It is Friday, so that means it is panel time, and we look at some of the bigger stories from this week!
A recent New York Times piece, "China's ‘Belt and Road' Plan in Pakistan Takes a Military Turn" opens by saying, "When President Trump started the new year by suspending billions of dollars of security aid to Pakistan, one theory was that it would scare the Pakistani military into cooperating better with its American allies. The reality was that Pakistan already had a replacement sponsor lined up. Just two weeks later, the Pakistani Air Force and Chinese officials were putting the final touches on a secret proposal to expand Pakistan's building of Chinese military jets, weaponry and other hardware." The NYT says that this is a "confidential plan," and it is intended to deepen the cooperation between China and Pakistan in space, a frontier the Pentagon recently said Beijing was trying to militarize after decades of playing catch-up. Context is always important to me. What got my attention was first, is it confidential, and second, the concern over the militarization of space, as if on August 9, Vice President Mike Pence did not announce the US plan to create military space force by 2020.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had cancerous growths removed from her lungs, voted from her hospital bed to uphold a block on President Donald Trump's restrictions on asylum. The 5-4 decision let stand a lower court's order temporarily blocking Trump's ban on applying for asylum for people who have crossed the US border illegally. Justice Ginsburg is literally phoning it in. We'll discuss the vote and this means going forward.
Trump says chances of government shutdown "probably very good." He says: "I'd say the chances are probably very good, because I don't think Democrats care much about this issue." Trump appears to be bringing in some reinforcements. Vice President Mike Pence — who would cast a deciding vote in the case of a tie — incoming White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Trump's son in law and adviser Jared Kushner are on hand at the Senate. Mulvaney, during a 2015 WRHI radio interview in South Carolina, said, "The fence doesn't solve the problem. Is it necessary to have one? Sure. Would it help? Sure. But to just say build the darn fence and have that be the end of an immigration discussion is absurd and almost childish for someone running for president to take that simplistic of [a] view," No distinction was made between fence and wall.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced his resignation this week. The retired four-star general was reported to have disagreed with several of the president's foreign policy decisions, none more so, apparently, than Wednesday's surprise move to pull US troops out of Syria. A self-described warrior who once boasted it was a "hell of a lot of fun" to shoot people, he's also famous for having said, "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet." He has called Iran "the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East." He defended a military strike which killed 42 people in Iraq in 2004, which the US said targeted a militant safe house, but survivors and many reports said was a wedding party. "Bad things happen in wars. I don't have to apologize for the conduct of my men," he was quoted as saying at the time. And now Democrats want to bemoan this guy retiring and romanticize what this guy stands for.
It's interesting to me how the US media is dealing with this issue. Are we moving away from Democrat and Republican to Anti-War vs. War? Here's what I find interesting, CNN, MSNBC, FOX — they all have their shorts in a bunch because Trump has announced the troop withdrawal in Syria. I was listening to this analyst Bobby Ghosh yesterday on MSNBC, who said Russian President Vladimir Putin agrees with Trump about this withdrawal, therefore it's obviously a bad decision.
We've got all these stories and more!
Colin Campbell — Multimedia journalist for a number of national and international outlets.
Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.
We'd love to get your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org