Trump Foreign Policy

Are you sure Alger done it this way?

Featured image The Mueller project continues on its inevitable path, yet every day the synthetic Trump-Russia collusion scandal appears more absurd. It appears more absurd every day not only because of the absence of evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, but also because of the actions undertaken by the administration adverse to Russian national interests. The Frankenstein monster nevertheless lumbers on. Yesterday the Trump administration designated five Russian entities and 19 Russian individuals under »

Tea for the Tillerson

Featured image Some thoughts on the Tillerson story today. I was enthusiastic about the Tillerson pick in the beginning precisely because he wasn’t a conventional pick, not someone from the usual party establishment, but with considerable global experience from running ExxonMobil. His status as a big league (or is it “bigly”?) executive would appeal to Trump, though perhaps Tillerson’s personal strength was part of the problem, since news stories say he and »

Two 2013 letters

Featured image Omri Ceren’s tweet below is at the same time a valuable piece of media criticism and history. The letter to Khameni cited by Omri is described well in the Wall Street Journal story by Jay Solomon and Carol Lee. We are living in strange, strange times, and the press is a virtually insuperable obstacle to understanding them. Omri’s tweet is a valuable reminder on that score as well. In 2013 »

David Friedman reflects

Featured image US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman also spoke at the AIPAC policy conference last week (video below, text here). My friends who attended the conference and commended Ambassador Haley’s speech to me also commended Friedmans’s. They declared his speech, if not the best, at least a close contender. Like Ambassador Haley, Friedman warmed up with a contrast between then and now: “Now, the events that I just noted are not »

Nikki Haley among friends

Featured image US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley addressed the multitude assembled at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington this past Monday (video below, text here). I am reliably informed by my friends who were there that, with the possible exception of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech, Ambassador Haley’s remarks constituted the highlight of the event. They also emphasized to me that you had to have been there to understand why. »

The pros and cons of talking with Kim Jong Un

Featured image So President Trump’s bellicosity towards North Korea hasn’t led to nuclear war, after all. Instead, from all that appears, it has led to the negotiating table and face-to-face talks between the president and Kim Jong Un. But is that a good place for the U.S. to be? And will it lead to a denuclearized North Korea? Let’s keep in mind that North Korea has benefited significantly from past talks with »

Next stop, Nobel Peace Prize?

Featured image The big news of the day is Kim Jong Un’s invitation of President Trump to a meeting to discuss denuclearization. The meeting is to take place before May at a place to be determined. Little Rocket Man has agreed to stop missile and nuclear testing in the meantime. South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-Yong made this announcement on White House grounds to the assembled press gaggle yesterday evening: Today, »


Featured image So Trump’s senior economic adviser, Gary Cohn, is resigning because of Trump’s announcement of steel and aluminum tariffs. The tariffs are likely a bad idea—unless you think Trump is merely making this move as part of his “art of the deal” strategy, and will end up with some trading partners altering their behavior and trading rules. Perhaps it will work out this way. It wouldn’t surprise me if it does. »

The problem with Trump’s tariff plan

Featured image Trade policy is like immigration policy in the sense that whichever policies are selected, there will be winners and losers among Americans. For example, to oversimplify, tolerating illegal immigration hurts Americans who lose work to illegal immigrants or have their wages driven down. But it helps businesses that rely on cheap labor, their customers, and those well-off Americans who want cheap gardeners and the like. Trade policy, such as tariffs, »

On Tariffs, Hold the Hysteria

Featured image President Trump said last week that he intends to use powers granted him by Congress to impose import duties on steel and aluminum. That was all it took for the press to become free traders. Gloom and doom are everywhere, as reporters gleefully tell us how our trading partners are planning to retaliate and how Trump’s tariffs will damage the economy. I don’t recall a similar reaction when it was »

Russia sees Trump as “lost cause”

Featured image That’s what the Washington Post is reporting: “The Russians have gotten past the phase where they thought with President Trump they would be able to move the relationship in a different direction,” said Thomas Graham, senior director for Russia on the George W. Bush National Security Council staff and now managing director at Kissinger Associates Inc. “This is qualitatively worse than any post-Cold War period,” Graham said. Andrew Weiss, who »

Xi Jinping’s promotion signals a cold war with China

Featured image Peter Beinart proclaims that “the Trump administration is preparing for a new Cold War.” Against whom? Against Russia and China. The left can’t seem to make up its mind. Is President Trump a tool of Putin or an anti-Russia cold warrior? I say he’s neither. Instead, I think Trump is slowly recognizing, as President Obama never seemed to, that Russia and China are waging a Cold War against us, and »

Taiwan and the growing Chinese threat

Featured image The New York Times reports that China has been ratcheting up pressure on Taiwan, the nation whose independent existence China aspires to end. In recent months, Chinese strategic bombers have been conducting “island encirclement” flights, escorted by fighter jets. The Chinese government has discouraged tourism to Taiwan and imports of goods like fish over the past year and a half, hurting its economy. And China persuaded the island’s most important »

Feel Good Headline of the Day

Featured image The New York Times has this headline up at the moment: From the story: MOSCOW — Four Russian nationals, and perhaps dozens more, were killed in fighting between pro-government forces in eastern Syria and members of the United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, according to Russian and Syrian officials. A Syrian military officer said that about 100 Syrian soldiers had been killed in the fighting on Feb. 7 and »

Why Do Democrats Hate Israel?

Featured image I think it was Milton Himmelfarb (but I’m only 40% sure of this, so happy to be corrected) who quipped that “Jews live like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans.” I haven’t checked the exit poll crosstabs, but I suspect that Hillary Clinton got around 90 percent of the Jewish vote in 2016. There have been some important deviations from this pattern, such as the 1980 election, when Ronaldus Magnus »

Pence rocks the Knesset

Featured image The Israeli Knesset held a special session yesterday to welcome Vice President Pence. Pence was the first American vice president to address the Knesset. He spoke to a packed room. Among those welcoming the vice president were the Israeli president, the Israeli prime minister, and the Israeli leader of the opposition. Roughly all of Israel’s political establishment turned out. The United States embassy in Tel Aviv, soon to be in »

Trump Administration Cracks Down on Pakistan

Featured image Tweet first, announce policy later: that is the pattern that President Trump has followed with regard to Pakistan. On Monday, Trump tweeted: The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little »