OurWeek In Politics (5/20-5/27/18)

Here are the main events that occurred in Politics this week:

1. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Puts Forward New Trump Administration Policy Towards Iran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put forward the Trump Administration’s new Iran policy in a speech at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday.

 

In a speech at the Heritage Foundation on May 21, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for the negotiation of a new agreement with the government of Iran that would go far beyond the single focus of the 2015 agreement and would have the status of a formal treaty. The 2015 settlement concluded under the Obama administration dealt only with the nuclear program and was not a treaty but rather a UN-endorsed executive agreement between the parties. Unless such a treaty can be reached, Pompeo warned that Iran would face tough sanctions that would leave it “battling to keep its economy alive.” Pompeo vowed Trump’s approach would ensure Iran would never develop a nuclear weapon. On the other hand, the US government offered offer Iran a series of dramatic concessions if it agrees to make “major changes.” Under a new agreement, the US. would be willing to lift all sanctions, restore full diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran, and even support the modernization of its economy, according to President Donald Trump.

Secretary of State Pompeo put forward 12 requirements that Iran must take in a potential agreement with the US as per the order of President Donald Trump. Two such conditions would be that Iran would have to allow nuclear inspectors access to all sites throughout the country (despite the fact that such a condition goes against international law and the principles of state sovereignty), and disclose all previous efforts to build a nuclear weapon, even though both the UN and the International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA) have noted numerous times that Iran stopped all research into building a nuclear weapon after the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79. Pompeo also demanded that the Iranian government would have to walk away from the core pillars of its foreign policy, including its humanitarian efforts to protect the interests of Shi’a Muslims in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Afghanistan, as well as its persistent opposition to the ideologies of Zionism and Wahhabism. Iran must also “release all US citizens” missing in Iran or being held on “spurious charges” (even though many of the US citizens being held in Iran are guilty of crimes committed on Iranian soil) under a new agreement. Taken together, the demands would require a complete transformation by Iran’s government, and they hardened the perception that the Trump Administration is seeking to remove the Iranian government from power.

In response, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described Pompeo’s speech, as well as the Trump Administrations Iran policy as unacceptable and took issue with the fact that the secretary of state previously led the CIA, long demonized in Iran for its role in a 1953 coup. “A guy who had been active in an espionage center for years now wants to make a decision for Iran and other countries from the position of a foreign minister. It is not acceptable under any circumstance,” Rouhani said to a group of university teachers in Tehran. Additionally, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that this new approach to Iran would further isolate the US from its allies in Europe, who have expressed strong support for the 2015 nuclear agreement and note that Iran has substantially upheld its end of the bargain.

2. President Donald Trump Flip-Flops on North Korean Summit

President Donald Trump gave mixed signals this week regarding the upcoming US-North Korean Summit, signaling that the Administration is unprepared for diplomacy.

Throughout this week, President Donald Trump gave a number of mixed signals regarding his planned June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. On May 24, President Donald Trump announced in an open letter to Kim Jong-Un that he would be canceling the planned June 12 summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, blaming recent statements by Pyongyang. “I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and, indeed, a setback for the world,” said the president in noontime remarks in the White House Roosevelt Room prior to signing an unrelated bill. The president also warned that the military forces of the United States are “more ready than we have ever been before,” along with allies South Korea and Japan, should North Korea take any “foolish or reckless acts.”

North Korea’s reaction to President Trump’s decision was subdued and conciliatory. The North’s official news agency put out a statement by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan saying, “We had set in high regards President Trump’s efforts, unprecedented by any other president, to create a historic U.S.-North Korea summit. We tell the United States once more that we are open to resolving problems at any time in any way.” But the statement said Trump’s decision was not in line with the world’s wishes and that Kim made the utmost effort to hold the summit. The North Koreans were a no-show for a preparatory meeting in Singapore last week, part of a trail of broken promises, lack of good faith and poor communication prompting the president’s decision, according to administration officials. “We simply couldn’t get them to pick up the phone,” a White House senior official told reporters during a background briefing Thursday afternoon. The last straw, according to the White House, was an insult of Vice President Mike Pence earlier Thursday in a statement by North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Choe Son Hui. She called Pence a “political dummy” and warned of a nuclear confrontation.

Despite the fact that he canceled the summit, President Donald Trump backtracked on his previous actions later in the week. In a tweet on May 27, the President stated that the summit is back on schedule and that the preparations for the conference are underway. Additionally, Trump further stated that he truly believes that “North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day,” a stark contrast to his previous comments decrying the North Korean government and calling for military action against the country.  These actions further illustrate the fact that the Trump Administration lacks an effective strategy in the realm of foreign policy and is wholly unprepared in dealing with diplomatic matters.

3. Stacey Abrams Pulls off Historic Upset in Georgia Primary To Become the First African-American Female Gubernatorial Nominee in US History

Georgia State Legislator Stacey Abrams made history this week by becoming the first African-American woman ever nominated for governor and has a strong chance to become the first African-American governor of a Southern state in over a century.

Georgia Democrats selected the first African-American woman to be a major party nominee for governor in the United States on May 22, choosing Stacey Abrams, a former State House leader, who will test just how much the state’s traditionally conservative politics are shifting. By handily defeating Stacey Evans, also a former state legislator, Abrams also became Georgia’s first African-American nominee for governor, a prize that has eluded earlier generations of African-American candidates in the state. The general election is sure to draw intense national attention as Georgia voters determine whether an African-American woman can win in the Deep South, a region that has not elected an African-American governor since the early 1870s. In the general election, Stacey Abrams will face either Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, or Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the main Republican candidates vying for the gubernatorial nomination in the July primary run-off election.
Overall, Stacey Abram’s victory in the Georgia Democratic gubernatorial primary represents both the changing voting patterns in much of the American South, as well as the ever-declining popularity of President Donald Trump and his racist and bigoted rhetoric. Ever since the 1990s, Georgia (and a majority of the American South) have overwhelmingly supported the Republican Party due to the conservative stance expressed by Republican Party leaders on issues such as civil rights, abortion, LGBT rights, and gun control. Over the past few years, however, parts of the South have been trending toward the Democratic Party due to changes in generational values, demographic shifts, and economic changes in the region as a whole. Additionally, the bigoted rhetoric and failed policies of the Trump Administration and the Republican have angered even a number of traditionally conservative white voters in parts of the South, thus encouraging them to consider supporting Democratic Party candidates for the first time in nearly a generation.
the author

Matt is a student at Seton Hall Law School and graduated from Monmouth University. Matt has been studying and analyzing politics at all levels since the 2004 Presidential Election. He writes about political trends and demographics, the role of the media in politics, comparative politics, political theory, and the domestic and international political economy. Matt is also interested in history, philosophy, comparative religion, and record collecting.

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