Categories for Foreign Policy

30,797. 11/19/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “RT @SteveScalise: Important reminder from @RepStefanik: The President sets U.S. foreign policy, not unelected staff. https://t.co/GjAETob5jm 

-Donald Trump, Twitter.com, November 19, 2019 1:46 pm

30,752. 11/18/2019

EU/FOREIGN POLICY/ISRAEL/MIKE POMPEO/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/UN: “Does it deliver a hefty domestic political payoff, reverse an Obama administration position, upturn international law and irritate the European Union? If so, it’s probably a Trump administration foreign policy decision. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday [11-18-19] that the US now rejects a 1978 State Department legal opinion that deemed Israeli settlements in the West Bank ‘inconsistent with international law.’ Like moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2017, this dramatic new stance on settlements — considered illegal by the United Nations and EU — further deprives the Palestinians of leverage and validates Benjamin Netanyahu’s close relationship with Trump at an existential moment for the Israeli PM. Perhaps more important for the US President, Monday’s decision is a gift to conservative evangelical voters who support Israel for reasons of biblical prophecy, as well as to his US donors who are also supportive of right-wing politicians in Israel.”

Stephen Collinson, “Why would Trump reverse US policy on Israeli settlements? Good question.,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, November 18, 2019 12:05 am

30,640. 10/15/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/UKRAINE: “….They call it ‘serving at the pleasure of the President.’ The U.S. now has a very strong and powerful foreign policy, much different than proceeding administrations. It is called, quite simply, America First! With all of that, however, I have done FAR more for Ukraine than O.”

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, November 15, 2019 10:01 am

30,301. 11/5/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/IMPEACHMENT/INTELLIGENCE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/UKRAINE: “The Ukraine-linked impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump could prove a golden opportunity for foreign intelligence agencies seeking to exploit vulnerabilities in America’s security apparatus. Hostile spy services now have vivid confirmation of what was long suspected: that Trump is willing to use outsiders to pursue his foreign policy goals; that his aides frequently use non-official tech platforms to communicate; and that he has angered and alienated much of the U.S. bureaucracy. Trump himself has long been seen by intelligence veterans as an espionage risk. But now, as the impeachment inquiry exposes the actions of the people around him, they too, are more likely to become intelligence targets. The impeachment fight also is sure to deepen America’s partisan polarization – a special gift to Russia and other actors that peddle disinformation to tear at social fabrics and influence elections.”

-Nahal Toosi, “Trump’s impeachment woes offer openings for foreign spies,” Politico, November 5, 2019 12:00 pm

30,026. 10/29/2019

CABINET/FOREIGN POLICY/RELIGION/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “Ralph Drollinger, who has spent much of the last three years teaching the Gospel to President Trump’s cabinet, dresses like a man of the world. One morning this summer, during a layover at Miami International Airport, he was the very picture of American business — a friendly-looking, dark-suited, jowly man in his late prime. The woman sitting beside him, looking just as exactingly appropriate in her black pantsuit and white shirt, was his wife, Danielle. She quietly scrolled through her iPad as Drollinger explained why the trip they were about to embark on to Managua, Nicaragua, had him uncharacteristically worried. The Drollingers were flying to Managua at the behest of Daniel Ortega, the country’s strongman president, who had invited them down as his guests. Drollinger, who has set up Bible studies in the capitals of 32 states and 24 foreign countries, saw another opportunity for growth. He did not engage in too much soul-searching before accepting.”

Mattathias Schwartz, “How the Trump Cabinet’s Bible Teacher Became a Shadow Diplomat,” The New York Times online, October 29, 2019

29,730. 10/21/2019

FOREIGN AID/FOREIGN POLICY/IMPEACHMENT/MILITARY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/UKRAINE: “A July 25 call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine is the basis for an impeachment inquiry into whether Mr. Trump withheld American military aid until Ukrainian officials investigated former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter. Last week the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, effectively acknowledged the quid pro quo, although he said the aid was in part contingent on Ukraine’s investigating Mr. Trump’s widely debunked theory that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for hacking Democratic Party emails in 2016. The theory is politically helpful to Mr. Trump because it would show he was elected president without that Russian help. Mr. Mulvaney was unapologetic in his remarks. ‘I have news for everybody: Get over it,’ Mr. Mulvaney told reporters at the White House. ‘There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.’”

