Bolton’s baby was bombing Iran. Now what?

Iran and America are entering an intense face-off phase now that the NSC’s John Bolton is no longer around to push for bombing Tehran.

President Trump is hoping American pressure and the ongoing trash-talking between the U.S. and Iran can lead to the eventual smoking of a peace pipe.

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Wars of words can sometimes lead to shooting wars, or they can raise the stakes so high that negotiations and lowered tensions can follow. Which will it be with Iran? Talks or continued terror? Or both?

Upcoming U.N. General Assembly sideline huddles or principal meetings might take place, especially now that Bolton can no longer undermine the U.S. president’s photo-ops and off-the-cuff concessions. With Bolton gone, the White House’s “bad cop, worse cop” act is over. Trump’s instincts and near absolute power in foreign policy now take over on Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, and North Korea. READ MORE

To Trump, A$AP Rocky has a face. Unfortunately, 10 million Afghans don’t

Rap-artist A$AP Rocky was never on my radar or my musical playlist until the president called Sweden to seek his release. ASAP.

Musician, entertainer, producer, model — the hard-edged A$AP Rocky was heckled and harried, painted as a victim of Sweden’s criminal justice system. His mom said his detention was “unjust,” targeted because he’s African American.

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Circumstances, upbringing, criminal record, character — when we think about a single person’s story, predicament and mother, he becomes humanized. Not so when someone is a one-in-a-million nobody like the globally countless unrecognized victims of injustice or war.

Charged with getting up in someone’s face and violently mixing it up, we learned about A$AP Rocky’s background, music and that he knows Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian. West has friends in high places and is immediately put through the White House switchboard. The result? A real person gets vouchsafed by POTUS. READ MORE

President Donald Trump, global peacemaker. Really.

War is the ultimate test for nations and their leaders. History is full of great leaders who fought and won military victories, from Revolutionary War hero George Washington to Abraham Lincoln’s civil war and World War II’s FDR.

Victory is the key to greatness.

President Trump is different. If George W. Bush went into his successful 2004 re-election campaign embracing his role as a “war president,” Trump may angle to win a 2020 re-election as the nation’s “peace president.” Remarkably, if things go well, he could be Donald Trump, peacemaker.

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Disquieting as it may be for those who see him as morally bankrupt, as well as a threat to democratic norms and human decency, there has to be a reckoning that he just might actually succeed in pursuing peace on multiple fronts. Trump’s campaign promises, unorthodox methods and his limitless ego are leading him to seek an end to American military engagements and — with a couple of notable exceptions — even lower the temperature elsewhere. READ MORE

Trump’s foreign policy is all about him. That’s not good for us, or the rest of the world

Snap troop withdrawal from Syria? Overnight decisions for a dramatic military draw-down in Afghanistan?

America’s foreign-policy and national-security establishment is reeling from the rapid-fire changes, declarations and White House edicts. Our allies are shocked, too.

While President Trump’s tweet-from-the-hip policy-making is shocking and shaking-up the world, no one should be surprised.

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The truth is, Donald Trump has never lied to us about his foreign-policy priorities. We may not have wanted to believe him, we may ultimately find out that they were improperly influenced, we may even disagree with them. But the reality is that he has not simply intimated or coyly indicated how he sees the world and what he wants to do. He has told us. Repeatedly.

Treaties? Tear them up. READ MORE

Under Trump’s “sovereignty doctrine,” foreign tyrants have nothing to worry about

Jamal Khashoggi’s horrific murder was a message to journalists, dissidents and regime critics everywhere. You are never safe. Anywhere, anytime.

Khashoggi was guilty of practicing journalism. He mistakenly bet he would be safe traveling to a NATO member nation to take care of personal business. Why? Because nations generally follow both international law and formal diplomatic practices that respect foreign laws and sovereignty.

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Increasingly, however, more nations are exporting fear and practicing lethal intimidation with a new form of global vigilantism. They go abroad to get outlaw revenge.

The Khashoggi case is the latest example of exceptional and perverse murderous state-related behavior that targets and takes out perceived opponents living in exile. It’s not just journalists abroad practicing their profession that are singled-out for murder. Turncoats living in other countries are targets, and killing them, too, is a clear warning to future defectors and detractors. READ MORE

Trump’s ideal America: More Norwegians, less Norway

Donald Trump admires “winners” and his favored immigrant group, the Norwegians, are winning so much at the Winter Olympics that they are probably getting tired of hauling around medals. If the president were to take a closer look at the Scandinavian nation, however, there is little else beyond athletic success he would personally find appealing.

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Pyeongchang is exposing the world to fun-loving, towheaded Norwegians killing it on snow and ice. Mostly hidden from public view is the state that helped nurture these successful young athletes. The Kingdom of Norway is a rich country that has long contradicted the American approach to social welfare. Like tripped-up skaters, its policies on Russia, guns, healthcare, international aid, refugees, trade, education, the correctional system, and fiscal responsibility are entirely out of sync with Trump.

They don’t even agree on what defines a “s---thole” country. After Trump’s infamous comments about Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, Norwegians said they weren’t interested in emigrating to the USA, suggesting American decline and Trump had turned the USA into a “s---hole”.  MORE HERE