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Dick Cheney, Leon Panetta worry about consequences of Iran deal withdrawal

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Dick Cheney and Leon Panetta, who served at the highest levels of U.S. government, see potential unintended consequences of the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, including possible military action in the Middle East.

Cheney, who served as vice president in the George Bush administration, and Panetta, who served as President Barack Obama’s defense secretary, pondered the consequences a day after U.S. President Donald Trump left the international agreement, raising the risk of conflict in the Middle East, upsetting European allies and casting uncertainty over global oil supplies.

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Panetta said the most worrisome issue for him is that Iran might continue to enrich uranium to build its nuclear capabilities. That could prompt Israel to react, Panetta said.

“I don’t think Israel is going to stand by and allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon because they would view that as a direct threat to the existence of Israel,” Panetta, 79, said.

“It would be my sense that Israel would seriously consider some type of military action to deal with that.”

 Given the U.S. relationship with Israel, the United States would “probably have to be part of that,” he added.
The men were speaking at the Context Leadership Summit in Las Vegas, a hedge fund-themed conference that brought together investors, money managers and former policy makers.

Cheney, 77, who said he never liked the Iran nuclear deal, agreed there could be conflict in the region even though he is not thinking that the United States would be automatically drawn in.

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“I don’t expect military action but it is anyone’s guess. It’s the Middle East,” he said.

Both men said U.S. allies in the region could play a critical role in helping keep the geopolitical balance. Panetta recommended a NATO-like coalition, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Jordan and Turkey.

‘GLOBAL WORLD’
More long-term dangers for the United States include China’s growing power, Cheney said.

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“Over a long term they are more likely to represent a strategic challenge to the U.S. than Russia or any of the other nations out there,” he said.

Both Cheney and Panetta, who both served as U.S. defense secretary during their careers, worried about China’s decision to militarize islands in the South China Sea and urged a stronger U.S. military presence in the region.

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“I think it is very important for us to talk with them, communicate with the Chinese, but to do it from strength,” Panetta said. The best way to do that is to simultaneously increase both diplomatic and military might, he said.

The men spoke on a panel dubbed a “Bi-partisan Discussion on the Future of U.S. Politics.”

Each has a child who is now serving in Congress and said they were confident the next generation of lawmakers would work harder to build government consensus.

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Panetta said it was a mistake by the Trump administration to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, and by walking away, the United States gave China a chance to expand its influence.

 “This is a global world. We cannot isolate ourselves from that world,” Panetta said.

In discussing trade agreements, Cheney recommended staying in NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, which President Trump has criticized.

“NAFTA has been a good deal,” he said. “I hope we do not do something foolish in terms of trade policy.”

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One thing they were both quick to agree on is that Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, should be confirmed.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Lawrence Delevingne; Editing by Robert Birsel


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Dershowitz is running a ‘bizarro defense’ of Trump: Harvard Law colleague says ‘Alan is just completely wacko’

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Two of the most famous names associated with Harvard Law School had competing appearances on MSNBC on Friday.

It began when Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus, was interviewed MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber about his new role officially representing President Donald Trump during the Senate impeachment trial.

Dershowitz claimed that neither abuse of power nor obstruction of Congress count as "high crimes" under the constitution.

Professor Alan Dershowitz, who has also been associated with Harvard Law for five decades, was asked about Dershowitz's argument during an interview with Chris Hayes.

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Why was Lev Parnas wearing a ‘Presidential Service Badge’ awarded to troops who serve in the White House?

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Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman posted a fascinating update about a photo of impeachment figure Lev Parnas.

The photo shows Igor Fruman -- who, like Parnas, is under federal indictment -- sitting closely next to Rudy Giuliani and Parnas.

Haber said a source informed her that in the picture, Parnas can be seen wearing a "Presidential Service Badge," linking to the Wikipedia entry on the pin.

"The Presidential Service Badge (PSB) is an identification badge of the United States Armed Forces which is awarded to members of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard as well as other members of the Uniformed Services, such as the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, who serve as full-time military staff to the President of the United States," Wikipedia explained.

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Trump’s big-money Florida fundraiser expected to bring in $10 million — from only 100 people

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President Donald Trump flew to Mar-a-Lago on Friday after receiving a formal summons from the U.S. Senate informing him of his impeachment trial.

The president will be attending a Friday evening campaign fundraiser.

The recipient of the money is Trump Victory, which is a joint fundraising committee set up by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee.

“Tonight’s Trump Victory fundraiser is expected to raise $10 million with approximately 100 people in attendance," the campaign told the White House pool reporter.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1218264289225728000

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