Monday, August 07, 2017

Three Terrifying Things Before Breakfast

It was one of those mornings. Here's what terrified me:

1. Alex Wellerstein's post at Restricted Data, ostensibly about a conference in Japan, that also discusses the situation with North Korea.

2. The link in Wellerstein's post to this Jon Chait column, which reproduces some of Trump's January discussion with Malcolm Turnball. The president of the United States can't understand the following details of Australian - US policy:

  • Australia doesn't allow refugees who arrive by boat to enter their country.
  • This is to discourage use of an extremely dangerous sea crossing to reach Australia.
  • The US agreed to accept up to 1,250 refugees who arrived in Australia this way.
  • These refugees are not in prison.
  • The US can vet the 1,250 to our heart's content to make sure it's safe to admit them to the US.
I think David Frum is right that it is very, very bad that a conversation between the US president and a world leader was leaked. What if it had been an Obama conversation when the Iran nuclear deal was being negotiated? But that conversation demonstrates the mental incapacity of the president to such an extent that you understand why it was leaked.

3. The possibility that the US will default on its debt, owing to the intransigence of a small number of our elected representatives in Congress. This could introduce another terrible worldwide recession, and there is no way that the current administration would respond effectively to it. It's not even clear that they think a default is a bad thing. Here's Paul Krugman adding to my anxiety.

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