Category Archives: International news

And this … from Her Majesty the Queen

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I cannot resist the temptation to share this message from none other than Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

She delivered this Christmas message from Windsor Castle.

I won’t give it away, other than to suggest that our own head of state, Donald Trump, is too busy and too fraught with his own imaginary grievances to bother delivering this kind of message to his own constituents.

The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast 2020 – YouTube

Please take a moment to watch this. It will fill you with hope for a brighter day.

‘Blind spot’? Do ya think?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Mitt Romney says Donald Trump “has a blind spot” where it regards Russia.

Really? Does the Utah Republican U.S. senator know something none of the rest of us knows? Sen. Romney has just exhibited a remarkable command of the obvious.

Indeed, Trump’s downplaying of Russia’s latest bit of international maliciousness shouldn’t come as a surprise. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says it’s Russia that hacked into our security systems; so does Attorney General William Barr; same with the FBI. Trump, meanwhile, says that China might have hacked into our system.

He cannot bring himself to say that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, the former Soviet spy master, could lead an assault on the United States.

Then again, he won’t challenge Putin over reports that Russian goons paid bounties to Taliban terrorists who killed Americans on the battlefield. Nor has he ever said Russians hacked into our 2016 electoral system, which every U.S. intelligence official said occurred.

Blind spot with regard to Russia? Yeah! Do ya think?

32 days to go … hurry up!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It might be the longest 32 days in memory, but there’s an end to the madness we are experiencing at this moment.

Donald Trump has downplayed what the intelligence community and even our secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, have said about the attack on our national security system. Pompeo and the spooks say that Russia is behind the hacking into our system; Trump said it might be China and said the matter is “under control.”

Uh huh. And the pandemic was “under control” in March when Trump was downplaying the COVID virus that has killed, oh, about 314,000 Americans.

Trump had been silent on the Russian attack until today. Then he took to Twitter to say the consequence of the Russian hacking is being hyped up by the “lamestream media,” the “fake news” purveyors.

Shut the hell up, Mr. POTUS! You are a disgrace to the office, to the nation. When I am willing to take the word of your boy, Mike Pompeo, over you … well, then the sun might rise in the west tomorrow morning.

“This was a very significant effort, and I think it’s the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity,” Pompeo told radio talk show host Mark Levin.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues to give his pals in the Kremlin a pass. Oh, my. May the next 32 days zoom past us so we can welcome a president of the United States who will cease making excuses for a hostile foreign nation.

Where is POTUS’s outrage now?

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As the president of the United States continues to rant and rail against the democratic process in this country, an avowed foe of the country he was elected to govern has been revealed to have hacked into several federal government agencies.

Have we heard a peep from Donald J. Trump? Has the president signaled any sort of public anger at what the Russians have done — again! — in their ongoing assault on our governmental infrastructure?

The answer is as obvious as it gets. No. He hasn’t said a word publicly about it. Donald Trump has expressed zero outrage. He has remained silent, just as he did when it was reported that Russian goons were paying Taliban terrorists bounties for Americans killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan.

It has been abundantly clear to me and others that Trump might pretend that he won the 2020 presidential election, but his lack of action on any manner of important matters suggests he has taken leave of his duties … not that he ever paid much attention to the myriad details of his job.

Donald Trump will disgrace Americans for as long as he occupies the presidency. The clock is ticking on his exit.

Lift the Muslim ban, Mr. POTUS-elect

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

On the night he declared victory in the 2020 presidential election, Joseph Biden’s team announced plans for the new president to sign a series of executive orders on Day One of his administration.

One of them would be to life a ban on entry into the United States by travelers from certain Muslim-majority nations. Donald Trump issued that order early in his presidential term.

The new president wants to revoke that order. To which I say … yes!

FBI Director Christopher Wray has told us a stark truth about the nature of terrorist threats to this country. It is that the biggest threat comes from home-grown, corn-fed white supremacists and not from Muslim nations.

The new president realizes what the nation’s top cop, the FBI director, has asserted.

I don’t mean to suggest that this nation’s security team should just shrug and look the other way at any terrorist threat that comes from abroad. I do mean to suggest that Donald Trump issued an informal declaration of war against Islam, a point that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama sought assiduously to avoid when they were in office.

President Biden intends to revoke the Trump overstated declaration that Muslim countries pose a hideous threat. If we have learned anything since 9/11 I would presume we have learned how to detect and deal with international terrorist threats, especially from Muslim nations … which renders a ban on travelers from those nations to just an unnecessary show of presidential bravado.

Peace deal is worthy, however …

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s talk briefly about a peace agreement between Israel and two neighboring Arab nations: the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Donald Trump is hailing the agreements his administration brokered as a sea change event. Israel will open embassies in the UAE and Bahrain for the first time in the history of Israel’s existence.

Hey, it is a big deal.

However, let’s put this in a bit of context. Israel has not been at war with either country. It has gone to war with others in the region, to be sure. Jordan, Egypt and Syria come to mind immediately.

To be clear, Israel also has peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt. They were brokered years ago by preceding presidential administrations. Indeed, the Israel-Egypt peace agreement ended up costing Egyptian President Anwar Sadat his life when he was murdered by Islamic extremists while watching a military parade.

