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Weekly Snapshot: 11-17 November 2018

Weekly Snapshot
11-17 November 2018

1. The United States is tightening sanctions on Hezbollah

The State Department has issued new sanctions on members of Hezbollah. This week the United States has imposed additions sanctions on Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Naim Qassem, both high ranking officials within Hezbollah. The United States has also placed sanctions on several high ranking Iraqi members of the group as well.

Hezbollah has long been recognized as a terrorist group by the United States as they have sought to disrupt peace in the middle east. Their tactics in the fight against Israel are acts of evil, going as far as to bomb civilians and non-military targets. They have been blamed for the 1983 marine barracks bombing in Beirut killing 241 US servicemen.

Tensions have been high between Hezbollah and the United States as the biggest supporter (and creator) of Hezbollah is Iran. With the new sanctions placed on Iran, it is likely that Hezbollah will be getting less funding as Iran seeks to fund its own activities with reduced assets. This move by the United States shows an all fronts offensive on Iran and its affiliates, striking a blow to a group that has caused so much unrest in the middle east.

2. Senators give warning over Chinese investments

Senators Marco Rubio and Chris Coons wrote letters to the State Department and Department of Defence over the renewed interest by China in Djibouti. Djibouti is home to China’s first overseas military base and has been a point of contention over the Chinese One Belt One Road initiative.

When asked for comment over the letters, the Department of Defence spokesman said they were happy with infrastructure and investments that could benefit the country, but said countries should be cautious of piling on monumental debt. This is referring to China financing large projects in countries by giving loans they know the host country cannot repay. When the host country defaults on their loan, the piece of infrastructure (such as power plants, railroads, and seaports) would technically go under the ownership of China. China is using several state-backed institutions to loan this money, but at the end of the day, it is the Chinese government that is behind it.

As the US base in Djibouti is of great importance to the United States missions in Africa and the middle east, having Chinese interference could cause problems. The United States has placed measures to counteract such investments from China by passing the BUILD act or Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018, as mentioned in a previous snapshot that can be found here.

3. A step towards the end of the war in Yemen

As reported two weeks ago, the West is trying to pressure the coalition that is fighting in Yemen to end the war. This week it is reported that the Saudi-led coalition has halted its offensive in the port city of Hodeidah. This is a strong step to a cease-fire after almost four years of fighting.

The Saudi-led coalition, backed by other western states, such as the United States, has been fighting the Houthi’s in Yemen after they rebelled against the government in 2015. The Houthi’s are a religious movement also known as Ansar Allah, or “supporters of God.” They are believers in the branch of Islam called Zaidi and makeup about 25% of Yemen. They are the minority, as most of Yemen is of Sunni belief. This religious tensions led to the rebellion and now conflict. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, along with other small terrorist groups (primarily created and funded by Iran) have penetrated the ranks of the Houthi’s and started to spread violence outside the borders of Yemen. The violence was primarily directed at Saudi Arabia, which is why they decided to lead the coalition against the Houthi’s.

As the world is starting to pressure both sides to end the violence, it is refreshing to see that Saudi Arabia is actually taking heed of the United States warnings against continuing the violence. For the Saudi Arabians to actually go through with halting their offensive means the war is in a place where it has a minimal risk of spreading to their borders. After over 10,000 casualties and countless more displaced, it is good to see that peace may finally be in the future for Yemen.

Election Fallout from 2018

2018 Wisconsin Election Fallout
by Pax Americana Staff

Another general election has come and gone. For now, nasty attack ads, candidate debates, and politicians asking for your vote will cease. As we enter the post-election cycle before the new legislative session, conservatives in Wisconsin face an unfamiliar situation: come January 7th, there will not be a conservative governor in office.

Scott Walker, the conservative superhero and rising star during the past decade will be out of office. While all is not lost, Walker’s defeat creates a dilemma for Wisconsin conservatives. For the first time in eight years, they will not be able to turn to their conservative governor for leadership.

Over the past eight years, Governor Walker brought about progress for numerous conservative and pragmatic reforms: protecting the lives of the unborn, lowering property taxes, restoring funding to the transportation fund, freezing tuition for UW Schools, lowering income taxes, instituting the child tax credit, making record investments in K-12 education, and many more that favor conservative thought. Above all, Governor Walker is a staunch Christian who promoted the unchanging values that lead us yesterday, guide us today, and will light the way as we continue through an ever-changing world.

Some will argue Walker’s loss will have little bearing on conservatives, as they will still look to the President for guidance. However, with many split on their support for the President, Wisconsin conservatives need a new face to arise and advocate for the conservative cause here in the state.

Through extraordinary hard work, constituent engagement, and passion on the campaign trail, the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate will remain conservative. Due to the nature of the Wisconsin state legislature being comprised of ninety-nine members in the Assembly and thirty-three in the Senate, it is difficult for one specific leader to emerge and be considered the face of conservatism in Wisconsin.

Solid conservative leadership is crucial in the coming years. Now faced with divided government, many conservative reforms will stall, and gridlock will become the norm. If conservatives wish to reclaim the governorship in 2022, they need to regroup and focus on whom they want to push to lead the next generation of conservatives. Governors Tommy Thompson and Scott Walker championed the conservative vision for Wisconsin. Now, it is time for someone new to pick up the reigns and keep Wisconsin moving forward.

Weekly Snapshot: 4-10 November 2018

Weekly Snapshot
4-10 November 2018

1. US and Polish officials talk about security

During a meeting in Warsaw, high-level officials from both the United States and Poland sat down to discuss security concerns and bilateral cooperation in Poland. These talks included discussing the missile defense system the United States is putting in Poland. The project has an estimated timeline with a hopeful completion date of 2020. Other things on the table were the establishment of a permanent military base in Poland for US troops and increasing cooperation between Poland and the United States defense industry.

