12.20.2017 0

Foreign policy successes get #10 ranking in Trump 2017 achievements countdown

By Printus LeBlanc

Earlier this week, President Trump outlined his National Security Strategy to advance America’s interests, in a speech given at the Reagan building. The President emphasized four pillars of national interest:

  1. Protect the homeland, the American people, and American way of life;
  2. Promote American prosperity;
  3. Preserve peace through strength;
  4. Advance American influence.

The goals are a separation from past administrations, which believed it was America’s job to spread democracy, nation build, and subjugate U.S. interests to international bodies. The President’s policy is based on realism, not idealism. This got ALG thinking about the President’s accomplishments in the foreign policy arena, considering the wonks didn’t believe he would do well in this area.

Iran

President Trump has taken significant steps to rein in Iran. Under the previous administration, the terrorist regime was emboldened. The world just learned Obama let Iran and Hezbollah operate terrorist, narcotics, and money laundering operations around the world, including in the U.S., with impunity. President Trump isn’t trying to win a Nobel Prize and sees the terrorist regime as the threat it is.

The Trump administration has leveled sanctions four times against dozens of companies and individuals associated with the rogue regime, including Chinese companies that supplied missile technology to critical Iranian defense authorities.

Most importantly, the President did what no President has done before; he directed the U.S. Treasury Department to enact terrorism-related sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world. They are at the center of Iranian power structure and have been involved in attacks against Americans in Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.

On the same day the President announced the sanctions against the IRGC, the President also refused to certify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal. Trump sent the deal to Congress telling them to make it tougher on Iran, and if Congress did not return with a new agreement, he was willing to leave the agreement entirely.

North Korea

For decades, several Presidents have attempted to negotiate with the North Korean regime. George H.W. Bush removed U.S. nuclear weapons from South Korea in an attempt to satisfy the North and denuclearize the Peninsula. President Clinton struck a “deal” that gave North Korea oil and $4 billion in energy aid. Before the ink was even dry, the North Koreans started cheating on the deal.

Under President George W. Bush, the North was finally able to detonate a nuclear bomb. This did nothing to harden the resolve of the administration as they continued to play the same negotiating games. The Obama administration did no better, continuing to negotiate while the North Koreans detonated nuclear weapons and advanced their ballistic missile technology.

President Trump took the approach of directly confronting North Korea. In August, the U.S. was able to successfully and unanimously pass a resolution in the UN Security Council cutting the country’s exports by one-third. That was followed up by another UN Security Council resolution establishing more sanctions in September. In two months, President Trump was able to get two allies of North Korea, Russia, and China, to vote in favor of crippling economic sanctions against the regime.

The UN sanctions were followed up by U.S. sanctions against Chinese and Russian citizens doing business with North Korea. President Trump’s direct approach to deal with North Korea has convinced China to become more engaged. China has always been the key to dealing with the regime, but previous administrations have failed to persuade China to take the threat seriously. President Trump appears to have changed China’s mind.

NATO

President Trump made NATO one of his defense-related campaign issues. The President blasted NATO member countries for not living up to their end of the deal, when it came to defense spending, while also hammering previous U.S. administrations for not pushing NATO members to spend more. The cost was putting an undue burden on American taxpayers and giving Europeans a free ride.

NATO responded to President Trump with a 4.3 percent increase in defense spending after a decade of cuts. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated, “for me, America First is not America alone,” after indicating the increases. Nato paid attention to what President Trump was saying on the campaign trail, makes you wonder why other Presidents didn’t put pressure on NATO.

Cuba

One of President Obama’s signature foreign policy accomplishments was the beginning of normalizing relations with Cuba. The Obama administration did this without getting any concessions from Cuba. The communist dictatorship repaid the naivety of the Obama administration with sonic weapon attacks against U.S. diplomats causing permanent damage to many.

President Trump sees communist dictators for who they are and refuses to reward them for their actions. Trump reversed much Obama’s pro-Cuba policies including restricting financial transactions that benefit the Cuban military. At the United Nations, the administration also voted against resolutions condemning the embargo, which reversed the Obama policy.

ISIS

Perhaps President Trump most significant foreign policy achievement was the destruction of the ISIS caliphate. President Obama’s feckless Mid East policy led to the creation of the ISIS. The murderous death cult gained vast amounts of territory in Iraq and Syria while committing genocidal acts against anyone not deemed Islamic enough. President Obama took a hands-off approach to the group, calling them the JV team, despite multiple warnings from intelligence officials.

When it came to battling ISIS, Obama took the feckless approach that gave birth to the terrorist group. The Obama Rules of Engagement forced the military to provide the enemy with a 45-minute warning before the attack. Strike aircraft would go on bomb runs but be forced to return to base with a full load because of the restricted ROEs. The previous administration fought ISIS for almost two years without making a dent.

President Trump came into office with one goal in mind when it pertained to ISIS, destroy them. He didn’t try to understand them, he didn’t try to convince them to change their ways, and he didn’t try to engage them unless it was with a 500-pound bomb. President Trump gave a simple order to the military, destroy ISIS, and let them carry it out without the micromanagement of previous administrators. This difference was noticed almost instantly when the number of bombs dropped per month is compared between the two administrations. Military operations against ISIS under President Trump dropped over 360 more munitions per month compared to operations under the previous administration.

Thanks to the intense pressure put on ISIS by the Trump administration the caliphate has been destroyed. Even the liberal media, which dreaded a Trump foreign policy, had to admit it.

Israel

It didn’t take long for President Trump to repair the broken relationship between Israel and the U.S. For eight years Israel was under constant attack from terrorists, but also had to watch their back as they could not depend on their closest ally anymore. The Obama administration even took to spying on American Jewish groups and Israeli politicians that disagreed with him on policy.

Israel once again has an ally committed to the Jewish state. The Trump administration is so committed; it did something no other U.S. President has done, despite multiple promises. On December 6, 2017, President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Trump also instructed the State Department to begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Both actions are promises every President since Clinton has promised, but none have delivered.

Russia

Former disgraced Director of National Intelligence James Clapper insinuated Russian President Vladimir Putin was running Trump as an agent. If that’s the case Trump’s actions against Russia would make him the WORST AGENT EVER.

President Trump has been harder on Russia than the previous administration. Aside from the many sanctions levied against Russian citizens and businesses for doing business with Iran and North Korea, as mentioned earlier, the Trump administration levied additional sanctions against Russians involved with the conflict in Ukraine.

The Trump administration also refused to issue waivers to companies wanting to do business in Russia, including the Secretary of State’s former company, ExxonMobil. Just in case anyone forgot, President Trump ordered a cruise missile strike against a client state of Russia, Syria for violating the famous red line President Obama refused to enforce.

To add insult to injury, President Trump approved the addition of Montenegro into NATO. The move was vehemently protested by Russia, as Yugoslavia is territory once dominated by Russia.

The foreign policy wonks may have been worried about President Trump coming into office, but he seems pretty adept at his job. He sees the world for what it is, not how we want it to be. He has learned from mistakes of past administrations and refuses to commit them again. Judging by his first year in office, American foreign policy is in good hands with President Trump, and the foreign policy and defense talking heads should be eating some crow.

Printus LeBlanc is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.

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