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Mattis resigning as Pentagon chief after clashes with Trump

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned Thursday after clashing with President Donald Trump over the abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and after two years of deep disagreements over America’s role in the world.

Mattis, perhaps the most respected foreign policy official in Trump’s administration, will leave by the end of February after two tumultuous years struggling to soften and moderate the president’s hardline and sometimes sharply changing policies. He told Trump in a letter that he was leaving because “you have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours.”

His departure was immediately lamented by foreign policy hands and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, who viewed the retired Marine general as a sober voice of experience in the ear of a president who had never held political office or served in the military. Even Trump allies expressed fear over Mattis’ decision to quit, believing him to be an important moderating force on the president.

“Just read Gen. Mattis resignation letter ,” tweeted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. “It makes it abundantly clear that we are headed toward a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries.”

Mattis in his letter noted his “core belief” that American strength is “inextricably linked” with its alliances and partnerships with other nations, a position seemingly at odds with the “America First” policy of the president.

The defense secretary also said China and Russia want to spread their “authoritarian model” and promote their interests at the expense of America and its allies. “That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense,” he wrote.

The announcement came a day after Trump surprised U.S. allies and members of Congress by announcing the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Syria, and as he continues to consider cutting in half the American deployment in Afghanistan by this summer. It coincided with domestic turmoil as well, Trump’s fight with Congress over a border wall and a looming partial government shutdown.

Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria has been sharply criticized for abandoning America’s Kurdish allies, who may well face a Turkish assault once U.S. troops leave, and had been staunchly opposed by the Pentagon.

Mattis, in his resignation letter, emphasized the importance of standing up for U.S. allies — an implicit criticism of the president’s decision on this issue and others.

“While the U.S. remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies,” Mattis wrote.

Last year, Republican Sen. Bob Corker — a frequent Trump critic — said Mattis, along with White House chief of staff John Kelly and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were helping “separate our country from chaos.”

Tillerson was fired early this year. Kelly is to leave the White House in the coming days.

“This is scary,” reacted Senate Intelligence committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., on Twitter. “Secretary Mattis has been an island of stability amidst the chaos of the Trump administration.”

“Jim Mattis did a superb job as Secretary of Defense. But he cannot be expected to stand behind a President who disrespects our allies and ingratiates himself to our adversaries,” said William Cohen, who served as defense secretary under Bill Clinton and knows Mattis well.

Mattis’ departure has long been rumored, but officials close to him have insisted that the battle-hardened retired Marine would hang on, determined to bring military calm and reason to the administration’s often chaotic national security decisions and soften some of Trump’s sharper tones with allies.

Opponents of Mattis, however, have seen him as an unwanted check on Trump.

Mattis went to the White House Thursday afternoon to resign after failing to persuade the president to change his decision on withdrawing troops from Syria.

A U.S. official said that Mattis’ decision was his own, and not a “forced resignation.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Trump said a replacement would be chosen soon.

“The president’s national security team’s job is to give him advice and it’s the president’s job to make a decision,” said press secretary Sarah Sanders.

At the start of the Trump administration, the president had gushed about his respect for Mattis, repeatedly calling him “Mad Dog,” despite Mattis’ own public insistence that the moniker was never his. Instead, his nickname for years was CHAOS, which stood for “Colonel Has An Outstanding Suggestion,” and reflected Mattis’ more cerebral nature.

The two quickly clashed on major policy decisions.

During his first conversations with Trump about the Pentagon job, Mattis made it clear that he disagreed with his new boss in two areas: He said torture doesn’t work, despite Trump’s assertion during the campaign that it did, and he voiced staunch support for traditional U.S. international alliances, including NATO, which Trump repeatedly criticized.

Mattis was credited by some in the administration for blocking an executive order that would have reopened CIA interrogation “black sites.” Trump has said the Pentagon chief convinced him it wasn’t necessary to bring back banned torture techniques like waterboarding.

