Arizona senator John McCain recently criticized Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for statements about sometimes setting aside American values in foreign policy. Tillerson said in an address to the State Department on March 3rd, that “if you condition our national security efforts on someone adopting our values…it really creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests, our economic interests.” McCain responded in the New York Times by writing that “we are a country with a conscience….our values are our strength and greatest treasure. We have long believed moral concerns must be an essential part of our foreign policy, not a departure from it.”
McCain is absolutely right that all of our foreign policy decisions should be based on universal values of liberalism – freedom, equality, and a belief in the inherent dignity of all people. The problem is that McCain himself represents the worst in American foreign policy, and has championed some of the most inhumane foreign policy decisions of the last 30 years.
President Trump has had a rough week. On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that the president asked former FBI Director James Comey to drop the bureau’s investigation of former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s alleged ties with Russia. Then, on Wednesday, the Department of Justice appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to take over the investigation of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
With his administration battered by constant scandal, the president is now facing growing talk of impeachment. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., made headlines on Wednesday for likely being the first Republican on the Hill to broach the subject of impeachment publicly. The online wagering site PredictIt saw record bets this week from observers looking to cash in on Trump’s removal from office.
The recent firing of FBI Director James Comey leaves those who are concerned about mass surveillance in a precarious situation. On the one hand, Comey was no protector of Americans’ Fourth Amendment right to privacy, but neither is the president who will be searching for his replacement. One of the suspected favorites to succeed Comey, former Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers, is even more in favor of draconian surveillance than the ousted FBI director.
While Rogers is just one of eight candidates the Trump administration has interviewed for the position, all are establishment intelligence officials, including a Bush-era counterterrorism expert.
President Trump’s “very friendly conversation” with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte included an invitation for a White House visit, though the latter says he may be too busy to accept. The invitation reportedly shocked Trump’s own top officials, who weren’t consulted before it was extended, and was met with horror by human rights groups.
According to the White House readout, the two leaders “discussed the fact that the Philippines is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs,” and Duterte has previously said that Trump has commended him for how he’s dealt with drug dealers.
But Duterte’s drug war is not just a war with cartels, or SWATs teams kicking in doors, as might might be familiar to people in North America but extrajudicial death squads responding to the president’s declaration of open season. And it’s not just talk. Some 8,000 people have been killed already—not counting many more “suicides” by those in police custody—and Duterte was elected only last year.
Politics ain’t beanbag. Timeless words and a timeless truth. Today on the Young Voices podcast we’re joined by Jerrod Laber, who wrote a piece in the Washington Examiner on the partisan politics of playing golf. During every administration the public is treated to 4-8 years of the opposition attacking the president for playing golf and not working, and the Trump years are no different.
Jerrod wrote about this in response to Shaun King, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist, who has argued that Republicans attacked Obama’s golf habits and not Trump because of racism. Jerrod says it is just politics as usual.