FOREIGN AFFAIRS: A
When the Trump administration first took office it was facing daunting foreign affairs challenges that stemmed from the failures of the previous presidencies dating back decades. Russia was caught meddling in the 2016 Presidential election under Obama's watch. The rogue regime North Korea got access to nuclear weapons, a process that spanned from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Barack Obama. Rogue regime Iran has become a super power in the Middle East (thanks to George W Bush's decision to take down Iraq's regime) where they have been killing and taunting American soldiers for years. They also received billions of dollars from very controversial decisions by the Obama administration. How will President Trump handle these challenges:
UPDATE: President Trump received historic, lavish receptions from foreign countries on his first two overseas trips while pushing a strong "America First" message. He is the first ever foreign leader to dine in the Forbidden City of modern China and the first U.S. President ever to visit Jerusalem's Western Wall. He had the longest foreign trip of any U.S. President since 1992.
5/30/17: President Trump's first ever foreign trip was considered by both sides of the aisle as successful for several reasons. On his nine-day trip, Mr. Trump hit all of the notes he wanted to on a broad range of issues: defeating the Islamic State, isolating Iran, linking symbolically three of the world’s great religions against terrorism, challenging the Muslim world to shut off the financing of extremism, promoting Middle East peace talks and confronting Western allies to get serious about their own security.
1: For starters he was the first U.S. President ever to visit Israel's Western Wall.
2: Trump was also the first U.S. President ever to take a direct flight (and possibly first flight ever) from Saudi Arabia to Israel.
3: He also negotiated the single largest arms deal in US history with Saudi Arabi worth $110 billion USD.
4: He didn't bow to the Saudi Arabian king like his predecessor President Obama did.
5: Trump called out the members of Nato (in their own backyard) for not paying their agreed upon amount.
6: Unlike any other President during their first trip to the Middle East, the President, in Saudi Arabia, told leaders of 55 Muslim majority countries representing more than a billion people to do their fair share to "drive out" terrorism from their countries. He described the fight against terrorism as a battle between good and evil rather than a clash of civilizations. "America is prepared to stand with you in pursuit of shared interests and common security. But nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them,"
5/25/17: President Donald Trump told Nato members in Brussels that all members of the alliance must pay their fair share of defense spending. He stated "This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States, and many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and [from] not paying in those past years". As of May, 2017 America was contributing the highest rate % of any other Nato member. In fact only 5 of the 28 members paid their agreed upon amount. (2% of their gross domestic product on defense).
11/3/17: President Trump kicked off the longest presidential trip to Asia since George H.W. in 1992. During this second foreign trip, like his first one, Trump does not bow to foreign leaders like previous President Obama. He was also the first foreign leader to dine in Forbidden City since founding of modern China.
12/20/17: President Donald Trump released his first national security strategy, a document that laid out a framework for his administration's approach to threats facing the nation and reflects his "America First" campaign promise.
8/21/17: President Trump announced that America would be sending 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Sixteen years after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in retaltiation for the Sept 11 attacks, the Taliban still has control of 40% of Afghan districts. Trump stated that withdrawing suddenly and hastily from Afghanistan would create a vacuum for a terrorist breeding ground. The is exactly what happened in 2011 when President Obama withdrew too quickly from Iraq, creating a stronghold for the newly formed ISIS terrorist organization. Trump also reiterated that America would no longer participate in Afghan nation building. Lastly, unlike his predecessor, President Obama, Trump refused to announce a time table on when troops would arrive or leave Afghanistan.
President Trump has been more successful in persudaing China to take action against the rogue North Korean regime than any other President in history.
-2/20/17: China banned all coal imports from North Korea amid growing tensions.
-8/3/17: US President Donald Trump said China has turned a fleet of coal-carrying cargo ships back to North Korea, describing it as a "big step" towards cracking down on the rogue state.
-9/23/17: President Trump persuaded China to freeze all financial transactions with North Korea and ordered a new round of U.S. sanctions, closing out his first U.N. General Assembly with a major diplomatic victory in his efforts to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs short of war.
