Trump’s War Against the Media—Not as Ruthless as Obama’s

Trump’s War Against the Media—Not as Ruthless as Obama’s

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The major media in America view President Donald Trump as enemy number one, but Mr. Trump’s war with the media isn’t close to what Barack Obama’s was.

Listen to the March 16 Trumpet Daily Radio Show.

The major media in America view President Donald Trump as enemy number one, but Mr. Trump’s war with the media isn’t close to what Barack Obama’s was. Under Obama, right-wing journalists faced prosecution, were labeled as coconspirators, and even faced jail time. On this Trumpet Daily Radio Show, we take a look back at Obama’s war against the media and show how it reshaped America.

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Discussion: Scotland’s Referendum and the End of Britain

Trumpet

Trumpet analysts Brad Macdonald and Richard Palmer discuss the new Scottish referendum.

Japan to Dispatch Largest Warship in Boldest Show of Military Force Since World War II

Japan to Dispatch Largest Warship in Boldest Show of Military Force Since World War II

KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images

The tension over the disputed territory in the South China Sea is about to escalate to another level.

Japanese authorities said on March 14 that the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force will dispatch its largest warship, the Izumo helicopter carrier, on a three-month tour through the South China Sea. The move represents Japan’s largest show of military force since World War ii and marks a major step in Tokyo’s march toward remilitarization.

China claims nearly all of the vast, resource-rich South China Sea, through which one third of the world’s maritime trade passes. Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim portions of the sea. Chinese island-building and vessel movement in the region have posed a major challenge to the rules-based global order and have prompted the United States to conduct frequent naval and air patrols to ensure freedom of navigation.

Japan has no claims to the South China Sea, but it is entangled in separate territorial disputes with China over parts of the East China Sea. The decision to dispatch the 817-foot Izumo shows that Tokyo supports the tougher stance that the U.S. is taking toward China under President Donald Trump. The dispatch also suggests that Japan may seek to establish its own military presence in the South China Sea.

The Izumo can carry up to 400 marines and 14 attack helicopters. It is scheduled to sail from Japan in May, stopping in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka before arriving in the Indian Ocean for joint naval drills between the United States and India. ZeroHedge said that Japan dispatching the warship means that “tension over the disputed territory in the South China Sea is about to escalate to another level.”

At the end of World War ii, U.S.-occupied Japan was given a constitution that outlawed war as a means for Japan to settle international disputes. Article 9 states: “Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. … [L]and, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.”

That constitution has governed Japanese affairs in the 70 years since, but Japanese leaders have quietly moved away from pacifism and toward remilitarization, especially under the current prime minister, Shinzō Abe. Dispatching the Izumo represents the latest and one of the boldest moves away from Article 9 and toward an assertive military.

Since Japan’s constitution bans the country from acquiring offensive weapons, Tokyo labels the $1.2 billion Izumo as a destroyer, a class of vessel with largely defensive weapons systems that typically cannot project power in an offensive manner. But this is illusive designation.

The Center for International Maritime Security (cimsec) says that the cutting-edge Izumo is “in a category similar to that of the Invincible-class carriers commissioned by the Royal Navy. … Equipped with the latest in electronic warfare, fire control and radar systems, the Izumo class has been designed with the battlefield of the 21st century in mind.”

The vessel is also equipped with Phalanx and SeaRam close-in weapons systems, which are able to counter nearly all types of inbound ordnance. cimsec says the scale and weaponry of the Izumo “represents a major advance in Japan’s maritime defense capabilities, significantly increasing the country’s ability to project force.”

cimsec’s analysis concludes:

Given this potential, simply calling these ships “helicopter destroyers” could be construed as misleading, or even deceptive. Therefore, we can surmise that the classification is largely for political purposes, as the inherently offensive capability of aircraft carriers would run counter to the values espoused in Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. Whether the [Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces] decides to further develop the capability of these ships has yet to be seen; however, the potential is there and serves as a warning to China and [North Korea] that Japan is indeed a maritime power to be reckoned with.

Japan dispatching the Izumo to the South China Sea marks a major step in Tokyo’s march toward remilitarization and is likely to intensify China’s aggression in the region. To understand the vital significance of this trend, read “Why We Watch Japan’s March Toward Militarism.”

Silly Dove: As Britain Negotiates EU Exit, the SNP Calls for Scottish Independence

Silly Dove: As Britain Negotiates EU Exit, the SNP Calls for Scottish Independence

BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

While Britain sorts out its EU departure it also faces the question of its very existence, again. 

Listen to the March 15 Trumpet Daily Radio Show.

The two-year procedure for Britain exiting the European Union commenced this week as the bill triggering Article 50 cleared its final hurdle in Parliament. Coinciding with this, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced legal proceedings for another independence referendum, which she says should be held before Britain finishes leaving the EU. Now Britain has to sort out its EU Brexit at the same time it again faces a challenge to its own existence as a United Kingdom. On today’s Trumpet Daily Radio Show, we look at where Britain’s internal division will lead.

Stream or download Trumpet Daily Radio Show at:

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http://kpcg.fm/shows/trumpet-daily-radio-show

Iran Plans to Take the Golan Heights

Iran Plans to Take the Golan Heights

iStock.com/Tal Guterman

With the Syrian civil war in hand, Iran is setting its sights on a bigger goal.

The Iranian-backed Shiite militia Harakat al-Nujaba announced last week the formation of the Golan Liberation Brigade. The goal of this group is to reclaim territory taken by rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad, and to prepare to attack Israel.

“Should the Syrian government make the request, we are ready to participate in the liberation of occupied Golan with our allies,” said a spokesman for Harakat al-Nujaba. “We will not permit the soil of Arab countries to remain in the grasps of occupiers.”

While perhaps not a household name, Harakat al-Nujaba—translated Movement of the Noble—claims to have 10,000 fighters in Syria. The group played an important role reinforcing Hezbollah in the battle for Aleppo. The Golan Liberation Brigade’s first priority is to take Syrian territory in the border region from the anti-Assad rebels.

The formation of the Golan Liberation Brigade sheds light on perhaps the key reason for Iran’s involvement in Syria. Iran isn’t in Syria merely to support an ally; it’s in Syria to establish and maintain a position to attack the Jewish state.

Iran has been embedding itself on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights for some months. In July 2016, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (irgc) Basij paramilitary group publicized that it was inspecting the regions along the Syria-Israel border. A year before that, in the same area, irgc Brig. Gen. Mohammed Ali Allahdadi was killed in an Israeli air strike.

So far Israel has had to deal with only the occasional potshot from Syrian rebels. The area of Daraa, situated near the Israeli border, is considered by some to be the birthplace of the Syrian revolution. Meanwhile, Iran and the Syrian government say that the presence of anti-government rebels in the area provides justification for entrenching Iranian-backed, pro-Assad forces so close to Israel’s border.

Iran’s final objective in the Middle East is not to control Syria, but to destroy Israel. Together with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the formation of the Golan Liberation Brigade increases Iran’s ability to achieve that goal.

The most precious jewel of Iran’s plan is to conquer Jerusalem,” wrote Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in The King of the South. “This would then galvanize the Islamic world behind Iran!”

Israel is at the heart of Iran’s plans for the Middle East. In many respects, Iran’s involvement in Syria pivots on this issue. If Bashar Assad is defeated, Tehran risks losing one of its most important strategic footholds. For Iran, the ultimate goal is destroying the Jewish state. To this end, Iran backs Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and it is working to forge a new relationship with Egypt.

“I believe Jerusalem is more important to Iran than the oil is,” Mr. Flurry wrote in The King of the South. “The Islamic people have fought the Catholic Crusades for about 1,500 years over control of Jerusalem. Bible prophecy says one final crusade is about to erupt.”

The Trumpet has said for years that Iran will not retain control of Syria. But shifting its focus to Israel now that the rebels are on the back foot exposes Iran’s focus in the region—a focus that it will retain no matter what territories it controls. For more on Iran’s focus on taking Israel, read “The Precious Jewel of Iran’s Plan.”

Scotland to Hold Another Independence Referendum

Scotland to Hold Another Independence Referendum

Jane Barlow/PA Images/Getty Images

The survival of the United Kingdom is once again at risk.

When Scotland held its independence referendum in 2014, both sides agreed it would settle the question for a generation. But apparently a generation lasts about two and a half years. On Monday, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that next week she will begin legal proceedings necessary for another referendum, to be held by 2019.

Sturgeon said that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union means that Scotland needs a new referendum. The majority of Scots voted to remain in the EU, while the United Kingdom as a whole voted to leave.

