Trump’s Remaking of US Foreign Policy

President-elect Trump is outlining a foreign policy that rejects the interventionist tenets of Washington’s neocon/liberal-hawk establishment and puts U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control at the top of his agenda, writes Gilbert Doctorow.

By Gilbert Doctorow

Over the weekend, President-elect Trump received two journalists from mainstream European print media — The Times of London and the German magazine Bild — for a joint interview in New York City’s Trump Tower. The event was videotaped and we are seeing some remarkable sound bites, particularly those of interest to the British and German publics.

President-elect Donald J. Trump (Photo credit: donaldjtrump.com)

For the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May, nothing could have sounded sweeter than Donald Trump’s statement that she would be invited for talks in the White House shortly after he is sworn in on Jan. 20 and that he seeks very quickly to reach agreement on a bilateral free trade pact. The effect of the pledge itself, even ahead of its successful implementation, assures the British that the sting of severing ties with the European Union will be greatly offset by new commercial possibilities in the world’s biggest economy; in this way, it strengthens May’s hand enormously as she enters into talks with the E.U. leadership over the detailed terms of what will apparently be a “Hard Brexit.”

Further adding to her leverage with the E.U. were Trump’s remarks suggesting that the E.U. will face stern trade pressure, beginning with Germany and its automobile industry, to do more to manufacture in the U.S. That precisely raises the relative importance of the U.K. market, which the E.U. will otherwise lose if it imposes severe penalties on Britain in negotiations over Brexit.

For the general public’s consumption, Donald Trump used the interview to explain his special affection for Britain, speaking about his Scottish mother’s delight in the Queen and her watching every royal event on television for its unequaled pageantry. But we may expect that Prime Minister May will find there is a bill to pay for the “special relationship” with the U.S. under President Trump.

Rather than the British media’s early speculation that Prime Minister May would be the one to set the misguided Trump straight about the nefarious Vladimir Putin, she may now have to become a leading European advocate for détente with Russia at Trump’s behest. In this connection, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson’s advice to Congress during his visit to Washington last week that Official Washington “stop demonizing Putin” may well have been a straw in the wind.

For the Germans, Trump also offered a bit of flattery, saying how much he respected their Chancellor Angela Merkel. However, as he went on, he virtually flattened the Iron Lady’s reputation by calling her open-door policy of admitting migrants into Germany and the E.U. a catastrophe. He noted that Merkel’s controversial position had swayed the election results in Britain on Brexit and may lead to the departure of other countries from the E.U. Given his staff’s consultation with Marine Le Pen, a visiting French candidate for the presidency from the right-wing Front National, Trump’s list surely includes France.

Finally, among the sound bites that will be featured in media coverage of the interview, we hear Donald Trump describe NATO as an outdated organization that needs overhaul. However, apart from his reiterated insistence that Member States must pay their fair share, which he claims only Britain and four others from the 28 Member States are currently doing, the interview offers no specifics on what kind structural change, if any, he seeks for NATO. We only hear that NATO has not been prepared to deal with the threat of international terrorism.

Views on Russia

But it was in another area, Trump’s remarks on Russia and the terms he named for possibly lifting sanctions, that we find convincing proof that the President-elect’s approach to foreign affairs is not just the sum of isolated tactical considerations but a complete reinvention of the guiding principles of U.S. foreign policy. What we are witnessing is a shift to a new strategic, geopolitical paradigm.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

In the past couple of decades, going back to the second term of President Bill Clinton, the ideology of neoconservatism with its stress on “democracy promotion” as being the whole of national interest, dictated policy decisions that amounted to the tail wagging the dog. The Baltic States were admitted into NATO in its 2004 enlargement because they wanted it. The decision to station U.S., German and other NATO brigades in Poland and other states along the Russian border taken last July in Warsaw and implemented, in the case of Poland, by U.S. forces in the past several days, was justified by the anxiety of these countries over the possibility of Russian aggression, even though NATO’s action has been highly provocative vis-à-vis Russia and brought the major nuclear powers ever closer to direct confrontation.

In the interview, Trump changed entirely the metrics by which sanctions on Russia would be lifted. Instead of fulfillment of the Minsk Accords over Ukraine’s ethnic Russian Donbas region – which nationalist hardliners in Kiev had the power to block – Trump conditioned the relaxation of sanctions on progress in curbing the nuclear arms race and moving toward significant nuclear disarmament, issues that are fully within the power of the Kremlin to implement.

