Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Foreign Affairs

U.K. To Deport Refugees to Rwanda

Well played, John Bull… well played.

LONDON — The United Kingdom approved controversial legislation on Tuesday that allows the government to send some asylum-seekers to Rwanda, with deportation flights expected to start this summer.

 

The so-called Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill completed its passage through the U.K. Parliament in the early morning after almost eight hours of debate overnight, clearing the way for it to soon receive royal assent and become law. The legislation, which aims to deter migrants from entering the U.K. illegally via small boats with hopes of claiming asylum once they reach the shore, had been stalled in Parliament for two months as lawmakers in both houses repeatedly proposed and rejected amendments.

 

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who described the bill as “landmark legislation,” has promised that the first flights deporting illegal migrants to Rwanda, where their asylum claims will be processed, would take off in 10 to 12 weeks.

 

“We introduced the Rwanda Bill to deter vulnerable migrants from making perilous crossings and break the business model of the criminal gangs who exploit them,” Sunak said in a statement Tuesday. “The passing of this legislation will allow us to do that and make it very clear that if you come here illegally, you will not be able to stay. I am clear that nothing will stand in our way of doing that and saving lives.”

[…]

 

The idea was first proposed in 2022 by former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who signed a multimillion-dollar partnership with the Rwandan government introducing the idea to have illegal migrants with asylum applications “deemed inadmissible by the U.K.” flown to Rwanda instead. But the U.K. Supreme Court blocked the deportation flights last November, finding the plan “unlawful” because the government couldn’t guarantee the safety of those being transferred to Rwanda.

In response, the U.K. signed a new treaty with Rwanda that increased protections for migrants and then, last December, proposed the current legislation, which declares the East African nation to be “safe” for asylum-seekers.

Israel Strikes Back at Iran

We are spinning into a real war. Expect terrorism all over the Western world being perpetrated by Iranian-backed terror groups.

Israel, early Friday morning local time, launched missiles in a retaliatory strike against Iran, a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

 

The missile launches follow Iran’s attack last Saturday, where the country sent a volley of more than 300 uncrewed drones and missiles toward targets throughout the country, Israeli military officials previously said. All but a few were intercepted by Israel and its allies, including the United States, officials said.

 

Iran’s attack came more than six months after Hamas terrorists invaded Israel on Oct. 7, after which the Israeli military began its bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

China is the Green Energy Giant

The “green” energy push from the Biden Administration is a lifeline to China’s economy at the expense of the American consumer.

But now the old industrial pillars of furniture, clothing and electrical goods are struggling, Beijing is looking to its “new productive forces”: solar panels, lithium batteries and electric cars.

“We are exporting to the UK, Belgium, Germany, mostly European countries, but also to Africa, Australia, South America, North America and also South East Asia,” salesperson Yan Mu says as he shows off the company’s storage batteries.

His is one of the stalls at an exhibition held by hundreds of green energy storage companies in a refurbished and repurposed steel plant on the edge of Beijing.

Iran Escalates War

This is going to get worse before it gets better. It’s telling that Saudi, Iraq, and Egypt are on the sidelines.

For the first time ever, Iran has carried out strikes against Israeli territory.

In the middle of Saturday night, air raid alerts went off in Israel, residents were urged to seek shelter while explosions were heard as air defences were activated.

 

Interceptions lit up the night sky in several places across the country, while many drones and missiles were shot down by Israel’s allies before they reached Israeli territory.

At least nine countries were involved in the military escalation – with projectiles fired from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen and downed by Israel, the US, the UK and France as well as Jordan.

Chinese Nationals Flooding Border

China has one of the most ubiquitous and aggressive surveillance machines in the world. There is no way this is happening without the support of the CCP.

There have been more than 22,000 encounters of Chinese nationals at the southern border since Oct. 1, a massive increase from the 2,176 encountered in federal fiscal year 2022 and the 450 encountered in fiscal year 2021.

 

[…]

 

The man’s account on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, shows his family in China on the way to the airport. He said he collected information from online sources to learn how to make it to the U.S., including information about routes, border navigation and ways to dispose of information to avoid having your origin traced. Additionally, many people “vlog” about their journey on Chinese social media apps to get in contact with other Chinese nationals already in the U.S. who can help find them jobs and a place to live.

 

He said his family left China in January and traveled first to Thailand (with a transfer in Bahrain) before going through Morocco (with a transfer in Spain), Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.

