Nobody likes Trump’s decision to abandon the Kurds — not even the ‘Blob’

Foreign policy and national-security issues are on the back burner during the Democratic primary debates as candidates focus on healthcare, taxation, guns, border issues and cosmic love.

Despite the candidates’ early lack of attention to America’s overseas engagement, foreign policy is always on the minds of a Washington-dominated set of grand poohbahs and brainiacs known as “The Blob” — a disdainful term coined during the Obama administration.

Kurdish Smoke.jpg

The Blob has recently criticized President Trump for throwing Syria’s ISIS-defeating Kurds to the Turkish wolves. Trump’s break with presidential convention — and possibly constitutional law — to curry personal and political favor with foreign powers has further exercised an already hyperventilating Blob. READ MORE

Trump has robust, sensible foreign policy goals. But he doesn’t have any follow-through

Donald Trump’s successful 2016 road to the White House was paved with irreverent campaign rhetoric and a world of good intentions regarding American foreign policy. Like Barack Obama before him, he called the Iraq War a mistake and recognized China as a rising global competitor. Where Trump differs with his predecessor on foreign-policy goals is mostly reflected in an approach toward personnel and a highly personal style that forswears process and favors disruption.

kimandtrump.jpg

The president’s critics should realize, however, that when it comes to both Trump’s instincts and intentions, his desired foreign-policy outcomes are mostly aligned with those of past presidents and in sync with longstanding American goals. READ MORE

While the U.S. snoozes, Putin and Xi are having a bromance and flexing their global muscle

America is looking inward, resembling a sullen, sometimes confused navel-gazing couch-potato. It’s tired of going outside and bored with the world.

The president of the United States went to the United Nations this week to let foreign leaders know we were picking up our marbles and going home. He just told the entire world that globalism is dead. Long-live insular, parochial patriotism!

xiput.jpg

National pride, defense and attention to domestic issues are keenly important, of course. But America’s two wide oceans and friendly neighbors do not divorce us from the rest of the world’s trade, economy or politics, even if our national “Netflix and Chill ” attitude makes foreigners seem distant and irrelevant. READ MORE

Economics + politics + a dash of presidential ego = potential disaster

Twenty-first century voodoo economic theories pushed worldwide by populist politicians are speeding the world to the edge of a global downturn. One by one, democratically elected leaders are taking down their smart economists and promoting their own questionable — and politically motivated — ideas about interest rates and banking practices.

jerome powell.jpg

Turkey and the United States are the latest nations whose presidents are pressuring or pushing out their reliable economic advisers, replacing them with ideological loyalists. These presidents’ makeshift monetary mumbo-jumbo is aimed at achieving short-term economic and political gain. As a result, corrections and recessions may be temporarily delayed, but continually loom right around the corner.

From Ankara to Washington, heads of state are demanding that their previously apolitical national bankers cut interest rates to grow their economies, spur investment and combat unemployment. The message to central bankers is clear: Drop the cost of money or lose your job. It’s not an idle threat. READ MORE

Americans are real victims of our trade war with Mexico and China

America has declared war on China and Mexico, but it is a new style of warfare. Or at least it seems so. With the latest volley of levied and threatened tariffs on Chinese and Mexican exports, POTUS has thrust the U.S. into a new phase of economic warfare against both competitors and friends.

Americans, however, will end up paying the price.

Screenshot 2019-06-08 08.59.05.png


Modern warfare is no longer just conducted by guns and bombs. Wars today are ongoing and take place during what seems like peacetime. Just because a financial war appears bloodless does not mean it is also harmless or without victims. In fact, the silent, unseen economic warfare Donald Trump is waging — and threatens to escalate — is highly effective at hurting both people and nations. READ MORE

Trump has traded American values, interests and dignity for the false promise of Putin’s friendship

Donald Trump is likely to go down as the president who lost Russia. Not for lack of trying to make good with Moscow. In fact, it is because he has tried so hard to make it right and to pursue a personal and respectful relationship with Vladimir Putin that his ability to make any meaningful deals with Russia is doomed.

Trump wink.jpg

The result is an American foreign policy that is stuck with a confrontational posture and caught in a tit-for-tat policy trap preventing the pursuit of real U.S. interests with Russia. The reason is an underlying popular belief that President Trump has been incapable, at best, and, at worst, actively curried personal and political favor from Moscow over the years — regardless of what the Mueller report says or how it is interpreted.

From his 2016 campaign fumbles to his presidential summit stumbles, Trump has made an unending string of unforced errors that have caused Americans to question his motivations. That perception and reality actively limit his latitude for dealing with Russia. READ MORE

Trump strikes out in rejecting Cuban baseball agreement

Baseball is a colorful sport where bleacher bums spend entire games browbeating umps for making early-inning bad calls. President Trump has made a lot of bad calls during the past two years, but none is likely to incense the general public more than his decision to dump the Major League Baseball Cuban player agreement.

Well, maybe healthcare.

Cuba baseball.jpg


Unbelievably — and unceremoniously — Trump just struck out with both American and Cuban baseball fans. For Miami, it’s bad enough that the Marlins are dead last this early in the season. What’s worse is that POTUS just shut down the deal that would have brought a few more gifted, big-bat Cubans into the league. As Marlin Stadium habitués might put it: “Throw the bum out!” READ MORE

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago could be ‘Mar-a-Leako’ to our enemies

Friends and foes, foreign born and homegrown, regularly try to breach the tight security that surrounds an American president. No barrier is too big or technological hindrance too intimidating to stop concerted attempts to access the president and his data. While the risks of getting caught are huge, the rewards for success are immense.

f-maralago-a-20190405-870x580.jpg

To get the goods — whether snapping a selfie, scoring state secrets or taking a potshot — the determined go to extremes to climb fences, get across gates and search for technological backdoors. Most disturbingly, the president sometimes ushers the ill-suited or ill-meaning through the front door and into the inner sanctum.

It’s time to close the windows, lock the doors, make new keys and develop new protocols. READ MORE

Trump’s foreign policy is pushing allies into China and Russia’s waiting arms

Nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula have diminished since last summer’s Singapore summit between President Trump and North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. In the run-up to this month’s Vietnam summit, Trump is acutely aware that a potential landmark deal on Kim’s complete, verifiable and permanent denuclearization would be a significant foreign policy win for him, the region and the world.

Unfortunately, that potential deal is where Trump’s foreign policy successes both start and end.

modi-putin_getty-images1.jpg

By any other measure, the president’s aggressive pursuit of nativist policies has weakened America’s global leverage, given its adversaries strategic openings and made the world a little less safe for democracy and human rights. In normal times, this would be seen as a failure of leadership and a threat to America’s fundamental values, global stature and international dominance.

These are not, however, normal times. READ MORE

CNN Newsroom: A look at NATO & Montenegro

Kounalakis on if US should defend NATO countries: "We answered that question a long time ago"

Markos Kounalakis, Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, discusses the uncertainty around President Trump's comments about NATO.     CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

Markos Kounalakis, Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, discusses the uncertainty around President Trump's comments about NATO.   CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

Trump moves fast and breaks things to disrupt world

Hang out in any Silicon Valley café and the word “disruption” is sure to be uttered at a nearby table. It is the keyword to unlock funding for forward-leaning ideas and the approach toward cutting out the middle man in transactions, leaving behind the inefficiencies in mediation, and burying the slow-to-change and inertia-bound in industry. Disruption is everything and everyone wants a piece of it. Including the American people.

Trumpus Disruptus.jpeg

Disruption has hit every industry, from car transportation services to hotel lodging. 2016 brought it to foreign policy when a tried, tested and predictable former secretary of state was turned down for her star turn at the U.S. presidency in favor of a bull in the china shop disruptive agent of anti-globalist chaos and firm believer in realism’s international anarchy.  

As in every case of disruptive change, there are decided winners (Uber, Airbnb) and clear losers (taxis, hotels) and a lot of people out of work and scratching their heads because they didn’t see what just hit them.  READ MORE

Kanye West can help Trump recognize the Armenian genocide

Armenia is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Kanye West and the Kardashians. Truth is, however, Kanye has always cared and sang about justice and his wife's Armenian-American family has always felt strongly about the need to recognize one of the world's greatest crimes and injustices — the Armenian genocide.

kanyecolumn.jpeg

Kanye should leverage his newfound kinship with President Trump to prod him towards doing what no other sitting American president has done: Use an executive order to declare that the murderous events of 1915 were the world’s first modern genocide.

Genocide means a single group is targeted for systematic and premeditated death and extinction. Armenian families who survived the genocide await the world’s recognition of this reprehensible event. America officially regards it as regrettable, unfortunate, and tragic, but does not recognize it as the event that spurred the word “genocide.” It is time.  READ MORE

Putin’s power, arrogance lead to costly Russian miscalculation that unites West

Vladimir Putin has spent years trying to divide the West by undermining elections, invading neighbors and aggressively using Russian oil and gas as a ham-handed bargaining tool. These concerted and clever efforts have suddenly, however, revealed the New Putin: Despite his best efforts and plans, he’s become a uniter, not a divider of the West.

Putin Power.jpeg

Early 2018 had Putin heading towards a staggering, but not surprising, electoral victory against dead and disqualified opposition candidates. This dominance allowed Russia’s president to ride his eventual 76.6 percent final poll tally to a new level of cavalier confidence on the global stage. Political dominance at home and fawning support from President Trump gave him a delusional sense of invincibility. It led him to overreach and miscalculate.

Now, well over 20 Western countries have joined together to give Putin the one-finger salute for a U.K. chemical agent attack he is suspected of either directing or condoning. The targets in the assassination attempt in Salisbury were a former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia.  READ MORE