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President Trump has issued another executive order to extend and broaden the travel band that expired on Sunday.
The new travel ban will be more impervious to challenges from the Supreme Court, and will require foreign governments to improve their identity management, issue more secure passports, identify serious criminals, and provide information on known or suspected terrorists.
The new travel makes changes to the immigration policy the US has with different countries. The travel ban on Sudan has been lifted. North Korea, Chad, and Venezuela have been added to the list of banned countries (although this ban only extends to North Korean and Venezuelan government officials). Libya, Somalia, Iran, Syria, and Yemen will remain.
The White House has stated that the new travel ban has created a new “baseline for information sharing to support visa and immigration vetting determinations.” President Trump stated:
“Following an extensive review by the Department of Homeland Security, we are taking action today to protect the safety and security of the American people by establishing a minimum security baseline for entry into the United States. We cannot afford to continue the failed policies of the past, which present an unacceptable danger to our country. My highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and in issuing this new travel order, I am fulfilling that sacred obligation.”
President Trump stated Wednesday that he had made a decision concerning the Iran Nuclear Deal. In an unusual twist, however, the President refused to announce what it was.
White House National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster, has refused to comment on whether President Trump planned to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal. McMaster told NBC’s Today show:
“I’m not saying anything yet about it, but when the announcement is made, it will fit into a fundamentally sound and broad strategy aimed at addressing Iran’s destabilizing behaviour and prioritizing protecting American vital interests.”
Seven Democrat senators have written to President Trump demanding evidence that Iran had violated the agreement by October 6th, the certification deadline. They wrote:
“If you are aware of any information that would suggest that Iran is no longer complying or that would lead the president to conclude that the continued suspension of sanctions is no longer in the vital national security interests of the United States, we request that you provide a written report containing such information.”
Similarly, the Republican Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, has expressed the opinion that the US should remain in the deal, despite opposing it two years ago. The senator stated in an interview Wednesday that he believed the Iranians had been complying with the terms of the deal and that the Trump Administration should be focused on curtailing Iran’s ballistic missile program. Paul told Politico:
“Most of the complaints about Iran don’t have anything to do with the agreement. They complain about ballistic missiles and other things, but that’s not part of the agreement. I think while the agreement’s not perfect, my main concern has always been compliance. But if they’re complying with it, I think we should stay in it.”
A decision to leave the Iran Nuclear Deal does have its supporters, however. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, commented that the Iraq Nuclear Deal had been ineffectual in safeguarding against Iran’s growing power. Macron stated:
“We need the 2015 accord. Is this accord enough? It is not, given the growing pressure that Iran is applying in the region.”
Similarly, Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has stated that Iran’s support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, its ballistic missile test, and its other non-military action undermined efforts to create stability in the Middle East. Tillerson stated on Wednesday night:
“Regrettably, since the agreement was confirmed we have seen anything but a more peaceful, stable region. That’s why we talk about Iran defaulting on these expectations because those expectations clearly have not been met.”
President Trump has gone back on his campaign promise to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and has instead decided to commit more troops the war-torn country. The change in policy came after a months-long campaign by members of the National Security Team to convince the President not to withdraw troops from the country.
The President, who was forced to admit that the office of the Presidency has changed his worldview, said in his Afghanistan speech:
“My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts, but all of my life I heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office. So I studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every angle. After many meetings, over many months, we held our final meeting last Friday at Camp David, with my Cabinet and Generals, to complete our strategy. I arrived at three fundamental conclusions about America’s core interests in Afghanistan. Our nation must seek an honourable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made.
The consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable… A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists – including ISIS and Al Qaeda – would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11th.
I concluded that the security threats we face in Afghanistan and the broader region are immense.”
A spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanistan has responded to Trump’s tweet by stating that “Afghanistan will become another graveyard for the superpower.”
Democrats have expressed their concern with Democrat Congressman from Washington, Adam Smith, criticising it as a copy of the Afghanistan policies adopted by President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. Smith said in a statement:
“This is not a plan. The President has announced that he is committing to an open-ended war effort in Afghanistan without clearly explaining to the American people or the service members he is sending into harm’s way what he wants and how intends to accomplish his goals. That is inexcusable.”
Similarly, Democratic Senator from Rhodes Island, Jack Reed, the leading Democrat in the Senate Armed Services, has criticised Trump’s policy for being too vague. Reed commented that “the President’s speech was short on the details our troops and the American people deserve.”
President Trump has, however, received support from members of the Republic Party. Republican Congressman for Texas, Mac Thornberry, referred to the policy as a “reasonable way ahead”, whilst John McCain called it a “big step in the right direction.”