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October 2017

Tillerson Should Go Rex Tillerson seems at sea in his position. By Rich Lowry

If Secretary of State Rex Tillerson resigned, how would anyone know?

He has become the nation’s least influential top diplomat in recent memory. His relationship with the president of the United States is strained at best, he has no philosophy or signature initiative, he has barely staffed his own department, and he’s alienated the foreign service. The former CEO of ExxonMobil has taken one of the power positions in the U.S. government and made it an afterthought.

Who knows the truth of the NBC story that he was close to quitting last summer over clashes with President Donald Trump? But Tillerson’s strange press availability swearing his loyalty to the president is not the sort of thing loyalists usually have to do.

The secretary of state dodged questions about whether he had, indeed, as NBC reported, called Trump a “moron” — almost certainly the first time in U.S. history a cabinet official has been asked about personally insulting the president he works for and apparently been unable, in good conscience, to deny it.

Tillerson doesn’t have an easy job. He works for a mercurial and bombastic boss who has a well-developed skill for humiliating his underlings. Even a practiced and slick diplomat — even Henry Kissinger; heck, even Cardinal Richelieu — would find the circumstances trying. But Tillerson is at sea.

He’s an accomplished man who ascended to the leadership of a quasi-state as CEO of ExxonMobil. As such, he had done plenty of work abroad. It was in business, though, not government. Making him secretary of state turns out to have been like selecting the head of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs to run a Fortune 500 company.

Usually establishmentarians have the advantage, if nothing else, of a great store of government experience. Brent Scowcroft devoted most of his adult life to public service; Tillerson devoted most of his adult life to ExxonMobil.

Unlike, say, James Mattis advising Trump on defense matters, this is not a professional guiding an amateur; it’s another amateur trying to school an amateur. Is it any wonder that it hasn’t gone well?

Recent Republican secretaries of state provide two models. There’s the Colin Powell approach of attending to the needs of “the building,” i.e., the civil service, and neglecting your relationship with the president. Then there’s the Condi Rice approach of tending to your relationship with the president and ignoring the building. Tillerson has done neither.

In a nationalist administration, he is a man without a country. He doesn’t have a constituency in the foreign-policy establishment, in the media, in Congress, or in the bureaucracy. He and his top aides are a thin layer spread atop the org chart to little effect.

Neither of the opposing dispensations in American foreign policy should feel vested in Tillerson. If you’re a liberal internationalist who wants Trump checked, you’d prefer someone better suited to the task. If you’re a Trumpist who wants Trump empowered to transform American foreign policy, you want someone who is in sympathy with that goal.

UN Head Misleads on Hurricanes and Climate Change Politicizes US hurricanes to call for strengthening of Paris Agreement.Joseph Klein

The United Nations is misusing statistics to try and prove a causal relationship between the reported increase in carbon dioxide concentrations and the purported increase in extreme hurricane events over the last several decades, focusing in particular on the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. “Over the past 30 years, the number of annual weather-related disasters has nearly tripled, and economic losses have quintupled,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said at a press briefing on Wednesday. To “prove” his point, graphs were distributed to reporters that show carbon dioxide concentration levels and ocean temperatures rising since 1960, together with an increase in the number of meteorological natural disasters. “Scientists are learning more and more about the links between climate change and extreme weather,” the Secretary General added. He then predictably called for “countries to implement the Paris Agreement [on climate change], and with greater ambition.”

The UN is using the familiar logical fallacy of equating statistical correlations with proof of causation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory issued a report, last revised on August 30, 2017, that demonstrates the crucial difference between mere statistical correlation and proof of causation. The report found that “records of Atlantic hurricane activity show some correlation, on multi-year time-scales, between local tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and the Power Dissipation Index (PDI),” which is “an aggregate measure of Atlantic hurricane activity.” However, the report went on to conclude that it is “premature to conclude that human activities–and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming–have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity.” Computer models may indeed predict increased storm intensity and destruction by the end of this century based on some measures of historical data showing increases in sea surface temperatures. However, the extent to which this would be due to an increase in 21st century greenhouse warming caused by human activity is indeterminate at the present time.

