Trump Foreign Policy

The European reaction to Khashoggi

Featured image The mainstream media has criticized President Trump’s reaction to reports that Saudi Arabia is responsible for the disappearance and probable death of Jamal Khashoggi. Trump has said he is waiting for more facts, clearly an appropriate position to take. He has also said that if the Saudis are responsible for killing Khashoggi the U.S. response will be “severe punishment.” From the media’s perspective, this statement seems unobjectionable. At the same »

The Khashoggi slaying, the anti-Trump media, and American foreign policy

Featured image The murder of Jamal Khashoggi has replaced Brett Kavanaugh’s high school days as the mainstream media’s obsession. The media attributes the murder to the Saudi Arabian government. I don’t know whether the evidence conclusively supports this view, but for purposes of this post let’s assume that responsibility lies with the Saudis. The American media calls Khashoggi a journalist, and it’s true that he contributed articles to the Washington Post. However, »

Trade-Offs

Featured image There is other news happening right now aside from the Kavanaugh matter and the upcoming elections. Like the last minute deal with Canada to restructure NAFTA. Looks pretty clear that Canada blinked. No less a grandee than Walter Russell Mead says that Trump’s trade brinksmanship has been vindicated in this case: The midnight Sunday deal between U.S. and Canadian negotiators was a decisive victory for President Trump’s unconventional approach to »

They all laughed

Featured image President Trump spoke to the United Nations General Assembly this morning. I have posted the video immediately below. Politico has posted a good transcript of the speech here. I thought this was an excellent speech recapitulating the leading points of Trump’s reorientation of American foreign policy in favor of America’s friends and adversely to America’s foes. This foreign policy resists the encroachment of multilateral institutions and global governance on American »

Pompeo condemns Kerry

Featured image Yesterday morning I revisited former Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry’s coaching of the powers that be in Iran on the fine art of resistance to the Trump administration. Yesterday afternoon Trump administration Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked at a press conference (transcript here) about Kerry’s freelance diplomacy, as Michael Rubin calls it in this excellent New York Post column. Pompeo responded: “What Secretary Kerry has done »

John Bolton hits a home run; the Washington Post calls it a foul ball

Featured image The Washington Post’s board of editors attacks John Bolton for a speech in which he harshly criticized the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Post doesn’t defend the ICC. In an understatement, the Post agrees that “the court has its defects.” However, the editorial board castigates Bolton for using his “first significant public address” to talk about what the editors deem an irrelevancy. The editors think Bolton should have discussed Syria, »

Trump shuts down PLO office in D.C.

Featured image Yesterday, the Trump administration ordered the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington, saying that the PLO “has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.” That’s for sure. The Washington Post’s account of the story is here. You can almost see the tears Karen DeYoung shed writing it. In the paper edition, the story’s subtitle is “another blow to Palentinians.” Perhaps. »

U.S. Defunds UNRWA

Featured image This is good news that I missed a few days ago: U.S. halts funding to U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees. I would say that headline is wrong in two respects. The United States on Friday halted all funding to a U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees in a decision further heightening tensions between the Palestinian leadership and the Trump administration. A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the decision »

The sound of mullahs whining

Featured image “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” is one of the great lines in Apocalypse Now. Can we adapt the line to Trump foreign policy? In the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I love the sound of mullahs whining all day long. Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that Iran’s oil exports are dropping faster than expected before the Trump administration’s new sanctions are scheduled to »

U.S. slashes aid to West Bank and Gaza

Featured image The Trump administration has cut more than $200 million in aid for the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza. This decision followed a review by the State Department “to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with U.S. national interests and provide value to the U.S. taxpayer.” According to the Washington Post, the cut “effectively means the United States is giving no money to the Palestinians.” I’m not sure that’s the »

Bolton’s zero option

Featured image Barack Obama and his foreign policy team led us into an upside down world in which friends were treated as enemies and enemies treated as friends. President Trump has led the great undoing of Obama administration policies on the home front. Senior Trump administration officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton are instrumental to the great undoing of Obamaian foreign policy. When it came »

Winning the Trade War With China?

Featured image I have viewed it more as a trade skirmish, perhaps because I am looking at it from an American perspective. Don Surber says that it looks quite different from a Chinese point of view: To find the news, I read the South China Morning Post, which is worried spitless that the Red Chinese economy will tank like its stock market has. (Its stocks overall have declined in value by 40% »

Report: North Korea is working on new missiles

Featured image According to the Washington Post, U.S. spy agencies are seeing signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States. The Post cites “officials familiar with the intelligence.” It also provides a commercial satellite image, taken on July 7, showing the factory in question. The photo includes a vehicle the Post says is similar to »

Iran On the Ropes?

Featured image I confess that even after I boarded the Trump train–basically, when no alternative was left–I didn’t imagine that Trump would prove to be a foreign policy genius. But isn’t that what we are seeing? Improving our trade deals, finally doing something about North Korea, standing up to Putin’s Russia, pushing back against Chinese theft of intellectual property, exposing anti-Semitism and fecklessness in the U.N., getting more contributions from NATO allies–it’s »

Udall wonders why

Featured image I’ve been looking for a highlight reel of Secretary Pompeo’s appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. I thought it was a highlight reel from beginning to end when Pompeo was speaking. C-SSPAN has posted video of the entire three-hour hearing here. The clip below features Pompeo responding to New Mexico Senator Tom Udall’s question regarding interest in President Trump’s tax return following the Trump-Putin Helskinki meeting. You know, »

Trump Makes a Deal

Featured image I have argued repeatedly that talk of a trade war is vastly overblown. It seems obvious that President Trump has properly staked out positions in defense of American interests with several trading partners, including the European Union, Mexico and China. His purpose is not to ignite a trade war, if such can be avoided, but rather to negotiate fairer and more favorable terms. That view was vindicated today, as to »

Message to the mullahs

Featured image President Trump’s tweet to President Rouhani carried a message to the mullahs. New York Times reporter Austin Ramzy drily observes: “Mr. Trump’s message was apparently in response to a speech on Sunday by Mr. Rouhani, who warned the United States that any conflict with Iran would be the ‘mother of all wars.’” Well, yeah. To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES »