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Back Channels

Governments using back channels is not unusual. Governments who don’t have formal diplomatic ties will use back channels to deal with common problems. They are also useful for dealing with difficult negotiations that neither side wants their own people to know about until a possible agreement has been reached that can be officially discussed by the leaders of of the governments involved.

Back channels can be as simple as two people meeting in a park and feeding ducks while exchanging information designed to avoid an over-reaction to some future act, but most take the form of lower ranking diplomatic personnel for the governments involved holding meetings in a neutral country.

If all of that is true, why are people going ballistic over the activities of Jared Kushner? The obvious point is that back channels are the province of governments, and Kushner had no standing other than private citizen when he was asking for the Russian embassy to establish an encrypted direct line to the Kremlin. The counterintelligence guys got really upset when the meetings were not disclosed on the appropriate forms by Kushner, and then they found out what the unreported meetings were all about.

If Kushner had waited until he was actually part of the government, people might have been annoyed, but it would have been legal. Private citizens don’t get to make foreign policy under US law.

May 30, 2017   7 Comments

Billy Bowlegs Festival

Jolly Rogers

In order to generate “local excitement” [sell stuff] the chamber of commerce is once again annoying people with the Billy Bowlegs Festival. This year the unavoidable part runs from Friday, June 2nd and finishes up on Monday. The really obnoxious parade on Monday screws up traffic and sends a lot of noisy people through my neighborhood.

Almost as bad as the parade traffic jam are the Friday fireworks. I know a lot of people enjoy fireworks, but they probably have not seen what loud noises and flashes of light can do to people and aircraft – I am definitely not a fan.

With luck it will rain the rest of the week… 😈

May 30, 2017   No Comments