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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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New York’s coronavirus crisis tracked back to European travel — not China: scientists

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The New York Times reported Wednesday that scientists have tracked the cases of coronavirus in New York back to travel from Europe.

The Times explained that genomes show the link to those who came down with the virus back in February.

President Donald Trump has been celebrating his decision to shut down some travel from China, though not all travel. A whopping 430,000 people have traveled from China to the United States since the coronavirus crisis.

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Warrant for journalists from Jerry Falwell Jr. came from Liberty University’s own police

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A right-wing commentator interviewed Jerry Falwell Jr. during his show Wednesday, where Falwell said that there were two arrest warrants open for reporters who came onto Liberty University's campus.

Upon further examination of the warrant, the police officer who signed the warrant was Detective/Sgt. A.B. Wilkins 206 LUPD. The LUPD is not the Lynchburg Police Department nor is there a Sgt. or Detective A.B. Wilkins. It's the police department under the authority of Liberty University.

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Trump defenders Diamond and Silk locked out of Twitter for spreading COVID-19 misinformation

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Fox Nation hosts Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, better known as Diamond & Silk, were temporarily locked out of Twitter on Wednesday for urging people to go outside and develop immunity against the coronavirus.

“The only way we can become immune to the environment; we must be out in the environment. Quarantining people inside of their houses for extended periods will make people sick!” the pair tweeted from their joint account.

A spokesperson for Twitter told Mediaite their account was locked over the tweet.

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