Tag: foreign relations

Iran Nuclear Deal

Reality Check 1: Trump is not able to pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran. Only Congress can do that. Only Congress has treaty power. It’s in the Constitution and is also how it works in practice. They have 60 days to decide whether to stay in, which I think most adults would acknowledge is a good idea, including the many many congressional incumbents who are the ones who signed the deal in the first place. Also, the head of the senate foreign relations committee is Bob Corker and if you don’t know why that’s significant, search his name it’s fun.

Reality Check 2: National media needs to stop cutting to live Trump press conferences. He just makes stuff up. It’s not news. It’s like cutting to a puppet show, but a scary puppet show. C-SPAN can air all of it live and unedited because that’s their thing. The rest of you, come on.

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Angela and Hillary, Sitting in a Tree

Normally, I say “look beyond the personalities; look at the issues,” but given Trump’s instinctual style, this newly invented feud with Germany looks an awful lot like an attempt to go after Angela Merkel—an experienced female political centrist with a global outlook who sometimes wears a familiar-looking blue pantsuit. I think there’s some misogynist transferrence going on, and I don’t think it’s mine.

Would not be surprised if Trump starts saying “crooked Germany” out of nostalgia.

By the way, you’ve probably missed this (well done, you), but the idea that Hillary and Angela are lesbian lovers running a sinister liberal conspiracy has been much explored by both Breitbart and Russian propaganda mills (explicit propaganda, not state-run news) over the last few years, so I’m guessing that will turn up again, too. Because women can’t be friends, or admire each other, apparently. Women and men can’t be friends, but also women can’t be friends. Too catty. Lock them in towers is what I say.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing


Maria says: For reals. He’s got a beef with women in power. Let’s not forget his bizarre reception of Merkel after his inauguration. Nevermind that she’s held her tongue about him for four months. He’s made it clear that our U.S. allies are his enemies.


Rebecca says: Jesus Howard Christ. The same Breitbart that claimed Colbert was being homophobic? You don’t get to have it both ways.


Rosi says: Yep, and powerful women are always lesbians… *eye roll*

Maria: I’d tap that.

Romie: Yeah, it is kind of a lovely idea. I hate Breitbart both for sexualizing something that’s not sexual, AND for assuming I’d be upset by such a couple, when holy cow. I dream of being an Angela Merkel in a romantic relationship with a Hillary Clinton.


Jeff says: Angela Merkel earned a doctorate in physical chemistry, one of the most difficult subjects to understand. She’s brilliant, and insecure men sadly often have a problem with brilliant women.

Popular Mechanics explains the status of North Korea’s nukes

Popular Mechanics comes through with a rundown of whether we should be taking North Korea’s recent threats seriously, the ways they are and aren’t different than previous decades of North Korean threats, and how we know what we know about their missile program. The short version: North Korea’s nuclear program is probably about where France’s was in the 1960s, and might be two years away from being able to hit the west coast of the U.S. with something small.

That’s not to say they necessarily would, but it changes the calculus — and not only for us. As aerospace engineer John Schilling puts it:

Most every credible war plan against North Korea, offensive or defensive, hinges on the alliance of the United States, South Korea, and Japan (even if the Japanese don’t contribute combat forces, their ports and airbases are critical for logistical support). Right now, North Korea can directly threaten South Korea and Japan with nuclear attack, but the United States can stand back at a safe distance and promise massive retaliation against the North at essentially no cost or risk. With ICBMs as well as shorter-ranged missiles, North Korea can separately deter each member of the alliance, and cause each member of the alliance to doubt the commitment of the others. Would the United States really risk San Francisco to avenge Tokyo?

Coupled with a bit of diplomacy, this could enable North Korea to break one or two partners loose from the alliance on the grounds that their cities are at risk in a fight that maybe isn’t their top priority, and so stop a war that would otherwise topple the North Korean regime.

That may explain, to some extent, why China is starting to apply pressure on North Korea. China’s not part of that Japan-S.Korea-U.S. defense alliance, but the stability of that partnership has been good for the region.

Refugee Renegotiation

Excerpt from the January 27 press release by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA, member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee):

“as conflict and war force millions around the world from their homeland, the United States should welcome more refugees, not less.”

Agreed. If we’re going to renegotiate this whole thing, the choice isn’t between what we compromised on already and zero. If this is on the table again, it’s on the table again. I want more.