-11/15/17: Three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in China expressed thanks to President Donald Trump for negotiating their release. They were facing up to 10 years in jail time. The players, who had been in China for a basketball game sponsored by a Chinese retail giant, were detained in their hotel by police on suspicion of shoplifting.
President Trump reversed yet another one of Obama's policies stating he was "cancelling the completely one sided deal with Cuba". This overturned (most, if not all of) President Obama's 2014 policy of easing restrictions on the opressive Cuban government. Trump stated "Easing restrictions on travel and trade does not help Cuban people. It only empowers the Cuban regime." , "We will not lift sanctions until all political prisoners are free and elections are free" "My actions today bypasses the Cuban government and goes directly to the Cuban people". He also called for the end of protecting American cop killers by Castro.
It was a huge mistake for Obama to give Havana diplomatic recognition with no conditions and no requirements to stop the oppression. Here's why:
Cuba has been under the dictatorship of the Castro brothers for nearly 60 years. The Cuban government is in fact one of the worst human right violators in the world. Cuban law limits freedom of expression, association, assembly, movement, and the press. There have been an untold amount of political executions, irrational imprisonments and torture of prisoners by the Cuban government. America should not be easing restricions to such a ruthless government.
Obama's policy that eased restrictions on the Cuban dictatorship only empowered the Castro oppressive government, not the Cuban people. In fact, the following has taken place AFTER Obama's new Cuban policy:
A: Cuban opposition activists have said the number of arbitrary arrests of dissidents rocketed to nearly 10,000 last year.
B: President Obama experienced a humiliating handshake with Raul Castro showing Castro has no respect for American leadership.
C: President Raúl Castro derided American democracy as a sham. During a two-hour address to the twice-a-decade meeting of the Cuban Communist party”
D: The Cuban oppressive miliatry was receiving funds from American tax payers.
E: Cuban coordinated a “sonic attack” on US diplomats based in Cub. The US State Department said that the “attacks” started in autumn 2016 (under President Obama) and ended in April 2017 (under President Trump). It had affected at least 16 individuals. Officials said that the symptoms, including hearing loss, headaches and loss of balance, appeared to be the result of sophisticated devices operating outside the range of audible sound.
F: The United States has received "a handful of reports" from American citizens who say they've experienced symptoms similar to those in attacks of U.S. government workers in Havana, a State Department official said. The first public recording was released on 10/12/17 of high-pitched, cricket-like sounds out of Havana that was linked to the attacks on U.S. Embassy workers and citizens.
-Because of the attacks on both American citizens and federal workers President Trump imposed new rules for traveling to Cuba. American tourists will also no longer be able to travel to Cuba on individual people-to-people exchange programs. They must travel now with a sponsoring organization or, if there on educational travel, with an American group or university. The full list of 180 sanctioned Cuban businesses includes some famous hotels in Havana like Hotel Ambos Mundos and Hotel Armadores de Santander. The restrictions also fall on shops in Old Havana, as well as businesses like rum producers and real estate firms.
4/20/17: The Trump administration negotiated the release of a US citizen who was held in an Egyptian prison for three years. President Barack Obama attempted to negotiate their release with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi; however, the chilled relationship between the two countries complicated the talks.
-2/2/17: Trump imposed new sanctions on Iran to punish Tehran for its recent aggressive behavior including its ballistic missile program and terrorism sponsorship. We say its about time. Something had to be done. Their recent actions included over 300 incidents of taunting US ships, detaining US sailors and broadcasting them surrendering to Iranian forces on their knees, multiple ballistic missile tests, capturing a US drone , imprisoning four American hostages and publicly threatening America on several occasions. Amazingly, Iran's dangerous behavior continued even after the Obama administration released to them an estimated $150 billion dollars in assets and also paid Iran an additional $400 million in cash for release of hostages.
-8/2/17: President Trump signed additional new sanctions against Iran.
