Security, AsiaIt could be brutal.
For its part, the Indian army plans to immediately take the offensive under a doctrine called “Cold Start.” Cold Start envisions rapid mobilization followed by a major offensive into Pakistan before the country can respond with tactical nuclear weapons. Such an offensive—and Pakistan’s likely conventional defeat—could make the use of tactical nuclear weapons all the more likely.
The Indian subcontinent is home to two of the largest armies on Earth. Not only are the armies of India and Pakistan both larger in personnel than the U.S. Army, but they have stood at alert facing one another since the dissolution of the British Indian Army in 1947. The two armies have clashed four times in the past seventy years, and may yet do so again in the future.
(This first appeared in 2017 and is being reposted due to breaking events.)
The Indian army is the primary land force of the Indian armed forces. The army numbers 1.2 million active duty personnel and 990,000 reservists, for a total force strength of 2.1 million. The army’s primary tasks are guarding the borders with Pakistan and China and domestic security—particularly in Kashmir and the Northeast. The army is also a frequent contributor to United Nations peacekeeping missions abroad.
The army is structured into fourteen army corps, which are further made up of forty infantry, armored, mountain and RAPID (mechanized infantry) divisions. There is approximately one separate artillery brigade per corps, five separate armored brigades, seven infantry brigades and five brigade-sized air defense formations.
Infantry and mountain divisions are mostly assigned to the mountainous North and Northeast regions, where manpower intensive counterinsurgency and mountain warfare forces are important, while infantry, RAPID, and armored formations sit on the border opposite Pakistan. Perhaps unusually the Indian army has only one airborne unit, the Parachute Regiment, which is actually an umbrella headquarters for army airborne and special forces. The Parachute Regiment controls seven special-forces battalions and three airborne brigades.Read full article
Daniel R. DePetris
Security, AsiaWe ought to take a step back from the ledge and put all these reports in context. Here are three things we should keep in mind as we peruse the avalanche of negativity that will make its way into the media in the week ahead.
The reports on North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile program keep on coming.
First, in November 2018, the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterrey, California discovered a new missile base with an underground compartment near the previously known Yeongjeo-dong facility close to the Chinese border. Then, in January 2019, the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC probed the undeclared Sino-ri missile operating facility, one of an estimated 20 missile facilities the North Koreans have yet to officially declare to the international community.
Now, this week, we have a third report from Stanford University’s Siegfried Hecker, Robert Carlin, and Elliot Serbin concluding that Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program remains highly active in the midst of denuclearization talks with the United States. The three nuclear experts observe that North Korea has likely produced an additional 5-8 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium and about 150 kilograms of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium last year. “We also expect that the production of warheads most likely continued during the year,“ the report says, all of which occurred despite discussions U.S. and North Korean officials have been having since the middle of last year.
With all of this information in our inboxes, should we be as alarmed as the headlines suggest? Is it time for President Donald Trump to just walk away from the diplomatic process entirely in protest of Kim’s supposed deviousness? Is Kim practicing the art of “grand deception,” as New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger hinted last month?Read full article
War Is Boring
Security,The Pentagon behaves as if aircraft carriers will rule forever … they won’t.
“History,” it has been written, “does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.” Today it’s rhyming with Gen. Billy Mitchell. In the 1920s, Mitchell challenged conventional thinking by advocating air power at sea in the face of a naval establishment dominated by battleship proponents.
The hubris of the “battleship Navy” was such that just nine days before Pearl Harbor, the official program for the 1941 Army-Navy game displayed a full page photograph of the battleship USS Arizona with language virtually extolling its invincibility.
Of course, the reason that no one had yet sunk a battleship from the air — in combat — was that no one had yet tried.
In fact, Mitchell sank a captured German battleship, the Ostfriesland, in an aerial demonstration back in 1921, but the Navy said that the test proved nothing. Two of the observers that day were officials from Japan.
In addition, the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack, Isoroku Yamamoto, was a student at Harvard at the time and no doubt read accounts of the event that were widely reported in the newspapers.
