15-31 July 2018
1. The Importance of ICE
Within the last couple of weeks, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been under attack for allegedly ‘ripping children out of their parent’s arms’ under the current presidential administration. It has even gone so far as three members of House to introduce an act that would effectively abolish ICE, though losing traction very quickly within the House. ICE’s mission is to, “protect America from the cross-border crime and illegal immigration that threaten national security and public safety.” (ICE.gov). Essentially meaning that ICE is in place to best ensure that there aren’t any national security threats that are able to successfully make it into the United States. ICE plays a very important role in the safety of many Americans. “In FY2016, ICE made 1,952 human trafficking arrests and assisted over 400 victims.” (The Washington Time, Marsha Blackburn). Without ICE the United States loses the ability to properly control its own borders, which would likely result in an increase in illegal immigration, human and drug trafficking as well as violence overall. “Kate Steinle was shot and killed on a San Francisco pier three years ago this month. Her death came at the hands of an illegal alien who had been previously deported five times and was a convicted felon. (Marsha Blackburn). Without ICE in place, there would likely be more stories like this or some that are even worse due to a lack of control at the borders.
It is not likely that ICE will be going anywhere within the foreseeable future, this is in part due to the individuals introducing the bill to abolish ICE admitted to voting “no on their bill if it’s brought to the floor.” (The Daily Wire, Ella Nilsen).
2. North Korea Continuing Nuclear Program
During the Singapore Summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, it was agreed that both countries would work towards the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Though both leaders agreed on this, reports show that this is not the case for North Korea. Nothing can be confirmed; however, reports have shown that:
- North Korea’s official nuclear site at Yongbyon is being upgraded.
- The country is increasing enrichment in at least two secret sites.
- Kim Jong Un is having more mobile launch vehicles for ballistic missiles be produced in Pyongyang.
- They have expanded missile production of solid fuel engines which are more mobile and easier to launch. (BBC.com, Andreas Illmer).
Again, these are only reports, and nothing can be officially confirmed, although the above information is from multiple sources within the U.S. intelligence community. (BBC.com, Illmer).
Vipin Narang, an MIT professor for political science as well as a specialist on nuclear proliferation, stated, “None of that activity is in violation of any agreements made at the Singapore summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.” (BBC.com). North Korea agreed to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, which they view as a phased process. Both sides are waiting to figure out the details as to how exactly denuclearization will be occurring. So, for now, North Korea is technically not violating anything.
Though North Korea is not officially violating any agreement, this is still very important to U.S. National Security.
The biggest takeaway is the production of the solid fuel engines, which offers the ability for quick creation of a launch site, giving less time for anyone to detect, specifically South Korea or the United States. Unfortunately for the United States, there is potential for North Korea to have a different motive than what meets the eye It may allow them to continue working on the sites that remain secret. If this theory is correct, it could spell further complications in the Korean peninsula.
Moving forward, North Korea will continue to make headlines in the United States’ media, and it’s even possible for the United States and North Korea to work out the details as to how the Korean peninsula will denuclearize. However, it is still likely that North Korea will continue to work on their nuclear program.
3. Afghanistan, The Lingering Problem
Since 2001 Afghanistan has continued to be an issue for the United States, having to fight the Taliban regime and al-Qaeda, those responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001. The war in Afghanistan has now spanned into three presidential administrations causing issues for all three. Now, the current administration has become frustrated with the lack of progress being made 17 years after the war started, with an increase in Taliban activity in rural areas, as well as the capabilities of the Afghan security forces “remains in doubt” (Axios).
Though nothing has officially happened, as in a review of the current strategy in Afghanistan, it is looking like the White House is leaning in that direction. (Axios). Conducting a review is nothing new a National Security Council spokesperson said, “We regularly conduct reviews of our strategies examining their effectiveness and making necessary adjustments to ensure U.S. resources are being used in the most efficient ways possible.” (Axios). The review would look at the current strategy overall, as well as the presence of U.S. troops, and possible negotiations with the Taliban. All of this stemming from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visiting Afghanistan recently and meeting with President Ashraf Ghani, Pompeo stated, “The region and the world are all tired of what is taking place here in the same way that Afghan people are no longer interested in seeing war.” (Axios).
Though it is foreseeable for a review to be conducted on the current strategy in Afghanistan, nothing drastic will likely be changed. History has shown time and time again that when any great power leaves Afghanistan, it creates a power vacuum for a regime, like the Taliban to rise in power. The whole goal of the United States’ presence is to ensure stability is created and democracy can evolve as the government of Afghanistan. Some believe we should neogotate with the Taliban. However, there is nothing to negotiate with them. The Taliban believes in a very strict, Sharia law, and there is no movement from those beliefs, which would make it difficult for negotiations to work. We will likely see a review of the strategy in Afghanistan, but there will likely be no major changes. However, there is the potential of seeing minor ones to adjust to stop the Taliban expansion, as well as gain trust in the Afghan security forces.
Berrien, Hank. “RUNNING SCARED: 3 Dems Introduce ‘Abolish Ice’ Proposal. Then They Vote No.” Daily Wire, The Daily Wire, 13 July 2018, www.dailywire.com/news/33021/running-scared-3-dems-introduce-abolish-ice-hank-berrien.
Britzky, Haley. “Frustrated Trump May Reconsider Afghanistan Strategy.” Axios, Axios, 11 July 1970, www.axios.com/trump-may-be-requesting-review-of-afghan-strategy-as-frustration-grows-a70f19f9-c0d1-4bf5-bcfa-71ed74af579a.html.
Datoc, Christian. “Eric Holder: Call to Abolish ICE Is a ‘Gift’ for Republicans.” Washington Examiner, 14 July 2018, www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/eric-holder-call-to-abolish-ice-is-a-gift-for-republicans.
Illmer, Andreas. “Is North Korea Secretly Continuing Its Nuclear Programme?” BBC News, BBC, 2 July 2018, www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-44679144.
“What We Do.” ICE, www.ice.gov/overview.