Fareed: The Trouble With Trump’s Kim Comments

Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

May 2, 2017

Is This What a Trump Doctrine Looks Like?

President Donald Trump’s willingness to strike deals and build personal relationships with rivals and adversaries alike are “a central pillar of what could be seen as an emerging Trump Doctrine," suggests Gregory Korte in USA Today.
  • The trouble with the Kim comments. But Fareed says that it’s important that President Trump understands when making public pronouncements about North Korea exactly what the regime is.

“This is a country where Kim Jong Il allowed around two million of his own people to starve to death," Fareed says. “And now we hear Trump talk about Kim Jong Un’s ability to maintain power when he is challenged, as if he was taking part in a normal political party contest. Remember, Kim has had people executed even when they posed only a remote threat to his position. That isn’t an admirable trait. And this regime’s actions aren’t something that the leader of the free world should be suggesting are praiseworthy."

  • A troubling message. The Washington Post editorializes that Trump’s endorsement of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was “extraordinary" – and sends a disturbing message.

“A subtle U.S. policy would recognize the need for U.S.-Philippine cooperation without endorsing the contemptible offenses of the current president. Instead, President Trump has offered Mr. Duterte an unqualified embrace that effectively blesses his murderous campaign. In so doing, Mr. Trump sends Asians the message that there is no difference between China’s amoral foreign policy and that of this U.S. administration."

Fareed: Why U.S.-Russia Ties Must Get Better

President Trump discussed “the suffering in Syria" and “safe, or de-escalation, zones to achieve lasting peace" during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. Also covered, according to a read-out from the White House: “[W]orking together to eradicate terrorism throughout the Middle East" and “how best to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea."
  • Fareed says that progress on U.S.-Russia ties is essential as there are simply too many issues on which the United States needs to deal with Russia for the relationship to remain frozen.

“There’s Iran, there’s the Syria conflict, Ukraine, nuclear security and non-proliferation. Remember, even though President Obama and Vladimir Putin had an extremely strained relationship, Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov actually had a very good working relationship," Fareed says.
“But right now, ties are effectively frozen because there remain these outstanding — and understandable — questions over the exact nature of relations between Russia and the Trump campaign. Until that gets cleared up, it’s difficult to see how Russian relations will be unfrozen.
“Imagine any deal that came before there was some clarity on this. Everyone would wonder why Trump was doing it. With that in mind, I think the President — for the country, and also for his own sake — needs to endorse this investigation and say ‘yes, we want to clear this up.’ Otherwise, relations with Russia, which are a huge part of U.S. foreign policy, will remain completely stuck."

Stop Calling Le Pen a Fascist: Fenby

Equating Marine Le Pen and her National Front with fascism in an effort to marginalize them is misguided, writes Jonathan Fenby in the Wall Street Journal. Doing so simply diverts attention from the real problems France faces: “unemployment, deprivation, ethnic tension and the decline of faith in the state that assail the home of liberty, equality and fraternity."
“Ms. Le Pen has the wrong answers in preaching for a nation closed in on itself. Her ban on immigration, for example, would do nothing to address the real problem of second-generation immigrants who feel estranged from society. Protectionism would hardly help a trade-oriented economy. Cutting taxes while boosting state spending would aggravate the longstanding deficit. Cutting free of the European Union would reverse decades of cooperation that have brought France considerable benefit."

The Other Looming Threat to EU

Even if Emmanuel Macron staves off the threat of anti-European Union candidate Marine Le Pen, the bloc’s future won’t be assured. “An economic and political storm is brewing" in Italy, writes Ferdinando Giugliano for Bloomberg View. “And there’s no sign anyone can stop it."
“Italy’s economic problems are in many ways worse than France’s. Public debt stands at nearly 133 percent of gross domestic product; in France, it’s 96 percent. The last time Italy grew faster than France was in 1995. Both countries have struggled to stay competitive internationally — but French productivity has risen by roughly 15 percent since 2001, whereas Italy’s has stagnated," Giugliano writes. “Meanwhile Italian politics goes from bad to worse."

No, Mr President, Please Don’t Make a Splash

President Trump should avoid the temptation to try to make a splash over a peace agreement when he meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, write Hady Amr and Ilan Goldenberg in Foreign Policy.
“For Abbas, going back to negotiations with the Israelis comes with a major cost. After nearly 25 years of failure, the Palestinian public considers negotiations as purely an excuse by the Israelis to buy time while they continue to build settlements and perpetuate the occupation," they write.
“…Trump should instead seek a series of smaller steps from all sides that improve the quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians on the ground, preserve the possibility of the imperiled two-state solution, dissuade both sides from taking unhelpful steps, and create a better environment for future negotiations."

Does Libya Even Exist Anymore?

Libya now exists in name only, “run by myriad mafia-style criminal groups and armed militias," writes Shlomo Ben-Ami for Project Syndicate.
“If the U.S. wants to stem the rise of an extremist haven at Europe’s gates and prevent Libya from becoming another Russian playground, Trump will need to change his mind, and engage with his Western allies in state building in Libya," Ben-Ami writes. “There are a few situations around the world – and this is one – where Trump’s unprecedented foreign-policy reversals might actually produce a positive outcome."

India’s Silicon Valley “Running Out of Water, Fast"

Bangalore, often dubbed India’s Silicon Valley, has a problem: “It is running out of water, fast," writes Samanth Subramanian for Wired.
“Every year since 2012, Bangalore has been hit by drought; last year Karnataka, of which Bangalore is the capital, received its lowest rainfall level in four decades," Subramanian writes. “But the changing climate is not exclusively to blame for Bangalore’s water problems. The city’s growth, hustled along by its tech sector, made it ripe for crisis. Echoing urban patterns around the world, Bangalore’s population nearly doubled from 5.7 million in 2001 to 10.5 million today. By 2020 more than 2 million IT professionals are expected to live here."



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