Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts

25 April 2018

Why China Won't Yield to Trump

Jeffrey Frankel

China may give Donald Trump some face-saving way out from the trade war he has started, but it won't offer any substantive concessions. In other words, Trump's tariffs will do nothing to improve America’s external balance, output, employment, or real wages. Last month, US President Donald Trump enacted steel and aluminum tariffs aimed squarely at China. On April 2, China retaliated with tariffs on 128 American products. Trump then announced 25% tariffs on another 1,300 Chinese products, representing some $50 billion of exports. In response, China threatened 25% tariffs on 106 US exports (including soybeans, cars, and airplanes), to go into effect whenever the US tariffs do.

Rhetoric aside, the US commitment to preventing nuclear terrorism is waning


With the world focused on the United States and North Korea, it’s easy to forget that every president for a quarter-century has said preventing nuclear terrorism was a national security priority. This includes the Trump administration, which identified in its Nuclear Posture Review that nuclear terrorism is one of “the most significant threats to the security of the United States.” It appears, however, despite this strong rhetoric, the administration may not be putting its money where its mouth is.

Trump’s Incredibly Risky Taiwan Policy

J. Stapleton Roy

So-called friends of Taiwan in the United States are putting the island at risk as never before. The Taiwan Travel Act, passed unanimously by both houses of Congress, and signed by President Trump on March 16, 2018 without reservations, could gravely erode the distinction between the United States’ official relationship with the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) and its unofficial relationship with Taiwan. The Taiwan Travel Act declares that “the United States Government should encourage visits between officials from the United States and Taiwan at all levels,” including “Cabinet-level national security officials, general officers, and other executive branch officials.” These provisions are inconsistent with U.S. commitments in a set of agreements known as the Joint Communiques, which together with the Taiwan Relations Act provide the framework for the official relationship between Washington and Beijing.

23 April 2018

Beware the Xi Jinping reform trade, it may end up getting ‘trumped’

William Pesek

Chinese President Xi Jinping. It’s fair to wonder how far Xi can get in the next five years, protecting the root of all financial evil: a 6.5% growth target. In the space of 15 months, the “Donald Trump trade” went from bullish euphoria to complete puzzlement. Might market excitement over Xi Jinping follow a similar arc? The buzz in investment circles is how a newly supersized Chinese president—perhaps even holding power for life—will get a handle on Beijing’s excesses. Xi, the bulls say, just built a new economic dream team to rein in duelling bubbles in credit, debt, property, pollution and corruption.

22 April 2018

The world learns to ignore Trump


Diplomats and investors are starting to dismiss Trump’s policy tweets and other quickly shifting statements. The whipsaw nature of President Donald Trump, in which obsessions come and go and positions change by the day, has flipped the old Wall Street maxim "buy on the rumor, sell on the news" on its head. Wall Street, corporate America and the diplomatic world are settling on a strategy to deal with President Donald Trump’s rapidly shifting statements on critical issues like trade deals and Russia sanctions: Just ignore him.

The Confused and the Confusing


Nikki Haley, America’s ambassador to the United Nations, is not confused. “With all due respect,” she said in a pithy and empowering statement to Fox News anchor Dana Perino, “I don’t get confused.” She issued this pointed assertion in response to National Economic Council chief Larry Kudlow, who accused Haley of getting “ahead of the curve” and suffering a “momentary confusion” when she announced on Sunday morning that the Trump administration planned more punitive sanctions on Moscow over its support for the murderous Assad regime in Syria. But Haley seems to have been on firm ground when she made those remarks.

19 April 2018

America’s Pakistan Problem

Brahma Chellaney

Debt-ridden Pakistan is very vulnerable to Western sanctions, yet it is unclear whether US President Donald Trump’s administration is willing to squeeze it financially in a way that could help reform its behaviour. Washington also seems reluctant to strip Pakistan of its status as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) or target its military for rearing transnational terrorists. The main driver of Pakistan’s nexus with terrorists is its powerful military, whose generals hold decisive power and dictate terms to a largely impotent government. With the military’s rogue Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) rearing terrorists, Pakistan has long played a double game, pretending to be America’s ally while aiding its most deadly foes that have killed or maimed thousands of US soldiers in Afghanistan. Pakistani forces only target terrorists that fall out of line or threaten Pakistan itself.

The Future of the United States and Europe: An Irreplaceable Partnership

The partnership between the United States and Europe has been an anchor of the world’s economic, political and security order for more than seven decades. The U.S. relationship with the European Union is the deepest in the world – but we should not take it for granted. Transatlantic relations are at a critical point in their history, and it is necessary to reassess their trajectory, as well as the prospects for EU-U.S. cooperation. In a new publication, CSIS, in partnership with Chatham House, assesses the top policy priorities on both sides of the Atlantic, identifying areas of potential cooperation as well as growing divergences to be managed. United States cooperation with Europe is essential to meeting global challenges – this is a conclusion that every U.S. administration has reached in the past 70 years. Our recommendations seek to strengthen that relationship and promote that community of democratic values that upholds the international order.

It Takes More Than Money to Make a Marshall Plan

Benn Steil and Benjamin Della Rocca

The Marshall Plan, the historic U.S. aid initiative to speed western Europe’s recovery after World War II, is rightly legendary for its vision and accomplishments. The $13.2 billion the United States dedicated to the Plan from 1948 to 1952 would be worth a substantial $135 billion in today’s money. Although it is widely understood that the United States spent enormous sums fighting the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is much less well known how much was spent on reconstruction. Through 2017, the total was $208 billion, in today’s dollars. This is over 50% more than the totality of Marshall aid, in today’s dollars. Yet the United States has tragically little to show for it.

18 April 2018

Lawmakers Ask: Where’s the Broader Syria Strategy?


No surprise that Democrats questioned Friday’s retaliatory strike, but even a few GOP defense hawks wondered aloud. Democrats widely questioned President Donald Trump’s decision to strike Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack, calling it “unconstitutional” and “reckless.” But lawmakers on national security committees — even those endorsing the Friday night strikes, and some in the president’s own party — said the U.S. needed a comprehensive strategy for its involvement in Syria. Republican lawmakers largely endorsed the strikes on Friday night. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, tweeted “Good,” a response to Trump’s statement that “We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”

Trump Proposes Rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership

By Ana Swanson
Source Link

WASHINGTON — President Trump, in a sharp reversal, told a gathering of farm-state lawmakers and governors on Thursday morning that the United States was looking into rejoining a multicountry trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal he pulled out of days after assuming the presidency. Mr. Trump’s reconsideration of an agreement he once denounced as a “rape of our country” caught even his closest advisers by surprise and came as his administration faces stiff pushback from Republican lawmakers, farmers and other businesses concerned that the president’s threat of tariffs and other trade barriers will hurt them economically.

17 April 2018

Pentagon Urges Greater Caution on Imminent Strike Against Syria


WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought on Thursday to slow down an imminent strike on Syria, reflecting mounting concerns at the Pentagon that a concerted bombing campaign could escalate into a wider conflict between Russia, Iran and the West. During a closed-door White House meeting, officials said, Mr. Mattis pushed for more evidence of President Bashar al-Assad’s role in a suspected chemical attack last weekend that would assure the world that military action was necessary. Despite the caution, two Defense Department officials predicted it would be difficult to pull back from punishing airstrikes, given President Trump’s threat on Twitter a day earlier of American missiles that “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart.’”

15 April 2018

Trump Strikes Syria Over Chemical Weapons

By Robin Wright, April 13, 2018
The military strike on Syria could have a ripple effect on President Trump’s standing, both abroad and at home, but it is unlikely to have an enduring impact on the Syrian civil war.
On Friday, the United States and its allies Britain and France unleashed a long-awaited strike on Syria, with goals that exceeded punishment for Syria’s use of chemical weapons against civilians in the besieged rebel enclave of Douma. In an address to the nation, Trump also sent a tough message to Russia and Iran, the two governments that have provided the air and ground power that have allowed Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, to regain control of most of Syria in the past year. “What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murderer of innocent men, women, and children?” the President said. “Nations can be judged by the friends they keep.” He called Assad’s use of chemical weapons “not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead.”
The Pentagon identified three Syrian targets—a research-and-development facility in the Damascus area and two facilities near Homs, including a command post and a storage facility for chemical weapons and their precursors. It said the targets were selected to minimize the risk to Syrian civilians. Defense Secretary James Mattis called the operation a “one-time shot” that was aimed at sending a strong message to “Assad and his murderous lieutenants.” But the Pentagon also said that it reserved the right to undertake further operations if Syria deploys chemical weapons again. Mattis called Syria’s repeated use of chemical weapons “atrocities” that violate all norms of civilized behavior. “It is time for all civilized nations to end the Syrian civil war by backing the U.N. peace process,” he told reporters.

14 April 2018

Is the US Still a Reliable Ally?

Cipher Brief experts Matt Olsen and Nick Fishwick tackled the state of the U.S. alliance with the “5 Eyes” – the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – in discussion with Executive Editor Kimberly Dozier at Sea Island. Their overall conclusion? Despite the Trump administration’s early controversial comments about NATO and criticism of Britain among others, intelligence sharing and counterterrorism cooperation continues unabated – for now.

13 April 2018

U.S. Deficit to Surpass $1 Trillion Two Years Ahead of Estimates, CBO Says

By Erik Wasson and Sarah McGregor 

The U.S. budget deficit will surpass $1 trillion by 2020, two years sooner than previously estimated, as tax cuts and spending increases signed by President Donald Trump do little to boost long-term economic growth, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Spending will exceed revenue by $804 billion in the fiscal year through September, jumping from a projected $563 billion shortfall forecast in June, the non-partisan arm of Congress said in a report Monday. In fiscal 2019, the deficit will reach $981 billion, compared with an earlier projection of $689 billion. The nation’s budget gap was only set to surpass the trillion-dollar level in fiscal 2022 under CBO’s report last June.

12 April 2018

This Pentagon Paper Explains Why the Trump Administration Is Reining In Tech Trade with China


China’s investment in sensitive U.S. technology has the Trump administration so worried that it imposed tariffs on Chinese tech goods on Tuesday, while lawmakers are looking for ways to bar similar future investments. Why now? One reason is a recent Pentagon white paper that warns about Beijing’s plans to appropriate made-in-America tech.

China Is Not a Significant Threat to the United States

InSeptember, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress he believes China will pose the “greatest threat” to the United States by 2025. It’s something we’ve been hearing a lot of from commentators: Is China a rising superpower? Will it someday displace the United States as the world’s most powerful country? Will the United States and China go to war?

In short, the answers are: no, very unlikely, and probably not.

11 April 2018

Here Are the Major Takeaways From Trump's Tariff List

China and the United States again upped the trade ante with their latest tit-for-tat tariff measures announced this week, as Washington continues to implement its trade and investment agenda against Beijing. Although negotiations have begun behind the scenes and China is offering certain concessions, it is not clear whether the United States is willing to accept them; more likely than not, most of these tariffs will be implemented in the future.So far, China has responded in kind to each move the United States has made and will continue to do so as Washington wraps up its third front against China in the coming weeks: restrictions on Chinese investment into strategic sectors in the United States.

10 April 2018


by Tod Lindberg

The U.S. military has created a new precedent for how to counter Russian “hybrid war.” Set in a murky clash of arms in Syria in early February, and one averted in March, this precedent—you might even call it a “red line”—will reverberate from the Middle East to the Black and Baltic seas. The problem is the appearance on your territory of what defense-policy wonks call “little green men.” They come heavily armed and dressed for combat. They operate at the direction of a government, Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Yet they wear no insignia, and their sponsors deny any control over them. Operating outside the laws of war, they pursue Russian political ends such as the illegal takeover of Crimea and the dismemberment of Ukraine. Via a Russian mercenary paramilitary company called Wagner Group, they have turned up to support Russian ends in Syria as well.

9 April 2018

Is it a risk for America that China holds over $1 trillion in U.S. debt?

Many worry that China’s ownership of American debt affords the Chinese economic leverage over the United States. This apprehension, however, stems from a misunderstanding of sovereign debt and of how states derive power from their economic relations. The purchasing of sovereign debt by foreign countries is a normal transaction that helps maintain openness in the global economy. Consequently, China’s stake in America’s debt has more of a binding than dividing effect on bilateral relations between the two countries.