Tuesday, March 20, 2018

European intelligence on North Korea ups the ante on the nuke threat

The prospect of a helpful meeting with North Korea may have dwindled in the past 48 hours, according to a dim report on Vox by Alex Ward, “The past 48 Hours, in rising US-North Korean relations, explained 
German intelligence claims that Kim Jong Un can hit central western Europe with nukes now (not sure about the re-entry or EMP questions).  So the US remains drawn back into that “entangling alliance” (NATO) that Trump wants to drop. The US is going to resume modest exercises off the Korean coasts, and South Korea is going to beef up its conventional artillery defense big=time. 
Is this what CBS means by “48 Hours”?   

Monday, March 12, 2018

Erdogan and journlists

The Washington Post notes well in an editorial Monday morning how badly Turkey has deteriorated from a moderate Muslim “democracy” to dictatorship under Tayyip Erdogan, whom Donald Trump admires.  Now journalists are jailed for single tweets.

Erdogan’s crackdown on speech may well be explained by the attempted coup in 2016, which makes the threat to his power seem existential, rather than just a moral theory that says “act, don’t watch”. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

More details on what happens when an asylum seeker loses a case

Jason Dzubow has shared both parts of his detailed discussion of what happens when an (affirmative) asylum case is denied, here
Even with all the recent changes wrought by the Trump administration, there are multiple possible steps of appeal and delay after losing a case.  The devil is in the details.
I have asked him and other attorneys about the potential responsibilities of hosts, and no one seems t have an answer.  It is pretty much “don’t ask don’t tell”.  Just like a landlord normally doesn’t have to continually check on immigration status.  However, if deportation proceedings have started, it would sound plausible that a host could be held for succoring an undocumented person if the host knew, US 1324.

Update: March 14

CNN has a brief report on church members that shelter undocumented immigrants facing deportation, and a pastor is asked about violating the law and risking prosecution himself.  ICE quotes the statute but says it does not enter places of faith, 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Suddenly Kom Jong Un offers to meet with Trump

I’ve already reported this on Wordpress today, but “Vox explains” Kim Jong Un’s brunch invitation to Donald Trump, made through South Korea, by May, here
The sanctions stay and it sounds like they area serious about denuclearization of “the peninsula”.

American presence and some exercises continue, until the talks.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Seoul brokers talks with North Korea where DPRK might blink a little on nukes

Maybe private brinkmanship in coffee shops and even gay bars actually works. 

Seoul has indicated that North Korea is willing to talk to the US and at least suspend nuclear weapons and missile tests during the talks.  Has North Korea blinked? 

Will Ripley, the attractive young correspondent who made a film for CNN “Inside the Secret State” where he very personably talked to many North Koreans, is still skeptical in his commentary in the video at this link. North Korea is likely to demand that the US substantially reduce its military presence in the Korea area as the price of backing off on nuclear weapons, putting Trump into a psychologically difficult position. 

Of course, there is still the question about how ethnic Korean unification (which Amy Chua has hinted at) makes sense, given the expropriation that would happen.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Trump's admiration of virility in office (sorry. president for life Xi Jingping is 'thmooth')

Libertarians used to work for US Term Limits twenty years ago.  So what do we make of Xi Jinping’s declaring himself president of China for life? And head of the Communist (really peope’s capitalist) party for life?
Is it Machiavellin?  Rather like that of a cat watching a household?  The National Interest weighs in here
China, as I noted on another blog, is trying to go after criticism published outside its borders. 
China is also developing a social credit scoring system for all citizens, based on the idea of “personal rightsizing”.
China, as Wikipedia notes, is indeed a very unary state.
And will China really help us with North Korea? China is not your friend, as Trump used to say. Yet Trump seemed to admire what Jingping just did.  He has a fetish for “strongmen”.  Maybe it’s erotic to see them brought low later.
Wikipedia attribution link for China picture of Shanghai-Lujiazui, apparently CCSA 3.0 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Pompeo of CIA seems to be warning US civilians about North Korea in CNN prompts today -- you could be at personal risk in a few more months

CNN ran banners today regarding the latest intelligence on North Korea.  North Korea continues to improve all its nuclear technology components and could present a personal nuclear threat to American civilians in the homeland in a matter of months.  The closest story to this effect seems to be Independent UK on Jan. 30, link.
Trump’s relationship with his own intelligence services has been controversial.
Pompeo has also talked about the domino or decoupling theories saying that Un could use US civilians as pawns in blackmailing the US out of protecting South Korea, and that he may not get credible intelligence from his own advisors..  The idea of an arsenal of missiles is scary.  And there is EMP also.
The biggest test could come if North Korea launches a long range missile test into the Pacific to see if the US will shoot it down.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Putin announces some new super weapons and missiles that can evade missile defenses

In anticipation of an election that Putin expects to win easily, Putin announced the perfection of some weapons:  a supersonic missile that nothing can shoot down, new submarine launch capabilities, and a dirty bomb capability that can contaminate whole countries for generations. BBC has a typical story

Pundits say that Putin is motivated to say this by the election.

But the obvious danger is that some of this could fall into the hands of a North Korea.
During the Cold War, the Soviets did develop thermonuclear weapons larger than the US had, may have tested one or two of them in Siberia. 

Putin might have felt motivated to announce the missiles partly by the insistence by conservative bloggers (including me) that the Trump administration focus more on missile defense as part of his North Korea strategy.
There are other reports that North Korea has helped the Assad regime with chemical weapons supplies, as there has been new carnage in Syria in recent days.  North Korea is also said to be cheating the newest sanctions somewhat with bitcoin.
And Trump is said to be a “Wuss” on Russia. 

But at a press briefing today, Sarah Sanders, why acknowledging the report, denied that the US couldn't defend itself. 


Will Ripley shares this CNN report on Twitter was to where Trump will draw a red line.  There is talk of whether the sacrifice of civilian lives is "worth it" but later the article becomes less threatening in tone. Mattis does not believe that the Nov. 28 H-15 test proved as much as the DPRK claims.  But, if you connect the dots, you can see a credible risk that North Korea could launch an E-1 level EMP on parts of the US before it is capable of a nuclear strike on the ground.