Foreign Affairs | Off Message | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Foreign Affairs

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

U.S. Won't Open Border to Canadians Until at Least August 21

Posted By on Wed, Jul 21, 2021 at 6:17 PM

Jackson's Lodge in Canaan - ANNE WALLACE ALLEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Anne Wallace Allen ©️ Seven Days
  • Jackson's Lodge in Canaan
The United States won't open its border to visitors from Canada until August 21, the White House announced on Wednesday — dealing a blow to hospitality and other businesses that have long relied on tourists from Canada.

“I’m sure the congressional delegations and governors of every border state to the north are probably furious right now, and rightly so,” said Jeff Lawson, who is vice president of tourism and marketing at Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. “I’m pretty upset about it.”

Northern state governors and members of Congress have been pushing the White House for weeks to open the border. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has shown impatience with the White House, especially after the Canadian government this week announced that travelers would be able to enter Canada from the United States on August 9 without quarantining in a hotel “provided the COVID situation is under control.” Scott said he has asked the White House to reciprocate, saying it is now safe to do so.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Vermont Closes In on Vaccination Goal — and Considers Sending Shots to Canada

Posted By on Tue, Jun 1, 2021 at 3:52 PM

Gốc Văn Trần gets vaccinated for COVID-19 at the Winooski Armory - FILE: LY TRẦN
  • File: Ly Trần
  • Gốc Văn Trần gets vaccinated for COVID-19 at the Winooski Armory
Vermonters are closing in on the state’s goal of an 80 percent vaccination rate, raising expectations that Gov. Phil Scott will lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions this month.

The state is still gathering vaccination data from Sunday and Monday, but as of Tuesday morning, an estimated 78 percent of eligible Vermonters had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Another 11,346 people need to get vaccinated in order to reach that 80 percent. If 1,000 a day were vaccinated, the state would fully reopen June 11, Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said during the governor’s regular COVID-19 news briefing Tuesday.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Welch Questions Trump's Rationale for Suleimani Strike, Seeks Hearings

Posted By on Tue, Jan 7, 2020 at 4:40 PM

Rep. Peter Welch on Tuesday - DEREK BROUWER
  • Derek Brouwer
  • Rep. Peter Welch on Tuesday
Vermont’s sole member of the U.S. House said he doesn’t buy President Donald Trump’s rationale for killing Iran’s top general last week and called for a congressional probe into the decision that has roiled the Middle East and thrust the United States into direct confrontation with Iran.

“Let me be frank: I don’t believe what the president has said about the plan,” Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said at a press conference Tuesday before boarding a plane to Washington, D.C., where Congress reconvenes this week. “I want to have public hearings to get to the bottom of this.”

Welch, a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, echoed statements by its chair, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who on Monday cast doubt on the unspecified intelligence cited by the Trump administration that Qassim Suleimani, leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, was plotting “imminent” attacks against the U.S.

Unlike Schiff, Welch has yet to review any intelligence used to justify the drone strike that killed Suleimani and six others at Baghdad International Airport on January 2. He said he plans to review the classified material this week.
Welch nonetheless characterized the strike as reckless and impulsive and said it has already led to insecurity abroad. Repeating a recent Schiff quote in the Washington Post almost verbatim, Welch said Trump “was table-hopping down in Mar-a-Lago when he made this decision.”

“Amateur hour is in charge at the White House,” he said.

In casting doubt Tuesday on the administration's assertion that Suleimani was planning an imminent attack, Welch referred to Iraqi and Iranian officials’ recent statements that Suleimani had traveled to Baghdad for diplomatic discussions.

Earlier Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ridiculed that notion, rhetorically asking reporters in Washington if there was “any history that would indicate it was remotely possible that this kind gentleman, this diplomat of great order, Qassim Suleimani, had traveled to Baghdad for the idea of conducting a peace mission?" CNN reported.

Welch called Pompeo’s assertion that the strike made Americans safer “absurd.”

He pledged to “be a voice for deescalation” in Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plans to introduce a resolution under the War Powers Act this week to curtail the president’s military actions against Iran. Welch said he will support it, as well as related legislation introduced in both chambers last Friday by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that would bar the use of funds for military force against Iran without congressional authorization. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has signed on to the Senate legislation.

“After authorizing a disastrous, $738 billion military budget that placed no restrictions on this president from starting an unauthorized war with Iran, Congress now has an opportunity to change course,” Sanders and Khanna said in a joint statement.

“We must invest in the needs of the American people, not spend trillions more on endless wars,” they said.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Bernie Sanders
Senate Backs Sanders-Sponsored Resolution to End Military Aid to Saudi Arabia

Posted By on Thu, Dec 13, 2018 at 5:21 PM

Sen. Bernie Sanders - FILE: ERIC TADSEN
  • File: Eric Tadsen
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
The U.S. Senate passed a resolution sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that calls for the end of all U.S. military involvement in Saudi Arabia's ongoing war in Yemen.

The 56-41 vote on Thursday afternoon was a rebuke of Saudi Arabia over the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was assassinated inside the country's embassy in Turkey. Because the U.S. House has blocked debate of the resolution, the Senate vote was largely symbolic.

President Donald Trump has refused to condemn the killing, which the Central Intelligence Agency determined was likely ordered by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Bernie Sanders
Vermont Delegation: Congress Must Approve Strikes on Syria

Posted By on Sat, Apr 14, 2018 at 10:44 PM

Congressman Peter Welch and Sen. Bernie Sanders at a press conference in January 2018 at Burlington International Airport - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Congressman Peter Welch and Sen. Bernie Sanders at a press conference in January 2018 at Burlington International Airport
Vermont's three-member congressional delegation faulted President Donald Trump on Saturday for launching air strikes against Syria without congressional approval or a clear strategy.

The United States, France and Britain fired more than 100 missiles at Syrian chemical weapons facilities late Friday, a week after forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad allegedly used such weapons against his own people.

In written statements issued following Friday's air strikes, Vermont's congressional delegates said that Assad's use of chemical weapons merited a response from the international community.

"But it is Congress' responsibility to declare war," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said. "Threatening the use of military force by tweet, and firing off missiles without a coherent policy or clear legal authority, raises obvious dangers and constitutional concerns and risks drawing us into a wider war."

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Bernie Sanders
On a Big Stage, Sanders Counters Trump on Foreign Policy

Posted By on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 3:03 PM

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) delivers his foreign policy speech at Westminster College Thursday. - YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT
  • Youtube screenshot
  • U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) delivers his foreign policy speech at Westminster College Thursday.
Two days after President Donald Trump promoted an every-country-for-itself approach in a speech at the United Nations, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called for international collaboration.

Sanders, who studiously avoided discussing foreign policy during his presidential campaign, chose a high profile and historically significant venue to address the topic Thursday. He made his remarks during same event at which Winston Churchill gave his famous Iron Curtain speech — at the John Findley Green Foundation lecture at Westminster College in Missouri.

Widely considered a potential presidential candidate in 2020, Sanders has cemented his role as a foil to Trump; last week, he grabbed headlines after unveiling his Medicare-for-all health care proposal.

“The goal is not for the United States to dominate the world. Nor, on the other hand, is our goal to withdraw from the international community and shirk our responsibilities under the banner of ‘America first,’” Sanders told an audience of students and faculty. “Our goal should be global engagement based on partnership, rather than dominance.”

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, April 7, 2017

Bernie Sanders
Vermont Delegation Says Trump Must Seek Approval for Future Syrian Strikes

Posted By on Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 12:47 PM

Congressman Peter Welch during a 2013 trip to the Middle East and East Asia that brought him to the Turkish-Syrian border. - FILE
  • File
  • Congressman Peter Welch during a 2013 trip to the Middle East and East Asia that brought him to the Turkish-Syrian border.
Vermont’s congressional delegation expressed adamancy Friday that President Donald Trump seek approval from Congress to intervene further in Syria. The delegation’s three members appeared less certain of how they would vote if Trump did, in fact, come to them with such a request.

