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Archive of Articles in the "Foreign Policy" Category

Friday Talking Points [441] -- Happy Birthday, Mr. President

[ Posted Friday, June 16th, 2017 – 17:00 PDT ]

President Donald J. Trump turned 71 years old this week. He held a party and invited all his cabinet members, who were all allowed to sing his praises in a manner one reporter summed up as: "honestly this is like a scene from the Third World." The internet, of course, had a field day afterwards. But it's pretty easy to understand why Trump felt the need to hold a public ass-kissing event to celebrate. After all, pretty much all of his other birthday presents were stinkers.

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Senate Votes To Take Power Away From Trump

[ Posted Thursday, June 15th, 2017 – 16:42 PDT ]

With a near-unanimous vote, the Senate just issued a rather strong rebuke to President Donald Trump, telling him that they simply do not trust him to handle sanctions against Russia. If the bill clears the House with a similar overwhelming majority, then Congress will assume control over America's foreign policy towards Russia and leave both the president and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with a very limited ability to change the situation. That's a pretty stunning rebuke to a sitting president. Especially by a Congress controlled by his own party.

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Three Court Cases Worth Noting

[ Posted Monday, June 12th, 2017 – 17:11 PDT ]

There are three separate court cases which are making news today, so I thought it'd be worthwhile to take a quick look at all of them, to see the potential impact they might have. The three cases are in very different stages of completion. One was just filed in federal court. One got a just got a ruling from the Ninth Circuit of Appeals. And one is about to be ruled on by the Supreme Court. So let's take them one at a time.

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Friday Talking Points [440] -- Liar, Liar!

[ Posted Friday, June 9th, 2017 – 17:20 PDT ]

President Donald Trump and former F.B.I. chief James Comey engaged this week in an extended game of "Liar, liar!" Or, more properly: "Liar!" "No, you're a liar!" Yes, it was "Super Bowl" week in Washington, folks!

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The Curious Incident During Comey's Testimony

[ Posted Thursday, June 8th, 2017 – 18:01 PDT ]

On a day chock full of breaking news from Washington, it's rather extraordinary that one of the biggest stories was about something which didn't happen. Not unlike Sherlock Holmes noting the significance of the dog which did not bark in the night, one of the most astonishing things about this morning's congressional testimony by fired F.B.I. director James Comey was that President Donald Trump did not angrily tweet about it while it was happening. Yes, this is precisely where we now find ourselves as a nation -- it's a big story that the president didn't fly off the handle publicly, in reaction to seeing something he didn't like, on television.

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Islamic State's State Nearing An End

[ Posted Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 – 17:06 PDT ]

The Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh) always differed from other radical Islamist movements in their willingness to create a "caliphate," or a geographical state of their own. At their strongest, they swept through large portions of Iraq and Syria, taking over and holding territory that at one point reached almost to the outskirts of Baghdad. But we are now at the point where the end is in sight for the group's territorial holdings. The opponents of the Islamic State have been rolling back their borders and soon will liberate all of the Islamic State's territory. The aftermath, both for the Islamic State and for the territories involved, is going to be even more complicated than the fighting has so far been. But it's now time to consider what will happen when the Islamic State no longer has a state.

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Trump's Polling Remarkably Flat

[ Posted Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 – 17:25 PDT ]

That'd have to be my sum-up of Trump's polling numbers since the last time I looked at them. Trump has lost roughly a point in job approval, and has lowered his own floor to 39 percent from 40 percent. But once the initial slide happened, Trump has had one of the most stable polling periods he's ever seen -- his polls for the past few weeks are almost perfectly flat, with both his job approval number and his job disapproval rating falling within a range of a single point for the whole time. For Trump, that's an achievement.

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Let Trump Be Trump, Kellyanne

[ Posted Monday, June 5th, 2017 – 15:25 PDT ]

Kellyanne Conway is right -- the media obsesses over presidential tweets from Donald Trump. What she fails to understand, though, is that there's a very good reason for this obsession. Trump tweets make news because they are newsworthy. If Trump tweets were bland and boring repetitions of White House policy, pre-vetted by the communications team, then it's likely nobody would pay any attention to them. But they're not. They are, as one interviewer pointed out to Kellyanne this morning, Trump's preferred method of communication to the American public. And what he's got to say makes news because nobody else in the administration can speak for Trump.

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Friday Talking Points [439] -- We're All Covfefeed Now

[ Posted Friday, June 2nd, 2017 – 17:45 PDT ]

Yesterday, Donald Trump finished off a two-week stretch of diminishing America's standing in the world by announcing he was pulling out of the historic Paris climate agreement. In Trumpian terms, this means we're all covfefeed now.

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From The Archives -- The How-Many-Years' War

[ Posted Monday, May 29th, 2017 – 17:10 PDT ]

Being in the midst of history sometimes mean events are not seen in the "big picture" view that historians often later take, when looking back at the period. Case in point: what will America's ongoing war eventually be known as? To date, we've been at war since October 2001, or a mind-boggling period of 15 years. This war was initially called "The Global War On Terror" by the Bush administration, which lumped in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq with all the skirmishes in various other North African and Middle East countries. The Obama administration has dropped the term, but they've never really replaced it with anything else. But what I wonder this Memorial Day is what it will be called in the future. Right now, it'd be the "Fifteen Years' War" -- but few expect all conflicts will end by the time the next president is sworn in, so eventually that number will likely be higher.

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