American hegemony faces strong test with Axis powers: Iran & North Korea


Donald Trump’s rhetorical comments on social media are mostly  verbal  jabs harmlessly landing on his opponents regarding foreign affairs. This calm is about to change. Trump and his advisors know that if he is to build a legacy as President, he must back it up with action due to his poor performance on domestic matters. This spectre amounts to air strikes on North Korea or Iran, particularly if they threaten U.S. Naval ambitions in international waters. If there is a wild card– Russian proxy interests in Syria tend to put it in harm’s way, so,  it might be accidental against Russia in the Syrian conflict and/ or Russia vying for support from China against American hegemony. The multi-polarity of Near East and global politics is difficult to predict. If we look at Canada, who is currently embroiled with the U.S. over trade tariffs levied against Bombardier, Canada may be reticent to support America in a conflict, especially with a Canadian Liberal government that pulled fighter jets out of Iraq after the Liberal Party was elected in 2015. Canada’s main role is support and this will align Ottawa more traditionally and closely to her European allies.

Trump’s recent comments about “the  calm before the storm” suggest that his war room is in preparation mode for an attack on North Korea; if Iran miscalculates, they will get a slap on the wrist depending on the levity of their actions. I felt that North Korea would have been on the receiving end of American cruise missiles by the middle of September. South Korea & Japan will play a deciding factor, particularly if former UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon wades into the fray to provide shelter, rhetorical or other-wise, to his homeland. Yes, moon failed in comparison to Kofi Anan, but, no doubt, built up impressive connections during his terms ( 2007-2016). Forbes magazine named Ban the 32nd most powerful person in the world in 2013. Anan had resided over impressive peace-keeping efforts when nearly 70,000 military and civilian personnel were deployed in UN operations around the world as quoted by David Bosco of Foreign Policy magazine on February 16, 2011. Therefore, Anan may provide influence as an advocate of nuclear non – proliferation, in general.

So, it really is up to Kim Jong – un to play his hand with velvet gloves against Trump, who is ready to make his mark internationally after losing his grip on domestic issues like health care along with the prospect of losing control of Congress on November 6, 2018. In the mean-time, clear a corner in your base-ment if residing on the West coast as Trump tries to catch lightning in a bottle with Kim Jong – un playing havoc with Hwasong ICBM’s.


North Korea and America: the macabre danse

“A conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerilla wins if it does not lose. “

So said Henry Kissinger and one can’t but equate this to the Cold War happening in North Korea between Kim Jong – un and American interests. As all will agree, an armed confrontation between the two means loss and plenty of casualties. Will Kim Jong – un blink if the going gets tough? Will Donald Trump cower when body bags are sent home with no end in sight? Where is the common sense when staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.


North Korea, the guerilla in this scenario stands to lose in the area of mass casualties. Kim can lose legitimacy as leader if he fails to stand up to American aggression. He – Kim- will look weak among his generals and this opens the door to coup attempt to oust him and bring in an independent leader to steady the North. That may result in a leader chosen by Beijing and/or Moscow to curry favour to their hopes for stability and to avoid a refugee crisis. However, Kim is unlikely to go down without a fight to save face for the long-storied history of the Kim family in North Korea. A “Cult of Personality” will do that for a nation, collateral damage be damned. “Organized” protests in Pyongyang this week stirred the pot of discontent against Donald Trump’s fire and brimstone hubris that promises “fire and fury like the world has never seen.


The United States, the world power, and conventional army can win only if it avoids mass American casualties in a war that nobody wants. A recent poll suggests that Americans are more concerned than they have ever been about North Korea now that a missile strike inside the U.S. is technically possible for the Kim regime. The pressure is squarely on President Trump as he engages punch for punch in the rhetoric department with Kim and the North Korean propaganda machine. This summons potential images of the upcoming match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor where by Mayweather has the most to lose in reputation, while Conor McGregor has the most money and prestige to gain if he can live through one round. Donald Trump cannot win this war of words or public relations tournament as he has chosen the route of an inexperienced leader with weak political chops, who refuses to be reined in by stalwarts inside the Republican Party such as Mitch McConnell and John McCain. Trump knows that his early returns as U.S. President are on shaky ground with his health-care proposal in tatters. He needs to secure a public relations victory to satisfy those factions inside his party and with the general population. Therefore, a diversion may be necessary to prop up his government and legacy along the lines of former President George W Bush and America’s foray into Iraq to dispense with alleged Iraqi WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) controlled by Saddam Hussein. One can hope that Trump wins his tax-bill reduction, NAFTA renegotiation, or Mexican wall proposal.



  • Kim miscalculates as the Korean army lacks the expertise of America in military technology with one or more missiles falling inside Guam, South Korea or Japan.
  • America responds with a flurry of Tomahawk’s, drone and other missiles to quiet Kim and allow him to save face by staring down America, the Goliath and “conventional” Global Superpower. The Kim family can retain it’s posture on the Korean peninsula and live to fight another day in the future.
  • The main problem, and it is a costly one, is that the international community appears to be saddled with a young, aggressive leader in Kim Jong – un, whose nuclear cache is going to grow more sophisticated and prolific with time. It is the right time in many respects to cut off the head of the serpent before it can pose untold damage to the United States and its allies. The sacrifice might lead to the loss of millions of lives in this zero-sum game involving innocent spectators. If we channel Vilfredo Pareto “Pareto – Efficiency” for a win – win for all or Herbert Spencer “Satisfice” the best that the international community can hope for is one where  the recent sanctions affecting approximately one-third of North Korean exports will work their magic and bring about a resumption of the stagnant “six-party talks” that lie dormant since 2009. These failed talks saw the onset of North Korea’s launch of a satellite, which prompted sanctions by the U.N. (a recent -August 12, 2017-Reuter’s report indicates that North Korea is circumventing the coal sanctions by establishing a strong textile business with China.)  The situation crystallized in 2010 when North Korea sunk a South Korean patrol vessel with 104 people on board.   The Kim family’s aggressive nature remains unabated since this period. UN sanctions may be the panacea, but are they delaying the inevitable. Diplomacy in the tower is on shaky ground, with no solution in black or white.

Donald Trump’s Surrogate Presidency

God Bless America is a formidable anthem for Western Democracy! Problem is, someone forgot to tell Members of Congress & the Senate about what justifies good governance for the electorate. Currently, both sides are in an imbroglio over the signature piece of legislation from former President Barrack Obama, that if defeated, stands to leave up to 20 million Americans without health-care. Senator John McCain seemingly resurrected from brain surgery that would make Lazarus proud, entered into the Senate chamber to cast a vote that would  defeat the Republican motion to repeal Obamacare on Thursday, the evening of July 28. McCain crossed the floor of The Senate to cast a strong voice for maintaining coverage for those that would be affected under ‘Trump-Care.” Suffice it to say, there is humility to be gained when a surgeon has their way with you in the past seven days, and with McCain’s help, the motion was defeated.

Now, lost in this malaise is the notion that, at some point, ‘The Donald” is going to get fed up with the legal wrangling of the Presidency (there are a limit to veto’s) and leave this job if he is meant to look like Judas or Jihad. President Trump is not a seasoned politician. Canada had a similar issue with the unexpected election victory of Justin Trudeau, which validated that heredity is indeed important in the corporate boardroom and in political circles. The similarities end between Mr Trump, who has amassed  wealth of approximately 3.5 billion USD  through his ‘Art of the Deal’ exploits and Mr. Trudeau who was born into public office where his father was elected as Prime Minster of Canada when “Flower-Power” and Woodstock were reaching their zenith in North America. Mr Trump who is conditioned to managing his business affairs with a certain amount of moxie, must now be beholden to members of his own Party and Democrats if he hopes to pass any legislation. Trump will surely come to understand the political concepts of ‘log-rolling” and “pork-barrel politics” if he hopes to aspire to accomplish anything note-worthy during his term as President. I mention single term because I do not feel that he can withstand the demands that are necessary to survive as Head of State for American sovereignty in a multi-polar world. Gl0bal conflicts and the financial hang-over from 2008  has spread U.S. interests internationally, both in military matters and economic policy thin, without having lay pen to paper on NAFTA, Mexico’s wall, or a reprise of the ‘Axis – of- Evil” that his predecessor – George W Bush proclaimed for his two term opus in the 2000’s. There is a possibility of impeachment for Trump due to his dealings with Russia along with his personal legal issues relating to taxation and his questionable business ventures such as Trump University. If the log-pile becomes too high, another fare-well aboard Air – Force One may be in the offing, though, I imagine these aren’t the photo ops The Donald had in mind when the U.S. Presidency was a glint in his eye. In the case of Trump going over-board, a very capable replacement in Vice-President Mike Pence exists to steady  a shaky Oval Office that can’t find it’s bearings. As the Triptych of this Air Force One photo illustrates, 1972 is a clarion call to  past & recent  Republican misadventures. Only the names have changed.

What is a government’s responsibility?

The apocalyptic 21st c has carved out  a division on how best to determine the rights and responsibilities of government to their citizens, though, and maybe more crucial,  has been the case of collective security.   Economic matters will always retain their zeal among government in order to campaign for political office or re-election. The founding of the United Nations, the rights and responsibilities of those in affected regions with instability due to counter forces to the ruling elite (see Syria) or simply those factions that are at a crossroads of the many who fall under policy that favour them (see Britain), place a burden on  UN members . The United States has shouldered the burden of collective security starting with The Treaty of Paris in 1898 that shifted independence to Cuba away from Spain and along with that Puerto Rico, The Philippines, and Guam into the American orbit and with that, a stronger sense of colonialism.1

Rightfully, the first order of business for government is the protection of their citizens, those who reside within their borders legally or have business interests that require their presence for extended periods of time (notwithstanding Multi-nationals.) They must be a guarantor of those rights or we have the prospect of opportunities for terrorism such as the incident in 1970 that led to the FLQ  (Front de liberation du Quebec- a French Canadian separatist group)  kidnapping British Trade Commissioner James Cross  in Quebec, Canada. So, we have installed various mechanisms to protect government dignitaries and to a  lesser extent, the average legal citizen.

However, the founding of the United Nations on October 24, 1945 promised a new world order based on “collective security” guaranteed by its members to provide assurances of safety. Great idea and wonderful concept, though, the post WWII global structure weighed heavily on the United States with much less of a role for stalwarts such as the United Kingdom, France and Italy. Germany and Japan had much work in front of them to win back the good graces of the international community and still have work to do to become truly sovereign nation- states apart from American influence. Former Harvard Professor, Samuel Huntington famously spoke of a culture change regarding conflict among humans in “The Clash of Civilisations” in 1996. Huntington could foresee the rise of Islamic fundamentalism born out of the Israeli- Palestine discord that has been festering since the founding of the state of Israel in a Post WW2 world. Staunch allies of Israel among Western powers has given rise to jihad and thrust various groups into the spotlight,most famously or infamously, Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

This notion of collective security then begs the question: what is a government’s responsibility and to whom.

Libertarian’s refer to positive and negative liberty. Negative liberty being characterised as the notion that  I am free as long as I can act unimpeded by other persons while I am pursuing my objectives. If I am interfered with, then I am unfree. In the positive sense of liberty, my decisions are mine alone and not affected by external sources. This sounds good but a bit fishy. In government, we are affected every day by external forces who impose sanctions on us in the form of taxation. In our daily lives,we encounter laws that may affect us in a puerile manner, such as minor infractions like jaywalking, riding a bicycle without a helmet or other regional laws that are devised to protect us from ourselves and other citizens. The notion of immigration can create some unease because jobs are being shifted in this era of globalisation and soft(er) borders. Seats in classrooms are being allocated to international students that create competition among citizens for opportunities in the work-place and colleges that never existed to this extent for past generations, which drive up the cost of tuition. Yes, the benefit is a diverse group of students who bring a  well-rounded palette  of ideas and experiences to the class-rooom and this is invaluable. Ditto for the work-place.


Back to the notion of collective – security, the rise of jihad has spread to Europe and has left many Parisians and European’s lacking “Positive Liberty” which, in turn has forced governments to ramp up efforts to screen individuals or groups that may have designs on terrorist activity. Pivoting back, we might say that America and its allies flubbed the security file in Libya, Iraq and other nation-states that gave a window of opportunity for terrorist’s to enter. Currently, U.S. President Donald Trump is correct in claiming that some nation-states do not pay their fair share for collective security. Yes, the system is a bit convoluted with NATO a surrogate organisation competing for funding in order to do what the UN was designed to do in the first place. NATO was designed as an anti-dote to Eastern Europe and The Warsaw Pact, which itself was designed as a collective security blanket for the (FSU) Former Soviet Union. Along the way, the Allies found the lust for power too appealing once the Berlin Wall fell and with it the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. With that, the West has embroiled Russia over NATO’s incursion into Eastern Europe, while  the U.S. has China in its crosshairs over their inability to curtail North Korea and their pursuit of nuclear proliferation. The recent death of American student, Otto Warmbier begs for a military response to North Korea’s abuse of the 22 year old held in detention. The New World Order is a, pardon the pun, a land-mine of Foreign Policy rationale; hence,  a military operation on the Korean Peninsula might engulf that region in uncertainty and a refugee crisis for China and South Korea will ensue. America, then,  is caught between a rock and a hard place in protecting its mainland from a potential missile strike from North Korea  and placating to Conservative’s who admonish what Senator John McCain referred to as the murder of Otto Warmbier. Can America continue to operate in this version of a collective-security vacuum, without thrusting innocent parties into a global conflict. Is it too late to turn back the clock to a time when nation-states policed themselves, first & foremost. Military budgets be damned, suggest that with the rise of defense spending, the notion of peace-keeping will continue to vary with the Heads of State as well, placating to those naton-states that stimulate our economies with lower priced goods and multi-lateral, historical relationships. But, an attack is an attack on positive and negative freedoms and those that support all forms of democracy. Therin lay a government’s responsibility. Or not.