I had the privilege of spending more than a month in Israel in May-June 2009. I had a chance during that time to speak with many learned Israelis. We spoke of tensions in the region between Israel and Lebanon, Israel and Syria, Israel and the Palestinians, Israel and the Gaza Strip. No one I talked to 11 years ago ever mentioned the UAE or Bahrain as nations that Israel simply needed to forge a peace agreement.

I do not intend to denigrate the peace agreements forged between Israel and its two Arab neighboring states.

I do intend, though, to add a bit of context to the settlements. They’re important, but I don’t believe in the grand scheme they matter to nearly the extent that the Trump administration suggests.

Now, if the Trump team hammers out a peace treaty with, say, Syria and Iran … well, then we’ll have reason to celebrate.

Nobel Peace Prize for Trump? Eek!

By JOHN KANELIS

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Here we go!

Donald Trump has been nominated officially for the Nobel Peace Prize. The nomination comes from a right-wing Norwegian politician who thinks the U.S.-brokered peace deal with Israel and the United Arab Emirates is just, well, the greatest thing to happen this year on Earth.

As you can imagine, U.S. conservatives are excited about it; U.S. liberals are, shall we say, aghast. And you no doubt can guess that the Twitter-verse went bonkers over the nomination. Trump went nuts, too, according to The Hill: Trump shared the news of the nomination in at least 15 different tweets and retweets with his nearly 87 million followers on social media.

Count me as one of those who is horrified at the prospect of Trump getting this award.

You see, here is what I project happening. Trump’s political campaign is going to use the nomination as grist to pitch for his re-election. Then we’ll have to hear from Trump himself bragging about it.

Take this to the bank, too: He’ll just have to mention the Peace Prize that President Obama received at the beginning of his two terms in office. Obama himself has noted that the award at the time seemed a good bit, um, premature. The Nobel Committee, though, sought to honor the new president on the hope that he would bring worldwide peace. I am willing and able to acknowledge that President Obama didn’t leave us a more peaceful world when he exited his office in January 2017.

I just want this election to arrive on time. I want Donald Trump to be gone. I no longer want to hear his voice. Nor do I want to see his puss on my TV screen.

And I certainly do not want to hear him yammering and yapping about a Peace Prize nomination. Hey, maybe he’ll talk the Nobel committee out of awarding it to him just because of his incessant blathering.

What about the ‘water’s edge,’ Mr. Secretary?

The late great Republican U.S. Sen. Arthur Vandenberg coined the maxim that “politics stops at the water’s edge.”

That was his way of saying that in the pursuit of foreign policy, we shouldn’t quibble over partisan matters, that we’re all Americans regardless of political affiliation.

I want to extend that notion a bit farther. Secretaries of state shouldn’t engage in partisan politicking while they are representing U.S. interests abroad, either.

Listen up, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, I’m talking about you!

Pompeo is going to speak to the Republican National Convention tonight while he is in Jerusalem, ostensibly talking to Israeli leaders about this and that … such as crafting a comprehensive Middle East peace.

What the hell is he doing talking to the RNC about a partisan political matter, such as re-electing Donald J. Trump?

I know there’s nothing illegal about what Pompeo will do. Legality, though, doesn’t make it right. Thus, the secretary of state speaking to a partisan convention about a political matter just doesn’t pass the proverbial smell test.

This, I submit, is just one more time-honored tradition that Donald Trump has managed to destroy.

Peace Prize? Hah!

Donald Trump’s fans and friends in the right-wing media wasted no time in suggesting that Trump should be a “frontrunner” for the Nobel Peace Prize.

How come? Because the United Arab Emirates and Israel have announced plans to establish diplomatic relations. The UAE becomes the third Arab nation to exchange ambassadors with Israel, joining Jordan and Egypt.

Is this a big deal? Well, yes. It is. Is it Nobel Peace Prize material? Not even close.

I should point out that the UAE does not border Israel, unlike Jordan and Egypt. Nor does the UAE pose a serious military threat to Israel.

A Nobel Peace Prize ought to come in this context if, for instance, a U.S. president would broker a deal that stops Hamas from lobbing rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip. Or perhaps he could negotiate a deal that disarms Hezbollah, the terrorists who occupy Lebanon and launch attacks on Israel along the Israel-Lebanon border.

Hey, I am willing to give props to Trump for whatever role his administration played in bringing about this deal between Israel and the UAE. A Nobel Peace Prize, though, isn’t in the cards.

U.S.-China relations get even stickier

As if relations between the United States and China needed to get even more prickly … we have this bit of news.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is visiting Taiwan, the country that the PRC considers to be a “renegade province.” Taiwan has no official diplomatic relationship with virtually the entire world, which essentially recognizes a “one-China” policy.

Well, let me stipulate one point.

I have visited Taiwan five times dating back to 1989. I have seen the country up close. It is a vibrant, successful and energetic democracy. It is far from being the “renegade province” the PRC says it is.

It did break away from the PRC after a bloody civil war in 1949, when the communists seized power from the ruling nationalist party. It operated under martial law for decades in the years since then. It lifted the martial law a few years back.

Taiwan operates as an independent nation. It just has declined to declare its independence, concerned about a possible military reaction from Beijing were it to do so.

Over time, Taiwan’s population has become more native to the island nation, with far fewer citizens with roots in the PRC.

It’s an independent nation. Still, Secretary Azar needs to take care that he doesn’t say something that will rile the commies on the mainland even more than they no doubt already have become.

This, I submit, China-Taiwan is one of the world’s most complicated relationships. Tread carefully, Mr. Secretary.