Trump’s Big Mouth Fails to Impress the World

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau speaks with American president Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, February 13
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau speaks with American president Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, February 13 (Flickr/Justin Trudeau)

Not only is Donald Trump aching for a conflict with Iran; the American president also seems to be keen on a war with North Korea.

His latest threat, to meet further North Korean provocations with “fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before,” is disconcerting for two reasons:

  1. Who believes him? Certainly not the North Koreans, who responded to Trump’s bluster by threatening to strike the American island of Guam.
  2. North Korea never backs down. It is the superpower, not an impoverished country with an army from the Stalinist era, that is supposed to act responsibly and deescalate. Read more

Republican Attempt to Repeal Obamacare Turns into Farce

View of the United States Capitol in Washington DC in the early morning, January 15
View of the United States Capitol in Washington DC in the early morning, January 15 (DoD/William Lockwood)

Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare have descended into farce.

Politico reports that Senate Republicans don’t even want their latest bill — which would repeal the 2010 health reforms without replacing them — to become law.

“The substance of this is not what’s relevant,” said Bob Corker of Tennessee. “This a pathway to conference. That’s the only purpose in this.”

But there is no guarantee the House of Representatives will agree to a conference, which is not designed to write laws to begin with. It’s a process to iron out differences between similar bills passed by both chambers.

The reason Senate Republicans must resort to this is that they haven’t been able to unify their own behind a health-care bill, let alone attract Democratic support. Read more

Why Now Is the Time for Greek Debt Relief

The Acropolis of Athens, Greece, April 19, 2009
The Acropolis of Athens, Greece, April 19, 2009 (John, Melanie Kotsopoulos)

The conventional wisdom is that Greek debt relief can’t happen before the German election. Angela Merkel wouldn’t want to risk the ire of her conservative voters.

But things could be more difficult after the election. There is a good chance Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the liberal Free Democrats will win enough seats to form a center-right government. The latter, while smaller, are more adamant in their views on the Greek debt crisis. They would find it hard to justify debt forgiveness to their voters.

That’s not the only reason why the time is right. Donald Trump and the rise of illiberal democracy around the world is another. Europe must circle the wagons to provide a counterweight to this dangerous development. Read more

The Bar for Impeaching a President Is Too High

The White House in Washington DC is seen from a helicopter, January 15, 2015
The White House in Washington DC is seen from a helicopter, January 15, 2015 (White House/Pete Souza)

Americans should impeach presidents more often, argues Gene Healy in Reason:

It would be a pretty lousy constitutional architecture that only provided the means for ejecting the president if he’s a crook or a vegetable, but left us to muddle through anything in between.

Incoherence, incompetence and recklessness are all evidence of unfitness for office, writes Healy. It shouldn’t require worse to remove a president. Read more

The United Republics: A Peace Plan for America

Clare Trainor's proposal for high-speed rail connections between seven American megaregions
Clare Trainor’s proposal for high-speed rail connections between seven American megaregions

The 2016 election was a turning point in American history. Cultural, political and regional differences have become so vast that the American political system is becoming unsustainable. There are two fundamentally different visions of what this country should be and the current federal system does not allow these differences to be reconciled.

For these reasons, I am proposing a new political system that would transform the United States of America into the United Republics of America.

This new government would still allow nationwide coordination of domestic and foreign policy, but it would devolve power to newly created republics. Read more

Republicans Think Democrats Are Worse Than Russia

Radio and television host Sean Hannity speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Radio and television host Sean Hannity speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

How can Republicans still support Donald Trump despite there now being proof of collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia?

Several users on Twitter have suggested that the right-wing media would have gone berserk if this story was about Hillary Clinton. I think they’re right. Instead of giving Donald Trump Jr. a softball interview, Sean Hannity would be screaming bloody murder.

We know, because that’s what he did during the phony Clinton email scandal.

And perhaps that’s part of the answer: To some on the American right, Democrats are such a threat that it justifies collaboration with a foreign power. Read more

Trump Absurdly Claims Western Civilization Is at Stake

Presidents Donald Trump of the United States and Andrzej Duda of Poland deliver a news conference in Warsaw, July 6
Presidents Donald Trump of the United States and Andrzej Duda of Poland deliver a news conference in Warsaw, July 6 (KPRP/Krzysztof Sitkowski)

Donald Trump has absurdly claimed Western civilization is at stake in the fight against Islamic terrorism, telling Poles, “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.”

In a speech in Warsaw, the American president held up Poland as an example of a country that is ready to defend Western values:

As the Polish experience reminds us, the defence of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail.

Poland’s ruling nationalist party shares Trump’s alarmism about Islam, which is hard to distinguish from xenophobia.

But comparing the country’s historical resistance to Nazism and communism to the present-day War on Terror is misguided. Read more