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Five Tips for Explaining Immigration Issues to the Open-Minded but Uninformed

TownHall Latest columns - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 19:01
But sadly, America doesnt now need immigrants and many people cant understand that.

Five Things That Won’t Stop School Shootings and the One That Will

TownHall Latest columns - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 19:01
As the horrific events at Santa Fe High school unfolded, all the usual experts popped up on TV panels and interviews once again recycling their never again and weve-gotta-do-something solutions. These are respected authorities like former DOJ special agents, sheriffs, former NYPD detectives, and parents of children killed in previous school shootings. And not one single thing they recommended to stop school massacres will work.

Liberal Lies And Slanders Are A Slippery Slope To Trouble

TownHall Latest columns - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 19:01
The ability to discuss and debate issues in good faith is a key principle essential to the maintenance of a democratic republic.

Jimmy Kimmel Thinks School Attacks Don’t Happen Where There Are ‘Real, Sensible Gun Laws’ -- But China And Reality Beg To Differ

TownHall Latest columns - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 19:01
But I, for one, would far rather live with such uncertainty as a free man than as a slave.

How Trump Can Dismantle Obamacare Without Congress

TownHall Latest columns - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 19:01
Obamacare is not constitutional, and the Trump administration has the power to end Obamacare on its own.

Mueller said he could wrap up probe by Sept. 1 if he can interview Trump by mid-July, Giuliani tells Fox News

Fox News (Politics) - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 18:45
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has told President Trump's legal team he should be able to wrap up the Russia investigation by Sept. 1 if he is able to interview Trump by mid-July, Rudy Giuliani told Fox News on Sunday.

George H.W. Bush arrives in Maine for the summer, family says

Fox News (Politics) - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 17:46
Former President George H.W. Bush arrived in Maine on Sunday evening, where he's set to spend the summer at his house in Kennebunkport.

DOJ asks watchdog to look into possible 'impropriety' after Trump demands probe on alleged campaign 'infiltration'

Fox News (Politics) - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 17:00
The Justice Department asked its watchdog to look into any alleged "impropriety or political motivation" in the FBI's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, the DOJ said Sunday night -- hours after President Trump ordered a review looking into whether federal agents infiltrated or surveilled his campaign for political purposes.

Hillary Clinton to get Harvard medal for 'transformative impact on society'

Fox News (Politics) - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 14:00
Hillary Clinton will receive Harvard’s prestigious Radcliffe Medal for her "transformative impact on society," according to the Ivy League university.

Trump to 'demand' Justice probe whether feds spied on campaign for political purposes

Fox News (Politics) - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 12:56
President Trump said Sunday that he will officially demand that the Justice Department investigate whether federal agents infiltrated or surveilled his 2016 presidential campaign for political purposes and whether the preceding Obama administration was behind such action.

George H.W. Bush sees 'Hamilton' in Houston, wears socks inspired by musical

Fox News (Politics) - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 11:41
George H.W. Bush got a chance to see “Hamilton” at Houston’s Hobby Center Saturday night a few days after the cast and crew gave the former president a special performance.

FBI informant met with three Trump advisers during campaign, report says

Fox News (Politics) - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 11:30
The FBI’s Russia investigation targeting the Trump campaign involved a top-secret informant who served in three previous Republican administrations and has deep ties to American and British intelligence officials, according to reports.

Mnuchin says US has deal with China to cut trade deficit, will hold off on tariffs

Fox News (Politics) - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 10:56
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Sunday that the U.S. and China -- the world’s two biggest economies -- have reached a tentative deal to cut trade deficits that includes the U.S. putting China tariffs on hold, an agreement that potentially averts an economic standoff that would have global economic impacts.

New NRA leader Oliver North on school shootings: 'Disease isn’t the Second Amendment'

Fox News (Politics) - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 09:30
New NRA President Oliver North said Sunday, in the aftermath another school shooting, that students “shouldn’t be afraid” to attend class but made clear that his gun-rights advocacy group still doesn’t think the solution is limiting Second Amendment rights.

Trump warns extended Russia probe will 'put some hurt' on Republicans during midterms

Fox News (Politics) - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 09:03
President Trump on Sunday expressed his frustration with the ongoing and wide-ranging Russia collusion investigation, suggesting that federal investigators could “easily” extend the “witch hunt” through the critical mid-term elections to “put some hurt on the Republican Party.”