Katie Rogers, “‘Get Over It’? Why Political Influence in Foreign Policy Matte,” The New York Times online, October 21, 2019

29,655. 10/19/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/HILLARY CLINTON/OBAMA/SYRIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “RT @charliekirk11: Obama foreign policy: —Let Syria cross his ‘red line’ —Hillary’s Failed Russian Reset —$150 Billion in cash to our en…” 

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, October 19, 2019 11:05 am

29,535. 10/16/2019

AMBASSADOR/FOREIGN POLICY/HOUSE OF REPS/IMPEACHMENT/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “A former top White House foreign policy adviser told House impeachment investigators this week that she viewed Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, as a potential national security risk because he was so unprepared for his job, according to two people familiar with her private testimony. The adviser, Fiona Hill, did not accuse Mr. Sondland of acting maliciously or intentionally putting the country at risk. But she described Mr. Sondland, a hotelier and Trump donor-turned-ambassador, as metaphorically driving in an unfamiliar place with no guardrails and no GPS, according to the people, who were not authorized to publicly discuss a deposition that took place behind closed doors. Ms. Hill, the former senior director for European and Russian affairs at the White House, also said that she raised her concerns with intelligence officials inside the White House, one of the people said.”

Nicholas Fandos and Adam Goldman, “Ex-Aide Saw Gordon Sondland as a Potential National Security Risk,” The New York Times online, October 16, 2019

29,532. 10/16/2019

AMBASSADOR/FOREIGN POLICY/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “A former top White House foreign policy adviser told House impeachment investigators this week that she viewed Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, as a potential national security risk because he was so unprepared for his job, according to two people familiar with her private testimony. The adviser, Fiona Hill, did not accuse Mr. Sondland of acting maliciously or intentionally putting the country at risk. But she described Mr. Sondland, a hotelier and Trump donor-turned-ambassador, as metaphorically driving in an unfamiliar place with no guardrails and no GPS, according to the people, who were not authorized to publicly discuss a deposition that took place behind closed doors. Ms. Hill, the former senior director for European and Russian affairs at the White House, also said that she raised her concerns with intelligence officials inside the White House, one of the people said.”

Nicholas Fandos and Adam Goldman, “Ex-Aide Saw Gordon Sondland as a Potential National Security Risk,” The New York Times online, October 16, 2019

29,496. 10/14/2019

ETIHCS/FOREIGN POLICY/JOE BIDEN/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “After three weeks of sustained attacks from President Donald Trump over his son’s overseas business deals, Joe Biden is no longer reacting with a mix of silence and counter-accusations. The former vice president is rolling out a new ethics policy banning White House family members from foreign entanglements. His son, Hunter Biden, announced his resignation from a Chinese investment company and pledged to have no more business arrangements with foreign entities. Hunter Biden is also taking on a higher profile. The former vice president’s youngest son entered the fray with a network TV interview to answer questions for the first time on camera about his foreign deals — primarily his consulting contract with a Ukrainian gas company, which has dogged the elder Biden as a candidate and as vice president in 2015. Biden’s new strategy, unveiled this weekend with a one-two punch by father and son, are part of an unfolding counteroffensive against the president.”

Marc Caputo, “‘This came directly from Hunter’: Biden opens new front against Trump,” Politico, October 14, 2019 6:04 pm

29,206. 10/7/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/KURDS/MIDDLE EAST/SYRIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TURKEY: “President Trump threw Middle East policy into turmoil on Monday [10-7-19] with a series of conflicting signals after his vow to withdraw American forces from the region touched off an uprising among congressional Republicans and protests by America’s allies. Defending his decision to clear the way for a Turkish military operation against America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria, announced in a White House statement on Sunday [10-6-19] night, Mr. Trump said it was ‘time for us to get out’ and let others ‘figure the situation out.’ But his move touched off a broad rebuke by Republicans, including some of his staunchest allies, in some of the sharpest language they have leveled against a Trump foreign policy decision. And in response, the president pivoted sharply and said he would restrain Turkey.”