En route to his first visit to Iraq as defense secretary, Mattis bluntly rebuffed Trump’s assertion that America might take Iraqi oil as compensation for U.S. efforts in the war-torn country.

The two also were divided on the future of the Afghanistan war, with Trump complaining from the first about its cost and arguing for withdrawal. Mattis and others ultimately persuaded Trump to pour additional resources and troops into the conflict to press toward a resolution.

U.S. officials say there now is active planning in the Pentagon that would pull as many as half the 14,000 U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by summer. They say no final decision has been made.

Trump also chafed at the Pentagon’s slow response to his order to ban transgender people from serving in the military. That effort has stalled due to multiple legal challenges.

More recently, Trump bypassed Mattis’ choice for the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force chief, was Mattis’ top choice, but Trump chose Gen. Mark Milley, the chief of the Army

The Pentagon has appeared to be caught off guard by a number of Trump policy declarations, often made through Twitter. Those include plans that ultimately fizzled to have a big military parade this month and the more recent decision to send thousands of active duty troops to the Southwest border.

Mattis has determinedly kept a low public profile, striving to stay out of the news and out of Trump’s line of fire.

Those close to him have repeatedly insisted that he would not quit, and would have to either be fired or die in the job. But others have noted that a two-year stint as defense chief is a normal and respectable length of service.

Born in Pullman, Washington, Mattis enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1969, later earning a history degree from Central Washington University. He was commissioned as an officer in 1972. As a lieutenant colonel, he led an assault battalion into Kuwait during the first U.S. war with Iraq in 1991.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Mattis commanded the Marines who launched an early amphibious assault into Afghanistan and established a U.S. foothold in the Taliban heartland. As the first wave of Marines moved toward Kandahar, Mattis declared, “The Marines have landed, and now we own a piece of Afghanistan.”

Two years later, he helped lead the invasion into Iraq in 2003 as the two-star commander of the 1st Marine Division. As a four-star, he led Central Command from 2010 until his retirement in 2013.

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Robert Burns contributed.

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Foreign Affairs

A Japanese F-35 is missing and that’s a very big deal!

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A Japanese F-35 is missing and thats a very big deal

While America’s elected officials of both political parties obsess over a nothingburger political scandal, meanwhile on the other side of the Pacific Ocean our warfighting capabilities and that of our allies are seriously threatened. A Japanese F-35A fighter aircraft has gone missing!

Media coverage has predominantly been from sources in the Asia-Pacific Theater. Following are excerpts regarding the disappearance and analyses of the significance.

The US and Japan still can’t find a missing F-35, and its ‘secrets’ may be in danger

One week has passed since a Japanese Air Self-Defense Force F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter mysteriously disappeared.

Japanese authorities believe the fifth-generation stealth fighter crashed in the Pacific.

A Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter flown by 41-year-old Maj. Akinori Hosomi disappeared from radar last Tuesday, April 9.

No distress signal was sent out as the aircraft vanished roughly 85 miles east of Misawa Air Base.

The F-35A is an airplane that contains a significant amount of secrets that need to be protected.

Tom Moore, a former senior professional staff member with the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted recently, “There is no price too high in this world for China and Russia to pay to get Japan’s missing F-35.”

US scrambles to keep F-35’s secrets safe from Russia and China

Japan’s F-35A that went missing is believed to be able to act like a high-performance radar in the air.

The U.S. has placed a never-before-seen level of priority on this crash. That is likely because the F-35A is expected to play a crucial role in the future of modern warfare.

U.S. has suspended delivery of F-35 equipment to NATO ally Turkey because of Ankara’s decision to purchase Russian-made missile systems with Washington citing an intelligence risk.

Any information on the technology in the F-35s is in high demand. China has reportedly already acquired parts of the F-35 blueprint through cybertheft. It has been advancing its own stealth fighter program, deploying its own J-20 jet to rival the F-35.

