Inside the Kim-Putin bromance, Gaza’s real food problem and other commentary

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Foreign desk: Inside the Kim-Putin Bromance

Russia and North Korea are buddying up “to keep the U.S. off balance,” explains Tom Rogan at the Washington Examiner. The alliance means “North Korea’s increased supply of ammunition, weapons, and likely also North Korean soldiers” for Vladimir Putin, and “Russia’s increased supply of technical expertise to further develop his ballistic missile program” for Kim Jong-un. But concerns over their mutual defense commitment are “misplaced”: Putin knows “the risks of a Russian intervention in North Korea’s favor would be far outweighed by any possible gains.” No, Putin wants to “present this agreement” as “evidence that this Western support is increasing the risk of another world war” and aid “China’s effort to undermine U.S. alliances and influence building in the Pacific.”

Mideast beat: Gaza’s Real Food Problem

“The world has been forced to admit that there is no famine in Gaza,” notes Commentary’s Seth Mandel, “which means it’s time to admit something is happening to that food, and it isn’t Israel’s fault.” “UN trucks are allowed into Gaza, it’s just that the UN drivers don’t want to go because they fear Palestinian violence.” That leaves “two possibilities”: “Either Palestinian civilians are looting the aid, or Hamas (and Hamas-aligned gunmen) are doing so.” To UN drivers, it t makes no difference: “It’s still not safe enough to go.” Couple this with “the discovery that four hostages in Nuseirat were held in ‘civilian’ homes,” and it now seems “prudent for Israel’s more strident accusers to ask themselves what else they’ve been wrong about.”

From the right: Soaring Debt a Spending Issue

Democrats claim the 2017 tax cuts blew a giant hole in the budget, yet the Congressional Budget Office’s revised 10-year budget forecast offers a reality check, report The Wall Street Journal’s editors: “Spending is the real problem.” CBO projects a deficit this year of 7% of GDP, more than during recessions. And though revenue as a share of GDP matches the longterm average, “outlays are now expected to hit” 24% for the next decade. President Biden would raise taxes by $5 trillion, pushing the burden to more than 20%, nearly the highest in peacetime. Donald Trump would renew the 2017 cuts; “the best way to finance that is by repealing the Biden spending blowouts.” Failing that means either a “monumental tax hike or a debt panic down the road.”

Eye on Africa: Putin’s Imperialist Ambitions

“One of Putin’s strategic goals is to build a new naval base in Tobruk, Libya, to project force into the western Mediterranean and serve as a future threat to the U.S. Sixth Fleet,” warn Mark Toth & Jonathan Sweet at The Hill. His other aim is to “secure eastern Libya as Moscow’s primary logistical hub and staging area for Russian paramilitary groups” operating across Africa. Mad Vlad’s real aim is “to steal Africa’s gold, rare earth minerals and other natural resources to finance his war in Ukraine.” With planned naval bases in Tobruk as well as Syria and off the Red Sea in Sudan, “Putin is building the capacity to directly challenge and threaten the West’s key maritime lifelines.” Russia is “on the march” and “the U.S. and the West find themselves exposed.”

Libertarian: A SCOTUS Blow to Big Gov’t?

“The Supreme Court might soon stop being so deferential” to the executive branch, cheers Reason’s Veronique de Rugy. Ever since the court’s 1984 ruling in the Chevron v. NRDC, courts must “defer to a federal agency’s interpretation of ambiguous language in statutes that the agency is tasked with administering.” But “the concentration of power placed in the executive branch by Chevron deference leads to excessive, overreaching regulation by agencies with wide latitude to essentially set policy.” Two challenges to the Chevron doctrine, including Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, “were argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in January. The decision, to be released soon, could be pivotal.” If Chevron is overturned, it could “curtail the extent to which agencies can interpret ambiguous statutes without direct congressional authorization.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board



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