Democratic presidential hopefuls in the United States are finally beginning to get serious. By serious I mean they’re starting to drop out. The crowded field that featured over 20 candidates at the beginning of the year lost five in the past two months due to inadequate support and inability to reach necessary donor requirements to appear in the democratic primary debates. This is the only measure of the party getting serious however, the candidates who still believe they have a chance at running against Donald Trump continue to make normal people scratch our heads with bizarre stories about run ins with gang leaders like “Corn Pop”, praise for parents who use a nine year old transgender child to virtue signal, promises to “tell the public about aliens,” and claims
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At a recent speaking engagement a member of the audience asked me what was the most significant change I had observed in the 40 years I have closely followed American politics. I answered that it would take an hour to do justice to his question and left it unanswered, but have been thinking about it since and the essay below is partly designed as an answer to this question. When I first set foot in the United States as an immigrant in January 1969, I knew English and was a big fan of American literature, but knew little of American politics, except that I imagined it to be strongly anti-communist, which is why I chose to emigrate to America to begin with. And it couldn’t be any other
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Throughout the election campaign, candidate Donald Trump was berated for suggesting that NATO was redundant and for implying that the US would pull its forces out of Europe. In stark contrast, President Trump has already made moves to strengthen NATO and significantly boost Western security. Trump’s statements on NATO appeared to be contradictory and may have misled both Europeans and Russians into thinking that the White House would move to disband the Alliance and terminate US commitments to the defense of Europe. In retrospect, it transpires that his strong criticism of NATO was intended to refocus attention on Alliance missions and capabilities. Two main factors can enable Trump to revive the Alliance: his warnings about NATO’s future and his selection of a strong security team. Trump’s main indignation
The future of economic sanctions against Russia for its ongoing attack on Ukraine has become a litmus test for the foreign policy effectiveness of President Donald Trump. Lifting sanctions without any tangible benefits to US and Allied security would make it more likely that Washington becomes embroiled in a future confrontation with Moscow Putin is bound to interpret such a move as weakness and may miscalculate the US stance in his next foreign adventure. The new US administration has yet to be tested internationally. Cancelling free trade agreements and talking tough with foreign leaders is the relatively easy part. Responding to armed conflict, including a potential Russian attack on an independent neighboring state, will demonstrate the intentions and capabilities of the White House. The easing of any
While Trump is now president of the United States, there are still many within and without the United States that fervently believe that he acquired this office by illegitimate means. They include the unprecedented number of fifty democratic members of Congress, who boycotted his inauguration and countless others. There is nothing that could be done to convince the unhinged Hillary partisans that there is zero evidence of effective interference in the elections on behalf of Trump. But it is understandable that even open-minded people who do not understand the American electoral system may be confused, given the unrelenting mainstream media propaganda to the effect that there was not the slightest chance for Trump to win. Indeed, on the day of the elections, purported ‘reputable’ media sources, such as the
Speculation regarding the foreign policy of President-elect Donald Trump has been on the rise for quite some time, with focus on topics concerning the EU and Eastern Europe. Most speculation emanates from the lack of understanding of the rational and irrational mix in his populist rhetoric and reality checks during his presidential candidacy, as well as once he is in office. Some of the uneasiness surrounding what Trump might engage in after he walks into the White House is based on his purported privileged relations with Russia’s Putin, which supposedly allow him to circumvent the European Union, Eastern Europe and the US Congress. This is nothing new in the history of US presidential races in which there is only one prize that matters – the Oval Office. Anything
Prognostications of what the New Year might bring are more often than not a fool’s errand and pundits are usually better served with a laconic “more of the same” answer to what to expect. Usually, but not this time, for 2017 promises to be a very different year and quite possibly the beginning of a new geopolitical era. The last such watershed year in recent history was 1980 and it is worth remembering briefly the momentous changes ushered in by that year. The 1970s were a decade marked by a seeming retreat by the United States as the dominant Western power and a commensurate increase in the status and military might of its chief protagonist – the Soviet Union. Beginning with the Arab oil embargo in 1973, the US