Tag Archives: Pakistan

News Roundup – Scott Brown, ISIS / ISIL, Syria

Scott Brown was known for decisive action when he was in the Senate. He’s now running for Senate, again, in New Hampshire. This time he understands the Islamic threat. He is not confused. He is serious, very serious (if he says so).

Last night the US struck targets in Syria. We have a coalition. At least that is what we are being told. I have no idea if this is true or not. Obama said, “The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone… Above all, the people and governments of the Middle East are rejecting ISIL (ISIS), and standing up for the peace and security that the people of the region and the world deserve.”

F-22 Raptor flew some of the bombing missions. This makes the first time that the F-22 has been flown in combat. I’m surprised. The F-22 has been around for awhile. I thought that it flew missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was wrong.

I understand the threat of ISIS / ISIL. I didn’t really understand… Well, to be honest, I had never heard of Khorasan. This is reportedly a militant group that was associated with Al Qaeda somehow. They were some type of growing threat and we took them or some portion of them out with missile strikes. From WSJ – U.S. officials have viewed Khorasan with growing alarm in recent weeks and some have said it would be irresponsible to strike in Syria and not take aim at an al Qaeda affiliate long considered to be dangerous to the U.S. and its allies. Islamic State militants are seen as primarily focused on taking and holding territory in Iraq and Syria, with attacks on the U.S. representing a secondary goal. It severed its ties with al Qaeda’s leadership in Pakistan.

I don’t really understand the deal surrounding the White House fence jumper. So, we were first told that this was some harmless knucklehead. Then we find out that Omar Gonzalez was stopped earlier this summer with rifles, 4 handguns and ammunition. Now we are told the Secret Service had a major security breach. Gonzalez had over 800 rounds of ammo in his car. This guy jumped the fence and sprinted into the north entrance of the White House. From what I understand he did get inside before being tackled. What if he had a bomb strapped to him? Secret Service studied this 20 years ago. It looks like they did nothing to fix the problem. Omar Gonzalez is a Vet. I hope that he gets the help that he needs. Continue reading News Roundup – Scott Brown, ISIS / ISIL, Syria

The United States and North Korea — part two (the Bush years)

A few years ago, I wrote this post on North Korea. I was trying to understand what was going on in North Korea and how our response was causing a negative or positive feedback. Because North Korea has strategically jumped back into the limelight, I thought was worth reviewing what I knew or at least what I thought I knew about North Korea. It looks like I hit the nail on the head.

north koreans marching
North Korea

I highly recommend that you read yesterday’s post on North Korea. I looked at North Korea’s history of nuclear interest dating back to late 1950s and early 1960s.

To use a football metaphor, I’m not going to tell you that the Clinton administration had taken a football (North Korea’s nuclear issues) down to the two-yard line and all the Bush administration had to do was to carry the ball over the goal line. President George Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary Colin Powell needed to do much more than that. In retrospect, Bush was ill-prepared for North Korea. I have no idea how much he was briefed. I have no idea if alternative viewpoints (outside of the neoconservative line of thinking) were presented to the president. (Here’s a North Korean timeline.)

In my opinion, foreign policy is like three-dimensional chess. There are lots of moving pieces. You need to be very smart and very prepared in order to anticipate your opponent’s move. In foreign policy you are playing multiple opponents at the same time.

As far as I know, there were no high-level discussions about how to approach the North Koreans when President Bush announced to the South Korean president that he was unclear if North Korea was holding up their end of the bargain (the Agreed Framework). He basically stated that North Koreans were liars and cheats and could not be trusted. “We’re not certain as to whether or not they’re keeping all the terms of all agreements.” (NYT) While such a provocative statement would not get a second look in downtown Baltimore, in the world of diplomacy it was a slap in the face. The big question is, if the United States were to break off discussions with North Korea, which was a basic tenet of the “Agreed Framework,” then what? What leverage did we have against a country that is already isolated? Was it possible that we could squeeze China or Russia in order to use their leverage against North Korea? None of this had been discussed prior to Bush’s statement. At least, not to the best of my knowledge. This all happened in early March of 2001. By September of 2001, we were focused on Afghanistan and some in the Bush administration had already begun to focus on Iraq. Continue reading The United States and North Korea — part two (the Bush years)

Labor Day News Roundup

Many of us are not able to camp outdoor cookout today because of heavy rains. The rains are welcome.

These rains are helping the swamp fires in southern Louisiana.

The EU and NATO believe that we are safer 10 years after 9/11. I think they’re probably right.

New survey shows that almost 70% of Americans believe that we’re in a serious to moderate recession. This should be no surprise. With tens of millions of Americans either unemployed or underemployed and the economy stuck in neutral Americans are feeling the squeeze.

The New York Stock Exchange is closed today but stocks opened much lower in Europe.

Pakistan and America are trying to make nice.

The Washington Post has published the five myths of 9/11. Take a look. See what you think. #5 is that US civil liberties were decimated after the attacks. I think this point is somewhat questionable. I think there’s no doubt that we’ve given up some freedom, everywhere from more invasive screening at airports to warrantless wiretaps. Have these government powers been abused? Have we, the American citizens, suffered? Only time will tell.

Conservatives decided that the failure of that solar plant that the Obama administration had so publicly supported means that it is time to jump on the anti-solar power bandwagon, again. Some in the conservative media have even pushed the idea that solar power doesn’t work. Moronic. (How conservatives decided to embrace nuclear power but shun solar power?)

I simply don’t understand how anybody can embrace more corporate tax cuts. Corporations, major corporations, are sitting on billions of dollars in profits. Some still believe, though, that if we give these corporations even more money that will somehow make them decide to stop hiring people overseas and begin to hire Americans here at home. The idea is complete nonsense.

Sarah Palin believes that the Tea Party is winning. Winning what exactly? The Tea Party is more unpopular than ever.

On Labor Day, let’s take a quick look at Labor. Labor seems to be working harder and getting less. From the BLS report – In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $23.09. Decrease? We need an increase in take home pay. Period. Any decrease has to be seen as a huge setback. We as a labor force, are already behind the 8-ball.

Post Office is running into a money crush. To be honest and nonpartisan for just a second, I have no idea how the post office stays open. I receive most of my bills via e-mail. I pay most of my bills via e-mail/Internet. I can’t be the only one who’s doing this. This must account for a huge decrease in volume in US mail. Has the US Post Office made adjustments with service? Have they streamlined? Are they more efficient in this more competitive environment?

Finally, from the Associated Press – Today in History: