DAMASCUS, SYRIA–Syrian Interior Minister Mohammad al-Shaar is facing widespread criticism this week after it was reported that he described the United States as a “shithole” country in a private meeting with other government officials.
The comment arose during heated negotiations over Syria’s immigration policies. In past remarks, Shaar has favored heightened restrictions on immigration to the Syrian Arab Republic in the name of national security.*
WASHINGTON, DC–Last week, President Trump approved a defense policy bill that includes a total budget of $692B, marking a nearly 12% increase in pre-ordered wars over the prior year.
Ordinarily, this surge in war pre-orders would be good news for the CIA, which creates most of the key enemy components needed for the wars. However, at least one insider at the Agency is concerned that they won’t be able to keep up with the demand.*
When I write My Two Cents, I do my very best to stick to the straight and narrow of moderate centrism. So much damage is done to our democracy by politicians and voters who form principled opinions based on a coherent worldview instead of firmly sticking to the sensible middle ground position.*
But after hearing the news that the Trump Administration really is moving forward with his tweeted plan to prohibit transgender individuals from serving in the military, I realized I could not hold back what is left of my flaccid ideology any longer.
Not only is this latest trans-ban bad policy, and bad politics, it is fundamentally immoral.
Fort Myer, VA–In a widely anticipated foreign policy speech on Monday, President Trump laid out a bold new branding strategy for the War in Afghanistan. He also offered some important insights into his decision-making process.
Trump explained to the audience that his original instinct on Afghanistan was to pull US troops out, a position he has expressed openly for several years. But he ultimately came to a different conclusion now that he is president.
As he summarized, “I usually follow my instincts, except when they’re right.”*
Washington, DC–Seeking to further distance himself from an embattled President Trump, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) reiterated at a press conference over the weekend that he “strongly condemns the KKK, white supremacists, and all Nazis that are not in the Ukrainian government.”*
WASHINGTON, DC–Praising President Donald Trump for his much-anticipated remarks denouncing the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists by name, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) told NBC News he expected the problem to be resolved in “weeks”.*
Rubio acknowledged that Trump “took his time” to issue a proper condemnation, and was actually one of several Republicans to criticize the White House’s initial response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, VA. In his first remarks on the incident, Trump denounced violence “on many sides” and failed to condemn any specific groups or ideologies.
Trump’s early comments were widely seen as out of character for an outspoken president with a famously porous filter between his thoughts and his Twitter feed.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) made headlines last week with his dramatic return to the Senate floor after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.
One of his first actions while back on Capitol Hill was to cast a decisive vote in favor of starting the formal debate procedure on healthcare reform in the Senate. Ironically, he then proceeded to vote against the healthcare bill that had the best chance of passing and was again decisive in scuttling the Senate’s efforts.
While these McCain votes captured many of the headlines in the US, international observers were focused on a different aspect of McCain’s busy week. Specifically, upon his return to the Senate, McCain took the opportunity to give an impassioned plea for Democratic and Republican lawmakers to come together and collaborate on new legislation.*
Speaking to reporters in New York, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley weighed in on the North Korean crisis. As the leader of the world’s only indispensable nation, President Trump has some “hard choices” to make in the coming days, Haley said.*