This renewed cooperation with Poland is in large part due to the ever-present fear of Russian aggression. After Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, Europe has been afraid of renewed hostilities from the Russian Federation. By having stronger cooperation, missile defense systems, and a permanent military base the United States can better protect its NATO allies from the clutches of Vladimir Putin.

2. Another meeting between the US and North Korea postponed

A meeting set for November 8th, 2018 between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korea’s United Front Works Department head Kim Yong Chol, has been postponed to an unspecified date. The meeting, called off by Pyongyang, was set to discuss North Korea’s progress in denuclearization and to convey the United States wishes on the matter. Both sides did not give a reason as to why it was called off, but speculation is that it is a tactic from North Korea to force the US to give economic relief before tangible results of denuclearization can be seen. The United States is maintaining economic sanctions until such time that North Korea has completely denuclearized, and that progress can be verified.

This is not the first meeting to be canceled between these two sides, and it surely won’t be the last. These kinds of antics are right in line with why the United States is taking such a hard line in these talks. The United States has been duped before, and false promises were made. The United States has used incentives to lure North Korea into denuclearization before and all those times failed. It is refreshing to see this administration so steadfast in their convictions not to give benefits until results are proven. This style of dealing with North Korea has never been done before, and just might be what is needed in order to finally have a denuclearized North Korea.

3. Iraq gets a waiver on US sanctions in Iran

The United States has made a special exception to the re-emplaced sanctions that were levied on Iran. These sanctions were the ones taken away under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and have henceforth been re-emplaced after the current administration’s decision to withdraw from that deal. These sanctions are specifically targeting Iran’s financial institutions, shipping lines, energy sector, and petroleum products. Due to Iran and Iraq’s economies being so intertwined, sanctions on Iran would hurt the United States partner Iraq.

Iraq relies heavily on natural gas and Iranian-generated electricity. Most of the population of Iraq only get a few hours of electricity from the state of Iraq per day and then rely heavily on power generators. In the long run, this is going to be a benefit for Iraq in that the United States has given them 45 days to come up with a plan to gradually stop using Iranian gas and oil. This incentivizes Iraq to finally become energy independent which will only strengthen their standing in the middle east. While making exceptions to the sanctions goes against the efficacy of the impact on Iran, this exception was a needed one. Unlike the exceptions that are being discussed from Europe, this one has a clock on it, and eventually, Iran is going to feel the full force of the US sanctions.

4. Inklings of a sectarian war in Afghanistan

There are growing tensions between the Taliban and the Shi’ite Hazara minority of the Jaghori district in the Ghazni province. Attacks in this region and also a couple of the central provinces have left several Taliban and civilians dead and injured. The Taliban is mainly comprised of ethnic Pashtun Sunni Muslims, while the Jaghori district has a large amount of Shi’ite Hazara. The divide between these two different sects of Islam has been the motivation of countless wars throughout history.

The violence in Jaghori was spurred by a hope that the Sunni Taliban could retake control of the Shi’ite-dominated region. This region allows women to move freely and encourages higher female participation in government, something the Sunnis in the Taliban do not agree with. The leaders of Jaghori have requested support from the central government of Afghanistan, but their response was too late, forcing civilians to take up arms and protect their lands. This sets a bad precedent in that it encourages armed rebel groups, something not new to Afghanistan. This raises concerns that Hazaras, members of a mainly Shi’ite minority, may take up arms against the central government in frustration.

The United States position in this is concerning. Due to the US military presence in Afghanistan and our intimate relationship with the central government, having a new group of “rebels” dissatisfied with their government also means they would be unhappy with the United States. As the US looks to someday end its military involvement in Afghanistan, spurring a new war can creating animosity toward America is something to be taken seriously. As the biggest military supporter of the central government, the United States should be proactive in this situation and make sure to deal with it before it inflates into a bigger issue.

Intelligence Forecast: November 2018

Intelligence Forecast
November 2018

1. The United States and Russia likely to end the INF Treaty

During the height of the Ukraine crisis in 2014, the Obama administration was the first to acknowledge that the Russians were breaking the ordinances laid out in the INF Treaty, originally signed in 1987. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is an arms control agreement between the United States and the former Soviet Union that sought to eliminate short and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles. Over a four year period, 2,500 missiles were destroyed between the United States and the Soviet Union. It should be noted the treaty did not cover sea or air missiles but instead focused on land-based missiles.

The Obama administration did not seek to remove the United States from the INF Treaty or desire to punish the Russians for breaking the arms control treaty because they believed it would ignite an arms race. Although this may be true, the Russians are abusing the United State’s loyalty to the treaty. During the Obama administration, the Russians were able to deploy intermediate-range tactical nuclear missiles to intimidate not only Europe but also various states that have allied themselves with the United States through NATO.

The abuse of the INF Treaty by Russia allows for the diminishing sphere of influence of the United States in Eastern Europe, especially with nations formerly a part of the Soviet Union. The United States is also being constrained by this treaty in Asia where China is attempting to expand its sphere of influence in the South China Sea. It would be ideal for the United States to place intermediate-range nuclear missiles to deter China from expanding to the areas of Taiwan, Singapore, and the Philippines. Although China is producing and deploying intermediate nuclear missiles, they are not a signatory on the INF Treaty. Therefore they are not breaking any parameters treaty wise.

Under the current INF Treaty, the United States is getting taken advantage of by the Russians and the Chinese governments. It would only make sense for the Trump administration to pull out of the INF Treaty because it’s departed from its original conception during the Cold War.

This past week, National Security Advisor John Bolton met with Vladimir Putin to formally give an official notice that the United States was going to pull out of the INF Treaty. As expected, the Russians argued they had not violated the treaty, but the readers of PAI know too well this is all just a game being played by the Russians. The Chinese government has also weighed in by saying dissolving the INF Treaty would have a negative impact between the relations of the great powers.

It is in the United States best interest to withdraw from the INF Treaty in order to secure order in contended regions of the world, as well as to maintain primacy. President Donald Trump and Russian Leader Vladimir Putin are set to meet next month in Paris to discuss the issues relating to the United States pulling out of the INF Treaty. Expect Donald Trump to stand firm on his decision to withdraw from the 31-year-old treaty, especially after a recent history of election interference and growing tension between the United States and Russia.

2. Migrant caravan to be stopped on U.S.-Mexico border

A massive caravan made up of over 14,000 Central American undocumented migrants is making its way to the United States-Mexico border to seek economic opportunity in the United States, but what will happen when they are confronted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement? There are concerns by many in the Trump administration that the caravan has been infiltrated by members of MS-13 and other individuals that will have a negative impact on American society.

Many in the Trump administration have made statements regarding the migrant caravan. For example, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has made blunt comments stating that “The caravan will not cross our border into our southern states under any circumstances.” Donald Trump has stated he will send 5,200 members of the U.S. military to stop the incoming caravan from crossing into the United States. It is the opinion of many conservatives that in order to be a country, borders must be enforced and maintained. If Donald Trump was serious during his campaign stating that “We don’t have a country without a border,” this is the perfect scenario to prove it.

The Trump administration has threatened financial aid would be pulled from countries which the caravan’s individuals emigrated from if the caravan wasn’t stopped from leaving the country. Although the countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico have somewhat attempted to stop the caravan from crossing their borders, they have been unsuccessful due to the lack of enforcement and general apathy.

In its current state, the caravan is going to continue its unlawful journey to the U.S.-Mexico border, but once they reach the border it’s unclear what will happen next. It’s unlikely that shots will be fired at the caravan, but something has to be done to stop the unlawful attack on the United States’ southern border. If the undocumented migrants do successfully cross into the United States, it is likely they will head towards sanctuary cities. Above is a graph showing the illegal immigrant sanctuary status in various areas of the United States.

The migrant caravan, along with illegal immigration, in general, is a substantial national security threat to the United States. This is an ideal scenario for the United States government and border security to make definitive moves to show they care about protecting the borders from drug dealers, gang members, and terrorists sought to gain off the ignorance of those who support sanctuary cities.

3. United States actions toward Saudi Arabia after the murder of a journalist

News continues to unravel from the Middle East involving the murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. Although there are still questions on where Khashoggi’s body was disposed, the next question is what does the United States do in response to the killing of an individual that isn’t an American citizen, but someone that resided in the United States?

The Trump administration has threatened to put sanctions on the Saudi government workers involved in the murder, but is there anything else to do? Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has stated the United States will also revoke visas from Saudi officials responsible for the cover-up. Although many in Congress believe that economic sanctions are enough, others deem more punishment should be given to the Saudi government.

One proposal, mainly discussed by Liberals, is to cut off arms trade to Saudi Arabia.  Although this sounds like a common sense proposal, there is more that needs to be evaluated on this decision. The reason the United States and the Trump administration initially sold small arms, tanks, combat ships, missile defense systems and cybersecurity technology was to aid in the ongoing Yemen conflict. Unless the United States wants to allow groups, like al Qaeda, a haven in Yemen, the arms deal with Saudi Arabia needs to remain intact. The fear PAI has is if the arms treaty between the United States and Saudi Arabia is broken, there will be diminishing attempts from the Saudis to prevent terrorism in Yemen, thus possibly requiring American boots on the ground in Yemen.

Other proposals include holding Saudi Arabia more responsible for terrorism, specifically through the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, and start a congressional investigation into the matters. Unfortunately, these actions will do little to discipline Saudi Arabia and will do nothing to stop them from continuing these actions in the future.

As it stands, the only logical choice for the United States would be to put temporary sanctions as well as revoking visas from those involved in the murder. The option of halting arms sales to Saudi Arabia is a serious national security issue that needs to be well thought over before a decision is made solely on emotion. Free speech of the media and press needs to be upheld throughout the world, however all foreign policy decisions must take into account national and vital interests. These suggested punishments would do little to stop Saudi Arabia from silencing those in the media that are against the House of Saud and would unsuccessfully divert United States foreign policy. However, once full complicity is known, specific Saudis should be punished, and if Saudi Arabia does not do this, the United States will need to reconsider its position.


Suggested Articles: 28 October – 3 November 2018

Suggested Articles
28 October – 3 November

1. Op-Ed: The intellectual bankruptcy and historical ignorance of democratic socialism (Part 1)

Alex Benson of NEWSREP gives an insight into the growing trend of “democratic socialism” which has invaded the modern American left. Benson talks about the dangers of a major American party alignment with socialist ideals, stating that “whatever its relationship to traditional Marxism, adopting the socialist moniker is reason enough for concern.” The Pax Americana Institute has always stood against this destructive ideology which appears so appealing to many self-proclaimed “progressive” Americans. Classical Conservatives across the Midwest should continue to counter the tenets of democratic socialists on an intellectual level.

2. Louis Farrakhan Chants ‘Death to America’ During Visit to Iran

National Review writer Jack Crow reports on the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and his recent visit to Iran. Arriving just before the newest round of US economic sanctions, Farrakhan used the anti-American sentiment to build up a rally against American and Western Democratic values. Farrakhan’s long past of anti-Western thought and support for openly destructive regimes like Iran and their abhorrent ideologies are dangerous in the United States, especially when prominent leaders in the American left praise him as a hero. PAI and its conservative readers are fully aware of the threats that people like Farrakhan pose to the American way of life and the values we stand for.

3. Editorial: The Taliban Five Are Back

The editors of The Weekly Standard look into the trade of five key Taliban leaders for US Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl in 2014, a decision made by the Obama administration which has had hefty costs. The five terrorists who were released will be joining the political wing of the Taliban which maintains an office in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The decision to deal with the Taliban and release known terrorists in exchange for a soldier who knowingly deserted his assigned post made United States foreign policy into a weak joke. The Pax Americana Institute believes deeply in never negotiating with terrorists, if not for the reason of sacrificing morality then for the sake of maintaining the precedent that terrorist organizations will not get there way.

