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Hard To Believe: The Worst Week Of The Trump Presidency, And Every Week Is Worse Than The One Before!

Hard to believe, but this past week has been the worst week of the Trump Presidency and every week is worse than the one before!

Trump has gone after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the GOP Party Leader this week, alienating Republican Senators, and making for an awkward situation for McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, who is Trump’s Secretary of Transportation.

He has ratcheted up the possibility of nuclear war against North Korea if any danger comes to our territory of Guam, or the possibility of a conventional war which would bring great destruction and death to our ally, South Korea, where the capital, Seoul, is less than a hour from the Demilitarized Zone, and millions of people live, including hundreds of thousands of Americans, a few million foreigners, and 28,000 American soldiers and their dependents.

Trump has also brought up the possibility of military intervention in Venezuela, which is a major problem, but we do not worry about human rights in other nations around the world, and instead promote the image of America, the imperialist nation, throwing its weight around in Latin America.

The last thing we need is to have military intervention in northeast Asia and in South America, to add on to the wars in Afghanistan, and against ISIS (ISIL) in the Middle East, along with alienating China, which we need as a supporter to curb the ambitions of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Trump is out of control in foreign policy, and foreign leaders are shocked at his loose language, and building up the tensions on the Korean peninsula, something never witnessed with any other American President. Our allies in Europe, and in Canada, Australia, Mexico, Japan and South Korea are not quite sure how Trump can be contained in his dangerous rhetoric and impulsive actions.

And Trump also has ignored the mosque bombing in Minnesota, refusing to condemn it, and now the right wing White Supremacists (Neo Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, Alt Right) have provoked violence at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, leading to the death of one person and nineteen injured, and Trump refusing to condemn these groups, and acting as if all sides in the debate over the statue of Robert E. Lee being removed are equal, when that is the furthest from the truth. To compare left wing groups to the right wing as equals is totally preposterous, but Trump continues to refuse to repudiate the right wing extremists who promote racism, antisemitism, nativism, and misogyny, including such hate mongers as David Duke and Richard Spencer.

All this adds up to the reality that Donald Trump has been a disastrous President, is getting worse by the week, and the move ahead by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to question those who have worked in the West Wing of the White House is a major move toward bringing closer the end of the Trump Presidency, as grounds for impeachment are growing.

Many Republicans and conservatives have repudiated Trump in various ways, and my article on History News Network, just published on August 6, and on the right side of this blog, details the growing opposition to Trump, and makes clear the dangers he faces as we finish Month 7 of the Trump Presidency!

The Month Of April: The Month That Four American Wars Began

April is an historical month in so many ways, including the fact that four of the wars in American history began in April.

The American Revolution began with the shots fired at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775, even though war was never officially declared between Great Britain and the American colonies.

The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, with the South Carolina government ordering an attack on the federal fort, Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, rather than allow the US government under Abraham Lincoln to re-provision the fort.

The Spanish American War began on April 19, 1898, after the attack on the American ship, THE MAINE, and the publication of the DeLome Letter, which inflamed American public opinion, and led William McKinley to ask for a declaration of war on Spain, leading to the acquisition of Spanish colonies in Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam, and a sphere of influence over Cuba, giving American an “Empire”.

The First World War for America began after Woodrow Wilson asked for a declaration of war against Imperial Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Turkish Empire on April 2, 1917. After just four days of debate over giving up our isolationist heritage and joining in an alliance with other nations, as a result of the Zimmerman Note and unrestricted submarine warfare, the declaration of war was adopted easily on April 6, 1917.

These four wars transformed America into a nation; into a country that ended slavery and preserved the nation as one against a rebellion; that made American a nation with overseas ambitions for colonies; and as one which abandoned the idea of staying out of military alliances and foreign wars.

All four wars prepared us for the military involvement overseas, which has been constant since the Second World War, but unwisely took us into wars we have not really won in the cases of the Korean War (1950-1953); the Vietnam War (1961-1973); the Iraq War (2003-2011); and the Afghanistan War (2001-2015 and counting).

And now there are war hawks in Congress who wish to take us into a major war against a nation, Iran, which would present a massive challenge to gain victory that would be lasting, with the likelihood of a drawn out war, with massive casualties, and the likelihood of tremendous debt growth which would cripple our future!

A Time For Foreign Policy Experts To Be Utilized Over Korean Crisis–Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Richardson, Jon Huntsman

The crisis that has arisen over North Korea’s bullying and nuclear threats represents a danger to international stability in Asia, worrying not only the United States, but also South Korea and Japan, and even next door neighbor China.

Kim Jong Un, 29 years old, is clearly a wild card in the greatest description of the term, and could incite a major war that could devastate prosperous South Korea, and endanger US troops there and in Japan and the American territory of Guam, along with what seems like crazy threats to Hawaii, California, Texas, and Washington DC.

The new Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the new Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, have their hands full, and rationality and balance in response is required of President Barack Obama in what could become the major foreign policy crisis of his administration.

In the past, former Presidents and Vice Presidents have been utilized as contacts with North Korea—meaning Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore, along with former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

Additionally, former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman is an acknowledged expert on China and its neighbors.

It might be time to utilize Carter, Clinton, Gore, Richardson or Huntsman to figure out how to communicate with Kim Jong Un and resolve the tinderbox without war. President Obama would be wise to consider such diplomacy, in order to cut down the chance of war that no one can win!

Second Term Presidencies Taken Over By Foreign Crises: Will It Happen Again Now?

Three American Presidents in the last hundred years have been faced by foreign crises leading to war, and disrupting their domestic intentions for their second term of office. All three hoped to accomplish much more internally, but were distracted and diverted by major wars they could not avoid.

Woodrow Wilson had accomplished the most domestic reform in American history of any President until his time, but then World War I intruded, and his second term was dominated by the war and its aftermath.

Franklin D. Roosevelt had surpassed Woodrow Wilson in domestic accomplishments in his first term with his New Deal, but his second term became one of growing concern over the threat of the Japanese Empire to our territories (Hawaii, Guam, The Philippines) in the Pacific, plus the growing threat of Fascism and Nazism represented by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in Europe—leading to concern of its effect on our traditional European friends if not formal allies, Great Britain and France. Although America would not enter World War II until FDR’s third term, the threat of war was ever present, and divided this nation in a massive way between internationalists and isolationists.

Harry Truman had a much more difficult time domestically, and had to deal with the Cold War with the Soviet Union, but hoped to promote a Fair Deal in his second term, but instead had to deal with the Korean War.

Now, Barack Obama faces the growing threat of real war with two nations who have lunatic leadership, and are capable of provoking major wars, emboldened by their nuclear intentions—Iran and North Korea.

Iran moves ahead on nuclear development, unaffected by the major nations bringing pressure and economic sanctions on them, and still seen as potentially able to threaten the survival of Israel, and cause a major cut off of oil in the Straits of Hormuz. While President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is leaving in June, it is clear that the Ayatollah Khamenei and the extremist Shiite Muslim leadership really dictates policy, and that anything is possible, including war.

North Korea, under its new young (30) leader, Kim Jong Un, has now declared that the truce agreement which ended the Korean War sixty years ago is null and void; has been testing nuclear weapons against international outcry, including China; and has threatened this past week that it might launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack on South Korea and the United States. This all seems bluster, but who can say for sure?

So our need as a nation to face the possibility of war with two international outlaws makes the whole budget issue much more complex, and makes the odds of more domestic reform activities all the harder to accomplish.

Much like Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman, Barack Obama may face being a war President against his will, and his Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will be sorely tested over the next four years in their hope to avoid a war, just as we are trying to exit a war in Afghanistan, after having done just that in Iraq!

As John Kerry Becomes Secretary Of State, An Assessment Of The Most Influential Secretaries Of State In American History

With Hillary Clinton leaving the State Department, and John Kerry becoming the 68th Secretary of State, it is a good time to assess who are the most influential Secretaries of State we have had in American history.

Notice I say “most influential”, rather than “best”, as that is a better way to judge diplomatic leadership in the State Department.

Without ranking them, which is very difficult, we will examine the Secretaries of State who have had the greatest impact, in chronological order:

Thomas Jefferson (1789-1793) under President George Washington—set the standard for the department, and was probably the most brilliant man ever to head the State Department.

John Quincy Adams (1825-1829) under President James Monroe—brought about the Monroe Doctrine, treaties with Canada, and the acquisition of Florida.

William H. Seward (1861-1869) under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson—brought about the neutrality of Great Britain and France in the Civil War, and purchased Alaska from Czarist Russia, a fortunate development.