To be sure, these issues today are more complex than they were in the heyday of disarmament talks. The recent obstacles include the U.S. anti-ballistic missile installations in Poland and Romania, the forward stationing of NATO human and materiel resources in the former Warsaw Pact countries, and the standing invitations to Ukraine and Georgia to enter NATO. So any negotiations between Washington and Moscow will be very complex.

But Trump’s statement shows that he is focused on the big picture, on the triangular relationship between Washington, Moscow and Beijing that he believes to be of vital importance in keeping the peace globally, rather than on some amorphous reliance on expanding democracy globally on the unproven assumption that democracies among themselves are peace-loving.

These elements in Donald Trump’s thinking, quite unexpected in a businessman, bring him very close to the Realism of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, while his setting nuclear disarmament as a key goal, aligns him with Ronald Reagan and — strange to say — with Barack Obama at the very start of his presidency.

If Donald Trump can stave off the jackals from the Western mainstream media and the U.S. foreign policy establishment – a combination that has formed a snarling circle around him even before the takes office – he may have a chance to make historic changes in international relations toward a more peaceful world.

Gilbert Doctorow is the European Coordinator of The American Committee for East West Accord Ltd. His latest book, Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015.

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52 comments for “Trump’s Remaking of US Foreign Policy

  1. Bob Van Noy
    January 16, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    As frightening as Donald Trump is, it is this aspect of his rhetoric that is the most encouraging. In this area of world peace and dialogue with Russia he set himself apart from the other candidates with the notable exception of Jill Stein. I see this as really good news.

    • Bill Bodden
      January 16, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      As frightening as Donald Trump is, it is this aspect of his rhetoric that is the most encouraging.

      Like many others when Obama came on the scene and now with Donald Trump taking over, your view of the latter may be your interpretation of a Rorschach blot or, again like many others, wishful thinking.

      • Bob Van Noy
        January 17, 2017 at 10:23 am

        Bill, I’ll readily admit that; one needs some hope.

        • Bill Bodden
          January 17, 2017 at 1:32 pm

          In that case, consider the old adage about hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

  2. Ld Elon
    January 16, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Whats stops British greatness, Americas greed.

  3. Robert Gardner
    January 16, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    A remarkable sanguine piece. In fact, the main goal Putin and Trump share is the violent oppression of Muslims.

    • Zoran
      January 18, 2017 at 7:58 am

      Putin is Marxist, without hate towards any religion.

  4. Joe B
    January 16, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Reduction of warmongering is the one bright light in the Trump ascendancy. Let us secure a real liberal party to prevent the corrupted Dems from catching the backlash when he alienates his supporters on domestic policy.

  5. Ragnar Ragnarsson
    January 16, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Hmmm…. I’d say it’s pretty damn clever of him to make relaxing sanctions contingent on moving toward nuclear disarmament. Even McCain can’t argue that one down, altho he probably still will. Trump’s not stupid, no way. Even if this strategy is coming from his advisers, all the more power to him for surrounding himself with smart people that will help him get the job done.

  6. Drew Hunkins
    January 16, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Trump’s refusal to bash Putin and saber rattle toward Moscow are the precise reasons why he’s being pilloried by certain segments of the American ruling elite and virtually every sector of the mass media. It’s crucial to note that Putin and Russia are the main impediments to Washington imperial hegemony in a few regions on the geopolitical scene. This is why the militarists and Zionists who control much of Washington foreign policy are apoplectic and demand that Trump hew to the company line.

    The power elite in Washington doesn’t seem to give a rip that Trump’s admin may likely eviscerate the rights of unions and working people (what’s left of them), destroy many environmental protection laws, eliminate most consumer protections, privatize and defund public schools, and institute regressive taxes by reducing the corporate tax rate — in fact, a certain element of our elite cheer on these policies and has of course set the groundwork for them. All of this harmful regressive nonsense IS NOT ENOUGH for the militarist ruling class in Washington; no, they demand that Trump also adhere to 70 years of post WWII warmongering and regime change operations.

    My fellow progressives and anti-war activists and intellectuals, we must make serious distinctions in our denunciations of Trump: where Trump’s morally and ethically correct we must champion those individual policy positions, where he’s out to lunch we must protest vigorously and astutely spread the word to enlighten the masses.

