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WASHINGTON _ President Donald Trump took an early victory lap for his “America First” diplomacy Tuesday, claiming a series of big wins on his foreign policy priorities.

Some of his claims were true — in a few cases, even careful and precise. Others were premature. Some were exaggerated; others incomplete.

But taken together, the foreign policy sections of Trump’s State of the Union address sounded more like a campaign speech than a detailed explanation of American diplomacy.

Some presidents have used the State of the Union to build a public case for going to war — George W. Bush before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, for example.

Others tried to convey nuanced messages for their diplomatic priorities; Barack Obama’s professorial speeches come to mind.

Not Trump. His themes are familiar to anyone who followed the 2016 campaign: a strong America with a strong military, unafraid to throw its weight around — but also determined to bring U.S. troops back from “endless wars.”

The president even noted that he had “campaigned on the same core promises,” including a foreign policy that “puts America’s interests first.” Every one of his predecessors would say he too put America’s interests first, but this president suggests — and perhaps believes — that the principle is his alone.

Even some critics of Trump’s foreign policy acknowledge he’s scored some accomplishments and launched potentially promising negotiations without stumbling into a major crisis.

But he hasn’t persuaded most voters that his impulsive, bull-in-a-china shop style deserves admiration.

A CNN poll this month found that voters give Trump his highest marks on managing the economy, which has been surging: an approval rating of 48 percent. But on foreign policy, his approval rating was an anemic 40 percent.

A more detailed survey by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found that most Americans disagree with some of Trump’s core foreign policy views. That survey found that 68 percent disagreed with Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change, and 66 percent disagreed with his decision to walk away from Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Foreign policy is unlikely to be the top issue in the 2020 campaign. Still, voters want a presidential candidate to display at least basic competence in international affairs. And they judge an incumbent president on his achievements and mistakes.

Tuesday night gave Trump a chance to make the case for his success, and to set out what aides described as his “vision.” Anyone who studied the text for substance found plenty of case-making but little nuance.

Trump congratulated himself for moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. But he never mentioned his larger goal of forging a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, a project he once pronounced “not as difficult as people have thought.”

He boasted that after withdrawing from Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, he had ordered “the toughest sanctions ever imposed on Iran.” But he didn’t suggest how or when the sanctions, which have hurt Iran’s economy, would lead to his ostensible goal, a new round of nuclear negotiations or a collapse of the regime in Tehran.

If there was a centerpiece, it was Trump’s declaration of victory in the wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, and his reaffirmation that he will bring U.S. troops home as soon as possible — despite the qualms of many of his own aides.

He said Americans have been “fighting in the Middle East for almost 19 years” (actually almost 18) and that the United States has spent more than $7 trillion on those wars (a vastly inflated estimate.)

His determination to get the troops out quickly raises an unusual political problem: Leaders in both parties disagree with it.

Last week, the Senate passed a resolution warning against a “precipitous withdrawal” from either Syria or Afghanistan, saying it “could put at risk hard-won gains and U.S. national security.” The measure passed by a bipartisan vote of 68 to 23.

Its author was none other than Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader.

Likewise, Republicans have pushed back whenever Trump suggests softening sanctions on Russia or questions the U.S. commitment to the NATO military alliance. But he has stuck to those positions.

The good political news for the president is that foreign policy divides the Democrats and independents too.

A sober report card for Trump’s foreign policy, unsurprisingly, would yield a list of incompletes.

The troops aren’t home yet. Negotiations with North Korea haven’t borne lasting fruit; nor have the sanctions on Iran. The Middle East peace talks have gone nowhere. And trade talks have not yet produced their promised benefits for the American worker.

In Tuesday’s speech, Trump achieved one practical goal: He laid out the foreign policy themes of his 2020 campaign.

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Doyle McManus writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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(112) comments

capedcrusader

DMoney Feb 12, 2019 11:59am

I've probably read about 5,000 good books on WW2, literally.

And Don Trump collects Bibles. He may even have 5000 of them. I heard he's an authority on Christianity. A bigly authority.

oldhomey

Wow, caped! You have made me feel bad in doubting D's literal assertion that he has read 5,000 books WW2 books. Do you think they are books about the war, or just books written during the WW2 era? Do you think that includes comic books from that era? Donald Duck? Little Lulu? Gosh, they were good ones. Remember Tubby and how he always solved mysteries in Lulu's house, and it was always her dad who skrewed up? Should I issue D an apology?

And certainly I am glad to have been informed about Trump's HUGE Bible collection, maybe the biggest ever! I will never doubt that good Christian's word again! Thanks for the info.

DMoney

I've been reading books about and involving WW2 since I was about 8. These include books appropriate for children at that time. As I got older, I read books appropriate for the age. Since about the age of 16, I've read books cover to cover about every major battle, country, unit, economy, homefront, etc. This includes encyclopedias, biographies, summaries, maps, informational tables, everything. I just finished reading a volume of the battle of Leningrad that was about 730 pages. That doesn't include the countless hours of online research I've done, museums visited, etc. I reached a point about 8 years ago where I was generally depressed because I couldn't find anything new. When that happens now, I just shift to another war or topic. I'm actually embarrassed to say all this--I feel like such a nerd--and have spent so many hours of my life on researching it for no point really. I don't work in a think tank, museum, school. It's just always been fascinating since a young child. 5,000 books? Yeah, I stand behind that. Or maybe "5,000 books worth" of info is more appropriate.

oldhomey

Well "5,000 books worth" might be a little more appropriate, D, though it is one humongous waffle from "5,000 books literaly". I guess I could say I have read the equivalent of 5,000 books on pro football, ditto for pro basketball, ditto for geop[oltics, ditto for many other subjects. Gosh, maybe the equivalent of 15,000 books on federal, state and local politics!

