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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.]

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President Trump Rules Out Deploying Troops to Restore Order, Even as Riots Show No Signs of Slowing Down

Trump has opted to not show strength in the face of this crisis.

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Just one day after President Donald Trump said he was willing to send military forces into states across the country to put down riots, he is reportedly backing off of the idea.

According to administration officials, Trump is happy with the result of yesterday’s enforcement measures during the riots – which included law enforcement officials being shot and police getting hit by SUVs. He will not be using the Insurrection Act to put troops on the streets to restore order anytime soon.

“The law is absolutely still on the table if things get really bad, but as of now he doesn’t think it’s going to have to go that far,” an administration official said to Axios.

“As President Trump has said, we cannot allow the voices of peaceful protesters to be drowned out by angry mobs, which is why the President will continue to take lawful, decisive action to stop the violence and restore the security of all Americans,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said.

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Trump made the pivot after RINO Republicans whined about his harsh rhetoric as the country burns due to extreme left-wing riots.

“I don’t think the Pentagon’s keen on getting brought into this unless they absolutely have to. We need to restore order, but using active duty military troops in circumstances like this is a fairly rare occurrence,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Tuesday.

“I would prefer that these things be handled by the state and local authorities,” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said. “You want to de-escalate, rather than escalate.”

Yesterday, Trump declared that he would show zero tolerance for any more rioting and looting in the streets:

President Donald Trump announced tonight that he will deploy military force in cities that are gripped by riots if blue-state governors do not get their acts in order and do so soon.

“My first and highest duty as president is to defend our great country and the American people,” Trump said in his speech. “I swore an oath to uphold the laws of our nation and that is exactly what I will do.”

Trump made it clear that he is an “ally of all peaceful protesters” who are protesting about injustices committed against George Floyd, who died during a police encounter with former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. However, Trump will not allow the rioters to disgrace Floyd’s memory with their looting and wanton property destruction.

Trump announced that he would deploy “thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers” in order to restore order in American cities. These forces could be deployed as soon as tonight considering how blue-state governors have done so poorly at keeping their states safe.

Earlier in the day, Trump had criticized governors throughout the country for their “weak” response to the growing violence.

President Trump has backed off at least temporarily from his boasts, showing yet again that his bark is much worse than his bite.

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