The aircraft carrier decisively replaced the battleship as the Navy’s sea control capital ship, but its reign in that capacity was, in reality, quite brief. The aircraft carrier established its ascendancy in the Battle of Midway and was the centerpiece of five major sea battles between 1942 and 1944.
Yet, following the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944, the U.S. Navy repositioned the aircraft carrier as a platform to project power ashore. The United States did not lose a fleet carrier in the war after the Hornet went down in 1942, because Japan’s surface fleet had been devastated. Nor did Tokyo effectively use its submarines.
That track record, just as the boast in the Army/Navy game program, however, is not an indication that a carrier cannot be sunk — or put out of commission — but rather the fact that since 1945, the U.S. Navy has never engaged another navy in battle that tried.
“Projecting the past into the future is risky business — especially when we’re unsure what that past was,” James Holmes, a naval warfare expert at the U.S. Naval War College wrote.Read full article
I just retired after serving 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and 16 years before that as a lawyer and Judge. I have to say, of all the great men and women with whom I have worked during my career, Walter Jones was one of the best.
There is greater turnover in elective office than ever before, and I served with almost 1500 other Members of the House during my years there. Walter was once rated as the kindest man in Congress, and he certainly was that to me.
He and I often sat together on the Floor of the House and talked over our votes. And many times we were among only three or four other Republicans voting the way we did. But make no mistake about it: Walter had not become a liberal by any stretch. It was really because he and I were more conservative than our leadership.
Once when Rep. Tom Delay of Texas was the most powerful Republican in Washington, he told me I shouldn’t vote against any of the appropriations bills, because, he said, “These are Republican bills now.” I said, “Yes, Tom, but you’re spending more than the Democrats did.” We disappointed our base by not doing more to curb federal spending.Advertisementgoogletag.pubads().definePassback("/339474670/ADN_Players/TAC_Player", [1, 1]).display()
But Walter was the ultimate fiscal conservative. He was the only Republican who voted against the Trump tax cut because he knew it was going to increase our deficits. And he was horrified by the trillions we have wasted on very unnecessary wars in the Middle East.
I was one of six Republicans who voted against going to war in Iraq and the only one left in the House when I retired. Walter told me many times how much he regretted voting for that war. But he more than made up for it by sending thousands of letters of condolence to family members who lost loved ones in Iraq and becoming the leader and most outspoken member of the very small band of anti-war Republicans.
Once again, it was not because he had gone Left. It was simply that he did not believe the U.S. should be the policeman of the world, or that we should keep giving mega billions to defense contractors. He was a conservative.
He never forgot where he came from and loved Farmville and Eastern North Carolina. He never became part of the Washington social set. Most people want to be liked and be popular with the “in group.” I know that it was personally very difficult for Walter to be as independent as he was.
But words written about a fictitious Congressman Zimmer in a 1930 novel called The Lion’s Den perfectly describe Walter better than anything I could write:
“No matter how the espousal of a lost cause might hurt his prestige in the House, Zimmer had never hesitated to identify himself with it if it seemed to him to be right. He knew only two ways: the right one and the wrong, and if he made a mistake, it was never one of honor; he voted as he believed he should, and although his voice was raised alone on one side of a question, it was never stilled.”
Walter Jones was a good and kind man, and he was my friend. This nation has lost one of the greatest men who ever served in the U.S. Congress.
John “Jimmy” Duncan recently retired after 30 years representing Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Politics, AmericasThe real crisis is humanitarian and constitutional.
There is no emergency. There is no crisis. There is no invasion. There is certainly no need to trash the United States Constitution.
There is a fantasy. According to this fantasy, armies of drug dealers, criminals, and rapists are at or are approaching our Southern border. They are crossing in massive numbers in many dozens of unprotected places along the 2000-mile border and are wreaking havoc in border towns and cities across America.
Of course, none of this is true. But that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the current President of the United States believes it or at least wants his followers to think that he believes it. Either way, he has announced his intention to upend the Constitutional balance between the Article I legislative branch, solely authorized to raise revenue and allocate its expenditure, and the Article II executive branch authorized to administer the expenditures as directed by Congress under its continuing oversight.
It seems not to matter to the executive and his supporters that there are many more important and pressing issues facing the country at home and abroad and that none of them has caused a lengthy shut down of our government, let alone a Constitutional crisis.
It also seems not to matter that immigrants seek refuge through established border checkpoints, nor that their numbers have been steadily decreasing for a number of years. The same is true of drugs, almost all of which seek entry through those same checkpoints and are quite often intercepted.
More importantly, the vast majority of those seeking entry are not criminals but are refugees fleeing from South American criminal gangs and repressive governments. If there is a crisis, it is humanitarian in nature, and we are refusing to respond in a humanitarian way.Read full article
W. James Antle III
Politics, AmericasIt is a last-ditch gamble instead of the deal Trump really wanted.
President Trump wanted to declare victory, but you could tell in the Rose Garden Friday that his heart wasn’t in it. He knew the score. “People that should have stepped up did not step up,” Trump said, as he announced he would sign a massive spending bill but use emergency powers to build the border wall Congress wouldn’t fund.
The “real deal” isn’t the paltry border security agreement between Trump and congressional Democrats. It is instead with Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: they will back Trump on declaring a national emergency in order to build the wall even though
they would probably prefer otherwise in exchange for the president averting a second government shutdown despite getting little of what he wanted.
It’s a concession to Trump, a way to save face after the art of the deal failed to produce any meaningful wall funding and just $1.375 billion for border security in total. It remains to be seen whether there are enough Republicans who support even this to make the emergency powers gambit viable. Constitutional questions about this end-run around Congress aside, many conservatives are fearful a future Democratic administration will seize such powers to deal with climate change or gun violence—issues liberals certainly regard as
a national emergency.
That might be a stretch. Trump is redirecting how money the government already has will be spent. While that might circumvent and even violate Congress’ constitutional authority over appropriations, it’s very different than coming up with the $42 trillion it would take to pay for the “Green New Deal” or using presidential emergency powers to change gun laws.
Trump’s emergency declaration is questionable. But moving funds for military construction and a Pentagon drug program to the wall is a different animal than claiming these powers to raise trillions in new revenue or waive the Second Amendment. And even this move might not survive judicial scrutiny.
The president conceded as much. “And we will have a national emergency and we will then be sued and we will be sued in the Ninth Circuit and then we’ll get a bad ruling, and then we’ll get sued again,” Trump predicted. “And then it will end up in the Supreme Court.”Read full article
Security, EuropeAmericans wonder why they are bothering to foot the bill of Europe's defense.
In 1949, the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded as an intergovernmental military alliance to provide collective defense following World War II and the subsequent rise of Soviet Communism as the dominant threat to Western Europe. With the Cold War era long gone, President Trump has allegedly inquired about withdrawing from the alliance, and the subsequent cranial explosions of the Washington establishment were heard up and down the Acela corridor.
Is such a decision warranted given the present circumstances? The United States has been practically begging the other member countries to contribute the agreed upon two percent of GDP for defense for decades. Many summits have passed with “commitments” and “strong statements” but nothing has really changed. At last glance, only five of the twenty-nine member nations—America, Britain, Greece, Estonia, and Poland—meet the two percent threshold. Although President Trump’s hard line regarding burden sharing is having an impact on funding levels, it might be a case of too little, too late.
Americans must ask why wealthy allies continue to free-ride on the back of the American taxpayer. If defense spending isn’t a priority for them, then why should it be a priority for America?Read full article
Security,The future of amphibious attack may consist of thousands of disaggregated manned and unmanned surveillance boats, armor-carrying connectors, minesweepers and small attack vessels operating in tandem as the Navy and Marine Corps refine a new strategic approach and continue their pivot toward a new, great-power threat environment.
