American foreign policy

April 12–Day 83—Complete Turnabout By Donald Trump On Russia, China, NATO, American Foreign Policy In General: Is It For Real?

Yesterday, April 12, 2017, was the 83rd day of the Trump Presidency, and we witnessed a complete turnabout by President Trump on Russia, China, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and American foreign policy in general.

This is absolutely startling, and the question is whether it is for real, or will Donald Trump change his mind next week or next month, or even the next day?

The shift in American foreign policy puts Donald Trump into the mainstream, when he was anything but that during his campaign and his first two and a half months in office.

Is this being done as a ploy to hold off and deter an investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 Presidential campaign in favor of Donald Trump?

Is this being done because of the leaving of Michael Flynn and the likely soon to be leaving of Stephen Bannon from the administration, and if so, is it an indication that Donald Trump finally gets the message of the destructive behavior he engaged in toward allies and friendly nations after the election and until now, in mid April?

We are learning that having an inexperienced and ignorant President creates uncertainties and concern about the direction that the government is going in, and not only in foreign policy, but also in domestic policy.

Can we trust Donald Trump that he believes anything he says today will be the same at any time in the future?

The answer is NO, so we face difficult days ahead as we explore uncharted territory with a man who has no secure principles or beliefs, other than his own advancement.

A Sobering Centennial: America Enters “The Great War” On April 6, 1917

It has been a century since America entered world affairs in a full sense, as on April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson spoke to Congress and asked for a declaration of war against the Imperial German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Turkish Empire, and allied with Great Britain, France and Italy, in what was called “The Great War” at the time, and later World War I or the First World War.

The controversy over whether Wilson could have kept us out of the war has raged for a century, and his handling of the war effort, and the promotion of restriction on civil liberties during the war has remained highly contentious, and has caused Wilson to decline from Number 6 in the C Span Presidential poll of 2000, to Number 9 in the C Span Presidential poll of 2009, and now Number 11 in the C Span Presidential poll of 2017, all participated in by reputable scholars.

American sacrifices in war had been avoided, as America remained isolated from world affairs and foreign conflict until 1917, but in the last century, we have been in many major wars since then, including World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the Afghanistan War, along with many other foreign interventions in Latin America and the Middle East.

No one can be anything but sober to realize that when Congress voted for war on April 6, 1917, it transformed America in a permanent way, helping to create the concept of an American Empire, and America as a world leader since the end of World War II.

And now, with Donald Trump, the whole history of American foreign relations is in flux, and we face many challenges and crises in international affairs, and the hope is that we will avoid further military conflicts in the future, but hard to believe that is the scenario under Donald Trump.

PBS will have a six hour presentation on The American Experience on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings April 10, 11, and 12 on America and The Great War, our nation’s engagement in the First World War, from many different perspectives, highly recommended to all who read this blog.

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Dramatic Rise Of Dwight D. Eisenhower And Ulysses S. Grant Since First Poll In 2000

The C Span 2017 Presidential Survey demonstrates the dramatic rise of two war heroes in our two major wars: Dwight D. Eisenhower in World War II, and Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War.

Both were Republican Presidents with low historical esteem as Presidents, particularly Grant, but both suffering from long term negative images in the White House.

But Ike, as Eisenhower was affectionately known, has soared from 9 in 2000 to 8 in 2009 to 5 in 2017, surpassing Harry Truman, who dropped slightly from 5 in 2000 and 2009 to 6 in 2017.

And Grant, who was 33 in 2000, soared amazingly to 23 in 2009 and now 22 in 2017.

Ike was well liked, but thought of as a weak, lackadaisical President when he left office in 1961, more remembered at the time for playing golf than anything else.

People thought of the fact that Ike “allowed” the Soviet Union to go into space first in 1957; and that the U-2 Spy Plane Incident in 1960 complicated relations with the Soviet Union, and ignored the many accomplishments of the 34th President.

Since then, his stock has risen with the understanding of his handling of the Little Rock Crisis in 1957; his ability to work with leaders of the opposition Democrats (Sam Rayburn and Lyndon B. Johnson) who controlled Congress for 6 of his 8 years; his acceptance of the New Deal programs of FDR; his creation of a federal commitment to health, education and welfare through the HEW Department in his first year; his promotion of the interstate highway system as a followup to Abraham Lincoln’s transcontinental railroad; his signing the first two Civil Rights laws since Reconstruction; the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Defense Education Act in reaction to Sputnik; his refusal to escalate to major involvement in Vietnam and warning his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, to avoid the morass that occurred; and his path breaking Farewell Address, warning of a military industrial complex endangering American democracy and American foreign policy.

Grant was thought of historically as a great General in the Civil War, gaining the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House in Virginia to end the Civil War, but as President best remembered for his liquor problems, making him a certifiable alcoholic; massive scandals around his Presidency, typified by the Credit Mobilier Scandals; two Vice Presidents (Schuyler Colfax and Henry Wilson) involved in corruption; and economic hard times leading to the worst economic downturn (the Panic of 1873) until that time, with a massive depression that undermined the majority party outside the South, the Republican Party, and led to the contested Election of 1876.

But in recent years, there has been recognition of Grant promoting racial equality through backing of Congressional Reconstruction in the South and the support of the 15th Amendment and laws against the Ku Klux Klan and additional Civil Rights legislation; promotion of an Indian peace policy very different from earlier and later times; his around the world tour after his Presidency adding to his stature; his amazing Memoirs, written as he was dying of cancer, and still considered a classic work, unsurpassed by any other President; and the deep mourning and honoring of Grant in death, including the commemoration of Grant’s Tomb in New York City in 1897. No one even in 2017 is rating him in the top 20 Presidents, but his rise from very low to middle status is quite an accomplishment, although it is hard to imagine him rising any further.

The question arises whether modern Presidents, including Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon, who have fallen in recent times in the Presidential polls, will yet arise and pass Grant, and knock him down below them in the future. Historians are constantly changing their perceptions of our Chief Executives, and it will continue into the long term future.

The War Against Latino And Other Immigrants And Latino American Citizens Begins, Including Crisis With Mexico Over Proposed Wall

The war against Latino immigrants and Latino American citizens has begun, less than one week after Donald Trump took the oath of office.

We will see victimization of people from not only Mexico, but also Central America, South America, Caribbean Islands, and also from the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, India, Pakistan, China, Japan, and other Asian nations, as well as Muslim nations all over the world.

Racism and nativism is in full swing, and the lady on the Statue of Liberty near Ellis Island is weeping, as we have now seen the worst attack on immigration and minorities from Latin America, Asia and the Middle East that we have had in our lifetime, except for those who were alive and remember the terrible victimization of Japanese American citizens and Japanese immigrants 75 years ago after Pearl Harbor, with 120,000 interned in camps.

Not only will the government now seemingly deport more immigrants and break up more families, but one can be sure that there are plans to intern Muslim Americans when and if a few Muslim terrorists strike in America.

Civil liberties, Civil Rights, and liberty and justice are being ignored as the Trump Fascist era begins, and the question is how to bring it to an end as soon as possible, since the possibility of a dictatorship and martial law is not something we can be assured will not happen at this delicate time.

And expect a possible low level war situation at the 2,000 mile long Mexico-US border, with the plan moving ahead to build a wall, and make Mexico pay for it, which the President of Mexico declared would not occur, leading to the cancellation of a meeting at the White House. Tension will certainly rise, and we are in the worst relationship since the 1920s with our neighbor to the south.

We do not need a new foreign policy and national security headache, but Donald Trump is insuring it with his reckless and dangerous decisions.

America On The Road To War With President Who Has No Clue On Diplomacy, And Craves To Be Flattered!

America is on the road to war under President Trump, and expect it before the midterm elections of 2018, possibly late in this first year of the term.

