Trump's Canny Diplomatic and Psychological Feints on the International Stage

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Posted: Dec 04, 2019 12:01 AM

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Three years ago, Donald Trump began a rhetorical offensive targeting the governments of NATO nations that chronically failed to meet their allied defense financial commitments. With bombastic huff, Trump intimated that allies pay their share or America might walk.

It’s 2019. Few NATO members currently meet the 2% GDP defense commitment. However, several once-laggard NATO nations have increased military spending, and the alliance is stronger for it. The era of blithe freeloading has ended. Cheapskates like Germany pay a price in lost prestige. America not only hasn’t walked; it is modernizing its forces.

Earlier this year, President Trump began grousing about endless wars and publicly mulled removing U.S. military forces from Syria. Then, in mid-October, he abruptly ordered military advisers to leave northern Syria, a predicate to a complete U.S. skedaddle. Trump’s critics cratered. Syria’s civil war is a dirty, fractious bloodbath where regional and global powers collide amid homicidal tribes. With the U.S. gone, Turkish forces would slaughter Kurds.

Ah, but in late October, American commandos killed

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