The United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan supported the resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, which lasted from to Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, son of the founder of the largest construction company in Saudi Arabia, joined the jihad in the s and recruited Saudi fighters. But his opposition to U. Bin Laden, who would found al-Qaeda, left the country by early and was stripped of citizenship in The George W. In , the U.
Some legal scholars, however, say that plaintiffs would likely be unable to collect on any damages. President Trump has encouraged such deals, arguing that they create half a million American jobs ; several major defense firms have made lower projections. Although historically the United States and Saudi Arabia have had the common objectives of regional stability and containing Iran, they differed on core issues during the Obama administration.
Saudi Arabia was dismayed by the lack of U.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a source of contention from early days. Elements of the initiative were adopted by the Bush and Obama administrations. The Saudi royal court denounced the U. As Israeli-Gulf ties, particularly intelligence cooperation, have strengthened over mutual enmity toward Iran, the Trump administration hopes that Saudi Arabia will push the Palestinians to take part in a U. The Trump administration has reversed this. Some U.
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Congress has required that the secretary of state certify the coalition is taking sufficient action to mitigate harm to civilians to continue military support. King Salman appointed bin Salman as crown prince in June Bin Salman had already launched his Vision initiative, which aims to diversify the Saudi economy and boost foreign investment.
The crown prince consolidated his control of military and security agencies , disbanding longstanding patronage networks and quashing potential rivals in the royal family. Within months of his appointment, the heir apparent drew widespread criticism for launching a regional blockade of Qatar and ordering a corruption crackdown in which dozens of Saudi elites were arrested and detained without formal charges. Amid the shake-up, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was summoned to Riyadh, where he resigned under apparent pressure.
He withdrew the resignation upon his return to Lebanon.
The Trump administration has generally embraced the new Saudi leadership. Saudi actions in , however, brought to the fore questions about U. Late this year, U. In November, the U. The critics do have a point about one thing: IMF funds often find their way, quite legitimately, into troubled banks, which use them to shelter large depositors often foreign banks from losses. But abolishing the Fund to address this problem runs enormous risks. During the s the Federal Reserve effectively did not act as a U. World leaders are right to avoid such a risk on a global scale.
And even when the WTO finds the rules to be discriminatory, it cannot change them—it can only allow other countries to retaliate in a proportionate fashion. Nonetheless, since the process generally has worked as the United States expected: most cases in which our country has been involved have been decided or settled in our favor, expanding access for our exports.
Indeed, under recently enacted legislation, the IMF must now report on how well its borrowers are advancing labor and environmental standards. But would such well-intentioned initiatives succeed? The history of developed countries suggests that standards will rise as average incomes grow and citizens demand improved labor and environmental protections. Because trade is a well-documented means for countries to improve their living standards, it would be counterproductive to deny emergency financing or market access to countries that may not adhere to some minimum standards.
The answer is that many people and businesses in developing countries already operate outside the law. Passing and enforcing more laws that add first-world protections will slow their economic development—and thus improvements in environmental and labor conditions—by driving more business into the underground economy, where even third-world standards are not enforced. A middle course between the extremes promises both greater economic stability and advances in living standards.
But it will require reform of global institutions, coupled with policies at home to ease anxieties about globalization. To its credit, the IMF has made its operations much more open since the Asian financial crisis. Now it should reach out to nongovernmental organizations to hear their concerns and explain how its policies are or are not consistent with their aims. The WTO, meanwhile, should welcome briefs from nongovernmental parties. If Seattle teaches anything, it is that secrecy breeds mistrust.
It is now widely accepted that countries with weak financial systems should be able to restrict short-term borrowings in foreign currency such as those that helped lay the foundations for the Asian crisis.
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It is also generally recognized that countries should not maintain pegged, but adjustable, exchange rates because doing so can invite recurrent speculative attacks on currencies and encourage excessive borrowing by firms that erroneously believe rates to be fixed. These gutsy decisions have changed market expectations about the automaticity of emergency lending.
A man who has presided over failed casinos, a collapsed airline, and a sham university is not someone who knows when to step back from the brink. His domestic political circumstances, already bad, seem likely to deteriorate further, which will only make him more angry, and perhaps more apt to take risks.
