Prime Minister

The Pronk Pops Show 1330, September 30, 2019, Story 1: The Big Fail: Democrat Coup 2.0 Against Trump and American People Blown — Fear and Trembling Over Justice Department Inspector General Report on FISA Abuse in Obama Administration — Indictment and Prosecurtions Coming — Biden Fading Fast —  Videos — Story 2: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Listened In on President Trump’s Call With Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — Videos

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Story 1: The Big Fail: Democrat Coup 2.0 Against Trump and American People Blown — Fear and Trembling Over Justice Department Inspector General’s Report on FISA Abuse in Obama Administration — Spygate Indictments and Prosecutions Coming —  Videos —

See the source image

President Trump on whistleblower

Joe Biden Admits to Getting Ukrainian Prosecutor who Investigated Son Fired

Hannity: Dems are guilty of everything they accuse Trump of

Hunter Biden Situation Could Be ‘Albatross Around Joe Biden’s Neck’ | THE CIRCUS | SHOWTIME

CBN NewsWatch PM: September 30, 2019

Top U.S. & World Headlines — September 30, 2019

President Trump And Allies Focus Attacks On Whistleblower

Pompeo was on Trump’s call with Ukrainian President, source says

Trump focuses anger at whistleblower as impeachment inquiry deepens

A look at Hunter Biden’s time in Ukraine

“BIDEN IS A DISGRACE” President Trump RIPS Joe Biden Over Ukraine Controversy

Tucker: Democrats don’t seem happy about impeachment

Stephen Miller calls whistleblower a ‘partisan hit job’ in fiery interview

I wouldn’t cooperate with Adam Schiff’: Giuliani | ABC News

House Intelligence Committee expects to hear from whistleblower ‘very soon’: Schiff | ABC News

Trump Calls Impeachment Inquiry a ‘Coup’

Biden’s Ukraine Scandal Explained I Glenn Beck

LIVE NOW | Ukraine: The Democrats’ Russia

Glenn reveals the facts that the media refuse to share and breaks down the entire Ukraine timeline on the chalkboard. Tune in to watch as Glenn makes yet another complex issue simple. BlazeTV Presents a Glenn Beck Special – Ukraine: The Democrats’ Russia.

 

 

 

‘COUP’: Trump blasts Democrats’ impeachment efforts in tweet

The Trump tweet came about 12 hours after Trump adviser Peter Navarro called the impeachment inquiry an “attempted coup d’etat’
Image: President Elect Trump Continues His "Thank You Tour" In Grand Rapids, Michigan

President-elect Donald Trump looks on during a rally at the DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Dec. 9, 2016.Drew Angerer / Getty Images file

DOJ watchdog submits draft report on alleged FISA abuses to Barr

Story 2: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Listened In on President Trump’s Call With Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — Videos

Mike Pompeo was on July 25 phone call at the center of the impeachment inquiry in which Trump asked Ukraine president to probe Joe Biden

  • Officials told Associated Press that Secretary of State Pompeo was listening 
  • It would be the first confirmation that a Cabinet official was on the cal
  • President Trump pressed Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Joe Biden
  • He asked Volodymyr Zelensky to probe Hunter Biden’s role in gas company 

Two U.S. officials say Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the July 25 call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine‘s president that is at the center of a whistleblower complaint.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal matter.

It was the first confirmation that a Cabinet official was on the call in which Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Hunter Biden’s membership on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

It also increases the number of people known to have first-hand knowledge of a call that has sparked an impeachment inquiry by Congress.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seen at United Nations in New York last week

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seen at United Nations in New York last week

Pompeo overheard the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (seen far left next to Trump), according to two U.S. officials

Pompeo overheard the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (seen far left next to Trump), according to two U.S. officials

Pompeo leaves for Italy amid reports he took part in Ukraine call

Pompeo boarded a plane to fly to Italy on Monday.

Joining him aboard the official State Department flight was Sebastian Gorka, a former White House aide and Trump supporter.

‘It’s not quite Air Force One, but it’s very close,’ Gorka, who is now a media personality, tweeted.

News of Pompeo’s involvement broke after it was learned that another associate of the president is more deeply ensnared in the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Democrats on Monday subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer who was at the heart of Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden’s family.

With Congress out of session for observance of the Jewish holidays, Democrats moved aggressively against Giuliani, requesting by Oct. 15 ‘text messages, phone records and other communications’ that they referred to as possible evidence.

Sebastian Gorka DrG

@SebGorka

It’s not quite Air Force One.

But it’s very close!

Boarding @SecPompeo’s Air Force Boeing at @Andrews_JBA.

Destination Rome.

Stay Tuned!

http://SebGorka.com 

View image on Twitter

They also requested documents and depositions from three of his business associates.

McConnell, a steadfast Trump defender, nonetheless swatted down talk that that the GOP-controlled Senate could dodge the matter of impeachment if the House approved charges against Trump.

‘It’s a Senate rule related to impeachment, it would take 67 votes to change, so I would have no choice but to take it up,’ McConnell said on CNBC.

FILE - In this May 5, 2018, file photo, Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, speaks in Washington. Giuliani says he'd only cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry if his client agreed. Central to the investigation is the effort by Giuliani to have Ukraine conduct a corruption probe into Joe Biden and his son's dealings with a Ukrainian energy company. Trump echoed that request in a July 2019 call with Ukraine's president. The House Intelligence Committee is leading the inquiry, and Chairman Adam Schiff hasn't decided if he wants to hear from Giuliani. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

FILE – In this May 5, 2018, file photo, Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, speaks in Washington. Giuliani says he’d only cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry if his client agreed. Central to the investigation is the effort by Giuliani to have Ukraine conduct a corruption probe into Joe Biden and his son’s dealings with a Ukrainian energy company. Trump echoed that request in a July 2019 call with Ukraine’s president. The House Intelligence Committee is leading the inquiry, and Chairman Adam Schiff hasn’t decided if he wants to hear from Giuliani. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

The lawmakers cited claims by Giuliani in a series of TV interviews over the past week

The lawmakers cited claims by Giuliani in a series of TV interviews over the past week

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, U.S. September 20, 2019. Committees are seeking documents related to his mission to seek information from Ukraine

President Trump again Monday called his phone call with the President of Ukraine where he urged him to get in touch with Giuliani 'perfect'

Giuliani has repeatedly pushed unsubstantiated claims that Joe Biden pushed Ukraine to fire a prosecutor to keep it from probing a company tied to his son

Giuliani has repeatedly pushed unsubstantiated claims that Joe Biden pushed Ukraine to fire a prosecutor to keep it from probing a company tied to his son

UP TO HERE: 'If (Trump) decides that he wants me to testify of course I'll testify – even though I think Adam Schiff is an illegitimate chairman,' Giuliani said.

UP TO HERE: ‘If (Trump) decides that he wants me to testify of course I’ll testify – even though I think Adam Schiff is an illegitimate chairman,’ Giuliani said.

‘How long you’re on it is a whole different matter.’

Trump took to Twitter to defend anew his phone call with Zelenskiy as ‘perfect’ and to unleash a series of attacks, most strikingly against House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff. 

The Democrat, he suggested, ought to be tried for a capital offense for launching into a paraphrase of Trump during a congressional hearing last week.

‘Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people,’ the president wrote.

‘It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?’

Trump tweeted repeatedly through the day but was, for the most part, a lonely voice as the White House lacked an organization or process to defend him.

Senior staffers, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, were to present Trump this week with options on setting up the West Wing’s response to impeachment, officials said.

A formal war room was unlikely, though some sort of rapid response team was planned to supplement the efforts of Trump and Giuliani.

But Trump was angry over the weekend at both Mulvaney and press secretary Stephanie Grisham for not being able to change the narrative dominating the story, according to two Republicans close to the White House not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

Democrats have orders from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to keep momentum going despite a two-week recess that started Friday. 

Staff for three committees are scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday to depose Marie ‘Masha’ Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was removed by the Trump administration earlier this year, and Kurt Volker, who resigned last week as America’s Ukrainian envoy.

Members of intelligence committee on Friday will interview Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community who first received the whistleblower’s complaint.

Democrats are driving the proceedings toward what some hope is a vote to impeach, or indict, Trump by year’s end.

They have launched a coordinated messaging and polling strategy aimed at keeping any political backlash in closely divided districts from toppling their House majority.

Meanwhile, an outside group that supports GOP House candidates was starting anti-impeachment digital ads on Monday against three House Democrats from districts Trump won in 2016.

The ads by the Congressional Leadership Fund accuse Reps. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, Elaine Luria of Virginia and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan of ‘tearing us apart,’ and are among the first in which Republicans are trying to use the impeachment issue against Democratic candidates.

However, support across America for impeachment has grown significantly from its level before the House launched its formal inquiry last week.

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows 47 per cent of registered voters say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 47 per cent say he should not.

Just a week before, it was 37 per cent for impeachment and 57 per cent against.

That was before the White House released its rough version of the call between Trump and Ukraine’s president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry.

SMOKING TABLET: Rudy Giuliani claims he has 15 texts which will show his Ukraine activities were fully coordinated with the State Department

SMOKING TABLET: Rudy Giuliani claims he has 15 texts which will show his Ukraine activities were fully coordinated with the State Department

Rudy Giuliani reiterated previous claims that the State Department asked him to reach out to Ukraine to inquire about Ukrainian investigations, including into Joe and Hunter Biden, in an appearance on Laura Ingraham's show on Fox

Rudy Giuliani reiterated previous claims that the State Department asked him to reach out to Ukraine to inquire about Ukrainian investigations, including into Joe and Hunter Biden, in an appearance on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox

LET'S TALK AGAIN: Giuliani shared his texts with U.S. special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker

TALK AGAIN: Giuliani shared his texts with U.S. special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker

In the CNN poll, 47 per cent said Trump should be impeached and removed from office, up from 41 per cent in May.

Both polls showed dramatic partisan polarization remains on impeachment: most Democrats expressing support, the vast majority of Republicans opposed.

The polls disagreed over whose opinions are changing – Quinnipiac showing increased impeachment support coming more from Democrats, CNN from Republicans.

Schiff said on Sunday that his intelligence panel would hear from the still-secret whistleblower ‘very soon’ but that no date had been set and other details remained to be worked out.

A day after Trump demanded to meet the whistleblower, whom he has repeatedly assailed, he said when asked about the person: ‘Well, we’re trying to find out about a whistleblower,’ who made his perfect call ‘sound terrible.’

The whistleblower’s attorney, Andrew Bakaj, said Monday that the person ‘is entitled to anonymity. Law and policy support this, and the individual is not to be retaliated against. Doing so is a violation of federal law.’

Separately, the Justice Department disclosed that Trump recently asked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other foreign leaders to help Attorney General William Barr with an investigation of the origins of the Russia investigation that has shadowed his administration for more than two years.

Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Trump made the calls at Barr’s request.

Trump was requesting help for U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The investigation outraged Trump, who cast it as a politically motivated ‘witch hunt.’

The Russia probe remains Trump’s motivating factor, according to Tom Bossert, the president’s former homeland security adviser.

‘I honestly believe this president has not gotten his pound of flesh yet from past grievances on the 2016 investigation,’ Bossert said Sunday on ABC.

‘If he continues to focus on that white whale, it’s going to bring him down.’

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1293, July 22, 2019, Story 1: Big Spending Democrat and Republican Parties Fail To Make Real Spending Cuts To Balance The Budget — — Massive Budget Deficits For Fiscal Year 2019 — Deficit To Exceed $1,000,000,000,000 For Fiscal Year 2019 — Totally Fiscally Irresponsible Big Government Spending Parties — Videos — Story 2: Islamic Republic of Iran Desperate To Start War With United States and U. S. Allies — Careful What You Wish For — Joint United States and Israel Strike Targeting Iran’s Nuclear Weapons and Missile Systems Programs Deep in Mountains — Nuclear Weapons Required For Total Destruction — Videos — Story 3: Iran Says It Captured 17 Central Intelligence Agency Spies — Plans To Execute Some of Them — Videos — Story 4: Where is The New Border Wall? — Where is Congressional Funding for New Border Barrier? — Congress Is Responsible for Crisis At The Border — New Improved Bipartisan Political Correct Chant — “Send Them All Home” Including Open Border/Citizenship For Illegal Aliens Democrats and Republicans and  Deport All 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in United States — It Is The Law — Enforce The Law — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1293 July 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1292 July 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1291 July 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1290 July 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1289 July 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1288 July 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1287 July 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1286 July 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1285 July 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1284 July 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1283 July 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1282 June 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1281 June 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1280 June 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1279 June 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1278 June 20, 2019 

Pronk Pops Show 1277 June 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1276 June 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1275 June 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1274 June 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1273 June 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1272 June 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1271 June 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1270 June 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1269 June 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1268 June 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1267 May 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1266 May 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1265 May 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1264 May 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1263 May 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1262 May 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1261 May 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1260 May 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1259 May 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1258 May 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1257 May 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1256 May 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1255 May 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1254 May 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1253 May 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1252 May 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1251 May 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1250 May 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1249 May 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1248 May 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1246 April 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1245 April 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1244 April 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1243 April 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1242 April 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1241 April 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1240 April 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1239 April 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1238 April 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1237 April 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1236 April 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1235 April 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

See the source imageThe Stena Impero was sailing through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday around 4pm when it was stopped by IRGC boats, diverted into Iranian waters, and is now being held at the port of Bandar Abbas. Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose was an hour away at the time, leading to claims the Royal Navy is no longer fit for purposeSee the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

Story 1: Big Spending Democrat and Republican Parties Fail To Make Real Spending Cuts To Balance The Budget — Massive Budget Deficits For Fiscal Year 2019 — Deficit To Exceed $1,000,000,000,000 For Fiscal Year 2019 — Totally Fiscally Irresponsible Big Government Spending Parties — Videos —

See the source image

See the source image

Congress, White House Nearing Two-Year Debt Limit Deal

A budget agreement is ‘near final’, source says

White House projects the federal deficit will surpass $1 trillion

Trump reportedly plans to make massive cuts to federal spending in second term Daily Mail Online

Trump Running $1 TRILLION DEFICITS FOR YEARS TO COME, After Promising to Pay U.S. Debt in 8 years!

Funding the Government: The Budget Process and Omnibus Spending Bills [Article I Initiative]

Why the federal deficit is rising, despite economic growth

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday. Mrs. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin negotiated the agreement for weeks. PHOTO:REBECCA COOK/REUTERS

WASHINGTON—Congressional and White House negotiators reached a deal to increase federal spending and raise the government’s borrowing limit, securing a bipartisan compromise to avoid a looming fiscal crisis and pushing the next budget debate after the 2020 election.

The deal for more than $2.7 trillion in spending over two years, which must still pass both chambers of Congress and needs President Trump’s signature, would suspend the debt ceiling until the end of July 2021. It also raises spending by nearly $50 billion next fiscal year above current levels.

The agreement forgoes the steep spending cuts initially sought by the administration, providing for about $320 billion in spending over two years above limits set in a 2011 budget law that established automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester.

Mr. Trump, a Republican, announced the deal on Twitter late Monday, citing all four congressional leaders. He added: “This was a real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin negotiated the agreement for weeks, hoping to complete a deal before the House leaves Washington at the end of the week for August recess. Mr. Mnuchin had warned that the government could exceed its borrowing limit as soon as early September, before lawmakers return from recess. Talks continued throughout Monday.

In a joint statement Mrs. Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the chamber’s Democratic leader, pledged that the House would bring the deal quickly to the floor. They stressed that the agreement increases both defense and domestic spending and said they had agreed to spending offsets that were part of an earlier bipartisan agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said he was encouraged by the deal, adding that it “secures the resources we need to keep rebuilding our armed forces.” He said he intended to have the Senate vote on it before the chamber departs for recess.

The deal marked a victory for congressional leaders and Mr. Mnuchin, who had stressed that without action, the government could exhaust its ability to keep paying its bills in early September.

A key sticking point in the negotiations was how to pay for the cost of the spending increases. The deal extends small cuts to Medicare beyond fiscal year 2027 and extends fees collected by Customs and Border Protection, amounting to $77 billion worth of savings to offset the cost. Those routine budget accounting moves fall short of the $150 billion in spending cuts originally sought by the administration.

In spring of 2018, Mr. Trump threatened to veto an omnibus spending bill and late last year he rejected a bipartisan spending agreement negotiated in the Senate because it didn’t include billions of dollars in funding to construct a border wall, setting off the longest government shutdown in modern history.

Fiscal hawks panned reports of the proposed deal Monday before many of the details had been released, warning it could add trillions of dollars more to projected government debt levels over the next decade. The White House estimated this month that annual deficits are on track to exceed $1 trillion this fiscal year because of weaker federal revenue following the 2017 tax cut and higher government spending under the current budget agreement.

“This deal would amount to nothing short of fiscal sabotage,” Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said Monday following reports of a two-year $320 billion deal. Ms. MacGuineas urged lawmakers to cancel recess and negotiate for a better deal.

Mrs. Pelosi has been clear that she wanted to reach an agreement before Congress leaves for summer break. She has said she wants the House to vote on the agreement on Thursday, before the chamber goes on recess on July 26. The Senate doesn’t take its break until Aug. 2.

Mr. Mnuchin took the lead negotiating on behalf of the administration, working closely with Mrs. Pelosi. That appeared to limit the roles of White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought.

Leaders of both parties sought to pair the debt limit vote with a broader spending agreement—a move that creates an impetus for Democrats to push for domestic spending increases and lets Republicans avoid a difficult, stand-alone vote on raising the borrowing limit.

An aide to the speaker said Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Mnuchin spoke three times on Sunday and Mr. Schumer joined one of the calls. On Monday, they spoke in the morning and again in the late afternoon before Mr. Mnuchin held a conference call with the four congressional leaders to discuss any issues. During the call, Mr. Mnuchin told the leaders that the president would tweet on the deal within the hour.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin left a meeting with top congressional leaders on a potential deal to raise the budget caps in May. PHOTO: J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-and-congress-near-agreement-on-spending-debt-ceiling-11563799484

 

What to Know in Washington: Crunch Week for Debt, Spending Deal

Congress and the White House are closing in on a debt ceiling and budget deal but with time running short could resort to a short term extension of U.S. borrowing authority before the House recesses this week.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued talks over the weekend by telephone. A key point under negotiation is the Trump administration’s initial demand for as much as $150 billion in long-term spending cuts to attach to the deal.

Mnuchin warned the U.S. risks missing debt payments in early September — before lawmakers are scheduled to return to Washington after a recess that begins for the House on Friday and the Senate a week later.

Both sides have offered assurances that Congress won’t let the U.S. run up against the debt limit and trigger a default, but lawmakers are still trying to include a budget agreement in the negotiation.

If the budget negotiations can’t be concluded in time, lawmakers may decide to pass a debt ceiling extension into October. That would avoid the risk of a default in the short-term but would extend uncertainty for markets.

Pelosi and Mnuchin have tentatively agreed on one part of the deal: to suspend the debt ceiling for about two and a half years, along with an increase in discretionary spending that’s estimated to cost $350 billion. Trump officials want to partially offset that spending increase for the military and domestic agency budgets with savings in entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid that are not subject to annual budget caps.

The White House late Thursday floated a menu of savings options worth $574 billion from which Pelosi could choose what to include in the deal. Pelosi resisted offsetting any of the spending increases, and any hope of a deal hinges on finding a compromise with the $150 billion that Trump officials want to save.

The White House offer also proposed extending caps on defense and non-defense discretionary spending for 2021 and 2022 to save another $516 billion.

After administration officials sent the offer to Pelosi, President Donald Trump on Friday said he thought the talks were in “good shape.” However he’d still have to sign off on the final terms of a deal and he hasn’t publicly set out what he wants on spending or on cuts.

While the budget deal doesn’t have to be included with a measure to raise the debt limit, lawmakers want it to be addressed soon so Congress can pass appropriations bills before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1. Otherwise they’ll have to pass a stopgap spending measure to prevent a government shutdown.

If Congress doesn’t lift the budget caps that limit government outlays, current law would trigger automatic cuts at the end of the calendar year. Read more from Erik Wasson.

https://about.bgov.com/news/what-to-know-crunch-week-for-debt-spending-deal/

Story 2: Islamic Republic of Iran Desperate To Start War With United States and U. S. Allies — Careful What You Wish For — Videos

Stena Impero: Crew seen in first pictures from inside UK-flagged oil tanker seized by Iran

Iran on ‘dangerous path’ after British-flagged tanker seizure

Iran Ambassador says UK raising tensions would be ‘dangerous and unwise’

 

British-operated oil tanker seized by Iran

First pictures INSIDE the British tanker captured by Iran: Tehran taunts the UK by releasing photo of terrified crew huddled on board vessel after it was seized by Revolutionary Guard gunmen

  • British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero was seized by Iran on Friday as it sailed through the Strait of Hormuz
  • First image taken inside vessel shows part of its 23-strong crew being held by Iranian Revolutionary Guards
  • Video also shows Iranians talking to the crew around a table, and thanking them for their cooperation 
  • Tehran seized the tanker after Iranian-flagged vessel was stopped by marines off Gibraltar earlier this month
  • Downing Street today said UK ‘does not seek confrontation with Iran’ but described the move as ‘escalatory’ 
  • Russia threw its backing behind ally Iran on Monday, saying its position ‘is much more convincing’ than UK 
  • Tehran also said it had arrested 17 suspected CIA spies and will put some to death, further increasing tensions

Iran today paraded the crew of a British-flagged tanker that it captured in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday.

Tehran released video of some of the 23-strong crew of the Stena Impero sitting around a table speaking with one of their captors, alongside fresh images showing Revolutionary Guardsmen on board the Swedish-owned vessel.

The video shows seven of the crew wearing red jumpsuits and sitting around a table, as one Iranian guard can be heard thanking them for their cooperation. The cameraman can also be heard telling them not to look at him. Another video shows the crew laughing while standing around a coffee machine, and the ship’s cooks preparing food in an apparent attempt to show they are being treated well.

Pictures released by the semi-official Fars news agency earlier in the day show some of the crew – which includes 18 Indians, three Russians a Latvian and a Filipino – huddled cross-legged on the floor.

Standing over them in a Revolutionary Guardsman, while items of bedding and towels are scattered around the room. Their shoes have been taken off and piled in a corner.  Two others photos show an armed guardsman on the deck of the tanker, and the tanker being watched over by armed boats at the port of Bandar Abbas, where it is being held.

The photos and videos are Iran’s latest taunt to Britain, after it also released video of its flag being raised over the vessel and the Islamic call to prayer being played through its speakers.

Iran seized the vessel as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, weeks after Britain detained an Iranian vessel off the coast of Gibraltar. Iran says the US ordered the operation amid a standoff between the two countries, but the UK claims the tanker was violating EU sanctions.

Iran has today paraded the crew of the Stena Impero oil tanker, which sails under a British flag, after its Revolutionary Guards captured the vessel on Friday. Footage released on state TV channels showed part of the crew sitting around a table

Other images showed the crew - which included 18 Indians, three Russian, and Latvian and a Filipino - laughing and smiling. Tehran has previously said that the crew are well and are being looked after

Other images showed the crew – which included 18 Indians, three Russian, and Latvian and a Filipino – laughing and smiling. Tehran has previously said that the crew are well and are being looked after

Chefs are also shown preparing food in the tanker's kitchen in an attempt by Iranian authorities to prove that the crew are not being badly treated

Chefs are also shown preparing food in the tanker’s kitchen in an attempt by Iranian authorities to prove that the crew are not being badly treated

Iran's state-affiliated Fars news agency released the first image inside the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker on Monday, showing part of the 23-strong crew sitting cross-legged on the floor under the watch of a Revolutionary Guardsman while their shoes sit piled up nearby

Iran’s state-affiliated Fars news agency released the first image inside the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker on Monday, showing part of the 23-strong crew sitting cross-legged on the floor under the watch of a Revolutionary Guardsman while their shoes sit piled up nearby

In a second image, an armed guardsman is seen patrolling along the deck of the Imepero in the latest taunt to Britain. Iran is trying to secure the release of its tanker - the Grace 1 - which was seized by Royal Marines near Gibraltar earlier this month

In a second image, an armed guardsman is seen patrolling along the deck of the Imepero in the latest taunt to Britain. Iran is trying to secure the release of its tanker – the Grace 1 – which was seized by Royal Marines near Gibraltar earlier this month

A third image shows the Imepero being watched over by an armed Iranian vessel at the port of Bandar Abbas, where it is being held after it was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday last week

 

A third image shows the Imepero being watched over by an armed Iranian vessel at the port of Bandar Abbas, where it is being held after it was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday last week

Speaking in the House of Commons this evening, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt urged Iran to release the Stena and proposed a ‘European-led maritime protection mission’ to protect Middle East shipping.

Condemning an ‘act of state piracy’, Mr Hunt called the capture a ‘flagrant breach of the principle of free navigation on which the global trading system and world economy ultimately depends’.

Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May chaired a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee on Monday to discuss the crisis, even though her leadership is expected to pass to Boris Johnson in the coming days, who now faces a baptism of fire to diffuse the situation.

The government was also criticised for cutting the size of the navy so that it is not capable of meeting the threat from Iran, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the responsibility for protecting British ships ‘falls to the United Kingdom.’

In other developments on Monday:

  • Russia waded in to take the side of its ally – Iran – accusing Britain of ‘piracy’ for seizing the Grace 1 tanker 
  • Theresa May chaired a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee. Her spokesman said seizing the tanker was illegal and that officials had written to the UN to complain
  • Boris Johnson was urged to break his silence on the crisis, as he prepares to become Tory leader
  • Tony Blair said the future of Iran’s nuclear deal could be a way to exert diplomatic pressure on Tehran
  • Relatives of one of the crewmen were pictured weeping as they watched news of the tanker’s capture on TV
  • Former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West led criticism that the Royal Navy is no longer fit for purpose and cannot protect British interests
  • Iran said it had captured 17 CIA spies and planned to put some of them to death

As Mrs May chaired a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee, her spokesman said: ‘We are clear that the seizure of the British-flagged, Swedish owned Stena Impero on Friday was illegal under international law.

‘The ship was seized under false and illegal pretences and the Iranians should release it and its crew immediately.

‘The Foreign Secretary spoke to the Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif to make this demand.

‘We do not seek confrontation with Iran but it is unacceptable and highly escalatory to seize a ship going about legitimate business through internationally recognised shipping lanes.’

Hunt plans European mission to protect ships

Speaking in Parliament today, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt urged Iran to release the Stena and proposed a ‘European-led maritime protection mission’ to protect Middle East shipping.

British-flagged ships are advised to avoid Iranian waters and the Straits of Hormuz, and could receive convoys, although Mr Hunt said it would be impossible to protect every ship.

The European-led force would not be part of America’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign as Britain still wants to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Mr Hunt said.

He said he would discuss how the new proposal would complement the American presence in the area.

Jeremy Hunt speaks to the House of Commons today

Jeremy Hunt speaks to the House of Commons today

Condemning an ‘act of state piracy’, Mr Hunt called the capture a ‘flagrant breach of the principle of free navigation on which the global trading system and world economy ultimately depends’.

Under international law, Iran had ‘no right to obstruct the ship’s passage, let alone board her’, Mr Hunt said, adding that Britain ‘does not seek confrontation with Iran’.

He also rejected Iran’s attempt to draw a parallel between the capture of the Stena and Britain’s seizure of Iranian supertanker Grace 1 off Gibraltar on July 4.

‘There is simply no comparison between Iran’s illegal seizure of a vessel inside a recognised shipping lane, where the Stena Impero had every right to be, and the enforcement of EU sanctions against a tanker that had freely navigated into the waters of a British overseas territory,’ he said.

‘If Iran continues on this dangerous path, they must accept the price will be a larger Western military presence in the waters along their coastline.’

The Foreign Secretary will discover tomorrow whether he or Boris Johnson will be Britain’s new PM.

But Tehran hit back, saying the seizure was ‘a legal measure by Iran. Iran confronted the ship (to ensure) the region’s security.’

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei told a news conference in Tehran: ‘To all the countries that are calling on Iran to release the tanker, we ask them to tell Britain the same thing.

‘Comparing the two seizures is an unfair reading’ of the situation, said the Iranian government spokesman.

‘When you illegally seize the ship in Gibraltar, we too are not bound to tolerate any more.’

While Mrs May is handling the crisis for now, Boris Johnson is expected to take over as Prime Minister on Wednesday, and diffusing the crisis will be his first challenge.

He was urged to speak out about the crisis Monday, even as critics attacked his record on negotiating with Iran – after he managed to have the jail term of Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe extended while he was Foreign Secretary.

In a sign that Mr Johnson could opt to make his Tory leadership rival Mr Hunt the fall guy for the situation, Jacob Rees-Mogg today said it would be ‘vanity’ if the current Foreign Secretary refused to accept a demotion.

Meanwhile Moscow’s deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov insisted Iran was merely ‘taking care of ecology’ in the Gulf and said ‘Iran’s arguments are much more right than those of Gibraltar and London who are indulging in piracy’.

The tanker row – the latest in a series of threats to Middle East shipping – has sent tensions spiralling further amid furious exchanges of rhetoric over the crumbling nuclear deal with Iran.

Maritime industry publication Lloyd’s List said there are currently no U.K.-flagged ships heading to the Persian Gulf and eight U.K.-flagged vessels anchored there after a government advisory to such vessels to avoid the Strait of Hormuz.

Restoring the free flow of traffic through the Strait of Hormuz is of critical importance to the world’s energy supplies because one-fifth of all global crude exports pass through the narrow waterway between Iran and Oman.

Yesterday the Iranian flag was hoisted over the Stena with Iranian armed forces patrolling the decks in the heavily-guarded port of Bandar Abbas.

The family of one of the crewmen - Deena and husband Pappachan - were pictured weeping at their home in Kochi, India, while watching news about the tanker on TV

Footage broadcast on Iranian state TV shows the seized British-registered oil tanker having an Iranian flag hoisted above it. The Royal Navy's nickname for the strait is 'Chokepoint Charlie'. It links the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, a tight hairpin bend with Iran to the north and the headland of Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the south

Footage broadcast on Iranian state TV shows the seized British-registered oil tanker having an Iranian flag hoisted above it. The Royal Navy’s nickname for the strait is ‘Chokepoint Charlie’. It links the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, a tight hairpin bend with Iran to the north and the headland of Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the south

Keeping watch: An Iranian Revolutionary Guard patrol boat sails in front of the Stena Impero, the UK-flagged vessel which was seized by Iranian authorities on Friday

Keeping watch: An Iranian Revolutionary Guard patrol boat sails in front of the Stena Impero, the UK-flagged vessel which was seized by Iranian authorities on Friday

Flashpoint: The Stena Impero, the UK-flagged tanker at the centre of the latest Middle East tensions, is seen at a heavily guarded Iranian port

On deck: The Stena is seen with an Iranian Revolutionary Guard boat beside it after it was captured on Friday

Video footage released by Iran showed the  tanker being surrounded by speedboats before troops in balaclavas descend a rope from a helicopter onto the vessel.

In a radio exchange, an Iranian officer can be heard telling the tanker to change course.

‘You are ordered: change your course… immediately. If you obey, you will be safe,’ he said.

The British frigate HMS Montrose intervenes to inform the Stena its ‘passage must not be impaired, impeded, obstructed or hampered’ under international law.

The Iranians then tell the British warship: ‘No challenge is intended… I want to inspect the ship for security reason.’

The Montrose diverted to the Stena’s position but was around an hour away by the time it entered Iranian waters.

Iran ‘arrests 17 CIA spies, several face execution’

Seventeen alleged CIA spies have been arrested in Iran and some of them will face the death penalty, Tehran claimed today.

Iranian intelligence chiefs say they have broken up an American spy ring which had planted U.S. agents in nuclear, military and cyber facilities and allegedly tried to recruit spies in the UAE.

The suspects were all Iranians, some of them recruited by a ‘visa trap’ in which the CIA would target Iranians as they applied to travel to America, Iran claims.

Accusation: An Iranian official tells a documentary how authorities in Tehran had struck a blow against American intelligence

In a statement read on state television, the Ministry of Intelligence said 17 spies were arrested during the Iranian calendar year that ended in March 2019.

‘Those who deliberately betrayed the country were handed to the judiciary… some were sentenced to death and some to long-term imprisonment,’ an intelligence spokesman told Iranian media.

‘The identified spies were employed in sensitive and vital private sector centres in the economic, nuclear, infrastructural, military and cyber areas… where they collected classified information.’

Iranian officials said the suspects had been gathering classified information using ‘advanced equipment’.

Meanwhile an Iranian television documentary aired on Monday purported to show a CIA officer recruiting an Iranian man in the United Arab Emirates.

The Press TV documentary claimed that Iran had ‘dealt a blow to the U.S. foreign intelligence service’, though it was unclear if it was describing the same arrests.

‘Because there are so many intelligence officers in Dubai. It is very dangerous… Iranian intelligence,’ a woman was shown telling an Iranian in the documentary.

Iran impounded the Stena on allegations it failed to respond to distress calls and turned off its transponder after hitting a fishing boat.

A top British representative to the UN rejected Iran’s version of events, accusing Tehran of ‘illegal interference’ and saying there was no evidence of a collision.

In a letter to the UN Security Council, British charge d’affaires Jonathan Allen wrote that the vessel had been in Omani waters with its transponder switched on when it was approached.

Meanwhile T. V. Pappachan, the father of 26-year-old crew member Dijo Pappachan, said he is waiting anxiously for his son to be returned and called on Britain to guarantee his safety.

‘I am not speaking only for my son. All the 23 crew members set sail to foreign countries for work. They are onboard to make a living. It is the government’s responsibility to make sure they come back safe,’ he told the Kahleej Times.

I have complete trust in the government of India and our diplomatic strength. I understand that the issue is between countries and individuals cannot do much. We are all praying for the entire crew’s safe return.’

Theresa May chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra on Monday amid concern over how Iran was able to capture the ship.

A second oil tanker, the Liberian-flagged Mesdar, which is managed by Norbulk Shipping UK, veered off course towards the Iranian coast after it was boarded by armed guards at around 5.30pm on Friday.

The Mesdar’s Glasgow-based operator said communication had since been re-established with the ship and the crew were unharmed.

Britain has warned its ships to avoid the Straits of Hormuz, a chokepoint for about a third of the world’s sea-borne oil.

UK authorities intercepted the Grace 1 on July 4, saying it was violating EU sanctions by carrying a shipment of Iranian crude oil to Syria.

A detachment of Royal Marines from 42 Commando boarded the vessel off Gibraltar in a joint operation with the Royal Gibraltar Police.

Gibraltar’s government said tests showed the supertanker was fully loaded with crude oil.

But Iran has insisted that the tanker was not headed for Syria.

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood attempted to dispel criticism that the UK had ‘taken its eye off the ball’ by allowing the tanker to be captured.

He said the UK had vessels going through 100 nautical miles of waterway every day in the region, adding: ‘It is impossible simply to escort each individual vessel.’

He also called for more money to be invested in the Royal Navy if Britain wants to continue to play a role on the international stage.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory party leader, added his voice to the critics – saying that Britain was offered help in guarding the vessels by the United States and refused it.

The Stena Impero was surrounded by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces at 4pm and ordered to head north on Friday. A second British-managed vessel, Mesdar, abruptly changed course towards Iran

Russian deputy foreign ministery Sergei Ryabkov (pictured) took Iran's side over the tanker

Russian deputy foreign ministery Sergei Ryabkov (pictured) took Iran’s side over the tanker

Footage showed troops wearing ski masks and carrying machine guns (pictured) rappelling to its deck from a helicopter before capturing the British-registered oil tanker on Friday night

Footage showed troops wearing ski masks and carrying machine guns (pictured) rappelling to its deck from a helicopter before capturing the British-registered oil tanker on Friday night

Royal Navy ‘disgracefully short of ships’

Former heads of the navy and politicians are joining a chorus of criticism of the state of the Royal Navy – warning Britain’s fleet no longer has the power to protect British interests, following the seizure by Iran of a British-flagged oil tanker.

Former First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord West said the Navy is ‘disgracefully short of ships’ while retired commander of UK maritime forces Rear Admiral Alex Burton said the Navy’s decline since 2005 ‘has had an impact on our ability to protect our interests around the globe’.

On Friday the Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose arrived an hour too late to prevent Iranian Revolutionary guard commandos from seizing the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker.

The Royal Navy fleet is a fraction of its size three decades ago and many ships are currently out of commission undergoing maintenance or repair

They diverted the tanker and its mainly Indian crew to Iran, despite it sailing in Omani waters, in retaliation for the capture by British forces of an Iranian vessel earlier this month.

Politicians and military experts have asked why it was not accompanied by a Royal Navy convoy after the Iranian Grace One tanker, allegedly taking Iranian oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions, was captured by UK forces off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4.

Conservative MP Huw Merriman said yesterday: ‘I take the view that we have dropped the ball here … we did not put in place a chain where we asked all of our vessels to leave at a certain time under convoy.

‘So it was hardly a surprise when one of ours got taken.’

What does it mean for a ship to sail under a country’s flag?

While the Stena Impero is a British-flagged vessel, it is owned by Swedish shipping firm Stena AB – which is headquartered in Glasgow.

Being ‘British-flagged’ means the vessel is registered in the UK and is covered by the maritime laws of that country.

A vessel does not have to have any physical connection to the country in which it is registered and merely has to have an application accepted by that country’s shipping authorities.

A ship can only fly one flag at a time, but can change flags at any point.

As a result, some owners seek a so-called ‘flag of convenience’ which they believe will offer benefits.

Panama and the Marshall Islands are well-known for offering easy registrations and other benefits for those registering there, in the hopes of attracting business.

As a result, Panama has the largest ship register in the world, with the Marshall Islands second in the 2018 list.

Describing the grab by Tehran as a ‘major failure’ by the UK, he demanded to know why the offer of help was refused and said answers need to be offered ‘very quickly’.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the Tory European Research Group and a prominent supporter of Boris Johnson, suggested that leadership rival Jeremy Hunt’s Foreign Office should accept some of the blame for the current crisis in the Gulf.

Downing Street has denied that the US offered support to escort every single British ship through the Strait, with Theresa May’s official spokesman saying that the area is simply too large to provide that kind of assistance.

Meanwhile senior intelligence sources claimed that terrorists supported by Iran could strike Britain if tensions deepen between the two countries.

Agencies believe that the Islamic Republic has funded sleeper cells across Europe, including in the UK.

They rank the country behind only Russia and China as in terms of the threat it poses to national security.

Lebanese militant group Hezbollah is linked to radicals that are operating the terror cells, a source told the Daily Telegraph.

Counter-terror officers broke apart a cell in 2015 when they found it stockpiling explosives in London.

Britain only has the Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose in the region plus four mine hunters, while the US as its Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain - which includes one aircraft carrier, one missile cruiser, five destroyers, two amphibious vessels and two or three submarines

Jeremy Hunt

Liam Fox

Senior Tory ministers including Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (left) International Trade Secretary Liam Fox (right) arrived at an emergency meeting of the Cobra committee on Monday chaired by Theresa May
Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matthew Hancock

Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter (left) and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matthew Hancock (right) both attended the Cobra meeting

The source told the paper: ‘Iran has Hezbollah operatives in position to carry out a terrorist attack in the event of a conflict. That is the nature of the domestic threat Iran poses to the UK.’

The current situation in the Gulf can be traced back to last year when President Trump’s administration tore up a nuclear deal signed under Obama.

Johnson’s first crisis?

Boris Johnson is expected to be crowned new Tory party leader Tuesday before taking the reins Wednesday, meaning he will take charge of managing the Iran crisis.

The former Foreign Secretary previously faced criticism after he managed to extend the jail term of Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran during his tenure, by suggesting that she was not on holiday, as had been previously claimed.

In just 48 hours, Mr Johnson could find himself negotiating the release of the 23-strong crew of the Stena Impero – which includes 18 Indians, three Russians, a Latvian and a Filipino.

He could also find himself doing so without the help of a Foreign Secretary, since his leadership rival is the man currently occupying the post -Jeremy Hunt.

While Mr Johnson has insisted the pair will ‘kiss and make up’ after the election is over, Mr Hunt may decide to follow one of his senior ministers – Sir Alan Duncan – and quit rather than serve under the new leader.

Mr Johnson has so far not spoken out over the crisis, despite mounting pressure to take a stand.

The deal guaranteed Iran economic benefits in return for curtailing its nuclear programme in a way which would not allow it to obtain nuclear weapons.

Trump reapplied stringent economic sanctions on Tehran, robbing the kingdom of much of its income, prompting the regime to walk back on its commitments.

As Iran tried to pressure European leaders to find a way to salvage the deal, tankers in the Gulf can under repeated attack, in explosions which Britain and America have blamed on Tehran.

A UAE investigation found four mysterious sabotage attacks on May 12 were linked to a ‘state actor’ but did not name Iran.

The attacks were carried out with limpet mines and were ‘part of a sophisticated and coordinated operation’, the report found.

The tanker attacks inflamed an already tense Middle East stand-off and prompted the U.S. to bolster its military presence in the region.

Matters worsened just four weeks later when another two ships were hit by explosions in the Gulf of Oman.

Forty-four sailors were forced to abandon their ships amid a huge fireball on the MT Front Altair and another blast on the Kokuka Courageous.

America again blamed Iran, releasing a video which purported to show Iranian revolutionary guard forces removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the ships.

The Ministry of Defence released this photo of HMS Montrose warding off Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats (circled) which harassed the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage on July 10

 

The Ministry of Defence released this photo of HMS Montrose warding off Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats (circled) which harassed the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage on July 10

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard uses a large number of high-speed small vessels to harass shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. The regime launched these 'ultra-fast' boats in 2010

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard uses a large number of high-speed small vessels to harass shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. The regime launched these ‘ultra-fast’ boats in 2010

A tape has emerged of HMS Montrose (pictured in 2007) ordering the crew of the Stena Impero not to follow Iranian demands to change its course

 

A tape has emerged of HMS Montrose (pictured in 2007) ordering the crew of the Stena Impero not to follow Iranian demands to change its course

Meanwhile tensions over Iran’s nuclear ambitions have also been heightening as Tehran moves ever further away from its 2015 nuclear deal. 

Iran has said that it could restart deactivated centrifuges and ramp up enrichment of uranium to 20 per cent.

But Major General Hossein Salami, the head of the Revolutionary Guards, denied Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapon.

Trump called off air strikes against Iran at the last minute in June after the Islamic republic downed a U.S. drone.

Today former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said the future of Iran’s nuclear deal could be a way to exert diplomatic pressure on Tehran.

‘We have one substantial card in our hands, which is that the Iranians have been trying to get the British and the Europeans to keep to the Iran nuclear deal,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

‘Therefore actually their attempt to interfere with a British-flagged ship is obviously wrong, not just in principle, but it’s obviously a political gamble for them.’

He added that the UK would have to make special arrangements to escort shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.

‘Chokepoint Charlie’: Patrolled by 2,000 Iranian speedboats, why the Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most chaotic and volatile shipping channels 

By Phil Diacon, for the Daily Mail

To grasp fully the crisis in the Strait of Hormuz, you need a clear picture of the chaotic and volatile scene in what is one of the world’s busiest shipping channels.

Up to 100 oil tankers pass through this narrow waterway every day, transporting close to 20 million barrels of oil – and that is only the activity we can most easily detect in these waters.

Hundreds of other boats and ships ply the same seas, which are not much wider than the English Channel between Dover and Boulogne, about 21 nautical miles.

Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at Bandar Abbas port today after being seized by Iran. Larger vessels in the strait are obliged to transmit their position, but those rules do not apply to the numerous smaller craft. It is, therefore, simply impossible for one British warship to have a full and detailed picture of all the activity in the Strait of Hormuz. You might as well ask a single police car to track every vehicle on a motorway

Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at Bandar Abbas port today after being seized by Iran. Larger vessels in the strait are obliged to transmit their position, but those rules do not apply to the numerous smaller craft. It is, therefore, simply impossible for one British warship to have a full and detailed picture of all the activity in the Strait of Hormuz. You might as well ask a single police car to track every vehicle on a motorway

The Royal Navy’s nickname for the strait is ‘Chokepoint Charlie’. It links the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, a tight hairpin bend with Iran to the north and the headland of Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the south.

Larger vessels are obliged to transmit their position, but those rules do not apply to the numerous smaller craft.

I spent my formative years in the RAF before founding a maritime intelligence service. The high seas, I have come to learn, are not like the skies, where all aircraft must keep to a flight plan and comply with air traffic control.

Instead, ships such as fishing vessels and pleasure boats do not have to signal their identity or their plans – which makes the Navy’s job of spotting Iran’s military patrol boats extremely difficult.

It is, therefore, simply impossible for one British warship to have a full and detailed picture of all the activity in the Strait of Hormuz. You might as well ask a single police car to track every vehicle on a motorway.

Iran knows this. It has been building up its military strength in the strait for decades, aimed at countering the West’s navies. The crisis in the Strait of Hormuz is extremely volatile. Tehran has become a hungry tiger, backed into a corner with few options for escape.

Already it has stockpiled mines and missiles. And most worryingly of all, the naval branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has about 2,000 fast attack craft (FAC) to be used in swarm formations. These speedboats can appear anywhere in the strait within minutes. Armed with heavy machine-guns and rocket launchers, they can carry radar-guided anti-ship missiles capable of sinking a 1,500-ton target.

Though their forces are no match for conventional Western navies, they have developed their strength in ‘asymmetric techniques’. It would be difficult for any warship – let alone a tanker – to defend itself against an assault by a swarm of FACs, especially if they were assisted by mini-submarines with torpedoes.

The Stena Impero was sailing through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday around 4pm when it was stopped by IRGC boats, diverted into Iranian waters, and is now being held at the port of Bandar Abbas. Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose was an hour away at the time, leading to claims the Royal Navy is no longer fit for purpose

The Stena Impero was sailing through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday around 4pm when it was stopped by IRGC boats, diverted into Iranian waters, and is now being held at the port of Bandar Abbas. Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose was an hour away at the time, leading to claims the Royal Navy is no longer fit for purpose

Analysts also believe that Iran has developed unmanned, remote-controlled sea-going drones called Ya Mahdi boats. These can be loaded with explosives and launched on high-speed attacks that are difficult to detect on radar.

Clearly, it would be extremely foolish of the UK to underestimate Iran’s military capabilities – or the country’s pride.

The Royal Navy sailors trying to protect British shipping in the Gulf face another headache. Such is the chaotic situation on the ground that it is by no means easy to say what is and isn’t a British ship.

When Iranian commandos stormed the Stena Impero on Friday evening, referred to by some as a ‘British tanker’ none of the 23 crew members taken hostage was, in fact, British. The vessel was sailing under the British flag or ‘red ensign’, but that was really a diplomatic nicety. The ship is owned in Sweden, not the UK – and companies from any number of nations might lay claim to portions of its cargo.

The Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith asked yesterday why Britain had not accepted US offers of naval assistance, but the problem is not a lack of warships: it is knowing what to do with them.

So how should the next Prime Minister navigate this treacherous strait? Let us hope that mediation and cool responses prevail. Putting more warships into the area would increase the likelihood of conflict. I do not believe, therefore, that sending US aircraft carriers and our own nuclear submarines to the region is the answer.

Neither is greater use of convoys. Convoys can move only as fast as their slowest member, and many of the ships in the strait have no reason to join any convoy because they do not perceive any threat.

As long as this stand-off continues, the situation will remain tense. No one should be craving further military action. But after a weekend of dire warnings and threatening rhetoric, Britain has very few viable next steps.

  • Phil Diacon is managing director of the maritime security experts Dryad Global

 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7271815/Russia-says-Irans-tanker-position-right-Britains.html

Story 3: Iran Says It Captured 17 Central Intelligence Agency Spies — Plans To Execute Some of Them — Videos

Pompeo dismisses Iran’s claim it arrested 17 CIA spies

Iran says it has captured 17 alleged US spies

Iran claims to have captured spies working for CIA

Iran crisis: ‘CIA spies’ sentenced to death

Iran releases the names and photos of some of the 17 ‘CIA spies’ it claims to have captured as Trump insists they have NOT been arrested and accuses Tehran of lying because it has ‘no idea what to do’ amid rising tensions with the West

  • The Iranian intelligence and security forces released photographs and the names of some of people they are are among the 17 on Monday 
  • Their identities have not been verified by any other government  
  • It  came as President Trump denied that any CIA agents had been arrested 
  • He accused Iran of lying because the country had become desperate
  • Iran claims to have arrested the spies sometime before March this year
  • It says it is only now publicizing their arrests as tensions with the West escalate 
  • All of the ‘suspects’ are Iranian nationals who were ‘lured’ by ‘US visa traps’, the Iranians claim  
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo retorted that Iran had a ‘history of lying’
  • Middle East tensions have been rising for weeks amid a series of tanker attacks
  • They have spiraled again in recent days after Iran seized a UK-flagged vessel 

An Iranian media outlet has released photographs of some of the 17 ‘CIA spies’ its government claims to have captured.

Photographs of some of the men were shared on Twitter on Monday by the Tasnim News Agency along with ‘details’ of their apparent work for the US.

The images and information were released by the Iranian intelligence and security forces, the agency reported.  They have not been verified by the US or any other government.

All of the ‘spies’ are Iranian nationals who the Iranian government claims were lured by the US with the promise of getting visas, according to Iran, which claims they were arrested in the Iranian calendar year which ended in March.

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Only now are their arrests being made public as the standoff between the West and Tehran intensifies.

As the photos emerged on Monday, President Trump denied that anyone had been arrested and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed to Iran’s history of lying.

‘The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false,’ Trump wrote in a tweet.

Scroll down for video 

Iran released unmuzzed versions of these photographs along with some of the 'spies' names on Monday morning after claiming to have captured them in the Iranian calendar year which ended in March

Iran released unmuzzed versions of these photographs along with some of the 'spies' names on Monday morning after claiming to have captured them in the Iranian calendar which ended in March

Iran released unmuzzed versions of these photographs along with some of the ‘spies’ names on Monday morning after claiming to have captured them in the Iranian calendar year which ended March

Some of the photographs included the alleged spies' families. Iran says all are Iranian nationals but that they were lured into working for the US government+27

Some of the photographs included the alleged spies' families. Iran says all are Iranian nationals but that they were lured into working for the US government

Some of the photographs included the alleged spies’ families. Iran says all are Iranian nationals but that they were lured into working for the US government

Another of the 'spies' Tehran claims to have captured in retaliation against the US+27

Another of the ‘spies’ Tehran claims to have captured in retaliation against the US

Trump called the reports 'lies and propaganda' and claimed Tehran is flailing amid a sinking economy and 'has no idea what to do'

 

Trump called the reports ‘lies and propaganda’ and claimed Tehran is flailing amid a sinking economy and ‘has no idea what to do’

‘Zero truth. Just more lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Religious Regime that is Badly Failing and has no idea what to do.’

‘Their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!’ Trump wrote.

Iran’s security chiefs said they smashed an American spy ring that had planted U.S. agents at ‘sensitive sites’ in the country’s nuclear, military and cyber facilities.

The 17 suspects are all Iranians, some of them recruited by a ‘visa trap’ in which the CIA would target Iranian nationals as they applied to visit America, Iran claims.

The news agency also shared photos of business cards, email addresses and LinkedIn profiles they say belong to some of the 'spies'
The news agency also shared photos of business cards, email addresses and LinkedIn profiles they say belong to some of the 'spies'

The news agency also shared photos of business cards, email addresses and LinkedIn profiles they say belong to some of the ‘spies’

A documentary that aired Monday on Iranian TV purports to show U.S. agents trying to recruit Iranian spies in the Middle East, although the footage has not been verified.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a Fox news Channel interview that Iran’s mullahs can’t be taken at their word.

‘It’s part of their nature to lie to the world,’ Pompeo said. ‘I would take with a significant grain of salt any Iranian assertion about actions they’ve taken.’

Iran says the suspects were arrested in the 12 months ending March 2019, but the regime is now publicizing the case now, just as tensions spiral in the Persian Gulf.

Tehran has been feuding with the West for weeks over the crumbling nuclear deal and a series of threats to Middle East shipping, which heightened again last week when Iran’s revolutionary guards seized a British tanker in the Straits of Hormuz.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has not commented on the claims specifically, but said Iran ‘has a long history of lying’.

An Iranian documentary which aired on Monday alluded to some form of strike on the US, particularly the CIA

This man was highlighted in an Iranian documentary about alleged U.S. intelligence work in Iran, as officials announced they had arrested 17 suspects. The footage has not been verified

The TV documentary also shows one woman telling an Iranian that 'there are so many intelligence officers in Dubai'

The TV documentary also shows one woman telling an Iranian that ‘there are so many intelligence officers in Dubai’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) said or Iran in a 'Fox & Friends' interview on Monday that 'it's part of their nature to lie to the world'

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) said or Iran in a ‘Fox & Friends’ interview on Monday that ‘it’s part of their nature to lie to the world’

Centre of attention: Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at Bandar Abbas port on Friday after being seized by Iran

‘I would take with a significant grain of salt any Iranian assertion about actions that they’ve taken,’ he said in response to Iran’s claims.

Jason Rezaian, an Iranian journalist and formerly the Washington Post's bureau chief in Tehran who was convicted of espionage in 2015 but has always maintained he was falsely accused by his country's government, chimed in on Monday to say Iran had learned little

Speaking in Florida, he added: ‘There’s a long list of Americans that we are working to get home from the Islamic Republic of Iran.’

On Monday, a documentary which aired in Iran claimed the country had ‘dealt a blow to the U.S. foreign intelligence service’.

Jason Rezaian, an Iranian journalist and formerly the Washington Post’s bureau chief in Tehran who was convicted of espionage in 2015 but has always maintained he was falsely accused by his country’s government, chimed in: ‘5 years ago today, my wife and I were abducted from our home in Tehran, beginning a long, terrible & unjust ordeal.

‘Officials in Iran have obviously learned little from that episode, as they continue their 40 year practice of hostage taking, glorifying it at every opportunity.’

In a statement read on state television, the Ministry of Intelligence said: ‘Those who deliberately betrayed the country were handed to the judiciary… some were sentenced to death and some to long-term imprisonment,’ an intelligence spokesman told Iranian media.

‘The identified spies were employed in sensitive and vital private sector centres in the economic, nuclear, infrastructural, military and cyber areas… where they collected classified information.’

First picture inside captured tanker

Iran today paraded the crew of a British-flagged tanker captured in the Straits of Hormuz on Friday.

A picture taken inside the Stena Impero shows part of the 23-strong crew huddled on the floor under the watchful eye of a Revolutionary Guardsman.

The men are seen sitting cross-legged on the bridge of the vessel having had their shoes removed and piled up nearby.

Iran has today paraded the crew of the Stena Impero oil tanker, which sails under a British flag, after its Revolutionary Guards captured the vessel on Friday. Footage released on state TV channels showed part of the crew sitting around a table+27

Iran has today paraded the crew of the Stena Impero oil tanker, which sails under a British flag, after its Revolutionary Guards captured the vessel on Friday. Footage released on state TV channels showed part of the crew sitting around a table

The photo is the latest taunt by Iran to Britain after the regime also aired footage of their flag being raised over the vessel.

On Monday Iran also broadcast footage of the Muslim call to prayer being played from the tanker’s speakers.

Iran seized the ship in retaliation for its own vessel, the Grace 1, being stopped by Royal Marine off the coast of Gibraltar last month in which it says was an operation carried out on behalf of the US. Britain says the ship was violating EU sanctions.

Chefs are also shown preparing food in the tanker's kitchen in an attempt by Iranian authorities to prove that the crew are not being badly treated+27

Chefs are also shown preparing food in the tanker’s kitchen in an attempt by Iranian authorities to prove that the crew are not being badly treated

Iranian officials said the suspects had been gathering classified information using ‘advanced equipment’.

‘Some were approached when they were applying for a visa, while others had visas from before and were pressured by the CIA in order to renew them,’ said the intelligence chief.

‘All of the network’s members, all the 17 people, were trained by CIA officers on how to set up safe communications.’

Iran said last month that it had dismantled a spy network linked to the CIA, but it was not clear if the latest announcement was part of the same operation.

Either way, the timing of the latest announcement has raised concerns that Tehran is hardening its position in its stand-off with Western powers.

A top security official alleged the CIA used special stone-like containers to send communications tools and identity documents to its network.

‘The forgery was clumsy, showing that it was done by the CIA itself,’ he said, adding that this ‘proves’ it was government-sanctioned.

‘After they were discovered, CIA officers ordered the spies to destroy all the documents,’ he added.

The intelligence official also handed out a CD with a video recording of an alleged foreign female spy working for the CIA.

The disc also included names of several U.S. Embassy staff in Turkey, India, Zimbabwe and Austria who Iran claims were in touch with the recruited Iranian spies.

In April the regime said it had uncovered 290 U.S. spies in recent years.

The Ministry of Defence released this photo of HMS Montrose warding off Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats (circled) which harassed the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage on July 10

The Ministry of Defence released this photo of HMS Montrose warding off Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats (circled) which harassed the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage on July 10

Middle East tensions mounted again at the weekend after Iran captured the UK-flagged Stena Impero, in retaliation for a British Royal Marine operation two weeks ago in which an Iranian vessel was seized off Gibraltar.

Video footage released by Iran showed the tanker being surrounded by speedboats before troops in balaclavas descend a rope from a helicopter onto the vessel.

Authorities said they impounded the ship on allegations it failed to respond to distress calls and turned off its transponder after hitting a fishing boat.

But Iran made the link between the two separate seizures this month explicit on Saturday.

‘The rule of reciprocal action is well-known in international law,’ said Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, a spokesman for Iran’s Guardian Council.

The Stena’s crew is made up of 18 Indians, including the captain, three Russians, a Latvian and a Filipino.

A top British representative to the UN rejected Iran’s version of events, accusing Tehran of ‘illegal interference’ and saying there was no evidence of a collision.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7271681/Iran-claims-arrested-17-CIA-spies.html

 

 

Iran Hands Down Death Sentences to Group of Alleged CIA Spies

Story 4: Where is The New Border Wall? — Where is Congressional Funding for New Border Barrier? — Congress Is Responsible for Crisis At The Border — New Improved Bipartisan Political Correct Chant — “Send Them All Home” Including Open Border/Citizenship For Illegal Aliens Democrats and Republicans and  Deport All 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in United States — It Is The Law — Enforce The Law — Videos Videos

See the source image

See the source image

Trump wall President addresses nation on border ‘crisis’ BBC News

Tucker Carlson Tonight 7/22/19 | Tucker Carlson Tonight Fox News July 22, 2019

President Trump signs border aid bill

Border Wall Presentation

Major Decision Coming From The Supreme Court Over The Fate Of Trump’s Wall

Trump says Mexico has been helping the US a lot with the border crisis

Trump’s border wall still not built as US faces immigrant crisis | 60 Minutes Australia

Trump has not built a single mile of new border fence after 30 months in office

The Trump administration has not installed a single mile of new wall in a previously fenceless part of the U.S.-Mexico border in the 30 months since President Trump assumed office, despite his campaign promise to construct a “big beautiful wall.”

In a statement last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency overseeing border barrier construction, confirmed that all the fencing completed since Trump took office is “in place of dilapidated designs” because the existing fence was in need of replacement.

The agency said that it had built 51 miles of steel bollard fence with funding that was set aside during fiscal 2017 and 2018. But while the funding was meant both to replace outdated walls and to place barriers where there previously had been none, the government has only completed the replacement projects. The projects to secure areas with no fence are still in the works.

The 50 miles of completed replacement barrier is a 10-mile gain since early April. In Trump’s two and a half years in office, his administration has installed an average 1.7 miles of barrier per month, and none of it in areas that did not previously have some sort of barrier. A total 205 miles of new and replacement barrier has been funded in the two and a half years since Trump took office.

A senior administration official told the Washington Examiner that Border Patrol and the Army Corps of Engineers moved faster on replacement projects than the new ones because the approval process for environmental and zoning permits was far less extensive than areas of the border with no barrier.

A second senior official defended the administration’s progress and blamed Democrats in Congress for blocking funding for additional projects the White House has tried to move on.

Despite the lack of new barriers, Trump has applauded his administration for building more border wall. His 2020 campaign has made the border wall its primary messaging.

Trump’s 2020 campaign debuted the slogan “Finish the Wall” at his first rally of 2019 in El Paso, Texas. At one point during his speech, the crowd began cheering “build that wall.” Trump responded, “Now, you really mean ‘finish that wall,’ because we’ve built a lot of it,” though he did not share numbers with the thousands of people in attendance.

The White House initially persuaded Congress to fund replacement projects in 2017, then moved in 2018 to get more money for both replacement fencing and projects in parts of the border that have no barrier.

Congress in 2017 approved $341 million for 40 miles of replacement wall in San Diego, California; Santa Teresa, North Mexico; Calexico, California; and El Paso, Texas.

“To this date, CBP has completed the construction of approximately 99 percent of the 40 miles funded in fiscal year 2017. Additionally, construction of 35 gates to close gaps in current border infrastructure in the Rio Grande Valley sector continues,” the Department of Homeland Security agency said in a statement.

In the 2018 omnibus government funding bill, lawmakers approved $1.375 billion for 80 miles of new and replacement wall in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, various regions of California, and Yuma, Arizona. CBP said it has finished roughly 10 miles of that portion, of which none has been new fencing.

Meanwhile, the administration maintains that significant portions of new wall will be finished in the time remaining in Trump’s term. Army Corps Commanding Gen. Todd T. Semonite said earlier this spring the Corps will put up 450 miles of wall by November 2020.

However, CBP reiterated this month it is only moving on the approximately 205 miles that have been funded as of 2019, including with Treasury Forfeiture Fund dollars Trump redirected through executive action in February. The remaining 85 miles that has already been funded was proposed this year and is intended for the Rio Grande Valley of Texas — some of which is meant to be new wall.

The Trump administration was sued earlier this spring after seizing $6.6 billion in military and other department funding to use for border wall construction. The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to weigh in after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the White House plan from going forward. The court is expected to rule in the next few weeks.

Roughly 700 miles of the 2,000-mile border has some sort of barrier as a result of the Secure Fence Act, which was passed by Congress during the George W. Bush administration. It was the first major piece of legislation that funded the construction of barriers along the southern border.

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1265, May 28, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Trying To Stop Nuclear Arms Race and Nuclear Proliferation In Far East and Middle East — Videos — Story 2:  Japan to Buy 105 F-35 Fighters From United States —  Japan converting Izumo-class into full-fledged aircraft carriers capable of launching the F-35B (Short takeoffs and vertical landings (STOVL) variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ) — U.S./Japan Trade Deal By August with Japan Possible — Videos — Story 3: Trump Agrees With Chairman Kim — Biden Low IQ — Crowd Resistant Boring Biden Goes Into Hiding For Now — Joe Can Hide But Can He Win? No — Videos — Trump Agrees With Chairman Kim — Biden Low IQ — Crowd Resistant Boring Biden Goes Into Hiding For Now — Joe Can Hide But Can He Win? No — Videos — Story 4: Do Not Panic — Recession Warning or Economic Growth? — U.S. Steady Economic Growth Ahead — 3% Plus — Videos —

Posted on May 28, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, China, Congress, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Gangs, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Killing, Labor Economics, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Middle East, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), North Korea, Nuclear Weapons, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Prime Minister, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Security, Senate, Spying, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Treason, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Story 1: President Trump Trying To Stop Nuclear Arms Race and Proliferation In Far East and Middle East Linked To Trade Agreement with China –Videos —

Trump wants Iran to agree on no nuclear weapon and that is all, nice attitude

Donald Trump: We will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons

Trump Dismisses Concerns About North Korea Missile Launches

Trump dismisses North Korean tests of ‘some small weapons’

Donald Trump: We will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons

Trump-Kim summit: How did North Korea build the bomb? | Asian Century | Full episode

Untangling the U.S. – China Narrative: Technology, Trade, and Tensions

May 20, 2019 — In partnership with the Committee of 100, speakers from all sectors come together for a lively discussion about the current state of U.S.-China relations. Speakers included Andy Rothman from Matthews Asia and a member of the Asia Society Northern California Advisory Board; Victor Wang with CEG Ventures; Buck Gee, co-founding board member of the Chinese American Community Foundation and member of both C100 and the Asia Society Northern California Advisory Board; and Mark Cohen, director at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology Asian IP Project. The discussion was moderated by Frank H. Wu, president of Committee of 100, and featured opening remarks by Kenneth P. Wilcox, chair of Asia Society Northern California Advisory Board. (1 hr., 24 mins)

 

Story 2:  Japan to Buy 105 F-35 Fighters From United States —  Japan converting Izumo-class into full-fledged aircraft carriers capable of launching the F-35B (Short takeoffs and vertical landings (STOVL) variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ) — U.S./Japan Trade Deal By August with Japan Possible — Videos

See the source image

Japan: Trump agrees with Kim Jong-un that Biden ‘probably’ has low IQ

Trump, Abe at odds over North Korean missile tests | FULL press conference

Abe, Trump Arrive at Japanese Naval Base

Trump inspects Japan’s largest warship as he concludes four-day visit

US President Donald Trump inspected Japan’s largest warship with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 28. According to the Japanese Defense Ministry, Mr Trump was the first US President to embark a Japanese destroyer.

 

Japan to buy 105 F-35 U.S. stealth warplanes: Trump

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Japan plans to buy 105 U.S.-made stealth warplanes, Donald Trump said on Monday, which the U.S. President said would give Tokyo the largest F35 fleet of any US ally.

Trump, in Tokyo for a state visit, said Japan “has just announced its intent to purchase 105 brand new F35 stealth aircraft. Stealth, because, the fact is you can’t see them.”

“This purchase would give Japan the largest F35 fleet of any U.S. ally,” added the president.

Trump appeared to be referencing a deal first announced by the F35’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, in December.

Japan’s government announced in its latest defense budget in December plans to buy 105 units of the F35A, which performs conventional take-off and landings.

Local media said at the time that the purchases could total more than one trillion yen ($9.1 billion).

The White House could not immediately comment on the timing of Trump’s comments about the deal Monday.

https://japantoday.com/category/politics/japan-to-buy-105-f-35-us-stealth-warplanes-trump

 

Trump Tours Japan’s Izumo-Class Carrier Hailing its Future F-35B Capability

Donald Trump today became the first U.S. president to board the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF) largest flattop, the Izumo-class helicopter carrier JS Kaga, at the Yokosuka naval base south of Tokyo wrapping up the U.S. president’s four-day state visit to Japan.

Together with his Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump toured Japan’s largest warship on May 28 to demonstrate the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance and to “send a message to China,” according to a Japanese government source. Trump and Abe were accompanied by their wives during the inspection.

Abe and Trump addressed a group of about 500 U.S. and Japanese military personnel gathered in the hanger of the JS Kaga. “This is the first time the leaders of Japan and the United States have visited together to extend their encouragement to the SDF [Self Defense Force] and U.S. military,” Abe said. “The fact that we are both standing here today is evidence of the strength of the Japan-U.S. alliance.”

Abe also talked about the JMSDF flattop’s recent operational history. “The JS Kaga sailed through a vast area from the western Pacific through the Indian Ocean last year, to deepen the cooperation with navies of regional partners in close coordination with the U.S. Navy,” the prime minister said.

“Our mission is to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific, and to establish a foundation for regional peace and prosperity.” The JS Kaga’s sister ship, the JMSDF helicopter carrier JS Izumoconducted a number of naval exercises with allies and regional partners in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea.

Hailing the U.S.-Japanese alliance as “an incredible partnership,” the U.S. president in his speech on the carrier’s hangar deck noted that “this is the only port in the world where a U.S. Naval fleet and an Allied Naval fleet are working side by side with each other.”

Trump in his speech, also referenced the conversion of the Izumo-class into full-fledged aircraft carriers capable of launching the F-35B, the vertical or short takeoffs and vertical landings (STOVL) variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as Japan’s decision to procure an extra 105 F-35s from the United States.

“Soon this very ship will be upgraded to carry this cutting-edge aircraft, Trump said. “With this extraordinary new equipment, the Kaga will help our nations defend against a range of complex threats in the region and far beyond.”

Notably, the U.S. president was expected to board the JS Kaga’s sister ship, the first-of-class JS Izumo during a state visit to Japan in October 2017. However, the visit did not take place.

Trump on May 28 also visited the nearby U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base, where he boarded the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Wasp. The USS Wasp is the size of a small aircraft carrier and can carry around 31 aircraft including the F-35B. In a speech in front of around 800 U.S. servicemen and women, whom the president called “daring and mighty warriors in the Pacific,” he emphasized the need for additional guided-missile destroyers,  submarines and F-35s.

Yokosuka is home to the headquarters of the JMSDF and also the home port of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, the largest of the U.S. Navy’s forward deployed fleets and consists of around 50-70 ships and submarines and around 20,000 sailors.

The president and the first lady of the United States, Melania Trump, were Japan’s first state guests in the new imperial era “Reiwa” following Emperor Naruhito’s ascension to the throne on May 1.

https://thediplomat.com/2019/05/trump-tours-japans-izumo-class-carrier-hailing-its-future-f-35b-capability/

Japan’s plan to remodel Izumo-class carriers: Needed upgrade or mere show of force?

BY REIJI YOSHIDA

STAFF WRITER

On April 30, the Izumo helicopter carrier — one of Japan’s two largest and arguably most controversial naval vessels — set off for a three-month deployment and this month it conducted two quadrilateral naval exercises over a two-week span — first in the South China Sea and then in the Indian Ocean.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump are scheduled to inspect the Kaga — the other vessel in the Izumo-class — in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

On top of that, “Aircraft Carrier Ibuki,” a military thriller based on a manga series of the same name featuring a fictitious, though strikingly similar vessel to the Izumo ships, hits theaters on Friday.

The helicopter carrier Izumo is docked at the Maritime Self-Defense Force base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March. | REIJI YOSHIDA
The helicopter carrier Izumo is docked at the Maritime Self-Defense Force base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March. | REIJI YOSHIDA

The rising profile of the 19,500-ton flat-topped helicopter carriers is perhaps a reflection of the increasing awareness of the ministry’s future plans for the vessels: Their conversion into de facto aircraft carriers with the apparent purpose of keeping China in check.

Last December, the Abe administration included plans to remodel its Izumo-class vessels so they can carry F-35B stealth fighters under the National Defense Guidelines and Medium-Term Defense Program.

Since their development nearly a decade ago, speculation had swirled among the defense community that the Izumo ships could eventually be upgraded to accommodate fixed-wing aircraft to effectively become aircraft carriers — a type of vessel that has long been taboo in Japan’s postwar defense posture.

But along with raising questions over whether the Izumo’s upgrade will remain within the confines of the country’s long-standing “exclusively defense-oriented policy,” there seems to be a lack of consensus about the exact role that’s being plotted for the upgraded ships, aside from countering China.

A response to China

It is widely believed the Izumo was developed in large part in response to China’s increasing maritime assertiveness, though the Defense Ministry hasn’t publicly admitted as much, likely due to diplomatic considerations.

But in an interview with The Japan Times last month, a senior Defense Ministry official bluntly laid out the goal for the Izumo upgrades.

The official pointed to a chart depicting where Chinese warships, submarines and military aircraft repeatedly advanced into the Western Pacific, crossing the waters between Okinawa and Miyako Island, in 2017 and 2018.

The 19,500-ton Izumo, seen in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March, cost around ¥120 billion to build and along with its sister ship, the Kaga, is the Self-Defense Forces' largest ship.
The 19,500-ton Izumo, seen in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March, cost around ¥120 billion to build and along with its sister ship, the Kaga, is the Self-Defense Forces’ largest ship. | REIJI YOSHIDA

China’s emerging military presence in the Western Pacific — with forces that now include the aircraft carrier Liaoning, which is capable of carrying J-15 fighters — is a key reason Japan plans to upgrade the Izumo-class ships to allow them to carry F-35B stealth fighters, the senior Defense Ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“We won’t publicly name any country, but the fact is that the Chinese navy has frequently made incursions into the Pacific Ocean by passing through the Miyako Strait,” the official said. “They’ve become increasingly active (in the Pacific) over the past five years.”

The Miyako Strait is regarded as a critical “choke point” among military analysts that the Chinese Navy must pass through if it ever wants to advance into the Pacific from coastal areas and become a full-fledged “blue-water” navy capable of sustained operations in open water.

The Constitution controversy

The Izumo modification plan, however, immediately caused a stir and drew mixed reactions from politicians and former MSDF brass.

Opposition lawmakers criticized the plan, arguing it would exceed the scope of military power the country is entitled to under the war-renouncing Constitution.

During an Upper House budget committee session in early February, Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Satoshi Inoue cited the top law in his criticism of the plan: “If the Izumo carries fighter planes, it would allow Japan to be able to stage an overwhelming attack from anywhere on the sea, wouldn’t it?”

In response, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya argued that the upgraded Izumo-class vessels will not be designed for “the mass destruction of another country” and therefore they will be constitutional.

A U.S. F-35B stealth fighter flies above the USS Wasp in the Pacific Ocean in March 2018. | KYODO
A U.S. F-35B stealth fighter flies above the USS Wasp in the Pacific Ocean in March 2018. | KYODO

The Constitution has long been interpreted as banning Japan from owning any military power exceeding “the minimum required force” needed for self-defense. Since World War II, Japan has pledged not to own “offensive air carriers,” saying it would be beyond its exclusively defense-oriented posture.

But opponents of the plan argue the upgrade to the Izumo ships will allow the SDF to acquire offensive capabilities.

In the face of that criticism, the Defense Ministry refuses to refer to the to-be-revamped Izumo ships as aircraft carriers, instead saying they would each serve as a “multirole operation vessel.” The ministry insists they would not regularly carry fixed-wing fighters and would also be used for missions including anti-submarine and rescue operations.

Battle-ready or not?

Meanwhile, senior Defense Ministry officials and former MSDF officers are confused about the plan’s operational objectives.

A key question is whether upgraded Izumo-class vessels can actually be deployed for practical combat operations, or if the objective is to mainly showcase the country’s military presence.

That is because typically, an effective aircraft carrier fleet requires a rotation of more than three such vessels. “Usually you would need at least three vessels; one for actual deployment, one for training and one docked for maintenance,” a senior Defense Ministry official said.

Japan has no current plans to build more Izumo-class ships, which can cost as much as ¥120 billion each.

So if it has only one aircraft carrier on standby, the vessels would merely end up being ships to show off the “presence” of Japan’s naval force, the official said.

The Izumo is docked in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March. The ship, whose air-traffic control cabin is pictured here, currently serves as a helicopter carrier, but there are plans to remodel the vessel so it can accommodate F-35B stealth fighters.
The Izumo is docked in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March. The ship, whose air-traffic control cabin is pictured here, currently serves as a helicopter carrier, but there are plans to remodel the vessel so it can accommodate F-35B stealth fighters. | REIJI YOSHIDA

Japan would need at least four Izumo vessels if they were to be used as aircraft carriers in real naval combat operations, said Toshiyuki Ito, a retired MSDF vice admiral who is now a professor at Kanazawa Institute of Technology Toranomon Graduate School in Tokyo.

“If you only have two vessels, you can only use them for training personnel for taking off and landing operations,” Ito said. “So this plan doesn’t make sense for MSDF officers, frankly speaking.”

Ito also pointed out that MSDF officers would usually envision using an aircraft carrier of this class for fleet air defense. But a remodeled Izumo-class vessel is only capable of carrying about 10 F-35B fighters, which Ito says is too small a number to provide effective and adequate air defense for a naval fleet.

Because Japan would need more Izumo-class vessels and for those ships to be able to carry more fighter jets in order to be useful in combat operations, Ito concluded that the Izumo upgrade plan is not intended for actual naval combat, but merely to “send a message to China.”

“In 10 or 15 years, China will have four aircraft carriers and two of them could cruise around the Pacific Ocean right south of Japan, for example,” Ito said.

A political decision

Retired Vice Adm. Yoji Koda, former commander of a MSDF fleet, argued that the biggest problem regarding the Izumo’s upgrade is that the Defense Ministry made the decision without having military experts conduct sufficiently detailed naval combat simulations.

“A defense build-up program must be based on the assumption that those (weapons) can actually be used in an emergency situation,” Koda said. “Just showing off (a military presence) is not a legitimate way of thinking.”

In fact, in announcing the new National Defense Guidelines last December, Iwaya, the defense minister, admitted that the Izumo conversion plan was not based on requests or proposals from Self-Defense Forces leaders, but was adopted based on a top-down decision among high-ranking government officials.

“This way of thinking was not formed because of specific needs or requests from the MSDF or Air Self-Defense Force. We reached this conclusion after conducting studies from defense policy perspectives,” Iwaya told reporters.

Koda, like Ito, argued that Japan needs aircraft carriers capable of defending an MSDF fleet — but also noted that the government must be clear and transparent about the purpose of introducing such vessels if and when it intends to do so.

A helicopter sits inside the internal hangar of the Izumo at the Maritime Self-Defense Force base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March.
A helicopter sits inside the internal hangar of the Izumo at the Maritime Self-Defense Force base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March.

And is Japan getting enough bang for its buck by upgrading the Izumo class? The cost not only includes the upgrading fees for the ships; it also involves procurement fees for the F-35Bs, as well as training dozens of ASDF fighter pilots to be able to fly the state-of-the-art stealth fighters.

In December, the government decided to procure 147 F-35 stealth fighters, 42 of which are now expected to be F-35Bs capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings.

The remaining 105 will be land-based F-35A jet fighters for the ASDF. Each F-35A fighter costs more than ¥10 billion, and the procurement plan for F-35As and F-35Bs is likely to exceed ¥1 trillion.

The MSDF has been suffering from a chronic personnel shortage due to its tough working conditions and long periods of deployment, Ito said. Recruitment is expected to become a bigger headache as the nation’s population continues to shrink. “What the MSDF really needs is more investment to build smaller ships that require fewer personnel (to operate),” Ito said.

“I had hoped that the government would allocate more budget to address personnel issues, but that ship has sailed.”

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/05/23/national/izumo-needed-upgrade-mere-show-force/#.XO3GW66nGUk

Story 3: Trump Agrees With Chairman Kim — Biden Low IQ — Crowd Resistant Boring Biden Goes Into Hiding For Now — Joe Can Hide But Can He Win? No — Videos — Trump Agrees With Chairman Kim — Biden Low IQ — Crowd Resistant Boring Biden Goes Into Hiding For Now — Joe Can Hide But Can He Win? No — Videos —

Joe: You Don’t Attack A Former VP On Foreign Soil | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Joe Biden speaks during a campaign rally in Philadelphia

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Small Crowd Greets Creepy Joe Biden

 

Joe Biden is the front-runner by every measure — except big crowds

The former veep is leading the Democratic field in all the important categories except one.

He’s dominating in the polls, his fundraising is going gangbusters and he’s showing broad support from key political players in the early presidential states.

So where are the big energetic crowds, the lines around the block to get into Joe Biden’s events?

The question is no small matter in a party still recovering from a bitter 2016 defeat — a loss marked by a lack of enthusiasm for an establishment nominee in several critical states.

Attendance at the former vice president’s launch rally paled next to some of his rivals. In his first Iowa visit, he didn’t match the crowds that greeted Elizabeth Warren or even the less well-known Pete Buttigieg in their initial visits. So far, he’s kept his events to smaller venues where there’s little danger of empty seats.

In the eyes of Biden’s progressive critics — as well as President Donald Trump, who has publicly mocked him for it — the seeming lack of excitement or teeming masses at his events is a leading indicator of a lack of passion for his candidacy.

“I started to think the polls were wrong about Biden because it’s not what we’re seeing on the ground,” said Aimee Allison, founder and president of She the People, a national network devoted to promoting women of color.

“Inspiration is the X-factor and we’re waiting for the inspiration from Biden,” she said. “When the inspiration isn’t there, the turnout from the core of the Democratic base — women of color — isn’t there. And then we lose.”

To Biden’s campaign, attendance figures are a meaningless metric. Focusing on crowd size is Trump’s game, it says, an emphasis on style over substance that attempts to turn audience engagement into an argument about the 76-year-old Biden’s energy level.

Crowd size, after all, is an imperfect metric to measure a campaign’s vitality. While it can be a revealing indicator, it still lacks the scientific underpinning of polling or the fixed-dollar figures associated with fundraising. Nor does it account for the judgment of elected and influential Democrats across the country.

Just as critics doubted Biden’s popularity before he got in the race, his campaign is confident he’ll have the crowds when he needs them.

“We’re seeing enormous enthusiasm for Joe Biden’s candidacy across the country, beginning the very first day of the campaign when he got over 100,000 contributions — 65,000 of which were brand new to our lists — from all 50 states,” said Biden campaign spokesman T.J. Ducklo.

Even so, since announcing his candidacy more than a month ago, Biden has yet to draw anything near the 20,000 people who showed in Oakland to cheer on Kamala Harris when she announced, or the 13,000 who turned out in Brooklyn for Bernie Sanders’ launch.

Last Saturday, when Biden held a rally for his headquarters’ opening in Philadelphia, his campaign estimated the crowd size was 6,000 — a count thatsome local observers thought might be generous. One local elected Democrat who supports Biden privately told POLITICO the rally was smaller and less energetic than expected.

The event fell far short of the size his surrogates predicted in one of the nation’s largest Democratic cities. Just before Biden formally announced his candidacy last month, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who helped organize a fundraiser for Biden, had loftier expectations.

“He’s enormously popular here,” Rendell, a former Philadelphia mayor, said in a late April interview. “We could get tens and tens of thousands of people … For one rally, I think we could do that.”

The crowd size was similar to what President Barack Obama drew at a 2016 rally for Hillary Clinton at the same venue. As a candidate, however, in April 2008, some 35,000 people flooded Independence Mall to see Obama — before he was the nominee.

Trump — for whom crowd size borders on obsession — seized on Biden’s Philadelphia launch, mocking the former vice president two days later at a rival Pennsylvania speech in which he exaggerated the smallness of the crowd.

“We have thousands of people … look at the thousands and thousands of people we have,” Trump said at a Montoursville rally, for which his campaign declined to release an estimated crowd count. “They said [Biden] had 600 people … I’d say 150.”

It’s not the first time Trump has needled Biden over crowd sizes. In 2018, when the president and Biden held dueling Nevada rallies in the homestretch of the midterm campaign — and Trump’s Elko rally had more attendees than Biden’s Las Vegas rally — Trump used the occasion to point to Biden’s prior presidential race defeat and joked that Biden “was thrilled that’s one of the biggest crowds he’s ever had.”

It’s not just the size of Biden’s events that are modest, he’s also holding far fewer of them than his primary competitors. Since his launch, he’s visited Iowa only once. And while Democrats crisscrossed early presidential primary states during the long Memorial Day weekend, Biden took it off. (On Tuesday, he travels to Houston where he and his wife, Jill, will join an American Federation of Teachers town hall.)

There are signs that the theme could become more prominent as the campaign progresses. One of the president’s top surrogates, Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, said Biden won’t have the energy to campaign full time once he gets off “the French workweek campaign schedule” that the Democrat is currently on.

“He wants to make America bored again. It’s like he wants to put his audience to sleep,” Gaetz said.

“Trump’s rallies are big and raucous and enthusiastic. And the reason that matters is that in today’s politics, people want to be part of something,” Gaetz said. “Joe Biden’s rallies looks like an event where you would give a gold watch to the Democrat for a lifetime of service.”

James Carville, one of the masterminds behind Bill Clinton’s campaigns for president, said those criticisms miss an essential point about the kind of no-frills-no-thrills campaign he is running.

“He’s never been a candidate who has run on excitement. He has run on ‘you can trust me. I’m a good guy. My heart is in the right place. I’m human. You know me. I’m well-liked,’” Carville said. “Their theory of the case is people are tired of the circus. And it takes an experienced hand to settle everything down to get us back to some era of sanity.”

To that end, some Democrats say Biden’s sometimes listless crowds aren’t cause for concern, but merely reflective of the part of the electorate backing him: older, middle-of-the-road Democrats who are more likely to turn out to the polls than to boisterous megarallies.

Polk County Democratic Chair Sean Bagniewski said there weren’t lines around the block for Biden during his Iowa visit, but that at a local Democratic Party dinner, the former vice president’s campaign dominated local chatter.

“The polls are picking up the people who might not be going to the rallies, might not be going to the meetings. But the polls can still be right,” Bagniewski said. “The rank and file can be reliable Democrats. They’re the people who have been around for awhile.”

Brian Fallon, former spokesman for Hillary Clinton, said the Biden campaign isn’t going for big crowds and passion and is instead underpinned by “a very pragmatic argument. It’s not an argument designed to electrify. It revolves around electability … It’s not the type of message that inspires a movement. It’s very practical.”

There’s also the matter of Biden’s long tenure in politics. Crowds that flooded to Buttigieg or Beto O’Rourke in this cycle did so in part because they’ve never seen the candidates before.

Tad Devine, who was part of Sanders’ insurgent 2016 campaign against Clinton, added that Biden doesn’t need the big crowds the way Sanders did in the previous race because the former vice president doesn’t need to show he’s a legitimate candidate — he’s the front-runner.

“Biden’s not a crowd candidate. He’s not Obama. He’s not Bernie,” Devine said. “Drawing big crowds is more important for Beto [O’Rourke] or Mayor Pete to get into the mix.”

Holly Otterbein, Daniel Lippman, Christopher Cadelago and Anita Kumar contributed to this report.

https://japantoday.com/category/politics/japan-to-buy-105-f-35-us-stealth-warplanes-trump

 

Story 3: Do Not Panic — Recession Warning or Economic Growth? — Videos –

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Morgan Stanley says economy is on ‘recession watch’ as bond market flashes warning

KEY POINTS
  • Renewed trade tensions and a slump in economic data put U.S. profits and economic growth at risk, Morgan Stanley warned Tuesday.
  • “Numerous leading companies may be starting to throw in the towel on the second half rebound–something we have been expecting,” the bank writes.
  • Wilson adds that market risks have been reflected in the bond market, pointing to an unusual phenomenon in government debt yields.
GS: CBOE options pit 150917
Scott Olson | Getty Images

The stock market and economic outlook in the United States are “deteriorating,” according to an analysis from one of Wall Street’s top investment banks.

Renewed trade tensions and a slump in economic data — ranging from falling durable goods and capital spending to a downshift in the services sector — has put U.S. profits and economic growth at risk, Morgan Stanley warned Tuesday.

“Recent data points suggest US earnings and economic risk is greater than most investors may think,” wrote Michael Wilson, the firm’s chief U.S. equity strategist.

Specifically, the stock strategist highlighted a recent survey from financial data firm IHS Markit that showed manufacturing activity fell to a nine-year low in May. That report also revealed a “notable slowdown” in the U.S. services sector, a key area for an American economy characterized by huge job gains in health care and business services.

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Source: Morgan Stanley Cross Asset Research

Many recent reports reflect April data, “which means it weakened before the re-escalation of trade tensions,” Wilson continued. “In addition, numerous leading companies may be starting to throw in the towel on the second half rebound–something we have been expecting but we believe many investors are not.”

Wilson was one of the most bearish stock strategists last year, defending his initial S&P 500 call of 2,750 for year-end 2018 without adjusting it throughout the year. By the end of the year, his call was the most accurate of any strategist tracked by CNBC.

He’s stood by his gloomy case for 2019, often warning that investors could be caught in a “rolling bear market ” for the next several years. The market has thus far outpaced Wilson’s models for 2019, with the S&P 500 up 11.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 8.6% year to date.

The stock market sold off Tuesday, adding to steep losses for the month of May. The Dow fell 237 points and the S&P dropped 0.8% during the session; they are down 4.6% and 4.8%, respectively, this month.

VIDEO02:43
Bond market primary concern for investors, says chief economist

Still, many economists are predicting an anemic second half of the year. For their part, Morgan Stanley economists have lowered their second-quarter U.S. GDP forecast to 0.6% from 1.0%. That comes after J.P. Morgan last week cut its own second-quarter outlook to 1% from 2.25%.

“The April durable goods report was bad, particularly the details relating to capital goods orders and shipments. Coming on the heels of last week’s crummy April retail sales report, it suggests second quarter activity growth is sharply downshifting from the first quarter pace, ” the economists wrote.

Companies ranging from manufacturers like Deere and Polaris Industries to computer chip maker Microchip and toolmaker Snap-On have all bemoaned the Trump administration’s escalated trade war with China and have warned it could impact their business. The White House bumped the tariff rate on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25% from 10% earlier this month, drawing a similar response against American goods from Beijing.

While the number of companies explicitly airing their trade grievances remains comparatively small, they likely represent a larger number of American companies set for pain as bilateral tariffs threaten their bottom lines.

“Regular readers are likely familiar with our view that the US economy is vulnerable to a more significant slowdown due to overheating last year from the fiscal stimulus,” Wilson wrote. “This led to labor cost pressures for corporations, excessive inventories and an overzealous capex cycle that is now reverting to the mean, which means well below trend spending for several quarters.”

Those market risks have been reflected in the bond market, Wilson added, pointing to an unusual phenomenon in government debt yields.

When investors believe the economy is set for healthy growth, those that buy debt from the U.S. government for years are compensated with better interest rates than those who loan money for a matter of months. Under those normal circumstances, the plot of Treasury interest rates slopes upward, with investors earning more for holding debt for 10 years rather than a few months.

That usual upward slope can change, however, when investors think economic output growth is likely to fall. That occurred earlier this year, when the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield first dropped below that of the 3-month Treasury bill, a sign many on Wall Street read as a recessionary signal.

The curve flattened further Tuesday as the 3-month bill yielded 2.356% and the 10-year note yielded 2.269%.

Some investors wrote it off, saying “it’s different this time” thanks to the Federal Reserve’s lingering quantitative easing or by how quickly the curve appeared to correct to a steeper shape. But Morgan Stanley’s deeper dive into the data — controlling for the Fed’s tinkering — reveals a “much different picture.”

Morgan Stanley’s analysis shows the adjusted yield curve first inverted in November and has stayed in negative territory ever since.

“The adjusted yield curve inverted last November and has remained in negative territory ever since, surpassing the minimum time required for a valid meaningful economic slowdown signal,” Wilson wrote. “It also suggests the ‘shot clock’ started 6 months ago, putting us ‘in the zone’ for a recession watch.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/28/morgan-stanley-says-economy-on-recession-watch-amid-bond-warning.html

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Is Right: “Everybody’s talking about it all over the world, they’re saying we’re paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia.” — Germany Is Dependent Upon Russia For Natural Gas — Buy American LNG And Eliminate Some of The U.S. Trade Deficit With The European Union, Germany and China! — U.S. LNG Competes With Russian Natural Gas — World Economic Boom Fueled By Natural Gas and LNG — Free and Fair Trade Is A Winner — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Increases The Pressure on China To Eliminate Trade Deficits and Unfair Trade Practices or Face Higher Tariffs On Many Chinese Exports To United States — Videos

Posted on July 11, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Autos, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, British Pound, Budgetary Policy, Business, Canada, China, Climate Change, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Cruise Missiles, Currencies, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Euro, European History, European Union, Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, France, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Germany, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, Language, Law, Life, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Media, Medicare, Middle East, MIssiles, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Netherlands, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, President Trump, Prime Minister, Progressives, Qatar, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Rifles, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Social Security, South America, Spying, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Transportation, Trucks, U.S. Dollar, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, Vessels, Videos, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1068, April 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1067, April 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

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Story 1: President Trump Is Right: “Everybody’s talking about it all over the world, they’re saying we’re paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia.” — Germany Is Dependent Upon Russia For Natural Gas — Buy American LNG And Eliminate Some U.S. Trade Deficit With European Union and China! — Compete With Russian Natural Gas — World Economic Boom Fueled By Natural Gas and LNG — Free and Fair Trade Is A Winner — Videos

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‘Germany is a captive of Russia’: Trump dresses down NATO’s secretary general and threatens Berlin over its lagging defense spending and energy partnership with Putin’s government

  • Donald Trump unleashed his fury on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday morning after the leader asked him about Vladimir Putin
  • ‘Germany is totally controlled by Russia,’ Trump charged. ‘I think its a very bad thing for NATO’
  • Merkel told press that her country is ‘independent’ after Trump’s tongue-lashing 
  • President Trump has berated America’s European allies for failing to meet their defense spending obligations to NATO
  • The complaints come full circle this week at the NATO leaders’ summit 
  • On Tuesday, European Council President Donald Tusk hit back at Trump, telling him, ‘America does not have and will not have a better ally than Europe’
  • Tusk said: ‘America appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many’  
  • President Trump tweeted minutes later: NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!’
  • He told reporters as he prepared to board Marine One that America has plenty of allies and put new pressure on NATO nations to increase their defense spending 

Donald Trump unleashed his fury on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday for defending Germany‘s energy partnership with Russia and threatened Berlin with U.S. action over the deal that he said is wholly inappropriate.

Trump fumed that ‘Germany is a captive of Russia’ and said the U.S. would ‘have to do something’ in light of the pipeline deal that’s funneling billions of dollars to Moscow.

‘Germany is totally controlled by Russia,’ he charged. ‘I think its a very bad thing for NATO, and I don’t think it should have happened.’

Stoltenberg reminded him that the U.S. and Europe are ‘stronger together than apart’ and that has been proven by two World Wars and the alliance’s dealings with Russia.

The confrontation stunned the leaders’ senior advisers, including Trump’s secretaries of defense and state. A press aide demanded the media leave the room as Trump pushed Stoltenberg to explain how the U.S. is supposed to protect Germany when it’s opening its front door to Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump unleashed his fury on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday for defending Germany’s energy partnership with Russia after Stoltenberg reminded him that the U.S. and Europe are ‘stronger together than apart

Stoltenberg inadvertently whipped the U.S. president into a frenzy at an internationally-broadcast breakfast by asking Trump about his upcoming meeting with Putin. Trump responded with a tirade on Germany and its weaknesses and griped, again, about lagging contributions from members of the NATO alliance.

Trump gave Stoltenberg an earful with media present, telling the visibly startled NATO chief, ‘We’re protecting Germany. We’re protecting France. We’re protecting everybody, and yet, we’re paying a lot of money to protect.’

Trump said that past presidents did not confront America’s allies because they did not want to meddle in their affairs or they were blind to the problem.

‘I think that these countries have to step it up — not over a 10-year-period — they have to step it up immediately,’ Trump demanded. ‘Germany is a rich country. They talk about they’re gonna increase it a tiny bit by 2030. Well, they could increase it immediately tomorrow and have no problem.’

The United States’ more than 4 percent GDP contribution to the security group compared to its European allies is ‘very unfair’ to the American taxpayer, he said in a familiar complaint.

‘I don’t think it’s fair to the United States, so we’re going to have to do something, because we’re not gonna put up with it. We can’t put up with it, and it’s inappropriate,’ Trump on Wednesday proclaimed. ‘So we have to talk about the billions and billions of dollars that’s being paid to the country that we’re supposed to be protecting you against.’

A new NATO report actually puts the U.S. contribution at 3.5 percent of the nation’s GDP in 2018. Still, it’s significantly more than the next closest country. Germany’s spending on defense as a percentage of GDP was on par with a handful of other NATO nations at 1.24 percent, putting it at the mid-to-lower end of the pack.

A new NATO report actually puts the U.S. contribution at 3.5 percent of the nation's GDP in 2018. Still, it's significantly more than the next closest country - and nearly three times as much as Germany

A new NATO report actually puts the U.S. contribution at 3.5 percent of the nation’s GDP in 2018. Still, it’s significantly more than the next closest country – and nearly three times as much as Germany

TERSE TALKS: Trump fumed that 'Germany is a captive of Russia' and said the U.S. would 'have to do something' about a gas deal that's funneling billions into Moscow's economy

U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of Defence James Mattis, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the breakfast with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Trump began his Wednesday morning rant by telling Stoltenberg that it’s ‘very sad’ when Germany, France and ‘numerous of the countries go out and then make a pipeline deal with Russia’ and then expect the U.S. to foot the bill for their security.

‘So we’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that’s very inappropriate,’ Trump said. ‘And the former chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas.’

Trump informed Stoltenberg that ‘Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas’ when the deal is fully realized.

‘So you tell me is that appropriate?’ he said. ‘I mean I’ve been complaining about this from the time I got in. It should never have never been allowed to have happened.’

Now, he said, ‘Germany is totally controlled by Russia…And you tell me if that’s appropriate, because I think it’s not. And I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO, and I don’t think it should have happened, and I think we have to talk to Germany about it.’

Merkel told press in German as she arrived at NATO that her country makes ‘independent decisions,’ according to a translation of her remarks on NATO’s blue arrival carpet by AFP.

‘I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being occupied by the Soviet Union,’ said Merkel, who was born and raised in East Germany, in her native tougue.

She touched on her nation’s communist history, saying. ‘I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions.’

The White House said after the president’s remarks went wide that he would hold private talks in the afternoon on the sidelines of the summit with Merkel and then meet separately with France’s president.

Trump told Stoltenberg that the alliance must confront Germany over its gas deal with Russia. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen her on Wednesday during her Cabinet meeting in Berlin. She'll see Trump later today at NATO

Trump said last week at a rally that he told Merkel in an undated conversation that he couldn't commit to protecting Germany from Putin's army

In bringing up the gas deal on Wednesday, Trump returned to an issue he had raised before his trip in an attempt to put Germany on the defensive while simultaneously pushing back on the narrative that it is the U.S. that is cozying up to Moscow.

For much of the past year, it has been Trump who has been under attack for resisting sanctions imposed on Russia for its election interference. His frequent praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his repeated attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe have also been the subject of national and international scrutiny.

But in Brussels, it was Trump who hammered Merkel for taking part in a deal that would give Germany direct access to Russian energy supplies and cut out Eastern European nations fearful of Moscow’s leverage

In March, Germany reached a deal to allow Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom to run its Nord Stream 2 pipeline through its waters. The $11 billion deal immediately outraged Eastern European allies.

Russia has used its oil and gas to pressure and punish its neighbors. In a shock move, the parties announced the deal a day after Germany joined UK in protesting the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Great Britain.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the Alliance's headquarters ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels

She will continue talking to Trump after everyone else has gone home as she is hosting the U.S. President in Britain for a two-day visit

The pipeline will send Russian oil and gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea. Poland and other Eastern European countries fear the pipeline could leave them vulnerable to Russian pressure.

In May, a State Department official weighed in against the project. Deputy Assistant Secretary Sandra Oudkirk said the pipeline could allow Russia to exert ‘malign influence’ in Europe. But the pipeline company said the project wouldn’t be used to blackmail other countries.

Stoltenberg unequivocally said at a news conference that followed his meeting with Trump that the pipeline deal is ‘a national decision’ and ‘it’s not for NATO to decide.’

‘It’s not for NATO to solve this issue,’ he asserted.

Trump bashed Germany over the pipeline issue at a campaign rally last Thursday in Montana, where he also raised the ally’s defense spending.

‘They go out and make a gas deal, oil and gas, from Russia, where they pay billions and billions of dollars to Russia. They want to protect against Russia, and yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia,’ Trump said then.

He said at the rally that he told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he could not ensure her nation’s security as a result.

U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels on Wednesday

Trump informed Stoltenberg that 'Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas' when the deal is fully realized

Former Secretary of State John Kerry blasted Trump for his display.

‘I’ve never seen a president say anything as strange or counterproductive as President Trump’s harangue against NATO and Germany,’ Kerry said in a statement. ‘It was disgraceful, destructive, and flies in the face of the actual interests of the United States of America,’ the former top diplomat said.

 Then Kerry, a 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, said of Trump: ‘He is steadily destroying our reputation in the world. He is undermining our interests. He diminishes alliances we built to safeguard an economic and strategic force that has allowed millions of people to live in freedom.

House Speaker Paul Ryan invoked a bygone rule usually cited when members of one party refrain from attacking a president of the other.

‘I subscribe to the view that we should not be criticizing our president while he’s overseas,’ Ryan said.

‘NATO is indispensable. It is as important today as it ever has been,’ Ryan said in defense of the organization Trump went after.

Germany’s defense minister told CNBC after Trump’s assault on her country on Wednesday that two weeks ago she had occasion to visit the United States and was reassured by her conversations with American lawmakers of the strength of the trans-Atlantic alliance.

‘The president is as the president is. We know him and we can cope with that,’ Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen told CNBC from outside of NATO’s headquarters. ‘This rhetoric also leads us to remember that a lot is at stake.’

Von der Leyen said that generations that came of age after WWII have taken peace for granted. ‘Now, we have to fight for democracy. We have to secure our international order, our peace architecture,’ she said.

It was Trump who had arrived in Brussels on the defense on Tuesday after the EU Council’s head berated him at an off-site event that was attached to the NATO summit.

Trump had signaled in early morning tweets on Tuesday that foreign leaders could expect a reckoning when he sees them this week over the ‘unfair’ burden on the U.S. taxpayer to carry the cost of Europe’s protection.

He was met with an immediate brush-back from European Council chief Donald Tusk, who said at a signing of a joint declaration between the Brussels-based security alliance and the body of EU nations that Trump should be more careful with his taunts.

‘America does not have and will not have a better ally than Europe. Today Europeans spend on defense many times more than Russia and as much as China,’ he said in remarks that were addressed to Trump.  ‘And I think you can have no doubt, Mr. President, that this is an investment in common American and European defense and security.’

Then, in the toughest challenge yet to the U.S. president, Tusk said: ‘America: appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many.’

U.S. President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday that European leaders can expect a reckoning when he sees them this week in Brussels at the NATO summit and faced an immediate brush-back from European Council President Donald Tusk

U.S. President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday that European leaders can expect a reckoning when he sees them this week in Brussels at the NATO summit and faced an immediate brush-back from European Council President Donald Tusk

Trump signaled in early morning tweets that foreign leaders can expect a reckoning when he sees them this week in Brussels at the NATO summit over the 'unfair' burden on the U.S. taxpayer to pay for Europe's protection. He's seen here in May of 2017 at a working dinner at last year's NATO gathering

Trump fired back minutes later as he left the White House en route to NATO.

‘We do have a lot of allies. But we cannot be taken advantage of. We’re being taken advantage of by the European Union,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘We lost $151 billion last year on trade, and on top of that we spend at least 70 per cent for NATO, and frankly it helps them a lot more than it helps us. So we’ll see what happens.

Trump had invited the challenge in the lead-up to the alliance’s summertime summit by pillorying NATO member nations in almost-day tirades.

Just prior to Tusk’s comments on Tuesday, Trump complained that the United States is bearing the brunt of the 29-nation security alliance’s costs and said that it’s not fair to Americans, especially when the U.S. is getting hosed in economic markets.

‘The U.S. is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer,’ he griped. ‘On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union. Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!’

After Tusk’s slap at him — which the EU Council leader also tweeted at Trump — the president doubled down on his position, saying, ‘NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!’

Trump woke up early on Tuesday chagrined about the United States' trade relationship with allies that are part of the Brussels-based security and their lacking contributions to NATO's defense fund

Tusk fired back at Trump from NATO's new headquarter city of Brussels: 'America: appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many'

Tusk had acknowledged in his remarks that European countries need to step up their contributions.

‘Everyone expects an ally that is well-prepared and equipped,’ he said.

The EU Council chief assessed that ‘money is important’ yet said that ‘genuine solidarity is even more important.’

‘Speaking about solidarity, I want to dispel the American president’s argument which says that the U.S. alone protects Europe against our enemies, and threat the U.S. is almost alone in this struggle,’ he said in a repudiation of Trump’s statements.

Tusk argued that Europe ‘was first to respond on a large scale’ when terrorists attacked the U.S. on 9/11. He further noted that European soldiers have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in Afghanistan.

But Trump refused to climb down from his position as he spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning local time from the White House’s South Lawn.

‘NATO has not treated us fairly, but I think we’ll work something out. We pay far too much and they pay far too little,’ he said. ‘But we will work it out and all countries will be happy.’

He acknowledged that the relationship between the U.S. and many of its traditional allies had soured in the nearly 18 months since he took office. He said a meeting next week with the Russian president may be the ‘easiest’ leg of his four-nation visit to Europe.

Trump refused to climb down from his position as he spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning local time from the White House's South Lawn. 'NATO has not treated us fairly...We pay far too much and they pay far too little'

Trump had invited the challenge in the lead-up to the alliance's summertime summit by pillorying NATO member nations in almost-day tirades

With Trump in the air, it was his NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison who was left to do the talking for him at a news conference where Trump’s flattery of Putin and his disagreements with Merkel and Tusk came up.

Hutchison told reporters that Trump backs Article 5 of NATO’s charter, which specifies that an attack on one is an attack on all.

‘He is committed to Article 5 protection just as it is in he NATO charter,’ she told press who arrived at the NATO summit in advance of the U.S. president.

She also stressed that ‘the importance of unity in NATO is what makes us different’ from other alliances that the U.S. and Europe are a part of.

‘I will say that in all of the disagreements that have happened between President Trump and the United States’ position and the EU,’ Hutchsion said, ‘our allies in NATO have remained steadfastly focused on the NATO issues, and we are in agreement, we are in unity on our security issues, and we are an alliance that has performed better, increasing our capabilities.’

Hutchison said that while Trump is hard on Germany, he believes he is ‘pulling them toward us, not away from us.’

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (second from left) arrives for a NATO summit in Brussels with her entourage

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arrive at the Alliance's headquarters ahead of the NATO summit

At a news conference just before Hutchison’s, Stoltenberg had thanked Trump for the push as he informally kicking off the 2018 summit.

‘It is clearly having an impact,’ he said. ‘We estimate that European allies and Canada will add an extra $266 billion USD to defense between now and 2024. This is significant.’

Stoltenberg said that eight countries are on track to hit their contribution targets this year compared to three in 2014.

At the presser he said he was confident that leaders would be able to put their differences over trade aside as they have done in the past, because NATO has a good story to tell.

When it comes to defense spending, he said, it is true that the burden sharing has not been fairly distributed. That is why Canada and European nations that are part of the alliance are stepping up their donations.

‘I would not be surprised if we had robust discussions at the summit, including on defense spending,’ he said. ‘Different views are common between friends and allies.’

Just how robust they would get, even he did not seem to have imagined. The NATO secretary general was pummeled in his Wednesday morning breakfast by a fired-up Trump.

Trump indicated Tuesday that he was chagrined about the United States’ trade relationship with allies that are part of the Brussels-based security organization NATO and intended to make their contributions to its defense fund the focal point of his conversations in Belgium.

The president directly linked the the trade discrepancies that inspired his heavy metal tariffs in tweets that contradicted his NATO ambassador's assessment a day prior that the policies should be evaluated separately from one another. He's pictured here talking to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in June at the G7 summit

Just 16 countries are on track to meet the agreed upon spending obligation of 2 percent GDP, the United States has said, in accordance with a 2014 pact. That’s roughly half of NATO’s 29 members.

In tweets on Monday, President Trump berated the rest for relying on America for protection while at the same time running massive trade deficits with the U.S.

The president directly linked the trade discrepancies that inspired his heavy tariffs on metal imports to Western security in tweets that contradicted his NATO ambassador’s assessment a day prior that the policies should be evaluated separately from one another.

‘NATO benefits Europe far more than it does the U.S. By some accounts, the U.S. is paying for 90% of NATO, with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitments,’ Trump said. ‘On top of this the European Union has a Trade Surplus of $151 Million with the U.S., with big Trade Barriers on U.S. goods. NO!’

The president put trade on the table in talks that begin Wednesday in Brussels with the tweets that he continued to send even after he had departed the U.S. for Belgium.

His trip to Brussels was proving to be a repeat of the testy confrontation he had with leaders from allied nations in June at the G7 summit in Charlevoix.

He butted heads with them on trade in Canada, also, complaining in conversations that NATO is ‘much too costly for the U.S’ and almost as bad as the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In Belgium, he was due to come face-to-face with Canada’s Justin Trudeau for the first time since senior aides to Trump accused the prime minister of trying to sabotage the American president’s Singapore summit.

He was also assured to have an uncomfortable encounter with Germany’s long-running chancellor, Merkel.

He put on the table in talks that begin Wednesday in Brussels with the tweets that kicked off a day that was supposed to be focused on his Supreme Court appointment on Monday

TRUMP’S AGENDA IN BRUSSELS

President Trump arrives in Brussels on Tuesday evening local time July 10.

He begins his Wednesday with a bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. His secretaries of defense and state and his national security adviser will also participate in the conversation.

Trump will next meet with the United States’ Brussels missions’ staff and families, as is customary for a U.S. president when visiting foreign countries.

Later on Wednesday he will attend an opening ceremony at the NATO headquarters. There, he will meet privately with unknown heads of government.

He will attend a working dinner that evening with fellow leaders.

Wednesday morning leaders will participate in meeting with the presidents of Georgia and Ukraine.

An Afghan strategy session follows.

Trump departs Belgium on Wednesday afternoon for London, where he has a working visit with Prime Minister Theresa May and an audience with the queen before a weekend in Scotland.

He caps his trip to Europe with a stop in Helsinki, Finland, for a summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

He will also likely to be pressed on a decision to conclude his trip to Europe with a tacked-on stop in Finland to negotiate with NATO nemesis and Russian head of state Putin.

The president who has groused since he was a candidate about NATO burden sharing was expected to put pressure of his own on member nations in Brussels to meet the soft goal of 2 percent GDP for defense spending. The guideline was agreed to by the group years before he took office.

‘The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable. While these countries have been increasing their contributions since I took office, they must do much more. Germany is at 1%, the U.S. is at 4%,’ Trump harped in a message on Monday.

He has singled out Germany as a violator incessantly. His defense secretary recently put a microscope on spending by the contribution-abiding U.K. in a new twist of the knife, as well.

Trump hammered Germany at a Thursday evening rally, in Montana, where he claimed that he told Merkel that he believes Europe is benefited more by the security alliance because of its proximity to Russia than the U.S.

He repeated the charge in tweets on Monday in which he again brought up the EU’s trade deficit with the United States.

A day prior, Hutchison, had insisted on Fox News that trade and security were not related and should not be a subject of NATO talks.

‘One thing I will say is that in all of the disagreements that we have seen at the G7 and with allies with whom we are now having trade talks and negotiations and tariffs, that has not come up in the NATO context,’ she stated. ‘Our diplomats are professional and they are staying on our NATO issues, where we are 100 percent allied.’

An outside view of the NATO building is seen at the NATO's new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The security organization has its annual summit in Belgium this week

An outside view of the NATO building is seen at the NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The security organization has its annual summit in Belgium this week

She said prior to the summit that Russia’s ‘malign activities’ and a ‘rising China’ would be the foremost topics.

The president on Friday slapped $34 billion in tariffs on China that were aimed at reducing a trade deficit with the country that the U.S. has also accused of rampant and intentional intellectual property violations. He said Tuesday that he intends to hit Beijing with $200 billion more in penalties.

He is also said to have told France’s Macron that the EU is worse than China on trade in some ways when they met in Canada last month.

The rift over trade and the president’s planned talks with Putin set the stage for more tension in Belgium.

Hucthison pointed out on Sunday that Trump’s way of doing business had been effective, though, pointing to increased contributions to NATO since he took office.

‘NATO really is making progress and they are doing it really at President Trump’s insistence, and I think that it’s very clear, and he’s been very direct about the Europeans needing to do more for their own security,’ she said. ‘Every ally is now increasing defense spending.’

Trump’s liaison to NATO said, ‘We’ve had the largest increase in defense spending since the Cold War. And in the year and a half since President Trump has been in office, it has doubled since 2014.

‘So, I think he is making an impact and I think that the Europeans, including Chancellor Merkel just recently who has said we are going to do more,’ she said. ‘We need to do more, it’s the right thing to do and she is encouraging her Bundestag, her parliament, to increase the defense budget so that we will be more fit for purpose in NATO for the fights that we want to deter.’

A day prior, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hucthison, had insisted on Fox News that trade and security were not related and should not be a subject of NATO talks

Merkel said last month in a speech to parliament that she anticipates ‘very difficult’ talks in Brussels in a reference to the increasingly complicated relationship between Germany and the United States in the era of Donald Trump.

‘It is no secret that the transatlantic alliance is under strain at the moment but we are convinced that the alliance remains central to our common security,’ the European leader stated.

Trump hit back at her on Thursday evening, saying in remarks at a campaign event for a U.S. Senate candidate that Europe is killing America on trade and paying Russia billions for oil and gas all while complaining that it needs protection from Putin and his military.

‘We’re paying anywhere from 70- to 90-percent to protect Europe. And that’s fine. Of course, they kill us on trade. They kill us on other things,’ he proclaimed. ‘So they want to protect against Russia, yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia and we’re the schmucks paying for the whole thing.’

The president said he told Merkel in an undated conversation that he couldn’t commit to protecting Germany from Putin’s army.

‘Putin is fine. He’s fine. We’re all people,’ he said. ‘Will I be prepared? I’ve been preparing for this stuff all my life.’

Hutchison said Sunday that she does not agree with the president’s assessment of Putin. She said Trump is right, however, to engage with the former KGB spy who has personally been accused by the U.S. of directing a scheme to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.

‘We should be talking to Vladimir Putin and many of our allied nations do as well,’ she said. ‘But it is to try to bring them in the tent instead of just constantly seeing them do these things that are attempting to disrupt us, but will not.’

She claimed on Tuesday at a news conference that Trump was saying at his rally that he was ‘not certain’ that Germany could pay out more money to NATO, not that he was unclear about the United States’ continued ability to protect the ally from Russia. Trump promptly contradicted her Wednesday when he indicated that’s exactly what he meant during his breakfast with Stoltenberg.

Germany’s defense minister, von der Leyen, said Wednesday on CNBC that Trump is right that Germany needs to increase its defense contribution — and said that it has.

The German official said her country also backs Trump’s summit next week with Putin.

‘It is good that he talking to President Putin,’ she said. ‘We have a lot of issues with Russia without question, but it’s good to be in a dialogue.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5941337/Germany-captive-Russia-Trump-dresses-NATOs-secretary-general-Brussels.html

The LNG supply chain

What is LNG ?

LNG, which stands for Liquefied Natural Gas, is natural gas that has been converted to a liquid state by cooling to below -163°C. In this form, it occupies 600 times less space than before cooling, while retaining the same calorific value. This makes transport much easier.

Setting up a LNG chain requires investment in several types of facility:

– Exploration, to detect deposits of natural gas (which are generally discovered during oil exploration operations) and extraction/production

– Storage then liquefaction, to convert the natural gas from “gaseous” to “liquid” form in which it can be transported by tanker

– Transportation by special vessels called LNG tankers

– Storage then regasification, to restore the natural gas to its gaseous form, in which it can be transmitted through pipelines for consumption by end customers.

