Trump Foreign Policy

Yes to Acquiring Greenland!

Featured image It is amusing to watch the reaction to Trump floating the idea of the U.S. buying Greenland. It’s not like we have never done such a thing before (i.e., Louisiana, Alaska), and while there were arguably constitutional defects with those acquisitions (especially Louisiana), just watch as Trump-hating liberals who ordinarily say our Constitution should be as “flexible” as Gumby and as “alive” as a mold suddenly become strict constructionists again. »

Israel bans Omar and Tlaib from entering country

Featured image Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib want to enter Israel, a nation they despise and would like to see destroyed as a Jewish state. Israel initially agreed to their visit. Today, however, the government changed its mind. The two Israel-haters will not be allowed in. Prime Minister Netanyahu released a statement that explained his decision this way: As a vibrant and free democracy, Israel is open to any visitor and »

A trade war that’s not so easy to win

Featured image Reportedly, there is a division within the White House over how to proceed with China on trade. One camp, which includes Steven Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow, is optimistic that the administration can reach a trade deal with Beijing as things stand now. But Peter Navarro, the senior trade adviser, believes stronger tactics are required to change China’s approach. President Trump is said to agree with Navarro. But what if both »

Whither China?

Featured image The current unrest in Hong Kong may be the most important geopolitical story of this decade, depending how it plays out. Concerning which, a few observations: • We know enough from recent decades to declare how dictatorships end: they end only when the rulers lose their nerve to kill their own people in large numbers. Forget all the fancy models and theories of our idiot schools of international relations. This »

U.S. designates China a currency manipulator

Featured image The U.S. government has determined that China is manipulating its currency. It will engage with the International Monetary Fund to try to eliminate this unfair form of competition. If there is no progress within a year, China could face sanctions including its firms being prohibited from competition for U.S. government contracts. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made the announcement today. Stock prices fell dramatically, with the Dow Jones average shedding more »

What Asian century?

Featured image Two years ago, our friend Michael Auslin published The End of the Asian Century. Michael argued that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Asia is not on its way to global domination and China is not on its way to displacing the U.S. Now, in an essay for Foreign Policy, Michael finds that the prospects for Asia in general, and for China in particular, have diminished further since he published his book. »

Has Trump tapped Rand Paul for a mission to the mullahs? Trump says no

Featured image Yesterday, I saw reports that President Trump had agreed to have Rand Paul talk with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, who is in New York City this week for a U.N. conference. The reports struck me as questionable. Is Trump impatient or even disillusioned with his own Iran policy? He might be. Is he unhappy with the advisers who urged him to adopt the policy? If he’s unhappy with the »

Two cheers for Trump’s North Korea policy

Featured image It’s amusing to observe how some on both sides of the political divide are talking about President Trump’s North Korea diplomacy. Some anti-Trumpers castigate the president for “making nice” with a despicable dictator like Kim Jong Un, when there is no realistic hope of a deal that leads to North Korea’s denuclearization. Some Trump supporters applaud Trump’s outreach to the dictator as an “art of the deal” moment that may, »

What Iran is really up to

Featured image If you want to understand the current state of the conflict with Iran, I urge you to read Michael Doran’s invaluable Mosaic essay “What Iran is really up to.” The stakes are high and the conflict is complicated. The mainstream media are acting as little more than a vehicle of Iranian/Democratic disinformation and propaganda. This week’s Tikvah podcast features Doran and is posted here at Mosaic. I have embedded it »

Will Trump’s Iran policy succeed?

Featured image President Trump should be commended for recognizing the bankruptcy of President Obama’s Iran policy and, accordingly, for scrapping it. Obama’s policy did not even purport to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. What it did was finance Iranian aggression throughout the Middle East and solidify the mullahs’ hold on the Iranian people. Obama hoped that lifting sanctions and forking over gold to the mullahs would induce Iran to become a »

Trump’s dilemma

Featured image Donald Trump campaigned as the man who would restore teeth to American foreign policy. Red lines would be enforced. The Iran nuclear deal, thanks to which the mullahs were able to finance aggression throughout the Middle East, would be overturned. Iran would not obtain nuclear weapons. There would be a new sheriff in town. This was good campaign rhetoric. Weakness is unappealing. Strength sells. Trump also campaigned as the man »

On the Question of Trump vs. Iran

Featured image As Austin Bay pointed out in last week’s podcast, Iran has been at war with the United States for 40 years, ever since the 1979 revolution. It has been low-grade, “unconventional” war, but war nonetheless. As a rogue state, Iran has the initiative, choosing its means and times of action. In other words, Iran gets to calibrate the level of conflict intensity. Most of the time Iran acts through “covert” »

Report: Trump ordered strike against Iran, but pulled back

Featured image If a new Iranian attack causes the death of even one American, the U.S. will respond militarily. That, at least, is the warning Secretary of State Pompeo reportedly issued to the mullahs. If Iran attacks a U.S. ship, it’s likely that the U.S. will respond militarily even if no American dies. There’s also a case to made that if Iran keeps attacking non-U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf, we should »

Iran asking for it

Featured image Iran has shot down an American drone over the Strait of Hormuz, i.e., in international airspace. The New York Times story by Daniel Victor and David Kirkpatrick is here. The incident presents President Trump with a variety of what he must view as unpalatable options. Iran is, as they say, asking for it. Will the president give it to them? »

How to respond to Tehran’s pirates, Part Two

Featured image Yesterday, I discussed a column by Bret Stephens about how the U.S. should respond if Iran continues to attack ships in the Persian Gulf. Stephens recalled that in 1988, after a U.S. frigate was badly damaged when it hit an Iranian naval mine, we destroyed half the Iranian fleet in a matter of hours. I noted that today Iran is much more capable than in 1988 of inflicting damage on »

How to respond to “the pirates of Tehran”

Featured image I divide the Never Trumpers into two groups. Members of the first group adhere to the conservative views they held pre-Trump. Members of the second group have allowed their hatred of the president to infect their thinking on substantive issues. In my view, only the former are worthy of respect. Bret Stephens belongs to the first group. In this column for the New York Times, he basically backs the Trump »

Cyber War vs. Russia: Did We Or Didn’t We?

Featured image The New York Times reported yesterday, in an anonymously sourced article attributed to “current and former national security officials,” that the U.S. has planted malware designed to attack power plants and other infrastructure into Russia’s power grid: The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities »