Empire State Building
To a New Foreign Policy by Tom Donelson
Trump’s foreign policy may be a return to the realpolitik of the Nixon era and Trump’s foreign policy may have a coherent strategy based on a balance of power view of the world. Michael Barone noted, “Some will dismiss his appointments and tweets as expressing no more than the impulses of an ignorant and undisciplined temperament — no more premeditated than the lunges of a rattlesnake. Others may recall that similar things were said (by me, as well as many others) about his campaign strategy. But examination of the entrails of the election returns suggests that Trump was following a deliberate strategy based on shrewd insight when he risked antagonizing white college-educated voters in the process of appealing to non-college-educated whites.”[
Historian Niall Ferguson views Trump’s foreign policy as an extension of Henry Kissinger’s worldview. He observed, “A world run by regional great powers with strong men in command, all of whom understand that any lasting international order must be based on the balance of power.”
As Michael Barone notes, Trump took a congratulatory call for his election victory from Taiwan’s president. The first visitor to Trump Tower after the election was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; this sent a message that China will not be allowed to operate in the Western Pacific unchallenged and Trump will work with our allies. Trump also appointed Terry Branstad the governor of Iowa, as the ambassador to China. Branstad first met Xi Jinping in 1985. Barone views the appointment as a “bad cop, good cop” move. He observed, “Trump wants some changes in trade relations with China and limits on its probes in the South China Sea and will build up U.S. military forces. But there’s room for acceptance of China as a great power. Trump wants some changes in trade relations with China and limits on its probes in the South China Sea and will build up U.S. military forces.”[
Trump’s criticism of NATO, including that NATO member states should contribute more toward their own defenses, may have seen results. As Michael Barone noted, “Finance ministers, stung by Trump’s campaign criticisms, are ponying up more money to meet their NATO defense-spending commitments; German chancellor Angela Merkel is backing down from her disastrous decision to welcome 1 million refugees.”
Brexit was the first break in the European Union’s dominance of the continent. While Obama threatened Britain with being sent to the “back of the queue” if they voted to leave the EU, Trump supported Brexit and the U.S-U.K. free trade agreement. Brexit could be the first step toward the formation of the Anglosphere. Trump, as part of his “America First” foreign policy, has little use for multinational organizations. The Anglosphere is an alliance that supports Trump’s view of America’s new role in the world.
In the Middle East, Trump ditch the Iranian deal and attempted to replace it with a Sunni-Israel alliance. Trump recent strategy to pull out of Syria has shaken the core of American policy in the Middle East. Recent Congress efforts to punish Saudi’s over the murder of Khashoggi may undermine the Sunni-Israel anti Iran alliance and Trump pull out may lead to a Turkey -Kurd war which Turks should triumph. Neither Trump nor his opponents on this have explain to many Americans satifaction what our policy in the Middle East is. Andrew McCarthy wrote, “And then there’s the Kurds. I know my friends are angry about the shame of abandoning them. As noted above, I am anguished about that, too. But why are we in this position? If the congressional crusaders who wanted in on this conflict had sought authorization, we could have had a public debate about whether we wanted to hop into the sack with a faction (a) the backbone of whose forces is the Marxist PKK, which is a designated terrorist organization under our law because it conducts mass-murder attacks in Turkey; and (b) with territorial aspirations that have them in long-running hostilities with Turkey, ostensibly our NATO ally. To be clear, I’d be more than willing to entertain the cases that (1) we should not be in an alliance with Islamist Turkey, (2) the PKK is not a threat to the U.S. and should not be on our terrorist list, and/or (3) even if we think the PKK is bad, we should align with the Kurds anyway because our vital interests demand it. But no one has even tried to make those cases…. it seems to me presumptuous of the people stridently denouncing Trump to expect the rest of us to assume they have carried the burden of establishing that we should be in Syria. It seems presumptuous of them to act as if Trump were undermining a cause for which we all agreed we should be fighting. At the time intervention in Syria was being considered, I argued that, without authorization, Obama shouldn’t intervene; later, I argued that Trump was wrong to bomb Syria without authorization (which putative candidate Trump had argued when Obama did it). Someone needs to explain to me why I should be outraged at Trump, but not outraged that we got into this mess without making sure the public, through Congress, was on board. ” The problem is that no one including Trump has yet to establish a new foreign policy to reflect both the world today and its present threat. It is time to do so
New York, New York by Tom Donelson
Years ago, my daughter noted that in the early 1990’s, that her neighbor hood was a war zone with gangs fighting over turf. Today her neighborhood is quite safe to walk around at night, there is a taco truck that does business in the evening and throng of people walking around until late at night.
