Welcome to 2018

In other news...


There are major protests in Iran, "the boldest challenge to the clerical leadership since unrest in 2009," which have already lasted five days and continue to escalate, and Donald Trump has repeatedly tweeted about the protests, because of course he has.

Yesterday, he blamed the Obama administration for failed policy and openly called for regime change: "Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!"

Trump's tweet prompted a response from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who said, according to Iran's semi-official Tasnim News Agency, that Trump "has no right to sympathize with Iran because he has called the Iranian people 'terrorists.'"

North Korea:

Former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Ret. Admiral Mike Mullen, said during an interview on ABC's This Week: "We're actually closer, in my view, to a nuclear war with North Korea and in that region than we have ever been. I don't see the opportunities to solve this diplomatically at this particular point."

And he lays the blame squarely at Trump's feet:
Mullen, who headed the Joint Chiefs under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said the rising tension on the Korean peninsula is one example of an "incredibly dangerous climate" created as [Donald] Trump tries to disrupt the traditional American approach to foreign policy.

"Those that would do us ill seem to be able to take advantage of the uncertainty," Mullen said.

Trump has threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if the U.S. is forced to defend itself or its allies, as the country's leader Kim Jong Un continues to conduct tests of missiles that could be used to carry nuclear weapons.

"He's been incredibly disruptive with respect to the institutions, the commitments, the leadership, where we have been for the last 70 years," Mullen said of Trump's take on foreign policy.

"Clearly, the President has chosen to try to disrupt and break those up as much as possible, create a great uncertainty. And in my view, an incredibly dangerous climate exists out there in that uncertainty with how this all ends up...and one in particular that is top of the list is North Korea."
Disrupt is a good word for what Trump has done to decades of established foreign policy. An even better word might be "annihilate."

Russia Investigation:

More on this at the New York Times and the Sydney Herald.

The gist: Australian Ambassador to the U.S. Joe Hockey cares more about our sovereignty and democracy than man who is now our sitting president.

So, everything is terrific terrible in the New Year. Basically.

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