Hamilton Fish (1869-1877) under President Ulysses S. Grant—involved in many diplomatic issues in Latin America, had America become more engaged in Hawaii, and settled differences with Great Britain, and often considered the major bright spot in the tragic Grant Presidency.

James G. Blaine (1881, 1889-1892) under Presidents James A. Garfield and Chester Alan Arthur briefly, and full term under President Benjamin Harrison—helped to bring about eventual takeover of Hawaii, and promoted the concept of a canal in Central America.

John Hay (1898-1905) under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt—-involved in the issues after the Spanish American War, including involvement in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and a major influence over TR’s diplomatic initiatives in his first term.

Elihu Root (1905-1909) under President Theodore Roosevelt—-a great influence in TR’s growing involvement in world affairs in his second term in office.

Robert Lansing (1915-1920) under President Woodrow Wilson—a major player in American entrance in World War I and at the Versailles Peace Conference.

Charles Evan Hughes (1921-1925) under Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge—-had major role in Washington Naval Agreements in 1922.

Henry Stimson (1929-1933) under President Herbert Hoover—-was a major critic of Japanese expansion, as expressed in the Stimson Doctrine of 1932.

Cordell Hull (1933-1944) under President Franklin D. Roosevelt—-was the longest lasting Secretary of State, nearly the whole term of FDR, and very much involved in all of the President’s foreign policy decisions.

Dean Acheson (1949-1953) under President Harry Truman—-involved in the major decisions of the early Cold War, including the Korean War intervention.

John Foster Dulles (1953-1959) under President Dwight D. Eisenhower—had controversial views on Cold War policy with the Soviet Union, including “massive retaliation”.

Dean Rusk (1961-1969) under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson—highly controversial advocate of the Vietnam War escalation, but served under the complete terms of two Presidents, and never backed away from his views on the Cold War.

Henry Kissinger (1973-1977) under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford—-easily one of the most influential figures in the shaping of foreign policy in American history, earlier having served as National Security Adviser.

George Shultz, (1982-1989) under President Ronald Reagan—-very close adviser to the President on his major foreign policy initiatives.

James Baker (1989-1992) under President George H. W. Bush—very significant in Persian Gulf War and end of Cold War policies.

Madeleine Albright (1997-2001) under President Bill Clinton—-first woman Secretary of State and played major role in many issues that arose.

Colin Powell (2001-2005) under President George W. Bush—-involved in the justification of the Iraq War based on Weapons of Mass Destruction, which undermined his reputation because of the lack of evidence on WMDs.

Condoleezza Rice (2005-2009) under President George W. Bush—second woman Secretary of State and intimately involved in policy making.

Hillary Clinton (2009-2013) under President Barack Obama—third woman Secretary of State, and hailed by most as a major contributor to Obama’s foreign policy initiatives.

This is a list of 21 out of the 68 Secretaries of State, but also there are 15 other Secretaries of State who were influential historical figures, including:

John Marshall
James Madison
James Monroe
Henry Clay
Martin Van Buren
Daniel Webster
John C. Calhoun
James Buchanan
Lewis Cass
William Jennings Bryan
George Marshall
Cyrus Vance
Edmund Muskie
Alexander Haig
Warren Christopher

So a total of 36 out of 68 Secretaries of State have been major figures in American history, and contributed to the diplomatic development of the United States in world affairs!

February 15: Momentous Day In American History Twice!

On this day, February 15, two momentous events in American history, 35 years apart, occurred, transforming America forever.

In 1898, 114 years ago today, the battleship USS Maine exploded in Havana Harbor in Cuba, killing about 260 on board, and although it was caused by an accidental explosion, it spurred America into war against Spain, in what became known as the Spanish American War. As a result of the war, America became an “empire” with colonies in Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine Islands, and had a “sphere of influence” over Cuba, eventually leading to problems when Fidel Castro rose to power in 1959 and condemned US “imperialism” in his island nation.

In 1933, 79 years ago, we almost lost President elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, as he was the target of an assassin, Joseph Zangara, who instead mortally wounded Chicago mayor Anton Cermak, while FDR was visiting Miami, Florida. Had FDR been killed or seriously wounded, we might not have had the New Deal programs that helped to ameliorate the Great Depression, and instead would have had conservative Texan and former Speaker of the House John Nance Garner, the Vice President elect, as our President.

The role of America in world affairs, and the coming of the greatest President of the 20th century, and only second to Abraham Lincoln in our entire history, were transformational moments in the American story!