It looks like Washington, D.C. is one real hotspot with ever brimming chaos these days. Folks who write those Real Post Reports should do one for the United States of America.
In the 1990’s, denuclearization, a key aim of U.S. diplomacy, was at the heart of a series of crises on the Korean Peninsula throughout the Clinton Administration. Via history.state.gov:
There were signs of hope in early steps toward denuclearization. In January 1992, North Korea publicly committed to signing the nuclear safeguards agreement with the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and to permitting inspections of its primary nuclear facility at Yongbyon. In April of the same year, the North and South signed the Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which barred the parties from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons and limited them to using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes only. […]
The parties returned to negotiations, but these, too, faltered as North Korea resisted IAEA inspections. By March 1994, North Korean diplomats threatened war if the United States and South Korea went to the U.N. In May North Korea withdrew from the IAEA. A last-minute private trip to North Korea by President Jimmy Carter in June 1994 averted war and led to U.S.-North Korean bilateral negotiations and the October 1994 Agreed Framework for the denuclearization of North Korea.
The Agreed Framework was a staged, multilateral agreement involving the two Koreas, the United States, and Japan. It required Pyongyang to halt its nuclear activities at Yongbyon, allow IAEA monitors in, and eventually dismantle the facility. In exchange, the United States, Japan, and South Korea would provide light water reactors, and the United States would provide interim energy supplies in the form of fuel-oil. Each stage was to build confidence that the parties were willing to continue.
In carrying out the agreement, however, numerous setbacks eroded trust among the parties. While the United States followed through on its promises to ship fuel-oil, the U.S. Congress delayed the deliveries. The 1997 IMF Crisis limited the ability of South Korea to contribute to the construction of the light water reactors, leading to delays. Meanwhile, North Korea engaged in provocative acts against South Korea and Japan, testing ballistic missiles and pursuing other weapons activities. In 1998, suspected nuclear weapons activities at Kumchang-ri brought the Agreed Framework to the brink of collapse. Once inspectors were finally allowed in, they found no evidence of nuclear activity, but mistrust remained high. The Clinton administration worked to get the Agreed Framework back on track, leading to the visit of a North Korean envoy to the United States, a joint statement of no hostile intent, and a reciprocal visit by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to Pyongyang in October 2000.
However, despite these efforts, the nuclear issue was still unresolved. It was not long before the next crisis would arise, requiring the international community to take another approach to addressing the denuclearization issue. North Korea broke out of the 1994 agreement in the winter of 2002, resulting in the opening of the Six-Party Talks the following year, hosted by China.
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
3000 DEFENSE PENTAGON
WASHINGTON, DC 20301 41060
December 20, 2018
Dear Mr. President:
I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.
I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance. Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong U.S. global influence.
One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies. Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world. Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances. NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America. The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.
Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model – gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions – to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.
My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.
Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position. The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February. Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability Within the Department.
I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interests of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732,079 civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.
I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.
On December 14, the State Department issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) urging American travelers to reconsider travel there due to “crime and civil unrest.” The advisory also announced that the Embassy’s non-emergency personnel and their family members were on mandatory evacuation order.
We’re not sure if the staff/family members will be safehavened in the region or if they were ordered to return to the U.S. We will update if we know more. If you’re in the FS community and in the DC area, you may check with AAFSW; they may need help. The group runs an Evacuee Support Network that offers assistance to Foreign Service employees and family members evacuated from posts overseas through a dedicated network of volunteers in the Washington, DC area.
Reconsider travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) due to crime and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do not travel to:
- Eastern DRC and the three Kasai provinces due to armed conflict.
Violent crime, such as armed robbery, armed home invasion, sexual assault, and physical assault, is common. Assailants may pose as police or security agents. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crime.
Many cities throughout the country experience demonstrations, some of which have been violent. The government has responded with heavy-handed tactics that have resulted in civilian casualties and arrests.
On December 14, 2018, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Kinshasa due to extremely limited infrastructure and poor security conditions, notably in eastern DRC and Kasais.
