Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Following in Father's Footsteps

You know where they lead, right?

"On a familiar battlefield, Marines prepare for their next chapter in Afghanistan" by Thomas Gibbons-Neff Washington Post  August 22, 2017

CAMP SHORAB, Afghanistan — In Marine Brigadier General Roger B. Turner Jr.’s office on this small, dusty base, there is a leather couch, a map of Helmand province, and a white board marked with half-dozen goals. One of them reads: ‘‘Get thru fighting season.’’

That aim — survival — demonstrates how modest US ambitions in Afghanistan have become.

In 2011, when Turner was last in Afghanistan and in charge of thousands of Marines spread across a constellation of outposts in this province, the fighting season was almost distinct, lasting the summer and early fall months as Taliban militants spent revenue from the spring’s poppy harvest on ammunition.

Yeah, right, whatever, WaPo.

Now Turner is the first to admit that the fighting season never really ends, and the small group of 300 Marines here is trying to help the Afghan army hold a fraction of the territory US troops controlled six years ago.

Turner’s unit, called Task Force Southwest, based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., is the first Marine deployment to Helmand since 2014. His base is wedged between the headquarters for the Afghan army unit responsible for the province — the 215th Corps — and the derelict remains of Camp Leatherneck, the sprawling installation that was once home to thousands of Marines at the height of the war and may now be reopened. A third of Turner’s troops have been to Helmand before, and many of them wear bracelets commemorating their dead friends, steel reminders of the 349 Marines who died in the surrounding countryside.

Task Force Southwest represents what could be the next chapter of the United States’ longest war, which President Trump vowed in a speech Monday to continue fighting. 

Should have followed his instincts like he said in the speech!

He also said we, the American people, are weary of the wars. 

Mr President, we were weary of them years ago; now we are absolutely appalled.

Trump promised Monday that US troops ‘‘will fight to win,’’ and leaders such as Turner believe the Marines are trying a different approach.

‘‘We can at least see a path forward,’’ Turner said, adding that the Army unit that had preceded his Marines had controlled the ‘‘hemorrhaging’’ in the province after the 215th Corps suffered record-high casualties in 2015 and lost two districts to the Taliban.

To some of the Marines, though, optimism, no matter how cautious, rings hollow after nearly 16 years of war and new approaches that sound a lot like the old ones.

Because "winning" is just being there.

‘‘You know, it’s like everyone forgot,’’ said one Marine, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the issue frankly. ‘‘Like someone hit the reset button and now we’re out here again saying, ‘We can do this, we can win this thing. ’ ’’

General Robert Neller, the top Marine Corps officer, was hesitant to send Marines to Helmand again after he was asked by the commander of US troops in Afghanistan last fall, according to US military officials familiar with the deliberations. Before Task Force Southwest deployed in April, Neller told the 300 Marines that part of their mission, along with assisting the Afghans, was to ‘‘not get blown up.’’ When Neller visited Helmand in July, and was asked by Marines what they were fighting to achieve, he was blunt that no victory was in sight.

‘‘I can’t guarantee your kids won’t be here in 20 years with another old guy standing in front of them,’’ he said, according to multiple Marines at the meeting.

That is where my print copy ended it and where my heart sunk.

The situation in Helmand deteriorated rapidly after the United States withdrew in 2014 as part of the Obama administration’s drawdown, leaving the 215th Corps with no advisers and air support, and a false sense of confidence that they could fight the Taliban by themselves.

Three years later, the 215th has a new commander, and US and Afghan officials are confident that he can keep the Taliban from overrunning the provincial capital and motivate the ranks under him.

Major General Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai, stocky and with a thick mustache, is considered a rising star in the Afghan military. His predecessor, Major General M. Moein Faqir, was arrested earlier this year on corruption charges, including making his troops pay for their food.

‘‘The new corps commander is a warfighter, he wants to take the fight to the enemy,’’ said Colonel Matthew S. Reid, the deputy commander for Task Force Southwest. ‘‘It’s not all rosy, there’s clearly work to do. . . . They have got a lot of work to do in their basic institutional fixes — logistics, personnel, pay. The same problems they had in 2010 and 2011, they’ve kind of come back. 

All right, putting things back in the hands of warlords again! 

