Monday, May 15, 2017

Maher Improves His Vision? Our Second Civil War. Netanyahu Meets Trump Again. Soros, The Unwanted Demon.

This from a longtime friend and fellow memo reader.

"There have been times in my life when I have exclaimed, “UNBELIEVABLE”.
Never before have I said it more emphatically than while I watched this video from Prager U.

I know the interviewer baited the student, but Prager has a 5 minute rule and he wouldn’t have gotten the full story otherwise.

I want to deport everyone who doesn’t respect our flag, say the pledge of allegiance, sing the National Anthem and isn’t willing to serve our country!

As those who read these memos know, I am big on the future impact of robots so I thought this article would be of interest.  (See 1 below.)
What will be the outcome of our second Civil War? (See 2 and 2a below.)

Meanwhile, is Bill Maher's vision getting clear? (See 2b below.)
More commentary on Trump and Netanyahu's impending meeting and re-location of America's Embassy. (See 3 and 3a below.)

Finally, Soros the unwanted demon. Live by the sword perish by the sword.(See 3b below.)

Friedman o Trump's foreign policies. (See 4 below.)
1) Robots Will Save the Economy

The problem today is too little technology. Physical industries haven’t kept up.

By Bret Swanson and Michael Mandel
Some anxious forecasters project that robotics, automation and artificial intelligence will soon devastate the job market. Yet others predict a productivity fizzle. The Congressional Budget Office, for instance, expects labor productivity to grow at the snail’s pace of 1.3% a year over the next decade, well below the historical average.
There’s reason to reject both of these dystopian scenarios. Innovation isn’t a zero-sum game. The problem for most workers isn’t too much technology but too little. What America needs is more computers, mobile broadband, cloud services, software tools, sensor networks, 3-D printing, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and, yes, robots.
For the sake of explanation, let’s separate the economy into two categories. In digital industries—technology, communications, media, software, finance and professional services—productivity grew 2.7% annually over the past 15 years, according to the findings of our report, “The Coming Productivity Boom,” released in March. The slowdown is concentrated in physical industries—health care, transportation, education, manufacturing, retail—where productivity grew a mere 0.7% annually over the same period.
Digital industries have also experienced stronger job growth. Since the peak of the last business cycle in December 2007, hours worked in the digital category rose 9.6%, compared with 5.6% on the physical side. If health care is excluded, hours worked in physical jobs rose only 3%.
What is holding the physical industries back? It is no coincidence that they are heavily regulated, making them expensive to operate in and resistant to experimentation. The digital economy, on the other hand, has enjoyed a relatively free hand to invest and innovate, delivering spectacular and inexpensive products and services all over the world.
But more important, partially due to regulation, physical industries have not deployed information technology to the same extent that digital industries have. The physical category makes up 75% of private-sector employment and 70% of output—but only 30% of all IT investments. This is also because it’s taken longer to figure out how to apply info-tech to physical processes like transportation and mining, compared with inherently information-based sectors like finance and media.
Information technology not only makes existing processes more efficient, it empowers entirely new business models, products and platforms. The physical category’s “information gap” is a drag on growth and helps explain the productivity paradox: Many workers seem not to have benefited from apparent rapid technological advance.
Fortunately, many physical industries are poised for dramatic transformations into digital industries—if we let them.
The shale oil and gas boom is an IT story, since 3-D modeling of underground formations enables horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the right places. This shift to digitized mining has not destroyed jobs. Rather, hours worked in oil and gas rose 17% since 2007.
Or consider the digitization of retail and distribution. E-commerce has added 397,000 jobs since December 2007, which more than makes up for the 76,000 full-time-equivalent jobs lost at bricks-and-mortar stores.
What about the automation of bus and truck driving, the new employment scare story? Because robo-trucks won’t have to pull over for naps or bathroom breaks, they’ll be able to put on many more miles. Thus, they will require many more highly trained mechanics, who on average earn substantially more than truck drivers.
Manufacturing is another case where job losses more often have resulted from too little technology. Outside of computer and electronics manufacturing, productivity has mostly stagnated, and the most unproductive factories are the most vulnerable to low-wage foreign competition.
Perhaps no industry needs a productivity revolution more than health care. But one appears to be on the way. Soon sensors on and in our bodies may help patients communicate with doctors and nurses, reduce office visits, and flood databases with information needed to better diagnose, prevent, and cure disease. With computational bioscience, scientists will design new therapies in the cloud, tailoring them for individuals and slashing development costs. Robots will assist in more surgeries, body imaging will get better and cheaper, and 3-D printed pills and artificial organs will be added to the doctor’s tool kit.
Americans would benefit significantly from unlocking the physical economy to leverage technology and encourage breakthrough business models. If U.S. productivity growth in the physical sector were to return merely to its rate of the late-1990s, U.S. output would be $2.7 trillion larger in 2031 (in 2016 dollars). Closing the information gap should thus be job one.
Mr. Swanson is president of Entropy Economics LLC, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a fellow at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Mr. Mandel is chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute and a senior fellow at the Mack Institute for Innovation Management at the Wharton School.
2)Will the Second Civil War Turn Violent?
By Dennis Prager
In a recent column, I made the case that Americans are fighting the Second
Civil War. The deep chasm that has opened up between the left — not
liberals, the left — and the rest of the country is so wide and so
unbridgeable that there is no other way to describe what is happening. But I
noted that at least thus far, unlike the First Civil War, this war is not violent.

