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Could Trump’s trade war lead to a real war in Korea?

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When Donald Trump issued his in-name-only tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, he immediately alienated many of America’s strongest allies due to fears of a new trade war. Unfortunately, as we are seeing in Japan and South Korea, these fears are beginning to materialize.

As the South Korean government works on getting a get-out-of-tariff-jail-free card like Canada and Mexico received before the tariffs even took effect, steel producers in South Korea have decided to halt steel exports to the US, even though we are their third largest customer.

So, how is Trump responding?

In a speech to donors at a fundraiser in Missouri, Trump informed those in attendance that he is prepared to take action against South Korea over what he sees as an unfair trade relationship.

“We have a very big trade deficit with them, and we protect them … We lose money on trade, and we lose money on the military. We have right now 32,000 soldiers between North and South Korea. Let’s see what happens.”

Yep! Trump is threatening to essentially begin dismantling the US Pacific Command (est. Jan. 1941) if South Korea doesn’t cough up his extortion money.

Besides the fact that Trump could be lying about a trade deficit—he admitted to the donors that he lied to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in their trade discussions—he displayed an incredibly dangerous ignorance with his threat to withdraw US troops.

In remarks before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command, addressed Trump’s threat:

“I believe [regime leader Kim Jong Un] would do a victory dance. I think he’d be a happy man if we abdicated our alliance with South Korea and Japan.”

Trump’s threat is beyond stupid, but it follows a recent announcement that he will be meeting with Kim Jong Un to discuss ways to denuclearize North Korea. Seems to me that the man who brags about being a great dealmaker just surrendered one of his biggest bargaining chips.

What motivation will the North Korean dictator have to disarm if the US abandons the region? Wouldn’t the absence of US troops be an open invitation for Kim Jong Un to invade South Korea? At the very least, it would make an already unstable situation much worse.

Abandoning our allies is familiar territory for The Donald. You may recall that Trump attempted to bully NATO for not paying their “fair share” during his first foreign trip as President less than a year ago.

Legislation has been recently introduced that will return the power to levy tariffs back to Congress. We should hope that it becomes law because not only could it stop a trade war, but in the age of Trump, it could stop a real war in places like Korea.


Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.

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Foreign Affairs

Russia threatens new crisis in Cuba as warship harbors in Havana

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Russia threatens new crisis in Cuba as warship harbors in Havana

Russia is revving up the engines of the new Cold War as it sends a state-of-the-art warship armed with cruise missiles to Havana, Cuba, around 90 miles from the shores of Florida. This latest provocation marks the closest Russia has come to garnering a response from the United States over its combative measures to counter America’s alleged ramping up of aggression in Europe.

Neither side believes they are being the aggressor. Neither side is willing to back down.

This is significant for two reasons. First, the presence of a ship capable of completely leveling a small city by the sea is more than just an exercise. It’s a clear statement to the Trump administration that they do not want troops and, most importantly, nuclear weapons in the Europe. Second, it’s a departure from standard operating procedure for Russian President Vladimir Putin who has been reluctant to participate in Cuba at all in recent years.

But Cuba’s strategic importance cannot be overstated. Russia invoking their ally that is closest to the United States is an unambiguous warning.

Russia knows the Trump administration is juggling balls on multiple fronts right now. They are pushing their aggression towards him in hopes of subverting his presidency and sowing grievances already seeded in America.

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Foreign Affairs

Mexico prevents illegal immigrants from entering U.S.

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Mexico prevents illegal immigrants from entering US

Most leftist media outlets have ridiculed the President’s deal with Mexico, saying there was nothing new that would happen as a result of the agreement to cooperate on stopping the flow of migrants through Mexico across our southern border. But as One America News reported, the evidence of efficacy is very clear.

OAN Reporting:

Mexican officials are ramping up their crackdown on illegal immigration to the United States. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress continue to oppose President Trump’s immigration agenda. One America News looked to President Trump for an update.

“Do you consider Mexico an ally or an adversary, a friend or a foe?” the President was asked.

“Well, this week I consider them a friend,” President Trump replied. “They’ve been doing a great job.”

The Mexican National Guards is preventing Central American migrants from entering the U.S., according to AFP Mexico. A group of migrants tried to cross into El Paso Texas over the weekend, but they were detained by Mexican security personnel. This comes as Mexican officials say they’ve completed the deployment of 6,000 national guards along popular migrants routes as part of the recent agreements with the U.S.

Mexico’s National Guard says their mission is to crack down on the human smuggling caravans traveling from Central America into the U.S.

AFP reports Mexican soldiers started patrolling the U.S. border last week as the clock is ticking on the 45-day observation period for Mexico to tackle mass migration. Mainstream media in the U.S. have claimed Mexico’s efforts would not block migrants from crossing into the US, but most recent developments suggest otherwise.

“Mexico is removing those people and they’re bringing them back to Honduras and different places, Guatemala, El Salvador – they bringing them back and so far they’ve been doing great,” the President complimented.

Presidents Trump is pressuring congressional Democrats to come together and change the immigration laws to discourage the influx of illegal arrivals. Additionally, DHS is bracing for sweeping roundups of illegal aliens in the country.

This unprecedented joint effort by Mexico and the U.U. is targeting transnational crime syndicates and their main sources of revenue.

Mexican officials say they could either deport the detained migrants to their countries of origin or help them remain in Mexico permanently. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he will fully cooperate with President Trump on immigration as his main objective is to maintain good relations with the U.S.

Still, congressional Democrats continue to oppose border security and enforcement of immigration law, demanding that all illegal aliens be released into the U.S.

If no deal on immigration is reached in Congress over the coming days, the DHS is expected to ramp up the roundups and deportations with help from Mexico.

Final Thoughts

Mexico has stepped up in ways that, frankly, I didn’t expect. This is a testament to the President’s deal-making abilities. In the 2016 campaign, he said Mexico would pay for the wall. In a way, they’re becoming the wall. This is a win for America.

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Second loss in Istanbul marks the beginning of the end for Erdogan, if he will allow it

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Second loss in Istanbul marks the beginning of the end for Erdogan if he will allow it

We will soon see the true colors of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. His party lost the election for Mayor of Istanbul for the second time and by a much larger margin than the original “contested” election that was voided over “irregularities.” Now, there is no ambiguity about the will of the people, sending a message to the authoritarian leader who once said, “whoever wins Istanbul, wins Turkey”.

According to the BBC:

President Erdogan – the most powerful leader Turkey has seen in modern times – has just been dealt the biggest blow of his career.

This result shows that he made an incredible miscalculation by calling for the election to be re-run.

It will likely hasten splits in his ruling AK party and amplify talk of the post-Erdogan era. He will stress that he’s in power for the foreseeable future – elections are not scheduled until 2023 – but many will expect them earlier.

The result in Istanbul feels like it could be a precursor to them.

Opinion

All things being equal, I don’t think Erdogan is going to accept this defeat. He’s not going to subvert the will of the people again by calling for a third election, but we should expect turmoil of some sort. Scandals may pop up surrounding mayor-elect Ekrem Imamoglu. Threats will be made behind the scenes. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Erdogan, it’s that nobody is allowed to oppose him without repercussions.

It will be harder to quell opposition now that the people have dealt him such a blow. He would have been much better off accepting the narrow loss initially instead of turning this into a mandate against him and his party. He faces an uphill challenge saving face and keeping his iron grip on control of the nation indefinitely, as he plans.

Just a year ago, Turkey was breaking away from western influence and starting the process of reviving the Ottoman Empire. Now, we’ll see if Democracy will be allowed to change things or if Erdogan will find some way to retain power indefinitely.

Quote

“In reality, he’ll still be president, his coalition will still control parliament – although many will perceive his defeat as the beginning of the end for him.” – Murat Yetkin

Final Thoughts

Turkey’s future may no longer include Erdogan, a prospect that hasn’t been seen as possible by many in the west for some time. If he can survive until the 2023 elections, we’ll get to see if he can hold on to power or if he’ll let it go willingly.

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