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The diverse lobby that had backed, was backing “the Iran deal” wanted to preserve the Iran-Qatar alliance. Qatar’s national foundation had invested billions of dollars in professorships and institutes in US universities, in strategic states — e.g. Arizona, home of John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. McCain himself has lucrative business connections in Qatar. Then, the ruling al Thani family deployed $1.5 billion to lobby the US government on its quarrel with the Saudis et al. By May 2018, Trump had received al Thani at the White House, and was urging the Saudis to back down. They have not. Nor has Qatar diminished its noxious activities. Indeed, it has firmed up a kind of axis not just with Iran but with Turkey as well. Nevertheless, the US government still refers to “Turkey, our Nato ally.” 

Would America withdraw from Afghanistan? On August 21, Trump delivered a nationally televised speech explaining that, having been schooled by people who know better, he concluded that he (and those who voted for him) had been wrong. US troops would stay in Afghanistan, and more would go. But he was fulfilling his campaign promise: now they would “fight to win”. Win what? How? No attempt to answer. US officials “backgrounded “ the press with the explanation: the objective is to prevent the Taliban from overrunning Kabul on Trump’s watch — more precisely, on their watch.

Candidate Trump had vowed to “tear up” Obama’s “deal” with Iran. He could have accomplished that just by submitting it to the Senate for ratification, where it would have failed by a large margin. Instead, he certified Iran’s adherence to it, and observed it until May 2018. He accompanied withdrawal from the deal with economic sanctions that essentially challenge European governments and companies to choose one side or the other. Since they choose both, unanimously, it remains to be seen what Trump will do against the Europeans, and their American lobbies.

One indication of this came in late May and early June, when Trump read the riot act to aides involved in trade negotiations with China, Europe and Canada for not having responded fast enough with recommendations for sanctions against these countries, which had refused further opening their economies to American products. Quickly, aides came up with $50 billion in sanctions against China. Trump brought to the June G7 summit proposals for large but yet unspecified retaliation for Canada’s tariffs on US dairy and bread-flour. There, he also threatened Europeans — Germans in particular — with tariffs on automobiles. Regardless of economic effects these moves, especially with regard to the Europeans, were sure to increase his popularity since the US Left has invoked the need to please “our European allies” ad nauseam.

With regard to Russia and China the Trump administration, rhetoric aside, has moved within the narrow range between the policies of its two predecessors — clearly because the officials who are its authors don’t know, nor care to imagine doing, anything else.
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An Gíogóir
August 29th, 2018
9:08 AM
I'm not sure what this article is trying to say. Should Trump go with the foreign policy establishment view or not?

Lawrence James
July 2nd, 2018
9:07 AM
Americans have always desired 'to live peacefully' with their neighbours. If this urge ever existed, why did it express itself in the invasion of Mexico and the subsequent annexations. Was the war against Spain in 1898 another manifestation of this same wish for harmony with its neighbours ? And there were the wars against the native Americans and, more pertinently, the little wars waged by General Smedley Butler in various parts of the Caribbean between the wars. Aggression which he rightly denounced as undertaken in the interests of the big corporations.The Cold War and its aftermath have seen a cluster of similar coercive wars. Such selective omissions suggest that this just another Trump propaganda excercise. Fair enough but next time find someone with some knowledge of history.

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