Category Archives: International news

Biden to scold Putin?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The days of Vladimir Putin getting a pass from the president of the United States appear to be over.

That said, I would pay real American money if I could become a “fly on the wall” in the room where President Biden and the Russian strongman/spook/tyrant/dictator hold their first summit … when it occurs.

They don’t have one scheduled yet, but the wheels are turning to get the two men together to talk about, oh, differences over policy.

Putin got all snuggly with Donald Trump during Trump’s four years in the White House. He interfered in two of our elections, Trump said nothing. Putin reportedly paid Taliban terrorists bounties for every American they killed on the Afghan fields of battle, but again Trump said not a word. He has sought to subvert Ukraine in an ongoing war with the former Soviet republic, but Trump kept quiet about that, too.

Joe Biden wants to look into Putin’s flinty eyes and and give him the what-for, to which I say, “You go, Joe!”

If only I could eavesdrop. Dang!

‘Endless war’ sees an end

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

An astonishing thought occurred to me today as I listened to President Biden’s announcement that he is ordering our troops home from Afghanistan.

Are you sitting down for this? Joe Biden is invoking a policy that mirrors one espoused by Donald John Trump!

Recall that Trump bellowed during the 2020 campaign, and before, about he wanted to cease getting this country involved in “endless wars.” Well, his successor has followed that course. President Biden today announced our final contingent of troops will be out of Afghanistan no later than Sept. 11.

So, this thought also occurs to me: Will there be a statement endorsing this policy decision announced by Joe Biden coming from his immediate predecessor?

I know. You’re laughing out loud! In a way, I am snickering under my breath as I type these words. Hell, how can Trump endorse anything that President Biden does without ever even acknowledging that he was elected to the nation’s highest office?

We might just have seen the weirdest joining of strange political bedfellows in memory.

Biden: Bring troops home

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It is with guarded optimism — with the emphasis on “guarded” — that I welcome the pending end of our nation’s longest war as announced today by President Biden.

The president today declared his intention to have all U.S. combat troops removed from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 20 years after what has been called simply “9/11.”

Terrorists hijacked jetliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on that horrific day. A fourth jetliner became the scene of a fight between heroic passengers and terrorists and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. We went to war that day.

Joe Biden today, in effect, declared a form of “victory” in our fight against international terrorism. He wants to end our combat involvement in Afghanistan, where the Taliban gave safe harbor to al-Qaeda terrorists, enabling them to plot and execute the ghastly terrorist attack that drew us into the longest conflict in our nation’s history.

At roughly the halfway point in that struggle, our special forces killed the 9/11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden.

To be sure, the terror threat cannot possibly be extinguished ever. It was there all along, prior to 9/11 and afterward. Indeed, President Biden today acknowledged that threat and vowed to deploy all available counter- and anti-terrorist strategies to protect us against further attacks.

I hope with all my heart that he succeeds in this effort. I no longer want to send our young men and women into battle. That doesn’t mean, though, that we ever let our guard down against threats such as what befell us on 9/11.

I remain dubious that the Taliban can be trusted as a negotiating partner. Thus, it is imperative that we keep our military on the highest level of preparedness moving past the date set for our withdrawal from the Afghan battlefield.

Joe Biden reminded us that four U.S. presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Biden — all have dealt with this conflict. President Biden vowed today he wouldn’t hand it to a fifth commander in chief.

I want to applaud this decision. However, I will hold off on that hand-clapping when we can know for certain that we have ended forever the threats of violence that can come at a moment’s notice.

What constitutes immigration reform?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Some of you, like me who are interested in these things, might be inclined to wonder: What does comprehensive immigration reform look like?

I pose the question in the wake of that visit to the Texas border with Mexico from Republican members of Congress who have decided that the crisis on the border is all President Biden’s fault. They have sniped and snorted over the influx of immigrants fleeing oppression, crime, heartache in Latin America. They are searching for happiness and a new life in the Land of Opportunity and Freedom.

A letter writer to the Dallas Morning News asked of Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, two of the border visitors, whether they were going to stop yapping about Biden’s policies and start offering some comprehensive immigration reform ideas of their own.

What constitutes such reform?

I’ll take a brief stab at it.

