Beltway Insider: President George H.W. Bush Dies, Trump/G20 Cold War, Brexit, Putin's Long Game; US/MX/CA Trade; Olivia Hooker

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President Donald Trump announced the nation will mourn the passing of the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush, on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, honoring the lifetime of dedicated service he gave to his country.

According to Gallup, President Trump job approval, over the past week, and remained constant at 38% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President increased by four percentage points to 60%.

Trump and G20 Cold War

President Donald Trump attended the recent G20 Summit in Argentina and while he cut short scheduled bi-laterals the real alliance that had the world's attention was suspended leader Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The two leaders shared an enthusiastic greeting, as both are facing the isolation of the other leaders due to recent acts of aggression and violence in their homelands.


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The Russians have once again violated the territorial sovereignty of neighboring Ukraine and taken members of the Ukraine navy hostage and the Saudi Crown Prince is believed to have ordered the recent murder of Washington Post Columnist, Saudi critic and US citizen, Jamal Khashoggi.

Putin and Crimea

The act of aggression against the Ukraine is reminiscent of the 2014 takeover of Crimea, the seaside city located in the most southern portion of the nation bordering Russian by the Crimean peninsula, a thin strip of land that connects the two nations.

A build up of troops, during the Sochi Winter Olympics were not questioned. As the Olympic ended Putin's tanks rolled across the Crimean Peninsula and annexed Crimea, forcing its citizens to vote for succession.

This move was costly for the Russian Federation. The immediate suspension from the Group of Eight Industrialized Nations (G8) and sanctions from the United States and other nations.

Putin refused to back down, and initiated a rebel backed, Russian funded, civil uprising on the Eastern Ukraine front which resulted in the intentional downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, MH17, an Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur bound flight that was carrying 298 passengers and crew some of which were traveling to an 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, including Joep Lange, former president of the International AIDS society and six other researchers setting the research back decades.

The surface to air missile responsible for the downing was provided to the rebels by the Russian military.

Ukraine and the EU

The Ukraine, under the leadership of President Petro Poroshenko, elected after the seizure of Crimea, worked with foreign leaders and diligently with former Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama Administration to secure the necessary minimum requirements for membership in the European Union.

With no centralized, first responder military comprised of EU nations, the burden of military intervention and de-escalation of military threat rests solely on the nation itself.


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In this case, the Ukraine is once again faced with defending the sovereignty of its nation with a military that pales in comparison to the giant Russian Federation military.

President Trump Cancels Putin Summit

President Trump was asked throughout the two day Summit what interaction he would have if any with Russian President Putin, who is often seen as a friend and ally of the oft beleaguered US President.

On this day as the world unanimously responds to the current crisis instigated by the Russian Federation President Trump explained why he cancelled the Putin Summit. "Ukraine," he said, "Purely and simply, Ukraine.  We don't like what happened.  We're not happy about it; nobody is.  And hopefully they'll be able to settle it out soon because we look forward to meeting with President Putin.  But on the basis of what took place with respect to the ships and the sailors, that was the sole reason."

Home Support for Brexit Wanes

United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May, also attending the G20, is having her own struggles garnering support for the latest version of the Brexit divorce plan which was recently ratify in record time by the EU membership.

Members of Parliament are concerned the Prime Minster has made too many concessions in the mega multi-nation exit and is essentially giving away the bank. The approval by U.K. leaders on December 31, have her a hero; failure to pass suggests she is ineffective and unable to handle the unprecedented negotiation process.

Quite possibly "Stay" separatists, who are still hoping for an additional referendum that keeps the UK in the EU may be grasping at air and still with the numbers of dissenters growing an approval is a must win for the Prime Minster to keep her job in the New Year.

Trump/German Chancellor Angela Merkel Bi-Lateral

"I'm very glad we have the opportunity for this bilateral meeting.  We shall address issues related to trade, multilateral issues, and also fair trade and the World Trade Organization.  We will also talk about bilateral relations, Ukraine, Syria, and the violations of the INF treaty by Russia," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

Trump/Prime Minister Morrison of Australia before Pull-Aside Meeting

"Well, thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. President. Australia and the United States have always been the greatest of friends — not just in periods of strategic cooperation, but economically. And the people-to-people relationships — well, there's none better," said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Trump Signs New Trade Deal with Mexico, Canada

President Trump, also announced the recent signing of a new United States, Mexico, Canada Trade Agreement, which intrinsically binds the economies of three of the largest North American countries to each other.

The border crisis notwithstanding, the three leaders stood shoulder to shoulder and spoke on the trade agreements that could greatly enhance the Mexican economy with the export of its number one agricultural crop.

The three leaders gathered to announce the United States Mexico Canada Agreement and speak on the two year negotiation process that brought this deal to fruition. Mexican President Enrique Pena spoke on the last day of his presidency ending his term with an unprecedented accomplishment and leaving a legacy of fostering partnership that will greatly increase the economy of Mexico and greatly benefit the living conditions of its people.

"The USMCA is the largest, most significant, modern, and balanced trade agreement in history.  All three countries will benefit greatly.  In the United States, it will support high-paying manufacturing jobs and promote greater access for American exports across the range of sectors, including our farming, manufacturing, and service industries. As part of our agreement, the United States will lock in our market access to Canada and Mexico, and greatly expand our agricultural exports.  This is an amazing deal for our farmers, and allows them to use cutting-edge biotechnology, and eliminates non-scientific barriers." President Trump said.

