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Sen. Ted Cruz headlines 2017 Western Hemisphere Security Forum

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A top national security expert told Big League Politics the 2017 Western Hemisphere Security Forum, held Thursday at the Reserve Officers Association building on Capitol Hill, is titled: “Countering Transnational Threats in Our Neighborhood.”

“The purpose is to bring to together opinion leaders from throughout the hemisphere to talk about the security and economic challenges that we face together,” said J.D. Gordon, a national security advisor to President Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign and a former Pentagon spokesman.

The planned program includes a keynote address by Sen. R. Edward “Ted” Cruz  (R.-Texas), who finished second behind President Donald J. Trump in the race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, he said. The forum is presented by the Center for a Secure Free Society and the Daniel Morgan Graduate School.

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“Senator Cruz has always shown leadership on Latin American issues and we are delighted that he could be part of our Western Hemisphere Security Forum,” said Gordon, who facilitates the forum’s morning program.

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Retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R.-Fla.) is slated to receive the Max Manwaring Freedom Award for her defense of liberty in the Western Hemisphere. Max Manwaring is a retired Army colonel and Army War College professor, who has written several books and policy papers on countering insurgencies, with a particular focus on Central America in the 1980s.

Other speakers include former Bolivian President Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga.

Marine Corps Cpl Blaho with 4th Platoon, Company C, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division instructs his squad on where to cross a river during jungle warfare training with Columbian Marines in Columbia on Aug. 1, 2010. The unit was deployed in support of operation Partnership of the Americas/Southern Exchange, a combined amphibious exercise designed to enhance cooperative partnerships with maritime forces from nine other nations. (Marine Photo photo by Cpl Brian J. Slaght)

Gordon said there is more to dealing with Latin American and Canada than immigration.

“There are a lot of foreign actors in Latin America doing nefarious things, such as Iran,” he said.

“We’re trying to bring attention to the fact that Latin America has been used as a platform for America’s enemies for a century-plus,” he said

“During WWI, Germany used Latin America as a staging ground against the United States,” he said. “During the Cold War, the Soviet Union did the same thing–and right now, we’re seeing Iran involved in places like Venezuela to threaten the United States, as well.”

Gordon said Cuba is another actor involved in Venezuela, looking to undermine American security and national security goals.

Members of the Brazilian Marine Corps conduct an amphibious landing exercise during UNITAS Amphibious 2015 at Ilha de Marambaia, Brazil, Nov. 20, 2015. UNITAS Amphibious is a multi-nation exercise designed to increase interoperability in Amphibious Operations between participating countries. (Marine photo by Lance Cpl. Issac Velasquez)

In Venezuela, the Cubans are also trying to destabilize that country’s institutions, in order to usher in a permanent socialist regime there, he said.

“The Chinese and the Russians are providing financial assistance to prop up hostile regimes in Latin America–and a lot of people don’t understand that, they don’t know it well, if they know it at all, so we are trying to bring attention to that,” he said.

[Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect changes in the speaker lineup.]

Big League National Security

NEW: Joe Biden Bashes Incoming Trump Administration In Leaked 2016 Call to President of Ukraine

Completely inappropriate.

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Joe Biden speaks in critical and partisan terms of the incoming Trump administration in a new leaked call to the President of Ukraine unveiled Wednesday.

In the call, conducted in November 2016 a week after then-candidate Trump’s election victory, Biden bashes the incoming administration to the foreign leader, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Biden assails the Trump transition team as incompetent, turning down the idea of visiting the country before the January transition before Trump is “fully briefed” on matters related to Ukraine.

In a second call, Biden asks for Poroshenko to describe his conversations with incoming President Trump, going to to speak of Trump in more dismissive terms. He describes Trump as a “dog who caught the car, and who doesn’t know what to do.” Not quite a “dog-faced pony soldier,” but definitely not an appropriate way for an outgoing vice president to describe an incoming president to a foreign leader.

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A Ukrainian comedian originally released the calls, suggesting questionable operational security within the conversations of Joe Biden and Poroshenko. Biden has a lengthy history of ethical questions regarding his relationship with Ukraine, including looking the other way as his son Hunter secured an extremely lucrative position at a Ukrainian oil company without any experience whatsoever in the energy industry.

Biden himself would later go on to demand the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating corruption allegations against the younger Biden, a clear conflict of interest Biden merely dismissed when he spoke openly of securing the prosecutor’s firing at a Council on Foreign Relations public event.

This is a totally inappropriate way for a Vice President to speak to a foreign leader, and the public should be concerned about how Biden plans to conduct diplomacy should he be elected President.

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