Archive for the ‘foreign policy’ Category

Trump on Putin’s Ukraine Invasion: ‘Genius’

February 24, 2022

Trump on Putin's Ukraine Invasion: 'Genius'

Responding to Russia’s original rationalization for its unprovoked military invasion of neighboring Ukraine, Russia-linked former US president Donald Trump called Vladimir Putin’s flimsy excuse “genius.” As Tony Borowitz suggests, maybe Mr. Trump is currying Putin’s continuing support for a 2024 campaign run.


“Trump, again cozying up to Putin, praises Russian aggression as ‘genius.’” Reid J. Epstein, New York Times

“Trump Keeps Going With His Big Lie: Putin Invaded Ukraine Because Of ‘Rigged Election,'” Amanda Terkel, HuffPost

“Why Donald Trump can’t stop praising Vladimir Putin,” Chris Cillizza, CNN


“Trump and his supporters praise Putin and dismiss Biden as crisis unfolds,” Meryl Kornfield, Washington Post

“Trump and other top conservatives rally to Putin’s side as he threatens Ukraine,” John Haltiwanger, Business Insider

“Fox News hosts play down Russia’s attack on Ukraine,” Katie Robertson and Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times

“Putin’s Useful Idiots,” David A. Graham, The Altlantic

“Tommy Tuberville Gives Breathtakingly Ignorant Explanation of Russia’s Invasion,” Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine

“Donald Trump defends calling Putin ‘smart’, hints at 2024 presidential bid,” David Smith, The Guardian

“Almost treasonous’: Romney condemns GOP voices backing Putin,” Colin Campbell, Yahoo News

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Trump Boosts His Business Interests In India

February 24, 2020

Trump Boosts His Business Interests In India
President Donald Trump, real estate promoter and U.S. President, is visiting the land of the Trump Organization’s largest foreign business interests, India. Fellow authoritarian ruler Prime Minister Narendra Modi will show Mr. Trump what a real mass rally looks like, and probably explain how to deprive Muslim residents of their citizenship. There will also be some arms deals and trade talks. President Trump will be returning to the U.S. in 48 hours since there are no Trump golf courses in India for him to cheat play on this weekend.


President Trump, First Lady Melania, White House Lifestyle Consultant Ivanka, and Secretary of Everything Jared all visited India’s most famous Muslim tomb, freshly cleaned for their enjoyment and photo-ops. PM Modi’s advisors scared off the neighborhood monkeys. Mr. Trump, a longtime admirer of India’s Islamic Mughal heritage, named his money-laundering  twice-bankrupt Atlantic City casino the Trump Taj Mahal.


“India is home to the most Trump ventures outside North America. Here’s what you need to know.” Niha Masih and Joanna Slater, Washington Post

“Trump visits a big foreign market — for the U.S. and for Trump Org,” Anita Kumar, Politico


“Deadly clashes erupt in Delhi as Trump visits India,” Rebecca Falconer, Axios

“New Delhi Streets Turn Into Battleground During Trump’s Visit,” Jeffrey Gettleman, Suhasini Raj and Sameer Yasir, New York Times

“13 killed in violent clashes in Delhi amid Trump’s visit,” Debarshi Dasgupta, Straits Times

“In India, Trump hails no trade deal as a win,” Anita Kumar, Politico

“What Exactly Is Ivanka Trump Doing in India?” Michelle Ruiz, Vogue

“‘Up to India’: Trump evades questions about Muslim-excluding citizenship law,” Anita Kumar, Politico


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Fictional Narratives

November 25, 2019

Fictional Narratives

“Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”
Former National Security Council Russia adviser Fiona Hill, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, November 21, 2019.


“‘Some of You on this Committee Appear to Believe’ That Russia Didn’t Meddle in 2016,” Defense One

“Charges of Ukrainian Meddling? A Russian Operation, U.S. Intelligence Says,” Julian E. Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times

“GOP congressmembers blamed Ukraine for election hacking. Russia’s been trying to make that happen for years.” Kathryn Krawczyk. The Week

“Sen. John Kennedy repeats Ukraine conspiracy theory about DNC server,” Jacob Knutson, Axios

“‘Everything becomes a conspiracy theory’: Trump leans into spurious claims for impeachment defense,” Nancy Cook, Politico

“’Are you sure?’ Trump’s Ukraine conspiracy theory was a bit much even for Fox & Friends,” Aaron Rupar, Vox

“Time to call out and remove Putin’s propagandists,” Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post


“GOP Sen. John Kennedy: ‘I Was Wrong’ to Say Ukraine May Have Hacked DNC Server,” Justin Baragona, Daily Beast


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Does Saudi Arabia Own Donald Trump?

October 18, 2018

“Does Saudi Arabia Own Donald Trump?” asks Mehdi Hasan at the Intercept. While the president claims he has “no financial interests” in Saudi Arabia, The Kingdom bailed out Mr. Trump after some of his less-artful deals, and has bought Trump properties for millions.


“Trump tweeted he has no ties to Saudi Arabia. A Fox News account proved him wrong.” Stavros Agorakis, Vox

“Whether Trump has financial interests *in* Saudi Arabia, he has plenty *with* the country,” Philip Bump, Washington Post

“Trump and Kushner Put Saudi’s Money First,” Timothy L. O’Brien, Bloomberg

“11 senators request Trump, sons disclose business ties with Saudi Arabia,” Marisa Fernandez, Axios

“President Trump has a massive conflict of interest on Saudi Arabia,” Noah Bookbinder, Washington Post

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Mad for Vlad, Trump Invites Putin To Washington

July 23, 2018

Mad for Vlad, Trump Invites Putin To Washington
President Donald Trump so enjoyed his successful Helsinki meeting with Vladimir Putin that he’s sent a message to the Russian strongman inviting him to the White House this fall. Great, another damn sequel. Perhaps Russian oligarchs could use the occasion to hold a GOP fundraiser in DC — it wouldn’t be the first for some of them.

Mr. Putin may be welcome at the White House and the Trump Hotel, but he can forget about addressing a joint session of Congress. Maybe he can pop across the Potomac to visit his fans at the NRA instead.


Trump-Kim Summit, a Triumph for Something-or-Other.

June 12, 2018

Trump-Kim Summit, a Triumph for Something-or-Other.

Singapore: They came, they gripped-and-grinned, they ate lunch, they went home. Supreme Leaders Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un held a photo-op and everybody came. The two dictators had a jolly time talking science fiction, hotels, and real estate. They watched videos, and Mr. Kim taught Mr. Trump to call joint military exercisesprovocative war games” so they were easier for him to unilaterally cancel. The White House called Dennis Rodman to thank him.

President Trump went home early so he could talk to Fox News and play golf.


“The North Korea summit was a triumph of Trumpian stagecraft, and the media fell for it,” Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post

“Trump just struck a shockingly weak deal with North Korea,” Vox

“Trump really has achieved a historic breakthrough – for the Kim dynasty,” Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian

“Trump Was Outfoxed in Singapore,” Nicholas Kristof, New York Times

“North Koreans ‘Love’ Kim Jong Un, President Tells ABC,” Daily Beast

“Trump’s summit military concession to Kim surprises everyone,” Alexander Smith, NBC News

“Trump-Kim summit: South Koreans wary of losing US defense assurance,” Fabian Kretschmer, Deutsche Welle

“‘What the hell?’ Trump-Kim lovefest ignores human rights nightmare,” Nahal Toosi, Politico

“Bush Center highlights North Korean human rights abuses after summit,” Jacqueline Thomsen, The Hill

“Kim Has Accepted Trump’s Invite To Visit Washington,” Kate Riga, TPM Livewire

Yes. Repeat, No:

“Pence: ‘regular readiness training’ to continue in South Korea,” Alayna Treene, Axios


“North Korea’s Media Tout Trump Concessions You Won’t Find In The Joint Statement,” Anthony Kuhn, NPR News

“All The Times North Korea Promised To Denuclearize,”Brian Barrett, Wired

“Trump and Kim Stir Confusion About What They Actually Agreed To,” Margaret Hartmann, New York Magazine

“Reporters thought this video was North Korea propaganda. It came from the White House.”  Avi Selk, Washington Post

“The Sensational Idiocy of Donald Trump’s Propaganda Video for Kim Jong,” Troy Patterson, The New Yorker

“Trump’s North Korean Propaganda Reveals His Contempt for Democracy,” Eric Levitz, New York Magazine


“James Clapper tells CNN’s Chris Cuomo that Dennis Rodman is ‘our best resource’ for understanding Trump, Kim Jong Un,” Catherine Garcia, The Week

“When Hitler met Hoover and eight other instances dictators scored presidential face time,”  Erick Trickey, WaPo via National Post

“Trump’s ‘Great Chemistry’ With Murderous Strongmen,” Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

“Trump has officially been nominated for the Nobel Prize for his summit with Kim Jong Un,” Jeva Lange, The Week

“Can the US, China and North and South Korea find peace on the peninsula? War veterans hope so,” Minnie Chan, Robert Delaney, Lee Jeong-ho, China Morning Post



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Jared Kushner Is In Mexico for Spring Break

March 8, 2018

Jared Kushner Is In Mexico for Spring Break

Jared Kushner, Senior White House Advisor, is in Mexico today to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto and Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray about security, immigration and trade. Mr. Kushner knows all about security, having just had his Top Secret security clearance revoked, and knows about immigration from selling U.S. EB-5 visas to wealthy foreign investors. Jared Kushner learned about foreign trade by marrying Chinese shmata importer Ivanka Trump.

Presidents Trump and Peña Nieto were scheduled to meet in Washington, but Mr. Peña Nieto canceled his DC trip after a phone call with Mr. Trump, who continues to demand Mexican money for a border wall and menace the NAFTA agreement. The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, career diplomat Roberta S. Jacobson, who has announced her May 1 resignation, was not invited to Kushner’s Mexican meetings.


“Kushner to visit Mexico after Trump tirades, testy phone call,” Ana Isabel Martinez, Reuters

“Jared Kushner to Meet Mexico President Despite Losing Top-Secret Security Clearance,” Jessica Kwong, Newsweek


“Kushner Meets With Mexican President, Underscoring Shift in U.S. Diplomacy,” Azam Ahmed and Nicholas Casey, New York Times

“Kushner meets with top officials in Mexico amid strained relations,” By Joshua Partlow, Washington Post


“Uneasy US-Mexico relationship will survive ambassador’s resignation — but just barely,” Pamela K. Starr, The Conversation


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Kim Thinks Trump Won’t Bite Himself In the Ass. We’re Not So Sure.

August 16, 2017

Kim Thinks Trump Won't Bite Himself In the Ass. We're Not So Sure.

As Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un blunder and bluster their way towards nuclear conflict, one factor may hold Mr. Trump back from a rash military act. It’s something very important to him: His own self-interest. “The president owns a 59 percent interest in Trump Korea LLC,” points out Phillip Y. Lipscy, “a joint venture with Daewoo.”

“Trump World Seoul consists of six properties located in Seoul, Busan, and Daegu. In particular, Trump World I, II, and III are located in the heart of Seoul, which would be subject to heavy North Korean conventional artillery bombardment in the event of a major peninsular conflict.

North Korea may thus perceive threats by the president as noncredible given his personal exposure to financial loss. Despite Trump’s tough rhetoric and sending aircraft carriers to nearby waters, Kim Jong Un may reasonably calculate that the president will not risk annihilation of what the Trump Organization describes as an ‘unmatched project that is a true asset to the Trump portfolio.’

Trump World Seoul also puts the president at risk of personal coercion by the North Korean regime. Kim Jong Un could seek to deter U.S. intervention by threatening to specifically target and destroy Trump’s business assets in the event of U.S. escalation. Kim need not physically destroy a Trump Tower to harm the president’s bottom line: Prominently identifying Trump properties as targets will affect their economic viability.

The president stands to lose personal wealth if a military conflict imperils any Trump property. In the vast majority of cases, insurance coverage for commercial property excludes damages sustained in interstate wars. The president therefore faces a direct, personal incentive to avoid escalating conflicts that could potentially result in the destruction of Trump Organization assets.”

— “The Trump Tower Peace Theory,” Phillip Y. Lipscy, Foreign Policy

On the other hand, playing chicken is second nature to Mr. Trump, and this kind of dispute brings out the playground bully in him. It’s why he’s involved in 3,500 lawsuits, but he can’t lawyer his way out of this.

Maybe President Trump should consult with his Ambassador to South Korea. Oh wait, he hasn’t appointed one.


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Reagan Foreign Policy Based on Fiction

January 8, 2016

Reagan Foreign Policy Based on Fiction

“Ronald Reagan had an unusual suggestion to help Margaret Thatcher understand the mentality of the Soviet leader: read Tom Clancy’s thriller.
Papers released by the National Archives in Kew, London, reveal the former US president was ‘much impressed’ with Clancy’s Red Storm Rising, which takes places in Russia where an Islamist terror attack triggers a Third World War.
After his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Mr. Reagan said that reading the book would help Mrs Thatcher understand Russia’s Cold War thinking.”

—  Valerie Edwards, The Daily Mail [links added]


Benghazi Committee Wine & Gun Club

October 14, 2015

Benghazi Committee Wine & Gun Club
The House Select Committee on Benghazi has dragged its hearings out for 17 months without finding anything damning. The hearings drag on anyway since, as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-23) reminded us, the real purpose of the hearings is GOP Hillary bashing. Since the facts no longer matter,there’s no more fact-gathering. So how are committee members and staffers spending their time?  Former committee investigator Major Bradley F. Podliska (Air Force Reserve) tells the Times:

“With the slow progress, members have engaged in social activities like a wine club nicknamed ‘Wine Wednesdays,’ drinking from glasses imprinted with the words ‘Glacial Pace,’ a dig at Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland and the committee’s ranking member, Major Podliska said. Mr. Cummings used the term to question the speed of the committee’s work.
At one point, several Republican staff members formed a gun-buying club and discussed in the committee’s conference room the 9-millimeter Glock handguns they intended to buy and what type of monograms they would inscribe on them, Major Podliska said.”

— “Clinton Emails Became the New Focus of Benghazi Inquiry,” Eric Lipton, Noam Scheiber, and Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times