A Summit and a Communique

So we have a joint communique. It reads well, it says things that need to happen, and probably its covered in fine leather, the best. What does it mean?

Everything or maybe nothing at all. It’s much too early to tell. On July 5, 1776, Tom Jefferson’s Declaration was mostly a list of people George III thought should be hanged. Its high flown and moving words meant very little until made good in Patriot (and British) blood.

It’s a good start, and you can’t reach the finish if you don’t start. It starts from the fact that last year, the whole nuclear thing became real for Kim, and he got scared right out of his mind when he saw a glimpse of the real power of the United States, sword unsheathed, coming at him, with a president who really would let slip the dogs of war. And to fight through to victory, not some measly little-limited war.

Call it a near-death experience, cause that is pretty much what it was, those change people. Maybe it has here too, he’s a young man, long time left to enjoy life.

Melanie Phillips has as good a write up as I’ve seen.

As Trump himself has said, however, this is merely the start of a process. It has been suggested that his strategy is to reel Kim in over time like a big fish on a line, with every step towards denuclearisation being rewarded by another step in relieving sanctions. And that may be so.

Certainly, Trump’s over-the-top gushing over Kim should not be taken at face value. This was just part of the choreography for his grand theatre of negotiation. Nor do I think it credible that either he or his hawkish Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or even more hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton could have failed to factor in the need for robust verification of the de-nuclearisation process and the difficulties in achieving that.

I was most interested by the body language between the two men, and also by something Kim said. Trump’s bombastic bonhomie seemed to me to signify the biggest beast in the jungle beating his chest to demonstrate his dominance; the more effusive the compliments, the louder the message that Trump could afford to be generous because the other guy had lost. It was not designed to make Kim look his equal. It was designed to humiliate.

That’s true, and I doubt it has much to do with Trump’s feelings (or lack thereof) for Kim. It’s a warning, to the Ayatollahs, to China, to the G7, to Putin, to all and sundry that the sheriff is watching them, and limited nonsense will be tolerated.

The only thing that has reduced American dominance in my lifetime is American non-leadership. America is still the worlds most powerful economy coupled with the worlds most powerful military just as it was in 1944. One is well advised to pay attention when such a one speaks.

And Trump is also right on Europe, there is very little support in America for continuing to support Europe, either militarily or economically. The Europeans have grown too arrogant, too sure of their entitlement, too lazy to defend themselves, and the people of America have noticed. Uncle Sugar is retiring. We’ll defend our friends, mostly the ones we restored from communism, and don’t want to go back, but that is close to the limit, and it just might be as anti-German as anti-Russian.

Melanie ends with this, and I think it a fair assessment.

The American strategy towards North Korea cannot be viewed in isolation from its strategy of isolating, weakening and ultimately destroying the Iranian regime. Tehran will be sweating that the outsourcing to Pyongyang of its nuclear weapons programme is not disrupted by the Trump/Kim negotiating process.

It cannot be sure. Trump’s policy of isolating Iran is already working. From being the unrivalled grandmasters of geopolitical chess, the Iranian regime now finds that the board and its pieces have been thrown up into the air by a vandal against the international order whose behaviour it cannot predict. And both China and Russia have already moved as a result to accommodate him.

Who knows where this will end? We cannot at present tell whether Trump will succeed or fail. But one thing seems indisputable: the assistance previously given by the US to the forces of utmost evil in the world has been stopped in its tracks. And only the most unhinged haters of this most extraordinary US President can deny that achievement.

Advertisements

A Big Week

So the G7 today in Canada, then on to Singapore for the Nork summit, and then the IG report drops. Quite the week coming up. We’ll talk about the G7 today, although I find Europe increasingly irrelevant.

Benny Avni has a pretty good piece up at the New York Post so we’ll base off that.

Well before his threatened steel and aluminum restrictions on European countries (as well as on Canada and Mexico), Trump slaughtered some of Europe’s most sacred cows.

He withdrew from the Paris accord on greenhouse-gas emissions and broke away from the Iran deal. Europeans strongly believe the former will save the planet. (It won’t.) They also hope the latter will tame the Islamic Republic. (Again, nope.) As important, they want their continent’s economies to have access to Iranian markets.

Then Trump offended the Euros’ collective sense of decorum by moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

But on that, as on other issues, Europeans are far from united.

And strangely, America pretty much is, at least the part of America that hasn’t run screaming in terror to their safe spaces. We seem to have become far more level-headed with Trump in the White House, which I think goes with having a President that at least appears to listen to us, and take us seriously.

