Ex-British spy chief advises Trump to keep cool

Associated Press

London — The former head of the British spy agency, MI6, says Donald Trump must keep a cool head during the stressful times ahead to reduce the threat of a nuclear war.

Former Secret Intelligence Service chief John Sawers told the BBC he fears a nuclear clash between the United States and either China or Russia.

According to Sawers, “We’re getting back into a world which is quite dangerous, and I think that is the biggest threat.”

He said the most devastating scenario would be if relations with Beijing or Moscow turn confrontational or if the Trump administration “overreacts.”

Sawers observed: “I don’t think Donald Trump quite yet knows what the pressures will be on him when he becomes president.”

He added: “We’ve seen that when he feels slighted, when he feels criticized, he reacts quite fiercely.”

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Trump to congratulate him and offer her country’s cooperation.

Merkel’s spokesman says the German leader spoke to Trump by telephone late Thursday.

Spokesman Georg Streiter told reporters in Berlin that Merkel stressed the common values of Germany and the United States.

Immediately following Trump’s election victory, Merkel had offered the new U.S. administration “a close partnership” on the basis of “democracy, freedom, respect for the law and the dignity of human beings regardless of their origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation and political opinion.”

Her comments were widely seen in Germany as a rebuke to Trump’s rhetoric during the election campaign.

A powerful Iraqi cleric whose followers once fought U.S. troops says Trump’s election victory is a sign of American decline.

Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shiite who brought thousands of anti-government protesters into the streets of Baghdad earlier this year, urged Americans in a Friday statement to resist Trump’s intolerant views.

He says: “We advise the American people not to be affected by the radicalism of their president, and they should not allow him to impose his influence.”

Al-Sadr’s militia, known as the Peace Brigades, is among the largest of several government-sanctioned Shiite armed groups battling Islamic State forces. He says his group considers America “as the founder of terrorism, by its acts and behavior.”

He added: “Peace be upon the American people, those who like moderation and who want peace and peaceful coexistence between religions and ethnicities.”

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami says Trump should apologize to the Iranian people for calling them terrorists during his campaign.

The senior religious scholar, in a Friday sermon broadcast live on state radio, said Trump should “respectfully apologize to the nation.”

Khatami warned Trump about confronting Iran, saying he should know better than to play with “the tail of the lion.”

The cleric said that Tehran had successfully foiled and frustrated several of Trump’s White House predecessors.

He said Iran’s stance on the U.S. election is to avoid intervention or involvement in another country’s internal affairs.

He said, “We respect the people of other countries and we respect their elections.”

Japan’s defense minister says her country already pays enough for U.S. troops based there, a response to repeated demands by Trump that countries hosting American forces should pay more.

Trump’s remarks during the election campaign have raised concern in Japan about a possibility his administration may seek Japan’s increased spending for American forces.

Defense Minister Tomomi Inada stressed that the presence of U.S. troops in Japan serves as a key deterrence in the Asia-Pacific region and they should stay.

Japan pays about 200 billion yen ($1.9 billion) a year — or about 70 percent — in so-called host-nation support for 50,000 U.S. troops.

Inada said Friday: “I believe it’s enough. We pay what we are supposed to cover.”