This is Frank Gaffney with the Secure Freedom Minute.

President Trump celebrated National Religious Freedom Day yesterday with several initiatives aimed at ending discriminatory federal treatment of faith communities. He described his administration’s commitment to school prayer and other protections by declaring, “We will not let anyone push God from the public square.” 

Fortunately, troubling as it is, such religious intolerance here pales by comparison with that Christians are experiencing elsewhere. On Wednesday, Open Doors USA published new research indicating that 260 million people are being heavily persecuted globally, simply for following Jesus. And many millions more face systematic, if less severe, repression.

The President deserves great credit for his sustained efforts on behalf of religious liberty. Real care must be exercised, however, that we not – in its name – protect and enable those who insist that the free exercise of their faith entitles them to deny others that foundational freedom. 

This is Frank Gaffney.

This is Frank Gaffney with the Secure Freedom Minute.

Nearly two years ago, Communist China’s Xi Jinping became its dictator for life. Yesterday, Russia’s Vladimir Putin unveiled a scheme that seems designed to secure for him a similar status. Such ominous consolidations of power by America’s foes are bad for their own people, as well as ours.

Putin cynically dressed up his gambit as a measure to limit the terms his successors might serve. Combined with demanding his entire cabinet’s resignation and tapping an unknown as prime minister, President Putin obviously wants to be seen as responding to growing public restiveness with his two-decades of dominance of the Russian government. 

The practical effect, however, of Putin’s proposed constitutional reforms and a referendum he has announced to endorse them is to defer any succession indefinitely. He will remain as president until 2024, then simply continue misruling in some new capacity.   

This is Frank Gaffney.

This is Frank Gaffney with the Secure Freedom Minute.

The U.S.-China “Phase One” trade deal being signed today bears little resemblance to President Trump’s ambitious agenda for dramatically restructuring bilateral commercial ties, let alone ending Chinese predatory trade practices.

To be sure, the PRC is supposed to buy additional  U.S. foodstuffs. But China would likely be purchasing more pork, wheat and other commodities from us anyway given the disease-driven decimation of late of their domestic production.

Mr. Trump is certainly alive to the danger that, as with all of the previous trade deals with the Chinese Communist Party, this one will be violated by Beijing. We can also bet that the Chinese will stonewall any effort to get more – and more enforceable – structural reforms in a “Phase Two” deal. There must be real costs for such bad faith, and notice should be served now in the interest of deterring it later.

This is Frank Gaffney.

This is Frank Gaffney with the Secure Freedom Minute.

Yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States has embarked upon a vital mission vis a vis Iran and other actual and prospective enemies: We are in the business of restoring deterrence.

By eliminating the world’s top terrorist, Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, the Trump administration has not only removed from the battlefield one of our most dangerous adversaries. It has changed the calculus upon which the mullahs have attacked our forces, diplomatic personnel and others with impunity.

While the President’s critics generally fail to appreciate this benefit from Soleimani’s liquidation, it seems the people of Iran have gotten the message. They have courageously returned to the streets to support his killing and denounce their regime. As they are the best hope for an enduring peace with Iran, we must continue supporting them – through restoring deterrence and otherwise. 

This is Frank Gaffney.

This is Frank Gaffney with the Secure Freedom Minute.

On Saturday, freedom was powerfully affirmed by the Taiwan’s electorate. In a stunning rebuke to Communist China and the mainland’s efforts to impose its will on the island – as it has tried to do in Hong Kong, voters gave a 20-point margin of victory to their incumbent President, Tsai Ing-wen, and a strong mandate to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty. 

In response, the Chinese Communist Party is insisting that reunification is inevitable, whether the Taiwanese want it or not. The not-so-subtle implication is that force will be used to seize the island. And Beijing is increasingly equipped with ballistic missiles, amphibious ships, sealift and a fleet of some three-thousand passenger aircraft that can enable a no-notice invasion.

Now that Taiwan’s voters have courageously repudiated the PRC, the United States must find new ways of deterring Chinese threats to their freedoms – and ours.

This is Frank Gaffney.

