Tag: DIMEFIL

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I had not got the whole picture when I first saw and heard President Trump’s speech following the symbolic Iranian missile strike, after the back to back killings of the Kuds Force terrorist group and unconventional war campaigns general Qasem Soleimani (Qassem Suleimani, Qassim Soleimani), and a senior Hezbollah commander (an Iraqi proxy). This picture […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Hold My Corona: China Showing Basic Civic Competence

 

Thanks to the PowerLine crew, Ricochet members got better insight into what is and is not happening in China than we got from any other media outlet. Steven Hayward had an American in Wuhan give a field report.

If you had ears to hear, you should be both reassured and worried. You should be reassured that China is competently responding to a public health threat. You should be concerned and relieved that the Chinese government and institutions are truly competent, capable of learning from past experiences. That makes them a more dangerous regional and global competitor at the same time as we can assume they are less likely to blunder incompetently into a major war.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 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.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “Interagency Consensus” DIME Not Worth a Plugged Nickel on NATO

 

NATO at 70Everyone in the vaunted “interagency,” is well aware of the concept of the instruments of national power. The old Army War College acronym is “DIME,” for diplomatic, informational, military, and economic tools. You will notice that each tends to rest primarily in different departments, different agencies in the “interagency.” This would be why you need multiple agencies to coordinate rather than always operating “in their own lane.”

Just as Madison Avenue is best at selling Madison Avenue, so too the permanent bureaucracy and its affiliates, allies, patrons, and petitioners all affirm competent and selfless expertise in the face of all evidence. Indeed, the reverence for the “foreign policy consensus” evokes the British Parliament’s ritual prostration before the NHS. Thank God that we finally have a president who feels no such compulsion, the first such since Ronald Reagan.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Things Could Get Out of Hand

 

Since the three press conferences addressing Turkey, Kurds in Syria, and U.S. forces, there has been a near-miss of US soldiers. The hostile take is from Newsweek. The Department of Defense statement, on the record, gives us the facts we know from the US side.

The facts of this situation, even taken from the Newsweek post, contradict the “abandoned” narrative. That is, US forces were in an observation post within visual distance of the Turkish border, and close to some Kurdish positions, from which there may have been mortar, light artillery fire, across the border into Turkey. It is a long border, with lots of points of contact, compared to the small, shallow border section the past days’ actions and chatter concerned.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Tale of 3 Press Conferences

 

POTUS DIMEFILIf you watch and listen to three sets of statements and answers by our current administration, you will get an interesting picture of our actual current policy. The first is by President Trump, answering a reporter’s off-topic question when he signed two executive orders on transparency in federal guidance and enforcement (a serious push back on the growth of an unaccountable fourth branch of government in the administrative state). The second is a Pentagon briefing on the deployment of Patriot Air Defense/Anti Missile units and two Air Force fighter squadrons to Saudi Arabia, in which both this action and comments on Syria are interesting. The third is a White House press corps briefing by Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin.

President Trump has laid out three possible courses of action in the longstanding conflict between Turkey and those Kurds living in eastern Turkey and across the border in Syria. As has been explained repeatedly elsewhere, these are not the same Kurds abandoned by George H.W. Bush and now supported in northern Iraq by President Trump. These are different groups with different politics.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Can Trump Solve the Chinese Puzzle?

 

Xi puzzle“Facts don’t care about your feelings,” as Ben Shapiro is wont to say. Indeed, John Adams admonishes us: “facts are very stubborn things.” In the midst of all the virtual ink spillage, and pundit and politico posturing, the inconvenient truth is that Hong Kong is a city in communist China. This unfeeling and stubborn fact fundamentally limits what the United States, any other nation, and people inside Hong Kong can do to affect conditions on the ground. Yet, there may be a move, within the larger Chinese puzzle, that President Trump can play now that might slow Hong Kong’s descent into normal Chinese city status.

Cautionary Tales of Careless Words:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Winning by Killing Ten Million Afghans?

 

President Trump with Pakistan PMPresident Trump declines. In a sit-down informal press conference, with the Prime Minister of Pakistan mostly off camera, President Trump answered a series of questions, mostly by foreign journalists, on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Consider his comments as part of a larger information campaign, or public diplomacy, with both leaders and citizens of countries in the region, especially Iran.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Tale of Two Visits to the DMZ

 

Consider two images of two United States presidents at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Korea. The two images convey very different messages, very different possibilities. Which do you prefer?

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Andrew McCarthy is wrong this time. He calls not only for a policy of regime change but also for President Trump to call for “regime change” in Iran. McCarthy should pay closer attention to the history of American presidents talking up “liberation” or regime change. Consider both President Eisenhower and President George H.W. Bush, and […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Trumping Middle East Hands: Iran [Updated]

 

Start from the position that the Iranian people are hostages in their own country to a regime based on an idea, perhaps an ideology, concocted in the 1970s and propounded clearly only after Khomeini’s faction had control in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Consider that there has been popular unrest against the regime. Factor in that the rulers are savvy and ruthless, with an elite military force keeping the regular military and the populace in check, while extending regime influence regionally and globally. The Khomeinists seem to have a strong hand, with some high cards, so how do we set about trumping their hand? Moving towards answers that are feasible takes more than hand-waving and posturing.

The U.S. military has long recognized that it was only one instrument in Uncle Sam’s tool belt, and that military strategy needed to be integrated with plans and actions by the rest of the government. This became called a “whole of government” approach. For many years, military officers, in their advanced schooling, were instructed in consideration of four “instruments of national power:” Diplomacy, Information, Military, and Economy (DIME).

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