The Pronk Pops Show 1376, January 13, 2019, Story 1: U-3 Unemployment Rate 3.5%, U-6 Unemployment Rate 6.8% and 145,000 Non-farm Payroll Jobs Created in December 2019 — Labor Participation Rate Stuck at 63.3% — Not In Labor Force 95,625,000 — Videos — Story 2: Global Long Term (Secular) Stagnation, Excess Capacity and Massive Debt Levels — Videos — Story 3: The Peace and Prosperity President Trump With A Non-interventionist Foreign and Domestic Policies — Back To Realpolitik with Offshore Balancing? — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1376 January 13, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1375 December 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1374 December 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1373 December 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1372 December 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1371 December 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1370 December 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1369 December 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1368 December 4, 2019 

Pronk Pops Show 1367 December 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1366 December 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1365 November 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1364 November 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1363 November 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1362 November 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1361 November 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1360 November 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1359 November 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1358 November 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1357 November 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1356 November 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1355 November 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1354 November 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1353 November 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1352 November 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1351 November 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1350 November 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1349 October 31, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1348 October 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1347 October 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1346 October 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1345 October 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1344 October 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1343 October 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1342 October 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1341 October 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1340 October 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1339 October 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1338 October 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1337 October 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1336 October 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1335 October 7, 2019

 Pronk Pops Show 1334 October 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1333 October 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1332 October 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1331 October 1, 2019

 

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Story 1: U-3 Unemployment Rate 3.5%, U-6 Unemployment Rate 6.8% and 145,000 Non-farm Payroll Jobs Created in December 2019 — Labor Participation Rate Stuck at 63.3% — Not In Labor Force 95,625,000 — Videos —

The ShadowStats Alternate Unemployment Rate for December 2019 is 20.8%.

http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

See the source image

Labor Secretary on jobs report: Strong end to ‘extraordinary year’

December jobs report: ‘Best labor market for workers’

CNN’s King: Trump’s Booming Economy, Low Unemployment Rate A “Good Calling Card” For 2020

47% of Americans approve of Donald Trump’s job as president

Keiser Report 1485

Bad monetary and fiscal policy is good for gold

U.S. Economic Outlook 2020: On Firmer Ground

Civilian Labor Force Level

164,556,000

Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

Data extracted on: January 10, 2020 (6:05:45 PM)

Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

 

Series Id:           LNS11000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Civilian Labor Force Level
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

 

Series Id:           LNS11000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Civilian Labor Force Level
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over
Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 142267(1) 142456 142434 142751 142388 142591 142278 142514 142518 142622 142962 143248
2001 143800 143701 143924 143569 143318 143357 143654 143284 143989 144086 144240 144305
2002 143883 144653 144481 144725 144938 144808 144803 145009 145552 145314 145041 145066
2003 145937(1) 146100 146022 146474 146500 147056 146485 146445 146530 146716 147000 146729
2004 146842(1) 146709 146944 146850 147065 147460 147692 147564 147415 147793 148162 148059
2005 148029(1) 148364 148391 148926 149261 149238 149432 149779 149954 150001 150065 150030
2006 150214(1) 150641 150813 150881 151069 151354 151377 151716 151662 152041 152406 152732
2007 153144(1) 152983 153051 152435 152670 153041 153054 152749 153414 153183 153835 153918
2008 154063(1) 153653 153908 153769 154303 154313 154469 154641 154570 154876 154639 154655
2009 154210(1) 154538 154133 154509 154747 154716 154502 154307 153827 153784 153878 153111
2010 153484(1) 153694 153954 154622 154091 153616 153691 154086 153975 153635 154125 153650
2011 153263(1) 153214 153376 153543 153479 153346 153288 153760 154131 153961 154128 153995
2012 154381(1) 154671 154749 154545 154866 155083 154948 154763 155160 155554 155338 155628
2013 155763(1) 155312 155005 155394 155536 155749 155599 155605 155687 154673 155265 155182
2014 155352(1) 155483 156028 155369 155684 155707 156007 156130 156040 156417 156494 156332
2015 157030(1) 156644 156643 157060 157651 157062 156997 157172 156733 157167 157463 158035
2016 158342(1) 158653 159103 158981 158787 158973 159123 159579 159817 159734 159551 159710
2017 159647(1) 159767 160066 160309 160060 160232 160339 160690 161212 160378 160510 160538
2018 161068(1) 161783 161684 161742 161874 162269 162173 161768 162078 162605 162662 163111
2019 163142(1) 163047 162935 162546 162782 163133 163373 163894 164051 164401 164347 164556
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

Employment Level

158,803,000

 

Series Id:           LNS12000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment Level
Labor force status:  Employed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 136559(1) 136598 136701 137270 136630 136940 136531 136662 136893 137088 137322 137614
2001 137778 137612 137783 137299 137092 136873 137071 136241 136846 136392 136238 136047
2002 135701 136438 136177 136126 136539 136415 136413 136705 137302 137008 136521 136426
2003 137417(1) 137482 137434 137633 137544 137790 137474 137549 137609 137984 138424 138411
2004 138472(1) 138542 138453 138680 138852 139174 139556 139573 139487 139732 140231 140125
2005 140245(1) 140385 140654 141254 141609 141714 142026 142434 142401 142548 142499 142752
2006 143150(1) 143457 143741 143761 144089 144353 144202 144625 144815 145314 145534 145970
2007 146028(1) 146057 146320 145586 145903 146063 145905 145682 146244 145946 146595 146273
2008 146378(1) 146156 146086 146132 145908 145737 145532 145203 145076 144802 144100 143369
2009 142152(1) 141640 140707 140656 140248 140009 139901 139492 138818 138432 138659 138013
2010 138438(1) 138581 138751 139297 139241 139141 139179 139438 139396 139119 139044 139301
2011 139250(1) 139394 139639 139586 139624 139384 139524 139942 140183 140368 140826 140902
2012 141584(1) 141858 142036 141899 142206 142391 142292 142291 143044 143431 143333 143330
2013 143292(1) 143362 143316 143635 143882 143999 144264 144326 144418 143537 144479 144778
2014 145150(1) 145134 145648 145667 145825 146247 146399 146530 146778 147427 147404 147615
2015 148145(1) 148045 148128 148511 148817 148816 148830 149181 148826 149246 149463 150128
2016 150621(1) 150908 151157 151006 151119 151187 151465 151770 151850 151907 152063 152216
2017 152129(1) 152368 152978 153224 153001 153299 153471 153593 154371 153779 153813 153977
2018 154486(1) 155142 155191 155324 155665 155750 155993 155601 156032 156482 156628 156825
2019 156627(1) 156866 156741 156696 156844 157148 157346 157895 158298 158544 158536 158803
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

Not in Labor Force

95,625,000

 

Series Id:           LNS15000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Not in Labor Force
Labor force status:  Not in labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

 

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2009 80529 80374 80953 80762 80705 80938 81367 81780 82495 82766 82865 83813
2010 83349 83304 83206 82707 83409 84075 84199 84014 84347 84895 84590 85240
2011 85441 85637 85623 85603 85834 86144 86383 86111 85940 86308 86312 86589
2012 87888 87765 87855 88239 88100 88073 88405 88803 88613 88429 88836 88722
2013 88900 89516 89990 89780 89827 89803 90156 90355 90481 91708 91302 91563
2014 91563 91603 91230 92070 91938 92107 92016 92099 92406 92240 92350 92695
2015 92694 93256 93437 93205 92804 93601 93880 93924 94592 94374 94284 93901
2016 94055 93924 93665 93988 94388 94424 94497 94275 94274 94587 94989 95031
2017 94435 94479 94348 94279 94707 94725 94812 94667 94350 95388 95439 95571
2018 95712 95151 95414 95529 95579 95373 95670 96297 96212 95909 96045 95777
2019 95097 95345 95602 96147 96079 95905 95852 95538 95587 95444 95673 95625

 

Series Id:           LNS14000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Rate
Labor force status:  Unemployment rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 4.0 4.1 4.0 3.8 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9
2001 4.2 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.3 4.5 4.6 4.9 5.0 5.3 5.5 5.7
2002 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 6.0
2003 5.8 5.9 5.9 6.0 6.1 6.3 6.2 6.1 6.1 6.0 5.8 5.7
2004 5.7 5.6 5.8 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.4 5.4
2005 5.3 5.4 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 4.9 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.9
2006 4.7 4.8 4.7 4.7 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4
2007 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.7 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.7 5.0
2008 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.0 5.4 5.6 5.8 6.1 6.1 6.5 6.8 7.3
2009 7.8 8.3 8.7 9.0 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.8 10.0 9.9 9.9
2010 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.9 9.6 9.4 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.8 9.3
2011 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.8 8.6 8.5
2012 8.3 8.3 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.1 7.8 7.8 7.7 7.9
2013 8.0 7.7 7.5 7.6 7.5 7.5 7.3 7.2 7.2 7.2 6.9 6.7
2014 6.6 6.7 6.7 6.2 6.3 6.1 6.2 6.1 5.9 5.7 5.8 5.6
2015 5.7 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.6 5.3 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 5.1 5.0
2016 4.9 4.9 5.0 5.0 4.8 4.9 4.8 4.9 5.0 4.9 4.7 4.7
2017 4.7 4.6 4.4 4.4 4.4 4.3 4.3 4.4 4.2 4.1 4.2 4.1
2018 4.1 4.1 4.0 4.0 3.8 4.0 3.8 3.8 3.7 3.8 3.7 3.9
2019 4.0 3.8 3.8 3.6 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.7 3.5 3.6 3.5 3.5

 

U-6 Labor Unemployment Rate

6.8%

Series Id:           LNS13327709
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (seas) Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers
Labor force status:  Aggregated totals unemployed
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over
Percent/rates:       Unemployed and mrg attached and pt for econ reas as percent of labor force plus marg attached

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 7.1 7.2 7.1 6.9 7.1 7.0 7.0 7.1 7.0 6.8 7.1 6.9
2001 7.3 7.4 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.9 7.8 8.1 8.7 9.3 9.4 9.6
2002 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.7 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.7 9.8
2003 10.0 10.2 10.0 10.2 10.1 10.3 10.3 10.1 10.4 10.2 10.0 9.8
2004 9.9 9.7 10.0 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.4 9.7 9.4 9.2
2005 9.3 9.3 9.1 8.9 8.9 9.0 8.8 8.9 9.0 8.7 8.7 8.6
2006 8.4 8.4 8.2 8.1 8.2 8.4 8.5 8.4 8.0 8.2 8.1 7.9
2007 8.4 8.2 8.0 8.2 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.8
2008 9.2 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.7 10.1 10.5 10.8 11.0 11.8 12.6 13.6
2009 14.2 15.2 15.8 15.9 16.5 16.5 16.4 16.7 16.7 17.1 17.1 17.1
2010 16.7 17.0 17.1 17.1 16.6 16.4 16.4 16.5 16.8 16.6 16.9 16.6
2011 16.2 16.0 15.9 16.1 15.8 16.1 15.9 16.1 16.4 15.8 15.5 15.2
2012 15.2 15.0 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 14.8 14.6 14.8 14.4 14.4 14.4
2013 14.6 14.4 13.8 14.0 13.8 14.2 13.8 13.6 13.5 13.6 13.1 13.1
2014 12.7 12.6 12.6 12.3 12.2 12.0 12.1 12.0 11.7 11.5 11.4 11.2
2015 11.3 11.0 10.8 10.9 10.9 10.4 10.3 10.2 10.0 9.8 10.0 9.9
2016 9.8 9.7 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.5 9.7 9.6 9.7 9.6 9.4 9.2
2017 9.3 9.1 8.8 8.6 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.3 8.0 8.0 8.1
2018 8.1 8.2 7.9 7.8 7.7 7.8 7.5 7.3 7.5 7.4 7.6 7.6
2019 8.0 7.2 7.3 7.3 7.1 7.2 7.0 7.2 6.9 6.9 6.9 6.7

Labor Force Participation Rate

63.3%

Series Id:           LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

2

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.1 67.1 66.9 66.9 66.9 66.8 66.9 67.0
2001 67.2 67.1 67.2 66.9 66.7 66.7 66.8 66.5 66.8 66.7 66.7 66.7
2002 66.5 66.8 66.6 66.7 66.7 66.6 66.5 66.6 66.7 66.6 66.4 66.3
2003 66.4 66.4 66.3 66.4 66.4 66.5 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 65.9
2004 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 66.0 66.1 66.1 66.0 65.8 65.9 66.0 65.9
2005 65.8 65.9 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0
2006 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4
2007 66.4 66.3 66.2 65.9 66.0 66.0 66.0 65.8 66.0 65.8 66.0 66.0
2008 66.2 66.0 66.1 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 65.8
2009 65.7 65.8 65.6 65.7 65.7 65.7 65.5 65.4 65.1 65.0 65.0 64.6
2010 64.8 64.9 64.9 65.2 64.9 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.6 64.4 64.6 64.3
2011 64.2 64.1 64.2 64.2 64.1 64.0 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.1 64.1 64.0
2012 63.7 63.8 63.8 63.7 63.7 63.8 63.7 63.5 63.6 63.8 63.6 63.7
2013 63.7 63.4 63.3 63.4 63.4 63.4 63.3 63.3 63.2 62.8 63.0 62.9
2014 62.9 62.9 63.1 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.8
2015 62.9 62.7 62.6 62.8 62.9 62.7 62.6 62.6 62.4 62.5 62.5 62.7
2016 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.7 62.7 62.9 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.7
2017 62.8 62.8 62.9 63.0 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.9 63.1 62.7 62.7 62.7
2018 62.7 63.0 62.9 62.9 62.9 63.0 62.9 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.9 63.0
2019 63.2 63.1 63.0 62.8 62.9 63.0 63.0 63.2 63.2 63.3 63.2 63.2

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this news release is embargoed until	      USDL-20-0010
8:30 a.m. (EST) Friday, January 10, 2020

Technical information: 
 Household data:       (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
 Establishment data:   (202) 691-6555  *  cesinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:	       (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov
	

                       THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- DECEMBER 2019


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 145,000 in December, and the unemployment
rate was unchanged at 3.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported
today. Notable job gains occurred in retail trade and health care, while mining
lost jobs.

This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey
measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics.
The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry.
For more information about the concepts and statistical methodology used in these
two surveys, see the Technical Note.
 _______________________________________________________________________________________
|                                                                                       |
|                  Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data                |
|                                                                                       |
|  Seasonally adjusted household survey data have been revised using updated seasonal   |
|  adjustment factors, a procedure done at the end of each calendar year. Seasonally    |
|  adjusted estimates back to January 2015 were subject to revision. The unemployment   |
|  rates for January 2019 through November 2019 (as originally published and as revised)|
|  appear in table A, along with additional information about the revisions.            |
|_______________________________________________________________________________________|


Household Survey Data

In December, the unemployment rate held at 3.5 percent, and the number of unemployed
persons was unchanged at 5.8 million. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 3.9 percent,
and the number of unemployed persons was 6.3 million. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.1 percent), adult
women (3.2 percent), teenagers (12.6 percent), Whites (3.2 percent), Blacks (5.9 percent),
Asians (2.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent) showed little or no change in December.
(See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.2 million,
was unchanged in December and accounted for 20.5 percent of the unemployed. (See table
A-12.)

The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 63.2 percent in December. The
employment-population ratio was 61.0 percent for the fourth consecutive month but was
up by 0.4 percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.1 million, changed
little in December but was down by 507,000 over the year. These individuals, who would
have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been
reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. (See table A-8.)

