We live in such interesting times.
- As Loomis pointed out, apparently we’re unhappy that the purchase of Greenland is going poorly? The Europeans will write off much of this nonsense as Trump being Trump, but the fact that someone like Trump can become POTUS has long term implications for how people think about the transatlantic alliance.
- I don’t think that Beijing is going Tiananmen-style on Hong Kong, but Orville Schell makes the case for concern. The PRC has a lot to lose from a violent crackdown in Hong Kong, not least any chance for peaceful reunification with Taiwan. But at some point the protests may simply become intolerable for Xi.
- FiveThirtyEight has a nice discussion of how the Democratic primary is shaping up in terms of foreign policy. Long story short, the candidates are speaking in significantly more anti-interventionist language than Obama. The rest is more of a mixed bag, with differences on China, North Korea, and Venezuela. Notably, no one who should be taken seriously is willing to consider moving the US embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv. [Ed. note: I have contributed to foreign policy conversations in the Sanders campaign]
- The US has tested a ground launched cruise missile (GLCM) that would have breached the now-defunct INF Treaty. As most of you know, I hold unsound views on the INF, arguing that it was a once-useful-but-now-obsolete treaty that needed to be clubbed to death. I’ll note that one of the talking points against breaching the Treaty was “but we don’t even have any systems in that class ready to go!” was always obvious, utter nonsense; both Russia and the United States had systems that could be modified to violate the treaty almost at will, with the Russians jumping the gun several times over the last few years.
- The US has approved the sale of 66 advanced F-16s to Taiwan. Sales of military technology to Taiwan are always a bit twitchy, not just because of the irritation it causes China (which even this administration remains sensitive to), but also because of concerns over the message being sent to Taipei, and long-term worries about what might happen to tech in the event of reunification.