Credit Due (Or Not)

I am a strong believer in giving credit when credit is due … a little praise when it is earned. The Trump Administration’s vote in the United Nations sanctioning North Korea was a real diplomatic accomplishment. It was a rare occasion when the entire General Council voted unanimously – something that has happened less than a dozen times in the last 25 years.

Ambassador Nikki Haley appears to have pulled off a minor miracle, and she has already raised expectations with her stellar performance at the UN so far. That said … Trump has been very vocal about how meaningless past UN votes are, and he is right (or was right, since he has done the usual Trump thing and completely reversed himself on the UN as being totally worthless). China is notorious for signing off on previous sanctions against North Korea and ignoring them afterwards. Russia’s calculus is probably along the lines of win-win: they win by looking diplomatically reasonable, and they win by escalating tensions between us and N. Korea even more. Still, what else could be done with North Korea, except maybe ignore them until a missile is launched our way? It would be nice if we had a functioning State Department to pursue more diplomatic efforts. No doubt the multiple levels of anti-missile defenses between here and N. Korea should be able to handle a few nukes, but who wants to wait for that event?

Balanced against the overall performance of our foreign policy, the UN vote is extraordinary not only for the actual accomplishment, but more for its singularity in the face of a continual stream of foreign policy failures. We are losing the war in Afghanistan, China is taking over the South China Sea, we are isolated on the issue of climate change, and no one anywhere has a sense of what our foreign policy goals are … The State Dept. has less than half its vacancies filled, including some important ambassadorships, and our president is the laughingstock of the world’s media. Putin declaring Trump “weak” is certainly a bad sign for the future. We are like a champion boxer staggering around drunk: everyone is amused but still not wanting to take him on in a fight. That could change soon.

Now onto other matters before you think I have gone mad … How pathetic is it for Trump to “trumpet” economic news? The jobs growth has been consistent with Obama’s, the growth of the economy over the last six months is virtually identical to Obama’s economy, there is no wage growth (who would celebrate the creation of minimum wage jobs with no benefits?). The record Wall Street levels means billionaires are making more billions – how many of you are making a killing on the market vs. being killed at the market (grocery)? BTW, the percentage increase of the GNP under Trump is anemic so far compared to Obama’s economy, even with records being set.

I guess if you want a good job you could go to West Virginia and work in a coal mine. They are hiring like crazy according to State-Run TV (not the Russian’s, but Trump’s new network – funded by… who?).


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