What I see in Trump is a man who uses all applicable tools, trade, aid, defense policy, the military itself, tariffs, even Twitter to help the US win. It’s a worldbeater, especially in a world of globalist technocrats who focus on process, not results. What we are doing now is the American way, best described by Great Satan’s Girlfriend, in my article Hyper Puissance, The American Way, and Donald Trump

Which may funnily enough hinge on a factor that is flat out tough to factor in:

Unbridled free inquiry.

“Courtney, free societies have, in general, a decided advantage when it comes to creativity and innovation, including in the military realm. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that”

All the cool kids know how Great Satan’s indispensable ally just to the east of Durand line sold access to that ditched sexed up chopper of Abottabad/Abottagood infamy. Theft of high tech and reverse engineering are the fortunes of unfree regimes and will directly impact the Diffusion of Military of Power.

Stuff that makes the West the Best — Wonderbra, BvB, individualism, scientific inquiry, rational critical thinking, democracy with it’s inherent capitalism, political freedom, dissidence and open free wheeling debate functions as kryptonite in Smallville in regards to autocrazies, despotries — and by extension — to their acquisition, development and deployment of military power.

And central to that common sense, what stops a criminal regime, like Iran, is military force, and plenty of it. Why did you think we are having a summit in Singapore next week with Whoa Fat because Trump has great hair? It’s B2s and CBGs, and Infantry in the south, and above all a President not afraid to use them. It’ll work on Iran too, or they’ll die, which is another way of saying they’ll work, just messier.

In addition, Europe is far from united, Britain would be leaving, if it had any leadership at all, Italy is tending that way, the Visegrad countries are cleaving closer and closer to the US, not the Brussels-Berlin Axis, and the Balts care more about defense than anything, and that is done by Americans and Brits.

Meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel, long presiding over Europe’s largest economy, recently said the continent can no longer rely on America and should instead defend itself.

Well, good luck with that.

Germany is currently one of NATO’s worst deadbeat members, investing a mere 1.22 percent of its GDP in the military. That’s well below the alliance’s agreed-on 2 percent. America spends more than 3.5 percent of GDP on the military. The US is by far the most muscular NATO member, as it has been since the alliance’s inception.

Germans have grown fat under America’s military umbrella. They and other Europeans developed a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil attitude, which is increasingly untenable in a growingly hostile world.

Demanding more European funding for defense was one of Trump’s early mantras. Yet this year Germany is, at best, expected to up its military budget to 1.5 percent of its GDP. The only Europeans that contribute their required share are Greece, Estonia, Britain and Poland. The rest slouch toward Germany.

How will Europe, then, “defend itself” — let alone contribute to global security?

Will its carriers sail the Pacific, where Europeans hope to surpass America in exports to Asia, but where China threatens to dominate and limit freedom of navigation? And what if, God forbid, a future nuclear-armed Iran turns its ire on one of the continent’s capitals?

We’ve written about how important the control of the sea is, the main one here. What has always been true is what Sir Walter Raleigh said back in the early 17th century and remains true:

Whoever commands the sea, commands the trade;

whosoever commands the trade of the world

commands the riches of the world,

and consequently the world itself.

There’s only one answer there, and it is the United States, before that it was Great Britain, since at least the Armada. That’s why the world is as it is, and why Europe is making itself increasingly irrelevant.

Enemy of Our Foes and a Friend of Our Allies

What a nice way to wake up! Welcome Home, Guys!

Must be quite the feeling to get out of a North Korean jail, and then off an airplane that is marked “United States of America” and be met on the airstairs by the President himself and Mrs. Trump, at three in the morning.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, from Caroline Glick:

For more than twenty years, successive U.S. administrations have been vexed by the challenge of Iran’s illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons. And from the time the problem first emerged during Bill Clinton’s tenure at the White House, there have only been two viable means to block Iran’s path to the bomb.

The first path is the path of regime change. This option requires the U.S. to precipitate Iran’s economic and social collapse through crippling economic sanctions and active support for the Iranian people as they rise up against their theocratic overlords.

The second path is to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations and assets through limited covert and overt strikes.

Parallel to these two options, over the years, U.S. policymakers — first and foremost President Barack Obama — created two imaginary options for contending with Iran’s nuclear program. Obama and his advisors framed the public discourse around their nuclear negotiations as a contest between them.

First, they said, is the option of all-out war. The U.S. could lead an invasion of Iran, along the lines of the U.S.-led invasion of Iran in 2003. In the course of a massive war, the U.S. goal would be to overthrow the Iranian regime and forcibly end its nuclear program.