Last summer, Scottish National Party leaders gave two additional reasons for Scotland to hold a second referendum: 1) the UK Parliament’s decision to renew Britain’s nuclear deterrence and 2) if Boris Johnson became prime minister. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that after being defeated in 2014, they wanted another vote and were simply searching for a good excuse to hold one.

Despite the fact that, according to one poll, only 1 in 4 Scottish voters actually want a new referendum, it seems certain to happen. The only argument is when.

Ms. Sturgeon wants the vote to occur by spring 2019, before Britain is out of the European Union. British Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated that she will insist that the vote be held after Britain has completed the process of exiting the EU.

Under Section 30 of the Scotland Act, the Scottish Parliament will first vote on whether or not to hold a referendum. Then the UK Parliament in Westminster must approve it. Westminster could block the decision, but Ms. May seems unwilling to do so.

With the process beginning next week, Britain will be consumed by a divisive debate over the next few years. After the last vote, nearly 40 percent of Scots said they believed the referendum had “caused harmful and lasting divisions in Scottish society.”

Britain is already struggling with one uncertainty that will affect the country for generations to come: its post-Brexit relationship with the EU. Britain has voted to leave the EU, but much still remains uncertain. What will the UK’s new relationship with the EU be like? What trade agreements will Britain have with the rest of the world? With another Scottish independence referendum on the line, the UK will once again be asking, Will we continue to exist?

Since the 2014 Scottish referendum, the UK has played a diminished role in the world—focusing on its internal issues. In many ways, there’s nothing wrong with this; Britain’s role in the EU needed to be addressed. But if Ms. May gets her way—which seems likely—Britain will spend the next few years focused on Brexit, then hold another Scottish independence referendum around 2021. That’s getting close to an entire decade lost on self-absorption in existential questions.

Furthermore, if Scotland leaves, Wales and Northern Ireland have said they want their own referenda too.

I remember the rancor and division of the last referendum all too well: The shock for those of us living south of the border, finding out that many to our north passionately hate us; the uncertainty as I watched the polls and wondered if my country would soon cease to exist.

We are going to go through all of that again, reopening old wounds and gouging new ones.

The leaders of the Brexit movement portrayed the vote as the solution to all of Britain’s problems. If we would only quit the EU, we could go out into the world, unencumbered by meddling from Brussels. Prosperity would return. Britain would once again be a respected, major power.

But today’s post-Brexit world looks too familiar—the same divisions, the same arguments, the same problems.

This is not to say that the EU was good for Britain—it wasn’t. But is there clearer proof that Brexit doesn’t solve everything? Our biggest problems come from within.

Britain is still a country lacking vision and purpose. As Brad Macdonald wrote:

No one has provided a rousing, positive vision of what it would mean to remain part of Britain. No one has reminded the Scots of their illustrious history with England. No one has reminded them of what England and Scotland have accomplished together—and provided a vision of what they could accomplish together in the future. There once was a dream called Britain. Being British meant something—changing the world, righting wrongs, civilizing distant lands. But now the world is not our problem. There are no rights and wrongs—just British neo-colonialist arrogance—and sadly, a prevailing sense of shame of its history.

Where is the hope-filled vision of Scotland’s destiny should it remain united with England? There isn’t one. Why? Because England doesn’t know what it means to be English—and consequently, it doesn’t have a clear vision of its own destiny.

We are here today because the very quality—the defining sense of identity—the clear and indomitable sense of what it means to be British—that for more than 300 years has bound Scotland to England, and England to Scotland, is gone. This sense of identity had been diminished for decades, chiseled away by revisionist historians abolishing the British Empire, by multiculturalists embracing other cultures and religions, and by politically correct politics undermining patriotism and loyalty to Britain.

Really, we shouldn’t be at all surprised by what we are witnessing today in Scotland. This moment has been brewing now for decades. It’s just as King Solomon stated 3,000 years ago: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Today there is no vision of being British, and Britain is perishing.

Because of this, we are consumed by these arguments both before and after Brexit. It’s clearer than ever that we are a country that has lost its way. It is this lack of vision that caused the first vote. Winning that vote didn’t fix our problems—and now we’re about to hold another.

For more on what these constant divisions say about the country, read Brad Macdonald’s article “Without Scotland, There Is No Great Britain.”