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The Pronk Pops Show 1322, September 18, 2019, Story 1: Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) Lowers The Federal Funds Target Rate by .25% with New Range of 1.75% to 2.00% Reflecting Slowing Moderate Rate of Growth of Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.5% Below The Historical Average of Between 3.0% to 3.5% GDP Growth Rate — Trump Panics Wants Return To Irresponsible Near Zero Interest Rate Policy and Financial Repression of The Great Recession — Trump Just Another Big Government Bubble Blower Inflating Stock Market Prices — Videos — Story 2: Federal Reserve Injects Billions Into The Economy in Overnight Repo Operations — Videos — Story 3: The Ranting Former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton — Neoconservative Interventionist War Monger — Videos — Story 4: President Trump Visits the Double Wall with Road In Between The U.S. Border Agents Wanted — A Game Changer — Need To Build 1500 Miles of New Wall To Stop The 30-60 Million Illegal Alien Invasion of United States Over Last 33 Years — Videos

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Story 1: Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) Lowers The Federal Funds Target Rate by .25% with New Range of 1.75% to 2.00% Reflecting Slowing Moderate Rate of Growth of Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.5% Below The Historical Average of Between 3.0% to 3.5% GDP Growth Rate — Trump Panics Wants Return To Irresponsible Near Zero Interest Rate Policy and Financial Repression of The Great Recession — Trump Just Another Big Government Bubble Blower Inflating Stock Market Prices  — Videos —

See the source image

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Fed Chairman Powell faces dilemma as Trump continues his public criticism

Powell Says Fed Rate Cut Is Insurance Against Ongoing Risks

WATCH LIVE: Fed Chairman Jerome Powell speaks after interest rate cut decision – 09/18/2019

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Fed cuts rates, policy expert says

Published on Aug 21, 2019

Fiat money may not survive this recession

Peter Schiff on recession warning: It’s going to be worse than 2008

What Happens When the Fed Lowers Interest Rates

Can Low Interest Rates Hold Off Recession? (w/ Richard Wolff)

Gold & Silver Prices Fall on FED Rate Cut Announcement

Trump on Fed: ‘Only problem we have is Jay Powell and the Fed’

The discount rate | Money, banking and central banks | Finance & Capital Markets | Khan Academy

A crack just emerged in the financial markets: The NY Fed spends $53 billion to rescue the overnight lending market

 

Current Federal Reserve Interest Rates and Why They Change

Why the Fed Lowered Its Benchmark Rate in September 2019

The interest rate targeted by the Federal Reserve, the federal funds rate, is currently 1.75% to 2%. That’s after the Fed cut it a quarter of a percentage point on Sept. 18, 2019.1 The federal funds rate is the benchmark interest rate banks charge each other for overnight loans. It generally reflects the health of the economy and has a big impact on other interest rates. The Sept. 18 cut was the second rate drop in 2019, after years of steady increases following the Great Recession.2

The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States and it is mandated by Congress to promote economic stability, mainly by raising or lowering the cost of borrowing.3 The Fed said it lowered interest rates because, although the U.S. economy is strong and unemployment is low, business investments and exports have “weakened” since the last meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.4 The FOMC is the Fed’s rate-setting body, and it votes on interest rate changes every six weeks or so.

The FOMC looks at where it thinks the economy is headed and sets interest rates to help the economy reach or maintain full employment, moderate long-term interest rates, and an inflation rate of 2%.5

The fed funds rate is critical in determining the U.S. economic outlook. It is used to set short-term interest rates, including banks’ prime rate (the rate banks charge customers for loans), most adjustable-rate mortgages, and credit card rates.

 

Why the Fed Raises or Lowers Interest Rates 

The Fed uses interest rates as a lever to grow the economy or put the brakes on it. If the economy is slowing, the Fed can lower interest rates to make it cheaper for businesses to borrow money, invest, and create jobs. Lower interest rates also tend to make consumers more eager to borrow and spend, which helps spur the economy.

On the other hand, if the economy is growing too fast and inflation is heating up, the Fed may raise interest rates to curtail spending and borrowing.

In December 2008, the Fed cut the fed funds rate to 0.25%. That’s effectively nothing. It did so amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, in an effort to light a spark under the economy. The rate stayed unchanged until 2015, and rose steadily through 2018 as the economy picked up steam.6 The 2019 cuts are a sign that growth is beginning to slow.

 

How the Fed Funds Rate Works

The FOMC targets a specific level for the fed funds rate, which determines the interest rates banks actually charge one another for overnight loans. Banks use these loans to help them meet cash reserve requirements: Banks that are short borrow from banks that have excess.

reserve requirement is the amount of cash a bank must keep overnight. It’s set by the Fed and is a percentage of the bank’s deposits. The current top reserve requirement is 10% for banks with more than $124.2 million on deposit.

Prior to the financial crisis, the Fed controlled the fed funds rate by buying and selling U.S. government securities on the open market. When the Fed buys a security, that increases the reserves of the bank associated with the sale, which makes the bank more likely to lend. To attract borrowers, the bank lowers interest rates, including the rate it charges other banks.

When the Fed sells a security, the opposite happens. Bank reserves fall, making the bank more likely to borrow, causing the fed funds rate to rise.7 These shifts in the fed funds rate ripple through the rest of the credit markets, influencing other short-term interest rates such as savings, bank loans, credit card interest rates, and adjustable-rate mortgages.

Actions the Fed took during the financial crisis and throughout the recession that followed had the effect of ballooning banks’ reserve balances, and as a result, banks didn’t need to borrow from one another to meet reserve requirements.8 The Federal Reserve could no longer rely on reserve balance manipulation to control interest rates. Because of that, the Fed has developed other tools to affect the rate.

 

How the Fed Now Sets the Fed Funds Rate

Today, the Fed sets a target range for the fed funds rate. It started back in October 2008, when the Fed began paying interest on reserves (IOR), but to a limited number of institutions. This was intended as the floor on the fed funds rate.9 After all, banks won’t lend to each other at a lower rate than what they’re getting from the Fed.

But eventually, the Fed realized the IOR wasn’t sufficient. It needed a sub-floor, so in 2013 it added another tool to help it control the target rate: the overnight reverse repurchase agreement facility (ON RRP, or “reverse repo”).10 This program is available to a broader range of financial institutions than IOR.11

With the ON RPP, the Fed agrees to sell a security and buy it back at a higher price, which is effectively the interest rate. This rate is set high enough to attract buyers, but below IOR. When banks need to borrow from one another, they do so within the range bounded by IOR and ON RPP. And when the Fed acts to raise or lower interest rates, it adjusts both IOR and ON RPP.

 

How Other Interest Rates Are Determined

The fed funds rate is one of the most significant leading economic indicators in the world. Its importance is psychological as well as financial, as many of the interest rates businesses and consumers pay are based on it, if only indirectly. For example, the prime lending rate is determined by individual banks themselves, who base their rates on the fed funds rate.12

Variable interest rates for credit cards and other consumer loans, for example, rely on the prime rate, which means they’re also affected by the fed funds rate.

However, not all loans rely on the prime lending rate. In fact, the interest rates for 30-year mortgages correlate with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. That’s because investors who are interested in safe long-term returns on their investments see lots in common between the two—but not because one rate is determined by the other.13 Ultimately, supply and demand determine the rates for both.

Another important benchmark interest rate that is not set by the Fed is the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). It is the average interest rate major global banks charge each other to borrow. LIBOR is calculated daily, and is the basis for a host of commercial and consumer interest rates, from corporate bonds to adjustable-rate mortgages.14

Fed Cuts Rates By Quarter Point But Faces Growing Split

Central bankers divided over Wednesday’s decision and the outlook for further reductions.

Federal Reserve rate targetSource: Federal Reserve
%2009’10’11’12’13’14’15’16’17’18’190.000.250.500.751.001.251.501.752.002.252.502.75

WASHINGTON—The Federal Reserve voted to cut interest rates by a quarter-percentage point for the second time in as many months to cushion the economy against a global slowdown amplified by the U.S.-China trade conflict.

While the central bankers left the door open to additional cuts, they were split over Wednesday’s decision and the outlook for further reductions.

Seven of 10 officials voted in favor lowering the short-term benchmark to a range between 1.75% and 2%. As in July, two reserve bank presidents dissented from the decision in favor of holding rates steady. This time, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell faced a third dissent from a bank president who preferred a larger, half-point cut.

“We took this step to keep the economy strong,” said Mr. Powell in a news conference after the decision.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell explaining the central bank’s monetary-policy decision at news conference in Washington. PHOTO: PATRICK SEMANSKY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

He also indicated rates could be cut further if the economy weakened further, even though he said officials still have a positive outlook for the U.S. economy.

[For up-to-the-minute of the Fed’s monetary policy meeting, please see Federal Reserve Interest-Rate Decision—Live Analysis]

U.S. stocks wobbled, then pared declines after the Fed’s decision. Treasury yields, which move inversely to prices, ticked higher though held their recent range.

The policy statement released after the meeting was little changed from July, when officials held the door open to future rate cuts. As the rate-setting committee “contemplates the future path” of its policy rate, “it will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion,” the statement said, repeating language from July.

The statement noted household spending had been rising at a strong pace while business investment and exports had weakened.

Projections released after Wednesday’s two-day meeting showed the extent of the split over the policy outlook, complicating the challenge facing Mr. Powell.

Seven of 17 officials penciled in one more rate cut this year. The other 10 were split evenly between those who thought the new level of rates, after Wednesday’s cut, would be appropriate and those who thought rates shouldn’t have to go any lower.

Lowered Expectations

The Fed’s forecasts of the federal-funds rate for the end of 2019 have changed over time. Circles below are sized according to the number of officials who set their projections to the corresponding rate for each release.

Projected midpoint for rate at end of 2019

Target range following

this quarter’s release

10 officials

5

Seven of 17 officials projected one more quarter-point cut this year

4.0%

3.5

3.0

2.5

2.0

1.5

1.0

0.5

0.0

Sept. ’17

Dec.

March ’18

June

Sept.

Dec.

March ’19

June

Sept.

PROJECTION RELEASE DATE

Source: Federal Reserve

Those divides are even sharper in projections for next year. Roughly half of officials projected rates by December 2020 would sit one-quarter point below the new level, while another half thought it would be appropriate to reverse at least one of the two recent cuts.

Officials cited three reasons—weakening global growth, rising trade-policy uncertainty and muted inflation—for cutting rates at their July 30-31 meeting. The U.S.-China trade conflict worsened immediately after the July meeting, and the global industrial downturn shows no sign of bottoming out.

The Fed faces an unusual challenge setting policy given the volatile outlook for the global trading environment, that has chilled business investment. “There is a piece of this that we really can’t address,” said Mr. Powell. “It’s an unusual situation… It’s a challenging time, I admit it.”

Officials expected the U.S. economy to slow this year, but increased uncertainty means officials aren’t sure if the economy is going to cool a little bit or a lot.

U.S. economic data paint a mixed picture. Consumer spending has been solid, but manufacturing has weakened. Recent revisions to employment and profit growth show that the economy over the past year wasn’t as strong as previously thought.

 

Some Fed officials have warned that waiting for signs of consumer spending and hiring to slow more sharply could require the Fed to deliver more aggressive stimulus at a time when its policy rate is already historically low.

Hiring has slowed this year. The private sector added 129,000 jobs on average over the three months ended August, down from 236,000 for the three-month period ended December.

One challenge for the Fed in reading these numbers is that for years, officials have expected hiring to slow as the economic expansion matures. At the same time, wage growth hasn’t accelerated substantially this year, as would occur when the demand for workers outstrips supply.

Powell Signals Rate Cut at Senate Hearing

Powell Signals Rate Cut at Senate Hearing
Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell again signaled that the central bank is ready to cut interest rates later this month. Photo: AP

Meantime, the Fed has come under growing pressure from President Trump to aggressively cut interest rates—to boost stock markets and weaken the U.S. dollar—after the White House’s trade talks with China hit an impasse this spring. Mr. Trump had called for the Fed to cut rates by a half-point in April, but he has since said the Fed should lower rates more aggressively.

Soon after the Fed announced its rate cut, Mr. Trump lashed out at Mr. Powell on Twitter. “Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again,” he wrote, one of 30 such statements about Fed policy since the July meeting. “No ‘guts,’ no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!”

Mr. Powell has said the Fed doesn’t make policy decisions based on demands from political leaders and instead focuses on its congressional mandate to boost employment while keeping inflation stable. The unemployment rate, at 3.7%, is near a half-century low, while inflation, excluding volatile food and energy categories, has been running around 1.6%, according to the Fed’s preferred gauge, below its 2% target.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again. No “guts,” no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!

17.9K people are talking about this

Separately, the Fed announced steps designed to boost liquidity in short-term funding markets after the central bank was twice forced this week to inject cash into money markets to pull down interest rates.

The Fed’s benchmark rate rose to 2.3% on Tuesday, trading outside of its range of 2% to 2.25%, after technical factors and monetary and regulatory changes created shortages of funds for banks.

Earlier Wednesday, the New York Fed injected $75 billion in cash into money markets, following a $53 billion infusion on Tuesday.

At the two-day meeting, the Fed’s rate-setting committee lowered a separate interest rate paid to banks on deposits, known as reserves, held at the Fed, which could reduce banks’ demand for that cash and increase their lending in other money markets. The committee cut that rate and another borrowing rate by 0.3 percentage point, larger than the 0.25 percentage-point reduction in the fed-funds target.

Trump Says Fed Should Cut Rates to ‘Zero, or Less,’ Attacks Jerome Powell Again

Some economists warn president’s push might send up long-term Treasury yields, making it harder to achieve goal of locking in low rates

WASHINGTON—President Trump renewed his call for lower interest rates and his criticism of the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, by pressing for the central bank to cut short-term rates to “ZERO, or less,” negative rates that the U.S. avoided even after the 2008 financial crisis.

For weeks, Mr. Trump has pushed for lower rates to help cushion the economy against fears of a broader global slowdown. On Wednesday, he introduced a different argument for rate cuts by saying it would allow the U.S. to lock in lower interest rates for a longer period of time.

“We should then start to refinance our debt,” he wrote on Twitter, arguing it would reduce interest costs “while at the same time substantially lengthening the term.”

But some economists, including one of Mr. Trump’s former advisers, warned that his push for lower short-term interest rates might make it harder to achieve the stated goal of locking in lower rates, because it could send up long-term Treasury yields.

The tweets marked the latest escalation of Mr. Trump’s pressure on the Fed and attacks on Chairman Jerome Powell, whom the president picked for the post in 2017. Mr. Trump said the U.S. should always be paying the lowest rate and complained that the “naivete” of Mr. Powell and the Fed means that this was a “once in a lifetime opportunity that we are missing because of ‘Boneheads.’ ”

A Fed spokeswoman declined to comment on the tweets. Mr. Powell has previously defended the Fed’s tradition of independence from political pressure.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt. INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term. We have the great currency, power, and balance sheet…..

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….The USA should always be paying the the lowest rate. No Inflation! It is only the naïveté of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other countries are already doing. A once in a lifetime opportunity that we are missing because of “Boneheads.”

After cutting their benchmark interest rate in July by a quarter percentage point, Fed officials are gearing up to cut rates again, likely by another quarter point, at their Sept. 17-18 policy meeting.

Mr. Powell framed the July decision to lower the Fed’s benchmark short-term rate to a range between 2% and 2.25% as a “mid-cycle adjustment.” The global growth and trade outlook has deteriorated since then amid an escalation in Mr. Trump’s trade war with China.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

How do you think another rate reduction might affect the U.S. economy? Join the conversation below.

Economists warn that pushing short-term interest rates to near zero could signal that Fed officials expect a much deeper economic downturn.

“That could have the unintended consequence of triggering a major drop in confidence in the economy that could precipitate a recession, which would have the opposite effect,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton.

Lowering rates all the way to zero now, when the economy is still on solid footing, could also leave the Fed without any ammunition if an actual recession hits, Ms. Swonk said.

Some economists were also skeptical that pushing interest rates to zero would actually lead to lower interest costs on government debt.

Mr. Trump has previously floated the idea of refinancing the U.S.’s nearly $17 trillion in publicly held debt, which has jumped in the wake of Republican tax cuts and bipartisan budget deals that boosted federal deficits.

“I would like to see the rates be low and pay amortization, pay off debt,” Mr. Trump said in an October 2018 interview with The Wall Street Journal, complaining that the Fed had made this difficult by raising rates several times in recent years.

Debt-servicing costs are one of the fastest growing drivers of federal spending: Interest payments have increased nearly 10% so far this fiscal year, totaling $497.2 billion through July, roughly $1.6 billion a day, according to the Treasury Department.

It isn’t exactly clear what Mr. Trump envisions. Sovereign debt is different from mortgage debt, and can’t be renegotiated to reduce monthly payments or pay debt off early. But the Treasury can replace maturing government securities with new, long-term debt at lower interest rates, which could bring down costs.

“The Treasury should start issuing debt in much longer terms,” said Stephen Moore, an economic adviser to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign who at one point was under consideration for a slot on the Fed board, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last month. “This would lock in today’s low interest rates on the national debt for 10, 20, 30 years or perhaps even longer.”

Ernie Tedeschi, an economist at Evercore ISI, said such an idea makes sense, but it is something that the Treasury is already doing. The average length to maturity of publicly held federal debt has risen to 66 months, from 46 months at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

The Treasury has also asked an advisory group to reconsider the potential benefits of issuing ultra-long bonds, as other countries have done.

Lowering the Fed’s benchmark federal-funds rate to zero wouldn’t automatically translate to lower interest rates on government debt, which is determined by bond markets, Mr. Tedeschi said. While short-term interest costs would likely fall, “it could be that the 10-year [Treasury note] goes up because markets are more confident in the Fed management of the economy,” he said, a shift that would lead to higher interest costs.

Paul Winfree, the director of the Heritage Foundation’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies and a former budget adviser to Mr. Trump, said the president’s argument is “economically inaccurate.”

“Treasury has to offer interest rates that will attract buyers,” he said. “If all of a sudden we decide to roll over all of our debt, well, that will surely influence the interest rate on the debt. Like if all of a sudden every household in America decided to refinance.”

Mr. Trump said last month that the Fed should cut its benchmark interest rate by at least a full percentage point and resume its crisis-era program of buying bonds to lower long-term borrowing costs. Such moves would typically be considered only when the economy faces a substantial downturn.

Wednesday’s comments are the first time Mr. Trump has called for rates below zero. In response to a reporter’s question several weeks ago, Mr. Trump said he didn’t want negative rates.

Yields in some countries, including Germany, France and the Netherlands, have fallen below zero already. On Tuesday, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive James Dimon said the bank has begun discussing what fees and charges it could introduce if interest rates go to zero or lower. Even during the last recession, the Fed didn’t employ negative rates.

Mr. Trump and White House officials have said they don’t believe the U.S. is headed toward a slowdown, but also have floated other ideas, such as tax cuts, to boost the economy.

A rate cut of the magnitude Mr. Trump is calling for hasn’t happened since the global financial crisis in late 2008.

In comments last week, Mr. Powell said the U.S. economy faced a favorable outlook despite significant risks from weaker global growth and trade uncertainty.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-fed-should-reduce-rates-to-zero-or-less-11568201306

Story 2: Federal Reserve Injects Billion Into The Economy in Overnight Repo Operation — Videos

Fed accepts $75 billion of $80 billion in bids in repo operation

NY Fed concludes first repo in 11 years amid liquidity concerns

The Fed has cut rates, so what’s next for the markets?

Top strategist: ‘Biggest bubble ever’ just burst. Here’s what happens next

BITCOIN. And Here We Go! FED Prints $128 Billion To “Calm The Financial Markets”

 

A crack just emerged in the financial markets: The NY Fed spends $53 billion to rescue the overnight lending market

“It’s unprecedented, at least in the post-crisis era,” said Mark Cabana, rates strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
On Tuesday morning, the NY Fed launched what’s called an “overnight repo operation,” during which the central bank attempts to ease pressure in markets by purchasing Treasuries and other securities. The goal is to pump money into the system to keep borrowing costs from creeping above the Fed’s target range.
The first attempt by the NY Fed was canceled because of “technical difficulties.” Minutes later, the NY Fed successfully injected $53 billion into the system.
The episode demonstrates evidence of emerging strains in financial markets and raises concern that the Federal Reserve could be losing its grip on short-term rates.
“The funding markets are clearly stressed,” said Guy LeBas, managing director of fixed income strategy at Janney Capital Markets. “It’s going to require Fed action.”
The NY Fed announced plans late Tuesday to hold another repurchase agreement operation on Wednesday that would aim to repurchase up to an additional $75 billion.

Rates spike

The rate on overnight repurchase agreements hit 5% on Monday, according to Refinitiv data. That’s up from 2.29% late last week and well above the target range set in July by the Federal Reserve, which is 2% to 2.25%. The surge continued Tuesday, with the overnight rate hitting a high of 10% before the NY Fed stepped in.
Although it doesn’t get as much attention as the Dow or the 10-year Treasury rate, this overnight market plays a central role in modern finance. It allows banks to quickly and cheaply borrow money, for short periods of time, often to buy bonds like Treasuries. This market broke down during the 2008 financial crisis.
However, analysts drew a distinction between the current period of stress and what happened during the crisis. Back then, investors were deeply worried about the financial health of banks. Today, banks are hauling in record profits and balance sheets look sturdy.
It’s unclear what exactly is causing the stress in the overnight market, or how long it will last.
“No one knows why this is happening,” Jim Bianco CEO of Bianco Research, said on Twitter. “If it persists more than another day or two, it will be a problem.”

$1 trillion deficits and paying Uncle Sam

There are some theories.
Cabana, the Bank of America analyst, blamed the spike in overnight lending rates on the Fed badly underestimating the amount of cash needed to keep the financial system operating smoothly.
“The Fed just made a policy mistake,” Cabana said. “There is not enough cash in the banking system for the banks to meet all of their liquidity and regulatory needs. I’m not that worried, because the Fed will fix it.”
The catalyst for the stress, according to Cabana, was the fact that US companies withdrew vast sums of money from banks to make quarterly tax payments to the US Treasury Department. That forced banks to draw down their reserves at the Fed.
The rate spike may also be a symptom of the sharp increase in Treasury bonds being issued to fund the federal government. The federal deficit has spiked to $1 trillion this fiscal year because of the tax cuts and surge in government spending.
Banks typically buy Treasuries by borrowing in the overnight market. The jump in Treasury issuance caused a large increase in demand for short-term financing.
“The fundamental issue is there are just too many darn Treasuries out there,” Cabana said. “Both parties are to blame. The $1 trillion deficit will keep this an issue.”

The return of QE?

No matter the cause, more Fed action may be needed, including additional temporary NY Fed operations.
“They may have to do the same thing tomorrow morning,” said LeBas.
The Fed may also need to lower the interest it pays on excess bank reserves, or IOER. Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicted the Fed will cut this rate slightly on Wednesday.
“That’s like a Band-Aid,” Cabana said.
As a longer-term solution, Barclays and Bank of America expect the Fed to begin expanding its balance sheet again by purchasing Treasuries. The Fed’s bond buying program, known as quantitative easing, or QE, was launched during the financial crisis to keep borrowing costs extremely low. As the economy healed, the Fed reversed course and started to shrink its balance sheet.
Cabana doesn’t think the Fed will call this QE, though he said it will work the same way. The central bank will grow its balance sheet by purchasing Treasuries.
“The Fed won’t admit this,” Cabana said, “but it looks and smells an awful lot like the monetary authority is financing the fiscal authority.”

 

Story 3: The Ranting Former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton — Neoconservative Interventionist War Monger — Videos

John Bolton and Donald Trump
President Donald Trump and and his former national security adviser, John Bolton. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

EXCLUSIVE

Bolton unloads on Trump’s foreign policy behind closed doors

The recently fired national security adviser made little secret of his disagreements with the president.