He must be on the CIA payroll. I mean, consider the source here!

The Marines, drawn to Ahmadzai’s aggressiveness, have helped the Afghan commander plan and carry out operations designed to take pressure off the provincial capital and relieve some of the 215th corps’ most beleaguered troops. The missions — called expeditionary advisory packages — allow the Marines to travel with Ahmadzai close to the front, providing him with air support and reconnaissance drones to help his troops advance.

‘‘I have not seen such support from any other unit,’’ Ahmadzai said of the Marines. 

Those 4,000 troops can't get there quick enough.

The US-backed operations have opened up some roads leading into Marjah, a town the Marines fought hard for in 2010, and they have also allowed the Afghans to retake a district that the Taliban has held for more than a year.

But despite some progress, the Afghans still fight — for the most part — from checkpoints, leaving them vulnerable to attack and making them difficult to monitor as the locations change hands frequently. The Marines have helped the Afghans set up a system to keep track of the more than 500 fixed positions throughout the province. In a special coordination cell, Major Paul Rivera has taught Afghan soldiers and police to plot their positions on Google Earth, and update them daily.

Air support has long been an issue in the province since the 2014 drawdown, and finite resources — including helicopter gunships and reconnaissance drones — need to be tightly scheduled to ensure there is constant coverage. The Afghan air force, still in its infancy, is helping, although the Afghan helicopters and attack planes are usually used only for preplanned missions. Capt. Brian Hubert, a Marine officer who helps staff the command center at Camp Shorab, said the Afghans ask — often via cellphone — for some sort of air support once a day.

They are still checking the strikes.

Without Marines in the field and a heavy reliance on video feeds, mistakes can happen. Last month, an airstrike directed by the Marines hit a cluster of Afghan local police in the Gereshk district. According to Marines who were in the command center, Turner studied the screen for several minutes — watching what he thought were Taliban, armed and dressed in civilian clothes, move around — before authorizing the strike. The Marines, after consulting with Afghans on the ground, were under the impression that no government security forces were in the area. The strike killed about a dozen of the police, including a father and his two sons. The Marines gave out condolence payments to the families, a familiar act during the last time they were deployed to the province. 

What is an Afghan life worth these days? 

$2500? $5000?

‘‘Look at Iraq, where you have guys calling for [airstrikes] with an iPad and radios and here it’s an illiterate Afghan who can’t read a map with a cellphone,’’ one Marine said of the difficulty of coordinating strikes with the Afghans.

To rectify gaps in air coverage, the Marines are looking at putting guided rocket artillery back in the province. With about a 40-mile range and an ability to be fired quickly and in bad weather, the rockets would free up the F-16s flying out of Bagram air base near Kabul.

The more I'm reading of the extended web version the more glum I become.

Under the watch of a pair of armed Marines near Camp Shorab, Staff Sergeant George Caldwell trained six Afghan soldiers last week on how to set up a 60mm mortar, a small piece of mobile artillery that needs to be assembled and sighted in before it can be fired. The hope is that the Afghans — after instruction from Caldwell — will then go back to their unit and train their comrades on how to use the weapon.

It’s a familiar event for Caldwell, who spent a number of deployments in Iraq and was last in Afghanistan in 2011. The US military has been training the Afghans in earnest since 2007 with only incremental payoff. Of the 60 students Caldwell teaches, 20 were instructed by Marines the last time they were in Helmand. 

Some would say it's good money after bad and most of it wasted via the route of corruption.

If so, expect more of the same. Trump dumped some $lop in the trough.

As part of their training, Caldwell runs them through ‘‘gun drills,’’ pitting two teams against each other as they race to set up the gun.

One of the Afghan teams quickly assembles the mortar. Caldwell inspects and moves to the other group, which is fumbling with the weapon’s bipod.

‘‘The biggest thing is not doing it for them, and not to interject too much,’’ Caldwell said. ‘‘We only kind of push the hand in the right direction; it’s up to them go forward with it. If we do it for them, we’ll be here forever.’’

The Last Samurai!


RelatedModel Upton raises awareness of Marine Week

Drew a tear from the toughest.

All of a sudden the Congre$$ has become antiwar?

