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Trump returns to New Hampshire, eyeing battlegrounds won by Clinton

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 13:19
President Trump returns to New Hampshire on Thursday to hold his first campaign rally in the crucial battleground state since the eve of the 2016 election

Dems throw Senate fight for a (Hicken)loop

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 13:04
2020 candidate and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper withdraws from the presidential race but is giving "serious thought" towards a Senate run.

AIPAC chides Israel for decision to block Omar, Tlaib visit

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 12:58
In a surprise move, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee criticized the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for barring two freshman Democratic congresswomen from entering the country ahead of a planned visit.

House subpoenas Lewandowski, ex-Trump aide in Trump probe

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 12:53
The House Judiciary Committee is subpoenaing former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and an ex-White House aide as part of its investigation into President Donald Trump's conduct in office.

Newest anti-Trump Republican Joe Walsh tries to shed history of incendiary remarks

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 10:42
Former Illinois congressman and radio host Joe Walsh is attracting sudden media attention as he floats a possible GOP primary challenge against President Trump – but the Tea Party-aligned Republican could struggle to be taken seriously as he confronts his own history of conspiracy theories and incendiary remarks. 

Trump boosts possible Lewandowski Senate bid ahead of New Hampshire rally

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 10:38
President Trump has a message for New Hampshire Republicans ahead of his visit Thursday: “Corey’s an outstanding guy. If he ran and won, he would be a great senator.”

Trump: Philly shooter ‘should never have been allowed to be on the streets’

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 09:41
President Trump said Thursday that the suspect in the shooting of six police officers during a Philadelphia standoff should "never have been allowed to be on the streets."

Saving China’s Uighurs: Can Washington Do the Impossible?

Cato Recent Op Eds - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 08:00

Doug Bandow

Almost from the nation’s beginning, Americans have sought to liberate their geographical neighborhood and the world beyond. Only a few years after winning independence, they debated aiding faraway Greeks fighting the Ottoman Empire, even though this was well beyond their means.

Two centuries later, a far more powerful United States faces a similar dilemma. There is a growing movement to “do something” about China’s terrible treatment of its Muslim Uighur population, a million of whom (and perhaps far more) have been locked up in reeducation camps. Authoritarian, even totalitarian, controls have been imposed in Xinjiang province. The scope of oppression is breathtaking.

Writes the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin: “Republicans and Democrats, isolationists and internationalists, the Trump administration and Congress, even Christians and Muslims all agree: This is a catastrophe the United States can no longer ignore.” Several House members have written to express their dismay that “the administration has taken no meaningful action in response to the situation.” They insist that the president come up with plans to hold “Beijing accountable” and “make clear to the Chinese government that the situation is a priority for the U.S. government.”

Unfortunately America’s desire to redress injustice far outstrips our ability to do so.

Laments Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uighur Congress: “Each time the world swears never again. When will we actually mean it?” Yet what does “never again” mean when dealing with a major, well-armed power with nuclear weapons? During the Cold War, a much weaker People’s Republic of China committed far worse crimes against its own people. Today, humanitarian military intervention is inconceivable: the result would be even worse human carnage. America certainly isn’t going to war with the PRC.

Economic sanctions have become America’s “go to” policy when it dislikes what other countries are doing. However, Beijing is a far more significant power than those nations typically targeted. China’s commercial ties extend through Asia and Europe and on to Africa and even Latin America.

Trade penalties have proven ineffective even when applied against weaker nations, including Russia, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Cuba, and Venezuela. At best, those sanctions helped push some, like Tehran, to the negotiating table. But in no case did those countries change their internal policies.

Indeed, sanctions do more to hurt the people than their governments. Consider the infamous exchange with UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright, who, when pressed to justify the deaths of a half million Iraqi children due to sanctions, asserted: “We think the price is worth it.” Someone should have asked the Iraqis.

In response to such criticism, the U.S. insists that it’s now imposing “smart” sanctions, punishing those believed to be responsible for offensive policies. However, the leaders of hostile states rarely bank or vacation in America. Some of their supporters might enjoy the West’s good life, but Russia’s oligarchs are still unlikely to overthrow their czar anytime soon.

In the case of China, it’s been suggested that we sanction Chen Quanguo, Xinjiang’s party chief and Politburo member (who previously kept brutal order in Tibet). Doing so might represent “the determination not to turn a blind eye,” as Rogin puts it, though not much more. That won’t change anything in Beijing.

Indeed, the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act, pending in both houses, is mostly hortatory. The bill demands that the administration do something, such as condemn Chinese abuses, impose Magnitsky Act penalties against select Chinese officials, ban the export of technologies used for repression, and protect Uighurs and others in the U.S. from Chinese harassment.

Protecting Chinese of any background living in America is worthwhile, but well-nigh impossible when relatives remain in the PRC. Indeed, China is reportedly seeking to create a database of Uighurs living abroad and their relatives left in Xinjiang, in order to more effectively pressure the former.

Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch urges the targeting of American companies tied to Chinese firms “engaged one way or another in repression in Xinjiang.” That would be morally satisfying, but it would not stop other nations’ businesses from stepping in. China will have no trouble manning and servicing its camps.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argues: “The administration must demonstrate the moral courage to use its economic leverage to not only guarantee fair trade for American products in Chinese markets, but also to advance human rights in China.” Similarly, as regards Hong Kong, Amnesty International’s Francisco Bencosme observes, “While the U.S. is negotiating trade agreements, I think it’s important to remember that history is not going to remember the details of the negotiations but where the United States was on this massive human rights issue.”

But what to do? Impose human rights tariffs? Embargo all trade? And would the objective be to close the camps or liberate Xinjiang? To kill Hong Kong’s extradition bill or force democratic rule?