Unfortunately, there is now reason to believe that violence is coming. In fact, it's already here. But as of now, it's only coming from one direction.

Left-wing thugs engage in violence and threats of violence with utter
impunity. They shut down speakers at colleges; block highways, bridges and
airport terminals; take over college buildings and offices; occupy state capitals; and terrorize individuals at their homes.

In order to understand why more violence may be coming, it is essential to
understand that left-wing mobs are almost never stopped, arrested or punished.
Colleges do nothing to stop them, and civil authorities do nothing to stop
them on campuses or anywhere else. Police are reduced to spectators as they
watch left-wing gangs loot stores, smash business and car windows, and even
take over state capitals (as in Madison, Wisconsin).

It's beginning to dawn on many Americans that mayors, police chiefs and
college presidents have no interest in stopping this violence. Left-wing
officials sympathize with the lawbreakers, and the police, who rarely
sympathize with thugs of any ideology, are ordered to do nothing by
emasculated police chiefs.

Consequently, given the abdication by all these authorities of their role to
protect the public, some members of the public will inevitably decide that
they will protect themselves and others.

This ability of the left to get away with violence is one of the gravest
threats to American society in its modern history. Since the Civil War, I can
think of only two comparable eruptions of mob violence that authorities
allowed. One was when white mobs lynched blacks. The other was the rioting by
blacks, such as the Los Angeles riots 25 years ago, and the recent riots in
Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland.

Today, authorities in what we once proudly proclaimed the "Land of the Free
and Home of the Brave" are intimidated to the point of paralysis.

And exactly what do they fear? Not violence — they have made peace with
left-wing violence. What they fear is the left-wing media. If the Black Lives
Matter movement is forcefully prevented from blocking tens of thousands of
cars from entering or leaving San Francisco, the police and local authorities
will be labeled racist by black leaders, a smear that will then be echoed by
The New York Times and rest of the left-wing media.

Likewise, if a college president requests enough police to come to a college
campus so that a Heather Mac Donald, a Charles Murray or an Ann Coulter can
deliver a lecture, some of the student-gangsters engaged in violence might be
injured — and that college president will then be pilloried by the
mainstream media.

Furthermore, left-wing violence doesn't only succeed where it takes place. It
succeeds where nothing happens. The left can now shut down places and events
just by threatening violence. This is what happened last week in Portland,
Oregon. One leftist called in a threat to the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade,
saying that the Republican Party contingent marching in the parade would be
beaten up. The business leaders organizing the parade canceled the whole event
for the first time in its 10-year history. If they'd had any reason to believe
that the police would have adequately protected the marchers in left-wing
Portland, one assumes (hopes?) that they would not have canceled the parade.
An email sent to parade organizers perfectly summed up the left's dominance of
America through violence. It said, "You have seen how much power we have
downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please
consider your decision wisely."

