G20 Day Two

Trump met with leaders from Britain, Japan, and China at the G20 Summit, continuing to apply pressure about North Korea.

NBC News is reporting U.S. bombers carried out training missions Saturday in South Korea near the North Korean border.

North Korea obviously remains a primary concern of U.S. foreign policy. It appears the Trump Administration is not content to let the problem fester, though it is unclear what action will be taken if China and other countries do not join us in pressuring the North Korean regime.

What is important to note is that President Trump is taking a leadership role in the world. This fact is not always expressed by major news outlets.

-John Anchor
@JohnAnchorBLOG

Trump Putin

Day two of Trump’s second foreign trip.

Day one of the G20.

President Trump met with Vladimir Putin in a meeting scheduled for forty minutes. It lasted over two hours.

The reaction is as expected. Criticism from the Left. Praise from the Right.

What are the facts?

According to Secretary of State Tillerson, President Trump raised the issue of election meddling. This is important. He didn’t back away from a controversial issue.

Also reported is that the two negotiated a partial cease fire in Syria.

North Korea was also reportedly discussed with no details released.

As far as the Left’s criticisms of the day, Putin is a bad guy. I get it. But what we saw today is our President engaging with world leaders to solve problems.

This is leadership.

-John Anchor
@JohnAnchorBLOG

North Korea

Yesterday, July 4th, North Korea successfully conducted a ICBM missile test indicating the country can now reach Alaska with missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

By every indication, the threat the United States faces from North Korea is getting worse. President Trump has pressured China to provide influence on North Korea’s actions because of North Korea’s reliance on China for food and energy. So far, this has shown no evidence of accomplishment.

So what do we do now? Let’s review the options:

Do nothing – This puts faith in a North Korea bluff. We know they have successfully tested nuclear weapons and are developing the missile systems capable of delivering a nuke to Alaska. Can we afford to call their bluff?

What about the other extreme? A nuclear or non-nuclear preemptive strike. It can be reasonably assumed that it is too early for either of these options. The consequences of a retaliatory strike by North Korea or its allies far outweigh the benefits. The United States is a peaceful nation. We will respond if provoked, but that provocation must be more defined than the mere possession of technology.

So where does that leave us? Diplomacy. The U.N. Security Council conducted an emergency meeting today about the crisis. China has U.N. Security veto power.

Do we encourage the world to sanction North Korea? Sanction China? Sanction Chinese banks? Keep an eye on the upcoming G20 summit for interesting developments on this.

This is the job of the President: making wise decisions based on the best available information. Which way will Trump go?

What can we do right now? Fast track improvements in missile defense development!

-John Anchor
@JohnAnchorBLOG

Peace Through Strength

President Reagan’s foreign policy philosophy as expressed in his March 23, 1983 missile defense speech:

“Since the dawn of the atomic age, we’ve sought to reduce the risk of war by maintaining a strong deterrent and by seeking genuine arms control. ‘Deterrence’ means simply this: making sure any adversary who thinks about attacking the United States, or our allies, or our vital interests, concludes that the risks to him outweigh any potential gains. Once he understands that, he won’t attack. We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression.”

This is the foreign policy that won the Cold War by turning around an enormous arms race deficit. 

President Obama’s foreign policy philosophy as expressed in a 2008 campaign ad:

“I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems…I will set a goal for a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal: I will not develop nuclear weapons.”

This is the foreign policy that resulted in four North Korean nuclear tests, the formation, underestimation, and growth of ISIS, use of chemical weapons in Syria, and a nuclear agreement with Iran that paid the Iranian government $1.7 billion in cash while they held American citizens hostage. 

Using history as our guide, with which foreign policy should President Trump more closely align?

-John Anchor

Follow us on Twitter @JohnAnchorBLOG

References:

Reagan

https://reaganlibrary.archives.gov/archives/speeches/1983/32383d.htm

Obama

https://m.townhall.com/columnists/benshapiro/2008/05/28/barack-obamas-anti-military-problem-n816585

Is Trump Making Us Less Safe?

