Politics of President Trump's foreign policy

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," May 10, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


DAVID KEYES, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER SPOKESMAN: That's completely up to Iran whether they cease their war against us. Israel is responding to outrageous and aggressive provocations from the Iranian regime. Any country which would see an energy like the Iran and regime which openly calls for our annihilation would be forced to respond.

BRIG. GEN. ALI MAYHOUB, SYRIAN ARMY SPOKESMAN (through translator): The general command of the army and the armed forces is reaffirming its readiness to confront any aggression rigorously and with responsibility. And it also assures the useless attempts to help terrorism are crumbling under the strikes of our army.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This just further shows that the Iranian regime cannot be trusted.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, Iranian rockets from inside Syria were fired into Israel on the Golan Heights. Then the response happened, 50 different military targets inside Syria hit by the Israelis, the biggest operation since 1973. There you see the different targets hit. We are told by the Israelis that 28 Israeli aircraft were used, 60 air to ground missiles, 16 tactical ground to ground missiles, and it was a big operation.

Where does this go from here in this proxy war, if you will? Let's bring in our panel: Steve Hilton is a former adviser to British Prime Minister David Cameron and host of "The Next Revolution" here on Fox News Channel; Mo Elleithee, executive director of the Georgetown Institute of Politics, and Byron York, chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner.

Byron it didn't get a ton of coverage today, but I think the prospect of this becoming a major thing in the Middle East could be big.

BRYON YORK, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Yes. And the question is, what does it have to do with what has just happened and with the Iran deal? But clearly Iran and Israel have been conducting a shadow war in the area for quite a while, and it has been getting worse and worse and worse.

I think what was striking was the reaction of the Trump administration, a very, very strong message in support of Israel, not only affirming Israel's supporting fighting back, but it's right to fight back and defend itself. So I think we saw, and also just the Sarah Huckabee Sanders soundbite we just heard about Iran, I think we have heard a very different message out of this White House than the previous one.

BAIER: Mo, in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal decision, it seems like the prospect of this happening is greater.

MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS: I think that's right. And I think that's what a lot of our European allies were worried about. I agree with Byron, there has been this shadow war that is being fought, and there was a lot of concern from European allies that by walking away from the deal, it might stoke tensions just enough to make that shadow war bubble up to the surface and make it more intense.

I don't think anyone questions Israel's right to defend itself. I think we all stand with Israel. But you heard from our European allies today, calls, please, for a level of measured response, that we do not allow this thing to escalate as it so easily could, and try to bring everyone back to the negotiating table to find a new deal.

BAIER: But on the flipside, Steve, on the Iran deal, Iran was not spending on infrastructure projects in Tehran or filling the potholes. They were obviously investing in military operations in Syria and funding Hezbollah with a lot of that money.

STEVE HILTON, FOX NEWS: Exactly right. And in a way you couldn't have asked for a better justification for what the president did with the Iran deal. It proved the point that actually Iran is an aggressive, warmongering regime that wants to control the whole region. For a long time now the policy of the U.S. and the European allies and others has been appeasement, essentially. If we talk to you and we give you money and we support you, then maybe you will change your ways. That has not happened.

And so now we are in the new world where the policy is to stand up to the bully, to confront the bully. And that is not comfortable. It is not easy. And you can see that the allies in Europe are getting nervous, but their policy has failed to contain Iran.

YORK: But the allies in Europe are also not the only allies in the whole world to be concerned about. There's the Egyptians, there's the Saudis, there's the Emirates. There are a lot of other people in the world who have a big stake in this I think who support what the United States is doing here.

BAIER: Let's talk about this big moment overnight, we have covered it, the three Americans coming home from North Korea. And the question was, who gets credit? And how much North Korea credit is there now that this summit is set in place? Here is the president and the Senate minority leader.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We want to thank Kim Jong-un who really was excellent to these incredible people.

SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: The exultation by the president and others of the greatness of North Korea doing this evades me. We can't be fooled into giving the North Korean regime credit for returning Americans that never should have been detained in the first place. American citizens are not diplomatic bargaining chips.


BAIER: What about that, Steve?

HILTON: This reminds me so much of one of the fundamental mistakes I think that President Trump's critics make over and over and over again. They focus almost entirely on his words, his performance, almost like TV critics rather than political analysts, and they ignore the substance. OK, sometimes he says words that wouldn't be considered diplomatic in the normal parlance of politics, but he gets the results. And they focus on the superficial and ignore the fact that he is actually making real progress.


ELLEITHEE: It is way too early to know whether or not he is making progress on North Korea. The North Korean dictator seized American citizens, two of which under this administration, under this president, and returned them today just as we are about to head into a summit.

I am hopeful, I am a Democrats, but I am hopeful that our president is successful in the summit. But there are many flags here. There are many things that we need to be concerned about, and that this North Korean dictator is looking to be seen as an equal of the United States, when you look at the comments he has been making, it isn't about -- he is promising to stop nuclear testing. Why? Because he believes that their nuclear tests are already successful enough. He says the total denuclearization of the peninsula, that means the United States too.

So I hope the president can go. And if he can negotiate something successful with the North Koreans, I will be among the first to applaud him. But there are a lot of red flags here, and I worry, I worry that the North Korean dictator is playing him a little bit.

BAIER: June 12th, Singapore, we obviously don't know the details, and the devil will be in the details. But a month ago a lot of people in this town were saying we are heading to war with North Korea.

YORK: Absolutely. First of all, the June 12th in Singapore means it is more likely to happen. Remember there was a lot of talk about how it would not happen. But also can we just say that the release of the three Americans is great news? It is good news for them, it's good news for the United States. And it is good news for Donald Trump. So even -- and it is not conditional on the success of the North Korean talks. If they don't succeed, just like they have never succeeded before, this is still just good news in itself.

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