And what of the many other human rights violations—attacks on religious liberty, arrests of human rights lawyers, creation of a totalitarian “social credit” system, restrictions on academic exchanges and internet access, and much more? Is there any reason to believe that a rising nationalist power would cave on such issues? If not, then just “doing something” would be for our benefit, not that of the oppressed.

Congress also recently targeted China’s ongoing crackdown in Hong Kong. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that if Hong Kong approves the proposed extradition bill, “the Congress has no choice but to reassess whether Hong Kong is ‘sufficiently autonomous’ under the ‘one country, two systems’ framework” to maintain existing trade preferences. Legislation has been introduced to reaffirm Washington’s commitment to human rights in Hong Kong, certify the sufficiency of the territory’s autonomy, and impose personal sanctions on those responsible for violating liberties.

If the Special Administrative Region loses its special status, then it should lose any corresponding trade preferences. Nevertheless, the threat to strip away trade benefits won’t change Beijing’s behavior. If millions of demonstrators can’t sway Hong Kong and Beijing authorities, American economic penalties won’t do so. The SAR matters ever less economically to China and Chinese leadership will not yield control of a territory they only regained a couple decades ago.

Michael Mazza of the American Enterprise Institute proposes that the U.S. boycott the 2022 China Winter Olympic Games to protest Beijing’s Xinjiang practices. If the International Olympics Committee was deciding where to schedule the next games, denying them to the PRC would be sensible punishment. However, a unilateral boycott—Mazza expressed the likely forlorn hope that Washington could convince others to go along and the IOC to cancel or relocate the competition—would merely be an exercise in moral vanity. It would be a particularly curious statement if tourists and businessmen filled planes headed for China while American athletes were stuck at home.

So far the administration has resisted pressure to act. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unconvincingly claimed that he has raised human rights “in multiple conversations.” However, the administration values human rights only as a foreign policy weapon against particularly hated adversaries. Punishing the PRC would also interfere with other important policy objectives, such as moving North Korea toward denuclearization.

Nor is China the only country that offends American values. For example, during the contested redo of Istanbul’s mayoral race, Bloomberg’s Eli Lake contended that the issue should be “at the top of the U.S. agenda with Turkey.” Yet what could Washington have done? President Recep Tayyip Erdogan felt threatened by the initial opposition victory: holding onto power was his priority and would have trumped any threat from Washington. Moreover, were the U.S. government seen to be allying with the opposition, it might prove to be more burden than asset in a nationalist state with significant anti-American sentiments. American intervention might also might have spurred Erdogan to do whatever was necessary to ensure his party’s victory.

History has not ended and horrific violations of human rights abound across the globe. Alas, America’s desire to redress injustice far outstrips its ability to do so. Even when addressing offenses like the mass incarceration of China’s Uighurs, prudence remains a virtue. Best would be for the administration to encourage creation of a global coalition to address these horrific problems.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He is a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and the author of several books, including Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

Hickenlooper expected to end White House bid Thursday, sources say

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 07:58
Coping with a struggling campaign and facing the reality that he wouldn’t make the stage at next month’s third round of Democratic presidential debates, former two-term Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to end his long-shot bid for the White House on Thursday.

Who's Funding Planned Parenthood?

TownHall Latest columns - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 06:08
Let's take a look.

Former mayor Cory Booker shares in blame for Newark, NJ's water crisis, critics say: 'He left a mess'

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 05:11
Democratic presidential contender Cory Booker, who once led New Jersey’s largest city, faced renewed backlash from critics who claim he mismanaged Newark’s water commission during his time as mayor, after thousands of residents were administered water bottles this week.

Israel may bar Omar, Tlaib from entering country over support of BDS movement: reports

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 03:36
An Israeli government official decided Thursday that U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., should be barred from entering the country for a planned visit this weekend, according to Israeli media. 

Trump suggests 'personal meeting' with China's Xi on Hong Kong protests

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 00:43
President Trump in a tweet Wednesday evening suggested a “personal meeting” with Chinese President Xi Jinping amid tensions in Hong Kong and fears that an escalating trade war could trigger a global recession.

Kamala Harris slammed for 'politicizing' Philadelphia standoff

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 23:52
Sen. Kamala Harris faced criticism Wednesday for promoting her campaign's gun control plan during an appearance on CNN that coincided with breaking news about the police standoff in Philadelphia in which six officers were shot.

Scaramucci predicts 'demagogue' Trump will not be Republican nominee in 2020

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 21:11
Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci offered a prediction Wednesday night that President Trump "will not" be the Republican nominee in 2020. 

FBI 'indifferent' to possible China hack of Hillary Clinton's server, as State Department fought to protect her, interviews suggest

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 19:46
Interviews with intelligence community officials have revealed that senior FBI leaders "seemed indifferent to evidence of a possible intrusion by a foreign adversary" into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s non-government server, and that State Department officials allegedly sought to "downgrade classified material found on the server," according to Senate investigators still probing the matter.

Sanford points to Labor Day decision on primary challenge to Trump

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 19:32
Mark Sanford says he should decide by around Labor Day if he’s going to mount what he admitted would be “a long-shot” GOP primary bid against President Trump. “I gave myself a month and I’m running up on that deadline,” Sanford said Wednesday as he sat down for an interview with Fox News across from the state capital building in New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary in the race for the White House.

Biden's Gaffes, Verbal Blunders Make Trump Look Like Churchill

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 19:01
Former Vice President Joe Biden, in December 2018, said, "I am a gaffe machine."

You Can't Have Your Tariff Cake and Eat It, Too

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 19:01
When it comes to trade policy, President Donald Trump and his adviser Peter Navarro provide endless examples of incoherent economic thinking. They regularly claim that X is true, and then in the next breath, they assert that not-X is also correct. Let's consider two recent examples.

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