In effect, future “ship-to-shore” amphibious attacks will look nothing like the more linear, aggregated Iwo Jima assault. A Naval War College essay on this topic both predicts and reinforces Coffman’s thinking.
The future of amphibious attack may consist of thousands of disaggregated manned and unmanned surveillance boats, armor-carrying connectors, minesweepers and small attack vessels operating in tandem as the Navy and Marine Corps refine a new strategic approach and continue their pivot toward a new, great-power threat environment.
(This first appeared last month.)
The concept is to configure a dispersed, yet “networked” fleet of next-generation connectors and other smaller boats launched from big-deck amphib “mother ships.” The larger host ships are intended to operate in a command and control capacity while bringing sensors, long-range fires and 5th-generation air support to the fight.
“We envision fleets of smaller, multi-mission vessels, operating with surface warfare leadership. People talk about a 355-ship Navy, how about a 35,000-ship Navy?,” Maj. Gen. David Coffman, Director of Naval Expeditionary Warfare, told an audience at the Surface Naval Association Symposium.
Coffman explained it as a “family of combatant craft, manned and unmanned, integrated in a distributed maritime operation.”Read full article
War Is Boring
Security,Soviet leaders worried that the Americans were planning a sneak attack.
In 1983, the United States and the Soviet Union came dangerously close to nuclear war. That was the conclusion of a highly classified report issued in 1990 by the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, or PFIAB.
The board, which conducts oversight of the U.S. intelligence community for the White House, interviewed over 75 American and British officials and examined scads of intelligence assessments and other official documents from the early 1980s. The report it produced, entitled “The Soviet ‘War Scare,’ ” served as a retrospective assessment of what many believe was the most dangerous period of the Cold War since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The PFIAB’s analysis of the war scare begins by discussing Soviet strategic vulnerabilities. By the early 1980s, the Soviets had developed new over-the-horizon radars and launch detection satellites that were capable of giving them 15 to 30 minutes warning in the event of a U.S. nuclear attack. However, the impending deployment of U.S. intermediate-range Pershing-2 missiles to Europe created a new vulnerability for the Soviet Union because the Pershing-2s had the ability to strike hardened targets in the western USSR in as little as eight minutes, too little time for the Soviet leadership to react.
There were also concerns among many in Moscow that the nation’s political turmoil left it vulnerable. The death of ailing Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in 1982 and the poor health of his successor, Yuri Andropov, who died in early 1984, raised doubts about whether or not the nation’s political leadership would be up to the task of making a timely decision about how to respond if a U.S. nuclear attack were detected. According to the PFIAB report, “Soviet nuclear release authority during the war scare period (1980-1984) was held captive to the tumultuous series of leadership successions at the very top.”Read full article
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
That’s a natural reaction to the revelation of Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy FBI director, that top Justice Department officials, alarmed by Donald Trump’s firing of former Bureau director James Comey, explored a plan to invoke the 25th Amendment and kick the duly elected president out of office.
According to New York Times reporters Adam Goldman and Matthew Haag, McCabe made the statement in an NBC 60 Minutes interview to be aired on Sunday. He also reportedly said that McCabe wanted the so-called Russia collusion investigation to go after Trump for obstructing justice in firing Comey and for any instances they could turn up of his working in behalf of Russia.
The idea of invoking the 25th Amendment was discussed, it seems, at two meetings on May 16, 2017. According to McCabe, top law enforcement officials pondered how they might recruit Vice President Pence and a majority of cabinet members to declare in writing, to the Senate’s president pro tempore and the House speaker, that the president was “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” That would be enough, under the 25th Amendment, to install the vice president as acting president, pushing aside Trump.Advertisementgoogletag.pubads().definePassback("/339474670/ADN_Players/TAC_Player", [1, 1]).display()
But to understand what kind of constitutional crisis this would unleash and the precedent it would set, it’s necessary to ponder the rest of this section of the 25th Amendment. The text prescribes that, if the president, after being removed, transmits to the same congressional figures that he is indeed capable of discharging his duties, he shall once again be president after four days. But if the vice president and the cabinet majority reiterate their declaration within those four days that the guy can’t govern, Congress is charged with deciding the issue. It then takes a two-thirds vote of both houses to keep the president removed, which would have to be done within 21 days, during which time the elected president would be sidelined and the vice president would govern. If Congress can’t muster the two-thirds majority within the prescribed time period, the president “shall resume the powers and duties of his office.”
