Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Which Leaders Will Lose From A Biden Victory?

Joe Biden addresses supporters at his South Carolina primary night rally in Columbia, South Carolina, February 29, 2020. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart 


If Donald Trump is forced from the White House in the November election, he won’t be the only loser. 

Though many governments would likely celebrate the end of the most unconventional and at times chaotic U.S. presidency of modern times, others will have reason to miss it. For the leaders of Turkey, North Korea and Israel, the ledger has been almost entirely positive. Trump’s ejection would confront them with immediate challenges. 

The scorecard for countries like China is more nuanced. Even so, what the mostly authoritarian winners from Trump’s four years in office have in common is a fear his departure would spell the return of a more conventional U.S. foreign policy. 

That could see the U.S. mending alliances and promoting the universality of values such as democracy and human rights, or the fight against climate change. “This president embraces all the thugs in the world,” Trump’s opponent Joe Biden said at a recent town hall event, as he sought to highlight the political divide. 

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: I disagree with this list and their reasons why. A Biden Presidency will end the dialogue that exists between the US and North Korea. Dialogue that is essential for any long term peaceful resolution on the Korean peninsula. No one benefits from that. We all lose. I disagree that Xi Jinping will be a loser if Trump is gone. On the contrary. Joe Biden has already signaled that he will eliminate almost all of the obstacles to Chinese trade with the US under Trump has imposed. How can President Xi be a loser if that happens? Mohammed bin Salman's relationship with President Trump has always been a rocky one. They certainly do not see eye-to-eye on oil production and its price. A Joe Biden Presidency will impose restrictions on American fracking and other energy projects. That will be a big win for the Saudi Crown Prince. It will also be a huge win for Putin. The Brazilian President will not be impacted by a President Trump loss, nor will it impact Turkish President Erdogan. Ditto for the Polish and Hungarian leaders. All of them are running policies independently from the US. But I do agree that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be a big loser. A Biden Presidency will end President Trump's efforts to find common ground between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and instead focus on finding common ground with Iran.

Blowback From Europe After Joe Biden Categorized Poland And Hungary As 'Totalitarian regimes', Comparing Them To Belarus At Last Week's Town Hall

 


Brad Patty, The Post Millennial: Joe Biden is dead wrong on Hungary and Poland 

Presidential candidate Joe Biden raised hackles among our allies last week. He told the ABC town hall audience “You see what’s happened in everything from Belarus to Poland to Hungary, and the rise of totalitarian regimes in the world.” He went on to turn this into a campaign plank, but our allies in Eastern Europe were understandably upset. 

Hungary, for example, is close to joining only seven NATO countries that meet their defense budget obligations to the alliance. They are our partners in the western Balkans, where our State Department and USAID have had substantial success bringing peace to a war-torn region. Poland is an important NATO partner too, with whom we are negotiating basing rights as a long-term hedge against Russian aggression.

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: Poland and Hungary are not totalitarian regimes. Not even close. Is this the reason why foreign policy will not be a debate topic tomorrow? A concern that Joe Biden may not be up to speed on foreign policy? He certainly does not know what is happening in Poland and Hungary. 

Democrats Are Expecting A Biden Landslide

DNUYZ: A Biden Landslide? Some Democrats Can’t Help Whispering 

MACON, Ga. — President Trump held a rally in Georgia on Friday, 18 days before the November general election. It wasn’t a good sign for him. That Mr. Trump is still campaigning in what should be a safely Republican state — and in others that should be solidly in his column like Iowa and Ohio — is evidence to many Democrats that Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s polling lead in the presidential race is solid and durable. 

Mr. Trump spent Monday in Arizona, too, a state that was once reliably Republican but where his unpopularity has helped make Mr. Biden competitive. For some Democrats, Mr. Trump’s attention to red states is also a sign of something else — something few in the party want to discuss out loud, given their scars from Mr. Trump’s surprise victory in 2016. It’s an indication that Mr. Biden could pull off a landslide in November, achieving an ambitious and rare electoral blowout that some Democrats think is necessary to quell any doubts — or disputes by Mr. Trump — that Mr. Biden won the election. 

