Fdd's overnight brief

July 23, 2019

In The News


The speed and ease with which Iran seized the Stena Impero, and another tanker which was released after several hours, demonstrates the wide latitude Tehran has to disrupt global trade as it fights against U.S. economic pressure. The threat of ship seizures has roiled markets, sparked new Western security measures and capsized shipping-industry schedules. – Wall Street Journal

Iran said it has arrested 17 Iranian citizens on charges of spying for the U.S., a claim that President Trump dismissed as “totally false,” amid fears that growing tensions between Iran and Western countries could spiral out of control. […]Some of those arrested will face the death penalty or long sentences, the official said. – Wall Street Journal

Britain took new steps on Monday to distance itself from the Trump administration’s escalating confrontation with Iran, even while pushing for the release of an oil tanker seized by Tehran three days earlier. – New York Times 

The U.S. is imposing new sanctions against a Chinese company for transporting Iranian crude, a move that widens the U.S. campaign of pressure on the Islamic Republic amid weeks of escalating tensions. – Wall Street Journal 

Iran does not seek confrontation with Britain amid a row over seized tanker ships, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday in a message directed at likely incoming premier Boris Johnson. – Agence France-Presse  

The foreign secretary has repeated his call for the release of a British-flagged ship and its crew detained in the Gulf by the Iranian military. […]Mr Hunt said the UK would develop a maritime protection mission with other European nations to allow ships to pass through the area safely. The foreign secretary secured support for the initiative from both French and German foreign ministers on the phone on Sunday evening, the BBC has been told. – BBC 

US President Donald Trump said Monday that chances of negotiating with Iran were dwindling, as he cited increasing tensions in the Gulf and blasted Tehran as the world’s top “state of terror.” – Agence France-Presse  

Like most Iranians, the family was hit hard by the collapse of the national currency, accelerating inflation and eroding wages — fallout from unprecedented U.S. sanctions. – Associated Press

Iran observes all U.S. ships in the Gulf region and has an archive of images of their daily movements, the head of Iran’s navy, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, said on Tuesday, according to the Young Journalists Club news site. – Reuters  

MI6 and GCHQ are investigating the possibility that Iran used Russian GPS “spoofing” technology that produces incorrect location data to send the British-flagged Stena Impero off course into Iranian waters before it was seized by IRGC forces, according to British media sources. – Jerusalem Post  

Ron Ben Yishai writes: Tehran’s strategy to promote fear of a world recession in the event of a war has so far backfired and their hopes of returning to nuclear negotiations from a position of strength has also been suspended, but some gains for the Islamic Republic could pose dangers down the line for the West. – Ynet 

Farhad Alaaldin writes: This new administration in Baghdad will also be an asset to negotiations, as it is clearly in Iraqi interests to help the two sides engage in dialogue and, ultimately, successful negotiations. For this reason, both Iran and the United States are well advised to allow Iraq to adopt the role of mediator in order to bring about the peace needed by all sides. – Washington Institute


A Lebanese citizen, suspected of being an undercover Hezbollah agent, was arrested at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda by Ugandan intelligence agencies with the cooperation of the Mossad. – Jerusalem Post 

Iran is working to transfer weaponry to Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon by sea, to avoid assaults that have targeted arms shipments, Israeli officials believe. – Haaretz  

A radio station broadcasting in support of the Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen has raised close to $300,000 in fundraising campaign for Lebanon’s Hezbollah which is facing increasing financial pressure from American sanctions on Iran. – Jerusalem Post


Russian airstrikes on a busy market in northwest Syria killed at least 27 people Monday, according to monitoring groups, one of the deadliest attacks in a monthslong Syrian government military campaign against the opposition’s last stronghold. – Wall Street Journal 

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday that if a planned safe zone in northern Syria is not established, and if threats continue against Turkey, Ankara would launch a military operation east of the Euphrates river. – Reuters 

Israel expects to encounter urban warfare and terror tunnels in a future conflict in Syria, a senior IDF officer said Monday. “We are looking toward future challenges in the next war – tunnels and urban combat – which could be in Gaza, Lebanon or Syria,” the officer said at the Lotar Counterterrorism School base at Adam Facility, 5 km. west of Modi’in. – Jerusalem Post  