I simply told my daughter that this was the legacy of Rudy Giuliani, who understood that to govern a city begins with keeping it safe. Baltimore murder rate is 300 murder in a city of 600,000 and this is the fourth year in a row, the actual murder exceeded 300. New York murder rate was under 300 in 2017 and that is with a population of over 8.5 million. The Baltimore murder would be equal to over 3,000 murders per year, and that exceeds what New York suffered in the early 1990’s when the people of New York got tired of no longer feeling safe in their neighborhoods.
New York is probably the safest major city in the United States, which makes it a great place to visit. You can’t have a prosperous city without having safe communities. So far even under the present leftist mayor, New Yorkers still insist on having a safe community.
Pictures from New York by Tom Donelson
Charlo fights at the Barclay plus a few surprises by Tom Donelson
Boxing is the theater of the unexpected and one of the most unpredictable thing to predict is how a judge will view a fight. Jermell Charlo/Tony Harrison fight was one of those fights that many of us watching the fight saw Charlo the winner but the judges had it for Tony Harrison. Charlo was the aggressor throughout the fight and landed an average of three punches more per round and I had him up by117-111. While much of the audience were stunned, Charlo allowed Harrison to stay in the fight. He never dominated the fight as the favorite he was and while he stunned Harrison in the last round, he could not finish off Harrison. Compubox saw that Charlo landed more punches in 9 of the 12 rounds but many of these rounds were close and decided by a punch or two so we saw many close rounds, very similar to the Fury-Wilder fight in which there were many close rounds. The difference in the Charlo-Harrison fight was that Charlo never had Harrison in trouble until the twelve whereas in the Fury –Wilder fight, Wilder twice nearly stopped the bout but for the ability of Fury to remained standing against two very brutal knockdown that would have stopped most fighters.
Jermell Charlo may have shown that he would certainly be an underdog against Jarrett Hurd, who is probably the best Super Welterweight in the world and who stopped Harrison when they both fought. Charlo fought a tactical fight and while he was the aggressor, Harrison did effective counterpunching at selected times in the fight. In my view, there were four rounds easy to score but there were eight rounds that were close as Compubox numbers attest. The judges gave most of those rounds to Harrison and they were more impressed with Harrison’s counter punching than Charlo aggressive tactics.
Dominic Breazeale scored a one-punch knockout of Carlos Negron in the ninth round of an entertaining heavyweight bout. Breazeale, with his eyes on Wilder’s belt and with Wilder in the audience watching, was hoping to make a statement. While Breazeale dominated most of the fight, it was not an easy fight as Negron landed a few solid shots of his own as a counter puncher. Breazeale nearly ended the bout at the end of the fourth round when he landed a big right as the bell ended the round, but in the fifth and throughout the sixth, Negron came back with counterpunches of his own and gave himself a chance at an upset. Breazeale finally got control of the bout in the seventh round as his strength took hold and in the ninth, he ended with one big right hand.
Breazeale went on to challenge Wilder after the fight for a shot at his title but we won’t know whether Wilder will give him that shot or look for a bout with Anthony Joshua or rematch with Tyson Fury. Regardless, Breazeale got himself in line for a title shot but right now, the heavyweight has a logjam as Fury draw with Wilder has produced a three way jam at the top with Fury established as a legitimate threat to Joshua-Wilder reign as the best heavyweight and Dillion Whyte late stoppage of Dereck Chisora puts him in the conversation as a title contender, maybe in front of Breazeale.
For the main event, Jermall Charlo came out defending his interim Middleweight title against Russian Matt Korobov, who gave a good account of himself. Charlo looked more like a fighter who wanted to revenge his twin brother’s defeat than a fighter who needed to fight a more smarter fight against a canny opponent. Korobov counterpunch effectively out of his southpaw stance and throughout the first half of the fight, Charlo looked puzzled as he kept getting nailed with straight lefts. At the halfway mark, I had the fight four rounds to two in favor of Korobov and wasn’t until the sixth round that he started to connect with solids straight right against Korobov and I had him winning six of the last seven rounds as he certainly lost most of the early rounds.
It was until the last round did Charlo get Korobov in trouble as he nailed Korobov with big shots repeatedly but Korobov refused to go down. I had this fight 115-113 for Charlo and while the judges agreed that Charlo won the fight, they had a bigger spread and I couldn’t understand the 119-108 score at all. There was no way that Korobov won only one round and Charlo got credit for a 10-8 round on that card. The other cards were reasonable at 116-112.
Charlo fought a poor first half of the fight but adjusted over the second half but is he ready for Alvarez, who is the present king of the Middleweight or triple G’s? Based on this fight, I would even rate Danny Jacob a slight favorite.
Boxing in pictures at the Barclay by Tom Donelson
Pictures of Boxing at the Barclay Center
More Warhol by Tom Donelson
New York Art and all by Tom Donelson
Republicans in the Secular City: Condemned by History by Dr. Larry Fedewa
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (December 15, 2018) The 2016 update of the 2010 U.S. Census shows the current distribution of the U.S. population at 80.3% urban and 19.7% rural. (Michael Radcliffe, Geography Division, U.S. 2010 Census Report, issued December 2016)
This simple fact is perhaps the most significant reality in the current political polarization of the United States’ electorate. On its face, it signifies that the current Republican Party is doomed to disappear unless it can make some fundamental changes.To detail some of the differences between urban and rural realities, let’s look at a few.
1.Living Environmenta. City folks live in densely populated areas. While this factor has many advantages in terms of employment, schooling, shopping, transportation, etc., it also presents many threats. Privacy, crime, traffic, and a general proximity of government – in schools, police, regulations, zoning, etc. which make some level of government an ever-present factor in almost everything a person may want to do. b. In contrast, rural folks generally have a lot of room to live in. This allows them a high level of privacy and keeps their connections to government minimal, mostly for emergencies.
2.Personal Freedom vs Government Presencea. Any changes a city person may want to advocate, whether traffic, child’s school, voting places, building a house, or many other possibilities requires convincing other people to join in. Thus organization, publicity, money and time are key components of change. b. Rural folks can make many changes in their lives without anyone’s permission. Their privacy begets a high degree of personal freedom.
3.Amenitiesa. Some of the advantages of urban life are proximity to medical and social services, whether hospitals, shopping options (including economically indexed stores and entertainment), cultural events, ball parks, and a myriad of other opportunities. b. Rural locations offer few of these amenities as a rule, and some of these deficiencies are critical, particularly shortages of medical facilities.
4.Religiona. There are many other differences, including a sense of faith and religion. The farmer lives close to nature and witnesses every day the power and wonder of life, growth, weather, birth and death. For the farmer, faith in God becomes an apparent explanation of all these mysteries. Religion provides an expression of these insights as well as fellowship in the quest. b. The city dweller is surrounded by the works of humans, from physical buildings, highways and artifacts to the power of change which resides in humans, whether political, judicial, or financial. People in the city are removed from the wonders and mysteries of nature by layers of human power, which must be appeased in order for life to proceed. Since religion does not directly provide answers to the most pressing problems of daily life, its importance is often compartmentalized and downgraded, frequently to oblivion.
5. A Practical Example: Gunsa. So, how does this difference in world views affect the Republican Party? The differences have a profound effect on political views. To take one obvious example: guns. City people tend to see guns as a threat, since the only times they would usually be exposed to guns would be in the commission of a crime. It seems obvious that outlawing guns would reduce the criminals’ opportunities to procure and use guns for nefarious purposes. The observation can be made that criminals can always find a way to get a gun whereas an ordinary citizen could not. But, since few ordinary citizens have guns anyway, outlawing guns would not change that factor and it might limit casual crimes with guns. So, why not do at least one thing to limit crime?
b. The farmer and hunter find this idea ludicrous. To them, guns are tools of protection of livestock from predators, hunting meat for enjoyment or necessity, and just part of life. They react to calls for outlawing guns as an attack on their personal freedom.
