links about us archives search home
SustainabiliTankSustainabilitank menu graphic

Follow us on Twitter


Posted on on October 20th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (

Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

October 10, 2017

Is Trump Still In Control?

Critics of Donald Trump might applaud apparent efforts by senior officials to work around the President to try to “contain him.” But doing so is setting a dangerous precedent, argues David Frum in The Atlantic.

“To what extent does the president remain in the military chain of command? It seems incredible that the military would outright defy a presidential order,” Frum writes. “But not hearing it? Not understanding it? Not acting on it promptly? Holding back information that might provoke an unwanted presidential reaction?”

“Thank you and congratulations to those officials struggling to protect American security, the Western alliance, and world peace against Donald Trump. But the constitutional order is becoming the casualty of these struggles. The Constitution provides a way to remedy an unfit presidency: the removal process under the 25th amendment. Regencies and palace coups are not constitutional. I dare say many readers would prefer a Mattis presidency to a Trump presidency. But to stealthily endow Secretary Mattis with the powers of the presidency as a work-around of Trump’s abuse of them? That’s a crisis, too, and one sinister for the future. What if Trump is succeeded by a Bernie Sanders-type whom the military and intelligence agencies distrust as much as they distrust Trump: Will they continue the habits they acquired in the Trump years?”

Putin’s Strength Is His Big Weakness
Vladimir Putin’s failure to crack down on violent attacks by Russian Orthodox extremists over a supposedly blasphemous movie underscores the extent to which Russia’s president relies on a nationalist ideology, writes Alexander Baunov in Foreign Affairs. And that may prove to be one of his biggest weaknesses.

“In recent years, Putin has been happy to inculcate a conservative, nationalist ideology in Russia, which much of the Russian Orthodox Church has supported. And he has encouraged protesters, worshippers, and ordinary Russians to propagate this creed to demonstrate that this is a grassroots movement, not something imposed from the top down by the Kremlin,” Baunov writes.

“By doing so, however, Putin has undermined his own authority. In threatening the makers of an innocuous movie with violence and intimidating members of Russia’s cultural elite, the conservative nationalist movement has demonstrated its ugly side, and Putin seems unable to stop it. Doing so would enrage the so-called patriotic part of the political establishment he has emboldened over the last few years.”

Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

October 19, 2017

Why the “Workaround Trump” Days are Numbered: Stephens
Until now, foreign powers troubled by the statements emanating from the White House have largely been able to ignore President Trump, or go around him and deal with his senior officials, writes Philip Stephens in the Financial Times. But those days might be numbered.

“Nine months of dealing with a capricious White House has seen allies turn to a policy of ‘workaround’ — ignore the Twitter storms, deal with the grown-ups, notably U.S. defense secretary Jim Mattis, and hope something can be preserved of the old multilateral system beyond the day of Mr Trump’s departure,” Stephens writes.

“The strategy is running out of road. Mr Trump’s disavowal of the Iran nuclear deal threatens to tear up the most successful exercise in collective security for a generation. At best, it destroys the credibility of the U.S. in international efforts peacefully to forestall further nuclear proliferation. Mr Trump might just as well have hung a sign on the White House declaring Washington can no longer be trusted by friends or adversaries alike.”

“Congress could avoid an open breach with America’s allies by declining to re-introduce sanctions against Tehran. The damage to the standing of the U.S., though, has already been done.”

Tillerson’s “Love Letter” to India
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered a rare public speech Wednesday outlining U.S. policy toward India. Call it a “love letter to New Delhi,” write Emily Tamkin and Robbie Gramer for Foreign Policy.

“In terms of defense ties, Tillerson built on growing U.S.-India military cooperation that ramped up late in the Obama administration, calling the two countries ‘bookends of stability’ in a troubled part of the world. He stressed growing defense cooperation between the two countries, and especially the annual three-way military exercises including Japan that are at the center of U.S. efforts to push back against China in the greater Indian Ocean area,” they write.

“But a potential problem is that India has for decades gone its own way in terms of foreign policy — and even with a more pro-Western leader in Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that old notion of ‘nonalignment’ or ‘strategic autonomy’ remains alive and kicking among many Indian policy mandarins. Even in recent years, for example, India has redoubled defense and economic ties with Russia, even while it spurned the U.S.-led trade pact Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“That calculus may slowly be changing in part in response to China’s economic and military transformation, said Milan Vaishnav of the Carnegie Endowment.”

In Vienna, Austria’s President Van der Belen meets at 11 am Mr. Kurz in order to charge him with the formation of next Government. This while in the Czech Republic start elections that will bring to power a government that will loin the Visegrad Group of States of Poland and Hungary that want more decentralization of the EU and backing of Spain in its takeover of Catalonia – so they themselves will not discoverer a call for freedom in their own countries. Austria’s Kurz will lean in that direction as well.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a comment for this article