Attacks, destabilization, pressure, threats and punishments were maintained during 2017 as part of the foreign policy of the United States, determined to show again and again its great power worldwide.
Less than three months after arriving in the White House, US President Donald Trump decided to launch missiles at an air base in Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack, marking a substantial change in his previous stance on the issue.
The same man who four years ago criticized the then head of state, Barack Obama, in respect of attempts of a similar nature regarding the Arab nation, authorized the action which was deemed impulsive. The demonstration of force by the Republican leader targeted the Syrian Air Force’s Shayrat airfield, in the province of Homs, as dawn approached on the 7th of April in the Levantine nation.
According to the Department of Defense, 59 Tomahawk Land Attack missiles, launched from the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, were used for the operation.
The Pentagon argued that the action targeted reinforced aircraft hangars, oil storage and logistics, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems and radars.
The cause of the launch was an alleged attack with chemical weapons in the province of Idleb, for which the North American leader blamed the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad.
Trump confirmed that he had authorized the launching of the missiles as it was a matter of national security, and he called on ‘civilized nations’ to join with the United States against Syria.
When a chemical attack occurred in August 2013 in Guta, Damascus, which was also attributed to al-Assad’s government, Obama asserted that his country was ready to attack, but decided to submit his decision to Congress.
In the end, the Obama administration did not attack, and later the dismantling of the Syrian arsenal, under the supervision of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, began.
At that time, Trump wrote on his Twitter account: ‘What will we get by bombing Syria except more debt and a possible long-term conflict? Obama needs Congress’s approval.’
However, in 2017 the narrative changed, and Trump bypassed any consultation with Congress, which started a debate on the constitutionality (or not) of his ordering the launching of missiles.
DPRK, Russia and Iran
Despite considering it extremely defective, the American president signed, at the beginning of August, a bill which was passed by Congress to toughen sanctions against Russia, Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
According to the head of state, in the rush to approve this legislation Congress included a series of clearly unconstitutional provisions.
However, the law provided for new sanctions against high ranking Russian officials and allows Congress to prevent Trump from softening or ending the unilateral sanctions against Russia.
In addition to hostile rhetoric, the promise of ‘fire and fury hitherto unseen in the world’ and September’s threats at the United Nations to totally destroy the DPRK, Trump insisted on maintaining pressure on the Asian country.
On the 20th of November, the president announced his decision to put the DPRK back on the list of states that sponsor terrorism, and subsequently the Treasury Department issued new economic sanctions in order to isolate the Pyongyang administration.
Trump, who on his personal Twitter account has unleashed verbal attacks against the North Korean leadership, accused the North Korean government of supporting international crime and remarked that this decision should have been taken earlier
The DPRK was removed from the aforementioned State Department ‘terror list’ by the administration of George W. Bush in 2008 as part of efforts to reach agreement on nuclear issues.
The Asian nation has reiterated its nuclear arsenal is merely for defending itself against US hostility, its allies and its regular ploys.
As mid-October loomed last year, Trump refused to verify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear pact reached in July 2015 between the Persian country and six world powers, including the US.
Days later, he considered as a very real possibility that his Government might chose to reject the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), instead of remaining in the pact which also includes China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
As part of his declaration for a new strategy for the Persian nation, which includes sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the president asked the administration to work with Congress in order to fix the (in his view) defects in the instrument.
If no agreement is reached with Congress and the US’s allies, he said, this could lead to the termination of the agreement.
As stipulated in the review of the agreement, Congress requires the president of the United States to confirm every 90 days that Iran is maintaining its commitment to the pact, an endorsement granted by Trump twice before.
In November, the Department of Defense confirmed that the United States has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan after sending three thousand more as part of the new strategy announced by Trump on the 21st of August.
The Pentagon placed the number of uniformed personnel at 11,000, but the president authorized the increase requested by General John Nicholson, the head of the US Army and international forces in Afghanistan.
Announcing the strategy, Trump said that the plan for Afghanistan and South Asia would change dramatically and its central mainstay would be an approach based on conditions on the ground.
Another fundamental mainstay of the initiative, according to Trump, is the integration of all instruments of US power (diplomatic, economic and military) in reaching a successful outcome.
During 2017, the United States imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Venezuela which included President Nicolás Maduro, other leaders, officials and former officials of the Government of Caracas.
The measures involve freezing assets in the US of those sanctioned and a ban on Americans from conducting transactions with them. I
In light of this on the 25th of August, Trump signed an executive order against the South American nation, two days after threats made by Vice President Mike Pence on the issue.
A statement from White House spokeswoman, Sara Huckabee Sanders, hence stipulated that the decree prohibits the processing of new debt or shares issued by the Venezuelan government and its state owned oil company, PDVSA. (PL)
(Translated by Nigel Conibear – DipTrans IoLET MCIL – firstname.lastname@example.org) – Photos: Pixabay