Foreign Policy

Trump Signs TAIPEI Act to Increase U.S. Support for Taiwan

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed the Taiwan Allies and International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act, whose acronym in a remarkable coincidence spells out TAIPEI, the name of Taiwan’s capital. The TAIPEI Act enhances U.S. support for Taiwan by encouraging other nations to engage with the island and punishing those who follow the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) orders to isolate it. “This bipartisan legislation demands a whole-of-government approach to ramp up our support for Taiwan, and will send a strong message to nations that there will be consequences for supporting Chinese actions that undermine Taiwan,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who introduced the bill along with Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware in May. The bill enjoyed strong bipartisan support after some revisions and passed the House on a 415-0 vote. The Senate passed the final version of the TAIPEI Act with unanimous consent on March 11. A joint statement from Gardner and Coons highlighted the importance of the Act during the current crisis, stressing America’s determination to “support Taiwan’s participation in appropriate international organizations like the World Health Organization, which would help Taiwan respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and be able to share globally its expertise and knowledge in handling this crisis.” Taiwan was forced into observer status at the World Health Organization (WHO) by Communist China in 2009 and was blocked altogether after the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016. During the coronavirus crisis, WHO uncritically relayed false information provided by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and inexcusably delayed declaring a global health emergency, while Taiwan devised the world’s most effective coronavirus response – in some ways benefiting from its separation from a World Health Organization compromised by CCP politics. Taiwan still correctly objects to its exclusion as outrageous, and at this point the rest of the world is probably suffering more than Taiwan from keeping Beijing in and Taipei out. In February, Taiwan was able to get some of its experts into an online WHO meeting about the coronavirus by working directly with WHO leaders and freezing Beijing out of the discussion. The Chinese Communist government later claimed it had approved Taiwan’s request. As the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry pointed out in February, even after unleashing a historic global pandemic, the CCP still has enough sway over WHO to make it change its reports so they describe Taiwan as part of Communist China. Supporters of the TAIPEI Act also said it would be an important step toward reversing China’s economic and political campaign to isolate Taiwan by bribing and intimidating its allies into abandoning the island and switching their formal diplomatic recognition to Beijing. Eight of Taiwan’s allies have done so since President Tsai’s election, leaving it with 15. “The TAIPEI Act sends a clear message that the United States stands with Taiwan’s free-market democracy. I look forward to finding additional ways to support the positive role Taiwan plays in international affairs,” Sen. Coons said on Thursday. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), Taiwan’s de facto embassy in the United States, on Thursday offered “big thanks to President Donald Trump and Congress’ staunch support for Taiwan.” President Tsai said it was “gratifying” to see the TAIPEI Act signed into law, hailing it as a “testament to Taiwan-U.S. friendship and mutual support as we work together to address global threats to human health and our shared economic values.” “The bill reflects the strength of Taiwan-U.S. ties. It also paves the way for expanded bilateral exchanges while preserving the country’s international space in the face of authoritarian China’s campaign of coercion,” said the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Chinese Communist Party is, unsurprisingly, less pleased with the TAIPEI Act. The Chinese Foreign Ministry actually threatened a “resolute strike back” if the law was implemented. “We urge the United States to correct its mistakes, not implement the law, or obstruct the development of relations between other countries and China, otherwise it will inevitably encounter a resolute strike back by China,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman warned. China stepped up its campaign of military intimidation against Taiwan after the coronavirus pandemic began, conducting provocative naval and air drills. Taiwanese citizens are increasingly angry about these provocations, which have included brief violations of Taiwan’s airspace by Chinese military jets.

