Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

UNITED NATIONS ATTEMPT TO CONTROL BUSINESS

January 7, 2018

In 1974, during the Cold War, when the United Nations (UN) was influenced by the Soviet Union, its satellites and Third World totalitarian regimes the attempt was made to control global business. The Commission on Transnational Corporations was created to formulate a ”code of conduct” for these corporations. The Swedish social democratic government was in the forefront to support the work of the Commission. The ”code of conduct” work was even led for a while (1976 – 1982) by a Swede, Sten Niklasson (b. 1939).

Fortunately for the global economy the nations represented in the Commission failed to agree for many, many years. It was not until the year before the Soviet empire began to collapse (1988) that a a code was presented in draft. It contained 72 lengthy paragraphs and the Commission wanted to assume the functions of an international institutional machinery to implement the code (the draft had a number of sections: first General, then Economic, Financial, and Social, and Treatment of Transnational Corporations, finally Inter-governmental Co-Operation and Implementation). After 20 years (1994) the commission still exists. But the failure to adopt the code led to the commission being transferred from the Economic and Social Council of the UN and buried in the Trade and Development Board.

Now the United Nations tried a new approach. In 1999 Kofi Annan at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, offered The Global Compact for business covering the fields of human rights, labor standards and environmental practice in nine principles. The response, however, from world business has been muted. Only one comment was published, from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). In this comment 1999 was pointed out that The Global Compact of the United Nations lacked a tenth or fourth set of principles, the economic responsibility incumbent upon every company to its customers, to its employees and to its shareholders. Without this principle no business could function.

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IRAN PROTESTS A WARNING TO BEIJING?

January 5, 2018

Fox News on December 31, 2017, published a commentary on the Iran protests against the Islamist tyranny by Christian Whiton. Excerpts below:

Protesters took the streets in more than a half-dozen cities in Iran for a second day [at the end of 2017] risking their lives to challenge the Islamist tyranny that has prevailed in the country since 1979, when it held American diplomats hostage.

The protests began as demonstrations against austere economic conditions but have now grown to express general opposition to the Islamist government.

…we…see spontaneous protesters crying “death to the dictator” and “death to Rouhani,” referring to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Protests have even spread to Qom, the intellectual heartland of the 1979 Islamist revolution and the onetime base of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini when he successfully worked to destroy Iran’s secular government before 1979.

The last widespread and sustained protests in Iran occurred in 2009, after fraudulent elections. At the time, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shamefully sat on their hands, saying and doing nothing to support the protesters.

…Lech Walesa, the leader of the Solidarity movement that challenged and eventually brought down communism in Poland in the 1980s, credited President Ronald Reagan’s unabashed support for the movement’s success.

Elsewhere in the Soviet bloc, a dissident named Natan Sharansky was rotting in a Russian prison when he and his fellow prisoners heard that President Reagan had referred to the Soviet Union as an evil empire destined for the ash heap of history.

Sharansky later remarked: “For us, that was the moment that really marked the end for them, and the beginning for us. The lie had been exposed and could never, ever be untold now.”
Clearly, the moral support of the American president can make a big difference in influencing political outcomes abroad.

If President Trump acts now he will not just be engaging in an act of idealism, but working in a pragmatic way against our Iranian adversaries.

Christian Whiton is a senior fellow for strategy and public diplomacy at the Center for the National Interest and the author of “Smart Power: Between Diplomacy and War.”

Comment: Iran is one of the challengers to the West on what Sir Halford Mackinder termed World Island (Europe, Asia, Africa). Any weakening of the regime in Teheran is welcome news. One can only hope that the protests in Iran are the beginning of the end of oppression in a country that openly threatens to destroy Israel.

PRESSURE OF THE PEOPLE THREATENS LEADING REGIME IN THE MIDDLE EAST CHALLENGING THE WEST

December 31, 2017

Fox News on December 31, 2017, Fox News published a commentary on the ongoing protests against the Iranian regime. Excerpts below:

President Trump should take decisive action in 2018 to support the ouster of the virulently anti-American theocracy that has ruled Iran with an iron fist and threatened its neighbors for the past four decades.

The president’s first step should be to throw American support behind the brave anti-government protesters who have taken to the streets in mass demonstrations across the Islamic Republic since [October 28, 2017].

President Trump himself used his Twitter account to condemn the arrest of protesters in Iran, writing…: “Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching!”

The United States should next impose crippling economic sanctions targeting key institutions that act as a lifeline for the Iranian regime, in particular the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The U.S. should also make it clear that Iran will face serious consequences if protesters are suppressed violently.

As a political gesture, the Trump administration should also formally recognize the Iranian people’s right to regime change and the legitimacy of the organized resistance that is pursuing this goal.
The latest nationwide demonstrations are indicative of fierce discontent and growing frustration with the Iranian regime’s corruption, incompetence and badly misplaced priorities.

With slogans like “Death to the dictator, death to Rouhani,” and “Leave Syria alone; think about us instead,” – referring to Iran’s unpopular military intervention to prop up Syrian dictator Bashar Assad – protestors have demonstrated their frustration with the endemic culture of corruption in Iran.

Slogans targeting the Iranian regime’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, show that resentment is giving way to anger and that the regime is more vulnerable to losing the consent of the governed than many Western analysts may have thought.

Unfortunately, America and its allies have pursued relations with so-called Iranian moderates since long before President Rouhani emerged as a player in contemporary Iranian politics. The result has only been a worsening situation for Western interests and also for the beleaguered people of Iran.

But American officials have put the U.S. relationship with opposition forces at risk time and again by pursuing back channel deals with Iran’s clerical rulers, while ignoring the voices of the Iranian people.

Each new protest against the rulers of Iran represents an opportunity to use the people’s resentment as leverage against the regime.

To its credit, the Trump administration has taken preliminary steps in the right direction by imposing comprehensive sanctions on the Revolutionary Guards, a leading perpetrator of domestic crackdowns and international terrorism.

The opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran and its leading constituent group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), are mobilized to safeguard the people’s rights in the Islamic Republic.

If the U.S. provides strong support to anti-regime forces in Iran, America will have the opportunity to strike a fatal blow against a dangerous and tyrannical government by leveraging the discontent on the Iranian street and closing ranks with those seeking to topple the regime.

President Trump should follow this course in 2018.

IRAN’S IMPERIAL PROJECT – A CHALLENGE TO THE WEST

December 2, 2017

Washington Times on November 20, 2017, published a commentary by Ilan Berman, a leading US foreign policy expert on what is actually the main political problem in the Middle East. Excerpts below:

Iran is on the march in the Middle East.

…accounts out of Iraq, Lebanon and beyond has pointed to an inescapable conclusion: Iran is erecting a new empire in the region.

Already three years ago, the contours of Iran’s regional ambitions were coming into focus. With the seizure of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, by the country’s Iranian-supported Houthi rebels in the fall of 2014, the Islamic Republic of Iran could effectively claim control of four Arab regional capitals (including Beirut, Damascus and Baghdad).

Since then, Tehran’s grip on those territories has only tightened. In Syria, Iran’s strategic footprint has expanded steadily, to the point at which Tehran is now reportedly planning a permanent military presence in the country as part of its partnership with the regime of Bashar Assad.

In Lebanon, working via its chief terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, the Islamic republic has become…dominant in national politics…

Meanwhile in Iraq, Iran’s support for the hashd al-shaabi, the powerful Shiite militias that now dominate the country’s Ministry of Interior, has made it a key stakeholder in (and the most likely winner of) the country’s national elections next year.

And in Yemen, the expanding power of the Houthis, and the threat that they pose to neighboring Saudi Arabia as well as to American forces in the Gulf, has had everything to do with growing political and military support from Tehran.

…Iran’s imperial project is now accelerating in at least two ways.

First, mounting evidence from the Syrian theater indicates that Iran has succeeded in deploying a formidable expeditionary force of fighters there. Historically, Iran’s clerical army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has served as the regime’s dedicated foreign legion. But the Syrian civil war has provided Iranian officials with an opportunity to marshal a supplemental cadre of irregular fighters and “volunteers,” drawn from Iraq’s Shiite militias as well as places like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.

