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Foreign Affairs

Trump went full Globalist First with Syria strikes

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President Trump should redirect aid to Guatemala from nations who voted against the Jerusalem move

Too often we find ourselves in emotive cycles. For instance, mass shootings are used by the anti-gun crowd as a means to motivate a legislative attack on our Second Amendment. Likewise, chemical weapon incidences in Syria are similarly used to create an emotionally based reason to use military action. We are quick to assume that the Assad regime was responsible for the previous high profile uses of chemical weapons in the Syrian Civil War. This started under the Obama administration with his famous “Red Line” blunder in which he declared any use of chemical warfare unacceptable even if against the Al Qaeda affiliates or the JV team, ISIS. Trump, in contrast, followed through on Obama’s blunders, when the cycle repeated itself again.

A little over a year ago there was a chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, in a province most openly ruled by the rebrandings of Al Qaeda. This incident led to Trump ordering airstrikes on Syria betraying his campaign promise of staying out of Syria. This attack was carried out under false and premature pretenses. This is an instance where the intelligence community says one thing but evidence says another. But before you defend the intelligence community’s infallibility, look back to how they insisted the DNC was hacked despite the lack of evidence, specifically from the server, that a hack took place. And so the Russian Farce Began. Theodore Postol, a professor at MIT and former DoD scientific adviser pointed out the staged nature of the evidence regarding sarin gas attack in 2017. He ultimately showed that the crater and canister that is credited with the chemical weapons rocket was detonated from the ground, not the air. Read more about his findings here. The point is: the emotive response automatically assumes that the Assad regime carried out the attack. There have been many chemical weapons uses in the war, but only about three or four have gotten media notoriety. I don’t deny that the Syrian Arab Army has used chemical weapons ever, but I seriously doubt the nonstrategic use of chemical weapons that occurred in these notorious incidences. Though as described below, this incident had a strategic outcome.

With the most recent incidence, guilt has already been pointed at Assad restarting the cycle. I don’t care to defend Assad in this instance. I do however want to call Trump and his supporters out on their own support of globalism. So let’s assume Assad carried out this attack. Let’s assume Assad gassed Al Qaeda territories a day after launching a new offensive and because he did, the terrorists surrendered. Why should we care?

The easiest reason to dismiss is that striking Assad is beneficial to America’s Middle Eastern strategy. This would imply that there has been a strategy in the Middle East. But even if we soften strategy to “interests” striking Assad is counter to America’s interest. Al Qaeda has lost in Syria and is clinging to certain besieged areas. In the particular area of this incident the group that was beseiged was called the “Army of Islam”. How does weakening the army that has done more to fight Al Qaeda and ISIS than the US in the last decade benefit Americans or their interests? If Hezbollah, a terror organization sponsored and allied with Assad, were alleged to have been responsible, this would be a different story. But instead, we target the one belligerent in the Syrian Civil War that can actually stabilize the region, even if slowly.

You could then claim about civilian deaths which have been a constant theme in this war on all sides. Most recently, this year Turkey has taken to slaughtering Kurds in its land grab of Northern Syria, but Donald Trump doesn’t seem to care about the death toll there. Nor have other brutalities in Syria been enough for Trump or Obama, to act. Assad, along with every belligerent, has killed civilians in this war. Why are these deaths special? News flash they aren’t. A person is a person is a person. A person dies whether being shot, stabbed or gassed. The people who died in the gas attack were no more important than the people who died in gunfire or strategic bombing. Every person has a moral worth that is irrelevant to their cause of death. So this isn’t about civilian deaths. This is about chemical weapons in and of themselves.

So now that we established Trump attacked Syria because of chemical weapons, now lets dive in to why he’s a globalist for it. Trump wanted to send a message that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. But why is it unacceptable? What makes chemical weapons different than bullets and shells. Why is gas morally reprehensible and incendiary bombs permissible? There is no logical way to construct an argument that chemical weapons are impermissible while nuclear, radiological, and biological aren’t (though biological weapons are difficult if not impossible to control thus having little strategic use.) If we are to accept that weapons of mass destruction are morally wrong to ever use, then it would be inconsistent to not favor disarmament. Furthermore as Americans we would have to admit that the use of atomic bombs was a immoral decision if we do insist that the use of WMDs is morally impermissible.

I refuse to accept these premises and rewrite history in a globalist politically correct way. So why are chemical weapons such a big deal? The short answer is that the UN says they are a big deal. After World War 1, the League of Nations sought to outlaw chemical warfare and war in general. The ladder was ineffective. Though chemical weapons didn’t see as much light in World War 2, more extreme weapons did. Since its founding, the UN has sought to control what weapons a country can have. In addition to chemical weapons, there’s the anti-nuclear proliferation treaty. Article V of the NPT requires disarmament which nuclear nations have thus far refused. Some nuclear nations tolerate this treaty because they don’t want have-nots to get nukes. Others such as Israel, India, and Pakistan recognize that the UN wants to place limitations on their self defense capabilities. UN limitations on chemical weapons are similarly globalist schemes for the UN to encroach on a nation’s sovereignty. Chemical weapon use is wrong according to international law, not in and of themselves. As Ben Shapiro noted:

One of the arguments for intervention in Syria is that if we do nothing to reimpose the Obama red line in Syria, chemical weapons use will become more common. That’s probably true. But it’s also true that if someone attacked Americans with chemical weapons, we would end them. Furthermore, not all chemical weapons are the same: some are indeed weapons of mass destruction, but others are not as dangerous in scope as cluster bombs. Do the 500,000 dead in Syria’s civil war care whether they were killed by Russian cluster bombs or sarin gas?

So when Trump attacked Syria, he wasn’t responding to a threat nor can we really say it was about the people killed. He was upholding the UN’s power which Syria defied. This is where Trump goes full globalist. Never go full globalist. To repeat myself: he had the United State’s military attack another country because of a violation of international law! In the United States, international law has very little power here. This was established in Medellin v Texas. The globalist community cares not about American interests. Do we not remember when the UN condemned America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital? It was allowed by Congress for decades. The UN would want nothing more than for America to relinquish its power.

Globalist First

All of Trump’s talk of nationalism is really a farce. He had our military act on a globalist cause, not “America First”. Trump may talk tough on tariffs, but globalism isn’t really about economics, its about sovereignty. Being “tough” on China doesn’t benefit America First. Instead these tariffs are now the biggest  threat to our economic security coming out of the Great Recession. Bombing Syria doesn’t benefit America first. It benefits Turkey and their terrorists. It benefits the UN. Trump wasted military resources doing the UN’s bidding instead of making America or its allies safer. Trump upheld UN norms instead of his lawful duties as defined by Congress and the US Constitution.

In an America First foreign policy, we would have seen if the President had gone through America first. Congress. Instead Trump relied on a thumbs up which he got from the globalist community.

Foreign Affairs

Robert Wood Johnson on the failed Iran deal

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Robert Wood Johnson on the failed Iran deal

As ambassador to the United Kingdom, Robert Wood Johnson understands the situation in Iran. He’s acutely aware that sanctions against Iran are the only thing short of military intervention that can prevent them from producing nuclear weapons in the near future. The Iran deal, the alleged hallmark of President Obama’s and Secretary of State Kerry’s legacy, has been clearly demonstrated as an utter failure.

Iran has not backed down. They’ve only placated the world when absolutely necessary with lies on top of lies. The United States is fighting back by pulling out of the deal and laying sanctions on Iran, but they need more to join the fight. Johnson is calling on his host nation to follow suit.

“Far from becoming a more responsible member of the international community, as we had all hoped, Iran grew bolder.”

Source: The Hill

US ambassador urges UK to pull out of Iran nuclear deal

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/401458-us-ambassador-urges-uk-to-pull-out-of-iran-nuclear-deal“It is clear that the danger from Iran did not diminish in the wake of the [2015 Iran] deal,” Johnson wrote. “Far from becoming a more responsible member of the international community, as we had all hoped, Iran grew bolder.”

“It is time to move on from the flawed 2015 deal,” he continued. “We are asking global Britain to use its considerable diplomatic power and influence and join us as we lead a concerted global effort toward a genuinely comprehensive agreement.”

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Economy

Tariffs on Turkey: Bad for the economy but damaging to a dangerous dictator

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Tariffs on Turkey Bad for the economy but damaging to a dangerous dictator

Say what you will about President Trump’s foreign and economic policies. Whether you support them or not, it’s hard to deny that they’ve made things much more interesting.

The latest move by the President to impose stiff tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum may seem in line with how he’s been treating the national and world economies recently, but more is at stake with this move than previous ones.

There are two factors at play that make this move different from previous tariffs. First, it is not purely economic but is a response to Turkey continuing to hold pastor Andrew Brunson for allegedly supporting the coup attempt of 2016. Second, the tariffs come at a time when Turkey’s currency, the lira, is in free fall.

It was already starting to show signs of failure when leaders from both countries pushed it even further down. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan added more challenges for the lira when he asked his people to convert their foreign currency and gold, a sign of trouble that will likely have the opposite effect.

Erdogan calls on Turks to convert hard currency, gold into lira

https://www.reuters.com/article/turkey-economy-currency-erdogan/erdogan-calls-on-turks-to-convert-hard-currency-gold-into-lira-idUSA4N1TM024Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called on citizens to convert their hard currency and gold into lira, after the local currency tumbled to a record low this week, reflecting investor concern about a widening diplomatic rift with the United States.

Erdogan, in a speech in Ankara, also said Turkey was diverting to the Chinese market to overcome what he said were “subjective evaluations” from ratings agencies. Erdogan has repeatedly railed against credit raters, saying their downgrades of Turkey’s sovereign debt to “junk” status were politically motivated.

Seizing on the free fall, President Trump made matters worse for for the lira with the sanctions:

Trump authorizes doubling of metals tariffs on Turkey

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/10/trump.html“I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!” Trump wrote.

Losses in the the Turkish lira deepened on Trump’s tweet, falling as much as 20 percent vs. the U.S. dollar in Friday trading.

Erdogan is now calling this an economic war with the United States and claims he will not back down. Meanwhile, the Euro and other currencies are also feeling the heat:

Euro tumbles as investors fear bank exposures to Turkey

https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-global-forex/euro-whacked-on-turkey-turmoil-as-investors-scramble-for-safety-idUSKBN1KV07M“You’ve had a fairly sharp move lower in the euro and it’s broken through key technical levels as well,” said Richard Franulovich, head of FX strategy at Westpac Banking Corp in New York.

The euro dropped below technical support at $1.15 to $1.1421, down 0.91 percent on the day and the lowest since July 2017. Against the yen, the euro slid 1 percent to 126.79 yen, a two-month low.

Now, the criticism and praise of President Trump’s moves will be debated for days, maybe weeks.

My Take

As I’ve stated on many occasions, I’m not a fan of tariffs. They are misunderstood by most, particularly the President, and no longer yield the results they did in previous centuries. From an economic perspective, I oppose this move.

The bigger picture is how this is being used as a pressure tactic against Turkey. Currently, I like it a lot. That opinion could change based on how things go, but moves like these that apply pressure against a dangerous dictator of the false ally that Turkey has become are welcome. It isn’t just about securing Brunson’s release, though that’s extremely important. Turkey is a rising power on every spectrum that is increasingly turning to Russia and China for help instead of their “friends” in NATO.

The strategic importance of Turkey as a hub that connects Europe, west Asia, and the Middle East cannot be understated. In an ideal situation, Turkey would still be a good ally as they once were. Erdogan has taken advantage of two past U.S. Presidents and seemed poised last year to start taking advantage of President Trump. That doesn’t seem to be happening anymore.

Is this the right way to handle Erdogan? Probably not. Whether it is or not will be revealed in coming weeks. One thing is certain: we’re seeing things being done from the White House that we’ve never seen before and may never see again. It’s troubling, but at least it’s entertaining.

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Foreign Affairs

Yes, Trudeau made a tactical error with Saudi Arabia. And it was the right move.

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Yes Trudeau made a tactical error with Saudi Arabia And it was the right move

I am no fan of the far-left Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. His worldview is flawed and his actions are based solely on maintaining left-wing power over Canada. Last week, he made a huge tactical error by going after Saudi Arabia for human rights violations using Twitter. It has hurt Canada and achieved nothing.

And I fully support it.

It’s the first and probably last time I knowingly support an action by Trudeau, but it’s an important one.

Here’s the background:

Trudeau made a glaring tactical error that’s getting Canada hammered by Saudi Arabia

https://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/Trudeau-made-a-glaring-tactical-error-that-s-13143619.phpOn Friday, Canada’s foreign-affairs Twitter handle urged the “immediate release” from imprisonment of the Saudi women’s-rights activist Samar Badawi and others detained for similar activities in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia issued a blistering response, quickly and sometimes harshly turning its state-run media to bash Canada.

In less than a week, Saudi Arabia then expelled its Canadian ambassador, froze all new investment, canceled all flights to Toronto, pulled thousands of students from Canadian institutions, barred its citizens from getting medical treatment in Canadian hospitals, and reportedly sold off all its Canadian assets.

This oddly Trumpian move was likely done in an attempt to score political points. I won’t give him so much credit as to herald him as brave. However, the way in which this was handled is, in my unpopular opinion, the right way to go.

Saudi Arabia has been one of the worst opponents to human rights for decades. The Kingdom has been protected by America and other nations because of their petroleum influence as well as the vast wealth they throw around the globe. While many have heralded their recent shift away from traditional human rights offenses that have been their hallmark, these moves are far from being adequate.

In other words, this is still a backwards nation that holds way too much sway while getting away with pretty much everything they do.

Critics of Trudeau say his tactical error has hurt Canada. They are right. But it’s a temporary pain that they’ll feel. Critics will also point out that this does nothing to advance the cause of coaxing Saudi Arabia to act more civilized, more modern. On this criticism, I completely disagree.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ambitions that go well beyond ruling the Kingdom. He wants to be a world leader, one that controls the Middle East and influences every nation across the globe. To do this, he will need to be universally revered. That means detractors and critics must be hushed.

If we put aside the notion that Trudeau’s actions were self-serving, we can see some benefit in it. Whether or not other world leaders are willing to do the same or continue to cower in fear to the Crown Prince remains to be seen.

What Trudeau has done is speak out against an oppressive regime in a way that most, including the U.S. President, would never dare to do. Is it a tactical mistake to do so? Of course. Was it the right thing to do? I believe it was.

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