Posts Tagged ‘foreign policy’

Gastrodiplomacy

August 22, 2019

The Thai government has been actively promoting Thai food overseas for more than a decade. The strategy has been so successful that it inspired a new trend in foreign policy: gastrodiplomacy.

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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.

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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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USA: See You In C-U-B-A

March 21, 2016

USA: See You In C-U-B-A

President Obama flew into Havana on Sunday on Air Force One. In 1928 the last U.S. president to visit Cuba, Calvin Coolidge, sailed into Havana Harbor aboard a battleship. “Silent Cal” liked a good cigar, but he didn’t drink any rum, watch baseball, or dance the rumba. He addressed the Pan American Conference, promising the hemisphere “peace and goodwill,” but the Platt Amendment was in effect, and Cubans knew American forces could invade their nation at the drop of Mr. Coolidge’s homburg. The president promised Cubans the U.S. would lower the sugar tariff that crippled their economy, but it never happened — and the tariff was later raised.

Today’s Cubans hope this visit turns out better, but they remember the last one, even if we don’t.

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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]

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Kid Senator Pens ‘Cheeky’ Letter to Iran; International Crisis Ensues

March 11, 2015

Kid Senator Pens 'Cheeky' Letter to Iran; International Crisis Ensues

In office for a couple of months, young freshman Senator Tom Cotton (AR-R) wrote an open letter to the leaders of Iran, saying that any nuclear agreement they sign with the current administration won’t be worth a bucket of warm spit in two years when the Tea Party takes over the White House. That’s misleading, but 46 other GOP senators signed on anyway, some of them older guys who really don’t know what they’re signing. These political pen pals are being hailed as … traitors, reckless, dumb, dangerous and irresponsible, trolls, saboteurs, and so on.

Secretaries of State past and present denounced the letter as a dangerous political stunt. Iran blew it off, but there’s been a strong, substantial public backlash in the USA. Now the GOP letter writers claim it was all a joke, that they were just being “cheeky.” After all, what’s more fun than jeopardizing a critical nuclear weapons agreement?

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Mitt Romney, International Statesman

September 13, 2012

Mitt Romney, International Statesman

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has taken a bold stand on foreign policy, standing firmly atop the dead bodies of American diplomats in a sordid attempt to score political points. As is his habit, when it became clear that his charges were at variance with the facts, he repeated them. Perhaps that works in the murky world of private equity, but it’s less effective in international relations, where lives are at stake, not just other people’s money.

So what’s Mitt Romney’s position on Libya? Take your pick; he’s had five of them. And that was just last year.

Apart from his accounts in offshore banks and his LDS missionary work in France, Mr. Romney has had little experience in foreign affairs. He’s certainly a quick study, though. First a world tour of gaffes, insults, and intelligence leaks; now this.

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Romney Charm, Offensive

July 27, 2012

Romney Charm, Offensive

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney sought to demonstrate his statesmanship with a trip to the Old World, but he seems to have an odd sense of diplomacy. As a guest in the United Kingdom he opined that London’s arrangements for the 2012 Olympics were “disconcerting” and “obviously is not something which is encouraging,” and “it’s hard to know just how well” the Games will succeed.

Having arranged snowball fights at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (population 190,000), Mr. Romney is well qualified to assess the 2012 Olympics in London (population 8,000,000). Certainly the organizer of London’s Games should have solved his logistical problems the way Mitt Romney did, by becoming a registered lobbyist and getting $1.3 Billion in earmarks from the national government. Ladies and gentlemen, that is superior business management.

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March Madness, Foreign Policy Edition

March 16, 2012

March Madness, Foreign Policy Edition

The editors of Foreign Policy magazine have prepared their brackets for the annual “Democrats vs. Dictators” March Madness series. Like every season, anything can happen. Just remember those big upsets in last year’s “Arab Spring” round.

“Democrats vs. Dictators: 2012,” Foreign Policy blog

Related:

U.S. Patent No. 6,092,806, “100 Point NCAA Basketball Tournament Prediction Game” (1998).

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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USA Leaves Iraq?

December 18, 2011

USA Leaves Iraq?

The last convoy of United States troops left Iraq today, entering Kuwait and ending almost nine years of official military presence. Operation Iraqi Freedom lasted eight years, eight months and 25 days. 1.5 million troops served, 4,500 died, and 32,000 were wounded. Cost in Iraqi lives? Pick a number over 100,000.

American troops already withdrawn from Iraq are glad to be home for the holidays, though many will be re-deployed to Afghanistan. But at least Iraq is secure, right?

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