American Elephants


The Big Singapore Meeting: Big Breakthrough or Waste of Time? by The Elephant's Child

President Trump has gone to Singapore, had a good meeting with Kim Jong Un of North Korea, and returned home to the utter consternation of the media. They were eager for some kind of catastrophe. Trump is too new, too ill-informed about international affairs not to have made a complete mess of it. Here, from the White House, is the joint statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit. (You might find it fun to look up the Democratic People’s Republics of the world and see just who they are, and how they’re doing.)

The agreement is not all that much. They agree to try to make peace. They agree to try to commit to de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and they will commit to recovering POW/MIA remains. Nancy Pelosi threatened that the Senate would have to confirm it. It’s not a treaty, Nancy, there’s nothing to confirm. They had a meeting and agreed to try to do a little more.

President Trump said that the entire effort was dedicated to Otto Warmbier, the young American who made the mistake of taking a propaganda poster in Korea, whereupon the Koreans threw him into prison, brutally mistreated him and when he was released, he barely got home before he died.

I’m including links to some articles that capture some of the ideas that explain what is going on. The first is “How Twitter Diplomacy Works” by Thomas Farnan. He begins:

President Trump this week will bust 68 years of diplomatic white paper inertia and meet the leader of a nation with which America has been at war since 1950. President Trump this week will bust 68 years of diplomatic white paper inertia and meet the leader of a nation with which America has been at war since 1950. …

Do read the whole thing.

The White House prepared for the meeting carefully. They learned that Kim was a big movie fan with a huge library of movie videos, and they prepared their own—which Trump played for the Chairman on an iPad. Scott Adams (Dilbert) discusses the video brilliantly here:

There has been some angry objection from Conservatives that Mr. Trump buttered up Kim, said he cared about his people, (but he doesn’t and he;s a brutal dictator and murderer. ) Yes, but refer back to the simple statement that we have been at war since 1950.

There are some underlying things that we just don’t know about. North Korea has been a subsidiary of China, and China’s Xi has ambitions. How North Korea fits into that we don’t know. Useful or annoyance? When Kim shot off this last batch of nuclear tests, something happened to his test site, and the mountain collapsed, but we don’t know how bad it was or what it means.

Our media wants to portray the whole thing as a colossal failure of one sort or another. They want Trump embarrassed, disgraced (TDS kicks in here) so you can’t rely on much that they have to say. They’re already going on about the failure of Trump’s G-7 meeting and how he insulted the Canadians etc. ,etc. Here’s some useful commentary on that: American Greatness: “Trump is Right: G7 Needs a Wake-Up Call on Trade.” From Investor’s Business Daily: President Trump Didn’t Sigh G-7’s Leftist Agenda—Smart Move”.

From The Wall Street Journal: Why Trump Clashes With Europe” (subscription barrier), and THE WEEK: “If Europe is serious about challenging Trump, it should actually challenge him” by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry.

This is not all that much reading, you will find it valuable. There are some important insights here. And keep that one phrase in mind: “68 years of white paper diplomatic inertia.”

 

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Victor Davis Hanson on Our Leverage with North Korea by The Elephant's Child

There has been a lot of misinformation about both getting out of the so-called Iran deal and getting into a new North Korean agreement. The two situations may be connected, but not in the way we are usually told.

Getting out of the Iran deal did not destroy trust in the U.S. government. Our departure from the deal does not mean that North Korea cannot reliably negotiate with America.

In 2015, the Iran deal was not approved as either a Senate-ratified treaty or a joint congressional resolution. Had the deal been a treaty, President Donald Trump could not have walked away from it so easily and with so little downside.

Former President Obama knew that he did not have majority congressional support for his initiative. Therefore, he desperately sought ways to circumvent the constitutionally directed authority of the Senate and redefine a treaty as a mere executive order

The rest of the article is here



The Soap Opera of the Century! by The Elephant's Child

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This Mueller investigation has become the soap opera of the century. Some new twist every day. The inspector general’s report on the activities of the FBI is due out soon. It is said to be devastating to the most executive floor of the FBI. The House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed the founding document of the entire investigation and the FBI is refusing to turn it over.