Donald Trump has no clue on diplomacy, and craves to be flattered constantly, and one can be sure that Iran and North Korea are not going to flatter him, and he will overreact to insults, and will have a National Security Adviser, Michael flynn, who will give him bad advice.

Trump also has two many military people in his administration, and too many corporate types who see war as a way to promote the defense industries and obscene war profits.

Trump is the kind of person who will potentially use nuclear weapons, if he feels aggrieved.

He does not have the experience and judgment of Richard Nixon or George H. W. Bush, or the calm, cool demeanor of John F. Kennedy, or the confidence and common sense of Ronald Reagan.

Trump does not have the ability to make foreign policy decisions, and he will upend American foreign policy, including alienating our NATO allies in Europe by cozying up to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin who knows how to manipulate him. He also is likely to alienate China, which could cause troubles for Japan and South Korea, and complicate dealings with North Korea.

We are entering a nightmare scenario, with an unhinged, mentally unstable Commander in Chief!

The Republican Party, Donald Trump, And Russia: Ronald Reagan Is Turning Over In His Grave!

The Republican Party is now faced with an incoming President who is cozy with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and whose National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, are also too close to the Russian dictator.

To have much of the Republican Party willing to accept this without complaint is an outrage, and a danger to national security.

Thank goodness for such Republicans as John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio for making clear they plan to put the feet of Rex Tillerson to the fire, and somehow, Michael Flynn, who also believes in conspiracy theories, but does not require Senate confirmation, must be prevented from serving Donald Trump in the White House, where his deleterious impact could be of great harm, outweighing that of Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

Ronald Reagan would be turning over in his grave, as Barack Obama said, if he knew what has happened, and so would Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and other dead Republicans, who made their careers on anti Soviet stands in the Cold War, including 1964 Republican Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.

Yes, the Cold War is supposedly over, and Communism is gone, but is this true? Putin, after all, was part of the Soviet KGB Secret Police, and has blood on his hands, and has gained possibly the largest personal fortune of any human being on earth

We must deal with Russia, but to be naive about it, and give in to flattery, as Donald Trump has done and is doing, is alarming and dangerous to the national security of this nation.

Imagine the infamous Joseph McCarthy, the Red Scare villain of the 1950s, and how he would react to the craziness and lunacy of American foreign policy under a reckless, dangerous, unhinged Donald Trump!

Pearl Harbor Attack 75th Anniversary: Reality Sets In, Now Threatened By President Who Has Zero Understanding Of International Relations!

Today is the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which crippled our navy, and brought America into World War II.

This was the greatest military disaster in American history, with over 2,400 soldiers, sailors, and airmen killed, and ended the isolationism of the United States.

From that point on, it was clearly understood by Presidents and Congresses of both political parties that we needed to have strong alliances with other nations, and that putting America First, the old line of the isolationists, was detrimental to our security.

But we now have an incoming President, who touts America First, and is upending all traditional American foreign policy doctrines, to our detriment and potential danger.

A man who was willing to accept a Purple Heart from a soldier, and avoided military service on flimsy grounds, and thought being in a military high school was equivalent of military service and sacrifice, is now going to be Commander in Chief of the armed forces, something to worry about.

The reality of Pearl Harbor, and the more recent reality of September 11, must not be forgotten, but international relations is now again in danger of massive crisis, as our unstable, unhinged, ill informed, and Twitter provoked future President makes the whole world situation much more unpredictable, a threat to our military and to our entire population.

The Greatest Generation, as the World War II generation, rapidly declining in numbers, is known, needs to be remembered and respected on this solemn anniversary, and Americans must make clear they will NOT tolerate a narrow minded, isolationist foreign policy in the 21st century!

Diplomatic Crises Arising: Praise For Pakistan And Taiwan By Donald Trump Creates Problems With India And China!

Donald Trump is proving how much of a total neophyte he is in diplomacy, having had ZERO experience and knowledge of international relations.

To go ahead and communicate in positive terms with Pakistan’s government, with which the US government has many issues, is extremely damaging, and can undermine the relationship with India.

To go ahead and be so cordial and warm with Taiwan’s new government, when China sees Taiwan as a rebel province, is equally damaging, as NO American President from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama has ever, officially, dealt with Taiwan since the United States recognized mainland China’s government in 1979.

At this rate, Trump will undermine all of America’s foreign policy, cause misunderstandings and anger to rise, and we will end up in diplomatic crises and potential war, when all this could have been avoided, but Trump is a total ignoramus, who endangers any chance of a stable world, or a unified plan with other nations to fight Islamic terorrism.

The feeling is developing that Donald Trump is going to cause such chaos and anarchy in foreign policy, that his remaining in power has to be seriously compromised, as he could cause more damage than any President in modern American history, way more than George W. Bush, Richard Nixon, or Lyndon B. Johnson were able to do in their times in office.

70 Years Of American Foreign Policy Challenged By Donald Trump

It seems clear that Donald Trump, were he to become President, would totally upend American foreign policy, under both Republican and Democratic Presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.

His “love affair” with Russian leader Vladimir Putin is very dangerous, and will create instability in Europe, with the issue of the Baltic States being under threat, and undermining NATO in the process, which has been in effect since 1949.

His compliments of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will destabilize South Korea and Japan.

His lack of understanding of the complex Middle East will cause more disarray in an area already in turmoil.

His lack of knowledge of foreign policy will cause other nations, particularly our allies, to believe that he a dangerous, unstable individual to lead the most powerful nation in the world.

His temper, and poor judgment, will lead to foreign interventions out of pique.

We cannot afford someone as Commander in Chief who lacks the respect of the military and the intelligence community.

The Top Ten Transformational Presidents

The issue of “transformational” Presidents has revived lately, as it is clear that we are living through a “transformational” Presidency of Barack Obama, with still a year and a half to go in his tenure in the Oval Office.

With all of the controversy that surrounds Barack Obama, there is no doubt now that Obama has been a transformational President in so many ways.

So the question arises, who among our Presidents has been “transformational”? And in what order would Presidents on this list be ranked?

It seems clear that the top of the list would have to be George Washington, for having established standards and traditions that would be long lasting; and Abraham Lincoln, for keeping the Union together during the Civil War, and ending slavery.

Following Washington and Lincoln would be Franklin D. Roosevelt, who took America through the Great Depression and the Second World War, and changed the relationship of the federal government with the population of the nation, promoting a safety net that would help those most needy. He also created a large federal government that would never become smaller again, due to the Great Depression and the Second World War, and then the Cold War.

Once we go beyond Washington, Lincoln, and FDR, ranking gets much more difficult, but this author thinks the rest of the top ten would be as follows from number four to number ten:

Theodore Roosevelt, who would revive the Presidential office from slumber and use the “bully pulpit” to accomplish reform and federal government regulation of the economy, and started America’s role in world affairs.

Lyndon B. Johnson, who would promote the passage of massive reforms, including civil rights laws, Medicare, and a War on Poverty.

Woodrow Wilson, who would promote major reforms domestically and involvement in world affairs, taking America out of isolationism as a policy during the First World War.

Ronald Reagan, who changed the direction of the nation to Conservatism after a half century of Liberalism, and negotiated arms agreements with the Soviet Union, and helped to bring down the rival super power.

Barack Obama, who brought about health care coverage for most Americans; avoided a massive war; promoted social change in many areas; presided over a major revival of the economy only matched by FDR; and became a major environmental supporter.

Harry Truman, who responded to the Cold War with the Soviet Union in an effective way and determined the direction of foreign policy for a half century, and institutionalized the New Deal of FDR.

James K. Polk, who accomplished the great expansion of American territory by treaty with Great Britain and war with Mexico, creating the continental United States.

Notice that Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton do NOT make this list!

Commentary on this analysis is welcomed!