To answer this question, let’s first compare President Trump’s recent foreign policy decisions with the last eight years. 

In 2008, President Obama ran a campaign ad in which he said, “I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems…I will set a goal for a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal: I will not develop nuclear weapons.”

As President, Mr. Obama followed through on that promise, initially cutting $1.5 billion in funding from continued development of the missile defense system first proposed by President Reagan in 1983.

Mr. Obama, as expressed in his campaign ad, believed the United States should lead by example in hopes that our adversaries would follow our lead and also not develop nuclear weapons. 

Let’s see how that worked out. 

North Korea Nuclear Tests

Four times during Mr. Obama’s presidency did North Korea test fire nuclear weapons:

May 2009 – Two Kilotons in Strength

February 2013 – Six to Seven Kilotons

January 2016 – Four to Six Kilotons

September 2016 – Ten Kilotons (Equivalent to the bombs dropped on Japan in WW II.)

Note that North Korea’s nuclear tests are becoming more frequent and stronger in power. The frequency increase may be due, in part, to Kim Jong Un’s rise to power in late 2011, but we should also take note that the 2016 tests took place after President Obama chose not to fulfill a promise to respond militarily if Bashar al-Assad crossed Mr. Obama’s stated red line with chemical weapons use in Syria. 

Instead, Mr. Obama chose a diplomatic solution, promising the American people on August 18, 2014 that Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile had been eliminated. Of course, this turned out not to be true as we discovered this year when Mr. Assad was again guilty of chemical weapons use on Syrian citizens. 

Given the facts listed above, can we agree the United States was not made more safe by the Obama Administration?

Now let’s turn to Trump. 

After the chemical attack in Syria earlier this month, Mr. Trump responded with a clear message. Within days, the United States conducted an airstrike using 59 Tomahawk missiles on the Syrian base from which the chemical attack was launched.

Did this make us more or less safe?  

While this is currently a matter of opinion and may not be fully known for some time, we can say that a message has been sent to the rest of the world: If you use chemical weapons, the United States will respond militarily.  Unlike the red line talk from 2012, the world’s foreign leaders know President Trump is not bluffing. 

Following the strike on Syria, President Trump ordered a naval strike group rerouted from its Australian destination to the Korean Peninsula amid heightened rhetoric from North Korea concerning its weapons program. 

It’s worth noting that President Trump’s actions concerning North Korea are not exclusive to the military. The President has coordinated with China to apply pressure on North Korea. Last week, coal shipments from North Korea to China, which make up one-third of North Korean exports, were turned away and returned. 

Again, do these actions make us more or less safe than we were before President Trump took office?

President Trump’s direct approach is different, for sure, and that is one thing we know: The way the last administration handled these problems, primarily through diplomatic sanctions through the U.N., did not prevent North Korea from strengthening its nuclear weapons program or Syria from continuing to stockpile chemical weapons. 

Will his direct approach provoke a nuclear attack on the United States, or will it initiate a reduction in North Korea’s nuclear capabilities?  That remains to be seen, but there is another name for the direct approach: Leadership. 

-John Anchor

Follow us on Twitter @JohnAnchorBLOG

References:

Promise to Cut

https://m.townhall.com/columnists/benshapiro/2008/05/28/barack-obamas-anti-military-problem-n816585

$1.5 Billion Cut

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-03-19/obama-backs-unproven-missile-defense-for-uncertain-threat

North Korea Nuclear Tests

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/04/14/a-timeline-of-north-koreas-five-nuclear-tests-and-how-the-u-s-has-responded/?utm_term=.538911a35573

Obama Statement (August 18, 2014)

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/18/statement-president-completion-mv-cape-ray-destruction-syria-s-declared-

North Korea Current

http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-south-korea-pence-20170416-story.html

North Korean Coal

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/north-korean-ships-head-home-after-china-orders-coal-returned-n745006