John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s fired national security adviser, harshly criticized Trump’s foreign policy on Wednesday at a private lunch, saying inviting the Taliban to Camp David sent a “terrible signal” and that it was “disrespectful” to the victims of 9/11 because the Taliban had harbored al Qaeda.

Bolton also said that any negotiations with North Korea and Iran were “doomed to failure,” according to two attendees.

All the North Koreans and Iranians want to do is negotiate for relief from sanctions to support their economies, said Bolton, who was speaking before guests invited by the Gatestone Institute, a conservative think tank.

“He ripped Trump, without using his name, several times,” said one attendee. Bolton didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bolton also said more than once that Trump’s failure to respond to the Iranian attack on an American drone earlier this summer set the stage for the Islamic Republic’s aggression in recent months.

At one point, Bolton, a previous chairman of Gatestone, suggested that had the U.S. retaliated for the drone shootdown, Iran might not have damaged the Saudi oil fields.

Bolton called the alleged attack on Saudi Arabia, which U.S. and Saudi officials have blamed on Iran, “an act of war” by anyone’s definition.

The former national security adviser’s comments come on the same day Trump named his successor, hostage negotiator Robert C. O’Brien.

Speaking on an airport tarmac in Los Angeles, Trump introduced his new top foreign policy aide as “highly respected” and hailed their “good chemistry.” The remarks indicated that in O’Brien, Trump sees a more compatible adviser than Bolton, whose disagreements with the president and clashes with other senior officials often spilled into public view.

After the attack in June, Trump was poised to launch a military response against the Iranians — strongly urged by Bolton — but pulled back after Fox News host Tucker Carlson and others warned him that it was a bad idea.

During Wednesday’s luncheon, Bolton said the planned response had gone through the full process and everybody in the White House had agreed on the retaliatory strike.

But “a high authority, at the very last minute,” without telling anyone, decided not to do it, Bolton complained.

Bolton spoke to around 60 Gatestone donors at the exclusive restaurant Le Bernardin in Manhattan. Attendees included noted lawyer Alan Dershowitz and his wife Carolyn, former attorney general Michael Mukasey, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, former Fox News host John Stossel, former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey and New York billionaire John Catsimadis.

Billionaire Rebekah Mercer introduced Bolton as “the best national security adviser our country could have hoped for,” garnering her very loud applause. Bolton had been scheduled to speak to the group before Trump fired him.

In his talk and the Q&A session that followed, Bolton took attendees through a number of global issues.

On Afghanistan, another frequent subject of disagreement with the president, Bolton said that the U.S. should not have pursued a peace deal with the Taliban.

Instead, he said, the U.S. should keep 8,600 troops in Afghanistan with intelligence support and other support elements. He called the proposed deal that was on the table similar to the agreement the Taliban offered the U.S. after 9/11, but said “it doesn’t make any sense.”

More than once, Bolton said, Israel would “sooner or later” see a new government, even though he personally liked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Venezuela, a focus of his short White House tenure, Bolton claimed there were 20,000 to 25,000 Cuban troops in the South American country. The day they left, he predicted, the Nicholas Maduro regime would fall by midnight.

He also said that if British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn were to become prime minister, it would be “fatal to the special relationship” between the U.S. and Britain.

During the Q&A session, Dershowitz told the crowd that it was “a national disaster” that Bolton had been booted from the White House, to what the attendee described as “thunderous applause.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/18/bolton-trump-foreign-policy-1501932

Story 4: President Trump Visits the Double Wall with Road In Between The U.S. Border Agents Wanted — A Game Changer — Need To Build 1500 Miles of New Wall To Stop The 30-60 Million Illegal Alien Invasion of United States Over Last 33 Years — Videos

Live: Trump tours border wall site in San Diego, California

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The Pronk Pops Show 1318, September 12, 2019, Story 1: President Trump’s Starting To Make Progress In Stopping and Rolling Back The Illegal Invasion of United States —  Major Issue of 2020 Election — Videos — Story 2: The Indictments and Prosecutions of The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy Plotters Breaking Just in Time For the 2020 Election — The Origins of Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy aka Obamagate or Spygate — Biggest Political Scandal and Abuse of Power in United States History — President Trump Is Right: ‘We can never let this happen to another President again’ — Videos — Story 3: Sidney Powell’s Motion in Michael Flynn Case — Missing Internal DOJ Memo That Cleared Flynn! — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump’s Starting To Make Progress In Stopping and Rolling Back The Illegal Invasion of United States —  Major Issue of 2020 Election — Videos —

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Trump touts border wall progress, optimistic after recent court victories

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Trump’s immigration crackdown starts to gain traction

Sebastian Smith,
AFP

 With a little help from the Supreme Court and Mexico, US President Donald Trump’s fitful crackdown on immigration is finally gaining traction.

Trump has spent his entire presidency promising to stop illegal immigration, shut out asylum seekers and wall off the Mexican border.

The far-reaching policies sparked an avalanche of court challenges, complaints from human rights organizations and derision from opposition Democrats ahead of next year’s elections.

Undeterred, Trump has hammered away, making construction of a US-Mexican border wall one of his presidency’s centerpieces — and a key part of his 2020 reelection platform.

And this week he celebrated a string of victories.

The latest boost came Wednesday when the Supreme Court said he could enact severe restrictions on asylum seekers.

The ruling requires would-be refugees to ask for asylum in the first country they visit and only then — if they are rejected — can they attempt to apply in the United States.

The ruling — which has temporary effect while challenges play out in lower courts — shuts out large numbers of people fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. They will now have to apply for asylum in Mexico, rather than head directly to the United States.

Trump’s opponents, as well as dissenting Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, say the change upends decades of tradition in which the US, itself founded by waves of often poor immigrants, has welcomed refugees.

But Trump, who argues that economic migrants abuse the system with fraudulent asylum claims, went on Twitter to herald the “BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!”

“The Southern Border is becoming very strong despite the obstruction by Democrats,” he tweeted.

– Mexico comes on board –

That’s far from all.

In July, the Supreme Court backed Trump’s move to divert billions of dollars in Pentagon funds to pay for extending or rebuilding stretches of wall on the Mexican border. This lets him circumvent fierce resistance to funding in a divided Congress.

The Pentagon also said this Tuesday that the deployment of 5,500 troops on the border — something that was initially highly controversial — was being extended for the coming year.

While Trump exaggerates the amount of wall-building activity there’s no question that momentum is gradually shifting his way.

“The Wall is going up very fast despite total Obstruction by Democrats in Congress, and elsewhere!” he tweeted Wednesday.

Perhaps the most significant shift has happened on the other side of the long, rugged frontier, where the Mexican government has set aside previous hostility to cooperate with Trump.

The change in mood follows threats by Trump to impose trade tariffs on Mexico, even though the two countries are in a free trade agreement together with Canada.

Not that Mexico is entirely happy. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard called the new US asylum restrictions, which could mean a torrent of new cases for his country, “unprecedented.”

“Or course we disagree,” he said.

But Mexico appears to have accepted it has no choice but to play by Trump’s rules.

On Monday, Mark Morgan, head of the US border patrol service, welcomed “unprecedented support” from Mexico, which he said has deployed 10,000 troops on its own southern border with Central America and 15,000 on the US border.

Proof that the joint crackdown is having an effect is in the numbers, US officials say.

August detentions of undocumented migrants numbered 64,000, down from 82,000 the previous month and 144,000 in May, Morgan said. Mexico, he said, has apprehended 134,000 people so far this year, compared to 83,000 in all of 2018.

Democrats use the immigration issue to paint Trump as heartless, even racist. But the president feels he’s on the right track.

On Monday, as streams of Bahamians tried to exit islands ravaged by Hurricane Dorian, Trump made clear the United States would eye this latest group of asylum seekers skeptically.

“I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers,” he said.

The language echoed his long-term characterization of Central American migrants as potential rapists and gang members.

https://news.yahoo.com/trumps-immigration-crackdown-starts-gain-traction-171804088.html

Popular Refugee Resettlement Programs Closing Under Trump Administration

Story 2: The Indictments and Prosecutions of The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy Plotters Breaking Just in Time For the 2020 Election — The Origins of Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy aka Obamagate or Spygate — Biggest Political Scandal and Abuse of Power in United States History — President Trump Is Right: ‘We can never let this happen to another President again’ — Videos

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Justice Department inspector general wrapping up probe into FISA abuse allegations

Sen. Kennedy: Let’s get the FISA report to the American people

Rep. Jim Jordan on FISA Abuse Report and Dems’ Impeachment Inquiry

McCarthy promises accountability as Barr reviews IG’s FISA report: ‘The closest we’ve ever seen to a

Sean Hannity 9/12/19 | Sean Hannity Fox News September 12, 2019

Lou Dobbs 9/12/19 | Breaking Fox News Septem­b­e­r 12, 2019

DOJ watchdog submits draft report on alleged FISA abuses to AG Barr

Graham rips ‘garbage’ Trump dossier ahead of FISA abuse report

Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing: It’s ObamaGate, and it’s the biggest scandal in American history

Obamagate: The biggest political scandal in our history. Sara Carter and John Solomon

Hannity: Clintons colluded with the Russians

Russian Spy Revelation Raises Questions on CIA Information

Hannity: Fusion GPS was hired to dig up Russian dirt on Trump

Judge Jeanine on Andrew McCabe: American people want justice

Fitton: Rosenstein crafted ‘non-denial denial’ to wiretap report

Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein submits resignation to Trump

Hannity: Crooked Hillary Clinton’s web of corruption

Hannity: Steele dossier was full of lies, misinformation, propaganda

New FBI text messages draw a possible connection to Obama

•Published on Feb 7, 2018

Podesta, Wasserman Schultz deny knowledge of dossier funding

WAPO: How Dossier Writer Chris Steele Sparked Russia Probe | MSNBC

Mueller’s team met with Russia dossier author Christopher Steele

Does the dossier bombshell spell trouble for the Democrats?

Trump dossier is turning into a big scandal for the establishment: Steve Hilton

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Who is Christopher Steele?

Can the public trust DOJ, FBI after the release of the FISA documents?

DOJ, FBI officials committed criminal misconduct: Chris Farrell

Fitton on officials blocking Trump FISA declassification

Trump declassifies FISA documents and Russia probe texts

DOJ inspector general completes investigation into alleged FISA abuse

New evidence shows why Steele, the Ohrs and TSA workers never should have become DOJ sources

One of the inevitable outcomes of the Russia case will be that the Department of Justice (DOJ) almost certainly will need internal reforms.

The first reform is the most obvious, given the unraveling of the Russia collusion narrative: a new set of rules governing when the FBI can investigate or spy on a First Amendment-protected political campaign during an election.

The FBI never should have been allowed to sustain a counterintelligence investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign based on hearsay from Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, who helped to arrange a $25 million Australian government donation to the Clinton Foundation, and on a “minimally” verified dossier written by British spy Christopher Steele, who was working on the Hillary Clinton opposition-research team.

The second reform may be less visible but becomes painfully obvious, thanks to a series of internal DOJ investigative memos released this month that expose glaring issues with the handling, vetting and weighting of “confidential human sources.” That’s a fancy term for people — sometimes called “snitches” or informants, in street vernacular — who secretly provide evidence to law enforcement.

Some examples of the DOJ’s problems with informers fall outside the Russia case but mirror the same issues unmasked in the now-debunked probe of Trump.

Take, for example, the DOJ inspector general’s finding this month that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was paying other government officials at the Homeland Security Department’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to work as informants.

The IG spared few words in decrying the idiocy of allowing government security officers collecting a federal salary to double-dip into taxpayers’ money by receiving informant pay to report criminal activity they were required by their jobs to disclose.

Two agents and one supervisor “violated the DEA Confidential Source policy” by paying three TSA workers as informants, the report concluded. And one agent wrongly served as handler for a TSA informant with whom he was involved in a “personal relationship,” investigators found, exposing a problem dating to 2013.

“By establishing the TSA employees as paid Limited Use Confidential Sources, the DEA agreed to pay for information that the TSA employees were already obligated to provide to law enforcement,” the IG concluded.

In other words, there should be a bright line: Government agents should stick to their jobs and leave the informing to private citizens.

That line similarly was breached in the minds of many when Bruce Ohr, then the DOJ’s assistant deputy attorney general, began collecting anti-Trump information on July 30, 2016, from former MI6 agent Steele and pushing it on the top levels of the DOJ and the FBI.

At the time, Ohr knew his wife, Nellie, and Steele worked for the Fusion GPS research firm on the same project to dig up Russia dirt on Trump, to help the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) win the 2016 election. Furthermore, Ohr told the FBI he knew Steele was a foreigner “desperate” to stop a Trump presidency, FBI memos show.

With his seniority inside DOJ, Ohr quickly got Steele’s information to the FBI’s deputy director, Andrew McCabe, and three top DOJ supervisors, despite the red flags.

Before long, Steele was working as a confidential informant for the bureau, and his dossier was used to secure a surveillance warrant targeting the Trump campaign weeks before Election Day.

When Steele got fired Nov. 1, 2016, by the FBI for leaking to the media, Ohr became a conduit for the bureau to keep getting information from Steele for months. Ohr met at least 12 times in late 2016 and 2017 with FBI agentsto provide new intel from the British spy. In other words, Ohr transitioned from being a DOJ supervisor to a backdoor source for the FBI to receive information from a terminated source.

And he didn’t stop there.

Records released this week, thanks to litigation by the conservative group Judicial Watch, show the senior DOJ official took at least two research files from his wife and her Fusion GPS work and provided them to FBI agents investigating Trump. One alleged that unverified ties existed between the Trump organization and Russian mobsters; the other provided a timeline alleging wrongdoing by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Nellie Ohr testified to Congress that some of her anti-Trump information came from foreign officials in Ukraine, including a parliamentary member highly critical of Manafort.

Examination of the Nellie Ohr documents given to the FBI shows some of her source material also came from former Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko and a lawsuit she filed against Manafort.

Why is that significant? Tymoshenko and Hillary Clinton had a simpatico relationship after the former secretary of State went out of her way in January 2013 to advocate for Tymoshenko’s release from prison on corruption charges.

So, Bruce Ohr became a conduit of information not only for intelligence from Clinton’s British opposition-researcher but also from his wife’s curation of evidence from a Clinton foreign ally and Manafort enemy inside Ukraine. Talk about foreign influence in a U.S. election!

To Ohr’s credit, he disclosed his potential conflict of interest involving his wife to DOJ officials. To DOJ’s discredit, he was allowed to act as a source for both his wife and Steele anyway.

Ohr also didn’t get compensated as a paid informant, like the TSA workers. But documents show a curious thing happened during the time he began peddling the anti-Trump intelligence from his wife and Steele: His annual performance bonus doubled from about $14,000 in November 2015 to $28,000 in November 2016.

The blurred line between government official and informer/source didn’t stop with Ohr. Former FBI General Counsel James Baker also admitted he took dirt on Trump from DNC lawyer Michael Sussmann in summer 2016 and gave it to the agents investigating the Trump campaign.

The ultimate consequence — some might argue folly — of all these blurred lines is most easily exposed in an often overlooked document from the Russia probe.

I’ve written that the FBI kept a spreadsheet showing almost all of what Steele provided agents and Ohr on Russia-Trump dirt turned out to be unverified, disproven or nothing more than internet rumors. But when the FBI closed its paperwork on Steele in 2018, a professional intelligence analyst concluded in his human source validation report that the bureau assessed it had only “medium confidence” in Steele and that his intelligence could only be “minimally” verified.

In other words, his intelligence wasn’t very good. And yet, America spent nearly three years in turmoil only to learn that Steele’s Trump-Russia allegations — paid by Clinton and propagated by Ohr — were not true.

The tales of Bruce and Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, Yulia Tymoshenko, and those DEA and TSA agents raise a stark warning: The lines between government officials and informants, unverified political dirt and real intelligence, personal interest and law enforcement, became too blurred for the Justice Department’s own good.

That’s a problem sorely in need of fixing.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill. Follow him on Twitter @jsolomonReports.

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/457628-new-evidence-shows-why-steele-the-ohrs-and-tsa-workers-never-should-have

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1317, September 11, 2019, Story 1: Supreme Court in 7-2 Decision Sides With President Trump Policy Preventing Most Central American Illegal Aliens from Seeking Asylum in United States — Yes We Can Seal The U.S. Border — Betrayal of American Workers By Democrat Party — Videos — Story 2: Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts Sides With Liberal Justices Not American People To Bar 2020 Census Question on Citizenship — Videos — Story 3 : President Trump Temporarily Delays For Two Weeks New Tariffs on $250 Billion of Chinese Goods from 25% to 30% — Videos — Story 4: Remembering The People Who Died on 911 — Videos

Posted on September 13, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, American History, Applications, Banking System, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, China, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, European History, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Investments, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mexico, Military Spending, National Interest, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Servers, Social Networking, Software, South America, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States Supreme Court, Videos, War, Wealth, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Supreme Court in 7-2 Decision Sides With President Trump Policy Preventing Most Central American Illegal Aliens from Seeking Asylum in United States — Videos

Supreme Court Sides With Trump Over Immigration

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Supreme Court allows broad enforcement of Trump asylum rule

today

FILE – In this July 16, 2019, file photo, The Supreme Court is seen in Washington.
 The Supreme Court is allowing nationwide enforcement of a new Trump administration rule that prevents most Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States.

The justices’ order late Wednesday temporarily undoes a lower court ruling that had blocked the new asylum policy in some states along the southern border. The policy is meant to deny asylum to anyone who passes through another country on the way to the U.S. without seeking protection there.

Most people crossing the southern border are Central Americans fleeing violence and poverty. They are largely ineligible under the new rule, as are asylum seekers from Africa, Asia and South America who arrive regularly at the southern border.

“BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!” President Donald Trump tweeted.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented from the high-court’s order.

“Once again, the Executive Branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution,” Sotomayor wrote.

The legal challenge to the new policy has a brief but somewhat convoluted history. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco blocked the new policy from taking effect in late July. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals narrowed Tigar’s order so that it applied only in Arizona and California, states that are within the 9th Circuit.

That left the administration free to enforce the policy on asylum seekers arriving in New Mexico and Texas. Tigar issued a new order on Monday that reimposed a nationwide hold on asylum policy. The 9th Circuit again narrowed his order on Tuesday.

The high court action allows the Republican administration to impose the new policy everywhere while the court case against it continues.

It’s unclear how quickly the policy will be rolled out and how exactly it fits in with the other efforts by the administration to restrict border crossings and tighten asylum rules.

For example, thousands of people are waiting on lists at border crossings in Mexico to claim asylum in the U.S. And acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said Thursday that 45,000 people have been turned back to Mexico to wait out their asylum claims.

Asylum seekers must pass an initial screening called a “credible fear” interview, a hurdle that a vast majority clear. Under the new policy, they would fail the test unless they sought asylum in at least one country they traveled through and were denied. They would be placed in fast-track deportation proceedings and flown to their home countries at U.S. expense.

The American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who is representing immigrant advocacy groups in the case, Lee Gelernt, said: “This is just a temporary step, and we’re hopeful we’ll prevail at the end of the day. The lives of thousands of families are at stake.”

Morgan said Trump and his administration are “doing everything that they can” to address what he described as the crisis on the U.S. border with Mexico.

Migrants with valid claims “should be seeking help and asylum from the first country they come in contact with,” Morgan said Thursday on Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends.” ″They shouldn’t be paying the cartels thousands of dollars and risking their lives to take a 1,000-mile journey across several countries to get help. We want them to get help and seek asylum in the first country they get to.”

Justice Department spokesperson Alexei Woltornist said the agency was “pleased that the Supreme Court intervened in this case,” adding, “This action will assist the Administration in its objectives to bring order to the crisis at the southern border, close loopholes in our immigration system, and discourage frivolous claims.”

https://apnews.com/a817cf3affb04f3d8ad3c4940366a5fe

Mexico pushes back after top U.S. court favors Trump on shunning migrants

by Reuters
Thursday, 12 September 2019 21:28 GMT

By Lizbeth Diaz and Stefanie Eschenbacher

MEXICO CITY, Sept 12 (Reuters) – The Mexican government protested and Central American migrants feared deportation back to their violent homelands on Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump to slam the door on asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexican border.

The court on Wednesday found that Trump’s restrictive asylum rule could go into effect nationwide while a lawsuit challenging its underlying legality proceeds, handing the president a victory as he brandishes his anti-immigration credentials for the November 2020 presidential election.

The rule requires immigrants who want asylum to first seek safe haven in a third country through which they travel on the way to the United States, enabling the United States to combat a record surge in Central American asylum-seekers.

Trump’s immigration crackdown has animated his base of supporters while immigrant advocates in the United States fear the court decision will endanger the lives of migrants, many of them fleeing poverty, street gangs and domestic violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

With the threat of automatic rejection hanging over the most recent arrivals, thousands of migrants are cramped into shelters or sleeping in the streets of Mexican border cities in places such as the state of Tamaulipas, where the U.S. State Department has placed a “do not travel” advisory due to violent crime similar to its warnings against visiting war-torn Sudan or Syria.

One asylum-seeker from El Salvador who staying in a Tijuana shelter while awaiting her immigration hearing in San Diego said she could only hope to God she would not be sent back.

“I’m very scared, I hope this won’t affect me. I cannot return to my country, they tried to rape me there twice because I am a lesbian and the last time I ended up in a hospital in intensive care,” said Veronica Martinez, 23. “I trust in God that the court’s decision does not affect me.”

The Mexican government also pushed back against the U.S. high court’s action, one that could create a new headache for Mexico.

“This is the ruling by the court, it’s a U.S. issue, and obviously we don’t agree with it, we have a different policy,” Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told a news conference.

TENSE RELATIONS

The court’s decision comes at a delicate time for Mexican-U.S. relations. Under Trump’s threat of imposing tariffs, Mexico has agreed to house many of the surging number of Central American asylum-seekers south of the border pending their U.S. hearings.

That gesture has led to a sharp decline in U.S. apprehensions and rejections of migrants at the border, winning Mexico praise from Trump following a White House meeting on Tuesday.

But Mexico has resisted U.S. pressure to sign a formal “safe third country” agreement that would commit it to hearing the asylum cases of migrants from Central American and elsewhere, a move that would take even more pressure off the U.S. border.

The downside for Mexico is that the buildup of migrants at the northern border is putting stress on schools, health clinics and housing.

“We have seen outbreaks of acts of xenophobia in Mexico that did not exist before, mainly in the north of the country,” said Israel Ibarra, an immigration expert with the Continente Movil consultancy in Tijuana.

Francisco Gallardo, director of the Casa de Migrantes shelter in Reynosa, said migrants are sleeping in tents beside a bridge linking the two countries and are sure to grow more discouraged by the Supreme Court decision.

“We’ll see what measures can be taken because there are about 500 people next to the bridge,” Gallardo said.

Under the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols, the U.S. government built temporary, soft-sided courthouses near the border ports of entry in Laredo and Brownsville, Texas, and started hearing cases this week.

In Harlingen, Texas, Judge Delia Gonzalez took the bench Thursday, linked by video conference to a courtroom 30 miles (50 km) away in Brownsville.

She heard the cases of two Salvadorans who crossed from Mexico into south Texas in August, were arrested by U.S. officers, and returned to the Mexican border town of Matamoros.

A Salvadoran woman said she had received cruel threats from gangs, and Gonzalez asked if she feared returning.

“Yes, a lot,” the woman said.

After brief hearings, she and a Salvadoran man were given court dates to appear again in October. (Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher, Lizbeth Diaz, Adriana Barrera and Delphine Schrank in Mexico City and Mitchell Ferman in Harlingen, Texas; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Howard Goller and Alistair Bell)

Story 2: Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts Sides With Liberal Justices Not American People To Bar 2020 Census Question on Citizenship — Videos —

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

See the source imageSee the source image

John Roberts Reportedly Switched Vote To Kill Census Citizenship Question – Breaking News

President Trump wants to delay the 2020 census

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Census Question and Partisan Gerrymandering

Supreme Court Backs Partisan Voting Maps, Puts Census Citizenship Question on Hold

Exclusive: How John Roberts killed the census citizenship question

Story 3 : President Trump Temporarily Delays For Two Weeks New Tariffs on $250 Billion of Chinese Goods from 25% to 30% — Videos —

Trump Delays New Tariffs on Chinese Goods Until Oct. 15

Trump delays tariffs on $250 bln of Chinese imports until Oct. 15

Donald Trump delays enforcing tariffs on $250billion worth of goods from China until October 15 as a sign of ‘good will’

  • President Trump will delay an upcoming increase in tariffs on China
  • The tariffs on $250billion worth of goods was set to go in affect October 1
  • But Trump tweeted Wednesday that he will push it back to October 15 as a sign of ‘good will’ and at the request of Beijing
  • He said it is due to the fact that the  People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary

President Trump will delay an upcoming increase in tariffs on $250billion worth of goods from China as a ‘gesture of good will’.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he would push back tariffs set to go into effect on October 1, by two weeks to October 15.

He said he is doing so at the request of Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He because the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating its 70th anniversary on October 1.

‘At the request of the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary…on October 1st, we have agreed, as a gesture of good will, to move the increased Tariffs on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods (25% to 30%), from October 1st to October 15th.’

President Trump will delay an upcoming increase in tariffs on $250billion worth of goods from China at the request of Beijing

President Trump will delay an upcoming increase in tariffs on $250billion worth of goods from China at the request of Beijing

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he will push it back to October 15 as a sign of 'good will' and at the request of Beijing

 

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he will push it back to October 15 as a sign of ‘good will’ and at the request of Beijing

Last month Vice Premier Liu He said he was willing to resolve its trade dispute with the United States through ‘calm’ negotiations and resolutely opposes the escalation of the conflict.

President Trump announced an additional duty on some $550billion of targeted Chinese goods last month, hours after China unveiled retaliatory tariffs on $75billion worth of US goods.

 However, Trump did back off on his threat to order U.S. companies out of China.

Vice Premier Liu He said last month that China is willing to resolve its trade dispute with the United States through ‘calm’ negotiations and opposes escalating the conflict

‘We are willing to resolve the issue through consultations and cooperation in a calm attitude and resolutely oppose the escalation of the trade war,’ Liu, who is President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, said, according to a government transcript.

‘We believe that the escalation of the trade war is not beneficial for China, the United States, nor to the interests of the people of the world,’ he added.

U.S. companies are especially welcome in China, and will be treated well, Liu said.

‘We welcome enterprises from all over the world, including the United States, to invest and operate in China,’ he added.

‘We will continue to create a good investment environment, protect intellectual property rights, promote the development of smart intelligent industries with our market open, resolutely oppose technological blockades and protectionism, and strive to protect the completeness of the supply chain.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7454439/President-Trump-delays-increase-China-tariffs-October-15.html

 

Story 4: Remembering The People Who Died on 911 — Videos

President Trump honors 9/11 victims and heroes at Pentagon

President Trump, First Lady participate in 9/11 Pentagon Observance Ceremony

Watch: Trump, Pence participate in 9/11 commemoration ceremonies

I watched the second plane strike the World Trade Center says Donald Trump as he and Melania observe 9/11 at the White House and Pentagon while the nation’s heartbeat pauses to remember terror attacks

  • The first couple held hands and bowed their heads for a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House
  • The president motorcaded to the Pentagon and laid a wreath before observing another silent moment while an Army officer read the names of the fallen
  • Then he spoke, recalling what he said was a moment on Sept. 11, 2001 when he witnessed the second of two airliners flying into the World Trade Center 
  • Trump has made similar claims before, saying he watched doomed Americans leap to their deaths; he would have seen that from a distance of more than 4 miles 
  • Remembrances dominated Wednesday morning, 18 years after terrorists hijacked planes and flew them into American landmarks
  • Both World Trade Center twin towers fell, the west wall of the Pentagon was partially caved in, and martyrs forced a hijacked jet to crash in rural Pennsylvania rather than letting it hit the White House
  • Nearly 3,000 casualties are marked each year with a lengthy reading of names in New York City

Donald Trump recalled Wednesday during a speech at the Pentagon that he personally saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center during the 9/11 terror attacks that claimed more than 2,600 lives in New York City on September 11, 2001.

He said he had been watching a financial news channel in his penthouse apartment at Trump Tower when news of the first crash broke, and then watched from a window as the second plane epxloded in a fireball as terrorists flew it into the South Tower.

‘I was sitting at home watching a major business television show early that morning. Jack Welch, the legendary head of General Electric, was about to be interviewed when all of a sudden they cut away,’ he said.

‘Nobody really knew what happened. There was great confusion,’ Trump added. ‘I was looking out of a window from a building in midtown Manhattan, directly at the World Trade Center, when I saw a second plane at a tremendous speed go into the second tower. It was then that I realized the world was going to change.’

‘I saw the second plane hit the building and I said, “Wow that’s unbelievable”,’ he said.

The president has recalled that experience in the past, sometimes claiming to have seen doomed Americans leaping to their deaths as flames rose.

 

President Donald Trump told a Pentagon audience Wednesday during a 9/11 memorial service that he watched as terrorists flew a plane into the South Tower of the World Trade Center in 2001

President Donald Trump told a Pentagon audience Wednesday during a 9/11 memorial service that he watched as terrorists flew a plane into the South Tower of the World Trade Center in 2001

Smoke rose from the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 after terrorists crashed their hijacked commercial airliners into the New York City skyscrapers; Trump would have seen this from a distance of more than 4 miles away in his Trump Tower penthouse apartment

Smoke rose from the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 after terrorists crashed their hijacked commercial airliners into the New York City skyscrapers; Trump would have seen this from a distance of more than 4 miles away in his Trump Tower penthouse apartment

The deadly Pentagon crash site was visible for months after the 9/11 attacks in 2001; the terror attack caused extensive damage to the west face of the building+12

The deadly Pentagon crash site was visible for months after the 9/11 attacks in 2001; the terror attack caused extensive damage to the west face of the building

‘I have a window in my apartment that specifically was aimed at the World Trade Center, because of the beauty of the whole downtown Manhattan,’ he told an Ohio campaign crowd in 2015, ‘and I watched as people jumped, and I watched the second plane come in.’

‘Many people jumped, and I witnessed that. I watched that,’ he said then. Skeptical media fact-checkers have pointed out that he would have seen the horrible events play out from a distance of over four miles.

He and Melania Trump stood with hands over hearts on Wednesday morning before their Pentagon visit, leading White House staff in a moment of silence on the South Lawn to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the attacks.

Standing like stone pillars as a bugler played ‘Taps,’ the first couple devoted just a few minutes to the observance before heading to the Pentagon for the more expansive memorial to the Americans who died there.

At the U.S. military’s landmark headquarters, the Trumps laid a wreath while a U.S. Army officer read the names of the fallen and a sailor rang a bell for each life lost.

Remembrances of the deadly attacks are an annual skip in the nation’s heartbeat, focusing older Americans on the day the nation stood still in awestruck pain and sadness as thousands died in New York City; Arlington, Virginia; and Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

The commemoration of the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks began at ground zero with a moment of silence and tolling bells.

Eighteen years after the deadliest terror attack on American soil, the nation is still grappling with the aftermath.

The impact is visible from airport security checkpoints to Afghanistan, where a post-9/11 invasion has become America’s longest war.

We will never forget: Family members took to the podium to read out the names of their loved ones who perished in the 9/11 attacks and shared anecdotes and messages to their relatives

We will never forget: Family members took to the podium to read out the names of their loved ones who perished in the 9/11 attacks and shared anecdotes and messages to their relatives

18 years later: Family members lifted photos of their loved ones along with the message 'We Will Never Forget'

18 years later: Family members lifted photos of their loved ones along with the message ‘We Will Never Forget’

New York City Fire Department (FDNY) firefighters stand in silence outside Firehouse Engine 10 Ladder company 10 on the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001+12

New York City Fire Department (FDNY) firefighters stand in silence outside Firehouse Engine 10 Ladder company 10 on the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001

Never forgotten: A woman pictured wiping away tears as she stands next to the north pool prior to Wednesday's ceremony

Never forgotten: A woman pictured wiping away tears as she stands next to the north pool prior to Wednesday’s ceremony
In New York City family members of 9/11 victims gathered at the World Trade Center to silently hear the name of each victims solemnly read aloud. Some in the crowd proudly raised photos of their loved ones.

Others, still grieving, shared anecdotes about their loved ones.

‘Donald W. Robertson Jr. Donny, words cannot express how you are missed and loved. Your legacy lives on in your four beautiful children as well as our friends and family. We choose to remember how you lived, not how you left us. God bless you all and God Bless America,’ one woman said.

Former President George W. Bush, the commander-in-chief in 2001, is expected at a separate afternoon Pentagon wreath-laying.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, New Jersey Govenor Phil Murphy, New York State Attorney General Letitia James and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg paid their respects at the somber Manhattan ceremony.

For millennials who came of age later, the yearly pause focuses attention on a ‘Never Forget’ historical blip that they know only through videos, school assignments and – for some – painful family histories.

‘Terror attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America,’ Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said during a brief Pentagon speech.

‘These acts shatter steel. They cannot bend the steel of American resolve.’

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump observed a moment of silence at the White House on Wednesday to mark the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump observed a moment of silence at the White House on Wednesday to mark the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks

Guests at the White House for the brief, solemn ceremony included staff and military aides, survivors of the 9/11 attacks and family members of those who lost their lives

Guests at the White House for the brief, solemn ceremony included staff and military aides, survivors of the 9/11 attacks and family members of those who lost their lives

The president and first lady placed a wreath and participated in a second moment of silence honoring 9/11 victims at the Pentagon

The president and first lady placed a wreath and participated in a second moment of silence honoring 9/11 victims at the Pentagon

An American flag was draped over the Pentagon building at dawn on Wednesday; 184 people were killed there on September 11, 2001 when terrorists crashed an airliner into the building

An American flag was draped over the Pentagon building at dawn on Wednesday; 184 people were killed there on September 11, 2001 when terrorists crashed an airliner into the building

The president claimed during this November 2015 campaign rally in Ohio that he watched doomed Americans leap form the World Trade Center towers ¿ more than four miles away ¿ as flames and heat rose

Flags at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue flew at half-staff on Wednesday, and military personnel assigned to the White House saluted.

Not a word was spoken.

The Trumps clasped hands as a bell chimed three times, once for each plane that a terrorist slammed into a World Trade Center tower in New York, and once for the aircraft another hijacked plowed into the Pentagon.

Vice President Mike Pence will speak Wednesday at a separate 9/11 memorial service near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where martyred passengers of a doomed airliner took control of their own plane back from armed Islamic militants and forced it down rather than risk hitting the White House or the U.S. Capitol.

White House guests on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks

VICTIMS’ FAMILY MEMBERS

  • Kathy Ashton, Mother of Tommy Ashton, North Tower 95th Floor
  • John Ashton, Father of Tommy Ashton, North Tower 95th Floor
  • Gail Eagleson, Wife of Bruce Eagleson, Westfield Mall Manager, last seen assisting Port Authority Police
  • Brett Eagleson, Son of Bruce Eagleson, Westfield Mall Manager, last seen assisting Port Authority Police
  • Lisa Friedman, Wife of Andrew Friedman, North Tower 92nd Floor
  • Chris Ganci, Son of Peter J. Ganci, FDNY Chief of Department
  • Patricia Kellet, Wife of Joe Kellet, North Tower
  • Kathy Wisniewski, Wife of Alan Wisnieswski, North Tower
  • Alice Hoagland, Mother of Mark Bingham, Hero of Flight 93
  • Loreen Sellitto, Mother of Matthew Sellitto, North Tower
  • Terry Strada, Mother of Tom Strada, North Town 104th Floor
  • Kaitlyn Strads, Daughter of Tom Strada, North Town 104th Floor
  • Debra Burlingame, Sister of Cpt. Chic Burlingame pilot of AA77, Pentagon
  • Debra Ann Basham, Wife of Todd Rancke, North Tower, 104th Floor

SURVIVORS

  • Tim Frolich, Survivor, South Tower 80th Floor
  • Sharon Premoli, Survivor, North Tower 80th Floor
  • Retired Law Enforcement
  • Ken Williams, FBI, Author of the Phoenix Memo, now working for 9/11 Families
  • Bassem Youssef, FBI, now working for 9/11 Families

ADDITIONAL ATTENDEES 

  • James P. Kreindler, Esquire
  • Pamela Bondi, Esquire

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1316, September 10, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Fires National Security John Bolton — Videos — Story 2: United States Fiscal Year 2019 Budgetary Deficit Exceeds $1,000,000,000,000,000 — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) Burdening Future Generation of American Citizens — Tax, Spend, Borrow — Videos — Story 3: United States F-15s and F-35s Bombs ISIS Infested Island in Iraq — Videos — Story 4: Israeli Air Force Bombs Pro-Iranian Shiite Hezbollah Militia Base in Syria — Videos — Story 5: Remembering The Prescient and Wisdom of Ron Paul on Limited Government and the Neoconservatives — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1316 September 10, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1311 August 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1310 August 21, 2019

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Story 1: President Trump Fires National Security John Bolton —  Trump’s Non interventionist vs. Bolton’s Interventionist Foreign Policy — Videos

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‘I don’t think it will change a whole lot’ – Ron Paul on Bolton’s resignation

John Bolton fired as national security adviser

Pompeo on Bolton: The president is entitled to the staff he wants

Graham reveals Trump’s possible Bolton replacements

Meet Neocon John Bolton, the Most Hawkish National Security Adviser Imaginable

How the departure of John Bolton might change Trump’s foreign policy

Trump rips ‘America-hating’ Dems at fiery North Carolina rally

Tucker: Beto O’Rourke thinks America is immoral

Tucker: John Bolton refuses to acknowledge his mistakes

Condoleezza Rice ‘relieved’ after cancellation of Taliban talks

CIA slams CNN as ‘misguided’ after report on Russian spy removal

Ingraham: Boltin’ from the White House

President Trump fires John Bolton – analysis and reaction

Trump’s White House Denies Chaos In The Wake Of John Bolton’s Chaotic Exit | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

Intel Chair Schiff: Bolton Should Have Never Been National Security Advisor | The Last Word | MSNBC

Trump: John Bolton Was Clashing With People In My Admin | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Hannity: Mob reports fake news, possibly put people’s lives in danger

John Bolton objection on Taliban peace talks @ Camp David last straw Trump tweets you’re Fired

John Bolton resigns as Trump’s national security adviser

Trump says he fired Bolton, Bolton says he resigned

Bolton and Trump Have Been Disagreeing for Quite Some Time, Ret. Gen. Kimmitt Says

Trump Fires National Security Adviser John Bolton | Andrea Mitchell | MSNBC

All Bolton did was threaten people’ – Ron Paul on US-Russia security meeting

Rand Paul: I’m an ‘Automatic No’ on John Bolton

President-elect Trump’s Emerging Foreign Policy

Who is John Bolton? Trump’s 3rd National Security Advisor | NowThis

John Bolton: The Hawk Returns

How Donald Trump thinks about foreign policy

Is Trump’s Foreign Policy Non-Interventionist? Not So Fast

Ben Friedman discusses non-interventionism in U.S. foreign policy at the Common Sense Society

Published on Dec 5, 2011

November 3, 2011

Stephen Kinzer on American Interventionism

U.S. interventionist foreign policy causing terrorism?

Published on Dec 15, 2015

Former Rep. Ron Paul, (R-Texas), on President Obama, terrorism and the Syrian refugees. Watch Deirdre Bolton talk about Elections on Risk And Reward.

How Donald Trump’s foreign policy affects the world | FT

Trump Politics and Foreign Policy Realism: A Media View

U.S. Foreign Policy in the Trump Era: The Future of Great Power Politics

Donald Trump’s entire foreign policy speech

Published on Apr 27, 2016

Donald Trump delivers his first national policy speech outlining his views on U.S. foreign policy and changes he would make.

 

Ousted National Security advisor John Bolton calls Donald Trump a LIAR for claiming he was fired and insists he resigned, amid claims the pair clashed over president’s plan to host the Taliban at Camp David

  • Trump fired Bolton by tweet just before noon Tuesday in a dramatic and unexpected move
  • He said he ‘disagreed strongly’ with Bolton ‘as did others in the administration’ 
  • Bolton tweeted minutes later, apparently from somewhere on the White House computer network, that Trump blew him off when he tried to resign
  • Other names in the mix: Mick Mulvaney adviser Robert Blair, hostage affairs envoy Robert O’Brien and senior Pompeo adviser Brian Hook
  • President had clashed with Bolton about Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela, and most recently on peace talks with the Taliban
  • Bolton, 70, had been Trump’s top national security aide since April 2018 after the president dispensed with three-star Army general H.R. McMaster
  • He texted ‘I resigned’ to a Fox News Channel host, who read it aloud on the air
  • Shakeup comes just two weeks before the United National General Assembly, where Trump will speak
  • One leading candidate to replace Bolton is Ric Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany 

Donald Trump said Tuesday he had ordered his national security advisor, John Bolton, to resign. But the ousted aide quickly insisted he quit first, then called the president’s version of events untrue.

The drama unfolded after months of deteriorating relations between Trump and his hawkish senior aide.

Trump tweeted just before noon that he had asked Bolton for his resignation and thanked him for ‘his services,’ but Bolton quickly shoved back, texting a Fox News Channel host live on air that ‘I resigned,’ then later texting NBC News that the president had never asked him to quit.

‘I offered to resign last night,’ Bolton told NBC in the text message. ‘He never asked for it, directly or indirectly. I slept on it, and resigned this morning.’

Bolton was photographed outside the West Wing on Tuesday morning just before 9:00, standing on the spot where a U.S. Marine is stationed whenever the president is at work – suggesting that Trump was still in the White House residence and didn’t meet with him.

After Trump announced Bolton’s departure, federal agents were seen at his Washington, D.C. home, removing government property including computer equipment and a shredder.

His abrupt departure and its ugly public aftermath was reportedly set off by the two disagreeing over Trump’s plan to host Taliban representatives at Camp David for peace talks last weekend, days before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Trump publicly announced the cancellation of the previously unreported peace talk plan on Saturday evening; Bolton’s had strongly opposed dealing with the Taliban face-to-face.

The two had already fallen out over Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela; Bolton previously refused to go on television to defend Trump’s Afghanistan and Russia policies during last month’s G7 summit in France.

 

Over and out: How John Bolton resigns to Donald Trump in a letter which he said was his own initiative but which the president tweeted that he had demanded

Donald Trump and John Bolton became locked in a Twitter war of words over the national security adviser's departure, with Bolton saying he tried to quit and Trump saying he told him to resign; Bolton is pictured Tuesday morning outside the West Wing of the White House at 8:45 a.m.

Donald Trump and John Bolton became locked in a Twitter war of words over the national security adviser’s departure, with Bolton saying he tried to quit and Trump saying he told him to resign; Bolton is pictured Tuesday morning outside the West Wing of the White House at 8:45 a.m.

Federal agents were seen Tuesday at Bolton's home in Washington, D.C., removing equipment and other government property a few hours after he was fired; the gear included a shredder, a multifunction printer and other computer equipment

Federal agents were seen Tuesday at Bolton’s home in Washington, D.C., removing equipment and other government property a few hours after he was fired; the gear included a shredder, a multifunction printer and other computer equipment

This woman was seen carrying a black satchel down Bolton's driveway as agents removed other government property from his home

This woman was seen carrying a black satchel down Bolton’s driveway as agents removed other government property from his home

'I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,' the president said in a tweet. He had been Trump's top national security aide since April 2018, when they were photographed together in the Cabinet Room of the White House

‘I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,’ the president said in a tweet. He had been Trump’s top national security aide since April 2018, when they were photographed together in the Cabinet Room of the White House

They spoke Monday before Trump left for a political rally in North Carolina, accoding to a White House official. Bolton claimed Tuesday that the conversation did not focus on a Taliban-related falling-out.

But he sent the White House a two sentence resignation letter Tuesday morning, and Trump tweeted his departure at 11:58 a.m., an hour and a half before Bolton was due to stand beside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin for a rare White House press briefing about a raft of new anti-terrorism sanctions.

A leading candidate to replace Bolton is Ric Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany; G.renell was an early Trump backer and is seen as 'one of the most reliably hard-charging diplomats' in the administration, according to a State Department source

A leading candidate to replace Bolton is Ric Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany; G.renell was an early Trump backer and is seen as ‘one of the most reliably hard-charging diplomats’ in the administration, according to a State Department source

The two Cabinet members smiled broadly when they were asked if they had been ‘blindsided’ by the sudden departure. ‘I’m never surprised,’ Pompeo grinned.

The president offered no public hint of who might get the job next.

Charles Kupperman, Bolton’s deputy, became acting national security adviser on Tuesday. Bolton said in January that Kupperman ‘has been an advisor to me for more than thirty years.’ That, a White House aide said Tuesday, suggests Trump will quickly sweep him out as part of a National Security Council housecleaning.

Kupperman was already scheduled to be out of the White House in two weeks for an unspecified surgery.

Two White House officials said Ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell quickly emerged as a leading candidate to be Trump’s fourth national security adviser in less than three years. One source said the president brought his name up to members of his senior staff shortly after tweeting about Bolton’s dismissal.

Grenell was an early Trump backer and is the administration’s highest ranking openly gay official. A source close to Grenell said Tuesday that he knows ‘how to deliver in a tough post.’ A State Department official speculated that the president might choose him because ‘one of the most reliably hard-charging diplomats’ in the U.S. foreign service.

A different White House official cautioned that since Grenell was Bolton’s chief spokesman at the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration, he could be seen as ‘fruit from the poisoned tree.’

Bolton was barely three hours away from getting the axe as he checked his phone in front of the West Wing's north doors; he stood where a U.S. Marine is normally positioned whenever the president is in the West Wing, suggesting Trump was still in the residence and didn't meet iwth Bolton before he fired him

Bolton was barely three hours away from getting the axe as he checked his phone in front of the West Wing’s north doors; he stood where a U.S. Marine is normally positioned whenever the president is in the West Wing, suggesting Trump was still in the residence and didn’t meet iwth Bolton before he fired him

Robert Blair, another potential Bolton successor, is a senior adviser to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Blair was in charge of national security programs for the White House Budget Office when Mulvaney was its director.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Blair was in the mix. He did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Bloomberg News reported that other possible replacements for Bolton ‘discussed by Trump associates’ include Robert O’Brien, the president’s envoy for hostage affairs, and senior Pompeo adviser Brian Hook.

A White House aide said Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has expressed a preference for Hook.

It’s unclear what Bolton’s next career move will be.

A Fox News Chanel producer on Tuesday called it ‘unlikely’ that the network will hire him as an on-air pundit.

A source at the Gatestone Institute, an Israel-friendly think tank where he was chairman before coming to the White House, said Tuesday that Bolton was still expected to deliver a previously scheduled luncheon speech to its members on September 18 in New York.

President Trump wasted no time discussing with senior West Wing staff who might be Bolton's replacement, according to White House officials

President Trump wasted no time discussing with senior West Wing staff who might be Bolton’s replacement, according to White House officials

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he and Bolton had different in significant ways on foreign policy, but refused during a White House briefing to get into specifics

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he and Bolton had different in significant ways on foreign policy, but refused during a White House briefing to get into specifics

Trump started the mad scramble with a pair of late morning tweets on Tuesday.

‘I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,’ the president said in a tweet two minutes before midday, and an hour and a half before Bolton was scheduled to participate in a briefing to reporters at the White House.