More here: https://cd.usembassy.gov/news-events/
An Embassy Security Alert dated December 16 “strongly urges U.S. citizens to depart the country and take advantage of departing commercial flights.” The Embassy’s once more emphasized that its ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the DRC is severely limited, particularly outside of Kinshasa. It also notes that “elections are scheduled to take place on December 23 and could trigger large-scale demonstrations which could further limit the services of consular staff even in Kinshasa.”
We understand that there are still “a lot of curtailments” continuing out of China even now because “The Thing” is still going on according to a note in our mailbox.
In January 2018, the SFRC’s had a Subcommittee Hearing Attacks on U.S. Diplomats in Cuba: Response and Oversight. In September 2018, Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting that the Trump administration provide an unclassified version of the State Department’s recent Accountability Review Board (ARB) report on the incidents affecting the health of U.S. personnel serving in Cuba. We have not been able to locate any congressional oversight hearings on the incident in China. We don’t know if there is an ARB China. If an ARB was convened on the health attacks in China, there does not appear to be any public notification.
In late October, an NBC News investigation indicates that US diplomats are concerned that the State Department is down-playing a pattern of what’s been called “health attacks” on diplomatic staff in Cuba and China. (see Is @StateDept Working to Minimize the Health Attacks in China? #Cuba #MissingARBs). If curtailments are still going on, that indicates that USG employees and family members in one of our largest overseas missions remain in harm’s way, so who’s talking about it? Somebody please ask your friendly senior administration official what are they doing about it. Three years ago, we would have had back to back congressional hearings not just on the Havana Syndrome, but also on the China Syndrome, and on the State Department’s response to these attacks. Can we please have some oversight hearings in January, pretty please?
This one about Canadian diplomats and their families. G&M reports that nine Canadian adults and four children have been diagnosed with the brain injuries. “The Canadians who were affected in 2017 are all in Canada and still employed by Global Affairs, although several are unable to work because of their symptoms.”
Thank you @USAIDMarkGreen for hosting me at @USAID today. It was great to speak with the USAID team. Your work is saving lives and building partnerships to create a world where foreign aid is no longer needed. #DevJourney #MeetWithMike pic.twitter.com/DdT472CGm4
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 28, 2018
This is terribly short-sighted by the Trump Admin. It will do little to pressure Palestinian leaders to come to talks, will harm ordinary Palestinians, &most of all, deprive the US of a key tool to promote stability that benefits Israelis and Palestinians. https://t.co/t3ETbiunMf
— Dan Shapiro (@DanielBShapiro) November 25, 2018
USAID said to plan firing over half its employees in West Bank and Gaza https://t.co/Em8qoepCYi
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) November 26, 2018
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) December 1, 2018
On Wednesday, senior @USAID official Jeanne Pryor toured an east Jerusalem hospital and visited a Palestinian child undergoing dialysis, @lutheranworld says. On Thursday, the US cut all aid to that hospital and others in east Jerusalem, @statedept says. https://t.co/mmzwpxXo62
— Daniel Estrin (@DanielEstrin) September 8, 2018
On December 2, the US Embassy Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced that it will be closed to the public again due to a terrorist threat against USG facilities in the capital city. Below is part of the announcement:
The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa is working closely with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to address a terrorist threat against USG facilities in Kinshasa. The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa will be closed to the public on Monday, December 3.
Actions to Take:
· Maintain a heightened level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness.
· Monitor local media for updates.
· Keep a low profile and notify friends and family of your safety.
· Review the country page and remain alert for potentially dangerous situations.
US Embassy Kinshasha previously “received credible and specific information of a possible terrorist threat against U.S. Government facilities in Kinshasa” on November 24, 2018. It initially closed to the public with only minimal staffing on Monday, November 26, 2018.
#DRC Security Alert: The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa is working closely with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to address a terrorist threat against USG facilities in Kinshasa. The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa will be closed to the public on Monday, December 3.