Israel and Jordan support and command rebel groups attacking the Syrian army, said the Secretary of the Syrian Parliament Khalid al-Aboud on Sunday, according to Fars news. – Jerusalem Post 

Recently, a Facebook campaign for Syrian Army soldiers who had been serving since the beginning of the Syria crisis, called “We Want to Be Released,” has been revived. By law, Syrian compulsory military service lasts for 18 months; however, since the crisis began in 2011, almost no inductees and mobilized reserves have been allowed to end their service. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Five people were lightly wounded after one of two rockets thought to be fired from within Syria landed on a house in a Turkish border town on Monday night, the provincial governor’s office said. – Reuters


Turkish authorities have rounded up and deported hundreds of Syrians in recent weeks, in one of the harshest crackdowns on the refugees in Turkey since the beginning of the civil war next door, according to the migrants and their advocates. – Washington Post 

Russia and Turkey are in talks about the possibility of jointly manufacturing some components of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system in Turkey, the TASS news agency cited Sergei Chemezov, head of Russia’s Rostec state conglomerate, as saying. – Reuters

Authorities in Istanbul set a four-week deadline on Monday for Syrians living without approval in Turkey’s largest city to return to provinces where they are registered or face forced removal to those regions. – Reuters

Turkey would retaliate against what it called an unacceptable threat of U.S. sanctions over Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defenses, its foreign minister said on Monday, adding he thinks President Donald Trump wants to avoid such measures. – Reuters

The U.S. Air Force’s top general isn’t ready to say that the service’s stealthy F-35s will never fly out of its air base in Turkey, despite an ongoing feud between Washington and Ankara about Turkey’s purchase of a Russian air defense system, he said in an exclusive July 20 interview. – Defense News

Russian Military expert Pavel Felgenhauer commented in the Russian media outlet Novaya Gazeta on the recent deliveries of Russian S-400 missile defense systems to Turkey. According to Felgenhauer, even though Russia celebrated the delivery as a victory over the US and NATO, Moscow cannot replace the West with Turkey neither economically, nor technologically. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Jennifer Spindel writes: A closer relationship between Turkey and Russia risks NATO and U.S. access to these bases, as well as land and sea routes. Coming on the heels of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, NATO has reasons to be concerned about losing Turkey to Russia’s influence. – Washington Post  

Soner Cagaptay writes: For his part, Erdogan’s grip on power remains. And his list of American transgressions has only grown, particularly the role he has accused the U.S. of playing in the unsuccessful coup against him in 2016. […]Developments in the past two decades have split American and Turkish strategic views of each other, and it is unlikely that these views and those who implement them will converge any time soon—unless, of course, Russia plays its hand wrong as it did at the beginning of the Cold War, threatening Ankara and pushing Turkey back into Washington’s arms. – NBC News


The Israeli director Guy Nattiv decided to make a movie about a reformed neo-Nazi only after receiving the blessing of his grandfather who survived the Holocaust. – Wall Street Journal 

Iran’s state TV says a delegation from the Palestinian militant group Hamas that is visiting Iran has met with the country’s supreme leader. – Associated Press

Israel tried to deport a Palestinian photojournalist from an East Jerusalem family to Jordan on Sunday night, but the Jordanian authorities refused him entry. – Haaretz 

A 21-year-old Palestinian man was shot by a police officer after he pulled a knife on Monday night, Israel Police said. – Haaretz  

The IDF demolished 12 West Bank Palestinian buildings in Wadi al-Hummus just outside of Jerusalem on Monday. The Palestinian Authority threatened to cut ties with Israel over this action, dubbing it a “war crime” and “ethnic cleansing.” – Jerusalem Post  

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) on Monday condemned a visit to Israel by Arab journalists and called for holding them to account. – Jerusalem Post  

Arabs on Monday attacked Mohammed Saud, a Saudi blogger who is currently visiting Israel, as he made his way to the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem. – Arutz Sheva  

Academics are circulating a letter expressing opposition to a resolution supporting the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign at a major academic association’s annual meeting next month, The Algemeiner has learned. – Algemeiner 