Moreover, even the statistical correlations may be misleading. The report examined records of past Atlantic tropical storm or hurricane numbers (1878 to present), which it found to be incomplete in terms of reported storms prior to 1965. Reliance on ship-based observations during that period meant that some storms, particularly short-lived ones, were simply overlooked because they had less opportunity for chance encounters with ship traffic. There were no satellites more than five decades ago to observe and measure hurricanes with the same degree of accuracy as can be performed today. Even with the sketchier information we do have regarding hurricanes in the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century, we know that five of the eight seasons with the most major hurricanes since 1851 occurred prior to 1965. The strongest hurricane on record to hit the U.S. occurred on the Florida Keys on Sept. 2, 1935. And while Hurricane Maria was a tragically devastating hurricane to be sure, Puerto Rico suffered an even worse hurricane in 1928.

Suffocating Academic Free Speech The fascist Left tightens the screws on the American campus. Richard L. Cravatts

As the left exhibits paroxysms of moral outrage since the presidential election, the symptoms of Trump Derangement Syndrome are increasingly evident on university campuses.

One such instance of this irrationality was on full display in August at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln when Katie Mullen, president of the school’s Turning Point USA chapter, was verbally harassed by leftist professors after she had set up a promotional table for the organization.

A video recording of the events shows a graduate teaching assistant and PhD student, Courtney Lawton, giving the middle finger to Mullen while carrying a sign saying, “Just say No! to Neo-Fascism!” and shouting “Neo-fascist Becky right here. Wants to destroy public schools, public universities, hates DACA kids,” “fuck Charlie Kirk [founder and executive director of Turning Point USA],” and “TPUSA Nazis,” among other repellent slurs.

Another professor, Amanda Gailey (founder of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence and virulent critic of police and gun owners), taunted Mullen with a sign that stated, “Turning Point: please put me on your watchlist,” and others passing by aggressively accused the conservative student of being a white nationalist, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and a fascist.

Even for campuses which normally tolerate any ideological excesses from its leftist faculty and students, this behavior was a bit too much for the Nebraska administration, which quickly removed Lawton from her position as a lecturer and assigned her to non-teaching duties, commenting that her behavior “did not meet the university’s expectations for civility.”

Outraged by the unceremonious firing of one of their colleagues, fellow faculty, students, and union members organized a September rally on the Nebraska-Lincoln City campus sponsored by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)—purportedly to discuss issues of academic freedom but actually a protest of what they believed was Lawton’s unjustified termination. Ignoring the fact that Lawton had not engaged in debate or dialogue at all but had actually viciously bullied Mullen with ad hominem attacks and slurs, her supporters side-stepped that inconvenient detail entirely, choosing instead to make Lawton the victim.

It was not Lawton’s outrageously uncivil behavior that was the problem here, but retaliation for daring to question Turning Point USA, a conservative organization. “We find it suspicious and dangerous,” said English professor Fran Kaye, one of the demonstrators, “that [Lawton] is being told that she cannot speak . . . about an organization that she has, in fact, researched because one of the things it shuts down is research on gay rights, lesbian rights.”

There’s an important distinction to be made in this case, however. The lecture was reassigned and relieved of her teaching duties not because of the content of her speech or the views expressed therein, but for the manner in which she expressed them; specifically, her behavior, not her ideas, is what was inappropriate and violated the norms of both the school’s policies on academic free speech and conduct by students and faculty, but also the central idea of reasoned debate and dialogue. In fact, UNL’s own policies on graduate student conduct is very clear on this matter, stating that, “Of particular note in this regard,” the policy stresses, “are behaviors that make the workplace hostile for colleagues, supervisors or subordinates (e.g., undergraduate students) [emphasis added.].”