Trump ordered a missile strike on a Syrian air base late Thursday in retaliation for the government’s alleged chemical weapons attack, which killed at least 80 civilians earlier this week. Some members of the U.S. Congress have commended Trump while others have condemned his unilateral decision.

“Only Congress has the power to make war,” U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said in an interview Friday morning. “From my perspective, both the president and the Congress are failing to meet their constitutional obligation to get an authorization from Congress before they use military force.”

Neither Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) nor Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) immediately responded to requests for interviews. But in a written statement issued Friday morning, Sanders said, “As the Constitution requires, the president must come to Congress to authorize any further use of force against the Assad regime.” In his own statement, Leahy said, “The president is now required to give Congress notification under the War Powers Act.”

Both senators stopped short of criticizing Trump for authorizing air strikes Thursday.

Vermont’s delegation expressed greater ambivalence about how Congress should respond to a potential request for authorization from the president.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Morning Read: CNN Interviews Syrian Refugee Family in Rutland

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 8:58 AM

CNN on Wednesday night aired an interview with one of the two Syrian refugee families that have arrived in Rutland. The segment aired just hours after reports surfaced that President Donald Trump plans to stop refugees from Syria from entering the U.S. via an executive order.

Hazar Mansour, a French teacher, said on the program "Anderson Cooper 360°" that she, her husband and their two small children are happy to be in Vermont. They fled Damascus during a civil war in Syria that, according to the United Nations, has killed more than 400,000 people. They made it to Turkey and then went through two years of background checks before arriving in Rutland two days before Trump's inauguration, Mansour said.

"We were worried about ourselves, worried about our children," Mansour said. "We want to live in peace. It's better than living in the war situation we were in."
"I like Vermont and the people of Vermont," said her husband, Hassam Alhallak, an accountant.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Vermont Air Guard to Deploy Overseas Before Holidays

Posted By on Tue, Nov 22, 2016 at 4:20 PM

Major General Steven Cray announces a deployment to the Middle East. Behind him, from left, are Col. Patrick Guinee, governor-elect Phil Scott and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). - MARK DAVIS
  • Mark Davis
  • Major General Steven Cray announces a deployment to the Middle East. Behind him, from left, are Col. Patrick Guinee, governor-elect Phil Scott and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.).
A few hundred members of the Vermont Air National Guard will deploy overseas in the coming weeks on an open-ended mission under the command responsible for Middle East combat operations.

The "short notice" deployment of members of the 158th Fighter Wing will likely last a "few months," Major General Steven Cray said Tuesday. The airmen will report to U.S. Central Command — which is responsible for the Middle East, Northern Africa and Central Asia — and is overseeing the fight against the Islamic State, among other initiatives.

The mission will "bring the fight to our enemies," Cray said.

Vermont officials were recently notified a deploy order could come before Christmas. Confirmation came Monday night, Cray said, and the deployment will happen sometime in the next few weeks.

The 158th Fighter Wing has 1,100 members. Roughly 100 are already deployed overseas on other missions, officials said.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, March 21, 2016

Visiting Cuba, Leahy, Welch Push for Opening Trade

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 10:05 PM

Revolution Square, Havana, Cuba - GILLIAN HARDY/DREAMSTIME
  • Gillian Hardy/Dreamstime
  • Revolution Square, Havana, Cuba
A year from now, a contingent of Vermont business owners could be headed to Cuba to connect with its newly opened economy, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said Monday by phone from the island nation they were visiting with President Barack Obama.

Leahy and Welch were among 30 members of Congress who joined Obama on the historic visit — the first time a U.S. president has visited Cuba since Vermonter Calvin Coolidge in 1928.
Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) - SEVEN DAYS FILE
  • Seven Days File
  • Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.)

Both Leahy and Welch have been to Cuba before — Leahy seven times and Welch twice, they said in a conference call with Vermont media. They are scheduled to return to the United States on Tuesday.

“The fact that the two presidents are meeting is extremely important,” Leahy said, of Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro, who met for a press conference Tuesday afternoon and a state dinner Tuesday night.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2021 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Advertising Policy  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation