate this country. It’d be nice to claim that the American press, while maintaining objectivity and balancing against bias, is still inherently American – that they are patriots who love this country even as they report on its defects. Recall the quote from Daniel Patrick Moynihan while Ambassador to the United Nations: “Am I embarrassed to speak for a less than perfect democracy? Not one bit. Find me a better one. Do I suppose there are societies which are free of sin? No, I don’t. Do I think ours is, on balance, incomparably the most hopeful set of human relations the world has? Yes, I do. Have we done obscene things? Yes, we have. How did our people learn about them? They learned about them in the newspapers.” And that is important.

But we cannot say these things when the American media, time and again, illustrates its utter hatred for the nation and its people in those newspapers and on television. Having judged the American project kaput after the election of Donald Trump, they are now stooping to the level of defending the North Koreans – perhaps the most brutal and heinous regime in the world today – thanks to some side-eye from its minister of propaganda, the sister of Kim Jong Un. If the headlines are to be believed, “North Korea heading for diplomacy gold medal at Olympics”is the story American media want to tell about this moment.

I wish this was an exaggeration. Witness this story from CNN today, with its dripping credulousness in attacking Mike Pence with a story sourced entirely to a diplomatic source close to the North Korean regime.

“The senior diplomatic source said Pence “degraded the image of the United States as a superpower” by meeting with North Korean defectors along with Otto Warmbier’s father, and by speaking strongly against North Korea on multiple occasions. “Fred Warmbier accompanied Pence during his visit to South Korea. His son Otto was jailed in North Korea and died upon his return to the US last year after suffering extensive brain damage… “The source also described as “undignified behavior” Pence’s decision to stay seated and to not applaud the unified Korean team at the opening ceremony, adding that the Vice President “took the low road instead of acting like a big brother.”

As Ben notes this is not some raw graduate of leftist indoctrination but a fifteen-year veteran reporter (perhaps propagandist would be a more accurate term). It is endemic in the media, enshrined alongside the media’s disdain for all thing American, except of course the ridiculous salaries they are paid for their lying.

And CNN’s not alone! Bre Payton reports:

“Kim Yo Jong’s brother is starving his own people in order to develop nuclear weapons he’s threatening to use against the United States and other countries, but you might not know that about her based on these headlines. CNN: “Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics”

YAHOO: “All swagger and smiles, Kim Jong Un’s mysterious sister gets her star turn at Winter Olympics”

YAHOO: “Kim Yo Jong: N. Korea’s political princess”

BBC: “Kim Jong-un’s sister: ‘Sweet but with a tomboy streak’”

WASHINGTON POST: “The ‘Ivanka Trump of North Korea’ captivates people in the South”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: “At Olympic Games, Kim Jong Un’s sister takes VIP seat”… “This favorable news coverage of the Hermit Kingdom didn’t come out of a vacuum. Last month, NBC’s Lester Holt visited a luxury ski resort in Masikryong, North Korea, where a crowd of people dressed in matching outfits milled about in the background. They were probably forced to show up and ski in order to make the regime look good, as photo ops with compulsory attendees are a frequent regime tactic to hide the country’s terrible living conditions. “As my colleague John Daniel Davidson pointed out in his critique of Holt’s coverage: “More than 40 percent of the population are malnourished and more than 70 percent rely on food-aid. There is no tourist industry to speak of. The only reason to build such a resort in such a country is to propagate a lie about the deplorable conditions there.” “Those skiers won’t be the only North Koreans forced to put on a show to make the regime look good. North Korea has sent 229 young women dressed in identical outfits and colloquially known as an “army of beauties” to cheer on its Olympic team.”

You know Potemkin villages are rife in history but they only work when the will is to believe their story. Just as the visit of the Danish Red Cross to Theresienstadt gave Hitler a propaganda victory. Although in that case, it is perhaps true that the Danes acted as they did to protect their own jews, who alone in World War II came through the Holaucaust. That is not true here where the media is managing to dissociate this woman from what she does for a living. She is the Propaganda Minister (the job title made famous by Joseph Goebbels in the 1930 and 40s) for a regime, run by her brother, that is actually worse than Hitler, and perhaps worse than Mao.

Some sweetheart our media has!

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SOTU in a Nation of Dreamers

And so. I came home in the middle of the speech from a job site and listened to it on the internet, set as it usually is to the local BBC Station in Norfolk. It was quite the speech, and as usual, the analysis on the BBC was completely partisan. But as conservative we are used to that. The best write up I saw was on The American Spectator, no real surprise there.

[I]n all of the media’s blather about bipartisanship, it never acknowledges the Democratic radicalism that makes any national unity impossible. No sooner had Trump finished the State of the Union Address — a speech that could have been delivered by any Democrat before the radicalism of the 1960s and 1970s seeped into the party — than CNN was throwing a wet blanket on it. “There will be Democrats offended by the speech,” intoned Jake Tapper. “He was selling sweet candy with poison in it,” chipped in Van Jones.

What is the sound of one aisle clapping at the most basic and blameless expressions of nationalism, the nationalism that every functioning country on earth observes? Americans heard it Tuesday night. The Democrats couldn’t clap for the flag or fighting gangs (that elicited a groan from some of them). It couldn’t clap for the national anthem, secure borders, religious liberty, even vocational training. It saw poison everywhere, though they did perk up at Trump’s mention of second chances for criminals.

The Democrats have become the foreigners first party. Notice that one of the two official Democratic responses was in Spanish. The other one was delivered by Rep. Joe Kennedy III, whose digressions about “transgenderism” would have even confused his forbears. He too broke into a little Spanish during his response, before endorsing the open borders anarchism of La Raza. He approvingly quoted illegal immigrants who promised to “tear down” any future walls.

Trump’s speech contained few ideological edges. But Tapper, a former Democratic staffer, saw parts of the speech as “holding up a fist.” Other commentators, desperate to find something to attack in the speech, pronounced it “flat” and questioned its “cadence.” They liked that he larded it with a rainbow of “inspirational stories,” but turned their noses up at its policy ambitions, even though many of them (paid family leave and amnesty for Dreamers) represented substantial concessions to the Democrats.

Before the Democrats took their McGovernite turn, they would have agreed with almost everything in Trump’s speech and would have stood for much of it. Now it is a party of stale and geriatric radicalism. (Even Joe Kennedy III sounded like a young old fogey, delivering a speech that could have been written by George McGovern and Bernie Sanders.) And so the Democrats sulked through much of the speech. They fiddled with their phones and rolled their eyes even at the most banal lines. The black caucus slouched through Trump’s tribute to historic levels of black employment.

And that is what I saw as well, a Democratic party that has sold out its heritage as an American party to become the party of ‘Anybody but America’. It’s a sad turn, as I’ve often said my dad was a New Dealer, even though he was conservative because of experience. But the left has overturned any possible positive legacy from FDR, and there were several. Sad really, but hiding the truth doesn’t change what it is.

As Americans, it behooves us to remember at this time, as usual, we are an example to the world. Think about that, I, in Nebraska, listened to this speech from an American President, live. on a local station in East Anglia, England.

for wee must Consider that wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill, the eies of all people are uppon us; soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our god in this worke wee have undertaken and soe cause him to withdrawe his present help from us, wee shall be made a story and a byword through the world, wee shall open the mouthes of enemies to speake evill of the wayes of god and all professours for Gods sake;

So wrote John Winthrop long ago. It was then and it is now, people around the world look to America to see how freedom works. Yes, those in mud huts around the world, but those in England itself, who wonder how they got so far off course, look to the basics of Anglo-American freedom, as we state it. Where America leads, others follow. And the President is correct, we lead where our dreams take us. If our dreams are small, as they have been the last few years, our leadership is as well, but when we again dream large dreams, large things will happen. Not because of our force, applied wantonly, but because people will see that light on a hill, and be drawn to it.

And so for the first time in a decade, the State of the Union is good, and improving, because once again the dream is alive in Americans, and as we are seeing, especially in Central Europe, when America believe in the American Dream, others will follow, and once again the sky will be lit with the glow of liberty.

A Turkey of a Mess

Jed Babbin over at The American Spectator has written about Turkey, and how it is increasingly becoming a bad fit with the US, especially when contrasted with the Kurds, who with our help have taken the lead in destroying ISIS.

[L]ast week, President Trump had what must have been a tense telephone conversation with Turkish President Erdogan. Erdogan’s forces are attacking Kurdish forces allied with America in the Afrin region of Syria. Erdogan has said his forces would pursue the Kurdish militias into Manbij, where U.S. forces are operating with the Kurds against the remnants of ISIS and Syrian forces.

That conversation led nowhere. Neither is Erdogan stopping the attacks against our Kurdish allies nor is Trump declaring them off-limits and promising to defend them. The fact that Trump isn’t ordering our forces to defend the Kurds is a confession of failure. It’s the result of thinking stalemated by the fact that one of our so-called allies — Turkey — has chosen to be at war with a real ally, the Kurds.

The Kurds are one of the many ancient peoples indigenous to the Middle East. About thirty million of them are spread over parts of northern Iraq, southern Turkey, Syria, Armenia, and Iran. A Kurdish autonomous zone of Iraq is rich with oil. But there is no nation of Kurdistan.

When Woodrow Wilson and the other victorious leaders of the allies that won World War One sat in Paris in 1919, carving up old empires and creating new nations, their announced goal was to create nations around self-governing peoples. One treaty created a Kurdish state and another signed shortly afterward dissolved it.

Since then U.S. relations with the Kurds have been an on again, off again affair. We supported Kurdish attempts to overthrow the Baathist regime of Iraq in the 1970s, withdrew support for most of the 1980s, but brokered a peace agreement between Kurdish factions in 1998.

The Kurds have suffered before and since. Typical was the March 1988 attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja by Saddam Hussein’s forces, using artillery and chemical weapons, that killed at least five thousand. We imposed a no-fly zone over Iraqi Kurdistan in 1991, enforced by U.S. and British aircraft.

When Turkey denied passage for U.S. troops entering Iraq in 2003, the Kurds tried to help. They have been an ally ever since.

Kurdish forces — usually characterized as militias but with far more skill, organization, and effectiveness — have been at the forefront of our fight against ISIS for over ten years.

Turkey has always feared and resented the Kurdish population on its southern border. It fears their drive for independence which, if effective, could carve out a large portion of southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq to create an independent Kurdistan.

None of what he wrote is, as far as I can see either untrue or unfair. It may be incomplete though. There is no rule that the US has to decide everything overtly, or that it should. Caroline Glick at Warsclerotic takes the same facts, and get to a somewhat different destination.

Last Saturday, Erdogan sent his forces over Turkey’s southern border to invade the Afrin region of Syria. The U.S.-allied Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have controlled the area, northwest of Aleppo, since 2012.

There are no U.S. forces in Afrin. But the area is predominantly populated by non-Arab minorities, including Yazidis, Armenians, and Kurds — all of whom are pro-American.

The Turks say their objective in “Operation Olive Branch” is to seize a 20-mile wide buffer zone on the Syrian side of their border. That includes the town of Manbij, located 60 miles east of Afrin, also controlled by the YPG.

Unlike Afrin, there are many U.S. forces in that city. A contingent of U.S. Special Forces charged with training YPG forces are stationed there. On Tuesday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu threatened those forces. “Terrorists in Manbij are constantly firing provocation shots,” he said, according to Reuters. “If the United States doesn’t stop this, we will stop this.”

Cavusoglu added, “The future of our relations depends on the steps the United States will take next.”

The Turks’ pretext for the Afrin operation is as anti-American as it is anti-Kurdish.

On January 14, Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the U.S.-led military coalition in Baghdad said that the U.S. is training a Kurdish border patrol force in Syria that will eventually number some 30,000 troops. On January 17, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. has no timetable for removing its forces from Syria.

In response, Erdogan vowed to “drown” the border protection force “before it is even born.”

Erdogan then threatened the U.S.

“This is what we have to say to all our allies: Don’t get in between us and terrorist organizations, or we will not be responsible for the unwanted consequences.”

The Trump administration’s immediate response to Turkey’s aggression against its Kurdish allies was deferential, to say the least.

Tillerson disavowed Dillon’s statement, saying the plan to train a border force was never approved.

“That entire situation has been misportrayed, misdescribed. Some people misspoke. We are not creating a border security force at all,” he said

A senior White House official told the New York Times that senior White House and National Security Council officials had never seriously considered the 30,000-man border force.

These statements are consistent with the U.S.’s general practice for the past 15 years, as Erdogan has gradually transformed Turkey from a Westernized democracy and a core member of NATO into an Islamist tyranny whose values and goals have brought it into alliance with U.S. foes Iran and Russia and into cahoots with Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and ISIS. The U.S. has met ever more extreme behavior from Ankara with a combination of denial and obsequiousness.

For example, the U.S. never sanctioned Turkey for its support for Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The U.S. didn’t penalize Turkey for its effective sponsorship of ISIS. For years, the Turks permitted ISIS to use their territory as its logistical base. ISIS’s foreign recruits entered Syria through Turkey. Its terrorists received medical care in Turkey. Turkey was the main purchaser of oil from ISIS- controlled territory and there were repeated allegations that ISIS was receiving arms from Turkey.

And the U.S. turned a blind eye.

True, and nobody likes to admit that an ally no longer is, let alone that it may have become an enemy. Sometimes it’s not worth the embarrassment to say anything.

But the read-out of their conversation also reflected the distinct possibility that the Trump administration is implementing a sophisticated strategy for contending with Erdogan’s Turkey and its open and growing hostility to the US and its allies.

{I would bet on that possibility. – LS}

To understand that strategy it is first imperative to understand the present state of Turkey’s military.

While it is true that Turkey’s military is second only to the U.S. in size among NATO allies, the state of the Turkish military is atrocious. As former Pentagon official Michael Rubin from the American Enterprise Institute wrote this week in the Washington Examiner, Erdogan has gutted his armed forces in the wake of the failed military coup against his regime in July 2016.

Forty percent of Turkey’s senior officer corps has been purged. A quarter of Turkish pilots are in prison. Turkey has twice as many F-16s as trained pilots.

Turkey’s performance in combat in Syria has been abysmal, from the very earliest stages of the war. Rubin noted that in 2012 Syrian forces downed a Turkish F-4, and Kurds have downed Turkish helicopters.

Syria has been a prime killing ground for Turkish tanks. Kurds, ISIS and Syrian regime forces have all destroyed Turkish tanks. The Kurds have nabbed Turkish intelligence officers. Turkey’s power projection capabilities are weak.

None of this has escaped the Pentagon’s notice.

Last summer, as the U.S. launched its campaign to oust ISIS from its self-declared capital in Raqqa, Erdogan told the Americans that he would deploy his forces to fight alongside U.S. forces in Raqqa if the U.S. agreed to ditch the Kurdish YPG. The U.S. refused. Washington opted to side with the Kurds.

According to a report in the Washington Examiner, the Pentagon has a low opinion of Turkish capabilities. Turkish troops lack “the training, logistics and weaponry to successfully launch the siege of a fortified and well-defended city.”

On the other hand, the Pentagon assessed that the YPG were up to the task of assaulting and destroying ISIS forces in Raqqa. And as the battle of Raqqa demonstrated, they were right.

Rubin wrote that the Kurds in Afrin may well defeat the Turks.

So far, the Turks initial push has been unsuccessful.

While the U.S. has consistently treated Erdogan with respect, it has also sought to diminish U.S. dependence on Turkey.

Consider the issue of the NATO airbase at Incirlik, Turkey.

The Turks view Incirlik as their insurance policy. NATO air operations in Syria are coordinated from Incirlik. Most of the anti-ISIS coalition warplanes are based there. So long as NATO is dependent on Incirlik, so the thinking goes, Turkey can behave as abominably as it wishes.

So it was that following the failed coup in July 2016, Erdogan shut down Incirlik and paralyzed the coalition campaign against ISIS.

Erdogan failed to realize that his actions forced NATO allies to reconsider Turkey’s role in the alliance.

The U.S. responded to Erdogan’s move against Incirlik by expanding its air operations in Romania. And last summer, Germany’s Die Welt reported that the German military had identified eight alternatives to Incirlik, including three sites each in Kuwait and Jordan and two in Cyprus.

So while the stated policy of the U.S. towards Turkey is to continue to treat Turkey as an ally, the unstated U.S. policy is to bypass Turkey and render it irrelevant militarily while diminishing its capacity to harm either the U.S. or its allies.

I think that is a reasonable read of the situation, and if it is deliberate policy, well, good on the administration. We’ve enough open enemies to not need to make more, even ineffectual ones, and so merely sidelining one of them strikes me as good thing.

Freedom, Bought and Sold

It always interests me to see what our readers are reading here. Yesterday, close to 20% of you were reading a fairly old article of Jessica’s, entitled The Exhausted West?.  In it, she spoke about Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s 1978 Harvard Commencement address. It is, I think quite appropriate to today’s subject, especially one of the paragraphs she quoted from the speech.

Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, the misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counterbalanced by the young people’s right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil. 

Indeed, we have lost here, and even more in Europe, the key fact that freedom imposes responsibility, and that there is much more to life than material possessions.

Today, we are going to speak of the late/current demonstrations in Iran, and even more the reaction to them in the west. The source of today’s is Douglass Murray in The Spectator (UK) article entitled The Iranian revolution the world wants to ignore.

If there is one lesson the world should have learned from Iran’s ‘Green Revolution’ of 2009 and the so-called Arab Spring that followed, it is this: the worst regimes stay. Rulers who are only averagely appalling (Tunisia’s Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak) can be toppled by uprisings. Those who are willing to kill every one of their countrymen stay. So it is that after almost half a million dead we enter 2018 with Bashar al-Assad still President of Syria and with Iran’s mullahs approaching the 40th anniversary of their seizure of power in 1979. […]

Yep, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and quite a few more died peacefully in bed, few of their opponents did.

Yet anyone who expects these demonstrations to lead to swift change in the nature of the Iranian government remembers no history. Shortly after the latest protests began, the country’s security forces, including the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, were seen photographing the events. In Iran, a regime camera is as deadly as a sniper’s sights. Only more delayed. As in 2009, the photographs will be used by the police to arrest demonstrators and also family members unconnected with the protests. This will be followed by the torture and rape of men and women in prison by the theocratic regime’s frontmen. As after the Green Revolution, there will in due course be show trials, forced recantations and executions. This is how a police state with four decades of experience goes about its business. In 1979, the behaviour of the Shah’s dreaded Savak secret police was one of the spurs for revolution. The Ayatollahs have superseded the Savak, fine-tuned their brutality and learned from their mistakes.

Anyone in doubt about the capacity of the Supreme Leader to hang on to power need only watch the footage of crowds in the city of Rasht advancing down the street on one of the first nights of protest. You can see the exact moment when the regime’s Revolutionary Guard starts attacking the protesters. The crowd that is marching one way down the street suddenly finds an organised army running towards them. These are trained killers being unleashed on angry but peaceful civilians. Six hundred people have already been arrested and dozens already killed. The civilians don’t stand a chance. […]

None whatsoever, the Supreme Leaders people are not fully trained troops, probably, although they are inured to killing, which is all it really takes, plus a modicum of organization to easily defeat a mob in the street. Not much different than murder on an industrial scale, but it is effective.

Unless, that is, the outside world takes any interest in their plight. In the early hours of the demonstrations, the US President took to Twitter to warn the Iranian authorities that ‘The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!’ But such is the obsession with Donald Trump and the parochialism of all our politics that Trump’s critics immediately took to the media to condemn his condemnation of human rights abuses. Again on Twitter, the most powerful man on the planet — determined not to replay the actions of his predecessor in office, who was highly reluctant to speak out during the crushing of the Green Revolution — warned that ‘The world is watching.’ He may be right. But the world may watch in silence.

This is one of those occasions where, whatever you think of Donald Trump, he is correct, the west invented human rights, and are the only guarantor. And yet, many, maybe most around the world for whatever reason decided to side with the Ayatollah against the west, personified by Donald Trump. Speaking for myself, I found it sickening.

Some international caution is justified. People have their reasons. Our own Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, has expressed ‘concern’ over events, but has been careful not to go further. Fresh back from a visit to Tehran, the Foreign Secretary has been working to obtain the release of the British–Iranian dual citizen, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been imprisoned in Iran for the last 18 months. Thanks to a campaign by Labour MPs, the issue of Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release has been turned into an issue of the Foreign Secretary’s personal competence (at times as though it is Boris Johnson, and not the mullahs, who imprisoned the woman). Johnson’s Iranian counterparts know that he has a lot riding on his efforts to release her and have used this advantage well. So a campaign for one woman’s freedom has hindered a Foreign Secretary from campaigning for a nation’s freedom.

Other silences have been less defensible. The leader of the opposition is not normally silent when there is an opportunity to talk about unfairness or injustice. Yet after days of protests in Iran, Jeremy Corbyn said nothing.

One reason may be that the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition was until recently in the pay of the Iranian regime. For presenting programmes on its propaganda wing, Press TV (before becoming Labour party leader), Corbyn received up to £20,000. Damningly — or it would be damning if more people cared — he appeared on Press TV even after the channel lost its broadcasting licence. It lost that licence not because of its always clear political support for a sectarian, gay-hanging, women-oppressing dictatorship. It lost it because during the channel’s campaign to delegitimise the 2009 protests, Press TV broadcast a forced confession from a journalist who had been abducted by the regime and was being held in prison. Ofcom thought this crossed a line. Jeremy Corbyn did not and was happy to continue to take his apple-juice money from Tehran.

Elsewhere the silence indicates the dream-puncturing of an entire political class. In 2015 the UN security council agreed a deal with Iran to limit elements of its nuclear programme for a period. Iran’s incentives included a freeing up of trade and a delivery of billions of dollars in cash. For their part, companies and governments across Europe hoped to get their own cash bonanzas in the wake of that deal. Such deals always compromise the people who make them. One of the chief defenders of the 2015 deal, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, has spent recent days being studiously silent on the uprisings in Iran. When President Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital she couldn’t tweet enough condemnations of his action. Yet five days into the protests in Iran, she hadn’t even said that she is watching events closely. Europe’s leading foreign affairs ideologue needs Iran’s governing status quo to stay in place so that nothing about her own deal, future cash prize or putative Nobel award is in any way disturbed.

We’ve said speaking of the election that Donald Trump has F**k you money. He has enough that he can do what he thinks is right without regard to his next paycheck. It’s a major advantage. It applies here, as well. The US, seemingly alone in the west has F**k you money, too. Not that we do, but we have a historical record of trying to do the harder right instead of the easier wrong. Do we always succeed? Of course not. But maybe that is the reason why we, of all the nations of the west, still will go out into the world to fight evil.

But I suspect the day is coming when we will come to the conclusion that if the people of Europe amongst others value money above all things, especially above their own freedom, well, why should we care. That will be the day that Europe falls. Of its own volition, bribed by its own money. It will be a sad day, but it begins to appear inevitable.

 

Peace through Superior Firepower?

Who knew? Perhaps deterrence works. In any case, the North Koreans are talking to the Southern ones. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Maybe this is why.

CBS has a report (more bloody autoplay videos, sorry!) that:

Last week, the Pacific Air Forces announced three B-2 “Spirit” stealth bombers with approximately 200 personnel have been deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to the Pacific island of Guam.

The statement said the deployment is intended to provide leaders with “deterrent options to maintain regional stability.”[…]

Last year, flights by B-1B bombers from Guam to the airspace around Korea were a major flashpoint, prompting a warning from North Korea that it had drawn up a plan to target the waters around the island with a missile strike that it could carry out anytime Kim gave the order. The B-2 is more threatening.

It’s the most advanced bomber in the Air Force and, unlike the B-1B, can carry nuclear weapons. It’s also the only known aircraft that can drop the Air Force’s biggest bomb, the 14,000-kilogram, about 30,000-pound, FGBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

The “MOP,” capable of penetrating deep into the ground to destroy reinforced tunnels and bunkers, was explicitly designed with North Korea in mind.

That adds on to the CVNs Ronald Reagan, Carl Vinson, and perhaps the Carl Stennis, and the USS Wasp as well, an upgraded amphibious assault ship, with its Marines, and either carrying or capable of carrying about 30 F 35Bs.

That’s all in addition to all the stuff already in South Korea, Japan, and the general neighborhood, and the South Koreans who are no slouch themselves.

I recall SECDEF Mattis commenting that nothing keeps him awake, he keeps others awake. His point was that this administration while having due regard for public opinion, is not going to make policy from what will (XXX) do, the will make policy from what does the United States want to happen. A somewhat subtle but very important difference.

And so we see Whoa Fat’s minions at the conference table in South Korea, after less than a year of Donald Trump’s presidency. Likewise, we see serious demonstrations in the streets in Iran. They may not win this time, but win they shall. We see Egypt and Saudi Arabia talking to Israel, and about no less than a military alliance. We may, perhaps, be watching the dawn of a new era. KSA is reportedly negotiating to buy the Iron Dome system from Israel.

