The G-7 Summit, Iran Lashes Out, CNN Jumps The Shark

Monday, August 26, 2019

The G-7 Summit
As President Trump left the United States last week to attend the G-7 economic summit, one media outlet wrote that Trump was heading "into a summit of world leaders in an increasingly isolated position."  But virtually everything about the news coverage is wrong. 
For example, Trump and Prime Minister Abe of Japan held a surprise press conference announcing a major trade deal.  Japan agreed to buy huge supplies of American agricultural products, a great deal for our farmers. 
Late last week, China hit the U.S. with surprise tariffs, stoking panic on Wall Street.  In response, Trump hit back by raising tariffs on Chinese goods.  He also urged American companies to come home and hire American workers.  (Here's an excellent analysis of the current U.S./China relationship.)
Today, China is asking to "get back to the [negotiating] table."  China's vice premier told state media, "China is willing to resolve its trade dispute with the United States through calm negotiations and resolutely opposes the escalation of the conflict." 
I'm sure it does!  China has more to lose than we do.
If you turned on the TV this morning, you saw Trump and India's Narendra Modi, the leaders of the world's two largest democracies, holding a joint press conference discussing defense issues and economic opportunities.
Some left-wing pundits have asked how a president as unpopular as Trump can accomplish anything.  Well, Trump has the second highest approval rating among the G-7 leaders. 
Germany's Angela Merkel, Canada's Justin Trudeau and Britain's Boris Johnson are polling in the 30s.  France's Emmanuel Macron is in the 20s.  He would give anything to have Trump's approval rating!
But the media is right about this:  Trump and America are isolated in one way.  The economies of the European nations at the G-7 summit are falling like rocks. 
The French economy is stagnant.  Britain's economy is shrinking.  German business confidence is at a seven-year low.  Meanwhile, the U.S. economy remains relatively healthy.
Iran Lashes Out
Iran must really be feeling the heat from President Trump's sanctions.  The Islamic Republic lashed out with sanctions of its own against the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a U.S.-based think tank.  The Iranians specifically targeted FDD Chief Executive Mark Dubowitz. 
FDD's "sin" is that it is one of the most effective organizations keeping the pressure on the Iranian regime.  In recent days, I was at FDD's headquarters discussing issues of mutual concern with its founder and President Cliff May.
But the wording of the Iranian statement also implied a threat against Dubowitz and FDD.  And given the regime's support for terrorism and past plots against its opponents around the world (here and here), it must be taken seriously.
State Department Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus denounced Iran's threat, tweeting:
"The outlaw regime in Iran issued a threat today against @FDD, an American think tank, and its CEO. The U.S. takes the regime's threats seriously. We intend to hold Iran responsible for directly or indirectly compromising the safety of any American."
Dubowitz and FDD are standing firm.  In a series of tweets, FDD declared:
"FDD conducts independent research and analysis on national security issues. The Islamic Republic prohibits such freedoms at home, and would like to do so abroad as well. . . FDD considers its inclusion on any list put out by the regime as a badge of honor. . ."
In a separate interview, Mark Dubowitz told reporters:
"We are grateful for the outpouring of support from across the political and policy spectrum.  Regardless of differences on the Iran issue, many Obama, Bush and Trump administration officials, members of Congress, and think tank experts have voiced their outrage at the regime's threats against FDD."
Our prayers are with Mark Dubowitz, Cliff May and all the talented staff and experts at FDD. 
CNN Jumps The Shark
CNN once touted itself as "the most trusted name in news."  Well, that's a laughable claim now given that the network just hired Andrew McCabe.  
You remember McCabe -- he was fired by the FBI for lying.  McCabe has demonstrated his ability to lie, and CNN apparently saw something it liked. 
Yesterday, Duke University psychiatry professor Allen Frances appeared on "Reliable Sources" with CNN's media reporter Brian Stelter.  Professor Frances declared:
"Trump is as destructive a person in this century, as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were in the last century.  He may be responsible for many more million deaths than they were.  He needs to be contained. . ."
Now I'm not surprised that CNN's guest commentators are critical of the president's policies.  But comparing the president to the worst mass murderers of the 20th century seems a bit over-the-top.
No wonder CNN is losing viewers.