  • We ought to establish policies that give a “pathway to citizenship” for those undocumented immigrants who are here already and who have been exposed as front-line workers to the COVID virus. U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif. — the son of immigrants — estimates there are about 5 million out of 11 million undocumented immigrants who fit that description. That’s one idea.
  • Another would be to make the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals a law. Codified it and allow DACA recipients to avoid deportation if they seek citizenship or legal resident status. These individuals were brought here as children — some of them as infants — by their parents who sneaked into the country illegally. Many of the DACA recipients have pursued fruitful careers as U.S. residents. They have excelled academically. They have paid their taxes. They have worked hard. They have raised families of their own.
  • Still another notion would be to reform the Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy of separating children from their parents, which was a hallmark of the Donald Trump administration. I don’t want to see ICE dismantled. It can perform a valuable service in protecting this country. There is plenty of opportunity to make it a more humanely operated agency.
  • And yes, we need to beef up border security.  We don’t need to erect walls along our border. It is too costly and its effectiveness is questionable. This nation has plenty of technological know-how to find and identify those who cross our border in the dead of night. We already are returning many undocumented immigrants already. I have no problem with that policy.

I know this doesn’t cover the whole gambit of immigration reform. I just want to see our elected representatives start dealing forthrightly with some solutions rather than tossing blame at an administration that has made a more “humane” immigration policy its benchmark.

Jetliner still missing

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Hey, we just went through a hideous commemorative date and no one paid a lick of attention to it.

March 8 came and went and few of us took note that it is the seventh year since a Boeing 777 jetliner with hundreds of human beings aboard vanished without a trace. Malaysia Air Flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing. Then it went poof, gone.

It reportedly went down somewhere in the Indian Ocean. No one has found the wreckage of the massive jetliner.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared 7 years ago; investigators still don’t know its final resting place (yahoo.com)

I still am asking: How in the world do we lose any trace of this machine? The loved ones of those aboard need closure. I doubt they ever will get it.

So very sad.

It’s a ‘crisis’ for sure

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

For those who think I am a Joe Biden suck-up who just cannot criticize the new president, here’s flash for you …

I believe President Biden misread and underestimated the impact of his immigration policy on our southern border and is now paying the price for allowing a full-blown crisis to develop.

Were I able to offer face-to-face advice to the president prior to his taking office, I would have said that his kinder/gentler immigration policy is going to entice immigrants into this country — and that he had better be prepared to handle the influx of human beings seeking a better life than the one they are leaving behind.

He didn’t do that.

To be sure, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is trying to assure the nation that the Biden administration has this matter under control, and that DHS and others intend to treat immigrants humanely. I want to believe Mayorkas.

The Biden approach to immigration issues presents a polar opposite strategy from what occurred during the Donald Trump years. Trump sought to round up everyone who was here illegally and deport them poste-haste back to wherever they came from. He separated children from their parents in what has been vilified as an act of abject cruelty.

Joe Biden took office promising a softer approach than the one offered by Donald Trump. If I was living in a Latin American nation and wanted to escape poverty, crime and repression for a new life in the U.S., you’re damn right I would do what I could to get there. If I was sending that message out to the world, which is what President Biden did, then I certainly would have thought out a strategy to deal with an expected tide of new arrivals.

President Biden needs to get both arms wrapped tightly around this matter in a major hurry. I am going to trust in the president’s desire to do right by those who seek entry into the Land of the Free. I also am going to implore him to stop worrying about what to call what is happening along our border.

It’s more than a “challenge,” Mr. President. It’s a “crisis.”

Tension with Russia, China mount? Imagine that

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Who would have thought that two nations competing with the United States of America are getting their dander up over the words coming from the new U.S. president?

Too bad … for them.

President Biden has acknowledged that Russian despot Vladimir Putin is a killer, prompting the Russians to call their U.S. ambassador back to the Kremlin. Biden also is working with our allies to get China to change the way it treats dissidents in its country, prompting the People’s Republic to stiffen its back as well.

I want there to be peaceful relations with both countries. I also want the United States to act like the powerhouse nation it is, not roll over and concede matters to Russia and China, which happened all too often during the Trump administration.

Biden has pledged to make Russia pay for interfering in our elections and for its assorted other misdeeds, such as reportedly paying bounties for Americans killed on the Afghanistan battlefield. Donald Trump never even brought that subject up with Putin, as Trump himself has admitted. That must change and by all accounts, it has done so.

Russia, China tensions rise with White House  | TheHill

As for China, I also want President Biden to talk openly about human rights abuses, which the PRC is infamous for committing against its citizens. If the leaders in Beijing don’t like it, well … that’s just too damn bad.

Russians might pull their envoy to the U.S.? | High Plains Blogger

The United States has sufficient alliances around the world with nations that are able to back us up and are capable enough to withstand challenges from Russia and China.

I welcome the tougher talk coming from President Biden. After all, we are big dog on the block.

Abbott looks for immigration scapegoat

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was looking for someone to blame for the immigration crisis that is building along our southern border.

So he found one. You’re it, President Biden.

Abbott came to Dallas today to blame Biden for the influx of unaccompanied children who are entering the state. He said the president’s immigration policies are “enticing” Latin Americans to enter the United States illegally.

Oh, but wait. President Biden has said categorically — in plain English — that those people shouldn’t come here. “Don’t come,” Biden told ABC News this week, adding that critics are blasting him because he’s a “good guy” who will treat immigrants more humanely than Donald Trump ever did.

As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports: “I can say quite clearly, don’t come over,” Biden said, noting that the administration is setting up a process for applying for asylum in place. “So don’t leave your town, or city or community.”

When it comes to children crossing he border, Biden said most are 16 and 17. He advocated for trying to connect the minors with an adult contact in the U.S.

Greg Abbott decries immigration under Biden while in Dallas | Fort Worth Star-Telegram (star-telegram.com)

None of that stops Gov. Abbott from levying heavy criticism on President Biden.

Yes, the child immigration problem has worsened. I get it. What is lost on me is what precisely the Biden administration is doing to lure these children into the country.

My request for Gov. Abbott would be to cool down the anti-Biden rhetoric and spend more of his waking energy on coming up with solutions he can implement along with whatever the feds intend to do.

And please, governor, spare me the “open borders” canard.

Yep, Putin is a ‘killer’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden has hit an important reset button.

It’s the one that calibrates this nation’s relationship with Vladimir Putin, the one-time chief spook who governs Russia.

ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos this week asked Biden directly, “Is he a killer?” The president answered, “Mm-hm. I do.” So, with that we well might witness a new era of competition between the leaders of two former Cold War adversaries, rather than a relationship in which Putin seemingly called all the shots and the man who served as our president marched to Putin’s cadence.

The ABC interview with President Biden came at a fortuitous time, as Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines released declassified findings that showed how hard Russia worked to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

The good news? The DNI’s findings have determined that the Russians failed in their effort to re-elect Donald Trump. The election was carried off without foreign interference, the report said.

What happens now?

President Biden said Putin is going to “pay” for the misbehavior in which he engages. Biden said he knows Putin “fairly well” and that he once told Putin that he looked into his eyes and didn’t see his soul, to which — according to the president — Putin responded that “now we understand each other.”

I am not willing to support a buddy-buddy friendship between our president and the Russian despot/strongman. Donald Trump simply could not bring himself to speak critically of Putin, seemingly believing that overt criticism held too many risks for this nation.

Sigh. What the ex-president never appeared to grasp is the reality that Russia is a third-rate economic power and that — beyond its vast nuclear arsenal — it is a relatively feckless military power as well. The United States truly is the world’s remaining military superpower and our economic heft is far greater than anything that Russia or Putin can imagine.

Donald Trump operated from a position of weakness with regard to Putin. Joe Biden intends to flex our economic and military muscle and appears set to remind Vladimir Putin that he no longer is dealing with a patsy who is working in the White House.

What do we make of Harry and Meghan?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Much of the world is all agog at what it heard from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex this past weekend.

Harry and Meghan dropped plenty of live grenades on the UK’s royal family. I’ll be honest: We aren’t talking much about what they said in our house. Neither my wife and I are “royal watchers,” although I must admit to a certain fascination with what some members of Her Majesty’s family have said and done.

Of all the live ordnance dropped on the royals, the most disturbing — and arguably the most jaw-dropping — were the conversations that allegedly occurred with some members of the family about baby Archie. Some of the royals reportedly expressed some, um, concern that the little guy would be too dark to suit the royal family.

You see, Meghan is a biracial young woman — her mother is African-American and her father is white. Harry and Meghan won’t disclose who among the family spoke to that issue, although Harry has said it wasn’t grandma, the Queen, or grandpa, Prince Philip,

Still, that leaves a wide range of folks who have revealed a terrible secret about the royal family, which is that one or more of them are hideous racists.

As you can expect, that didn’t go over well with either Harry, or especially with Meghan.

The fascination with the British royal family will bubble and boil for a long time. It’s the nature of humankind’s affinity for royalty. I prefer to consider the royals, based on what Harry and Meghan told Oprah Winfrey in that astonishing interview, to be just like too damn many of the rest of us.

I am now going to resume the rest of my own life.