21 August 2019

USA

Erdogan: US scrapping F-35 jet deal with Turkey would be robbery

KONFRONTASI-Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said it would be "robbery" for the United States to deny Turkey the F-35 fighter jets it has bought, according to remarks published in Turkish media.

"If you have a customer and that customer is making payments like clockwork, how can you not give that customer their goods? The name of that would be robbery," the national Hurriyet newspaper quoted Erdogan as saying on Thursday, as Turkey faces potential US sanctions over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system.

Trump slams Iran's leaders, says U.S. in 'strong position'

KONFRONTASI-U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that any war between the United States and Iran would be swift, although he reiterated his desire to avoid a military confrontation even as he blasted Tehran’s leaders.

“I hope we don’t, but we’re in a very strong position if something should happen,” Trump told Fox Business Network when asked if a war was brewing. “I’m not talking boots on the ground ... I’m just saying if something would happen, it wouldn’t last very long.”

Huawei vs USA, Ini Penjelasan yang Objektif

Orang banyak yang salah kaprah ttg kasus Huawei karena terlalu sering dijejali propaganda China. Orang banyak mengira China yang menemukan teknologi 5G, ini juga salah. Platform 5G pertama kali diciptakan oleh Ericsson February 2017. Ada juga yang bilang 5G awalnya dikembangkan oleh Israel. 

Republican, Democratic senators seek to block Trump Saudi arms sales

KONFRONTASI-Republican and Democratic U.S. senators said on Wednesday they would introduce legislation that would block President Donald Trump’s plan for $8 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates without congressional review.

Backers said the introduction of the 22 “resolutions of disapproval,” one for each of the 22 arms deals cleared by the Trump administration, was intended to “protect and reaffirm Congress’ role of approving arms sales to foreign governments.”

The announcement followed furious rejection in Congress late last month of the Trump administration’s declaration that a growing threat from Iran was an emergency that forced it to sidestep lawmakers’ review of major arms deals and approve precision-guided munitions, aircraft engines, mortars and other equipment for Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan.

“We are taking this step today to show that we will not stand idly by and allow the President or the Secretary of State to further erode Congressional review and oversight of arm sales,” said Senator Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Trump’s fellow Republicans control a majority in the Senate but some have been pushing back lately against his proposals. On Wednesday, hope grew for a deal to avoid U.S. tariffs on Mexican goods after many Republicans opposed the idea because of its potential impact on cross-border trade and U.S. businesses.

Menendez, and Republican Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally who also is a critic of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, led the push for the resolutions.

Members of Congress had been blocking sales of offensive military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the UAE for months, angry about the huge civilian toll from their air campaign in Yemen, as well as rights abuses such as the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

“While I understand that Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally, the behavior of (Saudi Crown Prince) Mohammed bin Salman cannot be ignored,” Graham said in a statement. “Now is not the time to do business as usual with Saudi Arabia.”

Graham said he expected “strong bipartisan support” for the resolutions.

Many lawmakers say the powerful crown prince is ultimately responsible for Khashoggi’s murder and other rights abuses. The government in Riyadh denies that.

Two other Republican senators - Rand Paul and Todd Young - and three Democrats - Chris Murphy, Patrick Leahy and Jack Reed - also joined the announcement.

No easy options for China as trade war, U.S. pressure bite

KONFRONTASI-China is running out of options to hit back at the United States without hurting its own interests, as Washington intensifies pressure on Beijing to correct trade imbalances in a challenge to China’s state-led economic model.

China said this week it would impose higher tariffs on most U.S. imports on a revised $60 billion target list. That’s a much shorter list compared with the $200 billion of Chinese products on which Washington has hiked tariffs.

Washington has also turned up the heat on other fronts, from targeting China’s tech firms such as Huawei and ZTE to sending warships through the strategic Taiwan Strait.

As the pressure mounts, Chinese leaders are pressing ahead to seal a deal and avoid a drawn-out trade war that risks stalling China’s long-term economic development, according to people familiar with their thinking.

But Beijing is mindful of a possible nationalistic backlash if it is seen as conceding too much to Washington.

Agreeing to U.S. demands to end subsidies and tax breaks for state-owned firms and strategic sectors would also overturn China’s state-led economic model and weaken the Communist Party’s grip on the economy, they said.

“We still have ammunition but we may not use all of it,” said a policy insider, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“The purpose is to reach a deal acceptable to both sides.”

The State Council Information Office, finance ministry and commerce ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Of the retaliatory options available to China, none come without potential risks.

RESTRICTING U.S. IMPORTS

Since July last year, China has cumulatively imposed additional retaliatory tariffs of up to 25 percent on about $110 billion of U.S. goods.

Based on 2018 U.S. Census Bureau trade data, China would only have about $10 billion of U.S. products, such as crude oil and big aircraft, left to levy duties on in retaliation for any future U.S. tariffs.

In contrast, U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening tariffs on a further $300 billion of Chinese goods.

The only other items Beijing could tax would be imports of U.S. services. The United States had a services trade surplus with China of $40.5 billion in 2018.

But China does not have as much leverage over the United States as it might seem because large parts of that surplus are in tourism and education, areas that would be more difficult for the Chinese government to significantly roll back, James Green, a senior adviser at McLarty Associates, told Reuters.

China is more likely to further erect non-tariff barriers on U.S. goods, such as delaying regulatory approvals for agricultural products, said Green, who until August was the top U.S. Trade Representative official at the embassy in Beijing.

Polish far-right supporters protest against restitution of Jewish property

KONFRONTASI-Hundreds of far-right supporters marched in Warsaw on Saturday to protest against a U.S. law on the restitution of Jewish property seized during or after World War Two, an issue increasingly featuring in campaigns for upcoming Polish elections.

Carrying placards with slogans including “Poland has no obligations” and “Holocaust hyenas”, demonstrators marched from the prime minister’s office to the U.S. embassy in central Warsaw.

Cubans protest U.S. sanctions as Trump raises pressure on Venezuela

KNFRONTASI-Millions of Cubans took to the streets on Wednesday in protest over new sanctions imposed on the Caribbean island by the Trump administration and U.S. efforts to topple the government of socialist ally Venezuela.

“We will give a strong, firm and revolutionary response to the statements loaded with threats, provocations, lies and slander of the Yankee empire,” tweeted Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel as dawn broke over Havana.

Nations using oil as a weapon threatens OPEC: Iran oil minister

KONFRONTASI-Any country using oil as a weapon could cause the collapse of oil producer group OPEC, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Wednesday, according to SHANA, the news outlet of the oil ministry.

Oil prices hit their highest since November in recent days after Washington said all waivers for those importing sanctions-hit Iranian oil would end this week, pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran and further tightening global supply.

Trump seeks to designate Muslim Brotherhood as terror group

KONFRONTASI-The Trump administration is reportedly seeking to issue an order that would designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a "foreign terrorist organisation", the New York Times has reported.

According to the paper, which cited officials familiar with the matter, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi urged US President Donald Trump to take the step during an April 9 visit to the White House.

The Muslim Brotherhood, or Ikhwan al-Muslimeen, is a revivalist Islamic movement, formed in Egypt in 1928.

US commander of Guantanamo Bay prison 'relieved of duty'

KONFRONTASI-Military officials say the commander of the task force that runs the prison at the US Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been fired for a "loss of confidence in his ability to command".

A statement from US Southern Command issued on Sunday says Navy Rear Admiral John Ring was relieved of duty on Saturday.

The facility's deputy commander, Army Brigadier General John Hussey, is now the acting commander.

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