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) December 2, 2018
The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa is working closely with the gov. of the D.R.C. to address a terrorist threat against U.S. Gov. facilities in Kinshasa. The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa will remain closed to the public on Monday Dec 3. More details here: https://t.co/xfQeYy7Nyv pic.twitter.com/NbhiUv7x2d
— U.S.Embassy Kinshasa (@USEmbKinshasa) December 2, 2018
— Global Unrest News (@warringworld) December 2, 2018
— giulia paravicini (@giuliaparavicin) November 30, 2018
The Democratic Republic of Congo accused Washington of sparking "needless fear" after the US embassy in Kinshasa warned of a "possible terrorist threat" against its mission in the country as it heads towards key elections. https://t.co/GjtPue6abL pic.twitter.com/bdOHcq7hGA
— AFP Africa (@AFPAfrica) November 26, 2018
US Embassy/Kinshasa received "credible & specific" info of a "possible terrorist threat against U.S. govt facilities" in country's capital city.#DRCongo security deteriorating as Dec 23 elections near.
Concerns for #Ebola resp, tho far away: Rising chaos.https://t.co/9vceX9vVO4
— Laurie Garrett (@Laurie_Garrett) November 24, 2018
Related item: Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations (PDF) | September, 2018 (Congressional Research Service).
The Trump Administration’s effort to rebuild the U.S.-#Saudi partnership isn’t popular in the salons of Washington, but the kingdom is a force for stability in the Mideast. Degrading our ties would be a mistake for U.S. national security. Read my op-ed: https://t.co/DcUyXYd1os
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 28, 2018
Mike Pompeo’s Faustian bargain – The Washington Post https://t.co/D8z5tLW7GF
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) November 29, 2018
Pompeo: “Saudi Arabia is a powerful force for stability.”🤦🏽♀️
– The Saudis backed the coup in Egypt
– Support oppression in Bahrain
– Bomb/starve Yemen
-kidnapped Lebanese PM
MBS is many things, but a force for stability isn’t one of them https://t.co/9ZXvIad9XN
— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) November 28, 2018
Opinion: Pompeo goes from diplomat to hack https://t.co/4sT3IwIDIf
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 29, 2018
"Pompeo’s latest apologia on behalf of Saudi Arabia is a desperate effort by the Secretary of State to discourage senators from voting for S.J.Res. 54 later this week, and it should be dismissed as the mendacious piece of propaganda that it clearly is." https://t.co/TLJsOMSUXQ
— Daniel Larison (@DanielLarison) November 28, 2018
Pompeo’s outrageously unconvincing Wall Street Journal op-ed reads as if it were dictated by the crown prince’s high-priced public relations agents (which, for all we know, it might have been). My latest in @PostOpinions: https://t.co/aW70VVDmy3
— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) November 29, 2018
The Saudis will ruthlessly torture their cousins to accrue powerhttps://t.co/cnDVJZ6KVM
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) November 28, 2018
This Pompeo op-ed is BANANAS.
After several paragraphs of lavish fawning praise for Riyadh, Pompeo drops the HAMMER:
“The US doesn’t condone the Khashoggi killing.”
Huh? So wait…there was a chance we might?? Awesome.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) November 28, 2018
My favorite part of this absurd piece is how Pompeo tries to present support for the US-Saudi relationship as a bold rejection of DC establishment thinking. Bravo. https://t.co/5d27DbHqnq
— Matt Duss (@mattduss) November 28, 2018
A follow-up to Russia-Ukraine Tensions Escalate in Sea of Azov, U.S. Issues Forceful Response: ZZZzzz, late November 26, the State Department finally released a statement from Secretary Pompeo condemning the “aggressive Russian action” in the Kerch Strait. Earlier, he had an opportunity to address the incident during his joint press appearance with Kosovo’s president but declined to do so.
Here's the moment a Russian ship collided with a Ukrainian vessel, according to a video posted by the interior minister of Ukraine pic.twitter.com/LKntkO0a8S
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) November 27, 2018
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) November 26, 2018
US perm representative, Nikki Haley, seeks to account for the silence from the White House and Secretary of State on Azov Sea. Says she talked to Trump and Pompeo before today's session and says her statement "reflects the concerns at the highest levels of the US government."
— Julian Borger (@julianborger) November 26, 2018
I asked Pompeo if he would condemn Russia's seizure of three Ukrainian vessels and whether he had any response to the rise in tensions. He waved, but did not answer. https://t.co/zG3SdsW6d6
— Conor Finnegan (@cjf39) November 26, 2018
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 26, 2018
Translate this US statement on Russia's latest act of war against Ukraine into dictator-speak, Putin's language: "We aren't going to do anything about it." That's how he will read it. https://t.co/hKs8wMKr06
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) November 26, 2018
The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Russia-Ukraine tensions.
Ukraine says Russia opened fire on its navy near Crimea pic.twitter.com/79jDF9pWfQ
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) November 26, 2018
#GME | Tensions have escalated in the Sea of Azov after Russia fired on and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels. Each side is blaming the other for the incident. Our Moscow correspondent Galina Polonskaya has more on this developing story.https://t.co/Rve1LorsqB pic.twitter.com/Ez54yLI1B1
— euronews (@euronews) November 26, 2018
Worrying escalation in the Sea of Azov: Russian naval vessels "carried out openly aggressive actions against the ships of the Ukrainian Navy" today, including "ramming" a Ukrainian tugboat, reports Ukrainian Navy. My August dispatch for important context: https://t.co/WeyrEm5Ynd pic.twitter.com/lYeMrAI181
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) November 25, 2018
Signs of Russia suddenly escalating confrontation with Ukraine. Blocking Kerch straits and acces to Sea of Azov. Also blockages at land borders. pic.twitter.com/ddkgUQY04a
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) November 25, 2018
#Russia uses its own vessels to physically block the passage under the #Kerch Strait bridge from the #BlackSea to the #SeaofAzov, including to #Ukraine's ports of Mariupol & Berdyansk. These measures block commercial marine cargo in the Kerch Strait:https://t.co/xJy4kF11Cl pic.twitter.com/B3ZkaE7jdI
— Alex Kokcharov (@AlexKokcharov) November 25, 2018
Escalating tensions in the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait have. We expect Russia to restore freedom of passage at the Kerch strait and urge all to act with utmost restraint to de-escalate the situation immediatelyhttps://t.co/TVDbVOvN7W
— Maja Kocijančič (@MajaEUspox) November 25, 2018
#NATO is closely monitoring developments in the #AzovSea & #KerchStrait, & we are in contact with the #Ukrainian authorities. We call for restraint & de-escalation. Read my full statement: pic.twitter.com/DDtfvNLa4K
— Oana Lungescu (@NATOpress) November 25, 2018
Canada condemns Russian aggression towards #Ukraine in the #KerchStrait. We call on #Russia to immediately de-escalate, release the captured vessels, and allow for freedom of passage. Canada is unwavering in its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.
— Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) November 26, 2018
— Dalia Grybauskaitė (@Grybauskaite_LT) November 26, 2018
Deeply concerning escalation by Russia in Kerch Strait. Russia must stop its provocative behaviour and allow for maritime transport in accordance with international law. Welcome discussion in UNSC on how to avoid further escalation.
— Margot Wallström (@margotwallstrom) November 26, 2018
Let's hear it from the United States and NATO. How they react in the Ukraine will decide how China will act in the South China Sea. Hello. Hellll-llllow. Hello? Hello? Is there anyone there? https://t.co/bAfU6gaSgD
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) November 25, 2018
Still nothing from the State Department, Secretary Pompeo or US Embassy Ukraine as of this writing, but the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine did tweet a comment with three question marks. Note that the tweet isn’t ALL CAPS.
Russia rams Ukrainian vessel peacefully traveling toward a Ukrainian port. Russia seizes ships and crew and then accuses Ukraine of provocation???
— Kurt Volker (@SpecRepUkraine) November 26, 2018
Also here’s the chief diplomat of the United States tweeting about military protection pay but no tweets, ALL CAPS or otherwise about the incident that Ukrainian Navy said has wounded six Ukrainian servicemen when Russian forces shot at and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels off the coast of Crimea.
Europe has to pay their fair share for Military Protection. The European Union, for many years, has taken advantage of us on Trade, and then they don’t live up to their Military commitment through NATO. Things must change fast!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2018
Today @realDonaldTrump has written 9 tweets but none about the biggest question today: Russia's new military aggression in Ukraine, seizing 3 naval ships & blocking the international waters of the Azov Sea.
Retweet if you think Trump must not see Putin at the G20 in Argentina!
— Anders Åslund (@anders_aslund) November 25, 2018