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WNU Editor: The polls that accurately predicted the 2016 election are saying no .... IBD/TIPP Presidential Poll: Trump Vs. Biden Race Tightens, Suddenly Looks Like 2016 (October 20, 2020). Rasmussen Daily Tracking poll has President Trump's approval numbers at 49%, the same number that President Obama had at the same time in his 2012 re-election campaign (link here). But I am the first to admit that this is not a normal election year. The pandemic and economic collapse has changed everything, and I see the angst among many who are now very worried about their future and are looking for change. 

New York Times Examines President Trump's Dealings In China Before He Became President

DNYUZ: Trump Records Shed New Light on Chinese Business Pursuits 

President Trump and his allies have tried to paint the Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., as soft on China, in part by pointing to his son’s business dealings there. 

Senate Republicans produced a report asserting, among other things, that Mr. Biden’s son Hunter “opened a bank account” with a Chinese businessman, part of what it said were his numerous connections to “foreign nationals and foreign governments across the globe.” 

But Mr. Trump’s own business history is filled with overseas financial deals, and some have involved the Chinese state. He spent a decade unsuccessfully pursuing projects in China, operating an office there during his first run for president and forging a partnership with a major government-controlled company. 

And it turns out that China is one of only three foreign nations — the others are Britain and Ireland — where Mr. Trump maintains a bank account, according to an analysis of the president’s tax records, which were obtained by The New York Times. The foreign accounts do not show up on Mr. Trump’s public financial disclosures, where he must list personal assets, because they are held under corporate names. The identities of the financial institutions are not clear. 


WNU Editor: The New York Times examination of President Trump's dealings in China before he became President are here. What struck me after I had read it was on how unsuccessful President Trump was in doing business in China. He clearly did not have the right contacts to pursue business ventures. But aside from that, I did not notice any red flags in the report. The fact that he has a bank account in China did not surprise me. I have a bank account in China, which is normal if you want to do something in that country. And as for comparing President Trump personal dealings to Joe Biden's .... the New York Times was not convincing. I learned a long time ago that politicians always scrub their personal financial affairs to look good to the public. The key is to look at their family and their relationships with businessmen to ascertain where their wealth truly is. 

Will A Biden Win Boost China's Yuan?

CNBC: A Biden win could be bullish for the Chinese yuan, analysts say 

 * “We assume a Biden win that reduces some trading uncertainty,” analysts at Swiss bank Lombard Odier wrote in a report on Tuesday. 
 * Under President Donald Trump’s administration, the U.S. and China have levied billions of dollars worth of tariffs on each other’s goods in a protracted trade dispute. 
 * Biden has slammed the trade war with China — saying that tariffs have hurt American businesses and consumers. 

SINGAPORE — A win for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the U.S. election next month could prove to be bullish for the Chinese yuan, analysts said. 

A “balanced outlook” for the election “should reduce the risk premium” for the Chinese currency, analysts at Swiss bank Lombard Odier wrote in a report on Tuesday. 

“We assume a Biden win that reduces some trading uncertainty,” they said. “Biden’s presidency could lead to a more rational approach to bilateral trade — even if his team could prove as hawkish on China as Trump’s on other matters.” 

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: Democrat Presidential candidate Biden has already made it clear that he wants to reset the US-China relationship to a time before Trump (i.e. massive trade surpluses for China). Couple this with promises from the Biden campaign that they support massive Congressional spending .... spending that would eventually depreciate the US dollar. I have to say yes. A Biden win would be bullish for China's currency.

Some Of Facebook's Social-Media Censors Are From China

Sohrab Ahmari, New York Post: Meet your (Chinese) Facebook censors 

China is one of the most censorious societies on earth. So what better place for Facebook to recruit social-media censors? 

There are at least half a dozen “Chinese nationals who are working on censorship,” a former Facebook insider told me last week. 

“So at some point, they [Facebook bosses] thought, ‘Hey, we’re going to get them H-1B visas so they can do this work.’ ” 

The insider shared an internal directory of the team that does much of this work. It’s called Hate-Speech Engineering (George Orwell, call your office), and most of its members are based at Facebook’s offices in Seattle. 

Many have Ph.D.s, and their work is extremely complex, involving machine learning — teaching “computers how to learn and act without being explicitly programmed,” as the techy Web site DeepAI.org puts it. 

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: Facebook better be careful. This is what happened to Nortel in Canada when they permitted Chinese engineers access to their technology .... Exclusive: Did Huawei bring down Nortel? Corporate espionage, theft, and the parallel rise and fall of two telecom giants (National Post).

50 Former Top U.S. Intelligence Officials Have Signed A Letter Claiming That The Hunter Biden Story Is Russian Disinformation

Hunter Biden (left) with his father, former vice-president Joe Biden.(Reuters: Carlos Barria) 


More than 50 former intelligence officials signed a letter casting doubt on the provenance of a New York Post story on the former vice president's son. 

More than 50 former senior intelligence officials have signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Joe Biden’s son “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” 

The letter, signed on Monday, centers around a batch of documents released by the New York Post last week that purport to tie the Democratic nominee to his son Hunter’s business dealings. 

Under the banner headline “Biden Secret E-mails,” the Post reported it was given a copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop hard drive by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who said he got it from a Mac shop owner in Delaware who also alerted the FBI. 

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: The laptop has been in the possession of the FBI when the Mac shop owner realized what was on it and notified the proper authorities. The FBI and the Justice Department do not believe this is a Russian disinformation campaign .... FBI in possession of Hunter Biden's purported laptop, sources say (FOX News). There is a sign receipt by Hunter Biden for these laptops. Hunter Biden's lawyer has inquired about these laptops. No one in the Biden campaign or the Bidens themselves have said these emails are false. Soem of the people who are mentioned in these emails have confirmed that it is them. There are numerous personal pictures of Hunter Binden on this laptop, and personal pictures of family gatherings that include the former Vice-President. So how can this be a Russian disinfo operation? 

Update #1: Their letter is here .... Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails. 

Update #2: The more I think about these 50 top intelligence officials, the more I shake my head. They admit they have no evidence, but are making their claims based on their feelings?!?!?!? Talk about promoting conspiracy theories. And when I look at the names of those who signed this letter, they are a who's who of top intelligence officials who got the US to invade Iraq, helped to destroy Libya, supported US military involvement in these forever wars, supported and implemented spying programs on Americans, and were involved in literally every intel/foreign policy disaster of the past 20 years. The fact that many of these officials will probably play a key role in a Biden administration should he win makes me shudder even more. These are America's best?!?!?

 More News On 50 Former Top U.S. Intelligence Officials Signing A Letter Claiming That The Hunter Biden Story Is Russian Disinformation 

U.S., Russia Close To A Deal On Extending The START Nuclear Treaty

 


The U.S. and Russia are on the verge of an arms-control deal that would freeze the number of nuclear warheads on each side and extend the New START agreement for a year, a senior Trump administration official said Tuesday. 

“We are very, very close to a deal,” the official said. “Now that the Russians have agreed to a warhead freeze, I do not see why we cannot work out the remaining issues in the coming days.” 

The Trump administration has been pressing Russia to conclude the agreement before the Nov. 3 U.S. election, a development that would provide President Trump with a diplomatic achievement in the final days of his campaign. 

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: The Kremlin has given everything that President Trump asked for. This is a major policy win for the President, and also the right one to do. This deal will also probably be signed in the next day or two before the US Presidential debate .... US ready to meet immediately with Russia to finalize New START agreement (TASS). But the Kremlin is still hedging its bets .... Russia Is Hedging Its Arms Control Bets on Next U.S. Administration (National Interest). 

 More News On The U.S. And Russia Close To A Deal On Extending The START Nuclear Treaty 

Tweets For Today

Would A Victory For Biden Increase Tensions Between Washington and Moscow

'We understand one another': Biden told the New Yorker that when he met with Putin in 2011 he looked him square in the eye and said he didn't think he had a soul 


 * Analysts expect that a victory for Biden would increase tensions between Washington and Moscow, and would raise the probability of new sanctions on Russia. 
 * The country is already operating under international sanctions on some key sectors and Russian officials close to Putin. 
 * However, arms control is an area that both Russia-watchers believe could be a point of mutual interest and some harmony. 

