Different Player, Same Game

Presidents Andrzej Duda of Poland and Donald Trump of the United States answer questions from reporters at the White House in Washington DC, June 12
Presidents Andrzej Duda of Poland and Donald Trump of the United States answer questions from reporters at the White House in Washington DC, June 12 (White House/Shealah Craighead)

Donald Trump has not exactly shied away from advocating for better American relations with Russia. During his presidential campaign, he argued that “Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other toward defeating terrorism and restoring world peace.” He has repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin and accepted his denials of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

But even Trump’s Russophilia is no match for geopolitical reality. Read more

Trump Supporters Don’t Care

Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump joked he could shoot somebody on New York’s Fifth Avenue and not lose voters.

His racism, his ignorance of policy, his shambolic business career and two dozen allegations of sexual misconduct (which he denied in public but admitted to in what he thought was a private conversation) didn’t move voters.

Three years later, the transgressions have only become more serious, but most Republicans still don’t care. Read more

Recent Revelations in the Trump-Russia Scandal

Presidents Donald Trump of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia meet in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018
Presidents Donald Trump of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia meet in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018 (Presidential Press and Information Office)
  • After Trump fired FBI director James Comey — for refusing to end the investigation into his first national security advisor, Michael Flynn — the bureau started to investigate if the president himself might be working on behalf of Russia. Flynn is now on trial for lying about his foreign contacts.
  • Trump privately discussed withdrawing the United States from NATO.
  • Not only did he meet with Vladimir Putin five times without other officials present; Trump went so far as to snatch the meeting notes from his own interpreter and tell the linguist not to share what had transpired even with administration officials. Read more

Trump Scandals Keep Piling Up

American president Donald Trump attends a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16
American president Donald Trump attends a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16 (Office of the President of the Republic of Finland/Juhani Kandell)

It’s getting harder and harder to keep up with the many scandals swirling around Donald Trump, so my apologies if I’ve missed anything here since my last update. Read more

AMLO and Trump: Useful Scapegoats or Unlikely Allies?

Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador gives a news conference, October 31
Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador gives a news conference, October 31 (Sitio Oficial de Andrés Manuel López Obrador)

Mexico’s new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), looks like the perfect adversary for Donald Trump. The American represents the financial elites and inequality AMLO has railed against his entire career whereas he himself embodies the hopes of Mexico’s poorest, many of whom have sought a better life in the United States — and who have been disparaged by Trump as criminals and rapists.

But the two leaders also share traits: a populist style, policy light on detail and nostalgia for a bygone era.

The two have avoided a confrontation on trade. Immigration and security provide more opportunities for compromise — but could just as easily cause the relationship to come unstuck. Read more

Revelations in Trump-Russia Scandal

Presidents Donald Trump of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia deliver a news conference in Helsinki, Finland, July 16
Presidents Donald Trump of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia deliver a news conference in Helsinki, Finland, July 16 (Office of the President of the Republic of Finland/Juhani Kandell)

When Russiagate skeptic John Podhoretz and Russiagate alarmist John R. Schindler agree there is big news, it’s time for an update. Read more

Shameless Trump Gives Up America’s Power to Shame

American president Donald Trump signs the guestbook at the presidential palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16
American president Donald Trump signs the guestbook at the presidential palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16 (Office of the President of the Republic of Finland/Matti Porre)

I have little to add to the opprobrium that has rightly been heaped on President Donald Trump from the left and the right — including a blistering editorial in the otherwise Trump-friendly Wall Street Journal — for condoning the Saudi killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Except this: It used to be that when the American president shamed other countries, the world listened. Trump has no shame and does not understand soft power. His is a simplistic realpolitik that gives authoritarians license to kill for fear of upsetting their feelings. Read more