Closing Thought–12Jul18

I like rock and roll…put another dime in jukebox, baby……and now I would like to drop some history on you guys…….

The Day the Music died……and I am not talking about the song from the 70’s……….

Today, more like tonight, we will celebrate the day Disco Dies…….

Thirty-eight years ago this evening, a doubleheader at Chicago’s Comiskey Park devolved into a fiery riot when crazed fans stormed the field as part of anti-disco promotional event dubbed Disco Demolition Night. The whole thing was the brainchild of disc jockey Steve Dahl, who dressed up like the general of an anti-disco army and called his followers “The Insane Coho Lips.”

“I hate the taste of pina coladas,” he told newscaster Greg Gumbel on the fateful evening shortly before smashing a disco record against his head. “I’m allergic to gold jewelry, so there’s nothing there for me. You have to spend so much time blowdrying your hair. It’s a waste of energy.”

Now you know the rest of the story……you are welcome.

I must go down for the day…..important stuff that needs my attention…..chuq

A New Round Of Tariffs

Here we go!

It is not over and promises to get worse……

The trade war has started……Trump’s admin has placed tariffs on China and our European friends…..and a new round has been put into place against China….

The US-China trade war is here—and it’s escalating rapidly. US authorities rolled out a list Tuesday of some $200 billion in Chinese goods that could be hit with 10% tariffs by September, Deutsche Welle reports. The list of more than 6,000 product lines includes food products and many consumer goods, raising fears that the escalation could raise prices significantly for American shoppers, the Wall Street Journal reports. China hit back with its own tariffs on $34 billion in American goods after the US brought in tariffs on the same amount of Chinese goods last week, and Beijing has signalled that it will continue raising tariffs dollar for dollar. No talks are scheduled to resolve the dispute, which the US side blames on unfair Chinese practices.

The latest US tariffs were condemned by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, among others, who called the move “reckless.” China Ministry of Commerce said it was shocked by the escalation, the South China Morning Post reports. “China is shocked by the US move and the Chinese government, as always, will have to react to defend the core interests of our nation and people,” the ministry said. Li Chenggang, assistant minister of commerce, likened the US to a “bull in a China shop” and said tit-for-tat tariffs would “inevitably destroy” US-China trade.

The predictions are that these tariffs will now effect every room of one’s house from the windows and doors to kitchen to bath room….so many household things are made in China and now it will be expensive…..

Something to think about……the attacks on China by Trump could be behind the NK flipping on the “deal” that was supposedly struck in Singapore.

Just a thought.


The NATO phase of this trip is under his belt (that was not a shot at his gut)………onto the UK and see who he can piss off.

Our president is in Europe to meet with the NATO nations and then a meet and greet with Vlad……the news is full of reports of how the president is undermining NATO with his rhetoric and threats.

Let me say here that the demands being made by Trump are nothing new……almost every president has brought up the spending thing…just not in the media as Trump has done.

Is it possible that the nations of Europe are undermining NATO more than Trump?

To begin with, don’t shoot the messenger because of who he is. Mr Trump’s demands have already been made by previous American leaders, though less bluntly. George W Bush and Barack Obama continuously and politely chided their European allies, asking them to spend more on defence. The former US Secretary for Defence, Robert Gates, even took it upon himself to remind his European partners that future American leaders might become less interested in European defence if they did not step up:

“Indeed, if current trends in the decline of European defence capabilities are not halted and reversed, future US political leaders – those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me – may not consider the return on America’s investment in NATO worth the cost.”

Are the threats just more theatrics from Trump?  The optics plays well with his thumb sucking base….

As in a bad marriage, the arguments of US President Donald Trump and his European partners have descended into a sort of ritual exchange. So at this week’s NATO summit, we can be confident that Trump will complain about the lack of European defence spending and threaten to leave Europe if the NATO allies don’t stump up. The Europeans will accept the premise of his argument, point to what they have recently achieved, and pledge to do more.

