Tags: Iran | Middle East | North Korea | Syria | iran nuclear deal | korean | washington

Trump's Foreign Policy Projects Overdue Leadership and Strength

Image: Trump's Foreign Policy Projects Overdue Leadership and Strength

On April 7, 2017, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping pause for photographs at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump was meeting again with Xi with U.S. missile strikes on Syria adding weight to his threat to act unilaterally against the nuclear weapons program of China's ally, North Korea. (Alex Brandon/AP)

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Monday, 17 Apr 2017 08:37 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Yes, there really is a new sheriff in Washingtown. Fewer than three full months in office, and but 72 hours after the Russian-supported Bashar al-Assad regime once again gassed its citizens with a super-toxic nerve agent, President Donald J. Trump sent that message via dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles to a Syrian air base. Iran, North Korea, and other rogue adversaries were copied on that message as well. Then, just to avoid any ambiguity, a second message was conveyed via an aircraft carrier-led strike fleet which he dispatched to the Korean Peninsula.

Although very limited in strategic military terms, the carefully measured U.S. missile strike against the Shayrat airfield in Western Syria had major symbolic importance. In addition to targeting the storage depot and flight operations site used to dump banned chemicals on a nearby village, it clearly demonstrated to world foes and allies that the Obama era of leading from behind is finally over.

President Obama’s failure to enforce his famously vanishing "red line" following Assad’s earlier use of poison gas in violation of the Geneva Protocol was premised upon a 2013 Russian-brokered agreement that Syria would remove all such stockpiles. Both Secretary of State Kerry and Obama claimed success in getting full compliance.

It should now be no surprise that this didn’t happen as purported. In June of 2014, U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power noted "discrepancies and omissions related to the Syrian government’s declaration of its chemical weapons program."

U.S. concessions to Damascus and Tehran have followed a common pattern of desperate deal-doing. The result has emboldened a powerful anti-America military axis in the Mideast with strong ties to North Korea, Russia, and China.

Contempt for anemic U.S. potency was painfully evidenced in disturbing January 2016 Tehran TV images of 10 U.S. Navy sailors on their knees with hands behind their heads onboard their captured vessel.

U.S. appeasement of Iran was again revealed through evidence that the Obama administration secretly airlifted $400 million in pallets of stacked foreign currency to Tehran. While denying the reason was for ransom, four jailed Americans hostages were released on that very same day.

The feckless conduct and fateful fallouts of the now infamous Iran nuclear deal are also dangerously at odds with what we were told. Whereas the pact was advertised to put Iran’s uranium enrichment program on hold for 15 years, a secret "add-on" side arrangement allows it to expand after only 10 years. Meanwhile, those terms not only allow Iran to continue to enrich uranium with its 5,000 centrifuges, but also to develop more advanced centrifuges while the deal is in effect.

The existence of other dark Iran deals came to light a few days following the nuclear accord announcement during a 2015 Vienna meeting involving International Atomic Energy Agency negotiators and then-Congressman, now-CIA Director, Mike Pompeo.

When the IAEA officials were asked about off-limits inspection access to a military facility where traces of uranium were previously discovered, they responded that such details were covered in separate understandings.

When further asked whether Secretary Kerry had seen these reports, the response was, "No, Secretary Kerry hasn’t seen them. No American is ever going to get to see them."

Perhaps the most remarkable content of the Iran nuclear deal is what isn’t in it — namely there are no prohibitions upon continuing Iran’s development and testing of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.

Resulting Iran sanctions relief now frees up money to purchase Russian surface-to-air missile systems ordered before the U.N. imposed an arms embargo.

Iran, in turn, has financed North Korea’s nuclear program in exchange for nuclear and missile technology since at least 1993. Details of shipments of North Korean missile components to Iran were even being included in Obama’s daily intelligence briefings during the Iran deal discussions which weren’t passed on to the U.N.

Just days prior to meeting with Chinese leaders in Beijing, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the Obama administration policy of "strategic patience" with North Korea was over. Discussions between President Trump and President Xi Jinping last week indicate agreement that strong collaborative interventions are warranted. A major Chinese state-owned media source quotes President Xi as saying, "China insists on realizing the denuclearization of the [Korean] Peninsula…and is willing to maintain communication and coordination with the American side."

On April 7, just when the two world leaders were meeting, China turned back a fleet of North Korean cargo ships laden with coal, the country’s most important export market.

Although international criticism of repeated missile tests prompted China to ban all North Korean imports last February, the latest trade rebuke can be interpreted as a goodwill gesture. As an added bonus, China is already increasing its U.S. coal imports to make up the resulting supply deficit.

Beijing apparently takes America’s new sheriff’s muscular diplomacy very seriously. Perhaps Russia, Iran, and even remaining American skeptics will wisely do the same.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of “Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom”(2015) and “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax” (2012). Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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LarryBell
Beijing apparently takes America’s new sheriff’s muscular diplomacy very seriously. Perhaps Russia, Iran, and even remaining American skeptics will wisely do the same.
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