Trump feuds with Merkel, EU, BMW, NATO, China, CIA but not with Putin

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Donald Trump picked a fight with almost everyone but his buddy Vladimir Putin this weekend. His continued tweaking of China over its claims on Taiwan produced a sharp rebuke from Beijing. John Brennan, head of the CIA, pushed back against Trump’s branding of the agency as a Nazi institution after the golden shower Russian dossier on him was leaked.

Trump gave an interview Monday with the German publication Bild in which he rampaged around like a bull in a China shop, insulting Chancellor Angela Merkel over her immigration policies, threatening BMW with a trade war, putting Merkel and Putin on the same plane with regard to his respect for them, dismissing NATO as outmoded, harming investment, and putting a scare into Eastern Europe that he’ll abandon them to Putin the way he seems to have acquiesced in the aggression on Ukraine. (See the interview, linked at the bottom of this page, which is in English with German subtitles).

Trump also went again after the Bush administration and his own Republican Party, calling the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 the worst foreign policy decision that the US ever made. “It was like,” he exclaimed, “throwing stones at a beehive.”

Asked whom he respected more, Merkel or Putin, Trump said “both.” Merkel is a treaty ally of the United States. Putin is a frenemy.

Trump said he likes Germany and respects Merkel, but that he disagreed with her decision to admit large numbers of what he called “illegals” from Syria (he then backed up and said he didn’t know where they were from because they weren’t vetted), and suggested that the decision opened Germany to more terrorism. He also dismissed the European Union as a German project, hinting that it was some sort of money-making scam for Berlin, and complained about a chronic US trade imbalance with the EU, which he said “is going to stop.” In November, the US exported $21 billion worth of goods to the EU countries and imported $34.8 billion. Trump shrugged and indicated that he didn’t care if the EU survived or not, since he saw it as a means for Germany to gain unfair trade advantages over the United States. Trump doesn’t understand macro-economics or the function of a trade deficit over time.

Merkel replied curtly, “I think we Europeans have our destiny in our own hands.” She also said that while the issue of terrorism is a great challenge for everyone, it is a separate question from that of immigration.

Several terrorist attacks by Muslims in Europe have actually been carried out mainly by European-born individuals, mostly petty criminals. A recent attack by truck was perpetrated by someone whose asylum application was rejected but who went into hiding. It wasn’t as though he were unvetted.

Most terrorism in Europe in the past decade has been carried out by separatists or far-right groups, not by Muslims.

Trump again slammed NATO, demanding that European countries pony up more funds for it and stop freeloading off the United States. The Bild interviewer tried to get him to understand that this sort of talk was spooking the new eastern European members of NATO. Trump said he knew what was going on, but he declined to back down from his attack.

He also went after BMW, which is building a big new auto plant in Mexico. Trump warns that they won’t be allowed to export those cars to the US unless they pay a 35% tariff.

This threat caused BMW stock to drop 2.2% at some points Monday, leveling off at 1%, representing a lost of billions of dollars. Finance specialists warned that Trump is creating an atmosphere in which investors are jittery and putting off investing, which could slow economic growth. They also point out that the US is a member of the World Trade Organization, which would certainly not allow the abrupt imposition of a big new tariff on goods coming in to the US from Mexico. Further, were Trump to follow through on his threats, Germany would retaliate with its own tariffs, which could push the fragile world economy into a Depression.

As for the refugees given asylum in Germany, they are not “illegals.” Human beings cannot be “illegal,” for one thing. But the immigration to Germany has typically been through legal channels, and those denied asylum are leaving in ever greater numbers. Germany accepted about a million asylum seekers in the past two years.

Germany’s population has been declining and was expected to spiral down from 82 million to 60 million by 2050. This decline threatens the ability of elderly Germans to receive government services, since there are so many fewer workers in the next generation and they cannot generate the same amount of tax returns to the state as did the previous cohort. In part, Merkel’s decision to let the asylum-seekers in was taken out of charity, but she and her team may also have calculated that the immigrants who brought skills (the majority) could contribute to the economy over time and slow the country’s population decline.

