Archive for the ‘foreign policy’ Category

Jared Kushner Is In Mexico for Spring Break

March 8, 2018

Jared Kushner Is In Mexico for Spring Break

Jared Kushner, Senior White House Advisor, is in Mexico today to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto and Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray about security, immigration and trade. Mr. Kushner knows all about security, having just had his Top Secret security clearance revoked, and knows about immigration from selling U.S. EB-5 visas to wealthy foreign investors. Jared Kushner learned about foreign trade by marrying Chinese shmata importer Ivanka Trump.

Presidents Trump and Peña Nieto were scheduled to meet in Washington, but Mr. Peña Nieto canceled his DC trip after a phone call with Mr. Trump, who continues to demand Mexican money for a border wall and menace the NAFTA agreement. The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, career diplomat Roberta S. Jacobson, who has announced her May 1 resignation, was not invited to Kushner’s Mexican meetings.

More:

“Kushner to visit Mexico after Trump tirades, testy phone call,” Ana Isabel Martinez, Reuters

“Jared Kushner to Meet Mexico President Despite Losing Top-Secret Security Clearance,” Jessica Kwong, Newsweek

Updates:

“Kushner Meets With Mexican President, Underscoring Shift in U.S. Diplomacy,” Azam Ahmed and Nicholas Casey, New York Times

“Kushner meets with top officials in Mexico amid strained relations,” By Joshua Partlow, Washington Post

Related:

“Uneasy US-Mexico relationship will survive ambassador’s resignation — but just barely,” Pamela K. Starr, The Conversation

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Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Kim Thinks Trump Won’t Bite Himself In the Ass. We’re Not So Sure.

August 16, 2017

Kim Thinks Trump Won't Bite Himself In the Ass. We're Not So Sure.

As Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un blunder and bluster their way towards nuclear conflict, one factor may hold Mr. Trump back from a rash military act. It’s something very important to him: His own self-interest. “The president owns a 59 percent interest in Trump Korea LLC,” points out Phillip Y. Lipscy, “a joint venture with Daewoo.”

“Trump World Seoul consists of six properties located in Seoul, Busan, and Daegu. In particular, Trump World I, II, and III are located in the heart of Seoul, which would be subject to heavy North Korean conventional artillery bombardment in the event of a major peninsular conflict.

North Korea may thus perceive threats by the president as noncredible given his personal exposure to financial loss. Despite Trump’s tough rhetoric and sending aircraft carriers to nearby waters, Kim Jong Un may reasonably calculate that the president will not risk annihilation of what the Trump Organization describes as an ‘unmatched project that is a true asset to the Trump portfolio.’

Trump World Seoul also puts the president at risk of personal coercion by the North Korean regime. Kim Jong Un could seek to deter U.S. intervention by threatening to specifically target and destroy Trump’s business assets in the event of U.S. escalation. Kim need not physically destroy a Trump Tower to harm the president’s bottom line: Prominently identifying Trump properties as targets will affect their economic viability.

The president stands to lose personal wealth if a military conflict imperils any Trump property. In the vast majority of cases, insurance coverage for commercial property excludes damages sustained in interstate wars. The president therefore faces a direct, personal incentive to avoid escalating conflicts that could potentially result in the destruction of Trump Organization assets.”

— “The Trump Tower Peace Theory,” Phillip Y. Lipscy, Foreign Policy

On the other hand, playing chicken is second nature to Mr. Trump, and this kind of dispute brings out the playground bully in him. It’s why he’s involved in 3,500 lawsuits, but he can’t lawyer his way out of this.

Maybe President Trump should consult with his Ambassador to South Korea. Oh wait, he hasn’t appointed one.

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Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Reagan Foreign Policy Based on Fiction

January 8, 2016

Reagan Foreign Policy Based on Fiction

“Ronald Reagan had an unusual suggestion to help Margaret Thatcher understand the mentality of the Soviet leader: read Tom Clancy’s thriller.
Papers released by the National Archives in Kew, London, reveal the former US president was ‘much impressed’ with Clancy’s Red Storm Rising, which takes places in Russia where an Islamist terror attack triggers a Third World War.
After his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Mr. Reagan said that reading the book would help Mrs Thatcher understand Russia’s Cold War thinking.”

—  Valerie Edwards, The Daily Mail [links added]

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Benghazi Committee Wine & Gun Club

October 14, 2015

Benghazi Committee Wine & Gun Club
The House Select Committee on Benghazi has dragged its hearings out for 17 months without finding anything damning. The hearings drag on anyway since, as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-23) reminded us, the real purpose of the hearings is GOP Hillary bashing. Since the facts no longer matter,there’s no more fact-gathering. So how are committee members and staffers spending their time?  Former committee investigator Major Bradley F. Podliska (Air Force Reserve) tells the Times:

“With the slow progress, members have engaged in social activities like a wine club nicknamed ‘Wine Wednesdays,’ drinking from glasses imprinted with the words ‘Glacial Pace,’ a dig at Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland and the committee’s ranking member, Major Podliska said. Mr. Cummings used the term to question the speed of the committee’s work.
At one point, several Republican staff members formed a gun-buying club and discussed in the committee’s conference room the 9-millimeter Glock handguns they intended to buy and what type of monograms they would inscribe on them, Major Podliska said.”

