Tag: Arms Control

Real Leadership, Real Statesmanship: President Trump at NATO


Trump and StoltenbergWhile lots of us engage in the guilty pleasure of watching selective clips of our favorite Congressional actors in the latest kabuki theater, we might profit more from considering some of the sights and sounds coming from the NATO 70th anniversary meeting of heads of state. I especially invite your attention to two official videos, one of President Trump meeting before the press with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, and the other of the “2 Percenters” lunch meeting. Relevant excerpts from the transcripts appear below.*

Watch two mature adults have a real discussion before a real press corps. Notice that President Trump is defending NATO as a useful vehicle for the mutual defense of nations’ interests. Consider that Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is the former Prime Minister of Norway, not a career eurocrat. Listen to both men deal carefully with both the nature of threats and the natural disagreements even among friendly nations, where each nation operates from its own interests. President Trump says: “I love that you say that NATO is changing as the world is changing.” See Stoltenberg emphasis that NATO members have (under pressure from President Trump) made over 100 billion dollars worth of increases in military defense spending. Watch both men address the challenges of both China and Islamist terrorism.

Coming from a position of renewed resolve, shown in increased military defense spending, President Trump and the NATO Secretary-General both say that talking with Russia is important. President Trump may have made news at the end of the meeting with his confirmation that there is mutual interest in a new arms control agreement including not only Russia but also China. Secretary-General Stoltenberg affirmed that President Trump was right to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, because Russia violated it and we cannot have meaningful agreements where one party violates the terms. President Trump then coolly laid out the prospect of a new deal that addresses current realities, including the newest ICBM and high speed cruise missile forces in China.

The Eternal Game of Knifey-Spoony: British Knife Control


Recently, a British police force tweeted out a picture of a set of knives given to them for safe disposal. The astute among you have no doubt already noticed the spoon in that picture. ‘Safely disposing of’ kitchen knives is stupid, the fencing foil is just sad, but the spoon? Thank heavens we have these dangerous instruments off the streets! Okay, maybe this is a charity (from a casual internet glance they’re St. Vincent’s but woke) is just trying to get rid of things which might be illegal and some joker dumped extra bits into the pile. Then a couple of days later the same police outfit (and I caution you that this is, in fact, a police force and not actually a Twitter parody account) tweets out this.

Yeah. You just raided someone’s toolbox. No mistaking here; that Phillips screwdriver is a threat to life and limb! I can imagine why you’d want to ban knives to prevent knife crime, but why would you ban bastard files? Tired of the cheap jokes? At this point I can see three possibilities:

  1. It is in fact a parody and I missed on my BS detector. But nothing false has ever been posted to the internet before, so why worry?
  2. The cops are overzealous and foolish enough to post evidence of same to Twitter; a sober platform where mistakes are never roundly castigated.
  3. or most likely, the law was written foolishly such that somehow snub-nosed pliers count as a knife. Cop’s just doin’ his job, and perhaps publicly pointing out the foolishness of this law as a means of provoking change.

A quick search and I turn up this gov.uk page explaining the law. It’s in human-readable words, which means whatever it says doesn’t actually count. The only thing that counts in court is lawyer-ese words; relying on anything else is walking on thin ice. The site helpfully fails to quote the actual act being referenced, or offer any evidence for its statements other than the appeal to authority of having a gov.uk address.

The Strategika Podcast: Barry Strauss on Arms Control, Ancient and Modern


In this next episode from the current Strategika series on arms control, I have the pleasure of talking to Barry Strauss, famed Cornell military historian and expert on the classical world. That, in fact, is where we begin: would the concept of “arms control” have even made sense to the ancients? From there, we look at how arms control agreements have played out in a modern context and whether their recent track record tells us anything about the Iran deal’s prospects for success. You can listen in below or subscribe to the Strategika podcast through iTunes.

The Strategika Podcast: Angelo Codevilla on the Futility of Arms Control Agreements


In the first of three new Strategika podcasts tackling the subject of arms control (and, specifically, the nuclear deal with Iran), Angelo Codevilla, Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Boston University, goes one step further than many critics of the agreement with Tehran. He doesn’t just argue that this deal is unworkable. He argues that the entire framework of arms control that the West has embraced for the last century is unworkable. It’s a fascinating discussion and you can listen in by subscribing to Strategika through iTunes or by listening in below.