The German Interior Ministry revealed that some 280,000 migrants applied for asylum in 2016. Germany only admits about half of the applicants to full refugee status. Some 70,000 of those rejected have returned home in the past two years. The largest groups of applicants are Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis, Iranians, Eritreans and Albanians.

The US admits roughly 1 million legal immigrants and 70,000 asylees annually, so that Germany’s applicants for the past year are exactly proportional to the numbers actually processed by the US, since it is 1/4 as populous. That is, Germany is just behaving more like the US recently, not doing something unheard of, as Trump (who deeply dislikes immigrants from anywhere to anywhere, apparently) said.

The 890,000 asylum applications received by Germany in 2015 are therefore something extremely unusual. That situation derived from a crisis of immigration across the Mediterranean, in which many lives were at stake (some 5,000 attempted immigrants died on the sea last year). In addition, however, it now seems clear that people smugglers set up shop in Turkey and flooded immigrants into Europe, with its open borders, for a fee, taking advantage of the sympathy of the European public for the boat people. Turkey has made an agreement to police its own borders better (and likely to crack down on these coyotes) in return for a payment of $3 billion from the EU. While Europe clearly needs to do something about its border security, Merkel’s act of compassion and of population policy will certainly benefit the German economy and German dynamism over time. Trump is wrong.

See the Bild Interview with Trump here

42 Responses

  1. Bringing back manufacturing jobs to the US is a good thing,
    and did you ever consider that the lack of workers in Germany today is due to importing goods from larger scale manufacturing countries such as China. Additionally, lack of workers can also correlate to the moving of manufacturing jobs overseas.

    This article is incredibly biased.

    • The greatest loss of manufacturing jobs came during the George W. Bush administration, during which 60,000 factories closed and millions of jobs went overseas. When the Democrats tried to pass a law removing tax breaks for companies that did that, the Republicans voted it down. The number of manufacturing jobs reached its recent nadir in 2010. Thanks to Obama’s economy, those number of jobs have been slowly, but steadily increasing since then. You can find all this on Google, as I have done before. So, to expect the Republicans to create more manufacturing jobs than Democrats would seem to be counter factual. As for Germany, from 2000 to 2009 that country lost only 11% of its manufacturing jobs compared to the US losing 33% of its manufacturing jobs. And they have done that while maintaining relatively high wages. See the following for a good analysis: link to forbes.com

    • Dolan, there is no evidence whatsoever that Trump will follow through on some of his more popular promises. First, he has no record. Second, he has hired the most right wing officials he can find and their agenda is not about the majority of Americans.

      In the meantime, he hasn’t shown us his tax returns, he hasn’t put his assets in a blind trust, and he’s giving important positions to his family in spite of nepotism laws. And he appears to be already profiting from being president.

      During most transitions, an incoming president mends fences and talks about working together and listening to the other side. And they do not tweet in the early hours of the morning insulting fellow Americans.

      Trump still has time to start acting presidential. But he’s quickly running out of time, and a large majority of Americans are getting impatient.

    • Lack of workers in Germany is due to importing goods? How would importing goods affect the birth rate? Because that’s what is happening in Germany: a low birth rate means… less Germans. Less German workers.

      Lack of workers correlates to moving jobs… uh… how? Where do the workers go? Vanish into thin air?

    • Dolan, Trump is a liar and you will NOT see a huge increase in manufacturing jobs in the USA because we now have the technology to eliminate almost all manufacturing jobs and the costs of using that technology DECREASES each and every day.

      If the USA does restrict imports, all it will do is cause shortages of goods in the USA and drastically increase the cost of goods because it would take hundreds of billions (if not trillions) to build new factories in the USA, most of which would be almost fully robotic, meaning, at most, a huge factory would employ a few hundred people instead of thousands.

      Most of the USA factories that were shut down were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s and were extremely inefficient and costly.

