27 October 2020

Tuesday, 19:57



American expert on global politics and Trans-Atlantic relations Peter TASE answers the questions of R+



Donald Trump has initiated the withdrawal of US troops from Syria claiming that the fight against ISIS was over. His decision has eventually provoked a series of resignations in the military. What has prompted these resignations? Are there any other reasons behind the withdrawal that the military cannot agree with?

President Donald Trump is allowing the US troops to fully withdraw from Syria over the next four months, even though his abrupt announcement stated in mid-December 2018 that the US Armed Forces had only thirty days to withdraw from the country. Indeed the mainstream media has not praised President Trump for his decision, albeit based on a solid intelligence and national security analysis, to bring troops home and keep them out of harm’s way. A number of regional reports have observed that ISIS controls only a few villages in Syria and is on the run. Immediately after President Trump’s decision, the Secretary of Defense Gen. James N. Mattis announced his resignation. A similar decision was taken by General John F. Kelly, the 28th White House Chief of Staff who resigned from his duties on January 2nd, 2019.  The impulsive Syria policy shift had produced another disappointment in the ranks of the State Department leadership, that of Brett McGurk, US envoy to the global coalition fighting the Islamic State group, who immediately announced his intention of leaving the State Department by mid-February 2019.

In his second anniversary at the White House, President Trump is faced with an exodus of his top advisers from the Department of Defense and his chief of staff among others. The outgoing Gen. Mattis, Gen. Kelly and envoy McGurk explain their decisions by Mr. Trump’s actions, which they consider as perilous, abrasive and sensitive to US National Security.

Who will take control of Syria and the whole region after the US withdrawal? Turkey? What were the reasons of John Bolton's and Mike Pompeo's recent visits to the region?

Undoubtedly, Turkey will acquire a better strategic role in the region. Presidents Erdogan and Trump have agreed to establish a strong bilateral cooperation towards defending the US interests in Syria and Ankara would be assisted logistically by Washington to fight ISIS. .  I am optimistic that Ankara and Washington will further bolster their military cooperation and continue on the consistent fight against ISIS, and the relevance of Kurdish Forces in the ground will be less relevant.

It is assumed that by withdrawing troops from Syria, Washington is planning to focus on fight against Iran. What do you think about the prospect of confrontation between these two nations?

Such a surprise military withdrawal from Syria will produce a different set of priorities and generate a compelling landscape in Washington’s foreign policy implementation in the Middle East. Over the next two years, we will observe a dynamic series of operations that will further scrutinize and pressure the Iranian Government.

The Trump administration is paying a closer look to the military cooperation between Iran and South American countries. Another important matter is the penetration of Iranian Intelligence Service and acquisition of military contracts and cooperation between Iranian Armed Forces and a number of governments in South America, including, Bolivia, Venezuela, Suriname, Ecuador, Cuba and other countries. Tehran is exporting light military equipment to Bolivia and is working with Bolivian scientists to collect nuclear material from the country. With Venezuela, Iran has a strong economic and technological cooperation. To make things worse, Iranian military provocations against the US Navy Ships and aircraft carriers are expected to take place over the next months in the Indian Ocean and nearby the Persian Gulf.

Mike Pompeo has recently demanded Iran to free the US citizens detained in the country on espionage charges. Almost two years ago, Mr. Trump threatened Iran with 'implications', if the Americans were not freed. What could be these implications?

The most important containment and damage infliction instruments in the US Foreign Policy are economic sanctions. Some additional measures that could take place are: the US Department of Treasury can freeze bank accounts of Iranian Government members; military training drills nearby the Strait of Hormuz; work with international institutions towards prohibiting the issuance of low interest loans awarded to the Iranian Government; and advanced counter intelligence operations while strengthening the cyber security defense programs in order to neutralise Iranian cyber-attacks to communications systems that are safeguarded and protected by the National Security Agency.

Should the US hostages are not liberated in a timely manner, Washington will issue arrest warrants for key diplomats and officials of Iran, will ban their entrance in the United States and work with its allies to freeze Iranian officials’ assents on international banks.

Partial government shutdowns had been observed under previous US presidents but never had they taken so long or caused an acute confrontation between the two branches of power. What is the real cause of this standoff?

