It is striking that the Republican President Trump with a Republican majority in both House and Senate has not been able to achieve more. With the mid-term elections coming up in November, the Republicans might lose their majority in Congress, making it even harder for Trump to pass legislation. One reaction might be, as previous presidents have done, that Trump will focus more on international relations, where Congress has a lesser role than in domestic politics, and where Trump can look presidential.
Foreign policy is a field in which Trump has been consistent on a number of major issues since the s. This consistency has not always been present in other policy fields. Timm, during the election campaign Trump changed policy ideas times on 23 important topics, including Muslim immigrants, ISIS, gun ownership, and abortion.
As President, Trump changed his mind on such divergent topics as the prosecution of Hillary Clinton, waterboarding, the environment, and China. Some of these policy changes might be explained by opportunism, either to win the election or to succeed as president, but not all of them. In his recent, headline grabbing book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House Michael Wolff described how the political agenda in the Trump administration is an outcome of infighting by four factions in the White House: Steve Bannon and his right-wing populist agenda; Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and their agenda which combined Wall Street policies and family interests; Reince Priebus representing the Republican Party; and the experienced military government officials, like Secretary of Defense James Mattis, National Security Adviser H.
McMaster, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who represent traditional international power politics and a functioning bureaucracy. Each of these factions has attempted to get the ear of President Trump, who is depicted by Wolff as a dysfunctional leader mostly obsessed by getting respect.
Wolff has been criticized for not getting all of his facts right. Wolff might have listened more to Steve Bannon than to other sources, but the political infighting and lack of interest in facts and political procedures by Trump seem to be real. The Strategy is a policy paper published by the White House in which the national goals and challenges are stated, and the means to achieve success. Although many of the major goals often remain the same from administration to administration, each new president includes statements about the policy goals he wants to achieve, often based on his election campaign.
With the Trump National Security Strategy, the most obvious difference is not with the previous National Security Strategy by the Obama administration — although there are differences for sure — but between the policy aims in the strategy and the statements by President Trump. For instance, the National Security Strategy speaks of the importance of international regimes and international cooperation for a world without conflicts, while Trump sees all nations in competition and taking advantage of each other, including the traditional allies of the United States.
The Strategy mentions the use of information operations by the Russian government to influence public opinion in many countries, while Trump denied any such Russian role in the American elections. In short, the National Security Strategy ought to be a document that states the main international goals of an administration, but it seems in this case to confirm the lack of agreement within the Trump administration on major issues. Tweets and speeches The impression of a White House in disarray is accentuated by the tweets Trump sends out and the disrespect for facts.
The tweets — 2, in the year from his election to November — often appear to be responses to what he sees on television, or retweets of messages he finds interesting. In this way, Trump is able to dominate the news cycle.
It also shows him aggressively attacking anyone criticizing him, while he simultaneously has a problem condemning white supremacists. Those rivals are seen by Trump on television, which he watches four to eight hours a day. While Trump generates almost daily turmoil and regularly changes his policy ideas, he is consistent on a number of topics, especially in international relations. Three themes, which Trump consistently has expressed since then, are introduced in the ad: the national interest is solely about the United States, and other nations — including allies — are a threat to that national interest; other nations make use of the United States; and, a deficit on the trade balance is not acceptable.
Trump himself has raised the question why a real estate developer thinks he knows better than foreign policy experts. His explanation is simple: experts are often wrong. They were, of course, totally wrong — wrong about the most important international development in the last half of this century. Trump is proud of his unconventional thinking, and one can wonder to which extent being unconventional became a reason to come up with controversial ideas.
Trump is convinced that other nations make use of the United States. That can be shown, according to Trump, in the trade deficits the United States has with other countries. We need to renegotiate fair trade agreements. It is unclear why Trump focuses on the trade-balance deficit.
For this effort, reflected in a prolific output of articles, testimony, memoranda, and the like, he deserves the gratitude of all of us. Cardoen also received highly sensitive raw materials from the United States, such as military-grade zirconium from a Teledyne subsidiary Donald Trump and a very junior scandal Paul Wood. Oct 11, By Deal W.
This deficit is 2. Trump is upset about the fact that allies do not pay for American military presence in their region.
Both Donald and Ivanka Trump put this idea into practice, by having their clothing lines being made in low-wage Asian counties. The advantage for American consumers is they can buy cheaper products than if they would buy only American-made goods. American agriculture wants free trade to sell their products at low costs abroad.
A possible result is that economic activities decrease, introducing broader societal consequences. Trump is also upset about the fact allies do not pay for American military presence in their region. In the case of South Korea and Japan, those countries have contributed financially to the presence of American troops in their countries for many years. President Trump is infatuated with the armed forces. His devotion may be explained by attending New York Military Academy as his high school. Yet, he did not serve during the Vietnam War. In any case, Trump identifies with the military.
