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Opinion | Why Do We Value Country Folk More Than City People? - The New York Times
There's a lot to like here. Urban areas forming more cohesive political units at the federal level is an interesting idea.
nyt  trumpadministration  urbanism  politics  usa  immigration  opinion 
17 days ago by UltraNurd
Bolton dealing to build an Arab military force in Syria - CNNPolitics
Specifically, the US is pursuing contributions from Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to help counter Iran in Syria by filling the void should the US significantly reduce its footprint in the country.
Mar15  TrumpAdministration  Gulf_region  ForeignFighters 
19 days ago by elizrael
Do we need to update Godwin's Law about the probability of comparison to Nazis?
"Godwin’s Law was never meant to block us from challenging the institutionalization of cruelty" Great points here about being a scholar of history and knowing when a comparison is apt.
trumpadministration  opinion  nazis  politics  history  lat  immigration 
22 days ago by UltraNurd
Twitter
As the continues to publicly question the legitimacy of climate change, % a new podca…
Think100  TrumpAdministration  from twitter_favs
28 days ago by nelag
Media bid to blame Trump for US policy on illegals and children is dishonest
She seems unaware of a 1997 law showing that it is the law that minors are released in the U.S., while parents do not have the same rights under the law.  What's more, President Obama enacted more of the same policy in 2014.  Trump is absolutely right.  He and his administration are following the law.  It is obviously the parents' fault that they are separated from their children and not our government's fault.
Immigration  TrumpAdministration  AmericanThinker 
4 weeks ago by HispanicPundit
Opinion | The Obama-Trump Grand Strategy - The New York Times
In all things Trump is cruder than Obama, more willing to make subtext into text, less (or not even remotely) detail-oriented, more careless of diplomatic norms and dismissive of humanitarian concerns. But if the two men use different rhetoric and often favor different alliances, they have both pursued the same kind of bigger-picture strategy — seeking to extricate the United States from some of its multiplying commitments, to shift our post-Cold War position away from a Pax Americana model of peace-through-hegemony and toward an “offshore balancing” approach that makes deals with erstwhile enemies and makes more demands of longtime friends. “America First” and “leading from behind” may sound very different, but they can reflect similar impulses and produce similar results.

This shared vision tends to be unpopular with the expert class in Washington — what Rhodes famously called the foreign policy “blob,” and what Trump would no doubt describe more pungently — but more popular with domestic constituencies. (Obama’s Iran deal always polled reasonably well, and Trump’s summit with Kim is by far the most popular thing he’s done in his presidency.) And the fact that the pursuit of offshore balancing has been sustained across two quite different administrations suggests that in some form it’s here to stay, and that the expert class should recognize its merits.

That recognition doesn’t mean shrugging off the Pax Americana. But it means acknowledging that neither the “pay any price, bear any burden” Cold War model of American leadership nor the “unipolar moment” model from the late 1990s and 2000s fits current realities very well. It means recognizing that hawkish politicians of the center-left and center-right — a Hillary Clinton, a Jeb Bush, a Marco Rubio — tend to foster an unrealistic view of what the United States can accomplish through idealistic pronouncements and military might. And it means acknowledging that both Obama and Trump triumphed politically in part because they seemed more sensible than Clinton and her Republican counterparts about the need to make strategic choices, to cut losses and to cut deals.
trumpadministration 
4 weeks ago by toddmundt
Donald Trump’s New World Order | The New Yorker, June 18, 2018
One of the biggest differences between the Obama and Trump Administrations on Middle East policy was their approach to, and understanding of, the Palestinian question. Kushner told aides that he thought Obama “tried to beat up on Israel and give the Palestinians everything.” This was a common view on the right. Trump’s advisers, by contrast, wanted the Palestinians to think that their stock value was declining—a strategy advocated by Netanyahu and Dermer. The goal was to get the Palestinian leadership to accept more “realistic” proposals than had been offered to them by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, in 2000, and by Ehud Olmert, in 2008. Never mind that, in the Palestinian view, the Oslo-era notion of a state included only a fraction of the territory of historical Palestine. One senior Trump Administration official used the price of stock as an analogy: “Like in life—Oh, I wish I bought Google twenty years ago. Now I can’t. I have to pay this amount of money. It’s not that I’m being punished. I just missed the opportunity.” Privately, David Friedman compared the Trump Administration’s approach to structuring a “bankruptcy-type deal” for the Palestinians. Friedman, in fact, spent much of his professional life structuring bankruptcy deals—for Trump, among other clients.

Earlier this year, Trump, in an apparent effort to increase pressure on Abbas, froze U.S. financial support for the agency. U.N. officials have repeatedly warned that they could be forced to shutter the territory’s schools or even curtail food aid. Nevertheless, Kushner seemed to conclude that the U.N. agency was bluffing. In a recent e-mail to Greenblatt, Friedman, and other officials, Kushner wrote, “UNRWA has been threatening us for 6 months that if they don’t get a check they will close schools. Nothing has happened.”

When Abbas and his aides received the message, they laughed and interpreted it as charitably as they could. Goodwin’s column was hostile to Abbas, but Trump’s use of Abbas’s first name and the phrase “Best Wishes” indicated, Erekat said, that Trump was trying to draw Abbas into a conversation. Abbas asked Erekat to tell Blome to relay his official response to Trump’s message: “No, that’s not the real me.”
TrumpAdministration  UAE  Israel  Ron_Dermer  Trump  Kushner  Palestinian_Authority  Saudi-Arabia  Iran  Gaza  UNRWA 
5 weeks ago by elizrael
مبادرات وتحذيرات لالتزام «هدنة الجنوب» السوري... وإبعاد إيران | الشرق الأوسط
في موازاة ذلك، بعثت دمشق مقترحاً عبر وسطاء إلى دول إقليمية تضمّن: انسحاب «حزب الله» وميلشيات إيران 25 كيلومتراً بعيدا من خط فك الاشتباك من هضبة الجولان المحتلة، وفق ترتيبات تسمح بوجود مجالس محلية في بيت جن وقرى في الجولان المحرر والبحث عن إمكانية إحياء اتفاق فك الاشتباك بين سوريا وإسرائيل لعام 1974 الذي يتضمن منطقة محايدة ومنطقة منزوعة السلاح وأخرى محدودة السلاح يراقبها نحو 1200 عنصر من «قوات الأمم المتحدة لفك الاشتباك» (اندوف).
Mar15  localGovt  Quneitra  Hizbollah  IranianProxy  Assad  Israel  diplomacy  Russia  Iran  TrumpAdministration 
7 weeks ago by elizrael
By Demanding an Investigation, Trump Challenged a Constraint on His Power
When President Trump publicly demanded that the Justice Department open an investigation into the F.B.I.’s scrutiny of his campaign contacts with Russia, he inched further toward breaching an established constraint on executive power: The White House does not make decisions about individual law enforcement investigations.

“It’s an incredible historical moment,” said Rebecca Roiphe, a professor at New York Law School who helped write a coming scholarly article on the limits of presidential control over the Justice Department. Mr. Trump’s move, she said, “is the culmination of a lot of moments in which he has chipped away at prosecutorial independence, but this is a direct assault.”
trumpadministration 
8 weeks ago by toddmundt
In Syria, an accidental bulwark against Iran shows confusion of Trump policy
The focus on Iran at Tanf began as something of an accident.

In 2016, the U.S. military was making progress against Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria, when President Obama approved a small training program for Syrian forces just across the border in Jordan. The Pentagon proposed inserting the U.S.-backed fighters at Tanf, which had been recaptured from militants that year.

One selling point of the desert outpost was its isolation. Surrounded by miles of sand, it was relatively easy to defend.

“It’s like Mars out there,” a senior U.S. official said. “Just desert and a road.”

Initially, the plan was to move the forces at Tanf and their American advisers north along the border with Iraq, where they would link up with other U.S.-backed units fighting the Islamic State and help recapture a strategic border crossing at Bukamal.

In a sign of nervousness on both sides, U.S. officials received a secret letter, delivered through the Swiss government, from Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, multiple current and former officials said. Soleimani was a frequent presence with militia units on the front lines, a hardened fighter U.S. officials saw as the embodiment of Iranian ambitions.

The State Department eventually responded, telling the Iranians that the U.S. military would destroy any Iranian-backed forces that got within 30 miles of the base.

Inside the White House, officials who wanted to do more to counter Iranian influence began pushing to expand the security bubble around the Tanf base. The most ambitious plans called for creating a safe zone where the U.S. military could train a force to challenge Iran and the Assad regime in southern Syria.

“It certainly looked like it was a pivotal moment on who was going to come out victorious on the policy — the ones that really wanted to take the fight to the Iranians in Syria and those that didn’t,” the State Department official said.

But the bolder military plans ran into resistance from the Pentagon and, more significantly, Trump’s conflicting desires.
“Whenever they bring up Syria, he says ‘I want Syria to be Putin’s problem.’ Whenever they bring up Iraq, he says ‘What’s the least I can do,’” a former U.S. official said. “The actions don’t mesh with what could be a larger strategy against Iran.”
TrumpAdministration  Mar15  Iran  Homs  internal_struggle  DoD  State_Department  Bolton 
8 weeks ago by elizrael

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