Biden Reluctantly Agrees to Release Munitions to Israel Despite Antisemitic Opposition

Good.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. in recent days authorized the transfer of billions of dollars worth of bombs and fighter jets to Israel, two sources familiar with the effort said on Friday, even as Washington publicly expresses concerns about an anticipated Israeli military offensive in Rafah.

 

The new arms packages include more than 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs, said the sources, who confirmed a report in the Washington Post.

Washington gives $3.8 billion in annual military assistance to Israel, its longtime ally.

 

The package comes as Israel faces strong international criticism over its continued bombing campaign and ground offensive in Gaza and as some members of President Joe Biden’s party call for him to cut U.S. military aid.

U.S. Abandons Israel at U.N.

This is a disgrace. That’s not a ceasefire. It’s a surrender.

On Thursday, the United States ended decades of stalwart support for Israel in the United Nations Security Council, submitting a draft resolution that calls for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

 

The U.S., which negotiated the language of the proposed resolution with the governments of Egypt and Qatar, seeks to have the Security Council vote on it on Friday.

 

An earlier version of the resolution that was circulated earlier in the day Thursday linked the cessation of fighting with the release of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas, the Associated Press reported. The latest revision, however, makes no such precondition for “the imperative of an immediate and sustained cease-fire.”

In February, the U.S. was the only nation on the Security Council to veto a similar resolution, saying that calling for an immediate end to military hostilities would imperil hostage negotiations.

Invasion of Rafah Would be Bloodbath

Ya know… there is a way to prevent this. Hamas could surrender.

The doctors warned about a potential “bloodbath” with “apocalyptic” consequences if Israel carries out its planned invasion of Rafah, a southern city by the border with Egypt where over 1.5 million displaced civilians are currently taking refuge.

 

“This is probably the worst crisis that can happen within this war,” Sahloul said.

 

[…]

 

Although international leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have publicly shared their concerns, a senior Israeli official told ABC News on Wednesday that “there is no world” in which Israel does not go ahead with its Rafah offensive, a military operation they claim will destroy the last battalions of Hamas left in the south.

 

The doctors affirmed that the situation is already dire and called for a cease-fire.

Frankly, Israel’s care to provide paths to safety, warnings, and humanitarian care for civilians as they prosecute the war is admirable. They do it at great risk to themselves and knowing that their enemy would not – has not – do the same for them. Hamas has a long history of using civilians as shields. There is one reason that civilian Gazans continue to be in the middle of a war. That reason is Hamas.

“Sometimes you had to fight it, sometimes you had to deal with it”

Here’s an interesting perspective from Gaddis’ biography of George F. Kennan:
“Foreign policy was not, therefore, a contest of good vs. evil. To condemn negotiations as appeasement, Kennan told a Princeton University audience early in October, was to end a Hollywood movie with the villain shot. To entrust diplomacy to lawyers was to relegate power, ‘like sex, to a realm in which we see it only occasionally, and then in a highly sublimated and presentable form.’ Both approaches ignored the fact that most international conflicts were ‘jams that people have gotten themselves into.’ Trying to resolve them through rigid standards risked making things worse. Evil existed, to be sure: the Soviet regime reflected it, as had Nazi Germany. Sometimes you had to fight it, sometimes you had to deal with it. The important question was ‘what sort of compromises we make,’ not how to ‘escape altogether the necessity of making such compromises.'”

Putin “Wins”

It’s laughable but carries a warning we should heed.

Vladimir Putin was always going to claim his fifth term as president with a landslide, faced with three other candidates all rubber-stamped by the Kremlin.

But when election officials said results gave him more than 87% of the vote, he said Russia’s democracy was more transparent than many in the West.

In truth no credible opposition candidate was allowed to stand.

We laugh and scorn Putin because we believe this to have been an illegitimate election. Without the consent of the governed as conferred through a fair and legitimate election, Putin’s office lacks legitimacy. Putin lacks legitimacy.

The same is true in America. As our elections become slipshod and the current administration is attempting to imprison bona fide political opponents, our leaders and our government becomes illegitimate. We are not yet near the laughable status of a Russian election, but it’s a spectrum – not a point.

Biden’s Getting Frustrated by Israel

Huh. It’s almost as if Israel is a sovereign nation fighting an existential threat and isn’t concerned with the ravings of a senile American president and his domestic political concerns.

WASHINGTON — The White House is considering options for how to respond if Israel defies President Joe Biden’s repeated warnings against launching a military invasion of Rafah without a credible plan to protect Palestinian civilians, according to one former and three current U.S. officials.