‘I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning,’ Trump tweeted.

Pompeo told reporters during the afternoon briefing that ‘there were many times where Ambassador Bolton and I disagreed, that’s to be sure.’

He added that the administration’s policies were the president’s, not Bolton’s. ‘I don’t think any leader around the world should make any assumption that, because some one of us departs, that President Trump’s foreign policy would change in a material way,’ he said.

In his own tweet sent a few minutes after Trump’s, apparently from somewhere on the White House’s own computer network, Bolton said the president blew him off when he tried to resign Monday night. He tweeted: ‘I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow’.’

The squabbling versions of Bolton’s departure came after White House reporters were told that he,  Pompeo and Mnuchin would brief them at 1: 30 p.m.

Bolton was seen as a war hawk who favored military intervention around the globe – a view that was at odds with Trump’s insistence that America’s troops should stop being ‘the world’s policemen.’

He clashed repeatedly with Pompeo over foreign policy and was recently sidelined during internal White House discussions about how to handle conflicts with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Bolton opposed Trump’s proposals for a troop drawdown in Afghanistan, and was a leading detractor inside the White House of the Camp David peace summit Trump planned and later canceled.

The president called it off after a Taliban suicide bombing attack in Kabul killed 12 people, including an American soldier.

Battle of the tweets: John Bolton tweeted that he tried to quit before he was fired – and did so from the White House's own network

Battle of the tweets: John Bolton tweeted that he tried to quit before he was fired – and did so from the White House’s own network

Tensions between Bolton and Pompeo ramped up in recent weeks. The two men – the top foreign policy advisers to the president – rarely spoke outside of formal meetings, CNN has reported.

Bolton was also in periodic clashes with acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. 

Bolton, 70, entered the administration in April 2018 after Trump dispensed with his second national security adviser, three-star Army general H.R. McMaster.

He had been a prominent Fox News contributor with aggressive views on the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal and on pressuring NATO members to increase their defense spending.

Trump sometimes joked about Bolton’s image as a warmonger, reportedly saying in one Oval Office meeting that ‘John has never seen a war he doesn’t like.’

But in recent months there had been whispers that Trump was losing patience with him.

When Trump went to South Korea at the end of June and crossed into the DMZ to meet Kim Jong-un, the first sitting president to meet a North Korean leader in the separation zone between the two countries, Bolton was in Mongolia.

TRUMP’S HIGH-PROFILE DEPARTURE LOUNGE

Here are just some of the top officials who have left Trump’s administration and when their departures were announced

2017

Inauguration Day was January 20

January 31: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates 

February 13: National Security Adviser Michael Flynn

March 30: Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh 

April 9: Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland

May 9: FBI Director James Comey 

May 30: Communications Director Michael Dubke 

July 21: Press Secretary Sean Spicer 

July 28: Chief of Staff Reince Priebus 

July 31: Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci 

August 18: Chief Strategist Steve Bannon

August 25: National security aide Sebastian Gorka 

September 1: Director of Oval Office Operations Keith Schiller

September 29: Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price 

December 8: Deputy National Security adviser Dina Powell 

December 13: Communications director for the White House Office of Public Liaison Omarosa Manigault Newman

2018

February 7: Staff Secretary Rob Porter 

February 28: Communications Director Hope Hicks 

March 6: Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn 

March 12: Special assistant and personal aide to the president John McEntee

March 13: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson 

March 22: National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster 

March 28: Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin 

April 10: Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert 

April 11: Deputy National Security Adviser Nadia Schadlow 

April 12: Deputy National Security adviser Ricky Waddell 

May 2:  White House attorney Ty Cobb

June 5: Communications aide Kelly Sadler 

 July 5: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt

August 29: White House Counsel Don McGahn

October 9: U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley

November 7: Attorney General Jeff Sessions 

December 9: Chief of Staff John Kelly

December 15: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke

December 20: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis

2019

March 8: Communications Director Bill Shine 

April 8: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

June 13: White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders 

June 18: Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan

June 25: Acting Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner John Sanders 

July 12: Labor Secretary Alex Acosta 

July 28: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats 

August 6: Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman 

August 8: Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Sue Gordon

August 29: President’s personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout

September 5: Lead Middle East peace negotiator, Jason Greenblatt

September 10: National Security Advisor, John Bolton

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7448735/Donald-Trump-FIRES-National-Security-Advisor-John-Bolton.html

By Shannon Pettypiece, Carol E. Lee, Peter Alexander and Adam Edelman

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he had fired national security adviser John Bolton after a string of disagreements, removing one of the most hawkish voices in Trump’s inner circle on a number of issues, including Taliban negotiations and China trade talks.

Trump announced on Twitter that he had asked for Bolton’s resignation on Monday night, saying he had “disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions.”

“I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning,” Trump said on Twitter.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore….

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week.

25.4K people are talking about this

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said that Trump had asked for Bolton’s resignation on Monday night, and that it was delivered on Tuesday. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump and Bolton had not spoken on Tuesday.

Bolton himself said in a tweet that he had offered to resign Monday night, and that the president had said in response that they would “talk about it tomorrow.”

“I offered to resign last night,” Bolton told NBC News via text. “He never asked for it, directly or indirectly. I slept on it, and resigned this morning.” He denied reports that he and Trump had gotten into a heated argument Monday night over the president’s plan to host Taliban leaders at Camp David.

Some National Security Council officials were caught off guard by Bolton’s firing, learning about it only when it flashed on TV screens.

Reports over the weekend that Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence disagreed with Trump’s Camp David plan was the last straw for Bolton, according to two people familiar with the matter. On Monday, Pence tweeted that the stories were fake but Bolton did not — and that, according to the officials, upset Trump.

One person familiar with the breakdown between the two men said Trump didn’t want Bolton attending the U.N. General Assembly in New York with him later this month.

Asked if the disagreement over the Taliban talks led to Bolton’s dismissal, Grisham said “that there was no final straw.”

“There were several issues,” he said. “They had policy disagreements.”

But speaking on the condition of anonymity, one official said Afghanistan “broke open the bottom of the bag” in a relationship that had been eroding. Another official confirmed that sharp disagreement over the Afghanistan deal was the final issue that ruptured the relationship.

Bolton, known as a fierce infighter, had few loyal allies internally. He had clashed with many senior members of the administration at times, including Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

But he could also build alliances when needed. He worked closely with Pence on multiple issues, including efforts to replace Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, and aligned with Pompeo on encouraging a hard-line stance on China, said a former administration official.

He was one of the loudest hawks inside the West Wing, perpetually skeptical of the country’s adversaries and unafraid of the prospect of military conflict. Few others in the upper ranks of the administration were as deeply versed in the nuances of foreign policy, a void that Pompeo will now have an outsize role in filling — particularly when it comes to Iran, China and Venezuela, said the former official.

Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics

Most recently, the two had sparred over Trump’s desire to have leaders of the Taliban visit Camp David in the days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to finalize peace talks. The idea was strongly opposed by Bolton, even as officials at the State Department argued it could move the parties closer to an agreement, officials said.

Bolton had been deeply skeptical of negotiations with the Taliban. U.S. negotiators have been working under the president’s demand that a drawdown occur before November 2020, when he’s up for re-election.

Asked if he had been startled by Bolton’s quick exit, Pompeo told reporters he had not. “I’m never surprised. And I don’t mean that on just this issue,” he said.

Bolton’s departure could pave the way for a more flexible approach by the Trump administration on North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Afghanistan, former U.S. officials and two current U.S. officials said.

Bolton had pushed Trump to take a harder line on other regimes he has deemed untrustworthy. Trump, on the other hand, campaigned on the promise to get the U.S. out of conflicts.

While Bolton had previously pushed for striking Iran in an effort at regime change, Trump has indicated he would like to sit down with Iranian officials, and that regime change is off the table; Pompeo confirmed Tuesday that the president is likely to speak with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani when the U.N. General Assembly meets in New York. “The president has made it very clear, he’s prepared to meet with no preconditions,” said Pompeo.

Some officials in the administration had also grown frustrated with Bolton’s stance on Venezuela, in which he pushed for the imposition of harsh sanctions on the Maduro regime and opposed renewing a waiver to allow the energy company Chevron to keep operating in the country.

When asked earlier about his differences with Bolton, Trump indicated he didn’t have a problem with his national security adviser giving an opinion that diverged from his own.

“I have some hawks,” the president said in a “Meet the Press” interview this summer. “Yeah, John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him he’d take on the whole world at one time, OK? But that doesn’t matter, because I want both sides.”

Bolton has had his fair share of detractors in Congress. Many of those critics praised his departure — with even some who held a favorable view of him said the change could be a positive one.

“I like John Bolton, I think he sees the world for what it is. I’ve always had a similar view of threats that we face,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “But the personal relationship between the president and national security adviser is important. I think the view that there’s some public discussions about Bolton being on the other side of meeting with the Taliban probably was a bridge too far.”

But Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said Bolton’s departure was a “huge loss” for the country.

“His view was not always the same as everybody else in the room, that’s why you wanted him there,” Romney told reporters. “The fact that he was a contrarian from time to time is an asset, not a liability.”

This is the third national security adviser that Trump will have to replace. His first, Michael Flynn, was in court for a status hearing on Tuesday before his sentencing for lying to U.S. officials. Flynn’s successor, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, said he was retiring after repeated disagreements with Trump.

It is unclear what will now happen with the team of foreign policy experts Bolton had built over more than a year — a state of affairs adding yet more instability to the national security ranks under Trump’s presidency.

Trump named Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and undersecretary of state for international security, to the post in a tweet in March 2018. At the time of his appointment, Bolton said in a Fox News interview that he was taken off guard.

Trump said Tuesday that he would name a new national security adviser next week. Gidley said Tuesday afternoon that deputy national security adviser Charlie Kupperman would replace Bolton as the acting national security adviser.

Hours before Trump announced his departure, Bolton sent a final public warning on Iran.

“Now that we’re two weeks from #UNGA, you can be sure #Iran is working overtime on deception,” Bolton wrote in a tweet. “Let’s review the greatest hits, starting with the most recent. #Iran denied the Adrian Darya-1 was headed to #Syria, then confirmed today its oil was offloaded there. #IranWebOfLies”

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-fires-national-security-adviser-john-bolton-n1051986

Nonintervention: America’s Founding Foreign Policy

by 

On the Fourth of July, 1821, John Quincy Adams delivered one of the most remarkable speeches in U.S. history. Having gone down in history with the title “In Search of Monsters of Destroy,” Adams’s speech summarized the founding foreign policy of the United States.

Adams pointed out that there are lots of bad things that happen around the world. Brutal dictatorships. Tyranny. Civil wars. Revolutions. Wars between nations. Poverty. Famines.

Notwithstanding the death and destruction such “monsters” produced in foreign countries, however, the U.S. government would not go abroad to slay them. That was the founding foreign policy of the United States, a policy of nonintervention.

That’s not to say that the United States was unwilling to offer any assistance to people who were suffering in foreign lands. Private Americans were free to offer their support, either personally or with financial donations. Equally important, the United States had a founding immigration policy of open borders, which meant that anyone who was willing and able to escape the monstrous conditions in his homeland and emigrate to the United States was assured that he would never be forcibly repatriated to his country.

In his speech, Adams also issued a profound admonition. He said that if America were ever to abandon its founding foreign policy of nonintervention, she would inevitably acquire the characteristics of a “dictatress.”

What are the characteristics of a dictator or a dictatress? Dictatorships wield omnipotent powers, such as the powers to incarcerate, torture, and kill people with impunity or to arbitrarily seize and keep their money or property.

Nonintervention and open immigration were not the only policies that made the United States such an unusual country. There was also no income taxation or IRS. No Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or farm subsidies. No Federal Reserve System of paper (i.e., fiat) money. No drug laws. Hardly any economic regulations, including minimum-wage laws, price controls, or rent controls. No Pentagon or military-industrial complex. No CIA. No NSA. No FBI. No Homeland Security. No public (i.e., government) schooling systems. No sanctions or embargoes. No war on terrorism. No torture. No indefinite detention. No travel restrictions. The American people didn’t even use passports.

We know there was slavery and some lesser violations of the principles of liberty, such as tariffs. But if we set those exceptions aside and consider the overall founding principles of the United States, it is impossible to reach but one conclusion: It was the most unusual political and economic system that had ever existed in the history of mankind.

It was that unusual system that defined an American. It was that unusual system that caused Americans to believe that they were the freest people in history. It was that unusual system that the French were honoring when they gifted the Statue of Liberty to the American people.

The shift away from freedom

Things started to shift in the late 1890s. Government programs such as Social Security, government health care, public schooling, and progressive income taxation, which were originating among socialists in Germany, began percolating within American society.

At the same time, some Americans were advocating a turn towards empire. Looking to the examples set by the British Empire, the French Empire, the Spanish Empire, and others, such Americans were arguing that it was time for the United States to travel the imperialist road as well. The key to national greatness, they argued, was for the United States to acquire colonies, just like other empires in history.

The great turning point with respect to foreign policy came in 1898 in the Spanish-American War, which, insofar as the United States was concerned, involved a combination of interventionism and empire.

The war originated as a fight for independence by colonies of the Spanish Empire, including Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. That war did not involve the United States. Certainly Spain had not attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. It was purely a war between a foreign empire and its overseas colonies.

But the U.S. government decided to intervene in the conflict by coming to the assistance of the rebelling colonies. The intervention constituted an abandonment of the founding foreign policy of nonintervention that Adams had summarized a half-century before in his Fourth of July speech to Congress. The U.S. government had decided to intervene in the Spanish-American War to slay the monster of the Spanish Empire.

 While independence was the goal of the Spanish colonies, that was not the goal of the U.S. government. The goal of the U.S. government was to replace the Spanish Empire as the owner and controller of its colonies.

That’s why U.S. troops stayed in Cuba after the war was over — to ensure U.S. control over the island. In fact, that is how the United States ended up with its foreign military base at Guantanamo Bay — by forcing a compliant administration in Cuba to lease it at a nominal price to the United States in perpetuity.

 While the Cuban people deeply resented what had happened, they didn’t resort to a war for independence from the United States, as they had done against Spain. It was different with the Filipino people, however. Having prevailed against Spain in their war for independence, they weren’t about to settle for being a colony of the United States. Thus, they continued their war for independence, only this time against the United States, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of lives lost at the hands of U.S. forces. In the end, the U.S. government prevailed. The Philippines, along with Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam, remained under the control of a foreign power, albeit the United States rather than Spain.

America had turned towards both empire and intervention, which made it easier for Woodrow Wilson to convince Americans to intervene in World War I twenty years later. Wilson argued that U.S. intervention into the European conflict would have two extremely positive effects: One, U.S. intervention would bring an end to war in Europe, something that had besieged that part of the world for centuries, and, two, it would make the entire world safe for democracy.

Securing a declaration of war from Congress, the U.S. government proceeded to intervene in World War I on the side of Great Britain and others and against Germany. The intervention was a clear abandonment of the founding foreign policy of the United States. The U.S. government under Wilson was going abroad in search of monsters to destroy — precisely the opposite of what Adams had described nearly 100 years before as America’s founding foreign policy of nonintervention.

Meanwhile, America was shifting in a different direction domestically as well. The progressive income tax, the IRS, and the Federal Reserve System came into existence in the 1910s. In the 1930s, gold coins, which under the U.S. Constitution had been the official money of the American people for more than a century, were nationalized and seized, with any American caught owning them being subject to federal felony prosecution. Irredeemable federal notes and bills were made the official money of the country.

The adoption of Social Security, an idea that had originated among German socialists, heralded the advent of the welfare state in America, a way of life in which the government forcibly takes money from one group of people and gives it to another group of people. At the same time, America was moving towards a regulated, controlled, and managed economy, as reflected by Franklin Roosevelt’s National Industrial Recovery Act; minimum-wage laws; maximum-hours laws; and economic, financial, and banking regulations.

World War II

 It did not take long for Americans to realize that U.S. intervention in World War I was a total dis-aster, one that had sacrificed tens of thousands of American troops, many of whom had been forced to fight through conscription. The U.S. intervention not only failed to end all war and make the world safe for democracy, it actually laid the political and economic conditions that gave rise to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime.

Thus, it shouldn’t have surprised anyone that the American people were overwhelmingly opposed to intervening in World War II. They had had enough of intervention in Europe’s unending conflicts.

But Franklin Roosevelt, like Wilson before him, had other ideas. He was bound and determined to embroil the United States in the European war, this time certain that intervention would prove to be a positive thing for the United States.

Americans, of course, are taught that World War II was a great victory for the United States because Nazi Germany was defeated. They are also taught, however, to ignore the other consequences of the war.

For example, the Poles never considered the defeat of the Nazis to be a victory. Recall that the Poles were the reason that Great Britain had entered the conflict in the first place. Having issued a guarantee to Poland, England declared war on Germany with the intent of freeing the Poles from Nazi tyranny. While victory in the war did, in fact, free the Poles from Nazi tyranny, it also left them under the control of the communist regime of the Soviet Union (which had been America’s World War II partner and ally), for the next 45 years. From the standpoint of the Poles, there was no difference between Nazi tyranny and communist tyranny, which is why they never celebrated World War II as a victory.

It was the same with the rest of Eastern Europe and, for that matter, East Germany. At the end of the war and for the next 45 years, they had to live under the iron fist of brutal communist rule.

But there is something important to understand about all this: In the midst of the war, Roosevelt actually agreed to deliver those nations into the clutches of Soviet communist leader Joseph Stalin, whom he affectionately referred to as “Uncle Joe,” notwithstanding the fact that Stalin had killed many more people than Hitler.

And then here is the irony: After the Soviets insisted on maintaining postwar control over the nations that Roosevelt had delivered into their clutches, Harry Truman and other U.S. officials used that control to convince Americans that there was a worldwide communist conspiracy, based in Moscow, to conquer the United States and the rest of the world.

The national-security state

The aftermath of America’s intervention into World War II produced a monumental change in America’s governmental structure, one that entailed the destruction of a limited-government republic and the adoption of what is known as a “national-security state.”

What is a national-security state? It is a type of governmental structure that is inherent to totalitarian regimes. It is characterized by a massive, permanent, generously funded military establishment; a highly secret intelligence agency with omnipotent powers, including assassination; and a massive surveillance operation to secretly monitor and keep track of both citizens and foreigners.

North Korea is a national-security state. So is Russia. And Cuba. And Egypt. And post–World War II United States. That’s what the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA are all about.

In his Farewell Address in 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower referred to this new governmental apparatus as “the military-industrial complex.” At the same time, he issued one of the most dramatic warnings in U.S. history, one that rivaled that of John Quincy Adams in 1821. Ike told Americans that this governmental apparatus that was new to the United States posed a grave threat to the liberties and democratic processes of the American people.

President Truman and other U.S. officials told Americans that it was necessary to adopt this totalitarian-like governmental structure in order to prevent America’s World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union, from conquering the United States in what became known as the Cold War. It was never made clear how the Soviet Union was going to do that, especially since the entire nation had been devastated by the war and then had continued its socialist economic system, which inevitably makes a nation weaker, not stronger.

Nonetheless, the Soviet Union was converted into America’s post–World War II official enemy, and Americans were made to believe that the communists were coming to get them. Truman clearly understood that in order to get Americans to accept the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state, he had to “scare the hell” out of the American people.

There is something important to keep in mind here. Intervention, empire, and a national-security state are different concepts. It is possible for a nation to be a national-security state without having a foreign policy of intervention and empire. North Korea is an example.

But after World War II, the United States went in all three directions. It became a national-security state and almost immediately it began intervening in foreign countries, under the guise of fighting the communists. That’s how the U.S. intervention in the Korean War, which was always just a civil war, was justified — to prevent an eventual communist takeover of the United States. It was also how U.S, intervention in the Vietnam War, which also was just a civil war, was justified — to keep the dominoes from falling to the Reds, with the final domino being the United States.

But it wasn’t just intervention that characterized Cold War America. It was also empire, not by following the old British Empire model but rather by following the model of empire established by the Soviets in Eastern Europe, where the Soviets installed regimes ruled by locals who would follow orders from the Soviets.

That’s what the U.S. coups in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Chile in 1973, and others were all about — the destruction of independent regimes, even democratically elected ones, and the installation of local dictatorships that would follow orders from the U.S. government.

Meanwhile, budgets were soaring throughout the Cold War for the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

 New enemies 

In 1991 the Cold War suddenly and unexpectedly came to an end with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from East Germany and Eastern Europe, and the normalization of relations between Russia and the West. The justification for America’s national-security state way of life had come to an end.

The Pentagon and the CIA were not ready, however, to go quietly into the night and permit the restoration of a limited-government republic to our land. Almost immediately, they initiated a series of interventions in the Middle East that were virtually certain to produce “blowback” in the form of terrorist retaliation: The Persian Gulf intervention, followed by 11 years of brutal sanctions on Iraq, which killed tens of thousands of Iraqi children every year. UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright’s infamous declaration that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children from the sanctions was “worth it.” The stationing of UN troops near the holiest lands in the Muslim religion, knowing full well how that would be perceived by people of Muslim faith. They also continued America’s unconditional financial and military support to the Israeli government.

All that interventionism produced the inevitable terrorist retaliation, including the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center; the attack on the USS Cole, the U.S. warship that was passing near Yemen; the attacks on the U.S. embassies in East Africa; and then the 9/11 attacks.

Refusing to acknowledge that such attacks were the inevitable result of U.S. intervention in the Middle East and insisting instead that they were motivated by foreign hatred for America’s “freedom and values,” U.S. officials doubled down with post–9/11 regime-change invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Those two interventions produced nothing but massive death, destruction, and suffering, not to mention the rise of ISIS, which was then used as a justification for intervening in Syria’s revolution, which U.S. officials had encouraged as part of their foreign policy of intervention in the Middle East. There was also the Libya regime-change operation, which, in combination with the Syrian and Iraqi interventions, produced a massive refugee crisis for Europe.

Meanwhile, what Adams predicted in 1821 has come to pass. The federal government has become a dictatress. How else to describe a regime that wields the omnipotent power to assassinate its own people or simply take them into military custody and hold them indefinitely as “enemy combatants” and torture them for as long as officials want? How else to describe a regime that wields the omnipotent power to seize people’s money and other assets under the so-called drug war without ever charging them with a crime?

The good news is that there is a solution to all this mayhem, death, destruction, and loss of liberty, if Americans can only gather the will to embrace it. That solution is two-fold: to restore America’s founding principles of a noninterventionist foreign policy and America’s founding principle of a limited-government republic. If American people were to do that, they could lead the world out of the statist morass in which it finds itself.

This article was originally published in the July 2018 issue of FFF’s monthly journal, Future of Freedom.

Nonintervention: America’s Founding Foreign Policy

About Ben Friedman

Ben Friedman is a research fellow in defense and homeland security studies at the Cato Institute. He co-edited two books, Terrorizing Ourselves: Why U.S. Counterterrorism Policy is Failing and How to Fix It (Cato 2010), and U.S. Military Innovation Since the Cold War: Creation Without Destruction (Routledge, 2012).

Mike German, Fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, interviewed Friedman on August 4, 2014. Read an edited transcript of the full interview here.

Part 1: Fear, Risk, and Vulnerability

Ben Friedman discusses fear management in national security, arguing that overrating the threat of terrorism creates costs to society, both financial and to our civil liberties. Political entrepreneurs exploit this overwrought fear, Friedman argues, which cramps democratic debate. He asserts that public policy should be driven by risk rather than vulnerability

Part 2: Scoping the Intelligence/National Security Enterprise

Ben Friedman estimates that homeland and national security spending approaches a trillion dollars annually, including wars and veterans’ expenses. Citing research by Steve Pinker that shows that the world is less violent than previous eras, Friedman argues that the U.S. is actually quite safe, which makes such exorbitant spending unnecessary.

Part 3: Politization of Intelligence

Ben Friedman explains the difficulty of completely divorcing intelligence agencies from political influences. He disputes contemporary statements by intelligence officials that suggest the world today is more dangerous than previous generations.

Part 4: Threat Inflation

Ben Friedman points to the work of Sherman Kent, a former CIA analyst, who suggested that the CIA is driven primarily by the need to be right. Friedman suggests that the different voices in threat analysis could provide dissents that might temper the agencies; tendencies toward threat inflation.

Part 5: Secret Government is Stupid Government

Ben Friedman argues that excessive secrecy in government stifles debate, which leads to ill-considered policies. Friedman finds Congress less willing to conduct effective oversight of national security actions for a variety of reasons.

Part 6: Primacy vs. Restraint

Ben Friedman describes the debate over U.S. grand strategy, pitting realists who argue for a restrained foreign policy against a bi-partisan primacy consensus that advocates for interventionist policies. Friedman says the primacy view gets us in “avoidable fights,” and incurs unaccounted costs to society. Moreover, there is little social science evidence to support that U.S. power projection is making us safer.

Part 7: Tools of Democratic Control

Ben Friedman describes the robust tools Congress has to conduct oversight, but suggests its failure to assert its power in national security issues has led to malfunction of constitutional balances. Friedman also feels the press has generally performed poorly in checking abuse, though he cites exceptions such as Dana Priest’s coverage of secret CIA detention sites.

Part 8: No Cabinet of Doves

Ben Friedman discusses President Obama’s habit of selecting foreign policy hawks for leadership positions in the national security and intelligence community. Friedman laments that while many academic researchers support a restrained foreign policy, few such advocates find positions in government.

RECOMMENDED READING:

https://www.brennancenter.org/about-ben-friedman

Foreign policy of the Donald Trump administration

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The stated aims of the foreign policy of the Donald Trump administration include a focus on security, by fighting terrorists abroad and strengthening border defenses and immigration controls; an expansion of the U.S. military; an “America First” approach to trade; and diplomacy whereby “old enemies become friends”.[1] The foreign policy positions expressed by Trump during his presidential campaign changed frequently, making it “difficult to glean a political agenda, or even a set of clear, core policy values ahead of his presidency.”[2] During his presidential inauguration speech, Trump said that during his presidency the U.S. would “not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.” He also stated that his administration would “seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world,” and that he understands the “right of all nations to put their own interests first.”[3]

During the 2016 election campaign, Trump “repeatedly defined American global interests almost purely in economic terms,” with the nation’s “roles as a peacekeeper, as a provider of a nuclear deterrent against adversaries like North Korea, as an advocate of human rights and as a guarantor of allies’ borders” being “quickly reduced to questions of economic benefit to the United States.”[4] He also repeatedly called for allied countries, including Germany, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea, to compensate the United States for helping protect their nations,[5] and suggested that his willingness to defend a country might depend on how much that country was willing to “pay us to save them.”[6] Trump and his advisors continued this theme throughout the presidency, emphasizing their view that other countries need to increase their financial commitment to their own defense or compensate the United States for providing it.[7]

Trump also supported a robust national defense during the 2016 election[8][9][10] and in his first budget proposal as president in March 2017, Trump proposed a $54 billion (10%) increase in defense spending, to a total of $639 billion for fiscal year 2018. He said the increase would be needed to fight terrorism, improve troop readiness, and build new ships and planes and would be paid for by deep cuts to other agencies, including a 28% cut from the State Department budget. He also requested an additional $30 billion for the Defense Department for the remainder of fiscal year 2017.[11]

As a presidential candidate, Trump emphasized a “get-tough” approach toward suspected terrorists. He called for the resumption of waterboarding “and much worse”.[12][13] He repeatedly expressed support for the use of torture by the U.S. for the purpose of trying to get information from suspected terrorists, and said the law should be changed to allow waterboarding and other forms of torture.[12][14] However, after his election, Trump stated that he would defer to the views of then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who opposed waterboarding and torture.[15]

Upon taking office, Trump relied more on his White House advisors rather than the State Department to advise him on international relations. He initially chose former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Tillerson did not have previous government or diplomatic experience, but due to ExxonMobil’s international activities he had experience and contacts in many other countries, particularly Russia.[16] In many cases Trump has given important foreign policy assignments to advisors within the White House, particularly former chief political strategist Steve Bannon and senior advisor Jared Kushner.[17] Trump has made significant decisions, such as a proposed travel ban from certain countries and a counter-terrorism strike in Yemen, which was made without any input from the State Department.[18][19] Budget cuts and reliance on advisors led to media reports that the State Department has been noticeably “sidelined” during the administration.[17][18] The State Department normally has two deputy secretaries of state and six undersecretaries, regarded as senior posts;[20][21] by March 2017 no nominations had been submitted for any of those positions.[22]

An August 2017 Pew Research Poll found that 15 percent of all Americans, and 31 percent of Republicans, said they agreed with President Trump on “nearly all issues”.[23] By the closing months of 2017, a survey by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs think tank found that President Trump’s most passionate supporters solidly supported his core views on foreign policy, but Republicans with less favorable views of the president are far less enthusiastic and their attitudes more closely match with the overall population.[24]

Contents

Americas

On March 3, 2019, National Security Advisor John Bolton invoked the Monroe Doctrine in describing the Trump administration’s policy in the Americas, saying “In this administration, we’re not afraid to use the word Monroe Doctrine…It’s been the objective of American presidents going back to [President] Ronald Reagan to have a completely democratic hemisphere.”[25][26]

Argentina

President Trump and Argentine President Mauricio Macri, April 2017

President Trump hosted President Macri in Washington, D.C. in April 2017. They met at the White House on April 27 to talk about trade.[27] When the ARA San Juan submarine went missing on November 15, 2017 during a routine patrol in the South Atlantic off the coast of Argentina, President Trump offered the help of the United States to find the submarine.

Brazil

President Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, March 2019

The two countries re-approached with the victory of the right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. On the first official visit of the Brazilian president to the United States in March 2019, Trump announced Brazil as Major non-NATO ally. In May, the U.S. government, through Kimberly Breier, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, announced formal support for Brazil’s entry into the OECD.[28][29][30][31][32]

Canada

President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, February 2017

President Trump met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February 2017 at the White House. Trudeau was the third world leader that Trump hosted since his election as president, after the United Kingdom’s Theresa May and Japan’s Shinzo Abe.[33] At the meeting Trump claimed that he viewed the United States’ relationship with Canada as being different from its relationship with Mexico, and said he only foresaw minor adjustments to the Canadian side of NAFTA.[34] At the meeting Trump and Trudeau also discussed increased cooperation at the Canada–United States border, combating opioid abuse, clean energy, and establishing a joint council to promote women in business.[35]

In April 2017 the Trump administration took action on the longstanding Canada–United States softwood lumber dispute, raising the possibility of a trade war. Following Trump’s comment that Canada’s lumber trade practices are unfair, the Commerce Department announced plans to impose a retroactive duty of 30-40% on Canadian wood shipments to the United States. Canada’s minister for trade said, “Canada will not be deterred and will vigorously defend our industry.”[36] The Canadian dollar fell to a 14-month low on the announcement.[37]

On June 20, 2019, Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met and held “positive” talks at the White House on topics regarding ratifying the USMCA, the detentions of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou and Canadian nationals Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, confronting China, and tariff negotiations. Trump called Trudeau a “friend” and, following Trudeau’s trip, both Canadian and U.S. officials and media generally considered the talks constructive and helped thaw relations between the two allies, which had noticeably chilled in the early years of Trump’s presidency.[38]

Caribbean

During a summer 2017 meeting about immigration, Trump objected to receiving immigrants from Haiti, reportedly saying “they all have AIDS.” The White House denied the report.[39] During a meeting with congressional leaders on January 11, 2018, Trump complained about the number of immigrants from Haiti, saying “Why do we need more Haitians, take them out.”[40] He then referred to Haiti and El Salvador, as well as unspecified African nations, as “shithole countries”, although specific facts and details about these remarks were disputed.[40]

Cuba

During the campaign, Trump expressed his opposition to the restoration of full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba achieved in July 2015.[41] Trump said that he would only restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba if the Cuban regime met his demands to restore political freedoms and free political prisoners.[41] This represented a shift from his position expressed in September 2015 when he said that the opening with Cuba was “fine. But we should have made a better deal.”[41] Trump also said that he opposed the Cuban Adjustment Act, which allows any Cuban who reaches U.S. soil to remain in the country legally and apply for residency.[42]

On June 16, 2017, President Trump announced that he was cancelling the Obama administration’s previous deals with Cuba, while also expressing hope that a new deal could be negotiated between Cuba and the United States.[43][44]

On November 1, 2018, National Security Advisor John R. Bolton gave a speech in Miami in which he named Cuba as one of three countries that make up a “troika of tyranny.”[45]

Greenland

In August 2019, Trump expressed interest in buying the territory of Greenland from the country Denmark. In reaction, Greenland’s foreign ministry declared that the territory was not for sale.[46] Citing Denmark’s reluctance to discuss the purchase, days later Trump canceled a scheduled September trip to Copenhagen.[47]

Mexico

During the campaign[

During the campaign Trump emphasized U.S. border security and illegal immigration as signature issues.[48] He stated, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. …. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. Their rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”[9] He also talked about drugs and infectious diseases “pouring across the border”.[49]

In campaign speeches Trump repeatedly pledged to build a wall along the U.S.’s southern border, saying that Mexico would pay for its construction through increased border-crossing fees and NAFTA tariffs.[50][51][52] Trump said his proposed wall would be “a real wall. Not a toy wall like we have now.”[53] After a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on August 31, 2016, Trump said that they “didn’t discuss” who would pay for the border wall.[54] Nieto contradicted that later that day, saying that he at the start of the meeting “made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall”.[55] Later that day, Trump reiterated his position that Mexico will pay to build an “impenetrable” wall on the Southern border.[56]

Trump also vowed to impose tariffs — in the range of 15 to 35 percent — on companies that move their operations to Mexico.[57] He specifically criticized the Ford Motor Co.Carrier Corporation, and Mondelez International.[58][57][59] And he condemned the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying that if elected president, “We will either renegotiate it, or we will break it.”[60][61]

The Trump administration

President Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, July 2017

Trump’s rhetoric as a candidate and as president “cranked up the tension in US-Mexico relations to a high not seen in decades”.[62] On January 25, 2017, Trump signed an executive order calling for “immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border”.[63] He also reiterated that Mexico will eventually pay for the wall. Mexican President Peña Nieto had been scheduled to meet with Trump at the White House on January 31. However, on January 26 Peña Nieto called off the visit, not citing a reason. The two leaders spoke by telephone on January 27. In statements afterward they acknowledged their differences on the issue and said they intend to work them out, as well as other issues such as security and trade.[64]

According to a poll regarding the Trump Administration by the National Research Inc and The Polling Company more Americans agree that legal immigration is at the right levels but want illegal immigration curbed. The 1,201 that were polled believe that President Trump’s focus on illegals has cut those crossing United States borders without approval.[65] It has been reported that the appeal of President Trump’s anti-NAFTA messages has been dominant among working-class white families in the United States. These families do not have the capability to provide for the kind of education their children need in order to successfully live in this modern day economy.[66]

Polls also show 5 percent of Mexicans trust President Trump’s decisions and role in international affairs. The survey by the Pew Research Center said 93 percent of Mexicans had “no confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing regarding world affairs.[67]” The president’s decision for a wall along the Mexican border had a proposed 2018 budget that included a request for $1.6 billion to begin construction. A November 2017 Quinnipiac University Poll found that 64% of voters oppose building the wall and data showed only 33% supported the idea.[68]

Funding for the border wall remained a divisive topic well into 2019, with a partial government shutdown beginning in December 2018 after Trump refused to sign a budget bill that didn’t have appropriated funding for the border wall.

Nicaragua

Over the course of the civil unrest in Nicaragua that started in April 2018, the Trump administration has placed numerous sanctions and condemnations against President Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista Government for human rights abuses. The first set of sanctions took place in early July 2018 when under Magnitsky, three top Sandinista officials had their visas revoked.[69] More sanctions and condemnations rolled in after U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton named Nicaragua as part of a troika of tyranny,[70] including on November 27, 2018 when President Trump issued an executive order targeting the First Lady and Vice President of Nicaragua and her aide Néstor Moncada Lau,[71][72] and later on December 20, 2018 when President Trump signed then-Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen‘s Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) into law.[73][74] On April 17, 2019, shortly before the one-year anniversary of the unrest, the Trump Administration announced sanctions on the Nicaraguan bank BANCORP and on Laureano Ortega Murillo, who is one of Ortega’s sons.[75]

Peru

Trump with Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on February 24, 2017

President Trump hosted President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in February 2017 to discuss issues in Latin America. Trump has expressed gratitude for Peru’s close relations with the United States in protecting interests in Latin America, such as sanctions against Venezuela and corruption probes. Kuczynski brought up a minor purchase of military equipment from the United States for Peru.
Kuczynski later recalled that Trump privately mentioned to Kuczynski that “You don’t look a day over 90.” Kuczynski was 79 at the time.[76]

Venezuela

Trump delivers remarks to the Venezuelan American community in Miami, Florida, February 18, 2019

In August 2017 following months of protests in Venezuela against President Nicolás Maduro and the election of a Constituent Assembly which consolidated Maduro’s power,[77] the Trump administration described the Venezuelan government as a “dictatorship”.[78] President Trump further stated on 11 August 2017, days after the Constituent National Assembly was sworn in, that “Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering, and they are dying” and that the United States had “many options for Venezuela”, including a possible “military option”.[78] At the time, Trump’s advisers, including then-United States National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, strongly recommended to President Trump to not pursue a military option in Venezuela, explaining that Latin American governments were against foreign intervention in the region, though Trump raised some questions about the option.[79] However, when meeting with Latin American leaders during the seventy-second session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump discussed possible United States military intervention in Venezuela, to which they all denied the offer.[79]

Following these discussions, the Trump administration instead pursued targeted sanctions against officials within the Venezuelan government.[79]

On January 23, 2019, during the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis, Venezuela broke ties with the United States following Trump’s announcement of recognizing Juan Guaidó, the leader of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as the interim President of Venezuela.[80] On February 18, 2019 Trump warned members of Venezuela’s military to renounce loyalty to Nicolás Maduro.[81] The U.S. continued to show support for Juan Guaidó during the attempted April 30 uprising.

Venezuela is one of the three countries condemned in John Bolton’s “Troika of Tyranny” speech in Miami.[82]

Asia

Afghanistan

On August 21, 2017, President Trump stated that he wanted to expand the American presence in Afghanistan, without giving details on how.[83] Trump did not formulate any deadlines or specific purposes to be met, only stating that a U.S. withdrawal was no option now because it would play into the hands of terrorists and put at risk the safety of the U.S. and its allies.[84] Trump did say that presently 20 U.S.-designated terrorist organizations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, this statement contradicted the official U.S. government list, which only lists 13 such organizations there, according to The Washington Post.[85] Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid condemned Trump’s speech: “It looks like America does not want to put an end to its longest war and instead of realizing the realities, is still arrogant on its might and force”.[85]

On September 19, 2017, the Trump administration deployed another 3,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. This added to the approximately 11,000 U.S. troops already serving in Afghanistan, bringing the total to at least 14,000 U.S. troops stationed in the country.[86]

China and Taiwan

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping with their spouses, April 2017

During the campaign Trump accused the People’s Republic of China of currency manipulation.[87] He pledged to carry out “swift, robust and unequivocal” action against Chinese piracy, counterfeit American goods, and theft of U.S. trade secrets and intellectual property. He also condemned China’s “illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards.”[87] In January 2016, Trump proposed a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports to the United States to give “American workers a level playing field.”[88][89] He dismissed possible Chinese reactions, such as sales of U.S. bonds or instituting a trade war, as unlikely and unimportant.[90][91]

On 2 December 2016, as president-elect, he accepted a congratulatory telephone call from Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen. That was the first such contact with Taiwan by a U.S. president-elect or president since 1979 and provoked the People’s Republic of China to lodge a diplomatic protest (“stern representations”).[92][93] Trump suggested he didn’t feel bound by America’s traditional ‘one China’ policy but considered it open to negotiation.[93]

At his confirmation hearing in January 2017, Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson expressed strong opposition to the Chinese practice since 2014 of building artificial islands in the South China Sea as a way of claiming sovereignty over it, saying China should be blocked from accessing the islands. Portions of the South China Sea are claimed as territorial waters by multiple nations including China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines.[94] On 23 January 2017, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said “It’s a question of if [the Spratly Islands] are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country.”[95]

On 4 February, on a visit to Japan, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis reaffirmed Washington’s commitment under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan to defending Japan, including the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea that are claimed by China.[96]

On 9 February, Trump reaffirmed American commitment to the One-China policy in a telephone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The call was described as cordial and as “putting an end to the extended chill” in the relationship between the two countries.[97]

The relations significantly deteriorated in 2018 and in 2019 when Trump launched a trade war against China, banned US companies from selling equipment to Huawei, increased visa restrictions on Chinese nationality students and scholars and designated China as a “currency manipulator“.[98][99][100][101]

India

President Trump greets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House, June 2017

During the campaign Trump spoke favorably of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed a desire for a closer alliance with India.[102] He told a campaign rally of Indian-Americans that under his administration, relations with India would be “the best ever”.[103] Trump and Modi met at the White House in June 2017, reaffirming the strong partnership between the two nations, especially in defense, maritime security and counterterrorism.[104]

Japan

President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, February 2017

During the campaign Trump accused Japan of unfair trade practices, “taking our jobs”, and of currency manipulation. He suggested Japan should pay the U.S. for its military presence in Japan, and at one point suggested that Japan should develop nuclear weapons to defend itself against North Korea.[105]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe met with President-elect Trump at Trump Tower shortly after his election – the first foreign leader to do so. He said Trump was “a leader in whom I can have confidence”. However, after the meeting Trump continued to complain about Japan’s currency and its auto industry.[105]

In January 2017 President Trump formally renounced the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in which Japan would have been a key player, but left open the option of bilateral trade negotiations.[106]

During a visit to Japan in January 2017, Defense Secretary Mattis reaffirmed that the U.S. was committed to the defense of Japan.[105]

In February 2017 Abe met with Trump in Washington, followed by a Florida golf excursion. Trump promised to strengthen ties between the two nations and said the U.S. is committed to the security of Japan, saying that the alliance between the two countries is “the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Pacific region”.[106]

North Korea

President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, June 2018

During the campaign Trump said that he would be willing to meet North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, whom he described as a “maniac” who also deserves credit for being able to overcome his rivals in order to succeed his father.[107][108] He indicated that he did not want to get involved in any conflict between North and South Korea, an attitude which resulted in an editorial in the North Korean state media that hailed him as a “wise politician” and a “far-sighted presidential candidate” who could be good for North Korea.[109] In the wake of the January 2016 North Korean nuclear test Trump advocated placing greater pressure on China to rein in its ally North Korea.[110][111] During the campaign and the early months of his presidency, he said he hoped that China would help to rein in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and missile tests.[112]

Tension between the two countries increased in April 2017. Speaking in advance of a visit from Chinese leader Xi Jinping, President Trump told the Financial Times, “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.”[113] On April 8, 2017, the US Navy said the USS Carl Vinson strike group was sailing to the Western Pacific from Singapore, and two days later, President Trump told Fox Business: “We are sending an armada, very powerful” towards the Korean peninsula.[114] His comment, and its apparent confirmation by Defense Department officials, “fueled a war frenzy at major newspapers and networks” and led to the North Korean government warning of a possible thermonuclear war.[114] However, on April 18 the Pentagon clarified that the strike group had instead headed south for scheduled training exercises with the Australian navy but would be arriving at the Korean peninsula the following week.[115][116] Meanwhile, on April 16 Vice President Mike Pence visited South Korea, viewed the Demilitarized Zone which separates North from South Korea, and warned that the U.S. “era of strategic patience” toward North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs is over. He added that “all options are on the table.”[112] The same day the North Korean government launched a missile test, which failed but which Pence described as a provocation.[117] Trump continued to express the hope that China would help to rein in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.[112]

In July 2017 North Korea tested two long-range missiles, identified by Western observers as intercontinental ballistic missiles potentially capable of reaching Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. mainland.[118][119] In August Trump significantly escalated his rhetoric against North Korea, saying that further provocation against the U.S. will be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”[120] In response Kim threatened to direct its next missile test toward Guam. Trump doubled down on his “fire and fury” warning, saying that “maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough” and adding that if North Korea took steps to attack Guam, “Things will happen to them like they never thought possible.”[121] North Korea continued its missile tests, and in late August the regime launched a ballistic missile which traveled over northern Japan before coming down in the Pacific Ocean.[122] In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2017, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States were “forced to defend itself or its allies”; he repeated his recent nickname for Kim Jong-Un as “Rocket Man”.[123]

In March 2018 a South Korean delegation to the White House gave Trump a message from Kim, suggesting a meeting between Kim and Trump.[124] The South Koreans said Kim was willing to talk about his nuclear and missile programs. Trump immediately accepted the invitation to meet “at a place and time to be determined.”[125] On May 10 it was announced that the meeting would take place on June 12 in Singapore.[126] As a gesture of good will, Kim freed three U.S. citizens being held in North Korean prisons.[127] However, as the time neared, North Korean officials failed to meet with their American counterparts to plan the meeting.[128] On May 24 Trump called off the meeting, citing what he perceived as “tremendous anger and open hostility” in North Korea’s most recent statement.[128] A few days later planning for the meeting was resumed.

