Trump's Syria Situation, China Censors The NBA, Day Of Atonement

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Trump's Syria Situation
Late Sunday, President Trump announced that he is pulling back U.S. forces in Syria, keeping his promise to get us out of endless wars.  The president is getting a lot of pushback for his decision, and I understand the concerns.  I and the other commissioners on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom have privately shared those concerns with the president.   
Sadly, a convincing argument can be made that our previous intervention in the Middle East has been a disaster.  I know President Trump believes that.
Iraq is broken and is now dominated by Iran.  After eight years of weakness, Iran, Russia and Turkey are all in Syria along with multiple terrorist groups.  Well before Trump came into office, Europe and the entire world looked the other way while religious minorities, especially Christians, were brutally persecuted. 
Under President Trump's leadership, Vice President Mike Pence has directed USAID to ensure that Christians receive the resources they need and can return to their ancestral homes.  But for obvious reasons many are not inclined to do so. 
The president is putting pressure on Iran like never before, and also on the ayatollah's terrorist proxy Hezbollah.  The ISIS caliphate, which grew under Obama, has been wiped off the map by Donald Trump. 
Trump Plays Hardball
Congressional liberals are considering allowing the Deep State operative who triggered the latest impeachment drama to testify at an undisclosed location and with his identity fully masked. 
These leftists don't want to follow the rules.  They refuse to let their Republican colleagues issue subpoenas in the president's defense.  They won't release transcripts of witness testimony.  And now they want to take testimony from witnesses who we can't see and don't even know.
This morning, the administration announced that it would not permit Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, to testify today.  Good!  There is no reason for the administration to cooperate with this fake inquiry.  It is a fishing expedition, not an impeachment process.  Trump tweeted this morning:
"I would love to send Ambassador Sondland . . . to testify, but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republicans' rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public to see."
Until this process is conducted fairly, the White House should do nothing to lend credibility to this charade.
China Censors The NBA
Yesterday, we reported on the growing international controversy between the NBA and China.  It was triggered by a simple message of support for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong by Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets.
After initially appearing to scold Morey, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attempted to reassure American basketball fans that the NBA still believes in free speech.  "The NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues. We simply could not operate that way," Silver said.
Well, the Chinese communist government does operate that way, and it announced that it will not televise the NBA's preseason games in China. 
What the NBA and other companies will eventually come to realize is that if and when tanks roll into Hong Kong, China will not be satisfied unless the NBA and American companies applaud while the slaughter is taking place. 
At the end of the day, this is not about the Chinese communists.  It's about us.  The world has always had bad actors.  The difference is how we respond.  We want their money and they want our souls.  Sadly, there are plenty of people willing to make that bargain.
Long-time followers of my work know that I have been warning about communist China since the 1990s.  Thankfully, we have a president who is willing to stand up to Beijing. 
In addition to pushing back on China's unfair trade practices, the Trump Administration has been aggressively checking China's national security threats and holding it accountable for human rights abuses.
Yesterday, the administration put eight Chinese companies on a blacklist for their role in the use of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to persecute religious minorities, including Christians.
Congratulations, Ed!
President Trump today is honoring former Attorney General Ed Meese with the Medal of Freedom, one of the nation's highest civilian honors.  There is no one more deserving.
Ed Meese is a close friend.  I worked with Ed throughout my years in the Reagan Administration, both at the White House and when I was under secretary of Education.  He assigned me the task of producing a major report on welfare reform.  Most importantly, Ed was a leader of the "Let Reagan Be Reagan" movement.
Ed Meese has dedicated his life to the conservative cause, and he still plays an active role at the Heritage Foundation, where he was instrumental in guiding the confirmation battle of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. 
And I don't mind saying that every time I see General Meese, the first thing he says is, "Gary, the best thing put out in Washington from a conservative perspective is your daily report!"
Day Of Atonement
Jews throughout the world will begin observing Yom Kippur at sunset today.  This is the holiest day of the Jewish year and it is a solemn day.  It is known as the Day of Atonement because it marks God's forgiveness of His chosen people for the sin of the golden calf.
Many Israelis remember the 1973 Yom Kippur War.  Arab armies took advantage of the holiday to launch a surprise attack against Israel.  After intense fighting throughout the month of October, Israel ultimately prevailed.
On this solemn day, please join Carol and me in praying for the peace of Jerusalem and for a peaceful Yom Kippur for our Jewish friends.