US President Donald Trump penned a long letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the eve of the impeachment vote. Most commentaries on the letter examined his allegations about the impeachment, but did not look closely at the section where Trump flaunted his record over the last several years in office. It is worth inquiring into what he sees as accomplishments, as well as what he didn’t mention.
Trump provides a list of around twelve major accomplishments, among several other domestic policy achievements. The focus on foreign policy is due to the fact that this is one area where Trump controls the agenda. As commander in chief, he can withdraw forces from Syria, as he said he would do in December 2018 and October 2019.
The centerpiece of Trump’s letter was a list of pro-Israel accomplishments. He detailed the “recognition of Israel’s capital, opening the American Embassy in Jerusalem, and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.” These were key decisions made between December 2017 and March 2019.
The administration has also changed US policy on Israeli communities in the West Bank, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has given Israel clear support for operations against Iran’s presence in Syria and elsewhere.
Numerous high-level military visits have taken place to Israel in recent months, including the visit of Centcom chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie as well as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley and Air Force commander Gen. David Goldfein, who all came in November. And the Deputy Chief of the IDF General Staff Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir visited the US in mid-December.
Trump said he was proud that the US had created the first new “branch of the United States Military since 1947, the Space Force.” Space Force was initially opposed by Trump’s first Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, however, Mattis changed his views in August 2018, seeking to define a space mission for the force. Space Force may come into being in 2020 as a budget is finally passed and US Code Title 10 is amended.
Trump authorized the space command in August 2019. No one seems to know exactly what the force will do, or how it will work with the air force and US Air Mobility Command assets.
Trump also highlighted the defeat of ISIS, a defeat he has said happened several times.
He mentioned the “killing of the world’s number one terrorist leader, [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi.” Baghdadi was killed in an October 26 US raid.
Trump also heralded “the replacement of the disastrous NAFTA trade deal with the wonderful USMCA (Mexico and Canada); a breakthrough Phase One trade deal with China; [and] massive new trade deals with Japan and South Korea.”
As part of Trump’s transactional foreign policy doctrine, he wants the Koreans to pay more for having US forces defend the peninsula. According to CNN, the president is seeking almost $5 billion from Seoul, but the agreement hasn’t been finalized. North Korea is bristling with threats. US envoy Stephen Biegun has asked North Korea to “get this done,” asking the North to come to the negotiating table.
Trump didn’t discuss Iran sanctions, which are announced almost weekly, but he did celebrate the “withdrawal from the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal,” which took place in May 2018. Iran announced new testing on centrifuges this week, and the US is concerned about Iranian-backed attacks in Iraq.
Trump says that the US cancelled “the unfair and costly Paris Climate Accord” and says that America is “becoming the world’s top energy producer.” The Paris accord was drafted in 2015; the US left it in 2017. A recent climate discussion in Madrid called COP25 failed to come to key agreements this week.
Lastly, the American leader underlined a “colossal reduction in illegal border crossings, the ending of Catch-and-Release, and the building of the Southern Border Wall.”
The list of Trump’s policy changes reflect his overall worldview, which uses trade and sanctions to either punish or reward. It trends toward transactional approaches and assertions that the US is “unfairly” treated abroad. In this respect, he wants to withdraw US support from what he sees as waste.
He wants to rebuild the military without using it abroad; he also appears to see Israel as one of America’s key and reliable allies, having not mentioned many other countries positively in the letter.
Overall, Trump’s letter provides an insight into a very different worldview than what might have been found under previous administrations. Gone are the big ideas: no “new world order” of George Bush Sr. or making the world safe for democracy as Woodrow Wilson and George W. Bush would have liked. None of Kennedy’s free world talk, Richard Nixon’s détente, or Ronald Reagan’s “evil empire.” Instead, it is primarily trade first. Here, he channels more Calvin Coolidge on the “chief business of the American people is business,” with a tiny bit of the Teddy Roosevelt interest in pushing America’s military power to new heights.
But like Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, no list of foreign policy or other achievements saved him from impeachment. In fact, it was chiefly a transactional approach to policies in Ukraine that gave the Democrats in Congress the fuel to impeach Trump.