Calling the shots carries a great deal of responsibility, not only for yourself, but for your troops. Bad strategy can end up affecting a lot of people. Trump wants to use military force to intimidate other nations. Trump sees the importance of the armed forces for the global prestige of the United States. That means we have to maintain the strongest military in the world, by far.
Trump wants to increase the defence budget with ten per cent. A few more cycles, each lasting 20 to 30 minutes, the water level changing no more than a few feet, and the event was over. The city of Hilo had been spared. Through it all, even as I was preparing to go to bed the previous night and, later, as I stood with my family and my neighbors and watched the water recede and recover, I kept thinking about those other people, thousands of miles away, somewhere along the coast of Chile.
An unknown number of souls were trapped beneath the rubble of buildings that had collapsed during the earthquake. At that moment they were wondering whether they would ever be rescued. Grove Karl Gilbert, one of the first geologists to survey the American West and later acting director of the United States Geological Survey, once wrote,.
In , while on a scientific expedition to Alaska, he spent months mapping, measuring and photographing nearly 40 glaciers. But the shaking of an earthquake kept eluding him. He left Alaska a month too soon to feel the ground rock back and forth during a magnitude 7. Gilbert seemed genuinely disappointed to have missed it. His appointment with geological upheaval finally came on April 18, When he arrived, the city was still burning.
He chronicled the progress of the fire, watching as block after block of close-set wooden houses were consumed by flames. Gilbert would author a famous government report about the earthquake.
At the end of the report, he considered the possibility that future earthquakes might strike San Francisco. Should a repeat of the event be expected within the lifetimes of the next few generations, he wondered, or had the recent calamity given the area long-term immunity from another violent disturbance? He had no answer. Recently, I asked someone who was retiring after 30 years of studying earthquakes, which included a substantial tenure as head of the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program, whether he was disappointed that a major earthquake—on par with the event—had not happened on his watch.
He answered no. There was too much suffering after such events, he said.
He had dealt with the aftermath of several significant quakes, including the Loma Prieta earthquake that, among other things, caused a span of the Bay Bridge that links San Francisco and Oakland to collapse. The official death toll from the earthquake was As a result of the disaster, a new Bay Bridge is under construction. Planners hope it will be completed before the next big earthquake shakes the Bay area. Understand that I am not wishing for destruction by natural forces, but I know that such events are inevitable. Also, I am no stranger to such catastrophes.
I studied erupting volcanoes for 16 years. And I have stood on the hard surface of a recently congealed mudflow, knowing that thousands of people were entombed beneath my feet. In January , I watched, as millions of others did, with near disbelief as television cameras showed the destruction wrought in Haiti after an earthquake killed nearly a quarter million people and left the capital city, Port-au-Prince, in ruins.
And during the spring months, I followed, as many did, the progress of repeated ash clouds erupted from an Icelandic volcano, the clouds wreaking havoc on international air travel and crippling world commerce. And so I share the humanist view and feeling of my seismological friend. But, like Grove Karl Gilbert, I am drawn to experiencing great geologic forces, wanting to be present when they are unleashed. It should come as no surprise that, like Gilbert, I hope to experience the shaking of a major earthquake. I am quite sure others harbor a similar, secret wish.
Years ago, during an informal discussion about earthquakes and how they should be studied, I commented to colleagues that instead of adding yet another seismologist or geologist or geodesist to the group, adding a psychologist would make more sense. One of the major goals of the Earthquake Hazards Program is to keep the public informed about the perils associated with such events. It seemed to me imperative that we, as scientists, understand how the public will react to the sort of information we might be called upon to provide—potentially terrifying information about imminent cataclysms.
My suggestion was met with blank stares. I have also suggested that once the prediction of earthquakes becomes commonplace—and I think it is inevitable that, someday, earthquake prediction will be on par with forecasting the path and strength of hurricanes, if not rising to the certainty of predicting the tides—that contingency plans will have to be made for the crowds that will assemble in the forecasted epicentral area to feel the ground shake.
It happened on the Nevada desert back in the days when underground nuclear tests were still conducted. Whenever such a test was scheduled, an army of graduate students was sent out across the desert to station ourselves at regular intervals along a line that ran radially away from the blast. Each of us was equipped with a portable seismograph to record the precise time the initial ground shaking arrived from the blast. For one test, I was lucky and drew the lot that put me second closest to the detonation.
I arrived at my assigned position early in the morning. I knew the exact second when the ground would start to vibrate. And I knew the direction the wave would come from.
With five minutes to go, I made sure I was standing on firm ground and facing in that direction. A minute before the wave was scheduled to arrive, I remember feeling a surge of adrenaline rush through my body. Then, with a moment to go, I saw the ground rippling on the distant horizon.
In less than a breath, the wave had passed under me.