The Trump administration seems finally to be getting its foreign policy footing, with a number of important achievements in the past few days:
The dangerous post-electoral chaos in Honduras has been ended with the US endorsing the re-election of Juan Orlando Hernández. “‘Now with the decision of the United States, I am out of the game,’ said Salvador Nasralla, the candidate of a leftist coalition who had claimed victory in the highly contested election. ‘Those who govern Honduras are criminals who depend on the United States,’ the leftist leader ungraciously added.” (Wall St Journal)
President Trump “has signed off on a decision to provide Ukraine with lethal defensive weaponry, including portable antitank armaments, U.S. officials said Friday, in a major shift in the years long conflict between Kiev and separatists backed by Russia.” (Wall St. Journal) President Obama had refused to send the Ukraine these weapons to defend its homeland, despite a 1994 US obligation to guarantee Ukraine’s borders expressed in the Budapest Memorandum.
The US refused to back down at the UN in its endorsement of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. More countries than previously either voted with the US in rejecting the anti-Israel, anti-US proposal put before the UN General Assembly or abstaining. The UK, France, Germany, and Japan all kowtowed to Muslim Middle East oil interests by endorsing the resolution. The US should follow through and actually open its embassy in Jerusalem next year, not later. The Palestinians are now saying they will no longer accept the US as an honest broker between themselves and Israel. Perhaps that will put an end to that perennial State Department exercise in futility, the attempt to broker an Israel-Palestine peace settlement.
Time to push back against China
A strong push-back by the US and its allies against China’s imperialism in Asia is long overdue. It’s intolerable that China has been able to successfully intimidate the timorous South Korean president, Moon Jae-in. The Chinese Communist government retaliated against South Korea’s THAAD missiles acquired from the US by halting Chinese tourist visits to South Korea and boycotting South Korean companies and goods in China. President Moon caved by halting completion of the THAAD installation and in so doing seriously damaged the security interests of the US and Japan, which need a complete installation to warn against Chinese or North Korean launches. But the US did nothing to help South Korea and punish China for its arrogance in denying a sovereign country the right to defend itself. Instead, President Trump denounced South Korea’s trade surplus with the US and threatened to scuttle the Korean-US trade treaty (KORUS).
In the future, it’s crucial that when China tries heavy-handed economic damage to a US ally, the US should proceed unilaterally if necessary but in coordination with allies if possible to retaliate with trade measures that (1) make up for the lost trade the country bullied by China is su