Data released by Statistics Canada on Monday finds that Canadian Jews were the most targeted group for hate crimes in 2018, a trend continuing from the previous two years. – Arutz Sheva 

William McGurn writes: Democrats had hoped a mutual condemnation of Mr. Trump would restore party harmony. But no sooner had the House formally condemned the president for racism than Ms. Omar reached into her inner Louise and introduced a resolution supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement aimed at harming the Israeli economy and making the Jewish state an international pariah. […]The Squad is now in the driver’s seat of the Democratic debate. They are not letting go of the wheel even it means, à la Thelma and Louise, taking the whole car over a cliff. – Wall Street Journal


Yemeni officials say fighting between two tribal groups loyal to the country’s rebels has killed at least 10 people in the northwestern Amran province. – Associated Press 

From ballistic missiles to unmanned drones, Yemen’s Houthi rebels appear to have bolstered their fighting capabilities, posing a serious threat to mighty neighbor Saudi Arabia. – Times of Israel 

The United Arab Emirates said its military draw-down from Yemen should be seen by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels as a “critical opportunity” to end the war with the Saudi-led coalition. – Bloomberg

Anwar Gargash writes: With eyes wide open, the world should take a closer look at what has changed in Yemen. The legitimate government regained control of large parts of the country. Living conditions are better in these areas. A political dialogue has restarted. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is at its weakest point in years, and Iranian aggression was checked. […]the work of securing and repairing Yemen remains unfinished and a true peace for the Yemeni people is still unrealized. – Washington Post


French President Emmanuel Macron called on Libyan authorities Monday to stop holding transiting refugees in detention camps and said buildings of the United Nations’ refugee agency in Libya were attacked earlier in the day. – Associated Press

The Libyan capital Tripoli’s Mitiga airport halted air traffic on Monday after the facility was attacked in an air strike, according to a post on the airport authority’s Facebook page. – Reuters

A warplane belonging to eastern Libyan forces fighting the internationally recognized Tripoli government made an emergency landing in Tunisia on Monday and the pilot was detained, the self-declared eastern foreign ministry said. – Reuters

Korean Peninsula

Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, has inspected a newly built submarine, the state news media reported on Tuesday, a provocative move as the United States struggles to resume dialogue on ending the country’s nuclear and missile threats. – New York Times   

Huawei Technologies Co., the Chinese tech giant embroiled in President Trump’s trade war with China and blacklisted as a national security threat, secretly helped the North Korean government build and maintain the country’s commercial wireless network, according to internal documents obtained by The Washington Post and people familiar with the arrangement. – Washington Post

South Korea said its air force jets fired warning shots on Tuesday to ward off a Russian military plane that intruded upon its territorial airspace, the first such encounter between the countries in decades. – New York Times 

The Japanese government has lodged a protest against South Korea and Russia after South Korean warplanes fired hundreds of warning shots at a Russian military aircraft on Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said. – Reuters

Police on Monday detained six South Koreans for allegedly illegally entering a Japanese diplomatic facility in South Korea and staging an anti-Tokyo demonstration there. – Associated Press

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday his administration had very positive correspondence recently with North Korea, but the two sides have yet to set a time to restart talks aimed at ending Pyongyang’s nuclear program. – Reuters


For the past four years, Chinese businessman Guo Wengui has lived in an 18th-floor apartment at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel in New York, where he fires off social-media missives that purport to expose corruption at the highest levels of the Chinese government. – Wall Street Journal

Remarks by U.S. officials on China’s role in the South China Sea are slanderous, its foreign ministry said on Monday, after the United States voiced concern over reports of Chinese interference with oil and gas activities in the disputed waters. – Reuters

The Canadian unit of China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd sought to distance itself from the actions of the Chinese government on Monday, with a top local executive saying the company is worried about two Canadian men being held by Beijing. – Reuters