      Note that the factories in Europe (especially Germany) and Asia were all built AFTER 1950 and are much better than USA factories because USA companies refused to spend the hundreds of billions to build new factories.

      If you believe that trumper will bring back jobs, I have a deteriorated 1876 factory to sell you.

  2. From Trump’s interview with German newspaper Bild: “If you go down Fifth Avenue every one has a Mercedes Benz in front of his house, isn’t that the case?” he said. “The fact is that … there is no reciprocity. How many Chevrolets do you see in Germany? Not very many, maybe none at all … it’s a one-way street. It must work both ways.”

    Chevrolet is part of General Motors, whose marque in Germany is Opel. Germany’s deputy chancellor had a simple solution to the US’s problem: “Build better cars.”

    My American friends tell me his knowledge of the geography of New York is a bit iffy, too.

  3. It is strange that this man has insulted and attacked many people, nations, and agencies, but not a negative word about the Russian dictator. He has hurt far too many people from the President to an ex beauty queen, yet has shown a sickening adoration and reverence for Putin. If Putin wanted to bring the US down, this lunatic people voted for, would be one easy way to do it.

    • He doesn’t owe Merkel, the EU, BMW, NATO, et al, huuuge amounts of money he will never be able to pay back from loans by Putin’s corrupt circle of organized crime-linked oligarchs. Trump either makes nice with Russia or loses a couple of kneecaps and members of his family due to ‘accidents’ as payment to the sterling ‘businessmen’ he has sold what’s left of his soul to.

  4. You are letting your undisguised dislike of Trump get in the way of facts professor. Whilst I carry no torch for Trump he is absolutely right about German excessive immigration and the consequences which have subsequently followed. In case you’ve forgotten, the success of the Brexit vote was precisely because of immigration and Merkel was much quoted by the leave the EU camp during their campaign. You appear to be also implying that the Russian dossier is a fact whereas there is not one shred of evidence to support it. Over here in the UK we once also had a dossier about how Iraq could fire missiles into the UK in forty five minutes but this dossier has long been universally acknowledged to be a “dodgy dossier” I can’t recall exactly now, but this dossier or another one was called the ‘dodgy dossier’ because it was actually a straight forward copy of a university student’s study thesis with no attempt to disguise the fact. Trump’s election was a great example of democracy in action and he won according to the constitution and the electoral rules in place as was the case for the other candidates. Those supporters of Clinton who lost the election are starting to engaged in ‘coup’ like activities and are not willing to embrace the democratic process. You are starting to sound like this a bit yourself professor and I am disappointed that a man of your intellect should now be wallowing in the gutter of speculation along with the many other people who are not happy that the democratic has process has not produced the candidate they expected it to.

    • Who are you trying to kid. You’ve been carrying a torch for Trump for at least a year now. And the people who aren’t willing to engage in the democratic process are those who deny or restrict the vote, engage in illegal activity, post fake news and release misleading information in the last days of the campaign. See here how the phony Comey letter cost Clinton over 2% of the vote:link to vox.com

      • Right indeed, Gary. “John Wilson” (heh heh) mentions the word ‘coup’, which is a projection of what happened electorally in the U.S. election due to interference and voter suppression. Trump backers like “Wilson”, if not paid dupes, have no qualms about lying and dissembling and pretending to be who they’re not.

      • Thank you Mr. Page. Lets not forget that Trump lead the whole “Birther” movement. This isn’t normal. Those who think the left should just “get along” do not understand the deep racial underpinnings of this country nor the deep sentiment of much of the population that we are not going back.

    • your daily attempt at trolling is getting tiresome John — Why don’t you move on?

    • john – “Those supporters of Clinton who lost the election are starting to engaged in ‘coup’ like activities and are not willing to embrace the democratic process.” You have it precisely backwards.

      The “coup” was from the ignorant, bigoted Trump supporters by way of a CEO-drenched Electoral College, a higher power media signal and some local voting machine rigging where no record of a vote is made available. Clinton won the popular vote by a significant margin. Embracing a horribly broken election process is impossible.

