Connect with us

News

Explainer: The foreign policy legacy of Trump’s first term | News

Published

on


President Donald Trump made some of his flashiest 2016 campaign pledges in foreign policy areas, such as vowing to reevaluate the US relationship with NATO, abandon a landmark nuclear deal with Iran and bring US troops back from “forever wars”.

The Republican president, a former businessman from New York who boasts about his deal-making skills, has delivered on some of his pledges, while partially meeting a few others.

Some have ended in failure.

If Trump is defeated in the November 3 election by Democratic rival Joe Biden, the new administration’s hardest challenge will be to restore the global standing and trustworthiness of the United States, according to analysts and former officials from the US and Europe.

Biden, vice president under President Barack Obama, would inherit a scarred transatlantic relationship, deep antagonism with China and sanctions-dominated pressure campaigns against Iran, Syria and Venezuela.

Here is a look at some of the key policy priorities of the Trump administration and potential challenges for Biden:

China

A central theme in Trump’s 2016 campaign was to accuse China of “ripping off” the US while promising to seal a fair trade deal with Beijing that would help American businesses and create US jobs.

After almost two years of a tit-for-tat trade war with the world’s second-largest economy, Trump has so far managed a stalled first phase of such an agreement.

Meanwhile, Washington and Beijing have slapped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of each others’ goods and the global spread of the coronavirus from China has left bilateral ties at their lowest level in decades, raising fears of a new Cold War.

Washington has acted against Beijing on multiple fronts: It ended the special status of Hong Kong after China imposed sweeping national security legislation, sanctioned top officials over human rights abuses and sought to ban Chinese technology companies from operating in the US.

A Biden administration would have little option but to maintain the hard stance, analysts say, but would probably try to create room for engagement.

Iran nuclear deal 

In 2018, Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, saying he could strike a better one. He also launched a “maximum pressure” campaign to choke off Tehran’s sources of income.

Despite almost two years of sanctions on everything from oil revenue to minerals and Iran’s central bank, Washington has yet to get Tehran back to the negotiating table. Instead, escalating tensions have carried the two nations to the brink of war.

Biden has said he would deal with Iran through diplomacy and re-enter the agreement, but only if Iran first returned to compliance with the deal’s restrictions on its nuclear programme.

NATO and transatlantic ties

Trump has repeatedly complained about the failure of many NATO partners to meet defence spending targets. He has also questioned the continued relevance of the organisation created in 1949 at the start of the Cold War with Russia.

His attacks soured ties with several European allies, but more members of the alliance have now increased spending to meet its target of 2 percent of GDP.

This year, Trump promised to cut the number of US troops in Germany, accusing Berlin of taking advantage of the US while not meeting its NATO obligations. In July, the Pentagon announced 11,900 troops would leave Germany and the US would move its European military headquarters from Germany to Belgium.

Analysts said repairing the transatlantic alliance will take time, but should be one of the easier tasks awaiting a potential Biden administration.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sits in a tank as he talks to US soldiers based in Grafenwoehr, Germany [Reuters]

Troop withdrawals 

Trump promised in his 2016 campaign to stay out of foreign wars and bring home US troops deployed in Afghanistan, the US’s longest war, which is now in its nineteenth year.

Washington has begun cutting troop numbers in Afghanistan after striking a deal with the Taliban in February that envisaged the withdrawal of all US troops. This depends, however, on talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, which have stalled.

Trump also ordered a pullout of US troops from Syria. The decision was repeatedly watered down by aides and the military, but numbers have still been reduced by more than half.

Climate

One of Trump’s most controversial decisions was his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, something he had repeatedly promised to do during the 2016 campaign.

Trump said the agreement imposed “draconian” financial and economic burdens on the US and said he would negotiate a better one.

A new agreement has not materialised. The Biden campaign said he would recommit to the original Paris deal and lead an effort to get major countries to toughen their domestic targets. 

Middle East

Trump delivered on his 2016 campaign promise to relocate the US embassy in Israel to the divided city of  Jerusalem.

The move was condemned by most of the Arab world but won praise from the Israeli government and its supporters, as well as evangelical Christians.

His wider Middle East Peace plan was rejected by Palestinians as it allowed Israel to maintain control of lillegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, but received some encouraging responses from several Arab states.

One, the United Arab Emirates, this month normalised ties with Israel in a deal brokered by the US, a move that many analysts saw as a foreign policy win for Trump at a time when he has been trailing Biden in polls. 

North Korea

Trump surprised the world by entering unprecedented talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Despite the summitry, he made no progress in persuading Kim to give up his nuclear weapons, and talks remain stalled.

But some believe his ice-breaking diplomacy could be a building block for a future administration. 



Source – www.aljazeera.com

News

Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

Published

on

When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

Continue Reading

News

Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

Published

on

By


The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

Continue Reading

News

Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

Published

on

By


Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

Continue Reading

Trending