Washington Still Doesn’t Understand Iraq

Cato Recent Op Eds - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 08:50

Ted Galen Carpenter

The results of Iraq’s parliamentary elections confirm that U.S. leaders and the American news media still don’t have a clue about the complex political dynamics in that country. Experts and pundits expected U.S.-backed incumbent Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s party to prevail. Instead the party headed by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr won a plurality of the votes. Sadr is a long-time U.S. nemesis who opposes Washington’s Middle East policy agenda and especially the presence of American troops in Iraq. Indeed, during the years immediately following Washington’s war to depose Saddam Hussein, Sadr’s armed followers frequently clashed with U.S. occupation forces.

His resurgent political prominence is more than a little worrisome to Trump administration officials. But from their standpoint, Sadr does have one virtue: he dislikes Iranian influence in his country almost as much as he does U.S. influence. His stance is solid evidence that Shiite solidarity goes only so far. Despite the mutual religious identity, there still is a significant, historical tension between Arabs and Persians that surfaces from time to time. Sadr epitomizes that ethnic distrust.

A more worrisome aspect of the election results from Washington’s perspective is that the party finishing second in the balloting, the Fatah (Conquest) Coalition, does not share Sadr’s wariness of Iran. Indeed, that Shiite bloc represents the interests of pro-Iranian militias that Tehran has funded generously, supplied with military hardware, and even provided direct assistance with its own “volunteers” on occasion. The bottom line is that the two strongest political factions in Iraq are both vehemently anti-America, and one also is strongly pro-Iran. One could scarcely envision a worse result in terms of Washington’s policy goals.

To the surprise of Western observers, Abadi’s party finished an anemic third. That disappointing performance is merely the latest in Washington’s long record of choosing Iraqi clients with weak public support. George W. Bush’s administration and its neoconservative allies assumed that Ahmed Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, would be Iraq’s new leader once Saddam was overthrown. Indeed, the United States provided millions of dollars to the INC in the years leading up to the 2003 invasion and occupation. Yet when parliamentary elections occurred, Chalabi’s party garnered a pathetic 0.5 percent of the vote.

Washington’s next client was Nouri al-Maliki. His tenure in office was characterized by a relentless drive to marginalize and alienate the country’s Sunni minority that had been the political base for Saddam’s Baathist ruling party. Maliki’s vengeful approach, combined with his administration’s legendary corruption, paved the way for the rise of ISIS and that extremist faction’s shocking initial military victories in Iraq’s civil war.

Not only were the latest election results in Iraq as a whole a major setback for U.S. policy, the outcome in Iraqi Kurdistan was worrisome as well. The Kurdish regional government (KRG) was a staunch U.S. ally in the war against ISIS-as were Kurdish forces across the border in Syria. Some pundits and policy experts regarded the Kurds (along with Israel) as Washington’s most reliable allies in the Middle East and urged stronger ties with the KRG, even if that step annoyed the central government in Baghdad.

The 2017 decision of KRG president Masoud Barzani to hold a referendum on full independence from Iraq, however, disrupted the alliance with Washington. That move angered nearly all neighboring countries, most notably America’s NATO ally, Turkey, as well as the Baghdad government. U.S. leaders pulled back their support for the KRG, and the Iraqi national army launched a major crackdown. By overreaching, Kurdish leaders lost control over the oil rich city of Kirkuk and lost much of the self-governing status that the region had achieved in the years since Saddam’s ouster.

Expectations were widespread that Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party and the region’s other longtime major party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, would suffer the electoral consequences of their tactical blunder. The Goran reform movement especially seemed poised to make major gains. Instead, both parties suffered only modest losses. Gorran and other opposition factions immediately screamed “fraud,” and there was strong evidence of election irregularities. Tensions have already escalated into violence in some northern Iraq cities.

Washington now confronts a situation in which Iraqi voters have rebuffed its principal political client at the national level, and the once promising collaboration with a stable, pro-American Kurdistan is in tatters. Yet even in this deteriorating environment, Trump administration officials apparently intend to retain a U.S. military presence in Iraq indefinitely. Such a policy looks less and less sensible or even viable. U.S. policymakers have made faulty assumptions about that country now for nearly two decades. The original belief that the Bush administration embraced, and which the Obama and Trump administrations followed, that Iraq could become a stable, united, democratic, pro-American bastion in the Middle East has proven fallacious on multiple levels. It is time to recognize the limits of U.S. influence and reassess a disastrous policy. The Trump administration needs to develop a prompt exit strategy from the Iraqi morass.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign-policy studies at the Cato Institute, is the author of ten books, the contributing editor of ten books, and the author of more than seven hundred articles on international affairs.

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