 

The discussions are taking place amid growing concern in the administration and frustration among congressional Democrats that the president’s pleas will simply be ignored. Israel this week inched closer to initiating an incursion into the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip.

 

“Time and again, President Biden calls upon the Netanyahu government to take certain actions, and for the most part, time and again, [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu ignores the president of the United States. And so I think that makes the United States look ineffective,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., in an interview.

Who tf Does Schumer Think He Is?

He hasn’t done enough to screw up our country so he has to meddle in Israel? If a foreign leader were calling shots in America, we’d be livid. Rightly so. What’s Hebrew for, “go f*** yourself?”

US Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has called for new elections in Israel, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of prioritising his “political survival” above the country.

Mr Schumer, a Democrat and the highest-ranking Jewish official in the US, said Mr Netanyahu had “lost his way”.

 

He warned that huge civilian casualties in Gaza risked alienating allies and turning Israel into a global “pariah”.

It is a sharp escalation in US criticism of Mr Netanyahu’s government.

Hamas Continues War Into Ramadan

I do seem to remember that our president said there would be a ceasefire by today. No?

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinians began fasting for Ramadan on Monday as the Muslim holy month arrived with cease-fire talks at a standstill, hunger worsening across the Gaza Strip and no end in sight to the five-month-old war between Israel and Hamas.

 

[…]

 

Hamas is demanding guarantees that any such agreement will lead to an end to the war, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue the offensive until “total victory” against the militant group and the release of all the remaining hostages.

 

The war began when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 250 hostage. Hamas is still believed to be holding around 100 captives and the remains of 30 others following an exchange last year.

 

[…]

 

The United States and other countries have begun airdropping aid in recent days, but humanitarian groups say such efforts are costly and insufficient. The U.S. military has also begun transporting equipment to build a sea bridge to deliver aid, but it will likely be several weeks before it is operational.

 

A ship belonging to Spanish aid group Open Arms carrying 200 tons of food aid was expected to make a pilot voyage to Gaza from nearby Cyprus, though it was not clear when it would depart. Israel says it welcomes the sea deliveries and will inspect Gaza-bound cargo before it leaves Cyprus.

 

The ship in Cyprus is expected to take two to three days to arrive at an undisclosed location in Gaza. The food is being supplied by the World Central Kitchen, a U.S. charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, which said contruction work on a jetty in Gaza began Sunday. Once the ship reaches Gaza, aid will be offloaded by a crane, placed on trucks and driven north.

And do you notice that, once again, it is the Americans and the Europeans extending their money and their hearts with humanitarian aid? Where are the lorries and air drops full of aid from Egypt? Saudi? UAE? Iraq? JORDAN!? Syria? Lebanon? Libya? Algeria? Pakistan? Qatar? Kuwait? Turkey? Indonesia?

Are all of those countries willing to watch their Palestinian brothers die for the cause? Yes. Yes, they are.

Haiti Collapses

Pray for the innocent.

The US has deployed Marines to evacuate its embassy in Haiti as local gangs continue to attack state institutions.

 

The operation, which occurred early Sunday, serves as the latest sign of Haiti’s societal troubles, as locals in its capital continue to report the overwhelming stench of the dead.

 

Violence in the Caribbean country broke out out this past week, and has since threatened to bring down the local government.

 

Gangs across the country continue to unite, causing thousands to flee their homes.

 

Politicians across the region are scrambling for a solution, as dogs have been seen gnawing on the unaddressed dead, and bodies are burned in the streets.

 

The neighborhood around the embassy in the capital, Port-au-Prince, has been one of the hardest-hit, hence the recent operation. Its success was revealed in a statement from the US military’s Southern Command later in the day.

U.S. Prepared for Nuclear War in Ukraine

Why is this a revelation? We have a rogue nuclear power going to war against an enemy who difficult to defeat by conventional means. If the U.S. had not game played and prepared for the possibility of nuclear war, it would have been a derelict of duty.

In late 2022, the US began “preparing rigorously” for Russia potentially striking Ukraine with a nuclear weapon, in what would have been the first nuclear attack in war since the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki nearly eighty years before, two senior administration officials told CNN.

The Biden administration was specifically concerned Russia might use a tactical or battlefield nuclear weapon, the officials said.

I first reported US officials were worried about Russia using a tactical nuclear weapon in 2022, but in my new book, “The Return of Great Powers” publishing on March 12, I reveal exclusive details on the unprecedented level of contingency planning carried out as senior members of the Biden administration became increasingly alarmed by the situation.

