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U.S. and Iran Point Fingers in Gulf of Oman Attacks: The Politics Daily

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Duda found himself in the strange position of being one of several foreign leaders conveying to Trump that Russia is a threat. “Russia again is showing its very unkind, unpleasant imperial face,” Duda told Trump during a meeting at the White House. Trump responded that he hopes “Poland is going to have a great relationship with Russia.”

A day later, Trump said something else that floored the intelligence community: He said he would accept foreign assistance if it were to help him in the 2020 election. Maybe he was thinking of his son, Don Jr. Maybe he simply doesn’t recognize why election interference from foreign actors is problematic. In any case, the lessons of 2016 were not clearly learned.

Ignoring American intel: The public learned this week that Kim Jong Un’s half-brother—killed in a 2017 chemical-weapons attack at the Kuala Lumpur airport—was a CIA informant. When asked about it, Trump first noted that he had received “a very beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un,” and then said, “I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices.”

The White House neither confirmed nor denied the revelation, nor did Trump come to the defense of the reportedly murdered American asset. “By saying he wouldn’t allow American intelligence to cultivate an asset so close to Kim,” David Graham argues, “he’s saying he wouldn’t use spying to better understand the country’s biggest overseas challenge.”

This also happened: Congressional Democrats are planning a major legislative initiative focused on election security. (Mike DeBonis and Ellen Nakashima, The Washington Post)


🌏FOREIGN POLICY & DEFENSE

America’s borderless War on Drugs: When four Jamaican fishermen turned up on the shores of Miami more than a month after going missing in 2017, they were covered in bruises and blisters, according to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU alleging that the Coast Guard held the men unlawfully. The men maintain that they never had any drugs, nor were they convicted of any drug crimes; instead, the suit claims, they were pressured to plead guilty to lying to investigators.

The Coast Guard has been hugely successful in its maritime War on Drugs. But it’s a battle often waged out of sight, over millions of square miles of open sea, Gilsinan reports.

Foreign-policy primary: National-security concerns don’t often make the list of topics that the 23 current Democratic 2020 candidates use to get a crowd fired up. Pete Buttigieg tried to change that this week. In a nearly hour-long speech, he argued that Washington needs to return to a values-based foreign policy. He rattled off global crises and conflicts like a laundry list: Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, artificial intelligence, climate change, etc., etc.

His vision stands in contrast to that of the only other two top contenders who have given dedicated foreign-policy addresses: Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who advocate a less interventionist worldview. “Progressives will be tempted to criticize him,” argues Thomas Wright, but Buttigieg could fairly respond: “Do they propose never to intervene?”



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