4. A Republic if you can keep it!

Ambassador Hank Cooper, a member of PAI’s Board of Advisors, reflects the words of Benjamin Franklin when he was asked what kind of government would be implemented in the United States. Ambassador Cooper approaches the many problems of modern American society through a historical lens, fitting for an election day. Midwestern conservatives should remain steadfast and loyal to the approaches of classical conservatism. The fate of the United States rests solely on those who make it up, the people, not the politicians.




Weekly Snapshot: 28 October – 3 November 2018

Weekly Snapshot
28 October – 3 November

1. India to buy ships from Russia

India and Russia have agreed on a deal concerning the sale of naval ships. India is buying two frigates equipped with anti-ship cruise missiles for $950 million dollars. This is going against the wishes of America. As relations between India and the United States have continued to improve, India still retains close military ties with the Russian Federation.

India will be paying in rupees and rubles in order to circumvent the United States sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Though Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The CAATSA would have secondary effects if the transaction were done in US dollars. The CAATSA is a law created in 2017 that works to help counter Russian, Iranian, and North Korean influence. Under HR 3364-2 section 231 the United States government can impose sanctions “with respect to the persons engaging in transaction with the intelligence or defense sectors of the government of the Russian Federation.”

The whole idea of India buying weapons from Russia is concerning as the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan continue. The purchase enriches the coffers of the Russian defense industry, which is a national security risk for the United States. Between the almost billion dollars spent on the new ships and the $5.43 billion being spent on new S-400 Triumph air defense systems, India is infusing a lot of cash into the defense industry of Russia, allowing for more Russian military development and jeopardizing American national security.

2. The US is pushing for peace in Yemen

Since the escalation of violence in 2015 when the Houthis took control of western Yemen and forced President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi to flee the country, the coalition of middle eastern states, with the help from the US, UK, and France have been fighting back. This is in large part due to an increase in Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) presence within the rebel groups.

The coalition and western powers did not want to leave a power vacuum untamed as this is how terrorism tends to grow. But in this now three-year duration of violence millions of people are being left starving and homeless. The United States under pressure to stop the conflict from creating any more humanitarian harm. The UN is leading peace talks between the two sides and is looking for support. Secretary of Defence, James Mattis, and Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, have already given their support for this cease-fire. The UN is now looking for support from the leaders of the coalition forces, and Saudi Arabia.

With strained relations due to the murder of a US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, dealing with Saudi Arabia has become more difficult. Yemen is of great importance to Saudi Arabia as they share a border. This means that if terrorism or a power-vacuum grows in Yemen, a lot of the spill off, whether refugees or terrorist fighters, could funnel into Saudi Arabia.

This ceasefire will be a big factor in the West’s relationship with Iran, as Iran is the Houthi rebels biggest supporter. What this cease-fire would look like is still unclear, however the fact that there are even talks of one means that the countries involved are moving in the right direction.

3. Turkey continues offensive against the Kurds

Three months ago the United States and Turkey reached a deal that they would conduct joint patrols in the hopes of eliminating Turkish attacks on US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria. This also meant that the Kurdish fighters would have to withdraw from the town of Manbij on the west bank of the Euphrates. As the patrols are starting to begin, the attacks appear to be continuing.

Just after the first patrols started, the Turkish announced a new offensive against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which is comprised of Kurdish YPG fighters and US special forces. This offensive is not taking place in Manbij, but rather it is happening on the other side of the river. This is concerning because it is a brazen lack of cooperation. With Turkey and the United States’ relationship already on rocky ground, attacks such as this could lead to even more animosity between these two sides.

Suggested Articles: 21-27 October 2018

Suggested Articles
21-27 October 2018

1. Will Americans Vote for Congressional Gridlock or US National Security?

Dr. Peter Pry, a member of the Pax Americana Institute Board of Directors, writes about the possible dangers of a predominantly left-wing congress after the upcoming elections. Dr. Pry notes the national security and international legitimacy of the United States could be placed on the back burner for nonemergent, mostly domestic, issues. Conservatives in the Midwest, as well as across the entire United States, should heed these warnings and use their right to vote. America cannot afford to come in second to oppressive nations like Russia and China.

2. Pronouncing the Death of the Pax Americana

Dr. Lamont Colucci writes for the Daily Caller about the recent statements by Russian president Vladimir Putin on how the American dominance over the world is coming to an end. Dr. Colucci analyzed the panel discussions held by the Russian think tank Valdai Discussion Club in which Putin talked extensively about Russian missile tech, international relations, and foreign policy moves. Nations like Russia continue to pose a significant risk, a risk which the United States cannot allow to be unattended. Conservative followers of PAI know that like Dr. Colucci says “disparity needs to be maintained.” Allowing the globe to be influenced by Russian ideology is not only damaging to the United States, but to the future of a free world as a whole.

3. Our Saudi Problem Didn’t Begin with Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder

Jonah Goldberg of The National Review touches on the tragic case surrounding the death of Jamal Khashoggi. The issues of Saudi Arabia did not begin purely because the crown prince ordered the assassination of the journalist, but far earlier in time when they were allowed to support terrorist organizations and hamper democratic organization both inside and outside of Saudi borders. The United States has turned a blind eye to the reprehensible actions and ideology of Saudi Arabia, something that cannot continue.

4. Putin says Russia will target any nations hosting US intermediate-range missiles in Europe

Daily Mail contributor Charlie Moore reports on Putin’s belligerent intent to target European nations that intend to host United States missile systems. The Russian president is now using the United States’ withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty as a justification for these statements. This situation shows the classic Russian thought process in which their own hostility, and known breaking of the INF Treaty, has come with repercussions that they attempt to play the victim. Classical conservatives in the Midwest fully understand the threat of Russian ideology and the political games they attempt to use to justify their actions.

