The National Interest Foundation Newsletter
Issue 21, November 27, 2019
Welcome to the latest edition of the NIF Newsletter. In this week’s domestic headlines: Fiona Hill and David Holmes testify in the impeachment inquiry, and President Trump intervenes on behalf of disgraced Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. Meanwhile, around the world: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is indicted, and South Korea renews an intelligence sharing agreement with Japan.
Hill and Holmes Testimony
Last Thursday, Fiona Hill and David Holmes testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee in the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Trump. Dr. Hill is a former National Security Council official, and Holmes is a political counsellor for the United States Embassy in Ukraine. Mr. Holmes is a career foreign service officer who served under the Bush and Obama White Houses, and also held a position on the national security council for a time. The testimony of Hill and Holmes was the last of this round of the impeachment inquiry.
President Trump Defends SEAL
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has said that President Trump ordered him to allow Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher to maintain his status in the elite division, despite Gallagher’s alleged violations of military code of conduct. Gallagher was accused of war crimes by his own platoon over actions during their deployment in Iraq, including murdering civilians.
Around the World
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted by the country’s Attorney General on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. It marks the first time that a sitting Israeli leader has been indicted. The indictment also throws Israel’s political future into question, with two elections this year failing to show a clear winner. In announcing the indictment, Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said that Israel was a country of laws, and nobody was above the law. Ironically, Prime Minister Netanyahu came to power in 2009, after his predecessor Ehud Olmert resigned in disgrace over a bribery scandal.
South Korea and Japan
South Korea has reversed a decision to withdraw from an intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan. The agreement was predicated on sharing intelligence over North Korea, Russia, and China, but leaders in Seoul decided not to renew the pact three months ago amid growing tensions with Japan. Japan had been opposed to South Korea withdrawing from the deal, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed relief that South Korea had reconsidered their decision. The United States had lobbied South Korea not to scrap the agreement, as the trilateral alliance between itself, Japan, and South Korea is strategically vital in curbing the influence of Russia, China, and North Korea.