(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
China has called on the US to “abandon its prejudices” after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed Beijing was subverting the global order and pursuing predatory economic policies.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
China has called on the US to “abandon its prejudices” after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed Beijing was subverting the global order and pursuing predatory economic policies.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)
In a rare pressure campaign, the Chinese government is demanding that the U.S. Congress back off passing new laws that would strengthen the U.S. relationship with Taiwan. Beijing’s efforts are the latest sign that it is stepping up its campaign to exert political influence inside countries around the world, including the United States.
In response to proposed legislation in both the House and Senate, the Chinese Embassy in Washington lodged a formal complaint with leading lawmakers, threatening “severe consequences” for the U.S.-China relationship if Congress follows through. China’s tactics have angered lawmakers and staffers in both parties, who call them inappropriate and counterproductive.
In an August letter from Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai that I obtained, the Chinese government expressed “grave concern” about the Taiwan Travel Act, the Taiwan Security Act and Taiwan-related provisions in both the House and Senate versions of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.
The measures represent “provocations against China’s sovereignty, national unity and security interests,” and “have crossed the ‘red line’ on the stability of the China-U.S. relationship,” the letter stated.
The letter was sent to leaders of the House and Senate’s foreign relations and armed services committees and called on them to use their power to block Taiwan-related provisions in the bills. Lawmakers and aides told me the Chinese threat of “severe consequences” was unusual and out of line.
“The United States should continue to strengthen our relationship with Taiwan and not allow Chinese influence or pressure to interfere with the national security interests of the U.S. and our partners in the region,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the sponsor of the Taiwan Travel Act, which calls for more visits by U.S. officials to Taiwan and by Taiwanese officials to the United States.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s ranking Democrat Eliot L. Engel (N.Y.) told me Cui’s letter stood out because of its threatening tone. “China carries out this kind of heavy-handed behavior with other countries around the world,” he said. “It’s interesting to me that they now feel that they can get away with these kind of threats and vague pressure tactics with the U.S. Congress.”
The issue is coming to a head as the House and Senate Armed Services committees negotiate over the must-pass defense policy bill. The Senate version has several strong Taiwan-related provisions, thanks to amendments added by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). It would authorize Taiwanese ships to make port calls to U.S. naval bases and vice versa, invite Taiwan to the “Red Flag” international military exercises and provide for increased supply of U.S. defense articles to Taiwan. The House version of the bill contains softer versions of those provisions that give the administration more flexibility.
When the two chambers go to conference, lawmakers and aides will have to reconcile the two versions. It’s a delicate negotiation, and aides resent the blatant Chinese efforts to influence it.
“Making these sorts of threats and laying down ‘red lines’ on domestic legislative action is neither helpful or constructive to build the sort of relationship needed between the United States and China,” a Senate Democratic aide said.
By stating that the “red line” had been crossed by the mere introduction of legislation, the Chinese government seems to be saying it believes that Chinese interference in U.S. domestic political processes is appropriate, the aide said.
Other congressional aides said that no other embassy uses threats as a tactic to influence Congress, especially not via an official communication. Most embassies try to build relationships and persuade U.S. policymakers to support what they believe is in their national interest. But not China.
Beijing’s worldwide strategy to exert political influence inside other countries’ decision-making processes has been expanding for years. It’s just now getting noticed in the United States.
“It’s a concentrated, long-term, political-warfare influence operations campaign that has been going on for a long time but has definitely become more brazen,” said Dan Blumenthal, a former Pentagon Asia official now with the American Enterprise Institute.
Chinese pressure on domestic institutions in other countries takes many forms, he said. For example, Chinese government delegations routinely pressure U.S. governors by threatening to withhold economic benefits if they, for example, meet with the Dalai Lama.
In Australia, there’s a huge debate about Chinese pressure on universities to alter curriculum to match Chinese propaganda. In Spain, the government controversially changed the law to curb prosecutions of foreign leaders for human rights violations, under Chinese government pressure.
“We don’t really recognize the Chinese efforts to coerce political influence in other countries. That’s not even on our radar,” said Blumenthal. “It’s part of Chinese grand strategy. It’s a big, big deal.”
Congressional action over the next weeks and months will be a test of the legislative branch’s willingness to stand up to Chinese bullying and continue a long tradition of seeking improved engagement with Taiwan. Even if the House and Senate compromise, they should send a clear message that China’s tactics won’t work.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC.NET)
China is the world’s ultimate security state.
Beijing police proudly boast there is no corner of public space that surveillance cameras cannot see.
Every subway entrance involves bag scans and metal detectors.
Armed military police stand guard at major public spaces.
Various levels of lower down security guards are ever present, right down to the elderly civilian volunteers who keep watch on the street when big political events take place.
Away from the capital of this authoritarian superpower things are more relaxed, but the political culture prioritising stability permeates deep.
Recently I was in the city of Dandong — bordering North Korea — where an airport video showed off SWAT patrol officers marching around empty streets.
Then a cartoon showed how they would respond to Islamist terrorists bringing fire and fury to Dandong — an unlikely scenario to contemplate in a city more well known for being China’s gateway to North Korea.
Over in far western Xinjiang the prospect of Islamist terror is far more realistic, and in recent months authorities have mobilised thousands of military police in several public displays of force.
The underlying rationale for all this security is to ensure the Communist Party’s control of China remains unchallenged — meaning some political activists and crusading lawyers have felt the full force of China’s security apparatus just as much as terror suspects.
The total annual domestic security budget hasn’t been published since 2013, when overseas media noted how it outstripped the rapidly growing funding for China’s military.
China’s massive internet censorship operation is also deeply linked to the overall concept of safeguarding stability.
The normalisation of such a huge security presence is helping create a growing belief here that China is far safer than countries abroad.
Well-publicised cases of Chinese students and young nationals being kidnapped or murdered in the United States, Australia and elsewhere along with news coverage of mass shootings and violent protests in the West appear to affirm the idea that China’s security state is superior.
When similar incidents happen domestically, such as a violent face-off between a group of Muslims and police in the northern city of Tangshan in August, censors scrub any mention of it.
Events that could dominate the news agenda for days in a country like Australia can be neutralised and snuffed out before most people have a chance to hear about them.
“Chinese society is stable and orderly, people happily live and work in peace,” President Xi Jinping recently told an Interpol conference in Beijing.
“More and more people believe China is one of the world’s safest countries.
“This is China’s contribution to the world for security and stability.”
This emphasis on stability and security is only likely to increase in the weeks ahead as Mr Xi presides over a major Communist Party meeting confirming his leadership for another five years.
“The idea of stability is central to the Chinese Communist Party”, said Dr Michael Clarke, a specialist in China’s domestic security policies at the Australian National University.
“It also plays into this wider narrative of China returning to its place of great power status and its ability to be a leader in international affairs.
“So I think there’s a real link between stability and Xi’s concept of the China Dream.”
Please Take The Time To Reference The Book Of Revelation For Greater Understanding
I have been debating how to write this article for about a month now, I have even been debating how to word the title also. I had been thinking about making the title something like ‘Are These 3 Men 3 Beasts Of Revelation’, yet as I started writing the title I changed it to what you see now. Obviously I am trying to tweak folks interest enough to get them to take a few moments to stop in, read and contemplate what I am going to say to you here in this article today. I hope that you enjoy the read, I hope that I am able to get you to think and maybe even get you to reread the last book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation.
As this system that we all live in keeps getting worse as it and we are spiraling toward the ‘End Of Days’ spoken of several times throughout both the Old and the New Testaments. The Rapture, the second coming of Christ, will not come today or tomorrow, I can say this with total confidence simply because all of the Bible’s end of time prophecies have not been fulfilled yet. For those of you who are unaware of it the Rapture is when Armageddon will happen. Armageddon is when the governments and their armies and their people fight against God and His Angels and the people are crushed like grapes in a wine-press. When Christ returns one of the first things that will happen is the Demons who posed as world leaders will straightway be cast into Hell. This will happen because they have already been judged and found guilty by God. This is when the people will see and understand that they have been deceived by their Demonic Leaders and it will be too late for those poor Souls then. These humans are the ones who allowed these evil governments and their leaders to insert computer chips in their hands or in their head. This, is the ‘Mark of the Beast’, the Devil’s mark, the way that the governments will get all the people to bow down to them.
As time closes out the broader circle of world power will continue to shrink into fewer and fewer hands. There will come a time when almost all of the worlds military and economic power will rest in the hands of 10 governments, 10 Leaders. This system will then be usurped by just 3 seats of power, then finally just one. I believe that the 3 world powers will come from 3 regions of the world. Please think of the globe in the means of north to south planes. One of these 3 great powers will come from Asia so almost without a doubt, China. Another of the 3 great powers will come from the center area. I believe that Russia in time will dominate Europe, don’t laugh folks, President Putin if he wished to do it can right now turn off the oil and gas to Europe. With no energy all of their economies will quickly implode or Russia could play the ‘good neighbor’ and end up having a seat at the EU table. Then you have the western hemisphere, the Americas, most likely dominated by the U.S.. These 3 will be usurped by ‘The” Anti-Christ who will come up from underneath them and the 3 will give all their power to their Master, “The” Anti-Christ which is the Devil Himself.
Do I really believe that the 3 Presidents that I mentioned in the title are or will be the 3 who will control these 3 realms? Do I really believe that these 3 men are evil, yes I do. Everyone’s body is like unto a house and this house can only have 3 options, I am referring to the Spiritual plane . One option is the house is empty, anther option is the house is the dwelling place of God’s Holy Spirit, and the third option is that it is occupied by at least one Demonic Spirit. A demon can not enter where the Holy Spirit resides so they cannot share one house. Where the Holy Spirit is, no Demon is there. So, these three Presidents are just like you and I in regard to our bodies being a dwelling place, a house, a home. There is a such a thing as a person who chooses to be evil by their nature, one does not need a Demonic presence to be hate filled, egotistical and selfish, way to many humans manage that all on their own dime. Now do I believe that these 3 Presidents I mentioned are going to be the “big 3” very shortly before the ‘end of days’? Honestly, I think probably not, but is it possible? Yes it is possible, certainly these 3 men fit the profile and I believe that in China and in Russia their two current Presidents have no intention of ever letting go of the power they now have. Trump, who knows about this egomaniac. Pope Francis last year questioned Trumps faith and his being pro-life and Mr. Trump rebutted that “no religious leader should ever question another man faith.” A couple of things, yes, it is exactly what a religious leaders job is in part to question people’s faith. Yet in Mr. Trumps case it is my belief that you cannot question something that does not exist.
I hope you enjoyed this little ‘future’ history discussion. I hope that you will take an hour or so and read through the Book Of Revelation again. I also hope that if you have any questions, please ask them I will give you the most honest and truthful answers that I know of. God’s love and peace I wish to each and every one of you, God bless.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE GUARDIAN NEWS AND FROM ANDY TAI’S GOOGLE PLUS ACCOUNT)
On Friday afternoon, the eve of North Korea’s most powerful ever nuclear test, China’s football-loving president received a gift from the world’s greatest ever player.
“Good luck,” read the handwritten message from Pelé on a canary yellow Brazil jersey handed to Xi Jinping by his South American counterpart, Michel Temer.
Xi needs it. Experts say Kim Jong-un’s latest provocation – which some believe was deliberately timed to upstage the start of the annual Brics summit in China – exposes not only the scale of the North Korean challenge now facing China’s president but also his dearth of options.