      Your hope should be that no one in the UK pisses-off Trump because without full US support your tiny islands would be very vulnerable?

  5. Juan, I read your stuff regularly and find it almost always objective and fair. But your quip about Putin being Trump’s buddy was wrong and in bad taste. To my knowledge, they never met. Whether some members of the Russian government have been in contact with Trump is uncertain. You yourself have repeatedly said that, even if Russian government officials had done what the USA intelligence agencies accuse them of, the results of the elections would have been the same. Your remark is untoward.

    • In 2014 Trump stated that he had talked directly with Putin and in 2013 said they had a relationship. Now it’s possible that his talking was only over the phone, but he had a relationship when he thought that benefitted him and denied it when it didn’t. link to politifact.com On November 10, 2016, in Russian media, Deputy Foreign Minister Rybakov stated that the Russians had been in contact with Trump campaign staff and that contact was continuing. This has been widely reported in numerous outlets.Trump apologizers seem amazingly uninformed.

    • No wonder he claims so loudly he can make deals. Doesn’t seem like he’s so good at it.

      But re Putin I agree, Carlo. It doesn’t matter. I am beginning to develop a theory like the Obama-was-groomed theory (by Chicago real estate tycoons). Isn’t it strange people are going to identify a get-along-with-Russia posture with the biggest trickle-down bloviator ever to come down the pike? [Donald Trump, to understand economics start reading the late Richard J. Barnet’s books]

      “Of course, that is no justification for any foreign intervention here, but it is part of the current story if we want to understand it. Washington’s intervention in Ukraine, for example, helped push that country into a civil war that became the main cause of the current state of Cold War between the U.S. and Russia.” Mark Weisbrot, 1/9 link to thehill.com

      It’s mindblowing to contemplate what the “liberal interventionists” might have brought on. And it is very weird to contemplate that Trump might be better (for a time) armageddon-wise then Pence, or the former.

    • I agree re Putin. I’ve been through scads of articles on Ukraine. One of my favorite writers on the subject is Zolton Grossman. Of course, many of us here I’m sure read Parry. Here’s Weisbrot, nice brevity yet still accurate IMO.

      “Of course, that is no justification for any foreign intervention here, but it is part of the current story if we want to understand it. Washington’s intervention in Ukraine, for example, helped push that country into a civil war that became the main cause of the current state of Cold War between the U.S. and Russia.” Mark Weisbrot, Jan 9, link to thehill.com

  6. I haven’t read the interview in full, actually it was with Michael Gove for The Times with a Bild journalist present, but playing devil’s advocate to some points mentioned here, NATO is not popular in Europe, most Europeans, that is people rather than politicians and members of the beribboned military, see NATO as a provocative arm of US foreign policy that should have disappeared with the USSR. As for Ukraine, it was supposed to be a buffer entity on the borders of Russia and it wasn’t the Russians who forgot that; Nuland was recorded engaged in that coup, even identifying the cost of it. Who Crimea belongs to is is of little concern, and given its history its hardly surprising its citizens preferred Russia to a confrontational future under a US selected billionaire confectioner.

    The EU was originally conceived as a trading area and many, including the British, wish it had stayed that way. The Germans were indeed the most determined advocates for the Euro, and bent and obfuscated eligibility regulations to make sure nations like Greece were roped in. The EU and particularly the Eurozone have benefited Germany at the expense of the Southern European nations, and its popularity is in serious decline. It destroys small businesses and has proved all but worse than war for many Greeks and Italians, and led to multiple suicides. Nor is the EU democratic, many of its hierarchy are unelected, small minded little men (mostly men). Its accounts have not been signed off for 20 years which makes one wonder what kind of shenanigans they hide. Right now its attitude to Brexit is petty, petulant and punitive, just as it is arrogant and overbearing to Greece.