It is one thing to engage in a discussion from two opposing viewpoints and to marshal facts and opinions to prove one’s point in a debate, even if that discussion is very contentious and highly argumentative. It is another thing, however, to attack someone—and particularly when that someone is a student and the attacker is a lecturer—and not engage them in a reasoned debate, but instead use ad hominem attacks, spurious allegations about political affiliations, and accusations that their views as conservatives render their ideas useless because they are equivalent to fascist or Nazis beliefs. This is an entirely different interaction that the principles of academic freedom and campus free speech were never intended to protect or enable.

Was Las Vegas Shooter “Radicalized”? Jihadist? Antifa? Neo-Nazi? Sheriff drops a bombshell then runs away. Matthew Vadum

Las Vegas authorities now acknowledge mass murderer Stephen Paddock may have been “radicalized” before his bloody rampage Sunday at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival but they won’t say what species of radicalism the shooter may have embraced.

The deadliest mass shooting in modern American history has been cravenly transformed into anti-American propaganda by the Left, as Democrat commentators race to ghoulishly disparage white men, gun rights and the NRA, Republicans, and President Trump, blaming them for what otherwise looks like a Muslim terrorist atrocity. Islamic State continues to claim responsibility for the massacre. The terrorist group also claims Paddock converted to Islam six months ago and refers to him by a nom de guerre, Abu Abdul Barr al-Amriki. In Las Vegas Wednesday FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse said, “We have found no evidence to this point to indicate terrorism, but this is an ongoing investigation. We’re going to look at all avenues, not close any.”

Paddock may have been “radicalized unbeknownst to us,” Clark County, Nevada, Sheriff Joe Lombardo said at a presser without elaborating. The reporters present for the statement did not bother to follow up. For much of the mainstream media, the fact that Paddock was a white male explained his violent rampage.

So what kind of radicalism could Lombardo have been thinking of?

The word radicalized “is quite often used to refer to Muslims who wage jihad,” Robert Spencer notes. So the sheriff “may be tacitly acknowledging that the Islamic State’s claims to be behind this attack are accurate.”

Muslim terrorists are increasingly targeting concert venues, as Paddock did on the weekend. There was the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, on May 22 that killed 22. On November 13, 2015, Muslim terrorists attacked the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, France, leaving 89 dead during a performance by Eagles of Death Metal.

Or Sheriff Lombardo may be implying Paddock was supportive of Antifa or the KKK. “In any case, [radicalized is] a strange word to throw out there and leave hanging,” Spencer adds.

It’s possible Paddock was a right-winger, but if so, he had an odd way of showing it. Targeting country music fans, who are largely Republican and conservative, seems like a strange way to advance a right-of-center cause.

Besides, in the United States, political violence is almost the exclusive province of the Left and Islamists.

Trump-hating Bernie Sanders supporter James T. Hodgkinson came close to assassinating House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) at a baseball practice in June. A little before then, Sanders supporter Jeremy Christian stabbed three men on a train in Oregon, killing two of them. Egged on by the Southern Poverty Law Center, left-wing gay rights supporter Floyd Lee Corkins II shot up the headquarters of the conservative Family Research Council in 2012.

For all we know at this point, Paddock may actually have been an angry left-winger lashing out at conservatives and Trump supporters. Some evidence does seem to point in that direction, and in the current atmosphere of visceral left-wing hatred towards anything and death threats being hurled at everything Republican or conservative, left-wing violence is becoming commonplace.

The Goal of Western Leaders: Avoid Change, Duck Accountability by Douglas Murray

Political leaders across the Western world seem to have a clear set of priorities that we will not change, and therefore we must simply accept the problem.

There are several possible reasons for this, but the most likely is that they know that it is the policies of successive governments, including their own, that have caused such attacks to happen. If countries such as Canada, France and Finland had been more careful with their national security, these current attacks would not be happening.

In order to avoid the political repercussions that might follow any honest evaluation of our current situation, they seem to conclude, the only thing to be done is to pretend that terrorism is — like the weather — something that just happens to us, and that our principal problem is the bigotry of Europeans rather than another two women lying dead on our streets.

