Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple
◆ The big news day this week will be Thursday, when
- Pres. Trump meets with China’s Xi for two days in Florida, and
- Senate decides how to move forward on Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has said that Gorsuch will get an up-or-down vote, which he will win, and I have no reason to doubt him. By Monday, Justice Gorsuch.
◆ There are three big issues in the Trump-Xi talks, but I suspect they will focus on only 2.
- Will China stop North Korea’s nuclear/missile program (done in close cooperation with Iran)?
- What happens to US-China’s bilateral economic ties?
- Will China stop its territorial aggression in the South China Sea? (I suspect this will get less attention)
Comment: Trump will likely tell Xi that the US intends to sanction Chinese banks and companies doing business with North Korea and that the US will work toward regime change in North Korea. China can go along, and have a say, or do nothing.
On economic issues, China’s economy has slowed and is vulnerable to US pressure, which Trump will apply. He will also highlight China’s systematic, state-sponsored theft of US intellectual property. These are high-stakes issues and Trump’s nationalist position on trade makes his threats credible. So far, no word on what he is proposing or how flexible Xi will be.
◆ Huge jobs increase in March Over 260k, compared to 180k estimate. Widespread gains in private payrolls. (CNBC)
Comment: Optimism about US growth taking root.
◆ That red line Pres. Obama drew in Syria? It is a Code Red Line after another deadly chemical attack. Russia denies the Assad regime is involved, naturally (CNN)
A chemical weapons expert, Col. Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, told the BBC’s Radio 4 that all signs showed the chemical used was sarin gas and that Russia’s versions of events was “completely unsustainable.”“I think this is pretty fanciful and no doubt the Russians trying to protect their allies. Axiomatically, if you blow up sarin you destroy it,” he said. –CNN
Comment: A vast human tragedy in Syria unfolding over years, with perhaps 500,000 civilians dead.
◆ Pressure is building to get a full explanation of what Susan Rice did, why she needed the unmasked names of US citizens, and who she shared that information with. Her record of public dissembling does not help her.
Senate intel committee says Ms. Rice “may be of interest” to us. (Washington Post)
Comment: Well, duh.