Joseph Bosco writes: Cynics will argue that the U.S. president makes these gestures to human rights simply to gain leverage over North Korea and China. And, in the case of Kim Jong Un, the president’s declaratory indictment of his despotic governance did appear to be an important component of the maximum pressure campaign to persuade the regime to give up its nuclear weapons program. But, even if the skeptics are right and the president is acting not out of deeply-felt compassion or high-minded idealism, but for hard-headed strategic reasons, that in itself is a good thing — both for the human rights victims and for the U.S. negotiating position on trade and other issues. – The Hill

South Asia

Afghans were startled to hear President Trump’s remarks that he could end the war in Afghanistan “in a week,” but that it would cause the deaths of millions of people. – Washington Post

President Trump offered to help mediate the long-running Kashmir conflict in a White House meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, briefly raising the prospect of a substantial shift in the U.S. role in the conflict before India swiftly rejected it. – Wall Street Journal 

President Trump, who on Twitter last year accused Pakistan’s leaders of “nothing but lies & deceit,” welcomed the country’s prime minister to the White House on Monday in an effort to mend relations and seek help in ending the war in neighboring Afghanistan. – New York Times 

Afghanistan’s government called on Tuesday for clarification of U.S. President Donald Trump’s remarks that he could win the Afghan war in just 10 days by “wiping out Afghanistan from the face of the earth”, the presidential palace in Kabul said. – Reuters

India plans to buy rocket engines from Russia for its national space program, RIA news agency cited Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov as saying during a visit to New Delhi on Monday. – Reuters 

Pakistan’s main spy agency provided the US with a lead that helped them find and kill Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Prime Minister Imran Khan said Monday. – Agence France-Presse 

David Ignatius writes: Afghanistan’s modern history is a caution against optimism. “You can always default to the negative in Afghanistan,” says the Western official. But Khalilzad has pressed ahead, and he seems near a breakthrough agreement, whatever its defects. The United States has spent so much blood and treasure here that the one unforgivable mistake would be to leave without a clear counterterrorism strategy to prevent our ever having to return. – Washington Post  

Simon Henderson writes: President Trump has several cards to play, one of which may be Pakistan’s erstwhile nuclear maverick, Dr. A.Q. Khan, who was responsible for selling nuclear bomb technology to Iran and North Korea and now lives in retirement in Islamabad. But the best point of pressure is probably Pakistan’s dreadful financial situation.  […]he still needed to accept a tough deal with the International Monetary Fund. That could all fall apart if Pakistan does not repair deficiencies in its policing of money-laundering and terrorist financing, which has put it on the gray list of the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force. – The Hill

Michael Rubin writes: As the United States prepares to cut-and-run from Afghanistan, Trump and his allies may believe that now is the time to reset relations with Pakistan. They are wrong. Under Imran Khan, Pakistan has continued its move to become an instrument of Chinese strategic policies. Successive Pakistani leaders have fallen victim to China’s debt trap. Thus, even if Khan wished to chart an independent course, it would have been impossible for him to do so. – The National Interest

Husain Haqqani writes: There is no constituency in Washington that wants to restore aid to Pakistan and statements about expanding trade would just be statements. In a capitalist economy, business deals and investment depend on the potential for profit, not goodwill between leaders. Even if President Trump says he wants more US investment in Pakistan, it is unlikely that American businesses will rush to Pakistan amid economic uncertainty and potentially poor returns. – The Print


China’s state media aired images from the aftermath of Hong Kong’s latest antigovernment protests, a change in tack that appears aimed at fanning public anger against the demonstrations, as Beijing signaled support for a stronger crackdown by authorities in the city. – Wall Street Journal

Tech giant Apple Inc. shut its stores early citywide on Monday, as fears of escalating violence and spiraling lawlessness linked to weekslong protests spurred concern among businesses and the public. – Wall Street Journal

Donald Trump has praised Chinese leader Xi Jinping over his handling of the protests in Hong Kong, after a weekend that saw police fire tear gas at demonstrators and a mob launched a vicious attack on pro-democracy campaigners. – Financial Times 

China accused U.S. officials on Tuesday of being behind violent protests in Hong Kong and advised them to remove their “black hands” from the territory. – Reuters

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday there was no way to stop Chinese from fishing in his country’s exclusive economic zone and he would not risk losing Filipino forces in a clash in the disputed South China Sea. – Associated Press 

Australia will create a new military unit dedicated to training and assisting Pacific allies, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said on Tuesday, as Canberra accelerates plans to undercut Chinese influence in the region. – Reuters

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will host Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for an official visit and state dinner on Sept. 20, the White House announced in a statement Monday. – Washington Examiner

Editorial: Hong Kong’s protesters are standing up to the same Chinese promise-breaking and lawlessness that Mr. Trump is challenging in trade negotiations. They’ve learned that Mr. Xi’s idea of acting responsibly is to crush dissent. Mr. Trump harms his own interests when he fails to stand up for Hong Kong. – Wall Street Journal 

Ken Moritsugu writes: Neither side wants China’s People’s Liberation Army to step in, but the growing chaos and what China will see as a direct challenge to its authority raise the risks. The thuggish attack on the protesters brought accusations of connivance between police and criminal gangs, though Hong Kong’s police commissioner flatly denied it and it remained unclear who was behind it. – Associated Press


House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said Saturday that he and his contacts at top intelligence agencies were unaware of Russian attempts to hack Senate candidates until the issue came up publicly at a conference last year. – Washington Post  

President Vladimir Putin handed Russian citizenship to gas producer Novatek’s veteran finance chief Mark Gyetvay on Monday, a move that could potentially help the U.S. national bypass some sanctions restrictions. – Reuters

The Arctic could be a key avenue for Russian cruise missiles, and the military must engage in the region to protect against it, according to a top U.S. general. – Washington Examiner

Lithuania’s foreign minister expressed disappointment at Israel’s lack of solidarity with Eastern and Central European countries facing Russian aggression, saying that if Jerusalem wanted others to empathize with its security challenges in the Middle East, it should be forthcoming with support during crises in other regions. – Times of Israel


The new party of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was on course Monday to win an outright majority in Parliament—a first for any single party in the country’s history—giving the comedian-turned-politician a stronger hand to deal with strained relations with Russia and Ukraine’s poverty-stricken economy. – Wall Street Journal

Boris Johnson’s last act as Britain’s foreign secretary was to gather a host of European dignitaries in London and fail to turn up. […]Mr. Johnson may now be set to return this week, this time as Britain’s prime minister, and European officials say they don’t know what to expect. – Wall Street Journal 

British intelligence fears that Iranian supported terrorist cells in Europe could launch attacks on the UK and the rest of the continent if the situation in the Persian Gulf escalates, according to The Telegraph. – Jerusalem Post 

A grossly antisemitic cartoon recently broadcast on Norway’s public NRK channel was still available online on Monday, despite dozens of complaints from viewers. – Algemeiner  

Pressure has continued to pile on Christian Clages, Germany’s official diplomatic representative to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, after an investigation by the newspaper Bild last week revealed that several antisemitic and anti-Zionist posts on Twitter had received “likes” from his verified account. – Algemeiner 

Editorial: Voters Sunday gave President Volodymyr Zelensky and his new political party the power to reshape Ukraine’s economic and political systems. Now Ukrainians will find out if the newcomers they’ve gambled on are up to the challenge. […]Mr. Putin fears nothing more than a strong, democratic and prosperous Ukraine as a model for his own citizens. The U.S. should keep standing with the country as its unconventional leader tries to make good on his promises. – Wall Street Journal


When a small car bomb exploded outside a courthouse in the bustling port city of Bosaso in northern Somalia, local news reports chalked it up to Islamist militants retaliating for American airstrikes. At least eight people were wounded, and a local affiliate of the Islamic State claimed responsibility. – New York Times 

Three French and Estonian troops were wounded on Monday when a car bomb exploded at the entrance to an international peace-keeping base in the Malian town of Gao, France’s military said on Monday. – Agence France-Presse  

At least six Shiite protesters were killed in clashes with Nigerian police in the capital Abuja on Monday, witnesses told AFP. – Agence France-Presse  

The United Nations says 1.3 million people are in need of assistance as the humanitarian situation in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon continue to deteriorate. – BBC

