Since the post-World War II era, the United States has taken on the leadership of the free world. Its initiatives, like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), provided a continued American military presence in Europe, which ultimately prevented the Soviet Union from conquering the whole European continent.
Recently, however, the free world has begun to wake up to the new threat posed by China and the regime of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). So much so that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month called for the formation of a “new alliance of democracies” to counter it.
While Pompeo did not call for the dissolution of NATO, he did seem to express some skepticism as to whether or not the organization can still be relied on — as long as Turkey, the most powerful NATO member state after the U.S., remains a part of it.
This stems from the ongoing concern that Turkey no longer shares “Western values.” Since taking power in 2003, now-President Recep Tayyip Erdogan relentlessly ran a campaign to implement political Islam in the country while continually usurping ever more personal power.
His support for Islamist terrorists dates back to his days as mayor of Istanbul and ranges from Al-Qaeda to ISIS to Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that he funds at an average of $250-300 million per year.
Most recently, despite anger from the State Department, Erdogan hosted a large Hamas delegation in Istanbul on August 22. The delegation included Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the U.S. who praised Hamas’ abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers (including a U.S. citizen) as a “heroic operation.”
In addition, Erdogan recently offered citizenship to Hamas senior members whom he allows to reside in Turkey (citizenship makes it far easier for them to travel worldwide).
Redeployment of U.S. Troops
It was originally perceived that one of the challenges to Pompeo’s proposal — which really envisions America’s continual role as the leader of the free world — was the apparent isolationist stance adopted by the Trump administration due to its “America First” approach to foreign policy.
For example, it was reported that President Trump plans to withdraw 9,500 of the 34,500 U.S. troops stationed in Germany by September. His justification is Berlin’s failure to meet the goal set by NATO of spending two percent of gross domestic product on defense. (In fact, as of last year, only nine of the 30 member states had met the two percent goal, with the majority of the other nations making plans to meet that target by 2024.)
However, in actuality, Trump is redeploying the troops to other NATO countries — 1,000 are slated to be sent to Poland, others will be sent to Italy and Belgium. As for pulling troops out of South Korea, this is simply been confirmed as “fake news.”
According to a senior White House official as well as a senior Pentagon official, there are no immediate plans to pull U.S. troops out of South Korea.
Taking China On
Some of us remember when then-President George W. Bush sat on the sidelines while the CCP violently suppressed pro-democracy demonstrators 30 years ago at Tiananmen Square.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of Chinese people who were expecting the U.S. to support them were instead killed by the Chinese military; thousands of others were imprisoned.
Trump, on the other hand, has been taking on China. In addition to the imposition of sanctions on the CCP for human rights violations and restrictions to U.S. companies — such as Apple and Ralph Lauren – the president has gotten the U.S. Commerce Department to issue new rules that curb the Chinese mega-company Huawei Technologies access to foreign-made chips (since the company’s telecom equipment can be used to spy on Americans).
The new rules also prohibit non-U.S. companies from selling any chips made with U.S. technology to Huawei without a special license.
Working With Other Nations
The U.S. has also been conducting joint drill naval exercises in the South China Sea with India, Japan and Australia. This strategic cooperation — perhaps a preview of the “new alliance” that Pompeo spoke about — demonstrates a shared commitment to maintaining and further strengthening a free and open Indian-Pacific trade route in the face of what can only be seen as a growing Chinese threat.
The Trump administration recently brokered an historic peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the State of Israel in which the two countries will establish full diplomatic relations with each other. (The only other Arabic nations to have full diplomatic ties with Israel are the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.)
President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and move forward with international sanctions against the Islamist regime has been met with opposition by European nations (all of whom stayed in the agreement and have much to lose financially by the sanctions). Such measures could subsequently impede any new “alliance” as envisaged by Pompeo or others who have been warning about the growing threat from China and Turkey. (Turkey is especially threatening to both the UAE and Israel.)
Hopefully, Trump will continue to take the necessary steps reassure our allies that they can still rely on the U.S. as the leader of the free world.