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Pro-Trump think tank outlines ‘America First’ foreign policy



A think tank working to lay the groundwork for a second Trump administration if former US President Donald Trump wins again in November has published a new book, An America First Approach to U.S. National Security, which aims to detail the so-called “America First” national security policy.

The book was written by former Trump advisers, including Robert Lighthizer, who served as US Trade Representative, Michael Waltz, a Florida Republican and former Green Beret, and Fred Fleitz, who served as Trump’s chief of staff on the National Security Council.

All of these names are rumoured to be in the running for senior positions if Trump wins the presidential election in November.

Think tanks working to ‘help Trump avoid the mistakes of 2016’

The book was produced by the think tank America First Policy Institute (AFPI). According to the Associated Press, the group, like “Project 2025” by another pro-Trump think tank, the Heritage Foundation, is trying to help Trump avoid the mistakes of 2016, when he entered the White House largely unprepared.

It includes proposals such as tying future military aid to Ukraine to its participation in peace talks with Russia, banning Chinese citizens from buying property within 50 miles of US government buildings, and staffing the national security sector with Donald Trump’s aides.

The institute is also working on dozens of draft executive orders and developing a training programme for future political appointees. The Heritage Foundation, on the other hand, is compiling a comprehensive personnel database and preparing its own policy guidelines.

The book’s authors are in contact with Trump

Both groups stress their independence from the Trump campaign and insist that the only policies Trump supports are those expressed by the candidate himself.

But Fred Fleitz, the book’s editor, said he and retired Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg, who served for a time as Trump’s deputy national security adviser and wrote parts of the book, are in frequent contact with the former president, asking for feedback and discussing issues such as Ukraine at length.”We hope these are things he’s thinking about. We don’t speak for him, but I think he would approve,” said Fleitz, who previously served as chief of staff to the National Security Council.

Fleitz said he hoped the book would be an “easy-to-use” guide that “provides an intellectual foundation for an America First approach” to national security.

Kellogg said: “This is grand strategy. You don’t start with policies. You start with strategies. And that’s what we’ve done,” he added.

Criticism of ‘globalist’ strategies

The book characterises the current trajectory of US national security as a failure, with the foreign policy establishment accused of adopting an interventionist and ‘globalist’ approach at the expense of America’s ‘national interest’.

The book offers some premises for how a future Trump administration might approach foreign policy issues such as the war in Ukraine.

Trump has said that, if elected, he would resolve the issue before Inauguration Day in January.

The book’s chapter on the war discusses how the conflict developed rather than how to end it. But it does say that the US should make future military aid conditional on Ukraine’s participation in peace talks with Russia.

Continue arming Ukraine after ‘peace’ is established

Predicting that the Ukrainian military will lose ground over time, the report recommends that the US “should not continue to send weapons into a stalemate that Ukraine will ultimately find difficult to win”.

In the event of a peace agreement, however, the US would continue to arm Ukraine as a deterrent against Russia.

The authors propose a framework in which Ukraine “would not be asked to give up its goal of regaining all of its territory” but would accept diplomacy “with the understanding that this would require a diplomatic breakthrough in the future and would probably not happen before (Russian President Vladimir) Putin leaves office”.

The book also acknowledges that Ukrainians “will find it difficult to accept a negotiated peace that does not return all of their territory or, at least for the time being, does not hold Russia accountable for the carnage it has caused in Ukraine”.

Nevertheless, the authors declare their agreement with Donald Trump’s words on CNN in 2023: “I want everybody to stop dying” and that “this is a good first step”.

An architecture for Ukraine ‘focused on bilateral security defence’

The book blames President Joe Biden for the war and repeats Trump’s claim that “Putin would never have invaded Ukraine” if he had been in office.

The book’s main argument in defence of this claim is that Putin “sees Trump as strong and decisive”.

Looking to the future, the book suggests that Putin could be persuaded to join peace talks if Biden and other NATO leaders offered to delay Ukraine’s NATO membership for an extended period.

Instead, it suggests that the US should establish “a long-term security architecture for Ukraine’s defence, focusing on bilateral security defence”.

It also calls for a tax on Russian energy sales to fund Ukraine’s reconstruction.

According to the book, the prolongation of the war in Ukraine risks deepening the alliance between Russia, China, Iran and the Democratic Republic of Korea, which the think tank calls a new “anti-American axis”.

China ‘most urgent national security threat2

“As serious as the war in Ukraine is, it is not the greatest national security threat to our country. That threat is China,” the authors write.

The book describes China as the country’s “most pressing national security threat”, eager to replace the United States as the world’s leading power. The authors propose a “hawkish policy”, building on the approaches of both the Trump years and the Biden administration, to make Beijing’s policies “largely irrelevant to American life”.