In Europe today, it is what goes unacknowledged and un-commemorated that reveals the trouble we are in.

There are plenty of public campaigns and calls by politicians to demonstrate “awareness” of things that are either non-existent problems or second-order problems. Earlier this year, for instance, the President of Austria came up with an eye-catching initiative. Addressing the ban on women wearing full-face coverings in public places, Alexander van der Bellen, the former leader of the Green Party, said:

“If this real and rampant Islamophobia continues, there will come a day where we must ask all women to wear a headscarf — all — out of solidarity to those who do it for religious reasons.”

That day has not yet come. Non-Muslim women across Austria have not yet all been asked to wear the headscarf in solidarity with Muslim women who wear the headscarf. But it is possible that they will be asked to do so in the near future, whenever the President of Austria or another senior figure decides that “Islamophobia” has become even more “rampant” and that this requires all the women of Austria to cover their heads. By contrast, after real and deadly attacks on women across Europe, nobody knows precisely what to do.

Recently in Marseille, two women, aged 20 and 21, were walking past the Saint-Charles train station. The women — named as Mauranne and Laura — were cousins, one a medical student, and the other a trainee nurse. A man stabbed both of them to death, while shouting “Allahu Akbar” before each assault. This man — who was shot dead by police — is believed to hold a number of identities, including a Tunisian passport in the name of one Ahmed H, born in 1987.

The attack in Marseille is reminiscent of a number of attacks in Europe in recent years, not least the murder in August of two women and the wounding of eight others in the Finnish city of Turku. The perpetrator of that attack was a 22-year-old Moroccan, Abderrahman Bouanane, who had lied about his age, identity and asylum claims when he had arrived in Finland a year earlier.

After Turku, nothing changed. In the same way nothing will change after Marseille. On the same day that the latest two young women were butchered on the streets of France, an Islamist carried out an attack in Canada. In Edmonton, a 30-year-old Somali refugee stabbed a police officer and mowed down pedestrians with a van. An ISIS flag was subsequently found in the perpetrator’s car. In response to the atrocity, the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, released a statement, saying:

“We cannot — and will not — let violent extremism take root in our communities. We know that Canada’s strength comes from our diversity, and we will not be cowed by those who seek to divide us or promote fear.”

Palestinian “Reconciliation”: Hamas Free to Fight but Now Abbas Accountable by Bassam Tawil

Abbas’s new partnership with Hamas means that from this moment on, the Palestinian Authority (PA) president should be held responsible for everything that takes place inside the Gaza Strip.

Until now, Abbas was rightly absolved of any responsibility for what was happening in the Gaza Strip. He has been able to argue that because he is not there, he is not responsible if Hamas has tunnels and is building up its weaponry and firing rockets at Israel. Now, the jig is up.

Why shouldn’t Hamas accept a deal that allows it to retain its security control over the Gaza Strip while Abbas’s government is busy collecting garbage, paying salaries to civil servants and footing the bill for water and electricity?

Failing to hold the Palestinian Authority government — and Abbas — responsible means endorsing the Hezbollah model, where the Lebanese government is impotent and the real power is wielded by the Shiite terror group, Hezbollah.

Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) government is on its way back to managing civilian affairs in the Gaza Strip. Hamas, meanwhile, says it will remain in control of security and will not lay down its weapons or dismantle its security forces and militias.

Abbas’s new partnership with Hamas — the product of Egyptian mediation efforts between the two parties — means that from this moment on, the Palestinian Authority president should now be held responsible for everything that takes place inside the Gaza Strip.

Abbas and his PA government should now be held accountable, among other things, for the fate of two Israeli civilians and the remains of IDF soldiers being held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas.