Americans Increasingly Want to Scale Back Role as World’s Policeman

Hey, we’re broke. Someone else is going to have to pick up some of the tab for a while.

While an American role as the “world’s policeman” has become an increasingly contentious partisan issue, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans agree that the U.S. should not get more involved than it currently is in the ongoing conflicts between Russia and Ukraine and Israel and Hamas.

 

The poll shows that 4 in 10 U.S. adults want America to broadly take a “less active” role in solving global conflicts. Only about one-quarter think the U.S. should take a more active role, and about one-third say its current role is about right.

 

[…]

 

Where the U.S. should be focusing its international military resources is also a subject of debate, with Republicans and Democrats disagreeing over whether the nation should be taking a more active role in the war between Ukraine and Russia or the war between Israel and Hamas.

 

Among U.S. adults overall, there isn’t much appetite for a more active role in either conflict: Only about 2 in 10 U.S. adults say the U.S. should be taking a more active role in each war. For each, about 4 in 10 say the current role is about right, and 36% say the U.S. needs to take a step back.

 

But Republicans and independents are more likely than Democrats to say that the U.S. should dial down its support for Ukraine. About half of Republicans and independents want the U.S. to take a less active role in the war between Ukraine and Russia, compared to only 18% of Democrats.

Kamala Calls for Ceasefire as Michigan Polls Slump

Dead Jews are a price that Biden/Harris is willing to pay for reelection.

Vice President Kamala Harris has broken with President Joe Biden to call for ‘an immediate ceasefire’ in Gaza.

 

[…]

 

‘Before I begin I must address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,’ Harris said. ‘What we are seeing every day in Gaza is devastating.’

 

Citing the ‘immense scale of suffering’ in the war-torn nation, she stressed ‘there must be an immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks’.

 

‘This will get the hostages out and get a significant amount of aid in. This will allow us to build something more enduring to ensure Israel is secure and to respect the right of Palestinian people to dignity, freedom and self-determination,’ Harris said.

 

Her comments mark a departure from the more cautious approach so far favored by Biden, as he struggles to strike a balance between the US’ role as an ally to Israel, with growing international outrage over its bombing of Gaza.

I highly doubt that this is a break with Biden. This is a strategy for the Biden Administration to try to appease two conflicting Democratic constituencies.

Biden Administration’s Anti-Israel Policy

Of course the timing is intentional. Biden had three years to change this policy and chose this moment because his is bleeding Islamist support in the battleground states of Michigan and Minnesota. Biden doesn’t mind dead Jews in the Holy Land if it means him retaining power.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Friday restored a U.S. legal finding dating back nearly 50 years that Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are “illegitimate” under international law.

 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. believes settlements are inconsistent with Israel’s obligations, reversing a determination made by his predecessor, Mike Pompeo, in the Biden administration’s latest shift away from the pro-Israel policies pursued by former President Donald Trump.

 

Blinken’s comments came in response to a reporter’s question about an announcement that Israel would build more than 3,300 new homes in West Bank settlements as a riposte to a fatal Palestinian shooting attack.

It wasn’t clear why Blinken chose this moment, more than three years into his tenure, to reverse Pompeo’s decision. But it came at a time of growing U.S.-Israeli tensions over the war in Gaza, with the latest settlement announcement only adding to the strain. It also came as the United Nations’ highest court, the International Court of Justice, is holding hearings into the legality of the Israeli occupation.

Japan Enters Recession

Oof.

Japan’s economy dipped into a technical recession, after unexpectedly contracting again in the October-December period, provisional government data showed Thursday. High inflation crimped domestic demand and private consumption in what’s now the world’s fourth-largest economy.

 

The latest gross domestic product print complicates the case for interest rate normalization for Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda and fiscal policy support for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. It also means Germany took Japan’s place as the third-largest economy in the world last year in dollar terms.

Provisional gross domestic product contracted 0.4% in the fourth quarter compared with a year ago, after a revised 3.3% slump in the July-September period. This was way below the median estimate for 1.4% growth in a Reuters poll among economists. The GDP deflator in the fourth quarter stood at 3.8% on an annualized basis.

 

The Japanese economy also contracted 0.1% in the fourth quarter from the previous quarter, after shrinking a revised 0.8% in the third quarter from the second. This was also weaker than expectations for 0.3% expansion.

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