Foreign Affairs

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Dinner with Trump About North Korea, Trade ‘Very Constructive’

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, visiting New York on the occasion of the United Nations General Assembly meeting, told reporters on Sunday that his dinner with U.S. President Donald Trump that night was “very constructive” and ranged from sharing opinions about North Korea to securing mutually beneficial trade agreements. Trump made dinner with Abe his first appointment for the General Assembly week. The two heads of government share a close relationship; Abe was the first world leader to visit Trump personally following his election in 2016. On this occasion, Abe greeted Trump on the heels of an overwhelming election victory to remain the head of his right-leaning Liberal Democratic Party, ensuring that Abe will remain prime minister for the next three years. “We had a very constructive discussion on trade and investment between Japan and the United States,” Abe told reporters, according to the Japan Times. “We agreed to make the momentum created in the historic U.S.-North Korea summit in June even stronger and to continue to coordinate closely toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” He noted the two met for two-and-a-half hours and that Abe made advocating for the rights of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea a priority in negotiating with the communist rogue state. Abe added that Trump appeared caring and attentive in listening to his concerns. North Korea implemented a policy of kidnapping Japanese citizens in the 1970s, using them to train would-be spies on Japanese language and culture. North Korea denied the policy for decades until 2002, then claimed it had only abducted 13 Japanese nationals. Tokyo estimates that up to 800 missing Japanese citizens were abducted and remain in North Korea. Japan has played a key role in negotiations regarding North Korea. Trump met with Abe shortly before his scheduled meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, which is expected to occur on Monday. Moon is also in New York for the U.N. General Assembly and makes his arrival shortly after his first-ever trip to Pyongyang. Upon returning from North Korea, Moon claimed that communist dictator Kim Jong-un had given him a personal message to deliver to Trump that he would not disclose publicly. Trump invited Abe to dinner and announced Sunday they would discuss “military and trade.” The two are reportedly scheduled to meet once again on Monday evening. On the issue of trade, the president said on Twitter that he hoped “to see more of a reciprocal relationship” with Japan, expressing hope “it will all work out!” Following the first dinner, Abe told reporters, “I will continue discussions on trade with him in our summit after economy minister Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer meeting,” according to Japan’s Asahi Shimbun. Abe did not elaborate on any specifics regarding discussions on trade. Abe arrived in New York emboldened by a significant electoral victory last week. He is set to become the first Japanese prime minister to serve for three terms, defeating a challenge within his own Party from fellow lawmaker Shigeru Ishiba. Abe is expected to use his comfortable position to negotiate trade and push for changes to Japan’s Constitution to allow the nation greater self-defense abilities. The post-World War II Constitution does not allow Japan to maintain a standing military, only “self-defense forces” that cannot be used preemptively. In light of growing threats from North Korea and its patron state, China, Abe has pushed for allowing Japan greater military leverage. “I will finally embark on constitutional revision, which has never been achieved in the 70 years since the end of the war, and start building a new nation as we look to the future,” Abe said last week after his re-election.

John Kerry Meeting With Iran to Salvage Nuke Deal With Rogue Diplomacy

Former Secretary of State John Kerry disclosed that he has been conducting rogue diplomacy with top Iranian officials to salvage the landmark nuclear deal and push the Islamic Republic to negotiate its contested missile program, according to recent remarks. Kerry, in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt to promote his new book, said that he has met with Iranian Former Minister Javad Zarif—the former secretary’s onetime negotiating partner—three or four times in recent months behind the Trump administration’s back. “I think I’ve seen him three or four times,” Kerry said, adding that he has been conducting sensitive diplomacy without the current administration’s authorization. Kerry said he has criticized the current administration in these discussions, chiding it for not pursuing negotiations from Iran, despite the country’s fevered rhetoric about the U.S. president. Kerry’s comments are in line with previous reporting on his behind-the-scenes attempts to save the nuclear deal and ensure that Iran continues receiving billions in cash windfalls. These payments were brought to a halt by the Trump administration when it abandoned the nuclear agreement and reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran that have nearly toppled its economy and sparked a popular revolution. Kerry said he met Zarif in Norway, Munich, and other international forums. As Iran continues to plot terror attacks across the globe and transport weapons to regional hotspots in Syria and Yemen, Kerry has tried to help Zarif preserve the nuclear agreement with European nations. “What I have done is try to elicit from him [Zarif] what Iran might be willing to do to change the dynamic of the Middle East for the better,” Kerry said. “How does one resolve Yemen, what do you do to try and get peace in Syria? Those are the things that really are preoccupying him because those are the impediments to Iran’s ability to convince people its ready to embrace something different.” Kerry said he has offered blunt talk to Zarif in order to push the regime to accept restrictions on its foreign interventionism. “I’ve been very blunt to Foreign Minister Zarif. I told him, ‘Look, you guys need to recognize the world does not appreciate what’s happening with missiles, what’s happening with Hezbollah, what’s happening with Yemen,'” Kerry recounted. “You’re supporting an ongoing struggle there.” Iran has said “they’re prepared to negotiate and resolve these issues, but the [Trump] administration’s taken a very different tact.” Criticizing the current White House, Kerry lamented that “it appears right now, as if the administration is hell-bent … to pursue a regime change strategy” in Iran that would “bring the economy down and try to isolate further.” The former secretary of state cautioned the current administration, saying “the United States historically has not had a great record in regime change strategies, number one, and number two that makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for any Iranian leader to sit down and negotiate anything because they’re not going to do it in a capitulatory situation.” Iranian leaders have said multiple times in recent months that they will not take any meetings with Trump or his administration.

Just who the hell does FORMER Sec. of State John Kerry thinks he is?!?!  He has NO authority to be “negotiating” anything on behalf of the U.S.  So, don’t know what he hopes to achieve.  But, he’s doing it without the blessing of the ACTUAL (Trump) administration.  President Trump tore up the Iran nuke deal, as it was a complete disaster…which Obama never got the (Dem-controlled, no less) Senate to ratify anyway.  Either Kerry is trying to act as a shadow entity, or he’s simply an ivy-leage educated hippy who has gone crazy..

U.S. readying more Turkey sanctions unless detained American pastor is released

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said Thursday that the United States is preparing more sanctions against Turkey if American pastor Andrew Brunson is not released from custody. “We have more that we’re planning to do if they don’t release him quickly,” he said. Mr. Mnuchin gave the update at a Cabinet meeting, where President Trump said Turkey is not turning out to be a great friend of the U.S. Mr. Trump said of the pastor, “He’s a very innocent man.” The administration sanctioned two top Turkish officials last week over the imprisonment of Mr. Brunson, who was released from jail last month but is still being detained on house arrest. Turkey has accused him of fomenting an attempted coup, but the U.S. says the charges are phony. Turkey is also seeking the extradition from the U.S. of a Muslim cleric whom it accuses of inciting the coup attempt.

Terror Expert Compares Reaction to Trump’s Russia Efforts to Obama’s: ‘It’s Glaring Hypocrisy’

Former U.S. Army Special Forces member Jim Hanson said that the criticism President Trump is facing for meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is hypocritical to what the Obama administration faced in 2012. Hanson, during an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” specifically called out former President Barack Obama’s hot mic incident with then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and the lax media reaction to it. Obama told Medvedev that after the 2012 election, he’d “have more flexibility.” The former U.S. president and Medvedev were talking about missile defense, Hanson added, saying that the world’s security was actually being put at risk. “The media at that point in time had nothing to say,” he said. “Now, President Trump wants to make a less-antagonistic relationship with the Russians … and all of a sudden it’s the worst thing that ever happened. It’s glaring hypocrisy.” Trump is set to meet with Putin on Monday in Helsinki, Finland. Hanson said that the entire stature of Obama’s foreign policy was “cringing capitulation.” “It was ‘America last,’” he said. “It ended up making the world a much more dangerous place.” Hanson also recalled the 2009 meeting between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, during which Clinton presented Lavrov with a physical “reset” button to signify resetting relations with Russia. “Hillary walks into that meeting asking for nothing … she’s telling them ‘OK, you can have whatever you want from us,’” Hanson said.

The hypocrisy is indeed, breathtaking.  Thanks to former U.S. Army Special Forces member Jim Hanson for calling out the dominantly liberal mainstream media, and Democrat politicians, who are using today’s summit between President Trump and President Putin as an excuse to have another beat-up Trump session.  The rhetoric has been SO over the top, that it isn’t worth even paying attention to.

Opinion/Analysis: Indictment arguments aside, Trump is right to meet with Putin

Calls by some Democrats in Congress for President Trump to cancel his Monday summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin – in response to the indictment Friday of 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking emails of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton – make no sense. President Trump is wise to stick with his plans to meet with the Russian leader in Finland. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed Friday night that the summit will take place despite the indictments. President Trump agreed to the meeting with Putin not as a reward or endorsement for Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election, but because the meeting is in America’s national interest. Like it or not, Russia is a major nuclear power and the U.S. needs to maintain a relationship that will minimize conflicts between our two countries and advance U.S. foreign policy goals around the world. Similarly, when President Nixon began the process of normalization of relations with China that led to diplomatic recognition and trade with the communist nation he was under no illusions that China was a peace-loving democracy that posed no threat to U.S. interests. But President Nixon – like other presidents throughout our history – concluded that America must deal with nations with which we have adversarial relationships. Does anyone seriously think that President Franklin Roosevelt believed Soviet dictator Josef Stalin was a true friend bearing no ill will toward the U.S. when Roosevelt and Stalin formed an alliance to fight the Nazis in World War II? No one is talking now about Trump and Putin forming a military alliance – the two leaders just want to discuss issues of importance to both of our countries. The grand jury indictments Friday grew out of the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Muller of Russian election meddling and allegations that some people in the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russians. Deputy White House Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said that the indictment did not make any allegations that the Trump campaign worked with the Russians to interfere with the U.S. election or that Russian interference influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The 11-count indictment of the 12 Russians includes charges of conspiracy against the U.S., money laundering and attempts to hack into the computers of government agencies including state election boards. President Trump said earlier in the day Friday in England that he would again bring up the issue of Russian interference in the American election when he meets with Putin Monday, but said he expects Putin will stick with Russia’s position denying such interference ever took place. Our president is right – it’s unrealistic to expect he can force Putin to admit something Putin has long denied. It’s about time the two leaders met one-on-one. President Trump has sat down with Chinese president Xi Jinping twice for lengthy meetings, once in Florida and once in Beijing. And Trump just concluded a meeting with leaders of the other 28 NATO nations in Belgium and with British Prime Minister Theresa May in England. In fact, Trump has met with many leaders from around the world, both friendly and unfriendly since taking office, including North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in June. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement Friday saying there is no evidence that the 12 people indicted by Mueller are linked to Russian military intelligence and calling the indictments a “shameful farce” designed to “spoil the atmosphere before the Russian-American summit.” The Russians earlier blamed the U.S. political climate for holding up a summit, and they are right about that. Reporters and Democrats have whipped themselves into a frenzy with the false claim that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to swing the presidential election, and are ready to pounce on President Trump for even the hint of a “tilt” toward Putin. Presidents Putin and Trump certainly have plenty of issues to discuss on Monday besides Russia’s meddling in our 2016 election, even though that’s unquestionably an important and serious issue.

For more on this excellent op/ed by best-selling author Kenneth R. Timmerman, click on the text above.  Mr. Timmerman, who got his M.A. from Brown University,  is a former lecturer at the Joint Counter-Terrorism Training Academy.  If you haven’t read it yet, pick up a copy of his book “Preachers of Hate:  Islam and the War Against America.”  It is a must read.

Trump gets boost from British PM Theresa May at NATO summit

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday showed she was siding with Present Trump at the NATO summit in Brussels, saying her country was paying its fair share for the defense alliance. “We lead by example, not only by meeting the NATO targets of spending 2 percent of our GDP on defense,” Mrs. May said, adding that the U.K. also deploys thousands of troops to NATO missions around the world. Mr. Trump has made cost sharing a top issue at the summit. He has been pressing for all 29 member nations to pony up the 2 percent of GDP, which is the level agreed to in 2014. The U.K. is among a handful of NATO countries siding with Mr. Trump as he shakes up the military alliance. Most of the allies are rankled and riled by Mr. Trump’s demand that they pay up. Last year, only six other countries spent at least 2 percent: U.S., U.K., Greece, Estonia, Romania and Poland. The U.S. spent a little more than 3.5 percent of GDP on NATO defense. Mrs. May announced that the U.K. was sending an additional 440 troops to NATO’s mission in Afghanistan. “I think that shows when NATO calls, the UK is one of the first to step up,” she said. “But that gives us a powerful voice in NATO. It enables us to work as we have done to ensure that NATO adapts to meet the new threats of cyberterrorism, as well as conventional threats. “I’m sure at this summit we will be talking — President Trump and all the allies round the table — about how we can ensure that NATO is adaptable and flexible to meet the threats of the future,” Mrs. May said.

Palestinian crowd pelts US vehicle with egg

A small crowd of Palestinian protesters in the West Bank on Monday pelted an American diplomatic vehicle with eggs to protest the recent move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. The incident drew an angry American response and deepened a crisis in relations that has followed the U.S. Embassy decision. The State Department said the diplomats were on a visit to “promote educational and cultural exchange” in the West Bank when they were accosted. “The objective was clearly intimidation. The United States absolutely opposes the use of violence and intimidation to express political views,” the statement said. The protesters gathered as members of the delegation from the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem walked to their vehicle. The crowd held signs and shouted at the Americans, before throwing eggs at their car as they drove away. No one was injured. “We are here to say to the American Embassy, ‘No we don’t need you. Leave Palestine and leave Jerusalem and leave the embassy,'” said Palestinian protester Muhannad al-Said. This comes just one week after the U.S. Embassy to Israel was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Palestinians claim Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital. While President Donald Trump has said the embassy move is not meant to prejudge the final borders of the city, the step is seen by both Israel and the Palestinians as siding with Israel in the most sensitive dispute in their conflict. East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, is home to the city’s most sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites. The Palestinians have severed most contacts with the Americans to protest the move.

And we should end ALL foreign aid to that Hamas-supported entity known as the Palestinians.  The move of the embassy became U.S. LAW back when Clinton was President.  And he, as well as Pres Bush and Pres Obama just signed “waivers” on the move.  In short, they didn’t have the stones to simply follow the law, and so they kicked the can down the road until President Trump came around.  So, President Trump merely fulfilled existing law already in place, as well as a campaign promise.  That’s all.  And in so doing, he formalized that which had already existed.  The fact that the Palestinians are up in arms about it is bs.  It’s just another reason for them to start riots and attack Israel which they don’t even recognize as existing…which is, of course, crazy,.  It’s time to end ALL U.S. taxpayer support in the form of “foreign aid” to the Palestinians; a group that hates us anyway.