The other option, they insisted, was to cut a deal with Iran under which Iran would voluntarily give up its nuclear program in exchange for trade deals, and for international acceptance of Iran’s other malign behavior – from its sponsorship of terrorism and regional aggression, to its development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

The purpose of the Obama administration’s propaganda war on behalf of the nuclear deal was to delegitimize criticism of the content of the deal by claiming that everyone that opposed the policy was a warmonger (or, conversely, making “common cause” with hard-liners in the Iranian regime that wanted war against the U.S.).

In the event, both of the options were imaginary. No one in the U.S. or the international community has ever proposed a massive U.S.-led invasion of Iran. It was never considered. It is a policy that exists nowhere and is advocated by nobody.

As for the notion that Iran could be convinced to concede its nuclear program voluntarily in exchange for international legitimacy, planeloads of cash, and a blind eye to its other bad behavior, this, too, was a fantasy.

Obama’s nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), did not involve Iran agreeing to give up its nuclear program. The deal simply required Iran to work on certain aspects of its nuclear program – advanced centrifuge development and ballistic missile development, for instance — while limiting others, like certain uranium enrichment activities, for the duration of the deal.

In other words, to prevent the imaginary possibility of a U.S. led ground invasion of Iran, the Obama administration financed Iran’s regional aggression and sponsorship of terrorism to the tune of $150 billion dollars in sanctions relief. It legitimized Iran’s ballistic missile program and guaranteed Tehran’s eventual acquisition of a nuclear arsenal.

While doing all of that, Obama’s nuclear diplomacy weakened the America’s ability to implement either of the two actual options for blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal.

The JCPOA required the U.S. and its partners to abrogate the crippling nuclear sanctions which were spurring the Iranian people to rise up against the regime.

As for the option of limited strikes, the JCPOA rendered them politically impossible. How could the U.S. sabotage or destroy its diplomatic partner’s nuclear installations?

All of that changed on Tuesday.

By abandoning the JCPOA and reinstating U.S. sanctions that were suspended in 2016, Trump resuscitated both actual options for blocking Iran’s path to the bomb.

The sanctions option, which he implemented right after he concluded his remarks, will destabilize the regime by drying up its financial flows.

The downstream impact of the sanctions is twofold. First, they will diminish Iran’s ability to sponsor terror and carry out regional aggression in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Afghanistan, and beyond. Second, by reinstating crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy, the U.S. will weaken the regime’s hold on power.

As for the option of direct strikes against Iran’s nuclear installations, Trump did not put the option on the table on Tuesday, but he created the political space to consider them either separately or in conjunction with sanctions. Indeed, at his cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump intimated that the prospect of just such strikes is under consideration when he warned Iran of “severe consequences” if it reinstates the nuclear activities it had limited under the JCPOA.

The salutary effects of Trump’s move are not limited to the its positive implications on U.S.’s real options for contending with Iran’s nuclear program. His announcement accomplished two related goals as well. […]

Keep reading: Trump’s Iran Deal Decision Was a Masterstroke. Keep reading.

There may be a phrase in this article that I disagree with. If so, I missed it.

The world is once again beginning to be safe for free people. There is still a lot of hell to go through, but we have started the return.

 

Peace Means Not Wimping Out

From the Colonel, Kurt Schlichter:

Maybe Kim Il Whatever won’t denuclearize, but then again the roly-poly dictator has seemed to come around to our way of thinking. Maybe it’s the lingering awesomeness of Barack Obama that led him to acts of unprecedented good behavior. Maybe it’s just that he’s decided to be a nice guy. Or maybe it’s because, under Donald Trump, the United States stopped acting like a simpering wuss.

Wusses and wimps…why, those are playground words, unfit for a discussion of foreign relations and international diplomacy! Except that’s entirely wrong. Human nature plays out in the playgrounds – the lessons taught by run-ins with bullies and fisticuffs under the jungle gym are, in many ways, far more important than the hoary discourses about “realism” and “soft power” taught in the very best schools and think tanks.

If someone gets in your face, and you break their nose, they don’t get in your face anymore. You don’t need to go to Georgetown to learn that. In fact, going to Georgetown is more likely to make you unlearn what is the most important lesson of all.

He’s right of course, the world is more like an unsupervised playground than it is anything else. It’s a lesson most of us learned in elementary school, which is appropriate because it is elementary: If you let them, everybody will bully you. It’s a lesson I learned when my sixth-grade teacher got out the gloves, never again was I bullied – because I did not allow it. But:

Our bestest and brightest are often taught the DIME paradigm – that the components of national power are Diplomatic (talking and cajoling), Information (messaging and propaganda), Military (boom!) and Economic (writing a check). DIE is okay, but DIE is what you will do if you don’t have a powerful M.

But they didn’t put M third merely because putting it first would screw up the acronym. Our transnational elite does not want to acknowledge the indisputable fact that, at the end of the day, the guy who can kill you and is willing to do so is going to win. Power is an infantryman standing on a piece of ground owning it – and the ability to keep him there. Sure, terrorists can pull off a one-time strike, but they can’t hold ground. Just ask ISIS. You’ll need a medium though, because they tried to hold ground and they all died.

Oh, the elitists who used to control our foreign policy are not anti-war. They are just anti- any war that serves American interests. We can get into a fight in Libya, with all the attendant appalling consequences from Benghazi to the flood of refugees, but only because they know that doing so will do nothing to help our own country. That way, their collective conscience is clear. In their minds, the only good war is one where Americans die for nothing.

Donald Trump has his priorities straight. He has resurrected and embodied the Jacksonian model that fell out of fashion with the foreign policy establishment but not with the folks expected to pick up rifles and deploy. Andrew Jackson, who Democrats used to appreciate back when they represented the Normals who go fight our wars – their new preferred constituencies of fussy SJWs and virtue-signaling hipsters would never be caught dead in uniform – was not afraid of righteous conflict. Nor are most Americans. Remember the Alamo! Remember Pearl Harbor! Never forget 9/11! You SOBs might get one punch in, but then Americans are going to get up, brush off, and kill you all.

You see, Americans are happy to fight if they get a good answer to the perfectly reasonable question that the foreign policy elite hates: “Why is this particular war worth me or my kid’s life and a whole bunch of our money?”

That’s ground truth, as far as I can see. Normals have no problem at all putting our asses or even our kids on the line – for America, we.ve been doing it since 1776 at least. But not to march around between two factions taking hits from both and looking stupid. There’s nothing complicated about it. Give us a cause, and rules loose enough to let us find a way to win. There’s that dirty word – Win – again, and we will.

It won’t be pretty, wars are not fought by rules the Marquis of Queensberry would recognize. Things will be broken and people will die – experience says mostly the other guy’s people and things. Why? We are still who we always were, 400 years ago there were a couple of settlements clinging on the Atlantic coast, we’ve never looked back.

In the end, Kim Il Whatever is so tractable today for only one reason, around his starving kingdom (about half again larger than England (not Britain) is deployed enough naval power to control most of the oceans, backed by almost 30,000 troops, across the border. Think England, with their warrior tradition, would be nervous with that condition? Yeah, me too. It’s far more dire than they faced in 1940.

You and I know what the Chinese told him in Beijing the other week, don’t we? “You made this mess, now fix it.” The last time the Norks tried this on, in 1950, they ended up on the Yalu, and the Chinese that rescued them took 1 million (more or less) casualties including Mao’s son. Really think they Chinese are going to try it again when the US is ready to rock? They can’t, they have too much to lose now.

It’s all about not wimping out, those missiles that exploded in Syria just might give us peace in Korea – at least for a while. It won’t solve our China problems, but it’s a start.

One Little Word, and Passover

We going to start this post with one of Jessica’s articles. She speaks here of how Christ chose to send the news of His resurrection by Mary Magdalene, whose testimony would have borne no weight at all under Jewish law at that time. Then I want to speak of something else. Here’s Jessica-

Under Jewish Law, the testimony of a woman was no testimony at all. The first witness to the Risen Lord was a woman – Mary Magdalen. She was tearful. There she was, come to the tomb to anoint Him, and there was the stone moved. Her mind went where most of our minds would have gone – someone had taken Him away. That great stone had not moved itself, and dead bodies don’t walk out of tombs. The grave-clothes were bundled up and there was no trace of Jesus. Hard to imagine her feelings at the point. Only two days earlier her world had fallen apart. The man whose feet she had anointed and whom she had followed so loyally had been taken, tortured and then crucified. She knew that; she’d been there (which was more than could be said for most of those Apostles). It was over. All that remained was for her to do a final duty to the corpse. But even that was to be denied her. They had taken her Lord away.

She ran back to where the disciples were and told Peter the horrible news. Typically Peter, he ran to the tomb, and equally typically was outpaced by the younger John. But John stood at the entrance, and when Peter arrived he it was who, impulsive and brave as ever, went inside to see that the tomb was, indeed, as empty as Mary had said. The men went back home, no doubt to tell the others; Mary, as is the way of women, wanted to stay there a moment longer, perhaps to gather her thoughts, perhaps to mourn a moment alone.