Milli mesele haline geldi! Tank motoru kadar önemli
Google, Rekabet Kurumu ile uzlaşmak yerine kısıtlama uyarısıyla Türkiye’yi tehdit ediyor. Peki evdeki bilgisayardan bankacılık sistemine, iletişim trafiğinden trafiğe sağlıktan ticarete kadar tam anlamıyla bağımlı olduğumuz Google giderse ne olur? Millî yazılımla hem ülke güvenliğini hem dijital bağımsızlığımızı sağlayabilir miyiz?
Türkiye’den ses getiren çıkarma: 14 imza birden atıldı
Türkiye’nin savunma sanayisindeki atılımları birçok ülkenin ilgisini çekiyor. Türkiye’nin özellikle Malezya, Endonezya, Filipinler ve Bangladeş gibi ülkelerle yaptığı anlaşmalarla Asya-Pasifik pazarındaki ağırlığı her geçen gün artıyor.
Yabancı savaş uçakları Libya’nın Misrata kentini vurdu
Başkent Trablus’un doğusundaki Misrata kentinde bazı hedefler savaş uçakları tarafından bombalandı.
Canlı yayında flaş sözler! Putin’den Türkiye, Erdoğan ve Libya açıklaması
Rusya Devlet Başkanı Vladimir Putin, Rus ve yabancı gazetecilerle bir araya geldi ve soruları yanıtladı. Gelen son dakika bilgisine göre; ABD ile karşılıklı askıya alınan NEW START anlaşmasını değerlendiren Putin, “ABD ile uzlaşmaya varmazsak hiçbir şey silahlanma yarışını durduramaz ve küresel güvenlik sarsılır” dedi. Rus lider, Türkiye, Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ve Libya hakkında da açıklamalarda bulundu.
Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan yerli otomobille ilgili merak edilen tarihi açıkladı
Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Malezya’da gazetecilerle gerçekleştirdiği söyleşide gündeme dair önemli açıklamalarda bulundu. Erdoğan, ABD’nin yaptırım kararıyla ilgili “Utanmadan ‘yaptırım uygularız’ diyorlar. Bu tam manasıyla haklarımıza tecavüzdür” dedi. Ermeni meselesi, Kanal İstanbul ve Kuala Lumpur Zirvesi ile ilgili bilgi veren Erdoğan, yerli otomobil projesiyle ilgilinin ön gösterimiyle ilgili ilk kez tarih verdi. Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan, “Ön gösterimi 27 Aralık Cuma günü Gebze’de düşünüyoruz.” dedi.
Üç ülkeden kirli ittifak! Türkiye’ye karşı birleştiler
Türkiye’nin Doğu Akdeniz hamleleri Mısır ve Yunanistan’ın tepkisini çekmeye devam ediyor. Mısır, Yunanistan ve Güney Kıbrıs Rum Yönetimi, Türkiye’ye karşı anlaştılar.
Türkiye‘nin Doğu Akdeniz hamlelerini korku ile karşılayan Mısır, Yunanistan ve Kıbrıs Rum Yönetimi anlaşmaya vardı.
TÜRKİYE’NİN FAALİYETLERİNİ ENGELLEMEYE ÇALIŞACAKLAR
Dışişleri Bakanları düzeyinde toplanan ülkeler, Türkiye’nin Akdeniz planlarını engellemek amacıyla yapılacak olan eylemlerin koordinasyonu konusunda anlaşamaya vardılar.
Bu anlaşmaya göre üç ülke, yapacakları çalışmalarda ortak hareket edecek ve Türkiye’nin bölgesel faaliyetlerini engellemeye çalışacak.
Öte yandan Kıbrıs Rum yönetimi lideri Nikos Anastasiadis de, Mısır Cumhurbaşkanı Sisi ile telefonda görüştü. Anastasiadis ile Sisi arasında yapılan görüşmede Türkiye’nin Doğu Akdeniz’deki adımları ve Türkiye ile Libya Ulusal Konsey Başkanı arasında imzalanan anlaşma konusu ele alındı.
“BENZER ANLAŞMALAR ENGELLENECEK”
Görüşme ile ilgili açıklama yapan Rum Hükümet Sözcüsü Kyriacos Koushos, Mısır Cumhurbaşkanı’nın söz konusu anlaşmayı kınadıktan sonra bunun herhangi bir olumlu sonuç doğurmadığını dile getirdi.
Sözcü, Sisi’nin Anastasiadis ile buna benzer anlaşmaların engellenmesi amacıyla gerekli önlemlerin alınması konusunda hem fikir olduğunu belirttiğini söyledi.
“SİSİ, TÜRKİYE İSTİKRARSIZLIĞA SEBEP OLUR DEDİ”
Sözcü, “Sisi’nin, Türkiye’nin Libya’da olası askeri varlığının bölgede istikrarsızlık tehlikesi doğurabileceğini “ söylediğini kaydetti.
Bulgarian Poison Probe Focuses On Russian Spy Chief Suspected In Novichok Attack On Skripals
By Ron Synovitz, Boris Mitov December 19, 2019
SOFIA — Bulgarian officials say an investigation into the attempted assassination of an arms maker is focusing on five suspected Russian agents — including a Russian military intelligence general alleged to have commanded a team accused in the 2018 Novichok attack in Britain against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.
Authorities in Sofia also confirmed that they are working with the FBI and British medical experts to investigate the two suspected Russian poison attacks in 2015 in Bulgaria against Emiliyan Gebrev, owner of the weapons manufacturer EMCO Ltd.
Evidence about Denis Sergeyev, the purported operational commander behind the March 4, 2018 poisoning of Skripal and his daughter Yulia, was uncovered earlier this year by the British-based open-source investigative group Bellingcat.
Bellingcat identified Sergeyev as a major general from an “elite overseas clandestine-operations” team that is part of Russia’s GRU military intelligence unit 29155.
Bellingcat confirmed that Sergeyev — who visited Britain under the false identity of Sergei Fedotov at the precise time Skripal was targeted — arrived in London two days before the failed assassination attempt.
Sergeyev left Britain on the afternoon of March 4, 2018 — only a few hours after the front door handle of Skripal’s Salisbury home was sprayed with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok, allegedly by two other Russian military intelligence agents who also traveled to Britain under false names.
Sotir Tsatsarov, who stepped down as Bulgaria’s prosecutor-general on December 11 to head the country’s anti-corruption committee, says investigators have confirmed that Sergeyev also traveled to Bulgaria three times in 2015 using the same false identity, Sergei Fedotov.
Tsatsarov said Sergeyev’s Bulgarian travels coincided with the poisoning of Gebrev, his son Hristo Gebrev, and EMCO Production Manager Valentin Takhchiev — all of whom survived the attacks.
“Through the international exchange, data on the identity of the suspects in the United Kingdom assassination attempt against Sergei and Yulia Skripal has been obtained,” the Bulgarian Prosecutor-General’s Office said.
“From the comparisons made in the databases of Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry and the State Agency for National Security (SANS), one of them — Sergei Fedotov — was found to have visited Bulgaria three times in 2015,” it said.
“His second visit was with entry on April 24, 2015 [at the coastal Burgas Airport] and with his departure on April 28, 2015” from Sofia Airport, Bulgarian investigators revealed.
The announcement officially confirms a key finding by Bellingcat that places Sergeyev in Bulgaria and Britain at precisely the times when the attacks against Gebrev and Skripal occurred.
“At the heart of the Bulgarian poisoning operation was a team of as many as eight GRU officers — all members of the same unit — who traveled to Bulgaria in the weeks surrounding the poisoning attempt,” Bellingcat wrote in a joint investigative report with Germany’s Der Spiegel and The Insider, published on November 23.
“Crucially, constellations of teams of three – including Major General Denis Sergeyev — were present in Bulgaria” during both attacks on Gebrev, Bellingcat concluded.
Sergeyev’s “elite overseas clandestine-operations unit” has also carried out numerous other secret operations in Europe, the joint investigative report found.