In one of the worst scenarios, Trump, as a result of his alternating overtures to and belligerence toward China, might bring about a conflict with Xi Jinping, who is consolidating his own power in a way not seen since the days of Mao Zedong. Military conflict between rising and preeminent global powers is hardly anomalous, after all, and the Chinese are no longer in the mood to accept American hegemony.
In , when George H. Bush confronted Saddam, an isolated dictator, a paralyzed Russia and weak China were powerless to interfere. He had at his disposal the American military at the peak of its post—Cold War strength, and a ready set of allies. The United States has grown used to wars with limited risk against minor and isolated rivals.
A conflict with China would be something altogether different. Trump is, and is likely to be to the end, volatile, truculent, and impulsive. When he does face a crisis, whether or not it is of his own making, he will discover just how weak his hand is, because no one—friends or enemies, the American public or foreign leaders—will take anything that he promises or threatens at face value.
Like most bullies, he can be stared down. But when he folds, American foreign policy will fold with him. This dangerous and dispiriting chapter in American history will end, in eight years or four—or perhaps in two or even one, if Trump is impeached or removed under the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. But what will follow? Alas, that is unlikely.
Why the United States Should Spread Democracy | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Damage will continue to appear long after he departs the scene. Americans, after trying every other alternative, can always be counted on to do the right thing, Winston Churchill supposedly said. But who will count on that now, after the victory of a man like Trump?
Indeed, that is what is happening. They too may turn inward, not least because they have lost confidence in the strength of political institutions and the competence of the political class. Two public letters signed by some of its members during the spring and summer of last year denounced Trump not merely for bad judgment but also for bad character. I co-organized one letter and assisted with the other.
Few who signed the letters cared to recant after the election. The administration clearly wanted nothing to do with any of them anyway, although it would have been wise to display magnanimity and recruit some of them. Magnanimity is not, however, part of the Trump playbook. These would have been some of the leading candidates to serve in a normal Republican administration. Finding other candidates has been difficult, but eventually the jobs will be filled. Because the Trump administration prizes personal loyalty above all other qualities—most emphatically including competence, creativity, integrity, and even, in some measure, patriotism—this is a serious problem.
Establishments exist for a reason, and, within limits, they are good things. Despite what populists think, foreign policy is not, in fact, safely handed over to teams of ideologues or adventurous amateurs. Behind each of those men were hundreds of experts and practitioners who had thought hard about the world, and had experience steering the external relations of the Great Republic. An elite consensus that spans both parties means a government that does not shift radically from administration to administration in its commitments to allies or to human rights, in its opposition to enemies, or in its support for international institutions; that has a sense of direction and purpose that transcends partisan politics; that can develop the political appointees our system uniquely depends on to staff the upper levels of government.
As long as that elite is honest, able, open to new talent and to considered course alterations, and tolerant of dissent, it can provide consistency and stability. Most of these veterans, knowing what their former friends and colleagues think of their decision, will be angrily self-justifying. That is human nature. But the upshot will be a Republican establishment riven, like the conservative intellectual class more broadly, by antagonisms all the more bitter because they rest as much on personal feelings of injury or vindication as on principled beliefs.
Glasser of Politico in March. One should not expect from such individuals ready forgiveness of the destroyers.
An America lacking confidence, coupled with the rise of undemocratic powers, populist movements on the right and left, and failing states, is the kind of world few Americans remember. It would be like the world of the late s or early s: disorderly and unstable, but with much worse to follow. There are many reasons to be appalled by President Trump, including his disregard for constitutional norms and decent behavior.
But watching this unlikeliest of presidents strut on the treacherous stage of international politics is different from following the daily domestic chaos that is the Trump administration. Hearing him bully and brag, boast and bluster, threaten and lie, one feels a kind of dizziness, a sensation that underneath the throbbing pulse of routine scandal lies the potential for much worse.
The kind of sensation, in fact, that accompanies dangerously high blood pressure, just before a sudden, excruciating pain. Physical-education programs were designed to encourage health and fitness, but they may be counterproductive. It refers to the mismatch between a long-standing procedural instinct of the press and the current realities of the Era of Trump. This approach has the obvious virtue of seeming fair, as a judge is fair in letting the prosecution and defense each make its case.
Is the latest prime-rate move by the Fed a good idea? Or a bad one?