— “Clinton Emails Became the New Focus of Benghazi Inquiry,” Eric Lipton, Noam Scheiber, and Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times

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Cheney: Okay, Iran Nukes ARE My Fault

September 9, 2015

Cheney: Okay, Iran Nukes ARE My Fault

Chris Wallace interviewed former Vice President and unindicted war criminal Dick Cheney on “Fox News Sunday.”

Chris Wallace: “You and President Bush, the Bush-Cheney administration, dealt with Iran for eight years. Iran went from zero known [nuclear] centrifuges in operation to more than 5,000. So in fairness, didn’t you leave — the Bush-Cheney administration — leave President Obama with a mess?”

Dick Cheney: “Well, I don’t think of it that way ….

Chris Wallace: “But the centrifuges went from zero to 5,000.”

Dick Cheney: “Well, they may well have gone but that happened on Obama’s watch, not on our watch.”

Chris Wallace: “No, no, no. By 2009, they were at 5,000.”

Dick Cheney: “Right, But I think we did a lot to deal with the arms control problem in the Middle East.”

More:

“Dick Cheney faces surprise accusation on his own foreign policy,” Tony Dokoupil, MSNBC

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US: ‘See U in C-U-B-A!’

August 15, 2015

US: 'See U in C-U-B-A!'

On Friday, the United States raised the flag at its embassy in Havana.

“The US has reopened its embassy in Cuba more than 54 years after it was closed, in a symbolic step signalling the warming of ties between both countries.

John Kerry, the first US Secretary of State to visit Cuba in 70 years, presided over the ceremony in Havana.

The US flag was presented by the same US marines who brought it down in 1961.”

— “Cuba US: John Kerry reopens Havana embassy on historic trip,” BBC News [links added]

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See You in C-U-B-A!

December 17, 2014

See You In C-U-B-A!
“The United States and Cuba agreed on Wednesday to restore diplomatic ties that Washington severed more than 50 years ago, and President Barack Obama called for an end to the long economic embargo against its old Cold War enemy.”

— “U.S., Cuba restore ties after 50 years,” Daniel Trotta and Steve Holland, Reuters

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‘Little Green Men’ Keep the Peace in Crimea

March 15, 2014

'Little Green Men' Keep the Peace in Crimea
They came from Russia Outer Space, perhaps. Silently, in the dead of night, thousands of heavily armed masked men appeared on the streets of Sevastopol‎, Simferopol‎, and Yalta.‎ Their green uniforms bear no markings, and they’re not talking. Observers speculate that the Federation of Planets sent them as poll watchers, to ensure a free and fair vote in today’s Crimean referendum.

More:

“OSCE evidence lifts lid on ‘little green men’ in Crimea,” Peter Felstead, IHS Jane’s 360

“Crimeans vote on Russia referendum,” Carol Morello and Pamela Constable, Washington Post

“Why the Crimean referendum is illegal,” Lea Brilmayer, The Guardian

“Crimea as consolation prize: Russia faces some big costs over Ukrainian region,” Will Englund, Washington Post

UPDATES:

“Crimea Votes to Secede From Ukraine as Russian Troops Keep Watch,” David M. Herszenhor, New York Times

“Crimea votes to secede from Ukraine in ‘illegal’ poll,” Luke Harding and Shaun Walker, The Guardian

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length

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Gohmert Claims American War Hero Supports Al Qaeda

October 13, 2013

Gohmert Claims American War Hero Supports Al Qaeda

The Honorable The Congress-Clown representing the Piney Woods of East Texas, Louie Gohmert (R, TX-1), claims that fellow Republican Senator John McCain (R-AZ) supports al Qaeda terrorists. You may recall that Senator McCain flew a Navy jet during the Vietnam Conflict and was shot down and held as a prisoner of war for 6 years in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison. Mr. Gohmert is also a distinguished veteran, having gallantly served as a peace-time defense lawyer at Fort Benning in the perilous jungles of Columbus, Georgia.

Senator McCain had, in fact, traveled to Syria and met with rebels, but they were the U.S.-backed Northern Storm Brigade, a faction often attacked by al Qaeda affiliated groups. Not that facts have ever concerned Louie Gohmert.

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Powerful Threat from North Korea

March 8, 2013

Powerful Threat From North Korea

North Korea has threatened the United States with nuclear attack. The communist regime is reacting to new UN sanctions it received after being caught conducting a third underground nuclear test last month.  Pyongyang has specifically targeted Washington DC, and we residents of ground zero are a bit more edgy, even though the USA has Dennis Rodman playing man-on-man with Kim Jong Un.

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