"The new North American Free Trade Agreement maintains stability for Canada's entire economy, that's essential for the millions of jobs and middle-class families across the country that rely on strong, reliable trading relationships with our closest neighbors.  Canadians put their country's interests first and worked hard to achieve an agreement that will protect jobs, strengthen the middle class, and create new opportunities for businesses. There's much more work to do but reaching a new free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico is a major step for our economy," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.


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"The negotiation of USMCA allowed to reaffirm the importance of economic integration in North America.  For more than a quarter of a century, our three countries have maintained very tight trade relationships.  Such trade has transformed Mexico.  Our exchanges abroad represent more than 70 percent of our gross domestic product. Revamping the new trade agreement was aimed to preserve the view of an integrated North America, with a firm belief that together we are stronger and more competitive. Trade agreements shall not be static.  Agreements need to move along with the economy," Mexican President Enrique Pena said.

The complete transcript is available here.

The President also met with members of the Asian Pacific delegation – Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese President XI.

President George H.W. Bush Dies

Former President George Herbert Walker Bush died this week after a series of health related issues which began after the passing of his beloved wife, Barbara, early this year. He was 94.

Dubbed "41" by the media to distinguished him from his son, George W. Bush, the 43rd President, Bush lived a life of dedicated service to his family and nation. With the same devotion he served his country he also cherished his family.

A decorated World War II Navy Veteran, he was shot down in the pacific and rescued by a passing submarine. After discharge he and his wife, Barbara, whom he met as a teen and spent many nights during his three years of active duty writing love letters and reading hers in return as he faced death in the Pacific theater daily.

They began a family and moved to Houston, Texas, where he became a successful Oil businessman. Life, has a way of presenting new possibilities. After two failed Senate bids, he ran for the House of Representative and won. Thus began his life of political service.

With a Republican sitting President, Bush who had earned Nixon's endorsement in a previous campaign, appointed him Ambassador to the United States. As Watergate cut short President Richard Nixon's tenure, Bush survived and within 24 hours after his departure from his U.N. post he was offer the position of Chairman of the Republican National Committee. No easy task, after Watergate.

Serving the RNC for one year, he resigned. Ten days later he was appointed by President Gerald Ford to the Chief Liaison to Republic of China. After a successful year he was appointed again by President Ford as the Director of the CIA.

His trajectory, although brilliant and very smooth, would soon surprise everyone with an announcement by the 1980 Republican nominee for President Ronald Regan, that he had chosen Bush as his running mate.

Regan was elected and Bush became Vice President. The first major event was the attempted assassination of the President. Bush, who was known as a humble and respectful individual followed unflinchingly followed protocol and refused to allow his helicopter to land on the South Lawn. Had he followed the advice of his aides he could have jeopardize his position with President Regan who recovered quickly. The two men developed a solid working relationship and meet weekly to reaffirm their unified approach and direction to domestic and international policy.

The next eight years saw the world changing rapidly as the Cold War ended, the fall of the Berlin Wall, it also ended the eight years of President Regan's presidency. Bush, of course, ran for the Office and won by a landslide. He is the last Republican president to win by a landslide.

His presidency did not run as smooth as his predecessors and after one term he lost his re-election bid to a youthful leader named William Jefferson Clinton. The two men after a contentious race and both "retired" from political office became friends and remained dedicated to public service teaming up to address relief One America Appeal to help victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma that decimated New Orleans and the Texas coastline.

He is survived by his five children, former President George W. Bush, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, businessman Neil Bush, businessman Marvin Bush, and author and philanthropist Dorothy Bush Koch, 14 grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren. He predeceased his wife of 73 years, Barbara and daughter Pauline Robin Bush, 3, who died in 1953 of leukemia.

Funeral arrangements indicate the president will be carried to Washington on Air Force One. The House and Senate will hold an arrival ceremony Monday evening. He will lie in state at the US Capital Building Rotunda until Wednesday. The Public is invited to pay respects to "41" anytime from 7:30pm Monday to 8:45am Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 5, has been designated a national day of mourning. His funeral will be held on Wednesday at the National Cathedral at 11:00am.

Civil Right Trailblazer Passes

Dr. Olivia Hooker, who became the first woman to serve active duty in the United States Coast Guard in 1945 and helped lay the groundwork for the civil rights movement died this week. She was 103.


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Born in 1918, Hooker was the last known survivor of the 1921 Tulsa race riot, as the Klu Klux Klan ransacked her home while she and her siblings hid. She lived to see the iconic leaders of the first generation of Civil Rights Activists pass the torch to a younger generation.

She later moved to Ohio with her family and earned a BA from Ohio State University in 1937. She continued her education earning a MA from Columbia University's Teachers College and a Ph.D in psychology from the University of Rochester. She retired from her career at the age of 87 after which she volunteered at the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

She received many citations and honors and was recognized by former President Obama for her lengthy and dedicated service.

For more information on President Donald Trump: www.whitehouse.gov

Sources: Whitehouse.gov, Wikipedia.com

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