This is extremely important, and sends a message to China that we stand with Taiwan.  Kudos to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and the others who pushed this bill and got it to President Trump’s desk for signature.    🙂

 

Rep Diaz-Balart: My family fled Cuba, and I’m setting the record straight for Sanders and Castro apologists

Following praise of Castro’s Cuba by Democratic presidential candidate for president Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., I must take the opportunity to correct the misinformation and false claims so frequently touted by Castro’s apologists. First of all, it is appalling to those personally affected by the Castro regime legacy of firing squads, torture, imprisonment, brutal oppression and terrorism to witness a U.S. presidential candidate seek to decipher some nominal good from the abject and all-pervasive evil of totalitarianism. Many of those who support Sanders today may not have been around to witness the evils of communism over the past few decades. Sanders has no such excuse. At the height of the Cold War, he hobnobbed with the Soviets and established a partnership with the Sandinistas in a Nicaraguan region at war with the indigenous Miskito people. He should remember that when nuclear missiles in Cuba were pointed at the United States, Fidel Castro pleaded that Khrushchev launch a first strike. He should remember that the Castro dictatorship ordered the shootdown of two unarmed civilian aircraft in international waters, resulting in the murder of three innocent Americans and a permanent resident for which the general and two pilots were indicted in U.S. federal court. He should demand the return of fugitives from U.S. justice such as Joanne Chesimard, an FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist, and terrorist bomb maker William Morales. He should remember the “13 de Marzo” Tugboat Massacre of 1994 when the Castro regime rammed, sprayed and ultimately sunk a tugboat of 72 men, women and children who were attempting to escape Cuba in search of freedom. 41 perished, including 10 children. They were among the over a million Cubans who, like my family, fled totalitarianism. He should also remember the lives of those who died at the hands of the Castro regime in the past ten years, such as Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Juan Wilfredo Soto, Laura Pollan, Oswaldo Paya, Harold Cepero and Armando Sosa Fortuny. He should call for the immediate release of political prisoners Jose Daniel Ferrer, Mitzael Diaz Paseiro, Yanet Perez Quevedo and Miguel Diaz Bouza so that they do not suffer the same fate. Collectivist systems of socialism and communism have brought devastation and tyranny wherever they have been tried. The regimes of communist China, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela have used socialist/communist policies to justify the most egregious human rights abuses and their iron grip on power. In less than two decades, socialism has managed to plunge Venezuela, a country with the world’s largest known oil reserves, into blackouts, starvation, medical shortages and utter destitution. The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation reveals that more than 100 million people have perished as a result of communism, from the purge policies of Mao and Stalin, including forced starvation, through the dictatorships in North Korea, Eastern Europe and Cuba. Sanders should be asked about Communist China’s forced reeducation and labor camps, including the current oppression of Uyghurs who have been forced to abandon their language and culture and improve their “literacy” of the state-mandated Mandarin language. With collectivist systems where individual rights are subsumed by the so-called “greater good” of the many, once unthinkable horrors become reality. Sanders’ comments in regard to Cuba are particularly shocking given the Castro regime’s long and sordid history of threatening U.S. interests. The regime in Cuba partners with rogue regimes, terrorists and Anti-American interests such as the terrorist state of Iran, Russia, communist China, the Maduro regime in Venezuela, the FARC and Hezbollah. In 2013, the Cuban regime was caught smuggling weapons to North Korea in the largest violation of international sanctions against that country to date. It has welcomed Russian espionage ships to Cuban waters to spy on the United States. Sonic health attacks against U.S. personnel in Havana caused traumatic brain injury to Americans and their families. For years, Cuba has maintained thousands of Cuban intelligence operatives in Venezuela in what the Organization of American States’ Secretary General called an “occupation army” to oppress the Venezuelan people and sustain the illegitimate Maduro regime. The Obama Administration chartered a course to legitimize the Castro tyranny. Thankfully, President Trump understands the danger of the Cuban dictatorship and has corrected this course. I was disappointed that the Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives chose not to consider such an important resolution condemning Sanders’ admiration of a murderous dictator, a resolution that should have enjoyed bipartisan support. It’s very alarming that the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is willing to turn a blind eye to this evil. “The truth is the truth.”

Thanks to Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) who represents the 21st congressional district in South Florida for that compelling, powerful op/ed.  Please forward that on to anyone you know who liked Bernie’s recent comments about Cuba.