In December, 1.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by
310,000 from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were
not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job 
sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had
not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 277,000 discouraged workers in December, down
by 98,000 from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers
are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for
them. The remaining 969,000 persons marginally attached to the labor force in December
had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
(See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 145,000 in December. Notable job gains
occurred in retail trade and health care, while mining lost jobs. In 2019, payroll
employment rose by 2.1 million, down from a gain of 2.7 million in 2018. (See table B-1.)

In December, retail trade added 41,000 jobs. Employment increased in clothing and 
accessories stores (+33,000) and in building material and garden supply stores (+7,000);
both industries showed employment declines in the prior month. Employment in retail trade
changed little, on net, in both 2019 and 2018 (+9,000 and +14,000, respectively). 

Employment in health care increased by 28,000 in December. Ambulatory health care services
and hospitals added jobs over the month (+23,000 and +9,000, respectively). Health care
added 399,000 jobs in 2019, compared with an increase of 350,000 in 2018. 

Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in December (+40,000). The
industry added 388,000 jobs in 2019, similar to the increase in 2018 (+359,000). 

Mining employment declined by 8,000 in December. In 2019, employment in mining declined
by 24,000, after rising by 63,000 in 2018. 

Construction employment changed little in December (+20,000). Employment in the industry
rose by 151,000 in 2019, about half of the 2018 gain of 307,000. 

In December, employment in professional and business services showed little change
(+10,000). The industry added 397,000 jobs in 2019, down from an increase of 561,000
jobs in 2018.  

Employment in transportation and warehousing changed little in December (-10,000).
Employment in the industry increased by 57,000 in 2019, about one-fourth of the 2018
gain of 216,000. 

Manufacturing employment was little changed in December (-12,000). Employment in the
industry changed little in 2019 (+46,000), after increasing in 2018 (+264,000). 

In December, employment showed little change in other major industries, including wholesale
trade, information, financial activities, and government. 

In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose
by 3 cents to $28.32. Over the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by
2.9 percent. In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees, at $23.79, were little changed (+2 cents). (See tables B-3 and
B-8.)

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.3
hours in December. In manufacturing, the average workweek and overtime remained at 40.5
hours and 3.2 hours, respectively. The average workweek of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees held at 33.5 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised down by 4,000 from
+156,000 to +152,000, and the change for November was revised down by 10,000 from +266,000
to +256,000. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were
14,000 lower than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports
received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and
from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged
184,000 over the last 3 months. 

_____________
The Employment Situation for January is scheduled to be released on Friday, February 7,
2020, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).


 ______________________________________________________________________________________
|										       |
|                   Upcoming Changes to Household Survey Data			       |
|										       |
|  With the publication of The Employment Situation for January 2020 on February 7,    |
|  2020, two not seasonally adjusted series currently displayed in Summary table       |
|  A--persons marginally attached to the labor force and discouraged workers--will     |
|  be replaced with new seasonally adjusted series. The new seasonally adjusted	       |
|  series will be available in the BLS online database back to 1994. Not seasonally    |
|  adjusted data for persons marginally attached to the labor force and for	       |
|  discouraged workers will continue to be published in table A-16. These series       |
|  will also be available in the BLS online database back to 1994.		       |
| 										       |
|  Persons marginally attached to the labor force and discouraged workers are inputs   |
|  into three alternative measures of labor underutilization displayed in table A-15.  |
|  Therefore, with the publication of The Employment Situation for January 2020, data  |
|  for U-4, U-5, and U-6 in table A-15 will reflect the new seasonally adjusted	       |
|  series. Revised data back to 1994 will be available in the BLS online database.     |
|  Not seasonally adjusted series for the alternative measures will be unaffected.     |
| 										       |
|  Beginning with data for January 2020, occupation estimates in table A-13 will       |
|  reflect the introduction of the 2018 Census occupation classification system into   |
|  the household survey. This occupation classification system is derived from the     |
|  2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. In addition, industry       |
|  estimates in table A-14 will reflect the introduction of the 2017 Census industry   |
|  classification system, which is derived from the 2017 North American Industry       |
|  Classification System (NAICS). Historical data on occupation and industry will      |
|  not be revised. Beginning with data for January 2020, estimates will not be	       |
|  strictly comparable with earlier years.  					       |
| 										       |
|  Also beginning with data for January 2020, estimates of married persons will        |
|  include those in opposite- and same-sex marriages. Prior to January 2020, these     |
|  estimates included only those in opposite-sex marriages. This will affect marital   |
|  status estimates in tables A-9 and A-10.  Historical data will not be revised.      |
| 										       |
|  Also effective with the release of The Employment Situation for January 2020, new   |
|  population controls will be used in the household survey estimation process. These  |
|  new controls reflect the annual update of intercensal population estimates by the   |
|  U.S. Census Bureau. In accordance with usual practice, historical data will not     |
|  be revised to incorporate the new controls; consequently, household survey data     |
|  for January 2020 will not be directly comparable with data for December 2019 or     |
|  earlier periods. A table showing the effects of the new controls on the major labor |
|  force series will be included in the January 2020 news release. In addition, the    |
|  population controls for veterans, which are derived from a Department of Veterans   |
|  Affairs' population model and are updated periodically, will also be updated with   |
|  the release of January data. 						       |
|______________________________________________________________________________________|


 ______________________________________________________________________________________
|                 								       |
|                 Upcoming Revisions to Establishment Survey Data		       |
|										       |
|  Effective with the release of The Employment Situation for January 2020 on February |
|  7, 2020, the establishment survey will revise nonfarm payroll employment, hours,    |
|  and earnings data to reflect the annual benchmark process and updated seasonal      |
|  adjustment factors. Not seasonally adjusted data beginning with April 2018 and      |
|  seasonally adjusted data beginning with January 2015 are subject to revision.       |
|  Consistent with standard practice, additional historical data may be revised as a   |
|  result of the benchmark process.						       |
|______________________________________________________________________________________|


             Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data

At the end of each calendar year, BLS routinely updates the seasonal adjustment
factors for the national labor force series derived from the household survey. As
a result of this process, seasonally adjusted data for January 2015 through
November 2019 were subject to revision. (Not seasonally adjusted data were not
subject to revision.)

Table A shows the unemployment rates for January 2019 through November 2019, as
first published and as revised. The rates were unchanged for all 11 months.
Revised seasonally adjusted data for other major labor force series beginning
in December 2018 appear in table B.

More information on this year's revisions to seasonally adjusted household series
is available at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cps-seas-adjustment-methodology.pdf. 
Detailed information on the seasonal adjustment methodology is found at
www.bls.gov/cps/seasonal-adjustment-methodology.htm.

Historical data for the household series contained in the A tables of this news
release can be accessed at www.bls.gov/cps/cpsatabs.htm. Revised historical
seasonally adjusted data are available at www.bls.gov/cps/data.htm and
https://download.bls.gov/pub/time.series/ln/.

Table A. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates in 2019 and changes due to revision
January - November 2019


Month                 As first published          As revised              Change

January.............                 4.0                 4.0                 0.0
February............                 3.8                 3.8                 0.0
March...............                 3.8                 3.8                 0.0
April...............                 3.6                 3.6                 0.0
May.................                 3.6                 3.6                 0.0
June................                 3.7                 3.7                 0.0
July................                 3.7                 3.7                 0.0
August..............                 3.7                 3.7                 0.0
September...........                 3.5                 3.5                 0.0
October.............                 3.6                 3.6                 0.0
November............                 3.5                 3.5                 0.0
HOUSEHOLD DATA
Table B. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age, seasonally adjusted
[Numbers in thousands]
Employment status, sex, and age 2018 2019
Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

TOTAL

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)

258,888 258,239 258,392 258,537 258,693 258,861 259,037 259,225 259,432 259,638 259,845 260,020 260,181

Civilian labor force

163,111 163,142 163,047 162,935 162,546 162,782 163,133 163,373 163,894 164,051 164,401 164,347 164,556

Participation rate

63.0 63.2 63.1 63.0 62.8 62.9 63.0 63.0 63.2 63.2 63.3 63.2 63.2

Employed

156,825 156,627 156,866 156,741 156,696 156,844 157,148 157,346 157,895 158,298 158,544 158,536 158,803

Employment-population ratio

60.6 60.7 60.7 60.6 60.6 60.6 60.7 60.7 60.9 61.0 61.0 61.0 61.0

Unemployed

6,286 6,516 6,181 6,194 5,850 5,938 5,985 6,027 5,999 5,753 5,857 5,811 5,753

Unemployment rate

3.9 4.0 3.8 3.8 3.6 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.7 3.5 3.6 3.5 3.5

Men, 20 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)

116,739 116,436 116,513 116,586 116,665 116,752 116,843 116,939 117,040 117,140 117,242 117,331 117,413

Civilian labor force

83,483 83,586 83,588 83,566 83,421 83,569 83,568 83,771 83,852 83,841 83,911 84,057 84,008

Participation rate

71.5 71.8 71.7 71.7 71.5 71.6 71.5 71.6 71.6 71.6 71.6 71.6 71.5

Employed

80,496 80,474 80,677 80,570 80,609 80,761 80,780 80,975 81,046 81,146 81,196 81,377 81,390

Employment-population ratio

69.0 69.1 69.2 69.1 69.1 69.2 69.1 69.2 69.2 69.3 69.3 69.4 69.3

Unemployed

2,987 3,112 2,911 2,995 2,812 2,808 2,788 2,796 2,806 2,695 2,715 2,679 2,618

Unemployment rate

3.6 3.7 3.5 3.6 3.4 3.4 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.2 3.2 3.2 3.1

Women, 20 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)

125,393 125,099 125,177 125,252 125,332 125,419 125,509 125,604 125,705 125,806 125,907 125,998 126,082

Civilian labor force

73,673 73,643 73,667 73,508 73,440 73,439 73,655 73,585 74,116 74,313 74,542 74,291 74,584

Participation rate

58.8 58.9 58.8 58.7 58.6 58.6 58.7 58.6 59.0 59.1 59.2 59.0 59.2

Employed

71,123 71,004 71,169 71,056 71,136 71,038 71,209 71,120 71,665 71,990 72,130 71,881 72,200

Employment-population ratio

56.7 56.8 56.9 56.7 56.8 56.6 56.7 56.6 57.0 57.2 57.3 57.0 57.3

Unemployed

2,550 2,639 2,497 2,451 2,304 2,401 2,447 2,465 2,451 2,323 2,411 2,411 2,383

Unemployment rate

3.5 3.6 3.4 3.3 3.1 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.1 3.2 3.2 3.2

Both sexes, 16 to 19 years

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)

16,756 16,704 16,702 16,698 16,696 16,690 16,686 16,682 16,687 16,691 16,696 16,692 16,686

Civilian labor force

5,955 5,913 5,792 5,862 5,685 5,774 5,910 6,017 5,926 5,897 5,948 5,999 5,964

Participation rate

35.5 35.4 34.7 35.1 34.1 34.6 35.4 36.1 35.5 35.3 35.6 35.9 35.7

Employed

5,205 5,149 5,019 5,115 4,951 5,044 5,159 5,250 5,184 5,162 5,218 5,278 5,213

Employment-population ratio

31.1 30.8 30.1 30.6 29.7 30.2 30.9 31.5 31.1 30.9 31.3 31.6 31.2

Unemployed

750 765 773 747 734 730 751 767 742 735 730 721 752

Unemployment rate

12.6 12.9 13.3 12.7 12.9 12.6 12.7 12.7 12.5 12.5 12.3 12.0 12.6

Footnotes
(1) The population figures are not adjusted for seasonal variation.

NOTE: Seasonally adjusted data have been revised to reflect updated seasonal adjustment factors.

 


 

 

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

 

Employment Situation Summary Table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Summary table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted
[Numbers in thousands]
Category Dec.
2018
Oct.
2019
Nov.
2019
Dec.
2019
Change from:
Nov.
2019-
Dec.
2019

Employment status

Civilian noninstitutional population

258,888 259,845 260,020 260,181 161

Civilian labor force

163,111 164,401 164,347 164,556 209

Participation rate

63.0 63.3 63.2 63.2 0.0

Employed

156,825 158,544 158,536 158,803 267

Employment-population ratio

60.6 61.0 61.0 61.0 0.0

Unemployed

6,286 5,857 5,811 5,753 -58

Unemployment rate

3.9 3.6 3.5 3.5 0.0

Not in labor force

95,777 95,444 95,673 95,625 -48

Unemployment rates

Total, 16 years and over

3.9 3.6 3.5 3.5 0.0

Adult men (20 years and over)

3.6 3.2 3.2 3.1 -0.1

Adult women (20 years and over)

3.5 3.2 3.2 3.2 0.0

Teenagers (16 to 19 years)

12.6 12.3 12.0 12.6 0.6

White

3.4 3.2 3.2 3.2 0.0

Black or African American

6.6 5.5 5.6 5.9 0.3

Asian

3.3 2.8 2.6 2.5 -0.1

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

4.4 4.1 4.2 4.2 0.0

Total, 25 years and over

3.1 2.9 2.9 2.8 -0.1

Less than a high school diploma

5.8 5.5 5.3 5.2 -0.1

High school graduates, no college

3.8 3.7 3.7 3.7 0.0

Some college or associate degree

3.3 2.8 2.9 2.7 -0.2

Bachelor’s degree and higher

2.2 2.1 2.0 1.9 -0.1

Reason for unemployment

Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs

2,892 2,691 2,804 2,686 -118

Job leavers

827 846 776 829 53

Reentrants

1,968 1,698 1,663 1,655 -8

New entrants

600 622 581 551 -30

Duration of unemployment

Less than 5 weeks

2,117 1,978 2,026 2,065 39

5 to 14 weeks

2,007 1,747 1,753 1,730 -23

15 to 26 weeks

899 884 865 812 -53

27 weeks and over

1,311 1,259 1,219 1,186 -33

Employed persons at work part time

Part time for economic reasons

4,655 4,397 4,288 4,148 -140

Slack work or business conditions

2,895 2,747 2,634 2,657 23

Could only find part-time work

1,487 1,278 1,259 1,215 -44

Part time for noneconomic reasons

21,230 21,544 21,532 21,586 54

Persons not in the labor force (not seasonally adjusted)

Marginally attached to the labor force

1,556 1,229 1,246 1,246

Discouraged workers

375 341 325 277

– Over-the-month changes are not displayed for not seasonally adjusted data.
NOTE: Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Detail for the seasonally adjusted data shown in this table will not necessarily add to totals because of the independent seasonal adjustment of the various series. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.a.htm

Employment Situation Summary Table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted

ESTABLISHMENT DATA
Summary table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted
Category Dec.
2018
Oct.
2019
Nov.
2019(P)
Dec.
2019(P)

EMPLOYMENT BY SELECTED INDUSTRY
(Over-the-month change, in thousands)

Total nonfarm

227 152 256 145

Total private

224 164 243 139

Goods-producing

40 -29 52 -1

Mining and logging

4 2 -8 -9

Construction

16 14 2 20

Manufacturing

20 -45 58 -12

Durable goods(1)

14 -51 48 -7

Motor vehicles and parts

1.2 -43.6 39.3 -0.8

Nondurable goods

6 6 10 -5

Private service-providing

184 193 191 140

Wholesale trade

12.5 10.7 -2.5 8.3

Retail trade

-5.9 30.9 -14.1 41.2

Transportation and warehousing

-1.1 2.8 11.9 -10.4

Utilities

-0.2 -1.4 1.2 0.8

Information

-2 0 8 3

Financial activities

1 16 14 6

Professional and business services(1)

37 35 53 10

Temporary help services

13.5 -5.4 4.0 6.4

Education and health services(1)

67 31 72 36

Health care and social assistance

52.9 37.8 63.8 33.9

Leisure and hospitality

65 70 38 40

Other services

11 -2 10 5

Government

3 -12 13 6

(3-month average change, in thousands)

Total nonfarm

233 188 200 184

Total private

236 170 197 182

WOMEN AND PRODUCTION AND NONSUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES
AS A PERCENT OF ALL EMPLOYEES(2)

Total nonfarm women employees

49.7 50.0 50.0 50.0

Total private women employees

48.3 48.6 48.6 48.7

Total private production and nonsupervisory employees

82.4 82.2 82.2 82.2

HOURS AND EARNINGS
ALL EMPLOYEES

Total private

Average weekly hours

34.5 34.3 34.3 34.3

Average hourly earnings

$27.53 $28.20 $28.29 $28.32

Average weekly earnings

$949.79 $967.26 $970.35 $971.38

Index of aggregate weekly hours (2007=100)(3)

110.7 111.4 111.6 111.7

Over-the-month percent change

0.5 -0.1 0.2 0.1

Index of aggregate weekly payrolls (2007=100)(4)

145.6 150.1 150.9 151.2

Over-the-month percent change

0.8 0.1 0.5 0.2

DIFFUSION INDEX
(Over 1-month span)(5)

Total private (258 industries)

65.9 55.2 65.7 57.0

Manufacturing (76 industries)

65.1 38.2 65.8 44.7

Footnotes
(1) Includes other industries, not shown separately.
(2) Data relate to production employees in mining and logging and manufacturing, construction employees in construction, and nonsupervisory employees in the service-providing industries.
(3) The indexes of aggregate weekly hours are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate hours by the corresponding annual average aggregate hours.
(4) The indexes of aggregate weekly payrolls are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate weekly payrolls by the corresponding annual average aggregate weekly payrolls.
(5) Figures are the percent of industries with employment increasing plus one-half of the industries with unchanged employment, where 50 percent indicates an equal balance between industries with increasing and decreasing employment.
(P) Preliminary

NOTE: Data have been revised to reflect March 2018 benchmark levels and updated seasonal adjustment factors.

 

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.b.htm

Story 2: Global Long Term (Secular) Stagnation, Excess Capacity and Massive Debt Levels — Videos

What is SECULAR STAGNATION THEORY? What does SECULAR STAGNATION THEORY mean?

What is Secular Stagnation

May 4, 2016

2020 FINANCIAL CRISIS | Has it started? The $500 Billion Dollar Question

Global economic outlook 2020 | Recession or growth?

Investigating ‘Secular Stagnation’

Oct 13, 2016

Summers on U.S. Economy, Inflation and `Secular Stagnation’

Secular Stagnation and the Future of Global Macroeconomic Policy

Lawrence Summers, “Secular Stagnation and Monetary Policy” | 2016 Homer Jones Lecture

Larry Summers at IMF Economic Forum, Nov. 8

Nov 8, 2013

“Too much Maths, too little History: The problem of Economics”

Next economic downturn scares billionaire hedge fund founder Ray Dalio – Davos 2019

Davos 2019 – Rethinking Global Financial Risk

Full interview with billionaire investor Ray Dalio | Managing Asia

Ray Dalio on US China Trade War

Ray Dalio’s hedge fund bets $1 billion that stocks will fall: WSJ

Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio Discusses the Impact of China’s Growth on the World Economy

Billionaire Ray Dalio on success, mediation, the markets and more

Why Ray Dalio Thinks The Stock Crash Of 1937 Matters In 2019/2020

Ray Dalio: Central banks will get so desperate they will give money away

Mar 4, 2016

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio

Will the Market Crash in 2020? | Phil Town

This July 16, 2019, file photo shows the Capitol Dome in Washington. The U.S. budget deficit through the first three months of this budget year is up 11.8% from the same period a year ago, putting the country on track to record its first $1 trillion deficit in eight years. The Treasury Department said Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, that the deficit from October through December totaled $356.6 billion. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

The U.S. budget deficit through the first three months of this budget year is up 11.8% from the same period a year ago, putting the country on track to record its first $1 trillion deficit in eight years.

In its monthly budget report, the Treasury Department said Monday that the deficit from October through December totaled $356.6 billion, up from $318.9 billion for the same period last year.

Both government spending and revenues set records for the first three months of this budget year but spending rose at a faster clip than tax collections, pushing the deficit total up.

The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the deficit for the current 2020 budget year will hit $1 trillion and will remain over $1 trillion for the next decade. The country has not experienced $1 trillion annual deficits since the period from 2009 through 2012 following the 2008 financial crisis.

The actual deficit for the 2019 budget year, which ended Sept. 30, was $984.4 billion, up 26% from the 2018 imbalance, reflecting the impact of the $1.5 trillion tax cut President Donald Trump pushed through Congress in 2017 and increased spending for military and domestic programs that Trump accepted as part of a budget deal with Democrats.

The projections of trillion-dollar deficits are in contrast to Trump’s campaign promise in 2016 that even with his proposed tax cuts, he would be able to eliminate future deficits with cuts in spending and growth in revenues that would result from a stronger economy.

For the first three months of the 2020 budget year, revenues have totaled $806.5 billion, up 4.8% from the same three months a year ago, while government spending has totaled $948.9 billion, an increase of 6.3% from a year ago.

Both the spending amounts and revenue amounts are records for the first three months of a budget year. The deficit in December totaled $13.3 billion, slightly lower than the $13.5 billion deficit in December 2019.

https://apnews.com/179b7a049feebdc199d1699408bb5310

Secular stagnation: it’s time to admit that Larry Summers was right about this global economic growth trap

No laughing matter. Asia SocietyCC BY-SA

Summers would go on to suggest that secular stagnation “may be the defining macroeconomic challenge of our times”. There followed a major debate between heavyweight economists about whether he was right, but for several years the global economy contradicted him by growing steadily.

Now, however, this looks to be at an end. Look no further than the OECD projections from March 6, which foresee all advanced economies growing much more slowly than anticipated a few months ago. The left-hand chart below shows the OECD projections from last May, while the right-hand chart shows the latest outlook, complete with red arrows to indicate the sharpest downward revisions.

OECD

The overarching global theme seems to be Donald Trump’s trade war and the fact that central banks have been tightening monetary policy: the US Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates four times in the past year, while the European Central Bank is no longer “printing” money through its programme of quantitative easing. There are additional local reasons, such as UK fears about a hard Brexit, or excessive levels of private sector debt in China. Underlying all of this, however, is the growing feeling that secular stagnation is a major drag behind the scenes.

Back in fashion

The theory was originally put forward in 1938 by the Harvard economist Alvin Hansen in response to the Great Depression. He argued that America’s economy was suffering from a lack of investment opportunities linked to waning technological innovation; and not enough new workers due to an ageing population, too little immigration, and the closing of the old economic frontier in the American West.

In Hansen’s view, the weak growth in the economy was therefore here to stay – “secular” means “long term” in this context. Yet he would soon be proved spectacularly wrong as World War II provided a big temporary boost to the economy in the form of military spending, followed by a post-war baby boom and rapid technological progress in the 1950s and 1960s. Little more was heard of secular stagnation until Larry Summers’ intervention.

At the core of the theory today is real interest rates. This refers to the long-term interest rate, meaning the rate of return on ten-year government bonds, after inflation has been stripped out. For example, if a country’s long-term interest rate is 1% but the rate of inflation is 2.5%, the real interest rate is -1.5%.

When you take a global average of real interest rates from different countries, my own research shows that the global rate has declined from more than 5% in the early 1980s to below 0% after the financial crisis of 2007-09. Today, real interest rates remain negative in many advanced economies, including Japan, Sweden, Switzerland and the entire eurozone.

Summers has pointed to several structural factors behind this long-term decline. In an echo of what appeared true in 1938, rich countries are ageing as birth rates decline and people live longer. This has pushed down real interest rates because investors think these trends will mean they will make lower returns from investing in future, making them more willing to accept a lower return on government debt as a result.

Other factors that make investors similarly pessimistic include rising global inequality and the slowdown in productivity growth. It is a major paradox that labour productivity, the most important source of long-run economic growth, is actually rising much slower today than for decades, even though technological progress has seemingly accelerated.

This decline in real interest rates matters because economists believe that to overcome an economic downturn, a central bank must drive down the real interest rate to a certain level to encourage more spending and investment. This is referred to as the level required to reach full employment. Because real interest rates are so low, Summers and his supporters believe that the rate required to reach full employment is so far into negative territory that it is effectively impossible.

The remedy

Summers argues that this problem is why the massive cuts to headline interest rates after the financial crisis did not solve the problem. In other words, monetary policy was actually much less expansionary than many people believe (even though quantitative easing was actually helpful here). Not only that, there is now substantial evidence that austerity policies in places like southern Europe made things significantly worse.

The upshot is that in the eurozone and elsewhere, there is little or no room to cut interest rates when the next recession comes – probably fairly soon given the current expansion is already a few years old. Central bankers will meanwhile be wary of using more quantitative easing, since it has generated a lot of political backlash.

‘No stagnation here, mate.’ Markus Mainka

So what to do instead? Interestingly, the one country not to have had a recession in almost 30 years is Australia, which has enjoyed very high population growth and has never seen interest rates as low as many countries. This suggests that in the long run, more immigration might be a vital part of curing secular stagnation. Summers also heavily prescribes increased government spending, arguing that it might actually be more prudent than cutting back – especially if the money is spent on infrastructure, education and research and development.

Of course, governments in Europe and the US are instead trying to shut their doors to migrants. And austerity policies have taken their toll on infrastructure and public research. This looks set to ensure that the next recession will be particularly nasty when it comes. Alvin Hansen may have been wrong in the 1930s but his analysis is looking increasingly persuasive today. Unless governments change course radically, we could be in for a sobering period ahead.

 

http://theconversation.com/secular-stagnation-its-time-to-admit-that-larry-summers-was-right-about-this-global-economic-growth-trap-112977

Global debt hits an all-time high of $188 TRILLION – more than DOUBLE the world’s economic output – the IMF warns

  • IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva warned global debt has surged to a all-time high
  • Debt is at $188 trillion – which is around 230 per cent of world’s economic output
  • Kristalina Georgieva said high debt burdens left many governments vulnerable

Global debt has hit an all-time high of $188 trillion, which is more than double the output of the global economy, the IMF warned today.

The global debt load has surged to a new record of around 230 per cent of world’s output, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said.

While private sector borrowing accounts for the vast majority of the total, the rise puts governments and individuals at risk if the economy slows, she said.

‘Global debt – both public and private – has reached an all-time high of $188 trillion.  This amounts to about 230 per cent of world output,’ Georgieva said in a speech to open a two-day conference on debt.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks during a news conference last month. She warned debt burdens on governments around the world

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks during a news conference last month. She warned debt burdens on governments around the world

That is up from the previous record of $164 trillion in 2016, according to IMF figures.

While interest rates remain low, borrowers can use debt to make investments in productive activities or weather a bout of low commodity prices.

But it can become ‘a drag on growth’, she said.

‘The bottom line is that high debt burdens have left many governments, companies, and households vulnerable to a sudden tightening of financial conditions,’ she cautioned.

Corporate debt accounts for about two thirds of the total but government borrowing has risen as well in the wake of the global financial crisis.

‘Public debt in advanced economies is at levels not seen since the Second World War,’ she warned. And ’emerging market public debt is at levels last seen during the 1980s debt crisis.’

She called for steps to ensure ‘borrowing is more sustainable,’ including making lending practices more transparent and preparing for debt restructuring with ‘non-traditional lenders’ – an apparent reference to China, which has become a major creditor to developing nations including in Africa.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7661737/Global-debt-hits-time-high-188-TRILLION-DOUBLE-worlds-economic-output-IMF-warn.html

 

Secular stagnation

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In economics, secular stagnation is a condition when there is negligible or no economic growth in a market-based economy.[1] In this context, the term secular means long-term (from Latin “saeculum“—century or lifetime), and is used in contrast to cyclical or short-term. It suggests a change of fundamental dynamics which would play out only in its own time. The concept was originally put forth by Alvin Hansen in 1938. According to The Economist, it was used to “describe what he feared was the fate of the American economy following the Great Depression of the early 1930s: a check to economic progress as investment opportunities were stunted by the closing of the frontier and the collapse of immigration”.[2][3] Warnings of impending secular stagnation have been issued after all deep recessions since the Great Depression, but the hypothesis has remained controversial.[4][5]

Definition

Sectoral balances in U.S. economy 1990-2017. By definition, the three balances must net to zero. The green line indicates a private sector surplus, where savings exceeds investment. Since 2008, the foreign sector surplus and private sector surplus have been offset by a government budget deficit.[6]

The term secular stagnation refers to a market economy with a chronic (secular or long-term) lack of demand. Historically, a booming economy with low unemployment and high GDP growth (i.e., an economy at or above capacity) would generate inflation in wages and products. However, an economy facing secular stagnation behaves as if it is operating below capacity, even when the economy appears to be booming; inflation does not appear. Savings by households exceeds investment by businesses, which in a healthy economy would cause interest rates to fall, stimulating spending and investment thereby bringing the two into balance. However, an economy facing secular stagnation may require an interest rate below zero to bring savings and investment into balance. The surplus of savings over investment may be generating price appreciation in financial assets or real estate. For example, the U.S. had low unemployment but low inflation in the years leading up to the Great Recession, although a massive housing bubble developed.[7]

The idea of secular stagnation dates back to the Great Depression, when some economists feared that the United States had permanently entered a period of low growth.[8] The Economist explained in 2018 that many factors may contribute to secular stagnation, by either driving up savings or reducing investment. Households paying down debt (i.e., deleveraging) increase savings and are spending less; businesses react to the lack of demand by investing less. This was a major factor in the slow U.S. GDP growth during 2009-2012 following the Great Recession. Another possible cause is income inequality, which shifts more money to the wealthy, who tend to save it rather than spend it, thus increasing savings and perhaps driving up financial asset prices. Aging populations (which spend less per capita) and a slowdown in productivity may also reduce investment. Governments facing secular stagnation may choose to: a) accept slower growth; b) accept an asset bubble to temporarily stimulate the economy; or c) absorb the savings surplus through higher budget deficits, which reduces national savings but increases the risk of financial crises. Central banks face a difficult dilemma; do they raise interest rates to ward off inflation (e.g., implement monetary policy austerity) assuming the economy is in a cyclical boom, or assume the economy (even if temporarily booming) is in secular stagnation and therefore take a more stimulative approach?[7]

Stagnation and the financial explosion: the 1980s

An analysis of stagnation and what is now called financialization was provided in the 1980s by Harry Magdoff and Paul Sweezy, coeditors of the independent socialist journal Monthly Review. Magdoff was a former economic advisor to Vice President Henry A. Wallace in Roosevelt’s New Deal administration, while Sweezy was a former Harvard economics professor. In their 1987 book, Stagnation and the Financial Explosion, they argued, based on Keynes, Hansen, Michał Kalecki, and Marx, and marshaling extensive empirical data,[citation needed] that, contrary to the usual way of thinking, stagnation or slow growth was the norm for mature, monopolistic (or oligopolistic) economies, while rapid growth was the exception.[9]

Private accumulation had a strong tendency to weak growth and high levels of excess capacity and unemployment/underemployment, which could, however, be countered in part by such exogenous factors as state spending (military and civilian), epoch-making technological innovations (for example, the automobile in its expansionary period), and the growth of finance.[10] In the 1980s and 1990s Magdoff and Sweezy argued that a financial explosion of long duration was lifting the economy, but this would eventually compound the contradictions of the system, producing ever bigger speculative bubbles, and leading eventually to a resumption of overt stagnation.

2008–2009

Economists have asked whether the low economic growth rate in the developed world leading up to and following the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2008 was due to secular stagnation. Paul Krugman wrote in September 2013: “[T]here is a case for believing that the problem of maintaining adequate aggregate demand is going to be very persistent – that we may face something like the ‘secular stagnation’ many economists feared after World War II.” Krugman wrote that fiscal policy stimulus and higher inflation (to achieve a negative real rate of interest necessary to achieve full employment) may be potential solutions.[11]

Larry Summers presented his view during November 2013 that secular (long-term) stagnation may be a reason that U.S. growth is insufficient to reach full employment: “Suppose then that the short term real interest rate that was consistent with full employment [i.e., the “natural rate”] had fallen to negative two or negative three percent. Even with artificial stimulus to demand you wouldn’t see any excess demand. Even with a resumption in normal credit conditions you would have a lot of difficulty getting back to full employment.”[12][13]

Robert J. Gordon wrote in August 2012: “Even if innovation were to continue into the future at the rate of the two decades before 2007, the U.S. faces six headwinds that are in the process of dragging long-term growth to half or less of the 1.9 percent annual rate experienced between 1860 and 2007. These include demography, education, inequality, globalization, energy/environment, and the overhang of consumer and government debt. A provocative ‘exercise in subtraction’ suggests that future growth in consumption per capita for the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution could fall below 0.5 percent per year for an extended period of decades”.[14]

Post-2009

This chart compares U.S. potential GDP under two CBO forecasts (one from 2007 and one from 2016) versus the actual real GDP. It is based on a similar diagram from economist Larry Summers from 2014.[15]

Secular stagnation was dusted off by Hans-Werner Sinn in a 2009 article [16] dismissing the threat of inflation, and became popular again when Larry Summers invoked the term and concept during a 2013 speech at the IMF.[17]

However, The Economist criticizes secular stagnation as “a baggy concept, arguably too capacious for its own good”.[2] Warnings of impending secular stagnation have been issued after all deep recessions, but turned out to be wrong because they underestimated the potential of existing technologies.[4]

Paul Krugman, writing in 2014, clarified that it refers to “the claim that underlying changes in the economy, such as slowing growth in the working-age population, have made episodes like the past five years in Europe and the United States, and the last 20 years in Japan, likely to happen often. That is, we will often find ourselves facing persistent shortfalls of demand, which can’t be overcome even with near-zero interest rates.”[18] At its root is “the problem of building consumer demand at a time when people are less motivated to spend”.[19]

One theory is that the boost in growth by the internet and technological advancement in computers of the new economy does not measure up to the boost caused by the great inventions of the past. An example of such a great invention is the assembly line production method of Fordism. The general form of the argument has been the subject of papers by Robert J. Gordon.[20] It has also been written about by Owen. C. Paepke and Tyler Cowen.[21]

Secular stagnation has also been linked to the rise of the digital economy. Carl Benedikt Frey, for example, has suggested that digital technologies are much less capital-absorbing, creating only little new investment demand relative to other revolutionary technologies.[22]

Another is that the damage done by the Great Recession was so long-lasting and permanent, so many workers will never get jobs again, that we really can’t recover.[19]

A third is that there is a “persistent and disturbing reluctance of businesses to invest and consumers to spend”, perhaps in part because so much of the recent gains have gone to the people at the top, and they tend to save more of their money than people—ordinary working people who can’t afford to do that.[19]

A fourth is that advanced economies are just simply paying the price for years of inadequate investment in infrastructure and education, the basic ingredients of growth.

A fifth is related to decreased mortality and increased longevity, thus changes in the demographic structure in advanced economies, affecting both demand, through increased savings, and supply, through reduced innovation activities.[23]

And a sixth is that economic growth is largely related to the concept of energy returned on energy invested (EROEI), or energy surplus, which with the discovery of fossil fuels shot up to very high and historically unprecedented levels. This allowed, and in effect fueled, dramatic increases in human consumption since the Industrial Revolution and many related technological advances. Under this argument, diminishing and increasingly difficult to access fossil fuel reserves directly lead to significantly reduced EROEI, and therefore put a brake on, and potentially reverse, long-term economic growth, leading to secular stagnation.[24] Linked to the EROEI argument are those stemming from the Limits to Growth school of thinking, whereby environmental and resource constraints in general are likely to impose an eventual limit on the continued expansion of human consumption and incomes. While ‘limits to growth’ thinking went out of fashion in the decades following the initial publication in 1972, a recent study[25] shows human development continues to align well with the ‘overshoot and collapse’ projection outlined in the standard run of the original analysis, and this is before factoring in the potential effects of climate change.

A 2018 CUSP working paper by Tim Jackson, The Post-Growth Challenge,[26] argues that low growth rates might in fact be ‘the new normal’.[27]

See also

References

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

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Why are Iran and Saudi Arabia enemies?

Trump’s Iran Policy Is Brain-Dead

Lacking coherent objectives and a strategy for achieving them, moves like the assassination of Qassem Suleimani are foreign policy as theater—and could leave the United States worse off.

A man holds a picture of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani during a demonstration in Tehran on Jan. 3.

A man holds a picture of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani during a demonstration in Tehran on Jan. 3. ATTA KENARE/ AFP/ GETTY IMAGES

Well, that didn’t take long. 2020 is less than a week old, and U.S. President Donald Trump has managed to stumble into another pointless and dangerous crisis with Iran. It is the near-inevitable result of his myopic approach to the entire Middle East (and especially Iran) and another demonstration of Washington’s inability to formulate a coherent and effective policy toward any important global issue.

When did this country get so bad at strategy?

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In fairness, the problem predates Trump, although his own incompetence, impulsiveness, indifference to advice, and uncanny ability to pick third-rate advisors has made the problem worse. The end result may be more innocent lives lost—some of them American—and a further erosion in the United States’ global position. And that’s assuming that Trump’s ordering of the killing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qassem Suleimani doesn’t lead to all-out war.

With respect to Iran, the assassination is a strategic error entirely of Trump’s own making. Egged on by Saudi Arabia, Israel, hawkish institutes like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and some of his wealthy backers, the president abandoned the multilateral agreement that had successfully capped Iran’s nuclear program and also created a diplomatic opening that a savvier administration could have used to address Iran’s regional activities. He then began his campaign of so-called maximum pressure—a comprehensive program of economic warfare against Iran that sought to eliminate the country’s enrichment capacity, force Iran to change its foreign policy to suit the United States, and maybe topple the regime itself. Ordinary Iranians are suffering mightily as a result of U.S. sanctions, but the regime has neither caved to Trump’s demands nor collapsed. Instead, it has moved gradually to restart its nuclear program, cultivated closer ties with Russia and China, and retaliated against U.S. allies in the region. The logic of Tehran’s response is straightforward and utterly predictable: If the United States wants to make life difficult for Iran, its leaders will demonstrate that they can make life difficult for the United States too. It wouldn’t take more than a shred of strategic thinking to anticipate Iran’s response and recognize that unilateral pressure was not going to work.

By eschewing diplomacy and relying solely on threats and coercion, Trump gave himself no choice but to back down or escalate once it became clear that maximum pressure had backfired. When an Iraqi militia with ties to Iran staged a rocket attack in early December 2019 that killed a U.S. contractor, Trump responded with airstrikes against the militia camps that killed some two dozen Iraqis. Pro-Iranian Iraqi demonstrators proceeded to besiege the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, although with no loss of life. The demonstrators eventually dispersed, and the situation seemed to be deescalating. But then Trump approved the assassination of Suleimani, a very senior and highly respected Iranian official, in Baghdad early Friday morning.

To understand how this chain of events might look from Iran’s perspective, consider how the United States might respond if a foreign adversary killed a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the head of the CIA, or maybe even the vice president. Washington would not just shrug it off. To say this is not to defend Suleimani, who was by all accounts an ardent foe of the United States. It is rather to ask the proper strategic question: Did assassinating a prominent official of a foreign government advance the country’s national interest? Will this act make Americans safer and richer, or increase their influence around the world? The answer is: no and no.

For starters, Iran will almost inevitably respond, just as the United States would were the situation reversed. The regime will do so at a time and with means of its own choosing, and in ways designed to maximize the pain and political impact. Second, the assassination is going to inflame Iranian nationalism and strengthen hard-line forces in Iran, further reducing any possibility of regime change there. Third, killing Suleimani on Iraqi soil is a violation of Iraqi sovereignty that put its fragile government on even shakier ground, and it is worth noting that caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has already condemned the U.S. action. Fourth, Trump has now given Iran even more incentive to acquire nuclear weapons, a step that would force Washington to go to all-out war or back down and accept an Iranian bomb. All this over a country that has serious disputes with some of the United States’ regional partners but does not threaten the security or prosperity of the United States itself in any meaningful way.

And finally, there’s the precedent the United States is setting. As the political scientist Ward Thomas explained in a seminal article in 2000, there has long been a powerful international norm against assassinations by governments, largely because the leaders of powerful states understand that it is in their mutual self-interest not to try to kill each other. The taboo didn’t completely eliminate the use of this tactic, of course, and Thomas argues that the norm has begun to break down in recent decades. But do we really want to live in a world where assassination is regarded as a perfectly normal way of doing business and becomes more and more commonplace? Surely hawkish American politicians who think killing Suleimani was acceptable don’t really want to run the risk of ending up on somebody else’s target list. And to be sure, if Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the killing of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, or if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un decided to redouble his grandfather’s efforts to murder politicians in South Korea, it would be far harder for the United States to object.

Moreover, although taking out bad guys may appeal to a crude desire for vengeance, it rarely solves the underlying political problem. A lot of bad leaders have departed this mortal coil in recent decades, yet the political challenges they embodied continue to bedevil us. Al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden, Libya’s Muammar al-Qaddafi, North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the Taliban’s Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Islamic State’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and many other U.S. foes are gone, but their deaths didn’t magically solve the foreign-policy problems with which they were associated. Indeed, there is some evidence that “decapitation” (that is, killing top leaders) tends to empower extremists and incline them toward even greater violence.

In short, the Trump administration’s approach to Iran—including this most recent incident—appears devoid of strategic logic or purpose. Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and the rest of the administration’s foreign-policy team are like chess players who have failed to consider more than one move at a time and thus miss what should be an obvious fact of life in international politics: The other player gets to move their pieces too. Their denunciations, reinforcements, sanctions, and drone strikes are foreign policy as performance art, instead of the tough-minded and careful realpolitik that should inform a great nation’s approach to the world.iran

Now for the really bad news: The lack of strategic thinking—formulating a clear objective and developing a coherent plan to achieve it that anticipates how others are likely to respond—isn’t limited to the United States’ dealings with Iran. And it goes well beyond the Trump administration, besides. Indeed, I’d argue that the country’s ability to formulate clear and effective strategies has been steadily eroding for some time. In my next column, I’ll offer some additional illustrations of the problem and explain why genuine strategic thinking is now an endangered species in the Land of the Free.

Trump’s Iran Policy Is Brain-Dead

Has Trump Become a Realist?

America finally has a president who grasps the basic logic of offshore balancing in the Middle East.

Donald Trump attends a roundtable discon April 16, 2018 in Hialeah, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Donald Trump attends a roundtable discon April 16, 2018 in Hialeah, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

There’s reason to think Donald Trump is becoming a closet realist or even — dare I say it? — an offshore balancer.

Admittedly, it’s hard to credit him with having a coherent strategy of any kind, given the recurring contradictions in what he says and his penchant for reversing course without warning or explanation. But in the Middle East, at least, one could argue that Trump is trying — in his own ill-informed, impulsive, and erratic way — to return to the strategy of offshore balancing that the United States pursued more or less successfully in this region from 1945 to 1992.

To review: After World War II, U.S. leaders recognized that the Middle East was of increasing strategic importance. Oil and natural gas were fueling the world economy, and the Middle East contained enormous and readily accessible reserves. Accordingly, preventing any single power from dominating the region and gaining effective control of these critical resources became a central U.S. objective. But the United States didn’t try to protect Middle East oil by colonizing the region or garrisoning it with its own troops. Instead, it relied on Great Britain (until the late 1960s) and a variety of local clients to maintain a regional balance of power and prevent the Soviet Union from acquiring excessive influence.

When the United States did intervene with military force — as it did in Lebanon in 1958 — it kept its presence small and didn’t stay long. Concerns about a potential Soviet grab for the Gulf led the United States to create a new Rapid Deployment Force after the 1979 Iranian revolution, but Washington kept it offshore and over the horizon and didn’t bring it into the region until Iraq seized Kuwait in 1990. Because that invasion posed a serious threat to the regional balance of power, it made good sense for the United States (and many others) to intervene to expel Iraq and demolish much of its military machine.

The United States abandoned this sensible strategy after the first Gulf War, however, opting first for dual containment and then regional transformation. The first approach helped produce 9/11; the second brought us the debacle in Iraq and played no small role in the emergence of the Islamic State and the wider chaos we see there today. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Trump was critical of past U.S. involvement and promised to act differently as president.

In that light, consider what Trump has done since he took office.

First, as his recent actions in Syria remind us, he has shown no enthusiasm whatsoever for an expanded U.S. role in that conflict and especially not if it might involve a major U.S. ground force presence. Remember that a couple of weeks ago he was talking about getting out entirely, to the horror of nearly everyone in the foreign-policy mainstream. Like his predecessors, he’s willing to order missile strikes on thugs such as Bashar al-Assad — earning the usual cheers from liberal interventionists who never saw a military action they couldn’t find some rationale for supporting — but he’s not going to do more than that, and there’s no sign of a U.S.-led diplomatic initiative (such as the one Aaron Stein has proposed) that might actually move that brutal conflict closer to a solution. Blowing things up from a safe distance is all Trump seems willing to contemplate, even when it won’t affect the situation in Syria in the slightest.

The rest of Trump’s approach to the Middle East has been to let America’s local clients — Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Syrian Kurdish militias, etc. — do more to counter various regional opponents (Iran, Syria, and increasingly Russia), as well as nonstate troublemakers, including al Qaeda and offshoots such as the Islamic State. Hezbollah and Hamas fall under that bad guy umbrella, too. To aid these efforts, the United States will sell or give its allies lots of sophisticated weapons (which helps reduce the trade deficit) and provide them with diplomatic cover at the United Nations. Washington will also turn a blind eye to whatever foolish cruelties its regional partners decide to inflict on mostly helpless victims and forget about trying to promote democracy, human rights, regional transformation, or any of that idealistic sob stuff.

Isn’t this more restrained approach what I (and other realists) have been recommending for years, to little avail? The United States stays out of the region and lets the locals duke it out so long as none of them comes close to winning it all. Over time, it can worry less and less about the entire Middle East as the world weans itself off fossil fuels (and the country’s own shale gas production provides whatever residual it needs). In the meantime, the United States can focus its attention on regions that matter more, such as East and Southeast Asia. Shouldn’t I be cheering (and claiming credit) for Trump’s handling of these issues?

Not quite.

There’s no question that Trump is appropriately wary of what he sees as open-ended military quagmires, and that’s a step in the right direction after the follies of the past 25 years. But that wariness hardly makes him unique at this point. No sensible leader starts a war if he or she knows in advance that it will be an open-ended and costly affair, and for the United States, the more demanding challenge is getting out of the endless wars of choice it has stumbled into by mistake. And here Trump has visibly failed.

Tweeted misgivings and sometimes sensible rhetoric aside, the cold, hard truth is that Trump has done next to nothing to reduce the U.S. footprint in the greater Middle East. In addition to sending more troops to the unwinnable Afghan war, he has authorized the Defense Department to ramp up U.S. counterterrorism activities in several places and sent more troops to do the job. By one estimate, the U.S. military presence in the region has increased by about 33 percent on Trump’s watch, to a total of roughly 54,000 troops and civilian support personnel.

To be clear, that’s not exactly what people like me mean by “offshore.”

Second, the central goal of offshore balancing is to prevent any hostile power from dominating a critical strategic region and, if possible, to get others to bear most of the burden of that effort. Well, as Trump (or George W. Bush) might say: “Mission accomplished.” Preserving a balance of power in the region is easier today than it has ever been because the Middle East is already as divided as it has ever been and there’s no outside power (like the old Soviet Union) that might aspire to such a goal. (Russia’s role in Syria is limited to keeping Assad in power — full stop — and that’s a very modest objective.) The idea that any single power is going to dominate or control the entire region is presently remote and likely to remain so for decades. The United States couldn’t do it when it was the uncontested unipolar power, and China, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, or Iran wouldn’t be able to do it if they tried.

Yet Trump’s headlong support for America’s present clients rests on the assumption that the regional balance of power is actually quite delicate. Poorly informed and easily bamboozled, he has swallowed the Saudi/Israeli/Emirati view that Iran is a rapacious potential hegemon that is on the brink of establishing a new Persian Empire. In Trump’s mind, therefore, the United States has little choice but to give its local allies uncritical and unconditional support. (One suspects the equally gullible Jared Kushner had a role in this feverish vision, too.) At the same time, Trump inexplicably thinks walking away from the nuclear deal with Iran will make containing the country easier because he fails to grasp that sabotaging the deal will make it more likely that Iran ends up a nuclear weapons state like North Korea. The United States could launch a preventive war, but that possibility has quagmire written all over it and is hardly what offshore balancers would recommend. America’s local clients may be delighted if it took this fateful step (and if it worked, of course), but that would only prove that Washington’s allies were better at passing the buck to it than it was at passing the buck back to them.

Needless to say, Trump’s uncritical embrace of U.S. allies’ self-interested worldview is at odds with the sober realism that offshore balancers recommend. And as I’ve already explained in an earlier column, paranoia about Iran is badly at odds with reality and just gets in the way of a more sensible Middle East strategy.

Furthermore, giving present allies unconditional support while ostracizing Iran reduces America’s leverage over everyone’s behavior and thus limits its ability to shape events in positive ways. It encourages allies to take U.S. support for granted — and why shouldn’t they, given the fawning adoration on display for leaders such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — and gives them little incentive to do what they can to stay in America’s good graces.

Even worse, such an uncritical stance encourages what Barry Posen, a security studies expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, calls “reckless driving,” meaning the tendency for allies to take unnecessary risks and pursue foolhardy policies because they believe their powerful patron will bail them out if they get into difficulties. That overconfidence explains why the Israeli government thinks building settlements poses no risks and helps us understand why Mohammed bin Salman is waging a costly and inhumane war in Yemen, trying (and failing) to ostracize Qatar, and interfering in Lebanon and Syria to no good purpose. It is partly because he is headstrong and impulsive but also because he’s confident that America has his back now no matter how badly his initiatives fare.

If the United States were truly acting like an offshore balancer (i.e., the way Great Britain did in its great-power heyday), it would have diplomatic relations and businesslike dealings with all countries in the Middle East, not just the ones that have successfully convinced it to back their agendas and ignore its own interests. Offshore balancers want U.S. diplomats talking to everyone pretty much all of the time and to drive a hard bargain with friends and foes alike. That’s the luxury America’s providential position in the Western Hemisphere affords it, and you’d think a selfish guy like Trump would understand it easily. The United States should have regular dealings with its adversaries not because it likes them or agrees with them but because that is the best way to advance U.S. interests. Frequent interactions with both friends and (current) foes give Washington the opportunity to explain how it sees things, make it easier for it to understand what others are thinking, and facilitate devising strategies that will get them to give the United States most of what it wants.

Lastly, talking to everyone reminds enemies that they might become friends if they play their cards right and reminds current friends that they aren’t the only game in town and that they shouldn’t take American support for granted. When U.S. officials meet with their counterparts in in Riyadh or Tel Aviv or Cairo, I want everyone in the room to know that some other U.S. officials are busy discussing regional affairs in Tehran and Moscow, too. And vice versa, of course. That’s how other great powers do it: Why shouldn’t the United States?

To sum up: Trump has a ways to go before he can be considered a true offshore balancer. He seems to grasp part of the logic — it’s better to let others contend than to do the heavy lifting yourself — but he lacks the knowledge, skill, and subtlety to make a sophisticated strategy like this work. I’m not expecting him to improve either, because he may not have that much time left. And even if he does, learning on the job just doesn’t seem to be in his skill set.

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.

United States non-interventionism

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Non-interventionism is the diplomatic policy whereby a nation seeks to avoid alliances with other nations in order to avoid being drawn into wars not related to direct territorial self-defense, has had a long history among government and popular opinion in the United States. At times, the degree and nature of this policy was better known as isolationism, such as the period between the world wars.

 

Background

Robert Walpole, Britain’s first Whig Prime Minister, proclaimed in 1723: “My politics are to keep free from all engagements as long as we possibly can.” He emphasized economic advantage and rejected the idea of intervening in European affairs to maintain a balance of power.[1] Walpole’s position was known to Americans. However, during the American Revolution, the Second Continental Congress debated about forming an alliance with France. It rejected non-interventionism when it was apparent that the American Revolutionary War could be won in no other manner than a military alliance with France, which Benjamin Franklin successfully negotiated in 1778.[2]

After Britain and France went to war in 1792, George Washington declared neutrality, with unanimous support of his cabinet, after deciding that the treaty with France of 1778 did not apply.[3] Washington’s Farewell Address of 1796 explicitly announced the policy of American non-interventionism:

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.[4]

No entangling alliances (19th century)

President Thomas Jefferson extended Washington’s ideas about foreign policy in his March 4, 1801 inaugural address. Jefferson said that one of the “essential principles of our government” is that of “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”[5] He also stated that “Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be” the motto of the United States.[6]

In 1823, President James Monroe articulated what would come to be known as the Monroe Doctrine, which some have interpreted as non-interventionist in intent: “In the wars of the European powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken part, nor does it comport with our policy, so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded, or seriously menaced that we resent injuries, or make preparations for our defense.” It was applied to Hawaii in 1842 in support of eventual annexation there, and to support U.S. expansion on the North American continent.

After Tsar Alexander II put down the 1863 January Uprising in Poland, French Emperor Napoleon III asked the United States to “join in a protest to the Tsar.”[7] Secretary of State William H. Seward declined, “defending ‘our policy of non-intervention—straight, absolute, and peculiar as it may seem to other nations,'” and insisted that “[t]he American people must be content to recommend the cause of human progress by the wisdom with which they should exercise the powers of self-government, forbearing at all times, and in every way, from foreign alliances, intervention, and interference.”[7]

President Ulysses S. Grant attempted to Annex the Dominican Republic in 1870, but failed to get the support of the Radical Republicans in the Senate.[8] The United States’ policy of non-intervention was wholly abandoned with the Spanish–American War, followed by the Philippine–American War from 1899–1902.

20th century non-interventionism

Wake Up, America! Civilization Calls, poster by James Montgomery Flagg, 1917

Theodore Roosevelt‘s administration is credited with inciting the Panamanian Revolt against Colombia in order to secure construction rights for the Panama Canal (begun in 1904).

The President of the United States Woodrow Wilson, after winning reelection with the slogan “He kept us out of war,” was able to navigate neutrality in World War I for about three years. Early on, their historic shunning of foreign entanglements, and the presence in the US of immigrants with divided loyalties in the conflict helped maintain neutrality. Various causes compelled American entry into World War I, and Congress would vote to declare war on Germany;[9] this would involve the nation on the side of the Triple Entente, but only as an “associated power” fighting the same enemy, not one officially allied with them.[10] A few months after the declaration of War, Wilson gave a speech to congress outlining his aims to end the conflict, labeled the Fourteen Points. While this American proclamation was less triumphalist than the aims of some of its allies, it did propose in the final point, that a general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike. After the war, Wilson traveled to Europe and stayed for months to labor on the post-war treaty; no president had previously enjoined such sojourn outside of the country. In that Treaty of Versailles, Wilson’s association was formulated as the League of Nations.

Protest march to prevent American involvement in World War II before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Isolationism Between the World Wars

In the wake of the First World War, the non-interventionist tendencies gained ascendancy. The Treaty of Versailles, and thus, United States’ participation in the League of Nations, even with reservations, was rejected by the Senate in the final months of Wilson’s presidency. Republican Senate leader Henry Cabot Lodge supported the Treaty with reservations to be sure Congress had final authority on sending the U.S. into war. Wilson and his Democratic supporters rejected the Lodge Reservations,

The strongest opposition to American entry into the League of Nations came from the Senate where a tight-knit faction known as the Irreconcilables, led by William Borah and George Norris, had great objections regarding the clauses of the treaty which compelled America to come to the defense of other nations. Senator William Borah, of Idaho, declared that it would “purchase peace at the cost of any part of our [American] independence.”[11] Senator Hiram Johnson, of California, denounced the League of Nations as a “gigantic war trust.”[12] While some of the sentiment was grounded in adherence to Constitutional principles, most of the sentiment bore a reassertion of nativist and inward-looking policy.[13]

The United States acted independently to become a major player in the 1920s in international negotiations and treaties. The Harding Administration achieved naval disarmament among the major powers through the Washington Naval Conference in 1921-22. The Dawes Plan refinanced war debts and helped restore prosperity to Germany, In August 1928, fifteen nations signed the Kellogg–Briand Pact, brainchild of American Secretary of State Frank Kellogg and French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand.[14] This pact that was said to have outlawed war and showed the United States commitment to international peace had its semantic flaws.[15] For example, it did not hold the United States to the conditions of any existing treaties, it still allowed European nations the right to self-defense, and it stated that if one nation broke the Pact, it would be up to the other signatories to enforce it.[16] The Kellogg–Briand Pact was more of a sign of good intentions on the part of the US, rather than a legitimate step towards the sustenance of world peace.

The economic depression that ensued after the Crash of 1929, also continued to abet non-intervention. The attention of the country focused mostly on addressing the problems of the national economy. The rise of aggressive expansionism policies by Fascist Italy and the Empire of Japan led to conflicts such as the Italian conquest of Ethiopia and the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. These events led to ineffectual condemnations by the League of Nations. Official American response was muted. America also did not take sides in the brutal Spanish Civil War.

Non-interventionism before entering World War II

As Europe moved closer to war in the late 1930s, the United States Congress continued to demand American neutrality. Between 1936 and 1937, much to the dismay of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Congress passed the Neutrality Acts. For example, in the final Neutrality Act, Americans could not sail on ships flying the flag of a belligerent nation or trade arms with warring nations. Such activities had played a role in American entrance into World War I.

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded PolandBritain and France subsequently declared war on Germany, marking the start of World War II. In an address to the American People two days later, President Roosevelt assured the nation that he would do all he could to keep them out of war.[17] However, his words showed his true goals. “When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries everywhere is in danger,” Roosevelt said.[17] Even though he was intent on neutrality as the official policy of the United States, he still echoed the dangers of staying out of this war. He also cautioned the American people to not let their wish to avoid war at all costs supersede the security of the nation.[17]

The war in Europe split the American people into two camps: non-interventionists and interventionists. The two sides argued over America’s involvement in this World War II. The basic principle of the interventionist argument was fear of German invasion. By the summer of 1940, France suffered a stunning defeat by Germans, and Britain was the only democratic enemy of Germany.[18][19] In a 1940 speech, Roosevelt argued, “Some, indeed, still hold to the now somewhat obvious delusion that we … can safely permit the United States to become a lone island … in a world dominated by the philosophy of force.”[20] A national survey found that in the summer of 1940, 67% of Americans believed that a German-Italian victory would endanger the United States, that if such an event occurred 88% supported “arm[ing] to the teeth at any expense to be prepared for any trouble”, and that 71% favored “the immediate adoption of compulsory military training for all young men”.[21]

Ultimately, the ideological rift between the ideals of the United States and the goals of the fascist powers empowered the interventionist argument. Writer Archibald MacLeish asked, “How could we sit back as spectators of a war against ourselves?”[22] In an address to the American people on December 29, 1940, President Roosevelt said, “the Axis not merely admits but proclaims that there can be no ultimate peace between their philosophy of government and our philosophy of government.”[23]

However, there were still many who held on to non-interventionism. Although a minority, they were well organized, and had a powerful presence in Congress.[24] Pro-German or anti-British opinion contributed to non-interventionism. Roosevelt’s national share of the 1940 presidential vote declined by seven percentage points from 1936. Of the 20 counties in which his share declined by 35 points or more, 19 were largely German-speaking. Of the 35 counties in which his share declined by 25 to 34 points, German was the largest or second-largest original nationality in 31.[25] Non-interventionists rooted a significant portion of their arguments in historical precedent, citing events such as Washington’s farewell address and the failure of World War I.[26] “If we have strong defenses and understand and believe in what we are defending, we need fear nobody in this world,” Robert Maynard Hutchins, President of the University of Chicago, wrote in a 1940 essay.[27] Isolationists believed that the safety of the nation was more important than any foreign war.[28]

As 1940 became 1941, the actions of the Roosevelt administration made it more and more clear that the United States was on a course to war. This policy shift, driven by the President, came in two phases. The first came in 1939 with the passage of the Fourth Neutrality Act, which permitted the United States to trade arms with belligerent nations, as long as these nations came to America to retrieve the arms, and pay for them in cash.[24] This policy was quickly dubbed, ‘Cash and Carry.’[29] The second phase was the Lend-Lease Act of early 1941. This act allowed the President “to lend, lease, sell, or barter arms, ammunition, food, or any ‘defense article’ or any ‘defense information’ to ‘the government of any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States.'”[30] American public opinion supported Roosevelt’s actions. As United States involvement in the Battle of the Atlantic grew with incidents such as the sinking of the USS Reuben James(DD-245), by late 1941 72% of Americans agreed that “the biggest job facing this country today is to help defeat the Nazi Government”, and 70% thought that defeating Germany was more important than staying out of the war.[31]

After the attack on Pearl Harbor caused America to enter the war in December 1941, isolationists such as Charles Lindbergh‘s America First Committee and Herbert Hoover announced their support of the war effort.[32] Isolationist families’ sons fought in the war as much as others.[25]

Non-interventionism after World War II

Ohio Senator Robert A Taft was a leading opponent of interventionism after 1945, although it always played a secondary role to his deep interest in domestic affairs. Historian George Fujii, citing the Taft papers, argues:

Taft fought a mostly losing battle to reduce government expenditures and to curtail or prevent foreign aid measures such as the British loan of 1945 and the Marshall Plan. He feared that these measures would “destroy the freedom of the individual, freedom of States and local communities, freedom of the farmer to run his own farm and the workman to do his own job” (p. 375), thereby threatening the foundations of American prosperity and leading to a “totalitarian state” (p. 377).[33]

In 1951, in the midst of bitter partisan debate over the Korean War, Taft increasingly spoke out on foreign policy issues. According to his biographer James T. Patterson:

Two basic beliefs continued to form a fairly consistent core of Taft’s thinking on foreign policy. First, he insisted on limiting America’s overseas commitments. [Taft said] “Nobody today can be an isolationist…. The only question is the degree to which we shall take action throughout the entire world.” America had obligations that it had to honor – such as NATO – and it could not turn a blind eye to such countries as Formosa or Israel. But the United States had limited funds and problems at home and must therefore curb its commitments….This fear of overcommitment was rooted in Taft’s even deeper faith in liberty, which made him shrink from a foreign policy that would cost large sums of money, increase the power of the military, and transform American society into what he called a garrison state.[34]

Norman A. Graebner argues:

Differences over collective security in the G.O.P. were real in 1952, but Taft tried during his pre-convention campaign to moderate his image as a “go-it-aloner” in foreign policy. His whole effort proved unsuccessful, largely because by spring the internationalist camp had a formidable candidate of its own in Dwight D. Eisenhower. As the personification of post-1945 American commitment to collective security, particularly in Europe, General Eisenhower had decided to run because he feared, apparently, that Taft’s election would lead to repudiation of the whole collective security effort, including NATO.[35]

Eisenhower won the nomination and secured Taft’s support by promising Taft a dominant voice in domestic policies, while Eisenhower’s internationalism would set the foreign-policy agenda.[36] Graebner argues that Eisenhower succeeded in moving the conservative Republicans away from their traditional attacks on foreign aid and reciprocal trade policies, and collective security arrangements, to support for those policies.[37] By 1964 the Republican conservatives rallied behind Barry Goldwater who was an aggressive advocate of an anti-communist internationalist foreign policy. Goldwater wanted to roll back Communism and win the Cold War, asking “Why Not Victory?”[38]

Non-interventionism in the 21st century

During the presidency of Barack Obama, some members of the United States federal government, including President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, considered intervening militarily in the Syrian Civil War.[39][40] A poll from late April 2013 found that 62% of Americans thought that the “United States has no responsibility to do something about the fighting in Syria between government forces and antigovernment groups,” with only twenty-five percent disagreeing with that statement.[41] A writer for The New York Times referred to this as “an isolationist streak,” a characterization international relations scholar Stephen Walt strongly objected to, calling the description “sloppy journalism.”[41][42] According to Walt, “the overwhelming majority of people who have doubts about the wisdom of deeper involvement in Syria—including yours truly—are not ‘isolationist.’ They are merely sensible people who recognize that we may not have vital interests there, that deeper involvement may not lead to a better outcome and could make things worse, and who believe that the last thing the United States needs to do is to get dragged into yet another nasty sectarian fight in the Arab/Islamic world.”[42]

In December 2013, the Pew Research Center reported that their newest poll, “American’s Place in the World 2013,” had revealed that 52 percent of respondents in the national poll said that the United States “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.”[43] This was the most people to answer that question this way in the history of the question, one which pollsters began asking in 1964.[44] Only about a third of respondents felt this way a decade ago.[44]

A July 2014 poll of “battleground voters” across the United States found “77 percent in favor of full withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2016; only 15 percent and 17 percent interested in more involvement in Syria and Ukraine, respectively; and 67 percent agreeing with the statement that, ‘U.S. military actions should be limited to direct threats to our national security.'”[45]

Conservative policies

Rathbun (2008) compares three separate themes in conservative policies since the 1980s: conservatismneoconservatism, and isolationism. These approaches are similar in that they all invoked the mantle of “realism” and pursued foreign policy goals designed to promote national interests. Conservatives, however, were the only group that was “realist” in the academic sense in that they defined the national interest narrowly, strove for balances of power internationally, viewed international relations as amoral, and especially valued sovereignty. By contrast, neoconservatives based their foreign policy on nationalism, and isolationists sought to minimize any involvement in foreign affairs and raise new barriers to immigration.[46] Former Republican Congressman Ron Paul favored a return to the non-interventionist policies of Thomas Jefferson and frequently opposed military intervention in countries like Iran and Iraq.

Supporters of non-interventionism

Politicians

Government officials

Public figures

See also

Notes…

References…

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_non-interventionism

Offshore balancing

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Offshore balancing is a strategic concept used in realist analysis in international relations. It describes a strategy in which a great power uses favored regional powers to check the rise of potentially-hostile powers. This strategy stands in contrast to the dominant grand strategy in the United States, liberal hegemony. Offshore balancing calls for a great power to withdraw from onshore positions and focus its offshore capabilities on the three key geopolitical regions of the world: Europe, the Persian Gulf, and Northeast Asia.

History

Christopher Layne[1] attributes the introduction of the term “offshore balancing” to himself in his 1997 article.[2] Several experts on strategy, such as John Mearsheimer[3]Stephen Walt[4]Robert Pape[5], Sumantra Maitra[6], Patrick Porter[7] and Andrew Bacevich, have embraced the approach. They argue that offshore balancing has its historical roots in British grand strategy regarding Europe, which was eventually adopted and pursued by the United States and Japan at various points in their history. [8]

According to political scientist John Mearsheimer, in his University of Chicago “American Grand Strategy” class, offshore balancing was the strategy used by the United States in the 1930s and also in the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War. Mearsheimer argues that when the United States gave Lend-Lease aid to Britain in the 1940s, the United States engaged in offshore balancing by being the arsenal of democracy, not the fighter for it.

That is consistent with offshore balancing because the US initially did not want to commit American lives to the European conflict. The United States supported the losing side (Iraq) in the Iran–Iraq War to prevent the development of a regional hegemon, which could ultimately threaten US influence. Furthermore, offshore balancing can seem like isolationism when a rough balance of power in international relations exists, which was the case in the 1930s. It was also the strategy used during the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union.

Theory

The grand strategy of “offshore balancing” arguably permits a great power to maintain its power without the costs of large military deployments around the world. It can be seen as the informal-empire analogue to federalism in formal ones (for instance the proposal for the Imperial Federation in the late British Empire). Offshore balancing, as its name implies, is a grand strategy that can be pursue only by island states on the edges of Eurasia and by isolated great powers, such as the United States.

The strategy calls for such states to maintain a rough balance of power in the three key geopolitical regions of the world: Europe, the Persian Gulf, and Northeast Asia. The three regions are the focus, since Europe and Northeast Asia are the major industrial centers of the world, which contain all of the other great powers and the Persian Gulf for its importance to the global oil market. Outside of these regions, an offshore balancer should not worry about developments. Also, a state pursuing offshore balancing should first seek to pass the buck to local powers and intervene only if the threat is too great for the other powers in the region to handle.[9]

Notable thinkers associated with offshore balancing

References

Sources

Further reading

Books

Articles

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

Stephen Walt

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Stephen Walt
Born
Stephen Martin Walt

July 2, 1955 (age 64)

Alma mater Stanford University (B.A.)
University of California, Berkeley
(M.A.Ph.D.)
School Neorealism
Institutions Harvard University
University of Chicago
Princeton University
Main interests
International relations theory
Notable ideas
Defensive realismBalance of threat theory

Stephen Martin Walt (born July 2, 1955) is an American professor of international affairs at Harvard University‘s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He belongs to the realist school of international relations.[1] He made important contributions to the theory of defensive neorealism and has authored the balance of threat theory. Books he has authored (or co-authored) include Origins of AlliancesRevolution and War, and The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.[2]

Early life and education

Walt was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where his father, a physicist, worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His mother was a teacher. The family moved to the Bay Area when Walt was about eight months old. Walt grew up in Los Altos Hills.[3]

Walt pursued his undergraduate studies at Stanford University. He first majored in chemistry with an eye to becoming a Biochemist. He then shifted to history, and finally to International Relations.[3]

After attaining his B.A., Walt began graduate work at UC Berkeley, graduating with a M.A. in Political Science in 1978, and a Ph.D. in Political Science in 1983.

Career

Walt taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he served as Master of the Social Science Collegiate Division and Deputy Dean of Social Sciences. As of 2015, he holds the Robert and Renee Belfer Professorship in International Affairs in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[2][4]

Other professional activities

Walt was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005.[4]

He spoke at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University in 2010.[5] In 2012, Walt took part in a panel at the one-state solution conference at the Kennedy School, along with Ali Abunimah and Eve Spangler.[6]

Walt spoke at Clark University in April 2013.[7] He gave a talk at the College of William and Mary in October 2013 about “Why US Foreign Policy Keeps Failing.”[8]

He delivered the 2013 F.H. Hinsley Lecture at Cambridge University.[9]

Views and opinions

American power and culture

In a comprehensive 2005 article, “Taming American Power”, Walt argued that the US should “make its dominant position acceptable to others – by using military force sparingly, by fostering greater cooperation with key allies, and, most important of all, by rebuilding its crumbling international image.” He proposed the US “resume its traditional role as an ‘offshore balancer'”, intervening “only when absolutely necessary” and keeping “its military presence as small as possible.”[10]

In a late 2011 article for The National Interest entitled “The End of the American Era”, Walt wrote that America is losing its position of world dominance.[11]

Walt gave a speech in 2013 to the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies entitled “Why does US foreign policy keep failing?” The Institute later described him as seeing “an overwhelming bias among US foreign policy institutions toward an activist foreign policy” and “a propensity to exaggerate threats, noting the chances of being struck by lightning have been far greater since 2001 than death by terrorist attack.” He also characterized the US as lacking “diplomatic skill and finesse” and advised Europeans “to think of themselves and not rely on the US for guidance or advice on solving their security issues.” Ultimately, he argued, “the United States is simply not skilled enough to run the world.”[12]

“Why are Americans so willing to pay taxes in order to support a world-girdling national security establishment,” asked Walt in 2013, “yet so reluctant to pay taxes to have better schools, health care, roads, bridges, subways, parks, museums, libraries, and all the other trappings of a wealthy and successful society?” He said this question was especially puzzling given that “the United States is the most secure power in history and will remain remarkably secure unless it keeps repeating the errors of the past decade or so.”[13]

Foreign policy views

A critic of military interventionism, Walt stated, “Hawks like to portray opponents of military intervention as ‘isolationist’ because they know it is a discredited political label. Yet there is a coherent case for a more detached and selective approach to U.S. grand strategy, and one reason that our foreign policy establishment works so hard to discredit is their suspicion that a lot of Americans might find it convincing if they weren’t constantly being reminded about looming foreign dangers in faraway places. The arguments in favor of a more restrained grand strategy are far from silly, and the approach makes a lot more sense to than neoconservatives’ fantasies of global primacy or liberal hawks’ fondness for endless quasi-humanitarian efforts to reform whole regions.”[14]

Europe

In 1998, Walt wrote that “deep structural forces” were “beginning to pull Europe and America apart.”[15]

Walt argues that NATO must be sustained because of four major areas where close cooperation is beneficial to European and American interest.[16]

  1. Defeating international terrorism; Walt sees a need for cooperation between Europe and the United States in managing terrorist networks and stopping the flow of money to terror cells.[16]
  2. Limiting the spread of weapons of mass destruction; Walt argues that anti-proliferation efforts are most successful when Europe and the U.S. work in concert to bring loose nuclear material into responsible custody. He cites the case of Libya’s willingness to abandon its nascent fission program after being pressured multilaterally as evidence of this.[16]
  3. Managing the world economy; lowering barriers to trade and investment particularly between the U.S. and the E.U. will accelerate economic growth. Notable differences in trade policy stem mainly in areas of agricultural policy.[16]
  4. Dealing with failed states; failed states are breeding grounds for anti-Western movements. Managing failed states such as Afghanistan, Bosnia and Somalia require a multinational response since the U.S. has insufficient wealth to modernise and rebuild these alone. In this area European allies are especially desirable because they have more experience with peacekeeping and “nation-building”.[16]

Eastern Europe and Russia

Walt believes extending invitations for NATO membership to countries in the former Soviet bloc is a “dangerous and unnecessary goal” and that nations such as Ukraine ought to be “neutral buffer state(s) in perpetuity”.[17] From this perspective, he believed that arming Ukrainian armed forces after the annexation of the Crimea by Russia “is a recipe for a longer and more destructive conflict.”[17]

Middle East

Walt said in December 2012 that America’s “best course in the Middle East would be to act as an ‘offshore balancer’: ready to intervene if the balance of power is upset, but otherwise keeping our military footprint small. We should also have normal relationship with states like Israel and Saudi Arabia, instead of the counterproductive ‘special relationships’ we have today.”[18]

An article by Stephen Walt, ″What Should We Do if the Islamic State Wins? Live with it″, appeared on June 10, 2015 in Foreign Policy Magazine.[19] He explained his view that the Islamic State is unlikely to grow into a long-lasting world power on Point of Inquiry, the podcast of the Center for Inquiry in July 2015.[20]

Israel

Walt has been a critic of the Israel lobby in the United States and the influence he says it has on foreign policy. He wrote that President Obama erred by breaking with the principles in his Cairo speech by allowing continued Israeli settlement activity and by participating in a “well-coordinated assault” against the Goldstone Report.[4]

Walt suggested in 2010 that, owing to State Department diplomat Dennis Ross‘s alleged partiality toward Israel, he might give President Obama advice that was against US interests.[21] Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), defended Ross and criticized Walt, in a piece published by Foreign Affairs (which had published Walt’s piece a few days earlier).[22] Satloff wrote that Ross’s connection to WINEP is innocuous (Ross was a distinguished fellow at WINEP throughout George W. Bush’s administration, and Mearsheimer and Walt’s book described WINEP as “part of the core” of the Israel lobby in the United States) and that Walt mistakenly believes the U.S. cannot simultaneously “advance strategic partnership both with Israel and with friendly Arab and Muslim states”[22]

After the Itamar attack, in which a Jewish family was killed on the West Bank in March 2011, Walt condemned the murderers, but added that “while we are at it, we should not spare the other parties who have helped create and perpetuate the circumstances”, listing “every Israeli government since 1967, for actively promoting the illegal effort to colonize these lands”, “Palestinian leaders who have glorified violence”, and “the settlers themselves, some of whom routinely use violence to intimidate the Palestinians who live in the lands they covet”.[23]

Walt criticized the US for voting against a Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s West Bank settlements, calling the vote a “foolish step” because “the resolution was in fact consistent with the official policy of every president since Lyndon Johnson.”[24]

Iran

Walt has frequently criticized America’s policy with respect to Iran. In 2011, Walt told an interviewer that the American reaction to an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in the United States “might be part of a larger American diplomatic effort to put Iran on the hot seat.”[25]

“Washington continues to insist on a near-total Iranian capitulation,” wrote Walt in December 2012. “And because Iran has been effectively demonized here in America, it would be very hard for President Obama to reach a compromise and then sell it back home.”[26]

Walt said in November 2013 that “Americans often forget just how secure the United States is, especially compared with other states,” thanks to its power, resources, and geography, and thus “routinely blows minor threats out of all proportion. I mean: Iran has a defense budget of about $10 billion…yet we manage to convince ourselves that Iran is a Very Serious Threat to U.S. vital interests. Ditto the constant fretting about minor-league powers like Syria, North Korea, Muammar al-Qaddafi’s Libya, and other so-called ‘rogue states.'” Therefore, whatever happens in the Middle East, “the United States can almost certainly adjust and adapt and be just fine.”[13]

Libya

After visiting Libya, Walt wrote in Foreign Policy in January 2010 that while “Libya is far from a democracy, it also doesn’t feel like other police states that I have visited. I caught no whiff of an omnipresent security service—which is not to say that they aren’t there…. The Libyans with whom I spoke were open and candid and gave no sign of being worried about being overheard or reported or anything like that. … I tried visiting various political websites from my hotel room and had no problems, although other human rights groups report that Libya does engage in selective filtering of some political websites critical of the regime. It is also a crime to criticize Qaddafi himself, the government’s past human rights record is disturbing at best, and the press in Libya is almost entirely government-controlled. Nonetheless, Libya appears to be more open than contemporary Iran or China and the overall atmosphere seemed far less oppressive than most places I visited in the old Warsaw Pact.”[27]

David E. Bernstein, Foundation Professor at the George Mason University School of Law, criticized Walt in 2011 for accepting funding from the Libyan government for a trip to Libya, where he addressed that country’s Economic Development Board and then wrote what Bernstein called “a puff piece” about his visit. Bernstein said it was ironic that “Walt, after fulminating about the American domestic ‘Israel Lobby'” had thus become “a part of the ‘Libya lobby'”. Bernstein found it ironic that “Walt, a leading critic of the friendship the U.S. and Israel, concludes his piece with the hope ‘that the United States and Libya continue to nurture and build a constructive relationship.’ Because, you know, Israel is so much nastier than Qaddafi’s Libya.”[28]

Under the headline “Is Stephen Walt Blind, a Complete Fool, or a Big Liar?”, Martin Peretz of the New Republic mocked Walt for praising Libya, which Peretz called a “murderous place” and for viewing its dictator as “civilized”. Peretz contrasted Walt’s view of Libya, which, Peretz noted, he had visited for less than a day.[29]

Syria

In August 2013, Walt argued that even if it turned out that Bashar al-Assad of Syria had used chemical weapons, the U.S. should not intervene. “Dead is dead, no matter how it is done”, wrote Walt. Yes, “Obama may be tempted to strike because he foolishly drew a ‘red line’ over this issue and feels his credibility is now at stake. But following one foolish step with another will not restore that lost standing.”[30] In September 2013, Walt wrote an open letter asking his congressman to vote against a strike on Syria. Dr. Josef Olmert pointed out “at least two glaring inaccuracies”, including Walt’s failure to recognize that Syria is already a failed state and already riven by sectarian struggle, “something that ‘realist’ liberals find somehow hard to accept.” Olmert noted that despite Walt’s professed belief that Israel is at the center of all Middle East conflicts, Israel in fact has nothing to do with the conflicts in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, or other countries in the region, which “are mostly the makings of the Arabs, ones which ought to be solved by them.”[31]

Asia

Walt posits that offshore balancing is the most desirable strategy when dealing with China.[32][33] In 2011 Walt argued that China will seek to gain regional hegemony and a broad sphere of influence in Asia which was comparable in size to the USA’s position in the western hemisphere.[32] If this happens, he predicts that China would be secure enough on the mainland to give added attention to shaping events to its favour in far flung areas. Given that China is resource poor, the nation will likely aim to safeguard vital sea lanes in areas such as the Persian Gulf.[34][35]

In a December 2012 interview, Walt said that “the United States does not help its own cause by exaggerating Chinese power. We should not base our policy today on what China might become twenty or thirty years down the road.”[36]

“Balance of Threat” theory

Walt developed the ‘balance of threat‘ theory, which defined threats in terms of aggregate power, geographic proximity, offensive power, and aggressive intentions. It is a modification of the “balance of power” theory developed by neorealist Kenneth Waltz.[37]

Snowden case

In July 2013, Walt argued that President Obama should give Edward Snowden an immediate pardon. “Mr Snowden’s motives,” wrote Walt, “were laudable: he believed fellow citizens should know their government was conducting a secret surveillance programme enormous in scope, poorly supervised and possibly unconstitutional. He was right.” History, Walt suggested, “will probably be kinder to Mr Snowden than to his pursuers, and his name may one day be linked to the other brave men and women – Daniel EllsbergMartin Luther King JrMark FeltKaren Silkwood and so on – whose acts of principled defiance are now widely admired.”[38]

Books

In his 1987 book The Origins of Alliances, Walt examines the way in which alliances are made, and “proposes a fundamental change in the present conceptions of alliance systems.”[39]

Revolution and War (1996) exposes “the flaws in existing theories about the relationship between revolution and war” by studying in detail the French, Russian, and Iranian revolutions and providing briefer views of the American, Mexican, Turkish, and Chinese revolutions.[40]

Taming American Power (2005) provides a thorough critique of U.S. strategy from the perspective of its adversaries.[41] Anatol Lieven called it “a brilliant contribution to the American foreign policy debate.”[42]

The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy was published on 16 October 2018.

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

In March 2006, John Mearsheimer and Walt, then academic dean of the Kennedy School of Government, published a working paper entitled “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”[43] and an article entitled “The Israel Lobby” in the London Review of Books on the negative effects of “the unmatched power of the Israel Lobby.” They defined the Israel lobby as “the loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.”[44] Mearsheimer and Walt took the position that “What the Israel lobby wants, it too often gets.”[45]

The articles, as well as the bestselling book Walt and Mearsheimer later developed, generated considerable media coverage throughout the world. Contending that Walt and Mearsheimer are members of a “school that essentially wishes that the war with jihadism had never started”, Christopher Hitchens concluded that, “Wishfulness has led them to seriously mischaracterize the origins of the problem….”[46] Former U.S. Ambassador Edward Peck wrote the “tsunami” of responses condemning the report proved the existence of the lobby and “Opinions differ on the long-term costs and benefits for both nations, but the lobby’s views of Israel’s interests have become the basis of U.S. Middle East policies.”[47]

Personal life

Walt is married to Rebecca E. Stone,[48] who ran for Massachusetts House of Representatives in the 2018 election.[49] The couple has two children.[50]

Titles and positions

References…

External links

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

John Mearsheimer

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John Mearsheimer
John Mearsheimer.jpg

John Joseph Mearsheimer
Born December 14, 1947 (age 72)

Education United States Military Academy
University of Southern California
Cornell University
School Neorealism
Institutions University of Chicago
Main interests
International relations theoryinternational securitydeterrence theory[1][2][2]
Notable ideas
Offensive neorealism

John Joseph Mearsheimer (/ˈmɪərʃmər/;[3] born December 14, 1947) is an American political scientist and international relations scholar, who belongs to the realist school of thought. He is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago.

Mearsheimer proposed the theory of offensive realism which describes the interaction between great powers as dominated by a rational desire to achieve hegemony in a world of insecurity and uncertainty regarding other states’ intentions. He was a vocal opponent of the Iraq War in 2003 and was almost alone in opposing Ukraine’s decision to give up its nuclear weapons in 1994 and predicted that, without a deterrent, they would face Russian aggression.

His most controversial views concern alleged influence by interest groups over US government actions in the Middle East which he wrote about in The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. In accordance with his theory, Mearsheimer considers that China’s growing power will likely bring it into conflict with the United States. His work is frequently taught to and read by twenty-first century students of political science and international relations.

 

Early years

Mearsheimer was born in December 1947 in BrooklynNew York. He was raised in New York City until the age of eight, when his parents moved his family to Croton-on-Hudson, New York, a suburb located in Westchester County.[4] When he was 17, Mearsheimer enlisted in the U.S. Army. After one year as an enlisted member, he chose to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. He attended West Point from 1966 to 1970. After graduation, he served for five years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.[5][6]

In 1974, while in the Air Force, Mearsheimer earned a Masters Degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California. He subsequently entered Cornell University and in 1980 earned a Ph.D. in government, specifically in international relations. From 1978 to 1979, he was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.; from 1980 to 1982, he was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University‘s Center for International Affairs. During the 1998–1999 academic year, he was the Whitney H. Shepardson Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.[4]

Career

Since 1982, Mearsheimer has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Political Science Faculty at the University of Chicago.[7] He became an associate professor in 1984, a full professor in 1987, and was appointed the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in 1996. From 1989 to 1992, he served as chairman of the department. He also holds a position as a faculty member in the Committee on International Relations graduate program, and is the co-director of the Program on International Security Policy.[8]

Mearsheimer’s books include Conventional Deterrence (1983) which won the Edgar S. Furniss Jr. Book Award, Nuclear Deterrence: Ethics and Strategy (co-editor, 1985); Liddell Hart and the Weight of History (1988); The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001), which won the Lepgold Book PrizeThe Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007); and Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics (2011). His articles have appeared in academic journals like International Security and popular magazines like the London Review of Books. He has written op-ed pieces for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune.[8]

Mearsheimer has won several teaching awards. He received the Clark Award for Distinguished Teaching when he was a graduate student at Cornell in 1977, and he won the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Chicago in 1985. In addition, he was selected as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar for the 1993–1994 academic year. In that capacity, he gave a series of talks at eight colleges and universities. In 2003, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[8]

Work

Conventional deterrence

Mearsheimer’s first book Conventional Deterrence (1983) addresses the question of how decisions to start a war depend on the projected outcome of military conflict. In other words, how do decision makers’ beliefs about the outcome of war affect the success or failure of deterrence? Mearsheimer’s basic argument is that deterrence is likely to work when the potential attacker believes that a successful attack will be unlikely and costly. If the potential attacker, however, has reason to believe the attack will likely succeed and entail low costs, then deterrence is likely to break down. This is now widely accepted to be the way the principle of deterrence works. Specifically, Mearsheimer argues that the success of deterrence is determined by the strategy available to the potential attacker. He lays out three strategies. First, a war-of-attrition strategy, which entails a high level of uncertainty about the outcome of war and high costs for the attacker. Second, a limited-aims strategy, which entails fewer risks and lower costs. And, third, a blitzkrieg strategy, which provides a way to defeat the enemy rapidly and decisively, with relatively low costs. For Mearsheimer, failures in the modern battlefield are due mostly to the potential attacker’s belief that it can successfully implement a blitzkrieg strategy in which tanks and other mechanized forces are employed swiftly to effect a deep penetration and disrupt the enemy’s rear.[9] The other two strategies are unlikely to lead to deterrence failures because they would entail a low probability of success accompanied by high costs (war of attrition) or limited gains and the possibility of the conflict turning into a war of attrition (limited aims). If the attacker has a coherent blitzkrieg strategy available, however, an attack is likely to ensue, as its potential benefits outweigh the costs and risks of starting a war.[10]

Besides analyzing cases from World War II and the Arab–Israeli conflict, Mearsheimer extrapolates implications from his theory for the prospects of conventional deterrence in Central Europe during the late Cold War. Here, he argues that a Soviet attack is unlikely because the Soviet military would be unable to successfully implement a blitzkrieg strategy. The balance of forces, the difficulty of advancing rapidly with mechanized forces through Central Europe, and the formidable NATO forces opposing such a Soviet attack made it unlikely, in Mearsheimer’s view, that the Soviets would start a conventional war in Europe.[11]

Nuclear proliferation and nuclear deterrence

In 1990 Mearsheimer published an essay[12] where he predicted that Europe would revert to a multipolar environment similar to that in the first half of the twentieth century if American and Soviet forces left following the end of the Cold War. In another article that year, in The Atlantic, he predicted that this multipolar environment would increase nuclear proliferation in Europe, especially in Germany.[13]

In this essay and in the 1993 Foreign Affairs article “The case for a Ukrainian nuclear deterrent”,[14] he argued that to reduce the dangers of war, the United States should encourage Germany and Ukraine to develop a nuclear arsenal, while working to prevent the rise of hyper-nationalism. Mearsheimer presented several possible scenarios for a post-Cold-War Europe from which American and Russian forces had departed. He believed that a Europe with nuclear proliferation was most likely to remain at peace, because without a nuclear deterrent Germany would be likely to once more try to conquer the continent (See pages 32–33).[12] Mearsheimer argued that it would be strategically unwise for Ukraine to surrender its nuclear arsenal (remnants of the Soviet stockpile). However, in 1994 Ukraine consented to get rid of its entire former Soviet nuclear stockpile, a process that was complete by 1996. When challenged on the former assertion at a lecture given to the International Politics department at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth, he maintained that in spite of European integration and expansion, he still believed that his predictions would come true if the United States military left Europe.[15]

Also, in op-ed pieces written in 1998 and 2000 for The New York Times, Mearsheimer supported India’s decision to acquire nuclear weapons. In support of this position, he argued that India has good strategic reasons to want a nuclear deterrent, especially in order to balance against China and Pakistan, guaranteeing regional stability. He also criticized United States counter-proliferation policy towards India, which he considered unrealistic and harmful to American interests in the region.[16]

Offensive neorealism

Mearsheimer is the leading proponent of offensive neorealism. It is a structural theory which, unlike the classical realism of Hans Morgenthau, places the principal emphasis on security competition among great powers within the anarchy of the international system, and not principally on the human nature of statesmen and diplomats. In contrast to another structural realist theory, the defensive neorealism of Kenneth Waltz, offensive neorealism maintains that states are not satisfied with a given amount of power, but seek hegemony for security because the anarchic makeup of the international system creates strong incentives for states to seek opportunities to gain power at the expense of competitors.[17] Mearsheimer summed this view up in his 2001 book The Tragedy of Great Power Politics:

Given the difficulty of determining how much power is enough for today and tomorrow, great powers recognize that the best way to ensure their security is to achieve hegemony now, thus eliminating any possibility of a challenge by another great power. Only a misguided state would pass up an opportunity to be the hegemon in the system because it thought it already had sufficient power to survive.[18]

He has also dismissed democratic peace theory, which claims that democracies never or rarely go to war with one another.[19]

Mearsheimer usually does not believe it is possible for a state to become a global hegemon and occasionally recognizes the global hegemon as an accomplished fact (see chapter “Night Watchman” below). When the global hegemon is theoretically impossible, it is because there is too much landmass and too many oceans which he posits have effective stopping power and act as giant moats. Instead he believes that states can only achieve regional hegemony. Furthermore, he argues that states attempt to prevent other states from becoming regional hegemons, since peer competitors could interfere in a state’s affairs. States which have achieved regional hegemony, such as the U.S., will act as offshore balancers, interfering in other regions only when the great powers in those regions are not able to prevent the rise of a hegemon.

Endorsement of E. H. Carr

In a 2004 speech, Mearsheimer praised the British historian E. H. Carr for his 1939 book The Twenty Years’ Crisis and argued that Carr was correct when he claimed that international relations was a struggle of all against all with states always placing their own interests first.[20] Mearsheimer maintained that Carr’s points were still as relevant for 2004 as for 1939, and went on to deplore what he claimed was the dominance of “idealist” thinking about international relations among British academic life.[20]

Night Watchman

Night Watchman is “global hegemon” in Mearsheimer’s terminology—theoretical impossibility as stated in The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.[21] Nevertheless, in 1990 Mearsheimer mentioned an existing “watchman”: Democracies lived at peace because “America’s hegemonic position in NATO… mitigated the effects of anarchy on the Western democracies and induced cooperation among them … With the United States serving as a night watchman, fears about relative gains among the Western European states were mitigated…”[22]

Afterwards, Mearsheimer lost the watchman. A decade later, he described the “international anarchy” as having not changed with the end of the Cold War, “and there are few signs that such change is likely any time soon. States remain the principal actors in world politics and there is still no night watchman standing above them.”[23] Five more years later, Mearsheimer confirmed that “in an anarchic system there is no night watchman for state to call when trouble comes knocking at their door.”[24]

Precisely two decades since Mearsheimer detected the watchman in the world for the last time, he rediscovered him again. Watchman exists and, moreover, keeps Europe at peace. The article titled by question “Why Is Europe Peaceful Today?” unambiguously answers: “The reason is simple: the United States is by far the most powerful country in the world and it effectively acts as a night watchman.”[25]

Gulf War

In January and early February 1991, Mearsheimer published two op-eds in the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times arguing that the war to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi forces should be quick and lead to a decisive US victory, with less than 1,000 American casualties. This view countered the conventional wisdom at the start of the war, that predicted a conflict lasting for months and costing thousands of American lives. Mearsheimer’s argument was based on several points. First, the Iraqi Army was a Third World military, unprepared to fight mobile armored battles. Second, US armored forces were better equipped and trained. Third, US artillery was also far better than its Iraqi counterpart. Fourth, US airpower, unfettered by the weak Iraqi air force, should prove devastating against Iraqi ground forces. Fifth and finally, the forward deployment of Iraqi reserves boded ill for their ability to counter US efforts to penetrate the Iraqi defense line along the Saudi–Kuwaiti border. These predictions came true in the course of the war.[26][27]

Noelle-Neumann controversy

In October 1991, Mearsheimer was drawn into a bitter controversy at the University of Chicago regarding Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, a visiting professor from Germany. Noelle-Neumann was a prominent German pollster and a leading academic on public opinion research, who authored the highly regarded book, The Spiral of Silence. The debate centered on an article written by Leo Bogart called “The Pollster and the Nazis”. It described Noelle-Neumann’s past employment as a writer and editor for the Nazi newspaper Das Reich from 1940–42. Noelle-Neumann’s response to the article was to claim “texts written under a dictatorship more than 50 years ago cannot be read as they were in 1937, 1939 or 1941. Severed from the time and place where they were written, they are no longer real, for reality is in part based on time and place.”[28]

As chairman of Chicago’s political science department at the time, Mearsheimer sat down with Noelle-Neumann to discuss the article and the allegations. After meeting with her for over three hours, Mearsheimer publicly declared, “I believe that Noelle-Neumann was an anti-Semite,”[28] and he spearheaded a campaign asking her for an apology.[29] He joined other University of Chicago faculty in writing a joint piece for Commentary Magazine that reacted to Noelle-Neumann’s reply to the accusation against her. They declared, “by providing rhetorical support for the exclusion of Jews, her words helped make the disreputable reputable, the indecent decent, the uncivilized civilized, and the unthinkable thinkable.”[30] Mearsheimer said “Knowing what we know now about the Holocaust, there is no reason for her not to apologize. To ask somebody who played a contributing role in the greatest crime of the 20th century to say ‘I’m sorry’ is not unreasonable.”[31]

Israel lobby

In March 2006, Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, began to write jointly about the Israel lobby. Stephen Walt was the former academic dean and professor of International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and together they published a Harvard University Kennedy School of Government working paper[32] and a London Review of Books article[33] discussing the power of the Israel lobby in shaping the foreign policy of the United States. They define the Israel lobby as “a loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction”. They emphasize that it is not appropriate to label it a “Jewish lobby“, because not all Jews feel a strong attachment to Israel and because some of the individuals and groups who work to foster U.S. support for Israel are not Jewish; according to Mearsheimer and Walt, Christian Zionists play an important role. Finally, they emphasize that the lobby is not a cabal or a conspiracy but simply a powerful interest group like the National Rifle Association or the farm lobby. Their core argument is that the policies that the lobby pushes are not in the United States’ national interest, nor ultimately that of Israel. Those pieces generated extensive media coverage and led to a wide-ranging and often heated debate between supporters and opponents of their argument. The article was subsequently turned into a book entitled The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.