    That the Dem Party’s hitching its wagon to the “Putin elected Trump! Trump’s a Manchurian candidate!” is disconcerting and counterproductive. It’s sad to see civil rights icon John Lewis peddling this baloney.

    Fitzgerald’s wonderful quote about the sign of true intelligence being a person who can simultaneously hold two contradictory thoughts in his head at the same time has never been more true than in the age of Trump and the confusion its spawned.

    • Bob Van Noy
      January 17, 2017 at 10:29 am

      I agree with you Drew, and add this link to a John Pilger article in Counter Punch today… Thanks.
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/17/the-issue-is-not-trump-it-is-us/

      • Drew Hunkins
        January 17, 2017 at 11:42 am

        Thanks for the tip Mr. Van Noy. I always read Pilger regularly. He’s one of the handful of intellectuals I make it a point to pay attention to as soon as they publish anything. The others are James Petras, Robert Parry, Diana Johnstone, Adolph Reed (on the domestic scene) and a couple others I’ve forgotten at the moment.

    • Joe
      January 18, 2017 at 11:44 am

      “The People” voted Trump in to eviscerate Warmongering Washington and the Zionist Neocons. We want our tax dollars spent in the U.S. — NOT in Israel nor that country’s never-ending wars. Trump’s doing EXACTLY what we in “flyover country” elected him to do — in EVERY respect! GO TRUMP!

  7. FobosDeimos
    January 16, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    I have to say that Trump’s sudden love for nuclear weapons reduction is indeed surprising, because up until a few days ago he was advocating a turbo-charged version of Obama’s Trillion Dollar program for modernization of the nuclear arsenal. Who knows? Maybe he manages to control and tame the band of warmongers and MIC fanatics that make up his incoming cabinet. I certainly hope so, but I remain skeptical.

    • Bill Bodden
      January 16, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      … but I remain skeptical

      A posture others would do well to adopt.

  8. Bill Bodden
    January 16, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    If Donald Trump can stave off the jackals from the Western mainstream media and the U.S. foreign policy establishment – a combination that has formed a snarling circle around him even before the takes office – he may have a chance to make historic changes in international relations toward a more peaceful world.

    IF

  9. Mark West
    January 16, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    We are talking about the same guy who lost nearly a billion dollars of other people’s money and started a fake university with telemarketers as professors to defraud people of their hard earned money. He is a pathological liar. Trump’s only motivation is to make a profit for himself. To claim otherwise is disingenuous and more than dangerous.

    • backwardsevolution
      January 16, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      Mark – I don’t see Trump that way. I think he is very patriotic, more than Bush, Clinton and Obama combined. I believe he actually loves his country and wants it to be great again. Whether it can be done or not remains to be seen, but I think he’ll give it all he’s got. Nobody is perfect, but if all he does is keep you and I from getting fried, then I’m rooting for him.

      • silent adviser
        January 17, 2017 at 9:28 am

        Whole hardly agree!

      • Stiv
        January 20, 2017 at 6:26 pm

        You ARE kidding aren’t you? Backwards indeed…

        Trump is in it for Trump. This will be proven… Napoleon complex. He’s already been shown to be a small “man” in so many ways.

        Though this may work out in unexpected forms, I don’t expect he will have the discipline the office takes. It won’t be long until someone ruffles his feathers and …..war on! Support for Zionist? There’s your first hint.

    • Litchfield
      January 17, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      As a progressive I get really annoyed at the knee-jerk, unalloyed Trump bashing, while the disasters of Obama (see the recent Pilger piece, http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/17/the-issue-is-not-trump-it-is-us/) and the execrable, smug HRC (not to mention her awful consort—did you *really* want him back in the Lincoln Bedroom??) are given a total pass.

      What’s up with that?

      We should support Trump on his positive moves and act against his negative moves.
      Just like normal.
      Forget the gratuitous personal insults.
      They just make those doing the ad hominem insulting of the president-elect look like imbeciles.
      We are talking about the governance of the USA here.

      • Exiled off mainstreet
        January 18, 2017 at 3:23 am

        This seems to be the way to go. His foreign policy is a necessary change. His domestic errors are probably reversible in the long or short term unless the erstwhile “liberals” go too far into foreign policy yankee fascism and discredit themselves long-term. After all, since most of them favoured the so-called “trade” agreements which eliminated the sovereignty necessary for regulations by putting the regulatory process extra-legally before corrupt corporate arbitration tribunals, their “progressivism” was therefore a cynical sham.

  10. James lake
    January 16, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    US – nuclear arms?
    When the countries have zero levels of trust

    what about Ukraine?
    Syria?’
    NATO at Russia’s borders
    Even the basic tone of complete disrespect the USA takes towards Russia and Trump is doing it

  11. jfl
    January 16, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    what clinton/bush/obama and the neo-cons put together – the russia-china alliance – trump would like to tear asunder. that’s his geopolitic? looks like it. looks like he’d like a return to the ‘good ole days’ of ‘dealing’ with the russian oligarchs for russia’s riches as well. just like the harvard boys and girls used to do. putin ain’t yeltsin. i imagine he’ll find that out.

    if the consequence of his attempted wheeling and dealing is an end to us the ‘regime change’ regime – the series of shocking, awful criminal aggressions undertaken by clinton/bush/obama over the past two decades – that will be a turn for the better, no matter how much he beggars us all as a bona fide member of the 0.1% himself in the process.

    he’d better ‘put down’ the cia number one, or they’re going to put him down.

  12. alexander
    January 16, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Dear Mr Doctorow,

    Where is it , exactly , that we have been “successful” in extending Democracy abroad ?

    All we have “extended” is lots of death, destruction, and destitution abroad , and obscene sums of war debt, at home.

    Afghanistan is a failed state, Iraq is a failed State, Libya is a failed state, Syria is a failed state…Yemen looks like a failed state too.

    Egypt ,which elected Morsi democratically, was followed by a military coup which we supported, that put a military dictator right back in power..

    So where, exactly, is all the democracy abroad that the US taxpayer has coughed up trillions to promote ?

    It was all a big bunch of malarkey is what…A big bunch of rip-off “phony baloney”.

    These Neocon B.S.ers should refund the taxpayer for every single penny they spent.

    Every single cent !

  13. Stephen
    January 16, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Changing the conversation from some nonsense in Ukraine to nuclear disarmament? Maybe it’s just because I’m watching wrestling right now, but “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

    That’s a promising sign re: “ww3”. Thanks for the report Mr. Doctorow.

    To think maybe he’ll follow through on some of the saner campaign platforms!? What next, Kushner engineers the 2 state solution?

  14. David Drasin
    January 16, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    We’ll see. We have to be careful not to project our own fantasies on someone as unreliable as Trump (unreliable when dealing with things which are not in his own perceived self-interest). We also know that Tillerson would like to be able to exploit Exxon’s fields in Russia. But there are lots of militarists in Trumps “cabinet” who represent the arms industry. But one remarkable feature of the past campaign was that the railing against Putin and Russia seemed to have little resonance outside DC; maybe if Fox News decided to make it an issue, that might change. Is there any evidence that Trump thought seriously about any of these issues until a year or so ago (other than the possibilities of having hotels and golf courses in these countries)?

  15. Abe
    January 17, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Vladimir Putin’s efforts to remake Russian foreign policy has been continuously derided by Western mainstream media.

    Recent media efforts to compare Trump to the Russian president suggest that the real object of the attacks is Putin.

    One example comes to mind:

    In April 2015, Putin became the first Russian head of state to visit Israel since establishment of the state in 1946. Putin spent two days in separate talks with Israeli President Moshe Katsav and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Tel Aviv and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

    Putin’s plan to host an international conference on the peace process was embraced by the Palestinians but greeted with caution by Israeli officials. Israel objected to Russia’s planned sale of surface-to-air missiles to Syria and its role in construction of a nuclear power plant in Iran.

    In January 2006, Sharon suffered a stroke after police announced that they had found evidence of a $3 million bribe paid to Sharon’s sons. A second stroke permanently incapacitated Sharon.

    Ehud Olmert became Prime Minister in May and initiated the July-August 2006 Lebanon War, which ended without a military victory for Israel.

    On 13 September 2006, the Knesset House Committee approved Katsav’s request for leave of absence due to investigation of sexual misconduct.

    No sitting Israeli president had ever been charged with a crime. But the Israeli public had grown accustomed to the spectacle of politicians being put on trial or tainted by corruption allegations.

