Administration foreign policy a disaster
China has a secret military plan to invade Taiwan by 2020. To prevent this, the U.S. should be providing Taiwan the most advanced defensive weapons in its arsenal and accepting Taiwan’s need to develop a nuclear retaliatory capability for deterrence purposes. Neither essential containment policy has yet been adopted by the U.S.
Vis-a-vis China’s North Korean proxy state, Trump has been pursuing the opposite of Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy dictum of speaking softly but carrying a big stick. Trump publicly repudiated his Secretary of State when the Secretary was in Beijing conducting negotiations — although Trump was correct in saying that talking with North Korea is a waste of breath. But more importantly, there is no sign that either Trump or Secretary of State Tillerson are pursuing the unification-of-Korea policy that would pacify the peninsula and put U.S.-Chinese relations on a more stable basis. Both Founders Broadsheet and former U.N. ambassador John Bolton have been advocating such a policy for several months.
Nor, incredibly, is Trump mobilizing the country, Congress, and the scientific community for a crash anti-ballistic-missile expansion.
Russia just flagrantly violated an agreement with the West regarding war game protocol to be observed between the two blocs. Neither the U.S. nor its NATO alliance have even a long-term strategy to guide policy toward Russia.
Kurdistan is the one potentially homogeneous nation in the Mideast and, until now, the one dependable ally of the U.S. there, besides Israel. Trump administration policy? To imitate the predecessor Obama administration in opposing allies — the Kurds, who seek nationhood — and allying with enemies — Iran, Russia, Syria’s Assad — and unreliable “friends” –Turkey, Iraq.
Were the U.S. to use its remaining clout in the region, Turkey — the most hostile to the Kurds — could be thwarted in its intended military moves against the Kurds. Russia, which has commercial interests in Iraq’s Kurdish region, could be bargained with. And Iran, for its own reasons, could be discouraged from getting deeply involved in the dispute. But the U.S. has ignored these openings in favor of the generals around Trump who are still obsessed with the pipe dream of a unified Iraq.
The Trump administration’s policy toward Iran is now apparently to certify it as in compliance with President Obama’s unconstitutional nuclear pact but otherwise ramp up economic penalties against the regime. This may scuttle Iran’s compliance with the existing framework, violates a Trump campaign promise, and will be received with hostility by Republican hawks in Congress.
Egypt and Palestine
Egypt, with tacit U.S. support and Israeli neutrality, is brokering a unification of Gaza-based Hamas and Ramallah-based Fatah. The Jerusalem Post‘s perceptive columnist Caroline Glick says that, contrary to most media reports that represent the unification as a Fatah triumph, in reality it is a victory for the terrorist Hamas organization.
No U.S. monopoly in bad foreign policy — Catalan separatism
Not that the U.S. has a monopoly on bad foreign policy. Spain’s conservative government has just managed by means of police brutality to turn a Catalan population — only a minority of which favored independence before the referendum — into an enraged pro-independence majority. Catalonia will ultimately be successful in seceding (historical background), Basque separatism will revive, and the conservative government in Madrid is now living on borrowed time. The Madrid government’s only hope lies in the Catalan president’s foolish call for the European Union to mediate. That would mean the hostile European Union Commission.
There are many questions regarding the Las Vegas mass murder that haven’t been answered yet. (*)
Nobel in Chemistry
Three biochemists have been awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work in developing a new technique for observing living tissue in motion at the molecular level.
IRS and Equifax
Who says Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on anything? The IRS just accomplished the seemingly impossible by awarding a valuable federal contract for fraud prevention to Equifax, which allowed hackers to steal the personal information of most of the adult U.S. population.
Stossel on U.S. government in Puerto Rico
One of the country’s best known skeptics of government competence, John Stossel, weighs in how Puerto Rico hurricane recovery can best take place.
Jindal for HHS Secretary
Former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal would make a good replacement for Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), some commentators write.
Two interesting science articles
The first of these contemplates how helpful the revival of Aristotle’s concept of potentiality would be to the understanding of quantum mechanics.
The second reports that quantum mechanics, which does such a good job at explaining the properties of the lighter elements in the periodic table, fails when tasked with explaining the properties of the heavier exotic elements, starting with Berkelium. But where quantum mechanics unexpectedly fails, relativity theory succeeds.
(*) hat tip to Nicomachus