Trump Foreign Policy

The China syndrome

Featured image President Trump’s address to the General Assembly of the United Nations earlier this week appears to have been calculated in part to “unsettle China” sufficiently to clamp down on Rocket Man. I think it’s gonna be a long, long time, but maybe President Trump was on to something. At today’s Washington Times, Dave Boyer and S.A. Miller report: President Trump persuaded China to freeze all financial transactions with North Korea »

Trump Moves Against North Korea, Press Is Confused

Featured image Today President Trump issued an executive order that imposes financial sanctions on those who do business with North Korea: President Trump announced new U.S. financial sanctions Thursday that target North Korea and foreign companies or individuals that do business with the rogue nation…. The new penalties seek to leverage the dominance of the U.S. financial system by forcing nations to choose whether to do business with the United States or »

Trump vs. Obama On Foreign Policy

Featured image In the wake of President Trump’s excellent speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Michael Ramirez nicely contrasts Trump’s approach with that of his predecessor. It is a timely reminder of one more thing we have to be grateful for under the new administration: no more apology tours. Click to enlarge: »

Did Trump unsettle Russia and China? Let’s hope so

Featured image The Washington Post reports that President Trump’s statements to the U.N. about North Korea unsettled China and Russia. Trump said that “the United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” China, through a state controlled newspaper, complained that Trump’s threat will “likely worsen the already volatile situation.” It called »

Trump at the U.N. (2)

Featured image President Trump’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly this morning was an eloquent piece of work. It warrants review in its entirety. The White House has posted the full text here. Video is embedded below (about 42 minutes). It was in many respects a speech that returned to the traditional themes of American foreign policy running back to the Truman administration, the Marshall Plan and the founding of the »

Trump at the U.N.

Featured image President Trump addressed the United Nations today. You can read his speech here. I think it’s an excellent address. I agree with Rick Manning that “Trump has provided a cogent and inspiring defense of America and the American constitutional system of governance to the world, not as imposition but an example to be followed, while at the same time respecting the sovereignty of other nations.” While making clear that the »

Fake news about H.R. McMaster?

Featured image Yesterday, PJ Media published a disturbing report about H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser. It said that at a meeting during the week of August 27 at the White House, McMaster brought with him Mustafa Javed Ali, NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism. According to PJ Media’s report, Ali has been described by a senior administration source as being “opposed to Hezbollah’s designation as a terrorist organization.” The Israelis reportedly »

Afghanistan and “nation building”

Featured image In defending his decision to increase America’s war effort in Afghanistan, President Trump needed to do two main things: (1) explain why he was breaking his campaign promise to abandon Afghanistan and (2) distinguish his approach to the fight from President Obama’s. In the post I wrote right after the speech, I tried to describe how Trump went about accomplishing these things. One technique I didn’t mention was the president’s »

An Excellent Speech: Let’s Hope It’s an Excellent Strategy

Featured image More than six years ago, I wrote that we should get out of Afghanistan. We conducted a poll, and 74% of our readers agreed. So President Trump’s inclination to wind down our effort there, as articulated on the campaign trail, was not at all unusual. Last night the president said that he has changed his mind and will pursue victory in Afghanistan. The first thing that struck a listener was »

Trump resists temptation to give up in Afghanistan

Featured image In an outstanding speech tonight, President Trump announced that the U.S. will not pull out of Afghanistan, but instead will fight with less restraint and more military forces. Trump needed to do two main things in his speech: (1) explain why he was breaking his campaign promise to abandon Afghanistan and (2) distinguish his approach to the fight from President Obama’s. Accomplishing the second objective would help make the breach »

McMaster’s Obama (don’t call them) holdovers

Featured image According to the Daily Caller, about 40 of the 250 officials on the National Security Council (NSC) are Obama administration holdovers. Their boss, H.R. McMaster, has instructed that these folks not be called “holdovers.” This might make sense from a team-building perspective. But since I’m not part of the team, they will be referred to as holdovers in this post. The Daily Caller’s Richard Pollock and Ethan Barton profile some »

Media treats obvious Trump sarcasm “literally”

Featured image Today’s phony Trump controversy pertains to the president’s reaction to Russia’s expulsion of U.S. diplomatic personnel in response to congressional sanctions (which Trump did not favor). Trump stated: I want to thank [Putin] because we’re trying to cut down our payroll, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. There’s no real »

North Korea responds to Trump’s threat by threatening Guam

Featured image Today, President Trump warned North Korea to stop making threats against the United States. He stated: North Korea had best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. Predictably, Kim Jong Un responded by doing precisely what Trump said he “best not” do. He threatened to attack Guam. According to CNBC: North Korea said on »

Europe balks at Russia sanctions; Trump won’t veto them

Featured image President Trump has decided not to veto the Russia sanctions legislation passed by Congress. The decision was probably an easy one inasmuch as (1) a veto would easily have been overridden, resulting in embarrassment for the president and (2) it would have added fuel to Trump-Russia connection stories. Naturally, Russia is angry about the sanctions. Europe is also unhappy, which is ironic because some European leaders have criticized Trump for »

How Trump inadvertently helps al Qaeda in Syria

Featured image I’ve discussed how President Trump’s collaboration with Russia in Syria is helping Iran. Marc Thiessen shows that it is also inadvertently aiding al Qaeda. Thiessen cites the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project (CTP). They find that “current U.S. strategy empowers al-Qaeda, which has an army in Syria, is preparing to replace ISIS,. . . [and] is more dangerous than ISIS.” How so? »

Defining American greatness down

Featured image You might think that a website called “American Greatness” would be concerned that the U.S. is “outsourcing security in Syria to the Russians” (to use the reported words of the Trump administration’s acting assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs). You might think that such a site would have qualms about the U.S. abandoning Syrian fighters that we armed, trained, and encouraged to fight against the pro-Iranian regime in »

Pompeo vs. Tillerson on Syria

Featured image At the Aspen Security Forum, the same conference Scott discussed here, CIA Director Mike Pompeo discussed with clarity the situation the U.S. confronts in Syria. As Josh Rogin reports, Pompeo stated that we have two main enemies in Syria: ISIS and Iran. Our goals, in addition to finishing off ISIS in Syria, should be to stop Iran from establishing a zone of control that spans the region and “providing the »