So we should expand your reading history to about 30 years for 5000 books, literally. That would come out to a little over three books a week. A commendable number. No way I could match that. Was that 730 page book on the battle for Leningrad in WW2 one of the three this week?

Speaking of that history of the battle for Leningrad, can I assume now you might roll back on your insistence that the U.S. should take a giant amount of credit for that Russian victory because we were shipping them war material? Do you now have a clearer idea the scale of how many millions of lives sacrificed by the Soviets on their end of WW2, and what that meant to the allied cause, keeping the Germans tied up for years while we prepared to assault Germany from the west? I wonder.

DMoney

I guess we'll need to find the average number of pages per book and do the math. All books are not created equal. I'd argue a 700 pager might be worth a few books worth. I'll let you do that figuring as you are so adept with numbers.

The Russians merely held on at Leningrad for most of the war. Perpetual seige for about 3 years. Over those three years, the amount of material received from us turned the tide. Moreover, the amount of men, tanks, equipment kept in the West by Germany due to our threat played a big role. "Fleet in being" concept. I believe we played it brilliantly from a grand strategy concept. We tied down a couple of German armies while letting our future adversaries bleed themselves both literally and figuratively. A full strength red army in Germany earlier in the war would have resulted in conflict with them.

I've yet to see any evidence of your advantage with history/geopolitics.

oldhomey

Well, you certainly are a hard-nosed realist when it comes to the relative contributions to the victory effort in WWII, D. We had it all planned out, did we, foreseeing the Cold War and facing down the Soviets and Communist China? I haven't come across that in my readings. Who were these master minds who foresaw all of this in 1942?

Meanwhile, lets see who expended the most blood in that war. I have friends and family who were on the Murmansk run, taking supplies to the Soviets, so I know personally what a courageous effort that was, and they saw terrible violence and loss. But consider what was happening to the Soviets with Germany and Chinese with Japan:

Military Deaths by Nation (approximate):
Soviet Union: 9,750,000
Germany: 5,533,000
China: 3,500,000
Japan: 2,120,000
Yugoslavia: 446,000
United States: 416,800
Great Britain: 382,700

Civilian Deaths by Nation (approximate)
Soviet Union: 13,204,000
China: 11,500,000
Poland: 2,400,000
Germany: 2,035,000
India: 2,000,000
Philippines: 750,000
Japan: 580,000
Yugoslavia: 514,000
France: 267,000
Netherlands: 176,000
Italy: 145,100
Hungary: 130,000
Great Britain: 67,100
United States: 1,700

But, what they hey, all those millions of Soviets and Chinese were going to be our enemies, anyway, so it is better they were dead than Red. Their lives count for nothing, I guess. Probably all pro-abortion socialists, anyway.

DMoney

We absolutely knew, as of the Malta conference of 1943 when the allies met to discuss post war for first time. You need to read a good biography on Churchill. Can't recall the best one-- spends a few hundred pages outlining the US and Britain's plans and arguments about how to counter Soviet influence post war. We recognized China's potential too, and tried desperately to become major allies with them post war.

We lost more troops than any European country, despite the war taking place in Europe. Thanks for helping to highlight my point.

DMoney

We didn't anticipate China to be an enemy. We went so far with Soviets that we jointly planned, and almost executed, a preemptive attack on them. Research operation unthinkable.

DMoney

*Yalta conference

DMoney

Sounds like something Trump would say. He can really be and sound dumb. I can only speak for myself, and I've read many, many, many books worth of info on this subject.

oldhomey

And after reading many many books "worth" of info on the subject, you still can really be and sound dumb about the subject, D, so you are in bad company.

DMoney

How so? You are all bark no bite. Come on, embarrass me.

oldhomey

Well tell us more about how we did more to defeat Germany than allies, particularly the Soviets and Great Britain. That would be a start, D.

DMoney

I've never claimed we did more than the Soviets, although, they were fighting a one front war. I wonder what would have happened if Japan attacked Russia instead of striking east, as they strongly considered? But for Europe, Russia obviously did most the fighting. It's debatable whether they would have held on long enough without supplies from us, and Britain. I think it would have been over by fall of 42. We certainly did more to WIN the war than any future NATO members. England endured more, and showed a lot of grit. But they made no gains, anywhere, before we were involved. They probably would have been starved out by u boats, invaded, lost the middle East. That means losing India, and African colonies. We then have no bases, there is no massive seaborne invasion. We bailed them out. We returned the favor to France for bailing us out during the revolution. Still waiting on returns from the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, etc. But instead they stick us with the bill for their continued defense.

capedcrusader


DMoney Feb 9, 2019 3:40pm

A nuclear warhead is only as powerful as the means used to deploy it. They do not have reliable missles to threaten us. Could they hit South Korea with current technology? probably. But not Japan.

Japan is 649 miles from North Korea.

oldhomey

They were sending missiles far beyond Japan, so much so that the worry was they might send one on top of Guam. However, given your grasp of history and geography, let alone geopolitics, it is apparent that you don't care much what happens, as long Trump remains president and a couple more ultra-conservative Supreme Court justices can be installed to reverse Roe vs. Wade.

DMoney

They sent A missle that far. Singular. Can't be ready for nuclear war with one positive result and about 100 failures. I study geopolitics as a hobby. Could give you geopolitical goals for almost any major country. North Korea is regime survival. As long as the ruling family is intact and warm and fuzzy, no war. But back a wild and scared animal into a corner and they will bite. We'd still crush them, but we'd lose thousands of lives, Seoul might be wiped out, we'd spend about a trillion dollars, and we'd be on the brink of a major regional conflict with China and Russia. If that turns hot, watch out.

oldhomey

If what you have parading on these posts are examples of your geopolitical knowledge, D, I suggest you take up a different hobby, because you have shown a tremendous ignorance of geopolitics in every attempt you have made to express your opinions on it. This isn't Parker Brothers board game, it is history and economics and culture, all the things about which you show absolutely no curiosity. If you need an explanation about Parker Brothers, let me know. I will tell you all about them. Your naivete is both entertaining and appalling.

DMoney

Which part? I'm obviously painting in broad strokes. I'm not getting more in depth on a regular basis, too many non abortion news topics to discuss.

capedcrusader

So you study geopolitics "as a hobby". Perhaps you should study the effects of what one bomb did to Nagasaki and Hiroshima as compared to what one bomb would do today. I'm sure glad you are not Secretary of Defense or President.

oldhomey

Well, D, let me explain it this way: You may think you are discussing issues other than abortion, but in reality you are dogmatically defending every unreasonable, insensible stance Donald Trump takes, because he is appointing extremist right-wing conservatives to the federal bench, and you hope they will reverse Roe vs. Wade.

DMoney

Caped--fully aware of the modern power of nukes. It's a good thing we're further away from that possibility today than we were a couple years ago.

DMoney

Homey explain one thing regarding geopolitics that I've been mistaken about. Give some credence to your claims about my ignorance.

DMoney

Great conspiracy theory on Roe vs. Wade. I would indeed be interested in it's overturn. God forbid more children are allowed to live. But, considering that's unlikely, I'll take it over the new trend of 3rd term/post birth execution.

oldhomey

Well, D, you insist on the idea that we won the second world war practically on our own and that NATO is an idea whose time has come and gone and we should get out, and Trump has the North Korean's number and will soon have them giving up their nukes. There are many more, but that should be enough for you to try to climb out of before this particular string times out and disappears.

capedcrusader

Your implication is we are "farther away" from that possibility because of Trumps meeting with North Korea. We are in no way farther away from it even if you feel more comfortable about it. It could happen at any time and all it would take is a loon like Trump to call the shot.

DMoney

.....that's it? That's your argument? Everything you said was completely fabricatred. 100%. Never said we won the war single handid. I said Europe was completely overrun quickly and even Britain would have been, if not for us. That's historical fact.

DMoney

Never said we need to get out of NATO. I said we need to if they don't pay fair share. Never said Trump will get rid of nukes. I think he'll reach a deal on that, but it's not important. I said that without the means to deploy them, minimal threat.

oldhomey

Well, D, within the last two weeks I recall you telling us that since the 1990s -- presumably you base that after the dismantlement of the Soviet Union -- that there is no need of NATO anymore, and you insist we have other military alliances with Western Europe, anyway. What are they?

oldhomey

I guess this is one of your endorsements for NATO's continuance?

DMoney Feb 8, 2019 3:12pm

So you are saying that without NATO, the USSR would have taken over Europe? The same Europe that got overrun by Nazi's in about 6 months? I would like to think our military and nuclear arsenal played a preeeetttyy big role in preventing that. Even if NATO does get credit for that--how about it's use since 1990? That's 29 years of waste. We spend billions and billions annually maintaining our equipment, troops and bases from Norway to Italy. Why is that our responsibility?

DMoney

We are allied with the UK. Nothing to do with NATO. Allied with France, loosely.

DMoney

Half their missles don't make it half that far.

martian2

omg dmoney, its not the distance to where the missile landed in the sea that mattered, its the path that it took, the arc if you will. The Missile(s) Nk launched went high into the atmosphere and into space and then came down into the ocean. so if you straighten that arc out a little, it could of easily reached the main land of the US. There is your lesson for today. But since Trump declared them to be nuclear free and no longer a threat, you can sleep easy tonight, no worries!

DMoney

"if you straighten out that arc a little"......as if that's easy to do for a backwards country with secondhand soviet technology....or in physics in general. Ask Physics. I think he or she would finally agree with me.

martian2

the hard part of enriching uranium and making a nuclear warhead is already done by Nk, we are told. I'm sure they can figure out the part of what trajectory is needed to hit Hawaii or main land of USA. But no worries, we are also told that they are no longer a threat.

DMoney

They hadn't as of their last round of testing. They won't as long as the rockets stay in their silos. Even in the 40's the only method we had to deliver nukes was via airplane. They have no such planes and even if they did they wouldn't make it out of NK. So NK is even further behind us now than we were in the 40's. Let's keep them that way.

crank

[rolleyes]

oldhomey

That 11:46am comment is the most articulate thing you have ever posted, crank.

crank

Oh? How's that? What did you suppose I articulated, oldtroller?

oldhomey

I dunno that you ever articulated anything clearly, crank, but your 11:46am post seems to be a straight forward statement that you were happy at that moment. I am happy for you.

crank

Hmmm... #troll

oldhomey

Well, crank, if I misinterpreted your 11:46am comment, and you were in fact NOT happy, I will apologize. I don't know why you are always so cranky.

capedcrusader

Baloney. Nothing was accomplished by his visit. Just another distraction from his legal troubles. Trumps visit to North Korea & Nixons visit to China were like cheerleaders in the NFL. Nice to see but doesn't get the players to perform better...

oldhomey

Well-said, caped.

DMoney

No ICBM tests, no nuclear tests, no artillery exchanges, no naval battles, no war games, no aircraft carriers in the area. All things that have happened since Trump's meeting with NK.

capedcrusader

No guarantee any of that was going to happen during that time frame anyway. And if you think Jong-un is going to give up everything he's been working for since becoming their leader because of Trump you are naive. Trumps visit was a dog and pony show.

DMoney

It WAS happening, for years and years. Many SK soliders and sailors dead. Nuclear testing quarterly. Rocket testing monthly. It's not now, none of it. Thanks to your POTUS.

capedcrusader

You sir are very naive especially when it comes to geopolitics. You exaggerate your the interest in your hobby and possibly your intelligence with almost every response. Maybe if trolling wasn't your primary reason. Or possibly your need to feel right all the time.... But keep yapping. I honestly can't do or say anything that makes you look any more fooolish than what you spew.

DMoney

Yeah? How so. You sound like homey...I'm wrong but not one example given. Yet, I'm the naive and ignorant one. Odd.

DMoney

Crickets. Thanks for playing.

capedcrusader

I don't get into pissing contests with people who have the need to feel right all the time. It usually ends in disappointment and not always on my part. I've given you one regarding your asinine comment regarding nuclear missles. I had given you another on your claim in another thread about Walker winning because of Milwaukee and Madison. YOU had crickets for a response. You aren't right about everything you discuss even when you consider yourself "well read". You know what they say regarding facts and opinions... Anyway, carry on with yourself if you feel you're getting somewhere.

DMoney

NK does not possess a missle that can strike the US. So long as they are not launching, they will not possess such a missle. Case closed. I don't feel right, I am right. Trump gets credit for putting a hold on this. We'll see how it plays out, but so far, so good.

capedcrusader

Again, baloney.

DMoney

Your misguided opinion about a fact doesn't make it less true. Your approval is not required.

johnnybragatti

Way too funny : DMoney and his outlandish perversions . Since the Orange Carcass single handedly whooped ISIS,perhaps he can bring "em to Madison, our Home Town and train "em to be teachers? If they get outta hand ? bring back Walker and he can "stand up to them".!!! Dmooney said it"s alright

DMoney

Keep yapping. I honestly can't do or say anything that makes you look any more foolish than what you spew.

The Mouse of Death

[censored]It would behoove us to scrap the INF so now we can put nukular missles like the Pershing II in West Nazi Germany with one-megaton warheads with a six-minute flight time to Moscow where the Kremlin tells Agent Orange what to do. We are indeed bemezzled by global thermonukular war like the Vladimir who has 10,000 secret warheads on Topol-Ms so the USA is the Carthage and the Russia is Roma and the Putin is Scipio and the USA is crushed by its own elephants at the Battle of Zama.

DMoney

I guess I don't get the bad vibes around foreign policy. We're in a better place with North Korea than we've been in a long time. Back to square one but the Iran deal was controversial from day 1. We haven't lost any allies. We're standing strong against China and Russia. No new wars since he started. There's a lot of rhetoric around his foreign policy but I see little negative substance.

martian2

NK is no longer a nuclear threat... a lie. the new trade agreement with canada and mexico will bring back jobs to the US...another lie. Wants to pullout of NATO, a bout as stupid as stupid gets. Tariffs against Chinese goods, costing farmers here big time and consumers. Pulls out of Paris accord, another stupid is as stupid does decision. Crisis at the southern border, another blatant lie. Rising deficits, another burden on future tax payers. Gutting environmental laws, more sickness and pollution, what can be wrong with that. I could go on and on. You can look through those rose colored glasses all day but reality is much different than what you chose to see.

DMoney

Half of your examples have nothing to do with foreign policy. Half are your opinion, which most Republicans disagree with.

DMoney

Another thing, name something NATO has gotten us since after WW2? Now name how much we've paid. Now, name what we've done for NATO since WW2. The numbers are staggeringly bad.

martian2

Hello there Dmoney, where have you been for the last 60 years? Your youthful inexperience is showing bigly! NATO has given not just us but the world, a peaceful Europe. It has helped us and the world during the cold war to keep the Soviet Union in check. In fact you should count NATO as a big reason why the Soviet Empire collapsed in eastern Europe. Now many eastern European countries have independence, and democracy, and growing economies! All of that is good for us. There are more markets we can sell to, more trading partners, and stability in that part of the world. All things that Putin doesn't like, and why he would like to see NATO gone. Next time you hear Rush bringing up those type of stupid questions, just turn the radio off, he definitely doesn't know what he is talking about.

DMoney

So you are saying that without NATO, the USSR would have taken over Europe? The same Europe that got overrun by Nazi's in about 6 months? I would like to think our military and nuclear arsenal played a preeeetttyy big role in preventing that. Even if NATO does get credit for that--how about it's use since 1990? That's 29 years of waste. We spend billions and billions annually maintaining our equipment, troops and bases from Norway to Italy. Why is that our responsibility?

oldhomey

D, up until now I tried to give you a pass as a reasonably intelligent human being. Your 3:12pm post exposes you as a completely clueless human being. If your lack of grasp of history and our post-World War II relationship with history is indicative of how people in your age cohort think, we might as well throw in the towel as a nation. Without NATO, Russia would have taken away a huge chunk of Europe, yes. You apparently do not know that the United States is a fully fledged member -- the preeminent member -- and yes, because we had nuclear power and the free world's arsenal while Europe lay in ruins after the war, we were the key to NATO being the deterrent to the Soviet Union directly after the war. The treaty, however, grew in importance as Europe rebuilt and recovered, being the principle organization in tamping down the numerous European flashpoints that caused nearly continuous war on that continent for centuries. And it became the spear point for western democracies to counter aggression by the Soviets, China and rogue states. What has it done for you lately? It has kept the world out of a full-blown war for 70 years and unprecedented span of peace. You want your kids and your grandchildren committed to a major war, or perhaps incinerated? That is what will happen if America goes home, locks the door and tells the rest of the world to buzz off. You, my friend are not only ill-informed, you are beginning to look like your are more than a little dim-witted.

DMoney

If I am more than dimwitted, how do you explain someone who self-defense their own argument? All I have to do is rile you leftists up and you self destruct. To elaborate on your well stated point about US backing of NATO, a rhetorical question: Without US military might and nuclear arsenal in the 50's, 60's and 70's, NATO is? The answer is: skrewed. You yourself say they would have been overrun. Therefore, our need for and reason to spend billions iiiis? Answer: worthless. Let's pick the allies we want and do it ourselves if push comes to shove. Like we've always done and like our"allies" expect us to do.