Now that the Palestinian Authority has reached a deal with Hamas, President Mahmoud Abbas should be held accountable for what goes on in Gaza. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Abbas should also now be held responsible for any rockets that are fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel. Abbas cannot have it both ways. He cannot use the new partnership with Hamas to project himself as the legitimate president of all Palestinians, including those living in the Gaza Strip, but at the same time argue that he does not have “control on the ground.” He cannot have his prime minister and government managing the day-to-day affairs of the Gaza Strip while at the same time claim that he cannot do anything about Hamas’s security forces and militia.

Until now, Abbas was rightly absolved of any responsibility for what was happening in the Gaza Strip. Hamas expelled him and his Palestinian Authority from the Gaza Strip in 2007, and since then he has been able to argue that because he is not there, he is not responsible if Hamas has tunnels and is building up its weaponry and firing rockets at Israel. Fair enough.

Now, the jig is up. Abbas can no longer avoid responsibility for anything that happens inside the Gaza Strip. He demanded that Hamas dismantle its shadow government and allow the Palestinian Authority to assume its responsibilities as the sovereign power in the Gaza Strip. Hamas was clever enough to grab the opportunity. Hamas complied with his demand and cordially invited Abbas and his government back into the Gaza Strip.

What motivated Hamas? Love for Abbas? Love for Egypt? No, Hamas complied with Abbas’s demand because doing so furthered its own interests. Why shouldn’t Hamas go for any agreement that does not require it to make any meaningful concessions? Why shouldn’t Hamas accept a deal that allows it to retain its security control over the Gaza Strip while Abbas’s government is busy collecting garbage, paying salaries to civil servants and footing the bill for water and electricity?

Abbas knows that Hamas will not lay down its weapons or dismantle its security forces and armed wing, Ezaddin Al-Qassam, despite the “reconciliation” agreement and the presence of the Palestinian Authority government in the Gaza Strip.

A Bigger Russian Threat: Disrupting U.S. Innovation By Henry I. Miller

Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is the Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology.https://amgreatness.com/2017/10/05/a-bigger-russian-threat-disrupting-u-s-innovation/

Russia, like the Soviet Union before it, is experienced at employing surrogates and agents of various stripes and talents to further its agendas. The most recent example was a “trending topic” story on Facebook about the Las Vegas shooting published by Sputnik, a news agency controlled by the Russian government; the item claimed, inaccurately, that the FBI had found a connection between the shooter and Daesh, also known as ISIS.

An ongoing example is TV “news channel” station RT (formerly Russia Today), the Kremlin’s English-language propaganda arm, the mouthpiece for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s agenda. Fake news is its stock in trade, as illustrated by its blatant disinformation attacks on the reporting of news by respected media outlets like the BBC.
In a report from the Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, implicated RT in Russian hacking during last year’s presidential election. The report found that the network uses the internet and social media to conduct “strategic messaging for the Russian government” and that its programming is “aimed at undermining viewers’ trust of U.S. democratic procedures.”

Russia’s targets are not limited to politics. Dr. Alex Berezow of the American Council on Science and Health has describes how RT subtly undermines the technology and economic growth of the United States. One example:

The report released by the Director of National Intelligence on Russia’s interference in the U.S. election concluded that RT is spouting anti-fracking propaganda as a way to undermine the natural gas industry in the United States. Why? Because fracking lowers the prices of fossil fuels, which severely harms Russia’s economy.

To underscore how seriously this is being taken by congressional leaders, on July 10 the House Science Committee sent this statement from Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to the Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web” column:

If you connect the dots, it is clear that Russia is funding U.S. environmental groups in an effort to suppress our domestic oil and gas industry, specifically hydraulic fracking. They have established an elaborate scheme that funnels money through shell companies in Bermuda. This scheme may violate federal law and certainly distorts the U.S. energy market.

In addition, there is what a New York Times news article called “a particularly murky aspect of Russia’s influence strategy: freelance activists who promote its agenda abroad, but get their backing from Russian tycoons and others close to the Kremlin, not the Russian state itself.”

Russia’s targets are not limited to politics. Dr. Alex Berezow of the American Council on Science and Health has describes how RT subtly undermines the technology and economic growth of the United States.