By elevating economic concerns about China above national security concerns, the book proposes a reciprocal approach that would deny Beijing access to US markets in the same way that American companies are blocked in China.

It also recommends more rigorous vetting of US adversaries, particularly Chinese-owned cyber and technology companies, to ensure they are not collecting sensitive information.

It also recommends that Chinese citizens be prohibited from buying property within a 50-mile (80 km) radius of any US government property.

AFPI is working with US states to introduce legislation to ban foreign ownership of farmland. So far, such legislation has been passed in Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, North and South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Utah.

He is also calling for visa restrictions on Chinese students wishing to study in the US and a ban on TikTok and other Chinese apps over privacy concerns.

However, Trump has said he opposes legislation that would force the sale of TikTok or block its access to the US. Last week, Trump stepped up his criticism of Biden over his proposal to ban the social media app TikTok, claiming that the current president supported the ban to “help his friends on Facebook get richer and more dominant”.

US investment strengthens People’s Liberation Army

“Under America First, the United States must focus its military power on deterring China’s peer threat, using the full spectrum of political, economic and military power,” Waltz writes in a chapter of the book.

The book argues that decades of US efforts to transform China into a responsible partner on the global stage have been a “self-defeating policy”.

The authors argue that American investment in China has provided liquidity for Beijing’s high-tech projects, which have strengthened the People’s Liberation Army by reinforcing military-civilian fusion.

Continuation of tariffs against China

The book called for the continuation of all tariffs imposed on China during the Trump administration, while urging the US to develop supply chains “based solely on American workers, our allies, or our friendly neighbours in the Americas”.

They thanked the Biden administration for restricting US investment in sensitive Chinese sectors such as artificial intelligence, and called for further measures to sever American investment ties with organisations associated with the Chinese Communist Party.

Taiwan’s ‘defence’ prioritised, partnership with Japan critical

While the US is debating how to respond to a possible Chinese intervention in Taiwan, the authors of the book also address this issue.

The book clearly states that “the island must be defended”. The authors argue that protecting Taiwan’s security is in both the economic and national security interests of the United States.

But the authors insist that the US should demand more from its allies.

“If allied countries were allowed to contribute in their own way, they could significantly reduce the strategic burden on the United States,” the book says.

The US-Japan alliance “sets the standard” for a successful “America First” foreign policy, the authors write, praising Tokyo’s decision to increase defence spending and acquire stand-off missiles.

As for the Quad, an informal four-way partnership between the United States, Japan, India and Australia, the authors encourage “closer military integration” to counter the rise of China.

Call for more military support for Israel

Ellie Cohanim, Trump’s former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for ‘Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism’, explained what the ‘America First’ strategy means for the Israeli military.

Cohanim wrote that the US should send Israel a fleet of 25 Lockheed Martin F-35s, a Boeing F-15 EX and an Apache E attack helicopter.

Cohanim wrote that the US should give Israel some of the billions of dollars in military funding in Israeli currency so that Israel can spend it at home, and that Washington should force Arab states to accept Israel’s suspension of political negotiations with the Palestinians and subject the Palestinian people to “indefinite forced de-radicalisation”.

According to Cohanim, “peace in the Middle East will only be achieved through the reassertion of American power”.


Biden withdraws: what happens next?



The US President Joe Biden, who was expected to be the Democratic candidate in the 024 presidential elections, has announced his withdrawal from the race.

Biden, who had long been under pressure from both mega-donors and key figures within the Democratic Party to withdraw, could not continue his resistance.
Biden, 81, said in a written statement on Sunday that it had been ‘the greatest honour’ to serve, but that his withdrawal was ‘in the best interests of his party and the country’.

Not only did the list of Democratic lawmakers reiterating their call for Biden to step down grow to at least 40 before Sunday’s announcement, but staunch Biden supporters such as Senator Joe Manchin also stepped up their public calls for the 81-year-old to end his presidential campaign.

Shortly before the withdrawal, Manchin appeared on ABC’s ‘This Week’ and urged Biden to ‘pass the torch to a new generation’.

Biden endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris for the nomination. I am honoured to receive the President’s endorsement and it is my intention to seek and win this nomination,’ Harris said in a statement.

Harris must win support of Biden delegates

Biden’s candidacy was due to be formalised at the Democratic National Convention (DNC), which takes place from 19-22 August. Now, delegates who previously backed Biden will have to choose the Democratic nominee by supporting Harris or other candidates who emerge.

Dozens of senior Democrats and big names immediately praised the decision, including former President Barack Obama, Senate leader Chuck Schumer and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Former President Bill Clinton and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said they supported Kamala Harris as the party’s nominee for the November vote and would ‘fight with everything we have to elect her’.