…[B]eing able to touch and analyze the actual material or radar-absorbing stealth paint used for the F-35 will boost its understanding to a new level….

It is not hard to imagine that the military and intelligence brass in Beijing and Moscow are salivating at the idea of an F-35A in the sea.

The fact that the U.S. military has taken the unusual step of sending a B-52 bomber to the crash area is a stern message that it will not allow anyone to touch the plane.

The F-35A that crashed into the Pacific this time is thought to be sunk on the seabed about 1,500 meters deep.

The crash site is roughly 150 km off Japan’s Aomori Prefecture and within Japan’s exclusive economic zone. China and Russia cannot conduct search or salvage operations without Tokyo’s permission. But it is not entirely impossible that the China’s People’s Liberation Army or the Russian military will deploy submarines or underwater drones to attempt to reach the F-35A.

The fate of the sunken F-35A has the potential of altering the air power balance between the major powers.

********

China has to be the prime concern that they be prevented from obtaining the technology of the F-35 and reverse engineering it for their own military advantage.

It is pertinent to look at the variants of the F-35 and the role they play in military actions.

********

F-35 VARIANTS

Three Variants, Common Capability

The F-35 family includes three variants – all single-seat jets: the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C carrier variant (CV).

The U.S. Air Force as well as the majority of our allied air forces and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) nations will operate the F-35A.

The F-35B model short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant is designed to operate from austere, short-field bases and a range of air-capable ships operating near front-line combat zones. [Used by U.S. Marine Corps.]

The F-35C carrier variant (CV) is the Navy’s first stealth fighter and the world’s only 5th Generation, long-range stealth strike fighter designed and built explicitly for aircraft carrier operations.

********

Japan says its F-35A stealth fighters made seven precautionary landings before crash

Marine Corps F-35B, capable of short takeoffs and landings….

The downed aircraft, which was the first F-35A put together in Japan….

Commanders have not set a time limit on the search for Hosomi and the missing aircraft.

Unfortunately, one pilot on board is still missing as of now and the location of the aircraft has not been identified but we will do our best to find them as soon as possible.

All Japanese F-35As have been grounded since the incident.

Though U.S. search and rescue efforts have ended, we will continue to coordinate with our Japanese partners on efforts to locate and recover the missing aircraft.

Japanese crash investigators will seek U.S. support since the F-35A has a special fuselage and contains classified information.

Carl Baker, executive director of Pacific Forum in Hawaii, said searchers would use sonar to try to find the aircraft. It’s stealth capabilities, which make it virtually invisible to radar, won’t be a factor underwater.

However, the size of the search area and the lack of precise coordinates could mean a long search.

********

Let’s take a moment to look at the vital role that American F-35s play in the daily standoff in the Middle East between Israel and all its hostile neighbors.

********

Stealth on Steroids: Meet Israel’s F-35I Adir (An F-35 Like No Other)

F-35I Adir — or “Mighty Ones” — will be the only F-35 variant to enter service heavily tailored to a foreign country’s specifications.

F-35I stealth fighters had flown on two combat missions on “different fronts”.

The first nineteen stealth jets received by Israel will actually be standard F-35A land-based fighters, while the following thirty-one will be true F-35Is modified to integrate Israeli-built hardware.

Israeli F-35Is uniquely will have an overriding Israeli-built C4 program that runs “on top” of Lockheed’s operating system.

An official told Aviation Week the IAF expects the advantages of the F-35’s low radar cross section will be “good for five to ten years” before adversaries develop countermeasures.

While Tel Aviv basically wants the United States to carry out such an attack, the F-35 makes an Israeli attack on Iran more practical.

The activities of Israel’s Adirs are likely to continue to remain conspicuously in the news, if less so on hostile radars.

********

As stated in the section above regarding Israel, each version of the F-35 is most effective until adversaries develop countermeasures. That’s why finding the missing Japanese F-35 is so urgent right now.

The F-35A, F-35B, F-35C and F-35I have each been developed to serve a specific type of warfighting need. For Japan, the near adversaries would be China and North Korea. For Israel, it would be Iran and potentially even Turkey.

If the wreckage of the missing plane is under many fathoms of water, then it is a scramble to locate it, protect it from adversaries and retrieve it. China and Russia are most in a position to try to beat us to it.

But the fact that there was no distress signal before the plane went down ~ and specious claims of having found small pieces but not the classified technology ~ indicate that at this point we must consider whether the pilot defected and potentially flew an F-35A straight to China. Hopefully not. But it behooves us to know for sure. Sooner rather than later.

The People’s Republic of China is a supplier and supporter of rogue countries all the way from North Korea to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Any American technology they can steal will certainly get into the hands of both the Madman of Pyongyang and the Ayatollah in Tehran. General Soleimani of IRGC Quds Force would exploit it to counteract Israeli air supremacy.

So don’t get too caught up in the political frenzy over the Mueller report. It’s just fodder for money-hungry pundits and power-mad politicians. But if China and/or Iran can reverse engineer an American F-35, the risk of a military confrontation increases greatly. NOQ Report will continue to monitor and cover this developing story.

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The President is right to veto war powers bill. Now he needs to pull support for the war in Yemen.

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The President is right to veto war powers bill Now he needs to pull support for the war in Yemen

As seems to be the case with so many things associated with President Trump and foreign policy, he is both right and wrong about how to handle a particular military status. On one hand, he’s right to veto the bill passed by Congress that called for the U.S. to end support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. On the other other hand, it’s time for the President himself to end our support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

As I Tweeted earlier:

Congress normally gives away its power to the executive branch by relying on departments and agencies far too much. This is a case where Congress is actually wrong to step in and try to interfere with the Presidential power of Commander-in-Chief. That’s not their lane. It doesn’t matter if they think the war is bad or Saudi Arabia is unworthy of our help. Both might be true, but it’s not their call. The President was right to veto it.

Of course, the war itself is none of our concern. We can and should be working through NGOs and directly to help the people who have been affected by the war. Starvation is rampant. This is another Syria, only without “easy” access to Europe for the people to flee to while their homes are being destroyed. But claims that our interests are being served militarily by being involved in a proxy war with Iran is foolish. It may be true to some extent, but not enough to justify our support.

I’m biased. I was opposed to our coziness with Saudi Arabia long before Jamal Khashoggi was murdered. For decades we’ve acted like we’re beholden to the Saudis because, unfortunately, we likely are beholden to them behind the scenes. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less disgusting. I wish I could go on television and scream like Howard Beale in Network about the corruption of our system by the Saudis, but no network would be crazy enough to put me on the air.

Nevertheless, the President’s veto was righteous.

We need to pull our support for the war, but not because Congress steps out of their lane pretending they wield the power of Commander-in-Chief. The consequences of deflating the executive’s military control are too great.

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Foreign Affairs

War clouds gather

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War clouds gather

Islamic Republic of Iran

After President Donald Trump this week designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its external arm the Al Quds Force under General Qasem Soleimani as a terrorist organization, the Islamic Republic of Iran predictably retaliated by declaring the United States Armed Forces, specifically U.S. Central Command [CENTCOM] as a terrorist entity. Both decisions greatly increase the risks of a kinetic engagement.

In this regard, America is indeed fortunate that it appears Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will remain in charge in Jerusalem. It is noteworthy that in Islam, Jerusalem is known as Al Quds.

Iran has filled the vacuum left by the territorial losses of ISIS. They have already sent Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAVs] or drones over the Golan Heights to attack inside Israel. For those knowledgeable about the history and geography of the region, Israel’s claim to sovereignty ~ now recognized by the United States ~ over the Golan Heights is a matter of national security, not just a political ploy.

Iran also works through surrogates bordering Israel. There is the Assad government in Damascus. Hezbollah controls southern Lebanon and much of the national government in Beirut. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza are puppets of Tehran.

There is no doubt that if Iran has a deliverable nuclear weapon, it will in reality deploy it against Israel sooner rather than later. Despite ideological differences, Iran has also long cooperated with the maniacal Kim regime in North Korea over weapons development and proliferation.

The apocalyptic Islamic regime in Tehran is not deterred by the Cold War concept of Mutually Assured Destruction [MAD]. Rather they actively believe it is their responsibility to summon back the 12th or Hidden Imam known as the Mahdi to defeat Iran’s enemies and establish worldwide Shia Islamic rule.

In the near future, it is possible that there could be conflicts between American and Iranian troops and/or Iranian surrogates in Syria and Iraq. U.S. warships including aircraft carriers could be attacked at the Strait of Hormuz or in the Mediterranean.

Potentially, a missile could be launched either from a submarine or even a disguised commercial vessel on the high seas at any part of the United States, including Indo-Pacific Command [INDO-PACOM] at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. An electromagnetic pulse [EMP] could destroy much of our national power grid. Defensive measures and retaliation would be greatly hindered.

Therefore, Iran remains one of our primary national security threats. But, it is not alone in that category.

People’s Republic of China [PRC]

Beijing at this point in time is demonstrating hegemony and aggression on a worldwide scale. Much of their thrust has been economic dominance and an imbalance in trade relations ~ in their favor ~ with the United States and other Western countries.

Much of President Trump’s focus to date has been in this arena. It is a legitimate cause of concern.

Meanwhile, internally China continues the oppression of religious, cultural and ethnic minorities in their own country and other areas which they control. For many years China has claimed ownership of and has exercised control over Tibet in the high Himalayas. Dalai Lama, head monk of Tibetan Buddhism, has been in exile for many decades.

Currently, much is written about the crackdown against Muslims in the northwestern Chinese Province of Xinjiang which borders on volatile Islamic regions of central and southwest Asia. To Islamic inhabitants, this area is known as East Turkestan.

This is a dilemma for western security analysts to determine the proper course of action. Chinese Uighurs from Xinjiang trained in Afghanistan and a number were held at the U.S. terrorist internment camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A few years ago, former President Barack Obama released a half-dozen of them into the former United States Trust Territory of Palau in the Western Pacific. Why he chose that locale, your guess is as good as mine, but there were only a handful of other countries amenable to taking them in. At least one of the former Gitmo inmates successfully fled Palau and made his way to Erdoğan’s Turkey.

In 2014, a terrorist attack by knife-wielding Uighurs at Kunming in southern China just a few hundred miles above Hanoi, Vietnam, killed dozens of innocent people. Other attacks within China have also been documented. There also was an alert a few years ago that Uighurs would attempt to infiltrate Southeast Asia into Malaysia to commit acts of terror against unspecified targets.

This is why reports of Chinese Communist repression of Muslims in Xinjiang need to be better balanced than they are. Certainly it is an attempt to impose both Communist authority and Han Chinese ethnic control over the region.

But this is a two-edged sword. Just as with Hitler and Nazi Germany against Stalin and Soviet Russia, Communist China against Islamic terrorists is one where the best case scenario would be if both sides could lose. Both pose extreme dangers to the world at large.

Not enough is being said or done about Chinese persecution of Christians in their country. Under Xi Jinping, a Maoist oppression of the followers of Jesus Christ is underway. Reports are that people are even being rewarded for turning in secret home churches and Bible studies.

Any country that cannot handle internal diversity and refuses to respect individuality will inevitably be a commensurate danger to everybody else around the world. This is greatly magnified in consideration of the fact that nearly 20% the Earth’s population are from China.

Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative is billed as an infrastructure development and investment strategy encircling the globe. It is much, much more than just an economic stratagem. It is also a conduit for military hegemony and political domination.

The Chinese quest for control extends to literally all seven continents. Yes, even Antarctica. The South Pole. Chinese research stations have not been audited by other nations with personnel there, including Australia, for at least a decade.

American pilots in the Horn of Africa around Djibouti were attacked with lasers that are allegedly from Chinese military sources. American military vessels transiting in international waters between China and Taiwan ~ which China claims as its own territory ~ have been harassed by Chinese military assets.

In the South Pacific, including such island nations in proximity to Australia as Vanuatu, China uses debt trap loans to build ports that could accommodate Chinese warships which the countries cannot repay, resulting in China claiming ownership of the port.

The United States Navy is working on establishing a port in our former territory in the now independent Federated States of Micronesia to circumvent Chinese expansionism in the North Pacific. Just after New Year 2019, a 307-foot Chinese fishing vessel ran aground on an atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands within snooping distance from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll.

China has forcibly taken control of Thitu Island in the Spratlys which had been administered by the Philippines. Known in Tagalog as Pag-Asa [Hope], this small speck of land in the South China Sea / West Philippine Sea could become a flashpoint for hostilities.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his military commanders are relying upon the assurance of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that America has Manila’s back in dealing with Beijing. United States and Philippine Navies are currently conducting Exercise Balikatan 2019 near that disputed area.

Now, just today Gatestone Institution has published an article entitled “China Rising in the Caribbean” which raises the almost incomprehensible specter of a Chinese military presence at Freeport, Bahamas barely 88 miles from the coast of Florida.

If we’re not careful, China will definitely eat our lunch and they will bring their own chopsticks!

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

North Korea is definitely neither democratic nor a republic. This is typical Communist euphemism to disguise authoritarian dictatorial control of a nation. The Madman of Pyongyang is not about to give up his nukes. He knows what happened to Gaddafi in Tripoli, Libya. Even if President Trump is ready to try to strike a deal with the most recent Kim, a future American President could take a totally different tack.

There are indications that another missile launch could occur. Certainly we here in Hawaii and our friends out on Guam will keep a wary eye through the auspices of United States Indo-Pacific Command along with the various intelligence agencies based back east.

More serious consideration should be given toward developing a defensive missile capability at Barking Sands on Kauai. This has to be done to augment the capability of missiles launched from our own vessels at sea or from the U.S. mainland to intercept incoming foreign missile attacks.

Of course, if we got to the point of actually having to shoot down missiles, things have already progressed too far. National Security Advisor John Bolton and other key senior officials in our government need to help President Trump realize that KJU is an unreliable peace partner. The Singapore and Hanoi summits were nothing but a charade.

Russia

Russia is as Vladimir Putin does. Much of it right now appears to be mostly posturing. After the demise of the Soviet Union, the loss of prestige as an international superpower was more than the Russian ego could handle.

Russian involvement in Venezuela is both troublesome and problematic. If it’s just diplomats and spies, that’s one thing. But if it’s military hardware and technical expertise to use it, that is another.

But Venezuela has to be kept in perspective. We simply cannot intervene in every failed state in the world, not even one in our own hemisphere. Only when a legitimate threat to Americans in our own country or abroad is established as a fact, should we intervene.

The CIA will do what the CIA does. But some very serious thinking needs to be done before United States military responds in any way to events in South America. Right now, events in Caracas are a diversion from more potent and imminent threats emanating from both Tehran and Beijing.

Russia has its own interests in the Middle East which are definitely not synonymous with those of Iran. The two countries cooperate only in those limited circumstances where both believe that they benefit.

Vladimir Putin continues to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu. The whole world bit a bullet yesterday as it appears that the Israeli Prime Minister’s office will remain in good hands for the foreseeable future.

United States must continue to regard Russia as an adversary and competitor. When and if it ever becomes an enemy and a military threat once again, then that assessment and consequent reaction must change.

Global Circumspection

Turkish tyrant Recep Tayyip Erdoğan still warrants constant scrutiny. He must not be given F-35s and other US military equipment to potentially use against Israel. He is facing some domestic opposition even in Ankara and Istanbul. Behind the scenes, that internal divisiveness should be exploited.

As ISIS loses territory in Syria and Iraq, jihadis are being dispersed to other vulnerable areas of the world. They are posing a threat in Afghanistan. They are establishing a foothold in Kashmir and would love to incite a major conflagration between Pakistan and India. They are still infiltrating other Islamic groups in the southern Philippines to destabilize the nominally Christian national government there.

Former ISIS members, including so-called War Brides, are now trying to get their former countries to let them back in. Despite recruiting others to attack their original home countries for years, they are now claiming to have been brainwashed. Don’t fall for it! Traitors and enemy combatants should not be allowed to return to harm the countries from whence they came. They made a conscious decision to betray their neighbors. But the underpinning ideology of Islamic Jihad is still in their hearts.

Summing it Up

Any President and Commander-in-Chief cannot be a Subject Matter Expert [SME] in every national security issue. Particularly not the way we elect people to such positions because of their ability to campaign well and not because of their substantive approach to the important issues of the day.

But every incumbent who sits at that big desk in the Oval Office has his or her SMEs. The tricky part comes in choosing them from among those available.

The key is to find those who are objective about analyzing and recommending a right course of action. They must not be swayed by personal ideology.

They need to be able to gain the President’s respect and tell him or her the unblemished truth, not just what he or she wants to hear. Then hope they won’t be fired for their efforts.

Our Head of State must be able to multitask. Not be distracted or corrupted by the pomp and ceremony of the position. Keep a level head and a down-to-earth realization that we all still put our pants on one leg at a time.

Ramifications for 2020 Election

It cannot be overstated how crucial it is to the survival of our country that we elect the right person on November 3, 2020. There is not a single Democrat amidst the voluminous field to date who demonstrates the patriotism and objectivity to lead this country through treacherous waters ahead.

Candidly, based upon Donald Trump’s erratic demeanor during the 2016 campaign, I found it necessary to abstain. We knew Hillary Clinton would be an unmitigated disaster. But there were ominous signs of instability and flip-flopping from the man who won the GOP nomination as well.

As President and Commander-In-Chief, when Donald Trump chooses and heeds good advisers, he does good things. When he lets Putin or Erdoğan or Kim put a bug in his ear, we have to just hold our breath and hope he comes to his senses in time.

So, if it’s a binary choice between re-electing Trump or risking our future on any Democrat, my ballot will go for the incumbent. I do not foresee any other candidate on either side of the political aisle emerging that is a viable alternative.

Dealing with the Gathering War Clouds

Greatest threat now of a military engagement against a hostile foreign nation is posed by Iran. It could very predictably begin with a direct, concentrated overt attack against Israel.

This is not to rule out a potential preemptive strike to stop Tehran before they can act. That is a somber consideration which is perhaps one of the most significant since President Harry Truman made the heart-wrenching but necessary decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Such an act would be only as a last resort to prevent a nuclear holocaust with the risk of actually causing what it was designed to prevent. That’s why I don’t anticipate this happening. But the Commander-in-Chief with access to classified intelligence information is the only one who could make this irreversible commitment which would change the course of world history.

Simultaneously, our leader in the White House must demonstrate strength and steely resolve in facing down China. If you think Soviet missiles in Cuba were something that kept JFK awake at night, and I’m sure they were, the possibility of Chinese warships barely 100 miles from Miami ~ and even less for Mar-A-Lago ~ have to weigh very heavily upon President Donald John Trump.

What this all Means to You and Me

As everyday citizens, you and I need to keep abreast of world events. We need to dismiss and put aside all the petty campaign rhetoric. We need to focus on things that really matter.

If you want strict party-line pandering to either side of the political aisle, you will need to find it elsewhere. NOQ Report will continue to provide you with objective analyses of fast developing events. We will parse what the candidates are saying. We will provide facts that it would behoove decision-makers to consider.

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