“The Chinese are pissed off, quite frankly,” says Steve Tsang, the head of the Soas China Institute.
“But there is nothing much they will actually do about it. Words? UN statements and all that? Yes. But what can the Chinese actually do?”
Zhao Tong, a North Korea expert from the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing, believes there are a number of possible answers.
The first is to further tighten sanctions on Kim’s regime by targeting its exports of textiles and clothing.
“After the last round of UN resolution sanctions, textile products and clothing is now the most important source of foreign income for North Korea,” says Zhao.
Xi could also deprive Kim of another key source of revenue by agreeing to limit or completely prohibit up to 100,000 North Korean labourers from working overseas, including in China.
A third and far more drastic option also exists: cutting off North Korea’s crude oil supply. “This nuclear test is one of the few things that might trigger a cut-off of oil supplies, but we are still very reluctant to do so,” one person close to Chinese foreign policymakers told the Financial Times after Sunday’s detonation.
Zhao doubts Xi will choose that risk-strewn path. He believes turning off the taps could prove an irreversible decision since the pipeline delivering oil to North Korea is old and would corrode and break if left unused. Crucially, though, it would cripple North Korea’s economy, almost certainly bring down Kim’s regime and create a massive refugee and security crisis just a few hundred miles from Beijing.
“That is one of the most radical measures China could ever take and it could have strategic implications if the regime’s stability is affected,” says Zhao. “It is not going to be immediate but over time it could have an impact on the regime’s survival.”
Cheng Xiaohe, a North Korea expert from Renmin University in Beijing, also admits tightened sanctions are the only feasible response: “China has been pushed into a corner and has few options left.”
That said, some believe appetite is growing in China for a more robust response to Kim Jong-un’s continued provocations.
“This is an insane country, and he is an insane leader,” says Zhu Feng, an international security expert from Nanjing University. “We are now at a historic turning point and – from my point of view – China needs to strengthen coordination and cooperation with the international community, particularly with the US, Japan and South Korea.”
“I think the domestic discussions about cutting crude oil supply are increasing,” says Zhao, who thinks the mood in China – North Korea’s key ally and trading partner – may be starting to shift.
Zhao believes Xi’s ability to take tougher action against Kim partly hinges partly on how much he can strengthen his political position ahead of next month’s 19th Communist party congress, a once-every-five-years conference marking the end of his first term in power. Recent weeks have seen tantalising glimpses of the internal power struggle that is raging at the top of China’s Communist party, with the purging of one senior official tipped as Xi’s possible successor and a major reshuffle in the leadership of the armed forces.
“If things settle down very quickly … that will give Xi Jinping some leeway to take more radical measures against North Korea,” Zhao predicts. “But if domestic politics continues to play out until the 19th party congress, then I don’t think China has any room to take radical measures.”
Tsang believes the apparent lack of effective options to halt Kim Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions underlines what a shrewd strategtist he is and how successfully he was toying with both China and the US: “He is a smart cookie – a very, very smart cookie.”
As long as China was not a direct target of North Korean aggression, Xi would view Kim as an irritant rather than a threat that needed to be immediately crushed: “At the moment nobody seriously sees the North Korean missiles and nuclear weapons as a threat to China … The most likely target would be the Japanese. Now how unhappy would Xi be with the prospect of … the Abe administration being blasted to pieces? Neither outcome would actually make Xi lose any sleep.”
But for both Kim and Xi, there is one wild-card and he goes by the name of Donald J Trump. Tsang says conventional military advice suggests the US president would not risk a military strike against North Korea for fear of sparking a devastating counter-attack against South Korea and a broader regional conflagration that would inevitably suck in China.
“You’re talking about 10,000 different pieces of [North Korean] artillery … which could lob shells into the vicinity of Seoul and cause huge damage,” said Tsang. “So Kim’s reasonable calculation is that there is not actually a lot that Trump can do about it and there is almost certainly nothing the Chinese will do about it in concrete terms.”
