by Kevin Mercado

Refugee Resettlement

Highlights from President Trump Argument with Australia’s Turnbull About Refugee Agreement
August 3, 2017
The day after Trump signed his first iteration of the travel ban, he had a conversation with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull regarding a refugee resettlement agreement made at the end of Obama’s term. The agreement would allow Australia to transfer refugees who were seeking asylum to the US. Trump said honoring the agreement “would make us look awfully bad”.

Dave Piepkorn: Behind Bannon’s Refugee Resettlement Plans?
August 8, 2017
The Fargo City Commissioner who was leading the charge against refugee resettlement in Fargo, Dave Piepkorn claimed responsibility in helping the national push on the same issue. Piepkorn said, “if you look back at the initial executive orders for refugee restrictions, they actually used quite a bit of my material in the original one.” There is pushback from the people of Fargo city are challenging the anti-refugee rhetoric coming from Piepkorn.

How a Plan to Resettle 100 Syrian Refugees Ripped Apart a Small Vermont Town
August 4, 2017
A plan for 23 refugee families to settle in Rutland introduced by Mayor Chris Louras sparked controversy in the town, diving members of the town into “Rutland Welcomes” and “Rutland First” pro and anti-refugee resettlement groups. David Allaire, who is anti-refugee resettlement, won the next Mayoral election and solidified, with the aid of Trump’s travel ban, that these families would have a harder time coming into the country. Only three families have made it into the town so far.

Home Office Accused of Abandoning Vulnerable Syrians After Figures Show Just 5% of Resettled Refugees are Disabled
August 7, 2017
The UK Government’s flagship refugee program has failed to accommodate for the most vulnerable people fleeing Syria. Figures obtained by The Independent have reported that just five percent of refugees resettled have disabilities despite existing estimates that say more than one in five people escaping the conflict are disabled.

Military Spending

Germany’s SPD Rejects NATO 2 Percent Defense Spending Target
August 5, 2017
This past Sunday, Germany’s Social Democrats rejected NATO’s target of spending 2 percent of the national output towards defense. The US had been pressing German long before Trump too office to increase its military spending. SPD leader Martin Schulz and Thomas Oppermann had strong criticisms of Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom they think is ‘kowtowing’ to the demands of Trump. “Germany would have to nearly double current defense spending from 37 billion euros to meet the NATO target.”

US Orwellian ‘Russia Threat’ Used to Increase Military Spending
August 1, 2017
According to this Op-Ed, “The strategy of US neocons is to get closer to the Russian bear until it finally becomes aggressive.” Mike Pence recently traveled to Estonia where he reconfirmed Washington’s commitment in securing the Baltic States against a “Russian threat.” Pence is on this trip to show support for NATO allies.

Major Defense Stocks Surge to All-Time Highs After Trump’s Tough Rhetoric Against North Korea
August 9, 2017
Defense stocks have increased following Trump remarks regarding threats from North Korea. He warned that these “threats” from North Korea “will be met with fire and fury.” The rest of the market fell, reflecting concerns about increased geopolitical tensions between the two countries.