It’s almost impossible to contemplate the political conflagration that would ensue under this plan. Citizens would watch those in Washington struggle with the monumental question of the fate of their elected leader under an initiative that had never before been invoked, or even considered, in such circumstances. Debates would flare up over whether this comported with the original intent of the amendment; whether it was crafted to deal with physical or mental “incapacitation,” as opposed to controversial actions or unsubstantiated allegations or even erratic decision making; whether such an action, if established as precedent, would destabilize the American republic for all time; and whether unelected bureaucrats should arrogate to themselves the power to set in motion the downfall of a president, circumventing the impeachment language of the Constitution.
For the past two years, the country has been struggling to understand the two competing narratives of the criminal investigation of the president.
One narrative—let’s call it Narrative A—has it that honorable and dedicated federal law enforcement officials developed concerns over a tainted election in which nefarious Russian agents had sought to tilt the balloting towards the candidate who wanted to improve U.S.-Russian relations and who seemed generally unseemly. Thus did the notion emerge, quite understandably, that Trump had “colluded” with Russian officials to cadge a victory that otherwise would have gone to his opponent. This narrative is supported and protected by Democratic figures and organizations, by adherents of the “Russia as Threat” preoccupation, and by anti-Trumpers everywhere, particularly news outlets such as CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
The other view—Narrative B—posits that certain bureaucratic mandarins of the national security state and the outgoing Obama administration resolved early on to thwart Trump’s candidacy. After his election, they determined to undermine his political standing, and particularly his proposed policy toward Russia, through a relentless and expansive investigation characterized by initial misrepresentations, selective media leaks, brutal law enforcement tactics, and a barrage of innuendo. This is the narrative of most Trump supporters, conservative commentators, Fox News, and The Wall Street Journal editorial page, notably columnist Kimberley Strassel.
The McCabe revelation won’t affect the battle of the two narratives. As ominous and outrageous as this “deep state” behavior may seem to those who embrace Narrative B, it will be seen by Narrative A adherents as evidence that those law enforcement officials were out there heroically on the front lines protecting the republic from Donald J. Trump.
And those Narrative A folks won’t have any difficulty tossing aside the fact that McCabe was fired as deputy FBI director for violating agency policy in leaking unauthorized information to the news media. He then allegedly violated the law in lying about it to federal investigators on four occasions, including three times while under oath.
Indeed, Narrative A people have no difficulty at all brushing aside serious questions posed by Narrative B people. McCabe is a likely liar and perjurer? Doesn’t matter. Peter Strzok, head of the FBI’s counterespionage section, demonstrated his anti-Trump animus in tweets and emails to Justice official Lisa Page? Irrelevant. Christopher Steele’s dossier of dirt on Trump, including an allegation that the Russians were seeking to blackmail and bribe him, was compiled by a man who had demonstrated to a Justice Department official that he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and…passionate about him not being president”? Not important. The dossier was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party? Immaterial. Nothing in the dossier was ever substantiated? So what?
Now we have a report from a participant of those meetings that top officials of the country’s premier law enforcement entity sat around and pondered how to bring down a sitting president they didn’t like. The Times even says that McCabe “confirmed” an earlier report that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein suggested wearing a wire in meetings with Trump to incriminate him and make him more vulnerable to the plot.