Despite some tough sanctions and even tougher criticism, Russia has not topped America’s foreign policy priorities under President Donald Trump, who has appeared to have a congenial relationship with his counterpart Vladimir Putin. 

However, that could all change if Democrat nominee Joe Biden wins the November 3 election, according to experts, who are weighing up the implications of a Biden presidency on U.S.-Russia relations. At the very least, analysts expect that a victory for Biden would increase tensions between Washington and Moscow, and would raise the probability of new sanctions on Russia. 

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: My read of the Kremlin is that they expect a Biden victory in two weeks. Will such a victory impact US - Russian relations. On the issue of nuclear arms control both sides are on the same page to extend the START treaty. On Ukraine .... both sides want a resolution to the conflict, but Russia will never return Crimea to Ukraine as Biden has demanded. Beyond that .... I do not see a Biden administration being focused on Russia. Their focus will be on the pandemic, and the economic crisis that it has spawn.

Picture Of The Day

Demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest against the Czech government's restrictions, in Prague, October 18. REUTERS/David W Cerny 

WNU Editor: The above picture came form this photo-gallery .... Virus cases surge across shaken Europe (Reuters).

Is South Korea Seriously Considering Ending Its Military Alliance With U.S.?

Korean Ambassador to the United States Lee Soo-hyuck speaks from his office in Washington, D.C., during a video-linked National Assembly audit session, Monday. / Yonhap 


‘Just because Korea chose the U.S. 70 years ago does not mean it has to choose the U.S. for the next 70 years, too.’ 

Powerful South Korean voices are crying out for the nation to end its military alliance with the United States, placing a sobering question mark over the future of the 70-year-old alliance. 

On October 12, the nation’s ambassador to the U.S., Lee Soo-hyuck, addressed the South Korea National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, saying: “Just because Korea chose the U.S. 70 years ago does not mean it has to choose the U.S. for the next 70 years, too.” Lee went on to say that South Korea should more highly prioritize its relationship with China. 

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: The South Korean ambassador to the US is causing a stir with his remarks that the US - South Korean alliance needs to be re-evaluated .... Time for 'Korea first' policy (Choi Sung-jin, Korea Times). It is also causing some blow-back .... Envoy to US in hot seat over repeated controversial remarks (Korea Times). The Chinese are also noticing this split .... National interests drive Seoul, Washington apart (Global Times).

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Is Lockheed Building The Air Force’s Secret Fighter?

Defense One: Is Lockheed Building the Air Force’s Secret Fighter? 

Executives drop some not-so-subtle clues

Is Lockheed Martin building a secret new fighter jet that U.S. Air Force officials revealed last month? 

Company executives dropped some not-so-subtle hints about the company’s growing backlog of classified military work, including one project that requires erecting a new building at its secretive Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California. They also pointed to revenue growth within the company’s Aeronautics division, which includes the Advanced Development Programs shop that created the fabled U-2 and SR-71 spy planes and F-117 stealth attack jet. 

“We do anticipate seeing strong double-digit growth at our Skunk Works — our classified Advanced Development Programs,” Lockheed CFO Ken Possenriede said during the company’s quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts. “We continue to execute on...recent awards.” 


WNU Editor: It looks like they are building the Air Force's next fighter.

Two-Star US Marine General Fired After Reports He Used A Racial Slur Around Subordinates

Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Stephen M. Neary, then commanding general, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, stands at attention during his change of command ceremony on Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 5, 2020. (Lance Cpl. Samuel Lyden/Marine Corps) 


Marine Maj. Gen. Stephen Neary was fired Tuesday from his command of Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa by Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger, according to the Corps.

“Neary was relieved due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to serve in command,” said a Tuesday press release from Headquarters Marine Corps.

The general is under investigation for alleged use of a racial slur during physical training outside the Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa headquarters in Böblingen, Germany, Stars and Stripes first reported. 

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: It is not everyday that you see a two-star general fired. A Marine General to boot. 

 More News On Reports That A Two-Star US Marine General Was Fired After Reports He Used A Racial Slur 

This Is The US Submarine That Will Stop A Russian Submarine Swarm In The North Atlantic

USS 'Seawolf' operates in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations and conducts a brief stop for personnel in the vicinity of Tromso, Norway, on Aug. 21, 2020. U.S. NAVY 


In mid-October 2019, the Russian navy sortied every operational attack submarine in its Northern Fleet into the cold waters of the high North Atlantic. 

Nearly a year later, the U.S. Navy deployed one of its own most capable, and secretive, attack subs through the same volume of ocean. USS Seawolf. 

The separate but similar events clearly were no coincidence. Russia has spent decades preparing its subs to control key volumes of the North Atlantic. 

The United States has spent decades preparing to thwart that plan. Seawolf is an important part of the American effort. 

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: Unfortunately for the US, they have only 3 'Seawolf' type submarines in their fleet.

Soldiers Open Fire On Nigerian Anti-Police Brutality Protesters In Lagos

 


Crackdown as rallies against police brutality continue in defiance of government curfew Nigerian security forces have opened fire on hundreds of protesters in Lagos, as rallies against police brutality continued in defiance of a 24-hour curfew imposed by the government earlier in the day. 

Graphic scenes posted on social media showed protesters fleeing as security forces, including soldiers, shot live rounds towards the crowds. 

 At least seven people were killed according to DJ Switch, a popular disc jockey, who broadcast live from the scene on Instagram. Protesters were seen struggling to remove shrapnel from injured protesters and in one case failing to resuscitate a casualty. 

Read more .... 

 More News On Soldiers Opening Fire On Nigerian Anti-Police Brutality Protesters In Lagos 

President Trump Abruptly Ends '60 Minutes' Interview

CNN: Trump abruptly ends '60 Minutes' interview before planned taping of joint appearance with Pence

(CNN)President Donald Trump abruptly ended a solo interview with CBS News' "60 Minutes" Tuesday and did not return for an appearance he was supposed to tape with Vice President Mike Pence, according to multiple sources familiar with what happened. 

After camera crews set up at the White House on Monday, Trump sat down with host Lesley Stahl for about 45 minutes on Tuesday before he abruptly ended the interview and told the network he believed they had enough material to use, according to two sources. 

CBS News did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment. When reached for comment, the White House did not dispute CNN's reporting. The President later accused Stahl of not wearing a mask and tweeted out a brief clip of her without one while at the White House. 

Read more .... 


WNU Editor: Any bets that the 60 Minutes interview with Joe Biden will be the exact opposite to President Trump .... starting with the questioning.

Update:
More details on what happened are emerging .... "I'm President And You're Not": Trump Abruptly Ends Interview With 60 Minutes' Leslie Stahl (Zero Hedge).

NATO Envoys Openly Rooting For A Trump Defeat In Two Weeks. Would Seek Early Summit With Biden If He Is Elected

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (l) and US Vice President Joe Biden meet for bilateral talks during the 51st Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, 7 February 2015. Reuters 


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The NATO military alliance is considering a summit in March in Brussels to welcome a new U.S. president if Democrat candidate Joe Biden wins, diplomats and officials said, with a gathering in the first half of next year if Donald Trump is reelected. 

While the U.S.-led alliance agreed last year to hold a summit in 2021, a meeting in the spring would be an early chance to repair transatlantic ties if Biden were to be voted into the White House on Nov. 3, after a bruising four years under Trump. 

Trump has said that the Western alliance is “obsolete” and some allies are “delinquent” as well as issuing a veiled threat in July 2018 to pull the United States out of the alliance. He also announced his intention earlier this year to cut the U.S. troop contingent in Germany, faulting Berlin for failing to meet NATO’s defence spending target and accusing it of taking advantage of the United States on trade. 

Read more .... 


WNU Editor: NATO's problems are deep. A Biden administration may change the optics, but not the substance.