"Trump’s Afghanistan plan set to spark fresh congressional debate" by Ed O’Keefe Washington Post  August 22, 2017

WASHINGTON— President Trump’s decision to announce expanded US military operations in Afghanistan but disclose few details is set to spark fresh congressional debate about the future of America’s longest war and whether it’s time for lawmakers to approve a new use of force law.

Oh my Gawd, he sends a measly 4,000 troops and hands things off to the generals and they are now rising up after 16 years of two other guys with hardly a peep from them all that time (one bleat scared Obama out of invading Syria)?

Senior Republicans voiced support for Trump’s decision to endorse a Pentagon plan to boost troop levels and said it will be reviewed during public congressional hearings when lawmakers reconvene next month. But Democrats and some Republicans blasted Trump for not disclosing more information and said they will redouble attempts to pass the first use-of-force resolution since the 2001 act that authorized military action against terrorist groups in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

‘‘The majority of us weren’t in Congress in 2001,’’ said Senator Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat who is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and is leading a bipartisan push to approve a new Authorized Use of Military Force. ‘‘I hope the Senate will stop dodging its responsibility and finally pass an updated AUMF.’’

Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican who is a longtime critic of expanded military operations, said it’s ‘‘a terrible idea to send any more troops’’ into Afghanistan. The senator and 2016 presidential candidate is pushing a plan to repeal the 2001 use-of-force agreement and a 2002 resolution that allowed military operations in Iraq as part of this year’s must-pass defense policy bill.

Trump’s decision to adopt a conditions-based approach to the war without a specific timetable angered Democrats, who suggested that the new plan could leave US troops in Afghanistan indefinitely.

‘‘He is declaring an open-ended commitment of American lives with no accountability to the American people,’’ said House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California.

Where were you the last 8 years?

We lost a long time ago.

Although Trump did not specify in his prime-time speech how many more troops will be sent to Afghanistan, congressional officials said that senior administration officials told them on Monday that it will be about 4,000 more than the 8,500 US service members in the region.

That is where my morning print copy cut it.

But Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said Trump’s speech ‘‘was short on the details our troops and the American people deserve.’’ Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, a vocal Trump critic, said the president was ‘‘lacking in details, lacking in substance, and lacking in a vision of what success in Afghanistan looks like.’’ Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, who flew Army helicopter missions during the Iraq War, said the presidential address ‘‘was filled with bluster but devoid of details and raises far more questions than it answered.’’

And Senator Christopher Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, tweeted: ‘‘The only new strategy announced tonight was that strategy will no longer be announced.’’

As a presidential candidate, Trump called it ‘‘counterproductive’’ for the United States to announce troop withdrawal dates. Moving forward, ‘‘we will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities,’’ Trump said Monday night. ‘‘Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans, or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.’’ 

Like Japan at Pearl Harbor!

Maybe there is something to questioning his fitness to serve.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, credited Trump for embracing a new ‘‘doctrine’’ of ‘‘principled realism,’’ telling CNN in a nationally televised town hall event that former president Barack Obama committed a ‘‘strategic mistake’’ by setting a timetable for troop withdrawals.

‘‘We shouldn’t telegraph our timetable when we’re leaving so that we can actually make it conditions-based, which is what is the purpose of being there. The purpose of being there is to make sure that we don’t have another 9/11, that the Taliban doesn’t give Al Qaeda safe haven to plan and get money and come and have a terrorist attack against us,’’ Ryan said. 

To flog that inside job false flag by elements of the U.S. and Israeli governments is so distasteful, and really exposing these political pukes for the puppets they are.

Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said that Trump’s new war plan will face congressional scrutiny when lawmakers return to Washington next month and that ‘‘this strategy is long overdue.’’ But McCain added that Trump ‘‘is now moving us well beyond the prior administration’s failed strategy of merely postponing defeat.’’ 

I thought he had brain cancer.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, defended Trump’s new conditions-based approach, saying it ‘‘should lead to better diplomatic outcomes, and ensures engagement with regional partners, especially Pakistan and India, giving us a better opportunity for success.’’ 

He just stirred up Pakistan and India (article follows below).

House Armed Services Committee chairman Mac Thornberry, Republican of Texas, said Trump’s new plan is a ‘‘reasonable way ahead that begins with being honest about the requirements needed to win, and the challenges in the region.’’ He called on Congress to ‘‘provide timely and adequate funding for this vital mission.’’ 