There is no suggestion in McCabe’s interview pronouncements or in the words of Scott Pelley, who conducted the interview and spoke to CBS This Morning about it, that these federal officials ever took action to further the aim of unseating the president. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that they approached cabinet members or the vice president about it. “They…were speculating, ‘This person would be with us, this person would not be,’ and they were counting noses in that effort,” said Pelley. He added, apparently in response to Rosenstein’s insistence that his comments about wearing a wire were meant as a joke, “This was not perceived to be a joke.”
What are we to make of this? Around the time of the meetings to discuss the 25th Amendment plot, senior FBI officials also discussed initiating a national security investigation of the president as a stooge of the Russians or perhaps even a Russian agent. These talks were revealed by The New York Times and CNN in January, based on closed-door congressional testimony by former FBI general counsel James Baker. You don’t have to read very carefully to see that the reporters on these stories brought to them a Narrative A sensibility. The Times headline: “F.B.I. Opened Inquiry into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.” CNN’s: “Transcripts detail how FBI debated whether Trump was ‘following directions’ of Russia.” And of course, whoever leaked those hearing transcripts almost surely did so to bolster the Narrative A version of events.
The independent journalist Gareth Porter, writing at Consortium News, offers a penetrating exposition of the inconsistencies, fallacies, and fatuities of the Narrative A matrix, as reflected in how the Times and CNN handled the stories that resulted from what were clearly self-interested leaks.
Porter notes that a particularly sinister expression in May 2017 by former CIA director John O. Brennan, a leading Trump antagonist, has precipitated echoes in the news media ever since, particularly in the Times. Asked in a committee hearing if he had intelligence indicating that anyone in the Trump campaign was “colluding with Moscow,” Brennan dodged the question. He said his experience had taught him that “the Russians try to suborn individuals, and they try to get them to act on their behalf either wittingly or unwittingly.”
Of course you can’t collude with anybody unwittingly. But Brennan’s fancy expression has the effect of expanding what can be thrown at political adversaries, to include not just conscious and nefarious collaboration but also policy advocacy that could be viewed as wrongheaded or injurious to U.S. interests. As Porter puts it, “The real purpose…is to confer on national security officials and their media allies the power to cast suspicion on individuals on the basis of undesirable policy views of Russia rather than on any evidence of actual collaboration with the Russian government.”
That seems to be what’s going on here. There’s no doubt that McCabe and Rosenstein and Strzok and Brennan and Page and many others despised Trump and his resolve to thaw relations with Russia. They viewed him as a president “who needed to be reined in,” as a CNN report described the sentiment among top FBI officials after the Comey firing.
So they expanded the definition of collusion to include “unwitting” collaboration in order to justify their machinations. It’s difficult to believe that people in such positions would take such a cavalier attitude toward the kind of damage they could wreak on the body politic.
Now we learn that they actually sat around and plotted how to distort the Constitution, just as they distorted the rules of official behavior designed to hold them in check, in order to destroy a presidential administration placed in power by the American people. It’s getting more and more difficult to dismiss Narrative B.
Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century.
Trump Approved Two Coal Mining Operations Within Hours Of A Federal Board Voting To Shutter Coal Plants
The White House on Friday identified $8.1 billion that could be allocated for walls along the southern border after President Trump declared a national emergency there because of the illegal aliens, criminals and drugs entering from Mexico.
Democrats had flatly refused wall funding, leading to a partial government shutdown and a stopgap resolution that expires Friday. In the proposed budget resolution, Democrats agreed to only $1.375 billion in wall funding and inserted provisions that could prevent the money from being used for its intended purpose.
The president said he will sign the budget bill but also declare a national emergency along the southern border, which gives him authority to order some construction without participation from Congress.
The Congressional Research Service said his move likely will succeed, at least partly because any member of Congress challenging his action in court would need to demonstrate personal injury.
The White House said in a statement after the declaration that Trump was elected “partly on his promise to secure the southern border with a barrier and, since his first day in office, he has been following through on that promise.”
The president noted that this week a massive section that already had funding was begun in Texas.
The bill allocates $1.375 billion for about 55 miles of border barrier in “dangerous” drug smuggling corridors.
