Tag Archives: Diplomacy

This was entirely predictable: Trump cancels Korea Summit

Back in March South Korean officials briefed President Trump on their recent visit to Pyongyang, where the North Korean leader expressed a willingness to discuss nuclear disarmament with the U.S. and said he would suspend all nuclear and missile tests during the dialogue.

Trump impulsively agreed to a summit with the man he had derided as “Little Rocket Man” in his Twitter rants, without any strategic plan or even an ask for North Korea. By doing so he did what no other president had ever done before: he gave legitimacy to the murderous dictatorship of Kim Jong Un and elevated North Korea to equal footing with the United States as a nuclear power on the world stage.

Trump started praising Kim Jong Un as “honorable” and even canceled a B-52 bomber training exercise with South Korea after the South Korean government expressed concerns that it could generate tensions before the summit. The White House even minted a Commemorative ‘Peace Talks’ Coin Ahead of the Trump-Kim Summit.

Then all of this suddenly changed today when Trump just as impulsively canceled the Korea summit that he had so impulsively agreed to in March. This was entirely predictable. It was never going to happen.

Paul Waldman of the Washington Post explains What really led to Trump’s North Korea faceplant:

Looks like President Trump may have to wait for that Nobel Peace Prize he has been hoping for:

President Trump on Thursday canceled a planned summit next month with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, citing “tremendous anger and open hostility” from the rogue nation in a letter explaining his abrupt decision.

“I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump said to Kim in a letter released by the White House on Thursday morning.

This is what we call “cutting your losses.” We’ve had reports in recent days that Trump was having second thoughts about the summit after learning, to his shock and dismay, that the North Koreans were not eager to simply give up all their nuclear weapons right away. So it appears that after a couple of weeks in which he and his administration seemed to be trying everything they could think of to sabotage any chance for an agreement, Trump decided that canceling the summit now was preferable to holding the summit and coming away with nothing after raising expectations so extraordinarily high.

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About last night: What is the Trump foreign policy? (updated)

The other day I posed the question about the Trump administration’s nascent foreign policy: “Are we now going from the Realpolitik foreign policy announced just last week, as the New York Times analyzes today, For Trump, a Focus on U.S. Interests and a Disdain for Moralizing, to a return to the Bush Doctrine of unilateral military action?”

With last night’s impulsive “do something” missile strikes on a Syrian air base, we still do not have an answer. Acting on Instinct, Trump Upends His Own Foreign Policy.

The New York Times analyzes, Trump’s Far-Right Supporters Turn on Him Over Syria Strike:

Some of President Trump’s most ardent campaign supporters were among his most vocal opponents on Thursday after he ordered the missile strike against Syria, charging him with breaking his promise to keep the United States out of another conflict in the Middle East.

Prominent writers and bloggers on the far right attacked Mr. Trump. They accused him of turning against his voters by waging an attack that he had for years said would be a terrible idea. They also criticized him for launching the strike without first seeking congressional approval — something he said on Twitter in 2013 would be a “big mistake.”

The most vocal in their outrage were leaders from the small but influential white nationalist movement.

Paul Joseph Watson, an editor at the conspiracy theorist site Infowars, said on Twitter that Trump “was just another deep state/neocon puppet.” He added, “I’m officially OFF the Trump train.”

Richard Spencer, a far-right activist and white nationalist who coined the term “alt-right,” said he condemned the attack and hinted at supporting another presidential candidate in 2020: Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a Democrat. Ms. Gabbard met with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in January and on Thursday criticized the missile strike as shortsighted and reckless.

For some on the far right, particularly those who are pro-Russia, Mr. Trump’s strike crossed a [red] line.

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Pope Francis Addresses Congress

PopeFrancis.2The big question preceding Pope Francis’ address to a joint session of Congress was whether anyone opposed to his views would be so disrespectful as to disrupt the Pontiff’s speech.

It appears that only Arizona’s Rep. Paul Gosar behaved badly, by boycotting the Popes’ speech.

Best headline of the day: Congress mostly behaved during the Pope’s speech. And of course, Boehner cried. So much so, it became distracting.

Vatican officials had asked lawmakers to remain seated and quiet during the address, but our Congress critters ignored them. The Pope was interrupted by applause and standing ovations as if this was a State of The Union Address. This may have given the appearance of partisanship at times. It was not the fault of  Pope Francis. Blame the usual suspects.

Here are some highlights from Pope Francis’ address to a joint session of Congress, the first ever by a Pope. Transcript: Pope Francis’s speech to Congress:

I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

First interruption by a standing ovation. The Vatican’s protocols were immediately disregarded.

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Pope Francis at the White House

pope_whitehouse_09There has been a great deal of speculation and conjecture in recent weeks by reporters and pundits about what Pope Francis would say when he was welcomed to the White House, and in his address to a joint session of Congress.

I prefer to wait to hear what “Papa Fancesca” actually had to say. A number of pundits were suggesting that Pope Francis would be political, but after listening to both speeches, anyone familiar with Catholic teachings knows that the Pope was being pastoral, teaching by homily from Catholic doctrines.

Pope Francis at the White House:

Mr. President, I am deeply grateful for your welcome in the name of all Americans. As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families.

In his opening comments Pope Francis, the son of Italian immigrants in Argentina, reminds Americans that we are a nation of immigrants, the “great melting pot” of many people and many nationalities. E pluribus unum: out of many, one.

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Senate Dems seal the Iran nuclear deal

Iran-nuclear-deal-1024x576It looks like the Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is not quite the master of the Senate that he imagines himself to be in his own disturbed mind.

The Turtle Man’s last-ditch effort to derail the P5+1 world powers nuclear agreement with Iran was thwarted today by the Honey Badger, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the true master of the Senate. Senate Dems stonewall Iran resolution, handing victory to Obama:

Senate Democrats blocked a resolution disapproving the Iran nuclear deal for a third time Thursday, sealing a major foreign policy victory for President Obama.

Senators voted 56-42 against ending debate on the resolution of disapproval, falling short of the 60 votes needed on the procedural motion.

Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin (Md.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Bob Menendez (N.J.) and Charles Schumer (N.Y.) for a third time bucked Obama and voted “no” on the deal.

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Tea-Publicans demand ‘nuclear option’ on Iran nuclear deal

The Iran Review period expires on September 17, and dead-ender Tea-Publicans will not accept their defeat. Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked another vote on a resolution disapproving of the Iran nuclear deal, reprising the result of a vote last week. Senate Democrats Again Block Vote to Reject Iran Deal.

NukeLast week, Arizona’s angry old man, war monger John McCain (“bomb, bomb. bomb. bomb. bomb Iran“) said Friday he would be willing to look at using the “nuclear option” to advance legislation against the Iran nuclear non-proliferation agreement (irony is lost on him). John McCain Entertains ‘Nuclear Option’ to Reject Iran Deal. Now McNasty has the radicals in the House, who seem to think that they run everything in Washington, demanding the “nuclear option.” House GOP wants McConnell to go nuclear on Iran agreement:

Multiple House Republicans want Senate leaders to “go nuclear” over the Obama administration’s deal with Iran now that Democrats have stymied efforts to derail the accord by conventional means.

A small but growing number of GOP lawmakers say that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should invoke the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules and prevent a filibuster on a resolution to kill the deal.

Their angst is intensified by their belief that Democrats will likely be able to block legislation withholding federal funds from Planned Parenthood, a standoff that increases the chances of a government shutdown.

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