Oh, I'm sure they will get all the money they need and more.

But how and when lawmakers will debate the new Afghanistan strategy and how to pay for it is still not known.

In July, the House passed a $790 billion spending bill Thursday that would increase military funding, but it has virtually no chance of becoming law because it’s unlikely to survive in the more closely divided Senate. The bill would blow up a defense spending cap enacted under the 2011 Budget Control Act by $72 billion.

Early versions of the spending bill included a repeal of the 2001 authorization for military action against terrorist groups that had earned bipartisan support from House appropriators. But GOP leaders later used procedural moves to strip out the repeal before final approval.

Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California, who wrote the repeal plan, said Monday night that Congress needs to pass a new military force law ‘‘before we commit to another surge that will keep our troops in Afghanistan for years to come and cost billions more in spending.’’

The Senate, meanwhile, has yet to schedule debate on a spending plan or the National Defense Authorization Act, the bill that sets military policy that the House approved in July. Senators had expected to debate and pass the $696 billion measure before the August recess, allowing McCain to lead floor debate on the measure before returning to Arizona to begin treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer. But Paul objected to beginning debate on the bill because he had not yet received assurances that his plan to repeal the AUMFs would earn an up-or-down vote.

Whenever debate begins, ‘‘we will be talking about the number of troops,’’ Doug Stafford, Paul’s top political strategist, vowed on Twitter Monday night.

And Congress already faces a daunting to-do list when it returns after Labor Day, including a need to raise the federal debt limit and pass a spending plan to keep the federal government open beyond the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, plus reauthorize a host of federal programs, including the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Flood Insurance Program. 

And they want to do tax reform, too. 

Know what will happen? 

They will rush a bunch of stuff through right at the deadline, leadership will demand enough votes for passage without members having read it, and then we will find out what goodies were loaded into it.

That means that Senate debate on the defense bill is likely to be pushed into October, at the earliest.


What will they be saying when children are being pulled from the rubble?

Will they be discussing Syria, too?

"Trump’s request for India’s help in Afghanistan rattles Pakistan" by Salman Masood New York Times   August 22, 2017

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — President Trump’s appeal for India’s help on Afghanistan set off alarm bells Tuesday in Pakistan, where officials warned that the approach risked jolting a tumultuous relationship. They also expressed relief that Trump did not call for abrupt reductions in military aid to Pakistan, which the United States has long accused of going easy on militants. 

I'm glad I wasn't the only one hearing them, but it was just meaningle$$ bluster, huh?

As part of Trump’s new plan for addressing the 16-year-old US conflict in Afghanistan, he asked India — which Pakistan has historically seen as its enemy — to “help us more,” especially with economic assistance.

Oddly enough, they don't trade that much -- according to the BBC, anyway.

Trump also reiterated his predecessors’ calls that Islamabad crack down on militant groups that have waged attacks from bases in Pakistani territory.

“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” Trump said Monday, although he stopped short of cutting off military aid, as some Pakistani elites had feared.

Yeah, I saw him say that and my instant reaction was turn towards your own CIA first! It's a great ballgame they got going right now! Create the every enemy you claim to fight, and then use them as a casus belli to go where needed.

Pakistan and the United States have long had a troubled relationship, increasingly strained by differences over Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan. Even before US military and intelligence operatives tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, US officials chided the Pakistan’s military and intelligence agency as harboring or turning a blind eye to militants.

I'm going to let that phony-baloney assassination slide into the see with that other corpse, whoever it was.

Pakistani officials, in turn, have cited Indian influence as a primary cause of instability and insecurity in Afghanistan. Officials in Islamabad accuse India of supporting a hostile political regime in Kabul and funding militants. 

That's likely true, but since India is an ally I'm sure they are under deep cover in my CIA media. What is interesting is no mention of Kashmir in my print version for that is where it was cut.

Even before Trump unveiled his strategy Monday, Islamabad was apprehensive and concerned.

The Pakistani military has been at the forefront of formulating the country’s foreign policy and has taken the lead in defining the contours of Islamabad’s relationship with Afghanistan and India. The civilian government has very little say, if any, in these policy initiatives. 

Then our two governments should have much in common!