Meanwhile, the press lies about alleged white supremacists in President
Trump's administration and an alleged massive surge in anti-Semitism in order
to do what the left has done since Lenin: blame others while it alone
organizes violence.

So, here's a prediction: If college presidents, mayors and police chiefs won't
stop left-wing mobs, other Americans will. I hope this doesn't happen, because
electing conservative Republicans and not donating money to colleges will be
more effective. But it is almost inevitable.

Then the left-wing media — the mainstream media — will enter hysteria mode
with reports that "right-wing fascists" are violently attacking America.   And
that's when mayors and college presidents will finally order in the police.

2a)Rod Rosenstein’s Justice

The Deputy AG had good reasons for Trump to fire James Comey.

By Kenneth W.Starr

Nixon. Watergate. Tuesday night massacre. Coup. Dictator. Impeachment. Those are the words political elites are throwing around after President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, and that’s in the news stories. The meltdown reflects the temper of the times and hostility to Mr. Trump, but it also ignores the need to repair the damage that Mr. Comey has done to the Justice Department and FBI.

Most of the political class loathes this Administration, and so the natural default is that it must be lying about the reasons for Mr. Comey’s dismissal. If you’re invested in the Trump-Russia collusion theory of the 2016 election, you assume this is a cover-up. The references to Mr. Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation are an excuse, a deception, a Big Con.

Not that the White House does much to rebut these claims. A terse 6 p.m. press release doesn’t answer many questions. Neither Attorney General Jeff Sessions nor Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein held a press conference to explain their memos recommending dismissal. Mr. Trump managed to inject his ego even into his dismissal letter to Mr. Comey, saying that “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.”

And on Wednesday the White House descended into a leak-fest with aides depicting Mr. Trump as raging at Mr. Comey even as he was conflicted about firing him. This crowd couldn’t sell gold bars to inflationists.

Yet for those willing to take Mr. Rosenstein’s memo seriously, there are good reasons for canning Mr. Comey that don’t trade in conspiracy. And his arrival at Justice may also explain the timing of Mr. Comey’s firing.

Mr. Rosenstein was confirmed by the Senate only two weeks ago, and one of his obvious first tasks was to dig into the Russia probe because Mr. Sessions has recused himself. Senate Democrats demanded this during the confirmation hearing as they pressed him to name a special counsel. This also meant contemplating the role and responsibility of Mr. Comey and the FBI in the Justice Department hierarchy.
One concern of longtime prosecutors and former Justice officials is that Mr. Comey became a force unto himself. He didn’t tell Attorney General Loretta Lynch until the last minute that he would hold his July press event exonerating Mrs. Clinton. His excuse afterward was that Ms. Lynch was compromised after meeting with Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac. But then what about Deputy AG Sally Yates ? What was she, a potted plant?
Federal Judge and former Deputy AG Laurence Silberman laid out these and other concerns in these pages on Feb. 24. His conclusion—that Mr. Comey’s “performance was so inappropriate for an FBI director that I doubt the bureau will ever completely recover”—resonated widely across the government.
And it must have resonated with Mr. Rosenstein, who quotes Mr. Silberman in his memo to Mr. Sessions. He also quotes a long list of former Justice officials from both parties who have been highly critical of Mr. Comey’s violation of Justice Department standards. Mr. Rosenstein clearly understood he had to re-establish supervisory control over the FBI as a matter of accountable government.
This is one of the reasons we advised Mr. Sessions in January to seek Mr. Comey’s resignation, and if he refused to recommend that Mr. Trump fire him. The timing would have been better with the change of Administrations. But Mr. Sessions had to recuse himself from the Russia probe, and the scenario we recommended eventually took place when Mr. Rosenstein arrived.
Many will now believe that Mr. Rosenstein must also be part of the cover-up, but nothing about his career suggests that is how he’d behave. He was confirmed 94-6 even in this era of polarized politics because Democrats respected his record as a U.S. Attorney under Presidents Bush and Obama. Radical thought: Maybe Mr. Rosenstein really believes the FBI needs a director who isn’t a political rogue.


