Join Jim and Greg as they see some glimmers of good news for Putin critic Alexei Navalny but wonder how firm the Biden administration really plans to be when it comes to Russia. They also shudder as prices for fuel, food, and other goods, are clearly on the rise. And they call out Rep. Maxine Waters for suggesting anything less than a guilty verdict for murder in the Derek Chauvin case should result in more confrontation in the streets.

Huawei’s Dystopian Aims for 6G

 

When President Trump banned both import of Huawei devices and export of hardware and software to Huawei, the decision was described in the press as “controversial”. The argument was that he banned Huawei 5G components and smartphones because he was: pick one: xenophobic, a Russian bot, ignorant of free trade, and (the best one) he is in thrall to Apple so he had to try to kill the Huawei smartphone business.

I have not seen “smoking gun” proof that Huawei 5G equipment includes spyware. But it could. Or it could get a firmware patch at any point that would add it because Huawei is a Chinese company and all Chinese companies are required to assist the CCP when it asks. So: (1) they could do it, and (2) if the CCP asks, they would do it.

Member Post

 

Two news stories I read today brought me back to my active duty time in 1969-1973. I served in the USAF Security Service (my avatar) and – until a declassification in the 1990s – I was unable to tell anybody what I did in the Air Force. Our mission was to intercept and interpret radio […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome an appeals court decision upholding an Ohio ban on abortions because the unborn baby has Down Syndrome. They also fume as the intel community admits there is only low to moderate confidence in last year’s reports that Russia was offering bounties to the Taliban and its allies for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan. And they shake their heads at the obvious court-packing hypocrisy of Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome steady progress in reopening schools, as nearly half of U.S. school districts are now open for in-person learning. While understanding the desire to exit Afghanistan, they’re wondering whether President Biden has learned anything from his botching of the U.S. departure from Iraq that helped trigger the rise of ISIS. And the short fuse of the Biden administration is on display again after left-leaning probability expert Nate Silver criticizes the decision to pause the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Join Jim and Greg as they update the “incident” at the Natanz nuclear site and enjoy learning how it was much more devastating than first reported. Then they feel very weird agreeing with former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid but believe he right to warn the Democrats against court packing. They discuss the significance of the FDA and CDC calling for a pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. And they discuss the inexplicable error of a Minnesota police officer in a recent shooting death there but also hammer Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib for suggesting this case is further proof that we need to abolish police and incarceration.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome news of a “blackout: at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran, and whether Israel is behind it or not, they’re glad to see it. They also unload on President Biden who is unconcerned about inflation following his massive spending binge because someone else will likely be in office when it gets really bad. They also call out Vice President Harris for apparently doing nothing about the border crisis since she was put in charge of it and the media who refuse to demand answers. Finally, they offer their well wishes to Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw in the wake of concerning medical news.

The Chinese Timetable

 

What is the Chinese timetable for invading Taiwan?

Before he passed, my World of Tanks friend was convinced that China would never invade Taiwan, and if they did, could not do it successfully. I always disagreed because history is replete with examples of countries overestimating what they could and could not do in a conflict. Think Operation Barbarossa in WWII.

Join Jim and Greg as they react to former CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield believing that the COVID outbreak probably started with a lab leak in Wuhan. They also discuss Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey saying President Biden is obviously not taking the border crisis seriously when he appoints someone like Vice President Kamala Harris to focus on the problem. And they point out all the ways Biden is nothing more than an opportunistic hypocrite when he now agrees that the Senate filibuster is a “Jim Crow relic.”

How Not to Do Diplomacy

 

During the last four years, one of the regular complaints about President Trump was that he was too nice to our enemies. He met with them (gasp!), he spoke well of them (horrors!), he complimented them (mon dieu!). And this was why Democrats (and far too many Republicans) kept insisting he was an agent of Russia or some such nonsense.

The fact is, when you’re trying to get someone on your side, you do exactly what President Trump did. You kill them with kindness. You show an interest in them. You speak well of them. You highlight their successes. It’s all right there in How to Win Friends and Influence People, the kajillion-selling book by Dale Carnegie. (A book I recommend to everyone, but especially those who seek public office.) It’s probably found in The Art of the Deal, too, but I haven’t read that one.

It seemed as if Democrats (and far too many Republicans) wanted President Trump to enter into delicate negotiations by insulting world leaders or otherwise telling them off.

H.R. McMaster’s ‘Battlegrounds’ a Very Good Second Book

 

Retired Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster’s second book, Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World, while mostly well researched and clearly argued, will not have the institutional significance of his first book Dereliction of Duty, written as a young Army major. If you heard little of Battlegrounds after its publication, that is to McMaster’s credit and our media’s continuing shame. General McMaster kept his honor clean, refusing to put himself out on the same corner Bill Kristol and John Bolton have been working. This is a work well worth your consideration. At the very least, take a look at the brief video summary of his central claim: American long-term failure in foreign policy comes from “strategic narcissism” and a lack of “strategic empathy.”*

“Strategic empathy” refers to the conscious effort to understand the viewpoint, the motivations, of others, rather than projecting assumptions and motives the observer prefers, for whatever reason. “Strategic empathy” is presented as the alternative to wishful thinking across administrations. McMaster is using “strategic empathy” as a term of art, limited to understanding/ taking the other’s position and claimed motivations seriously, not sympathizing. McMaster advances his vision for a more successful foreign policy through country case studies, most importantly addressing Russia, China, Iran, Afghanistan, and North Korea. In each case, he names names and cites failures across multiple administrations of both parties.

McMaster points to foreign policy scholars on the left and right arguing for a deterrence policy with a nuclear Iran. He says it is foolish to suggest that deterrence might work with a set of leaders and at least a significant population that deeply believes in the Shia emphasis on supernatural victory through their own blood. Iran’s religious-political leaders believe in “victory of blood over the sword.” This linked text points to official propaganda seriously asserting that America was defeated by killing the Iranian top terror master. His blood, being spilled, supernaturally created victory for the Iranian revolution. Take them seriously, rather than dismissing it as spin, and you see that under no condition can they possibly be allowed a nuclear weapon.

Join Jim and Greg as they cheer new polling showing that Cuban voters have swung dramatically back towards the Republican Party and strongly against the Obama-Biden approach to Cuba. Their jaws are also on the floor as New York voters want Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stay in office by a fairly wide margin and continue to think he’s done a great job handling the pandemic –  except for the thousands of nursing home deaths.  And Jim unloads on the notion of European sophistication as 15 countries suspend use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we’ve heard a lot about anti-Asian racism. From New York to San Francisco, there have been reports of slurs, taunts, and violence. Recently, several horrific attacks committed by young black men against the elderly have caught national attention.

Numerous Asian American activists and political leaders have blamed former President Trump, noting that his use of the terms “Kung Flu,” “China virus” or “Chinese virus” has led to the increase in racism and violence.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Loung Ung, a human-rights activist; the author of the bestselling books First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, Lucky Child, and Lulu in the Sky; and a co-screenwriter of the 2017 Netflix Original Movie, First They Killed My Father. Ms. Ung shares her experiences living through genocide under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979, which resulted in the deaths of nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s population. Loung talks about the experience of working with Angelina Jolie on the film version of First They Killed My Father, and the role that documentaries like hers and the award-winning 1984 film, The Killing Fields, can play in portraying the human stories behind historic events. They explore Ms. Ung’s life in America, and the support she received from her secondary school teachers in Essex Junction, Vermont, her professors at St. Michael’s College, and from local and religious institutions. The episode concludes with a reading from Loung Ung’s memoir.

Stories of the Week: A new poll shows that nearly a third of parents may continue with remote learning after COVID. According to a new report, only one in six Indiana college students who study education actually join the teaching profession. How can we remove barriers to entry, especially among people of color?

Member Post

 

Okay, I was wrong.  I thought China would invade Taiwan a day or two before the inauguration, forcing Trump to take possible military action, then Biden stepping in and calling the action off – thus handing Taiwan over to Red China.  Then again, there’s this: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/why-china-could-invade-taiwan-soon-179281 Preview Open

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Join Jim and Greg as they enjoy hearing HHS nominee Xavier Becerra squirm as he insists he never sued the Little Sisters of the Poor, just the federal government for giving a contraception mandate exemption to the nuns. They also peel back the sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and discuss the growing number of Democrats coming out to denounce him. And they hammer Amnesty International for removing its “prisoner of conscience” label for Russian political figure Alexei Navalny over comments Navalny made 15 years ago.

 

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, founder of the AHA Foundation, and author of the books Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights, Infidel: My Lifeand Nomad: From Islam to America – A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations. Ms. Hirsi Ali shares insights from her upbringing and early education in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, as well as her courageous immigration to the West, where she experienced an intellectual awakening that led to human rights activism and a seat in the Dutch Parliament. They discuss why all human rights and free speech advocates should be concerned about the rise and growing militancy of political correctness and “cancel culture” in the West, its impact on reasoned public debate, and what educators need to teach young people about the importance of open mindedness and the free exchange of ideas. Lastly, Ms. Hirsi Ali reviews the central theme of her latest book, Prey, which explores the long-term ramifications of mass migration from Islamic-majority countries on the rights of women in Europe, given the different value systems between these countries and the West, with its commitment to the rule of law, rights-centered constitutionalism, science, and religious liberty. She concludes with a reading from the book.

Stories of the Week: The Biden administration is ordering states to continue federally required standardized tests this year, though there is flexibility on the exam format and accountability standards. Is this an opportunity for innovation in student testing? All members of a San Francisco-area school board resigned after mocking parents at a virtual meeting that they didn’t realize was already being broadcast live. Was this an isolated incident or a window into their general outlook toward families?

Boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in China

 

Almost anytime I see the word “boycott,” I either cringe or turn away. In my experience, boycotts are ineffective, political statements that have little power to make a difference. They can have mixed agendas, such as the Boycott-Divest-Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel; or they can make an immediate statement, such as the boycott called against Goya Foods, which actually increased the company’s sales and visibility.

But the most recent boycott discussion against the 2022 Winter Olympics in China has gotten my attention. On many levels, the U.S. taking a stand against the CCP, in particular, could make an impactful statement against a regime that has made no secret about its goal to become the most powerful country in the world. I’m going to make the case for pursuing a boycott against China, because the country needs to be held to account on multiple levels.

National Review artist Roman Genn came to America from the Soviet Union in 1991. In this episode, he compares the ideology he left behind with that which has gained a strong foothold in this country. His analysis, which comes at a pivotal moment, is worth hearing. And then there are the laughs, which are always plentiful when Roman and Dave have the chance to commiserate. Then, Ricochet Member Boss Mongo (a.k.a. Lt Col Brendan Welsh, US Army Special Forces Retired) drops by to discuss what sorts of national security threats await the new Biden Administration (hint: America’s adversaries are “giggling like little girls.”).

Otherwise, studio lighting issues, wardrobe changes, and unexpected guests dot the landscape of this rather unique episode. Enjoy!