The result is a secondary Iranian proxy force that, according to some estimates, could number as many as 200,000 men under arms, and which can be deployed by Tehran to other theaters in the future, once the war in Syria dies down.

Second, Iran has succeeded in establishing resupply routes to funnel both personnel and materiel to the Levant….Iran’s growing control over Iraq via the Hashd al-Shaabi has created a land corridor that provides a direct transport link into Syria for Iranian forces and arms. This has been supplemented by an “air bridge” of flights spearheaded by Iran’s national air carrier, Iran Air, which has helped to ferry both guerrillas and Guardsmen to the Syrian front. The end result is a zone of Iranian control stretching from territorial Iran all the way to the Eastern Mediterranean.

What has made all this possible? A large portion of the blame rests with the 2015 nuclear deal concluded between Iran and the P5+1 powers. That agreement proffered enormous economic benefits to the Islamic Republic in hopes that, over time, it would lead to a moderation of the Iranian regime. Instead, the opposite has happened. The extensive sanctions relief built into the deal has provided Iran’s ailing economy a much-needed fiscal shot in the arm, and freed up funds that Iran has poured into its proxy forces and its military modernization efforts.

Today, policymakers in Washington remain preoccupied with degrading and defeating the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. As a result, they have paid scant attention to how other regional actors might be empowered by our counterterrorism fight.

Comment: Iran is a long-time challenger of the West. The Persian Sassanian empire has been the organizational model (third to seventh century AD) for the Islamic Iranian state. The statecraft offered a bureaucracy, an effective military system and diplomacy intelligence. Muslim rule is built on classical Persian documentation such as the tenth century Book of Kings and the epic Shahnama.

The Sassanian empire was centered on a Persian “power state”. The Book of Government (seyasat-nameh) by Nizam al-Mulk (d. 1092 AD) was prepared as aid to helping sustain fundamentalist Islam, but the origin of the work is completely Iranian.

Persia was also the home to the Assassins (ca 1000 to 1275 AD).

Iran is a megastate and empire on the world island. It is the home of endemic conspiracy thinking. The coastline in the south constitutes half of the Arabian Gulf. With Oman it controls the vital Strait of Hormuz.

Russia was for a long time a provider of arms to Iran. Moscow has also since the 1990s provided Iran with nuclear materials and technology for missile systems. Iran also has military cooperation with North Korea despite. Another threat to the West (including Israel) is that Iran is actively seeking Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Hezbollah and Hamas are terrorist partners of Iran.

SOCIALISM LEADS TO TYRANNY AND COLLAPSE

November 22, 2017

Washington Times on November 19, 2017, published an article by Robert Knight, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union. Knight co-authored the book ”Ten Truths about Socialism”. Excerpts below:

…the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s “Annual Report on U.S. Attitudes Toward Socialism,”…found that old, dead commies are still quite popular. Thirty-one percent of the [American] young people polled have a favorable view of Fidel Castro’s favorite executioner, Che Guevara, 32 percent Karl Marx, 23 percent Vladimir Lenin and 19 percent Mao Zedong.

They are not big, however, on Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, with a mere 6 percent seeing him in a favorable light. Perhaps this is because campus leftist professors for years have tried to distinguish “good” communists like those in Cuba from bad “Stalinists.”

But, as I said, you don’t have to go back to the last century to observe the effects of socialism on once-vibrant nations.

Oil-rich Venezuela was once the wealthiest nation in South America. But Hugo Chavez’s Marxist revolution, continued by the thuggish Nicolas Maduro, has turned it into an economic basket case and totalitarian hellhole from which tens of thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing while they can.

Another case in point is Cuba, the model for Venezuela’s thugs. Fidel Castro’s communist crackdown upon taking power in 1961 caused a massive outflow of half a million people to Florida despite Castro’s orders to kill anyone trying to leave the island. In a Catholic Church-led program dubbed Operation Pedro Pan, some 14,000 children were sent to Miami between 1960 and 1962. Later, in 1980, another 125,000 left in the Mariel boatlift. Castro blessed it because he used it to get rid of dissenters and to empty his jails, dumping legions of criminals into America.