-10/13/17: Keeping one of his many campaign promises, President Trump threatened to terminate the Obama era 2015 Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) if Congress and US allies fail to amend the agreement in significant ways. He laid out a very compelling case against Iran, reading a list of the rogue regime's history of terrorist attacks against American citizens and military. In addition to Iran's history of terrorism, Iran has also cheated on the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal which are the two main reasons that President Trump decided not to certify the deal and instead ask Congress to come up with a better agreement.
10/13/17: Trump slapped more new sanctions on Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
1/126/18: Trump's tough talk and actions against Iran are working. After nearly two years of regular "unsafe" or "unprofessional" interactions by armed Iranian "fast attack" boats under Obama the harrassment has suddenly stopped under President Trump.
-2/15/17: Trump directly tells Netanyahu to 'hold off on settlements for a bit in Israel. President Trump stated "As far as settlements, I'd like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit," "We'll work something out, but I would like to see a deal be made. I think a deal will be made."
We agree with President Trump here. This is arguably the most complex world issue that no previous U.S. President could solve. But there is absolutely no chance of a two state solution as long as Israel keeps building settlements. Granted the Palestinians don't recognize Israel as a legitimate state however for decades Israel has pursued a policy of building Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinians territory. Most countries view the settlements as an obstacle to peace but many in Israel disagree, citing a biblical, historical and political connection to the land as well as security interests.
-5/24/17: President Donald Trump placed a note in the Western Wall becoming the first sitting U.S. president ever to visit the Western Wall, one of Judaism's holiest sites.
-12/6/17: In a historic move (what the three previous Presidencies failed to do) President Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying it's time to "acknowledge the obvious" as he ordered the State Department to begin moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump honored The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which is a public law passed Congress in 1995. It was passed for the purposes of initiating and funding the relocation of the Embassy of the United States in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no later than May 31, 1999. But Obama, Bush and Clinton never initiated the law. Trump finally did.
-2/4/18: Mexico’s foreign relations secretary that it might come as a surprise but his country’s relationship with the United States under Trump is “more fluid” and “closer” than it was with previous U.S. administrations.
Update: Trump has convinced North Korea to stop nuclear tests and abolish test site.
-6/13/17: The Trump administration negotiated the release of American college student Otto Warmbier from North Korea. Negotiations started within the first two months of Trump's Presidency in Norway, Sweden. No money was paid or prisoners swaped to North Korea. The father of Otto Warmbier criticized Obama while praising Trump for the release of his son. Sadly Otto Warmbier was returned from North Korea in a vegetative state and eventually died.
- 8/2/17: President Trump signed new sanctions againts North Korea. The sanctions prohibit ships owned by North Korea, as well as those owned by countries that refuse to comply with United Nations resolutions against the country, from docking at U.S. ports or operating in American waters. Additionally, goods produced by North Korea’s forced labor would be prohibited from entering the United States. These new sanctions came off the heels of the consistent eradic and unhigned behavor of the rogue dictator Kim Jong Un who threatened to attack America with a nuclear attack and launching muliple (already sanctioned) ballistic missles that could possibly hit the U.S. North Korean defectors also said Kim Jong-un had musicians executed with anti-aircraft guns and ordered aides to pick out sex slaves from North Korea’s schools. Just a week later the UN Security Council voted unanimously to impose new sanctions on North Korea.
-9/21/17: President Trump signed an executive order targeting North Korea’s trading partners, calling it a “powerful” new tool aimed at isolating and de-nuclearizing the regime. “It is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal rogue regime,” Trump said. He added, “Foreign banks will face a clear choice. Do business with the United States, or facilitate trade with the lawless regime in North Korea.” He said the order would help target individuals and companies doing business with Pyongyang. Specifically, he said it enhances the Treasury Department’s authority to target those conducting significant trade with the regime, including by sanctioning foreign banks.
-1/10/18: South Korean president credits Trump with bringing North Korea to the negotiation table saying he "made a huge contribution to make inter-Korean talks happen (and) I'd like to express my gratitude."