Policy Issues: 2018 Midterm Predictions and Future

2018 Midterm Predictions and Future

Pax Americana Institute staff
10 October, 2018

The 2018 midterm elections are crucial for Republicans and may be as important as the 2016 presidential election. Midterm elections, especially in recent history, have been disappointing for the party controlling the White House. With the prediction by many of a blue wave occurring in November, the Republicans could easily lose control of the Senate. Even the race between Ted Cruz and his Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke has proved a blue wave is possible, as polls show the race is considered a “toss-up.” Although there is a question on whether polls can be trusted after the 2016 election, they definitely shouldn’t be ignored. Both political parties are acting as if this election is more important than any election prior. Although this may be an over exaggeration, there are plenty of important issues that can be determined depending on who becomes the majority in the Senate chambers.

Democrats are saying that this election is existential because it gives them the ability to limit the powers of the Trump administration and potentially reverse key Trump policies. Talks of reversing the Tax and Jobs Act of 2017, the decision on the Paris Climate Accord, and the Trump travel ban have been brought up by Democrat party leaders. On the other side, Republicans are embracing Trump and running on the ideas of protecting what Democrats seek to repeal. Many of these topics may just be talking points for Democrats and Republicans, but it’s clear the Democrats platform consists of resisting Trump and his policies while Republicans are embracing the Trump administration.

However, the most important issue that has been brought up for two years between Democrats and Republicans is the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. What the United States has witnessed over the past two years has been the politicization of the most powerful court in the land. The games being played around the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices has been nothing but disgraceful for both sides of the aisle. Whether this is proof of humans being inherently self-interested and selfish, the argument truly becomes terrifying if those who side with party over country take the majority. With the power of judicial review, the Supreme Court is objectively the most important branch of government to protect the ideas embodied within the Constitution. As America has seen in the past, the Supreme Court has upheld traditional values, including those of gun rights and free speech. However, the Supreme Court hasn’t always been the defender of lady liberty, especially including that of affirmative action and dehumanization of the fetus. As with 2016, the Supreme Court is currently the most vital domestic reason to vote for a certain political party, as it will be for the foreseeable future.

Although not everybody believes polls are accurate, what are they saying? What are the possible outcomes for Congress? According to Real Clear Politics, there is a total of 36 “toss-up” races in the House and a total of 8 “toss up” elections in the Senate. It is likely that the Republicans will hold control of the House, but the Senate is a different story. Democrats are claiming that there is going to be a blue wave, but in order to take control of the Senate they would need more than just a “blue wave.” Republicans only need to win 9 Senate races to keep the majority in the Senate whereas Democrats need to win at least 28 Senate races to gain a majority. As stated prior, there is a total of around eight Senate races that are considered to be “toss-ups.” Republicans, according to Real Clear Politics, need to win 3 of those 8 “toss up” votes in order to maintain a majority, whereas the Democrats need to win at least 7 of the eight “toss-up” races. According to the data, the outcome of a majority for the Democrats is quite unlikely.


As stated prior, it is expected Republicans will keep control of the Senate and will gain a seat. Of the “toss-up” states, Republicans are likely to win Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, and Missouri, while Democrats are likely to win Montana, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida. Overall, these predictions show that Republicans would net gain one seat by picking up the states of North Dakota, Missouri, and Indiana. Although Missouri and Indiana are currently “toss-up” states, they might become more Republican-leaning closer to the election, especially since Donald Trump won both states by over 10% in the 2016 presidential election.

On the other hand, it’s likely that Democrats will flip both Arizona and Nevada. With Arizona’s open Senate seat being left by Jeff Flake, it is probable that the state will turn blue, considering that Flake is disliked by many conservatives, mainly due to his negative view of Donald Trump. Nevada, a state that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, could be gained by Democrats, particularly due to the incumbent, Dean Heller, is seen by many in the Republican party as a RINO. Heller, much like Flake, is an anti-Trump Republican, which combined with pro planned parenthood statements, doesn’t sit well with the Republican base. It should be noted that Hillary Clinton won Nevada in 2016, but by a close margin of less than 3%.

Although Republicans are likely to continue to hold control of the Senate and House, there are still concerns that need to be addressed. Republicans need to elect likable candidates. The Republicans can’t run a moderate candidate that is indeed liberal leaning and expect to have a positive outcome. Popular candidates, including Ted Cruz and Rick Scott, have a hard enough road ahead of them regarding the election, but imagine if some quasi-moderate candidate that claimed to be conservative ran in their place. If Republicans want to continue to win elections, they need to stop supporting candidates with troubled pasts, and support candidates with positive track records. The current state of the Union is safe from a radical take over, but the Republican party needs to wean out the RINOs and the “so-called” conservatives out if they intend to continue success in the future. Fully embracing the conservative ideology seems like the best strategy for the Republican party moving forward.


Easley, Cameron. “America’s Most and Least Popular Senators – April 2018.” Morning Consult. April 12, 2018. Accessed October 07, 2018.

“RealClearPolitics – 2018 Election Maps – Battle for the Senate 2018.” Video | RealClearPolitics. Accessed October 07, 2018.

Featured Project: Eradicating Radical Islam

Eradicating Radical Islam

Pax Americana Institute staff

8 October, 2018

The attacks perpetrated on September 11, 2001, though not the first acts of terror committed by radical Islamic groups, thrust America into a state of chaos and war which has continued through today. 17 years of war stretching across multiple theaters of operation have seen the death of over 6,900 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. (ICasualties) Rolling back the operational abilities of terrorist organizations through a multitude of different methods while simultaneously de-incentivizing would-be recruits from joining them are necessary to the successful eradication of radical Islam. Total elimination of the radical Islamic ideology, that which would see the entire free world and more specifically the United States submit to an irrational and ungroundable form of religious totalitarianism, is the only way to instill lasting peace throughout the world.

The United States is the primary target for those wishing to impose their radicalized Islamic rule over the world. The US stands today as Abraham Lincoln said in 1862, the “last best hope of earth.” (Lincoln) As the United States remains the arbiter for peace across the globe, radical Islamic groups will continue to push for its removal. Democratic institutions hinder the furthering of the radical Islamic mindset by allowing people to choose different outlets for all aspects of life, from faith to clothing style. These institutions have long been supported by the United States both domestically and abroad and have been applied during almost every single intervention by the US. The aspects of American intervention all across the world which support the institutions above is precisely why radical Islamic groups continue to fight, knowing there can be no middle ground. Threatened by US action, the war waged by radicals will continue to grow unless properly and totally eliminated. In the words of Michael Morrell, former American intelligence analyst and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, “The world is going to become an even more dangerous place regarding international terrorism.” (Morell, 301) The United States can not afford, for its own people and those residing within the free world, to lay dormant during the turbulent times of now and those ahead.

The history of Islam as a whole plays a significant role in the rationalizations that modern extremist groups use to justify their actions. Though many Muslims would claim that the history of their religion is largely peaceful, the fact remains that radicals use the past as a basis for their actions. Failing to address which portions of history support the radical ideology in Islam is inherently self-defeating to the end goal. Failure to address the rationale of groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al-Qaeda, from either appeasement or ignorance, have put the War on Terror in a bind.

Though many of the prophets and authority figures of Christianity are used by Islam, the main point at which most of Islam attributes its beginnings is after the birth of the prophet Muhammad around 570 AD. Muhammad claimed to have been spoken to by the Angel Gabriel in a cave on Mount Hira, a mountain close to Mecca, and was required to recite five verses of the Quran which stated that Allah was, “the Creator of man and the Source of all knowledge.” (Nawwab, et al.) Muhammad, in preaching his new found messages, was met with reluctance and retaliation. Those that did choose to follow Muhammad found themselves persecuted within Mecca and eventually fled to Medina. This would be the first rationalization that modern groups take from history, claiming that their actions today are a reflection of the actions taken against them during the early days of the religion.

A more militaristic piece of history came about next on the timeline of Islam. As support for Muhammad and his message grew, the citizens of Medina choose to unite under a single faith as opposed to maintaining individual tribal sects. Once strong enough, Muhammad led a conquest against those he considered pagans living in Mecca. The attacks, overwhelmingly successful on both an ideological front as well as a tactical front, saw those that would not follow Muhammad driven away. After consolidating, the clans accepting the teachings of Islam formed a federation under what would be called the Constitution of Medina. (Nawwab, et al.) Both the attacks and the constitution are used by radicals to justify their causes and methodologies. The militaristic past is used as a cornerstone for the current attacks, making claims along historical lines of driving out non-believers. The Constitution of Medina is utilized in the ideological front, twisted and manipulated in order to encourage what would be “moderate” Muslims to carry out their bidding.

Finally, perhaps the most important piece of Islamic history which is used today by radical groups everywhere, comes to fruition. After the clans chose to consolidate power, Muhammad sent letters to “the King of Persia, the Emperor of Byzantium, the Negus of Abyssinia, and the Governor of Egypt among others” asking them to submit to Islam peacefully, or face annihilation. (Nawwab, et al.) Muhammad would go on to lead a final conquest against Mecca, surrounding and taking control of the city. This final act was enshrined as Muhammad’s last great expedition as he died shortly after taking his some 15,000 soldiers to fight against those who would not follow him. (Nawwab, et al.) Today, radical groups see their missions as the modern manifestation of Muhammad’s journey and the continuation of his ultimate goal. To convert or kill is the methodology, seeing a world under a single Islamic rule is the end goal. The history of Islam does not necessarily guarantee that modern Muslims will be violent or have any tendency to kill non-believers. Instead, it should be understood that the history has laid the stepping stones for today’s radical terrorist organizations.

Also shaped largely by history, not just in the Islamic community but throughout the world, is culture. Culture is a major factor in each person’s decision-making process, laying out a system of beliefs and interpretations for any given situation. The cultural aspects and standards by which an individual grows up abiding to help determine what and how they will think as an adult. In Islam, violence against disbelief has largely been a prominent characteristic of the religion itself. At the spearhead of this disbelief conflict lies the idea of jihad, one of the most controversial and somewhat misunderstood concepts within Islam. Jihad, which is often translated as “holy war” but is more accurately translated as “holy struggle,” can be separated into two different categories which in turn break down to two more for each. (Pooles) In the first category comes internal jihad or the internal struggle against disbelief. Internal, in this sense, is understood as the individuals struggle with disbelief within themselves. The second of the jihad categories is external jihad, or the struggle against disbelief in correlation with other individuals.

As stated, both categories of jihad can be broken down again, this time into peaceful and violent. Peaceful internal jihad largely revolves around prayer and self-reflection, fighting with disbelief by focusing the mind and spirit to become a perceivably better follower of the religion. Internal violent jihad would reflect something like flagellation, or whipping oneself in an attempt to make up for or prevent sins. (Abbot) Both methods of internal jihad can only affect the individual partaking in them, hence the internal aspect. This being said, internal violent jihad can set a standard by which it is okay to use violence in the absence of belief in order to motivate or force belief onto an individual.

External jihad is usually where the argument for and against Islam as a whole turns into an ideological mess surrounded by misunderstanding. External jihad, like internal, can follow along two general paths, peaceful and violent. Peaceful external jihad looks something like public preaching or public displays of the religion in a manner that is considered helpful to others. Anything from volunteer service to food pantry donations in the name of Islam would fall into this category. Violent jihad is the second course of action in the external category, causing issues of terror propagation and widespread fear of even “moderate” Muslims. External, violent jihad is rationalized for by modern day radical organizations by use of the hadith, the collections of teachings of Muhammad, and the direct attempt to model after what they perceive the prophet, Muhammad, to have been. (Achilov, 443) Further rationale for violence comes from use of the Qur’an whereas fundamentalists will interpret the struggles and suffering endured during external, violent jihad as a show of commitment to the cause. (Achilov, 446)

Jihad is a large portion of the culture which is used to justify the actions of radical groups. Though irrational, these groups use the religion and its regulations to impose their will upon other people, something which divides the non-Islamic world further apart on how to deal with the radicalization issue. Many aspects of culture can play a role, but often the ones which are prominent where the United States is currently conducting military operations, such as tribal leadership style, education or lack thereof and economic faults, are not indicative of someone who would support radicalization or terrorism. The wealth of a nation is often used to assess why those living in Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan choose to radicalize but does not hold overwhelming weight in the argument. The largest supporters of terrorism actually fall to countries rich in resources with respectable GDPs per capita as adjusted for the purchasing power parity. Saudi Arabia, which was described by Hillary Clinton during her time as Secretary of State as “a critical source of terrorist funding,” and Qatar, which bolsters support for the political wing of Hamas by providing a safe haven, both maintain a GDP per capita (PPP) of $55,300 and $124,000 respectively. (CIA) (Mendis, et al.)

Those who choose to radicalize do not do it out of a lack of funding. Though poorer countries often serve as the training grounds for terrorist organizations, the majority of recruits and material support do not originate in the countries where training takes place. Instead, the correlation between poor countries and terrorist organizations falls down to the lack of organizational policing available in poorer nations, making training sites and black market goods readily available. Along with the idea that poor countries are suppliers of radicalized individuals often comes the notion that recruits and supporters are uneducated. Education has largely been regarded as a major factor in any given person’s decision to radicalize when in fact it holds very little weight. In a study conducted by the World Bank, it was found that 25.4% of foreign recruits to IS have university-level education and 43.3% maintained at least a secondary level of education. Only 13.5% have only an education level of primary education, and a mere 1.6% were illiterate. (Devarajan, et al. 15) Much like the economic argument, the education level of radical supporters is significantly different than the locations in which radical groups find haven.

The educational and wealth level of those supporting terrorism is also seen through the actual lenders of money and resources. The Saudi government and its prominent princes have long supported the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. (Carpenter) From within the Pakistani government, hardware and weapons were turned over to taliban forces in the 1990s which sprung them from “competing factions” into a substantial military threat. (Carpenter) Other significant examples of terrorism sponsorship from prominent, educated wealthy come from China, where many would never imagine to look. Whether it be through ideological support or an attempt to counter western influence through proxy wars, China has continued to supply “sensitive military technology to countries that have been sponsors of terrorism.” (Carpenter) These examples solidify the idea that the extremist ideology does not simply attack the poor and uneducated, but is also a way for anti-western ideologists to counter the United States.

Keeping the historical, cultural, economic and educational factors in mind can help to formulate a plan to move forward on the ultimate eradication of radicalized Islam. Laying out the components of radicalization and how they relate to modern-day terrorist organizations paints a picture with significant political roots which have been both inflamed and capitalized on by radical Islamic group leaders. Individual terrorist attacks in support of any organization and located in any given country have always had political ramifications and have always been viewed, by the radical community, as catalysts for change. Inadvertently, the fear spread by radical Islamic organizations, the fear that they use as a controlling factor, has largely backfired in the political atmosphere of the free world.

All the pieces above make radical Islam prominent and thus dangerous, to both the Islamic community as a whole and all those other residents of the world. Though not the first time the US or the world had been brought to the reality of the threat posed by radical Islamic groups, the attacks on 9/11 struck a chord which has continued to hold the attention of the free world. Conducted heavily by the US and sometimes with support from other international actors, many operations have been undertaken since the attacks in order to fight radical Islam. The invasion of Afghanistan by United States special operations forces in October of 2001 kicked off the Global War on Terror which has seen fighting until today, making it the longest running war the United States has ever been a part of. (Collins) This being said, military operations are only part of the picture that is the War on Terror. Nation building, aiding in aspects such as education, cross military training, and infrastructure construction, has been one of the United States militaries operational undertakings from Afghanistan to Nigeria. In Pakistan, the involvement in nation building and education came as a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission Report, understanding that democratic institutions are vital to lasting peace as long as Pakistani leaders are willing to work with the United States. (Keen, Hamilton, 369)

A multi-faceted approach to the War on Terror needs to be created and communicated. Driving forward with the end goal of peace in mind is a noble cause for both the United States, who has maintained the position as the spearhead of the War on Terror, as well as the Islamic community as a whole. The plan to fight radicalized Islam, and eventually defeat it, has been largely miscommunicated to the public as a government overthrow operation confined mostly to Afghanistan and thus has seen issues with support. In the public sphere as of late, have been United States operations in Africa which have garnered a negative reaction from places like The New York Times where an article was published under the title of “An Endless War.” (Callimachi, et al.) Part of the problem is the lack of understanding of the long-term goals of building up nations so that they can fight independently of US support. Nations like Niger never could counter radicalization through military efforts; the US provides the necessary training for that to manifest itself in reality.

Changing the name of the War on Terror to the War on Radical Islamic Ideology spreads light on the overarching issue and puts in plain sight who the real enemy is. (Habeck, 174) Terrorism is the side effect of a radical ideology and treating the symptom as opposed to treating the cause cannot help to cure the disease. In combat zones, a hard line needs to be drawn in order to clear out locations which have been taken under control by radical organizations. This style of military operation, largely reflective of the Invasion of Iraq and battle of Fallujah, revolves around an ultimatum of leaving or getting treated as a terrorist. In addition to this, nations which allow radical groups to find haven within their borders cannot be tolerated and should be placed under heavy sanctions until they cease any and all activity with radical organizations. If a nation fails to comply with this and the organizations within their borders continue to operate they should be met with military force. This idea was also outlined in the 9/11 commission report, stating, “one of the lessons of the long Cold War was that short-term gains in cooperating with the most repressive and brutal government were too often outweighed by long-term setbacks for America’s stature and interests.” (Keen, Hamilton, 376)

Shedding light on education and propagating governments and individuals is another vital step in moving toward a peaceful future. Education on what Islam has been and the connections the religion has to radicalization is key to solving the issues at hand. Just as it would be irrational to call all Muslims evil, it would be self-defeating to claim radicalization has nothing to do with Islam itself. (Habeck, 41) Holding people like Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who was shot in the head for publicly claiming that women had the right to education, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a self-proclaimed Islamic reformist from Somalia, on a pedestal and making them cornerstones for a modern and peaceful Islam gives a vision of working progress. (The Malala Fund) (The AHA Foundation)

Changing the mindset of followers, Islamic leaders and nations as a whole are neither easy nor quick, requiring resources and time on a paramount level. Radical Islamists do not share the end goal of world peace; they instead seek to control the world with an irrational ideology which persecutes those beneath its reach. If the United States and the other members of the free world do not choose to stand for a change and dedicate the resources necessary to ending radical Islam in the world, the suicidal and terroristic Islamic organizations will continue on their warpath not fearing death. The only way to find a stable future is to eradicate radical Islam.

Works Cited

Abbott, Geoffrey. “Flagellation.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 6 Dec. 2016,

Abraham Lincoln’s Annual Message to Congress — Concluding Remarks,

Achilov, Dilshod and Sedat Sen. “Got Political Islam? Are Politically Moderate Muslims Really Different from Radicals?.” International Political Science Review, vol. 38, no. 5, Nov. 2017, pp. 608-624. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1177/0192512116641940.

“Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Founder of the AHA Foundation.” The AHA Foundation,

Callimachi, Rukmini, et al. “’An Endless War’: Why 4 U.S. Soldiers Died in a Remote African Desert.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 18 Feb. 2018,

Carpenter, Ted Galen. “Terrorist Sponsors: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China.” Cato Institute, 16 Nov. 2001,

Collins, Elizabeth M. “First to Go: Green Berets Remember Earliest Mission in Afghanistan.”, The United States Army, 30 Jan. 2017,

Devarajan, Shanta, et al. 2016. “Economic and Social Inclusion to Prevent Violent Extremism.” Middle East and North Africa Economic Monitor (October), World Bank, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1596/ 978-1- 4648-0990-3. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0 IGO

Habeck, Mary R. Knowing the Enemy : Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror. Yale University Press, 2006. EBSCOhost.

“ICasualties | Operation Iraqi Freedom | Iraq.” ICasualties: Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom Casualties,

Kean, Thomas H, and Lee Hamilton. The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. Washington, D.C.: National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, 2004. Print.

“Malala’s Story | Malala Fund.” The Malala Fund,

Mendis, Nikhita, et al. “Financing Terrorism: Saudi Arabia and Its Foreign Affairs – Brown \ Political Review.”, Brown Political Review, 28 Aug. 2015,

Morell, Michael J., and Bill Harlow. The Great War of Our Time: the CIAs Fight against Terrorism: from Al Qaida to ISIS. Twelve, Hachette Book Group, 2016.

Nawwab, Ismail, et al. “A Brief History of Islam (All Parts): The Prophet of Islam.” The Religion of Islam,

Poolos, Alexandra. “World: The True Meaning Of The Islamic Term ‘Jihad’.”

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, 9 Apr. 2008,

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Weekly Snapshot: 7-13 October 2018

Weekly Snapshot
7-13 October

1. The US Treasury not to name China as a currency manipulator

In a report to Congress, the United States Treasury has decided not to name China, or any other county, as a manipulator of currency. This is coming after repeated claims from the current administration that China has been manipulating its currency in the hopes of inflating its economy.

China has long been accused of manipulating its currency in order to keep their costs of exports down, thus undercutting companies around the world. This also makes the costs of imports more expensive, increasing the sales of Chinese made goods. With all the current talk of trade wars and economic struggles between the US and China, currency manipulation has been near the top of the Trump administration’s list of complaints about China. This may be in an effort to try and ease economic tensions between China and the United States, but at what cost? If this current trend of currency manipulation continues, the Chinese economy will only continue to artificially inflate itself and the economies around the world. If it reaches critical mass, it could be deleterious to the world’s economy.

2. Conflict flairs up in Gaza

After repeated attempts at peace, the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis is back.

This week Israel has initiated 20 airstrikes in Gaza after a rocket, coming from Hamas, hit a home in Beersheba. This is just another act of war, conducted against Israel that the terrorist group Hamas has been responsible for.

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have been preparing for war for weeks now, even starting roadblocks and evacuating border towns. Tensions have always been high between these two factions, but attacks seem to be coming at an increasing rate. There has been multinational support for ceasefire’s headed by the Egyptians, but none seem to be working. Attacks are likely to continue as both sides see themselves as the rightful owners of the Gaza strip.

3. South Korea wants sanction relief for North Korea

South Korean president Moon Jae is calling for a reduction in the sanction imposed on North Korea.

President Moon Jae called for this easing of sanctions only after once North Korea showed tangible steps toward denuclearization. This is a positive sign that both North and South Korea are looking to build a relationship. However, it may not be a positive outcome if the plan is enacted.

North Korea is notorious for empty promises. If they do the minimal amount to show “tangible” evidence that they are denuclearizing, Moon would want sanctions reduced. This is not full denuclearization, but rather tangible steps towards denuclearization. This means that if sanctions are reduced, and North Korea can get an influx in their economy, that may be all they need to finish off their nuclear program and we would be worse off then when we started these peace talks. Until North Korea fully decides to rid their country of any nuclear capabilities, they remain a liability and should not be shown relief in the form of reduced sanctions.

4. Putin Claims ISIS is back on the attack

Putin has claimed that ISIS has captured more than 700 people from a refugee camp in the region of Deir-al Zor Syria. This area is said to be controlled by US-backed forces. Of the captives, Putin says that several US and European nationals were taken, hostage. Demands have been put out and if not meet ten people a day will be executed.

The United States military is skeptical of these claims citing that there are reports of an attack on a camp in that region, but those reports do not support the large numbers claimed by the Russian president. There has also been no evidence of US nationals being in that region.

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