We flip over and back to questions of law and constitution and who can do what to whom. A special counsel’s investigation is supposed to start with a crime to be investigated, but this one just started with the hope that they would find a crime in the process.  They indicted Paul Manafort for things unrelated to the Russia thing, but although investigating collusion with the Russians to influence the election was the supposed reason for the whole mess, Paul Manafort was supposed to have done something illegal about something entirely different, at a different time.

Andy McCarthy who is invaluable for explaining matters of law in this kind of thing, said “The president’s job is more critical to the nation than Robert Mueller’s investigation.”  And added:

That does not mean Mueller’s investigation is insignificant; it is crucial that we fully uncover Russia’s interference in the 2016 election (the aim of the counterintelligence investigation Mueller was assigned to conduct) so that we can thwart the Kremlin in the future. But it does mean that Mueller’s desire for investigative secrecy and the ability to interview every witness who might have relevant evidence has to give way to other priorities.

President Trump apparently feels that he has done nothing whatsoever wrong, and would like to answer Mueller’s questions to get this thing over with, and his advisors tell him no, that it’s just a trap for the Democrats hope for impeachment. But yes, he could fire Mueller, but it would be bad politics, and so it goes. As I said, the soap opera of the century. We cannot ignore the whole thing, because there might be developments, but… on the other hand we can’t sit around waiting for something that will clarify the entire mess. Ive been around for quite a few administrations, but I have never seen anything like this.

While our attention is fixed on Mueller, North Korea has released their American citizen hostages to the Secretary of State, and the President and First Lady went out to welcome them home at 3:00 clock in the morning. The Iran Deal has been fortuitously dumped, John Kerry is running around trying to get the other partners to the “deal” to do something, but it was never a signed treaty anyway. The Paris Climate Deal has also been fortuitously dumped, and the Left is having vapors over that, but it would do nothing whatsoever for the climate except transfer a lot of advanced countries’ money to the poor countries, which was the idea in the first place. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s show which will undoubtedly have some development that won’t clarify anything.

 



The Supreme Court Stays Enforcement of Travel Ban Orders by The Elephant's Child

The Supreme Court gave the Trump administration a major victory today. They stayed the orders of two lower courts that blocked enforcement of the president’s revised travel ban. This means that travel from the affected countries can be banned or limited, while the courts continue to process appeals in the two cases.

When a court requests preliminary relief like those at issue here, a key part is the court’s assessment of which party is likely to ultimately prevail. The Court’s two orders today suggest that a solid majority of the Court thinks the travel ban will be valid and enforceable.

Remember that the ban was only on those nations that have produced a significant number of jihadists or terrorists. It was not a ban, as has been claimed by the left a blanket ban on all Muslim nations and an attack on a religion.



A Fascinating Conversation With a Real Journalist by The Elephant's Child

The state of journalism today seems dire. Too many would-be journalists chasing too little real news. If you are scanning through the days news, there’s way too much ‘he said’, ‘she said’. It’s as if reporters are sitting at home scanning Twitter and trying to find something provacative that someone said. That is neither news, nor useful.

There are a few real journalists around, and one of them is Claudia Rosett. She was a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal for 17 years, and today writes a foreign affairs column for Forbes, and blogs for PJ Media. Her recent work has focused on North Korea, Iran, and the United Nations, but her interests roam worldwide.

Today The Daily Caller News Foundation features a video of an extensive conversation between Claudia Rosett and Ginny Thomas. She pointed out that the 2016 election had nothing to do with Russia, but everything to do with shrinking paychecks, vanishing jobs and over-regulation.

The Democrats’ rhetoric about Trump’s supposed Russian collusion does not match the degree of enthusiasm and flexibility that former President Barack Obama actually displayed to Russia for his entire two terms, Rosett says in this video interview.