    On 18 October 2006, Putin and Ohlmert met in Moscow for talks on Iran and bilateral relations. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1696, passed on 31 July 2006, demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment-related activities and threatened sanctions.

    At the end of a press conference, the microphone was turned off and assembled journalists were leaving the auditorium.

    Having met Katsav in Tel Aviv the previous year, Putin turned to Ohlmert and said, “Say hello to your president – he really surprised us”.

    That was the only comment reported by most journalists.

    Israeli police officials had suggested that it might possible to formulate an indictment against Katsav on at least some of the suspicions ascribed to him. At the time of Ohlmert’s visit to Moscow, Katsav continued to claim that he was wrongly accused and insisted that the complaints against him were politically motivated.

    Putin’s comment had a skeptical tone, not unreasonable considering the information available in the international press at the time.

    The Jerusalem Post and Agence France-Presse reported that Putin added, “We did not know he could deal with 10 women”.

    Andrei Kolesnikov, a reporter for Kommersant (up until August 2006 owned by exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky) who often writes satirically, offered a much coarser account of the incident to the BBC. Kolesnikov suffered no negative repercussions for his report on the incident, suggesting that his colorful account was meant to pique the salacious interest of the foreign press.

    The Kremlin press service acknowledged Putin’s remarks to Ohlmert. A Russian spokesman told the BBC the comments “in no way meant that President Putin welcomes rape”.

    A member of Olmert’s delegation from Israel confirmed that Putin said “dealing with” the women, not raping them.

    The episode was picked up by other Israeli news media, though it did not stir any real debate. Some who had heard the remarks but who did not want to be identified publicly said that they thought the remarks were inappropriate. Israeli officials declined to comment.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said in a telephone interview. ”I heard some jokes were made when the press was leaving. I was not there, and I cannot comment on what was reported.”

    Nevertheless, the international press endlessly spun the incident as Putin “praising” Katsav for rape.

    Katsav resigned from the largely ceremonial post of Israeli head of state in 2007 and was indicted in March 2009. While his resignation caused shock across Israel, it had limited political consequences. Rape commands a jail term in Israel of at least four years. Katsav began his sentence in 2011 and was released on parole in December 2016.

    Yet we have witnessed no Western mainstream media effort to make a comparison between the US President-elect and the former President of Israel.

    • Abe
      January 17, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      CORRECTION: Putin visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority on 27–29 April 2005.

      The Soviet Union had supported Israel during the state’s early years, but relations deteriorated as Israel increasingly allied itself with the United States. Moscow cut ties with Israel in 1967. During the 1990s, the two nations restored ties, and Russia’s relaxed emigration restrictions allowed more than a million Russian speakers to move to Israel. Bilateral relations continued to improve under Putin, who took office in 2000.

      Russia joined Europe, the United Nations and the United States in the so-called Quartet of Mideast peacemakers, and Palestinians view Russia as an important counterweight to U.S. support for Israel. Russia also has a history of political and cultural cooperation with the Palestinian people.

      Putin also made an working visit to Egypt on 26-27 April 2005, his first to an Arab country since he became president. The last Russian or Soviet President to make an official state visit to Egypt was Nikita Khrushchev in 1964. During a meeting in Cairo on efforts to revive the tenuous peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, Putin proposed a Mideast peace conference in Russia. The timing of such a gathering, after Israel’s planned pullout from the Gaza Strip, was an effort to restart the peace process and revive the Quartet-sponsored “road map” peace plan that called for the creation of a Palestinian state.

      • John P
        January 17, 2017 at 2:01 pm

        Abe, the Russians opened the doors to Jewish emigration to Israel because they were receiving enormous amounts of intelligence concerning the US from Israel. The name of the Israeli spy in the US slips my mind, but when caught, he was imprisoned for some time and Israel kept asking for his release when ever the presidency changed (that pardoning ploy). He was kept in prison for most if not all of his sentence. The Russian emigration was payback to Israel. I gather it put some agents of the US in danger.
        The Israelis did there deed, because immigration to Israel was going too slowly if at all and they wanted to settle the occupied lands. So they sold out the US. Another move like the Israeli strike on the Liberty.
        So it’s all self interest. The Russians got what they wanted and Israel got theirs and the US lost out !