Democrats are now demanding that someone other than Mr. Rosenstein name a special counsel for the Russia probe, but any decision should still be his and we hope he resists—again for the integrity of the Justice Department. Mr. Comey is again the best example to avoid.
As Deputy AG under George W. Bush, Mr. Comey named his pal Patrick Fitzgerald as a special counsel to investigate the Valerie Plame leak. Mr. Comey thus ducked personal responsibility while garnering plaudits in the press and from Democrats. The case fizzled to a perjury rap against Scooter Libby that has been discredited by subsequent evidence.
There’s no reason to think that Mr. Rosenstein can’t honestly supervise the Russia probe with the help of a new FBI director with a reputation for independence. One strong candidate would be Stuart Levey, a lawyer now in private business who ran the Treasury’s counterterror finance operations for Presidents Bush and Obama. He is highly respected, and Mr. Obama considered him for the FBI before his unfortunate choice of Mr. Comey.
Modern Washington wants to distill every dispute into a binary fight for power, every decision as a calculation about political gain. But sometimes there are other principles at stake, and not everyone is a partisan hack. It’s always possible Mr. Rosenstein believes he was acting in the best interests of the FBI, the Justice Department, and the country.

2b)Bill Maher Points the Finger at Clinton: 'Let's Put Blame Where It Belongs'

Reeling from the week’s events surrounding Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, Bill Maher pointed a finger and wagged it mightily at the one person he saw as the catalyst of the chaos – Bill Clinton.

“A lot of this is because of Bill Clinton,” Maher said on his HBO show “Real Time” Friday night.

Maher pointed out that the snowball started to roll in June 2016, when the former president had a private meeting with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch aboard her private plane in a Phoenix airport. CNN reported that the encounter raised questions about whether the Department of Justice’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server was compromised.

Although Lynch never fully recused herself, she accepted the FBI recommendation that no charges be filed against Clinton. The matter was dropped but many raised eyebrows of suspicion never entirely dropped, much to Maher’s chagrin.


Ahead of US President Donald Trump's much-expected visit to the region, Israel is already preparing to lay on its biggest ally some of the most pressing issues it seeks collaboration on.
 W hen President Donald Trump arrives in Israel next week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have the opportunity to make specific requests from the administration.
These are the key issues Israel is expected to bring up with the US.

1) Keep the pressure on Iran
In the coming days, we will see if Trump waives sanctions on Iran and allows Tehran to keep funding its military assistance to Bashar Assad in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
While Israel does not want to see Iranian funds freed up to meddle more in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza (which would seriously endanger the country's security), it also does not want the nuclear deal to fall apart prematurely (or if it does, only due to an Iranian violation, not a US failure to meet an obligation), lest Iran be free to dash to the bomb even sooner than Israel worries it will. 
In general, Israel wants to ensure that it is on the same page with the administration regarding the continued pressure that must be applied on Iran to curb the latter's development of ballistic missiles and support of terrorism.
2) Stabilizing Syria and recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights
Israel has two requests regarding Syria. Firstly, it wants to ensure that its security interests are accounted for in any deal that Trump would reach with Russia aimed at ending the civil war in the country.
Specifically, Israel wants to make sure that Iran and Hezbollah will not remain in Syria at the end of the war and will not be allowed to establish a presence on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
Israel's second demand has to do with its control over the Golan Heights. The premier is seeking recognition from Trump for Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan, which was conquered 50 years ago during the Six Day War. 
This came up during the two leaders' meeting at the White House in February and was also reiterated last week by Intelligence Minister Israel Katz, who proposed that Jerusalem and Washington reach a five-pointed understanding on the issue of the Syrian civil war and the implications it has on Israel's security.
3) Move the embassy to Jerusalem
This seems to be the most contentious issue in the dialogue between the two governments. On Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson doused flames on the eventuality of the embassy being moved to Jerusalem, telling a US interviewer that the decision “will be informed by the parties involved in those talks – and most certainly Israel’s view – and whether Israel views it as helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction.”
Netanyahu was quick to respond, saying that by moving the embassy, Trump would actually be advancing the peace process by smashing the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not Israel’s capital
The US president made the promise to move the embassy during his campaign and after he was elected, there were reports that an announcement would happen in the first days of his administration.
The premier is expected to use Trump’s visit next week to pressure him on the issue. The simplest way to advance would be for Trump at the end of May to not waive a Congress law from 1995 that mandates the embassy be in Jerusalem. US presidents have signed waivers to the law every six months since its passage.
4) Settlement construction and protection of Israel’s interests in potential peace talks with the Palestinians
Trump seems determined to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and while he will likely refrain from getting the leaders together during his trip next week, he will try to convince the sides to reengage with one another.
Israel will seek to impress upon Trump the difficulty in reaching a deal based on the Palestinian demands of 1967 lines, the right of return and Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. Israel will also work to convince Trump of the need for a future Palestinian state to remain demilitarized.
Lastly, Netanyahu has been trying since his trip to the White House in February to reach understandings with the administration over Israeli settlement construction. Netanyahu reportedly postponed a meeting of a settlement planning committee last week until after Trump’s visit to not infuriate the president.
Netanyahu would like a green light from the president to be able to build in all of Jerusalem as well as in the settlement blocs. He fears having to agree to a new settlement freeze that could prompt Bayit Yehudi to pull out of his coalition
5) Retain Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge in the region
Trump is expected to approve a massive sale of approximately $100 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia
While Israel backs military support to the Saudis and other Gulf States, which are all aligned against Iran, it is in constant talks with the White House and the Pentagon about ways to ensure that it retains its QME in the region by always being the first to receive superior American weapons systems and munitions.
Israel is currently in talks with the Pentagon about how it plans to spend the $38 billion new military aid package signed at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency. The Jewish state is expected to seek permission from its biggest ally to purchase new transport helicopters, smart bombs, bunker busters, more F-35 stealth fighter jets as well as an assortment of additional weapon and intelligence systems. 