Rinse and repeat.

The whole affair has the structure of an Apprentice episode. We don’t know what crazy shit Trump will say during the show, but we know how it will end.

This meeting will be worth watching……Trump will be worth watching for he will lie then contradict himself 10 minutes later……so just how strong is this alliance?

Trump started the meeting by being confrontational…….

In a combative start to his NATO visit, President Trump asserted Wednesday that a pipeline project has made Germany “totally controlled” by and “captive to Russia” and blasted NATO allies’ defense spending, opening what was expected to be a fraught summit with a list of grievances involving American allies. Trump, in a testy exchange with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, took issue with the US protecting Germany when the European nation is making deals with Russia. “I have to say, I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we’re supposed to be guarding against Russia,” Trump said during a breakfast with Stoltenberg, his first event since arriving in Brussels. “We’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia and I think that’s very inappropriate.”

The president appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russia to Germany’s northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russia can send directly to Germany, the AP reports. The vast undersea pipeline is opposed by the US and some other EU members, who warn it could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe. Trump said that, “Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia” and urged NATO to look into the issue. Trump, who has been accused of being too cozy with Putin—a man accused of US election meddling—

Trump’s biggest bitch is that Germany will buy NatGas from Russia through a pipeline….if they do not buy Russian gas where will they get the resource they need?  I think this was a dog whistle for the media and the morns that make up his base.  Is this a negotiation technique that he learned at Wharton?  I mean after all he keeps telling us all just how smart he is.

Like I said……optics are everything……and this one does not bode well…..but if he was going for theatrics to his supporters back home then this will be a crowning glory……now he has the UK to entertain his base.

A Strategy Is A Must

As a trained foreign service person I cannot find a strategy in all the Trump dealings….so far I still am looking……

Just like a finely tuned sports team the country needs a finely tuned international strategy and the US has nothing of the sort…..I wrote a post about the release of the Us National Strategy……

Believe it or not…..all this populist rhetoric has had an influence on our strategy…..

The 2017 National Intelligence Community Global Trends report similarly notes the impact of populism on the security environment.[2] Yet, with populist leaders increasingly influencing political discourse and even reaching offices in which they can impact the policies of their respective nations, it has become clear populism is more than just another security issue affecting the strategic terrain. We need to understand how populism impacts strategic decision making in some of the most important nations on earth. Even more importantly, we need to understand how populist politics has and will continue to impact political discourse and decision making within many of our own nations.

Finally someone has written a piece about the strategy and the National Security Strategy… see they are not necessarily the same thing…..

Grand strategy may seem an irrelevant idea but it’s not. As Colin Gray declares “all strategy is grand strategy.” Without a grand strategy that explains the ends, works the means and sets out the ways, lower-level strategies will be uncoordinated, work at odds with each other and be unlikely to succeed. Grand strategy seems superfluous as its gotten unhelpfully confused with the National Security Strategy. It should be instead thought of as a practical problem-solving methodology you can apply to particular real-world problems. This article rethinks grand strategy to provide just that.

Grand strategy has a bad wrap but it’s not the concept’s doing. A perception has developed that the National Security Strategy (NSS) and grand strategy are the same. This is a major error. The NSS addresses certain matters of particular Congressional concern as required under the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act. The NSS is simply a particular example of a grand strategy, not the whole of grand strategy as a problem-solving approach.

Worse the NSS seems disoriented. The NSS is a late Cold War creation when the Soviet Union was the obvious central focus. Similarly if more generically, grand strategy in originating in war stressed staying focused on the adversary. Post Cold War though, with the USSR dismantled, the NSS lost its concentration, drifting into what John Ikenberry calls a milieu grand strategy, one aiming to shape the general international environment.

Every living person in the US should concern themselves with what is being done in their name……if they could find it in their hearts to do so then the landscape of war would look a lot different than it does today.