Pakistani officials said they expected private contractors to take a more dominant role than troops already in Afghanistan. Senior Pakistani security officials stress that an all-inclusive engagement is the only option for peace inside Afghanistan. More troops inside the country, along with blaming Pakistan for harboring terrorists, will not work, they said in background interviews. 

There will be no peace as long as there is an EUSraeli Empire.

However, there was no formal, official response to Trump’s speech by Tuesday evening. Pakistan’s foreign minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, is to leave for the United States in the next few days to hold talks with American officials, a spokesman said.

The military also decided not to put forth a formal public response. In what could be viewed as a pre-emptive move, Major General Asif Ghafoor, the military spokesman, had said in a media briefing earlier on Monday that no terror group was operating inside Pakistan.

Sehar Kamran, an opposition senator who leads an Islamabad-based think tank, said Trump’s plan appeared to be “more of the same, under much more colorful language and contradictory bluster.”

“The shift from a timeline-oriented approach to a condition-based one, I think, is only the vocalization of a long-standing practice,” she said, adding. “What is concerning for Pakistan, however, is the contradiction within his statement that expresses both an acknowledgment of the country’s sacrifices while simultaneously downplaying them by continuing accusations of ‘sheltering terrorists’ and doing not enough with billions and billions paid by America.”

Kamran said that pushing India to play a stronger role inside Afghanistan would isolate Washington’s friends in Islamabad “without realizing, understanding or perhaps deliberately underestimating the impact of increasing Indian presence on Pakistan’s western border.” 

Meaning they move closer to China, Russia, Turkey, Iran???!!!!

“An unnecessary flexing of military muscles and the deployment of additional troops at this time will only undo much that has been achieved over many years diplomatically, and serve to further antagonize regional countries like Pakistan, China, and Russia,” she said.

Analysts said Pakistan’s dependence on US aid had declined in recent years — partly as China flexes its military might in South Asia — giving policymakers in Islamabad more room to maneuver.

“Pakistan is prepared to absorb the impact of a more assertive US policy toward the country,” said Arif Rafiq, a nonresident fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington. “It’s the most economically stable that it’s been in a decade, thanks in part to massive Chinese investment, and it has managed to secure much of its border regions despite the withdrawal of most US combat forces.” 

Or maybe because of?

Rafiq said Pakistan also knows that it has several options to counter punitive actions by Washington, including closing supply routes to Afghanistan. 

That will mean war!

“I think what Pakistan hopes for is the US to engage it as a partner in Afghanistan, rather than as a contractor deputed to arrest or kill insurgent leaders named by Washington,” Rafiq said. “That requires coordination on border security and a structured dialogue process with the Taliban. I think Islamabad will remain rather firm in steering its engagement with both Kabul and Washington in that direction.” 

Is that what has been the relationship?

Other analysts offered an even more scathing view of Trump’s speech.

“By inviting India to be more active in Afghanistan, Trump has confirmed the worst fears of Pakistan’s generals: that America is in cahoots with India against Pakistan,” said Mosharraf Zaidi, a foreign-policy analyst in Islamabad.

I don't know it it means anything, but they just stabbed Sissi in the back.

“There may never be a perfect approach to convince Pakistan to abandon the Haqqani network, but this speech was a terrible attempt,” Zaidi said, referring to the Pakistan-based militant group that has been blamed for most of the deadly attacks inside Afghanistan. 

Yeah, real funny.

However, Maria Sultan, a defense analyst based in Islamabad and director general of the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute, said the Trump policy was “not as bad as we were expecting. The responsibility has been essentially shifted to Afghanistan.”

She warned that intelligence-based operations against groups inside Pakistan might increase. “This will further reduce the space for cooperation between Pakistan and US and will be counterproductive for a long-term relationship,” Sultan said.

That means not only a violation of their sovereignty, but more drone strikes.


Maybe they could sign a non-aggression pact?


"India’s highest court struck down a legal provision Tuesday that allowed Muslim men to instantly divorce their wives, taking a stand against a practice increasingly deemed unacceptable in the Muslim world....." 

Does that help?

Meanwhile, on the western border of Pakistan:

"While the economic benefits of the deal have yet to reach the average Iranian, airlines in the country have signed deals for billions of dollars of aircraft from Airbus and Boeing. Car manufacturers and others have swept into the Iranian market, and the country has boosted its oil sales. Abandoning the deal would put those economic gains in jeopardy....."