She cites: when Obama was caught on a hot mic promising flexibility to Vladimir Putin, shelving missile defense for Europe in a phony “reset” with our dangerous adversary, inadequate pursuit of Edward Snowden who is still hiding in Russia, the imaginary “red line” with Syria that opened the door to Russia being emboldened in the Middle East, the Iran deal that advantaged Russia and their allies on the world scene and the weak response of the U.S. when Russia annexed Crimea, which belonged to Ukraine.

It’s a fascinating conversation, and well worth your time. Get comfortable, put your feet up and enjoy. You’ll feel more confident about your views of the world, and more knowledgeable.



About Draining That Swamp… by The Elephant's Child

How about a little good news for a change? You may be astonished to learn that it comes from Canada. Conrad Black says that “the Canadian media has failed in its coverage of the biggest political news in the world in many years. Trump is the most successful U.S. president since Reagan.” (Do read the whole thing.)

But no one relying on the Canadian media would be aware that he has more than doubled the economic growth rate, reduced illegal immigration by about 80 per cent, withdrawn from the insane Paris Climate accord, helped add trillions to U.S. stock market values, created nearly two million new jobs, led the rout of ISIL, and gained full Chinese adherence to the unacceptability of North Korean nuclear military capability. He will probably pass the greatest tax cuts and reforms since Reagan, if not Lyndon Johnson, by Christmas, and may throw out the most unpopular feature of Obamacare, the coercive mandate, with it.

And here’s Victor Davis Hanson at American Greatness:

After 10 months of governance, Trump’s deregulations, a foreign policy of principled realism, energy agendas, judicial appointments, efforts at tax reform and health care recalibration, cabinet appointments, and reformulation at the Departments of Education, the EPA, and Interior seem so far conservative to the core.

In the few areas where Trump conceivably differed from his 16 primary Republican rivals—immigration, trade, and foreign policy—the 20th-century Republican/conservative orthodoxy was actually closer to Trump’s positions than to those of recent Republican nominees, John McCain or Mitt Romney.

Vast majorities of conservatives always favored enforcement of federal immigration law rather than tolerance of sanctuary cities. They wanted to preserve legal, meritocratic, diverse, and measured immigration, not sanction open borders. And they championed the melting pot over the identity politics of the salad bowl.

After the daily criticism and angst from the junior journalists, it’s nice to hear about the president’s accomplishments for a change, for there are a lot of them.  A little celebration is in order.



North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un May Have Stubbed His Toe by The Elephant's Child

In a very surprising interview, an academic with close ties to the Chinese government has stated that war with North Korea is under consideration. China’s president Xi Jinping has become fed up with the erratic behaviour of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, in spite of the historic ties between the two countries.

Chong Sho-Hu, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said that Kim Jong-Un and North Korea were “seeking death.” Speaking to the BBC, the professor suggested that just one more missile test would “push the country off the cliff.”

President Jinping was said to be furious when North Korea tested a missile just as China was preparing to host a pivotal global economic conference. The professor said China is mad and wants to punish North Korea.

China’s leader XI Jinping told the Chinese Communist Party Congress that he would build the biggest army in the world, but wanted to avoid any conflict with U.S. President Donald Trump over North Korea. He told delegates that by 2050 China will become a global leader in terms of international influence and national strength, with the rule of law, innovative companies, a clean environment and a growing middle class. “The Chinese people will enjoy greater happiness and well-being, and the Chinese nation will stand taller and firmer in the world.”

This is a remarkable bit of world news, from one stray professor who is said to be close to the administration in China, so I don’t know just how accurate it may be or not, but it is certainly interesting.

President Kim Jong-Un seems to be the only plump person in the North Korean nation, and a good many of his military hangers-on have uniforms that seem too large for their bodies. Whenever Kim Jong-Un appears, everyone smiles broadly and they clap with their hands right up in front of their faces where their enthusiasm can be readily seen. Kim Jong-Un executed one of his uncles with a military howitzer instead of a firing squad, which may have something to do with the odd style of clapping.

 




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