Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
You may know it as bubble tea, tapioca tea, pearl milk tea, or boba tea. You may not know it at all. But, like popcorn chicken and scallion pancakes, bubble tea is a Taiwanese invention that’s grown to be beloved worldwide. And it’s not just a culinary triumph for the tiny democracy; it’s also become a symbol of important, and strengthening, international ties in the modern age.
It would please me greatly to be able to say, “Then I heard that the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas was superseded by the 1750 Treaty of Madrid.” Well, I didn’t hear it, I read it. But to those who get to mingle with those who do say it, I say: enjoy yourselves! You’re in a […]
Britain is all atwitter about their Ambassador, Sir Kim Darroch, and his leaked diplomatic reports back to London on his take on Donald Trump. The take was none too flattering, basically cut and paste from the Washington Post and New York Times. Among the more common comments are along the lines of whoever leaked this […]
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 […]
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).
DIME was useful for getting officers with around twenty years of military planning and operations under their belts to think more broadly. However, Uncle Sam actually has a larger set of tools, and uses them. To capture these other tools, DIME became DIMEFIL:
The wise statesman (and the Count of Södermöre certainly earned that title – he was respected across all Europe) rapidly realized that many of the leaders of the world are fools, even more so than oneself. This realization is alternately a relief and utterly horrifying.
With more than $1 billion in debt to China, last year Sri Lanka handed over a port along with 15,000 acres of land to companies owned by the Chinese government. China is stepping up its public diplomacy efforts to win friends and influence people in the Asia-Pacific region. According to a new study released recently by AidData from the College of William and Mary, from 2000 to 2016, China spent more than $48 billion in the region, 95 percent of which went to infrastructure investments.
The study found that China has tailored its strategy for different receiving countries based on local factors such as internet penetration, the size of the Chinese diaspora, and popular discontent. The target audience for China’s public diplomacy efforts in a receiving country includes public officials, civil society and private sector leaders, journalists, academics, students, and other relevant socioeconomic or political sub-groups.
The study divides China’s public diplomacy into five categories: Informational Diplomacy (the Chinese media in the receiving countries), Cultural Diplomacy (Confucius Institutes/culture exchange), Exchange Diplomacy (study abroad programs), Financial Diplomacy (loans/grants), and Elite-to-Elite Diplomacy (activities to cultivate personal relationships between the countries’ officials).
The Road To Singapore, not the 1940 film starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, but the 2018 summit featuring President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Michael Auslin, the Hoover Institution’s Williams-Griffis Fellow in Contemporary Asia, explains the historical significance of this first such meeting between the two nations’ heads of state, what steps might come next, and the ricochet effect across the Pacific Rim.
CNN has actually praised the current first lady, Melania Trump! Just in case it disappears under a torrent of leftist bile:
First Lady Melania Trump has championed cyber-bullying as a cause, but Hoover visiting fellow Markos Kounalakis thinks she should broaden her horizons – to include a little diplomacy in her native Central Europe. It’s a portion of the world that’s drifted into angry nationalism, economic uncertainty and civil unrest, with one country (Poland) displaying troubling anti-Semitic tendencies. Kounalakis talks about all of that, plus he discusses Vladimir Putin’s Russia playing a meddling role around the world.
I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review on Ricochet on the following Sunday. Seawriter Preview Open
Did you know that members of Fatah attacked a US delegation from the Jerusalem consulate last week? This is Caroline Glick’s description of the attack:
On Tuesday a delegation of diplomats from the US Consulate in Jerusalem came to Bethlehem to participate in a meeting of the local chamber of commerce. When they arrived in the city, Fatah members attacked them. Their vehicles with diplomatic license plates were pelted with tomatoes and eggs by a mob of protesters calling out anti-American slogans.
After the Americans entered the hall where the meeting was scheduled to take place, some of the rioters barged in. They held placards condemning America and they shouted, “Americans Out!”
I found the National Security Strategy (NSS) publication timing and the setting of President Trump’s speech both significant. Publication within the first year of the Trump Administration is remarkable. The timing shows he recognized the importance of this document to drive change across agencies and shows the competence of his senior national security team. The speech setting both evoked Reagan and pointed to serious support for the full set of instruments of national power.
The setting was not a military base or DHS, rather it was the Ronald Reagan Building, whose tenants include USAID, Commerce, Trade, and CBP as well as the Woodrow Wilson Center. That reinforced the new President’s intent to use the informational and economic tools of national power. So, while President Trump was addressing multiple audiences with his words, his physical presence delivering the speech also underscored his intent.
By now, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Christians are being exterminated in the war-torn countries of the Middle East. But a couple points in this interview by EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo of an Iraqi Christian priest stand out. Preview Open
I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Sunday. When it appears, I post the previous week’s review on Ricochet. Seawriter Preview Open
French President Hollande took a firm stand for French culture: The meeting [with Iranian President Rouhani] was supposed to take place over lunch – normally served with an array of French dishes and a top-grade wine vintage as well as cheese. France is hugely proud of its culinary credentials, with its gastronomic meal recently pronounced […]
Central Asia, the -stan countries that speak Turkic or Persian languages and use the Cyrillic alphabet, was a prominent and strategic region of the world in the past–think Tamerlane and his Mughal scions. This article makes the case that it is returning to strategic importance. It has a kind of blame-the-west tone, but touches on […]