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Author: TriSec    Date: 05/26/2018 10:44:26


It's been increasingly bizarre watching the United States collapse. I'll echo CNN's headline here; I'm perplexed, too.

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump's decision to cancel his historic meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un left South Korea's President "perplexed" and sparked angry protests in Seoul. One sign read: "We condemn Trump."

Welcome to life these days as a close US ally.
Under the 45th President, long-standing US friends and partners have come in for surprises, some of them bruising. Trump has questioned enduring alliances, insulted neighbors, threatened tariffs against some of America's oldest friends and made clear he'll sanction their businesses if they don't toe his line.

Trump's allies say this is the President's "peace through strength" doctrine at work, where America flexes its military and economic muscles to shape the world it wants. It's a theme Trump warmed to Friday in Annapolis, telling US Naval Academy graduates that the world is "respecting us again," a theme he stressed in his first State of the Union address, declaring that "weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our defense."

But there are other forces at work that are shifting the ground on US relationships around the world, including the President's personality, his campaign promises and the overwhelming weight he places on domestic politics.

"Trump's relationships with allies are preternaturally different than any other administration we've had," said Aaron David Miller, a senior vice president at the Wilson Center.
The threats to sanction allies aren't so much a case of "if you're not with us, you're against us," said Suzanne Maloney, deputy director of the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution. "This is the administration saying, 'You're with us, even if you don't want to be with us. We're dragging you along.' "

Critics have said Trump's mercurial decision-making on international issues and his treatment of allies are undermining US interests and trust in Washington.
Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, pointed to Trump's decision Thursday to pull out of the North Korea summit and said the President has "alienated our friends, doubted the value of our alliances and undermined American credibility around the world."

He and others point to a January Gallup poll that found the image of US leadership is weaker and global approval of the US has sunk to a record low of 30%.

That is 18 percentage points lower than the last year of President Barack Obama's tenure and 4 points beneath the previous record low, during President George W. Bush's administration.

Oh, but that's not all. Trump has done some good now - he's actually saved thousands of jobs. In China. Oh, I'm sure there's some kind of back-channel logic to this, as it's being pushed as beneficial to the United States, more jobs for us, blah, blah, blah. I'd like to follow the money on this one. In any case, the "plan" has gone to Congress.

The Trump administration has reached a deal that will put Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE back in business by rolling back severe sanctions put in place last month by the Commerce Department, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The move to settle with the Chinese company removes a major barrier to U.S.-China trade talks as Beijing opposed a penalty that would have shuttered the firm by prohibiting U.S. suppliers from doing business with ZTE for seven years.

It also comes a week before Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to travel to Beijing to continue efforts to negotiate a trade truce between the two countries.

Commerce notified officials on Capitol Hill of a deal, which will have ZTE pay a bigger fine, hire American compliance officers and replace the firm’s current management team, the source said.

Once those terms are met, the U.S. will lift a denial order, allowing ZTE to start doing business with American companies again, the source said.

President Donald Trump appeared to confirm the outlines of the deal on Twitter on Friday evening when he said that he had shut down the company but "let it reopen" after a series of changes.

"I closed it down then let it reopen with high level security guarantees, change of management and board, must purchase U.S. parts and pay a $1.3 Billion fine," Trump tweeted.

Finally today - completely unrelated to anything, I was reading about Herr Himmler a few days back. Since now I am a professional history geek, I check "this day in history" on a daily basis for anything relevant. Back on May 23, it was the anniversary of Himmler's suicide during the closing days of WWII. I was skimming his information, when I ran across an astounding passage on the Wikipedia.

Hitler's leadership style was to give contradictory orders to subordinates and to place them into positions where their duties and responsibilities overlapped with those of others. In this way, Hitler fostered distrust, competition, and infighting among his subordinates to consolidate and maximise his own power. His cabinet never met after 1938, and he discouraged his ministers from meeting independently. Hitler typically did not issue written orders, but gave them orally at meetings or in phone conversations; he also had Bormann convey orders. Bormann used his position to control the flow of information and access to Hitler, earning him enemies, including Himmler.

Hitler promoted and practised the Führerprinzip. The principle required absolute obedience of all subordinates to their superiors; thus Hitler viewed the government structure as a pyramid, with himself—the infallible leader—at the apex. Accordingly, Himmler placed himself in a position of subservience to Hitler, and was unconditionally obedient to him. However, he—like other top Nazi officials—had aspirations to one day succeed Hitler as leader of the Reich.

Does any of that sound the slightest bit familiar?


2 comments (Latest Comment: 05/26/2018 18:39:32 by Raine)
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