Friday, December 16, 2016

Two foreign policy problems for the new administration

The following post is from Niume on December 16, 2016 (https://niume.com/post/197173)

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As an artist, I'm (somewhat) apolitical. But, sometimes, the only way I can express my political feelings is through my art. I did this repeatedly during the political campaign season. There were just too many crazy things happening, and it would have taken too many words to express them. During the final days leading up to the election, for instance, I listened to Donald Trump promise to 'make American great again.' How was he going to do it? Well, there was the wall between us and Mexico, a ban on Muslims entering the US, repeal of the Affordable Care Act, downsizing our efforts in NATO, killing the Trans-Pacific Partnership as well as taking another look at all of our trade treaties, and kicking all undocumented aliens out of the country--and, that's not even a complete list.
Needless to say, not one of these can be accomplished quickly--if at all. But, there are two issues that Trump will have to deal with right away; our relations with China and our policy vis a vis Russia; and these thanks to his own actions (one might even say misdeeds).
So, over the past few days, I've been thinking about these two issues, and just how one might highlight them, and, of course, I reached for my pen and ink.
Trump had a phone call with Taiwan's president which, unsurprisingly, provoked a negative reaction from China. He then went on a Twitter rant, questioning the One-China policy and indicating that the way we relate to Taiwan could be used as a bargaining chip to get concessions from the Chinese. Guess what? That not only upset the Chinese even more, but ticked the Taiwanese off. They don't like to be thought of as bargaining chips. Considering the complexities of our relationship with both China and Taiwan, Trump will have some fence mending to do early in his administration.
Several times during the campaign, Trump praised Russia's leader, Vladimir Putin; praise which the Russian tepidly reciprocated. Some of Trump's confidantes and nominees have uncomfortably close ties to the Russian. Now, US intelligence is saying that Russia, probably under Putin's direction, hacked the US election which helped Trump win, an assertion that Trump continues to deny (one of his minions even suggested that this was a 'false flag' operation by US intelligence to undercut his election. Needless to say, even his GOP apologists in Congress will be hard pressed to keep supporting him unless he shows that he will put American interests first in dealing with Russia.
Oh, and lest I forget, his attacks on the intelligence community, and his aversion to intelligence briefings (because he's so 'smart') don't bode well for harmony in the coming four years.