Foreign Affairs

White House Says China Has More to Lose In Trade War

“President Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on almost every Chinese product that comes into the United States intensified the possibility of a damaging trade war, sending stock markets tumbling on Tuesday and drawing a rebuke from retailers, tech companies and manufacturers,” the New York Times reports.

“The Trump administration remained unmoved by those concerns, with a top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, insisting that China has more to lose from a trade fight than the United States. He also declared that Mr. Trump would not allow Beijing to simply buy its way out of an economic dispute by promising to import more American goods.”

U.S. Withdraws from U.N. Human Rights Council

“The Trump administration announced its departure from the United Nations’ main human rights body Tuesday, its latest withdrawal from an international institution,” CNBC reports.

Said United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley: “For too long, the human rights council has been a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.”

The announcement “comes just a day after the U.N. human rights chief denounced the Trump administration for separating migrant children from their parents.”

Kim Makes Another Visit to China

“North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, arrived in China on Tuesday to begin a two-day visit, his third such trip since March,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Kim’s trip comes one week after his landmark summit meeting in Singapore with President Trump.”

“Mr. Kim’s visit comes as a trade war between the United States and China is intensifying, giving him an opening to play one power against the other — a tactic he appears to be using as the United States presses him to destroy his nuclear arsenal.”

Donald Trump Goes Rogue

George Packer: “Power politics favors regimes accustomed to operating outside the liberal order…. Trump imagines that America unbound, shaking hands or giving the finger, depending upon short-term interests and Presidential whims, will flourish among the other rogues. After his meeting with Kim, he flew home aglow with wonder at his own dealmaking prowess, assuring Americans that they could now sleep in peace. In fact, Trump had secured nothing except the same vague commitment to dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program which the regime has offered and routinely betrayed in the past. Meanwhile, he gave up something real—joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which he called ‘provocative,’ the language of totalitarian and aggressive North Korea. Without allies and treaties, without universal values, American foreign policy largely depends on what goes on inside Trump’s head. Kim, like Putin, already seems to have got there.”

“Power politics is not a system that plays to American strengths. For all our lapses, we thrived for seventy years by standing for something. It wasn’t boilerplate at all, and we are present at the destruction. When the next global economic crisis or major war or terrorist attack happens, America will be alone.”

Top Canadian Officials Rush to Support U.S. Envoy

“Top Canadian officials, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, rushed to express support for Ambassador Kelly Craft after a package containing a suspicious substance and a death threat was mailed to the U.S. diplomat,” Bloomberg reports.

“White powder was found Thursday in a package addressed to Craft at the U.S. embassy in Ottawa and discovered by a mailroom employee at the ambassador’s residence… An expletive-filled letter containing death threats against Craft, Trump, and members of Trump’s family was also enclosed.”

North Korea Sought Backchannel with Kushner

The North Korean government used an American businessman as an intermediary in trying to set up a secret backchannel with White House adviser Jared Kushner last year, the New York Times reports.

The overture was reportedly made to the Trump administration by Gabriel Schulze, a financier with ties to North Korea who is said to have approached Kushner with the message that a top North Korean official wanted to discuss a possible meeting between Kim Jong Un and President Trump

Diplomats Told Not To Evaluate Women On Baking Skills

“In March, ahead of foreign service officers’ performance reviews, or ‘employee evaluation reports,’ the State Department sent out an email, signed off on by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and recently shared with BuzzFeed News, reminding managers of best practices.”

“Most of the points were straightforward… Point nine, however, told raters and reviewers to ‘avoid gender normative language,’ and reads, ‘It is disappointing that a few raters last year mentioned female employees’ baking skills, which, among other things, wasted space that could have been used to discuss the employee’s precept-linked accomplishments and potential for future advancement.’”

Trump Approves Tough Tariffs on China

President Trump “has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons,” the AP reports.

“Trump met Thursday with several Cabinet members and trade advisers and was expected to impose tariffs on at least $35 billion to $40 billion of Chinese imports… The amount of goods could reach $55 billion.”

New York Times: “Beijing has said it will retaliate by imposing its own tariffs on a list of roughly $50 billion in American exports, a list likely to include agricultural products and manufactured goods.”

Trump Insists on Summit with Russia

A senior official familiar with internal deliberations tells the New Yorker: “He’s going to do it. He wants to have a meeting with Putin, so he’s going to have a meeting with Putin.”

Two former senior U.S. officials said that “they had also been briefed on Trump’s orders to his staff to plan for the Putin summit soon. One of them said it could even occur on the first leg of Trump’s trip to Europe next month, before Trump attends the annual NATO meeting.”

Trump Nearly Upended Summit with North Korea

Washington Post: “After arriving in Singapore on Sunday, an antsy and bored Trump urged his aides to demand that the meeting with Kim be pushed up by a day — to Monday — and had to be talked out of altering the long-planned and carefully negotiated summit date on the fly.”

Said Trump: “We’re here now. Why can’t we just do it?”

“Trump’s impatience, coupled with a tense staff-level meeting between the two sides on Sunday, left some aides fearful that the entire summit might be in peril.”

McCain Accuses Trump of ‘Parroting’ North Korea

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) blasted President Trump’s decision to halt military exercises with South Korea as part of the ongoing negotiations with North Korea, The Hill reports.

Said McCain: “Suspending U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises is a mistake. Making unnecessary and unreciprocated concessions is not in our interests—and it is a bad negotiating tactic.”

McCain also knocked Trump for calling the war games with South Korea “provocative” saying the president was “parroting Chinese and North Korean propaganda.”

Trump Told World Leaders that Crimea Is Russian

President Trump “told G7 leaders that Crimea is Russian because everyone who lives there speaks Russian,” BuzzFeed News reports.

“Russia invaded and then annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, leading to widespread international condemnation and sanctions. It also directly led to Russia being kicked out of the then-G8. Russian President Vladimir Putin defended Russia’s intervention in Crimea at the time saying that he had the right to protect Russian citizens and Russian speakers in Ukraine.”