This is Frank Gaffney with the Secure Freedom Minute.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives virtue-signaled its opposition to a war with Iran. It adopted a resolution directing the president to terminate the use of American armed forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran or any part of its government or military unless Congress approves.

This direction ignores the fact that we are already at war with Iran – and have been for over forty years. Not because we want or have chosen to be, but because the mullahs actually seek “Death to America.”

The House resolution and a pending Senate counterpart moreover are frauds. It takes a statute to prevent the U.S. military from defending us against the Iranian regime and the weapons it’s employing against this country and its people, including Soleimani’s Quds Force.

If Congress won’t join the President in protecting America, it should stay out of his way.

This is Frank Gaffney.

This is Frank Gaffney with the Secure Freedom Minute.

After the latest Iranian attack against American military personnel in Iraq, from which they fortunately emerged unscathed, President Trump imposed additional economic sanctions on the mullahs’ regime, rather than violent punishment.

His Democratic opponents nonetheless continued their criticism of his Iran policy that is often indistinguishable from Iranian propaganda. At a minimum, the not-very-Loyal Opposition’s party-line is being seized upon by Tehran’s mouthpieces to support theirs. So will congressional votes to restrict presidential action on Iran.

The question occurs: Are Democrats actually coordinating with Iran? The Washington Free Beacon reports that some – including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – are working with the National American Iranian Council, an organization founded by Trita Parsi, whom the ayatollahs’ own media have called part of the “Iran Lobby.”

Keep that in mind the next time you hear Iranian propaganda coming from Democratic leaders, and vice-versa.

This is Frank Gaffney.

This is Frank Gaffney with the Secure Freedom Minute.

Last night, Iran launched at least a dozen ballistic missiles at military bases in Iraq where U.S. forces are deployed. There have so far been no reports of casualties.

Evidently, the mullahs wanted to do something to retaliate for President Trump’s drone strike that neutralized General Qasem Soleimani. But they were deterred from doing something that would actually harm Americans – presumably by our Commander-in-Chief’s warning of harsh punishment were that to happen.

The temptation will be to think there’s now a basis to “defuse” the present crisis. That would be a serious mistake. The previous week’s events, including Iran’s missile attacks, underscore the reality that its Sharia-supremacists are at war with us. Unless and until they are removed from power, Iran will continue to be a threat to this country, its people, allies and vital interests.

We must proceed accordingly.

This is Frank Gaffney.

This is Frank Gaffney with the Secure Freedom Minute.

The day after President Trump eliminated Qasem Soleimani, the world’s most dangerous terrorist, China announced that it was putting an official with a self-described record of “cleaning up the political ecology” on the mainland in charge of its operations in Hong Kong.

Luo Huining’s  installation seemed sudden, perhaps to exploit the United States’ preoccupation with the aftermath of Soleimani’s killing. Whatever its motivation, entrusting the Hong Kong portfolio at this sensitive time to someone with no background in the territory, but a record as a thuggish enforcer of Xi Jinping’s diktats, is ominous.

While we are understandably focused at last on the fact that Iran is at war with our country and has been for four decades – especially the 22 years Soleimani ran Tehran’s jihadist operations, we must be prepared to hold China accountable should it crack down on Hong Kong. 

This is Frank Gaffney.

This is Frank Gaffney with the Secure Freedom Minute.

From the moment official Washington learned that Donald Trump had successfully neutralized Iran’s Terrorist-in-Chief, General Qasem Soleimani, the President’s many American critics began a show of disunity that can only embolden our nation’s jihadist and other foes. The mullahs may mistake that quest for domestic political advantage as encouragement to exact murderous revenge against us.

Every one of us has a vital interest in deterring violent Iranian retribution. And if it occurs, those who seemed prepared to blame the President, rather than the avowed enemies who perpetrated it, will be as wrong as they are reprehensible.

As former Senator Joseph Lieberman put it in the Wall Street Journal today: “President Trump’s order to take out Qasem Soleimani was morally, constitutionally and strategically correct. It deserves more bipartisan support than the begrudging or negative reactions it has received thus far from my fellow Democrats.”

This is Frank Gaffney.

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