Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Up Is Down; the Nation Is Schizophrenic

In a short statement by the US secretary of state published after Congress overwhelmingly voted for imposing new sanctions against Russia, Tillerson said the legislation represents “the strong will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States.”


The statement added that the US would work to ensure the message is “clearly understood” in Russia.

Which message is that? That they're bad actors, so sanctions? Or that they're good guys and we want to have better relations with them?
“The State Department should rest assured that its signal was taken clear on our side. We hope our signal of limiting the number of US diplomatic personnel will be taken as a symbol of friendship,” wrote Senator Aleksey Pushkov from the foreign relations committee.
The secretary later shifted the responsibility for the sanctions onto US lawmakers, saying “neither the president nor I are very happy.” The statement apparently contradicts VP Mike Pence, who on a trip to the Baltics and Georgia said Congress and the White House were speaking “with a unified voice” on Russian sanctions.


Many US watchers blame the shifting sands of today's US foreign policy on the personality of Donald Trump. The president is notorious for changing his mind about things like the worth of NATO or whether he sees China as the big bad villain robbing the US.


On other occasions, Trump pull[s] the rug from under his team members, including Tillerson. For instance last month, he managed to undermine the secretary of state as he was trying to play mediator in the Gulf nations’ diplomatic rift by unequivocally siding with Saudi Arabia and other opponents of Qatar and branding the country a historic sponsor of terrorism.


Trump wanted to scrap [the Iran deal] and only reluctantly agreed last month to certify to Congress that Iran was not in [...] breach of the agreement. Later he indicated that the next time he is expected to do so, he might choose otherwise.


In April President Trump, brandishing a freshly minted presidential image after bombing Syria, threatened North Korea with a “powerful armada.”

The armada in question, colloquially known as the USS Carl Vinson battle group, was at the time sailing to Japan, unaware that the White House announced it was rushing toward the Korean Peninsula. The chaos tainting US foreign policy cannot be overlooked.
Nor overstated.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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