Foreign Policy

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.

Opinion/Analysis: Trump Dumps Iran Deal — Hallelujah!

President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal is the greatest boost for American and global security in decades. If you think that is an exaggeration, then you evidently think the Obama administration’s injection of well over a hundred billion dollars — some of it in the form of cash bribes — into the coffers of the world’s leading state sponsor of anti-American terrorism was either trivial or, more delusionally, a master-stroke of statecraft. Of course, there’s a lot of delusion going around. After repeatedly vowing to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons (with signature “If you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance” candor), President Obama, and his trusty factotum John Kerry, made an agreement that guaranteed Iran would obtain a nuclear weapon. They rationalized this dereliction with the nostrum that an unverifiable delay in nuclear-weapons development, coupled with Iran’s coup in reestablishing lucrative international trade relations, would tame the revolutionary jihadist regime, such that it would be a responsible government by the time the delay ended. Meantime, we would exercise an oh-so-sophisticated brand of “strategic patience” as the mullahs continued abetting terrorism, mass-murdering Syrians, menacing other neighbors, evolving ballistic missiles, crushing domestic dissent, and provoking American military forces — even abducting our sailors on the high seas. And, of course, the most risible self-deception of all: The only alternative to this capitulation was war. In point of fact, war was not the alternative to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. War was the result of the JCPOA. Obama said the mullahs would use the windfall to rebuild their country (while Kerry grudgingly confessed that a slice would still be diverted to the jihad). Instead, billions of dollars poured into Iran by Obama’s deal promptly poured out to Syria, where it funded both sides of the war. Cash flowed to the Taliban, where it funded the war on the American-backed government. It flowed to Hamas and Hezbollah for the war on Israel. It flowed to Yemen, funding a proxy war against Saudi Arabia. The JCPOA made Iran better at war than it has ever been — and that’s saying something. The challenge of Iran has never been the specter of nukes. The challenge is the jihadist regime. But the JCPOA was a lifeline to a regime whose zeal to acquire mass-destruction weapons betrays its fear of internal revolt. The regime came to the bargaining table knowing Obama could be rolled, but it was driven to the table by a global economic-sanctions framework, principally constructed by the U.S. Congress. The sanctions choked the pariah regime, providing the great mass of Iranian dissenters with hope that their tormentors could be overthrown — hope that Obama had dashed in 2009, when he turned a deaf ear as the regime brutalized protesters. The JCPOA empowered the totalitarians. Trump’s exit squeezes them. The deal was a farce that literally obligated the United States not merely to accede to Iran’s enrichment of uranium but to help protect Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Exactly!!  Pulling out of the JCPOA was exactly the right thing to do.  So, kudos to President Trump for correcting this mistake that Obama made, and left us with the bill.  For more of this outstanding op/ed by attorney Andrew C. McCarthy, click on the text above.  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…

North Korea willing to hold talks with US, ex-spy chief says

North Korea has “enough” willingness to hold talks with the U.S., a former intelligence chief from the rogue country believed to be the mastermind behind a deadly attack on South Korea told the country’s president on Sunday. The Blue House, South Korea’s presidential office, reported Sunday the news of the meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Yong Chol, a senior official of the North’s ruling Worker’s Party, during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, according to Yonhap News Agency. “President Moon pointed out that U.S.-North Korea dialogue must be held at an early date even for an improvement in the South-North Korea relationship and the fundamental resolution of Korean Peninsula issues,” spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said of the meeting. The two met for an hour in Pyeongchang, the host city of the 2018 Winter Olympics, according to Yonhap. “The North Korean delegation too agreed that North Korea-U.S. relations must develop along with the South-North Korea relationship while noting [the North] has enough intention to hold North Korea-U.S. dialogue,” the spokesman added. The United States and North Korea, which have no diplomatic relations and are technically in a state of war after an armistice in 1953, have been at odds for decades. In recent months the war of words between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump has escalated as the North tests nuclear missiles and Washington pushes the Hermit Kingdom to disarm. The White House said in a statement on Sunday that “denuclearization must be the result of any dialogue with North Korea.” “We will see if Pyongyang’s message today, that it is willing to hold talks, represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization. In the meantime, the United States and the world must continue to make clear that North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are a dead end,” the statement read.