Israel Ambassador to UN: We Don’t Want ‘Ignorant Fool’ Bernie Sanders in Israel

Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, declared Sunday that Democratic Party presidential frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is an “ignorant” fool, adding: “We don’t want him in Israel.” The unusually blunt criticism came at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the most prominent pro-Israel groups in the country. Sanders declared a week ago that he would not attend AIPAC, claiming that it was a platform for “bigotry.” When asked what he means, during the Democrat debate in South Carolina, he called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “reactionary racist.” (The audience applauded.) Danon, a free-marker conservative known for his blunt opinions declared (via Times of Israel): “Whoever calls the prime minister of Israel a ‘racist’ is either a liar, an ignorant fool, or both,” Danon said. “We don’t want Sanders at AIPAC. We don’t want him in Israel.” Netanyahu’s own reaction was more muted: he said Sanders was “wrong,” but hastened to add that he did not want to interfere in the U.S. elections. Sanders has also said that he would use U.S. aid as leverage to force Israeli concession, and would consider moving the U.S. embassy from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv. The only Democratic Party presidential candidates who will address AIPAC are former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) — the latter two by video.

What irony!  Bernie is Jewish, and yet Israel wants nothing to do with him.  By contrast, when Trump visited Israel, he was treated like a rock star!  And, he has a great working relationship with Bibi Netanyahu.  That’s crucial to our foreign policy in the middle east.  If Bernie were elected, it’d be a disaster for our middle east policies.

Trump rallies massive crowd in India, inks military deal with Modi

President Trump drew the crowd of a lifetime to kick off his first official visit to India. The president, who loves to play to a big audience, was met with a raucous ovation Monday as he addressed a crowd of more than 110,000 people in a joint rally with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Along with first lady Melania Trump, the visiting first family packed the world’s largest cricket stadium, as the U.S. president declared America’s love for the country and solidarity with its people — and announced a military partnership with the Indian government. “The first lady and I have just traveled 8,000 miles around the globe to deliver a message to every citizen across this nation: America loves India, America respects India, and America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people,” Trump said, drawing massive cheers. The two heads of state spoke at the “Namaste Trump” rally at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad. It was a follow-up to the “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston last September. Later in his visit, the president and first lady toured the site of the Taj Mahal. The famous Indian landmark had served as the inspiration for a hotel and casino Trump once owned in Atlantic City, N.J. At the rally, Trump announced a $3 billion deal that will send state-of-the-art military helicopters to the country. “I believe that the United States should be India’s premier defense partner and that’s the way it’s working out,” Trump said. The president also spoke of both countries’ desire to combat radical Islamic terrorism. “Both of our countries have been hurt by the pain and turmoil of terrorism,” the president said, before boasting of the defeat of ISIS and the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Trump then drew a rousing ovation when he touted his administration’s work with Pakistan “to crack down on the terrorist organizations and militants that operate on the Pakistani border.” The president closed with a message of positivity and hope for a bright future for the two countries and the world. “So today I say to every Indian — North and South, Hindu and Muslim, Jewish and Christian, rich and poor, young and old: take pride in the glories of your past, unite for an even brighter future, and let our two nations always stand together as powerful defenders of peace and liberty, and the hope of a better world for all of humanity,” he said.

