Tag Archives: United Nations

What does Kim Jong Un want?

USA Today has peeled away five key demands that North Korean dictator/goofball Kim Jong Un is making on the United States and the rest of the world.

I want to examine them briefly over the course of the next couple of days. I’ll do so one at a time in this blog.

Here is one demand: A peace treaty that ends the Korean War.

The carnage ended in 1953 after three bloody years on the Korean Peninsula. Kim Il Sung, the current dictator’s grandfather, decided to “unify” the peninsula by invading South Korea in 1950. The United Nations responded with a substantial military force dominated by — who else? — American troops.

The U.N. force pushed the North Koreans back across the 38th Parallel and got to China’s doorstep in the north. That’s when the People’s Republic of China intervened. The PRC deployed hundreds of thousands of troops against the U.N.

All told, nearly  50,000 Americans died in that struggle.

They signed a ceasefire. But no peace treaty. As a result, South and North Korea remain to this very day technically “at war.”

What does a peace treaty mean? Does it mean a unified Korea? Or might it put in place a permanent divide between the sovereign nations?

The PRC won’t tolerate a unified Korea under the guidance of a democratic Republic of (South) Korea. The Chinese will insist on having a fellow communist state along its border. And you can bet that there’s no way in the world that the United Nations, let alone the United States, is going to agree to a communist dictatorship governing the entire peninsula.

Remember, the North Koreans started the fight in 1950. Does anyone believe the U.N. is going to allow them to be rewarded by giving them the entire land mass?

I suppose the only solution is to keep the two Koreas separate, with the commies running the northern portion and the democrats running the southern area.

But who in the world can trust the North Koreans to remain faithful to a peace treaty after we take down the massive armaments on both sides of the so-called “demilitarized zone”?

A peace treaty, thus, remains a major impediment to resolving this serious crisis.

‘Everybody knows’ Russia meddled in election

Has the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations gone rogue? Is Nikki Haley speaking out of turn when she seems to dispute the president’s view of who hacked into our nation’s election in 2016?

Haley has said that “everybody knows that Russia meddled in our election.” She made the remarks in TV interviews to be broadcast Sunday.

Actually, Mme. Ambassador, while everybody may know that to be true, not quite everybody is willing to say so out loud, on the record, in public.

One of the more prominent officials who remains publicly unconvinced happens to be Donald J. Trump. Intelligence agencies have concluded the Russians meddled; politicians from both political parties have said the same thing.

The president? He keeps giving the Russians political cover by saying that “other countries” might have interfered, too. He met Russian President Vladimir Putin this week in Hamburg, Germany, and supposed “pressed” Putin on what the Russians did. Putin denied doing anything, as if he expects the rest of us to believe the word of a former communist KGB spy.

Haley has broken with Trump already on Russia. She has been harsh in her critique of Putin’s government, while the president continues to pull his punches.

Now she has said what just about the entire civilized world has come to accept: that the Russians sought to undermine our electoral process, that they in effect declared war on our system of government.

If only the president would concur.

Saudis on UN women’s panel? Huh?

Critics of the United Nations — and I am not one of them — gripe often about the absurd decisions the world body makes.

I have to concede that the U.N. has made a bonehead call by placing Saudi Arabia on its Commission on the Status of Women.

Huh? What the … ?

Does anyone need reminding here that women are not allowed to, um, drive motor vehicles in Saudi Arabia? How about pay equity? Women earn a fraction of what Saudi men earn. Saudi women aren’t even allowed to make critical decisions without a man’s approval, for crying out loud!


The Miami Herald reports that the Saudis formed a “girls council,” but didn’t appoint any females to it.

Good ever-lovin’ grief, man.

The United Nations needs to think about this. I doubt the U.N. would rescind the appointment. Bureaucrats tend to cover their backsides even as they undergo push back from goofy decisions.

The anti-U.N. crowd in this country has been handed plenty of grist with which to beat the world body bloody. I won’t join them in calling for the end of the United Nations.

Decisions such as this one involving the Saudis and the women’s commission, though, does give me pause.

UN envoy says what Trump should say … about Russia

Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad gassed citizens, killing dozens of them.

The president of the United States condemns Assad, as he should do; then he lays the blame for the attack on the inaction of former President Barack Obama.

Then in wades the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, to say what should be said: Russia is complicit in this heinous action and must be punished.

My question: Why, oh why, cannot Donald John Trump muster the guts to speak ill of Russia in this regard?

The president continues to remain mum on Russian misbehavior. He cannot admit in public that the Russians hacked into our election system; he cannot agree that Vladimir Putin is a “killer”; he keeps wishing for a more cooperative relationship with Russia.

But, wait, Mr. President. The Russian are bankrolling Assad’s murderous regime in Syria. They are funding the dictator’s ability to obtain the murderous weapons he uses on his citizens.

Ambassador Haley speaks out

The U.N. Security Council is considering a resolution to condemn the Russians over this attack. Russia is one of the five permanent council members and has the authority to veto any such resolution. Where is the president on this one? Will he condemn the Russians if they veto a resolution that seeks to slap additional sanctions on them?

