James Mattis

Is Trump’s Space Force A Real Deal?

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While the situation on the US-Mexico border is getting worse day by day, Trump was nowhere to be found. In fact, he wasn’t even on Earth. Donald Trump met with the National Space Council, and he promised to create the “Space Force,” a new branch of the military which will be in charge of extraterrestrial affairs.

“I am hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” Trump said.

Source:tennesseestar.com

NASA’s yearly budget is close to $20 billion, and they have just scratched the surface of space. This isn’t enough for the US president who said: “Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security.”

Trump came up with this idea of a Space Force in March when he was talking with the military. “Space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea. We may even have a space force,” announcing that America “wouldn’t even be thinking about” missions to Mars if Hillary Clinton had won.

He also mentioned Space Force to the West Point football team at the White House. He said: “You will be part of the five proud branches of the United States Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and the Coast Guard. And we’re actually thinking of a sixth, and that would be the Space Force. You probably haven’t even heard that. I’m just telling you now. We’re getting very big in space, both militarily and for other reasons, and we are seriously thinking of the Space Force.”

Not everyone favors this idea – Pentagon, the Air Force and Secretary of Defense James Mattis who wrote in a letter: “I oppose the creation of a new military service and additional organizational layers at a time when we are focused on reducing overhead and integrating joint warfighting efforts.”

However, there are some optimists when it comes to the creation of the Space Force. They claim that both China and Russia are more militarily advanced beyond the atmosphere and that the US must not lag behind. The new branch that would “fight and win wars in space” should have been created by January 1st, 2019 but the proposal was cut from the National Defense Authorization Act.

Initially, it was thought for the Space Corps to be under the wing of the Air Force, but Trump suggested their independence. He stated: “We are going to have the Air Force, and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal.” He continued by adding that the establishment of the Space Force was important because “we don’t want China and Russia and other countries leading us.”

Trump also addressed the mission to Mars which he is happy to leave it to people such as Elon Musk. Last year in December, Trump signed White House Space Policy Directive 1 that will put more men on the Moon and Mars, eventually.

Source:huffingtonpost.com

“The directive I am signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery,” Trump said at the time. “It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use. This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints – we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, too many worlds beyond.”

Several months later, the US president signed White House Space Policy Directive 2 that reformed “America’s commercial space regulatory framework.” On Monday, he signed Directive 3 that focuses on removing space debris and managing space traffic. These directives were expected, but nobody saw it coming for POTUS to promise the Space Force. Even though it would take a lot of time and money to create such a force, Trump said: “There’s no place like space.”

Source: rollingstone.com

The Meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un Will Take Place in ‘in three or four weeks’

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The US president, Donald Trump, said a meeting with Kim Jong Un could happen over the next three to four weeks, speaking at a rally in Michigan.

“I think we will have a meeting over the next three or four weeks,” he stated “It’s going be a very important meeting, the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. But we’ll see how it goes. I may go in, it may not work out, I leave.”

The exact date hasn’t been set yet, and the location of the summit has been a subject of many rumors, including Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, and even Mongolia.

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, met with Kim Jong Un recently and said that they had a good conversation, praising Kim’s willingness to negotiate and his preparedness for the meeting.

Source:thenewdaily.com.au

“We had an extensive conversation on the hardest issues that face our two countries,” Pompeo said. “I had a clear mission statement from President Trump. When I left Kim Jong-un understood the mission exactly as I described it today.”

The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula has been promoted as a goal on Friday’s meeting between Kim and his southern counterpart Moon Jae-in in the Demilitarized Zone. Kim became the first North Korean leader to visit South Korea since the end of the war in 1953. The meeting went in a cordial atmosphere, with both presidents joking and laughing. One of the promises made was that a formal peace treaty would soon replace a truce that has ended the Korean War. It was even reported widely in the North Korea’s press, which is usually very tight-lipped when informing its citizens of any international development that doesn’t represent their country in the best light. Some experts interpret this in a way that Pyongyang is open to the idea of getting rid of its nuclear arsenal.

Trump has spoken with Moon Jae-in on the subjects and both presidents agreed that “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” is vital for the future of North Korea. Trump also claimed credit for the meeting, saying that “I had one of the fake news groups this morning. They were saying, ‘what do you think President Trump had to do with it? I’ll tell you what. Like, how about everything?”

The US defense secretary, James Mattis also talked to his colleague from South Korea and assured him that America would defend its ally “using the full spectrum of US capabilities.”

President Trump also had a phone call with the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, and appraised him of the situation.

Source: theguardian.com

Israel and Iran May Confront in Syria, Warns Mattis

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US Defense Secretary James Mattis has said that there is a possibility of military confrontation between Iranian and Israeli military forces on Syrian soil. The Israeli officials have arrived in Washington to discuss the matter, and Mattis was quick to warn the Congress of another military conflict in the Middle East. When he was asked whether the two sides could engage in a fight, he responded: “I can see how it might start, but I am not sure when or where. I think that it’s very likely in Syria because Iran continues to do its proxy work there through Hezbollah.”

Mattis said that Iran was strengthening its position in Syria and he also accused the country of “bringing advanced weapons for Hezbollah through Syria. [Israel] will not wait to see those missiles in the air and we hope Iran would pull back.”

The Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman who spoke with Mattis and US national security adviser John Bolton warned that Iran might strike. He told Arabic news website Elaph: “Any site in which we see an Iranian attempt to achieve a military foothold in Syria will be struck. We won’t let that happen, regardless of the price.” In February, Israeli forces attacked Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria when one of their F16 jets was taken down at the Syrian border.

Source:abc3340.com

According to Charles Lister from the Middle East Institute, the Iranian presence in Syrian has become a “hugely explosive issue.” Mr. Lister told The National “The threat is unacceptable, and Israel can’t continue to watch it grow.” He added: “What it means is they [Israelis] need to do something, so we started to see more aggressive, more risky strikes.” With Russia’s inability to keep Iran calm, the possible confrontation might spread on Lebanon as well, and that is why it has to be nipped in the bud.

According to Mattis, Trump had not made the decision to get out of the Iran deal, and the White House is a place where national security meetings are held. At the meetings, the president and his aides are considering the options once the May 12 deadline passes. Of the Iran deal, Mattis said: “I have read it now three times, all 156 pages, and I will say it is written almost with an assumption that Iran will try to cheat. So the verification, what is in there, is actually pretty robust as far as our intrusive ability to get in.”

Source:breitbart.com

Another big thing happened on Thursday as the former CIA director Mike Pompeo has been confirmed as the new Secretary of State. He will replace incapable Rex Tillerson and find the department in the sorry state. However, Pompeo will fly to Brussels right away where he will discuss the NATO defenses, and from there he will go to the Middle East. There are several vacant spots on the department which need to be filled immediately, and Mr. Pompeo has promised to do it. According to Bloomberg, Paula Dobriansky is going to be the nominee for Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs, and she would replace Tom Shannon. She has already been on the various positions in both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush’s administrations.

Source: thenational.ae

Trump’s Syria Troubles

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On April 14th, at 4 AM local time, more than one hundred missiles were launched at the targets in Syria by the airplanes and ships of the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. All targets have been connected with the Bashir al-Assad’s ability to conduct chemical warfare, and the strike itself has been a retaliation to the recent chemical attack in Douma.

While the attacks have been successful in destroying its targets and the production and stockpiles of chemical agents of the Syrian regime have been seriously compromised, the mission is far from accomplished, despite what President Trump may have tweeted. The statement rings true just as much it did last time it was uttered by an American President.

These strikes will do little, if anything, to protect Syrian civilian population from Assad’s regime. While they put some dents in his war machine, it won’t be stopped without a serious troop commitment on the ground, something nobody in NATO is willing to even discuss, let alone approve. Truth be told, Mr. Trump did advocate for a more massive strike, a one that will destroy not only chemical facilities, but also airfields and army bases, but was convinced by Secretary of Defense James Mattis to dial it down. Mattis argument was that such huge escalation might provoke a response from Russia, which has a strong military presence in the region and make things even worse in the region.

Source:businessinsider.com

Trump’s insistence for a decisive strike against Syrian regime seems to be in a direct collision with his plans for the withdrawal of all US troops from Syria. That President Trump’s decisions can be quite contradictory to each other is nothing new, but this time he may outdo even himself. In the end, we got an almost symbolic show of force that did little to either punish Syrian regime or promote American interests in the region.

The reasons for President Trump’s back and forth policy in Syria are unclear. There are several theories, though. The first one is that he agreed to strikes in order to distract public from Mueller investigation and FBI raid on his personal lawyer premises, not to mention the looming release of James Comey’s book. The investigation seems to be uncovering new evidence of collusion and Trump’s position seems weaker by the minute. It is a proven tactic and it is clear that nothing boosts presidential approval ratings as a war, and Trump has gone and got himself just that.

The other theory says that he ordered attacks in order to prove that he isn’t Putin’s puppet and that is why the attack was so impotent. That would make the whole Trump – Mattis conflict we mentioned above a simple theater, aimed at his voters.

Source:latimes.com

While both of these may have some elements of truth and could have played some small part in Mr. Trump’s internal decision-making process, the real reasons behind his decisions are far more dangerous. Mr. Trump doesn’t understand the military. He never did and probably never will. To him, all those shiny airplanes, ships, and missiles are just a symbol of America’s power (and, by extension, his own personal power) rather than an instrument of said power. All that boots on the ground, nation-building, democracy development is boring, time-consuming, and messy and it doesn’t work for Mr. Trump. Press a button and launch a missile and boom, instant gratification. He gets to fulfill his threat about “nice and new and ‘smart!’” missiles and tweet “Mission Accomplished,” all in the same go. The fact that his missiles haven’t accomplished anything useful expect waste few million dollars of the tax-payers money doesn’t even come to Mr. Trump’s mind.

The added bonus is that he can sell missile strikes as something completely different from troops on the ground to his voters. Not only his anti-interventionist base will support any plan that doesn’t involve sending the Marines, but they are also ready to accept this non-effective and basically useless strike as a success. In the end, Mr. Trump has his voters, who can sleep at night safe in the knowledge that their President is trying to untangle them form that Middle Eastern mess Obama put them in. Assad gets to kill as many of his citizens as he needs to stay in power and Russia and Iran get to split Syria. A win-win scenario, really.

Source: nationalreview.com