During the recent Australian election, the Labour Party ran on a very “progressive” platform of higher taxes, more public handouts, and a steep reduction in the nation’s carbon footprint. The polls said they had the election in the bag. And then, Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison led his party to victory. Now, the talking heads and scribblers can’t decide if the Australian voters are evil or stupid or both.
Climate change did work as an issue for the Left in some urban constituencies. A former Conservative prime minister lost his seat in the suburbs of Sydney to an independent candidate who campaigned on that issue. However, many deplorables, (for example, coal miners in rural Queensland) who had supported Labour switched sides when jobs were on the line.
The pundits are calling the Australian voters “dumb, mean-spirited, and greedy” “moron” who “rejected the big picture.” At least, they haven’t started claiming that the result was caused by Russian interference.
Brexit. Trump. Australia. The European Parliament election in the UK this week should be quite interesting.
The AP reports that the Trump/Kim summit in Hanoi has broken up early because of a failure to reach a deal.
Trump, in a news conference after the summit abruptly shut down early, blamed the breakdown on North Korea’s insistence that all punishing sanctions that the U.S. has imposed on Pyongyang be lifted without the country committing to eliminate its nuclear arsenal.
“Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump explained, adding that he had a proposed agreement that was “ready to be signed.”
“I’d much rather do it right than do it fast,” the president said. “We’re in position to do something very special.”
Part of the art of the deal is the ability to patiently get up from the table and walk away until the other side is able to give you what you need. Trump, like Reagan with Gorbachev in 1987, seems willing to use that negotiating option. I wish him luck.
The AP couldn’t resist inserting this into the middle of their story—
The breakdown denied Trump a much-needed victory amid growing domestic turmoil back home, including congressional testimony this week by his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who called Trump a “racist” and “conman” and claimed prior knowledge of foreign powers’ efforts to help Trump win in 2016.
If the imagined fallout for Cohen’s testimony was part of the calculus for either side in the negotiation, Trump’s apparent non-concern for it should work to his advantage by demonstrating a resolve not to let domestic U.S. issues adversely affect a nuclear deal.
It used to be said that America’s domestic politics stopped at the water’s edge. That doesn’t seem to be true today. Angelo M. Codevilla has a post over at America Greatness examining that failure in the context of the recent Helsinki summit and the event’s press conference.
This led to the final flourish. The Associated Press reporter demanded that Trump state whether he believes the opinions of U.S. intelligence leaders or those of Putin. It would be healthy for America were it to digest Trump’s answer: The truth about the charge that Russia stole the contents of the Democratic National Committee’s computer server is not to be found in the opinions of any persons whatever. The truth can be discovered only by examining the server in question—assuming it has not been tampered with since the alleged event. But, said Trump emphatically, those making the accusations against Russia have refused to let the server be examined by U.S. intelligence or by any independent experts. What is the point of accusations coupled with refusal of access to the facts of the matter?
The classic texts of diplomatic practice teach that diplomacy advances the cause of peace and order only to the extent that its practitioners avoid contentious opinions and stick to demonstrable facts.
The AP reporter, who should be ashamed, is beyond shame. Then again, so are the ruling class representatives who have redoubled their animus against Trump. Cheap partisanship is not all that harmful. It is the transfer of domestic partisan animus to international affairs, however, that has the potential to start wars.
Not so long ago, American school kids had to read George Washington’s farewell address, which warned in the most emphatic terms at his command to avoid that sort of thing for the sake of peace with other nations as well as among ourselves.
What that ignorant “journalist” was demanding of Trump—precisely what the credentialed experts should know better than to have demanded—was that the president of the United States scream at the president of Russia for all his evils. Competitive “virtue signaling” has become the way of political life in America. To the extent that it bleeds into America’s foreign policy, we are all in big trouble.
The post also has an interesting analysis of what the two leaders may have actually accomplished. Read the whole thing.
One of the great weaknesses of totalitarian governments (and government wannabes such as ISIS) is their tendency to think that free societies are run as theirs are.
One of the Nork’s diplomats has gone on record saying that President Trump has declared war on them. While Rocket Man has the authority to declare war, the President of the United States does not. According to Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 11 of the Constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war.
The President hasn’t and can’t declare war or North Korea. However, he does have the general authority to order our forces to act in self-defense. Further, if presented with a violation of the 1953 Korean armistice agreement, he probably has the authority to carry forward the UN police action prosecuted by Presidents Truman and (briefly) Eisenhower.
Huma Abedin used her unsecured private email account to make and discuss travel arrangements for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Washington Examiner reports that emails obtained by Judicial Watch show that
Abedin emailed colleagues that she was “on a packed train” but offered to discuss the details of a trip to Russia on a call.
Another email shows Abedin used her private account to select a hotel for Clinton on an upcoming trip to Hanoi.
Now, who would be interested in the travel plans of a U. S. cabinet officer?
After listening to sources such as the BBC and NPR talk about how tight the polls were in the Israeli elections, it was a pleasant surprise to wake up this morning and find stories like this and this.