In 1979 when Nicaragua’s Sandinista fighters deposed the right-wing government led by Anastasio Somoza, the country came under a socialist government. About 100,000 Nicaraguans fled. By the end of the 1980s, 50,000 more Nicaraguans had left for Honduras and roughly 40,000 for Costa Rica.

During the 20th Century, Germans fled socialist regimes twice in massive numbers.

Between the National Socialist (Nazi) German Workers Party’s rise to power in 1933 and Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945, more than 340,000 Jews emigrated from Germany and Austria. At least 85,000 resettled in the U.S. Millions of others were hauled off to Nazi extermination camps.

After the war, two million refugees fled East Germany to escape that socialist paradise before the Berlin Wall went up in 1961.

In South Vietnam, before North Vietnam’s communist forces marched into Saigon on April 30, 1975, some 140,000 refugees with ties to the defeated government fled and were resettled in the U.S.

Finally, there is communist North Korea, the most miserable, repressive place on the planet. With the entire nation run like a giant prison, more than two million people have died since the mid-1990s from starvation. Hundreds of thousands have been executed or died in concentration camps.
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Do the millennials who were polled know these historical facts? Probably not.

Comment: There are similar problems in Europe when it comes views on marxist socialism. The so called New Left from the 1960s influenced public opinion in support of communist North Vietnam. The influence of leftist media during the Vietnam conflict was well described by Sir Robert Thompson, the head of the British Advisory Missiom to Vietnam (1961 – 1965): ”The Vietnam war was lost on the television screens in the United States”.

One example of the one sided treatment in media was that of atrocities. Every incident on the side of the South Vietnamese or the Americans was recorded and presented by television companies in the West. North Vietnam and Viet Cong never invited television to witness the brutality committed behind communist lines. The thousands of people massacred by the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong were only mentioned at the margin. Sir Robert Thompson commented on this:

What concerns me about television, and this is where I’m worried about it, is that you see a vast amount of incidents and episodes covering terrorism an conflict but you do not get the issues, what it is about, what the consequences are going to be. If there are one people in the world who are never, but absolutely never, going to understand the war it is the Americans who trusted television. The war was meaningless to them.

An American survey of broadcasts of the CBS showed that the attitudes of television presenters and outside commentators was 95 % against the government viewpoint as opposed to only 5 % supporting the government.

RUSSIAN EMPIRE APPROACHING ITS END?

November 21, 2017

American Professor Paul Goble on November 11, 2017, published an article on predictions of a Czech Russia expert, Vit Kucik, on the future of the last survival of European colonial empires. It can, so Kucik, only be preserved by an authoritarian regime. Excerpts below:

“One can expect a liberal and economically effective system only after the collapse of Muscovite centralism and the fragmentation of the country into small national units.

He points out that “the centralism of power in the empire has an authoritarian and not liberal character” because “liberal mechanisms would quickly weal the power centralism, and the empire would begin to call into pieces.” But the authoritarian power now in its place relies on individuals rather than institutions, something that is reinforcing until it leads to collapse.

Moreover, in the Russian case, “the empire is the political peak of the era of a feudal agrarian economy of the village, while a nation state in turn reflects the industrial economy of the city. Present-day nationalism,” Kučík continues, “is an urban phenomenon and it is not widely distributed in the villages.”

All European empires ended their existence at the start or in the middle of the 20th century except for Russia where the formally imperial government was replaced by the Bolsheviks who “destroyed the national and liberal forces which led to the end of the European empires and with the assistance of a harsh dictatorship conserved the tsarist empire up to now.”

“In the 1990s,” Kučík says, “Russian lost its buffer zone of security in the form of its central European satellites and an outer belt of its own territory: the Baltic states, Belarus, Ukraine, the Trans-Caucasus and the Central Asian republics.” Only the coming to power of the authoritarian Vladimir Putin prevented Russia from continuing to fall into pieces.

The Czech analyst insists that Russians are fully capable of developing a liberal democratic state, but they are prevented from doing so by a state that views all conquests as permanent and irreversible and is prepared to repress its own population in order to hold on to the empire.

The leaders of the Russian state know and the Russian people suspect that under conditions of democracy many non-Russian republics and large swaths of what they view as predominantly ethnic Russian territories would elect to cut their ties with Moscow. Consequently, they oppose any liberalization lest that happen.

According to the Czech analyst, Russian foreign policy, “which always was active and at times even aggressively expansionist,” is defined by three factors: military, economic, and domestic political. Militarily, Moscow must cope with the fact that its European core has no natural geographic boundaries, and thus it feels always threatened.

Economically, it wants to dictate conditions and prices for the transit and sale of the raw materials on whose sale Moscow depends to survive.

Moscow’s ideal world would include “a belt of unstable and also poorer countries among which Russia would be set apart as a stable and flourishing state. This domestic political motive of Russian foreign policy is more important than all the others because so-called color revolutions can sweep away Russia from the map of the world.”

And because this is so, Kučík says, “the Russian empire will always represent a threat or at least a problem for neighboring states, including Eastern and Central Europe. Russian influence will spread ever further to the West until it encounters a balancing force which will be Germany or the European Union.”

With democracies, like Georgia, Ukraine and the Baltic states, it will inevitably be in conflict.

Given this, he continues, “Russia will cease to be a threat only when it disintegrates into smaller formations.” Such states “will be able “to construct more effective economies and be less dependent on the sale of raw materials” and thus will seek to stimulate other forms of economic growth and cooperation.

“The West is afraid of instability on such an enormous territory and therefore it will help the Kremlin leader to preserve unity, but just as in 1991,” Kucik says, “all these efforts will be for naught. The local liberation forces will turn out to be stronger, and besides, they will be supported by powers like Turkey, Iran, China and Japan which will see an opportunity for themselves to bring the new states into their spheres of influence.”

The collapse of the last empire, albeit “a century late, will simplify the life of Europe and of the Russians themselves,” the Czech analyst concludes.

MINI NUKES IN U.S. ARSENAL

November 9, 2017

Fox News on November 7, 2017, published an article by defense specialist Allison Barrie on mini nukes being a better solution than big nuclear bombs. Excerpts below:

Earlier this year, Trump mandated a thorough review of America’s nuclear posture and ballistic missile defense. So back in the States, some of the brightest minds in the Department of Defense have been focused on this Review that will provide the President with recommendations and options relating to the threat of nuclear war.

Over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that about $400 billion dollars will be invested in modernizing and maintaining U.S. nuclear forces.

The U.S. has a vast and formidable nuclear arsenal…But much of the nuke program dates back to the Cold War and is feeling its age. The review could provide ideas to adapt, modernize and innovate so the United States is even more prepared to tackle today’s nuclear threats.

The review has been very closely held with little hinted as to what the recommendations and options will be – but we do know that last year, the Defense Science Board’s “Seven Defense Priorities for the New Administration” report recommended that the Pentagon consider focusing on more low-yield nuclear weapons – aka “mini nukes.”

Smaller, variable, more “tactical” nukes are a strong contender for development by the military in the modernization process…the idea is that the power of these nuclear weapons could be adjustable.

Think of it as a “dial a yield” bomb…this mini nuke could be dialed up for stronger destruction or dialed down for less.

Each mini nuke could be tailored to the specific, necessary scale of destruction. For example, it could target and annihilate say a square mile – without the areas outside that mile being hit by the explosion.

More accurate nuclear strikes with an adjustable nuke warhead could reduce collateral damage and radioactive fallout.

The military already has some very successful initiatives underway to make nukes smaller and more precise. For example, adjustments to the B61 bombs, enhanced with advanced tech like steerable fins, have already proven very successful.

Variable yield mini nukes could potentially provide more flexibility and options.

Advocates for mini nuke type capability have argued that if the U.S. is attacked by North Korea with a nuclear weapon, then Trump needs the ability to launch a calibrated, targeted nuclear attack in response.

A variable yield mini nuke could give the President the means to launch a more contained strike with less radioactive fallout.

Selecting this low-yield, tailored weapon instead of a massive high yield nuke, Trump could eliminate a specific dangerous threat without destructively impacting the entire region – including allies like South Korea and Japan.