DMoney

*self-defeats

DMoney

How does it not bother you smart gentlemen that even you admit Europe doesn't stand a chance without us, yet most of them refuse to spend the recommended 2% of GDP on defense? Despite Trump's urging. Yet we spend over 3%--billions and billions-- to help fund vases, troops and equipment to cover their irresponsibility? There's no way to defend that. And of course the other countries are mad, we're suggesting they need to ante up and pitch in fairly. Same as a child when they need to do chores.

oldhomey

Ahem. If Europe fell to the Soviets, the United States would have been "skrewed", too. Our investment in the defense of Western Europe is a bargain that never stops repaying us.

The entire lesson of the two great world wars of the 20th Century was that the world is now too small and too interconnected to allow nationalist disagreements to stew and fester too long, because when they burst and boil over, they burn everybody now, and with nuclear weapons a part of the equation, it is just unthinkable that we can allow that to happen.

That is why our treaties are so crucial to the peace, and why we have to maintain and improve these relationships at every opportunity. I grew up in milieu of neighborhoods with fathers dealing with PTSD from WWII before it was an identified problem, a neighborhood where many fathers were in wheel chairs and dealing with missing limbs from the war, in a neighborhood where older people lived in the grief of sons who never returned from the war. I grew into a generation that went in great numbers to an ill-considered war in South East Asia in which 55,000 young men my age came home in body bags and half my generation fought bitterly against the war on the home front.

In retrospect, I grew up with an immense dread of the underpinnings of war. I suggest you do the same. Pretending that peace maintains itself is bizarrely naive.

DMoney

Western Europe was overrun in WW2...we were not skrewed, even while fighting a completely separate massive war in the Pacific.

I've never said we can't or shouldn't have alliances. If we pulled out of NATO tomorrow, we would still be allied with Western powers. But we could align ourselves with those that are equal partners and not leeches.

The Truman Doctrine was created under the assumption that the countries we support match our commitment, in scale. They aren't doing that.

oldhomey

D, if we pulled out of NATO, you say we would still have alliances with western powers. I am not aware of any other military alliance that we have with western Europe. Perhaps you can enlighten me. We have had, until Donald Trump, a number of trade treaties with other western powers. Those are now all up in the air, too. So perhaps you could explain to me and the rest of us how we will continue have a close alliance with our traditional partners in geo-politics if we break every meaningful bond with them. Do you think they will trust us after this? I anxiously await your answer, as I am a bit distressed by what I see Donald Trump, the man you voted for and continue to support through every travesty that he creates, is doing. And just why do you stoutly defend him? Are you saying Hillary Clinton would have been the disaster Trump has turned out to be?

oldhomey

Is this how you un-dimwittedly "defense" your arguments, D? Trump has already shown us that you cannot debate an ignoramus who ignores all facts and reality. You in this string have strongly added to that proof. Please read just one good book on WWII. No, we did not single-handedly win the war for humanity. In fact, Russia did more to defeat the Germans than we did. Our close ally, Great Britain, threw more into the effort than we did, too, out of pure survival instinct. We certainly had a huge ally, too, in our close friends, the Canadians, and the free French Forces, the free Polish forces, the free Norwegian forces. In the Pacific we had the assistance of Great Britain and its Commonwealth partners, Australia and New Zealand. And now we have a president with rabid supporters like you who want to stick it to those allies and walk away from them.

But you just go ahead and keep living in your little bubble. There doesn't seem to be anything to help you burst out of it into reality.

DMoney

I never said anything remotely close to the US saving the world. You completely made that up, yet again. The fact is, all of the European allies got wiped out, save Britain because of the channel. Britain probably would have been occupied, possibly even Russia in 41, without our arsenal of democracy. After the war, which we had a large part in winning, we then rebuilt Europe. We guaranteed democracy west of Berlin along with the British and French. But there wasn't a NATO yet. Like I said, can still have allies without NATO.

I would put my knowledge of WW2, modern history, and geopolitics up against yours any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

DMoney

I've probably read about 5,000 good books on WW2, literally.

DMoney

We had the assistance of the British in the Pacific alright. Their obsolete ships did a great job absorbing Japanese bombs and torpedoes. Their garrison of Hong Kong was routed by a force half their size. Only after we pushed them back across the Pacific did the allies have any capability.

martian2

oh my Dmoney, Britian was not saved because it had a channel during WWII. It was saved because Hitler delayed the invasion for some reason, and he let the British military escape from Dunkirk. Hitler was a bumbling fool who had no idea what he was doing. That was why Britain was spared. We didn't enter the war till after the pearl harbor attack. Our so called democracy before that did not save Europe or Britain. Don't try to rewrite history.

DMoney

Martian, even worse!!! Thank you for further illustrating my point--our great and powerful ally was spared by an idiotic dictator. Let's now pay for their defense! They deserve it!

DMoney

Let me know if you want to know why Hitler didn't attack. There is no definitive answer, but there are theories that make sense. And yes, it's all part of him being an idiot. Good thing he was. Because without England as a launching pad, we'd have been running the gauntlet in the Mediterranean on our way up to Southern France or Italy. We still would have won, but would have had many thousands more dead.

oldhomey

Who said you said anything about saving the world, D? Every opinion you have expressed in this string is one that would contribute to a failing and falling out of nations, condemning us to war, not protecting the peace. If you have, indeed, read 5,000 books about World War II, you obviously absorbed very little from them in the way of knowledge. I don't want to call you a liar, but figuring you have been an adult for 25 years -- and I doubt that you are that old -- that would mean reading roughly 200 books a year, or four books a week. Ahem. I would have to question that. And there are scholarly, historically accurate books about World War II and trash pop fiction novels about World War II that appeal to armchair wannabes enamored of unlikely stories of two-fisted heroes behind enemy lines blowing up Nazi weapons factories and bedding sweet blondes our hard-charging protagonists convert to the Allied side. These popcorn books can be consumed in four hours or so. Is that what you've been reading?

oldhomey

By the way, D, you have been putting your knowledge of geopolitics and WW2 up against me and guys like martian2 for weeks now, daily and sometimes twice on Sundays. You know what? You have been exposed every time as not knowing what you are talking about.

DMoney

"No, we did not single-handedly win the war for humanity. " - Oldhomey

DMoney

You really believe that these weakling, 1.5% of a small GDP countries would sacrifice their national security and integrity just to spite us? Because they don't like Trump? We could get them to pay everything if we wanted to. Just to ensure we remain as a deterrent. Just last week, South Korea announced they would be covering more of the cost of our military presence there. You think that was just a coincidence? Or maybe they saw Trump's hardball approach with NATO and easing tensions with NK and don't want to chance us leaving. They are paying more because they must. They have no choice.

DMoney

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna969756

oldhomey

Are you completely addled at this point, D? You put quotes around something I said with no explanation? What was that about? What, pray tell, is a weakling 1.5% GDP nation? All the presidents in the last three decades have noted that the NATO partners were not living up to their promised expenditures on defense. It didn't start with Trump. What started with Trump was the threat to junk NATO -- talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water. And his salivating legions who love his Supreme Court nominations -- people like you, who have only one issue in the forefront of your brain and little knowledge about anything else -- think not only the threat is just dandy on Trump's part, you would like us to actually junk NATO.

DMoney

You implied that I said we saved humanity single-handily. I did not. You made that up and your quote that I provided for your fragile memory proves that. Re-read past posts for further clarity. As I also stated previously, NATO specifically states that it's members spend 2% or greater of it's GDP on defense. Almost none of our "allies" are at that mark, and many closer to 1%. Meanwhile, we must spend over 3% on defense, in great part to fill the void. They aren't willing to provide their share. You say most presidents have said that--this president is DOING something about it. It's working. See my link about South Korea increasing their spending on our troops/bases.
All you've done is paint me as ignorant to this topic--but you've not actually disproved my logic or facts. Yet, I am the ignoramus? Very very strange.....

oldhomey

As I have said earlier, D, every president for decades has noted that our NATO partners aren't maintaining a military budget that they agreed to maintain and has pushed them to build up their military outlays. But they did not suggest scuttling NATO over the issue as Trump is doing, with brilliant supporters of his like yourself piping up that you think, in fact, pulling out of NATO would be an excellent idea, because, after all, we have other western military alliances, too, which you fail to identify because you can't -- a surprising fact since you are SO grounded in geopolitics, by your own admission.

I think you must think like Trump that our NATO partners should be paying us to maintain our partnership in the alliance. That would be great, establishing the U.S. military as the biggest mercenary military force in the world. It would even extend to South Korea and Japan, presumably.

Trump certainly has proved to be a fabulous negotiator on the international stage, just like he has with the Democratic -led House. It seems to be a negotiation technique based on having tantrums. The trouble is, every good parent knows the best way to deal with a tantrum is to ignore it, and that seems to be Trump's Achilles heel. "Achilles heel", by the way, is an old historical reference, but I shouldn't have to point that out to a history nerd like you. It would make even Oliver and Hardy laugh.

And as you have so correctly chastised me for unfairly saying you claimed that the U.S. saved humanity, I humbly apologize. You were only saying that those weak, inept Europeans were easily beaten by Germany in WW2, and apparently those inept, out-of-date British were about to fold, too, but the U.S. came galloping like the cavalry and pulled everybody else's chestnuts out of the fire pretty much by ourselves. Even the Russians hardly put up a fight until we came in and bucked them up. So we didn't save humanity, by your reckoning, only everybody who was not in the Axis powers. Excuse me! It teaches me to never dispute somebody who has read so much about WW2 that I couldn't win an argument with you about it any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

DMoney

Past presidents whined about it and got nowhere. Trump is playing hard ball, which is a successful tool in negotiations when you are dealing from a place of strength. South Korea has already Agreed to pay more (funny you don't acknowledge that). NATO will pay their share, as they have no choice other than becoming the next Ukraine.

As far as I have seen, we're not asking to profit from our shield in Europe. Merely want others to pay their share, which I've stated several times and you conveniently haven't acknowledged yet again. Regarding WW2, you are absolutely correct, dramatics aside. Britain was reduced to a militia with no heavy weapons. They still had a great Navy and air force but both of those were pushed to the max. Bare bones force in North Africa. They were on the brink continuously until we increased lend lease an eventually joined the war. Soviets were absolutely devestated during '41. Barely hung on by akin of their teeth. As lend lease went from a trickle to a flood, their fortunes changed. Germans recognized this--launched major campaign to eliminate Baltic and arctic ports to reduce inflow of aid. The beautiful thing about history is it's factual, available and indisputable. Do your research. Look at aid dollars and when they arrived and how that corresponded with allies offensives and results. The more you ridicule me--the deeper you get into your hole.

oldhomey

Thanks, D, for retelling the history of WWII for me and others on here based on your reading 5,000 books about it literally, or perhaps figuratively, or something.

It's good to have reliable accounts of history, is it not, D? Reading about the America First folks in the run-up to America's entry into the war kind of makes me think who on these posts would have been on what side of that argument if they lived back then. You know, the America First folks who were an extremely powerful force back then, demanding that the US stay out of the war, to avoid all messy foreign entanglements, insisting that the war in Europe was THEIR war with nothing at stake in it for the US.

Sort of like the people now, I guess, who think NATO is a dead issue and keeping maintaining close relationships with like-minded allies who are determined to maintain the peace is silly, wondering what we are getting for all their tax money expended on it. FDR had a tough time, didn't he, even convincing those short-sighted folks that Lend Lease was a good idea, that it was in our best interests in supplying material to Hitler's enemies. He was roundly condemned by the America Firsters for that. I wonder where you would have been standing on that?