The differents steps of a LNG supply chain

 

The history of LNG

Natural gas liquefaction was developed in the 19th century by the British chemist and physicist Michael Faraday, who experimented with liquefying several gases, including natural gas. The first liquefaction plant was built in the United States in 1917. The first commercial operation began in 1941, again in the US. In January 1959, a former World War II cargo ship was converted into a tanker, the Methane Pioneer, to carry LNG between Lake Charles (Louisiana, USA) and Canvey Island (UK). Long-distance LNG transportation had become a reality. The 7 deliveries made in the following 14 months suffered only minor technical problems. Following this success, the British Gas Council decided to set up a commercial route between Venezuela and Canvey Island. In 1964, the UK became the first LNG importer, and Algeria the first exporter. Subsequently, several countries became interested in this new supply technique, including France, which built its first LNG terminal at Le Havre in 1965 (dismantled in 1989). The terminals of Fos-Tonkin (1972), Montoir-de-Bretagne (1980), Fos-Cavaou (2010) and Dunkerque (2016) are all part of the strategy to diversify national and European natural gas supplies.

sharelngimports

Share of LNG among the total of natural gas imports in France in 2014

Worldwide, there are currently 26 liquefaction terminals in 16 countries, and 95 regasification terminals in 33 countries. Furthermore, there are plans for several both liquefaction and regasification terminals: if some of these projects  will never be built, other are under construction.

 

The LNG supply chain

A LNG supply chain is made up of 4 interdependent segments: exploration/production, liquefaction, transportation and regasification. Each of these segments has its own specific industrial processes and involves specific rules and participants.

1. Exploration – production

At the heart of this essential activity, specialists analyse geological structure to identify areas that may contain hydrocarbons. They carry out special tests, such as seismic analysis, to confirm their initial assessments. Drilling is undertaken when there is a high probability of discovering gas (or oil). If the well is viable (after a series of tests, measurements and additional drilling), it can go into production.

2. Liquefaction

The natural gas extracted from the deposit is filtered and purified, so as not to damage equipment during the conversion from gas to liquid, and in order to meet the specifications of the importing regions. This means that the liquefaction process produces a natural gas with a methane content close to 100%. Liquefaction plants often consist of several installations arranged in parallel, called “liquefaction trains”. The liquefaction process reduces the volume of gas by a factor of around 600, in other words 1 cubic metre of LNG at -163°C has the same energy content as 600 cubic metres of “gaseous” gas at ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure. The density of LNG is around 45% that of water.

3. LNG transportation

LNG tankers are double-hulled ships specially designed to prevent hull leaks and ruptures in the event of accident. The LNG is stored in tanks (generally 4 to 5 per tanker) at a temperature of -163°C and at atmospheric pressure. There are currently 3 types of LNG carrier, each corresponding to a different tank design: membrane tanks, spherical tanks and IHI Prismatic tanks. In 2009, carriers with membrane tanks accounted for more than 60% of world LNG transportation capacity, and more than 85% of orders. This is so far the only technology which allows the construction of large capacity carriers such as the Q-flex (210,000 cu. m.) and Q-max (260,000 cu. m.) vessels.

Chaine-GNL-31

 

Interior of a membrane type tank in an LNG carrier (Source: GTT)

 

4. Storage and regasification

Once received and offloaded, the liquefied natural gas is returned to cryogenic storage tanks – usually varying in capacity from 100,000 to 160,000 cubic meters, depending on the site – where it is kept at a temperature of -163°C prior to regasification. Regasification consists of gradually warming the gas back up to a temperature of over 0°C. It is done under high pressures of 60 to 100 bar, usually in a series of seawater percolation heat exchangers, the most energy efficient technique when water of the right quality is available. An alternative method is to burn some of the gas to provide heat. On its way out of the terminal, the gas undergoes any treatment processes needed to bring its characteristics in line with regulatory and end-user requirements. Its heating value, for example, may be tweaked by altering nitrogen, butane or propane content or blending it with other gases.

 

Exporting and importing countries

image1

The LNG importing countries can be divided into 2 markets: the Atlantic Basin and the Pacific Basin. The Pacific Basin comprises countries along the Pacific and in South Asia (including India). The Atlantic Basin covers Europe, North and West Africa and the Atlantic coast of the American continent.

The Pacific Basin market emerged in the 1990s, at a time when demand in some Asian countries increased significantly (mainly Japan and South Korea). LNG represented an alternative to oil, and the goal was to maintain security of supply even at relatively high cost. The Atlantic Basin market emerged later in the 1990s, for reasons of security of supply and also in anticipation of a fall in some countries’ domestic reserves.

We can note that there are less and less exporting countries. Thus, in 2015 there were 17 exporting countries whereas there were 19 in 2014.

LNG exports (Source: IGU “2016 World LNG Report”)

 

In contrast to the declining number of exporters, the number of importers is growing. In 2015, there were 34 LNG importing countries. Although it tends to import lower LNG quatities, Japan remains the world’s biggest LNG importer, followed by South Korea. The reason is that those countries – just like a great part of Asia-Pacific region –  are extremely dependent on LNG for their gas consumption.

LNG imports (Source: IGU “2016 World LNG Report”)

 

https://www.gasinfocus.com/en/focus/the-lng-supply-chain/

 

Trump and Merkel clash at fraught NATO summit

Damon WAKE

,

AFP

US President Donald Trump traded barbs with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a tense NATO summit Wednesday after he accused Berlin of being “captive” to Russia and demanded it immediately step up defence spending.

The two-day meet in Brussels is shaping up as the alliance’s most difficult in years, with Europe and the US engaged in a bitter trade spat and Trump demanding that NATO allies “reimburse” Washington for defending the continent.

Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, shot back that she knew what it meant to be under Kremlin domination and Germany had the right to make its own policy choices.

European alliance members were braced for criticism from Trump on defence spending, but his blistering attack on Germany at a breakfast meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg took the summit by surprise.

“Germany is a captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump said, taking particular aim at the proposed Nord Stream II gas pipeline, which he has previously criticised.

“Everybody’s talking about it all over the world, they’re saying we’re paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia.”

Video: Trump Attends NATO Summit Amid Tense Relations With Allies

For more news videos visit Yahoo View.  

Merkel ramped up the febrile atmosphere of the summit with a sharp reply on arriving at NATO HQ.

“I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being controlled by the Soviet Union,” she said.

“I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions.”

The pair later met for a one-on-one meeting and while Trump insisted they had a “very very good relationship”, their frosty body language suggested otherwise.

Merkel said she welcomed the chance to have an “exchange of views” with Trump.

– ‘Step it up’ –

Trump has long complained that European NATO members do not pay enough for their own defence, singling out Germany for particular criticism.

NATO allies agreed at a summit in Wales in 2014 to move towards spending two percent of GDP on defence by 2024. But Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, spends just 1.24 percent, compared with 3.5 percent for the US.

“These countries have to step it up — not over a 10 year period, they have to step it up immediately,” Trump said.

“We’re protecting Germany, France and everybody… this has been going on for decades,” Trump said. “We can’t put up with it and it’s inappropriate.”

Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in “very direct language” but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO’s resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally.

NATO officials and diplomats will try to promote an image of unity at the summit in the face of growing unease about the threat from Russia, but with the row between Merkel and Trump it may prove difficult to paper over the cracks.

The mercurial tycoon said before leaving Washington that his meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday “may be the easiest” part of his European tour, which also includes a trip to Britain, where the government is in crisis over Brexit.

– ‘Appreciate your allies’ –

Trump ramped up his rhetoric ahead of the talks, explicitly linking NATO with the transatlantic trade row by saying the EU shut out US business while expecting America to defend it.

EU President Donald Tusk stepped up to the fight with his own salvo against Trump on Tuesday, telling him to “appreciate your allies” and reminding him Washington that Europe had come to its aid following the 9/11 attacks.

European diplomats fear a repeat of last month’s divisive G7 in Canada, when Trump clashed with his Western allies before meeting North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un at a summit and praising him as “very talented”.

There have been fears that Trump, keen to be seen to make a breakthrough with the Kremlin strongman, might make concessions in his meeting with Putin that would weaken Western unity over issues such as Ukraine and Syria.

US ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison urged allies to look beyond Trump’s rhetoric and focus on the summit declaration for the alliance’s future work — which the US is expected to back.

And she said she expected Trump to recommit to one of the founding articles of NATO — Article 5 — which holds that an attack on one member is an attack on them all.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-slams-captive-germany-nato-summit-081237901.html

NATO Funding and Burdensharing
May 19, 2017 (IN10704)
|
Related Author
Paul Belkin
|
Paul Belkin, Analyst in European Affairs (pbelkin@crs.loc.gov, 7-0220)
President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with NATO heads of state and government in Brussels on May 25, 2017.
This will be the President’s first collective meeting with his counterparts from NATO’s other 27 member states.
President Trump is expected to continue to strongly urge NATO members to increase defense spending and enhance
military capabilities.

For numerous reasons—not least the United States’ status as the world’s preeminent military power—U.S. defense
spending levels long have been significantly higher than those of any other NATO ally. Since NATO’s founding,
successive U.S. Administrations have characterized a steadfast U.S. commitment to NATO as essential to advancing a
key U.S. security interest: peace and stability in Europe. Nevertheless, the relative imbalance in defense spending and
military capabilities within NATO has long fueled concerns about burdensharing and European allies’ reliance on U.S.
defense guarantees.

NATO members contribute to the alliance financially in various ways. The most fundamental way is by funding, in
members’ individual national defense budgets, the deployment of their respective armed forces to support NATO
missions.

NATO member states also fund NATO’s annual budget of about $2.5 billion. National contributions fund the day-to-day
operations of NATO headquarters, as well as some collective NATO military assets and infrastructure. The U.S. share
of these so-called common-funded budgets is currently about 22%, followed by Germany (15%), France (11%), and the
United Kingdom (UK; 10%).

Defense Spending Targets
As signatories of NATO’s founding North Atlantic Treaty, member states commit to “maintain and develop their
individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack” (Article 3) and, in the case of an armed attack against one or
more allies, to take “such action as [they] deem necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the
security of the North Atlantic area” (Article 5). However, decisions about individual national contributions to specific
NATO missions are essentially voluntary.

In 2006, NATO members agreed informally to aim to allocate at least 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) to their
national defense budgets annually and to devote at least 20% of national defense expenditure to research and
development and procurement. These targets were formalized at NATO’s 2014 Wales Summit, when the allies pledged
to “halt any decline in defence expenditure” and to “aim to move towards the 2% guideline within a decade.” The 2%
and 20% spending targets are intended to guide national defense spending by individual NATO members; they do not
refer to contributions made directly to NATO.

Most analysts agree that the 2% spending figure “does not represent any type of critical threshold or ‘tipping point’ in
terms of defence capabilities.” The target is considered politically and symbolically important, however. NATO does
not impose sanctions on countries that fail to meet the target.

In 2016, 5 allies met or exceeded the 2% target (Estonia, Greece, Poland, the UK, and the United States); 10 allies met
or exceeded the 20% target (France, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Turkey, the UK, and the
United States); and 3 allies met both targets (Poland, the UK, and the United States).

NATO figures for 2015 indicate that if every ally were to have met the 2% benchmark, the aggregate sum of NATO
members’ national defense budgets would have increased by about $100 billion (from $891 billion to $989 billion).
Although most analysts agree that such an increase could benefit the alliance significantly, many stress that how
additional resources are invested is equally, if not more, important. Critics note, for example, that an ally spending less
than 2% of GDP on defense could have more modern, effective military capabilities than an ally that meets the 2%
target but allocates most of that funding to personnel costs and relatively little to procurement and modernization.
Defense Spending Trends and Future Prospects
NATO and U.S. officials say they are encouraged that many allies have bolstered their defense budgets in recent years,
largely in response to Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. According to NATO, in 2016, 23 allies increased defense
spending compared to 2015, in real terms. NATO officials expect at least three more allies (Latvia, Lithuania, and
Romania) to meet the 2% guideline in 2017 or 2018. Other allied governments, including France and Germany, have
reiterated their commitment to meeting the 2% target by 2024.
Nevertheless, ongoing fiscal challenges facing many European governments and broad public skepticism of military
action could impede some allies’ plans to increase defense spending. To help stretch existing defense resources, NATO
and U.S. leaders have called for more progress on allied defense cooperation initiatives, including the joint acquisition
of shared capabilities.

U.S. Policy and Considerations for Congress
U.S. calls for increased allied defense spending are not new, but the Trump Administration has approached the issue
more stridently than its predecessors. Defense Secretary James Mattis’s suggestion in February 2017 that the United
States could moderate its commitment to NATO if spending increases are not forthcoming caused particular concern
within the alliance, given that past U.S. Administrations had never linked spending levels to the U.S. commitment to
NATO to this degree.

Trump Administration officials have acknowledged the upward trend in allied defense spending but also have indicated
that they will continue to seek more specific commitments to achieve NATO targets.
U.S. concerns about defense spending and burdensharing raise several broader policy questions related to the nature and
scope of U.S. commitments to NATO and the appropriate U.S. military presence in Europe that could be of interest to
Congress, including the following:
How does NATO membership advance U.S. national security interests? Some analysts argue that a robust U.S.
commitment to NATO and force presence in Europe continues to advance key U.S. national security interests,
especially given recent Russian aggression in Europe. Others contend that the U.S. commitment to European security
could be scaled back to ensure greater European contributions.

Is the 2% defense spending target the best means to enhance allied military capabilities? Some analysts argue that
NATO should focus more on ensuring more effective defense spending than on increasing aggregate defense spending,
including through pooling and sharing of defense resources. Others counter that effective defense cooperation requires
minimum defense spending levels.

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/IN10704.pdf

NATO

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Organisation du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord
NATO OTAN landscape logo.svg

Logo
Flag of NATO.svg

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (orthographic projection).svg

Member states of NATO
Abbreviation NATO, OTAN
Formation 4 April 1949; 69 years ago
Type Military alliance
Headquarters BrusselsBelgium
Membership
Official language
English
French[1]
Jens Stoltenberg
Air Chief MarshalStuart PeachRoyal Air Force
General Curtis ScaparrottiUnited States Army
Général Denis MercierFrench Air Force
Expenses (2017) US$946 billion[2]
Website NATO.int

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO /ˈnt/FrenchOrganisation du Traité de l’Atlantique NordOTAN), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The alliance is based on the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.[3][4] NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO Headquarters are located in HarenBrusselsBelgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near MonsBelgium.

NATO was little more than a political association until the Korean War galvanized the organization’s member states, and an integrated military structure was built up under the direction of two US Supreme Commanders. The course of the Cold War led to a rivalry with nations of the Warsaw Pact which formed in 1955. Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defense against a prospective Soviet invasion—doubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of France from NATO’s military structure in 1966 for 30 years. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany in 1989, the organization conducted its first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and later Yugoslavia in 1999 during the breakup of Yugoslavia.[5] Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Warsaw Pact countries, several of which joined the alliance in 1999 and 2004.

Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack, was invoked for the first and only time after the September 11 attacks,[6] after which troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF. The organization has operated a range of additional roles since then, including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations[7] and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which merely invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked five times following incidents in the Iraq WarSyrian Civil War, and annexation of Crimea.

Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 29. The most recent member state to be added to NATO is Montenegro on 5 June 2017. NATO currently recognizes Bosnia and HerzegovinaGeorgiaMacedonia and Ukraine as aspiring members.[8] An additional 21 countries participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total.[9] Members’ defense spending is supposed to amount to at least 2% of GDP by 2024.[10]

History

Beginnings

Eleven men in suits stand around a large desk at which another man is signing a document.

The North Atlantic Treaty was signed by US President Harry S. Truman in Washington, on 4 April 1949 and was ratified by the United States in August 1949.

The Treaty of Brussels was a mutual defence treaty against the Soviet threat at the start of the Cold War. It was signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom. It was the precursor to NATO. The Soviet threat became immediate with the Berlin Blockade in 1948, leading to the creation of a multinational defence organization, the Western Union Defence Organisation, in September 1948.[11] However, the parties were too weak militarily to counter the Soviet Armed Forces. In addition, the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d’état by the Communists had overthrown a democratic government and British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevinreiterated that the best way to prevent another Czechoslovakia was to evolve a joint Western military strategy. He got a receptive hearing in the United States, especially considering American anxiety over Italy (and the Italian Communist Party).[12]

In 1948, European leaders met with US defence, military and diplomatic officials at the Pentagon, under US Secretary of State George C. Marshall‘s orders, exploring a framework for a new and unprecedented association.[13] Talks for a new military alliance resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed by US President Harry S. Truman in Washington on 4 April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states plus the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.[14] The first NATO Secretary GeneralLord Ismay, stated in 1949 that the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”.[15] Popular support for the Treaty was not unanimous, and some Icelanders participated in a pro-neutrality, anti-membership riot in March 1949. The creation of NATO can be seen as the primary institutional consequence of a school of thought called Atlanticism which stressed the importance of trans-Atlantic cooperation.[16]

The members agreed that an armed attack against any one of them in Europe or North America would be considered an attack against them all. Consequently, they agreed that, if an armed attack occurred, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence, would assist the member being attacked, taking such action as it deemed necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. The treaty does not require members to respond with military action against an aggressor. Although obliged to respond, they maintain the freedom to choose the method by which they do so. This differs from Article IV of the Treaty of Brussels, which clearly states that the response will be military in nature. It is nonetheless assumed that NATO members will aid the attacked member militarily. The treaty was later clarified to include both the member’s territory and their “vessels, forces or aircraft” above the Tropic of Cancer, including some overseas departments of France.[17]

The creation of NATO brought about some standardization of allied military terminology, procedures, and technology, which in many cases meant European countries adopting US practices. The roughly 1300 Standardization Agreements (STANAG) codified many of the common practices that NATO has achieved. Hence, the 7.62×51mm NATO rifle cartridge was introduced in the 1950s as a standard firearm cartridge among many NATO countries.[18] Fabrique Nationale de Herstal‘s FAL, which used the 7.62mm NATO cartridge, was adopted by 75 countries, including many outside of NATO.[19] Also, aircraft marshalling signals were standardized, so that any NATO aircraft could land at any NATO base. Other standards such as the NATO phonetic alphabet have made their way beyond NATO into civilian use.[20]

Cold War

The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 was crucial for NATO as it raised the apparent threat of all Communist countries working together and forced the alliance to develop concrete military plans.[21] Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) was formed to direct forces in Europe, and began work under Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower in January 1951.[22] In September 1950, the NATO Military Committee called for an ambitious buildup of conventional forces to meet the Soviets, subsequently reaffirming this position at the February 1952 meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Lisbon. The Lisbon conference, seeking to provide the forces necessary for NATO’s Long-Term Defence Plan, called for an expansion to ninety-six divisions. However this requirement was dropped the following year to roughly thirty-five divisions with heavier use to be made of nuclear weapons. At this time, NATO could call on about fifteen ready divisions in Central Europe, and another ten in Italy and Scandinavia.[23][24] Also at Lisbon, the post of Secretary General of NATO as the organization’s chief civilian was created, and Lord Ismay was eventually appointed to the post.[25]

Two soldiers crouch under a tree while a tank sits on a road in front of them.

The German Bundeswehr provided the largest element of the allied land forces guarding the frontier in Central Europe.

In September 1952, the first major NATO maritime exercises began; Exercise Mainbrace brought together 200 ships and over 50,000 personnel to practice the defence of Denmark and Norway.[26] Other major exercises that followed included Exercise Grand Slam and Exercise Longstep, naval and amphibious exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, Italic Weld, a combined air-naval-ground exercise in northern Italy, Grand Repulse, involving the British Army on the Rhine (BAOR), the Netherlands Corps and Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AAFCE), Monte Carlo, a simulated atomic air-ground exercise involving the Central Army Group, and Weldfast, a combined amphibious landing exercise in the Mediterranean Sea involving American, British, Greek, Italian and Turkish naval forces.[27]

Greece and Turkey also joined the alliance in 1952, forcing a series of controversial negotiations, in which the United States and Britain were the primary disputants, over how to bring the two countries into the military command structure.[22] While this overt military preparation was going on, covert stay-behind arrangements initially made by the Western European Union to continue resistance after a successful Soviet invasion, including Operation Gladio, were transferred to NATO control. Ultimately unofficial bonds began to grow between NATO’s armed forces, such as the NATO Tiger Association and competitions such as the Canadian Army Trophy for tank gunnery.[28][29]

A 1952 US postage stampcommemorating the third anniversary of NATO. Stamps honoring the organization were issued by many member countries.

In 1954, the Soviet Union suggested that it should join NATO to preserve peace in Europe.[30] The NATO countries, fearing that the Soviet Union’s motive was to weaken the alliance, ultimately rejected this proposal.

On 17 December 1954, the North Atlantic Council approved MC 48, a key document in the evolution of NATO nuclear thought. MC 48 emphasized that NATO would have to use atomic weapons from the outset of a war with the Soviet Union whether or not the Soviets chose to use them first. This gave SACEUR the same prerogatives for automatic use of nuclear weapons as existed for the commander-in-chief of the US Strategic Air Command.

The incorporation of West Germany into the organization on 9 May 1955 was described as “a decisive turning point in the history of our continent” by Halvard LangeForeign Affairs Minister of Norway at the time.[31] A major reason for Germany’s entry into the alliance was that without German manpower, it would have been impossible to field enough conventional forces to resist a Soviet invasion.[32] One of its immediate results was the creation of the Warsaw Pact, which was signed on 14 May 1955 by the Soviet Union, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, and East Germany, as a formal response to this event, thereby delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War.

Three major exercises were held concurrently in the northern autumn of 1957. Operation Counter PunchOperation Strikeback, and Operation Deep Water were the most ambitious military undertaking for the alliance to date, involving more than 250,000 men, 300 ships, and 1,500 aircraft operating from Norway to Turkey.[33]

French withdrawal

A map of France with red and blue markings indicating air force bases as of 1966.

Map of the NATO air bases in France before Charles de Gaulle‘s 1966 withdrawal from NATO military integrated command

NATO’s unity was breached early in its history with a crisis occurring during Charles de Gaulle‘s presidency of France.[34] De Gaulle protested against the United States’ strong role in the organization and what he perceived as a special relationship between it and the United Kingdom. In a memorandum sent to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on 17 September 1958, he argued for the creation of a tripartite directorate that would put France on an equal footing with the US and the UK.[35]

Considering the response to be unsatisfactory, de Gaulle began constructing an independent defence force for his country. He wanted to give France, in the event of an East German incursion into West Germany, the option of coming to a separate peace with the Eastern bloc instead of being drawn into a larger NATO–Warsaw Pact war.[36] In February 1959, France withdrew its Mediterranean Fleet from NATO command,[37] and later banned the stationing of foreign nuclear weapons on French soil. This caused the United States to transfer two hundred military aircraft out of France and return control of the air force bases that it had operated in France since 1950 to the French by 1967.

Though France showed solidarity with the rest of NATO during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, de Gaulle continued his pursuit of an independent defence by removing France’s Atlantic and Channel fleets from NATO command.[38] In 1966, all French armed forces were removed from NATO’s integrated military command, and all non-French NATO troops were asked to leave France. US Secretary of State Dean Rusk was later quoted as asking de Gaulle whether his order included “the bodies of American soldiers in France’s cemeteries?”[39] This withdrawal forced the relocation of SHAPE from Rocquencourt, near Paris, to Casteau, north of Mons, Belgium, by 16 October 1967.[40] France remained a member of the alliance, and committed to the defence of Europe from possible Warsaw Pact attack with its own forces stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany throughout the Cold War. A series of secret accords between US and French officials, the Lemnitzer–Ailleret Agreements, detailed how French forces would dovetail back into NATO’s command structure should East-West hostilities break out.[41]

When de Gaulle announced his decision to withdraw from the integrated NATO command, President Lyndon Johnson suggested that when de Gaulle “comes rushing down like a locomotive on the track, why the Germans and ourselves, we just stand aside and let him go on by, then we are back together again.”[42] The vision came true. France announced their return to full participation at the 2009 Strasbourg–Kehl summit.[43]

Détente and escalation

Two older men in suits sit next to each other, while a third stands behind leaning in to listen to the right man talk. US President Richard Nixon talked with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in 1973.

Détente led to many high level meetings between leaders from both NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

Wim van Eekelen, Minister of Defence of the Netherlands, greeting US soldiers arriving as they are deployed to NATO bases (1987).

During most of the Cold War, NATO’s watch against the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact did not actually lead to direct military action. On 1 July 1968, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature: NATO argued that its nuclear sharing arrangements did not breach the treaty as US forces controlled the weapons until a decision was made to go to war, at which point the treaty would no longer be controlling. Few states knew of the NATO nuclear sharing arrangements at that time, and they were not challenged. In May 1978, NATO countries officially defined two complementary aims of the Alliance, to maintain security and pursue détente. This was supposed to mean matching defences at the level rendered necessary by the Warsaw Pact’s offensive capabilities without spurring a further arms race.[44]

A map of Europe showing several countries on the left in blue, while ones on the right are in red. Other unaffiliated countries are in white.

During the Cold War, most of Europe was divided between two alliances. Members of NATO are shown in blue, with members of the Warsaw Pact in red, unaffiliated countries are in grey. Yugoslavia, although communist, had left the Soviet sphere in 1948, while Albania was only a Warsaw Pact member until 1968.

On 12 December 1979, in light of a build-up of Warsaw Pact nuclear capabilities in Europe, ministers approved the deployment of US GLCM cruise missiles and Pershing II theatre nuclear weapons in Europe. The new warheads were also meant to strengthen the western negotiating position regarding nuclear disarmament. This policy was called the Dual Track policy.[45] Similarly, in 1983–84, responding to the stationing of Warsaw Pact SS-20 medium-range missiles in Europe, NATO deployed modern Pershing II missiles tasked to hit military targets such as tank formations in the event of war.[46] This action led to peace movement protests throughout Western Europe, and support for the deployment wavered as many doubted whether the push for deployment could be sustained.

The membership of the organization at this time remained largely static. In 1974, as a consequence of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Greece withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure but, with Turkish cooperation, were readmitted in 1980[citation needed]. The Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina did not result in NATO involvement because article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty specifies that collective self-defence is only applicable to attacks on member state territories north of the Tropic of Cancer.[47] On 30 May 1982, NATO gained a new member when the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance; Spain’s membership was confirmed by referendum in 1986. At the peak of the Cold War, 16 member nations maintained an approximate strength of 5,252,800 active military, including as many as 435,000 forward deployed US forces, under a command structure that reached a peak of 78 headquarters, organized into four echelons.[48]

After the Cold War

The Revolutions of 1989 and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO and caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO’s purpose, nature, tasks, and their focus on the continent of Europe. This shift started with the 1990 signing in Paris of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe between NATO and the Soviet Union, which mandated specific military reductions across the continent that continued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.[49] At that time, European countries accounted for 34 percent of NATO’s military spending; by 2012, this had fallen to 21 percent.[50] NATO also began a gradual expansion to include newly autonomous Central and Eastern European nations, and extended its activities into political and humanitarian situations that had not formerly been NATO concerns.

Two men in suits sit signing documents at a large table in front of their country's flags. Two others stand outside watching them.

Reforms made under Mikhail Gorbachev led to the end of the Warsaw Pact.

The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with German reunification on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. This had been agreed in the Two Plus Four Treaty earlier in the year. To secure Soviet approval of a united Germany remaining in NATO, it was agreed that foreign troops and nuclear weapons would not be stationed in the east, and there are diverging views on whether negotiators gave commitments regarding further NATO expansion east.[51] Jack Matlock, American ambassador to the Soviet Union during its final years, said that the West gave a “clear commitment” not to expand, and declassified documents indicate that Soviet negotiators were given the impression that NATO membership was off the table for countries such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, or Poland.[52] Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the West German foreign minister at that time, said in a conversation with Eduard Shevardnadze that “[f]or us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.”[52] In 1996, Gorbachev wrote in his Memoirs, that “during the negotiations on the unification of Germany they gave assurances that NATO would not extend its zone of operation to the east,”[53] and repeated this view in an interview in 2008.[54] According to Robert Zoellick, a State Department official involved in the Two Plus Four negotiating process, this appears to be a misperception, and no formal commitment regarding enlargement was made.[55]

As part of post-Cold War restructuring, NATO’s military structure was cut back and reorganized, with new forces such as the Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps established. The changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union on the military balance in Europe were recognized in the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, which was signed in 1999. The policies of French President Nicolas Sarkozy resulted in a major reform of France’s military position, culminating with the return to full membership on 4 April 2009, which also included France rejoining the NATO Military Command Structure, while maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent.[41][56]

Enlargement and reform

A pale yellow building with square columns with three flags hanging in front and soldiers and dignitaries saluting them.

The NATO flag being raised in a ceremony marking Croatia‘s joining of the alliance in 2009.

Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its neighbors were set up, like the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. In 1998, the NATO–Russia Permanent Joint Council was established. On 8 July 1997, three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO, which each did in 1999. Membership went on expanding with the accession of seven more Central and Eastern European countries to NATO: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. They were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague summit, and joined NATO on 29 March 2004, shortly before the 2004 Istanbul summit. At that time, the decision was criticised in the US by many military, political and academic leaders as a “a policy error of historic proportions.”[57] According to George F. Kennan, an American diplomat and an advocate of the containment policy, this decision “may be expected to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”[58]

New NATO structures were also formed while old ones were abolished. In 1997, NATO reached agreement on a significant downsizing of its command structure from 65 headquarters to just 20.[59] The NATO Response Force (NRF) was launched at the 2002 Prague summit on 21 November, the first summit in a former Comecon country. On 19 June 2003, a further restructuring of the NATO military commands began as the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic were abolished and a new command, Allied Command Transformation (ACT), was established in Norfolk, United States, and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) became the Headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO). ACT is responsible for driving transformation (future capabilities) in NATO, whilst ACO is responsible for current operations.[60] In March 2004, NATO’s Baltic Air Policing began, which supported the sovereignty of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia by providing jet fighters to react to any unwanted aerial intrusions. Eight multinational jet fighters are based in Lithuania, the number of which was increased from four in 2014.[61] Also at the 2004 Istanbul summit, NATO launched the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with four Persian Gulf nations.[62]

Two older Caucasian men in black suits and red ties sit facing each other in a room with green, white, and gold trimmed walls.

Meetings between the government of Viktor Yushchenko and NATO leaders led to the Intensified Dialogue programme.

The 2006 Riga summit was held in Riga, Latvia, and highlighted the issue of energy security. It was the first NATO summit to be held in a country that had been part of the Soviet Union. At the April 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania, NATO agreed to the accession of Croatia and Albania and both countries joined NATO in April 2009. Ukraine and Georgia were also told that they could eventually become members.[63] The issue of Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO prompted harsh criticism from Russia, as did NATO plans for a missile defence system. Studies for this system began in 2002, with negotiations centered on anti-ballistic missiles being stationed in Poland and the Czech Republic. Though NATO leaders gave assurances that the system was not targeting Russia, both presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev criticized it as a threat.[64]

In 2009, US President Barack Obama proposed using the ship-based Aegis Combat System, though this plan still includes stations being built in Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Romania, and Poland.[65] NATO will also maintain the “status quo” in its nuclear deterrent in Europe by upgrading the targeting capabilities of the “tactical” B61 nuclear bombs stationed there and deploying them on the stealthier Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.[66][67] Following the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia, NATO committed to forming a new “spearhead” force of 5,000 troops at bases in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.[68][69]

The Russian intervention in Crimea in 2014 lead to strong condemnation by NATO nations, and Poland invoked Article 4 meetings.[70] At the subsequent 2014 Wales summit, the leaders of NATO’s member states reaffirmed their pledge to spend the equivalent of at least 2% of their gross domestic products on defence by 2024.[71] In 2015, five of its 28 members met that goal.[72][73][74] On 15 June 2016, NATO officially recognized cyberwarfare as an operational domain of war, just like land, sea and aerial warfare. This means that any cyber attack on NATO members can trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.[75] Montenegro became the 29th and newest member of NATO on 5 June 2017, amid strong objections from Russia.[76][77]

Military operations

Early operations

No military operations were conducted by NATO during the Cold War. Following the end of the Cold War, the first operations, Anchor Guard in 1990 and Ace Guard in 1991, were prompted by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Airborne early warning aircraft were sent to provide coverage of southeastern Turkey, and later a quick-reaction force was deployed to the area.[78]

Bosnia and Herzegovina intervention

A fighter jet with AV marked on its tail takes off from a mountain runway.

NATO planes engaged in aerial bombardments during Operation Deliberate Force after the Srebrenica massacre.

The Bosnian War began in 1992, as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia. The deteriorating situation led to United Nations Security Council Resolution 816 on 9 October 1992, ordering a no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina, which NATO began enforcing on 12 April 1993 with Operation Deny Flight. From June 1993 until October 1996, Operation Sharp Guard added maritime enforcement of the arms embargo and economic sanctionsagainst the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 28 February 1994, NATO took its first wartime action by shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating the no-fly zone.[79]

On 10 and 11 April 1994, during the Bosnian War, the United Nations Protection Force called in air strikes to protect the Goražde safe area, resulting in the bombing of a Bosnian Serb military command outpost near Goražde by two US F-16 jets acting under NATO direction.[80] This resulted in the taking of 150 U.N. personnel hostage on 14 April.[81][82] On 16 April a British Sea Harrier was shot down over Goražde by Serb forces.[83] A two-week NATO bombing campaign, Operation Deliberate Force, began in August 1995 against the Army of the Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica massacre.[84]

NATO air strikes that year helped bring the Yugoslav wars to an end, resulting in the Dayton Agreement in November 1995.[84] As part of this agreement, NATO deployed a UN-mandated peacekeeping force, under Operation Joint Endeavor, named IFOR. Almost 60,000 NATO troops were joined by forces from non-NATO nations in this peacekeeping mission. This transitioned into the smaller SFOR, which started with 32,000 troops initially and ran from December 1996 until December 2004, when operations were then passed onto European Union Force Althea.[85] Following the lead of its member nations, NATO began to award a service medal, the NATO Medal, for these operations.[86]

Kosovo intervention

Three trucks of soldiers idle on a country road in front of trees and red roofed houses. The rear truck has KFOR painted on is back.

German KFOR soldiers patrol southern Kosovo in 1999

In an effort to stop Slobodan Milošević‘s Serbian-led crackdown on KLA separatists and Albanian civilians in Kosovo, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1199 on 23 September 1998 to demand a ceasefire. Negotiations under US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke broke down on 23 March 1999, and he handed the matter to NATO,[87] which started a 78-day bombing campaign on 24 March 1999.[88] Operation Allied Force targeted the military capabilities of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the crisis, NATO also deployed one of its international reaction forces, the ACE Mobile Force (Land), to Albania as the Albania Force (AFOR), to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees from Kosovo.[89]

Though the campaign was criticized for high civilian casualties, including bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Milošević finally accepted the terms of an international peace plan on 3 June 1999, ending the Kosovo War. On 11 June, Milošević further accepted UN resolution 1244, under the mandate of which NATO then helped establish the KFOR peacekeeping force. Nearly one million refugees had fled Kosovo, and part of KFOR’s mandate was to protect the humanitarian missions, in addition to deterring violence.[89][90] In August–September 2001, the alliance also mounted Operation Essential Harvest, a mission disarming ethnic Albanian militias in the Republic of Macedonia.[91] As of 1 December 2013, 4,882 KFOR soldiers, representing 31 countries, continue to operate in the area.[92]

The US, the UK, and most other NATO countries opposed efforts to require the UN Security Council to approve NATO military strikes, such as the action against Serbia in 1999, while France and some others claimed that the alliance needed UN approval.[93] The US/UK side claimed that this would undermine the authority of the alliance, and they noted that Russia and China would have exercised their Security Council vetoes to block the strike on Yugoslavia, and could do the same in future conflicts where NATO intervention was required, thus nullifying the entire potency and purpose of the organization. Recognizing the post-Cold War military environment, NATO adopted the Alliance Strategic Concept during its Washington summit in April 1999 that emphasized conflict prevention and crisis management.[94]

War in Afghanistan

A monumental green copper statue of a woman with a torch stands on an island in front of a mainland where a massive plume of gray smoke billows amongst skyscrapers.

The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke its collective defence article for the first time.

The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter for the first time in the organization’s history. The Article says that an attack on any member shall be considered to be an attack on all. The invocation was confirmed on 4 October 2001 when NATO determined that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty.[95] The eight official actions taken by NATO in response to the attacks included Operation Eagle Assist and Operation Active Endeavour, a naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea which is designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction, as well as enhancing the security of shipping in general which began on 4 October 2001.[96]

The alliance showed unity: On 16 April 2003, NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which includes troops from 42 countries. The decision came at the request of Germany and the Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the agreement, and all nineteen NATO ambassadors approved it unanimously. The handover of control to NATO took place on 11 August, and marked the first time in NATO’s history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area.[97]

A general hands a NATO flag from a soldier on the left to one on the right.

ISAF General David M. Rodriguezat an Italian change of command in Herat.

ISAF was initially charged with securing Kabul and surrounding areas from the Talibanal Qaeda and factional warlords, so as to allow for the establishment of the Afghan Transitional Administration headed by Hamid Karzai. In October 2003, the UN Security Council authorized the expansion of the ISAF mission throughout Afghanistan,[98] and ISAF subsequently expanded the mission in four main stages over the whole of the country.[99]

On 31 July 2006, the ISAF additionally took over military operations in the south of Afghanistan from a US-led anti-terrorism coalition.[100] Due to the intensity of the fighting in the south, in 2011 France allowed a squadron of Mirage 2000 fighter/attack aircraft to be moved into the area, to Kandahar, in order to reinforce the alliance’s efforts.[101] During its 2012 Chicago Summit, NATO endorsed a plan to end the Afghanistan war and to remove the NATO-led ISAF Forces by the end of December 2014.[102] ISAF was disestablished in December 2014 and replaced by the follow-on training Resolute Support Mission

Iraq training mission

In August 2004, during the Iraq War, NATO formed the NATO Training Mission – Iraq, a training mission to assist the Iraqi security forces in conjunction with the US led MNF-I.[103] The NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) was established at the request of the Iraqi Interim Government under the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546. The aim of NTM-I was to assist in the development of Iraqi security forces training structures and institutions so that Iraq can build an effective and sustainable capability that addresses the needs of the nation. NTM-I was not a combat mission but is a distinct mission, under the political control of NATO’s North Atlantic Council. Its operational emphasis was on training and mentoring. The activities of the mission were coordinated with Iraqi authorities and the US-led Deputy Commanding General Advising and Training, who was also dual-hatted as the Commander of NTM-I. The mission officially concluded on 17 December 2011.[104]

Turkey invoked the first Article 4 meetings in 2003 at the start of the Iraq War. Turkey also invoked this article twice in 2012 during the Syrian Civil War, after the downing of an unarmed Turkish F-4 reconnaissance jet, and after a mortar was fired at Turkey from Syria,[105]and again in 2015 after threats by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to its territorial integrity.[106]

Gulf of Aden anti-piracy

A tall plume of black smoke rises from the blue ocean waters next to a large gray battleship and a small black inflatable boat.

USS Farragut destroying a Somali pirate skiff in March 2010

Beginning on 17 August 2009, NATO deployed warships in an operation to protect maritime traffic in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean from Somali pirates, and help strengthen the navies and coast guards of regional states. The operation was approved by the North Atlantic Council and involves warships primarily from the United States though vessels from many other nations are also included. Operation Ocean Shield focuses on protecting the ships of Operation Allied Provider which are distributing aid as part of the World Food Programme mission in SomaliaRussiaChina and South Korea have sent warships to participate in the activities as well.[107][108] The operation seeks to dissuade and interrupt pirate attacks, protect vessels, and abetting to increase the general level of security in the region.[109]

Libya intervention

During the Libyan Civil War, violence between protestors and the Libyan government under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi escalated, and on 17 March 2011 led to the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which called for a ceasefire, and authorized military action to protect civilians. A coalition that included several NATO members began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya shortly afterwards, beginning with Opération Harmattan by the French Air Force on March 19.

On 20 March 2011, NATO states agreed on enforcing an arms embargo against Libya with Operation Unified Protector using ships from NATO Standing Maritime Group 1 and Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1,[110] and additional ships and submarines from NATO members.[111] They would “monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries“.[110]

Pieces of a destroyed tank, notably the gun turret, lie on a sandy landscape.

Libyan Army Palmaria howitzersdestroyed by the French Air Force near Benghazi in March 2011

On 24 March, NATO agreed to take control of the no-fly zone from the initial coalition, while command of targeting ground units remained with the coalition’s forces.[112][113] NATO began officially enforcing the UN resolution on 27 March 2011 with assistance from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.[114] By June, reports of divisions within the alliance surfaced as only eight of the 28 member nations were participating in combat operations,[115] resulting in a confrontation between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and countries such as Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Germany to contribute more, the latter believing the organization has overstepped its mandate in the conflict.[116][117][118] In his final policy speech in Brussels on 10 June, Gates further criticized allied countries in suggesting their actions could cause the demise of NATO.[119] The German foreign ministry pointed to “a considerable [German] contribution to NATO and NATO-led operations” and to the fact that this engagement was highly valued by President Obama.[120]

While the mission was extended into September, Norway that day announced it would begin scaling down contributions and complete withdrawal by 1 August.[121] Earlier that week it was reported Danish air fighters were running out of bombs.[122][123] The following week, the head of the Royal Navy said the country’s operations in the conflict were not sustainable.[124] By the end of the mission in October 2011, after the death of Colonel Gaddafi, NATO planes had flown about 9,500 strike sorties against pro-Gaddafi targets.[125][126] A report from the organization Human Rights Watch in May 2012 identified at least 72 civilians killed in the campaign.[127] Following a coup d’état attempt in October 2013, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan requested technical advice and trainers from NATO to assist with ongoing security issues.[128]

Participating countries

Map of NATO affiliations in Europe Map of NATO partnerships globally
A map of Europe with countries in blue, cyan, orange, and yellow based on their NATO affiliation. A world map with countries in blue, cyan, orange, yellow, purple, and green, based on their NATO affiliation.

Members

Twelve men in black suits stand talking in small groups under a backdrop with the words Lisbonne and Lisboa.

NATO organizes regular summits for leaders of their members states and partnerships.

NATO has twenty-nine members, mainly in Europe and North America. Some of these countries also have territory on multiple continents, which can be covered only as far south as the Tropic of Cancer in the Atlantic Ocean, which defines NATO’s “area of responsibility” under Article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty. During the original treaty negotiations, the United States insisted that colonies such as the Belgian Congo be excluded from the treaty.[129][130]French Algeria was however covered until their independence on 3 July 1962.[131] Twelve of these twenty-nine are original members who joined in 1949, while the other seventeen joined in one of seven enlargement rounds.

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, France pursued a military strategy of independence from NATO under a policy dubbed “Gaullo-Mitterrandism”.[citation needed] Nicolas Sarkozy negotiated the return of France to the integrated military command and the Defence Planning Committee in 2009, the latter being disbanded the following year. France remains the only NATO member outside the Nuclear Planning Group and unlike the United States and the United Kingdom, will not commit its nuclear-armed submarines to the alliance.[41][56] Few members spend more than two percent of their gross domestic product on defence,[132] with the United States accounting for three quarters of NATO defense spending.[133]

Enlargement

A map of Europe with countries labeled in shades of blue, green, and yellow based on when they joined NATO.

NATO has added 13 new members since the German reunification and the end of the Cold War.

New membership in the alliance has been largely from Central and Eastern Europe, including former members of the Warsaw Pact. Accession to the alliance is governed with individual Membership Action Plans, and requires approval by each current member. NATO currently has two candidate countries that are in the process of joining the alliance: Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Macedonia. In NATO official statements, the Republic of Macedonia is always referred to as the “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, with a footnote stating that “Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name”. Though Macedonia completed its requirements for membership at the same time as Croatia and Albania, who joined NATO in 2009, its accession was blocked by Greece pending a resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute.[134] In order to support each other in the process, new and potential members in the region formed the Adriatic Charter in 2003.[135] Georgia was also named as an aspiring member, and was promised “future membership” during the 2008 summit in Bucharest,[136]though in 2014, US President Barack Obama said the country was not “currently on a path” to membership.[137]

Russia continues to oppose further expansion, seeing it as inconsistent with understandings between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and European and American negotiators that allowed for a peaceful German reunification.[52]NATO’s expansion efforts are often seen by Moscow leaders as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to surround and isolate Russia,[138] though they have also been criticised in the West.[139] A June 2016 Levada poll found that 68% of Russians think that deploying NATO troops in the Baltic states and Poland – former Eastern bloc countries bordering Russia – is a threat to Russia.[140] Ukraine‘s relationship with NATO and Europe has been politically divisive, and contributed to “Euromaidan” protests that saw the ousting of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. In March 2014, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk reiterated the government’s stance that Ukraine is not seeking NATO membership.[141] Ukraine’s president subsequently signed a bill dropping his nation’s nonaligned status in order to pursue NATO membership, but signaled that it would hold a referendum before seeking to join.[142]Ukraine is one of eight countries in Eastern Europe with an Individual Partnership Action Plan. IPAPs began in 2002, and are open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO.[143]

A 2006 study in the journal Security Studies argued that NATO enlargement contributed to democratic consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe.[144]

Partnerships

Hundreds of soldiers in military uniforms stand behind a line on a tarmac with 14 flags held by individuals at the front.

Partnership for Peace conducts multinational military exercises like Cooperative Archer, which took place in Tblisi in July 2007 with 500 servicemen from four NATO members, eight PfP members, and Jordan, a Mediterranean Dialogue participant.[145]

The Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme was established in 1994 and is based on individual bilateral relations between each partner country and NATO: each country may choose the extent of its participation.[146] Members include all current and former members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.[147] The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) was first established on 29 May 1997, and is a forum for regular coordination, consultation and dialogue between all fifty participants.[148] The PfP programme is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.[146] Other third countries also have been contacted for participation in some activities of the PfP framework such as Afghanistan.[149]

The European Union (EU) signed a comprehensive package of arrangements with NATO under the Berlin Plus agreement on 16 December 2002. With this agreement, the EU was given the possibility to use NATO assets in case it wanted to act independently in an international crisis, on the condition that NATO itself did not want to act—the so-called “right of first refusal“.[150] For example, Article 42(7) of the 1982 Treaty of Lisbon specifies that “If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power”. The treaty applies globally to specified territories whereas NATO is restricted under its Article 6 to operations north of the Tropic of Cancer. It provides a “double framework” for the EU countries that are also linked with the PfP programme.

Additionally, NATO cooperates and discusses its activities with numerous other non-NATO members. The Mediterranean Dialogue was established in 1994 to coordinate in a similar way with Israel and countries in North Africa. The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative was announced in 2004 as a dialog forum for the Middle East along the same lines as the Mediterranean Dialogue. The four participants are also linked through the Gulf Cooperation Council.[151]

Political dialogue with Japan began in 1990, and since then, the Alliance has gradually increased its contact with countries that do not form part of any of these cooperation initiatives.[152] In 1998, NATO established a set of general guidelines that do not allow for a formal institutionalisation of relations, but reflect the Allies’ desire to increase cooperation. Following extensive debate, the term “Contact Countries” was agreed by the Allies in 2000. By 2012, the Alliance had broadened this group, which meets to discuss issues such as counter-piracy and technology exchange, under the names “partners across the globe” or “global partners”.[153][154] Australia and New Zealand, both contact countries, are also members of the AUSCANNZUKUS strategic alliance, and similar regional or bilateral agreements between contact countries and NATO members also aid cooperation. Colombia is the NATO’s latest partner and Colombia has access to the full range of cooperative activities NATO offers to partners; Colombia became the first and only Latin American country to cooperate with NATO.[155]

Structures

Two gray haired older men talk with a soldier wearing camouflage and a green beret who is facing away.

Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg (right) and his predecessor, Anders Fogh Rasmussen(left), talk with members of the Norwegian army’s Telemark Battalionin Oslo.

The main headquarters of NATO is located on Boulevard Léopold III/Leopold III-laan, B-1110 Brussels, which is in Haren, part of the City of Brussels municipality.[156] A new €750 million headquarters building began construction in 2010, was completed in summer 2016,[157] and was dedicated on 25 May 2017. The 250,000 square metres (2,700,000 sq ft) complex was designed by Jo Palma and home to a staff of 3800.[158] Problems in the original building stemmed from its hurried construction in 1967, when NATO was forced to move its headquarters from Porte Dauphine in Paris, France following the French withdrawal.[159][40]

The staff at the Headquarters is composed of national delegations of member countries and includes civilian and military liaison offices and officers or diplomatic missions and diplomats of partner countries, as well as the International Staff and International Military Staff filled from serving members of the armed forces of member states.[160] Non-governmental citizens’ groups have also grown up in support of NATO, broadly under the banner of the Atlantic Council/Atlantic Treaty Association movement.

The cost of the new headquarters building escalated to about €1.1 billion[161] or $1.23 billion.[162]

NATO Council

Like any alliance, NATO is ultimately governed by its 29 member states. However, the North Atlantic Treaty and other agreements outline how decisions are to be made within NATO. Each of the 29 members sends a delegation or mission to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.[163] The senior permanent member of each delegation is known as the Permanent Representative and is generally a senior civil servant or an experienced ambassador (and holding that diplomatic rank). Several countries have diplomatic missions to NATO through embassies in Belgium.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry during the NATO Summit in Newport, 5 September 2014

NATO foreign ministers and Montenegro’s Prime Minister Milo Đukanović have signed a protocol on Montenegro’s accession to NATO on 19 May 2016

Together, the Permanent Members form the North Atlantic Council (NAC), a body which meets together at least once a week and has effective governance authority and powers of decision in NATO. From time to time the Council also meets at higher level meetings involving foreign ministersdefence ministers or heads of state or government (HOSG) and it is at these meetings that major decisions regarding NATO’s policies are generally taken. However, it is worth noting that the Council has the same authority and powers of decision-making, and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets. France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States are together referred to as the Quint, which is an informal discussion group within NATO. NATO summits also form a further venue for decisions on complex issues, such as enlargement.[164]

The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General of NATO and, when decisions have to be made, action is agreed upon on the basis of unanimity and common accord. There is no voting or decision by majority. Each nation represented at the Council table or on any of its subordinate committees retains complete sovereignty and responsibility for its own decisions.

List of Secretaries General[165]
# Name Country Duration
1 Lord Ismay United Kingdom 4 April 1952 – 16 May 1957
2 Paul-Henri Spaak Belgium 16 May 1957 – 21 April 1961
3 Dirk Stikker Netherlands 21 April 1961 – 1 August 1964
4 Manlio Brosio Italy 1 August 1964 – 1 October 1971
5 Joseph Luns Netherlands 1 October 1971 – 25 June 1984
6 Lord Carrington United Kingdom 25 June 1984 – 1 July 1988
7 Manfred Wörner Germany 1 July 1988 – 13 August 1994
Sergio Balanzino Italy 13 August 1994 – 17 October 1994
8 Willy Claes Belgium 17 October 1994 – 20 October 1995
Sergio Balanzino Italy 20 October 1995 – 5 December 1995
9 Javier Solana Spain 5 December 1995 – 6 October 1999
10 Lord Robertson United Kingdom 14 October 1999 – 17 December 2003
Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo Italy 17 December 2003 – 1 January 2004
11 Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Netherlands 1 January 2004 – 1 August 2009
12 Anders Fogh Rasmussen Denmark 1 August 2009 – 30 September 2014
13 Jens Stoltenberg Norway 1 October 2014 – present
List of Deputy Secretaries General[166]
# Name Country Duration
1 Jonkheer van Vredenburch Netherlands 1952–1956
2 Baron Adolph Bentinck Netherlands 1956–1958
3 Alberico Casardi Italy 1958–1962
4 Guido Colonna di Paliano Italy 1962–1964
5 James A. Roberts Canada 1964–1968
6 Osman Olcay Turkey 1969–1971
7 Paolo Pansa Cedronio Italy 1971–1978
8 Rinaldo Petrignani Italy 1978–1981
9 Eric da Rin Italy 1981–1985
10 Marcello Guidi Italy 1985–1989
11 Amedeo de Franchis Italy 1989–1994
12 Sergio Balanzino Italy 1994–2001
13 Alessandro Minuto Rizzo Italy 2001–2007
14 Claudio Bisogniero Italy 2007–2012
15 Alexander Vershbow United States 2012–2016
16 Rose Gottemoeller United States 2016–present
 Acting Secretary General

NATO Parliamentary Assembly

A large baroque yellow and gold room with a stage on the left and long tables filled with men and women in suits on the right.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly, an intergovernmental organization of NATO and associate countries’ elected representatives, meets in London prior to the start of the 2014 Newport summit.

The body that sets broad strategic goals for NATO is the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA) which meets at the Annual Session, and one other time during the year, and is the organ that directly interacts with the parliamentary structures of the national governments of the member states which appoint Permanent Members, or ambassadors to NATO. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is made up of legislators from the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance as well as thirteen associate members. Karl A. Lamers, German Deputy Chairman of the Defence Committee of the Bundestag and a member of the Christian Democratic Union, became president of the assembly in 2010.[167] It is however officially a different structure from NATO, and has as aim to join together deputies of NATO countries in order to discuss security policies on the NATO Council.

The Assembly is the political integration body of NATO that generates political policy agenda setting for the NATO Council via reports of its five committees:

  • Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security
  • Defence and Security Committee
  • Economics and Security Committee
  • Political Committee
  • Science and Technology Committee

These reports provide impetus and direction as agreed upon by the national governments of the member states through their own national political processes and influencers to the NATO administrative and executive organizational entities.

Military structures

Location of the commands attatched to NATO‘s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), also referred to as Allied Command Operations (ACO)

An older man with a gray beard, red beret, and olive green military suit.

Petr Pavel (right), of the Czech Republic, was Chairman of the NATO Military Committee from 2015 to 2018

Three soldiers in camouflage stand in salute while a fourth raises a blue and white flag on a red and white striped flagpole.

NATO flag raising at opening of Exercise Steadfast Jazz at Drawsko Pomorskie in Poland in November 2013.

NATO’s military operations are directed by the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee with the Deputy Chairman, and split into two Strategic Commands commanded by a senior US officer and (currently) a senior French officer[168] assisted by a staff drawn from across NATO. The Strategic Commanders are responsible to the Military Committee for the overall direction and conduct of all Alliance military matters within their areas of command.[60]

Each country’s delegation includes a Military Representative, a senior officer from each country’s armed forces, supported by the International Military Staff. Together the Military Representatives form the Military Committee, a body responsible for recommending to NATO’s political authorities those measures considered necessary for the common defence of the NATO area. Its principal role is to provide direction and advice on military policy and strategy. It provides guidance on military matters to the NATO Strategic Commanders, whose representatives attend its meetings, and is responsible for the overall conduct of the military affairs of the Alliance under the authority of the Council.[169] The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee is Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach of the United States, since 2018, and the Deputy Chairman is Steven Shepro of the United States, since 2016.[170]

Like the Council, from time to time the Military Committee also meets at a higher level, namely at the level of Chiefs of Defence, the most senior military officer in each nation’s armed forces. Until 2008 the Military Committee excluded France, due to that country’s 1966 decision to remove itself from the NATO Military Command Structure, which it rejoined in 1995. Until France rejoined NATO, it was not represented on the Defence Planning Committee, and this led to conflicts between it and NATO members.[171] Such was the case in the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.[172] The operational work of the Committee is supported by the International Military Staff.

The structure of NATO evolved throughout the Cold War and its aftermath. An integrated military structure for NATO was first established in 1950 as it became clear that NATO would need to enhance its defences for the longer term against a potential Soviet attack. In April 1951, Allied Command Europeand its headquarters (SHAPE) were established; later, four subordinate headquarters were added in Northern and Central Europe, the Southern Region, and the Mediterranean.[173]

From the 1950s to 2003, the Strategic Commanders were the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT). The current arrangement is to separate responsibility between Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces, and Allied Command Operations (ACO), responsible for NATO operations worldwide.[174] Starting in late 2003 NATO has restructured how it commands and deploys its troops by creating several NATO Rapid Deployable Corps, including EurocorpsI. German/Dutch CorpsMultinational Corps Northeast, and NATO Rapid Deployable Italian Corps among others, as well as naval High Readiness Forces (HRFs), which all report to Allied Command Operations.[175]

In early 2015, in the wake of the War in Donbass, meetings of NATO ministers decided that Multinational Corps Northeast would be augmented so as to develop greater capabilities, to, if thought necessary, prepare to defend the Baltic States, and that a new Multinational Division Southeast would be established in Romania. Six NATO Force Integration Units would also be established to coordinate preparations for defence of new Eastern members of NATO.[176]

Multinational Division Southeast was activated on 1 December 2015.[177] Headquarters Multinational Division South – East (HQ MND-SE) is a North Atlantic Council (NAC) activated NATO military body under operational command (OPCOM) of Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) which may be employed and deployed in peacetime, crisis and operations by NATO on the authority of the appropriate NATO Military Authorities by means of an exercise or operational tasking issued in accordance with the Command and Control Technical Arrangement (C2 TA) and standard NATO procedures.

During August 2016, it was announced that 650 soldiers of the British Army would be deployed on an enduring basis in Eastern Europe, mainly in Estonia with some also being deployed to Poland. This British deployment forms part of a four-battle group (four-battalion) deployment by various allies, NATO Enhanced Forward Presence, one each spread from Poland (the Poland-deployed battle group mostly led by the US) to Estonia.

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO

Story 2: President Trump Increases The Pressure on China To Eliminate Trade Deficits and Unfair Trade Practices or Face Higher Tariffs On Many Chinese Exports To United States — Videos

 

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(6 Jul 2018) The United States hiked tariffs on Chinese imports Friday and Beijing said it would be forced to counterattack in a dispute between the world’s two biggest economies that President Donald Trump says he is prepared to escalate. Washington increased tariffs at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time (0401 GMT) on 34 billion US dollars worth of Chinese imports, a first step in what could become an accelerating series of tariffs. China’s Commerce Ministry said it would be “forced to make a necessary counterattack.” It gave no immediate details but Beijing earlier released a target list of American goods for retaliation including soybeans, electric cars, whiskey, pork and pork products. Ohio pig farmer Brian Watkins expressed the worry that the tariffs would rob him of the majority of his profits. Watkins said he’s worried that a prolonged trade dispute could take the US out of the pork equation as the global market becomes reliant on other countries’ production. He said he thought trade would be a big issue on farmers’ minds as they take to the polls in auturmn.

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U.S. Threatens Tariffs on $200 Billion of Chinese Goods, From Tilapia to Handbags

The trade war with China intensified as the Trump administration outlined tariffs on another $200 billion worth of products. China has already retaliated against the first round of tariffs with its own levies on American goods, including soybeans.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

By Ana Swanson and Jim Tankersley

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration escalated its trade dispute with China on Tuesday, saying it would impose tariffs on roughly $200 billion worth of Chinese fish, petroleum, chemicals, handbags, textiles and other products if Beijing does not change its trade practices.

The threat comes just days after President Trump imposed levies on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, including robotics, airplane parts and ball bearings. Mr. Trump has said he is prepared to tax as much as $450 billion worth of Chinese products.

On Tuesday, his administration detailed the next list of products that would face Mr. Trump’s wrath unless Beijing folds to Washington’s demands. The White House is pushing China to reduce its trade surplus with the United States, halt intellectual property theft and open its markets to American companies.

Neither side appears eager to blink first. China has responded to Mr. Trump’s initial tariffs with its own equal amount of levies on American goods like pork, steel, cars and fiber optic cable and has said that it is prepared to continue retaliating.

The Chinese government said it would take unspecified countermeasures against new tariffs and renewed its threat to take its complaints to the World Trade Organization, which handles trade disputes.

“The American side’s behavior harms China, harms the world and also harms itself,” China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

With no official discussions scheduled to settle the trade dispute, it is unclear how or when the differences get resolved. A senior White House official said on Tuesday evening that the administration welcomed China’s engagement and had been “extremely clear” with China about its concerns over its trade practices, but that China had been “nonresponsive.” The official said that the process of imposing tariffs on the new list of goods would take roughly two months, with a public hearing on the tariffs scheduled for Aug. 20 through Aug 23.

The trade war has already started to raise costs for businesses that depend on international supply chains, from manufacturers to retailers, and consumers that purchase their products. The Trump administration said it intended its first wave of tariffs to target industrial products that the Chinese government subsidizes and to minimize the impact to American households.

But as the list of taxed products grows, the number of consumers and businesses that will feel the pinch also increases.

“It gets harder for them to keep it from the shelves of Walmart and Target and Best Buy,” said Mary E. Lovely, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “It also gets harder for them to continue to hide behind this rationale of hitting China for forced technology transfer.”

The administration’s approach has prompted criticism from lawmakers, particularly those from farm states, who say Mr. Trump is approaching a serious issue in an undisciplined way that could backfire.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the Utah Republican and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that he supported the administration’s effort to crack down on Chinese practices, but the decision to use tariffs was not the proper response.

“Tonight’s announcement appears reckless and is not a targeted approach,” Mr. Hatch said. “We cannot turn a blind eye to China’s mercantilist trade practices, but this action falls short of a strategy that will give the administration negotiating leverage with China while maintaining the long-term health and prosperity of the American economy.”

The White House administration disagrees. Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, said in a statement that the announcement was “an appropriate response.”

“Rather than address our legitimate concerns, China has begun to retaliate against U.S. products,” he said. “There is no justification for such action.”

For now, the limited tariffs combined with a booming economy seem to be having little impact beyond targeted industries.

Goldman Sachs economists estimated this week that the initial tariffs on Chinese goods would reduce the size of the United States economy by a minimal amount, and said they did not expect the White House to follow through on Mr. Trump’s latest threatened tariffs.

But Federal Reserve officials and others are worried about potential damage from a prolonged trade war. Minutes from the Fed’s June meetingshow business contacts “indicated that plans for capital spending had been scaled back or postponed as a result of uncertainty over trade policy.”

Goldman economists said in a report earlier this month that, if the broader range of tariffs were actually enacted, it would be more damaging because they would hit Americans more quickly in the wallet than the initial round of tariffs.

Economists have also cautioned that the potential damage to the economy could grow if the trade conflict grows. Eswar Prasad, a professor of international trade at Cornell University, said that it was difficult to see a path to cooling off tensions, especially with the highly charged midterm elections approaching in the United States.

“With China in attack mode as well, additional tariffs risk escalating the trade war to a level from which it is becoming increasingly difficult to envision an exit path,” he said.

U.S. LNG, ethanol sellers buoyed by China trade talks

(Reuters) – China’s interest in reducing its trade surplus with the United States through increased energy imports could advance plans for U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants and ethanol sales, analysts and energy executives involved in developing new LNG facilities said.

Washington and Beijing stepped back from the brink of a full-blown trade war after talks last week, with the United States appearing to set aside for now its demands that China revamp key planks of its industrial policy.

“China represents an enormous economic opportunity for U.S. LNG and ethanol exports as both products will likely see dramatic demand growth in the coming years, during which time the United States is also expected to dominate global export markets,” Katie Bays, energy analyst at Height Securities in Washington, D.C., said in a note on Tuesday.

Bays estimated that substantial LNG sales commitments could bring in between $20 billion and $30 billion annually and ethanol sales could reach $5 billion to $7 billion annually. She noted, however, that the LNG and ethanol markets are not big enough by themselves to meet President Donald Trump’s goal of reducing the Chinese trade deficit by $200 billion per year.

On Tuesday, Cheniere Energy Inc said its board approved financing for an LNG unit, the first new approval in the United States since 2015. The decision adds a third unit capable of producing 0.7-billion cubic feet per day of liquefied natural gas to its Corpus Christi, Texas, plant.

There are more than two dozen proposed U.S. LNG plants waiting for customer commitments to reach a final investment decision, many of them looking to China for deals.

China overtook South Korea in 2017 as the world’s second biggest buyer of LNG behind Japan. The country, which imported 5.6 billion cubic feet per day last year, is looking to buy more low-cost sources of energy, like gas, to reduce its use of coal and cut pollution.

Charlie Cone, LNG proprietary analyst for energy data provider Genscape, said at least 13 percent of total U.S. LNG cargoes currently go to China. “We expect this number to grow as more U.S. firms sign long-term agreements with Chinese buyers as their nation continues to develop its gas infrastructure,” Cone said.

Bays said a hold on the trade war could drive Chinese customers to sign new LNG contracts with Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass or Corpus Christi facilities, Sempra Energy’s Cameron, Freeport LNG, NextDecade Corp’s Rio Grande, or Pembina Pipeline Corp’s Jordan Cove.

“We see it as a positive development,” said William Daughdrill, director of health, safety and environmental matters at Delfin Midstream. The company’s chief executive was in Asia last week pursuing customers, Daughdrill said.

Delfin is proposing a floating LNG facility in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and aiming for a final investment decision as early as this year to go ahead and produce up to 13 million metric tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG for export.

“For us, it’s strictly been about marketing to China,” said Greg Vesey, chief executive of LNG Ltd, which is developing an LNG plant in Louisiana and another in Nova Scotia in Canada. It hopes to reach a final investment decision on the U.S. project by year-end and begin exports in 2022, he said.

“If you look at some forecasts for 2035, there are really only two places that have significant increases in LNG imports. Europe goes up about 100 mtpa and China goes up about 200 mtpa,” Vesey said.

Texas LNG, which is proposing a 4-mtpa export facility in Brownsville, Texas, and has five early-stage agreements with Chinese customers, hopes to make a final decision next year, about six months behind its original goal.

“Sentiment in the LNG markets is heating up again,” said Langtry Meyer, co-founder of the company. He added, however, that Texas LNG was not considering developing an import terminal in China, which would likely be needed to expand U.S. exports.

As for ethanol, Bays at Height Securities said ethanol producers like Archer Daniels Midland Co and Green Plains Inc could benefit from negotiations with China given the political importance of corn producers to Trump, coupled with China’s need to increase ethanol imports dramatically to meet its 2020 renewable fuel objectives.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino in New York; Writing by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Tom Brown and Leslie Adler

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1105, Story 1: President Trump Chooses An Outstanding Nominee for Supreme Court Justice — Brett Kavanaugh — Hate America Democrats (HAD) and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Had Nervous Breakdown Over Right-Wing Extremist?– Videos — Story 2: President Trump Flies To Europe for 7 Days for NATO Summit in Brussells and Meeting With Prime Minister May in England and Russian President Putin — Time To Step Up Military Spending of NATO Member Countries — Videos — Story 3: Will Prime Minister May Remain in Office? Brixit Breaks May — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Chooses An Outstanding Nominee for Supreme Court Justice — Brett Kavanaugh — Hate America Democrats (HAD) and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Had Hysterical Nervous Breakdown — Panicking Petulent Progressive Propaganda of Big Lie Media — Videos

Trump names Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court pick

Outside Supreme Court, senators and activists react to Trump pick

Chuck Schumer RAILS Against Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice Nominee

President Trump announces Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court nominee

Hannity: Left will take extreme measures to malign Kavanaugh

Who is Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s SCOTUS pick?

“They’re PANICKING over Brett Kavanaugh??” Ben REACTS to the Left’s SCOTUS Meltdown

Chuck Schumer’s Reaction To Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Will Have You Speechless

How will Democrats and Republicans react to Trump’s SCOTUS nominee?

‘There is no one more qualified or deserving’: Trump picks federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill Anthony Kennedy’s Supreme Court seat, setting up ferocious battle with Dems to get him nominated

  • Trump: ‘Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law’ 
  • Kavanaugh, 53, was a front-runner for the nomination ever since Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27
  • He served as staff secretary to President George W. Bush at the White House
  • Also played a leading role in drafting Ken Starr’s report on President Bill Clinton
  • Served 10 years on the federal bench, giving Democrats ample material to sift throuh for a deep look into his written opinions
  • Kavanaugh and wife Ashely have two daughters; his all-American look was said to appeal to Trump
  • Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is said to be worried Kavanaugh will be tough to confirm because of his voluminous paper trail

President Donald Trump named Washington, D.C. federal judge Brett Kavanaugh on Monday to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

‘Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law,’ Trump said in his announcement.

‘There is no one in America more qualified for this position, and no one more deserving,’ the president added.

Video playing bottom right…

President Trump named Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

Trump called Brett Kavanaugh 'one of the sharpest legal minds of our time.' Kavanaugh was joined by his family, wife Ashley, and daughters Margaret and Liza, at the announcement

Melania Trump sat next to Judge Kavanaugh's parents during the announcement

Judge Kavanaugh watches with his family as Trump signs a document confirming him as his nominee for the bench

Judge Kavanaugh watches with his family as Trump signs a document confirming him as his nominee for the bench

Judge Kavanaugh's parents sitting next to first lady Melania Trump

He called Kavanaugh ‘one of the sharpest legal minds of our time’ and urged the Senate to confirm his pick quickly.

The announcement was a family affair. Kavanaugh was joined by his wife Ashley, and daughters Margaret and Liza. His parents were at the White House, seated in the audience next to first lady Melania Trump.

‘Mr. President, I am grateful to you, and I’m humbled by your confidence in me,’ Kavanaugh said. ‘Justice Kennedy devoted his career to securing liberty. I am deeply honored to be nominated to fill his seat on the Supreme Court.’

In his remarks, Kavanaugh touted his strong record with women throughout his career, noting he’s hired a majority of female law clerks and that Elena Kagan, who is now on the Supreme Court, hired him to teach at Harvard.

Kavanaugh also paid tribute to his parents, who were both lawyers.

‘My mom was a trail blazer,’ he said, noting she went to law school when he was 10 years old and became a prosecutor. ‘The president introduced me tonight as Judge Kavanaugh but, to me, that title will always belong to my mom.’

His remarks were filled with stories about his family and his appreciation of them.

He noted both is daughters love sports and joked his young daughter Liza ‘loves sports and she loves to talk.’ He then gave her a high five.

He added that he’s coached both of his daughters’ basketball teams, where he’s called ‘Coach K.’

He and his wife met when they both worked at the Bush White House and their first date was September 10, 2001 – the night before the terrorist attacks.

‘Ashley was a source of strength for President Bush and everyone in this building,’ he said of the aftermath. ‘I thank God every day for my family.’

Kavanaugh’s remarks were filled with light-hearted stories like the above, making the audience laugh and showing his all-American appeal that Trump was said to be looking for his pick. His talk was focused on the personable with little conversation on his judicial record.

Judge Kavanaugh's remarks were filled with light-hearted stories about his family

Judge Kavanaugh will replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh speaks after his nomination

But he did make an appeal to the Senate that will confirm him.

‘I will tell each Senator that I revere the constitution,’ he said.

‘My judicial philosophy is straight forward – a judge must be independent and interpret the law, not make the law,’ he said. ‘A judge must interpret the constitution as written.’

‘If confirmed by the Senate I will strive to keep an open mind in every case,’ Kavanaugh noted. ‘And I will always strive to preserve the constitution in the United States.’

Kavanaugh was a front-runner for the nomination ever since Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27.

Trump, in his announcement, indicated he wanted a judge that followed his successful first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

The president noted Kavanaugh, like Gorsuch, clerked for Kennedy. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh also went to the same high school.

Gorsuch’s confirmation is considered one of the major successes of the Trump administration.

But Kavanaugh’s long record – 12 years as a judge, nearly 300 written opinions, a multitude of scholarly articles, a paperwork trail from his time in the Bush White House, and thousands of documents from when he served on the Starr investigation – has raised concerns Democrats will have an embarrassment of riches to use in questions during confirmation hearings, leading to a lengthened process and a tough confirmation vote.

As he did with Gorsuch barely 10 days after taking office last year, the president introduced Kavanaugh to a packed East Room at the White House and challenged the U.S. Senate to confirm his nominee without delay.

The Gorsuch nomination was seen as an even political swap for the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, one rock-ribbed conservative for another.

Replacing Kennedy, often seen as a ‘swing vote’ on tight 5-4 decisions with enormous societal implications, with a conservative nominee is a far weightier exercise.

President Donald Trump is naming Washington D.C. federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

President Donald Trump is naming Washington D.C. federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

This is Trump's second nomination to the Supreme Court since he became president

Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. Seated (L-R): Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Standing (L-R): Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito Jr., Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch

Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. Seated (L-R): Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Standing (L-R): Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito Jr., Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch

The Daily 202: Kavanaugh’s paper trail makes his confirmation harder but ensures he’ll be reliably conservative

July 10 at 9:45 AM

With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve

THE BIG IDEA: Brett Kavanaugh is no David Souter.

President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court made a name for himself as a partisan warrior when he worked for Ken Starr and has proved his reliability as a consistently conservative judge over a dozen years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly told Trump that Kavanaugh’s lengthy paper trail over a quarter of a century in the public arena would make it harder to confirm him through the narrowly divided Senate than two of the other finalists being considered.

But the same track record that could cause headaches in the next several weeks is exactly what made Kavanaugh so appealing to leaders of the Republican legal establishment, including Federalist Society chief Leonard Leo and White House counsel Don McGahn, who wanted someone they feel confident they can count on for the next generation.

Kavanaugh, who has long been active in the Federalist Society, fits that bill. He was one of Starr’s top bulldogs as the independent counsel investigated Bill Clinton and at times advocated internally for an even more aggressive approach against the Democratic president. Kavanaugh was a lead author of the Starr Report and has acknowledged writing portions that laid out grounds for  impeachment.

He was deeply involved in the exploration of Clinton White House lawyer Vince Foster’s suicide, which Trump suggested in 2016 might have been a murder. Kavanaugh even appeared before the Supreme Court in a bid to subpoena notes taken by a lawyer whom Foster spoke with shortly before he died.

Kavanaugh represented the American relatives of Elián González pro bono as they tried to prevent the boy from being sent back to Cuba, a cause celebre on the right in 1999 and 2000.

He helped defend Jeb Bush’s school voucher plan in the Florida courts and then worked on George W. Bush’s legal team during the 2000 recount. Then he got a job in the White House Counsel’s Office under Alberto Gonzales, helping pick Bush’s judicial nominees. From there, he was promoted to staff secretary, which gave him more direct access to the president and control of the paper flow into the Oval Office.

Bush nominated Kavanaugh to the appeals court in 2003, but Democrats held up his confirmation for three years because of his polarizing work for Starr. At the time, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called him the “Forrest Gump of Republican politics” because he seemed to be in the thick of every controversial legal fight that gripped the capital. Kavanaugh was eventually confirmed in 2006 as part of a larger deal on nominations by a vote of 57 to 36.

Since joining the court, Kavanaugh has written about 300 opinions —  including key decisions on guns, abortion and regulation. He ruled that the way the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is structured makes it unconstitutional, for instance, and has routinely taken the side of big business in disputes with government.

George H.W. Bush nominated Souter for the Supreme Court in 1990 at the recommendation of then-White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu. Souter was on the New Hampshire Supreme Court but hadn’t ruled on hot-button issues, so he emerged as a consistently liberal vote once on the high court. No one who knows Kavanaugh doubts that he will pull the court to the right if confirmed.

Based on Kavanaugh’s votes on the D.C. Circuit, a political scientist at Emory University calculates that there is a 55 percent chance that he will be further to the right than Clarence Thomas and an 81 percent chance that he will be to the right of Chief Justice John Roberts:

Tom Clark@tom_s_clark

Wondering how is? I just estimated preferences from all voting by DC Circuit judges on en banc cases Ih/t Mike Giles). I estimate he is the fifth most conservative of the 47 judges for whom I have data.

McConnell recognizes that Kavanaugh’s nomination presents a target-rich environment for Democrats, who have dozens of potential avenues of attack because there are so many cases and episodes to choose from. Even though Kavanaugh is likely to ultimately make it through the Senate, there are enough unpopular positions he has staked out that most of the Democrats from red states should not have that hard of a time finding palatable justifications to oppose his nomination. (It’s always possible they’ll vote for him anyway if he already has the votes to get confirmed.)

Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings also ensure that some of the darkest chapters of the Bush era will be re-litigated, including the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.

— Importantly for Trump, though, Kavanaugh’s views on executive power have evolved significantly since he worked for Starr. In a 2009 article for the Minnesota Law Review, Kavanaugh noted that the Starr team he worked on operated under a “badly flawed” law, “particularly the extent to which it allowed civil suits against presidents to proceed while the President is in office.”

More recently, Kavanaugh has argued that presidents should not be distracted by civil lawsuits, criminal investigations, or even questions from a prosecutor or defense attorney while in office, Michael Kranish and Ann E. Marimow report. “Having observed the weighty issues that can consume a president, Kavanaugh wrote, the nation’s chief executive should be exempt from ‘time-consuming and distracting’ lawsuits and investigations, which ‘would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.’ If a president were truly malevolent, Kavanaugh wrote, he could always be impeached.”

— Neil Gorsuch, who also served in the Bush administration, was pushed by legal activists on the right last year because he too was a known commodity and had been consistently conservative as a circuit court judge. He helped the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004 as a volunteer lawyer in Ohio. When he was interviewing for a senior job at the Justice Department, then-Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman emailed a top White House official to put in a good word. “He is a true loyalist,” Mehlman wrote of his former roommate.

Meet Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

President Trump announced July 9 that Brett M. Kavanaugh will be the Supreme Court nominee to fill Justice Kennedy’s vacant seat.

GET TO KNOW KAVANAUGH:

— He is just 53 years old. An avid runner, Kavanaugh could realistically spend four decades on the Supreme Court. He finished the Boston Marathon in 3:59:45 in 2010 and 4:08:36 in 2015.

— He has an elite pedigree. His father ran a cosmetics trade association here for decades. His mother was a high school teacher who became a lawyer and then a judge. Kavanaugh attended Yale for both undergrad and law school after attending Georgetown Preparatory School. Gorsuch, whose mom ran the Environmental Protection Agency, was a classmate at the elite private high school in Washington. The two then clerked for Kennedy at the same time.

Kavanaugh also clerked in San Francisco for Judge Alex Kozinski on the Ninth Circuit, who retired in December after 15 women alleged that he had subjected them to inappropriate sexual behavior.

The D.C. Circuit, where he serves now, is considered the second most important court in the land, only after the Supreme Court. Current justices John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas were each elevated from there.

— Kavanaugh identifies as an originalist. “A judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent,” he said last night. (Note the difference between being “informed” by precedent and being bound by it. Those are two very different things.)

— Trump called Kavanaugh to tell him on Sunday night and informed Kennedy of his decision on Monday, per a senior White House official. “Kavanaugh’s link to the Bush political dynasty gave Trump pause during the search process, and he peppered associates with questions about whether ‘my base’ would embrace him,” Robert Costa, Robert Barnes and Felicia Sonmez report. “But ultimately, prodded by top advisers and veteran Republicans, Trump decided that Kavanaugh’s lengthy conservative judicial record made up for any lingering concerns about how some of his core supporters would view the pick.”

— As Kavanaugh praised the president during his speech in the East Room, you could see why he fared so well during his interview with Trump. “No president has ever consulted more widely or talked with more people from more backgrounds to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination,” Kavanaugh said, as the president smiled.

— With Roe v. Wade hanging in the balance, Kavanaugh went out of his way to emphasize his relationships with women. He laid it on thick: “My mom was a trailblazer,” he said. “When I was 10, she went to law school and became a prosecutor. My introduction to law came at our dinner table when she practiced her closing arguments. Her trademark line was ‘Use your common sense. What rings true, what rings false?’ That’s good advice for a juror — and for a son.”

  • “For the past 11 years, I have taught hundreds of students, primarily at Harvard Law School. … I remain grateful to the dean who hired me, Justice Elena Kagan.”
  • “I am proud that a majority of my law clerks have been women.”
  • “I have two spirited daughters, Margaret and Liza. Margaret loves sports, and she loves to read. Liza loves sports, and she loves to talk. I have tried to create bonds with my daughters like my dad created with me. … For the past seven years, I have coached my daughters’ basketball teams. The girls on the team call me Coach K.”
  • Kavanaugh’s wife, Ashley, was Bush 43’s longtime personal secretary: “Our first date was on September 10, 2001. The next morning I was a few steps behind her as the Secret Service shouted at all of us to sprint out the front gates of the White House, because there was an inbound plane. In the difficult weeks that followed, Ashley was a source of strength for President Bush and for everyone in this building.”

— Fun fact: The president’s big reveal preempted another reality TV show: “The Bachelorette” paused during Trump’s speech for a special report, and then ABC went back after Trump gave a metaphorical rose to Kavanaugh.

 “Not since Warren Harding in 1921 nominated former President William Howard Taft to be chief justice has the country been presented with a high court nominee so completely shaped by the needs and mores of the executive branch as Brett Kavanaugh,” Garrett Epps, who teaches constitutional law at the University of Baltimore, notes in The Atlantic. “Though Kavanaugh served as Kennedy’s law clerk during the October 1993 term, the contrast between the two men could hardly be more complete. Kennedy’s roots lay in his days of small-town private practice; he made his way to the bench from private practice, and, as a judge, he was conservative but independent. Kavanaugh has been the creature and servant of political power all his days. It would be the height of folly to expect that, having attained his lifetime’s ambition of a seat on the Supreme Court, he will become anything else.”

As President Trump announced his nominee for the Supreme Court, senators and activists demonstrated outside the Supreme Court building in Washington.

THE CONFIRMATION BATTLE AHEAD:

— Because Kavanaugh is already so well known on Capitol Hill, the partisan battle lines are mostly drawn:

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah): “I will lift heaven and Earth to see that he is confirmed.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.): “I will oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have.”

— Every Democratic senator who was invited to attend the announcement at the White House declined, including Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Doug Jones (Ala.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.). Incidentally, so did Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who says she supports abortion rights and could be pivotal. On the other side, Nevada Sen. Dean Heller — the most vulnerable Republican up for reelection in 2018 — proudly sat in the front row.

— Americans for Prosperity, which is part of the Koch network, announced plans to spend “seven figures” on paid advertising and “grassroots engagement” in support of Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The GOP-aligned Judicial Crisis Network separately says it will spend $1.4 million on TV ads in the next week touting Kavanaugh in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia.

— A good illustration of how Republicans are likely to fall in line: Kavanaugh ruled in 2015 that “the Government’s metadata collection program is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment.” If a Democratic nominee wrote that, there is no doubt that the libertarian-minded Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) would come out swinging against his or her nomination. Instead, Rand tweeted last night he has an “open mind,” and GOP aides say privately that they don’t think he’ll pose any kind of a problem.

Watch Brett Kavanaugh’s full acceptance speech after Trump nomination

 

Story 2: President Trump Flies To Europe for 7 Days for NATO Summit in Brussells and Meeting With Prime Minister May in England and Russian President Putin — Time To Step Up Military Spending of NATO Member Countries — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

Trump pushes NATO allies to keep spending commitments

Trump to NATO members: Pay up

NATO contributions country-by-country

Trump takes on NATO over defense spending

President Trump Pressure NATO Allies Ahead of Summit – ENN 2018-07-10

NATO vs BRICS – What’s The Difference & How Do They Compare?

How many NATO member states are there?

 

Trump takes shots at NATO, May but praises Putin as he prepares to meet with alliance leaders

Philip Rucker, Michael Birnbaum and William BoothWashington Post

President Donald Trump signaled he was ready for a transatlantic brawl Tuesday as he embarked on a consequential week of international diplomacy, taking aim at vulnerable British Prime Minister Theresa May and suggesting that meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin might be easier than talking with Western allies at the NATO summit here.

Leaders converged on Brussels fearful of what the combative U.S. president might say or do to rupture the liberal world order, with some European diplomats privately predicting calamity.

As he departed Washington on Tuesday, Trump stoked the deep divisions in May’s government to undermine the leader of America’s closest historic ally on the eve of the NATO meeting. Asked if May should remain in power, Trump said, “That’s up to the people,” while also complimenting her top rival, Boris Johnson.

Some of Europe’s counters to Trump, including May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, arrive with heavy domestic political baggage of their own, making them vulnerable in negotiations with Trump as they seek to protect the Western alliance from his impulses on defense spending and trade.

Trump has long prized his instincts for taking advantage of an adversary’s weaknesses, and referred to the “turmoil” confronting May at home in remarks to reporters.

The prime minister faces a rebellion from advocates of a hard break from the European Union, who say she has been waffling, and is in danger of losing control. Johnson, a potential successor to May, resigned Monday as foreign secretary and reportedly savaged her Brexit plan as “a big turd.”

Trump praised him in personal terms: “Boris Johnson is a friend of mine. He’s been very, very nice to me and very supportive. And maybe we’ll speak to him when I get over there. I like Boris Johnson. I’ve always liked him.”

Trump’s seven-day journey begins in Brussels and will take him to England for his first visit there as president, to Scotland for a weekend respite at his private golf course and finally to Helsinki for his tête-à-tête with Putin. European leaders are as concerned about what concessions he might make to Putin – such as recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine – as they are about the chaos he could create at the NATO summit.

May plans to roll out the red carpet for Trump and first lady Melania Trump at a gala supper Thursday at Blenheim Palace, former prime minister Winston’s Churchill’s boyhood home, and at a luncheon Friday at Chequers, the prime minister’s country estate. She also secured him an audience with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.

It was a startling gambit for Trump to risk offending his host by showering Johnson with praise while May faces threats of a revolt – even a no-confidence vote – by her own Conservative party over how she is handling Brexit.

“Trump goes after the weak people. He smells who is weak and who is strong, and he gets on well with the strong ones,” said Robin Niblett, director of the Chatham House, a prominent think tank in London.

To her critics, May is forever making compromises to carry out Brexit, even though she herself voted against leaving the European bloc. She has not helped her image by endlessly kicking the can down the road and delaying decisions.

Alternatively, Johnson could be seen as strong by Trump because he pushed for Brexit, he won – and when he didn’t get what he wanted, he quit. In a leaked audiotape, Johnson also praised Trump as the consummate dealmaker. “Imagine Trump doing Brexit. He’d go in bloody hard,” Johnson said. “There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere.”

Trump seizing on perceptions of weakness in the diplomatic arena is in keeping with how he dealt with rival developers and other adversaries in real estate deals, according to Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio.

“There are certain fail-safe bully tactics that can be employed when you’re the stronger, bigger kid,” D’Antonio said. “He is willing to be extreme and seek the upper hand, especially with people that he perceives to be polite and well-mannered.”

That impulse may be strongest this week with Merkel, who has been a stalwart against Trump’s disruptions in Europe but whose standing took a blow last month when she confronted the most serious leadership challenge in her 13-year rule of Germany.

Trump loathes Germany’s trade imbalance with the United States and feels the country is free-riding off the U.S. security umbrella. He also has long criticized Merkel for her 2015 decision to admit more than 1 million asylum seekers from Syria and elsewhere, warning that they were a proverbial Trojan horse who could destroy Europe’s way of life.

Trump has tried to spotlight any signs of Merkel’s political troubles, tweeting last month that “the people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition.”

In Brussels, Merkel will defend her decision to raise defense spending more slowly than Trump’s goal and seek to maintain the 35,000 U.S. troops deployed to Germany, which Trump has threatened to pull back.

But Merkel has actually benefited at home from Trump’s attacks, since the U.S. president is deeply unpopular among the German electorate, as he is with voters across much of western Europe.

Other sometimes-adversaries of Trump will be in Brussels as well, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, creating the potential to extend disagreements that upended last month’s Group of Seven leaders summit in Quebec. Trump left that gathering without signing the perfunctory joint statement among the leaders that his aides had endorsed, and he proceeded to trash its host, Trudeau, as “weak” and “dishonest.”

Ahead of the NATO meetings that begin here Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tried to strike an optimistic note and play down the simmering disputes.

“Our summit comes at a time when some are questioning the strength of the transatlantic bond and I would not be surprised if we have robust discussions at the summit, including on defense spending,” Stoltenberg told reporters Tuesday. “Different views are normal among friends and allies, but I am confident that we will agree on the fundamentals.”

But European Council President Donald Tusk was more direct in anticipating that Trump may have designs on sowing discord, delivering a stinging warning to the visiting Americans president.

“Dear America, appreciate your allies,” Tusk said. “After all, you don’t have that many.”

As he departed the White House, Trump offered a rebuttal.

“Well, we do have a lot of allies,” he told reporters before boarding Marine One. “But we cannot be taken advantage of. We’re being taken advantage of by the European Union. We lost $151 billion last year on trade. And on top of that, we spend at least 70 percent for NATO. And, frankly, it helps them a lot more than it helps us. So we’ll see what happens. We have a long, beautiful week.”

This story first appeared in the Washington Post.

Story 3: Will Prime Minister May Remain in Office? Brixit Breaks May — Videos

Try not to smirk too much, Boris: Johnson poses for picture of himself signing his lengthy resignation letter as he accuses May of letting ‘Brexit dream die’… and Jacob Rees-Mogg says he will make a ‘brilliant’ Prime Minister

  • Boris Johnson accused Theresa May of ‘suffocating’ Brexit as he sensationally resigned as Foreign Secretary
  • He declared war on the PM’s Chequers’s plan and said negotiators had ‘white flags fluttering above them’
  • But he came under fire after posing up for resignation photos which showed him signing the letter to the PM
  • Lib Dem MP Layla Moran called him a ‘poundshop Churchill impressionist’ and accused him of ‘running away’ 
  • Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg backed Mr Johnson and said he would make a ‘brilliant’ Prime Minister  

Theresa May is fighting for her political life today after Boris Johnson accused her of killing Brexit and his allies backed him to be a ‘brilliant’ PM.

Mr Johnson used his decision to quit as Foreign Secretary to declare war on her Chequers plan for leaving the EU.

Warning that the UK was heading for colonial status, he said the Brexit dream was ‘dying – suffocated by self-doubt’.

He claimed Mrs May was sending negotiators ‘into battle with the white flags fluttering above them’ and surrendering control to Brussels. Following a chaotic day of resignations and rumours, Downing Street is now braced for a potential leadership challenge.

Boris also faced criticism in many quarters for taking the time to stage the photos of himself signing the resignation letter and was branded a ‘poundshop Churchill’.

In a reference to his decision to resign only after David Davis had quit as Brexit Secretary on Sunday night, one May loyalist said: ‘There’s not much honour in being second over the top.’

Mrs May also swiftly reshuffled her cabinet, bringing in Jeremy Hunt from Health to replace Boris as Foreign Secretary and Dominic Raab to replace Mr Davis.

But, in a significant intervention, Jacob Rees-Mogg last night backed Mr Johnson, saying he would make a ‘brilliant’ prime minister. 

The former Foreign Secretary declared war on the PM's Chequers plan, but came under fire after he posed up for resignation photos as he sensationally quit the CabinetThe former Foreign Secretary declared war on the PM’s Chequers plan, but came under fire after he posed up for resignation photos as he sensationally quit the Cabinet

Theresa May was fighting for her political life last night after Boris Johnson said the Brexit dream was ‘dying – suffocated by self-doubt’ in his resignation letter

Boris Johnson writing his resignation letter

Who’s in and who’s out of PM’s cabinet after the Chequers rebellion

  • Jeremy Hunt leaves Health to replace Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary.
  • Matt Hancock promoted from Culture to be Health Secretary.
  • Dominic Raab leaves Housing to replace David Davis as Brexit Secretary.
  • Chris Heaton-Harris promoted to junior Brexit minister, replacing Steve Baker who followed his bossDavid Davis out of the door.
  • Kit Malthouse, an ally of Boris’ when he was Mayor of London, becomes Housing Minister.
  • Attorney General Jeremy Wright replaces Matt Hancock at Culture.
  • Barrister Geoffrey Cox replaces Wright as Attorney General.

Slamming the photos, Ms Moran, a leading member of the anti-Brexit group Best for Britain, said: ‘This staged resignation photograph is pathetic. This man is a poundshop Churchill impressionist. Its just very sad.

‘But Boris is doing what he does best: when the going gets tough he runs away like a coward.

‘He did it over Heathrow and he’s done it today. Rather than fight for the country he yet again cares only for his own self interest.

‘But at least he will have a little memento of the day his dreams came crashing down around him.’

Labour’s David Lammy said: ‘The fact that Boris Johnson arranged for a photoshoot of himself signing his resignation letter for the front pages tells us everything we need to know about him.

‘Self-obsessed, vain egomaniac devoid of substance caring only about himself and advancing his career. Good riddance.’

Sam Macrory, an ally of Nick Clegg, said: ‘We all know that Boris Johnson’s decision to quit is absolutely not about one man and his personal ambitions, but I’m struggling to think of another time where a Secretary of State called in the photographers to record the moment a resignation letter was signed.’

Gavin Sinclair said: ‘This sums up Boris – has a senior minister ever called in a photographer before resigning…and just before the PM’s statement to the Commons?!’

And Jon David Ellis criticised Mr Johnson’s behaviour in the aftermath of the Novichok poisonings, saying: ‘Boris literally posed with his resignation letter. Hours after a British citizen died from a foreign agent he chooses self image over basic dignity.’

More than 80 MPs attended a meeting of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, which Mr Rees-Mogg leads, in order to attack Mrs May’s Chequers plan. ‘This has got to be killed and it’s got to be killed before recess [in two weeks’ time],’ said one attendee.

Another Eurosceptic confirmed MPs were writing to the Tory 1922 Committee backbench group to trigger a no- confidence motion.

Boris Johnson's resignation letter to Mrs May in which he said the Brexit 'dream' was being 'suffocated by needless self-doubt'

Boris Johnson’s resignation letter to Mrs May in which he said the Brexit ‘dream’ was being ‘suffocated by needless self-doubt’

Boris Johnson leaves Carlton Gardens after his resignation
Mr Johnson (pictured) claimed Mrs May was sending negotiators ‘into battle with the white flags fluttering above them’Mr Johnson (pictured) claimed Mrs May was sending negotiators ‘into battle with the white flags fluttering above them’
The departed Foreign Secretary came under fire after he posed for pictures while signing his resignation letter 

Two more MPs quit top team in anger over Brexit

Two more Conservative MPs resigned from the Government last night.

Both parliamentary private secretaries, they said they were stepping down because of their concern over the direction of Brexit negotiations.

Chris Green, PPS to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, announced his departure from the position following last night’s 1922 Committee meeting with the Prime Minister.

Conor Burns, who was Boris Johnson’s PPS at the Foreign Office, also announced his resignation.

Mr Green’s constituency Bolton West voted 55.6 per cent Leave in the 2016 referendum and Mr Burns’ constituency Bournemouth West voted 57.7 per cent Leave.

Although the role of a PPS is often described as a ministerial ‘bag carrier’, it shows growing discontent within the Party and heightens speculation of a challenge to Theresa May’s leadership.

One said: ‘It’s over now. She’s done. It would be good if it were done quickly. I want to know who will be standing against her. We need to establish a new government because this offer is indefensible’.

One MP told the 1922 Committee that Mrs May had orchestrated a ‘Remain coup’ at Chequers on Friday. All four ‘great offices of state’ are now held by those who campaigned for Remain.

Friends of Mr Johnson, whose aide Conor Burns also resigned, were tight-lipped last night about his next move. But his resignation letter offered no support for Mrs May and, unlike Mr Davis, he did not urge MPs to back her.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid was among those to praise Mr Johnson yesterday, saying he would miss his ‘Reaganesque optimism and passion for global Britain’. On a day of turmoil at Westminster:

  • Eurosceptic MPs said more ministers would resign unless Mrs May backs down and abandons her Chequers plan;
  • It was rumoured the Eurosceptics are close to gathering the 48 names needed to force a vote of confidence in Mrs May;
  • Mr Davis stepped up his attack on Mrs May’s tactics, saying ‘we are giving too much away too easily – and that is a dangerous strategy’;
  • Steve Baker, who quit as Brexit minister, said the Establishment was trying to block Brexit;
  • Jeremy Hunt took over as Foreign Secretary, while Matt Hancock succeeded him as Health and Social Care Secretary;
  • Mr Davis’s former chief of staff Dominic Raab replaced him as Brexit Secretary;
  • Downing Street was forced to deny that Mrs May will offer ‘preferential’ access to the UK jobs market to EU citizens;
  • No 10 admitted that the customs arrangements signed off at Chequers may not be fully ready before the next election in 2022;
  • Mrs May told Tory MPs they had a duty to stick together to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of Downing Street.

In the Commons yesterday Mrs May paid tribute to both Mr Davis and Mr Johnson, who she said had displayed ‘passion’ for the Brexit cause. But in her reply to Mr Johnson’s attack last night, the PM noted that he had initially backed the plan at Chequers last week, reportedly choosing to toast her success with champagne.

Mrs May said she was ‘sorry – and a little surprised’ to receive his resignation ‘after the productive discussion we had at Chequers’.

One of her allies said: ‘For all the flowery language in his letter, what is conspicuous by its absence is anything resembling an alternative plan.

‘He moans about all these things but there is no sense of how he might achieve a different outcome. That is the difference.’

Jacob Rees-Mogg has said Mr Johnson will make an excellent Prime Minister after more than 80 MPs attended a meeting of the pro-Brexit European Research Group that he leads

How could Theresa May be ousted as Tory leader?

Theresa May faces a mortal threat to her leadership of the Conservative Party and Government.

A Tory leadership contest can be called in one of two ways – if Mrs May resigns or if MPs force and win a vote of no confidence in her.

Calling votes of no confidence is the responsibility of the chairman of the 1922 Committee, which includes all backbench Tory MPs.

Chairman Graham Brady is obliged to call a vote if 15 per cent of Tory MPs write to him calling for one – currently 48 MPs.

The process is secret and only Mr Brady knows how many letters he has received.

The procedure was last used in 2003 when Iain Duncan Smith was ousted as Tory leader.

If Mrs May is ousted, any MP is eligible to stand.

Conservative MPs will then hold a series of ballots to whittle the list of contenders down to two, with the last place candidate dropping out in each round.

The final two candidates are then offered to the Tory membership at large for an election.

Addressing the 1922 Committee, the Prime Minister acknowledged the controversy the Chequers deal had caused, but told MPs: ‘To lead is to decide.’ Outside the meeting, her supporters claimed she was in a better position following the resignations.

‘She is strengthened by all of this – it helps her,’ said Solicitor General Robert Buckland. ‘She has made decisions and the consequences are that some people feel they cannot be bound by collective responsibility, respect to them for resigning, but she has shown leadership.

‘This idea she is some sort of vacillator who cannot make her mind up and wants to keep everybody in the tent – no – she is showing leadership.’

Tory MP James Heappey said there was ‘huge support’ for Mrs May at the 1922 Committee. He said Brexiteers seeking to depose her ‘can do their worst, but it won’t be enough’.

In the Commons pro-Remain Tories, including Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan, backed Mrs May. But the Prime Minister faced direct challenges from a string of Eurosceptic Tories.

Mr Rees-Mogg said her Brexit promises ‘have been watered down to the point that we are, or would be, in a semi-suspended state of membership of the European Union’.

He said the Cabinet resignations ‘really undermine the credibility of what was agreed at Chequers’.

Andrea Jenkyns, who quit the government to speak out on Brexit last month, said she would be writing a letter of no-confidence in Mrs May.

She said Mrs May’s premiership ‘is over… there’s a feeling we need a PM who believes in Brexit’.

Senior Conservative Sir Bernard Jenkin warned there had been a ‘massive haemorrhage of trust’ as a result of the direction the PM was taking and said it ‘may well come’ to a vote over her leadership.

In the Commons, Peter Bone accused Mrs May of betrayal. Mr Bone, who faced cries of ‘shame’, told the PM that activists in his Wellingborough constituency were questioning why they were still campaigning for the party.

Mrs May replied: ‘This is not a betrayal. We will end free movement. We will end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

‘We will stop sending vast sums of money to the European Union every year.’

In full: Boris Johnson’s damning resignation letter to Theresa May

Dear Theresa

It is more than two years since the British people voted to leave the European Union on an unambiguous and categorical promise that if they did so they would be taking back control of their democracy.

They were told that they would be able to manage their own immigration policy, repatriate the sums of UK cash currently spent by the EU, and, above all, that they would be able to pass laws independently and in the interests of the people of this country.

Brexit should be about opportunity and hope. It should be a chance to do things differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward-looking global economy.

That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.

We have postponed crucial decisions – including the preparations for no deal, as I argued in my letter to you of last November – with the result that we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system.

It now seems that the opening bid of our negotiations involves accepting that we are not actually going to be able to make our own laws. Indeed we seem to have gone backwards since the last Chequers meeting in February, when I described my frustrations, as Mayor of London, in trying to protect cyclists from juggernauts. We had wanted to lower the cabin windows to improve visibility; and even though such designs were already on the market, and even though there had been a horrific spate of deaths, mainly of female cyclists, we were told that we had to wait for the EU to legislate on the matter.

So at the previous Chequers session, we thrashed out an elaborate procedure for divergence from EU rules. But even that seems to have been taken of the table and there is in fact no easy UK right of initiative. Yet if Brexit is to mean anything, it must surely give ministers and Parliament the chance to do things differently to protect the public. If a country cannot pass a law to save the lives of female cyclists – when that proposal is supported at every level of UK Government – then I don’t see how that country can truly be called independent.

It is also also clear that by surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods (and much else besides) we will make it much more difficult to do free trade deals. And then there is the further impediment of having to argue for an impractical and undeliverable customs arrangement unlike any other in existence

Conversely, the British Government has spent decades arguing against this or that EU directive, on the grounds that it was too burdensome or ill-thought out. We are now in the ludicrous position of asserting that we must accept huge amounts of precisely such EU law, without changing an iota, because it is essential for our economic health – and when we no longer have any ability to influence these laws as they are made.

In that respect we are truly headed for the status of colony – and many will struggle to see the economic or political advantages of that particular arrangement.

It is also clear that by surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods (and much else besides) we will make it much more difficult to do free trade deals. And then there is the further impediment of having to argue for an impractical and undeliverable customs arrangement unlike any other in existence.

What is even more disturbing is that this is our opening bid. This is already how we see the end state for the UK – before the other side has made its counter-offer. It is as though we are sending our vanguard into battle with the white flags fluttering above them. Indeed, I was concerned, looking at Friday’s document, that there might be further concessions on immigration, or that we might end up effectively paying for access to the single market.

On Friday I acknowledged that my side of the argument were too few to prevail, and congratulated you on at least reaching a Cabinet decision on the way forward. As I said then, the Government now has a song to sing. The trouble is that I have practised the words over the weekend and find that they stick in the throat. We must have collective responsibility. Since I cannot in all conscience champion these proposals, I have sadly concluded that I must go.

I am proud to have served as Foreign Secretary in your Government. As I step down I would like first to thank the patient officers of the Metropolitan Police who have looked after me and my family, at times in demanding circumstances.

I am proud too of the extraordinary men and women of our diplomatic service. Over the last few months they have shown how many friends this country has around the world, as 28 governments expelled Russian spies in an unprecedented protest at the attempted assassination of the Skripals. They have organised a highly successful Commonwealth summit and secured record international support for this Government’s campaign for 12 years of quality education for every girl, and much more besides. As I leave office, the FCO now has the largest and by far the most effective diplomatic network of any country in Europe – a continent which we will never leave.

THE RT HON BORIS JOHNSON MP

In full: Theresa May’s withering reply to Boris Johnson’s resignation letter

Dear Boris,

Thank you for your letter relinquishing the office of Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

I am sorry – and a little surprised – to receive it after the productive discussions we had at Chequers on Friday, and the comprehensive and detailed proposal which we agreed as a Cabinet. It is a proposal which will honour the result of the referendum and the commitments we made in our general election manifesto to leave the single market and the customs union. It will mean that we take back control of our borders, our laws, and our money – ending the freedom of movement, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the United Kingdom, and ending the days of sending vast sums of taxpayers’ money to the European Union. We will be able to spend that money on our priorities instead – such as the £20 billion increase we have announced for the NHS budget, which means that we will soon be spending an extra £394 million a week on our National Health Service.

As I outlined at Chequers, the agreement we reached requires the full, collective support of Her Majesty’s Government. During the EU referendum campaign, collective responsibility on EU policy was temporarily suspended. As we developed our policy on Brexit, I have allowed Cabinet colleagues considerable latitude to express their individual views. But the agreement we reached on Friday marks the point where that is no longer the case, and if you are not able to provide the support we need to secure this deal in the interests of the United Kingdom, it is right that you should step down.

As you do so, I would like to place on record my appreciation of the service you have given to our country, and to the Conservative Party, as Mayor of London and as Foreign Secretary – not least for the passion that you have demonstrated in promoting a Global Britain to the world as we leave the European Union.

Yours ever,

Theresa May

May makes Jeremy Hunt Foreign Secretary after facing down rebel MPs and telling them they’ll make CORBYN PM as she AVOIDS a no confidence vote

Jeremy Hunt – Britain’s longest ever serving Health Secretary – was promoted to head the Foreign Office after Boris Johnson’s shock resignation.

Theresa May moved to reshuffle her frontbench team after a day of high political drama which threatened to bring her premiership crashing down.

Earlier she faced down her critics at a crunch meeting with her MPs – known as the 1922 committee – in Parliament, warning them they risk handing the keys of No10 to Jeremy Corbyn if they oust her.

Mr Johnson’s departure fuelled feverish discussion about whether mutinous Tory MPs will move to topple Mrs May by sending in letters of no confidence.

Jeremy Hunt is the new Foreign Secretary

Matt Hancock is the new Health Secretary

Jeremy Hunt (left) has been appointed Foreign Secretary while Matt Hancock (right) replaces him as Health Secretary

Theresa May is battling to hang on as PM

Theresa May is battling to hang on as PM

Theresa May’s premiership is hanging in the balance after David Davis and Boris Johnson quit in a shock double cabinet resignation.

Here are the odds, via bookmakers Ladbrokes, on who will be the next PM:

Michael Gove (Environment Secretary) – 9/2

Has buried the hatchet with Mr Johnson after brutally ending his Tory leadership campaign in the wake of David Cameron’s resignation.

Thought to be less concerned with short term concessions that Mr Johnson, but focused on ensuring the UK is free from Brussels rules in the longer term.

Jeremy Corbyn (Labour leader) – 5/1

The labour leader will be hoping to capitalise on Brexit disarray in the Cabinet to seize power himself in an election

Sajid Javid (Home Secretary) – 5/1

Brought in to replace Amber Rudd after she resigned amid the Windrush scandal, Mr Javid was seen as a reluctant Remainer in the referendum.

Many thought the former high-flying banker would plump for the Leave campaign, but he eventually claimed to have been won over by the economic case. He is likely to focus be guided by evidence about trade calculations in discussions over how closely aligned the UK should be with the EU.

Jacob Rees-Mogg (Tory backbencher) – 6/1

A leading Tory backbencher, he is chairman of the European Research Group – the powerful group of backbench Brexit backing Tory MPs.

Boris Johnson (ex Foreign Secretary)- 8/1

The Brexit champion in the Cabinet until today, has been agitating for a more robust approach and previously played down the problems of leaving with no deal.

He is unhappy with plans for a tight customs arrangement with Brussels – warning that it could effectively mean being lashed to the EU indefinitely. Said to have bluntly dismissed concerns from pro-EU companies by saying ‘f*** business’.

Andrea Leadsom (Commons leader) – 12/1

A leading Brexiteer who ran for the leadership last year before pulling out allowing Theresa May to be crowned.

Jeremy Hunt (Health Secretary)  – 14/1

A Remainer in the referendum campaign, Mr Hunt has since embraced the Brexiteer arguments – with speculation that he is positioning for a tilt at the top job should Mrs May be abruptly ousted. He has been heavily

Dominic Raab (Brexit Secretary) – 16/1

The new Brexit Secretary, Mr Raab is a leading Brexiteer who has been brought into the Cabinet after David Davis’ shock resignation.

David Davis (ex Brexit Secretary) – 25/1

A long-time Eurosceptic and veteran of the 1990s Maastricht battles, brought back by Mrs May in 2016 to oversee the day-to-day negotiations.

He has plunged her Government into chaos after sensationally quitting last night.

He has said the government will be seeking a ‘Canada plus plus plus’ deal from the EU.

But the PM has insisted that she will stay on and fight if a leadership contest is triggered.

The promotion of Mr Hunt – a Remainer who now says he would back Brexit – comes weeks after he secured a £20billion a year funding boost for the NHS to mark its 70th birthday.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock will move to head up the health service, attorney general Jeremy Wright has become the new Culture Secretary while Brexiteer Geoffrey Cox is being made Attorney General in the shake-up.

Earlier this year Mr Hunt fended off efforts by the PM to move him from the health brief to become Business Secretary – telling her he was determined to stay on and finish the job he had set himself as Health Secretary.

It came hours after Mrs May promoted Brexiteer Tory MP Dominic Raab to the post of Brexit Secretary as Mr Davis’ replacement.

Unlike his predecessor, Mr Hunt backed Remain in the EU referendum – but he has said he would now vote for Brexit because he has grown fed up with the ‘arrogance’ of Brussels.

The PM moved to shore up her support among the Tory backbenches by defending her Brexit plans in the Commons chamber and a packed meeting of the parliamentary party which took place immediately afterwards.

She warned mutinous Tories threatening to mount a revolt to out her that they risk letting a hard left Corbyn- led Government.

And she was given a reprieve tonight with news she will not face an immediate vote of no confidence.

The rare bright spot for the PM came as she issued a defiant message at a stormy session of the Tory 1922 committee in Parliament, with her premiership hanging by a thread.

Mrs May told the gathering that ‘to lead is to decide’ and raised the prospect of the Labour leader imposing a left-wing revolution on the country.

And in a boost for the embattled PM, the chairman of the powerful 1922, Sir Graham Brady, is said to have confirmed at the session tonight that currently he has not received the 48 letters from MPs that would trigger a no-confidence vote.

After the meeting, solicitor general Robert Buckland told journalists that Mrs May had received strong support from the party rank-and-file.

He said: ‘She talked about Jeremy Corbyn, she talked about the alternative being to deliver the country to the sort of Government people didn’t vote for and any Conservative voter would be repelled by.’

Mr Buckland insisted Mrs May could emerge strengthened from the furore, comparing the turbulent events to the crises which faced German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her early years in office.

He said: ‘I think she is strengthened by all of this, I think it helps her.

‘The most striking remark she said was “to lead is to decide”.’

Tory MP Geoffrey Cox – a Brexiteer who has been promoted to Attorney General in today’s reshuffle  – said many Eurosceptics inside the meeting urged the PM to stay on and lead them through Brexit.

He said: ‘I regret Boris and David have gone, but I think they were wrong – they should have stuck in and make this deal successful.’

He said the third way deal Mrs May has put forward represents a ‘giant step’ on the road to Brexit.’

But Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Tory MP and leader of the European Research Group – the powerful group of backbench Tory MPs – said the PM must ditch her Chequers plan.

He said: ‘You see that those supporting Remain two years ago are supporting quasi Remain now…the key question for today is does the rather bad Chequers deal go ahead.’

And he warned that if the Tory party splits along the two wings of Brexiteers vs Remainers – the fault will lie squarely with Downing Street.

He said: ‘If the Government plans to get the Chequers deal through on the back of Labour Party votes then that would be the most divisive thing it could do.

‘And it would be a split coming from the top, not from the members of Conservative party across the country.’

‘I can’t put my name to this’: How Boris finally quit after being asked to put his name to article DEFENDING Chequers Brexit summit deal

Boris Johnson’s dramatic resignation came after he refused to put his name to a Downing Street-drafted article supporting the Chequers agreement, it emerged last night.

Mr Johnson, who quit the Government yesterday, had appeared to have fallen into the line with the negotiating strategy announced on Friday evening – despite apparently referring to it as a ‘t**d’.

He was even said to have congratulated the PM at dinner for securing Cabinet agreement. But on Saturday he refused to sign off a joint newspaper article with the Remain-backing Chancellor Philip Hammond – a long term Remainer – supporting the deal.

A friend said Mr Johnson took one look at the article and said: ‘I can’t put my name to this.’ A text drafted by No 10 was passed to the Treasury, then sent on to the FCO on Saturday. But seeing the consequences of the deal in black and white made him realise he would have to quit, allies revealed.

Boris Johnson refused to put his name to a Downing Street-drafted article with Chancellor Philip Hammond supporting the Chequers agreement

‘At that point he knew it was indefensible,’ the friend said.

On Sunday a series of articles purporting to be written by Cabinet ministers supporting the deal were placed in newspapers. Both Mr Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis were conspicuous by their absence.

By yesterday, according to allies, Mr Johnson was ‘racked with doubt’ about whether to stay in the Cabinet at all and concluded he simply couldn’t improve the deal from inside government.

He telephoned Downing Street yesterday lunchtime and told them he planned to announce his resignation in the evening.

But No 10 refused to allow him that luxury and – in a clear attempt to spike his guns – made the unusual decision to announce his departure in a short statement at 3pm, before Mr Johnson had even finished composing his resignation letter.

It emerged hours later, warning that the UK was heading for a ‘Semi-Brexit’ as a ‘colony’ of Brussels and that the dream of the Leave campaign – to take back control of our democracy – was ‘dying’.

In her icy reply last night, the Prime Minister said she was ‘a little surprised’ to see Mr Johnson departing the Government after the Cabinet signed off on her deal at Chequers on Friday. She suggested he was going back on his word.

But after Mr Davis quit the Government at midnight, speculation quickly swirled around Westminster that Mr Johnson would follow. The rumours soon reached fever pitch when he failed to attend a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee at 1pm to discuss the Salisbury poisonings.

He had also been expected to host, but was notably absent from, the Western Balkans Summit in London’s Docklands yesterday afternoon, involving ministers from several EU states.

Allies of the Foreign Secretary insisted last night that neither this, nor leadership ambitions, was ultimately a factor in his decision to leave Indeed, when his resignation letter was finally released, it was a vivid deconstruction of the Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy. Savaging the PM’s Chequers deal, he said vast swathes of the economy would be ‘locked in’ to Brussels rules but with no influence over them.

He also launched a scathing attack on the PM personally, accusing her of being ‘suffocated by needless self doubt’ and of running up the white flag to Brussels.

And he warned this ‘disturbing’ opening bid could be followed by further concessions on immigration and money ‘for access to the single market’.

Unlike Mr Davis – who notably backed Mrs May staying in office in interviews yesterday – Mr Johnson made no such offers of support.

Mr Johnson wrote: ‘Brexit should be about opportunity and hope. It should be a chance to do things differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward-looking global economy. That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.’

Mr Johnson said the failure to prepare for ‘no deal’ means ‘we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system.’

And he condemned Mrs May’s customs proposals, the Facilitated Customs Arrangement, calling it an ‘impractical and undeliverable customs arrangement unlike any other in existence.’ In his letter, Mr Johnson accepted that on Friday he had congratulated the PM on ‘at least reaching a Cabinet decision on the wa