Trump, however, was no conventional president. “The problem is somebody like Trump does not behave necessarily in line with your normal Obama and Clintons of this world and therefore the risk of him ignoring professional military advice is not negligible,” says Tsang.
“It would be negligible under Obama and extremely unlikely under Clinton or, for that matter, probably even George W Bush. But we can’t say the same of Trump. That’s one thing about Mr Trump, isn’t it?”
Additional reporting by Wang Zhen
This morning Kim Jong Un, the idiot who controls North Korea with an iron fist set off a nuclear bomb. China says that they do not want there to be nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula yet they have helped create this lunatic in North Korea. I say this because there is plenty of picture evidence that shows that the missile launchers North Korea uses are Chinese. The very rapid development of their missile and Nuke programs makes it obvious that North Korea is getting ‘State’ help from someone. There are only two choices as to which States, China or Russia. There is also plenty of solid proof that North Korea is helping Iran with their missile and Nuke programs. All of the signs point to China being behind North Korea and China’s President Xi Jinping has stated this past week that China will not tolerate a Regime change in North Korea under any circumstance.
China’s President Xi Jinping has proven himself to be almost as flagrant of a liar as President Trump, the difference between those two men is that Xi Jinping is very intelligent and Donald Trump if a complete idiot. China’s government would love nothing more than for the United States military to totally exit the Asian realm so that they can more easily totally dominate every country in Asia. I do not believe that China and I mean by that, Xi Jinping will order a ‘hit’ on Kim Jong Un even though that would be the best solution to this crises. One mans blood being spilled is far better than the blood of thousands or even millions being spilled.
Being China is actually helping Kim Jong Un with his Nuclear and military programs the world can not wait on China to do anything to this crazy fool. While the world waits on the UN to produce results with their talks and sanctions North Korea is perfecting their Missile and Nuclear technologies with the help of Beijing. China continues to warn the U.S. and our allies in that region of the world that if North Korea is attacked preemptively that China will militarily join North Korea. So, to me that sounds a lot like the U.S., South Korea or Japan should just sit back and wait to be hit with Nuclear bombs first before they respond. I am not saying that the U.S. should Nuke anyone first but what I am saying is that if Xi Jinping will not kill Kim Jong Un then the U.S. needs to make it very clear to Kim Jong Un that if he tests even one more missile, Nuke of otherwise that the U.S. and our Allies will hunt him down and kill him, no if and or buts about it, he will die.
This afternoon I turned on my TV to CNN and heard the following quote from President Trump two times within about 30 minutes concerning North Korea, “all options are on the table.” Two of the online publications that I read quite often are the Shanghai Daily News (evidently they are changing their name to SHINE) and I read Global News China. Make no mistake, these News Agencies are controlled by the Chinese Communist Party so when you see ‘policy statements’ written in them they were put there as warnings to certain audiences. About three days ago in this Blog I posted their articles with the warnings to the U.S. and to our Allies about how they feel about North Korea.
In the official statements from China’s President Xi Jinping he stated the following concerning North Korea. Mr. Xi Jinping said that if North Korea attacked the U.S. or our Allies that China would stand pat and not get involved except in securing their own borders. He also said that if the U.S. attacks North Korea first then China would get directly involved in aiding the North Korean government. He said that either way China will never allow a Regime change in North Korea. What he means by this is that China will never allow a non-Communist government to be put in place in North Korea. He did not say that he wants or cares if North Korea’s President Kim Jong Un is removed from his position, so China has no problem if that lunatic dies. What China is saying is that they will not allow South Korea and their democratic and free government to possess the land that is now North Korea. China is insisting that North Korea remains a Communist country and an Allie of theirs. So, when our Lunatic In Chief says “all options are on the table” he better not mean “all options” as in a first strike against North Korea. Another side issue involved here also is not only a direct war with China but an end to economic ties and trade with China. On another note, if the U.S. quits all imports from China all the North American Wal-Marts stores would be about 90% empty, they would be forced to start buying products that are American made. Instead of Wal-Mart giving about 100 billion dollars a year to the Chinese government which they in turn create war machines with, that money could stay here in America to help create jobs here in America, what a novel thought.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE GLOBAL TIMES OF NORTH KOREA AND CHINA)
BEIJING (Reuters) – If North Korea launches an attack that threatens the United States then China should stay neutral, but if the United States attacks first and tries to overthrow North Korea’s government China will stop them, a Chinese state-run newspaper said on Friday.
President Donald Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric toward North Korea and its leader on Thursday, warning Pyongyang against attacking Guam or U.S. allies after it disclosed plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory.
China, North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm during the current crisis. It has expressed frustration with both Pyongyang’s repeated nuclear and missile tests and with behavior from South Korea and the United States that it sees as escalating tensions.
The widely read state-run Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, wrote in an editorial that Beijing is not able to persuade either Washington or Pyongyang to back down.
“It needs to make clear its stance to all sides and make them understand that when their actions jeopardize China’s interests, China will respond with a firm hand,” said the paper, which does not represent government policy.
“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” it added.
“If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”
China has long worried that any conflict on the Korean peninsula, or a repeat of the 1950-53 Korean war, could unleash a wave of destabilizing refugees into its northeast, and could end up with a reunified county allied with the United States.
North Korea is a useful buffer state for China between it and U.S. forces based in South Korea, and also across the sea in Japan.
The Global Times said China will “firmly resist any side which wants to change the status quo of the areas where China’s interests are concerned”.
“The Korean Peninsula is where the strategic interests of all sides converge, and no side should try to be the absolute dominator of the region.”
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHINA HERALD AND THE NEW YORK TIMES)
The decision by the Cambridge University Press to bow to Chinese censorship and block over 300 articles on its China site has shocked the academic world. Journalist Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, reports on the issue for the New York Times and tested from Beijing what he could no longer get.
Until now, foreign academic presses were largely immune to this sort of censorship. In recent years, the websites of most foreign news organizations have been blocked in China, as have social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and the search engine Google.
But because of their small readership, and high subscription costs (one China Quarterly article costs more than $20), academic journals were not targeted.
The new measures seem in line with announcements made by President Xi Jinping in February 2016 that all media content on any platform must come under the Communist Party’s “guidance.”
“The same rules apply to any foreign content, academic or otherwise, that is accessible within China,” said David Bandurski, the co-director of the China Media Project and a fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin. “Given Xi Jinping’s determination to rein in dissenting views in the information space, foreign publishers are misleading themselves if they believe they can escape pressure like that facing China Quarterly.”
Searching for the word “Tiananmen” at the journal’s main page yields 50 results, with the top two relating to the “Tiananmen Papers,” a 2001 compilation of secret documents that is widely considered essential for understanding the events of 1989. Other top hits include an assessment of China’s universities in the aftermath of the student-led movement, and the effect of the crackdown on relations with Taiwan.
Performing the same search within China, however, yields only five hits, either tangential mentions or urban-planning articles about the square.
The block appears to go beyond Cambridge University Press’s website to include searches through third-party databases, including JSTOR, a digital library that academics around the world use to perform full-text searches of nearly 2,000 journals, including China Quarterly.
As of Friday night, it was unclear whether all JSTOR access was now blocked in China.After news of the censorship spread, academics inside and outside China expressed alarm.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORKER.COM)
Max Boot, a lifelong conservative who advised three Republican Presidential candidates on foreign policy, keeps a folder labelled “Trump Stupidity File” on his computer. It’s next to his “Trump Lies” file. “Not sure which is larger at this point,” he told me this week. “It’s neck-and-neck.”
Six months into the Trump era, foreign-policy officials from eight past Administrations told me they are aghast that the President is still so witless about the world. “He seems as clueless today as he was on January 20th,” Boot, who is now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said. Trump’s painful public gaffes, they warn, indicate that he’s not reading, retaining, or listening to his Presidential briefings. And the newbie excuse no longer flies.
“Trump has an appalling ignorance of the current world, of history, of previous American engagement, of what former Presidents thought and did,” Geoffrey Kemp, who worked at the Pentagon during the Ford Administration and at the National Security Council during the Reagan Administration, reflected. “He has an almost studious rejection of the type of in-depth knowledge that virtually all of his predecessors eventually gained or had views on.”
Criticism of Donald Trump among Democrats who served in senior national-security positions is predictable and rife. But Republicans—who are historically ambitious on foreign policy—are particularly pained by the President’s missteps and misstatements. So are former senior intelligence officials who have avoided publicly criticizing Presidents until now.
“The President has little understanding of the context”—of what’s happening in the world—“and even less interest in hearing the people who want to deliver it,” Michael Hayden, a retired four-star general and former director of both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency, told me. “He’s impatient, decision-oriented, and prone to action. It’s all about the present tense. When he asks, ‘What the hell’s going on in Iraq?’ people around him have learned not to say, ‘Well, in 632 . . . ’ ” (That was the year when the Prophet Muhammad died, prompting the beginning of the Sunni-Shiite split.*)
“He just doesn’t have an interest in the world,” Hayden said.
I asked top Republican and intelligence officials from eight Administrations what they thought was the one thing the President needs to grasp to succeed on the world stage. Their various replies: embrace the fact that the Russians are not America’s friends. Don’t further alienate the Europeans, who are our friends. Encourage human rights—a founding principle of American identity—and don’t make priority visits to governments that curtail them, such as Poland and Saudi Arabia. Understand that North Korea’s nuclear program can’t be outsourced to China, which can’t or won’t singlehandedly fix the problem anyway, and realize that military options are limited. Pulling out of innovative trade deals, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, will boost China’s economy and secure its global influence—to America’s disadvantage. Stop bullying his counterparts. And put the Russia case behind him by coöperating with the investigation rather than trying to discredit it.
Trump’s latest blunder was made during an appearance in the Rose Garden with Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, on July 25th. “Lebanon is on the front lines in the fight against isis, Al Qaeda, and Hezbollah,” Trump pronounced. He got the basics really wrong. Hezbollah is actually part of the Lebanese government—and has been for a quarter century—with seats in parliament and Cabinet posts. Lebanon’s Christian President, Michel Aoun, has been allied with Hezbollah for a decade. As Trump spoke, Hezbollah’s militia and the Lebanese Army were fighting isis and an Al Qaeda affiliate occupying a chunk of eastern Lebanon along its border with Syria. They won.
The list of other Trump blunders is long. In March, he charged that Germany owed “vast sums” to the United States for nato. It doesn’t. No nato member pays the United States—and never has—so none is in arrears. In an interviewwith the Wall Street Journal, in April, Trump claimed that Korea “actually used to be part of China.” Not true. After he arrived in Israel from Saudi Arabia, in May, Trump said that he had just come from the Middle East. (Did he even look at a map?) During his trip to France, in July, the President confused Napoleon Bonaparte, the diminutive emperor who invaded Russia and Egypt, with Napoleon III, who was France’s first popularly elected President, oversaw the design of modern Paris, and is still the longest-serving head of state since the French Revolution (albeit partly as an emperor, too). And that’s before delving into his demeaning tweets about other world leaders and flashpoints.
“The sheer scale of his lack of knowledge is what has astounded me—and I had low expectations to begin with,” David Gordon, the director of the State Department’s policy-planning staff under Condoleezza Rice, during the Bush Administration, told me.