And we even see the people of eastern Europe stand up to their would-be masters in western Europe. Why it’s almost like they didn’t throw off their communist masters only to succumb to the fascists in the west.

The only people I see decrying this is the anti-freedom left in America, and the European governments most of whom have sold their soul long ago for material gain. Are they noisy? Yep. Are they important? Nope. Only when the sheriff is on strike. But the sheriff is on patrol again

And just now I see a report that the two Koreas will march together under a unified flag at the Winter Olympics next month. Not a problem solved, but one that is perhaps on its way, something no one foresaw a year ago.

Not “Peace in our time” but perhaps we are back to where we can say that it is better to “Jaw, Jaw than to War War.”

Quite a year it has been!

Embassies and Spats

‘It’s a fortress, of course it is’: the new US embassy in Nine Elms, south-west London. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

I see the president has decided not to go to London next month to open the new US Embassy. Since it’s Donald Trump, it’s controversial. Of course, he Tweeted about it.

There is truth in that, it is sort of an out of the way location

The old embassy is just west of Soho on that map close to that big green park (that’s Hyde Park). The new one is across the River just about where it turns north. Westminster (where the UK government is) is in between. It’s not as desirable a location, although like anything in London (and environs) it’s ridiculously expensive. But the old embassy had problems, it’s a listed structure, and thus can’t be remodeled (easily anyway) and if you look at most current US Embassies, they tend to be a blend of King Ludwig and the Maginot line.

But because of that listing, the embassy isn’t really worth that much on the market, either. And so the new one is costing us about $1 billion. It’s a deal that stretches back to the Bush Administration. It doesn’t strike me as all that astute, either.

But, of course, this is 2018, and Donald Trump is president, so it has become political, on both sides of the pond.

It’s no secret that Trump and London Mayor Sadiq Khan are not particularly fond of each other, according to the Guardian, Khan had this to say,

“It appears that President Trump got the message from the many Londoners who love and admire America and Americans but find his policies and actions the polar opposite of our city’s values of inclusion, diversity and tolerance,”

“His visit next month would without doubt have been met by mass peaceful protests. This just reinforces what a mistake it was for Theresa May to rush and extend an invitation of a state visit in the first place.”

Well, OK, but I haven’t noticed the President running from many fights lately, although he may have concluded (rightly, in my mind) that this is the wrong fight at the wrong time.

The Guardian also says:

British relations with the president hit a low late last year when May criticised his decision to retweet videos posted by the far-right extremist group Britain First.

Trump responded by tweeting directly to the prime minister that she should focus on tackling domestic terrorism.

The government was so concerned about his decision to share the videos that Britain’s ambassador to Washington, Sir Kim Darroch, took the rare step of raising the issue directly with the White House.

Trump’s ambassador to London, Woody Johnson, subsequently insisted: “The president and the prime minister have a very, very good relationship. I know the president admires and respects the prime minister greatly.”

May’s government has been keen to strike up a close relationship with the Trump administration despite his erratic behaviour, because of Britain’s desire to strike a swift trade deal with the world’s largest economy when it leaves the European Union.

Trump has sparked alarm among diplomats by repeatedly entering into Twitter spats with key public figures, including the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, to whom he recently boasted about the size of the US nuclear arsenal.

Yadda, Yadda, Yadda. I doubt Trump is particularly enthused about the British government support for the Iranian regime either, particularly since it appears to be crass commercialism even by American standards, while protestors are dying in the streets. Nor is the increasing constriction of free speech likely to appeal to him. He may well also be wondering why she apparently has no conception of decision making and leading if so, he joins a lot of Americans, and Britons, for that matter, wondering about that.

I expect that it’ll work out, we’ve been through far worse, but it is sort of fun to watch the cousins spat.

The  Guardian also has a rather nice article on the new embassy itself. I rather like it. Rather than Ludwig the Mad and Maginot Line, it strikes me as more a Tower of London for the 21 st Century. Castles have improved a bit in the last 1000 years it seems. Although I suspect the Tower will outlive the Embassy, by quite a lot, Ravens willing.

 

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