Genetic engineering in agriculture is another sector that holds intense interest for the Russians. Harkening back to the Lysenkoism catastrophe for Soviet agriculture in the Soviet Union, their research and development expertise in that area is virtually nil, and the government has a long-standing ban on genetically engineered organisms from abroad from entering the country, so the Russians have adopted a strategy of trying to inhibit its development elsewhere.

We Need a Radio Free America on Campus By Peter W. Wood

Peter W. Wood is president of the National Association of Scholars. He is an anthropologist and author of “A Bee in the Mouth: Anger in America Now” (Encounter Books, 2007) and of “Diversity: The Invention of a Concept” (Encounter Books, 2003). His articles have appeared in Partisan Review, National Review Online, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.https://amgreatness.com/2017/10/05/we-need-a-radio-free-america-on-campus/

Deep within the United States Code a dynamite charge lies buried. Once ignited, it could blow the current landscape of higher education to smithereens, replacing its monotonous ideological expanse with an alpine variety of competing views and perspectives.

Triggering the charge would require a willingness to overcome political reflexives that often serve conservatives well. But the hour is late, the need for action desperately real, and pragmatism sits proudly at the nation’s helm.

So let us strike the fuse.

The dynamite is a provision in federal law planted nine years ago. That’s when Congress created the American History for Freedom (AHF) program. It promised federal funding for university centers promoting the study of traditional American history, free institutions, and Western civilization.

But when Barack Obama was elected, the congressmen and senators who had pushed for the bill wisely decided not to seek a federal appropriation. Obama would have opposed it and the whole program would have come under withering attack. Those of us who had worked hard to get AHF passed in the first place decided to bide our time. It has been a long wait.

The First Ka-Boom

How good is this dynamite? It should be compared to the explosives that the radical Left brought to campus at the end of the 1960s: black studies, women’s studies, and environmental studies. These three were the leading edge of the Left’s attempt to politicize the university.

Each had its own agenda but those agendas overlapped in their disdain for America and in their rejection of the university as a place reserved for open-minded inquiry. The proponents of these programs pleaded for them as exceptions to the old academic standards, which they thought would continue to be upheld in English, history, the sciences, and so on.

That proved to be an illusion. The radical environmentalists adopted Barry Commoner’s “First Law of Ecology,” namely, “Everything is connected to everything else.” You can’t expect radical environmentalists to keep their eco-apocalyptic creed isolated in the Environmental Studies Department. It has to be integrated into all the other departments because, “Everything is connected to everything else.” The same principle applied to black studies and women’s studies. Identity politics moves like a blob of mercury. It doesn’t stand still.

The political doctrines first spread to other academic departments via missionaries who held “dual appointments”—for example, women’s studies and political science, or black studies and English. But soon the bridges grew more plentiful. We saw the rise of cross-listed courses, “History 305, the Antebellum South, also listed as Black Studies 309, Slavery in Pre-Civil War America.” And soon there were distribution requirements and major requirements that entrenched the “studies departments” as central to whole of undergraduate education. The faculty in these departments also found their way onto search committees and other university bodies and carried their political programs with them.

Instead of occupying a space set apart in the curriculum for political indoctrination, the politicized departments became the agent for politicizing whole institutions.

That was the dynamite planted by the academic left circa 1968.

Trump Expected to Refuse to Certify Iran’s Compliance With Nuclear Deal Move would place key decisions about the deal’s future before Congress By Felicia Schwartz

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump is expected to refuse to certify that Tehran is complying with the 2015 international nuclear agreement, as part of a broader policy change on Iran to be set out as early as next week, people familiar with the deliberations said.

That move would place key decisions about the future of the nuclear deal before Congress, which could move to reinstate sanctions under an expedited 60-day review process.

However, Congress may choose not to, people familiar with the discussions have said, as such a step could lead to the agreement’s collapse. Reimposing sanctions would be considered a breach of the accord’s provisions requiring sanctions to be lifted as long as Iran is deemed to be in compliance by international consensus.

If Congress doesn’t take action, the outcome of the administration’s approach may be to accuse Iran of failing to comply with the agreement while leaving the deal in place.

A senior administration official said Mr. Trump has decided on a strategy to confront Iran’s ballistic-missile development, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, the country’s shipping of weapons as well Iranian behavior that the administration believes destabilizes the region. But the president hasn’t made a final decision on whether to decertify Iran’s compliance, and if so, under what grounds, the senior official said.

His national security team completed a monthslong policy review in September and Mr. Trump approved it, the official said.

Other people familiar with the deliberations expect Mr. Trump will refuse to certify that Iran is complying with the agreement, although they note that the administration is known for changing policy directions.

Mr. Trump, speaking on Thursday ahead of a briefing with senior military leaders at the White House, said Iran had “not lived up to the spirit” of the nuclear deal and added, “You will be hearing about Iran very shortly.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday that Mr. Trump has decided on the certification issue “and he’ll make that announcement at the appropriate time.” The president told reporters last month during United Nations General Assembly meetings that he had made a decision, but he didn’t divulge it. He also didn’t share his decision with either French President Macron or U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, officials said.

Mr. Trump is expected to deliver a speech in the next week or two to outline the broader Iran strategy, although officials said planning was preliminary and could change.

“The main focus that he has had has been a comprehensive strategy on how to deal with Iran,” Ms. Sanders said. “I think you will see that announced in short order. And that will be a comprehensive strategy, with a unified team behind him supporting that effort.”

Mr. Trump has called the accord “the worst deal ever” and told The Wall Street Journal in July that he planned to tell Congress that Iran isn’t complying, even if doing so meant going against the advice of his advisers. Many of Mr. Trump’s cabinet advisers, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and others support staying with the deal. They advised Mr. Trump to certify the deal as the policy review was under way. CONTINUE AT SITE

European Ambassadors: Iran Nuclear Deal Must be Preserved By Nicholas Ballasy

If the Trump administration withdraws from the deal, German Ambassador to the U.S. Peter Wittig said, it would send a signal to North Korea that diplomacy is not reliable.

“This nuclear deal is worth preserving. It prevents Iran for the foreseeable future to acquire a nuclear bomb. It’s a plus for region security. It’s a plus for global security, and it can’t be said enough. This is the most intrusive, most comprehensive inspection and verification regime in the world that this Iranian deal created,” Wittig said during a discussion about the future of the Iran deal last week at the Atlantic Council.

“Those who want to walk away or advocate to walk away, they will have to think about the larger issues. First of all, of course, yeah, there’s a danger that Iran resumes its enrichment activity. There’s a danger then that there will be a nuclear arms race in the region and beyond,” he added.

Trump reportedly plans to “decertify” the Iran deal, which would kick it back to Congress. There, lawmakers will determine if sanctions should be reimposed and if the agreement should stand.

Wittig said a U.S. withdrawal from the agreement would weaken the “nonproliferation regime” that has been established. He also said the French government believes there is no way the deal can be renegotiated.

“What kind of signal would this send to countries like North Korea? It would send a signal that diplomacy is not reliable – that you can’t trust diplomatic agreements, and then would affect our credibility in the West when we are not honoring an agreement that Iran has not violated,” he said.

“Those who advocate to walk away from this agreement have to come with an alternative – how to prevent, in a peace way, a resuming of Iranian nuclear capabilities and military capabilities. And those who advocate to renegotiate, and there are some who do, have to make a case whether renegotiation is possible and whether renegotiation will deliver better results. We don’t think it will be possible to renegotiate it, and we believe there is no practical peaceful alternative to this deal,” he added.

Wittig explained that France and the U.S. share concerns about Iran’s “nefarious role” in the Middle East.

“We can talk about it, but on the basis of complying with this agreement,” he said.

EU Ambassador David O’Sullivan said Iran is “fully living up to its commitments” under the agreement. CONTINUE AT SITE