She looked into the tomb again, only to be met by the most amazing sight – two angels asking her why she wept. The answer she gave echoes down the ages:  “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” As she turned away she saw a stranger, whom she took to be the gardener and asked where Jesus was. Then the man spoke – just one word, one word which shattered the world as she had known it and which echoes down the ages, even to the end of all things. ‘Mary’ was that word, the first from the lips of the Resurrected Lord. However much her tears had blinded her, that voice was clearly unmistakable: “Rabboni!” She said. Teacher, teacher, that was what she called Him. She went to cling to Him and He said: ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’  He bade her to go and tell the others what she had seen.

The testimony of a woman was no testimony in Jewish Law, and yet it was to a woman that the Risen Lord first came. He had broken the bonds of death, He had conquered the power of death and of Satan, the hold of sin on mankind was broken; and these things He entrusted to the power of one who in Jewish Law could offer no testimony at all.

She was the first. Let us love and honour her for that this Easter morning: ‘He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!’

[From Neo] A remarkable thing, really, especially when one considers that the Angel had spent the time to convince The Virgin Mary to consent to bearing Jesus. Remarkable in that time and place to show such respect to women. So should we.


And something that applies to us Christians but comes from our Jewish (religious) forebearers. Bookworm in her Good Friday post has some good thinking for us.

An antisemitic Jew I know, rather than seeing the Passover ceremony as a celebration of freedom (commemorating as it does the world’s first and, for a long time, only successful slave revolt), justice, and morality (insofar as it gave us the Ten Commandments), derides the whole ceremony as the unconscionable and immoral celebration of the genocide of the Egyptian people. What troubles him so much is the fact that, after each plague, when Pharaoh seems about to soften and let the Jews go, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, leading to the necessity of yet another plague, culminating in the death of the first born.

As those familiar with the Bible know, his objection is predicated upon ignorance. The tenth plague, which saw God strike down the first born in every family that did not have the blood of the Pascal lamb above their door, was not a random punishment. It was, instead, divine retribution for the Pharaoh’s own ruling, in effect beginning before Moses’s birth, that all first born Jewish males should be drowned in the Nile.

She’s right of course. And how does that apply today? This way –

The Bible is not so superficial. There is, instead, a much more profound purpose behind the ten plagues, and that is to remind us of the tyrant’s capacity for tolerating others’ suffering, as long as his power remains in place.

What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, no matter the burdens placed upon his people. A blood filled Nile River may, at first, have seemed appalling, but the red receded and life went on. Pharaoh still held together his government. The same held true for each subsequent plague, whether lice or boils or wild animals or frogs, or whatever: As long as Pharaoh could maintain his power base, he could always reconcile himself to the incremental decimation visited upon those he ruled.

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might have a theoretical concern that a starving and frightened populace could turn on him. However, as long as he was assured that his people, despite the horrors inflicted against them, continued to fear and worship him, their suffering was irrelevant. It was only when the price became too high — when Pharaoh’s power base was destroyed because his citizens were destroyed and when the plague struck in his own palace, killing his own first born* — that Pharaoh was convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways.

Human nature hasn’t changed much in 3,000 years. Think, for example, of both the Nazis and the Japanese at the end of WWII. For the Nazis, it was apparent by December 1944 (the Battle of the Bulge) that the war was over. Hitler, however, was a megalomaniac in the pharaonic mold, and his high command, either from fear or insanity, would not gainsay him. Rather than surrendering, the Nazi high command was willing to see its country overrun and its citizens killed. Only when the death toll became too high,when it was apparent that nothing could be salvaged from the ashes, and when the high command realized that the Americans and Russians were coming after them, personally, did the war on the continent finally end.

Read it all at The news from North Korea reminds is that Passover is always relevant.

And that too is correct. They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and so it is here. She speaks, and rightly of how Whoa Fat is scurrying for cover and being all reasonable all of a sudden, because America told him, and showed him that “We will destroy you, not you slaves, YOU”.

We are starting to see the same thing with Iran, and even with China, and again with Russia, who ejected the requisite number of American diplomats, but without much in the way of rhetoric. Once again they are being shown America’s economic and military supremacy, they don’t like it any more than they did in the 1980s, but again they are seeing defeat.

All based on the Exodus combined with the American character.

 

 

The Weekly Nonsense

Pretty good idea, I think!

That one is rated as fake – but true.

And that’s the problem with parody accounts, she’s apparently stupid enough to tweet this, so it’s hard to parody.

Of course!

As usual, mostly from Bookworm and PowerLine.

Have a good one!

%d bloggers like this: