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AP: Trump’s stance on Hong Kong shows his focus on China trade

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AP Trumps stance on Hong Kong shows his focus on China trade

Editor’s Note: This wire story does not necessarily reflect the opinions of NOQ Report or staff. It’s intended to relay news that is best relayed through the resources of the Associated Press, and while their tendency to editorialize news often taints their content, we are confident our readers can see through the deceptive techniques and garner insight into what’s actually happening in the world.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rather than speak up strongly for the Hong Kong protesters, President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested the answer to their complaints of Chinese oppression is simply for Beijing’s “great leader,” Xi Jinping, to meet with them and peacefully sort out the unrest that has been decades in the making.

Trump’s comments were a far cry from the tougher stances taken by some fellow Republicans — and his predecessors in office — to stand with pro-democracy protesters during moments of unrest. His words are emblematic of a foreign policy approach that focuses narrowly on a trade deal with China, putting it above promoting American values.

Trump has fixated on the state of trade negotiations and at times has ignored the counsel of some of his most senior advisers to lower the temperature of the trade dispute with Beijing. Amid stock market volatility this week and talk of a looming recession, worries have grown within the West Wing that escalating trade tensions and tariffs could undermine Trump’s best argument for reelection — a strong U.S. economy.

In June, Trump indicated to Chinese President Xi on the sidelines of an international summit in Japan that he would not overtly criticize the Chinese government’s efforts to silence the protests in Hong Kong, according to two administration officials not authorized to speak publicly about private discussions. As the demonstrations ratcheted up this week, Trump stayed mostly quiet, referring to the moment as “the Hong Kong thing.”

As he has in the past, Trump retreated to the role of observer to an international crisis, chiming in on Twitter with reactions to what he saw on cable TV but not injecting the United States into the moment.

National Security Adviser John Bolton and economic and diplomatic aides have urged the White House to back the protesters.

The State Department on Wednesday expressed deep concern about reports of Chinese paramilitary movement near the Hong Kong border and offered a measure of support for the protests, saying they “reflect the sentiment of Hongkongers and their broad and legitimate concerns about the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy.”

The top Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee jointly placed the blame squarely on Beijing and recalled the violent crackdown on Tiananmen Square demonstrators in 1989.

“We are concerned that China would consider again brutally putting down peaceful protests,” said the statement Wednesday by Reps Eliot Engel of New York, the committee chairman, and Michael McCaul of Texas, the ranking Republican. “We urge China to avoid making such a mistake, which would be met with universal condemnation and swift consequences.”

Other Republicans have spoken out, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, hitting the notes usually associated with a president:

“To the thousands of young people in Hong Kong who are speaking UP for human rights and speaking OUT against the Communist Party of China: we see you waving the American flag, and we hear you singing our national anthem,” McCarthy tweeted this week. “America stands for freedom. America stands with Hong Kong.”

Trump took a more active role Thursday — but in an appeal to Xi, whom he has repeatedly flattered and was careful not to criticize. In a tweet, he urged Xi to meet with the protesters to deliver “a happy and enlightened ending to the Hong Kong problem.”

Meanwhile, the United States and China appear no closer to a trade deal. Despite Trump’s claims to the contrary, the pain of the tariffs is being felt by American consumers and businesses, and forcing companies, when possible, to reconfigure their global supply chains.

And the talk of recession, perhaps arriving just months before Americans decide if Trump will get a second term, is worrying his advisers. They’re concerned that a slowing economy could cause the campaign to shed voters who were willing to give him a pass on some his incendiary policies and rhetoric because the economy has been doing well.

Trump, in an interview Thursday with a New Hampshire radio station ahead of a rally in the state, blamed, as usual, any economic sluggishness on his predecessors and on the Federal Reserve for keeping interest rates too high. But he also defended his approach to handling China and dismissed the recent stock market tumble.

“We had a couple of bad days, but we’re going to have some very good days ’cause we had to take on China,” the president said. “It should have been done by Obama and Bush and everybody else. It should have been done long before I came along. But I’m the one that gets stuck with it and I’m the one that’s going to do it.”

“China, frankly, would love to make a deal,” he continued. “And it’s got to be a deal on proper terms. It’s got to be a deal, frankly, on our terms.”

Trump’s quiet approach on Hong Kong should not be a surprise. He has repeatedly deprioritized human rights in American diplomacy, from talks with North Korea and Saudi Arabia to China. And he has publicly refused to weigh in on the heavy-handed actions of other nations as he espouses a foreign policy more focused on a narrow view of sovereignty and national interest.

The president has repeatedly praised strongmen like leaders in Russia and Turkey for their control over their people and has turned authoritarian tendencies into a punch line.

___

AP Diplomatic writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report.

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Economy

President Trump working with Congress to sanction Turkey

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President Trump working with Congress to sanction Turkey

In less than a week, Turkey has managed to draw the ire of most of the world, including most on Capitol Hill, as they move to eradicate Kurds and Christians in eastern Syria. Their invasion, coordinated with attacks by their Syrian al Qaeda proxies, have already caused turmoil, killed hundreds, and displaced hundreds of thousands.

Now, President Trump appears ready to follow through on his threat to “cripple Turkey’s economy” through sanctions.

The President has been criticized by many in both political parties following the White House announcement that we are withdrawing troops from the border region. What followed was such a quick response in the form of an all out Turkish invasion that it’s clear they’ve been planning this for some time.

Our EIC took to Twitter to push the President towards following through with his threat against Turkey should they cross the line. As he noted, they have clearly crossed the line.

Reports of civilian deaths are mounting. It isn’t just the Kurds that Turkey and al Qaeda are targeting. Syriac Christians are in the crosshairs as well. The intense fighting seems to be focused on clearing out entire cities to make room for the millions of refugees the Turks currently hold. Instead of just taking out military targets from the Kurds, who Turkey believes to be terrorists, the invaders are wiping out the entire populations in cities and villages near the border.

Senator Lindsey Graham chimed in. Graham has been a Trump supporter, but broke from the White House over the Syrian withdrawal. Now, he’s voicing hope and alignment with the President’s sanction plans.

Turkish President Erdogan clearly lied to President Trump. It’s time to send them a clear message in response. Our troops may be coming home, but we can stop this bloodbath through sanctions. Cripple their economy, Mr. President.

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Democrats

Andrew Wilkow: Elizabeth Warren’s lack of real-world experience is why progressives love her

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Andrew Wilkow Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren is the current frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president. I’ll admit, I never expected that to be the case until recently. I truly believed she would be in the middle of the pack before bowing out in favor of Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, or one of the other radical progressives who would take on Joe Biden. But I was wrong. She has surged into the lead and at this point, it’s her race to lose.

BlazeTV’s Andrew Wilkow explained her popularity among the progressives, and in doing so showed by I was unable to see her appeal. According to Wilkow, the difference between her and Hillary Clinton is that she’s a member of the elite academia, which progressives love. Her lack of real-world experience isn’t seen as the clear detraction that it should be. Instead, having lived in a theoretical bubble of feel-good progressive policy proposals gives her an advantage in the eyes of hyper-leftists.

In other words, she hasn’t had any real-world experience to burst her bubble, so she’s able to enact hypothetical ideas that are demonstrably bad without reality clouding her judgment. To the far-left, this makes her an ideal candidate.

How in the world is Elizabeth Warren leading in the Democratic polls? Andrew Wilkow breaks it all down for us in this eye-opening analysis for BlazeTV. She’s as detached from reality as her policy proposals, which is why the radicals adore her.

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Economy

Trump to farmers: ‘Buy more land and get bigger tractors’

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Trump to farmers Buy more land and get bigger tractors

President Trump announced today a “phase one” trade agreement with China. Part of the deal includes a dramatic increase in agricultural products to be sold to China, ramping up from around $16 billion worth per year at its highest historic mark to $40-$50 billion per year moving forward. Current levels are estimated at around $8 billion. While announcing it, the President said farmers should immediately “buy more land and get bigger tractors.”

The deal is expected to be written and signed in three to five weeks. It was negotiated on China’s behalf by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

Both economies have suffered through the trade war that started last year between the two biggest economies in the world. But pressure seems to have hit China harder as they are generally the exporter while America is more of an importer. The President’s goal of balancing out trade between the two countries prompted back-and-forth tariffs. This deal stops upcoming tariffs, at least temporarily.

Also included are intellectual property and financial services, two sticking points between the countries since long before President Trump took office.

Opinion

I’m hopeful, but I don’t trust China one bit. This stalls upcoming tariffs, but until it’s signed it’s still just a theory. Nevertheless, it’s a positive sign and a step in the right direction towards bringing back free trade as our national economic mantra.

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