Trump Visits India
President Trump is currently making his first official visit to India, the world's largest democracy. The U.S.-India relationship is a critical counterweight to China's growing power and influence in Asia. It is also an important alliance in the fight against radical Islam.
More than 100,000 Indians packed the world's largest cricket stadium to hear remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The president announced a $3 billion defense deal with India, and added that the two nations are working toward a major trade deal. Referring to mutual defense interests, President Trump said:
"Together, we will defend our sovereignty, security, and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region for our children and for many, many generations to come. . . The United States and India are also firmly united in our ironclad resolve to defend our citizens from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism."
I know many readers are also concerned about religious liberty issues in India, and the White House has made it clear that the president will address that issue in private meetings with Modi.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders didn't just win the Nevada caucuses Saturday – it was a blowout. Sanders took 47% of the vote, while Joe Biden finished a distant second at 20%, followed by Pete Buttigieg (14%), Elizabeth Warren (10%), Tom Steyer (5%) and Amy Klobuchar (4%). Michael Bloomberg wasn't on the ballot.
The Democrat establishment is in total meltdown because Sanders is revealing the real agenda of the party's left-wing base. Today's Democrat Party is increasingly divided between those who favor open socialism and those who believe hidden socialism is easier to sell.
Most Americans aren't on board with the socialist agenda, and Democrats are scrambling to stop Sanders at all costs. Many party leaders had hoped that Michael Bloomberg could be "Plan B" if Biden faltered, but that strategy has been called into question since last week's disastrous debate performance.
Bloomberg will have an opportunity to redeem himself at tomorrow night's debate in Charleston, South Carolina. He will be under enormous pressure to prove he's not a worse debater than Joe Biden. But he's not on South Carolina's primary ballot.
Meanwhile, Sanders has smashed Biden's Palmetto State firewall, and Super Tuesday continues to look like it will be a very good day for Sanders.
Part of the reason many Democrats are worried about Bernie Sanders as their party's nominee is his long history of praising brutal left-wing regimes around the world.
Reflecting the liberal establishment's anxiety, "60 Minutes" host Anderson Cooper confronted Sanders with some of his past praise for communist dictator Fidel Castro. Sanders told Cooper:
"We're very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it's unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know? When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing?"
In response to Sanders's callous comment, Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted, "It really makes a difference when those you murder at the firing squad can read & write."
If Sanders wins the nomination, Democrats can kiss Florida goodbye. The state is full of immigrants who fled Castro's communism and other socialist regimes throughout Latin America.
Bashing Israel Too
When Bernie's not busy praising communists, he's bashing Israel. Bolstered by his Nevada victory, Sanders announced that he will not speak to the annual AIPAC conference this year, alleging that AIPAC provides a platform for "bigotry."
The attack on AIPAC may seem odd at first glance, as Sanders is Jewish. But I think there is a simple explanation. Sanders is anti-Israel. He has key people on his staff who despise Israel, and he has been endorsed by anti-Semites like Linda Sarsour, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
But Sanders understands the base of the Democrat Party. Polling shows that while Americans are generally pro-Israel (Christians and Republicans especially so), the base of the Democrat Party – millennials and progressives – are increasingly anti-Israel.
Polling shows the Democrat Party is evenly divided between support for Israel and the Palestinians. All the other candidates in the primary are trying to be even-handed in their approach to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, dividing up the half of the Democrat vote that still supports Israel.
And while they are splitting up the pro-Israel vote, Sanders has consolidated the half that hates Israel.
The Left Attacks Iconic USA Team
Do you remember the Miracle On Ice? I certainly do, and President Trump honored the members of that historic Olympic team at his Las Vegas rally Friday night.
It was a fitting tribute to the team and to the American spirit they represent as the rally occurred on the eve of the 40th anniversary of their historic win over the Soviet Union. Needless to say, the crowd loved it, and erupted in chants of "USA! USA! USA!"
But the Internet nearly crashed as enraged leftists went ballistic. Of course, the team released a statement, which read:
"To us, this is not about politics or choosing sides. This is about proudly representing the United States of America. Whether your beliefs are Democratic, Republican, Independent, etc. we support that and are proud to represent the USA. It is an honor and privilege!"
And there's the rub. The progressive left that increasingly calls the shots would never invite them! It would never occur to them that the U.S. victory over U.S.S.R. carried more significance than a simply hockey game. But more than that, the players' presence would send too much of a mixed message to their radical base.
Think I'm being overly critical? Check out this headline from the progressive media outlet The Nation: "Mask Off: The 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team Has Long Been a Symbol of Reaction."
Sadly, there's probably only one sports figure who could get such a wild reaction at a Democrat rally – Colin Kaepernick!
The news on the coronavirus over the weekend was disturbingly bad. There are now outbreaks in Italy, Iran, Japan and South Korea. In some cases, there is no obvious connection to China. In Italy, 20% of those infected are in intensive care.
There is a potential crisis within this crisis. We first mentioned it to you four weeks ago when we brought up the dependence of the United States on medical supplies from China.
In recent decades, China has decided that it was going to dominate the world's pharmaceutical industry. It started selling ingredients essential to medicines on the world market below market costs to drive many suppliers out of business.
Big multinational drug companies started moving facilities to China so they could have ready access to cheaper ingredients. The last U.S. company manufacturing penicillin shut down in 2004.
The result is that approximately 80% of essential medications now rely on the Chinese supply line. It's not just medicines. China is one of the main suppliers of surgical masks. Beijing banned the export of those masks. Doctors everywhere are now scrambling.
There were warnings. Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson covered it extensively. Yet the political establishment before Trump convinced itself that we should be a global marketplace, and free marketeers insisted that everything should be made wherever it is cheapest.
But a great nation must be able to make certain things, even if it costs more, if it wants to be safe. I know the Trump Administration is working 24/7 to find solutions. Whatever happens, just remember that it was the sleepwalking of the DC swamp for decades before Trump that got us into this mess.