3/1/8: President Trump slapped the "heaviest"-ever set of sanctions on North Korea, targeting the regime's shipping and trading companies. "We imposed today the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before," Trump said. "Hopefully, something positive can happen."
-1/1/31: The Trump administration suspended at least $900 million in security assistance to Pakistan until it takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network militant groups.
-1/25/17: The Trump administration froze Obama’s attempt to send $221 million to the Palestinian Athuthority. Congress had initially approved the Palestinian funding in budget years 2015 and 2016, with the US Agency for International Development sending the Palestinians $355 million in 2015. Most all Americans can't understand why the American government continues to send billions of dollars overseas, especially to countries and organizations that publicly threaten and criticize America. This money instead would be much better used if it went towards America's infrastructure, helping the vets, homelessness, innovation, fighting crime or strengthening the military.
-6/13/17: President Trump's Secretary of state announced Palestinians have changed their policy as a result of pressure from the Trump administration. The Palestinian Authority will no longer pay families of convicted terrorists.
1/19/18: US withholds $65 million from UN agency for Palestinians
Making reduced payment of $60 million, State Department official says Washington is undertaking 'a fundamental re-examination' of UNRWA's operations and funding.
-8/2/17: President Donald Trump signed into law new sanctions against Russia and restricts Trump's own ability to ease sanctions in place against Moscow. The new sanctions bill hits Russia's energy and defense sectors. The sanctions are meant to punish Russia for its alleged campaign of cyberattacks and fake news to influence the 2016 presidential election under President Obama , and its 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea territory.
-3/15/18: President Trump hit Russia with sanctions for alleged election meddling.
SWITZERLAND (World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos):
-1/26/18: Trump is the first sitting American president to attend the annual event since 2000. He received a rockstar welcome, received high praise and accolades as he gave an America First speech.
A very complicated issue. One that was ignored by President Obama during his 8 years in office. During that time Syria had entrenched itself in a seven year civil war resulting in displacing millions of Sryian refugees all over the world. President Obama's red line was ignored by Syrian President Bashar al-Assadin in 2013 when he killed more than 1,400 civilians in Syrian using chemical weapons. America was criticized for not acting as leader of the world and allowing a cancer of the globe to grow. Barack Obama, who declared a red line against Syria and failed to enforce it in 2013, settlled instead for a deal on chemical weapons. The Obama administration declared repeatedly that they had successfully made a deal with Syria to get rid of "100%" of their chemical weapons. Evidently that was not the case.
- 4/3/17: Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assadin ordered another chemical attack in northern Syria killing at least 85 people, including 20 children. This time, with President Trump at the helm, the reaction was much different. As the world watched, America responded quickly by launching 59 tomahawk missles striking the Syrian military airfield that was responsible for the chemical attack on the Syrian civilians.
-7/25/17: The Trump administration decided to halt the CIA's covert program to equip and train certain rebel groups fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This was the right decision in our opinion based on one simple fact. Historically too many times, American weapons provided to "rebels" have ultimatley landed into the hands of the very terrorists that America is fighting.
-4/13/18: Sryian President Bashar al-Assad again used chemical weapons against the Syrian people killing 70 and injuring 500. Once again President Trump reacted this time with double the amount of missles than his last strike. It was a successful precision strike destroying 3 chemical weapon facilities with the help of Britain and France.
1/27/18: Uganda's President said that Trump was "one of the best Presidents ever" and "I love Trump" partly because Trump tells Africans frankly.
-8/25/17: President Trump signed an executive order against the socialist and oppressive Venezuelan government barring dealings in new bonds and stocks issued by the government and the state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, the parent of Citgo. Banks also cannot engage in new lending with the government or the oil giant. U.S. officials said the new restrictions ensure that U.S. financial institutions cannot be used to help finance or underwrite President Nicolás Maduro's expansion of undemocratic rule. Vice President Mike Pence said, “we will not stand by while Venezuela collapses into dictatorship.”