The north London derby headlines the Premier League weekend, while Virgil van Dijk returns to Southampton and Riyad Mahrez is […]
Mike Pence proved on Friday that he can suck up to Donald Trump from anywhere in the world and at any cost to logic. Speaking to reporters in South Korea, where he was attending the Olympics opening ceremonies, Pence simultaneously praised Trump’s desire for a big military parade and attacked a North Korean military parade:
“I think any opportunity we have to celebrate the men and women of the armed forces of the United States is a great day,” Pence said, supporting Trump’s request to plan a military parade. “I heartily support the president’s call to celebrate our military.”
But Pence continued, calling the North Korean parade “an ongoing provocation.”
“Make no mistake about it, what we witnessed in Pyongyang, and we witnessed again yesterday, on the eve of the Olympics — what [South Korean] President Moon [Jae-in] said last night, he hopes will be an Olympics of peace — was once again an effort on the part of the regime in Pyongyang to display their ballistic missiles, to display a military that continues to make menacing threats across the region and across the wider world.
Provocation, he said?
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the Ã¢Â€ÂœNuclear Button is on his desk at all times.Ã¢Â€Â Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
Right, Donald Trump would never ever use military displays as a provocation.
Days after the White House unveiled plans to stage a military parade in the nation’s capital, Vice President Mike Pence blasted North Korea for doing the same.
North Korean leaders staged a large showing in the capital city of Pyongyang on Thursday, one day prior to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremonies, displaying several new short range and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that officials test-launched late last year. The parade was held to mark the military’s 70th anniversary and was broadcast by North Korean state media.
Speaking with reporters on Friday, Pence, who is in South Korea to lead the U.S. delegation, called the parade “an ongoing provocation.”
“What we witnessed in Pyongyang, and what we witnessed again yesterday on the eve of the Olympics — what [South Korean President Moon Jae-in] said last night he hopes would be an Olympics of peace — was once again an effort on the part of the regime in Pyongyang to display their ballistic missiles, to display a military that continues to make menacing threats across the region and across the wider world,” he said.
However, when confronted with the fact that the White House had itself confirmed plans for a similar military display this week, Pence dodged.
“I think any opportunity we have to celebrate the men and women of the armed forces of the United States is a great day,” he said. “I heartily support the president’s call to celebrate our military.”
Pence then hearkened back to President Trump’s visit to Paris, France last year, for the country’s national day celebration. The city hosts an annual Bastille Day military parade, steeped in tradition and, as the Washington Post pointed out, “deeply rooted in the country’s history and values.”
“I think in the United States of America, just as in France — where the president was impressed on Bastille Day — we can celebrate our troops, not in any way ever be associated with the provocations of the North,” he said.
— ABC News (@ABC) February 9, 2018
The Washington Post first reported the White House’s plans for a military parade on Tuesday, citing several anonymous military officials familiar with the matter.
“The marching orders were: ‘I want a parade like the one in France,’” one source said. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
The source added that the parade was still in the planning stages. “Right now, there’s really no meat on the bones,” they said.
Shortly after the Post published its report, the White House and Pentagon both confirmed the claims.
“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe. He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated.
A Defense Department spokesman later explained that it would release more details once plans had been solidified. “We are aware of the request and are in the process of determining specific details. We will share more information throughout the planning process,” they said.
Trump has long expressed a desire for a military parade like that of North Korea and other totalitarian regimes throughout history. In an interview with the Post’s Karen Tumulty shortly before taking office last January, Trump explained that he planned to follow through on his campaign promise to “Make America Great Again” by holding military parades in the streets of Washington, D.C.
“Being a great president has to do with a lot of things, but one of them is being a great cheerleader for the country. And we’re going to show the people as we build up our military, we’re going to display our military,” he said. “That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military.”
However, the president’s recent plans for a showy parade honoring the military have gone over poorly, both among the public and within the military itself.
“A military parade is third world bullshit. We prepare. We deter. We fight. Stop this conversation,” former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill tweeted on Thursday. O’Neill was a member of the team that took out Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011 and claims to have been the one who fired the kill shot.
A military parade is third world bullshit. We prepare. We deter. We fight. Stop this conversation.
— Robert J. O'Neill (@mchooyah) February 8, 2018
A Military Times poll published on Thursday also showed that nearly 90 percent of readers believed the parade was unnecessary.
According to the outlet, readers were asked, “Should there be a parade showcasing troops and military equipment in Washington, D.C.?” Eighty-nine percent of those polled — a vast majority — answered, “No, It’s a waste of money and troops are too busy.” The remaining 11 percent responded, “Yes, it’s a great opportunity to show off U.S. military might.”
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There are some great games to look forward in the Premier League this weekend, starting with an eye-catching north London […]
Vice President Mike Pence, who will head the U.S. delegation at Friday’s opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea, will also be competing in a difficult new event not on any Olympic program.
Morning all. The build up the derby begins in earnest today with Arsene Wenger set to meet the press this morning. The early, if unofficial, team news, suggests that Petr Cech should be fit, Nacho Monreal has recovered from illness, and Danny Welbeck is back in contention for a place in the squad.
All of those things will be confirmed by the manager later on, and there are other questions that hopefully he’ll answer as we prepare for what is a crucial Wembley encounter. Such as:
Back three or back four?
The back four worked well at home against Crystal Palace and Everton. We won both games, scored 9 goals and conceded two, but it did not work when we went to Swansea in the middle of those two fixtures. You could ask if it was simply an off night all round, and that’s probably not too far from the truth as individual errors were the real problem rather than the formation, but given our away form this season it feels like it goes a bit beyond that.