Statements on Israeli wars and a Palestinian state

Mearsheimer was critical of Israel’s war against Lebanon in the summer of 2006. He argued that Israel’s strategy was “doomed to fail” because it was based on the “faulty assumption” that Israeli air power could defeat Hezbollah, which was essentially a guerrilla force. The war, he argued, was a disaster for the Lebanese people, as well as a “major setback” for the United States and Israel.[34] The lobby, he said, played a key role in enabling Israel’s counterproductive response by preventing the United States from exercising independent influence.[35]

Mearsheimer was also critical of Israel’s offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip that began in December 2008. He argued that it would not eliminate Hamas’s capability to fire missiles and rockets at Israel, and that it would not cause Hamas to end its fight with Israel. In fact, he argued that relations between Israel and the Palestinians were likely to get worse in the years ahead.[36]

Mearsheimer emphasizes that the only hope for Israel to end its conflict with the Palestinians is to end the occupation and allow the Palestinians to have their own state in Gaza and the West Bank. Otherwise, Israel is going to turn itself into an “apartheid state.” That would be a disastrous outcome not only for Israel, but also for the United States and especially the Palestinians.[37]

Mearsheimer’s criticisms of Israel further extended to Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons. In remarks made at the International Spy Museum in 2010, Mearsheimer asserted that a nuclear Israel was contrary to U.S. interests and questioned Israel’s accountability in the matter, stating that there was “no accountability for Israel on any issue” because, he surmised, “The Israelis can do almost anything and get away with it.”[38]

The “Future of Palestine” lecture

In April 2010, Mearsheimer delivered the Hisham B. Sharabi Memorial Lecture at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC, which he titled “The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners.” He argued that “the two-state solution is now a fantasy” because Israel will incorporate the Gaza Strip and the West Bank into a “Greater Israel”, which would become an apartheid state. This state, according to Mearsheimer, would not be politically viable, most American Jews would not support it, and it would eventually become a democratic bi-national state, politically dominated by its Palestinian majority. He suggested that “American Jews who care deeply about Israel” could be divided into three categories: the “new Afrikaners” who will support Israel even if it is an apartheid state, “righteous Jews,” who believe that individual rights are universal, and apply equally to Jews and Palestinians, and the largest group who he called the “great ambivalent middle”. He concludes that most of the “great ambivalent middle” would not defend an apartheid Israel because “American Jews are among the staunchest defenders of traditional liberal values” resulting in the “new Afrikaners” becoming increasingly marginalized over time. Mearsheimer stated that he “would classify most of the individuals who head the Israel lobby’s major organizations as “‘new Afrikaners'” and specifically listed Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation LeagueDavid Harris of the American Jewish CommitteeMalcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish OrganizationsRonald Lauder of the World Jewish CongressMorton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America, as well as businessmen such as Sheldon AdelsonLester Crown, and Mortimer Zuckerman and “media personalities” like Fred HiattCharles KrauthammerBret Stephens and Martin Peretz.[39]

Statements on Gilad Atzmon

In 2011, John Mearsheimer wrote of Gilad Atzmon‘s book The Wandering Who: “Gilad Atzmon has written a fascinating and provocative book on Jewish identity in the modern world. He shows how assimilation and liberalism are making it increasingly difficult for Jews in the Diaspora to maintain a powerful sense of their ‘Jewishness.’ Panicked Jewish leaders, he argues, have turned to Zionism (blind loyalty to Israel) and scaremongering (the threat of another Holocaust) to keep the tribe united and distinct from the surrounding goyim. As Atzmon’s own case demonstrates, this strategy is not working and is causing many Jews great anguish. The Wandering Who? should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike.”[40]

Atzmon has been called an antisemite and Holocaust denier, and Jeffrey Goldberg said the book espoused Neo-Nazi views.[41] Alan Dershowitz wrote an article in response titled: “Why are John Mearsheimer and Richard Falk Endorsing a Blatantly Anti-Semitic Book?” and the book “argues that Jews seek to control the world.”[42]

Mearsheimer said he had “no reason to amend it or embellish” his review,[41] and defended his position. Writing with regard to the charge by Jeffrey Goldberg that Atzmon is anti-semitic, and by implication so is his own positive review of Atzmon’s work, Mearsheimer responded: “Atzmon’s basic point is that Jews often talk in universalistic terms, but many of them think and act in particularistic terms. One might say they talk like liberals but act like nationalists… It is in this context that he discusses what he calls the “Holocaust religion,” Zionism, and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Again, to be perfectly clear, he has no animus toward Judaism as a religion or with individuals who are Jewish by birth.”[40][40]

The rise and containment of China

Mearsheimer asserts that China’s rise will not be peaceful[43][44][45] and that the U.S. will seek to contain China and prevent it from achieving regional hegemony.[46][47][48][49] Although military, and perhaps diplomatic containment of China is possible, economic containment of China is not.[50] Mearsheimer believes that China will attempt to dominate the Indo-Pacific region just as, he asserts, the U.S. set out to dominate the western hemisphere. The motivation for doing so would be to gain a position of overwhelming security and superiority against its neighbors which it sees as potential challengers to its status.[51] Additionally, he maintains that the U.S. will attempt to form a balancing coalition that consists primarily of India, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia to counter the growing strength and power projection capabilities of China.[52] He points to increased alliances and warming U.S.–Vietnam and U.S.–India relations as evidence of this.[53][54]

Mearsheimer asserts that Australia should be concerned with China’s accretion of power because it will lead to an intense security competition between China and the US that would destabilize the region.[55] He also argues that China is implementing the militarily aggressive philosophy of the U.S. naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan, who argued for sea control and decisive battle.[51]

Why Leaders Lie

Mearsheimer wrote a book that analyzes lying in international politics. He argues in Why Leaders Lie (Oxford University Press, 2011) that leaders lie to foreign audiences as well as their own people because they think it is good for their country. For example, he maintains that President Franklin D. Roosevelt lied about the Greer incident in September 1941, because he was deeply committed to getting the United States into World War II, which he thought was in America’s national interest.[56]

His two main findings are that leaders actually do not lie very much to other countries, and that democratic leaders are actually more likely than autocrats to lie to their own people.[57] Thus, he starts his book by saying that it is not surprising that Saddam Hussein did not lie about having WMD—he truthfully said he had none—but that George Bush and some of his key advisors did lie to the American people about the threat from Iraq. Mearsheimer argues that leaders are most likely to lie to their own people in democracies that fight wars of choice in distant places. He says that it is difficult for leaders to lie to other countries because there is not much trust among them, especially when security issues are at stake, and you need trust for lying to be effective. He says that it is easier for leaders to lie to their own people because there is usually a good deal of trust between them.[56]

Types of lies

Mearsheimer does not consider the moral dimension of international lying, which he views from a utilitarian perspective. He argues that there are five types of international lies.[58]

  1. Inter-state lies are where the leader of one country lies to a leader of another country, or more generally, any foreign audience, to induce a desired reaction.
  2. Fear-mongering is where a leader lies to his or her own domestic public.
  3. Strategic cover-ups employ lies to prevent controversial policies and deals from being made known publicly.
  4. Nationalist myths are stories about a country’s past that portray that country in a positive light while its adversaries in a negative light.
  5. Liberal lies are given to clear up the negative reputation of institutions, individuals, or actions.

He explains the reasons why leaders pursue each of these different kinds of lies. His central thesis is that leaders lie more frequently to domestic audiences than to leaders of other states. This is because international lying can have negative effects including blowback and backfiring. “Blowback” is where telling international lies helps cause a culture of deceit at home. “Backfiring” is where telling a lie leads to a failed policy. He also emphasizes that there are two other kinds of deception besides lying: “concealment,” which is where a leader remains silent about an important matter, and “spinning,” which is where a leader tells a story that emphasizes the positive and downplays or ignores the negative.[56]

The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities (Yale University Press, 2018)

In his 2018 book, The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities, Mearsheimer presents a critique of the geopolitical strategy he refers to as ‘liberal hegemony’. Mearsheimer’s definition of liberal hegemony includes a three-part designation of it as an extension of Woodrow Wilson’s original initiatives to make a world safe by turning its governments into democracies, turning geopolitical economic initiatives towards open markets compatible with democratic governments, and thirdly opening up and promoting other democratically liberal international social and culture societies on a global scale of inclusion. Mearsheimer states in an interview broadcast on CSPAN that this represents a ‘great delusion’ and that much more weight should be associated with nationalism as a policy of enduring geopolitical value rather than the delusions he associated with liberal hegemony.

Ukraine

Nuclear weapons and Ukraine

After the break up of the Soviet Union, the new independent Ukraine had a large arsenal of nuclear weapons on its territory. However, in 1994 Ukraine agreed to give up nuclear arms, became a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and within two years had removed all atomic weapons. Almost alone among observers, Mearsheimer was opposed to that decision because he saw a Ukraine without a nuclear deterrent as likely to be subjected to aggression by Russia. [59]

2014 Crimean Crisis

In September 2014 Mearsheimer wrote the article “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault. The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin” published in Foreign Affairs. The essay was highly critical of American policy towards Russia since the conclusion of the Cold War.[60] Mearsheimer argued that Russian intervention in Crimea and Ukraine had been motivated by what he saw as the irresponsible strategic objectives of NATO in Eastern Europe. He compared US-led NATO expansion into Eastern Europe and planned inclusion of Ukraine to the hypothetical scenario of a Chinese military alliance in North America, stating, “Imagine the American outrage if China built an impressive military alliance and tried to include Canada and Mexico.”

Mearsheimer argued that Russia’s annexation of the Crimea was fueled by concerns that it would lose access to its Black Sea Fleet naval base at Sevastopol if Ukraine continued to move towards NATO and European integration. Mearsheimer concluded that US policy should shift towards recognising Ukraine as a buffer state between NATO and Russia rather than attempting to absorb Ukraine into NATO.[60][citation needed] Mearsheimer’s article provoked Michael McFaul and Stephen Sestanovich to publish their response in November/December 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs.[61]

China

Mearsheimer has been critical of US policy toward China, which he regards as fated to engage in “intense security competition” and possible war, if it continues on its steep trajectory of economic growth.[62] His recommended US policy towards China is containment, which calls for the US to keep China from occupying territory and expanding its influence in Asia.[63] Mearsheimer recommended that US policy makers form a balancing coalition with China’s neighbors. According to Mearsheimer, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Russia, and Vietnam could be potential allies of the United States against a great-power China’s attempt to dominate.[62]

Mearsheimer argued in a 2019 article for International Security that the “liberal international order was crumbling by 2019″ and that the liberal order will be replaced by “three realist orders: a thin international order that facilitates cooperation, and two bounded orders—one dominated by China, the other by the United States—poised for waging security competition between them.”[64]

Leaving theory behind: Why simplistic hypothesis testing is bad for International Relations.

John J. Mearsheimer and Stepen M. Walt from Harvard University wrote the article Leaving theory behind: Why simplistic hypothesis testing is bad for International Relations. They point out that in recent years International Relations scholars have devoted less effort to creating and refining theories or using them to guide empirical research. Instead there is a focus on what they call a simplistic hypothesis testing which emphasizes discovering well-verified empirical regularities. They state that that is a mistake, because insufficient attention to theory leads to misspecified empirical models or misleading measures of key concepts. They also point out that because of the poor quality data in International Relations it is less likely that these efforts will produce cumulative knowledge. This will only lead to a short term gain and make International Relationship scholarship less useful to concerned citizens and policymakers.

Theories gives a scholar an overarching framework of the myriad realms of activity. Theories are like maps, they both aim to simplify a complex reality, but unlike maps theories provide a causal story where a theory says that one or more factors can explain a particular phenomenon. Theories attempt to simplify assumptions about the most relevant factors in the aim to explain how the world works. Some grand theories like realism or liberalism claim to explain broad patterns of state behavior while middle-range theories focus on more narrowly defined phenomena like coercion. Deterrence and economic sanctions. They list eight reasons why theories are important. The problems that arise from inadequate attention to theory is that it isn’t possible to construct good models or interpret statistical findings correctly. By privileging hypothesis testing this is overlooked. It might make sense to pay more attention to hypothesis testing if it produced a lot of useful knowledge about international relations, however, Mearsheimer and Walt claim that this is not the case and simplistic hypothesis test is inherently flawed. One of the consequences is that it will result in omitted variable bias. This is often treated as a methodological issue, though it should be treated as a theoretical matter. Selection bias is also a problem that arise from inadequate attention to theory. To examine this clearer the authors point out James Fearson’s critique of Paul Huth and Bruce Russett’s analyses of extended deterrence. Mearsheimer and Walt also point out that contemporary International Relations scholarship faces challenging measurement issues that are because of inadequate attention to theory and cause misleading measures. A few examples are given to support their claim, including Dan Reiter and Allan Stam’s work called Democracies at War. There Mearsheimer and Walt state that it is a sophisticated study that however contains questionable measures of key concepts and that the measure they employ to test their idea do not capture the theories core concepts. Poor data, absence of explanation and lack of cumulation is also some problems that arise from inadequate attention to theory by focusing too much on simplistic hypothesis testing.[65]

Personal Life

John Mearsheimer currently lives in Chicago and is married to his second wife, Pamela. They have 2 children together. John also has multiple children from his first marriage.

Books

See also

References…

External links

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

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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

Posted on September 10, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Afghanistan, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, China, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Environment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Israel, Language, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Mexico, Mike Pompeo, Military Spending, MIssiles, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Russia, Scandals, Security, Senate, South Korea, Spying, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Syria, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

 

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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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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

See the source image

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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