“Dead on arrival”: The three words from Capitol Hill that greet almost every presidential budget. Even when dealing with a president of their own party, lawmakers are loath to relinquish the purse strings. They have the final say on all federal spending and financial priorities.
President Trump’s first full budget, unveiled this week, was received the same. Democrats tore into the document, as expected. But even key Republicans in both chambers welcomed the president’s input like a hiring manager accepts unsolicited resumes.
Continue reading “Trump Budget Poses Big Challenge to Republicans”
Mixed reactions greeted President Hassan Rouhani’s landslide reelection victory in Iran over the weekend. Rouhani, a political moderate (at least by Iranian standards) who negotiated a landmark nuclear deal with the United States and other world powers during his first term, was the favorite candidate of both young Iranians hoping for change and international investors looking for stability.
He is expected keep Tehran on the path to more transparency and engagement with the world. Even though the president is largely subordinate to the supreme leader in Iran’s unique political system – meaning the government’s aggressive foreign policy and repressive domestic one are unlikely to change anytime soon – he still wields some influence over the direction the country takes. Continue reading “U.S.-Iranian Tensions Cloud Victory for Moderates in Tehran”
Washington today feels like London during the blitz: Every day brings a new bombshell about President Donald Trump’s apparent efforts to derail an FBI investigation into his campaign’s alleged Russian ties.
The latest: A special counsel. The Justice Department Wednesday appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to oversee the bureau’s probe following Trump’s decision to fire Director James Comey earlier this month. Continue reading “What Does Special Counsel Mean for Trump’s Political Fortunes?”
When he took office, Donald Trump, like most presidents, inherited a slew of geopolitical headaches from his predecessor. Now one of those headaches, North Korea, is turning into a migraine.
Trump has done his best to keep Pyongyang—and everyone else—guessing on how he plans to address the growing crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program. Continue reading “Trump Hits a Wall on North Korea”
A wave of euphoria greeted Emmanuel Macron’s narrow victory in the first round of France’s presidential election last week. Markets and pundits alike cheered, taking the outcome as yet another sign that Europe’s populist threat – which only a few months ago looked as if it might swallow the continent whole – was nothing more than a paper tiger. Talk of France possibly departing the European Union has died down and European stock markets have rallied.
Macron, a one-time Socialist cabinet minister who broke with his party to run for president as an independent, will now face Marine Le Pen of the right-wing National Front in a runoff election on May 7.
Continue reading “Previewing France’s Presidential Election”
There’s a famous (though probably apocryphal) Chinese curse that is frequently cited when the world becomes unstable and chaotic: “May you live in interesting times.”
Donald Trump, whether he likes it or not, has become president at a very interesting time in history. Only months after taking office, he faces a world rife with potential problems, any one of which could potentially erupt into a full-blown crisis. Continue reading “Foreign Policy Challenges To Test President Trump”
The odds of repealing and replacing Obamacare look even worse after House Republicans couldn’t unite around replacement legislation and the bill had to be pulled before today’s vote.
The failure represents a major setback for President Trump and for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Continue reading “What’s Next For Health Care, Trump’s Agenda?”
The threat of terrorism in Europe is far from over. That much was clear after the recent attack in London that killed four people, injured dozens and jolted the United Kingdom as the country prepared for negotiations to exit the European Union.
This was the latest in a string of attacks in Europe over the last two years, many of them committed by “lone-wolf” assailants: Those who have been radicalized by online propaganda from groups such as the Islamic State, but aren’t actually affiliated with them. Continue reading “The Terror Attack in London”
For U.S. farmers and related industries, 2017 is shaping up as another down year.
They seem to have “nowhere to hide” from the low agricultural prices that have put many of them in dire financial straits, says Dan Basse, an analyst at AgResource Company. Continue reading “2017 may be a down year for farmers”
Donald Trump’s first 100 days will feature plenty of speculation about the president making nice with Russia. Indeed, there are already rumblings about a potential nuclear summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, the same city where three decades ago Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev started negotiations that would eventually bring the Cold War to a peaceful conclusion. Trump has also hinted at the possibility of lifting sanctions on Moscow should the Kremlin prove a valuable ally in the fight against Islamic terrorism.
But don’t expect the new president to make any bold moves right away. Developing a coherent foreign policy takes time. Despite the infamous “reset” photo-op, it took several months for the Obama administration to devise its Russia strategy, according to Michael Kofman, a senior fellow at the Wilson Center. For Trump, this task will be made extra difficult by a number of factors. Continue reading “Will Trump and Putin Be Buddies?”