An adjustable mini nuke could also potentially enable the US to better discriminate by specifically targeting perpetrators and reducing civilian casualties.

If the most terrible scenario happens and the US needs to deploy a nuke, mini nukes may be one solution to ensuring this catastrophic weapon is precise and would allow Trump to avoid vast civilian casualties as much as possible.

To put this in context, rather than unleashing a nuclear weapon that could kill a country’s entire population in example [there could be an] option to use a tailored mini nuke to target a dangerous military installation instead.

100 YEARS OF CRIMES OF COMMUNISM 1917 – 2017

August 27, 2017

The Post Eagle newspaper on August 24, 2017, reported that in the Estonian capital of Tallinn progress was reported on the progress of the CICROC initiative called for in the Tallinn Declaration of August 23, 2025. CICROC (Council for Investigation of Crimes of Communist regimes). Excerpts below:

Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia have now confirmed their cooperation with Estonia toward the establishment of CICROC.

The occasion was the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Totalitarianism commemorated on the EU level in Tallinn.

The Platform of European Memory and Conscience, Prague, Czech Republic lauded the confirmation of the eight countries.

Information on the Platform

The platform is a non-profit international non-governmental organisation. It was established on 14 October 2011 in Prague by 20 founding Members from 12 EU Member States. The Platform currently brings together 55 public and private institutions and organisations from 19 countries – 13 EU Member States (Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria), Ukraine, Moldova, Iceland, Albania, Canada and the United States of America, active in research, documentation, awareness raising and education about the totalitarian regimes which befell Europe in the 20th century.

The establishment of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience was endorsed by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

Through its Members, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience represents at least 200,000 European citizens and over 1,100,000 North American citizens with European roots.

Identifying crimes and criminals

Since 2014, Platform researchers and lawyers have identified several types of crimes against humanity committed during Communism in Europe as well as over 200 potentially living responsible persons, including former members of the politburo of the Communist parties, from at least four countries, today’s Member States of the EU.

“The systematic work of the Platform – bringing to light unpunished international crimes committed during Communism, their surviving perpetrators and victims and asking the international community for prosecution, – is our best argument against those who try to deny today that Communism was a criminal totalitarian dictatorship,” says Platform Managing

Director Neela Winkelmann.

NORTH KOREAN TYRANT LIVES IN FEAR

June 20, 2017

Fox News on June 19, 2017, reported that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un travels incognito in his poverty stricken Hermit Kingdom. It might be prudent for him to be careful. Excerpts below:

The 33-year-old, third-generation ruler is “extremely nervous” about a clandestine plot to take him out, according to a key South Korean lawmaker who spoke to The Korea Herald. Rep. Lee Cheol-woo, chairman of the South Korean parliament’s intelligence committee, made the claim based on reports from South Korea’s intelligence agency.

“Kim is engrossed with collecting information about the ‘decapitation operation’ through his intelligence agencies,” Lee said following a briefing last week.

The rumored “decapitation plan” to target Kim and key deputies in the event fighting broke out on the peninsula first surfaced in late 2015, when the U.S. and South Korea signed “Operation Plan 5015,” a joint strategy for possible war scenarios with North Korea. According to the Brookings Institute, the plan “envisions limited warfare with an emphasis on preemptive strikes on strategic targets in North Korea and “decapitation raids” to exterminate North Korean leaders.”

According to Lee, Kim’s is so frightened that he now disguises his movements, travels primarily at dawn and in the cars of his henchmen. Public appearances and jaunts in his prized Mercedes Benz 600 have been curtailed.

By January of this year, there were reports that South Korea was speeding up the creation of a specialized unit designed for this mission, initially slated to be ready by 2019.

“A U.S. special operations strike against Kim Jong Un in today’s conditions would make the bin Laden raid look easy,” said Mark Sauter, a former U.S. Army and special forces officer who operated in the Korean de-militarized zone during the Cold War and now blogs about the decades-long effort to defend South Korea at http://www.dmzwar.com.

“Pyongyang is surrounded by antiaircraft weapons, and while the corpulent Kim presents a large and sluggish target, he’s kept on the move, always surrounded by fanatical guards and often near or in complex underground compounds,” Sauter said.

Despite those potential challenges, Sauter suggests the North Korean leader “does need to worry about strikes by precision-guided missiles and bunker-buster bombs in the early stages of a preemptive allied attack, and if a conflict continues, everything from (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to special operators will be on his tracks.”

WESTERN CORE INTERESTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

June 18, 2017

Washington Times on June 13, 2017, published a commentary by retired U.S. Navy admiral James A. Lyons on the emerging Middle East doctrine of the Trump administration. Excerpts below:

President Trump’s historic visit last month to Saudi Arabia, where he met with the heads of more than 50 mostly Sunni heads of state, dramatically marked the end of eight years of Barack Obama’s appeasement of Iran. It signaled to all the Muslim leaders that the United States as the “strong horse” is back. There was no doubt in any of the Muslim leaders’ minds that Mr. Trump is a man of action and a leader who will keep his word.

Mr. Trump’s goal of establishing a coalition of nations that share the objective of defeating terrorist groups and providing for a stable and hopeful future made it clear that the assembled nations cannot be indifferent to the presence of evil.

Mr. Trump also made it clear that this coalition of nations must adopt a policy of “sovereign responsibility,” which means that they cannot wait for American power to defeat the enemy for them. They must be directly involved, with our assistance.

[On U.S. and vital Western interests]:

Eliminating ISIS as a functioning entity.

Preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon capability.

Preventing Iranian hegemony throughout the Middle East.

Preventing Iranian hegemony throughout the Middle East.

Removing the Iranian theocracy from power.

Re-establishing and strengthening …relations with…traditional allies.

Ensuring the survival of Israel.

[Establishing a sovereign Kurdistan].

Maintaining freedom of navigation throughout the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, including strategic choke points, e.g., the Suez Canal, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and the Strait of Hormuz.

The establishment of a Global Terrorism Center for Combating Extremism in Riyadh was a manifestation of the shared objective of defeating terrorist groups and isolating Iran, but its effectiveness will depend on results. The same can be said for the establishment of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, co-chaired by the United States and Saudi Arabia, as well as the United States-United Arab Emirates Center to Counter the Online Spread of Hate.

…mosques and imams that preach hate and urge all Muslims to conduct violent jihad should be closed and the imams removed.

Concrete steps must be taken to stop funds from going to radical mosques and front groups that promote terrorism. Targeting funds being sent to various terrorists groups, e.g., ISIS and al Qaeda, must receive immediate priority. The source of these funds, be it from individuals or states like Qatar, must be identified and interdicted.
Qatar has been a particular problem because of its support of the Muslim Brotherhood and its cozy relationship with Iran.

An underlying element of the Trump doctrine that cannot be overstated is recognition that 65 percent of the population of the Middle East is under the age of 30, and that those youths must be provided with opportunities for a satisfying life as an attractive option to the lure of terrorist groups. While this is a worthy objective, Muslims don’t commit to jihad because they don’t have jobs. They commit to jihad because they are devout Muslims, many with university degrees.

Nevertheless, the indispensable principle for achieving the objectives of the Riyadh summit is the isolation of Iran, the prime mover of instability throughout the region. As a start, sanctions on the mullahs’ ballistic missile programs must be imposed. Further, until the unsigned nuclear weapons deal with Iran is formally canceled, real inspections by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency must be conducted on all the sites in their nuclear weapon infrastructure.

James A. Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

Comment: Admiral Lyon’s commentary clearly shows that the foreign policy of the Trump Administration is clear and consistent. Defeating the Islamic State and isolating the Iranian regime is of vital strategic interest to the West. A new policy against Iran would be an important step to ensure the survival of Israel. The importance of the strategic choke points in the Middle East cannot be emphasized enough. The British territory of Diego Garcia (Indian Ocean) is an example of how important offshore islands are. Location and political reliability is everything to ensure the safety of the chokepoints. The United States, as always, with its NATO partners is facing a growing challenge in some of the world’s most dangerous areas. This challenge is now met in a decisive way.

Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory) offers politically unconstrained access near the Middle East and contributes greatly to safeguarding the chokepoints.