Tag: foreign affairs

The New Evil Empire

 

When Ronald Reagan dubbed the Soviet Union an “evil empire” he was blasted for being inflammatory and was accused of wanting to start a nuclear war with the Soviets. Ronald Reagan negotiated with the Soviets from a position of strength and knew the only language dictators understand is strength, Reagan was going to defend American interests. I, for one, find it dishonest and frankly lazy when someone wants to view every world event through the lens of World War 2 or the Cold War because when a viable threat like China arises, Americans will be caught flat-footed. Here we are caught flat-footed and China is making moves quickly. 

Liberal intellectuals will lecture Americans and Europeans until they are blue in the face about the evils of imperialism and there is certainly cause to view empires as a negative force in the world due to a history of human rights violations. The debate about the empires of the past is for another time, now is the time to ask will our intellectual and moral betters say anything Chinese Imperialism? Not really; it is being reported but I think if we have learned in the Trump era we know when the media wants to make something a priority. China slowly trying to take away land from 18 different countries (India and Taiwan are the famous ones) but they are claiming ownership of the entire South China Sea in order to expand militarily and economically. 

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Former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions has recently called for Congress to establish a Select Committee on China, stating that the Chinese government “caused [COVID-19] by silencing those who tried to warn the world, by blocking American and international scientists from coming in to stop the outbreak early, and by faking infection and death rates to […]

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I read something a few weeks ago that has prompted me to ponder on this specific question quite a lot as well as on balance overall, which we pay a lot of lip service to. It was a part from Henry Nau in War on the Rocks/Texas National Security Review’s Policy Roundtable: The Future of […]

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The media and other Leftists will try to ignore this headline from Fox News and other sources. It is just impossible for them to contemplate that President Trump’s dealings with North Korea might have some positive effect. It will be very interesting to see how this story develops and is reported by the MSM. Preview […]

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Richard Epstein contrasts two recent actions by the Trump Administration — the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum, and the blocking of a foreign company’s attempts to take over an American tech firm — to demonstrate when national security concerns justify restrictions on trade … and when they don’t.

Victor Davis Hanson examines the major foreign policy challenges facing the Trump Administration, including how to properly calibrate the US relationship with Russia, how to defang a nuclear North Korea, and how to combat terrorism as ISIS shifts to a new era.

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As you might have already heard, from the Washington Examiner:  A Russian air force jet was shot down after it violated Turkey’s airspace, according to unconfirmed reports. Witnesses say they saw a large explosion in Huraytan, northern Syria, as three fighter jets flew above. Preview Open

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Only a fool would expect President Obama or his administration to be honest with the public after his many years in office. But one might hope that the President’s advisers are at least honest among themselves. According to Shane Harris at The Daily Beast, that too is wishful thinking.  Two senior analysts at CENTCOM signed […]

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The Libertarian Podcast, with Richard Epstein: “The Iran Deal”

 

Is President Obama out of his mind? That’s more or less the question that animates this installment of The Libertarian podcast.

In addition to considering the security implications of our diplomatic agreement with Iran, Professor Epstein also digs into the convoluted legal structure: How is it that President Obama can essentially invert the traditional treaty power so that it’s a heavier lift for Congress to reject the deal than for the president to get it passed? And do challenges to that innovation have a chance in court? Find out by listening below or by subscribing to The Libertarian via iTunes or your favorite podcast app.

Pull No Foreign Policy Punches in 2016

 

As_Between_Friends_(Punch_magazine,_13_December_1911,_detail)Conservatives have reason to be optimistic about 2016. The ample supply of viable Republican candidates seems to grow every week, and should they (or at least the more comb-over adorned among them) keep the internecine squabbling short of apoplectic levels, the Republican nominee will enter the general election with the chance to put a fresh face on American leadership.

Opposing them is a Clinton campaign of the mind that generating no news is better than being held to account for anything uttered in the buildup to the primaries. Despite her perfunctory tour of the nation, the USS Hilldog rests in stagnant waters. The most prominent media it can expect for the near future will be the State Department’s monthly email dumps. These should fasten even more barnacles to She-Who-is-Inevitable.

Let us assume that Clinton is in fact just that, at least for the Democratic nomination. She will sell voters the following: inequality rhetoric, a hard-line on immigration, and defense of the Affordable Care Act. In short, she will present herself as their heir to Barack Obama’s coalition, using all the best practices in consultant-based identity politics, and like her predecessor, hers will be a domestic agenda.

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Listening to the recent jab by President Obama at Governor Scott Walker about his lack of knowledge in foreign affairs, I came across this nugget that no one seems to have noticed: “Keep in mind, Steve, that there is long precedent for a whole host of international agreements in which there’s not a formal treaty […]

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Opportunity With India

 

500px-Flag_of_India.svgAs long-term foreign policy goals go, it’s hard to imagine one with more potential than bringing India in closer alignment with the United States and its allies. India’s been moving slowly in this direction for a while, but it’s gained momentum since the election last year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who’s made few bones about pursuing this relationship more openly.