    Merkel’s enthusiasm for immigrants has it roots in her Lutheranism. It may well pay dividends in the future but we don’t live in the future and are not all German, and it has gone to excess in a way that has stretched social services and law enforcement, and further eroded domestic freedoms. Had it been caused by natural disaster that would be different but it is seen as a direct consequence of misguided foreign policies. Gaddafi warned Blair, among others, exactly what would happen if they reduced Libya to chaos and he was right to the dotted I and the crossed t.

    Many Europeans simply do not share US paranoia over Russia, especially those whose economic security has suffered from sanctions. The EU glibly extending Russian sanctions does nothing to improve its popularity either. The ultra right wing is distressing but if a pendulum is pulled too far one way it develops a natural nisus to swing back almost as far.

    All in all Trump is not that far out of line with much European thinking, again I mean European people whose trust in their ever more detached leaders, along with media and business outfits is at record lows.

    • in Europe, most Europeans, that is people rather than politicians and members of the beribboned military, see NATO as a provocative arm of US foreign policy…

      NATO is the European agency for the United States’ military-industrial complex.

    • What a sensible and clear comment to cover all those important points. I live in France, and apart from the “newspapers” writing of Paris and Berlin fears of Russian cyber interference in elections (!!) most people seem less frantic. Many are against the EU and it inequalities, and NATO which has way outlived its usefulness.

  7. Trump is nothing but a rich, cowardly, thin-skinned PUNK who will have our nuclear codes and the fate of our offspring in his tiny little hands.

  8. peotus may be wrong about DE; he may not be wrong about Merkel, NATO, and others – he ain’t no diplo.
    usa voted for change, and may experience change after his election is formalized.
    His slapdown of bush et cie is especially welcome; his domestic agenda will fall very short of desired changes.
    Keep writing.

  9. Zafar Mohammed

    FP lesson 101 “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none.” G Washington farewell

  10. This isn’t rocket science.

    Russia’s motive is clear:

    The Western-imposed sanctions on Russia are seriously hurting Putin and much of the Russian oligarchy. Clinton was clear about maintaining these sanctions. Trump has indicated on numerous occasions his intent to have better relations with Russia, which could include the lifting of these crippling (by Russian oligarchical standards) sanctions.

    Whether their attempts were successful or not, this was the motive for the Russian interference in the US Presidential election: it’s all about the money. Only the details need to be sussed out…

    On the refugee crises, it was Western interventionism – mostly led by the US – that created this problem in the first place! And now Trump and his neo-fascist surrogates (with support from a large % of Republicans) want to stop a measly 20k or so highly vetted refugees from coming to America.

    Shameful doesn’t even begin to describe…

    $$$

  11. Actually Merkel wasn’t all that courteous…she announced that the transatlantic alliance wasn’t ‘carved in stone’. In front of a bunch of managers from the german industry she promised to ‘go to war for TTIP’ (I suppose not literally, though).
    The fact is: The german government simply considered a Clinton victory a done deal. They never dreamed of Trump winning. Merkel repeatedly made fun of Trump during the election. Now Trump is president and Merkel didn’t even have his phone number in order to congratulate.
    The german government has just lost a very important asset of it’s foreign policy, namely Clinton who would have introduced the industries pet project TTIP and would have continued a hostile approach towards russia.
    Now the german government has no clue what will happen next and is most likely in a state close to panic.
    Merkel will eventually do what she always does: Do nothing and hope things will somehow get better.
    Not sure if this will help, though. Interesting times…

  12. It’s interesting that Trump is first “interviewed” by Michael Gove for Rupert Murdoch’s paper in what was essentially less of an interview than a puff-piece (hagiography) by one of the architects of Brexit; a man who managed to sabotage his friend’s chances to become leader of the Tory Party (Boris Johnson, now the UK’s Foreign Minister).

    Michael Gove had an underwhelming performance as Justice Minister and Education Minister and given helped orchestrate a soft coup against David Cameron and treachery against long-time political allies. This resulted in Theresa May becoming Prime Minister. And she immediately sacked Michael Gove. So, it seems to me that Michael Gove’s meeting with Trump was partially an attempt to undermine Theresa May and ingratiate himself with Trump.