And there’s $415 million for the humanitarian crisis that has resulted from caravans of immigrants marching from Central America to the U.S. border.
The White House said Trump is “using his legal authority to take executive action to secure additional resources, just as he promised. In part, he is declaring a national emergency that makes available additional troops and funding for military construction.”
The White House broke down the $8.1 billion available for wall funding.
There’s some $601 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund, $2.5 billion under the Department of Defense funds transferred for Support for Counterdrug Activities (Title 10 United States Code, section 284), and some $3.6 billion reallocated from Department of Defense military construction projects under the president’s declaration of a national emergency (Title 10 United States Code, section 2808).
The statement noted governors of border states, including Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Bill Richardson of New Mexico, previously declared emergencies along the border.
“Former President George W. Bush and former President Obama both directed the use of the military to assist DHS in securing and managing the southern border,” the White House argued.
The border problems include MS-13 gang crime; the smuggling of deadly drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl; human trafficking that creates slave conditions for young girls; and caravans of migrants looking to gain illegal entry.
The White House statement said the $8.1 billion would be sufficient for now.
The White House asserted the emergency declaration is completely within the law and in no way sets an untoward precedent, as Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has claimed.
Union members will be essential to Republican success in traditional Democratic strongholds in the Midwest, according to freshman Rep. Pete Stauber (R., Minn.).
Stauber became only the second Republican to win Minnesota's 8th district since 1947 when he defeated Democrat Joe Radinovich by 5 points in the 2018 midterms. He credited his victory to being a "common sense blue collar conservative" and said such an approach is necessary to put Minnesota in play in 2020. Stauber, who helped organize the Duluth Police Department's union and served as its president, told Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy (R.) in a podcast conversation that organized labor is definitely in play.
"A cop, yes, but a union president and you're a Republican. How do you marry that because some people might go, ‘well union members aren't Republicans?'" Duffy said in the recording.
"Yes, they are," Stauber said. He said blue collar and labor voters in Minnesota are increasingly open to voting for GOP candidates who support their livelihoods, which is why President Trump nearly became the first Republican to win Minnesota since 1972, losing to Hillary Clinton by 1.5 points. The 8th district, Stauber said, bought into "the positive message he brought to the working men and women" about energy exploration and mining. Democrats, meanwhile, have alienated many of their former constituents by inhibiting copper nickel mining in the region.
"These mines are unionized. Do you think President Trump will gain their vote in an upcoming election, and if he does, do you think Minnesota is in play in 2020?" Duffy asked.
"President Trump has already garnered much of their support because of what he believes [about] the oil industry, gas industry, our mining industry, our timber industry," he said. "Yes, Minnesota is going to be in play. I think Minnesota's 10 electoral votes are going to be crucial in 2020."
Trump pulled off a historic upset against Clinton in many Democratic strongholds by flipping union votes in 2016. He won Duffy's native Wisconsin, as well as Michigan and Pennsylvania, by only several thousand votes. His campaign rhetoric against free trade deals was essential to gaining those votes. Stauber and Duffy said the administration has largely delivered, pointing to the steel tariffs against China as an example.
"If we allow those like in China to dump steel on the global market you shut down all of our mines in Northern Minnesota," Duffy said.
Stauber said the region has seen job growth and wage gains associated with the tariffs because it has allowed American producers to avoid being undersold by Chinese competitors.
"The miners are working second and third shifts, we're opening up mines," Stauber said. "For us, it's an economic advantage to have the president step up and say to the country of China no more steel dumping."
Trump has continued to try to reach a new trade deal with China to tamp down on those tariffs. Trump announced on Friday that he will declare a national emergency to obtain funding for a border wall, but he opened his remarks by saying the administration has made progress in negotiations with China.
"We're very much working very closely with China and President Xi, who I respect a lot, very good relationship that we have, and we're a lot closer than we ever were in this country with having a real trade deal," Trump said.
The podcast is scheduled to be released Friday afternoon.
The post Stauber, Duffy Say Union Members Essential to GOP Success appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.