But reliable history sources are sort of like reliable news vs. fake and alternative news. While you say the Allies were sitting out the war while the Soviets and Germans were slaughtering each other in 1941-1943, they were actually engaged with Germans and Italians in North Africa, then in Sicily and Italy, striking at the Axis' southern underbelly rather than full force in western Europe, as Stalin was begging them to do.

That weakling British force in North Africa was doing fairly well on its own, eventually beating the krappe out of Rommel, chasing his tanks into a 1,500-mile retreat before the Americans showed up. The Americans didn't fare so well at first, perhaps understandably, because they were new to the war and desert fighting with untested troops and weapons.

But the Germans put up a heckuva of fight in Italy, where we struggled for nearly two years to dislodge them, coinciding somewhat with the Siege of Leningrad, something you just read about "literally" in a 730 page book. About two million died in Leningrad, but that was just a happy outcome of Nazis and Commies killing each other with no real impact on the war, I guess.

And those pathetically inept Brits, for Pete's Sake, in the Pacific. I mean it is ridiculous that they could have been so surprised and quickly overrun by Japanese forces who moved against them in surprise attacks on Dec. 8, 1941. The Americans would never have let that happen to them.

DMoney

Pre-war we were not a superpower. We had a small military, except for the Navy. We had just intervened in a European war 30 years prior. We were recovering from the worst economic depression ever. Of course many people weren't willing to fight. Even the French and British desperately wanted to avoid war. I would have absolutely been an isolationist. When the war appeared to be critical in late 41, and after Japan attacked, we had no choice. I'd have enrolled.

The British were about 60 miles away from losing Africa and the middle East. Only after receiving our Sherman tanks, vast supplies and ammunition, and a pincer movement from Tunisia, led by us, did they turn the tide in North Africa. Then, a coalition led by us invaded Sicily and italy. The free French and Poles provided about as many troops during this as Brazil. We led operation overlord. Eisenhower was made supreme commander. UK forces we're stalemated the entire time, we broke through. We prevented defeat at the battle of the bulge. We crossed the Rhine first.

The British weren't attacked by surprise in the Pacific. They valiantly sailed towards Indonesia on the offensive, all hands at the ready. They were annihilated. We put up more of a fight in the Philippines with mostly philippino farmers than they did at Hong Kong, the "Gibraltar of the Pacific". Despite outnumbering the Japanese 2-1 with professional soldiers.

This is all fact, I encourage you to read it. Google what I am writing. As for NATO, we're practically in the same position. European countries neglecting their defense because we will protect them, at a disproportionate cost. If they don't want to match our commitment, then we should back out. We might have to clean up their mess again. Maybe the third time will be a charm?

You are out of your league on this topic, amigo.

oldhomey

You certainly have proved that you don't "get" the bad vibes around Trump's foreign policy in both your 1:55am post and your 1:20pm response to martian, D. You don't have blinders on when it comes to Trump's foreign policy, you apparently are willingly wearing night shades, completely blinding you to it. Better place with North Korea than we have been in a long time? Are you kidding us? They haven't given Trump a thing, but he has been giving them ground that they never should have been granted, from our elimination of war games on the peninsula to keep them honest to giving Kim a status on the world stage that he has never had before and should not have. It is strengthening North Korea's position with China, rather than weakening it, and we have an idiot president going in to "negotiate" some more without benefit of and even will to listen to the people who know North Korea.

Everything martian said in his 6:11am post is linked to Trump's "poor decisions" on foreign policy. You, a man who prides himself in his good decisions, fail to see that? You once again rush in to defend Trump for his idiocies, something which you swear you never do.

Rick Czeczok

Speaking of making bad decisions. How about when you were over in Nam making a profit on the war, while others your same age were dying in the rice paddies. And tell us how you dodged the war going to college, that you admitted you didn’t want to go to. Mommy and daddy made sure of that.

martian2

oh ricky boy, someone let you out of your cage i see. Now what did you teach those 13 years? And how come you didn't go to war in Iraq? And now its revealed you won the state spelling bee contest when you were 12 years old by cheating!! Is there nothing you won't stoop to. You think you are the only one who can make outrageous claims that have nothing to do with the subject at hand. Think again!

oldhomey

Ricky! You are actually showing a bit of progress here, learning how to spell college all on your own! Now go make a collage. It might settle your rather cracked imagination down a bit.

capedcrusader

oldhomey, it is time to ignore Czeczok. He's nothing but a troll looking for trouble where there usually isn't any. At least let him have a small victory thinking he is smarter than everyone else. I think everyone who reads and comments here knows better by now.

PhysicsIsFun

Deep thoughts. Ban this jerk!

DMoney

Being on the brink of war: artillery bombardments, naval battles, dead soldiers, ICBM tests, nuclear tests, war games--is a better position to be in than we are right now after only one meeting?

martian2

when dealing with a crazy dictator like NK's leader, you never ever count your wishes as already accomplished. Only thing that has changed is that Trump isn't calling him names anymore, but that can change in an instant. Your made up list makes no sense. Where have there been dead soldiers in the last fifty years in Korea?

oldhomey

Yes, D, I recall before Trump was elected we and the rest of the world were considering building bomb shelters and sending half a million or so troops to South Korea in anticipation for the big showdown with Kim. The newspapers and television was aboil with these stories, even the alt-right propaganda websites that you rely on. Right? And then Donald Trump, the master negotiator, calmly and with great dignity befitting an American president, went in front of the U.N. General Assembly and ridiculed Kim as "Little Rocket Man", calming the waters. Kim did Trump one better, calling him a "dotard", a pejorative that I doubt Trump knows yet what it means. Then the two men met and Kim showered Trump with compliments, causing Trump to declare Kim to be a warm, wonderful, brilliant man, telling us a day later they had come to an agreement and North Korea as a nuclear power and threat to the world was history. Boy, we are SO lucky to have Trump as our president and you behind him and his every move. It assures us that, as long as Trump remains president, there is a champion in the White House of the anti-abortion cause. Whew!

DMoney

Martain, look it up.

DMoney

Homey, yeah I couldn't have really said it better myself. But I don't think anything was ever declared as over and done with. I think it was made very clear that it's a work in progress. How many nuclear tests since the meeting? How many ICBM tests flying over Japan and in the direction of Hawaii? How many artillery exchanges? How many threats? Goose eggs. Progress.

martian2

oh yes it was Dmoney. Trump declared unequivocally that NK is no longer a nuclear threat after his first meeting. Now intel has revealed they are still working to improve the nuclear capability. Another lie from Trump.

DMoney

We went from the brink to dormant. Whatever was said, it doesn't change that fact. If one meeting can accomplish so much, further meetings should bear fruit. No other president has accomplished as much with them so far.

oldhomey

D, does this sound like Trump said his initial dance with Kim and North Korea was just the opening of a continuing process?:

"President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that the North Korean regime no longer poses a nuclear threat following his summit with Kim Jong Un, even though the meeting produced no verifiable proof that the rogue regime will discontinue its nuclear program.

"In a series of tweets, Trump sought to take political credit for the summit but risked undermining the US strategy in the region.

"'Just landed - a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,' Trump tweeted as he arrived back in Washington. 'There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.'

Aren't you the same guy who keeps telling us that you do not rush in to defend everything Trump does, no matter how false or wrong it might be? Is this another example of that?

oldhomey

Wow! You really nailed it with your goose eggs examples of how North Korea's nuclear capability development has gone dormant since he began talking with our "dotard" president, D. You are really, really up on your facts, except that this was the analysis on that subject that emerged a little over a year ago, and Kim has been busy ever since then:

"Kim Jong Un told the world this month that North Korea took steps to stop making nuclear weapons in 2018, a shift from his earlier public statements. The evidence shows production has continued, and possibly expanded.

"Satellite-imagery analysis and leaked American intelligence suggest North Korea has churned out rockets and warheads as quickly as ever in the year since Kim halted weapons tests, a move that led to his June summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. The regime probably added several intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear proliferation analysts say, with one arms control group estimating that Kim gained enough fissile material for about six more nuclear bombs, bringing North Korea’s total to enough for between 30 to 60."

DMoney

Nothing was agreed upon for NK to abandon and give up it's nuclear material. If they are not testing, it's useless. They were just learning how to project their arsenal and failed most of the time. Without further testing and missile launches, it's practically harmless. Trump has prevented further testing and practice. I wouldn't be surprised if the groundwork was laid for disarmament after 2nd meeting.

Trump is a loudmouth who habitually makes grandiose statements. I'm focused on results, not rhetoric. And the fact is, we're further from war today than we've been since the day the armistice was signed.

oldhomey

D, I am not going to bother looking up the figures, but North Korea already has scores of operational nuclear weapons and delivery systems. They are ready to go, though we don't know if they are locked and loaded. They may want to test some more to refine things, but what they have they know will work.

The U.S. has not tested nuclear devices since 1992.. Does that mean we aren't ready? Explain, please.

DMoney

A nuclear warhead is only as powerful as the means used to deploy it. They do not have reliable missles to threaten us. Could they hit South Korea with current technology? probably. But not Japan, Australia, certainly not the US. Without live missles testing, their nukes are guaranteed to sit in storage. Trump has prevented further missle testing. Therefore, he has eliminated the nuclear threat albeit temporarily.

oldhomey

D, you simply operate in a world of your own, not the one the rest of us lie in. I could correct you on your assumptions about North Korea's delivery capabilities, but at this point, why would I? You have your hands over your ears and are making loud noises so as to not let any reality slip in.

oldhomey

Lovely typo, "lie" for "live".

DMoney

Regarding our nuclear delivery capabilities, I'm quite sure by '92 we've pretty much mastered the art of destruction. We had just proven we could land conventional munitions within a couple meters of our target in a live shooting war. Which we did several thousand times consistently. No need to detonate nuclear warheads when we know we have the tools to deliver them across our nuclear triad with confidence. North Korea has no relevant experience, no consistent success, no proven technology. They must test and they are not testing.

oldhomey

Gosh, I am humbled, D. How could I ever disagree with somebody about our nuclear capabilities when you say things that sound SO impressive like "No need to detonate nuclear warheads when we know we have the tools to deliver them across our nuclear triad with confidence"? Gosh, if one didn't know better, it would sound like you know what you are talking about.

DMoney

We KNOW they work. We've USED them. We've launched thousands of cruise missiles from subs. We've dropped thousands of bombs from planes. We've launched hundreds or thousands of rockets to space. We've got ample redundancy in case one method fails. That's the nuclear triad. NK doesn't have close to any, and so long as they aren't testing, they won't improve. Trump has been successful thus far, end of the story.

martian2

yes homey Dmoney talking points are straight from the far right radio talk shows. We showed him over and over how important NATO was and is. then he keeps saying well what did we get since the 90's, keeps changing the parameters of his argument. What he doesn't understand is that our military leaders and politicians want us to be the main players in NATO. We want military bases in Europe, makes it easier to deploy quickly when military action is needed. It creates a deterrent, keeps our enemies in check and therefor creates stability here at home. With Putin the dictator in Russia, he would love to see NATO gone, and Trump wants to oblige him. It would give him more options to act aggressively and militarily. The truth is, we can't afford not to be there, so people like you can stay home and raise your family in peace time.

Korea is another story. Trump wants to pal up to NK leader, another dictator. This one
is unstable, unreliable, and a consummate liar. Remind you of someone? ON top of that he is about as ruthless as they can get. If Trump gets them to totally give up their nuclear capability I will be the first one to congratulate him. But I am confident that given Trump and Nk Leader's track record, nothing of substance will come about.

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