Foreign Affairs

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.

North Korea Walks Out of Talks with South over Joint Drills with U.S.

North Korean state media reported on Wednesday local time that the nation’s senior diplomats would cancel scheduled high-level talks with South Korean counterparts, reportedly due to military drills Seoul had planned to execute with the United States. Pyongyang deployed high-level officials to both Seoul and Beijing this week. Ri Son-kwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country, was scheduled to meet with South Korean officials on Tuesday. Another group of unnamed senior officials reportedly landed in Beijing on Monday to continue discussions in anticipation of a planned meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore. On Wednesday local time (Tuesday afternoon in most of the United States), the South Korean outlet Yonhap reported that the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the government news outlet of the Kim regime, had published a report announcing that the inter-Korean talks would no longer occur. The report specifically cited the “Max Thunder” military drills being held jointly between South Korea and the United States as the reason for their backing out of the meeting. “This exercise targeting us, which is being carried out across South Korea and targeting us, is a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula,” Yonhap quoted KCNA as saying. “The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities.” Yonhap added that KCNA’s brief went on to call “into question whether next month’s summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump can go ahead as planned.” The meeting between Kim and Trump is expected to address “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” which Kim expressed a desire to see during his meeting with Moon on the border of their two countries. American officials have stated that they will not pursue regime change in North Korea and are open to giving financial incentives to the Kim regime to abandon its illegal nuclear weapons program, which it uses to threaten nuclear strikes on South Korea, the United States, and Japan on a regular basis. A report using satellite images on the website 38 North Monday found that North Korea has made significant moves towards shutting down its Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, the only such site in the country. Several buildings have been dismantled, and a new platform, perhaps to accommodate journalists, has been assembled at the site. KCNA announced Saturday it will invite international journalists to watch the shutdown of the site; skeptics believe the site is inoperable and a symbolic “shutdown” would cost Pyongyang little. Adding to confusion on Tuesday was the publication of a report by South Korean newspaper Joongang Ilbo revealing that North Korea has maintained a secret uranium enrichment facility independent of the supplies found at Punggye-ri. Joongang Ilbo reports that American intelligence sources are aware of the site and will demand that its contents be part of any deal to denuclearize the country, not simply the supplies currently known to exist. “Max Thunder” is the name given to two-week-long air drills by both militaries, which is typically a drill practiced as part of the larger Foal Eagle joint exercise but was removed from the schedule reportedly as a response to Kim Jong-un’s being open to meeting with both Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Both militaries openly stated they will hold this exercise in May, as they do every year. Yonhap reported on March 21 that the “Max Thunder drill will be held for two weeks from May 11, involving more than 100 Air Force jets of the allies,” leaving significant time between then and the Panmunjom summit with Moon Jae-in for Kim Jong-un to raise objections over these exercises. Yet this is the first major step North Korea has made to object to the exercises. Update: State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters during her regular press briefing on Tuesday that the KCNA report did not correspond to any private messages American officials have received: “We have not heard anything from that government or the government of South Korea to indicate that we would not continue conducting these exercises or that we would not continue planning for our meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un next month.”

We believe this is just posturing on the part of North Korea..  But, we’ll continue to monitor this developing story…

North Korea releases U.S. detainees, bows to another Trump demand

North Korea has freed three U.S. citizens detained for years in the communist country, bowing to another demand of President Trump ahead of his planned meeting with Kim Jong-un. The three Americans — Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kim — were released from a North Korean labor camp and sent to Pyongyang for medical treatment, the Financial Times reported. Though out of the brutal labor camp, the men remain in the grasp of Mr. Kim’s regime. They currently are believed to be convalescing in a hotel outside Pyongyang. “We believe that Mr. Trump can take them back on the day of the U.S.-North Korea summit, or he can send an envoy to take them back to the U.S. before the summit,” said Choi Sung-ryong, an activist pursuing release of North Korea’s political prisoners. The release of the three Americans marked another significant victory for the Trump administration, which also won North Korea’s agreement to discuss giving up its nuclear weapon program as a prerequisite for the talks. National Security Adviser John R. Bolton had called for the release of the detainees, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly raised the issue during secret face-to-face talks with Mr. Kim last month in Pyongyang. Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk worked at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Kim Dong Chul is the president of a company involved in international trade and hotel services. He was sentenced to 10 years on espionage charges.

Wow!!  This is another HUGE win for Trump!  Obama didn’t, and could never have done, something like this.  Excellent!!     🙂

Opinion/Analysis: In Syria, Trump needs a strategy to keep Russia, Assad and Iran off-balance – and US involvement to a minimum

President Trump has sent a message that his “red line” will not be crossed. It was important to degrade Syria’s chemical weapons capability and that’s what we did. In addition, President Trump’s actions were not lost on Kim Jong Un and I believe this also weighed into the president’s calculus. The North Korea nuclear threat is the greatest threat facing the United States today. American strength and leadership has brought Kim Jong Un to the table to discuss denuclearization. Kim Jong Un was watching how we would respond to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s latest chemical attack on his own people, and he saw that with this president, “red lines” will not be crossed. Another complicating factor was Iran. Iran has been a “great enabler” of the North Korean nuclear threat, but they are also in Syria. This also had to weigh in on the president’s decision making process. The big question now is “What is the next step?” It is important that the United States execute a “3 Pronged Strategy” simultaneously designed to drive a wedge between Russia, Assad, and Iran. Let’s keep them busy and off balance, focusing on their own problems, so they have less time for mischief and we can focus on our greatest national security challenge—North Korea. Here’s a framework of how it could look: Assad—Support an international campaign to go after him as a war criminal. Yes, I understand the problem of having the UN Security Council (because of a Russian veto) referring this to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. However, look at what’s going on in Sweden and Germany. Swedish and German prosecutors have been in the forefront of prosecuting Syria war crimes. And the Swiss have begun legal proceedings against Rifaat al-Assad, former Syrian Vice President and Bashar al-Assad’s uncle. Further, Carla del Ponte, a former member of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, has said the evidence is there to convict Bashar al-Assad of war crimes. Let’s build on all of this. Russia—Here, let’s focus on the 2013 UN Security Council Agreement to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons program. Why has Russia been AWOL for the past five years and what happened to the inspections and required monthly reports? And why did Russia veto the continuation of the Joint Investigative Mechanism which was investigating chemical weapons use in Syria? Iran—Tension has been growing with a number of Arab states who have had it with Iran. In the fall of 2016, some 11 Arab nations complained to the United Nations that Iran was a state sponsor of terrorism. This was followed up in late 2017 with several Arab nations saying they would bring specifics to the UN Security Council. Let’s encourage these Arab nations to have a sustained plan to keep Iran busy having to deal with its own problems. Anyone who looks at the history of Syria realizes that the phrase “constant turmoil” best describes it. It is a quagmire and the U.S. needs to take steps now so that our involvement there doesn’t escalate and the situation doesn’t get out of control. President Trump’s action in degrading Syria’s chemical weapons capability was the right one and it showed both Assad and Kim Jong Un that with him, “red lines” won’t be crossed. Implementing a “3 Pronged Strategy” designed to drive a wedge between Russia, Assad and Iran and force them each to focus on their own problems will help ensure that American involvement in Syria doesn’t escalate and we can focus on the greatest national security threat to America today—North Korea.

An interesting op/ed by former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army, Van Hipp.  If only it were that simple…