Why the State Department is worried about Donald Trump and his tweets. Could Trump’s tweets spark a nuclear arms race? The President (or President-elect) of the United States can’t just say anything, it turns out.
Trump’s transition team has asked for the names of people working on climate change in the Department of Energy, women’s issues in the Department of State, and countering violent extremism in the Department of Homeland Security. So far those requests, looking very much like witch hunts, have been turned down. But once in office, Trump will have more leverage. Read More
Peace on Earth
Donald Trump is very proud of his abilities as a negotiator. His brilliance in that field was a constant subject of his speeches during the campaign, and he continues to remind us. Since the election, he has shaken up the rest of us with tweets and actions that seem to signal enormous changes in foreign policy. Most of us do not have the constitution to deal with a parade of days like yesterday, but it looks like this will be the case for the next four years. Where we become exhausted, Trump seems to gain energy from the uproar. As we become exhausted, it will be easier to tolerate what we cannot if we want America to continue as a democracy. So it’s important to understand and counter what Trump is doing. Read More
Donald Trump tweeted today that the United States needs more nuclear weapons. So that has occupied a certain amount of mental space. I did a tweet stream. Here are the New York Times news and a Max Fisher explainer, NBC News, and Yahoo News. Particularly good from Jeffrey Lewis. We are in for uncertainty and instability if Trump continues his tweets.
This week is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the official dissolution of the Soviet Union. A reporter who grew up during that time reminisces. Photo from here.
The New York Times mongers some more war: Muted U.S. Response to China’s Seizure of Drone Worries Asian Allies.
It’s possible they don’t think that’s what they’re doing. Is it competition for clicks? Inability to get enough mental distance from the Washington “blob” that Obama has said he would like to change?
The assumptions behind the idea that a significant public response is necessary to real or imagined slight are the same as those behind bar fights. “You looking at me funny?” No slight can be allowed to pass without retribution. The veneer of a rationale is that a show of force is necessary to prevent future bad behavior. However, political science has shown again and again that states behave in their best interests, which usually have little to do with the behavior of others. Here’s one of many good articles on that subject. Read More
Let’s look at the ways the worst intentions of Donald Trump and the Republican Party might be thwarted in the next four years. Not to lull ourselves into inaction, but to figure out where they can be stopped most easily and prioritize resistance. I’m not trying to minimize the dangers, just focusing elsewhere. Looking at these speedbumps can also encourage us to focus and move forward, as we recover from the shock of the election. This is only a selection of the difficulties to be faced in ripping up the domestic and foreign arrangements that have worked reasonably well over the last half-century or so. Read More