Good but a bit confusing: POTUS lists Iran’s IRGC as terrorist organization
President Trump has decided to list Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) — and its subordinate outfit, the IRGC Quds Force (IRGC-QF) — as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO).
“This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft,” the president said in a statement Monday morning. “The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign.”
It’s great that the Trump administration has decided to turn the screws further on the maniacal regime that rules Iran. It’s a welcome move for this White House to continue to reverse the disastrous foreign policy of the Obama administration, which included cozying up to Iran and rebalancing the Middle East in its favor.
However, it’s a bit confusing to list the IRGC, a branch of the Iranian military, as a terrorist organization.
Definitions are important to sound policymaking. The terrorist label is primarily applied when violence is perpetrated by a non-state organization against civilians — such as a non-state group like ISIS, or a Mexican criminal cartel — to advance a political goal. When a military branch conducts violence against the citizens or militaries of a sovereign nation, that is more an act of war.
So while the IRGC is certainly an evil institution that routinely targets American interests, it does not really meet the criteria of an FTO. In this post-9/11 world, which has seen a multitude of policy decisions that spiraled into American foreign policy disasters, it’s more important than ever to precisely define the individuals, groups, and states that threaten the nation.
Israeli elections tomorrow: Several 2020 Dems come out against Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemingly remains a front-runner in his quest to remain Israel’s leader. With just one day before Israel’s parliamentary elections, Israel’s increasingly right-leaning society seems poised to restore Netanyahu’s mandate to lead. And whether or not Netanyahu secures his place as prime minister, the Knesset, or Israeli parliament, continues to increase its roster of MKs (Members of Knesset) who embrace conservatism along with political and economic freedoms as key policy positions.
But that hasn’t stopped 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls from using their platform to attempt to interfere in Israel’s elections tomorrow.
Instead of being diplomatic and presidential and remaining neutral on the outcome of a foreign election, several 2020 Democrats have united against the Israeli prime minister, who in the United States would probably be categorized as having center-right politics. Beto O’Rourke declared Netanyahu “racist,” while Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg lined up against him as well. The presidential hopefuls are attempting both to win over their anti-Israel base and to chip away at Netanyahu’s chances of building a successful parliamentary coalition behind him.
Latest round of US-China trade talks show progress
Following the latest round of U.S.-China trade talks, China’s state news agencies claimed over the weekend that the negotiations “achieved new progress” in getting closer to an agreement.
However, Washington and Beijing remain at odds over fundamental issues such as intellectual property (IP) abuses and tariffs on specific goods.
High-level officials from both sides have met in both China and the U.S. for two straight weeks.
Larry Kudlow, President Trump’s top economic adviser, said over the weekend that talks will continue into this week, describing the negotiations as getting “closer and closer” to a final deal.
South Korea wants the United States to roll back maximum pressure on North Korea
The dovish South Korean administration under Moon Jae-In continues to plead with President Trump to erase key sanctions against the North Korean regime.
“Moon plans to embrace the risk of personal diplomacy by asking Trump to grant reciprocal measures after Seoul and Washington laid out the necessary groundwork via working-level discussions,” a South Korean official told the Korea Times this weekend.
Accommodating Seoul’s wishes would result in the abandonment of the longtime U.S. maximum pressure strategy, which, it can be argued, brought the North Korean regime to the negotiating table in the first place.
Author’s note: This post originally appeared in Blaze Media’s The Dossier newsletter. For foreign policy news and views delivered to your inbox twice a week, subscribe here or use the form below!