The Globe circles back out to sea:

"Some remains of sailors found on USS John McCain" by Annabelle Liang Associated Press  August 22, 2017

SINGAPORE — It was the second major collision in two months involving the Pacific-based Seventh Fleet, and the Navy has ordered a broad investigation into its performance and readiness. Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided off Japan. There were two lesser-known incidents in the first half of the year. In January, the USS Antietam guided missile cruiser ran aground near Yokosuka base, the home port of the Seventh Fleet, and in May another cruiser, the USS Lake Champlain from the Navy’s Third Fleet, had a minor collision with a South Korean fishing boat.

The USS John S. McCain had been heading to Singapore on a routine port visit after conducting a sensitive freedom-of-navigation operation last week by sailing near one of China's man-made islands in the South China Sea.

China, Washington’s main rival for influence in the Asia-Pacific, seized on the McCain collision to accuse the Navy of endangering maritime navigation in the region. This year’s string of accidents shows the US Navy ‘‘is becoming a dangerous obstacle in Asian waters,’’ the official China Daily newspaper said in its online edition.

The McCain and the Alnic MC oil tanker collided about 4.5 nautical miles from Malaysia’s coast at the start of a designated sea lane for ships sailing into the busy Singapore Strait.

I don't know what happened out there but I'm not buying that cover story.

There was no immediate explanation for the collision. Singapore, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, is one of the world's busiest ports and a US ally, with its naval base regularly visited by American warships.....


I'm told ‘‘while each of these four incidents is unique, they cannot be viewed in isolation,’’ and I just can't help but wonder if something else is going on. 

"US imposes sanctions on China and Russia over North Korea’s nuclear program" by Eileen Sullivan New York Times  August 22, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced new sanctions against China and Russia on Tuesday as part of its campaign to pressure North Korea to stop development of nuclear weapons and missiles.

Gee, that about face he did was at light speed!

The new sanctions affect six individuals and 10 organizations with financial ties to Pyongyang’s weapons program. Tension between the United States and North Korea has escalated over North Korea’s recent missile tests.

“It is unacceptable for individuals and companies in China, Russia, and elsewhere to enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilize the region,” Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said in a statement on Tuesday.

In June, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on a Chinese bank, a Chinese company, and two Chinese citizens to crack down on the financing of North Korea’s weapons program.

“I think it’s a significant action by the Trump administration,” Anthony Ruggiero, a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonprofit group in Washington, said of the new round of sanctions.

Have you seen who are they

That is who the New York Times is turning to for Korean war analysis?

Tuesday’s actions appeared to be part of a larger campaign to pressure individuals, businesses, and countries with financial ties to North Korea, said Ruggiero, a former official in the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes at the Treasury. “It looks like the beginnings of a broad pressure campaign,” Ruggiero said.

Among the Chinese companies sanctioned on Tuesday is Mingzheng International Trading Ltd., considered by the Treasury Department to be a “front company” for North Korea’s state-run Foreign Trade Bank, which has been subject to US sanctions since 2013.

How many front companies does the CIA run, outside of US embassies?

In June, US prosecutors accused Mingzheng of laundering money for North Korea and announced that the Justice Department would seek $1.9 million in civil penalties.

Meanwhile, western banks launder gobs of drug gang money.

The UN sanctions were already starting to have an impact curtailing trade in China and infuriating Chinese seafood importers, who had to return goods to North Korea earlier this month.

Yeah, China takes a $1 billion hit in the interests of peace and still get $lapped around.

The new US sanctions address how other nations tolerate North Korea’s behavior, particularly China, said Elizabeth Rosenberg, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington. 

I guess that is for "balance."

“These sanctions expand the US blacklist for companies tied to North Korea’s economic activity and are designed to curb the hard currency available to Pyongyang,” Rosenberg said in an e-mail. “I think we should expect more sanctions of this nature, including more designations to highlight the role of China to enable North Korea’s illicit aims.”

Still looks like regime change to me.



U.S. top brass stress diplomacy first, force second, in dealing with North Korea

They always say that!

Maybe you should defect to China before it is too late.