Peter Baker and Lara Jakes, “Trump Throws Middle East Policy Into Turmoil Over Syria,” The New York Times online, October 7, 2019

29,184. 10/7/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/KURDS/MIDDLE EAST/SYRIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TURKEY: “President Trump threw Middle East policy into turmoil on Monday [10-7-19] with a series of conflicting signals after his vow to withdraw American forces from the region touched off an uprising among congressional Republicans and protests by America’s allies. Defending his decision to clear the way for a Turkish military operation against America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria, announced in a White House statement on Sunday [10-6-19] night, Mr. Trump said it was ‘time for us to get out’ and let others ‘figure the situation out.’ But his move touched off a broad rebuke by Republicans, including some of his staunchest allies, in some of the sharpest language they have leveled against a Trump foreign policy decision. And in response, the president pivoted sharply and said he would restrain Turkey.”

Peter Baker and Lara Jakes, “Trump Throws Middle East Policy Into Turmoil Over Syria,” The New York Times online, October 7, 2019

29,084. 10/4/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/IMPEACHMENT/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/UKRAINE: “One person stands out in the flurry of impeachment-related texts cascading onto Washington this week: The guy who says what’s happening is ‘crazy’ and that he might have to quit. William Taylor, the veteran diplomat in charge of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, is being hailed within foreign policy circles as a hero of sorts — a straight shooter who plays by the rules even in a chaotic political environment. In texts with two other top diplomats, Taylor objected to what some suspect to be an effort by President Donald Trump to withhold military aid to Ukraine until it investigated one of his political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden. Whether Taylor knew those texts would one day be public is unclear, but friends and associates say that either in person or in print, he’ll tell you exactly what’s on his mind.”

Nahal Toosi, “The U.S. diplomat who questioned Trump’s Ukraine scheme,” Politico, October 4, 2019 6:16 pm

28,964. 10/1/2019

CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY/GOP/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “President Donald Trump congratulated the People’s Republic of China for its 70th anniversary Tuesday [10-1-19] morning. Senate Republicans were in no mood to celebrate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) compared China under President Xi Jinping to a ‘modern version of Maoist China’ and criticized the government for violence against pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and placing Uighurs — a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority group — in internment camps. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) warned that ‘an authoritarian China is perhaps the single greatest threat to freedom around the world,’ while Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) emphasized that the 70th anniversary of communist rule was no cause for celebration but ‘a day to remind ourselves of the horrors inflicted on the Chinese people over this time.’”

Marianne Levine, “Republicans split with Trump on celebrating China,” Politico, October 1, 2019 9:59 pm

28,564. 9/20/2019

ELECTION/FOREIGN POLICY/JOE BIDEN/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/UKRAINE/WHISTLEBLOWER: “President Trump pressed the Ukrainian president in a July call to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son, according to a person familiar with the conversation, an apparently blatant mixture of foreign policy with his 2020 re-election campaign. Mr. Trump also repeatedly told the Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, to talk with his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, who had been urging the government in Kiev to investigate Mr. Biden and his family, according to two other people briefed on the call. Mr. Trump’s request is part of the secret whistle-blower complaint that is said to be about Mr. Trump and at least in part about his dealings with Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the complaint. Mr. Biden is a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.”

Julian E. Barnes, Michael S. Schmidt, Kenneth P. Vogel, Adam Goldman and Maggie Haberman, “Trump Pressed Ukraine’s Leader on Inquiry Into Biden’s Son,” The New York Times online, September 20, 2019

28,532. 9/18/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/NATIONAL SECURITY/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “Even his many critics conceded that the former national security adviser John R. Bolton brought useful credentials to the job: decades of foreign policy experience and a keen grasp of how the gears of government turn. Mr. Bolton’s main problem, as it turned out, was that he knew too much. Confident in his experience to a fault, he was unwilling to shade his deeply held hawkish views, which he defended with a prickly personality that alienated colleagues — and ultimately President Trump himself, leading to his ouster last week. Robert C. O’Brien, Mr. Trump’s choice to succeed Mr. Bolton, flips that equation. He is a former Los Angeles lawyer with limited government experience before he became the State Department’s point man for hostage negotiations. But his friends all cite an affable, ingratiating personality that has earned him allies throughout the Trump administration, notably including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, both of whom supported his appointment.”

Michael Crowley, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, “Robert O’Brien ‘Looks the Part,’ but Has Spent Little Time Playing It,” The New York Times online, September 18, 2019

28,531. 9/18/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s fired national security adviser, harshly criticized Trump’s foreign policy on Wednesday [9-18-19] at a private lunch, saying that inviting the Taliban to Camp David sent a ‘terrible signal’ and that it was ‘disrespectful’ to the victims of 9/11 because the Taliban had harbored al Qaeda. Bolton also said that any negotiations with North Korea and Iran were ‘doomed to failure,’ according to two attendees. All the North Koreans and Iranians want to do is negotiate for relief from sanctions to support their economies, said Bolton, who was speaking before guests invited by the Gatestone Institute, a conservative think tank. ‘He ripped Trump, without using his name, several times,’ said one attendee. Bolton didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Bolton also said more than once that Trump’s failure to respond to the Iranian attack on an American drone earlier this summer set the stage for the Islamic Republic’s aggression in recent months.”

Daniel Lippman, “Bolton unloads on Trump’s foreign policy behind closed doors,” Politico, September 18, 2019 10:07 pm

27,329. 8/9/2019

BUDGET/FOREIGN AID/FOREIGN POLICY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Donald Trump‘s budget office on Friday [8-9-19] ended its pause on several pots of foreign aid amid mounting bipartisan backlash. A senior administration official said the funding halt, which the Office of Management and Budget requested last weekend, was ‘temporary.’ OMB had asked for ‘an accounting’ of billions of dollars in foreign aid that wasn’t obligated for a specific purpose and was set to expire at the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year…Advocates are still concerned that the administration is planning to send Congress a package that would pull back billions of foreign assistance, however. OMB’s action came after House and Senate foreign policy leaders and appropriators sent letters to OMB on Friday, calling on the administration to cancel the directive holding up as much as $4 billion across 10 areas of foreign assistance, including funds for international peacekeeping operations, narcotics control and global health efforts.”

Caitlin Emma, “Trump’s budget office ends foreign aid pause,” Politico, August 9, 2019 9:11 pm

27,289. 8/8/2019

AUSTRALIA/CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Mike Pompeo, the United States secretary of state, came to Sydney a few days ago and described the American relationship with Australia as an ‘unbreakable alliance.’ I was there, at the State Library of New South Wales, surrounded by Australia’s foreign policy elite (including Malcolm Turnbull). I noticed both Mr. Pompeo’s stiff delivery of his upbeat, prepared remarks and his more comfortable, combative responses in the question-and-answer session. Sitting beside Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne, he was most animated when discussing why standing up to Beijing has become a priority for the Trump administration. At one point, his voice slightly raised, he stressed that the American trade war with China was not just about economics…The idea that trade and military power go hand in hand is nothing new in geopolitics, of course. But what emerged there in the library, and throughout Mr. Pompeo’s tour of the region, is an American view of China that encapsulates how the Trump administration views the world: through the lens of having been wronged, for far too long, by far too many.”

Damien Cave, “Australia’s ‘Unbreakable,’ and Worrisome, Alliance,” The New York Times online, August 8, 2019

27,285. 8/8/2019

CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY/TRADE DEALS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “In the past week, President Donald Trump has described China’s trade practices as ‘an anchor on us,’ saying Beijing is ‘killing us’ and wants to ‘hurt’ U.S. jobs. Yet as Chinese officials increasingly hint at a potentially violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong, Trump has remained largely silent. The bifurcated approach is just the latest example of what former U.S. officials and analysts say are Trump’s transactional approach to foreign policy and comfort with authoritarian rule. Even though the president’s own aides are sending a more forceful message on situations like the Hong Kong protests, they add, it’s a message that will inevitably get lost amid Trump’s comments — or lack thereof… His supporters point out that Trump, when asked about Hong Kong in early July, said the protesters are ‘looking for democracy. And I think most people want democracy.’ But Trump later drew flak for saying Xi had ‘acted responsibly’ in handling the protests, for calling the demonstrations ‘riots’ and for saying the issue is ‘between Hong Kong and China.’”

Nahal Toosi, “Trump is harsh on China, except when it comes to democracy,” Politico, August 8, 2019 5:03 am

27,284. 8/8/2019

ELECTION/FOREIGN POLICY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Donald Trump had hoped to head into the 2020 campaign season as the world’s consummate deal-maker. He may instead enter his reelection campaign not just empty-handed, but vulnerable to the charge that his policies have helped sow chaos across the globe. His trade war with China keeps escalating, with mounting costs to the U.S. economy. Diplomatic overtures to Iran and North Korea have so far failed to yield the president’s desired outcome. Jared Kushner’s Middle East peace plan, two years in the making, is nowhere to be seen. And America’s retreat from Syria, where the president once boasted he had defeated ISIS, has allowed the terrorist group to regenerate, according to a new Pentagon inspector general’s report. Trump’s critics see these data points as alarming signs that the president is out of his depth on international affairs, if not complicit in the breakdown of global order. And while his allies enthusiastically support his efforts to squeeze Iran, some are quietly nervous — if not openly scornful — of his policies elsewhere.”

Eliana Johnson, “Trump’s vision meets growing global chaos,” Politico, August 8, 2019 5:01 am

26,944. 7/26/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/IRAN/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/WAR: “This week President Donald Trump demonstrated one of the most consistent themes of his presidency — speak loudly but carry a very small stick. Talking about Afghanistan in his meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office ‘I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people.’ How many times have we heard a variation of ‘tough’ Trump? To name a couple of examples, he vowed to use fire and fury on North Korea, but he didn’t do it. And he has made empty threats of a US military intervention against President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. But the country that the President seems the most determined to consistently show his tough side to is Iran…But there’s little doubt that Trump — who has shown a degree of risk-aversion when it actually comes to using military force, despite his tough talk — would like to avoid a conflict with Iran if possible. He knows that once one begins it might be very difficult to control, let alone stop.”

Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky, “With Iran, Trump speaks loudly but (fortunately) carries a small stick,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, July 26, 2019 1:01 pm

26,741. 7/19/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/IRAN/SANCTIONS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “President Donald Trump confirmed Friday [7-19-19] that Sen. Rand Paul is involved in diplomatic talks with Iran, referring to the country as ‘nothing but trouble.’ The Kentucky Republican has long been an opponent of U.S. intervention in Iran. POLITICO reported earlier this week that he had asked for Trump’s blessing to arrange a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in hopes of avoiding further conflict with the country. Trump had said he was unaware of plans to include Paul in talks with Iran. But he acknowledged the senator’s role Friday while responding to a question about the administration’s plan to calm tensions after Iran’s seizure of a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz…This week, Zarif criticized U.S. foreign policies and told reporters during a visit to the United Nations headquarters in New York that the onus is on the United States to ease tensions with Iran. He said Iran would be open to more enhanced inspections of its nuclear program in exchange for the U.S. lifting sanctions on the country.”

Maya King, “Trump: Sen. Rand Paul to help with Iran negotiations,” Politico, July 19, 2019 4:36 pm

26,684. 7/18/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/IRAN/NUCLEAR/SANCTIONS/SENATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Iran’s foreign minister said on Thursday [7-18-19] that he was willing to meet with American senators to discuss possible ways out of the nuclear crisis with the Trump administration and, for the first time, floated an opening bid of modest steps that Tehran would be willing to take in return for simultaneous lifting of sanctions President Trump reimposed last year. The American-educated foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, would not say whether he was planning to meet Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, who has proposed himself as a quiet emissary to Iran from the Trump administration. Mr. Zarif, meeting with a group of about 15 reporters at the Iranian mission to the United Nations, one of only three buildings where he is allowed to be while in the United States, was coy about whether he planned to meet with Mr. Paul but said, ‘I am seeing people from Congress.’”

-David E. Sanger, “Iran’s Foreign Minister Proposes Modest Deal to End Impasse With U.S.,” The New York Times online, July 18, 2019

26,454. 7/11/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/JOE BIDEN/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “After spending two weeks sparring with his presidential primary opponents, Joseph R. Biden Jr. sought once more to rise above the Democratic fray on Thursday [7-11-19], delivering a sweeping foreign policy address that denounced President Trump as incapable of global leadership and called for a new commitment to multilateral diplomacy. In broad but unequivocal terms, Mr. Biden offered a scathing assessment of Mr. Trump’s leadership, saying the president’s judgment has tarnished the country’s reputation abroad and undermined its ability to achieve its foreign policy goals. As a counterpoint, Mr. Biden set forth his own foreign policy vision that he said was needed to restore America’s position as a global leader, including working with other countries toward collective aims…Returning again and again to themes of democracy and American values, Mr. Biden delivered a message of unity over division and promised to reverse many of Mr. Trump’s decisions.”

Sydney Ember and Katie Glueck, “Biden, in Foreign Policy Speech, Castigates Trump and Urges Global Diplomacy,” The New York Times online, July 11, 2019