Friday, April 27, 2018

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: A French Connection And Koreas Connecting

In the Trump presidency, it appears that foreign policy, as in its
domestic policy, is more about actions than words.

President Trump seemed to get off to a bad beginning in his
relations with many allied leaders, and particularly with the
top figures in the United Kingdom, France and Germany --- as
well as with the hostile leader of North Korea. A certain level of
unprecedented mutual name-calling ensued, and the international
and domestic establishment media were lurid and critical.

Although little is now settled, potentially significant actual
diplomatic movement is underway.

President Emmanuel Macron of France has policy differences
with Mr. Trump, but as a fellow political outsider and
businessman, he seems to have understood the U.S. leader better
and more quickly than his European colleagues. His just-concluded
U.S. visit was a clear triumph for both leaders --- although it is
important to note that some of their differences remain.

The dictator of North Korea has apparently changed diplomatic
directions, including moving to end long-standing hostilities with
neighbor South Korea, and expressing a willingness to end nuclear
weapon ambitions. Even Mr. Trump’s critics are now crediting
his blunt approach to contributing to this.  President Trump rightly
cautions about making any conclusions about this turn of events,
but there is not a little optimism now that significant progress
can be made.

Much has been made about the conflicts between President
Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In her current
U.S. visit, however, both leaders seem to fully understand that
some diplomatic defrosting is now in order. We might expect a
similar environment when the U.S. president soon visits the
United Kingdom.

Other international “hotspots” remain, including the Middle
East, radical regimes in Venezuela and Cuba, more problems
in South America, Russia, and of course, China. But a new
stage in the always dynamic world order seems to have been
reached. Much danger and potential violence are still present,
and will likely continue into the foreseeable future, but the
vacuum created by almost decade of  U.S. diplomatic passivity
has now been replaced with a more constructive and muscular
U.S. engagement.

The key notion, at this point is connection. In order to achieve
agreements, conflicting parties first must find a common
language of their real interests. That is what appears to be
happening now.

Copyright (c) 2018 by Barry Casseman. All rights reserved.

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