Friday, February 03, 2017

Is this Tillerson talking?


After two weeks of chaotic reversals of important diplomatic positions seemingly adopted willy-nilly, The Tangerine Shitgibbon has done another of his patented 180's and embraced a number of previous US positions, this time about illegal Israeli settlements and illegal Russian annexation.
President Trump, after promising a radical break with the foreign policy of Barack Obama, is embracing some key pillars of the former administration’s strategy, including warning Israel to curb settlement construction, demanding that Russia withdraw from Crimea and threatening Iran with sanctions for ballistic missile tests.

In the most startling shift, the White House issued an unexpected statement appealing to the Israeli government not to expand the construction of Jewish settlements beyond their current borders in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Such expansion, it said, “may not be helpful in achieving” the goal of peace.

At the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki R. Haley declared that the United States would not lift sanctions against Russia until it stopped destabilizing Ukraine and pulled troops out of Crimea.

On Iran, the administration is preparing economic sanctions similar to those the Obama administration imposed just over a year ago. The White House has also shown no indication that it plans to rip up Mr. Obama’s landmark nuclear deal, despite Mr. Trump’s withering criticism of it during the presidential campaign.

New administrations often fail to change the foreign policies of their predecessors as radically as they promised, in large part because statecraft is so different from campaigning. And of course, today’s positions could shift over time. There is no doubt the Trump administration has staked out new ground on trade and immigration, upending relations with Mexico and large parts of the Muslim world in the process.

But the administration’s reversals were particularly stark because they came after days of tempestuous phone calls between Mr. Trump and foreign leaders, in which he gleefully challenged diplomatic orthodoxy and appeared to jeopardize one relationship after another.

Mr. Trump made warmer relations with Russia the centerpiece of his foreign policy during the campaign, and European leaders had been steeling for him to lift sanctions they and Mr. Obama imposed on President Vladimir V. Putin after he annexed Crimea. But on Thursday, Mr. Trump’s United Nations ambassador, Ms. Haley, sounded a lot like her predecessor, Samantha Power.

“We do want to better our relations with Russia,” she said in her first remarks to an open session of the United Nations Security Council. “However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions.”
Doubtful that Putin minds very much as it is only words and Israel never paid any mind to what Presidents say as long as the weapons keep on flowing, but the change in voice is striking. It's as if a new person was now in charge of foreign policy, one who isn't nursing a raging hangover after a 3 day weekend drunk.

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