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Esper: Say, this Turkey invasion seems headed “in the wrong direction”

Westlake Legal Group esper Esper: Say, this Turkey invasion seems headed “in the wrong direction” Turkey The Blog Syrian Kurds Recep Tayyip Erdogan NATO Mark Esper John Cornyn ethnic cleansing donald trump

Maybe that cease-fire yesterday wasn’t quite as permanent as Donald Trump suggested. In fact, Defense Secretary Mark Esper admitted earlier today in Brussels, the Turks are making the situation in Syria exponentially worse. “Turkey has put us all in a very terrible situation,” Esper told a conference before a NATO summit, and is “heading in the wrong direction”:

“Turkey put us all in a very terrible situation,” Esper told a conference in Brussels on Thursday before a meeting of NATO defense ministers.

He said there are multiple crises in the Middle East and Turkey’s “unwarranted incursion into Syria” to attack the Kurds risks sapping “resources” in the region.

“There are new threats on the horizon that we ignore at our own peril,” he added.

Esper also said Turkey is “heading in the wrong direction” by carving out a “safe zone” in northern Syria and agreeing to a deal with Russia to jointly patrol the territory.

Just how safe is the “safe zone,” and just where is it? The Kurdish SDF claimed that Turkey has yet to abide by the terms of the permanent cease-fire announced by Trump yesterday, for which Trump waived the remaining sanctions against Ankara. The SDF claims that Turkey has used mercenaries to advance along a three-pronged front against Kurdish communities, but Turkey insists those are areas the Kurds were supposed to evacuate:

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) accused Turkey on Thursday of launching a large land offensive targeting three villages in northeast Syria despite a truce, but Russia said a peace plan hammered out this week was going ahead smoothly. …

But the SDF said in its statement on Thursday that Turkish forces had attacked three villages “outside the area of the ceasefire process,” forcing thousands of civilians to flee.

“Despite our forces’ commitment to the ceasefire decision and the withdrawal of our forces from the entire ceasefire area, the Turkish state and the terrorist factions allied to it are still violating the ceasefire process,” it said.

“Our forces are still clashing,” it said, urging the United States to intervene to halt the renewed fighting.

The SDF warned on Twitter that they’re not going to allow Turkey to attack their communities for long. After initially backing Trump yesterday, the militia now wants Trump to back them up by intervening with Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

Those pleas will not likely move the US to intervene, especially not militarily. As John Cornyn noted yesterday, there would have been little appetite in the US for a shooting war with Turkey over ethnic cleansing along its border, even if Erdogan had gone through the existing US “tripwire” troops at the time, so withdrawing those troops made sense, Cornyn concludes:

“If Turkey was planning on coming into northern Syria and trying to ethnically cleanse the Kurds, and U.S. troops were caught in the middle, I am not completely convinced that it was a bad idea to get them out of harm’s way,” Cornyn said.

Trump is also not likely to reverse himself so soon after his victory-lap presser yesterday to reimpose sanctions. The overall point of yesterday’s announcement was that Trump was washing his hands of the Kurds and of their disputes with the Turks. Maybe Trump will reimpose sanctions if Turkey continues to violate the terms of the cease-fire, but only after enough time passes to where he can’t be accused of being wrong yesterday.

Unfortunately for the Kurds, they’re on their own. And Turkey knows it.

The post Esper: Say, this Turkey invasion seems headed “in the wrong direction” appeared first on Hot Air.

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Alicia Kearns: Ten actions we can and should take to help the Kurds

Alicia Kearns is an expert in counter-terrorism, and formerly worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She was the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Mitcham and Morden in 2017.

Amidst the anger about the Erdogan-Assad offensive in North East Syria, there has been very little discussion about what the UK can and should do to support the Kurds.

Sixty thousand Kurdish people took up arms to fight Daesh, and at least 11,000 of them paid for our safety with their lives. We would not have secured victory without them. They liberated tens of thousands of square miles from Manbij to Raqqa and Baghouz, freeing millions of people from Daesh occupation. They fought street by street to save Christians, Yazidis and Arabs and give them refuge.

The offensive is not a response to a threat faced by Turkey. It is an attempt to eradicate the Kurdish people, who are trapped by the ambitions of two countries that are ruthless in their desire to gain territory, and will crush anyone who opposes them. This action will benefit Daesh and undermine efforts to stabilise Iraq and Syria.

Decision-making is in the hands of those on the ground, and the UK’s role is limited, as we will not and cannot put our own people into this theatre, but we must do what we can. Here are a few steps we could take.

  • Call for an immediate ceasefire

While it is unlikely that Turkey and Syria will respect such a call, we must exert all possible pressure. A no-fly zone is unlikely to work, as it would need to be policed by Coalition forces, of which Turkey is a member. The next question is whether Russian airplanes would be deployed. A ceasefire is the most practical option, although one is unlikely to be agreed in the immediate future.

  • Minimise civilian casualties

The UK and our partners urgently need to secure agreements from Turkey to protect civilian life. Displacement has begun, with communities fleeing their villages and reports of civilian deaths caused by indiscriminate bombing. This area is home to two to three million people who have already suffered enough. Turkey has simultaneously launched this offensive and tightened its borders to prevent refugees from fleeing to what has been their only safe destination. Civilians are trapped with no escape, which is why, if we cannot secure a ceasefire, the parameters of Turkey’s offensive must be agreed quickly, and humanitarian access provided

  • Limit the offensive’s parameters

Turkey must commit to strike only internationally agreed and intelligence-based ‘military’ targets. Erdogan uses the terms ‘militants’, ‘terror corridor’ and ‘militia’ – vague words which give him maximum freedom to operate. Whilst the Partiya Karkeren Kurdistani (PKK) is proscribed by the UK and the US, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) must also be declared a non-targets. Beyond this, we should push Turkey to declare a time-bound offensive.

  • Join International Punitive Actions against Turkey

If Turkey will not agree to recognise the SDF as friendly forces, and targets them, we should support sanctions and other activities against it that could help save our allies, the SDF, and civilians across north east Syria.

  • Flex our diplomatic muscle

The UK should provide a voice for the Kurdish people at NATO, the UN, and in diplomatic discussions. I welcome the news that the UK and France have called for a Security Council meeting but, over the last few years, the UN has shown itself to be ineffective in addressing conflict, particularly in the Middle East. We should deploy our diplomatic network to advocate for the Kurds. I hope, since that this incursion was long-anticipated, that the Foreign Office has already developed plans to support the Kurdish people.

  • Review our posture on Turkey

There was no imminent threat to Turkey from Kurds in north eastern Syria. We want it to be a productive partner, to improve relations with it and to keep it turned westwards. But this cannot be done at any cost, and certainly not by overlooking offensives like this. Turkey has a right to protect itself, but this action was not precipitated by any threat. Erdogan has long had ambitions to extend his territory into Syria. Turkey must respect international rules. This is not what we are seeing in Syria, nor in other actions by Turkey, such as threatening Greece. We must now consider how we can help create an exit strategy for Turkey before it has even more tragic consequences.

We must also recognise that Russia is an important player, and that its continued support for the Assad regime and overtures to Turkey have emboldened Erdogan. Russia’s stated strategic objectives include creating division amongst NATO partners: we must not assist them with this aim.

  • Take a position on the Kurdish people

For too long, we have avoided having a meaningful foreign policy about the Kurdish people. We should commit to a supportive position and be open about it. We have long been friends to them. If you go to Kurdistan in Iraq you will hear many Kurds speaking perfect English with South London accents, from their time living in the UK as refugees from the longstanding persecution they have faced and the Anfal genocide.

  • Prevent the forcible return of refugees to north east Syria

Turkey has been generous in hosting refugees. Now we must prevent Turkey from forcibly returning three million Syrian refugees to North East Syria during or after this offensive. It is not safe for refugees to return to Syria, as they will face persecution from the Assad regime. Nor is it right to forcibly move refugees to an area from which they do not emanate or to forcibly change the ethnic make-up of an area.

  • Focus on the threat

Daesh has been defeated, but it still exists as an ideology that can and will recruit followers. It still operates as an insurgent force on the borders between Iraq and Syria. The SDF are holding around 2,000 foreign terrorist fighters, 9,000 Syrian and Iraqi Daesh fighters, and tens of thousands of Daesh family members in camps and prisons. The prisons are under great pressure. There have been violent attacks within them, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Daesh’s Caliph) has called for supporters to organise prison breaks.

Turkey took advantage of US withdrawal, and now Daesh will exploit the compromised position of the Kurds. How do we expect the Kurds to maintain the security of prisons while under air attack from Turkey? The UK should use its significant influence in the Coalition to lead discussions amongst its 80 plus members on how to stop this offensive, which is undermining its work to defeat violent extremists in the region over the last few years.

  • Criticise Withdrawal

A friendship is strong when one can disagree respectfully with an ally’s decision. This offensive began just days after Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of troops. This decision gave the green light to Erdogan and Assad to begin their action.

Whilst we all understand the reasons for moving troops out, a lesson from history in the Middle East is that withdrawal at the wrong time can be catastrophic. This decision throws into jeopardy the likelihood of any future forces trusting the US and, potentially, others. Turkey grasped its opportunity, and our allies, whom we committed to protect, will pay the price.

– – –

The vulnerability of the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Kurdish people is not new. We must stand by our allies and friends: words are not enough. As Conservatives we believe in self-determination, fairness, loyalty, and decency. If we desert the Kurds now, we cease to be that of which we are so proud.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Syria Withdrawal Part II: Protecting (Our) Kurds

Westlake Legal Group kurds-territory-620x760 Syria Withdrawal Part II: Protecting (Our) Kurds Uncategorized Turkey Syria Samantha Powers responsibility to protect republicans Politics Obama NATO ISIS ISIL Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story elections donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception
Yesterday, President Trump announced that he was immediately withdrawing U.S. Forces from Syria. As expected, the usual suspects both Democrat, never-Trump and even sometime political allies of the President such as Senators Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, immediately and stridently decried the decision. I did a little write up yesterday explaining some of the history of our Syrian experience and the why’s and wherefore’s of The President’s decision.

Today we will delve into what many folks consider a huge issue; As the United States executes this decision, how do we protect the Kurds from our NATO ally, Turkey? Turkey as we know, within hours of U.S. troops moving, attacked Kurdish positions in Western Iraq. This is a non-starter.

First of all, let’s talk about Turkey. Turkey is a NATO “ally.” The reason for the quotes as you might imagine, is that we’ve been having some issues with Turkey for the past few years. These have become more of a problem since the President Erdogan’s election and subsequent consolidation of power over his political rivals. Erdogan, like his predecessors, has been dealing with an active insurgency in his country fostered by the PKK, a Kurdish separatist movement. The PKK has been declared by not only Turkey, but also the United States, as a Terrorist group. This will become more clear shortly.

“The Kurds,” on the other hand, aren’t. They are not one homogenous entity in their relations with each other, or with Turkey. They are actually three separate groups, each with differing loyalties. The below graphic explains this and also shows how much of the angst over President Trump’s alleged “abandonment of an ally” might be misplaced.

Westlake Legal Group B7C87A33-7361-4C8B-8FD4-0E5182F3C3AF-620x874 Syria Withdrawal Part II: Protecting (Our) Kurds Uncategorized Turkey Syria Samantha Powers responsibility to protect republicans Politics Obama NATO ISIS ISIL Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story elections donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception

At the top of the graphic, we have the Turkish government, with arrows showing its relationship to each of the main Kurdish groups. It is important to note as I have above, that Turkey has been fighting an active separatist movement for several decade. Of course this colors its view of the Kurds. At the bottom of all four entities involved, including the Turkish government, we can see that all four have engaged the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

On the far left is the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group in Turkey who have for several decades, been considered a terrorist organization by both Turkey and the United States. Note that the arrow from Turkey to this group is titled “Fighting.” The Turks are trying to keep their native Kurds from establishing a separate state inside Turkey.

On the far right, are the Iraqi Kurds. These folks have their own semi autonomous region inside Iraq and have been reliable U.S. allies. The arrow from the “Turkish Government” block indicates “good relations” between both governments. Absent some signal change, there is likely to be absolutely no bloodshed between the Iraqi Kurds and the Turks in the foreseeable future, despite what the never-Trump crowd is saying.

Now for the difficult part, the Syrian Kurds. As the graphic shows, while the Syrian Kurds were fighting ISIS/ISIL (incidentally also trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Al Assad) they are considered a hostile force by the Turkish government because of their alignment with the PKK. This is likely one of the reasons that the first thing the Turkish forces attacked after the withdrawal of U.S. forces, was a base supporting the Syrian Kurds.

As a January 2019 Washington Times article explains

The Kurds are a Middle Eastern minority spread out from Syria in the West, through Turkey and Iraq, to Iran in the east, and further divided into various political groupings.

But this is not what the foreign policy establishment is referring to in the Syria debate. Rather, they are talking about a specific Kurdish political institution in northern Syria, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and its military wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG). This is the Syrian franchise of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been at war with Turkey for 35 years, and is a U.S.-designated terrorist group inspired by Marxist doctrine.

There are obviously some competing issues here that we need to resolve, but as the Washington Times excerpt above indicates, they might not be quite as cut and dried as The President’s critics seem to believe. First of all, Turkey is a NATO ally. Although lately they have been “somewhat unfriendly,” we need to treat them as as an ally to avoid exacerbating the situation to a point that it’s irrecoverable. That ally has a righteous concern regarding the PKK, it’s allies and Turkish internal security.

Second, we have to resolve the Syrian Kurds’ support for us with Turkey’s desire to eliminate them as a threat. The most critical thing we need to understand, is what I mentioned in the first article in this series; We were illegally involved in Syria in the first place. Moreover, while the U.S. had its agendas, the elimination of ISIS/ISIL and the advancement of the Obama/Powers Responsibility To Protect doctrine, the Syrian Kurds also had theirs, the overthrow of President Assad.

When we combine these three agendas, what we have, is an alliance of convenience. The Syrian Kurds assisted us in eliminating ISIS/ISIL, but we also assisted them in defending themselves against Assad’s government forces. Should we simply abandon them to whatever their fate may be at the hands of Assad or Erdogan? Of course not. But we do need to recognize, that absent the aberrant policies of the Obama administration, we would have never invaded Syria and certainly never been involved with this particular group in the first place.

So, what do we owe the Syrian Kurds? Not as much as we owe the Turks, as unpalatable as it many seem at this particular instant. However, we do owe them something, as they were of some assistance in helping us. The solution could be as simple as brokering a peace deal and a change of alignment of the Syrian Kurds. If we can convince them to forswear their alignment with the PKK and accept a U.S.-Turkey negotiated autonomous region on the Syrian side of the Syria-Turkey border, we could preclude further bloodshed while at the same time adding to President Assad’s (and his Russian sponsor’s) concern about a hostile force on his frontier. Moreover, this just might send such a message to President Erdogan as to begin a modest rapprochement with this most important NATO ally.

Tomorrow: Syria Withdrawal Part III: The Way Ahead

Mike Ford, a retired Infantry Officer, writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.

Follow him on Twitter: @MikeFor10394583

You can find his other Red State work here.

The post Syria Withdrawal Part II: Protecting (Our) Kurds appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group kurds-territory-245x300 Syria Withdrawal Part II: Protecting (Our) Kurds Uncategorized Turkey Syria Samantha Powers responsibility to protect republicans Politics Obama NATO ISIS ISIL Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story elections donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Andrew Gimson’s Conference sketch: Wallace declares that he is not setting out to be a popular Defence Secretary

Westlake Legal Group Ben-Wallace-06 Andrew Gimson’s Conference sketch: Wallace declares that he is not setting out to be a popular Defence Secretary ToryDiary The Army Russia Royal Navy NATO Ministry of Defence Defence China Brexit Ben Wallace MP
There was standing room only for Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, in conversation with Mark Wallace, Executive Editor of ConHome.

Wallace began by congratulating Wallace “on his excellent choice of surname”. But for the avoidance of doubt, while the Defence Secretary will continue to be known in this report as Wallace, the second Wallace will be referred to as ConHome.

Wallace had hastened back from the funeral of Jacques Chirac, where he found himself next to Vladimir Putin and a contingent from the FSB, the Russian security service, “all sorts of people I’ve seen in Kremlin mugshots”.

During the conversation he confirmed that he has abandoned the zero tolerance approach to drug use by members of the British armed forces, introduced by his predecessor.

And he also showed why he is not one of the better known members of the Cabinet. Instead of chasing headlines, he gives sober, thoughtful replies.

ConHome began by asking if the 21st century is turning into an age of empires – the EU, China and so forth.

Wallace said the world is not dividing into empires, but into groups with different values. We belong to the group of “those who believe in the rule of law, tolerance and democracy”.

In the field of defence, he added, there is a second dividing line: “There are those that do and those that don’t, and it’s not purely about money.”

Nor is it purely about size: “There are countries like Latvia that are absolute doers.” Those who are willing to act form alliances, for example the Joint Expeditionary Force, which includes countries such as Finland, Sweden and Holland as well as the United Kingdom.

ConHome: “Are our current international institutions fit for purpose?”

Wallace: NATO has “got continually to refresh itself and reform”, and we “have continually to ask whether it’s worth it and what it’s for”, for the commitment under Article Five to mutual defence means giving away a measure of our sovereignty.

ConHome observed that Brexiteers want to know how inextricably committed we already are to EU defence forces.

Wallace described this as “a lawyers’ debate” about whether UK contributions to European defence make us subject to EU law. We need to be “exactly sure whether we will be locked in or not”.

But he pointed out that “the security of Europe is very important to the UK” and we have to contribute towards it.

In practice, what one gets is “an international coalition of the willing”, as in the Straits of Hormuz.

“Who is going to go to Kosovo? Who is going to go to the west coast of Africa? There aren’t many countries that do.”

Security works as a partnership. French and German intelligence has stopped a number of plots in this country, and intelligence we have gathered has helped them to prevent plots.

It makes sense for our forces to work with the French in Mali, in order to help stem the flow of migrants who will end up at the English Channel.

Added to this, our aerospace industry needs European co-operation and European customers. The Typhoon, being built in Lancashire, is a European construct.

We need to have a sovereign capability in some areas – for example, nuclear submarines – but we also have a duty to give our armed forces the best kit: “I’ve been a soldier when our equipment didn’t work.”

It was “embarrassing” when our troops ended up with “very bad build quality” because domestic suppliers were shielded from competition.

Our armed forces also suffer when the Ministry of Defence tries to do more than it can pay for, and then makes savings by hollowing out various areas which it hopes will not be visible.

Above the surface, the public sees the new aircraft carriers, the Red Arrows, the military bands. But beneath the surface, there are poor recruitment, shortages of pilots and equipment which doesn’t always work.

We have “to cut our cloth and be honest with the public about our ambitions”. This he intends to do, though he knows “it’s not going to make me the most popular Defence Secretary”.

“It’s 20, 30 years of this we’ve had and the music is about to stop and someone’s going to open the parcel and it’s not funny.”

ConHome: “Do you have a message to the Russians?”

Wallace: “Yes, the same as to the Chinese. We’re British, we believe in fair play – international law is what we live our lives by.”

ConHome: “Are we going to hit our target for Army headcount?”

Wallace: “We had better.” He explained that in order to improve retention, the Army was becoming far more flexible in the way it treats people, and is adapting so that it reflects modern society: “My Sergeant Major would have a heart attack.”

ConHome wondered if this meant the zero tolerance approach to drug taking would be maintained.

Wallace said he has changed the policy: ” I took the view that some people are young and irresponsible and it should be up to their commanding officers to decide, whether it’s a young lad or girl who’s made a mistake, whether they should be allowed to remain in the armed forces or not.

“And people who have left and want to rejoin, the same should apply to them as well.”

A member of the audience suggested to applause that the Royal Navy has far too few ships.

Wallace maintained that however many ships we had, we would still need allies when it came to tasks such as patrolling the Straits of Hormuz. And for some purposes, an offshore patrol vessel would be adequate.

The questioner, indignant: “It’s got a pop gun on the front.”

But Wallace maintained that it was a question of working out what we need to be able to do: “Do you want us to forward base a Navy base in the Pacific?”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Venezuelan president extorting his own people to gin up Trump opposition

Westlake Legal Group Maduro-constitution Venezuelan president extorting his own people to gin up Trump opposition Venezuela The Blog starvation petition Nicolas Maduro NATO Juan Guaido

Since we haven’t checked in on the collapsed nation of Venezuela for a little while we might as well take a look at the humanitarian aid situation. As you likely know, the people of that country have been facing starvation conditions for months on end, as well as being lacking in potable water and basic medical supplies. Fortunately, some aid has been arriving but almost all of it is immediately confiscated by the government so they can distribute it themselves. Good news, right?

Well… yes and no. There are food relief boxes being given out (known as CLAP boxes) to some of the hungry people, but there’s a catch. If you want to get one from the local brute squad, you are first required to sign a petition denouncing the United States and Donald Trump, specifically denouncing sanctions on the nation. It’s part of the government’s “No More Trump” campaign. And if you don’t sign, you don’t get the food. (from Agence France Press)

The Maduro government has been gathering signatures among Venezuelans as part of its “No More Trump” campaign…

But the opposition says that the Maduro government has gathered the signatures through extortion over desperately needed nutritional assistance. Videos recently posted by the citizen journalism site Reporte Ya and elsewhere showed what appeared to be Venezuelans refusing orders to sign in exchange for receiving the aid, known locally as a CLAP box.

“If you don’t sign against Trump and sanctions, there won’t be any CLAP food boxes,” a municipal woman is quoted as saying by La Patilla, a prominent news site close to the opposition.

The US State Department described Maduro’s effort as a “starvation petition” and said it was evidence that he could not win a fair election.

The fact that the dictator of the nation is forcing starving people to sign a petition in order to receive food doesn’t exactly instill one with a lot of confidence as to the sincerity of the people opposing the United States. But then again, that tends to fit in well with the usual maneuvers of a socialist dictator, so there you go.

But why bother collecting petition signatures in the first place? As it turns out, the annual UN General Assembly is coming up later this month. There have been rumors that Maduro plans to attend and if so, he would like to present the petition to the United Nations and ask them to intervene on his behalf. Considering the number of UN nations that have already recognized Juan Guaido as interim president, his prospects probably aren’t great.

But this scenario does bring up another fascinating if unlikely possibility. Let’s just say that Maduro does travel to the UN General Assembly. He will be coming to New York City. I’m sure you’re already guessing what I’m about to suggest and saying I’m crazy, but hear me out. All of the dignitaries traveling to the UN for these events are supposed to be essentially untouchable. I get that. But the United States, along with most of the world, no longer recognizes Maduro as the President of his country. We’ve formally recognized Guaido

If Maduro isn’t the President, he isn’t the official representative with a seat at the conference. In fact, he holds no official position at all. He’s just some guy from Venezuela riding through Manhattan in a limo who probably has a list of war crimes as long as your arm trailing behind him. What would happen if the FBI, CIA or some other agency just pulled his car over for a “traffic infraction,” threw a bag over his head and shipped him off a secure holding facility?

Yes, yes… you’re right. It would probably start a war, so we probably shouldn’t do it. But if nothing else, it would make for the plot of a great Tom Clancy novel.

The post Venezuelan president extorting his own people to gin up Trump opposition appeared first on Hot Air.

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Watch: Trump Shreds Obama then Burns the Remains During North Carolina Speech

Westlake Legal Group DonaldTrumpAPimage2-620x317 Watch: Trump Shreds Obama then Burns the Remains During North Carolina Speech taxpayer dollars Politics NATO Germany Front Page Stories elections donald trump Barack Obama Allow Media Exception allies 2020

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Donald Trump smacked former President Barack Obama over his lack of concern for the United States in favor of his concern for the rest of the world.

As highlighted by the Daily Wire, Trump’s speech in Fayetteville, North Carolina, turned to his standing among his NATO allies and noted that Obama is more popular overseas than he is. Trump made it clear that the reason is simple, and it’s that he’s making them pay their bills.

“Obama is more popular in Germany than Trump. He’s got to be. I’m making people pay their bills. The day I’m more popular than him, I’m not doing my job. They like him more in Europe than they like Trump. I think they should,” he said.

Trump told the crowd that he made his NATO allies pay more after America footed the bill for years, making sure other countries were protected on our taxpayer dime. Trump rocked the proverbial boat when he pointed out how unfair this deal was, especially given the fact that these same countries were hurting us on trade.

“You finally have a president who understands that I’m not supposed to be president of the world; I’m supposed to be president of the United States of America,” said Trump.

While this may seem like another Trump swipe, what he’s saying is actually important here.

We’ve spent a very long time being the world’s babysitter, and footing bills for longer than we should ever have been. Trump noted that when it came time for these countries to stand on their own their only comeback and excuse was that American had never asked them to do that before. While that’s true, it doesn’t make it a good excuse.

In fact, I’d say that this is a black mark on our own leaders than anything else.

Americans should absolutely be looking after themselves first, and then helping other countries with charity second. Interference in other countries in any way should only come if it’s direly required. Looking back at how many of our leaders threw away our money for no other reason than because that’s just the way we’ve always done it makes one wonder how much more we can do away with.

The post Watch: Trump Shreds Obama then Burns the Remains During North Carolina Speech appeared first on RedState.

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Watch: Trump Shreds Obama then Burns the Remains During North Carolina Speech

Westlake Legal Group DonaldTrumpAPimage2-620x317 Watch: Trump Shreds Obama then Burns the Remains During North Carolina Speech taxpayer dollars Politics NATO Germany Front Page Stories elections donald trump Barack Obama Allow Media Exception allies 2020

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Donald Trump smacked former President Barack Obama over his lack of concern for the United States in favor of his concern for the rest of the world.

As highlighted by the Daily Wire, Trump’s speech in Fayetteville, North Carolina, turned to his standing among his NATO allies and noted that Obama is more popular overseas than he is. Trump made it clear that the reason is simple, and it’s that he’s making them pay their bills.

“Obama is more popular in Germany than Trump. He’s got to be. I’m making people pay their bills. The day I’m more popular than him, I’m not doing my job. They like him more in Europe than they like Trump. I think they should,” he said.

Trump told the crowd that he made his NATO allies pay more after America footed the bill for years, making sure other countries were protected on our taxpayer dime. Trump rocked the proverbial boat when he pointed out how unfair this deal was, especially given the fact that these same countries were hurting us on trade.

“You finally have a president who understands that I’m not supposed to be president of the world; I’m supposed to be president of the United States of America,” said Trump.

While this may seem like another Trump swipe, what he’s saying is actually important here.

We’ve spent a very long time being the world’s babysitter, and footing bills for longer than we should ever have been. Trump noted that when it came time for these countries to stand on their own their only comeback and excuse was that American had never asked them to do that before. While that’s true, it doesn’t make it a good excuse.

In fact, I’d say that this is a black mark on our own leaders than anything else.

Americans should absolutely be looking after themselves first, and then helping other countries with charity second. Interference in other countries in any way should only come if it’s direly required. Looking back at how many of our leaders threw away our money for no other reason than because that’s just the way we’ve always done it makes one wonder how much more we can do away with.

The post Watch: Trump Shreds Obama then Burns the Remains During North Carolina Speech appeared first on RedState.

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Watch: Jim Mattis Leaves Andrew Mitchel at a Loss for Words After Torpedoing Her Anti-Trump Narrative

Westlake Legal Group 2b066136-6b8b-45e5-b62d-00b82c129d06-620x357 Watch: Jim Mattis Leaves Andrew Mitchel at a Loss for Words After Torpedoing Her Anti-Trump Narrative Politics NATO MSNBC Media James Mattis Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump Andrea Mitchell Allow Media Exception

And here it is, your moment of zen.

While appearing on MSNBC with Andrea Mitchell, former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was asked about the damage President Donald Trump was doing to the NATO alliance.

“In the last two years we’ve seen our alliances weaken in NATO, specifically in Asia and in Europe,” said Mitchell.

Mattis responded by pointing out that what we always see is the tensions, “because that’s what always grabs your attention.”

“However, right now you see a NATO – I think we’re in the fourth or fifth straight year – of the nations…increasing their defense budgets,” said Mattis.

“I can say quantitatively NATO’s actually stronger today,” he continued.

Mattis said that the tensions seen between countries in NATO have always been there, and said he can trace every President back to Clinton saying that NATO allies need to pay more. What’s more, Mattis has told these nations personally that the American people will never care about the lives of their children more than they do, and that it’s up to them to provide more to their defense.

For a few seconds, Mitchell seemed rudderless. She began to speak as if to counter Mattis, but immediately pivoted to his resignation letter in order to change the subject.

It’s always fun to watch the mainstream media get its narrative’s teeth figuratively kicked in as we learn the truth. Mattis has never been one to shy away from reality, and the fact that he’s bringing it onto shows where they were hoping there’d be something damning to attack Trump with is just hilarious.

Mattis is currently making the rounds to promote his new book Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead. While many seemed to think it’d be an anti-Trump screed, Mattis is disappointing a lot of people.

 

The post Watch: Jim Mattis Leaves Andrew Mitchel at a Loss for Words After Torpedoing Her Anti-Trump Narrative appeared first on RedState.

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Trump cancels Denmark trip because they … won’t sell Greenland to him

Westlake Legal Group dt-5 Trump cancels Denmark trip because they … won’t sell Greenland to him Trump trip The Blog sale queen Prime Minister NATO Mette Frederiksen margarethe Greenland Denmark ally

What can one say? Except that he’s losing what’s left of his mind.

It wasn’t just Frederiksen whom he was set to meet. A state visit with Denmark’s queen was planned. Danish security services had been preparing for his arrival for months, naturally. They’re a NATO ally, not some random country on the other side of the world. And Greenland likely isn’t even theirs to sell: Denmark has gradually granted Greenland more and more independence in conducting its foreign affairs, most recently in the 2009 Act on Greenland Self-Government that recognized Greenlanders as “a people pursuant to international law with the right of self-determination.” Whatever the strategic merits of U.S. dominion over Greenland, that was never something Denmark could grant.

And so it’s insane to want to punish them for refusing to grant it.

If anything, Trump has now compromised American influence over Greenland. A week ago, Denmark was a close ally and Greenland was open for U.S. business. A week later, the Danes are bewildered and insulted and Greenlanders will naturally view future American interest in their country as somewhat suspicious, particularly given their historical experience with colonialism. If access to Greenland’s natural resources and its strategic position in the Atlantic have value to the U.S., and they do, the last thing you’d want to do is jeopardize that access by alienating the people with the power to extend it.

Because the president governs by whim, his staff apparently had to go through the motions of semi-seriously pursuing this idea even though it was never going to happen.

People familiar with the president’s interest in Greenland said he had been talking about the potential purchase for weeks. Senior administration officials had discussed the possibility of offering Denmark a deal in which the United States would take over its annual $600 million subsidy to Greenland in perpetuity, said two people familiar with the talks who were not authorized to reveal the internal deliberations.

They also discussed giving Denmark a large one-time payment as well to incentivize the transfer, the people said…

One U.S. official involved in Arctic issues expressed surprise Tuesday night that Trump was interested in buying Greenland. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity, noted that the Alaska congressional delegation has been trying to get the Pentagon to spend more money on operations in the Alaskan Arctic and that they probably would be concerned that a Greenland deal could jeopardize that.

Chattering about buying Greenland is one thing, petulantly snubbing the Danes because of their disinterest in the idea is another. They’re understandably irritated:

“It’s an insult from a close friend and ally,” Michael Aastrup Jensen, a member of the Danish parliament with the influential center-right Venstre party, told The Washington Post. He said Trump’s interest in purchasing Greenland took the country by surprise and was initially widely considered to be a joke, before Danes realized the full extent of “this disaster.”

Jensen said Danish lawmakers felt misled and “appalled” by the president, who “lacks even basic diplomatic skills,” he said. “There was no word [ahead of time] about: ‘I want to buy Greenland and that’s why I’m coming.’”

On Twitter, Denmark’s former business minister, Rasmus Jarlov, wrote: “For no reason Trump assumes that (an autonomous) part of our country is for sale. Then insultingly cancels visit that everybody was preparing for.”…

Center-right lawmaker Jensen called the abrupt cancellation “an insult to the royal house.”

There’s also this, about which the Danes have long memories. Again, understandably.

“Total chaos with [Trump] and cancellation of state visit to Denmark. It has gone from a big opportunity for strengthened dialogue between allies to a diplomatic crisis,” tweeted a former Danish prime minister last night. The leader of the Social Liberal Party noted that Denmark “now more than ever should consider [fellow] European Union countries as our closest allies.” Thus did a fun and kooky little episode of “The Trump Show” (“Wait, he wants to buy Greenland?”) turn into an international incident because the president is a giant baby.

The charitable interpretation of why he canceled is that he’s not being spiteful, he’s simply attempting to maximize leverage. He views this as a real-estate deal, right? Well, real estate is what he knows. Sometimes you need to walk away from the table to increase your bargaining strength. Except there’s no one on the other side of the table in this case; there’s no negotiation, and there certainly won’t be a negotiation now that he’s offended Denmark’s national pride by snubbing them and their royal family. Even the best-case scenario for his behavior is a “What the hell is he thinking?” scenario.

But wait. Is that really the best-case scenario? Times reporter Maggie Haberman claimed on CNN this morning that her sources are telling her the Greenland thing was just a smokescreen, a pretext for Trump canceling his trip to Denmark. What was the real reason he didn’t want to go? She … doesn’t know. Trump doesn’t seem to enjoy international diplomatic visits; maybe he was just looking for a reason to bail out and, ah, seized on the craziest one available to him. Others speculated that this has to do with his insecurity about Obama’s comparative popularity: O is also scheduled to visit Denmark next month, and maybe Trump was anticipating how the side-by-side footage would look of him being greeted cordially and Obama being received rapturously.

I don’t think he thinks that far ahead, though. And by doing what he’s done here, he’s guaranteed that O will be greeted even more warmly than he otherwise would have been. Maybe Haberman’s sources are insisting that he canceled the trip for reasons unrelated to Greenland because they’re tremendously embarrassed by the fact that he *did* cancel it over Greenland and are trying to reassure the public that even Trump couldn’t conceivably be this weird and petty. Even though, obviously, he could be.

Here’s the Danish prime minister expressing her surprise and disappointment this morning. You’ll never hear a more tactful expression of “WTF?”

The post Trump cancels Denmark trip because they … won’t sell Greenland to him appeared first on Hot Air.

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