  1. “1898: The Birth of a Superpower.” Office of the Historian. <>

Groupthink: The tyranny of governing

Groupthink: The tyranny of governing

The developed world has an elaborate, yet contrived way of going about its business regarding governmental affairs in general, and foreign policy, in particular. As I was emailing with a professor in Asia this week, the reality of “Groupthink” a management term that denotes the notion of a team who is all too agreeable towards changes or the status quo of company policy, affects most humans on a daily basis. Sure, “kitchen table” politics help shape who we are and what influences us as individuals through our family and friends; however, in 2017 and with the threat of military conflict staring down the barrel of a gun on the Korean Peninsula, the bedrock of Groupthink is a notion that is strongest in authoritarian nation-states. A cult of personality is obvious in North Korea with the Kim dynasty and in Cuba with the Castro brothers maintaining an iron – grip on the island. China still maintains an identity with their leaders, though, nothing like during the  Mao era. The United States glorifies its Presidents with extravagant inaugurations and during the annual State of the Union Address. So, who holds the most power in their respective bureaus? The American President is constrained by Congress and American allies; authoritarian regimes by lack of resources, China the lone argument as it is the “factory of the world.”

The notion of Groupthink, then, rears its ugly head in various cabinets no matter the ideology. Individual Members of Parliament (Canada etc.) in some cases are permitted to vote with their conscious on various legislation and are held in line by the “Party Whip” on other matters that might bring about the downfall of the government. Is that Democracy or tyranny of the few? In the case of North Korea, Kim Jong – un has shown little tolerance for individuals within his circle who might flinch regarding the direction of his leadership.

In the case of Democracy, not going along to get along may cost you your political life or your station within the Party. In the Authoritarian nation – state, questioning the leadership may cost you your life or years of hard labour. What is the preferred platform is a rhetorical question.

As the U.S.S. Carl Vinson draws near the edge of North Korea, the potential for a miscalculation on the part of North Korean or the United States looms large. The result might be numerous casualties in South Korea followed by a mass exodus of refugees from North Korea into mainland China and South Korea. Yet, if Kim survives, the goal of regime change remains as distant as before any actual conflict that may take place on the Korean peninsula in 2017. Fifty – nine cruise missiles did little to dissuade Assad in Syria. If Kim plans on striking the U.S. or any of its allies in the region, all bets are off on predicting the outcome with an uneasy China deliberating over a potential refugee crisis or the U.S. flexing their military might in South Korea and Japan.

The political game of brinksmanship continues. For now, it is rhetorical and  a potent serum for sustaining power. Stay tuned.

Fear not the Trump Train…but more guns???

Donald Trump is being vilified in the media and by his fellow Republicans as toxic waste for their hopes to wrest The White House from eight years of Democrat control. Many navel gazers of the Washington political scene have railed against the depth or height of partisan politics on Capitol Hill for generations. One only need to observe The State of the Union Address to see the sanctimony being levied across the floor before a decided line that separates both political parties from heaving insults and other artifacts upon their adversaries. The 2016 SOTU saw Republican House Leader-Paul Ryan, with parched mouth, unable to sit still while President Obama delivered his final speech. Observing Obama’s final address, I realised the Americans got it right with a maximum of two terms per President. Barrack Obama appeared tired from the rancorous debates, and general malaise that goes with being the worlds top- cop. It is fair to note that he inherited an America,easter-storm-2
unlike his predecessor, George W. Bush. The 2008 America was headed for a financial tsunami, and had lost respect among allies for some dubious foreign policy measures; primarily the second Gulf War incursion.

