After A Day of Briefings on Iran, House Democrats Decry Trump’s Lack of a ‘Coherent Strategy’

May 21, 2019 by Dan McCue
The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group conduct joint operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations on May 17, 2019, in the Arabian Sea. (US Navy photo)

As tension continues to mount here and in the Persian Gulf over a potential armed conflict between the United States and Iran, members of New Democrat Coalition in the House of Representatives say they are “deeply concerned” over the Trump administration’s “lack of a coherent strategy.”

The statement from Representatives Brad Schneider, D-Ill., Anthony Brown, D-Md., Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., and Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., members of the New Democrat Coalition’s National Security Task Force, came after a briefing on the Hill by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.

In also followed an earlier session in which the Democrats sought a second opinion on the brewing crisis from former Obama administration officials.

In their statement, the representatives said, “The recent provocative rhetoric used by both administration officials and the President is worrisome, as it demonstrates a willingness to antagonize an adversary nation with no apparent concern for the national security ramifications of such impulsive actions.

“Iran is a serious threat, both to the United States and to our allies in the region, and we must be a global leader in the effort to counter Tehran’s dangerous behavior,” they continued. “To do so, it is critical that our actions be driven by strategy and the pursuit of defined national security priorities — such as countering Iran’s regional influence efforts and preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

On Monday, Trump took to Twitter to say “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”

Later, he struck a more conciliatory tone, suggesting, “Iran will call us if and when they are ever ready. In the meantime, their economy continues to collapse – very sad for the Iranian people!”

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill responded by reminding the administration it cannot take the country into war without approval from Congress.

Tuesday briefings further illustrated the concern among Democrats and a number of Republicans over Trump’s whirligig policy shifts when it comes to Iran and the Middle East as a whole.

Prior to traveling to Capitol Hill, Pompeo tweeted “Going to the Hill shortly to have a serious discussion with lawmakers about 40 years of unprovoked aggression from the Iranian regime and to explain the prudent steps we’re taking to deter violence, protect American interests, and support the brave Iranian people.”

The Trump administration sent the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, four bomber aircraft and other assets to the region last week to counter an alleged, unspecified threat from Iran.

It is reportedly also now moving a Patriot missile battery to an unnamed country in the region.

And it has evacuated non-essential personnel from Iraq.

But House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who spoke with reporters after a closed-door briefing Tuesday morning with former CIA Director John Brennan and former State Department official Wendy Sherman, said Trump’s inconsistencies have “multiplied the risks” from Iran.

While he would not discuss what was said in the briefings, he suggested what he hasn’t heardany kind of strategy for keeping the United States out of a war.

But Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the committee, said in a statement that the intelligence he’s seen demonstrates an undeniable threat from Iran and suggested lawmakers who say otherwise are doing so for political reasons.

“It’s unacceptable for anyone to put Americans in the region and U.S. national security interests at risk by politicizing, ignoring or downplaying the Iranian regime’s real and grave threats,” the Rubio statement said.

Also defending the administration was Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who said in a pair of tweets that the threats from Iran are real.

“It is clear that over the last several weeks Iran has attacked pipelines and ships of other nations and created threat streams against American interests in Iraq,” Graham said.

“The fault lies with the Iranians, not the United States or any other nation,” the senator continued. “If the Iranian threats against American personnel and interests are activated we must deliver an overwhelming military response.”

He urged the president to “stand firm.”

Brennan reportedly told House Democrats Tehran believes Trump is intent on regime change and that while it doesn’t  wants a conflict, the Iranian leadership won’t cave into the president’s demands.

Sherman, who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, reportedly told the Democrats Trump’s statements on Iran are hurting U.S. credibility in the region and undermining moderates within Iran.

In their statement, the New Democrat Coalition members said Trump escalated problems by abruptly withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, a complex accord negotiated during the Obama administration to prevent Iran from nuclear weapons production.

“Acting impulsively without a coherent and defined strategy and aggressively posturing against an adversary nation does not keep us safe,” their statement said.  “As members of Congress, we affirm that only Congress has the constitutional authority to authorize the use of military force, and as such, we find it deeply concerning that the Administration is making military preparations and deployments, before engaging with Congress regarding its intentions, strategy, and plans.”

Foreign Affairs

US Considering New Wave of China Tech Restrictions
Geopolitics
US Considering New Wave of China Tech Restrictions

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering new restrictions on exports of cutting-edge technology to China in a push aimed at limiting Chinese progress in developing its own passenger jets and clamping down further on tech giant Huawei’s access to vital semiconductors, according to four people... Read More

Turkish Security Guards Face Prosecution After Protester Beatings in DC
Law
Turkish Security Guards Face Prosecution After Protester Beatings in DC
February 13, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Security guards for Turkey’s president must face civil prosecution in Washington, D.C. after they beat protesters on Embassy Row three years ago, a federal judge ruled last week. Attorneys for the government of Turkey argued the security personnel should receive immunity against lawsuits by... Read More

A Weakened State Department Could Mean Diminishing US Influence
Geopolitics
A Weakened State Department Could Mean Diminishing US Influence
February 13, 2020
by HJ Mai

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump is forging the next chapter of his presidency following the conclusion of the Senate impeachment trial which resulted, according to the White House press secretary, in his acquittal and his “full vindication and exoneration.”  But those who thought the experience could... Read More

Senate Moves Toward Vote Restraining Trump on Iran
Foreign Affairs
Senate Moves Toward Vote Restraining Trump on Iran

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan measure limiting President Donald Trump's authority to launch military operations against Iran is moving toward approval in the Senate. The resolution, authored by Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, asserts that Trump must win approval from Congress before engaging in further... Read More

Women Hong Kong Protesters Upend Gender Roles in Democracy Fight
In The News
Women Hong Kong Protesters Upend Gender Roles in Democracy Fight

HONG KONG — During Hong Kong’s Occupy protests in 2014, Aria listened to Lady Gaga, put on makeup and wore cute outfits, embracing the ubiquitous “Goddess of Democracy” moniker at a time when online polls asked whether the city’s few female leaders were wife or girlfriend... Read More

White House Says China Guilty of 'Massive' Intellectual Property Theft, FBI Vows Crackdown
In The News
White House Says China Guilty of 'Massive' Intellectual Property Theft, FBI Vows Crackdown
February 7, 2020
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON - National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien told a gathering of world ambassadors this week that China has engaged in a "massive theft" of Intellectual property from the U.S., complicating diplomatic relations and making events like the recent trade dispute between the two countries more difficult... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top