Wars Have Consequences. To NAFTA or Not? ISIS Losses Mount.


While watching parts of the Ken Burns & Lynn Novick Vietnam War documentary series the biggest question is: Why did it take so long to leave Vietnam?

We wonder if Daily Pnut readers (as a proxy for the rest of the United States) feel the same way about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars (9/11 happened 16 years ago and the United States invaded Iraq 14.5 years ago)? Daily Pnut sometimes jokes that these are the “wars that never end, it goes on and on my friend.” So, we ask you all dear readers: Why is it that we still have troops in Afghanistan and Iraq? Is it because the modern American military is simply too separated-divorced from the American populace? Or do American people support American military presence in those countries? Or are Americans too busy to worry or protest?

Please let us know your thoughts (editor@dailypnut.com) on America’s continued involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Philippine City Declared Liberated From ISIS After Months of Fighting: On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines declared the southern city of Marawi “liberated from terrorist influence,” five months after Islamic militants besieged the town, killing dozens and forcing thousands to flee. At least 20 civilians are still held hostage. The last remaining fighters in the city serve under Mahmud bin Ahmad, a Malaysian terrorist and close associate of Isnilon Hapilon (the leader of Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group linked to ISIS), who was killed on Monday. The area still controlled by Mahmud and his fighters is “very much contained and controlled,” said Major General Restituto Padilla. Now that most of the fighting has ended, the government must begin the difficult work of rebuilding the city. The 200,000 residents who fled the violence to cram into refugee camps await an official declaration from the military that fighting has ended.


Trump Claims He’s The Only President Who Always Calls Families of Dead Soldiers, Spars with McCain: In Monday’s presser, President Trump was asked why he had not commented publicly about the deaths of four US soldiers ambushed in Niger two weeks ago. He gave a rambling answer designed to make himself look better by denigrating former presidents, saying “If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls. A lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate.” He immediately received some rather colorful criticism, after which White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump “wasn’t criticizing predecessors but stating a fact.”

Later, Senator John McCain of Arizona, former Republican presidential candidate and decorated Vietnam prisoner of war, received the Liberty Medal. His speech did not mention the president, but he condemned “half-baked, spurious nationalism,” warning the US “will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent.” Trump then gave a radio interview on Tuesday saying “People have to be careful because I fight back. I’m being very nice, very nice, but at some point, I will fight back and it won’t be pretty.” It was the second time Trump had verbally bashed McCain. In 2015, he questioned whether McCain was really a war hero. (McCain was captured and tortured by the North Vietnamese for over five years.) During the war, Trump received four deferments for academic reasons and one deferments for bone spurs.


Greek Prime Minister Meets With President Trump: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, speaking at a joint press conference with President Trump on Tuesday, said his country’s relationship with the US is perhaps at its “best” since World War II. Trump praised Greece as a great ally and friend. Tsipras said the relationship between the US and Greece is thriving as Greece recovers from its economic crisis and begins to attract investments and increase trade, thanks in part to the US. According to the White House, Tsipras and Trump discussed defense cooperation, economic investment, and energy security. Trump has repeatedly called on NATO countries to invest more in their militaries, and Greece is one of the few members of the alliance that contributes at least 2 percent of its GDP to its defense budget.


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More News Reads


President Trump Considers Ending NAFTA: Trump has long been a critic of the 1994 three-nation (US, Mexico, and Canada) North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). If it falls apart the countries would go back to a system of low tariffs on imports, but far higher duties would be slapped on some agricultural products. The US Chamber of Commerce estimates about 14 million US jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico, more than $1 billion in commerce is conducted daily across the southern and northern borders, and $1.2 trillion in trade is contributed to the economy annually.

Last week Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the key players: President Trump and members of Congress, then Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. The US wants three things that will be extremely difficult for Canada to accept: a five-year sunset clause, an increase in the minimum US parts required to avoid auto tariffs, and an end to Canada’s dairy supply management system..Canada is pushing socially progressive reforms that would add clauses on climate and environment, and women’s and Indigenous rights.

The treaty has worked wonders for the Mexican economy, turning it into outward-looking and manufacturing-oriented enterprise; 80% of its exports head to the US. More than $1 million a minute in merchandise crosses the US-Mexico border. The foreign minister stressed that while the country “wants an agreement” on NAFTA, officials are prepared to walk or withdraw entirely. He warned that terminating the treaty could bring relations with the US to a breaking point, as in bilateral cooperation against drug trafficking and illegal migration could be adversely affected.

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