Trump Foreign Policy

Obama holdovers retain key State Department jobs

Featured image President Trump fancies himself the new Andrew Jackson. But did Jackson allow holdovers from John Quincy Adams’ administration to guide his foreign policy? I raise the question because of reports that architects of some of President Obama’s worst foreign policies are making policy at Trump’s State Department. Let’s first consider the case of Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, the Iran director for former President Obama’s National Security Council. According to Jordan Schachtel of »

Trump picks strong critic of Putin for key post

Featured image Lost in all the fake news about President Trump’s alleged affinity for Russia is the real news that he has tapped a harsh critic of Vladimir Putin to be the White House senior director for Russia and Europe. The Putin-critic he reportedly has selected is Fiona Hill, a former intelligence officer now with the Brookings Institution. Hill was on the National Intelligence Council from 2006-09, serving under Presidents Bush and »

White House wisely pushes back on questionable Mattis selection

Featured image Eliana Johnson reports that some White House officials are opposing the selection by James Mattis of Anne Patterson for the position of undersecretary of defense for policy. The opposition reportedly stems mainly from Patterson’s actions as U.S. ambassador to Egypt in the Obama administration. Eliana explains: Patterson worked closely with former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and his Islamist government. She came under fire for cultivating too close a relationship with »

Trump’s three generals

Featured image The New York Times notes one thing that the generals President Trump has appointed to top administration positions have in common. Gen. Jim Mattis, Gen, John Kelly, and Gen. H.R. McMaster each, at one point or another, “strode the sands of Iraq, fighting on the unforgiving battlefield of America’s costliest war since Vietnam.” Now “all three will sit around the table in the White House Situation Room, steering a new »

The Russians are “dismayed” by Trump

Featured image European leaders (at least those from “old Europe”) have declined to take the Trump administration’s anti-Russia, pro-NATO statements seriously, but this is not the case in Russia. The Washington Post reports that “in Moscow, euphoria over Trump evaporates” as “Russian politicians, journalists and others express dismay” that “the White House puts daylight between itself and the Kremlin.” (These are the headlines of the Post’s story in the print edition) The »

Anti-Trump Europeans decline to be reassured by Mike Pence

Featured image As I discussed yesterday, President Trump sent his “A Team” to Europe to demonstrate America’s commitment to NATO. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and Vice President Mike Pence all traveled to a major conference in Munich for that purpose. Kelly, Mattis, and Pence said the right things. Pence, who told the conference he was sending a message of reassurance directly from President Trump, stated that the »

German defense minister reinforces Trump’s reservations on NATO

Featured image President Trump sent his “A Team” to Europe to demonstrate America’s commitment to NATO. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and Vice President Mike Pence all traveled to a major conference in Munich for that purpose. However, key European officials, along with honorary European John McCain, used the occasion to vent over Trump. Apparently, the Europeans would rather grandstand to their domestic audiences and demonstrate their moral »

Highlights of the Trump-Netanyahu Press Conference

Featured image Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Washington meeting with President Trump. Prior to their meeting, they conducted the usual dual press conference. No major news was made, but several interesting points emerged: 1) I’ve rarely seen Netanyahu look so happy. He must be almost as relieved to see the end of the Obama administration as we are. 2) President Trump indicated that he was open to alternatives to the two-state »

NATO Responds to Trump

Featured image The foreign policy establishment got the vapors when Donald Trump suggested, during the campaign, that NATO allies should be doing more to pay for their own defense. But it appears that the right people got the message: The NATO chief urged allies on Tuesday to step up their defense spending, a day ahead of the first meeting between new U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his 27 NATO counterparts in »

Trump is off to a good start with Japan

Featured image What is the most important trait in a U.S. president? Regard for the Constitution, I believe. What’s second? Probably the ability to distinguish between friendly countries and leaders and unfriendly countries and leaders, and to conduct foreign policy accordingly. The distinguishing part isn’t always easy. Every president is likely to make a mistake or two. The second part — conducting foreign policy accordingly — shouldn’t be too difficult. President Reagan »

Two anti-Trump talking points falter in one day

Featured image A month ago, liberals were claiming that Donald Trump would be a tool of the Russians. After all, they hadn’t brought about his election, via WikiLeaks, for nothing. To be fair, it wasn’t just liberals who expressed concern about what Trump’s Russia policy might be. As a candidate, Trump took a softer line on Vladimir Putin than many, including me, liked. But it was the left that claimed something sinister »

“How is it playing out in Australia?” [with comment by Paul]

Featured image Writing from down under, Steve Kates responds to the question “How is it playing out in Australia?” Not surprisingly, Professor Kates provides a perspective that is nowhere to be found in the news up here: “For [Australian Prime Minister] Malcolm [Turnbull] apparently to have tried to push Trump, by telling him that as a fellow businessman that a deal is a deal, must rank as politically incompetent as anything I »

Did Trump “badger” Australia’s PM?

Featured image “Trump badgers leader of Australia.” That’s the headline on the front page of today’s Washington Post. Barack Obama badgered the leader of Israel for eight years. I don’t think the Post ever so informed its readers. Why not? Because the Post loves Obama and hates Netanyahu and Trump. It’s as simple as that. But did Trump really badger Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during their phone conversation yesterday? The Post’s »

Iran put “on notice”

Featured image At today’s White House press briefing National Security Advisor Michael Flynn read a statement that took note of recent Iranian provocations. Flynn specifically cited two sets of Iranian actions that he suggested the Iranians had been allowed to conduct with relative impunity in recent years: Iranian ballistic missile launches and Iran’s proxies in Yemen attacking naval vessels in the Red Sea. Flynn put Iran “on notice,” without further explanation. Politico »

Sens. McCain and Graham will support Tillerson [UPDATE: Rubio, Too]

Featured image Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have announced that they will vote to confirm Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. With these two votes, Tilleson’s confirmation becomes a near certainty. Among Republicans, Senator Marco Rubio appears to be the only holdout. The Florida man tore into Tillerson at the confirmation hearing but has not said how he will vote. Even if Rubio votes “no,” Tillerson should receive 51 votes. With »

Podcast: Repeal, Replace, Repeat Until Done

Featured image The Power Line Show podcast has been on extended hiatus because the four of us suffer from a massive collective action problem, being scattered in time zones and with crazy conflicting schedules. But I’ve been trying to keep my chops up to speed, yesterday sitting in for Rob Long on the weekly Ricochet podcast along with Peter Robinson and James Lileks. The show featured as its special guest Avik Roy, »

British PM repudiates Kerry’s attack on Israel

Featured image British Prime Minister Theresa May has criticized John Kerry’s oration on the state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kerry called Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition “the most right-wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by its most extreme elements.” And, of course, he condemned Israeli settlement building as a threat to the “two-state solution.” May responded that her government “[does] not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the »