Ambassador Haley said this, according to The Hill: “Russia has shielded Assad from U.N. sanctions. If Russia has the influence in Syria that it claims it has, we need to see them use it,” Haley said at an emergency meeting of the council. “We need to see them put an end to these horrific acts. How many more children have to die before Russia cares.”

Mr. President, it’s your turn now. It’s time for you to “tell it like it is” concerning Russia.

One-China Policy is OK, right, Mr. President?

Donald J. Trump now is ready to adhere to one of the more complicated elements of U.S. foreign relationships.

It’s called the One-China Policy, which recognizes only one China … and it’s not Taiwan.

Not long after being elected president, Trump took a phone call from Taiwan’s president and then declared the United States ought to rethink its decades-old policy that recognizes the People’s Republic of China.

Bad idea, you know? The conversation between a U.S. president-elect and the leader of Taiwan was the first that had occurred since the United States recognized the PRC as the “real” China.

Taiwan, China maintain complicated relationship

Taiwan is, in fact, a prosperous independent nation that broke away from the Chinese mainland at the end of a bloody civil war that erupted after World War II. Taiwan’s Nationalist government set up shop on Taiwan in 1949 and for three decades it was the recognized government of China.

That all changed dramatically in 1979 when the United States recognized the PRC, kicked out the Taiwanese ambassador. The United Nations booted Taiwan out, too, and welcomed the PRC.

Thus, the One-China Policy was born amid an interesting mix of economic and defense-related agreements that the United States still maintains with Taiwan. We trade with the Taiwanese, we pledge to protect them if the PRC decides to retake the island nation — but we do not recognize them diplomatically.

Trump spoke this week to Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, and reaffirmed out commitment to the policy that recognizes the PRC exclusively as the sole China.

As for Taiwan’s relationship with the PRC, that too, is a matter of delicate maneuvering. Taipei and Beijing allow travel between the countries; family members are allowed to communicate with each other.

Taiwan also believes in a “One China Policy,” but insists that the island nation — not the mainland — is the “real China.” Here’s the deal: Most of Taiwan’s inhabitants were born on the island and consider themselves to be “Taiwanese.”

The president, though, needs to settle down and stick with a policy that recognizes only one China. To do anything different is to insert the United States directly into the middle of a simmering dispute between China and Taiwan.

Trump stretches unconventional approach

Donald J. Trump’s campaign for the presidency was unconventional.

His transition into the office he has won is even more so.

We often hear it said that “We have only president at a time.” Trump, though, is using his Twitter account to suggest something that borders on the otherwise.

The United States this past week abstained on a United Nations Security Council vote that condemns Israel over its settlement building on the West Bank; U.S. policy for years has been to veto such a resolution. Thus, the Obama administration broke with longstanding U.S. policy.

Then in comes Trump to tweet that the United States was wrong to abstain; that the U.N. is a “sad” organization.

The point here is that presidents-elect traditionally have let the current president conduct foreign policy. They wait relatively quietly while they prepare to take office; then they are free to change whatever policy they wish.

Trump isn’t waiting for Inauguration Day. He’s blasting the daylights out of President Obama whenever he sees fit using his Twitter account.

My wish would be for the president-elect to hold his fire until he becomes the president. Americans actually do have just one president at a time.

Donald Trump’s time is coming on quickly. Until he takes the oath of office, he ought to keep his trap — and his Twitter account — quiet.

Obama, Netanyahu part company with bitterness

President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu occasionally used to say kind things about each other, despite their differences over how to find peace with the Palestinians.

I am guessing the niceties are finished.

The United States has broken with decades of diplomatic tradition by declining to veto a United Nations resolution condemning Israel over the settlements it is building in occupied territory that once belonged to Palestinians.

Netanyahu is furious and has said so openly and has condemned the U.N. and the United States over what he perceives is a slap at Israel.

This is tough for me to say, given my longstanding support of our president, but Netanyahu has reason to be angry.


The settlements are part of Israel’s effort to strengthen the buffer between its territory and that which it took during the Six-Day War of 1967, a brief conflict that was started by its Arab neighbors. Israel managed to finish it quickly by dispatching forces from Jordan, Egypt and Syria. In the process, it took over land known as the West Bank, which cuts through Jerusalem.

I have had the high honor to see that part of the world up close and I totally understand the Israelis’ concern about future violent outbreaks.

Netanyahu took particular umbrage at the language within the resolution. As the Washington Post reported: “’The resolution is distorted. It states that the Jewish quarter and the Western Wall are occupied, which is absurd,’ said Netanyahu, referring to holy Jewish sites that sit within the Old City in East Jerusalem.”

The Jewish quarter sits within the walled city inside Jerusalem. To suggest that it, along with the Western Wall, are “occupied” is ridiculous on its face.