        • John P
          January 17, 2017 at 2:09 pm

          His name has come back to me, Pollard.

        • Abe
          January 17, 2017 at 4:12 pm

          Jonathan Pollard’s arrest for spying on behalf of Israel has no bearing on the discussion at hand.

          Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, visited Israel in 2005, two decades after Pollard’s arrest.

          The duplicitous behavior of the Israeli government is a matter of its own.

      • Abe
        January 17, 2017 at 3:56 pm

        The Jonathan Pollard espionage episode has nothing to do with post-Soviet Russian emigration policies.

        Pollard had provided intelligence to Israel relating to nearly every one of the key national security elements detailed in 18 USA Code 194 and, most particularly, had provided the Radio Signal Notations Manual, which contained details of how the United States collects signals intelligence as well as the known parameters of the systems used by the Soviet Union. The information would enable an adversary to avoid collection by American codebreakers and, if in the hands of a sophisticated adversary like the Soviets, would permit penetration of U.S. systems. Former CIA Director William Casey and others believed that the Israelis provided at least some of the stolen information to the Soviet Union in exchange for the expedited emigration of Russian Jews.

        Israel’s official position until 1998 was that Pollard worked for an unauthorized rogue organization. In May of that year, Prime Minister Netanyahu admitted that Pollard had in fact been an Israeli agent, answering directly to high-ranking officials of Lekem, the Israeli Bureau for Scientific Relations. The Israeli government paid at least two of the attorneys—Richard A. Hibey and Hamilton Philip Fox III—working for his release.

        Pollard also admitted shopping his services—successfully, in some cases—to other countries.

  16. Realist
    January 17, 2017 at 1:25 am

    What’s this? Donald Trump is really not as stupid as the Democrats, the McCain Republicans, the MIC, Wall Street, and the media make him out to be? In fact, he makes infinitely more sense than any of them alone or taken all together… at least with regard to foreign policy. If only all those issues mentioned by Dr. Doctorow, plus our relations with China, could be rolled into one neat agreement, perhaps this world might survive to see its potential. Never for the life of me could I understand why the Lisbon-to-Vladivostok “New Silk Road” couldn’t be the agreement that binds the entire world together in fair, peaceable trade without the need for America to call all the shots and reap most of the rewards, mainly through the intimidation of everyone else on the planet. Ladies and gentlemen, the bounty of the earth is being used up, every data point for every resource including breathable air and potable water can accurately be extrapolated to an end point, and the only way we can survive as a species is through global cooperation, not global conflagration. Solving these international political crises that we have willfully created for ourselves will be but a first small step in the right direction. I sincerely hope that Trump takes it. Obama set the bar about as low as he could go to be considered a man of peace and vision. The world will sing your praises, Donald, if you can get rid of the nukes, the missiles, the fortified borders, and the dangerous military alliances poised to start Armageddon on a moment’s notice.

    • Brad Owen
      January 17, 2017 at 5:50 am

      Yes, the new Silk Road, and all the “New Deal/Marshall Plan”-like development policies that go along with it, is the ticket to peaceful resolution to all the World’s problems. The new Silk Road is only the half of it. The other half is the World Land Bridge across the Bering Straits, running all the way down to Tierra Del Fuego in Argentina. It will be Russia’s and US’s great honor and privilege to inaugurate this other half of the new silk road. If the real estate developer/mogul Trump gets rich from this development project who cares, so long as it gets done. The biggest city on the North American Continent will end up being on the west coast of Alaska, eastern gateway to the World Land Bridge ( some future Chukchi City by the Bering Strait in Siberia will end up being Russia’s biggest city and western gateway to the World Land Bridge).
      I also stand with the nuclear greens for clean air and carbon reduction (combined with CCC reforestation projects). TVA will be installing the first modular, self-contained nuke plant…yeay!

      • Brad Owen
        January 17, 2017 at 5:13 pm

        My sincere hope is that the billionaire class will become so enamored with the hundreds of trillions of $ generated from Silk Road policies, that they’ll give up their war portfolios for development portfolios (let’s make business deals and $, not war). That’s how I imagine that Coyote Trickster will trick Bad into doing Good, unintentionally, in pursuit of profits. The Imperial trans-national ruling class isn’t monolithic. I think a significant faction of them are thinking along these lines (not that they’re giving up their power and reign, just re-establishing a new deal with the commoners who are the workers that make these business deals possible; make workers, not soldiers; the commoners will agree with this policy).