President Trump insists on building a wall that would prohibit the entrance of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central American countries into the US soil. Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, US Senator Chuck Schumer, and other leaders of the Democratic Party have decided not to cooperate with the White House when it comes to advocating Mr. Trump’s policy of 'Make America Great Again'. Democratic leaders insist that President Trump must open the government before beginning any negotiations over border security and barrier funding. In the ongoing government shutdown over 800,000 federal workers nationwide have been furloughed or made to work without pay. Workers had missed one paycheck. President Trump has signed a legislation that will give back the overdue payment to federal employees once the government is reopened.

On January 19th, President Trump offered a proposal that would bring the Democrats back to the negotiating table on immigration reform for border security that would end the government shut down.  The president offered a three-year revival of the DACA— Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—program in return for the approval of a permanent $7 billion border security package, including $5.7 billion for the border wall.  One hour after the President’s speech, Democratic leaders rejected the bargain because it included a request for funding the border wall.

Can President Trump duly implement his migration policy given the pervasive inconsistencies with his opponents and within his own team?

At the present, the number of illegal immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador is over twenty million. With such a massive movement of people into the US, there are emerging deep economic challenges, lack of social cohesion among many communities, increase of gang violence in the streets of large and middle size cities as well as a proliferation of drug trafficking.

The Obama administration (2009-2017) has provided the immigrants with a free health insurance even though they have not contributed a single penny to the US Fiscal system.  In addition to all these challenges, the mainstream media are not keen towards President Trump’s public policies and his immigration reform, including the introduction of a new set of laws that ensure a better public safety and keep Mexican criminals away from the US–Mexico Border.

Democrats fail to realise that informal economy fostered by the huge influx of immigrants was the reason for having a higher unemployment rate in the tenure of President Barack Obama. To make things worse, most of the Democratic members of Congress refuse to acknowledge that a large number of Mexican criminals, that have committed multiple crimes in various American cities, and after being deported to Mexico, were able to illegally enter in Texas once again.

For all of these reasons, President Trump has chosen the politics of Realpolitik (knowing the economic and national debt circumstances that Washington is still tackling), while setting aside the moral, ideological grounds and multilateral leverage.  The constant refusal of the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to negotiate on funding for a border wall virtually ends the congressional path to funding for this barrier.  It is time for President Trump to use his constitutional rights and emergency powers to fund the construction of this border wall.

President Trump has been accused of serving Russian interests since his inauguration. How can the president work for Moscow? If he does not, what is the cause of these regular bursts of accusations? Are they justified?

As of December 2018, Robert Mueller’s investigation team working on the Russian Interference in the 2016 elections, so far, had a cost of $25.2 million. I sincerely believe that this investigation is a treasure hunt. Mueller should be sent home and authorities of Department of Justice should deliver a press statement clarifying the situation and confirming once again that there were no connections whatsoever between the Trump Campaign Team and the Russian Government.  The heaviest economic sanctions against Russia have been placed under the watch of this president. These robust actions and economic measures against Moscow are taking place for the first time in the Post-Cold War period of Washington’s attitude towards Moscow.

To my knowledge, there is no solid evidence that proves the connection between the Russian Federation and Republican Presidential Candidate either in 2016 or a few years before.  The entire anti-Trump attitude encountered on most of America’s largest newspapers has been shaped in the hallways of Democratic Party offices, including its neoliberal cronies joined by the Hungarian born billionaire and philanthropist George Soros who has spent millions of Dollars to tarnish and damage the image of President Trump.   In the same vein, a pair of US senators Thom Tillis and Christopher Coons are working hard on a backup plan to protect Robert Mueller, as he conducts this witch-hunt style investigation against the president, while the latter will be unable to fire the special counsel.  Furthermore, Senators Cory Booker and Lindsey Graham are drafting a different legislation bill that would limit Trump’s ability to fire Mueller.

I believe that Russia Gate is truly a Hillary Gate orchestrated by the Clinton team only one day after her defeat. The post-election campaign against President Trump was designed by Orbis, a research firm in London who was paid by unidentified Democratic Party donors.