As an aside, I sought for weeks to obtain an interview with Netanyahu before embarking on a month-long tour of Israel in May-June 2009. I wasn’t able to get one with the prime minister. Had I been able to sit down with him, I would have asked him about the settlements and sought to get a deeper look at the Israeli perspective into why they feel the need to build them in the first place.

Netanyahu now looks forward to working with Donald J. Trump, who will succeed Obama as president in January. My hope is that Trump can find a way to persuade Netanyahu that there must be a pathway toward a permanent peace with the Palestinians, even with the settlements.

I continue to support the so-called “two-state solution,” which would allow a sovereign Palestinian state to exist alongside Israel. The Palestinians, though, need to do a lot more to put down the militant objections within their own ranks to Israel’s own existence.

Perhaps the most ironic aspect of this serious breach between the United States and Israel is that it is happening as Christians prepare to celebrate Christmas. Think of it: Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, is walled off from the rest of Jerusalem and the prospects for that wall ever coming down appear dimmer than ever.

It is my belief that President Obama has made the bigger mistake in declining to object to this U.N. resolution. In doing so, he has alienated our nation’s most trusted ally in a region where we need all the alliances we can muster.

Anti-Iraq War president picks pro-war team


I am pretty sure I heard Donald J. Trump call the Iraq War a “disaster,” a “mistake,” a “terrible decision.”

It’s not clear to me, though, whether the president-elect actually opposed the war from its beginning, or during the period leading up to the first shots being fired in March 2003.

But during the 2016 presidential campaign Trump did criticize the Bush administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq.

Why, then, is he going to send a deputy secretary of state before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for confirmation?

John Bolton is a serious war hawk. He believes in regime change. He supported the Iraq War. He bought into the notion that the late Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. He has called for going to war with Iran. At least one key Republican committee member, Rand Paul of Kentucky, says he’ll vote automatically against Bolton’s confirmation.

Bolton is hoping to join a State Department team headed by a designated secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, whose confirmation itself isn’t a sure thing. He’ll have to answer many questions about his friendship with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, who Sen. John McCain has labeled a “butcher” and “murderer.”

But this Bolton character, a former U.N. ambassador, brings a serious dichotomy into play.

The president-elect opposed the Iraq War — he says — and yet he’s going to bring the hawkiest of hawks into his foreign-policy team?

I do not understand any of this.

My head is spinning.

Bernie turns from nice to nasty


Bernie Sanders once vowed never to speak ill of his chief rival for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

He said he wanted to stay on the high road. He barely mentioned her by name while stumping across places like Iowa and New Hampshire.

That was then. Today he went straight after Hillary Clinton, contending in New York that the former secretary of state, U.S. senator — from New York! — and first lady isn’t “qualified” to become the 45th president of the United States.

Why is Clinton now unqualified to hold the nation’s highest office? According to the Vermont independent-turned-Democratic senator, her acceptance of money from “big Wall Street banks and other establishment political action groups makes her no longer qualified.

Hmm. That’s an interesting accusation.

You see, from my perspective, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most qualified candidate — among the five people in either party still seeking the presidency — to become the next president.

She served several terms as first lady as Arkansas; she became first lady of the nation for two terms and had a profound influence on her husband’s rather successful presidency; she was elected twice to the U.S. Senate from New York; she served as secretary of state during President Obama’s first term.

Surely, there have been other candidates over the years who’ve brought more sparkling resumes to the Oval Office. I keep thinking that of the presidents who served in my lifetime, the one with the glossiest history was George H.W. Bush. World War II fighter pilot, CIA director, member of Congress, U.N. ambassador, Republican Party chairman, vice president? The man had chops to be president.

As for Sanders’ own qualifications, well, he’s marginally so.

But the tone of this Democratic primary campaign has changed dramatically.

Now the nation is paying attention.

That’s the way it goes. Negativity works.


No takeover is imminent

Jade Helm 15 is about to commence in Texas.

Despite what some nut jobs have put out there, the U.S. military is not about to take over the state and hand it over to international spies.

Do not listen to the goofballs who actually persuaded Gov. Greg Abbott to order the Texas State Guard to “monitor” the activities of the Army, Navy and Air Force special forces who’ll be conducting the exercises.


It’s going to be all right.

The exercise was announced some months back and the Internet then jumped to life with conspiracy theories about what it all meant to some individuals and groups. As the Dallas Morning News blogger Jim Mitchell notes, one of the nuttier notions involves the Alamo: the United Nations declared the old mission a Unesco World Heritage Site, which apparently sealed it for some. Anything that involves the U.N. has got to be bad news for Texas, they feared.

The founding fathers didn’t get it perfect when they drafted and then ratified the U.S. Constitution. One thing they got right, though, was to build in a checks-and-balances system that’s designed to prevent one branch of government from getting too powerful.

President Obama knows all of this. So does the Pentagon brass. Even the federal judiciary, which has come under fire lately because of some controversial Supreme Court rulings, understands it. Congress knows its place, too.

Let the troops come to Texas to conduct their exercises.

It’s going to be OK. Honest.