3a) Netanyahu: The US embassy should move to Jerusalem
PM says all embassies should be in Israel's capital, and that moving the US embassy would shatter the Arab fantasies over the city.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the issue of the relocation of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the capital of Jerusalem during the weekly Likud faction meeting Monday.
“The US Embassy should move to Jerusalem, and so should other embassies. I presented this position in my meetings with world leaders, with all of the diplomatic corps, and with the Likud faction,” Netanyahu said at the start of the faction meeting.
Netanyahu added, “Not only will the transfer of the embassy not harm the peace process, on the contrary, it will advance it, by shattering the illusion.”
“I am happy to hear that other parties are also adopting the Likud's message [on the relocation of the embassy]. This is very good. Keep it up,” the Prime Minister said of Education Minister Naftali Bennett's calls for the government to make it clear to the Trump Administration that the only acceptable location for the embassy is in Jerusalem.
The Prime Minister's Office released a statement yesterday saying that the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem would 'shatter the Arab fantasy' of denying Israel's sovereignty in its own capital.
“Israel's position has often been expressed to the American administration and to the world,” the PMO’s statement read. “The transfer of the American Embassy to Jerusalem not only will not harm the peace process, but the opposite. It will advance it by correcting a historic injustice and by smashing the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.”

3b) Demonization of Soros recalls old anti-Semitic conspiracies

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – In most nations, having a billionaire financier and philanthropist would be a source of great pride, a person many elected officials would want to cozy up to.
Not for George Soros.
The demonization of the American-Hungarian billionaire and Holocaust survivor has spread across Central Europe, with the 86-year-old increasingly accused by nationalists of using his money to force his liberal values, including support for refugees, on their societies.
And it's not just those on the fringes, but elected officials who are attributing all manner of sins to Soros, a political strategy that seems aimed at de-legitimizing projects that Soros has supported in Central and Eastern Europe's transition to democracy.
This groundswell began in late 2015, as large numbers of migrants and refugees were arriving in Europe. A far-right nationalist at an anti-refugee rally in Poland set fire to an effigy of an Orthodox Jew as a crowd chanted slogans against Islam and the European Union. The man said the Jewish figure represented Soros.
It wasn't always this way. In 2012, Poland's then-president, Bronislaw Komorowski, bestowed one of the country's highest orders on Soros, thanking him for his contributions to a nascent democratic civil society after communism.
Soros' donations have advanced human rights, the rule of law, public health, LGBT and Roma rights, education and even improved transportation. Many of the leaders turning against him now – including Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban – got scholarships from Soros in the 1990s to study in the West or received research grants.
Officials today are much more likely to accuse Soros destroying their countries.
Liviu Dragnea, chairman of Romania's ruling Social Democratic Party, says Soros and his work “have fed evil in Romania.”
Krystyna Pawlowicz, a lawmaker with the ruling conservatives in Poland, called him the “most dangerous man in the world” on Radio Maryja, a Catholic broadcaster. She said his foundations “finance anti-Christian and anti-national activities.”
Sociologists see such rhetoric, which gives Soros almost supernatural abilities to destroy traditional societies, as a modern manifestation of old anti-Semitic conspiracies amid new populist rage against elites and the European Union.
“This narrative about Soros as an evil presence started with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and it is spreading,” said Jacek Kucharczyk, a sociologist and director of the Institute of Public Affairs in Warsaw. “It is a witch hunt that is being promoted by authoritarian right-wing populists.”