  17. John A
    January 17, 2017 at 6:47 am

    As a Brit, I am worried that May and her party are very much in favour of GMO and Monsanto and that any trade deal will include watering down of labelling of such. The British public do not want GMO, do not want hormone and growth enhanced or bleached meat etc., as US standards permit. I suspect May will fold on these in her desperation to get some kind of trade agreement with the US.

    • Brad Owen
      January 17, 2017 at 7:04 am

      Don’t worry. City-of-London calls the tune, and their Wall Street Tories will parrot it, for the entire English-speaking Tribe (Great Britain, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand; the Five Sisters as it is called in the intelligence community). More likely we’ll get some much-needed cleanup in our food supplies.

  18. tony
    January 17, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Trump has a group of ‘powers that be’ that are backing him. These backers see that the United States reputation has been dragged thru the sewer over the last 20 years, and are backing Trump to avoid war with Russia. Sabre rattling would continue if Clinton or any other Republican had won the election.

  19. John P
    January 17, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Yes we need détente, but within politics lives a large community of egotists and one must be wary.
    I found this article quite interesting at Foreign Policy in Focus:

    http://fpif.org/the-russian-honeypot/

    One has to tread carefully. Trump seems so overly sensitive to the voices of the orchestra out there and like the fish in the pond he may be lured into something he’ll regret. He is hard to fathom as he shuffles his policies in ways that make it hard to comprehend.
    In the game of politics as in chess, the opponents can make sacrifices to gain advantage in their long term plan. One needs a mind that is uncluttered by the noise but aware of the play in the game, and keep the target, the good of humanity, in view. Does trump have that capability? I’m not very sure from his reactionary responses to the noise.
    I often wonder how he can separate the positives and negatives for an international business in the shadows of his mind, from the running of a country in a world of political gamers who may have the talents to maliciously enhance the images within those shadows.
    I just wish the world could get together and repair the deficits that time has revealed in the UN. It’s in need of urgent upgrades to raise its standing around this world, now so much smaller than it seemed 50 or 100 years ago.

  20. Abbey
    January 17, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Look at the Left fawning over Donald Trump. How absolutely pathetic.

    • Zachary Smith
      January 17, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Let me guess: us lefties are supposed to be weeping about losing our Nobel Peace Prize President as well as the lost chance for the US of A to Break The Glass Ceiling and wipe out all known and suspected enemies of Israel and install Corporate Governance.

      We’re a pathetic bunch for sure.

    • Stiv
      January 20, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      I agree Abbey. Very disappointed in the myopic view of this “guy”. Armchair quarterbacks might be dreamy over prospects they “hope” for…..and indeed, if possible I’d like to see it…but his history shows a whole ‘nother story.

  21. Michael Kenny
    January 18, 2017 at 11:55 am

    This sounds like an attempt to hype Putin’s defeat into a triumph. In fact, Trump has beautifully wrongfooted Putin. Putin’s American supporters expected that, once in office, Trump would unilaterally lift sanctions, all the more so as they didn’t seem to be very effective. Instead of that, he says he’ll lift sanctions if Putin agrees to a nuclear disarmament deal. In practice, Trump is offering something worthless in return for something solid but Putin is now trapped. If he refuses to talk, he paints himself as a warmonger. If he agrees to talk, he admits that sanctions are hurting more than he and his American supporters had previously admitted. In addition, Putin will now have to put the announced “upgrade” of his rickety nuclear arsenal on hold and any agreement to reduce Russia’s nuclear arsenal weakens Putin’ ability to threaten other countries. It will also pull the rug from under one of his American supporters’ favourite pretexts for capitulation: nuclear scaremongering. If Putin won’t give Trump the deal he wants, the latter will say “I made him a fair offer and he wouldn’t accept it”. At that point, more robust measures will have to be envisaged to get Putin out of Ukraine. Trump has a reputation for “stiffing” people and he certainly seems to have “stiffed” Putin (and the latter’s American supporters!). In effect, he has made Putin an offer he can’t refuse, but also an offer he can’t accept. That explains the air of stunned dismay in Moscow and among the little policeman’s American supporters. If this is “Trump being Trump”, then more power to his elbow (as we say in Ireland)!