As the Primary season forges ahead, an anomalous political street-fight has created a wedge between those Republican’s that support Donald Trump for the top of the GOP ticket, and everyone else, including Democrats and “soft” Republicans. Trump has come a long way since The Apprentice and has galvanized support as he goes about winning state after state. However, his “take no prisoners” diatribe against his opponents has left the GOP feeling susceptible to the sure-footed eloquence of Hilary Clinton and her ensemble of campaigners, including husband and former President Bill Clinton. For Trump, this is akin to going to a gunfight with a knife. Couple that with Tea-Party’ers and hard Republicans, and success would seem fleeting at the Republican National Convention from July 18-21 never mind upsetting the presumed odds on favourite to win in November, Hillary Rodham Clinton. So, how can Donald Trump assuage the fears of veteran Republican stalwarts like James Baker, a former Secretary of State in the George H W Bush administration, who warned the living world or those with bandwidth aplenty, that a Trump victory would make planet Earth, less safe. The Donald is beginning to see his shadow as he courts members of the GOP faithful, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan to bring support and credibility to his campaign, while measuring his tone to appeal to Independents, the immigrant-vote, and those voters who may be tempted to jump-ship to the Democrats, in November. Trump might consider former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his failed attempt to throw niqab bearing Islamic women under the  bus in the last Canadian election that saw Harper exiled to Dante’s Inferno in Alberta, all references aside.


What might Trump maintain in his toolkit of policies to temper fears of his victory in November?

First, he needs to bring in a moderate to run as Vice-President on his ticket. Former opponent and Ohio Governor John Kasich offers experience with managing deficits and has knowledge of foreign affairs. He is the perfect foil to fears elicited by Democrats, the protest movement, and even The Pope. That Kasich brought forward “The Balanced Budget Act” of 1997 which balanced the federal books for the first time in decades (a strong economy and shrinking military budget did not hurt), plays to his strengths as an administrator and fiscal conservative that Republicans know and trust.  There is a rumour that Newt Gingrich and Trump have had discussions about a political liaison, though, it remains to be seen if the two men and their ego’s could get out of each others way long enough and develop the necessary chemistry to convince voters of their ingenuity and salience to manage the worlds top economy and military. Worries of Trumps’ demagogical approach to immigration and trade can be diminished with a Kasich-Trump ticket, particularly with former leaders like former Mexican President Vicente Fox screaming bloody murder over a fence dividing the border of the two countries. Most American voters would agree with Trump’s countenance to obliterate terrorism, though,at the expense of immigration, will not appease those voters that may be directly or indirectly affected  by restrictions to Islamic migration to America. What better way to stir up a firestorm than annihilating the approximately 6.67 million Muslims living in America.1 With or without the benediction of the Bush family, the Republican Party has found it’s legs under Donald Trump and has a solid chance to form the next government in late November. Should the GOP stumble and face another term in the political wilderness, Marco Rubio is the sexy pick for 2020, and a viable choice for a top job such as Secretary of State, should America turn right this November. In that scenario, Canada can expect an even higher debt load to improve our military and face the wrath of potential tariffs on exports. A Trump America will be bolder like the person, which is not terribly disarming after 8 years of a sedate Democrat administration.

In light of the horrendous events in Orlando, Trump re-iterated his policy of a temporary ban on Muslim immigration. And why not in the heat of an election battle. However, stating that more Americans with more guns would prevent incidents like Orlando and others from happening is asinine.2  A measured approach to immigration and tough legislation 0n firearms sales, sellers, and eligibility to own deadly objects like guns, makes sense. Recent findings by CNN report that the U.S. has 5% of the worlds population and 31% of the worlds mass shootings. 3 For this, I am happy to live in Canada where we have enough gun violence with stringent firearms legislation.





1 “America Muslim Population in 2014.” 14 May 2016. <>.


2.“If you had some guns in that club the night that this took place, if you had guns on the other side, you wouldn’t have had the tragedy that you had. If people in that room had guns with the bullets flying in the opposite direction right at him… right at his head, you wouldn’t have had the same tragedy that you ended up having.” Trump quoted on CNN.

Trump.Donald. “Trump says more guns would have prevented Orlando massacre .” New York Daily News. 13 June 2016. <>.

3.Willingham, A.J. “US home to nearly a third of world’s mass shootings.” CNN. 13 June 2016. <>.