- The Washington Times - Monday, June 24, 2019

In the wake of his latest confrontation with Iran, President Trump said Monday that the U.S. shouldn’t provide military protection for other oil importers such as China and Japan in the dangerous Persian Gulf region unless they pay up.

Noting that the U.S. has become less reliant on oil from the Middle East, the president tweeted, “So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation. All of these countries should be protecting their own ships on what has always been a dangerous journey.”

The president said China gets 91% of its imported oil through the Strait of Hormuz that borders Iran, and Japan receives 62% of its oil from the same part of the world. The U.S. receives about 16% of its oil from Persian Gulf nations, mostly from Saudi Arabia.

He said of the volatile region, “We don’t even need to be there in that the U.S. has just become (by far) the largest producer of Energy anywhere in the world!”

The president’s argument is reminiscent of his push for NATO members to pay more for the alliance that largely benefits European countries against potential aggression by Russia.

After two oil tankers were hit by suspected Iranian mines last week, Iran shot down a U.S. Navy surveillance drone over the Strait. Mr. Trump called off a planned retaliatory military strike, but the U.S. reportedly launched a cyber attack against Iran.

“The U.S. request for Iran is very simple - No Nuclear Weapons and No Further Sponsoring of Terror!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

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