Buzzfeed has published a truly silly piece about the Trump-Duterte phone call transcript obtained by the Washington Post. Nancy A. Youssef reports that “Pentagon officials are in shock”—shock!—because in a discussion about North Korea, President Trump told his counterpart in Manila, “We have a lot of firepower over there…we have two nuclear submarines – not that we want to use them.” Youssef then attributes the exact same quote to three unnamed defense officials: “We never talk about subs!”
Why is this? Because Palestinian leaders fill their people with hatred for Israel every single day. They name youth soccer teams after terrorists who blew up innocent Israeli citizens and erect statues to them. They produce children’s shows that show Jews as subhuman. As Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out during Trump’s visit, they pay the families of suicide bombers who kill Israelis.
The Washington Post has obtained a transcript, produced by the Philippines’ foreign ministry, of this month’s phone call between Donald Trump and his Philippine counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte. The text of the transcript accords with the reporting that followed the call, so the vomit-inducing portions do not come as a surprise.
Iran is no real democracy, but high voter turnout is proof positive many Iranians are willing to work inside the system on its own terms. Rouhani won hands down as the better candidate to fix the economy and begin a cautious rehabilitation of reformists. The question is, will he do it?
Yesterday, the Elysée announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin would visit newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron in Versailles next week. The media will focus on the now well-known fact that Kremlin-affiliated groups hacked the Macron campaign, an attack which failed to sway the election and made Macron dramatically harden his initially conciliatory views towards Russia. The hacks are important, but so is the broader context. Why Putin attacks Western institutions and creates enemies out of potential partners like Macron is a critical question. How he does it is a more complicated one.
This timing is ripe for decisive American leadership. The Trump administration has at least demonstrated awareness of the Venezuela crisis and has made initial strides in addressing it, sanctioning some of the Maduro regime’s top leadership. But leadership on the Venezuelan crisis and in South America in general is going to require more than Treasury Department sanctions on drug kingpins.