Posts Tagged ‘Vladimir Putin’

An America-firster abroad: Considering Trump’s foreign-policy record

November 3, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 3, 2020

At the first presidential debate of the 2016 general election cycle, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, criticized Republican nominee Donald Trump, a New York real-estate developer, for having generally poor judgment and a lax attitude toward the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons in particular. In one of the campaign’s most memorable statements, Clinton said: “[A] man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes.”

There are very few things I can credit President Trump for being or doing; I think that if he’s re-elected today, it will be a calamity for the nation. As I tweeted on Friday after casting my ballot, I voted for former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California.

While I think that Trump’s foreign policy has been seriously misguided, I do believe that he’s done a few things right in this area. First and foremost is that Trump hasn’t engaged in any major wars or foreign entanglements.

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Washington Post reporters chronicle a chaotic White House in ‘A Very Stable Genius’

June 30, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 30, 2020

Multiple books have been written about Donald Trump’s presidency by insiders or former insiders, or by journalists with access to such people. John Bolton’s recent publication, The Room Where It Happened, is but the latest example.

But no matter the author, or the author’s ideology, the fundamental story remains the same: The president is lazy, vainglorious, utterly unprepared for his office and both unwilling and unable to acquire the knowledge or temperament needed to execute it faithfully. It’s the exact message that news reports have been conveying since the moment of Trump’s inauguration.

This very familiar theme was only reinforced by the January release A Very Stable Genius, which I recently read. Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig describe a chaotic White House in which public servants were forced to compete with ambitious self-centered sycophants to catch the president’s ear. Trump showed little regard for truth and displayed an astonishing ignorance of basic facts about history, the government and international affairs. He frequently upbraided underlings in meetings and often sulked openly when they refused to cater to his every wish, no matter how inappropriate or even illegal.

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Cheeps and Chirps for May 11, 2019

May 11, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 11, 2019

Let’s fire up the old tweeting machine.

• Politics

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Cheeps and Chirps for Nov. 28, 2018

November 28, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 28, 2018

The finest hand-crafted autumnal tweets.

• Politics

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Cheeps and Chirps for July 31, 2018

July 31, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 31, 2018

Bits and bites from ye olde Twitter stream:

• A few personal notes

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Cheeps and Chirps for Aug. 16, 2016

August 16, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 16, 2016

There will be Twitter!

• Comedy!

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A new hope appears in Syria, but Assad’s chemical menace likely can’t be removed peacefully

September 12, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Sept. 12, 2013

After some Keystone Kops–like antics and contortions by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama administration, a partial solution to the brewing Syria crisis suddenly emerged Monday.

Kerry in one breath raised and then dismissed the possibility of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad turning over his entire chemical weapons stock as a way to deter possible American military strikes. Within a matter of hours, both Assad and Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, had tentatively endorsed the idea. We’ll have to see what emerges, but this is a positive development.

Which is to say, it’s a positive development in the short term. I’m cautiously optimistic that Assad, Putin and the Obama administration can reach a bargain that staves off American military intervention in exchange for securing Syria’s chemical weapons. (Ideally, Syrian chemical and suspected biological weapons will be identified, secured and ultimately destroyed.)

Having fewer deployable weapons of mass destruction loose in the world — or in the hands of despotic or untrustworthy regimes — is obviously a very good thing. Averting American missile or bomb strikes that had a high potential of killing innocent civilians and a low potential of deterring future WMD use is also a very good thing. Preventing some kind of boots-on-the-ground intervention, and all the bloody consequences that are inextricably linked to those actions, is even better.

If Assad were to retain his chemical weapons, the best case is simply that nothing happens — the weapons see no further use. But plenty of much direr scenarios could easily unspool if Syria retains its WMDs. Perhaps Assad would gas more civilians. Or al Qaeda, which has loyalists among the rebel fighters, might capture his chemical and possibly biological weapons and attempt to use them, either in Syria or abroad. Read the rest of this entry »

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