We made a poor calculation, or so it seems. We had predicted, “somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas Kim Jong-un will announce he has had it with the American double-dealing and perversity and lies and return to firing missiles.” Apparently, Kim Jong-un did not even wait for Labor Day as on Saturday North Korea launched a set of short-range ballistic missiles and on Tuesday fired another missile, this time over the Islands of Japan. The series of missile firing came just days after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson welcomed North Korea’s recent “restraint” suggested talks with Pyongyang may be possible “in the near future,” (Watch video below). Tillerson stated in response to the North Korean provocations that the missiles were a “provocative act” adding that the United States would continue to search for a peaceful solution. This is where we question whether or not Secretary of State Tillerson may…
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To some of us, it is hardly a secret that anti-Semitic violence is on the rise in Europe, or that the chief perpetrators are Muslims. But many politicians and news media have been so indefatigable in their efforts to obscure this uncomfortable fact that one is always grateful for official — or, at least, semi-official — confirmation of what everyone already knows.
It is a pleasure, then, to report that a new study, Antisemitic Violence in Europe, 2005-2015 — written by Johannes Due Enstad of the Oslo-based Center for Studies of the Holocaust and the University of Oslo, and jointly published by both institutions — is refreshingly, even startlingly, honest about its subject. Enstad notes that while anti-Semitic violence has declined in the U.S. since 1994, it has been on the rise worldwide. That, of course, includes Europe — most of it, anyway.
Examining statistics from France, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Russia, Enstad points out that one of these seven countries “clearly stands out with a very low number” of anti-Semitic incidents despite its “relatively large Jewish population”; the country in question, he adds, “is also the only case in which there is little to indicate that Jews avoid displaying their identity in public.” In addition, it is the only one of the six countries in which the majority of perpetrators of anti-Semitic violence are not Muslims. Which country is Enstad referring to? Russia.
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Yet another tumultuous week in domestic affairs, starting with the Charlottesville tragedy and ending with Steve Bannon departing the Trump White House, drove the continuing threats of international terrorism and nuclear proliferation off America’s front pages. The media’s vicissitudes may be inevitable, but they constantly produce “surprising” strategic developments that were both predictable and long in the making.
In that vein, one of the Trump administration’s principal legacies could well be that North Korea (and Iran) became full-fledged nuclear-weapons states on its watch. If so, the risks of radical Islamic terrorism will also increase correspondingly. Certainly, President Trump’s predecessors made critical blunders in counterproliferation policy, thereby laying the foundation for this potentially massive failure. But historical blame rests inevitably with the administration that missed the last clear chance to prevent it.
The mortal risk that terrorists will acquire nuclear (or chemical and biological) weapons is all too clear. ISIS claimed responsibility for Thursday’s deadly terrorist attack in Barcelona, which now appears part of a larger, more complex effort, foiled in part by Spanish authorities. Friday’s terrorist knifings in Finland added to the grim news. Imagine these or other terrorist attacks that deployed weapons of mass destruction.
Ironically, North Korea warranted media attention last week only because of Bannon’s remark, in an interview just before he left government, that no real military option exists against Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities. The media, however, largely bungled the significance of his comments, determined instead to prove broader intra-administration disagreements on national-security policy. Unfortunately, whatever the internal dynamics, President Trump’s nuclear-proliferation advisers appear far closer to Barack Obama’s views than anyone would have predicted.
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