While Obama said he had “extraordinary confidence” that “an extraordinary candidate will emerge”, he did not explicitly endorse Harris or any other candidate.

Two major Democratic donors, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Alexander Soros, son of investor George Soros, have publicly backed Harris.

It will also be interesting to see who Amala Harris chooses as her vice-president if she becomes a candidate. California Governor Gavin Newsom, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear have all been mentioned as possible running mates.

Poll results were influential in the decision

POLITICO wrote about the behind-the-scenes process of Biden’s withdrawal.

According to the report, the president’s decision came on his fourth day of isolation at his Delaware beach house, where he was quarantined while recovering from Covid.

Biden was initially accompanied by only a small group of aides and spent the entire time away from the public.

The White House, meanwhile, gave few details of Biden’s activities, saying there were only a few briefings with top aides and a congratulatory call to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

But Biden was joined this weekend by one of his closest advisers, Steve Ricchetti, who travelled to Delaware to review recent polls and reactions from Democrats who want Biden to step aside, people familiar with the matter said.

Just hours before Biden announced his withdrawal from the race, his campaign was rocked by more bad news: a new poll showed Biden down 7 points in Michigan, more than double the margin he faced in the state he should have won going into last month’s debate.

The White House was unaware of Biden’s announcement.

Biden made separate calls to Vice President Kamala Harris, Chief of Staff Jeff Zients and Campaign Manager Jen O’Malley Dillon. He then called other senior White House and campaign advisers and publicly announced his plans to withdraw.

Biden’s message on X surprised most other White House and campaign staff, who had received no indication that he was reconsidering his candidacy.

Sources also told ABC that Biden’s own staff did not know the president was stepping down until a minute before he made his decision public on Sunday, and some members of the staff were blindsided by the decision.

Zients is scheduled to hold a conference call with the entire White House staff on Monday morning, as well as a call with executive branch officials.

Did the Obama family force Biden to withdraw?

Biden’s youngest brother, Frank Biden, told ABC that his brother’s decision to withdraw was a “close call” made after several meetings between several members of the Biden family over the past week, led by “first lady” Jill Biden, and that the family has always supported the president doing what he thinks is best for the country.

“The bottom line is this: this is about his overall health and vitality. It’s not an attachment thing. He’s a man of honour, it annoys him that he shuffles his feet when he walks,” he said.

Many people close to Den say he has a lot of resentment towards former President Obama.

According to the IOS news, many of Obama’s advisers pressured Biden not to run in 2016.

‘Obama already used this leverage in 2016 when his team lobbied him not to run,’ said a former Biden aide. ‘You can’t do that more than once,’ he said.

Obama’s strongest connection is with White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, who is influential but not as personally close to Biden as other top aides.

There is also tension between Michelle Obama and the Biden family over the Bidens’ treatment of Kathleen Buhle, the former wife of Hunter Biden and a close friend of Michelle Obama. It has been said that the book Buhle wrote after her divorce from Biden following a contentious process was not welcomed by the Bidens.

Obama a ‘puppet master’, according to Biden

Sources who spoke to the New York Times also claimed that Biden had become “angry” with party leaders, particularly former President Barack Obama, and that Obama was involved in discussions about the 81-year-old’s withdrawal from the Democratic nomination.

According to the NYT report, Biden sees Obama as a “behind-the-scenes puppet master” when it comes to speeches about the president’s campaign.

Sources close to Biden, who requested anonymity, said the president ‘has been in politics long enough to assume that the media leaks in recent days were coordinated to increase pressure on him to step aside’.

According to a report in the Washington Post, Obama told allies on 19 July that Joe Biden should reconsider his re-election bid.

The paper quoted Obama as saying that he believed Biden’s path to victory was narrowing and that the 81-year-old should ‘seriously consider the viability of his candidacy’.

Trump and Republicans begin attacking Harris

An hour after Den’s statement, the pro-Trump super PAC campaign fund Make America Great Again released an ad attacking Harris, claiming she had ‘covered up Joe’s obvious mental decline’.

‘Whoever the left nominates now, there will be more of the same,’ Donald Trump said.

Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. also posted on Truth Social, saying: ‘Kamala Harris has all of Joe Biden’s left-wing policy record. the difference is she is more liberal and less competent than Joe, which is really saying something. was held responsible for the border and we saw the worst illegal invasion in our history!!!’ he wrote.

Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles, senior advisers to the Trump campaign, wrote in a note: ‘Kamala Harris is as much of a joke as Biden. Harris will be even WORSE for the people of our nation than Joe Biden. Harris has been Crooked Joe’s top aide all along. They have each other’s records and there is no distance between the two. Harris should be defending the failed Biden administration AND his poor record on liberal crime [in California],’ they wrote

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What caused the global internet outage?



Today’s (Friday 19 July) problems with Microsoft’s cloud services have gone down in history as one of the biggest IT outages ever, affecting countless businesses and individuals around the world.

According to the Financial Times (FT), it is yet another example of how a small technical change by a company unknown to many outside the IT industry can cause widespread havoc.

Companies are grappling with problems affecting computers, servers and other IT equipment running Microsoft Windows. Users of affected computers are experiencing a ‘blue screen of death’ indicating that Windows cannot load. They have seen it.

Microsoft blamed a buggy update from security software vendor CrowdStrike. CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz said in a post on X that the cause of the problems was “a bug found in a single content update for Windows”.

Kurtz said PCs and servers running Apple’s MacOS and the open-source Linux operating system, which is widely used in Internet infrastructure, were not affected.

“This is not a security incident or a cyber attack. The problem has been identified, isolated and a fix has been issued,” the CrowdStrike CEO said.

CrowdStrike is one of the largest providers of ‘endpoint’ security software that protects the connections between computer networks and remote devices connected to corporate networks, from laptops, phones and servers to retail payment terminals and ATMs. Any of these devices running Windows could be affected by the bug.

Customers of Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform, much of which runs on Windows, have also reported problems. The IT outage has affected airlines, banks and publishers from the US and Europe to Australia, Japan and India.

This morning’s global IT outage is unprecedented in terms of the range and scale of systems affected,’ said Harjinder Lallie, a cyber security expert at the University of Warwick.

CrowdStrike is a cybersecurity company founded in 2011 and based in Austin, Texas. Its Falcon software is designed to stop cyberattacks and includes a range of products that run on individual devices and are delivered via the cloud.

The company’s revenue rose by a third to $3.1 billion in its latest fiscal year, which ended in January, while net income narrowed to $90.6 million from a loss of $183.2 million a year earlier.

CrowdStrike says it is “the cloud security provider of choice for 62 of the Fortune 100”, with more than 29,000 companies using its products.

The Nasdaq-listed company joined the S&P 500 last month.

CrowdStrike’s shares had more than doubled over the past year before Friday’s outage, giving the company a market capitalisation of $83.5 billion. However, the shares fell sharply before the Nasdaq opened in New York on Friday.

While CrowdStrike says a ‘fix is in place’, it is unclear how long it will take to roll out to the large number of affected customers and all employee devices.

Vasileios Karagiannopoulos, a cybersecurity researcher at the University of Portsmouth, said the problems “could take days, if not weeks, to resolve”.

Karagianopoulos added that the problems were ‘so global and so widespread across systems that IT support may be sparse due to demand’.

Cybersecurity researcher Kevin Beaumont said in social media posts that CrowdStrike customers were going through an ‘incredibly painful’ process to resolve the issue.

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Silicon Valley tech giants line up to donate to Donald Trump



US tech and business leaders, including Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale, venture capitalist Doug Leone and the Winklevoss twins, have donated to a new super political action committee backing Donald Trump’s presidential bid.

America Pac has raised more than $8.7 million since its launch in June, including $1 million from Silicon Valley investors who have publicly backed Trump in recent weeks.

Donors include Sequoia partner Shaun Maguire and Valor Equity Partners founder Antonio Gracias, as well as Sequoia Capital co-founders Leone and Lonsdale of 8VC and Palantir.

The Financial Times quoted a person with direct knowledge of the super pac as saying that Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and X, is also planning to donate. Musk is a close business associate of several of the donors, including Lonsdale.

Coal giant Joe Craft, CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, and Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain, also donated $1 million, while Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss each gave $250,000.

Musk also considering Super Pac donation

Silicon Valley has long been considered one of the most liberal regions in the US, but some tech leaders, unhappy with President Joe Biden’s stance on regulation and taxes, are moving to the right politically.

Trump has also appealed to libertarian-leaning entrepreneurs and venture capitalists with promises to protect free speech and support the cryptocurrency industry.

Musk formally announced his support for Trump shortly after Trump’s attack at a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday. Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman also officially endorsed Trump on Saturday.

Musk also called Trump’s choice of Senator JD Vance, a former venture capitalist, as his running mate “excellent” on Monday.

Musk wrote on X: “Trump-Vance. Resounding victory,” he wrote. Musk has previously supported Democrats including Biden, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Tech and venture capital giants warm to Trump

Some prominent Silicon Valley figures are becoming increasingly active in supporting the Trump campaign.

Venture capitalist David Sacks, who hosted a fundraiser at his San Francisco home last month where Vance introduced Trump, spoke at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Milwaukee on Monday.

Keith Rabois, managing director of Khosla Ventures, told the FT that he too would donate $1 million to support Trump.

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