Links for 3-8-2018

  • Donald Trump will meet Kim Jong Un by May. Michael Rubin warns that talks may signal war, not peace:

    Make no mistake: North Korea’s offer warrants not hope but caution. Dictator Kim Jong Un’s move comes straight out of the rogue-regime playbook: Offer peace to distract from preparations for war. That it repeatedly works reflects the naiveté of Western officials, for whom history begins anew with every administration.

    The simple fact is this: While Americans (and South Koreans) often view engagement as a tool of conflict resolution, North Korea’s regime and its Chinese sponsors see diplomacy as an asymmetric warfare strategy with which to tie opponents’ hands while they seize strategic advantage.


    Pyongyang couples provocation with outreach. In 1969, just a day after offering talks, North Korea shot down an unarmed US plane over the Sea of Japan, killing 31. Talks resumed. Four days later, North Korean forces shot down an American helicopter.


    During the Reagan era, Chinese diplomats told their US counterparts North Korea wanted talks. The very next day, North Korean agents set off a bomb in Burma designed to murder much of South Korea’s visiting leadership.

  • Donald Trump signed off on his steel and aluminum tariffs, and offered Canada and Mexico a carve-out while they renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

  • John Daniel Davidson toured the Rio Grande sector of the U.S./Mexico border and has stories to tell:

    Four years ago, at the height of the crisis, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, established a respite center in downtown McAllen. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was overwhelmed with thousands of children and teenagers turning themselves in to Border Patrol agents at ports of entry and elsewhere along the border, so the diocese began providing food and shelter for the minors and families. Catholic Charities initially set up its respite center in auxiliary church buildings at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in downtown McAllen.

    But it soon became clear that large numbers of families and minors were going to keep coming, and the diocese decided it needed a permanent location for the center. Today, it occupies one half of a modest commercial building about a mile from the church, and consists of a large multipurpose room, bathroom and shower facilities, a small kitchen and dining area, and a play area for young children. A half-dozen full-time staff and about 50 volunteers run the place seven days a week, 365 days a year. Since its founding four years ago, more than 100,000 migrants, most of them from Central America, have passed through there. Because the flow of migrants over the border never stops, ICE and CBP never stop, and the respite center never stops.


    Technically, all these families are seeking asylum, and because they’re family units travelling with minors, ICE releases them after a day or two with orders to appear at an asylum hearing in whatever part of the country they’re trying to get to. (That’s not the case in some sectors, where parents are reportedly separated from their children on purpose.) The adults are fitted with electronic ankle monitors, which will confine them to a 75-mile radius of wherever they tell ICE is their final destination. But once they get where they’re going, most of them cut the thing off and throw it away. Many do not even bother showing up at their asylum hearings for the simple reason that they have no legitimate claims to asylum. Yes, they come from impoverished countries with a decaying social order. And yes, these places are violent. But most of these people simply come to the United States to work, and you don’t get asylum for that.

  • A Turkish court sentenced 25 journalists to prison terms because they worked for publications the government claims are tied to Fethullah Gulen.

  • Japan wants to build a new fighter jet based on an existing Western design. Japan’s last domestically produced fighter, the F–2, was based on the F–16.

  • A Chinese Communist Party boss from Qinghai claims people in his province view President Xi Jingping as a Bodhisattva, a living deity.

  • Remy’s “I Like It, I Love It”:

Links for 3-2-2018

Links for 2-13-2018

Links for 2-5-2018

Links for 2-1-2018

  • Andrew McCarthy writes on the FBI’s objections to the release of Devin Nunes’ memo:

    Since before the Republican-led committee voted (along partisan lines) to seek the memo’s declassification and publication, the FBI has been complaining that it was not permitted to review the memo. As I explained last week, this was a very unpersuasive complaint. Having stonewalled the committee’s information requests for several months, the Bureau and Justice Department are hardly well positioned to complain about being denied access; the committee, by contrast, has every reason to believe they would have slow-walked any review in order to delay matters further.

    All that aside, the FBI was guaranteed access to the memo before its publication because of the rules of the process. Once the committee voted to disclose, that gave the president five days to object. During that five days, Trump’s own appointees at the FBI and DOJ would have the chance to pore over the memo and make their objections and policy arguments to their principal, the president, and to the rest of the Trump national-security team. This tells us the real objection was not that they were barred from reviewing the memo; it is that they were barred from reviewing it on a schedule that would make it more difficult to derail publication.

    Angelo Codevilla offers a more partisan take:

    The FBI’s top leadership — whose careers, business dealings, politics, marriages and extramarital affairs intertwine — invested itself incompetently and illegally into the 2016 election campaign against Donald Trump. In part to cover itself, it launched the so-called “Russia probe.” Its members are personally, deeply interested in keeping the public from seeing the documents concerning these activities. They raised the familiar shield: release would compromise the sources and methods of national security.

    The House of Representatives’ Republican majority wanted the documents made public, issued a subpoena for them, and was prepared to jail senior FBI for contempt had they not complied with it. The House compromised, being satisfied by viewing them and making a summary, which it has voted to make public. The FBI and the Justice Department’s bureaucracy, being out of options for saving their reputations, their pensions, and perhaps for keeping themselves out of jail, urge President Trump to advise the House to guard the secrecy of the summary, of the activities that it describes, and hence to save their bacon.

  • The U.S. Marine Corps relieved the commander of one of Okinawa’s two MF–22 Osprey squadrons of duty. Lt. Col. Bryan Swenson lost his job due to a “loss of trust and confidence in his ability to lead his command.” Six months ago an Osprey crashed off Okinawa’s coast.

  • Fourteen Catholic senators voted against cloture for the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” a.k.a. the 20 week abortion ban. Father Dwight Longenecker provides the name of each senator’s bishop so you know who to complain to.

  • The Trump administration designated Harakat as-Sabirin Li-Nasran Filastin as a terrorist group. As-Sabirin is a Shiite group that operates in Gaza and is funded by Iran. The Trump administration also designated two Muslim Brotherhood offshoots in Egypt as terrorist groups — Harakat Sawa’id Misr and Liwa al-Thawra.

  • The Syrian government reportedly used chlorine rockets again in Douma.

  • Reuters provided some backstory for Ji Seong-ho, the North Korean defector who appeared at Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech this week.

  • A cybersecurity company based in the United Arab Emirates, DarkMatter, started revealing some information about its operations and customers. DarkMatter is tight with the UAE’s government, and hires a lot of ex-CIA and ex-NSA people.

Links for 1-28-2018

Links for 1-22-2018