BREAKING: The Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore was definitely “historic.” Will it also prove successful? Here are 7 things you need to know.

 Bible Prophecy, Christian World View, Israel  Comments Off on BREAKING: The Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore was definitely “historic.” Will it also prove successful? Here are 7 things you need to know.
Jun 122018
 

Kim-Trump-handshakeThere’s no question the Singapore Summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un has been “historic,” as Mr. Trump noted in his press conference. [Click here for full transcript.] Never before have the most senior leaders of the United States and North Korea ever met face to face, and they have certainly never before shaken hands or embraced each other so warmly.

The question concerns the actual motives and intentions of the regime in Pyongyang.

  1. Is North Korea putting on a big show to buy time to build even more advanced and dangerous nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles?
  2. Or is the Chairman truly serious about completely dismantling and abandoning his nuclear weapons program and long-rang ballistic missiles and determined to make a comprehensive and lasting peace with the U.S., South Korea and his Asian neighbors?

Simply put, the Summit has not answered these questions.

As I wrote in a March 9th Tweet: “Count me skeptical. The chances of North Korea truly giving up its nuclear weapons and ICBM development program are low. More likely, Pyongyang is playing for time to complete missiles that can reach the U.S. But President Trump is right to be willing to explore NK intentions.”

For now, I stand by this view. I’m not a cynic. If the miracle we have long prayed for is coming to pass and Chairman Kim really proves to be serious, we should all rejoice and thank God and all who worked to make this day possible. But we need to be honest: we simply don’t have enough evidence yet to say the danger has passed and peace has come.

The pictures and headlines out of Singapore are remarkable. The details contained in the agreement — so far — are less so.

  • The Japan Times said the agreement “vaguely worded” and “offered no specifics about how the two sides would reach these goals, while also leaving [the term] ‘complete denuclearization’ undefined.”
  • The Wall Street Journal echoed this assessment. “[T]he document, which Mr. Trump described as ‘very comprehensive,’ provided almost no particulars on how to make the denuclearization process quick, verifiable or irreversible—often stated U.S. goals.”
  • The Journal added, “In many ways, the language echoed an agreement signed between North and South Korea in April. It didn’t codify Pyongyang’s unilateral moratorium on nuclear and missile tests, or contain any reference to sanctions relief. It made a general pledge to a security guarantee for North Korea but didn’t offer any specifics or make any mention of the status of U.S. military forces in South Korea.”

Kim-Trump-signing

That said, here are seven things you need to know:

  1. President Trump has vowed that he and his team have studied and absorbed the lessons of previous failed diplomatic efforts with North Korea and are determined not to repeat past mistakes. Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama were not able to persuade Pyongyang to truly make peace. Let’s give Mr. Trump sufficient time to prove his deal-making instincts and experience before writing the Summit off as a mere photo-op.
  2. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton — the two advisors working most closely with the President during the Summit and months of negotiations — are smart, experienced and honorable men. They are vilified by the media and the Left. But I know these men and I believe it’s possible that they could actually succeed. At present, they are telling reporters that the Summit will set into motion an accelerated process of denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. Let’s be patient and see if this does, in fact, come to pass at all, much less quickly. 
  3. The peace process is like a marathon. The race has finally begun. But the runners have only completed the fifth of 26.2 miles. It’s been a remarkable five miles, but there is a long way to go.
  4. Any final and comprehensive nuclear agreement that the Trump administration makes with North Korea should be submitted to the U.S. Senate for approval as a formal treaty. Many analysts (myself included) made this argument regarding the Iran nuclear deal (in that case, I argued that it should be submitted yet defeated in the Senate). The principle remains the same here. Any agreement that binds U.S. behavior and affects the national security of the American people must meet with approval by two-thirds of the Senators accountable to those people.
  5. If there is one thing that has defined North Korea’s diplomatic process in the past it is the consistent use of deception. In my recent political thriller, The Kremlin Conspiracy, the leaders of Russia and North Korea announce a big “denuclearization” agreement. However, it is a ruse — a deceptive ploy designed to fool the world to lower their collective guard while laying the groundwork for a Russian-North Korean-Iranian nuclear alliance that is planning to attack the United States, Israel and the Western alliance. Could we be seeing this fictional premise play out in real life? (Indeed, I take the premise even further in my next novel, coming out next March.) Perhaps — but let’s hope not.
  6. Some 25 million souls are enslaved by the North Korean regime — with no freedom of speech, no freedom to assemble, no freedom of religion or freedom of the press or any other basic human rights. They don’t have enough food. They don’t have enough fuel. They don’t have enough electricity. Whatever happens, let’s pray faithfully and consistently for their freedom from tyranny and oppression.
  7. Another 51 million souls live in South Korea. They live in a vibrant democracy, a thriving free market economy, and tens of millions have converted from Buddhism and other religions to faith in Jesus Christ over the past half century. Yet they are under the constant threat of attack from the North. The stakes, therefore, are very high. Let us, therefore, be faithful to pray for all the people of Korea — that they would be reunified and that the people of the North will finally enter an era of peace, freedom, spiritual revival and economic growth and opportunity enjoyed by their brothers and sisters in the South.

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Secretary Pompeo’s Iran speech: Tehran hated it. But most Arab & Israeli leaders loved it. So did I. Here’s why.

 Bible Prophecy, Christian World View, Israel  Comments Off on Secretary Pompeo’s Iran speech: Tehran hated it. But most Arab & Israeli leaders loved it. So did I. Here’s why.
May 232018
 

Pompeo-HeritageIranSpeech

(Washington, D.C.) — Iranian leaders hated it. Most European leaders hated it. So did most former advisors to President Obama and Vice President Biden, and most of Washington’s so-called “experts.” But this is hardly news.

What’s fascinating is that most Arab leaders loved it.

I’ve spoken with two very high-ranking Arab officials in recent days about the speech delivered by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at The Heritage Foundation on Monday morning. Both made it clear to me how deeply grateful and appreciative their countries are to the Trump-Pence administration for finally taking a bold, decisive, uncompromising position against Iranian aggression. 

One Arab official told me privately: “It’s like the world is sane again.”

After watching Iran be feted and praised and rewarded and appeased by President Obama and his team over the past eight years, most Sunni Arab leaders are rejoicing that the U.S. is finally treating Iran as the enemy that it is and treating the Arab states and Israel as the friends and allies that they are.

Consider a few of the public statements made by Arab and Israeli leaders:

  • UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash — “Secretary Pompeo’s approach on Iran policy is concise and [a] firm strategy.” He added it is the right path forward is for the U.S. and its allies in the region to be “uniting [our] efforts so that Tehran recognizes the absurdity of its incursions and expansion.”
  • Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry — Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry has said it affirms “full support” for the United States’ strategy toward Iran after America’s top diplomat threatened to impose the “strongest sanctions in history” against Tehran if the country’s leadership did not change the course of its foreign and domestic policy.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — “We believe that is the right policy,” Netanyahu said. “We believe it is the only policy that can ultimately guarantee the security of the Middle East and bring peace in our region, and we call on all countries to follow America’s lead here, because Iran is an aggressive force.”

Saudi leaders have not commented publicly — yet. But there’s no question they are cheering Pompeo in Riyadh. No Arab leader has been more clear about the severity of the Iran threat than new Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (aka, “MBS”).

“Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible,” MBS recently told 60 Minutes, who likens Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to Adolf Hitler. “He wants to create his own project in the Middle East very much like Hitler, who wanted to expand at the time.”

My own view is that Pompeo’s speech may prove to be the most important address ever delivered by a U.S. Secretary of State. (Can you remember any other? Exactly).

It was smart, concise, clear, principled, and non-belligerent. Pompeo wasn’t calling for war. He said the best case scenario was a real treaty with Iran. But only if Iran changes its behavior. 

What’s more, Pompeo’s speech was immensely unifying. I support the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, though I know it grieved many of our Arab friends. That said, it’s worth making this observation: The more the U.S. focuses on Jerusalem going forward, the more we divide our Mideast allies. The more the U.S. focuses on the Iran threat — and shows real leadership in countering Tehran’s malign influence — the more we bring our Arab and Israeli friends together in common cause against a serious enemy.

I highly encourage you to read and/or watch the full speech. Below are also some note-worthy excerpts you might find helpful. 

“[W]while to some the changes in Iranian behavior we seek may seem unrealistic, we should recall that what we are pursuing was the global consensus before the JCPOA. For example, in 2012, President Obama said, quote, ‘The deal we’ll accept is [that] they end their nuclear program,’ end of quote. That didn’t happen. In 2006, the P5 voted at the Security Council for Iran to immediately suspend all enrichment activities. That didn’t happen. In 2013, the French foreign minister said he was wary of being sucked into a, quote, ‘con game,’ end of quote, over allowing Iran to continue uranium enrichment. In 2015, John Kerry said, quote, ‘We don’t recognize the right to enrich,’ end of quote. Yet the Iranians are enriching even as we sit here today. So we’re not asking anything other than that Iranian behavior be consistent with global norms, global norms widely recognized before the JCPOA. And we want to eliminate their capacity to threaten our world with those nuclear activities.”

TOUGHER SANCTIONS: “First, we will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime. The leaders in Tehran will have no doubt about our seriousness. Thanks to our colleagues at the Department of Treasury, sanctions are going back in full effect and new ones are coming….This sting of sanctions will be painful if the regime does not change its course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen to one that rejoins the league of nations. These will indeed end up being the strongest sanctions in history when we are complete.”

MILITARY DETERRENCE: “Second, I will work closely with the Department of Defense and our regional allies to deter Iranian aggression. We will ensure freedom of navigation on the waters in the region. We will work to prevent and counteract any Iranian malign cyber activity. We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hizballah proxies operating around the world and we will crush them. Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East. And I’d remind the leadership in Iran what President Trump said: If they restart their nuclear program, it will mean bigger problems – bigger problems than they’d ever had before.”

SUPPORT FOR THE IRANIAN PEOPLE: “Third, we will also advocate tirelessly for the Iranian people. The regime must improve how it treats its citizens. It must protect the human rights of every Iranian. It must cease wasting Iran’s wealth abroad. We ask that our international partners continue to add their voice to ours in condemning Iran’s treatment of its own citizens.”

OPEN TO NEW NEGOTIATIONS: “We’re open to new steps with not only our allies and partners, but with Iran as well. But only if Iran is willing to make major changes. As President Trump said two weeks ago, he is ready, willing, and able to negotiate a new deal. But the deal is not the objective. Our goal is to protect the American people. Any new agreement will make sure Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, and will deter the regime’s malign behavior in a way that the JCPOA never could. We will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations, and we will not renegotiate the JCPOA itself. The Iranian wave of destruction in the region in just the last few years is proof that Iran’s nuclear aspirations cannot be separated from the overall security picture….Also, in contrast to the previous administration, we want to include Congress as a partner in this process. We want our efforts to have broad support with the American people and endure beyond the Trump Administration. A treaty would be our preferred way to go.”

TWELVE SPECIFIC DEMANDS OF IRAN: “[This] list is pretty long, but if you take a look at it, these are 12 very basic requirements. The length of the list is simply a scope of the malign behavior of Iran. We didn’t create the list, they did. From my conversations with European friends, I know that they broadly share these same views of what the Iranian regime must do to gain acceptance in the international community. I ask that America’s allies join us in calling for the Iranian Government to act more responsibly.”

Pompeo-12demandsforIran

 

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