Links for 7-8-2017

  • Two U.S. Air Force B–1Bs conducted a live fire drill in South Korea, along with other American and South Korean planes. The B–1Bs flew along the demilitarized zone during the exercise.

  • Ivanka Trump sat in for her father during some G20 meetings, which freaked people out on the political left but not so much on the right. Jonah Goldberg commented:

  • Stephen F. Hayes is not impressed with Rex Tillerson’s account of the meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, particularly with respect to Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election:

    Tillerson reported that after the two men had a “robust and lengthy exchange on the subject,” Putin “denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past.” Putin’s denials are false, of course, and the offenses are grave. Russia’s election meddling is part of a longer pattern of provocation largely ignored by the Obama administration and now tolerated by Trump. But the president apparently didn’t want to let reality intrude on his desire for better relations (he began his meeting by telling Putin that he was “honored” to meet him) and Tillerson didn’t seem to care. “So, more work to be done on that regard,” Tillerson said, dismissively.

    Set aside as yet unproven allegations of Trump-Russia collusion. The available facts are deeply troubling. Russia waged a persistent, hostile campaign against the United States in an effort to affect the outcome of the election – or at least influence perceptions of it. And the current administration doesn’t seem to care.

    Discussions with respect to the Syrian crisis weren’t much better in Hayes’ view:

    So in April the U.S. government accused Russia of complicity in an unprovoked chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. And on Friday, the secretary of State claimed that America and Russia have exactly the same objectives in Syria.

    And then Tillerson went even further. On matters where the United States and Russia have different views, he said, it may be that the Russians (who are actively backing a dictator slaughtering his own people) have got “the right approach and we’ve got the wrong approach.” Imagine for a moment the reaction from Republicans if John Kerry had made such a claim.

  • A Russian company partially owned by Siemens, Interautomatika, was hired to install two electricity turbines in Crimea. It’s starting to look like Siemens skirted sanctions against Russia by using this company as an intermediary.

  • Janice Rogers Brown plans to retire from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which will give Donald Trump an important vacancy to fill.

  • Andrew A. Michta writes on the demise of the nation-state:

    There is an ever-expanding terminology generated to describe the current vortex engulfing the West—be it “illiberal democracy,” “populism,” or (from the extreme Left) “neo-fascism.” But all the terms are attempting to grapple with the same truth: The weakening of the consensus that the nation-state should remain paramount in world politics lies at the base of the deepening political crisis in Western democracies. Since patriotic civic education all but disappeared from American public schools as well as from Europe’s government school curricula, two generations of Western elites have been progressively unmoored from their cultural roots, often all but bereft of even a rudimentary sense of service to and responsibility for the nation as a whole. As fractured group identities and narratives of grievance began to replace a sense of patriotism and national pride, college educated elites across the West became ever-more self-referential in their pursuits, locked in an exercise of inward-looking collective expiation for the centuries of Western racism, discrimination, and “privilege”—all allegedly the hallmarks of the culture they have inherited, which they must redefine, or repudiate altogether.

    Later:

    The hypothesis that institutions ultimately trump culture has over the past quarter century morphed into an article of faith, alongside the fervently held belief that nationalism and democratic politics are at their core fundamentally incompatible. The decades-long assault on the very idea of national identity steeped in a shared culture and defined by a commitment to the preservation of the nation has left Western leadership frequently unable to articulate the fundamentals that bind us and that we thus must be prepared to defend. The deepening fight over the right of the central government to control the national border—which is at the core of the Western idea of the nation-state—is emblematic of this situation.

  • Iraqi forces claim they’re close to victory over ISIS in Mosul.

  • Voters in Mongolia elected a former martial arts star, Khaltmaa Battulga, as the country’s next president.