Five Minutes Five Issues: Troop Withdrawal, Carter Foiled, Marijuana Votes, Booting Assange, RPI Conference

A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues posted on Saturday. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:

Read a transcript of the new episode, including links to further information regarding the topics discussed, here:

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.

Starting in five four three two one.

Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

Speaking Thursday in South Korea, United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis said the “U.S. commitment to the Republic of Korea remains ironclad and the U.S. will continue to use the full range of diplomatic and military capabilities to uphold this commitment,” Mattis further stated, “And this includes maintaining the current U.S. force levels on the Korean peninsula,”

Mattis’ comment, in its absoluteness, is at odds with a comment by President Donald Trump in Trump’s June 12 press conference after meeting in Singapore with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. Trump made clear he would like to end the 70 years of stationing tens of thousands of US military members in South Korea. Trump said:

I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home. We have 32,000 soldiers in South Korea. I would like to be able to bring them back home. That’s not part of the equation. At some point, I hope it would be.

Issue two.

Donald Trump is not the first US president to suggest withdrawing the US troops from South Korea. Jimmy Carter, in his presidential campaign and as president, advocated the removal of US ground forces from South Korea. But, Franz-Stefan Gady wrote this month at The Diplomat that “congressional obstruction, the Pentagon, and the intelligence community, among others,” which Gady writes some people would today term the “deep state,” stopped Carter from following through on the plan. Gady notes that Carter was still able to reduce the number of US troops in South Korea by about 3,000 through not replacing troops whose deployments ended.

Issue three.

The rolling back of marijuana prohibition in America continues.

On Thursday, the US Senate passed the Farm Bill containing hemp farming legalization, regulation, and subsidization provisions I mentioned in the June 16 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues. As I said in that episode, it would not be surprising to see the hemp provisions become law this year.

Also this week, Oklahoma voters approved a medical marijuana ballot measure, making Oklahoma the 30thstate to legalize medical marijuana. I mentioned in a May 15 Ron Paul Institute article that Oklahoma is one of four states with marijuana ballot measures expected to be voted on this year, with all appearing to have majority public support. Next up are November general election state-wide marijuana votes on recreational marijuana legalization in Michigan and on medical marijuana in Missouri and Utah.

Issue four.

On Wednesday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ), sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence. In the letter, also signed by nine fellow Senate Democrats, the senators sought to demean WikiLeaks with an allegation of WikiLeaks seeking to interfere in elections around the world, including the 2016 US presidential election. The letter further states that the senators “remain extremely concerned about Ecuador providing asylum to WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange since June 2012.” Though the letter is not so direct in its wording, a clear message of the letter is that Pence should tell the Ecuador president in a meeting the next day to boot Assange from Ecuador’s London embassy where Assange has for six years had asylum protection from incarceration and prosecution in America.

Issue five.

The annual Ron Paul Institute conference near Washington, DC is seven weeks away.

Conference speakers include Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams from RPI, as well as writer and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Officer Ray McGovern, professor and retired Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Rutherford Institute President John W. Whitehead, and Ludwig von Mises Institute Chairman Lew Rockwell.

To find out more information about the conference, as well as to purchase an “early bird” conference ticket and book a reduced-price room at the conference hotel, check out the web page


That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.

Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

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