Assessing the Trump Administration


By Walter Smith, publisher New York Beacon

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, president elect Donald Trump was constant and vicious in his criticism of Barack Obama and his administration. He vowed to dismantle “Obama Care” and everything Obama decreed by executive order. High on his list of reversals was the Iran deal which was signed by the governments of Britain, France, Russia, China, the US and Germany. The deal, Obama said, “has stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region and has the full backing of the international community.” The “deal” carried a promise to release sanctions against Iran and to return funds held by the US as a result of the asset freeze in 1979.

Trump campaigners called the release of funds a ransom and a giveaway to the Iranians.

The facts are:

In November 1979, Iran’s revolutionary government took 52 Americans hostages at the U.S. embassy, and the U.S. severed diplomatic relations with Tehran. In retaliation, Washington froze $12 billion in Iranian assets held on our shores. The hostage crisis was resolved in 1981 at a conference in Algiers, and the U.S. returned $3 billion to Iran, with more funds going either to pay creditors, or into escrow. The two nations also established a tribunal in the Hague called the Iran United States Claims Tribunal to settle claims both leveled by each government against the other, U.S. citizens versus Iran, and vice versa. The major issue between the two governments was a $400 million payment for military equipment made by the government of the Shah of Iran, prior to the 1979 uprising that topped him. The U.S. banned delivery of the jets and other weapons amid the hostage crisis, but froze the $400 million advance payment.

By 2015, the $400 million issue stood before a panel of nine judges, including three independent jurists, who were reportedly near a decision on binding arbitration. According to Obama administration officials, the U.S. was concerned that the tribunal would mandate an award in the multiple billions of dollars. “The Iranians wanted $10 billion. It was estimated the tribunal would award them $4 billion. So instead, the U.S. negotiators convinced Iran to move the dispute from arbitration to a private settlement. The two sides reached an agreement in mid-2015, at the same time as the U.S. and Iran reached a comprehensive pact on curtailing Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. The financial deal called for the U.S. to refund $1.7 billion to Tehran, consisting of the original $400 million contract for military equipment, plus $1.3 billion in interest.

Trump has an undeniable aversion to Barack Obama. He is envious of his ability to win the presidency of the US twice in spite of his constant negative description of his intelligence and leadership ability.

As he has been wrong about Obama, he is also on the wrong track relating to many other US political positions both domestic and foreign.

He wants to create a registry for Muslims entering and exiting America from certain countries.

A Muslim registry was implemented in 2002 by the Bush administration with 25 countries on the list , all being Arab and Muslim countries except one, North Korea, which was dismantled in 2011 by president Barack Obama, nearly a decade after its creation.

The Bush registry and the subsequent vetting did not result in one conviction. The process actually made efforts at trying to combat terrorism more difficult by destroying relationships with immigrant communities and actually negatively impacting the ability of the federal government to cooperate with foreign governments in fighting terrorism. The program also ignored credible data from think tanks, including the New America Foundation, showing that most domestic terror attacks are carried out by US citizens.

Trump’s disdain for “Black Lives Matter” and Black protest to racism is supported by his appointment of Steve Bannon, as Chief Whitehouse Strategist. White nationalist leaders are praising the decision telling the media they view Bannon as an advocate in the White House for policies they favor.  The leaders of the white nationalist organizations vehemently oppose multiculturalism and share the belief in the supremacy of the white race and Western civilization. They publicly backed Trump during his campaign for his hardline positions on Mexican immigration, Muslims, and refugee resettlement. Bannon’s hiring, they say, is a signal that Trump will follow through on some of his more controversial policy positions. “I think that’s excellent,” former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke said. “I think that anyone that helps complete the program and the policies that President-elect Trump has developed during the campaign is a very good thing. So it’s good to see that he’s sticking to the issues and the ideas that he proposed as a candidate. Now he’s president-elect and he’s sticking to it and he’s reaffirming those issues.”

Thus far there has been no appointments to support the hopes and aspirations of African Americans nor Latinos, nor Women. To the contrary, all indications are that any and all legislation passed by the Obama administration in support of disadvantaged Americans

are being considered for repeal.

To quote Brandon Dixon from the cast of Hamilton, “We, sir are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”

In spite of this presidential election being held 158 years after the Lincoln / Douglas debates, the issues they discussed were not only of critical importance to the sectional conflict over slavery and states’ rights but also touched deeper questions that would continue to influence political discourse. As Lincoln said, these issues would be discussed long after “these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent.”

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