Making China Great Again


“There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” – Henry Kissinger

“Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” – Ibid

“America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” – Ibid


Diplomacy, World Order, Years of Upheaval, Crisis, and Does America Need a Foreign Policy: All of these are titles of Henry Kissinger’s books and also describe the state of the world after Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA). Multinational conversations continue to swirl around what the consequences might be of this withdrawal. So far, China, France, Russia, Britain, the European Union, and Iran remain in the accord. The US has set a 90-day deadline for foreign firms to comply with the return of sanctions. Sunday, both Britain and Iran reaffirmed their commitment to the deal, and Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier suggested this 90-day period could be used to try convincing Washington to change course.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton was interviewed Sunday on CNN. Asked about the president’s statements that sanctions might be imposed on European companies that continue to do business with Iran, Bolton said: “It’s possible. It depends on the conduct of other governments.” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was “hopeful in the days and weeks ahead we can come up with a deal that really works, that really protects the world from Iranian bad behavior, not just their nuclear program, but their missiles and their malign behavior as well.”

Despite Britain, France, and Germany’s vow to remain committed to the deal, Iran’s senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said on Friday that Europe was not to be trusted. However, President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that Iran would remain committed to the 2015 nuclear deal if its interests were protected, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he hoped the pact could be redesigned without Washington as a member.


POTUS Making China Great Again: The Trump administration announced economic tariffs last March that resulted in an escalating trade war with China. One of the biggest companies hurt was China’s global tech giant ZTE, which was forced to shut down most of its operations last week after the US Commerce Department banned the sale of US-made parts to the smartphone and telecom equipment maker until 2025. ZTE employs about 75,000 people and is the fourth largest provider of smartphones in the US. Because of potential ties to the Chinese government, it’s also been a target of scrutiny for US regulators and officials. The ban was initiated after Washington said ZTE violated a deal struck last year in which ZTE agreed to pay a $1.2 billion fine for violating US sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

But in a head-spinning U-turn on Sunday, Trump tweeted: “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) responded to Trump’s tweet, stating: “Our intelligence agencies have warned that ZTE technology and phones pose a major cyber security threat. You should care more about our national security than Chinese jobs.”

Chinese Aircraft Carriers Roam the Pacific: China’s economic might has greatly increased its foreign policy heft. And now its economic and technological abilities are naturally increasing its military prowess. China just launched its second aircraft carrier and the first one built entirely by the country (its first was purchased from Russia). Unlike American carriers that are nuclear powered and hence have greater range, the Chinese-built carrier is powered by conventional engines. Some military experts see China’s venture into carriers as more of a symbolic display of national power than a strictly strategic move since “carriers are costly and complex—and perhaps no longer as dominant as they once were. Some military experts say anti-ship missiles and other new weaponry have made carriers increasingly vulnerable, blunting the advantage they have had on the high seas since World War II.”

Additional Reading: Speaking of costly naval vessels, there’s a new book about the World War II Japanese Battleship Yamato. The Yamato “weighed 71,000 tons when fully loaded…[and] had a thatched Shinto shrine on board and a crew of 3,000 men.” The vessel was launched on April 6, 1945 at the end of World War II and was a sitting duck – it was sunk the very next day in 3 hours after “386 American bomber and fighter planes began their attack, joined by submarines…This was the end of the era of battleships and great sea battles.”


– On Saturday Iraqis voted the first parliamentary election held since the defeat of Islamic State militants inside the country. Almost 45% of the electorate turned out, a much lower percentage than in previous elections. On Sunday, with 92% of the vote counted, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s list was leading, followed by Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s alliance. Official results should be announced Monday. (Reuters)

– A British contestant performing at Eurovision 2018 in Lisbon was in the middle of her song Saturday when a man ran on stage, yanked the mic away, and began ranting “Nazis of the UK media, we demand freedom.” An Israeli singer won the contest. There is no corroboration for the report that Kanye West tweeted “Hey Man, Beyonce should’a won that!” (BBC)

– President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law Jared Kushner arrived in Israel over the weekend for Monday’s opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem. Trump’s decision to relocate the embassy from its long-time location in Tel Aviv angered Palestinians, whose president described the move as the “slap of the century.” Most EU ambassadors in Israel will boycott the event. (BBC)

More News Reads:


– In a wide-ranging interview on NPR last week, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said he’s never seriously considered leaving his job, and that he and the president are in “lockstep” on most issues. Kelly also said he thinks the president is “a super smart guy” and a “quick study.” And he said it’s always best to “speak truth to power.” OK – then he’s got Great Hair, too. (NPR)

– Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has effectively dismantled the team that had been investigating possible fraudulent activities at several large for-profit colleges, and filled her cabinet with people who have previously worked at for-profit institutions such as DeVry. There is no corroboration for the rumor that Trump University will soon be reopening, but the administration’s still young. (NYT)


Introducing a Bombas best seller: Marls. What makes a sock a marl? Well, marls get their distinctive look by weaving two different-colored strands of yarn together giving them texture and depth. Marls are incredibly comfortable just like any other Bombas sock, just with a bit more pizzazz, oomph, panache…you get it.


– “There are an estimated 2.6 million naturists in France and Paris has an active Nudists Association. Parisian naturists can bathe in the buff in the Roger Le Gall swimming pool and enjoy nude exercise classes and bowling games.” Now the millions of naturists-nudists can enjoy attending a Paris museum in the buff. (CNN)

– One of the most impractical aspects of being a nudist must be the inability to properly safeguard one’s feet: walking over shells, hot concrete, and all types of uncomfortable surfaces. So thank goodness for excellent footwear. But footwear fetishization can get too excessive. There is a 3,000 square foot store in SoHo that might seem like a museum given the ridiculous prices associated with its wares, but it’s not. It’s a footwear, excuse me, sneaker store with some kicks that cost $12,350. (NYT)

– There are certain shoes that people claim they would die for and now also 14 shoes with human feet that have been mysteriously washing ashore on Gabriola Island, a Canadian island with a population of 4,000. (NYT)

– “Apple is on the verge of becoming the first $1 trillion publicly listed U.S. company, but even if it gets there, it could soon be overtaken as surges from behind.” (Reuters)

– According to a former client, the vaunted consulting firm McKinsey is in hot water for “‘knowingly and intentionally submitt[ing] false and materially misleading declarations under oath’ in cases where it had been hired as a bankruptcy consultant.” (NYT)

– McKinsey generates around $9 billion in revenue each year, and the entire consulting industry is worth $250 billion. The consulting industry exploded in the late 1980s when it started adding strategy to its branding and marketing offerings. Here is a fascinating longform piece on the entire consulting industry. (CB Insights)

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