Like most Americans, my knowledge of India is rather weak, consisting mostly of 1980s British miniseries, a handful of (old) Indian films, a few firsthand accounts from those who’ve visited, conversations with Indian-Americans acquaintances (whom I find I disproportionally like), as well as a smattering of news articles and Google searches. Still, it’s more than enough to pique one’s interest. Consider:

  • The Indian Navy is one of only 10 in the world with an aircraft carrier: two, in fact. Moreover, it has another one on the way (and yet another planned) built and designed entirely in house. Aircraft carriers are a good — if incomplete — measure of a country’s ability to project force beyond its immediate borders.
  • India also has an ambitious, capable, and well-funded space program. As of 2013, it became only the fourth such organization to achieve a successful interplanetary mission.
  • India has a nuclear arsenal. It’s always good to be on good terms with countries with that sort of power.
  • English plays an important role in India — roughly, the equivalent role that Latin once played in Europe — and its legal system is based on Common Law.
  • India’s population is second only to China’s and — unlike China’s — it’s still growing.
  • The Indian economy is either the 10th or 11th largest in the world and is likely to grow much further.
  • The country’s trade with the United States has grown substantially in recent years.
  • Like the United States, India is wary of China and concerned with Islamic fundamentalism (though its relationship to each is very different than our own).

These are, of course, 50,000-ft level observations. The devil is always in the details. While there’s certainly much to gain from closer diplomatic, economic, and possibly military ties with India (I don’t know about you, but it breaks my patriotic heart every time I see Indian airmen flying MiGs and Sukhois; at least their infantrymen use NATO cartridges) — and, again, stipulating that what I don’t know about India vastly exceeds what I do — consider these points along with the earlier ones:

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In Cuba, every automobile owner is stuck with a vehicle from the 1940s or 1950s. Imagine that person’s delight at witnessing modern vehicles, even without any hope of affording one.  And imagine the delight of American car enthusiasts at obtaining access to this vast hoard of vintage vehicles. Cubans call them clunkers. We call them classics.  […]

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Merry Christmas to All, and Some Thoughts on Turkish Thugs

 

Merry Christmas, Ricochet! Or Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it and, otherwise, merry day in which you eat Chinese food and go to the movies. To those I’ve offended by mentioning Christmas, I apologize for my insensitive remarks. I promise I will learn and grow from the experience.

Speaking of things one must not say, I just published a piece in City Journal about the recent news from Turkey. As I stress in it, it’s not just news from Turkey, but news from America — news from the Poconos Mountains, in particular — and thus properly filed under “domestic news.”

Power Without Production

 

shutterstock_217626877About 33 minutes into the last Ricochet Podcast, Bret Stephens added his voice to the chorus suggesting we shouldn’t overly fret about China because their economic numbers are rigged and their production levels are nowhere close to our own, however quickly they are improving. Alright, let’s suppose that China’s economy is truly lackluster. Does that make it less of a diplomatic and military threat?

The Soviet Union was doomed from the start for the simple reason that communism doesn’t work. The USSR survived by claiming territories and sucking the life out of its members, which it could only do for so long. It’s economy never had a chance in the long run.

But that inevitability didn’t matter for half a century.

Hack Away

 

shutterstock_232080763To the Washington Post’s report on the North Korean hack job (no, the other one), Drudge offers the following headline: “Cancellation sets worrying new precedent for cyber terror.”

Well, sure, it’s “new” in the sense that it just happened. And the attack did take a novel form, combining the data diarrhea of WikiLeaks with jihad’s pointedly obscure threats to silence opposition.

But we are already chock full of precedents, thank you. Cyber attacks from Russia and China over a course of decades have shown the world our response policy: “Pretty please?”

What Is the U.S. Getting for Normalizing Relations with Cuba?

 

It appears that President Obama has decided to normalize diplomatic and trade ties with Cuba. Cuba stands to benefit greatly in terms of investment in tourism, tourism revenue, and sales of cigars and sugar. This boost to the Cuban economy make up for the lost subsidies from its patron, cash-starved Venezuela. This action will serve to stabilize the wobbly rule of the Castro brothers and their inner circle.

It appears that the United States is imposing no conditions on this boon for the Cuban economy and for Cuba’s communist leadership. There has been no hint of a quid pro quo from Cuba in terms of releases of political prisoners, conversion to a market economy, democratization, or Cuba’s political support for America’s many enemies in Latin America.

Could a New Warsaw Pact Save Europe?

 

strangelove

Fast forward a year, maybe less. Those Russian troops who keep choosing Ukraine as their top vacation destination after Euro Disney have completed their mission, and Vladimir Putin is eyeing Baltic real-estate for his next dacha. Does anyone see NATO getting into a shooting war over this property transfer (and please don’t take this as a suggestion that NATO should)?  My guess is the response would entail a couple of sternly worded speeches at the UN and maybe some shipments of MREs to ensure that the Estonian army surrenders on a full stomach.

Instead, how about Eastern Europe gets realistic and stops pretending that Russian troops coming over the Polish border would be treated by NATO the same as if they came over the Indiana border (actually, I’m not sure what the response would be to the Indiana border other than making sure the assault vehicles were outfitted with IPASS for the tolls; that’s a post for another day). Anyway, what if the former Warsaw Pact nations, minus Russia, were to form a new alliance against their former overlords? This could be an organization where Article 5 means more than the fifth article this week on global warming in the New York Times.

Thankful for: Shale Oil

 

It’s nice when good things happen to your friends, but isn’t it nicer when bad things happen to your enemies? From The Guardian:

On Thanksgiving Day, the most powerful oil cartel in the world, the Organization of Petroleum Export Countries, will be facing a dilemma: too much of a good thing.