Senate Democrat Murphy acknowledges meeting with Iran’s foreign minister

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., confirmed on Tuesday that he met with Iran’s foreign minister, arguing that “it’s dangerous not to talk to adversaries.” The two met at the Munich Security conference amid tough rhetoric between President Trump and Iran’s leadership. Murphy claimed he told Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that Congress is also responsible for setting U.S. foreign policy. “Many of us have met w Zarif over the years, under Obama and Trump,” Murphy tweeted. “So though no one in Congress can negotiate with Zarif or carry official U.S. government messages, there is value in having a dialogue.” According to his tweets, Murphy also urged Zarif to control any proxies that might attack U.S. forces, as well as release American citizens unlawfully detained in the nation. Murphy’s tweets confirmed an earlier report that Murphy and other Democratic senators held a secret meeting with Zarif. It’s unclear which other senators were involved. In a Medium post, Murphy expanded on his meeting and clarified that he wasn’t trying to sidestep the administration’s foreign policy. “I don’t know whether my visit with Zarif will make a difference. I’m not the President or the Secretary of State — I’m just a rank and file U.S. Senator. I cannot conduct diplomacy on behalf of the whole of the U.S. government, and I don’t pretend to be in a position to do so,” Murphy wrote. “But if Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should. And Congress is a co-equal branch of government, responsible along with the Executive for setting foreign policy. A lack of dialogue leaves nations guessing about their enemy’s intentions, and guessing wrong can lead to catastrophic mistakes.” Murphy’s chamber recently voted on a war powers resolution aimed at reining in Trump’s actions against Iran. The resolution received a majority vote but ultimately failed to garner the two-thirds majority needed to overcome Trump’s veto. The meeting came as the Trump administration seeks to increasingly isolate Iran through the re-imposition of sanctions under its “maximum pressure campaign” on the Islamic republic. Murphy has been a harsh critic of the administration’s policy toward Iran and said in a Medium post that he had raised the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian general in Iraq and told Zarif that despite differences, Congress and the administration are united in sending a message that any Iran-backed attack on American troops in Iraq would be “an unacceptable escalation.” The senator also said he had raised Iran’s support for Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen and Americans held prisoner in Iran.

What Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) has done here is mind-boggling, and sinister at best.  The President and the Executive Branch of government are responsible for setting and maintaining our nation’s foreign policy.  It is NOT something shared with the legislative branch.  Sen. Murphy knows this, despite his disingenuous comments to the contrary.  To be clear…  He is consciously, proactively undermining the Trump Administration’s foreign policy efforts with Iran because he disagrees with them, and he’s a Dem that doesn’t like Trump.  It’s that simple.  At best, Sen. Murphy is in violation of the Logan Act, and should be censured by the Senate.  At worst, he is undermining our national security, and might be engaging in treasonous activities and should be criminally charged accordingly. Sen. Murphy has NO business doing what he’s doing, and has no authority to be doing it whatsoever.  Yes, there ARE three co-equal branches of government, Senator.  But, they each have their separate roles and responsibilities and those roles and responsibilities are clearly laid out in our Constitution, Sir.  Perhaps you should read it.  The conduct of foreign policy resides solely in the purview of the executive branch.  Period.  Sen. Murphy is a legislator, and someone needs to tell him to stay in his lane.  What a self-serving, sanctimonious, sleazy tool…