    Yet on the the same day that Trump is meeting with Michael Gove, Trump is unsurprisingly, interviewed by the German reactionary tabloid, Der Bild, the very same publication which supported George W. Bush over John Kerry for President.

    Der Bild has a long sordid history against liberal dissidents which includes the nasty feud with the great German writer Heinrich Böll whose 1974 satirical novel, “The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum” deals directly with the negative consequence of a fictionalized tabloid and their morally corrupt journalists in exacerbating violent conflict and undermining democracy.

    It is also worth noting that Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Deputy Chancellor and Minister for the Economy, explained that the increase in the number of people fleeing the Middle East to seek asylum in Europe had partially been a consequence of US-led wars destabilizing the region.

    Specifically, Gabriel said, “There is a link between America’s flawed interventionist policy, especially the Iraq war, and the refugee crisis; that’s why my advice would be that we shouldn’t tell each other what we have done right or wrong, but that we look into establishing peace in that region and do everything to make sure people can find a home there again.” link to theguardian.com

    So again, Trump displays total ignorance about Europe’s largest economy and probably doesn’t realize Germany’s strategic importance to our military such as the U.S. Army’s Signal Corp in Heidelberg responsible for intelligence gathering and communication transmission and interception across Europe.

    With Trump’s alienation of the intelligence community, there will be difficulty employing the military to facilitate strategic foreign policy objectives.

    Obama’s administration had many key failures in foreign policy such as in Libya and Syria but at least there was close cooperation and trust among key national security advisors, the Pentagon and State Dept. Trump has none of these assets in place. This situation probably suggests more failed states or at least greater destabilization from West Asia to the Middle East, East Asia and the Horn of Africa.

    Trump has already irritated key allies while doing everything possible to realize Putin’s strategy of weakening NATO and the EU and strengthening Russia’s position in the Middle East (at the cost of the destruction of Syria).

    Every day leading to the Inauguration seems to reveal another looming catastrophe.

        • Bill, can you summarize the point being made by Pilger? It struck me as incoherent.

          All I know is that Trump and his Republican friends have ended rather early the usual honeymoon for an incoming president, and their incomprehensible behavior seems to include much of the world. Such behavior unfortunately defies an understanding of the usual transition process of an incoming president.

    • “…there will be difficulty employing the military to facilitate strategic foreign policy objectives.”

      And this is bad how exactly?

      ;)

  13. Merkel replied curtly, “I think we Europeans have our destiny in our own hands.”

    Frau Merkel: Does that mean you now have your cell phone secure against NSA spying?

  14. The 890,000 asylum applications received by Germany in 2015 are therefore something extremely unusual. That situation derived from a crisis of immigration across the Mediterranean, in which many lives were at stake (some 5,000 attempted immigrants died on the sea last year).

    The serious problem with Trump and others hostile to immigrants is their refusal to face up to the fact that U.S. policies have been significant factors in creating those immigrants who are for the most part refugees from war zones where the U.S. has been active in one way or another.

    • One must add that global warming has also been a factor in creating so many refugees.

      When farmers drill for water and none is left to be had, they have no choice but to move. And if the cities where they go become overcrowded and violent, they tend to move on with their families.

      Americans have similar histories. I grew up in S. California and my parents remember people moving in who lived through the years of the Dust Bowl. Two such families were neighbors when I was growing up.

      • In addition, those Dust Bowl refugees were often met with hostility by their fellow Americans in California. Billboards warning them to keep moving. The implication of mob and vigilante violence against them. So it is today, including America. Denying global warming makes perfect sense if one fears that he and his race/nation will be penalized for their disproportionate role in creating victims by having to accept new taxes or refugees. Those refugees have to be blamed as the terrorists who threaten our way of life, rather than recognized as the victims of our way of life.

  15. It’s Bild (or Bild-Zeitung), not “der Bild”. Germans routinely refer to the newspaper as “Bild” without a definite article (which even if it were present, wouldn’t be “der” for a neuter noun like Bild).