On June 12, 2018, after several rounds of preliminary staff-level meetings, Trump and Kim met at a hotel in Singapore.[129] They talked one-on-one with only interpreters present, then had a working lunch along with staff and advisors.[130] They signed a joint statement agreeing to new peaceful relations, security guarantees for North Korea, reaffirmation of North Korea’s promise to work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, recovery of soldiers’ remains, and follow-up negotiations between high-level officials.[131] At a follow-up press conference, Trump announced that the U.S. will stop holding joint military exercises with South Korea, calling them “provocative”.[132]

In June 2019, President Trump stepped into North Korean territory, becoming the first sitting U.S. President to do so since the Korean War

A January 2019 American intelligence community assessment found that North Korea was unlikely to relinquish its nuclear arsenal, directly contradicting a core tenet of Trump’s stated foreign policy.[133]

In late February 2019, President Trump met with Chairman Kim Jong-un at a summit in Hanoi for talks. On February 28, the White House announced that the summit was called off after negotiations with the North Koreans failed to reach an agreement.[134]

Following the 2019 G20 Osaka summit, Trump arranged for a meeting with Chairman Kim at the Korean Demilitarized Zone alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The one-day trilateral summit at the DMZ was held on June 30, in which Trump became the first U.S. president to step foot on North Korean soil while in office. Trump and Kim also pledged to jump-start negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program after talks collapsed during the February 2019 Hanoi summit.[135]

South Korea

Trump with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Seoul, November 7, 2017

Pakistan

During the campaign, Trump said Pakistan is “the most dangerous country in the world” and should denuclearize.[136] But according to the Pakistan government, in a cordial post-election telephone conversation with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Trump lavished praise on Pakistan and its “fantastic” people, said he would love to visit the country, and offered to help Pakistan solve any outstanding problems.[137] After taking office, President Trump indicated that Pakistan will be among the countries whose citizens will have to go through an “extreme vetting” process before entering the United States.[138] On July 2, 2019, State Department designated Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), a separatist militant group that aims to separate Balochistan from Pakistan, as a terrorist organization.[139]

Philippines

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte with President Trump in Manila, November 13, 2017

U.S.-Philippines relations had taken a turn for the worse with the election of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in June 2016. Duterte expressed strong hostility toward then-President Obama and threatened to sever the long-standing ties between the two countries due to the latter’s criticism on the issue of human rights in Duterte’s policy on the War on Drugs. On December 2, 2016, President-elect Trump accepted a congratulatory call from Duterte. A statement from the Trump team said the two leaders “noted the long history of friendship and cooperation between the two nations, and agreed that the two governments would continue to work together closely on matters of shared interest and concern”. Duterte claimed afterward that Trump had praised Duterte’s controversial “war on drugs” which has killed thousands of people without trial, and that Trump said the Philippines are “doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way.”[140]

Europe[

France

President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, April 2018

In their first telephone call, President Trump told French President François Hollande that he “loved France” and that there was “no more beautiful country than France”.[141] However, in his 2017 CPAC speech, President Trump said, “France is no longer France” due to terrorism.[141][142] In response, President Hollande said allies should not criticize each other,[142] and he invited him to visit Disneyland Paris.[141]

In advance of the 2017 French presidential election Trump was reported to have expressed support for Marine Le Pen, calling her the “strongest candidate”, although he did not explicitly endorse her.[143] However, when meeting with newly elected French president Emmanuel Macron in Brussels in May 2017 he said to Macron “you were my guy”, stating that media reports had been wrong.[144]

Trump honored the invitation of French president Emmanuel Macron to attend the annual Bastille Day Military Parade on 14 July 2017 in Paris.[145]

Germany

President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, March 2017

During the campaign Trump was critical of German chancellor Angela Merkel and her handling of the European migrant crisis, saying “Everyone thought she was a really great leader and now she’s turned out to be this catastrophic leader. And she’ll be out if they don’t have a revolution.”[146] In July 2016, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated that he was concerned about what he sees as Trump’s contradictory promises to “make America strong again” while simultaneously reducing involvement overseas.[147] Steinmeier said that Trump’s proposed policies “would be dangerous not only for the United States, but for Europe and the rest of the world as well”.[147]

After becoming president, Trump met with Merkel at the White House on March 17, 2017. The meeting was described as “awkward”; Trump failed to shake hands with Merkel for a photo op, and he made a joke about wiretapping which fell flat.[148][149] The two “politely disagreed on everything from immigration to free trade and the value of seeking multinational agreements.”[150] The next day Trump tweeted, “Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”[7][151] He also tried to get Merkel to talk about bilateral trade issues, but she pointed out that EU members only negotiate as a unit.[152]

In May 2017 at a meeting with European leaders in Brussels, Trump denounced Germany concerning the trade deficit as “bad, very bad”, adding “Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US. Terrible. We will stop this.” He has threatened to impose a 35% tax on German car imports.[152] A few days later Merkel suggested that Germany and Europe can no longer fully rely on the United States; and saying “we Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands”, also hinting to the decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. However she underlined the importance of friendly relations with the United States, the United Kingdom as well as Russia.[153]

Holy See

President Trump and Pope Francis in Vatican City, May 2017

On May 24, 2017, Pope Francis met with Trump in Vatican City where they discussed the contributions of Catholics to the United States and to the world. Trump and the Pope discussed issues of mutual concern including how religious communities can combat human suffering in crisis regions, such as SyriaLibya, and ISIL-controlled territory. Trump and Pope Francis also discussed terrorism and the radicalization of young people.

The Vatican’s secretary of statePietro Parolin, raised the issue of climate change in the meeting and encouraged Trump to remain in the Paris Agreement.[154]

Hungary

The Trump administration’s approach towards Viktor Orbán‘s “illiberal”[155] right-wing government has been supportive, but, according to The Guardian, “ineffective” in advancing American interests.[156]

Italy

President Trump and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, April 2017

Italy was the first European country to be visited by President Trump. He went to Italy in May 2017, during his first presidential trip outside the U.S..[157] During his trip to Italy, Trump held a bilateral meeting with Pope Francis;[158] and met Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. Gentiloni was also hosted by Trump at the White House in April 2017, a few weeks before Trump took part in the 43rd G7 summit held in Italy.[159] Trump has often stated that Italy is a “key ally of America in Europe and the Mediterranean Sea and a strategic partner in the War on Terrorism.”[160]

Poland

President Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda, July 2017

During the Trump administration, Poland and the United States continued to exhibit warm military, diplomatic, and economic bilateral relations. This was bolstered by the broadly shared neo-nationalist values between President Donald Trump and President of Poland Andrzej Duda along with Poland’s desire for strengthened military ties with the United States in order to counter Russian influence in Europe, particularly following the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea.[161]

In July 2017, in his second foreign trip, President Donald Trump visited Poland where he met with the President Andrzej Duda. President Trump and President Duda then held a joint press conference in the Royal Castle, Warsaw. President Trump thanked the Polish people and President Duda for the warm welcome he received in Warsaw.[162] In Warsaw‘s Krasinski Square Trump said, “Our freedom, our civilization and our survival depend on these bonds of history, culture and memory… Poland is in our heart and Poland is in that fight.”[163] He also said: “Our strong alliance with Poland and NATO remains critical to deterring conflict and ensuring that war between great powers never again ravages Europe, and that the world will be a safer and better place. America is committed to maintaining peace and security in Central and Eastern Europe“.[162] Trump says the U.S. stands firmly behind NATO’s Article 5, which says an attack against one member is attack against all.[163] Trump described Poland as a long-time U.S. ally that is “an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization.”[164] He also attended in the Three Seas Initiative summit 2017 in Warsaw. People on the Krasinski Square greeted the President Trump, chanting repeatedly “Donald Trump” and “USA”. Thousands of Polish people greeted Trump on the route from the Royal Castle to the Marriott Hotel and from the Marriott to Warsaw Chopin AirportRazem, a Polish left-wing political party, organized a protest against Trump. Protesters were dressed as handmaids from Margaret Atwood‘s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, as a symbol of women’s rights being endangered both in Poland and the United States.[165] [166] [167] [168]

An F-35B Lightning II flies over the White House during Andrzej Duda’s June 2019 trip

In June 2019, during a trip to the United States to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Poland’s membership in NATO and the 30th anniversary of communism’s downfall in the country, President Andrzej Duda visited the White House where he and President Trump signed a joint defense agreement to increase military cooperation. According to the agreement, which Trump called a “statement” on the relationship between the two countries, Poland will pay for an additional 1,000 U.S. troops to be stationed in Poland on a rotational basis. The force will be apportioned from the 52,000-strong contingent of U.S. forces in Germany and will include special operations troops, drones and other military hardware. In a separate deal, Poland ordered 32 F-35 fighter jets from the U.S.; Trump celebrated the agreement with two F-35 jets conducting flybys over the White House in a rare U.S. military display.[169][170] Also on that day, Polish state-owned natural gas company PGNiG signed an agreement with U.S. company Venture Global LNG to buy 1.5 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas per year as part of an initiative to seek alternative supplies of gas other than Russia’s Gazprom. The deal is seen as part of the Trump administration’s “energy dominance” economic policy, in which the U.S. slashes domestic regulations on energy production to boost oil and gas exports to allies and trade partners, such as Poland, serving as an alternative to Russian gas pipelines.[171]

Russia

During the campaign

Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly over a series of years.[172] During the campaign his praise blossomed into what many observers termed a “bromance“.[172] In particular, Trump praised Putin as a “strong leader” and said that he expected to “get along very well” with Putin. Trump often described Putin as “a better leader” than Obama.[172] Putin praised Trump as “a very bright and talented man, no doubt about that,” and Trump claimed Putin called him a “genius,” a mischaracterization based on an incorrect translation.[173][174][175] When asked about allegations that Putin has killed journalists and political opponents, Trump brushed them off, implying that the United States has done the same thing.[172][176]

During the campaign, Trump hinted that he would consider recognizing Crimea as Russian territory and lifting the sanctions on Russia that were imposed after Russia began military invention in an attempt to undermine the new, pro-Western Ukrainian government.[177] He suggested that the “people of Crimea… would rather be with Russia.[178] It has been suggested that these policies were influenced by advisors who were sympathetic to Russian influence in Ukraine, including Paul ManafortCarter Page, and Henry Kissinger.[179] Manafort in particular was strongly connected to Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian president of Ukraine who was deposed in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.[180][181][182]

Trump has also said that Russia could help the United States in fighting the ISIS terror organization.[183]

The Trump administration

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, July 2017

On February 6, 2017, talking to Bill O’Reilly on Fox News, Trump questioned the veracity of O’Reilly′s claim that ″within 24 hours of you on the phone with the Russian leader, the pro-Russian forces step[ed] up the violence in Ukraine″. He said he ″respected″ Putin and dismissed O’Reilly′s statement that Putin was a ″killer″,[184][185] which prompted CNN to opine that Trump had “appeared to equate U.S. actions with the authoritarian regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin.”[186]

On February 16, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Bonn, Germany; Tillerson told the press afterwards, “As we search for new common ground, we expect Russia to honor its commitment to the Minsk agreements and work to de-escalate the violence in Ukraine”.[187] Sergey Lavrov said the meeting was productive, and added that Moscow was ready to work with Washington on all issues as soon as Donald Trump’s foreign policy team was fully formed.[188] On the same day Secretary of Defense James Mattis, declared that the United States was not currently prepared to collaborate with Russia on military matters, including future anti-ISIL US operations.[189]

Michael Isikoff of Yahoo! News reported in June 2017 that during the early weeks of the Trump administration, State Department employees were told to develop proposals to lift the sanctions which had been imposed on Russia after its military incursions into Ukraine and its interference in the November election. No action or return would be expected from Russia in return for removing the sanctions.[190] The proposals were dropped after resistance from State Department employees and a realization that such an action would look bad politically in light of the investigations into a Russia connection to the Trump campaign. A former State Department who retired in February said, “What was troubling about these stories is that suddenly I was hearing that we were preparing to rescind sanctions in exchange for, well, nothing.”[191]

According to a poll conducted by the SSRS, approximately 70% of Americans find that the federal investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election in the US should be able to look into President Donald Trump’s finances. 60% of those polled view this as a serious matter that should be fully investigated, and it was recorded that 38% view it as a way to discredit the Presidency of Donald Trump.[192] In an approximate two-to-one margin, those polled disapprove of the way the President is dealing the Russian investigation.

As president, Trump has continued to advocate for U.S.-Russia cooperation against the Islamic State terror organization. At his first direct meeting and encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he approved a collaborative plan for a limited cease-fire in the Syrian civil war.[193]

Trump and Putin met in a summit in Helsinki on July 16, 2018. The two leaders spoke one-on-one for two hours, with no aides or other people present except for two translators.[194] There was no definite agenda, and no definite agreements were announced. After a joint press conference at the conclusion of the meeting, Trump drew harsh bipartisan criticism in the United States for appearing to side with Putin’s denial of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, rather than accepting the findings of the United States intelligence community.[195][196] Universally condemned by Democrats, his comments were also strongly criticized by many congressional Republicans and most media commentators, even those who normally support him.[197][198]

On May 3, 2019, President Trump held an hour and a half-long phone call with President Putin from the White House. The Russian Embassy stated that the pair discussed “shared commitment to step up dialogue in various areas, including on issues of strategic stability.” Trump called the conversation “positive” and tweeted there was “Tremendous potential for a good/great relationship with Russia,” and later relayed to reporters Putin’s assurances that Russia isn’t seeking to “get involved” with the ongoing 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis, despite Trump’s national security advisors saying otherwise. They also discussed North Korean missile activity, with Putin briefing Trump on the April 25 meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Trump and Putin agreed on the importance of denuclearization and normalization of relations on the Korean peninsula. The Mueller Report, a report on the results of a domestic U.S. investigation into Russian contacts between President Trump’s 2016 election campaign, was also discussed.[199]

During the 2019 G7 summit in France, President Trump unilaterally advocated for Russia’s membership to G7 to be reinstated and said he intended to invite Vladimir Putin to the 2020 G7 summit, set to be held in the U.S. Trump also shifted some blame for Russia’s 2014 Crimea annexation to his predecessor President Barack Obama, saying Obama “was pure and simply outsmarted.” “It could have been stopped…but President Obama was unable to stop it, and it’s too bad,” he added.[200]

Ukraine

President Trump and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, June 2017

Speaking to the Yalta European Strategy conference in September 2015, Trump criticized Germany and other European countries for not doing enough to support Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, saying, Ukrainians are “not being treated right.”[201] However early in the campaign Trump opposed U.S. involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, describing Crimea as “Europe’s problem;” in a rally in July 2016 he implied that such involvement could have led to World War III and criticized Germany and other European countries for not doing more to support Ukraine.[202][203] Later in the campaign, however, he stated that he would consider recognizing Crimea as Russian territory.[204][178] In February 2017 Trump explained that Crimea was taken by Russia by force and asked whether Obama was too soft on Russia.[205]

In August 2015 Trump stated he had no opinion about Ukrainian membership in NATO, saying that both membership and non-membership would be “great.”[201][206]

United Kingdom

President Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, August 2019

During the campaign, Trump stated his support for British voters voting to leave the European Union[207] In an interview with Piers Morgan in May 2016, Trump said that UK withdrawal would make no difference to a potential bilateral trade deal between the United Kingdom and the United States if he became president.[208]

On January 27, 2017 Trump met with British Prime Minister Theresa May, the first foreign leader to visit him at the White House. In the meeting Trump reiterated his support for both countries’ involvement in NATO.[33]

In March 2017 White House press secretary Sean Spicer repeated a false claim from Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano claiming that the British GCHQ had wiretapped Trump Tower. This drew an angry response from the British, and eventually resulted in an apology from Spicer and the U.S. National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster.[209]

In November 2017, Trump re-tweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by a leader of the British far-right party Britain First.[210][211] Theresa May’s spokesperson condemned Trump, saying “The British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far-right, which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents — decency, tolerance and respect. It is wrong for the President to have done this.”[210] Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called Trump “abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our country”.[211]

Trump and the Prince of Wales inspect the 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards in the Garden at Buckingham Palace, June 2019

In June 2019, President Trump made a second state visit to the UK on behalf of invitation by Queen Elizabeth II.[212]

On July 7, weeks after President Trump’s second visit to the UK, leaked diplomatic cables revealed candid and unflattering assessments UK Ambassador Kim Darroch made regarding Trump and his administration since 2017, including calling Trump’s presidency “diplomatically clumsy and inept” and stating that the president “radiates insecurity,” along with suggesting that unproven claims of Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner being indebted “to shady Russian moneymen” could “not be ruled out”.[213] Trump subsequently tweeted that Darroch was “not liked or well thought of within the US” and that “we will no longer deal with him” and showed dismay at Prime Minister Theresa May’s support of Darroch amidst the diplomatic row. On July 10, Darroch tendered his resignation, writing that “the current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like”. A spokesman for the prime minister said that it was an ambassador’s job to provide “an honest and unvarnished view” of the U.S. administration.[214]

Middle East and North Africa

Egypt[edit]

Trump greets Egyptian President Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi, April 2017

During the campaign, Trump described the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, as a “fantastic guy,” praising his handling of various political events in Egypt, such as a massive uprising in late June 2013 in Egypt against former President Mohamed Morsi, which was followed by Morsi being removed from office by el-Sisi on July 3, 2013.[215] Trump said that there was a “good feeling between [them]”.[215] In April 2017, Trump welcomed el-Sisi to the White House, saying “We are very much behind President Sisi – he has done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation” and assuring el-Sisi that “you have a great ally in the US and in me.”[216] In contrast, Sisi was never invited to the White House during the Obama administration, which criticized post-Morsi authorities in Egypt, as well as Egypt’s human rights record.[216]

Iran[

During the campaign Trump maintained that “Iran is now the dominant Islamic power in the Middle East and on the road to nuclear weapons.”[217] He opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or “Iran nuclear deal”) that was negotiated with the United States, Iran, and five other world powers in 2015, calling it “terrible” and saying that the Obama administration negotiated the agreement “from desperation.”[218] At one point he said that despite opposing the content of the deal, he would attempt to enforce it rather than abrogate it.[219] However, in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in March 2016, Trump said that his “number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”[220]

The Trump administration officially put Iran “on notice” following their ballistic missile tests on January 29, 2017, just days after taking office.[221]

After the late January missile tests by Iran, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on 25 Iranian individuals and entities on February 3, which it said were “initial steps”, with Trump’s then-National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn adding that ″the days of turning a blind eye to Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions toward the United States and the world community are over.″[222][223][224]

The administration boasted that Trump personally lobbied dozens of European officials against doing business with Iran during the May 2017 Brussels summit; this likely violated the terms of the JCPOA, which expressly states that the U.S. may not pursue “any policy specifically intended to directly and adversely affect the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran.” The Trump administration certified in July 2017 that Iran had upheld its end of the agreement.[225]

On May 18, 2018, Trump announced the United States’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.[226]

Contradicting the administration’s previous statements, a January 2019 U.S. intelligence community assessment concluded that Iran was not pursuing nuclear weapons.[133]

The Trump administration designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist group in April 2019.[227]

On May 20, 2019, amid a period of high tensions with Iran, Trump said: “We have no indication that anything’s happened or will happen” in Iran.[228] On May 24, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared an “emergency” over Iran, allowing for the U.S. to sell around $8 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, without any congressional review, in the “national security interest of the United States”.[229] On May 28, the International Atomic Energy Agency certified that Iran was abiding by the main terms of the Iran nuclear deal, although questions were raised on certified that how many advanced centrifuges Iran was allowed to have, as that was only loosely defined in the deal.[230]

Iraq, Syria, and the Islamic State

Iraq

Trump greets Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, March 2017

During the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly advocated that the United States should “take the oil” from Iraq as “spoils of war”, a decision which technically would require an invasion and occupation of the country.[231][232] Trump’s statements caused criticism and controversy, as most legal experts agreed that the action would be an illegal war crime under the Geneva Conventions and because many believed that it would increase support for Islamic fundamentalism across the Middle East.[233][234] Trump defended his statements by claiming that they would recoup the cost of U.S. military assistance to Iraq and prevent Iraqi oil infrastructure from falling under ISIL control.[235] Trump reiterated his support for seizing other nations’ oil after taking office as President. In January 2017, he said that the United States “should have kept the oil” after the Iraq invasion and “maybe we’ll have another chance”.[236] Axios reported in 2018 that, as president, Trump had twice brought the issue up with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, causing consternation among his advisers.[237][238] National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is reported to have told Trump “We can’t do this and you shouldn’t talk about it. Because talking about it is just bad … It’s bad for America’s reputation, it’ll spook allies, it scares everybody,” while Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis publicly stated that the United States did not intend “to seize anybody’s oil.”[239]

In January 2017, President Trump issued an executive order banning the entry of all Iraqi citizens, as well as citizens of six other countries. After sharp criticism, public protests as well as lawsuits against the executive order, Trump relaxed the travel restrictions somewhat and dropped Iraq from the list of non-entry countries in March 2017.[240][241][242]

Syria

In July 2017, on the advice of then-CIA director Mike Pompeo, Trump ordered a “phasing out” of the CIA’s support for anti-Assad Syrian rebels during the Syrian Civil War.[243][244]

Responses to chemical weapons in Syria

President Trump addresses the nation after authorizing missile strikes in response to the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack in Syria

On 7 April 2017, Trump ordered the United States Navy to launch cruise missiles at Shayrat Air Base in response to the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack. The response had wide international support[245] and was highly praised by the majority of Republicans as well as Democratic senators.[246] The move drew criticism from Russia, whom the United States had warned in advance about the attack. Although Russian anti-missile defenses such as S-300’s failed to deter the missile attack, Russian forces suffered minimal damage, as the United States had deliberately avoided striking areas of the base used by Russia.[247] Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev criticized the strike as “good news for terrorists”.[248]

In response to the Douma chemical attack in Syria, in April 2018, Trump announced missile strikes against the Assad regime targeting alleged chemical weapons compounds; the strikes were carried out along with the United Kingdom and France.[249]

Announcing troop withdrawal from Syria in December 2018, Trump stated on Twitter that defeating ISIL was “my only reason” for a military presence in Syria,[250] seemingly disregarding the previous missions to respond to Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

Responses to the Islamic State

During the campaign

During the 2015 presidential campaign, Trump frequently changed his positions on how to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).[251]

In June 2015, when asked how he would deal with Iraq’s condemnation of strikes on their oil fields, Trump replied that Iraq is a corrupt country that is not deserving of his respect[252] and that he would “bomb the hell” out of Iraqi oil fields controlled by ISIL.[252][253]

After formally announcing his candidacy on June 16, 2015, Trump’s first interview was with Bill O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor the following day.[252] He suggested a hands-off approach to the Syrian Civil War:[252] “Iran and Russia are protecting Syria and it’s sort of amazing that we’re in there fighting ISIS in Syria so we’re helping the head of Syria Bashar al-Assad who is not supposed to be our friend although he looks a lot better than some of our so-called friends.”[252] Instead of fighting ISIL in Syria, Trump suggested “maybe Syria should be a free zone for ISIS, let them fight and then you pick up the remnants.”[252]

In a Republican primary debate on November 10, 2015, Trump said he “got to know Vladimir Putin very well because we were both on ‘60 Minutes‘, we were stable mates, we did well that night.” Trump said he approved of the Russian military intervention in Syria, stating: “If Putin wants to knock the hell out of ISIS, I’m all for it 100 percent and I can’t understand how anybody would be against that … He’s going in and we can go in and everybody should go in.”[254] During his speech at the Oklahoma State Fair, Trump accused his opponents of wanting to “start World War III over Syria.”[255]

In the aftermath of the November 2015 Paris attacks committed by ISIL, Trump reiterated his position on ISIL, as he had stated the day before the attack that he would “bomb the shit out of ’em”[256] and that he would “blow up the [oil] pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, and you know what, you’ll get Exxon to come in there in two months… and I’d take the oil.”[257] Trump said that, to combat ISIL, “I would find you a proper general. I would find a Patton or a MacArthur. I would hit them so hard your head would spin.”[252] Trump said in an interview with Anderson Cooper the day of the Paris attacks: “There is no Iraq. Their leaders are corrupt.”[256] In the March 11, 2016 CNN Republican presidential debate, he said he would send ground troops to fight ISIL, saying: “We really have no choice. We have to knock out ISIS.”[258]

In a 2015 interview, Trump stated “You have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. … When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.” When pressed on what “take out” meant, Trump said the U.S. should “wipe out their homes” and “where they came from.”[259] Critics noted that the intentional targeting of non-combatants is a violation of the Geneva Conventions and other aspects of the international law of war.[260] Jonathan Russell, head of policy for the anti-radicalization think tank Quilliam, warned that Trump’s “anti-Muslim rhetoric” helps ISIL’s “narrative”, saying “Trump will contribute to Islamist radicalization as his comments will make Muslims feel unwelcome in America.”[261]

During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly criticized the battle to liberate Mosul from ISIL control, saying that the United States is “not going to benefit” from dislodging ISIL from the Iraqi city. Trump repeatedly asserted that U.S. and Iraqi military leaders should have used “the element of surprise” to attack Mosul rather than announcing plans beforehand. He also said that U.S. military planners were “a group of losers” for not doing so.[262][263] Some U.S. military officials openly rebuked Trump’s comments, saying that “it is nearly impossible to move tens of thousands of troops into position without alerting the enemy” and asserting that it was vital to warn civilians of impending military action.[262]

The Trump administration

Trump meets with Bahrain‘s king Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on May 21, 2017

With the arrival of the Trump administration, a change in policy was instituted regarding the disclosure of troop levels abroad as well as the timing of any additional deployments to the Middle East, following through on his campaign promises to utilize the “element of surprise.” By April 2017, according to the LA Times,[264] there had been two non-disclosed troop deployments in the month of March: a deployment of 400 U.S. Marines to northern Syria and 300 U.S. Army paratroopers to the area around Mosul, Iraq. By 2 April 2017, the U.S. troop level, or “force management level” — the number of full-time troops deployed, was around 5,200 in Iraq and 500 in Syria, with about 1,000 more troops there on a temporary basis.[264]

The Syria deployment put more conventional U.S. troops on the front that, until then, had primarily used special operations units. The 400 Marines were part of the 11th MEU from the Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines. They manned an artillery battery whilst additional infantrymen from the unit provided security and resupplies were handled by part of the expeditionary force’s combat logistics element.[265]

In August 2017, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL Brett H. McGurk stated that the Trump administration had “dramatically accelerated” the U.S.–led campaign against ISIL, citing estimates that almost one-third of the territory taken from ISIL “has been won in the last six months.” McGurk favorably cited “steps President Trump has taken, including delegating decision–making authority from the White House to commanders in the field.”[266]

Some right-wing populist media figures who supported Trump during the election criticized his apparent policy reversal on the Middle East after the increased anti-ISIL commitment.[267][268][269][270] Ann Coulter stated that Trump “campaigned on not getting involved in Mideast” arguing that it was one of the reasons many voted for him.[267]

Withdrawal from Syria and ISIL insurgency

On December 11, 2018, anti-ISIL envoy Brett McGurk indicated in a press briefing that the war against ISIL in Syria was not over, stating, “It would be reckless if we were just to say, well, the physical caliphate is defeated, so we can just leave now.”[271] On December 17, 2018, James Jeffrey, the United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement, stated in an address to the Atlantic Council that the United States would remain in Syria “a very long time.”[272]

On December 19, Trump, declaring “we have won against ISIS,” unilaterally announced a “total” withdrawal of the 2,000-2,500 U.S. troops in Syria. The announcement was made on Twitter and the decision was apparently made without prior consultation with Congress, military commanders and civilian advisors. Although no timetable was provided at the time, press secretary Sarah Sanders indicated that the withdrawal had been ordered to begin. The Pentagon and State Department tried to change Trump’s mind on the decision, with several of his congressional and political allies expressing concerns about the sudden move, specifically that it would “hand control of the region” to Russia and Iran, and “abandon” America’s Kurdish allies.[273][274] Brian Kilmeade of the Fox & Friends news program, which Trump himself often watches, sharply criticized Trump’s decision as “totally irresponsible,” adding “nobody thinks ISIS is defeated” and that the president had “blindsided” the Pentagon and State Department.[275]

Immediately after Trump’s announcement, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis unsuccessfully tried persuading Trump to reconsider, then informed the president on December 20 he would resign from his post.[276] Mattis asked to continue in his position through February to continue defending “the Department’s interests” at Congressional and NATO meetings while Trump selected a successor.[277] Two days later, McGurk announced he was also exiting as a consequence of Trump’s decision. (McGurk had previously said he would leave in February, but as the result of the Syria withdrawal and Mattis’ departure, he moved his own departure earlier to December 31.) [278] In response, President Trump wrote that he did not know McGurk and questioned if McGurk was a “grandstander”.[279][280]

On December 23, Trump announced on Twitter that Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan would become Acting Secretary of Defense effective January 1, thereby replacing Mattis two months’ earlier than Mattis’ requested resignation date.[281] On 30 December Senator Lindsey Graham, a known Congressional confidant of the president that hours after the announcement of a withdrawal said it was “a stain on the honor of the United States,” said that while he agrees that it’s possible to reduce the American footprint in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, the US must keep troops in Syria to ensure ISIL can’t regroup and that he and a group of generals will urge the President to reconsider his withdrawal plans during a luncheon later that day.[282] One week after his announcement, Trump asserted he would not approve any extension of the American deployment in Syria.[283] On January 6, 2019, national security advisor John Bolton added conditions to the pullout, announcing America would remain in Syria until ISIL is eradicated and until Turkey guarantees it would not strike America’s Kurdish allies.[284]

On 22 February 2019, the administration stated that instead of the initially announced “total” pullout, 400 residual U.S. troops would remain in Syria indefinitely post-withdrawal to serve as a contingency force. About 200 of those would be a part of a larger multinational “observer force”.[285] These several hundred troops may be in various parts of the country.[286] Press secretary Sarah Sanders initially characterized the troops as “peacekeepers“, although a senior administration official later disputed that label as the term technically implied restricted rules of engagement. The shift from a total to a partial withdrawal came after Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford strongly vouched for it as French and British allies declined to remain in Syria unless America did. After the announcement, The New York Times quoted officials as describing a “surreal atmosphere” at the Pentagon among military leaders overseeing Syrian policy.[287] A bipartisan group of members of Congress wrote Trump a letter on 22 February endorsing a “small American stabilizing force” in Syria. Trump responded by writing directly on the letter, “I agree 100%. ALL is being done.”[286]

On February 28, while speaking to troops at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska during a refueling stop from Hanoi, Trump asserted that the Islamic State had lost “100 percent” of its territory that it once controlled in Syria. The assertion was technically erroneous as the Syrian Democratic Forces‘s final battle against ISIL was still ongoing, and the terror group still held virtual territory in the Syrian Desert. Trump had been eager to announce ISIL’s defeat since late 2018 due to the SDF’s multi-year campaign, which deprived the jihadists of swathes of territory, culminating into a final assault, akin to Tora Bora in 2001.[288] ISIL continued to hold the town of Al-Baghuz Fawqani, where, on 4 March, the U.S.-backed battle there resulted in the surrender of 500 people, including some ISIL fighters.[289]

On March 22, 2019, in response to developments in the Battle of Baghuz Fawqani, where ISIL had put up stubborn resistance to U.S.-backed forces there, Trump showed reporters two maps comparing the extents of the Islamic State’s occupation of Syria and Iraq, stating “Here’s ISIS on Election Day. Here’s ISIS right now.” The “election day” map was actually from 2014, when the occupation was at its peak, and just as the U.S.-led coalition had begun pushing back against ISIL.[290] The battle concluded on March 23, the next day, with the U.S.-backed SDF militia’s victory over ISIL. Trump administration officials and allies cautiously hailed the territorial collapse of the extremist group in Syria while stressing the need to keep a presence in Syria to keep up pressure and to stop a territorial resurgence of the terror group that retained global reach and offshoots in various countries.[291]

Israel and Israeli–Palestinian conflict

President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Yad Vashem, May 2017

Trump and President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, May 3, 2017

During the campaign

Trump has been critical of the Obama administration’s treatment of Israel, stating that “Israel has been totally mistreated.”[292]

Early in the campaign Trump said that an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord would depend very much upon Israel, saying “A lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal — whether or not Israel’s willing to sacrifice certain things.”[293] He also said that as a condition of peace, the Palestinian National Authority must recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and “stop the terror, stop the attacks, stop the teaching of hatred.”[294] At one point during the campaign, Trump said that he would not take sides in any Israeli-Palestinian agreement in order to be a neutral negotiator in the peace talks, but he also added that he was “totally pro-Israel.”[295]

During the campaign he broke with long-standing bipartisan U.S. policy that Israel should stop building additional Israeli settlements in the West Bank as a precursor to negotiations with the Palestinians, saying that the Israelis “have to keep going” and “I don’t think there should be a pause.”[296]

Early in the campaign Trump refused to say whether he supports Israel’s position that Jerusalem is its undivided capital.[293] But he later said on multiple occasions that if elected president he would move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which he described as the “eternal capital of the Jewish people.”[297][298] He repeated this pledge after a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu in September 2016[299]

Candidate Trump promised AIPAC that as president he would veto any United Nations-imposed Israel-Palestine peace agreement.[300] He added that “The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable.”[300]

The Trump administration

President Trump, joined by Benjamin Netanyahu behind, signs the proclamation recognizing Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights, March 25, 2019

In February 2017, President Trump said that he could live with either a two-state solution or a one-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.[301] This represented a break with the previous bipartisan foreign policy consensus of support for the two-state solution.[301] On May 22, 2017, Trump was the first U.S. president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, during his first foreign trip, visiting Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, the Vatican, and Belgium.[302] On December 6, 2017, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite objections from Palestinian leaders. Trump added that he would initiate the process of establishing a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.[303]

Trump has previously said that he would not take sides in any Israeli-Palestinian agreement in order to be a neutral negotiator in the peace talks, although he also added that he was “totally pro-Israel.”[295] In December 2015, Trump told the Associated Press that an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord would depend very much upon Israel, remarking: “I have a real question as to whether or not both sides want to” come to a peace accord. “A lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal — whether or not Israel’s willing to sacrifice certain things.”[293]

Trump has vowed that as president he will veto a United Nations-imposed Israel-Palestine peace agreement, stating: “When I’m president, believe me, I will veto any attempt by the U.N. to impose its will on the Jewish state. It will be vetoed 100 percent.”[300] He added that “The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable.”[300]

Trump has criticized the Palestinian National Authority for the absence of peace, saying: “the Palestinian Authority has to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. …[and they] have to stop the terror, stop the attacks, stop the teaching of hatred… They have to stop the teaching of children to aspire to grow up as terrorists, which is a real problem. Of course, the recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is also a major sticking point, with the current Palestinian leadership repeatedly refusing to meet that basic condition.”[294]

Libya

The Trump administration has continued the Obama administration’s counter-Islamic State operations in Libya.[304]

Saudi Arabia

President Trump and King Salman of Saudi Arabia sign a Joint Strategic Vision Statement for the United States and Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017

During the campaign, Trump called for Saudi Arabia to pay for the costs of American troops stationed there.[305] He has argued that regional allies of the United States, such as Saudi Arabia should provide troops in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Trump said he would halt oil imports from Saudi Arabia unless the Saudi government provide ground troops to defeat ISIL.[306]

In March 2017, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson approved the resumption on the sale of guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, a move that had been halted late in the Obama administration because of criticisms of the Saudi government’s approach to civilian casualties in the Yemeni Civil War.[307]

Turkey

President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, May 2017

During the campaign, Trump praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his handling of the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey[4] When asked if Erdoğan was exploiting the coup attempt to purge his political enemies, Trump did not call for the Turkish leader to observe the rule of law, or offer other cautions for restraint. He said that the United States had to “fix our own mess” before trying to change the behavior of other countries.[4]

Trump also stated during the campaign that he believed he could persuade Erdoğan to step up efforts against ISIL.[4] When asked how he would solve the problem of Turkish attacks on Kurds who are fighting ISIL, Trump said “Meetings.”[4]

Trump has threatened Turkey with economic sanctions over its detention of the evangelical Christian pastor Andrew Brunson. On August 1, 2018, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Turkey’s justice and interior ministers.[308]

Yemen

Sub-Saharan Africa

Trump welcoming Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his wife on August 27, 2018

The Trump administration has been accused of generally ignoring Africa, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa. By October 2017, senior diplomatic positions relating to the continent were still vacant, including Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Africa. U.S. military operations in the region continued, but there were no clear statement of objectives or guidance for the Africa Command at the time, headed by General Thomas Waldhauser.[309] Alan Patterson would later serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Africa from December 2017 to October 2018 and Tibor P. Nagy would become Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs on July 23, 2018.[310][311]

During a summer 2017 meeting about immigration, Trump reportedly said that Nigerians, once they came to the United States, would never “go back to their huts”. The White House strongly denied the claim.[39] In a meeting with congressional leaders on January 11, 2018, Trump asked during a discussion of immigration from Africa why America would want people from “all these shithole countries”, suggesting that it would be better to receive immigrants from countries like Norway. The comment was condemned as racist by many foreign leaders and a UN spokesman. The African Union said it was “alarmed” by the comment, which “flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice.”[40] African ambassadors in Washington planned to meet the following week to discuss a response. They expressed dismay that it took something like this to bring attention to Africa when the continent has so many other issues, such as famine and civil war, that Washington ignores.[312]

South Africa

On August 23, 2018, Trump publicly instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate South African farm attacks,[313] an instruction which was widely described in mainstream media as the administration advocating for an unfounded white genocide conspiracy theory.[314][315][316][317] Trump had apparently gotten his information from a Tucker Carlson segment on Fox News.[318] The media roundly berated the move, with New York magazine claiming Trump was attempting to “change the conversation — to one about “white genocide” in South Africa”,[319] Esquire reported that the “President of the United States is now openly promoting an international racist conspiracy theory as the official foreign policy of the United States“.[320] According to the SPLC, Trump had “tweeted out his intention to put the full force of the U.S. State Department behind a white nationalist conspiracy theory”.[321]

Causing “angry reaction in South Africa”, many politicians responded critically including former US Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard, RSA Deputy President David Mabuza and Julius Malema MP, who responded to Trump, declaring “there is no white genocide in South Africa”,[322] and that the US President’s intervention into their ongoing land reform issues “only made them more determined… to expropriate our land without compensation”.[323][324] Trump had previously caused controversy around the topic as a presidential candidate in 2016, when he republished content from a social media account named “WhiteGenocideTM”.[325][326]

Oceania

Australia

President Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in New York City, May 2017

A report in the Washington Post on February 2, 2017 claimed that Trump berated Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and hung up 35 minutes earlier than planned over a refugee resettlement deal that President Obama had made with Australia where the United States agreed to take 1,250 refugees from camps in Nauru and Manus Island.[327] It was also claimed that Trump suggested Turnbull was attempting to export the next Boston bombers to the United States.[328] Later that same day, Trump explained that although he respected Australia, they were “terribly taking advantage” of the United States.[329] Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey met with Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon the next day and Sean Spicer described the call as “cordial”. Reuters described the call as “acrimonious” and the Washington Post said that it was Trump’s “worst call by far” with a foreign leader.[330][331] Notwithstanding the disagreement regarding the resettlement of the refugees Vice President Mike Pence, while on a visit to Australia in April 2017, stated the United States will abide by the deal. The decision was seen as a positive sign of commitment by the Australian Prime Minister.[332]

International organizations

European Union

President Trump with Jean-Claude Juncker (left) and Donald Tusk (right) in Brussels, before the start of their bilateral meeting, May 2017

During the campaign, Trump said of the European Union, “the reason that it got together was like a consortium so that it could compete with the United States.”[333] U.S. foreign-policy experts such as Strobe Talbott and Amie Kreppel noted that this was incorrect, pointing out that while the EU was established in part to rebuild the European economies after World War II, it was not created specifically to compete with the United States. In fact the United States sanctioned the EU’s creation to foster peace, prevent another catastrophic war, and create a “strong European market to consume American-made goods to help fuel American economic growth.”[334]

NATO

President Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, April 2017

During the campaign, Trump called for a “rethink” of American involvement in NATO, stating that the United States pays too much to ensure the security of allies, stating that “NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money”.[335] Later in the same interview, he stated that the U.S. should not “decrease its role” in NATO but rather should decrease U.S. spending in regards to the organization.[336]

In a July 2016 interview, Trump “explicitly raised new questions about his commitment to automatically defend NATO allies,” questioning whether he, as president, would automatically extend security guarantees to NATO members.[4] Asked about a prospective Russia attack on NATO’s Baltic members, Trump stated that he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing whether those nations “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”[4] This would represent a sharp break with U.S. foreign traditions.[4][337]

As president, Trump said in a February 2017 speech that the United States strongly supports NATO, but continued to insist that NATO members aren’t paying their fair share as part of the alliance.[338] In May 2017 he visited the new NATO headquarters in Brussels to help dedicate a memorial there for the September 11, 2001 attacks. In his prepared remarks he prompted NATO to do more to fight terrorism and to add limiting immigration to its tasks. In the speech he did not explicitly reaffirm US commitment to Article V, which obligates all NATO members to respond to an attack against any one member. White House spokesperson Sean Spicer later reaffirmed America’s commitment to joint defense.[339] With regard to the alliance’s enacted guideline that members should spend a minimum of 2 percent of their national GDP for defense by 2024, Trump said that “Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying for their defense”. He also claimed that “many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years.”[339][340] Media fact-checkers observed that, while most members of the alliance indeed had yet to reach the 2 percent target for their national defense spending in 2017, technically they are not in arrears and they “do not owe anything” to the United States or to NATO.[340][341]

In early April 2019, during a trip to the U.S. to hail NATO’s 70th anniversary, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg affirmed that the NATO alliance remained “strong” and downplayed the severity of the disputes and uncertainties that emerged during the Trump administration. On April 2, Stoltenberg and Trump had a positive meeting at the White House, where Trump praised NATO for increased defense spending. Trump said he and Stoltenberg are “both committed to ensuring that NATO can address the full range of threats facing the alliance today.” During a speech to Congress on April 3, Stoltenberg acknowledged that “there are differences,” noting disputes over trade, energy, climate change policy, the Iran nuclear agreement and burden sharing among NATO allies – all issues raised by Trump. Noting that NATO members are on track to increase defense spending by up to $100 billion, Stoltenberg said that “this has been the clear message from President Trump and this message is having a real impact.”[342]

United Nations

Trump and UN Secretary-General António Guterres

During the campaign, Trump criticized the United Nations, saying that it was weak, incompetent, and “not a friend of democracy… freedom… the United States… Israel”.[343] Upon taking office, Trump appointed Nikki Haley as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

Trade policy

When announcing his candidacy in June 2015, Trump said that his experience as a negotiator in private business would enhance his ability to negotiate better international trade deals as President.[51][344] Trump identifies himself as a “free trader,”[88] but has been widely described as a “protectionist“.[345][346][347][348][349] Trump has described supporters of international trade as “blood suckers.”[350]

Trump’s views on trade have upended the traditional Republican policies favoring free trade.[345][87] Binyamin Appelbaum, reporting for the New York Times, has summarized Trump’s proposals as breaking with 200 years of economics orthodoxy.[89][351] American economic writer Bruce Bartlett argued that Trump’s protectionist views have roots in the Whig Party program of the 1830s. He noted that many Americans were sympathetic to these views, while saying this was nonetheless not a good justification to adopt them.[352] Canadian writer Lawrence Solomon describes Trump’s position on trade as similar to that as of pre-Reagan Republican presidents, such as Herbert Hoover (who signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act) and Richard Nixon (who ran on a protectionist platform).[353]

A January 2019 intelligence community assessment concluded that Trump’s trade policies and unilateralism had “damaged” traditional alliances and induced foreign partners to seek new relationships.[133]

NAFTA and USMCA

During the campaign, Trump condemned the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying that if elected president, “We will either renegotiate it, or we will break it.”[60][61]

During his meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after becoming President, Trump stated that he viewed the Canadian situation different than Mexico, and only envisioned minor changes for Canada, with much larger ones for Mexico.[34]

In September 2018, the United States, Mexico, and Canada reached an agreement to replace NAFTA with the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA). NAFTA will remain in force, pending the ratification of the USMCA.[354]

Trade with China

During the campaign, Trump proposed a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports to the United States to give “American workers a level playing field.”[88][89] According to an analysis by Capital Economics, Trump’s proposed tariff may hurt U.S. consumers by driving U.S. retail price of Chinese made goods up 10 percent, because of few alternative suppliers in key product classes that China sells to the U.S.[355] The goods trade deficit with China in 2015 was $367.2 billion.[356] The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reported in December 2014 that “Growth in the U.S. goods trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2013 eliminated or displaced 3.2 million U.S. jobs, 2.4 million (three-fourths) of which were in manufacturing.” EPI reported these losses were distributed across all 50 states.[357]

Trump has pledged “swift, robust and unequivocal” action against Chinese piracy, counterfeit American goods, and theft of U.S. trade secrets and intellectual property; and has condemned China’s “illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards.”[87] In a May 2016 campaign speech, Trump responded to concerns regarding a potential trade war with “We’re losing $500 billion in trade with China. Who the hell cares if there’s a trade war?”[91]

Trade with Mexico

During the campaign, Trump vowed to impose tariffs — in the range of 15 to 35 percent — on companies that move their operations to Mexico.[57] He specifically criticized the Ford Motor Co.,[89] Carrier Corporation,[89] and Mondelez International.[89][57][59]

After taking office, White House press secretary Sean Spicer noted that Trump was considering imposing a 20% tariff on Mexican imports to the United States as one of several options that would pay for his proposed border wall.[358] The Mexican government has stated that if unilateral tariffs were imposed on Mexico, it would consider retaliating by imposing tariffs on goods Mexico imports from the United States.[359]

Trans-Pacific Partnership

During the campaign, Trump opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying “The deal is insanity. That deal should not be supported and it should not be allowed to happen … We are giving away what ultimately is going to be a back door for China.”[360] On January 23, 2017 Trump withdrew from the trade deal citing the need to protect American workers from competition by workers in low-wage countries.[361]

World Trade Organization

Trump has called the World Trade Organization (WTO) a “disaster”.[362] When informed that tariffs in the range of 15 to 35 percent would be contrary to the rules of the WTO, he answered “even better. Then we’re going to renegotiate or we’re going to pull out.”[57]

Nuclear policy

During the campaign, Trump said that the U.S.’s control is getting weaker and that its nuclear arsenal is old and does not work.[363]

When asked at March 2016 campaign town hall with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews whether he would rule out the use of nuclear weapons, Trump answered that the option of using nuclear weapons should never be taken off the table.[364][365][366]

Nuclear proliferation

During the campaign, Trump expressed support for South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia having nuclear weapons if they would be unwilling to pay the United States for security.[367][368][369][370] He also deemed it inevitable, “It’s going to happen anyway. It’s only a question of time. They’re going to start having them or we have to get rid of them entirely.”[367] Trump’s tentative support for nuclear proliferation was in contradiction to decades of bipartisan U.S. consensus on the issue.[371]

Pakistani nuclear arsenal

During the campaign, Trump was critical of Pakistan, comparing it to North Korea, calling it “probably the most dangerous country” in the world, and claiming that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons posed a “serious problem.” He has advocated improving relations with India as a supposed “check” to Pakistan. He has said that his government will fully cooperate with India in doing so.[372]

Further reading

See also

Notes and references …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_policy_of_the_Donald_Trump_administration

Story 2: United States Fiscal Year 2019 Budgetary Deficit Exceeds $1,000,000,000,000,000 — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) Burdening Future Generation of American Citizens — Tax, Spend, Borrow — Videos

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Government watchdog says federal budget deficit will top $1 trillion next year

What Does a $1 Trillion Budget Deficit Mean for U.S. Economy, Markets?

Deficit surpasses $1 trillion: CBO

The federal deficit surpassed $1 trillion in the first 11 months of fiscal 2019, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Monday.

The deficit presently stands at $1.068 trillion, though it is likely to be reduced in September as quarterly tax payments are paid.

The deficit as of Monday was running $168 billion ahead of the deficit in the last fiscal year at this time.

While mandatory spending such as Social Security and Medicare drive the deficit, it has shot up under President Trump‘s watch following the GOP tax cut bill and a series of bipartisan agreements to raise spending on both defense and domestic priorities.

The CBO has called the nation’s fiscal path “unsustainable,” noting that payments on interest alone were on track to overtake both defense and domestic spending by 2046.

Recent concerns over a possible economic downturn or recession have further exacerbated concerns about the nation’s fiscal situation, which tends to worsen when the economy slides.

https://thehill.com/policy/finance/460603-deficit-surpasses-1-trillion-cbo

 

Story 3: United States F-15s and F-35s Bombs ISIS Infested Island in Iraq — Videos

U.S. AIR FORCE USES F-15S AND F-35S TO BOMB ISIS ISLAND

US bombs ISIS-‘infested island’ in Iraq, new video shows

US drops 40 tons of bombs on IS-‘infested’ island in Iraq

Updated 

The U.S.-led coalition says American warplanes have dropped 36,000 kilograms (40 tons) of bombs on an Island in the Tigris River “infested” with members of the Islamic State group.

The coalition said F15 and F35 warplanes took part in the bombing on Qanus Island in the central province of Salaheddine, north of the capital Baghdad.

Tuesday’s attack is part of operations carried out by Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition against IS, which was defeated in Iraq in 2017.

OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III

@OIRSpox

VIDEO: Here’s what it looks like when @USAFCENT and jets drop 36,000 Kg of bombs on a Daesh infested island. 🛩💥 هكذا تبدوا الجزيرة الموبوءة بداعش بعد أن أسقطت عليها الطائرات المقاتلة -15 و -35 36,000 كغم من الذخيرة

Story 3: Israeli Air Force Bombs Pro-Iranian Shiite Hezbollah Militia Base in Syria — Videos

Syrian official blames Israel, US for strike on base near Iraq border

Official quoted by state TV and Hezbollah claims base was under construction and deserted, but activists say at least 18 people killed, including Iranian and Iran-backed fighters

Iraqi Shiite fighters of the Popular Mobilization Forces secure the border area with Syria in al-Qaim in Iraq's Anbar province, opposite Al-Bukamal in Syria's Deir Ezzor region, on November 12, 2018. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

Iraqi Shiite fighters of the Popular Mobilization Forces secure the border area with Syria in al-Qaim in Iraq’s Anbar province, opposite Al-Bukamal in Syria’s Deir Ezzor region, on November 12, 2018. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

A Syrian security official blamed Israel and the US for an attack on a base belonging to a pro-Iranian Shiite militia in Syria near the border with Iraq on Monday.

The pre-dawn attack targeted a base known as the Imam Ali compound in the al-Bukamal region of eastern Syria, near the border with Iraq. A London-based observer said at least 18 people were killed, including Iranian and pro-Iranian fighters.

Israel reportedly believes the base was a key element in Tehran’s effort to develop a so-called “land bridge” that would allow the Islamic Republic to easily move weapons, fighters, and war materiel from Iran through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

The base belonged to the Popular Mobilization Force, an umbrella group of Iraqi Shiite militias, which are funded in large part by Iran.

A Syria-based official for the Iraqi militia claimed that Israel was behind the attack, adding that four missiles fired by warplanes hit a post manned by Iranian gunmen and members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said there were no Iraqi casualties in the strike, which he said hit about 3 kilometers (2 miles) from the Iraqi border.

A Syrian security official cited by the government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media said the Israeli planes targeted a military camp that was being set up by the Syrian army and its allies. It said the structure was deserted at the time and the strike did not cause any casualties, contrary to other reports.

The official claimed the planes used Jordanian airspace and were “aided” by American forces stationed at the Tanf garrison, near Syria’s eastern border with Jordan.

Members of the Maghawir al-Thawra Syrian opposition group receive firearms training from US Army Special Forces soldiers at the al-Tanf military outpost in southern Syria on October 22, 2018. (AP/Lolita Baldor)

“We hold the Americans and Israelis responsible for these acts of aggression which cross the red lines,” said the official, who was not named.

Hezbollah military media also quoted the security source in Syria accusing Israel of launching the attack, although there was no official statement from Damascus.

Pro-Iranian news outlets also attributed the bombardment to the Israel Defense Forces.

Neither Israel nor the US-led coalition, which carries out air strikes in the area against jihadist sleeper cells, commented on the incident.

Israel, which has vowed to keep weakening Iran so long as it continues to develop weapons that threaten the Jewish state, has launched attacks against a variety of targets, and has reportedly stepped up its campaign against Iran-backed forces in Iraq in recent months.

Early Tuesday, fresh blasts were reported at storehouses used by the PMF near the Iraq city of Hit in Anbar Province, some 200 kilometers from Al-Bukamal.

The al-Bukamal compound was first publicly identified as an Iranian-controlled base earlier this month by Fox News, citing unnamed Western intelligence sources.

According to satellite images released by a private Israeli intelligence firm, at least eight storehouses in the compound were destroyed.

“If indeed it is an Iranian base, it is probable that the strike is part of the struggle with Tehran to prevent its effort of establishing the land corridor to its allies in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon,” the Israeli satellite imagery analysis company ImageSat International wrote.

Satellite image showing the aftermath of an overnight airstrike on an alleged Iranian military base in Syria’s Albu Kamal region, near the Iraqi border, on September 9, 2019. (ImageSat International)

Shortly after the strike, members of a Shiite militia in Syria fired a number of rockets toward Mount Hermon on the Israeli Golan Heights from the outskirts of Damascus, according to the Israeli military.

The projectiles fell short of the border and landed inside Syrian territory.

The highly irregular reprisal attack by a pro-Iranian militia appeared to indicate that Tehran saw the strike as a serious blow to its efforts in the region.

According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the airstrikes began late Sunday and continued after midnight, killing 18 Iranian and pro-Iranian fighters and also causing extensive damage.

The Sound and Pictures, a local activist collective in eastern Syria, gave a higher death toll, saying 21 fighters were killed and 36 wounded. The collective said the strikes targeted positions belonging to Iranian militias and those of the PMF.

Satellite image showing the construction of a new Iranian military base in Iraq’s Albukamal Al-Qaim region, near the Syrian border (ImageSat International via Fox News)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to ImageSat, the eight storehouses that were destroyed in the strike appeared to be either newly built or still in the process of being built. Several other structures remained intact following the strike.

The Israeli intelligence firm said that the storehouses appeared to have been holding ammunition and weaponry when they were attacked.

Since mid-July, at least five arms depots and training camps in Iraq belonging to the Popular Mobilization Forces have been targeted in apparent attacks.

The PMF has blamed both Israel and the US for the recent string of blasts and drone sightings at its bases.

The Pentagon, which is mindful of not alienating Iraq’s leadership and jeopardizing its military presence in the country, has pointedly distanced itself from the mysterious explosions.

Plumes of smoke rise after an explosion at a military base southwest of Baghdad, Iraq, on August 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Loay Hameed)

Anonymous US officials recently said the IDF was behind at least some strikes on Iran-linked sites outside of Baghdad.

According to the Fox News report, once completed, the al-Bukamal base could house thousands of soldiers and storage facilities for advanced weapons. The US cable network said the base’s construction is being overseen by Iran’s powerful Quds Force and its commander Qassem Soleimani.

Satellite photos of the base, released by ImageSat International last week, showed what appeared to be five recently constructed buildings that can store precision-guided missiles.

Satellite image showing the construction of a new Iranian military base in Iraq’s Albukamal Al-Qaim region, near the Syrian border (ImageSat International via Fox News)

Israel views Iran as its greatest threat, and has acknowledged carrying out scores of airstrikes in Syria in recent years aimed primarily at preventing the transfers of sophisticated weapons, including guided missiles, to the Iran-backed Hezbollah.

The PMF was established in 2014 from mostly Shiite paramilitary groups and volunteers to fight the Islamic State jihadist organization and is now formally part of Iraq’s armed forces.

But the US and Israel fear some units are an extension of Iran and have been equipped with precision-guided missiles that could reach Israel.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/syrian-official-blames-israel-us-for-strike-on-base-near-iraq-border/

Airstrikes kill 18 pro-Iran fighters in eastern Syria

Israel does not comment on attack but says militia fired rockets towards its territory

Israeli soldiers stand near artillery units deployed near the Israeli-Lebanon border
 Israeli soldiers stand near artillery units deployed near the Lebanon border as tension between Israel and Hezbollah continues to escalate. Photograph: Atef Safadi/EPA

Unclaimed airstrikes in eastern Syria have killed 18 Iranian and pro-Iran fighters, according to a war monitoring group, as tensions around Tehran’s military presence in the region intensify.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes in and around the town of Abu Kamal began late on Sunday and continued after midnight, targeting bases, arms depots and vehicles.

Suspicion is likely to fall on Israel, which has conducted hundreds of bombing raids in the country, often against Iranian military assets and personnel. It accuses Tehran of using Syria, which neighbours Israel, as a base to attack it.

The Israel Defence Forces did not comment on whether it was behind the attack. Later on Monday the Israeli military said an Iranian-backed Shia militia on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, had fired “a number of rockets” towards Israel. All failed to hit Israeli territory, it said. It was not clear if the attempted rocket attacks against Israel were a response to the bombing raid.

Separately, Iran’s main proxy force in Lebanon, Hezbollah, claimed it had shot down an Israeli drone that crossed the border, a week after the bitter enemies traded fire for the first time in years.

The unmanned aircraft was flying near the southern Lebanese town of Ramyah, the Iranian-backed group said, adding that it fighters had removed the wreckage.

Asked about the downed drone in Lebanon, Israel’s military confirmed it had lost a drone but said it “fell inside Lebanon territory during a routine mission”. An army spokesperson did not say what had caused the crash, adding that the drone was “standard size, nothing too big … There is no concern information could be taken from it.”

Hezbollah and the Israeli army exchanged brief but intense fire on 1 September, the fiercest bout since the 2006 war. It began when a Hezbollah squad fired anti-tank missiles at an Israeli military vehicle at the frontier, to which Israel immediately responded with heavy shelling and helicopter strikes on the area.

That flare-up was also sparked by claims of Israeli drone use in Lebanon. Days earlier, Hezbollah had accused Israel of attempting to attack it with two drones in its stronghold of southern Beirut. Those drones, about which Israel would not comment, were suspected of targeting equipment for making precision guidance missiles.

Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, blamed Israel for the alleged drone attack and promised to retaliate. He also vowed his fighters would target Israeli drones that entered Lebanon’s airspace in the future.

The two adversaries fought a deadly month-long conflict in 2006 that killed about 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and roughly 160 in Israel. Since then incidents of hostile action have been rare but the renewed violence has raised fears of the potential for another conflict.

It has targeted Hezbollah in Syria, whose forces entered the civil war in support of President Bashar al-Assad, but has largely refrained from attacks on Lebanese soil, fearing it may lead to reprisal strikes.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said last month that Iran had “no immunity, anywhere”. He added: “We will act, and currently are acting, against them, wherever it is necessary.”

A crisis between Iran and the US over a collapsing nuclear deal, hefty sanctions imposed by Washington, and Iran’s support for Shia militia in Iraq have raised fears of an escalating conflict in the Middle East.

Story 5: Remembering The Prescient and Wisdom of Ron Paul on Limited Government and the Neoconservatives — Videos

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Ron Paul – Neo-CONNED!

Published on Apr 20, 2011

7/10/2003, C-SPAN

Neoconservatism

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Neoconservatism (commonly shortened to neocon when labelling its adherents) is a political movement born in the United States during the 1960s among liberal hawks who became disenchanted with the increasingly pacifist foreign policy of the Democratic Party, and the growing New Left and counterculture, in particular the Vietnam protests. Some also began to question their liberal beliefs regarding domestic policies such as the Great Society.

Neoconservatives typically advocate the promotion of democracy and American national interest in international affairs, including peace through strength (by means of military force), and are known for espousing disdain for communism and for political radicalism.[1][2]

Many of its adherents became politically famous during the Republican presidential administrations of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s as neoconservatives peaked in influence during the administration of George W. Bush, when they played a major role in promoting and planning the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[3] Prominent neoconservatives in the George W. Bush administration included Paul WolfowitzElliott AbramsRichard Perle, and Paul Bremer. While not identifying as neoconservatives, senior officials Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld listened closely to neoconservative advisers regarding foreign policy, especially the defense of Israel and the promotion of American influence in the Middle East.

Historically speaking, the term “neoconservative” refers to those who made the ideological journey from the anti-Stalinist left to the camp of American conservatism during the 1960s and 1970s.[4] The movement had its intellectual roots in the Jewish monthly review magazine Commentary, edited by Norman Podhoretz and published by the American Jewish Committee.[5][6] They spoke out against the New Left and in that way helped define the movement.[7][8]

Contents

Terminology

The term “neoconservative” was popularized in the United States during 1973 by the socialist leader Michael Harrington, who used the term to define Daniel BellDaniel Patrick Moynihan, and Irving Kristol, whose ideologies differed from Harrington’s.[9]

The “neoconservative” label was used by Irving Kristol in his 1979 article “Confessions of a True, Self-Confessed ‘Neoconservative'”.[10] His ideas have been influential since the 1950s, when he co-founded and edited the magazine Encounter.[11]

Another source was Norman Podhoretz, editor of the magazine Commentary from 1960 to 1995. By 1982, Podhoretz was terming himself a neoconservative in The New York Times Magazine article titled “The Neoconservative Anguish over Reagan’s Foreign Policy”.[12][13]

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the neoconservatives considered that liberalism had failed and “no longer knew what it was talking about”, according to E. J. Dionne.[14]

Seymour Lipset asserts that the term “neoconservative” was used originally by socialists to criticize the politics of Social Democrats, USA (SDUSA).[15] Jonah Goldberg argues that the term is ideological criticism against proponents of modern American liberalism who had become slightly more conservative[10][16] (both Lipset and Goldberg are frequently described as neoconservatives). In a book-length study for Harvard University Press, historian Justin Vaisse writes that Lipset and Goldberg are in error, as “neoconservative” was used by socialist Michael Harrington to describe three men – noted above – who were not in SDUSA, and neoconservatism is a definable political movement.[17]

The term “neoconservative” was the subject of increased media coverage during the presidency of George W. Bush,[18][19] with particular emphasis on a perceived neoconservative influence on American foreign policy, as part of the Bush Doctrine.[20]

History

Senator Henry M. Jackson, inspiration for neoconservative foreign policy during the 1970s

Through the 1950s and early 1960s, the future neoconservatives had endorsed the civil rights movementracial integration and Martin Luther King Jr.[21] From the 1950s to the 1960s, there was general endorsement among liberals for military action to prevent a communist victory in Vietnam.[22]

Neoconservatism was initiated by the repudiation of the Cold War and the “new politics” of the American New Left, which Norman Podhoretz said was too close to the counterculture and too alienated from the majority of the population; Black Power, which accused white liberals and Northern Jews of hypocrisy on integration and of supporting settler colonialism in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict; and “anti-anticommunism“, which during the late 1960s included substantial endorsement of Marxist–Leninist politics. Many were particularly alarmed by what they claimed were antisemitic sentiments from Black Power advocates.[23] Irving Kristol edited the journal The Public Interest (1965–2005), featuring economists and political scientists, which emphasized ways that government planning in the liberal state had produced unintended harmful consequences.[24] Many early neoconservative political figures were disillusioned Democratic politicians and intellectuals, such as Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who served in the Nixon and Ford administrations, and Jeane Kirkpatrick, who served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations in the Reagan administration.

A substantial number of neoconservatives were originally moderate socialists associated with the right-wing of the Socialist Party of America (SP) and its successor, Social Democrats, USA (SDUSA). Max Shachtman, a former Trotskyist theorist who developed a strong antipathy towards the New Left, had numerous devotees among SDUSA with strong links to George Meany‘s AFL-CIO. Following Shachtman and Meany, this faction led the SP to oppose immediate withdrawal from the Vietnam War, and oppose George McGovern in the Democratic primary race and, to some extent, the general election. They also chose to cease their own party-building and concentrated on working within the Democratic Party, eventually influencing it through the Democratic Leadership Council.[25] Thus the Socialist Party dissolved in 1972, and SDUSA emerged that year. (Most of the left-wing of the party, led by Michael Harrington, immediately abandoned SDUSA.)[26][27] SDUSA leaders associated with neoconservatism include Carl GershmanPenn KembleJoshua Muravchik and Bayard Rustin.[28][29][30][31]

Norman Podhoretz’s magazine Commentary of the American Jewish Committee, originally a journal of liberalism, became a major publication for neoconservatives during the 1970s. Commentary published an article by Jeane Kirkpatrick, an early and prototypical neoconservative, albeit not a New Yorker.

New York Intellectuals

Many neoconservatives had been Jewish intellectuals in New York City during the 1930s. They were on the political left, but strongly opposed Stalinism and some were Trotskyists. During the Cold War they continued to oppose Stalinism and to endorse democracy. The great majority became liberal Democrats.[32][33]

Rejecting the American New Left and McGovern’s New Politics

As the policies of the New Left made the Democrats increasingly leftist, these intellectuals became disillusioned with President Lyndon B. Johnson‘s Great Society domestic programs. The influential 1970 bestseller The Real Majority by Ben Wattenberg expressed that the “real majority” of the electorate endorsed economic interventionism, but also social conservatism; and warned Democrats it could be disastrous to adopt liberal positions on certain social and crime issues.[34]

The neoconservatives rejected the countercultural New Left and what they considered anti-Americanism in the non-interventionism of the activism against the Vietnam War. After the anti-war faction took control of the party during 1972 and nominated George McGovern, the Democrats among them endorsed Washington Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson instead for his unsuccessful 1972 and 1976 campaigns for president. Among those who worked for Jackson were incipient neoconservatives Paul WolfowitzDoug Feith, and Richard Perle.[35] During the late 1970s, neoconservatives tended to endorse Ronald Reagan, the Republican who promised to confront Soviet expansionism. Neoconservatives organized in the American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation to counter the liberal establishment.[36]

In another (2004) article, Michael Lind also wrote:[37]

Neoconservatism … originated in the 1970s as a movement of anti-Soviet liberals and social democrats in the tradition of Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Humphrey and Henry (‘Scoop’) Jackson, many of whom preferred to call themselves ‘paleoliberals.’ [After the end of the Cold War] … many ‘paleoliberals’ drifted back to the Democratic center … Today’s neocons are a shrunken remnant of the original broad neocon coalition. Nevertheless, the origins of their ideology on the left are still apparent. The fact that most of the younger neocons were never on the left is irrelevant; they are the intellectual (and, in the case of William Kristol and John Podhoretz, the literal) heirs of older ex-leftists.

Leo Strauss and his students

C. Bradley Thompson, a professor at Clemson University, claims that most influential neoconservatives refer explicitly to the theoretical ideas in the philosophy of Leo Strauss (1899–1973),[38] although there are several writers who claim that in doing so they may draw upon meaning that Strauss himself did not endorse. Eugene Sheppard notes: “Much scholarship tends to understand Strauss as an inspirational founder of American neoconservatism”.[39] Strauss was a refugee from Nazi Germany who taught at the New School for Social Research in New York (1939–1949) and the University of Chicago (1949–1958).[40]

Strauss asserted that “the crisis of the West consists in the West’s having become uncertain of its purpose”. His solution was a restoration of the vital ideas and faith that in the past had sustained the moral purpose of the West. The Greek classics (classical republican and modern republican), political philosophy and the Judeo-Christian heritage are the essentials of the Great Tradition in Strauss’s work.[41][42] Strauss emphasized the spirit of the Greek classics and Thomas G. West (1991) argues that for Strauss the American Founding Fathers were correct in their understanding of the classics in their principles of justice.

For Strauss, political community is defined by convictions about justice and happiness rather than by sovereignty and force. A classical liberal, he repudiated the philosophy of John Locke as a bridge to 20th-century historicism and nihilism and instead defended liberal democracy as closer to the spirit of the classics than other modern regimes.[43] For Strauss, the American awareness of ineradicable evil in human nature and hence the need for morality, was a beneficial outgrowth of the pre-modern Western tradition.[44] O’Neill (2009) notes that Strauss wrote little about American topics, but his students wrote a great deal and that Strauss’s influence caused his students to reject historicism and positivism as morally relativist positions.[45] They instead promoted a so-called Aristotelian perspective on America that produced a qualified defense of its liberal constitutionalism.[46] Strauss’s emphasis on moral clarity led the Straussians to develop an approach to international relations that Catherine and Michael Zuckert (2008) call Straussian Wilsonianism (or Straussian idealism), the defense of liberal democracy in the face of its vulnerability.[45][47]

Strauss influenced The Weekly Standard editor William KristolWilliam BennettRobert BorkNewt GingrichAntonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, as well as military strategist Paul Wolfowitz.[48][49]

Jeane Kirkpatrick

A theory of neoconservative foreign policy during the final years of the Cold War was articulated by Jeane Kirkpatrick in “Dictatorships and Double Standards“,[50] published in Commentary Magazine during November 1979. Kirkpatrick criticized the foreign policy of Jimmy Carter, which endorsed detente with the Soviet Union. She later served the Reagan Administration as Ambassador to the United Nations.[51]

Skepticism towards democracy promotion

In “Dictatorships and Double Standards”, Kirkpatrick distinguished between authoritarian regimes and the totalitarian regimes such as the Soviet Union. She suggested that in some countries democracy was not tenable and the United States had a choice between endorsing authoritarian governments, which might evolve into democracies, or Marxist–Leninist regimes, which she argued had never been ended once they achieved totalitarian control. In such tragic circumstances, she argued that allying with authoritarian governments might be prudent. Kirkpatrick argued that by demanding rapid liberalization in traditionally autocratic countries, the Carter administration had delivered those countries to Marxist–Leninists that were even more repressive. She further accused the Carter administration of a “double standard” and of never having applied its rhetoric on the necessity of liberalization to communist governments. The essay compares traditional autocracies and Communist regimes:

[Traditional autocrats] do not disturb the habitual rhythms of work and leisure, habitual places of residence, habitual patterns of family and personal relations. Because the miseries of traditional life are familiar, they are bearable to ordinary people who, growing up in the society, learn to cope.

[Revolutionary Communist regimes] claim jurisdiction over the whole life of the society and make demands for change that so violate internalized values and habits that inhabitants flee by the tens of thousands.

Kirkpatrick concluded that while the United States should encourage liberalization and democracy in autocratic countries, it should not do so when the government risks violent overthrow and should expect gradual change rather than immediate transformation.[52] She wrote: “No idea holds greater sway in the mind of educated Americans than the belief that it is possible to democratize governments, anytime and anywhere, under any circumstances … Decades, if not centuries, are normally required for people to acquire the necessary disciplines and habits. In Britain, the road [to democratic government] took seven centuries to traverse. … The speed with which armies collapse, bureaucracies abdicate, and social structures dissolve once the autocrat is removed frequently surprises American policymakers”.[53]

1990s

During the 1990s, neoconservatives were once again opposed to the foreign policy establishment, both during the Republican Administration of President George H. W. Bush and that of his Democratic successor, President Bill Clinton. Many critics charged that the neoconservatives lost their influence as a result of the end of the Soviet Union.[54]

After the decision of George H. W. Bush to leave Saddam Hussein in power after the first Iraq War during 1991, many neoconservatives considered this policy and the decision not to endorse indigenous dissident groups such as the Kurds and Shiites in their 1991–1992 resistance to Hussein as a betrayal of democratic principles.[55][56][57][58][59]

Some of those same targets of criticism would later become fierce advocates of neoconservative policies. During 1992, referring to the first Iraq War, then United States Secretary of Defense and future Vice President Richard Cheney said:

I would guess if we had gone in there, I would still have forces in Baghdad today. We’d be running the country. We would not have been able to get everybody out and bring everybody home.

And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam [Hussein] worth? And the answer is not that damned many. So, I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the president made the decision that we’d achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq.[60]

Within a few years of the Gulf War in Iraq, many neoconservatives were endorsing the ouster of Saddam Hussein. On 19 February 1998, an open letter to President Clinton was published, signed by dozens of pundits, many identified with neoconservatism and later related groups such as the Project for the New American Century, urging decisive action to remove Saddam from power.[61]

Neoconservatives were also members of the so-called “blue team“, which argued for a confrontational policy toward the People’s Republic of China and strong military and diplomatic endorsement for the Republic of China (also known as Formosa or Taiwan).

During the late 1990s, Irving Kristol and other writers in neoconservative magazines began touting anti-Darwinist views as an endorsement of intelligent design. Since these neoconservatives were largely of secular origin, a few commentators have speculated that this – along with endorsement of religion generally – may have been a case of a “noble lie“, intended to protect public morality, or even tactical politics, to attract religious endorsers.[62]

2000s

Administration of George W. Bush

The Bush campaign and the early Bush administration did not exhibit strong endorsement of neoconservative principles. As a presidential candidate, Bush had argued for a restrained foreign policy, stating his opposition to the idea of nation-building[63] and an early foreign policy confrontation with China was managed without the vociferousness suggested by some neoconservatives.[64] Also early in the administration, some neoconservatives criticized Bush’s administration as insufficiently supportive of Israel and suggested Bush’s foreign policies were not substantially different from those of President Clinton.[65]

During November 2010, former U.S. President George W. Bush (here with the former