For more of this story, click on the text above.

Nikki Haley Threatens to Yank Funding from U.N. over Jerusalem Resolution: ‘This Vote Will Be Remembered’

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tore into the U.N. General Assembly Thursday, threatening to pull U.S. funding from the international body in response to a resolution condemning President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” Haley said in remarks to the assembly in New York. “We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations and we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit,” she warned. The resolution, which passed 128-9, expressed “deep regret” at the call made by President Trump, and calls on “all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem.” It was sponsored by Turkey and Yemen and comes after the U.S. vetoed a similar resolution at the Security Council. The U.S. does not hold veto power at the General Assembly. Haley’s remarks were her toughest to date in her career as ambassador, where she has consistently grilled various U.N. officials over the body’s anti-Israel and anti-American bias. She has repeatedly noted the enormous U.S. contributions to the U.N. and has demanded better value for money from the bloated bureaucracy. While Haley has repeatedly pointed to bias at the U.N., the latest resolution from the GA is different in that it directly singles out the U.S. for a decision in line with long-standing U.S. policy, and it seeks to shame the U.S. Haley has frequently contrasted the treatment of the U.S. and Israel with countries that have appalling human rights records like Cuba, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia – all three of which remain on the Human Rights Council. The Trump administration has shown a willingness to back up its tough talk with action. In October, the U.S. withdrew from UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural body, over that organization’s long-standing anti-Israel bias. Haley’s remarks emphasized democratic accountability and took a possible swipe at countries that oppose the U.S., countries which are frequently lacking in such accountability. She warned: ” America will put our embassy in Jerusalem, that is what the American p[eople want us to do, and it is the right thing to do. No vote at the United Nations will make any difference on that, but this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the U.N. and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the U.N. and this vote will be remembered.” Haley’s remarks come a day after President Trump also warned about pulling money from “nations that take our money and vote against us.” “They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars then vote against us, well we’re watching those votes,” he said. “Let them vote against us; we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

YES!!!  It’s about time we started to push back against the bloated U.N.!!  For decades they have taken BILLIONS and BILLIONS of our hard-earned tax dollars, and all the while pushing agendas NOT in our country’s national security, or economic, interests.  Yet, we continue to just take it and look the other way.  Ask yourself…  When was the last time the UN did ANYTHING that was in the national security interests of the U.S.?  How about NEVER!  Yet, not only are we the largest contributor to the UN in terms of money.  But, we also provide the overwhelming number of military personnel to support UN efforts worldwide.  It’s high time we kicked the UN out of NYC and sent them to Geneva or some other western European location.  And, while we SHOULD maintain a voting/diplomatic presence at the UN (as well as veto authority on the Security Council), we should seriously reduce our monetary contributions as well as troop contributions until the UN starts supporting an agenda more in line with our national security and economic agendas.  MAJOR kudos to Ambassador Nikki Haley for slapping these self-righteous, entitlement-minded, hypocritical, America-hating countries right across the face.  And, it would also appear that Pres. Trump has her back.  Outstanding!!!    🙂

U.S. vetoes U.N. resolution rescinding Trump’s declaration Jerusalem is Israel’s capital

The United States stood against the 14 other U.N. Security Council member nations on Monday by vetoing a resolution that called on the Trump administration to rescind its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In a show of the widespread international frustration toward the administration’s recent moves on Israel, even U.S. allies Britain and France supported Monday’s resolution, which expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.” While the resolution, drafted by Egypt, did not mention the United States or Mr. Trump by name, it was clear to all involved at U.N. headquarters in New York that the administration was the focus of Monday’s developments. The resolution specifically sought to assert that “any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect,” according to Reuters. In moving to veto, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley called the resolution “an insult” that won’t be forgotten, according The Associated Press. That the United States vetoed was not a surprise, said analysts, some of whom noted America’s long history of blocking Security Council resolutions on Israel — or condemning U.S. policy toward Israel — regardless of whether a Republican or Democrat occupies the White House. Former President Barack Obama made international headlines by breaking with the tradition during his final weeks in office last January, when he authorized an “abstain” vote rather than veto a Security Council resolution at the time condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank. President Trump shifted U.S. policy early this month when announced that Washington will now recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and authorized the American embassy in Israel to be moved there from its current location in Tel Aviv — a move administration officials say will occur in the coming years. Mr. Trump’s announcements broke with decades of international consensus that Jerusalem’s final status should be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The development has since triggered street protests and widespread condemnation across the Middle East. Last week saw representatives from 57 Muslim-majority nations gather in Turkey to criticize the Trump administration’s policy shift and demand that Jerusalem’s east be recognized as the capital of a “State of Palestine.” Ms. Haley, meanwhile, said the United States has a right to decide wherever it wants to put the American embassy in Israel and was, as a result, forced to veto Monday’s Security Council resolution.

Gotta love Nikki Haley!!  She just cuts through the anti-Israel bs, self-righteous hypocrisy, and political correctness oozing over at the U.N.  It’s WAY past time that we gave the finger to the U.N. and Nikki has just done that.  Excellent!!

Turkey’s relationship with the West crumbles amid new jail sentence for American journalist

A Wall Street Journal reporter’s sentencing by a Turkish court this week, to two years behind bars by “spreading terrorist propaganda,” marks the latest in the government’s escalating hostility not only with the press, but with any figure tied to the West. Ayla Albayrak — a dual Finnish-Turkish citizen — was tried in absentia, and thus won’t have to join the prison ranks unless she returns, but dozens of other western professionals aren’t so fortunate. Serkan Gölge, a 37-year-old NASA scientist of Turkish descent, who was vacationing with family in the quiet southern town of Hatay recently was arrested by the government, as was Turkey-based American pastor Andrew Brunson, who had been residing in Turkey without incident for more than 20 years. Furthermore, Ismail Kul, a chemistry professor at Widener University in Pennsylvania and his real estate agent brother, Mustafa Kul, were apprehended in August last year while on summer vacation in Bursa. Then last week, Turkish authorities arrested U.S. consulate employee Metin Topuz on terrorism charges and this week, they announced that they were seeking a second unnamed U.S. consulate worker. In February, fellow consulate employee Hamza Uluçay too was abruptly detained. These are just a few of the many western-linked — most of whom hold dual citizenship in Turkey — who have been swept up in President Tayyip Erdoğan’s ongoing purge in the wake of the July 2016 failed coup attempt to remove him from power. The common thread with all who are being incarcerated? Suspected ties — however indirect, vague or unproven — to Fethullah Gülen, the Pennsylvania-based Islamic cleric who Erdogan accuses of orchestrating the coup despite his vehement denials, or to The Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK. The Kurdish militant group is closely associated to The Women’s Protection Units or YPJ, who the U.S. is training and funding to fight ISIS in Syria. But any ties are considered terrorist ties and diplomatic tensions between Turkey and the United States seemingly have been escalating since the failed coup attempt and since the U.S. upped its support of People’s Protection Units or YPG in closing in on the ISIS-controlled Raqqa over a year ago. And those tensions hit a high this week, with governments in both countries precipitously suspending nonimmigrant visas for each other’s citizens. Some experts anticipate that things are likely to only get worse, and more westerners will be jailed or targeted inside the country as collateral damage, if the U.S. does not cave to pressure and agree to Gülen. “Bilateral relations with Turkey are deteriorating because President Erdoğan seeks to use the U.S. as a scapegoat to advance his political agenda and maximize his own political power,” Jim Phillips, senior research fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Heritage Foundation, said…

Agreed..   This story is developing..