There’s a psychological issue plaguing the players on the road. It’s not their technical quality, but something inside their heads. Given that one of our best performances of the season was the 2-0 win over Sp*rs earlier in the season, and that we played that day with a back three, I’d be very, very surprised if we didn’t use that formation on Saturday.
It’d mean Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal forming that defensive trio, but that system also raises another question:
Who plays left wing-back?
Ordinarily, you’d say the obvious choice would be the experienced international player who we brought in, it seems, to play in that very position, but Sead Kolasinac has been struggling of late. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why. He looked very promising early on, even if he had some defensive issues to work on, but he had a hip injury and since then his form has slumped.
There have been issues with his passing, at least three times this season his pass completion rate has been below 60% which, for a player in his position, is well below what’s required. It’s hard not to think he’s having a hard time physically, perhaps the injury is still affecting him and with that his confidence has taken a knock too, and all of those things and a loss of form have left him in a difficult place.
It’s too early to write him off, remember this is a man selected in the Bundesliga team of the season last year, but we can’t be blind to how hard he’s finding it at the moment. When Ainsley Maitland-Niles replaced Nacho Monreal at left back in the first half of the Crystal Palace game a few weeks back, it was a sign that the manager is, at the moment, unconvinced by the Bosnian’s form and/or fitness.
Wenger has shown that he’s got no worries about playing the 20 year old in big games, selecting him against Liverpool and Chelsea, but you still have to weigh up the risk of playing an inexperienced player out of position for a game as important and pressurised as this one.
It’s not an easy decision. On form, Maitland-Niles seems a good option, he’s quick and won’t be overawed by the occasion. On the other hand, Kolasinac played in the 2-0 win and did well, so it’s one that will give Wenger some thought I’m sure.
How away is this game?
If we were going to White Hart Lane I think I’d be feeling a bit more nervous about this one because of our poor record away from home this season, but we’re not. We’re going to Wembley, a ground we know well, and a place where we’ve had a lot of success in recent years.
We know this isn’t their home, they’re only squatting for a season while they do what they’re doing to their stadium, and it shouldn’t feel like a proper away game because of that. It won’t as noisy or atmospheric as normal, and any little thing we can hang on to to make this less of an away game the better.
On away games only, we sit 10th in the Premier League table with a record that says: Played 13, Won 3, Lost 6, Drawn 4 and with a goal difference of -6. Just 13 points on the road this season. In that not real table of just away games, the top 5 are the same teams that occupy the top 5 in the actual table, with Saturday’s opposition in 5th with 21 points. It tells a story.
Like many, I was hugely encouraged by what we did against Everton and how we played, but until we can add some solidity on the road, and find some measure of consistency for these games, it’s going to remain a big worry. We’ve put in good defensive performances away at Chelsea a couple of times this season, and people would say we’ve got the measure of them because of how often we’ve played.
It shouldn’t be that difficult to do something similar on Saturday. We know how they want to play, who they want to get the ball to and where, and the game at the Emirates in November was the blueprint for what we need to do this weekend. It’s certainly within our capability, but the wildcard of our away form still looms large over this one.
We’ll have all the team news and more from the press conference over on Arseblog News this morning. Tim Stillman will be here with his column later on, and I’ll be back tomorrow with an Arsecast and more.
North Korean figure skaters Kim Ju-Sik (right) and Ryom Tae-Ok (left) warm up during a practice session ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games
Roberto Schmidt / AFP / Getty Images
BEIJING — North Korea will join in the festivities when the Winter Olympics open later this week in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a small diplomatic breakthrough in a relationship that has been marked in recent years by worsening tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
But after the games, it’s more likely than not that the situation will go right back to the way it was.
“Right now there’s nothing in the works beyond the Olympics. You know when you get to April 1, and the Olympics and Paralympics are over, it’s back to the joint military exercises,” said John Delury, a professor at Yonsei University in South Korea. “That sort of sends us back to 2017.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has favored better inter-Korean relations since taking office last year, despite criticism from hawks both in the US and in his own country. The Trump administration has been skeptical of North Korea’s participation in the games in contrast with Moon’s approach. To hammer the point home, a source told Axios that Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the US delegation to the games, will take time to “remind the world that everything the North Koreans do at the Olympics is a charade.”
At Moon’s urging, Washington and Seoul have decided to put off annual joint military drills, which regularly anger Pyongyang. North Korea sees the drills as a threat to its security and has often responded with missile launches or other provocations that could have disrupted the games or even discouraged tourism. But Pyongyang has also historically carried out those kinds of actions when South Korea has hosted international events. And North Korea is still holding a military parade ahead of the Olympics, which many see as a provocation in and of itself because of the weapons that are likely to be on display.
“Conservative South Koreans will see that and believe, perhaps rightly, that [North Korea attending the Olympics] does nothing to modulate North Korea’s attention away from nuclear weapons, which are the primary source of problems between the two Koreas,” said Chad O’Carroll, CEO of data and analytics firm Korea Risk Group.
North Korea is dispatching athletes, as well as a cheering squad, journalists and government officials, to the games. Teams from the two Koreas will march together during the opening ceremony, the first time they’ve done so since the 2000 Games in Sydney, and the two countries will send a joint women’s ice hockey team.
The two Korean Olympic teams under the same flag in a gesture of reconciliation during the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images
Beyond sports diplomacy, Pyongyang is sending a 22-member government delegation led by its ceremonial head of state, 90-year-old Kim Yong Nam. (The elderly Kim is not related to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.)
The months after the Olympics will see several opportunities to revert back to the cycle of North Korean missile and satellite launches, which have been met with increasingly tough international sanctions. Those launches could be pegged to events like the anniversary of North Korea leader Kim Il Sung’s birth in April, as well as the US–South Korea military drills.
“I suspect that things could fizzle out quite quickly, and we return not to acrimony, but a chronic freeze in any major progress,” Delury said.