Latin America

Most of Venezuela was left in the dark Monday in the latest blackout to hit the beleaguered nation as it suffers from an economic collapse and a crumbling power grid. […]Much of the countryside has experienced rolling blackouts since March as Venezuela’s government, reeling from faulty management, corruption and U.S. financial sanctions, uses its limited resources to prop up Caracas. – Wall Street Journal

Venezuela’s socialist government is blaming a nationwide blackout on an “electromagnetic attack” against the nation’s hydroelectric system. – Associated Press

When Venezuela intercepted a United States aircraft over the Caribbean Sea, it not only used a Russian fighter to do so, it took a page directly out of the Russian playbook. – Washington Examiner

El Salvador’s new president wants a good relationship with President Trump and won’t let something like the recent freeze in foreign aid rock the boat. – Washington Examiner

Moises Rendon writes: This brief provides specific policy recommendations for Venezuela’s interim government led by Juan Guaidó, as well as for the United States and other like-minded countries. These policy recommendations include prosecutions, sanctions, and the use of other tools that can help increase pressure on the Maduro regime more efficiently. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


Moving to rekindle stalled trade talks with Beijing, President Trump joined with top technology industry executives Monday in a show of solidarity, as the U.S. moves to ease restrictions on sales to China’s Huawei Technologies Co. – Wall Street Journal

Huawei Technologies, the Chinese technology and telecoms group under pressure from the United States, is ready to sign a “no backdoor” agreement with any country, its founder told an Italian newspaper on Tuesday. – Reuters

Norsk Hydro, one of the world’s largest aluminum producers, said a cyber attack it sustained in March would cost it more than expected in the second quarter as it reported quarterly earnings that slightly lagged forecasts on Tuesday. – Reuters

The emergence of near-peer allies such as China and Russia presents new concerns to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the organization’s director, Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, said July 19 at the Aspen Institute’s Security Forum. – C4ISRNET

After stonewalling congressional committees for nearly a year, the Trump administration has apparently finally agreed to share documents related to a new processes for approving cyber operations outside U.S. networks. – Fifth Domain

The Army’s research and development community is looking for contractor information in developing state-of-the-art cyber defenses that can improve decision-making across the battlefield. – Fifth Domain

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has taken another step to ramp up federal election security in the run-up to the 2020 election. – Fifth Domain


U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday told the Pentagon to find better ways to procure a rare earth magnet used in specialty motors, warning that the nation’s defense would suffer without adequate stockpiles. – Reuters

The surface force is catching up with naval aviation in how it prepares for tougher, more complex fights by opening new facilities for combat training. – USNI News

The Defense Department will see a hefty hike in its funding next fiscal year under the budget deal announced by the White House and Democratic leaders on Monday, but it won’t be as much as congressional Republicans wanted. – Military Times

U.S. Army Futures Command is laying the groundwork to strengthen collaboration with academia and small businesses to solve some of the service’s most major problems. – Defense News 

Black Hawk helicopters and active-duty soldiers are part of a secret ongoing military operation being conducted around the nation’s capital. – Washington Examiner

Trump Administration

The Justice Department told Robert Mueller to keep this week’s congressional testimony within the boundaries of his public report, just as Democratic lawmakers hope the former special counsel sheds new light on why he drew no conclusion about whether President Trump should be charged with a crime. […]He agreed to testify after Democrats subpoenaed him, as the party hopes his appearance will shed more light on Russian interference in the 2016 election and information in his report on Mr. Trump’s efforts to stifle the related federal investigation. – Wall Street Journal

The origins of the Trump-Russia investigation. The political biases of the investigative team. British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee plan to interrogate Robert Mueller on Wednesday about all those subjects, along with the conclusions the special counsel reached on collusion and obstruction and more. – Washington Examiner

President Trump’s frustrations with national security adviser John Bolton are boiling over and he is considering removing his hawkish foreign policy aide, according to sources close to the White House. – Washington Examiner 

Walter Russell Mead writes: But the political logic behind the administration’s Wilsonian pivot is strong. Team Trump needs to unify its populist and conservative supporters in the U.S. even as it builds a coalition against Chinese overreach in Asia and beyond. Incorporating a vision of human rights focused on religious liberty helps on both fronts. – Wall Street Journal