Trump’s White House has also flubbed basics. It misspelled the name of Britain’s Prime Minister three times in its official schedule of her January visit. After it dropped the “H” in Theresa May, several British papers noted that Teresa May is a soft-porn actress best known for her films “Leather Lust” and “Whitehouse: The Sex Video.” In a statement last month, the White House called Xi Jinping the President of the “Republic of China”—which is the island of Taiwan—rather than the leader of the People’s Republic, the Communist mainland. The two nations have been epic rivals in Asia for more than half a century. The White House also misidentified Shinzo Abe as the President of Japan—he’s the Prime Minister—and called the Prime Minister of Canada “Joe” instead of Justin Trudeau.
Trump’s policy mistakes, large and small, are taking a toll. “American leadership in the world—how do I phrase this, it’s so obvious, but apparently not to him—is critical to our success, and it depends eighty per cent on the credibility of the President’s word,” John McLaughlin, who worked at the C.I.A. under seven Presidents, from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, and ended up as the intelligence agency’s acting director, told me. “Trump thinks having a piece of chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago bought him a relationship with Xi Jinping. He came in as the least prepared President we’ve had on foreign policy,” McLaughlin added. “Our leadership in the world is slipping away. It’s slipping through our hands.”
And a world in dramatic flux compounds the stakes. Hayden cited the meltdown in the world order that has prevailed since the Second World War; the changing nature of the state and its power; China’s growing military and economic power; and rogue nations seeking nuclear weapons, among others. “Yet the most disruptive force in the world today is the United States of America,” the former C.I.A. director said.
The closest similarity to the Trump era was the brief Warren G. Harding Administration, in the nineteen-twenties, Philip Zelikow, who worked for the Reagan and two Bush Administrations, and who was the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, told me. Harding, who died, of a heart attack, after twenty-eight months in office, was praised because he stood aside and let his Secretary of State, Charles Evans Hughes, lead the way. Hughes had already been governor of New York, a Supreme Court Justice, and the Republican Presidential nominee in 1916, losing narrowly to Woodrow Wilson, who preceded Harding.
Under Trump, the White House has seized control of key foreign-policy issues. The President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a real-estate developer, has been charged with brokering Middle East peace, navigating U.S.-China relations, and the Mexico portfolio. In April, Kushner travelled to Iraq to help chart policy against isis. Washington scuttlebutt is consumed with tales of how Trump has stymied his own Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, the former C.E.O. of ExxonMobil.
“The national-security system of the United States has been tested over a period of seventy years,” John Negroponte, the first director of National Intelligence and a former U.N. Ambassador, told me. “President Trump disregards the system at his peril.”
Trump’s contempt for the U.S. intelligence community has also sparked alarm. “I wish the President would rely more on, and trust more, the intelligence agencies and the work that is produced, sometimes at great risk to individuals around the world, to inform the Commander-in-Chief,” Mitchell Reiss, who was the chief of the State Department’s policy-planning team under Secretary of State Colin Powell, told me.
Republican critics are divided on whether Trump can grow into the job. “Trump is completely irredeemable,” Eliot A. Cohen, who was a counsellor to Condoleezza Rice at the State Department, told me. “He has a feral instinct for self-survival, but he’s unteachable. The ban on Muslims coming into the country and building a wall, and having the Mexicans pay for it, that was all you needed to know about this guy on foreign affairs. This is a man who is idiotic and bigoted and ignorant of the law.” Cohen was a ringleader of an open letter warning, during the campaign, that Trump’s foreign policy was “wildly inconsistent and unmoored.”
But other Republicans from earlier Administrations still hold out hope. “Whenever Trump begins to learn about an issue—the Middle East conflict or North Korea—he expresses such surprise that it could be so complicated, after saying it wasn’t that difficult,” Gordon, from the Bush Administration, said. “The good news, when he says that, is it means he has a little bit of knowledge.” So far, however, the learning curve has been pitifully—and dangerously—slow.
* This post has been updated to clarify the contextual significance of the year 632.
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