“And there is an undertone of anti-Semitism behind it. Because he promotes liberal values, has a Jewish background and is a billionaire, he is the perfect figure for explaining to hard-core voters why the world is the way it is,” he said.
Kucharczyk, whose institute receives some Soros funding, said in places like Russia and Poland, where anti-Semitism has deep roots, Soros is “a very useful enemy to have.”
Soros says his fight against intolerance is rooted in his own experience of living through the Nazi occupation of Hungary – which his family survived by hiding their Jewish identities. He has given away $12 billion to date, according to his Open Society Foundations.
Of that, $400 million has gone to Hungary, where Orban, the prime minister, has taken steps that could force the closure in Budapest of the acclaimed Central European University, which Soros founded in 1991 to help support the region's emerging democracies.
Orban has described Soros as an “American financial speculator attacking Hungary” who has “destroyed the lives of millions of Europeans.”
Frans Timmermans, first vice president of the European Commission, said he found that language anti-Semitic – prompting an angry reaction from the Hungarian government, with Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto saying Budapest's disputes with Soros have “absolutely nothing to do” with his Jewish origins.
Laura Silber, a spokeswoman at Soros' Open Society Foundations, said Orban's attacks on Soros are an attempt to distract Hungarians from the country's real problems.
“Orban is using George Soros as a scapegoat in an effort to deflect attention from issues of real importance to the Hungarian people, such as the country's deteriorating health care and education,” Silber said.
The Associated Press requested an interview with Soros, but Silber said that he wasn't giving any interviews.
Rafal Pankowski, head of Never Again, an anti-racism organization in Warsaw, says the “current tendency to see Soros as a central figure in an alleged global Jewish conspiracy” is growing along with a rise in xenophobia and hate speech.
“Soros is a convenient target for those who reject liberal values and the vision of an open, pluralist society,” said Pankowski, who gets no Soros funding. “Anti-Semitism is a core element of nationalist identity across Eastern and Central Europe.”
The anti-Soros mood is particularly strong in Macedonia, where many right-wingers blame him for a political crisis that has dragged on for two years over a massive illegal wiretapping operation of top leaders that has revealed wrongdoing. A group called Stop Operation Soros, or SOS, emerged in January.
Poland's ruling party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, accuses Soros of trying to destroy traditional societies by forcing multiculturalism on them.
“The ideas of Mr. Soros, ideas of societies that have no identity, are convenient ideas for those who have billions, because such a society is extremely easy to manipulate,” Kaczynski said.
Mark Weitzman, director of government affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group, sees the rhetoric as “reminiscent of previous anti-Semitic patterns.”
“This is not to say that Soros should be above criticism. But there are certainly other elements involved that go beyond legitimate and specific criticism and focus on his Jewish roots,” Weitzman said. There's a need by some “to create a global manipulative Jewish monster which can be blamed for all the evils and problems.”
4) The Stability of Trump’s Foreign Policy
With no fat lady in sight as the opera unfolds in Washington, it is useful to stop and consider an interesting point: For all the tumult that has defined President Donald Trump’s domestic policy, his foreign policy is relatively stable. There are some notable differences, of course, but what went before is pretty much what is going on now—a startling revelation, given the expectations.
During his campaign, Trump promised to disengage from burdensome commitments to other countries, shifting the risks and costs of the security of allies away from the United States. He promised to enact policies that promote US national interests, which he defined as US economic security, not global security.