Opinion/Analysis: Obama should apologize for shameful cash payment to Iran

Since the elimination of Iranian terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani, much of the world has rightfully held its collective breath in fearful anticipation of what might be to come. Iran is indeed a dangerous terrorist state that not only has a powerful standing army, air force, navy and advanced weapons systems — including ballistic missiles and a growing space program — but also controls multiple proxy terrorist organizations responsible for killing and injuring hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children. Included on that list of victims are thousands of American military personnel and contractors. These were facts that former President Obama knew when he deliberately chose a policy of appeasement and cash payoffs instead of strength and accountability as the way to deal with Iran. President Trump spelled this out in no uncertain terms on Wednesday when he addressed the nation while seeking to dial down the imminent threat Iran may pose to our nation, the Middle East and the world. Said the president in part, “Iran’s hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013 and they were given $150 billion, not to mention $1.8 billion in cash. … Then, Iran went on a terror spree, funded by the money from the deal and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq. The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration.” As we have seen and heard, some — especially Democrats, their allies in the media and Obama supporters — chose to challenge or quibble with Trump’s statement. That said, I spoke with a former senior intelligence official who said that much of the $1.8 billion cash payoff from the Obama administration was used explicitly to fund terrorism as an additional “screw you” from the leaders of Iran — including Soleimani — to the United States. The rest of the money, my source believes, ended up in the bank accounts of corrupt Iranian leaders and terrorists. The cash payment authorized by Obama is one of the most disgraceful and shameful “negotiations” in the history of our nation. It was a payment the Obama White House first denied, then ignored and then grudgingly acknowledged. We paid in cash, but not U.S. currency. Wary of using U.S. bills for a variety of reasons involving concealment, the Obama White House had the money converted to untraceable Euros, Swiss francs, and other foreign currencies. More troubling than those initial denials and deceptions was the fact that $400 million of that all-cash payment was used to pay a ransom to the government of Iran for the release of four American prisoners, in violation of standing U.S. policy. In a pathetic attempt to hide behind semantics, the Obama administration finally did acknowledge that $400 million was delayed as “leverage” until the Americans were allowed to leave Iran. While the Obama White House hid from the true definition of the word “leverage,” Iran’s state-run media was more than happy to brag that Iran had just forced the United States to pay a ransom. Former Congressman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), who chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee at that time, condemned the deal: “Sending the world’s leading state sponsor of terror pallets of untraceable cash isn’t just terrible policy. It’s incredibly reckless, and it only puts bigger targets on the backs of Americans.” Former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) seconded Royce’s warning: “Paying ransom to kidnappers puts Americans even more at risk. … The White House’s policy of appeasement has led Iran to illegally seize more American hostages.” Said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), “President Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal with Iran was sweetened with an illicit ransom payment and billions of dollars for the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism.” What many Americans don’t realize is that the Obama White House took the ransom money from something called the “Judgment Fund,” which is administered by the Treasury. That little-known account is entirely paid for by American taxpayers and was set up in such a way that Obama could bypass congressional approval to pay the cash to Iran. Those who continually praise and defend Obama often describe him as “brilliant.” There is no doubt the former president is an intelligent person, certainly bright enough to realize — and admit, at least to himself — that the cash he turned over to the murderous regime leading Iran to ruin was not used for altruistic purposes. Any honest assessment would conclude that at least part of that secretive, massive payment was used to finance terrorist attacks against Americans, our allies and innocent civilians. Trump is correct on that point. For that reason, Obama should apologize for the thousands wounded and killed in terrorist attacks since Iran took possession of that tainted cash. That is his debt to pay.

Exactly!!!  Thanks to Douglas MacKinnon for that absolutely spot-on analysis.  Douglas is a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.  Keep everything you said in mind as you read the next article about John Kerry.  Excellent!!     🙂

Kerry deflects question about why he released money to Iran, accused Trump of ‘lies’

Former Secretary of State John Kerry faced a question about his role in releasing billions of dollars to Iran during the Obama administration and responded by first attacking President Trump’s criticism of the move. President Trump has claimed that Iran’s recent aggression against the U.S. in Iraq was funded by $150 billion that the Obama administration gave to Iran. Kerry has insisted that was false, although in the past he recognized that at least some of the money – which was frozen due to sanctions and held in banks around the world before being released at roughly the same time the Iran nuclear deal was made – would end up in the hands of terrorists. “I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists,” Kerry told CNBC in 2016. When asked by Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” why he believed this was a worthwhile risk when releasing the money, Kerry attacked the president rather than answer the question. “You know that the president’s tweet is a lie,” Kerry told host Margaret Brennan. “And the president tweeted this morning, because I am coming on the show and he knew you’d ask me the question or he’d push you in a place where you did ask the question. You and the media, I think, need to call a lie a lie.” Brennan immediately reminded him that she asked the same question in 2015. Kerry continued, saying that what he meant was that “clearly some money from the budget of Iran is going to go to the IRGC.” He then said that, contrary to what President Trump claims ”his own defense intelligence agency in 2017 testified to the Congress that very, very little money actually went to the IRGC at all.” Kerry did not explain his rationale for releasing the money at the time, before he knew where the funds would end up.

And to think this duplicitous, self-serving tool almost became President…    He and Obama orchestrated that more than $1 BILLION ransom deal with Iran during Obama’s administration.. And when confronted by a mainstream media journalist, Kerry pivots and somehow blames Trump, who wasn’t President at the time; Obama was.