North America

N Korea considers missile strike on Guam amid ‘mini nuke’ reports

KK2

orth Korea said on Aug. 9 that it is considering plans for a missile strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, just hours after President Donald Trump told the North that any threat to the United States would be met with “fire and fury.” GUAM/SEOUL – Reuters Hurriyet The tension comes at a time when the U.S. intelligence reportedly concludes that North Korea had made a breakthrough and could now build nuclear bombs small enough to fit on missiles. ... Read More »

North Korea is more rational than you think

Vaux 1a

The assumption that the country is run by a lunatic is not only incorrect — it’s dangerous. Updated by Zeeshan Aleem Vox Would North Korea really fire a nuclear weapon at the US? As belligerent rhetoric between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un escalates to new heights, it’s a question that many Americans are asking themselves with increasing levels of fear and anxiety. Attacking the US with a nuke would seem completely reckless, since it would almost certainly ... Read More »

Pruitt climate science challenge splits conservative allies

Strav 2b

There is concern the GOP and its policies will suffer if the EPA chief reopens a losing argument about whether global warming is real. Emily Holden Politico EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s attacks on mainstream climate science are causing discomfort in a surprising corner — among many of the conservative and industry groups that have cheered his efforts to dismantle Barack Obama’s environmental regulations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, political groups backed by the Koch brothers and the top lobbying organizations ... Read More »

Why Baltimore’s Cease-Fire Effort Wasn’t a Failure

Bul 1a

Baltimore’s grassroots effort was the unexpected flash of light in a long, dark tunnel of cyclic mayhem. Maggie Ybarra The National Interest Baltimore’s streets are pockmarked with tragic and violent incidents. Shootings, stabbings and other cruel crimes sparked by rage, retaliation and opportunity mar the street corners and buildings of the city. Sometimes deflated balloons tied to a streetlight are the only small sign that someone was loved and lost, but their memory never truly left behind. Sometimes city developers ... Read More »

Will China be a Factor in the Upcoming NAFTA Negotiations?

Peref 1a

Beijing is incentivizing Mexico City and others in Latin American to rethink their traditional trading relationships. Bill Bray Miyako Yerick The National Interest The first round of NAFTA renegotiations is set to take place in Washington, DC August 16–20 and one of the primary U.S. objectives is reducing its $63 billion trade deficit with Mexico. Mexico is in a position to drive a harder bargain than many would think, however. Unlike thirty years ago, Mexico today can leverage China’s growing foreign direct ... Read More »

Anti-Semitic Academics: Where is the Outrage Against Turkey?

Udes 1a

In Turkey, academics are currently at the mercy of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who demands their compliance and threatens dissenters. A.J. Caschetta Gatestone Institute After last July’s failed coup (for which Erdogan blamed an American scholar), a series of emergency decrees have specifically targeted Turkish academia. One would think this assault would raise ire from the ivory towers, but as Turkey slides deeper into totalitarianism, academia yawns. The failure of many professors to stand up vigorously and publicly for what they ... Read More »

The leaked transcript of Turnbull’s call with Trump shows him at his worst

Joo 4d

Turnbull’s government has called refugees “illegal” and treats them as criminals. It is a lie on which the Coalition has made itself popular. Julian Burnside * The Guardian * Julian Burnside is an Australian barrister and refugee advocate About a week after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president of the United States, he had a phone conversation with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. The call focused on the deal earlier done with the Obama administration, under which the US would take a ... Read More »

GOP clash looms over raising the debt ceiling

Kaur 4d

Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are planning to push for a hike without accompanying spending cuts — a position at odds with GOP orthodoxy. SEUNG MIN KIM and RACHAEL BADE Politico Republican congressional leaders are quietly preparing to pass a “clean” debt ceiling increase, according to multiple senior GOP sources — setting the stage for a high-risk showdown with rank-and-file Republicans this… Trump administration officials, led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, are imploring Congress to raise the $19.8 trillion debt limit with ... Read More »

Imagining Russia post-Putin

Paust 2b

On July 21, Vladimir Putin was asked at an audience with schoolchildren what he will do when he retires. He replied, “I haven’t decided yet if I will leave the presidency.” Peter Rutland The Conversation While everyone is obsessed with following the twists and turns of the ties between Putin and President Trump, it is important to bear in mind that the relationship between the two countries will long outlast these two men. Putin will run again in the March ... Read More »

Australia’s Prime Minister Slowly Realizes Trump Is a Complete Idiot

Trump Turnbull 1a Getty Images LLLL

The transcript of Donald Trump’s discussion with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull obtained by the Washington Post reveals many things, but the most significant may be that Trump in his private negotiations is every bit as mentally limited as… Jonathan Chait New York At issue in the conversation is a deal to settle 1,250 refugees who have been detained by Australia in the United States. I did not pay any attention to the details of this agreement before reading the transcript. By the ... Read More »

North Korea’s new ICBMs change little about threat to the US

Letl 2b

Pyongyang’s development of a missile capable of reaching most of the continental US is not a game-changer that everyday citizens should worry about. ROBERT E. MCCOY Asia Times North Korea’s launch of an ICBM (inter-continental ballistic missile) in early July, followed by another even longer-range missile 24 days later, has generated a lot of buzz. While the detailed analyses of those launches have yet to be published, we do know that both missiles are clearly of a class whose range is at least 3,400 ... Read More »

Germany Urges EU Retaliation Over US Sanctions on Russia

Sayv 7g

Economy Minister: US Sanctions a Violation of International Law In comments today, German Economic Minister Brigitte Zypries declared the latest round of US sanctions against Russia a violation of international law, pushing for the European Union to retaliate against the US to protect its economic interests. Jason Ditz Antiwar Several European nations, but particularly Germany, have been concerned with the wording of the latest US sanctions, which intend to target foreign investment in Russia’s energy industry. Germany, and indeed much ... Read More »

The Week Donald Trump Lost the South China Sea

HONG KONG - JULY 07:  China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning aircraft carrier arrives on July 7, 2017 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, made a five-day port call in Hong Kong over the weekend to mark its 20th anniversary of the city's handover to Chinese rule. The military allowed 2,000 Hong Kongers aboard the only in-operation aircraft carrier of China for the first time as its been reported the presence of the carrier is a show of military force in Hong Kong, days after China President Xi Jinping warned the city against independence forces.  (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

Vietnam’s capitulation shows China’s neighbors fear the U.S. no longer has their backs Bill Hayton Foreign Policy Vietnam’s history is full of heroic tales of resistance to China. But this month Hanoi bent the knee to Beijing, humiliated in a contest over who controls the South China Sea, the most disputed waterway in the world. Hanoi has been looking to Washington for implicit backing to see off Beijing’s threats. At the same time, the Trump administration demonstrated that it either ... Read More »

Will Joe Biden take on Donald Trump in 2020 in one last bid for the White House?

Joe Biden 1a AP LLLL

Rehoboth Beach: The new house is on the edge of Cape Henlopen State Park, just north of the boardwalk: three stories, six bedrooms, three fireplaces and an expansive view of the Atlantic Ocean. Roxanne Roberts Washington Post The Canberra Times The new owners are Joe and Jill Biden, rich for the first time in their lives, thanks to a three-book publishing deal – two by him, one by her – that allowed them to purchase the $2.5 million holiday home in ... Read More »

Fossil Fuels Are Powering Trump’s Foreign Policy

Ufr 7g

The president is remarkably consistent when it comes to pushing coal, oil, and gas on foreign leaders. Michael T. Klare The Nation Who says President Trump doesn’t have a coherent foreign policy? Pundits and critics across the political spectrum have chided him for failing to articulate and implement a clear international agenda. Look closely at his overseas endeavors, though, and one all-too-consistent pattern emerges: Donald Trump will do whatever it takes to prolong the reign of fossil fuels by sabotaging ... Read More »

The Final Humiliation of Reince Priebus

Hume 1a

Like his party, the former White House chief of staff swallowed his principles in the name of power. He was repaid in savage indignity. Molly Ball The Atlantic Six years ago, a humble party hack from Kenosha, Wisconsin, took on the thankless job of turning around the Republican Party. As he exits the White House—battered, bruised, and humiliated—Reince Priebus argues he accomplished just what he set out to do. “We won,” Priebus told me in an interview. Calling from the ... Read More »