Early Tests

Tests to these campaign pledges came early. In most cases, Trump’s response has been in keeping with prior policies.
In Syria, the Bashar Assad regime released sarin gas on a village (the claims that it was not the Syrians who did this have mostly died down). Trump regarded the attack as morally unacceptable, so he ordered the US military to attack a Syrian air base. And even though the airstrike did precious little to affect the outcome of the war, President Barack Obama shied away from doing even this when his famous red line was crossed. But Trump—in a situation where US interests (narrowly understood) were not involved—responded.
And then there is North Korea, a country that is not currently a nuclear threat to the US. Rather, it is a threat to Japan and South Korea, and indeed during the campaign Trump said Japan ought to develop its own nuclear weapons. In other words, he said that North Korea was a Japanese and South Korean problem, not a US problem. But when it appeared that North Korea was nearing the point where it had deliverable nuclear weapons, Trump got involved. He positioned the US for potential military action as it led diplomatic confrontations with Pyongyang. This has been the definition of US policy on North Korea for several administrations.
And it is a policy that features prominently in Washington’s relationship with Beijing. Trump has said that the United States would make some trade concessions to China if China helped the US on the North Korea issue. This is a long-standing strategy that Washington has pursued. In fact, there has generally been more continuity than disruption in US-China relations, with an apparently cooperative rapport between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Accepting the status quo, at least for now, the US has not shifted its stance on China.
Nor has it shifted its stance on Russia. The expected warming in US-Russia relations has not happened. Washington has neither abandoned its sanctions policies nor backed off its commitment to the Ukrainians. US deployments in Eastern Europe have continued. Larger air bases are being built in Romania, and troop rotations in the Baltics and Poland are underway. And though this may be an extension of domestic US politics, it is nonetheless in keeping with the continuity of US policy in general.
The US relationship with NATO, meanwhile, remains intact. Trump campaigned on the belief that NATO should be redefined, but he has since reaffirmed the US commitment to NATO, though he has notably asked for increased European spending. Under the Trump administration, relations with Germany are cool, no worse off than they were under the Obama administration. Whatever changes may come, the relationship is still defined by continuity.
In the jihadist wars, Obama launched an as-yet-unfinished attack on Mosul. Trump has increased forces in Iraq and Syria and has announced that more troops will be sent to Afghanistan. As with Obama’s occasional reversals of his withdrawal, the troop commitments are relatively small, unlikely to change much in the long term. In other words, they are enough to contain the Islamic State and the Taliban for a spell without changing enduring realities

Waiting a Little Longer

Everyone seems to be ignoring the fact of the matter. Trump’s critics want to portray him as someone who is recklessly undermining the foundations. His supporters want to portray him as someone who is decisively redefining US policy. But though the atmospherics have changed, very little else has. The countries that hope or fear that the US may soon behave fundamentally differently will have to wait a little longer.
Thus is the reality of foreign policy. Regardless of the wishes of presidents, the United States is embedded in the global system economically, militarily, and politically. Sudden moves—outside of rhetoric—are impossible. The structure of the system forces nations to move slowly.  Economic relations are extremely complex and therefore resistant to change. Each move has consequences that are painful, even if the relationship as a whole is advantageous.
Put differently, the international posture of the United States is even harder to change than its healthcare system. It is a posture that has been sinking its roots into the international system since World War II, and altering this can be difficult if not impossible without damaging US interests.
In the end, presidents are constrained by reality. And the reality is that the United States, which accounts for a quarter of the world’s economy and is the largest military power, is deeply integrated with the rest of the world. Disengagement may be desirable, but it may not be viable, at least not in the short run.
A hundred or so days is an absurdly short period of time to assess long-term policy, but the fact is that so far Trump’s foreign policy has been careful and conventional. It may be that this is what he wants. It may be the case that he hasn’t fully turned his attention to it. Presidents either avoid the third rails or engage them and achieve things. Aside from major wars like World War II, history moves slowly, and presidents are hostages to history. What is certain is that the claims of recklessness cannot so far be laid at Trump’s door. Nor can those who expected dramatic change feel rewarded.
George Friedman
George Friedman

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