    • Richard Coleman
      January 18, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Whaa? Nuclear disarmament is “worthless”? I suspect 99% of the world’s population (at least that portion of it that’s not otherwise occupied with mere survival) would applaud it. How do you know Russia’s nuclear force is “rickety”?

      The US has invaded and/or bombed Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, and is supporting the Saudi massacre in Yemen. Not to mention engineering a right-wing/neofascist coup in Ukraine. The US has how many overseas military bases ringing Russia? You tell me. How many does Russia have? You tell me. NATO has expanded right up to Russia’s borders, nuclear-capable “defensive” missiles and all. Remember how we reacted when the Russians put their missiles 90 miles from our shores? And on and on.

      And Russia “threatens” other countries!!?? Like who for instance?

  22. posa
    January 18, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    The NeoCons were never interested in Democracy: abroad or in the US. Their naked ambition was and is global dominance (ie Wolfowitz Doctrine) … It’s amazing that commentators such as Doctorow perpetuate this myth.

    • Richard Coleman
      January 18, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      Absolutely right.

  23. TytlerH
    January 18, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    The comment section of this BBC ‘Journo’s’ facebook post about Fake news is the the most fascinating read I have had in a long time:
    https://www.facebook.com/JamesLongmanBBC/posts/1865714746992014

    This shows the public’s true feelings about the war in Syria, Libya and the Ukraine.

  24. Richard Coleman
    January 18, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    G. Doctorow: How come you excluded John F. Kennedy from your list of peace-seeking US presidents?

  25. J'hon Doe II
    January 18, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/matt-taibbis-new-book-insane-clown-president-w461390

    Insane Clown President, my new book about the 2016 presidential campaign, comes out today, January 17th. I talked about the book with longtime friends Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now! this morning; you can watch that above.
    ::
    ::
    https://www.abebooks.com/9781633882492/What-Washington-Gets-Wrong-Unelected-1633882497/plp
    What Washington Gets Wrong: The Unelected Officials Who Actually Run the Government and Their Misconceptions about the American People
    Benjamin Ginsberg; Jennifer Bachner

  26. i
    January 21, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    There is a lot more to Donald than the grumpy, unsmiling, bombastic fool portraits painted for him. He took a $40m inheritance and grew it nearly 150 times, if one deducts the debt on his balance sheet.

    The problems are, and always have been: the physics and energy models operant; the resource power of Mackinder’s “World Island” (asia, europe, india); and the decline of the Westphalian Covanant since the end of the Cold War (Treaty of Westphalia); and the intential offshoring off of American capital and productivity.

    Trump is a lot more aware of issue 1, the physics and energy model than most anyone. The world economy literally runs on hydrocarbon energy, not just to burn it, but to make it the basis of American global financial power. Tesla-based electricity from the earth grid itself (proven); zero point energy (cold fusion, known since 1935), and water-based engine technology have all been supressed to preserve economic scarcity. Mr. Trump knows a lot more about this than he has ever let on. His uncle and middlename sake, Dr. John Trump, MIT, was one of the top American scientists in the world on electromagnetic physics. He personally was selected to review Tesla’s personal papers after his death. He was prominent enough to be in General Eisenhower’s car when he entered Paris. Clearly, Trump knows a lot about advanced energy, military application of the same technology, and their respective dangers, not only to life and limb, but also to hydrocarbon-based international finance.

    As to the world island. The US is going to lose its bid to take the World Island. What it can do, is to once again begin to engage the world in a net positive way, to build trade relationships while abandoning the ludicrous attempt to use trade in terminator seeds and GMO as the new GMOdollar. Much better for the US to get ahead of these changes and position a few moves down the chessboard than to try to keep the game from proceeding. The reëmergence of the Westphalian idea of national sovereignty and spheres of influence can enable coalitions to form, increasing coöperation on transnational issues, and regulating corrupt practices.

    The United States has to thread the financial needle because the era of debt-based capitalism is over. The next model will have to be a return to an equity based financial model. It is not lost on those in the know that Mnunchin, Goldman royalty, is on the equity side at Goldman Sachs. The engineering of this new model will have to be done with the best experts in the world on equity-based finance and Goldman’s equity desk is the best in the world.

    Cleary, Trump is a lot more on the ball than his detractors will admit, but the proof will be in the pudding, as it always is.

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