All posts by Gordon Smith

President of Syria Decries American Efforts Against ISIS

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The President of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad, believes that the United States is not serious about trying to defeat the ISIS invasion in his country. Al-Assad, who is a polarizing leader around the world, spoke about the matter during an exclusive interview he conducted with NBC News earlier this week. He talked about how he was branded as being a “delusional” leader for hoping to take back every inch of his country from the ISIS barbarians. But he may owe his new-found boldness to a close relationship with Russia.

syriaAssad claims the Syrian army has made sufficient headway in the past few months against ISIS forces, which means they are on track to get the entire country back over the coming years. Even though he claims it may not “any more than a few months” to get Syria back from ISIS, most experts believe it will take a little longer for the Syrian army to completely defeat their enemy.

For his part, Al-Assad is not diplomatic about who he credits with helping his country defeat ISIS. During his interview with NBCNews, Assad went on to say that Russia was the world power that really stepped up when his country needed them most. “It was the crucial factor that tipped the scales in our favor,” said Assad. One example of Russia’s assistance is how they helped get the city of Palmyra back from under ISIS control.

But the role of the Russians is not necessarily viewed as a positive sign by other Western powers. They are worried about the Russians overreaching in a part of the world that may not concern them. In addition, the United States and other countries are not happy with the fact that Russia has been busy bombing various parts of Syria, with little regard for whether they are hitting civilians or terrorists.

us-flagRussia does claim their attacks are targeted and only strike on terrorist hubs, but other entities do not have share the same views. The United States is still determined to have more of a say in what goes on in Syria over the coming months. They are attempting to strike a backchannel deal that may see Bashar Al-Assad give up power in return for United States support in the war against ISIS. The Secretary of State from the United States, John Kerry, is heading to Syria for talks in the coming days.

According to Assad, the assistance given by the United States so far has only served to make matters worse. He believes that “illegal” American airstrikes have resulted in more terrorism, while Russia’s “legal” attacks have helped the Syrian army defeat the enemy. But some view Assad’s statements as having a huge agenda, because he wants to align himself with Russia to remain in power.

Donald Trump Meets with Veep Candidates

With the Republican National Convention fast approaching, and Donald Trump set to accept his nomination as their candidate for President of the United States, it is time for him to pick his Vice-President. A few serious candidates have emerged, while reports of other names are still coming out every day, with the public eager to find out who Trump chooses. There are some who believe Trump’s VP is the person who can help him unite the Republican Party, while others think he will only pick another person who shares his views on how to reshape the political reality in the United States.

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Whoever he picks, Trump’s VP is set to make the headlines over the coming weeks and months. Trump is known for managing to keep himself close to the front page of the news, and many expect a similar impact from his Vice President. Whether the pick helps solidify and expand Trump’s support or simply makes #NeverTrump supporters more determined to vote for anyone but him, is anyone’s guess. There is a growing percentage of the population who do not see themselves voting for Trump under any circumstances, which means his VP choice could be his one chance to prove himself to those citizens.

The primary candidates for the Vice-Presidency under a Trump administration are Jeff Sessions from Alabama, Newt Gingrich from Georgia and Mike Pence from Indiana. Meanwhile, the likes of Chris Christie are also seen as serious possibilities for the role. Most Republican experts believe the role should and will go to Newt Gingrich because he represents Trump’s best chance of securing the Republican base and appealing to those #NeverTrump supporters from within his party.veep

Historically, picking a Vice-President has a bigger impact on the future of a campaign than people would expect. Even though being VP is a largely ceremonial role with no real power, it does make the Vice-President one accident or horrible event away from becoming President of the United States. One of the most prominent cases of a campaign picking the wrong Vice-President occurred in 2008, with John McCain picking Sarah Palin from Alaska as his running mate.

The logic behind McCain’s pick was fairly understandable, given the fact that he was running against an African-American candidate in Barack Obama. He wanted to diversify his ticket, which meant finding a Republican, who was a minority or a woman. He decided to go with a woman in Sarah Palin, but underestimated how unprepared she was for the national spotlight. Palin’s lack of knowledge about basic world events was exposed, which left the McCain campaign embarrassed. The move ultimately cost him any chance of winning the election, which is a mistake Trump is not going to want to repeat.