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    Trump Foreign Policy Tag

    Turkey is preparing a military offensive against the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurds, Turkish state-run media sources say. "We will start our operation in a few days to liberate areas east of the Euphrates River from terrorist organizations," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared in a speech in Ankara Wednesday, referring to the presence of Kurdish forces in neighboring Syria. Kurds, fighting alongside the Assyrian Christians, had played a key role in liberating large parts of Syrian and Iraqi territories from the Islamic State.

    Representatives from around 150 countries signed the United Nations migration pact in Morocco on Monday. The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, as the agreement is formally known, aims to create a legal framework to handle growing migration from impoverished third world countries to the Western world -- overriding the immigration policies of the individual nation states. German Chancellor Merkel, whose open border policies drew millions of asylum seekers from North Africa and the Middle East into Europe in recent years, hailed the signing of the pact as an "important day." It was is about "nothing less than the foundation of our international cooperation," she added. The German leader "received a standing ovation on Monday after an impassioned speech," the UK newspaper The Guardian reported.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been working behind the scenes to prevent European Union member countries from recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the newspaper Jerusalem Post reported. The revelation was made by Tomas Sandell, the director of the European Coalition for Israel in Brussels. Chancellor Merkel made a series of calls to European leaders in April while "many of the nations were seriously considering moving their embassies." Sandell said. "This is not the Germany we once knew. This is not the even Angela Merkel we once knew when she was elected."

    Doing away with diplomatic niceties, the top European Union officials have welcomed the gains made by the Democrats in the US midterm elections. Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans hailed the electoral results while attacking the Trump administration for its "racism" and "rudeness." "Inspired by voters in the U.S. who chose hope over fear, civility over rudeness, inclusion over racism, equality over discrimination," Timmermans wrote on Twitter. EU Economic Commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, also cheered the Democrats winning the House majority. "The Democrats win the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years despite powerful Republican gerrymandering," Moscovici said.

    President Donald Trump's administration has officially restored sanctions on Iran that went away with the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal. At the same time, SWIFT, a financial messaging service based in Belgium, announced it will suspend "some unspecified Iranian banks’ access to its messaging system in the interest of the stability and integrity of the global financial system," but did not mention the US sanctions.

    What is the status of the Singapore Summit agreement five months after the historic deal was signed by President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un? The American press is highlighting a set-back on the path to peace.  North Korean officials are warning that the nation will begin strengthening its nuclear arsenal if the United States does not lift economic sanctions against the country.

    A leading Chinese bank, which acted as the main conduit for payments to Iran, is halting financial transactions with the Islamic Republic, Reuters news agency reports. The state-owned Bank of Kunlun's decision was made "under pressure" of impending U.S. sanctions due to take effect early November, news reports disclose. The halting of transactions spells trouble for Iran's commercial ties to China, the country's biggest oil consumer. The Bank of Kunlun is controlled by China's state-owned energy group CNPC, a company running multi-billion dollar gas exploration projects in Iran.

    Poland has signed a long-term gas deal to buy natural gas from the United States to ease its reliance on Moscow. Polish state-run energy company PGNiG signed a 20-year supply contract with Louisiana-based Venture Global LNG. "Today we can fulfill our efforts to improve the sovereignty, security, and competitiveness of our gas sector," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters on Wednesday.

    When reporting on the landmines removal from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas, I noted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on his way for a meeting with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un to discuss denuclearization of the peninsula. It appears the meeting was a success.
    The U.S. and North Korea agreed Sunday to hold a second summit between leaders Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un "as soon as possible," according to a statement by South Korea's presidential office, with the American side saying that Kim had also invited inspectors to a key nuclear facility.

    Next week, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is expected to head to Pyongyang for the first time with the goal of accelerating international efforts to denuclearize North Korea.
    "At this stage, I believe it is most important to put a complete end to military tensions between North and South, or possibility of military conflict, or war threat," Moon told reporters Thursday.

    Former Secretary of State John Kerry recently admitted that he has had meetings with officials from Iran since leaving office. One of the points Kerry relayed to them was that they should wait out the Trump presidency. It's nearly impossible to imagine the firestorm this would set off among Democrats and the media if a former Bush official had done this to Obama.

    German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has laid out an ambitious plan to counter the United State at the world stage. In an article titled "Making Plans for a New World Order," Minister Mass talked about forming a "counterweight" to the US and called on the the European Union to become "a cornerstone of the international order." "[W]here the USA crosses the line, we Europeans must form a counterweight," German Foreign Minister wrote on Wednesday. "The main goal of our foreign policy is therefore to build a sovereign, strong Europe."

    I have been watching events on the Korean Peninsula since the conclusion of the Singapore Summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un, trying to determine what the eventual outcome of that meeting would be. I have come to the conclusion that the two Koreas are like the children in a messy divorce, and are tired of being pawns in a larger political drama between the two "parents". In part, that assessment comes from statements from South Korean officials that they want the U.S. and China to declare a formal end to the Korean War.
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