  16. As much as I dislike Trump, I don’t see why we need vilify Russia. We’ve interfered openly in their elections in the ’90s in support of Yeltsin. We promised to restrict the eastward expansion, and now we’re at Russia’s door. So understandably they’re not happy with us. Not until I see compelling proof will I believe in this hacking our elections business. To me it’s a cover for the failure of the Democrats as well as fuel for the bellicosity of McCain and Graham and their ilk. I’m not saying Russia didn’t hack, but I need proof. I don’t trust our intelligence leaders. Clapper lied before Congress. One of their job descriptions is to be deceitful!

    • While what you say is true, there is no evidence that Putin is more honest or trustworthy. I heard a Russian expert tonight who stated that Putin believes that the US is really out to overthrow the Russian government and is doing everything possible to destabilize the US and its alliances. While this sounds extreme, I refer you to the book The Mitrokhin Archives by Christopher Andrew which is based on documents smuggled out by the co-author, Mitrokhin, who was the archivist of the KGB. The last former head of the KGB to head Russia/the USSR, Yuri Andropov , as reported in this book, had the exact same viewpoint as alleged for Putin. As described in this book, Andropov was clearly paranoid and the Soviet Union was particularly devious and had actually cached weapons, spy equipment, and other items within the US to be used by their spies in case of conflict. They were all set up for a Fifth Column. You need to realize that not all Russian or Soviet rulers are alike and some are more dangerous than others. I believe that those who come out of the KGB are especially dangerous and Putin seems to have firmly decided that it is his mission to restore previous greatness and empire to Russia.

  17. If you look a little closer, you will see Mr. Netanjahu hiding in plain view. What might he be doing there?

  18. “…there will be difficulty employing the military to facilitate strategic foreign policy objectives.”

    It’s not clear the U.S. has a coherent foreign policy but yet our leaders continue to sanction the use of violent aggression against anyone or any group, including Americans, almost anywhere it wants.

    American foreign policy has been a disaster especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    We have expanded NATO to Eastern Europe, sponsored coups in the Republic of Georgia and in the Ukraine and we have not really won any military wars since the Korean armistice unless you count the invasion of Grenada in response to the 1983 killing of Marines in Libya as anything other than a public relations stunt.

    The problem is that our economy relies on our massive military which continues to expand into Sub-Sahara Africa and engage in endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Surely there is no controversy in claiming that in the process, we have created failed states in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen and Somalia.

    All of these military interventions have exacerbated the tendency towards destabilization among key allies such as Turkey and Egypt as well as radicalizing young men throughout the Middle East and North Africa who seem to be mounting a campaign in Europe that targets civilians in public spaces and nightclubs (i.e. “soft targets”). Why? As a way to create greater social divisions among multicultural European countries. This seems like the evolving strategy of ISIS and its affiliates, dreadful and morally revolting but effective in their conception of successful engagement in asymmetric warfare.

    It’s virtually impossible to suddenly withdraw troops stationed in over 110 countries.

    In addition, on Jan. 16th, about 300 U.S. Marines arrived in Norway, which shares a border with Russia, for the alleged purpose of gaining expertise in “arctic warfare.” link to rt.com

    I doubt any U.S. President could take on the military and successfully stop its massive expansion into a parallel set of privatized special operation-designated mercenaries (also known as “civilian contractors”).

    Our economy is simply overly dependent upon our military as are the countries who gain lots of economic incentives to host our military despite frequent episodes of behavior that upsets the locals as infamously occurred in Okinawa, the Philippines and South Korea during the last 20 years.

    These developments are troubling and perhaps impossible to end. For greater insight, consider the efforts of the late great historian Chalmers Johnson who devoted the last years of his life writing a trilogy of books about the American military empire as has Prof. Andrew Bacevich, a retired Army Col.

  19. The border is not the problem but employers here who hire. The pew report cited that 45% of immigrants came from Mexico making up only 5% of the American workforce. Much ado about 5%.

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