On Monday, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), joined by 14 fellow Democratic United States House of Representatives members, sent a letter to President Donald Trump supporting Trump pursuing diplomacy and “incremental progress” with North Korea. The letter also expresses concern about efforts toward peace being hindered by people – both Republican and Democrat, and both inside and outside the Trump administration – seeking “to scuttle progress by attempting to limit the parameters of the talks, including by insisting on full and immediate denuclearization or other unrealistic commitments by North Korea at an early date.”
The Khanna letter contrasts with a letter seven US Senate Democrats sent Trump last week that argues several major North Korean concessions should be required in any deal. The signers of that earlier letter include two top Democratic leaders in the Senate – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) – as well as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley, at a Wednesday hearing of Sen. Rand Paul’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management, presented written testimony arguing that a proposed authorization for use of military force (AUMF) sponsored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) (S.J.Res 59) “would literally put our endless war on autopilot.”
In his written testimony, Turley argues the proposed AUMF is the next step in Congress’ abdication of its constitutional responsibility over war after “decades of concerted effort by Congress to evade the responsibility for the most important decisions committed to it by the Framers” of the US Constitution, resulting in the US being “engaged in indefinite, undeclared war – the very menace that the Framers sought to prevent with express constitutional language requiring congressional declarations of war.”
On Tuesday, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), who is seeking reelection for what he has indicated will be his final term in the United States House of Representatives, won his Republican Party primary. Jones defeated two other candidates — a Washington, DC lobbyist who holds elective office in the district and one of Jones’ primary opponents from 2016.
Will Rahn wrote a Thursday editorial at CBS News concerning Jones’ primary victory and Jones’ history in the House. In the editorial titled “In praise of Walter Jones,” Rahn refers to Jones as a “man of conviction in Washington” who has been punished by his party’s leadership because of his independent actions, including, Rhan writes, becoming “one of the GOP’s most fervent voices for peace.”
Investing and current affairs writer David Stockman found himself in hostile territory this week in an interview at the Fox Business show Mornings with Maria. In the often-tense interview, Stockman seems to shock and rile some of the show’s hosts with his assessments that the United States military should not have been given a big monetary infusion in the recent spending deal worked out by President Donald Trump and Congress and that the US should stop its excessive military intervention overseas.
The US military would not need so much money if the military were used much less, argues Stockman, who is a member of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Advisory Board. “Don’t have so many missions; don’t be bombing Syria; don’t be mucking around in the Middle East,” Stockman says is the “obvious answer” to host Maria Bartiromo’s contention that the increased military spending is needed because “we’ve starved the military.” And, in response to Bartiromo’s suggestion that Stockman is advocating turning away when the Syrian government uses chemical weapons in Syria, Stockman explains why he sees such chemical weapons allegations as “a hoax” and argues “we have no dog in that hunt,” meaning the American people are best served by the US government just keeping out of the conflict in Syria.
The Trump administration “is using much the same playbook to create a false choice that war is the only way to address the challenges presented by Iran” as the George W. Bush administration used to gain support for the Iraq War. College of William & Mary Professor Lawrence Wilkerson presents this argument, along with abundant supporting evidence, in a Monday New York Times editorial.
Wilkerson should know. In the lead-up to the Iraq War, Wilkerson was chief of staff for United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, whose United Nations presentation regarding Iraq Wilkerson, at the beginning of the editorial, credits with boosting support among Americans for a war against Iraq.
Wilkerson, who is a Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Academic Board member, has frequently disparaged that effort to build up support for the Iraq War. Indeed, in the editorial he laments that “[t]hat effort led to a war of choice with Iraq – one that resulted in catastrophic losses for the region and the United States-led coalition, and that destabilized the entire Middle East.”
The consequences of a war with Iran would also be dire. Addressing some of those consequences in his editorial, Wilkerson predicts that “this war with Iran – a country of almost 80 million people, whose vast strategic depth and difficult terrain makes it a far greater challenge than Iraq – would be 10 to 15 times worse than the Iraq war in terms of casualties and costs.”
On Tuesday, there was a United States House of Representatives floor vote on H.Res 676, a resolution praising recent protests in Iran and condemning the Iran government.
The resolution includes language stating the House “stands with” the protestors who are termed “the people of Iran” suggesting in obvious contradiction to reality that all or most people in the country are taking part in the protests or even just supporting the protests; condemning the Iran government (called a “regime” to make clear it is viewed as illegitimate and worthy of overthrow as were “regimes” in Iraq and Libya) for “serious human rights abuses against the Iranian people, significant corruption, and destabilizing activities abroad;” encouraging the Trump administration to aid Iran government opponents through expediting the licensing of communications technology in Iran; urging the Trump administration to use “targeted sanctions” to counter Iran; and urging the Trump administration to “convene emergency sessions of the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn the ongoing human rights violations perpetrated by the Iranian regime and establish a mechanism by which the Security Council can monitor such violations.”