In the investigation by Bulgarian authorities, Tsatsarov said the British experts were examining medical samples taken in 2015 from Gebrev and his son to determine what poisonous substance was used against them.
Bulgaria’s initial 2015 investigation was closed without finding evidence of any substance that has been banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention (OPCW).
But Novichok was a relatively unknown chemical warfare agent until the failed 2018 attack on the Skripals.
Gebrev tells RFE/RL that he called for Bulgaria’s investigation to be reopened in 2018 after he noticed similarities to his symptoms and media reports about the reaction that Skripal and his daughter had after being exposed to Novichok.
He also is critical of Bulgarian officials who conducted the initial investigation into his poisoning.
“When the state wants to investigate, then it can,” Gebrev told RFE/RL. “And when it doesn’t want to, well, here it is 2019, four years later, and only now are they trying to understand what happened.”
In October 2018, Tsatsarov signed an agreement with Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov and SANS Chairman Dimitar Georgiev to create a special investigative team that reopened the Gebrev case.
“We are working in a joint team and a close partnership, and we are going to find out the facts in this case,” British Ambassador to Bulgaria Emma Hopkins said in February, noting that the two countries had been “closely” coordinating their efforts for “several months.”
Tsatsarov now says the British experts involved in the case have not yet disclosed whether Novichok was used against Gebrev.
Meanwhile, he says FBI agents are examining video recorded in April 2015 by security cameras in a parking garage beneath EMCO’s Sofia headquarters.
State prosecutors say Sergeyev and several other Russian citizens that the investigation is focusing on stayed in a hotel near that building and had requested at least one room with a view of the entrance.
“It was found that some of these persons used accommodation in a hotel immediately next to the building where the office of EMCO Ltd. was located in 2015 with an explicit insistence on a specific room that provided direct observation of the entrance to the underground parking of the building,” the prosecutor’s office said.
Bulgarian investigators say they’ve also identified “a significant portion” of the travel routes, credit cards, phones, and cars used by the Russian suspects.
They say “one of the versions” of a motive for the Kremlin to order an attack against Gebrev is related to arms deliveries to Ukraine in December 2014 and January and March of 2015.
The Kremlin has disputed the findings of Bellingcat that implicate Russian GRU agents in Gebrev’s poisoning.
It also denies involvement in the poisoning of the Skripals, which led to a series of sanctions against Russia by the West and tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions.
Aleksandr Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga — two GRU colonels who traveled to Britain in March 2018 under the false identities of Ruslan Boshirov and Aleksandr Petrov and are accused by Britain of poisoning the Skripals — have denied any involvement.
They have claimed they were traveling vitamin salesmen who visited Salisbury on the day of the Novichok attack to view its famous 14th-century cathedral spire.
That claim is mocked by residents of Salisbury who note that the cathedral is the first thing Mishkin and Chepiga would have seen upon their arrival in the medieval city as they passed through the Salisbury train station’s only exit door.
Instead of walking toward the cathedral, CCTV footage shows the two Russian GRU agents went down a street in the opposite direction at the time of the Novichok attack to reach the neighborhood where Skripal’s home was located.
Meanwhile, Bellingcat’s analysis of data from Sergeyev’s phone indicates that he communicated with officers in Moscow during his three-day stay at a hotel in London — using 4G and 3G rather than open WiFi networks to connect to the Internet — hundreds of times.
Bellingcat says the Russian GRU general’s use of secure messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber, and Telegram could have been used to communicate with Mishkin and Chepiga.
The British-based investigative website also concluded that Sergeyev’s cellphone data shows he only left his hotel once during his three-day stay in Britain — walking around central London during a 40-minute window on March 3 when he could have met Mishkin and Chepiga to give them the Novichok that was used to poison the Skripals the next day.
With reporting in Sofia by Boris Mitov, a correspondent with RFE/RL’s Bulgarian Service, and Ron Synovitz in Salisbury, England
Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/bulgarian-poison- probe-russian-spy-chief-snovichok-attack -skripals/30334479.html
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.