Trump worries over incoming migrant caravan
President Trump has made public his contempt of a caravan made up of thousands of migrants, mostly Hondurans, who have been pushing north from their home country. Last Thursday, the caravan split into multiple groups while making their way through Guatemala. Many of the migrants say they are heading for the United States, though others say they will stop in Mexico. They have been driven from their homes in search of higher wages, employment opportunities, better quality public services and security. President Trump argues that he will use military force if necessary to shut down America’s southern border.
At a rally last Thursday, he repeated the claim and added that Democrats were partially to blame for the immigration influx.
“[Democrats] also figure everybody coming in is going to vote Democrat, you know,” he told attendees. President Trump, however, also blamed himself, saying that illegal immigration had risen thanks to the “incredible economy” he had created.
Taliban kills Afghan police chief before elections
Last Thursday, the top American commander in Afghanistan, General Austin Miller, avoided injury during an attack that killed both the provincial intelligence chief and a regional police chief. The attack, which has been claimed by the Taliban, occured within the provincial governor’s compound in Kandahar City.
Though at times controversial, police chief General Abdul Raziq had been recognized as an important U.S. ally. Raziq pacified Kandahar Province and defended it as the Taliban gained territory surrounding it. The influential general had survived multiple assassination attempts. His death will likely affect U.S. access to a large network of informants.
“Today, I lost a great friend, Lt. General Raziq,” General Miller tweeted. “The good he did for Afghanistan and the Afghan people cannot be undone.”
The Taliban have threatened to attack polling places in this Saturday’s upcoming elections. At least 10 candidates and dozens of political supporters have been killed already, and one third of polling places will not open for security reasons.
Mattis tries to ease tensions with China in Singapore meeting
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis spoke with China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe in an hour-and-a-half-long meeting last Thursday that aimed to cool recent hostilities. Mattis said that, amid escalating tensions, it is up to China’s and America’s militaries to be a force for stability. Vice President Mike Pence’s early October speech sparked worries of a possible impending cold war between Beijing and Washington.
Mattis also repeated an invitation for Wei Fenghe to visit the United States. Other nations at the meeting in Singapore were reluctant to join the United States in condemning China’s control of the South China Sea. Mattis argued that smaller Asian nations may have concerns with Beijing’s actions but be too wary to challenge China’s navy. Washington argues the South China Sea is open trade waters and conducts multiple Freedom of Navigation operations to assert its position. Mattis says Chinese warships’ attempted obstructions of these operations are dangerous. “When the Chinese ships are putting bumpers over the side … you don’t do that when you’re out in the middle of the ocean, unless you’re intending to run into something.”