The United States is arguing that a retaliatory attack on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime could discourage North Korea from employing its own chemical arsenal in regional conflicts, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
Washington has been trying to persuade China to back a U.S. plan to carry out limited missile strikes against the Syrian military as punishment for its widely assumed large-scale Aug. 21 sarin gas attack on Syrian civilians just outside of Damascus.
A punishing military assault on the Assad regime will strengthen the global norm against the use of chemical weapons and send an important message to other countries in possession of such arms, U.S. Undersecretary for Defense Policy James Miller said during trip to Beijing.
“I emphasized the massive chemical weapons arsenal that North Korea has and that we didn’t want to live in a world in which North Korea felt that the threshold for chemical weapons usage had been lowered,” Miller told journalists in describing his Monday meeting with Wang Guanzhong, the People’s Liberation Army’s deputy chief of staff.
It is very much to China’s benefit that there is a “strong response to Assad’s clear and massive use of chemical weapons,” Miller said he told the Chinese military official.
The Chinese government is working with Russia to impede any U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force against Syria.
North Korea is believed to hold a substantial chemical arsenal, measuring between 2,500 and 5,000 metric tons of deadly poisons such as sarin nerve agent, mustard gas, hydrogen cyanide and phosgene, according to previous reports. Pyongyang has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the production, possession and usage of chemical arms.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."