6.Republican versus Democrat – Political positions
a. The Republican Party stands for personal freedom,The Democrat response increasingly is: majority rules (including the elimination of the electoral college and the two-senator system),
b. Republicans favor a strong defenseDemocrats favor a nominal military for “imaginary” defense (leading to isolationism),
c. Republicans are committed to free market capitalismDemocrats want a socialist economic system which is tightly controlled by the central government.
d. Conclusion: Today, the Democrats are the party of the secular city and the Republicans are the party of rural America.How can Republicans compete? The challenge, of course, is to pay attention to the secular city while not abandoning rural America.
Some ideas:1. Open Republican eyes to the challenge and stop acting as though this is 1950’s America. The 2001 and 2016 elections should have been enough of a wake-up call, i.e. depending on the electoral college to win the presidency.
2. Take a leaf from the Obama playbook, and formulate a platform containing solutions for each of the urban constituencies – blue collar workers, unions, suburbanites, women, Blacks, Hispanics, evangelicals, even the gay contingent.
3. Much of this work was begun by Ronald Reagan with workers, and George W. Bush with Hispanics, and revived by Donald Trump with Evangelicals. The current alienation of the Black community from Donald Trump must be overcome. They are ready to be converted – after having been abandoned by the Democrats for a generation. But they must be invited! Trump has the right idea – what do they have to lose? So, where are the leaders of Black Republicans? Herman Cain, Robert L. Johnson, Charles Payne, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Denzel Washington? Somebody has to talk to them. They must be made to feel welcome.
4. The communication capabilities of the Republican Party seem in need of overhaul. The first step is to come up with the right message. This requires the city skill of organization. Somebody has to reach out to all the different constituencies, identify their needs and hopes, find spokespeople, get them together and develop meaningful messages. Secondly, outreach to these communities has to be developed and executed, Republican clubs started, etc. There are thousands of people in the Party who know how to do all these things. They have to be energized.
5. So, get focused and get going. Don’t wait for an Abraham Lincoln to come along after the dissolution of the Whig Party. That may be too late. ©
2018 Richfield Press. All rights reserved Dr. Fedewa has been a guest on the Donelson Files and has his own podcast, the Dr. Larry Show.
The Glorification of the Mafia by Loredana Gasparotto
I’ve been a Netflix user for 12 years and recently I’ve noticed that Mafia/mobsters shows like Bad Blood, Narcos and El Chapo are becoming very popular.
I find the whole matter fascinating because I believe it is a peculiarly American phenomenon. No other country in the world glamorizes crooks and criminals as much as the US… except maybe for Korean movies.
But I wonder why?
See I was born and raised in Italy. I grew up watching tv shows and movies like “La Piovra,” “Falcone,” “La Scorta,” and “Gomorra.” Movies that do not romanticize the Mafia, but that shows its sad, grim truth, and that tragically describe how corruption destroys the lives it touches.
So again why is it rather perceived as an awesomely cool and adventurous way of life in America?
I’ve been thinking about it, and of course, I could be entirely off the mark, naive and clueless, but I feel like I might be onto something.
So without further ado: I think that America’s mafia true romance has to do with the fact that America is a safer and overall more upright country.
I don’t mean to say that in the US people don’t steal or kill.
But perhaps because America is such a young nation founded on the values and ideals of Positivism and since it is not only a country but a vast continent, the Mafia mindset with its bribery, and intimation tactics hasn’t taken hold as much as it did in Italy.
So how old are these Italian Mafia values? Well, I remember reading Alessandro Manzoni’s I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) when I was in high school. Set in northern Italy in 1628, during the oppressive years of direct Spanish rule, the novel narrates the story of Renzo and Lucia, a couple living in a village in Lombardy, near Lecco, who are planning to wed on 8 November 1628. One day the parish priest, Don Abbondio, walking home on the eve of the wedding, is accosted by two “bravi” (thugs) who warn him not to perform the marriage, because the local baron (Don Rodrigo) has forbidden it. That passage in the book reveals that practices mafiose are old, have deep roots and touch the lives of innocent people.
Already at the beginning of the 1200s, nobles, in the absence of laws, were
appointing GODFATHERS to coordinate bandits and form their private policies; bandits had the impunity (until they were not considered useful anymore and betrayed)
In 1569 the reform called biennalità of the judges controlled by Spain
enabled the members of this tribunal (called familiari), and their friends and relatives to:
– Not pay taxes
– bring weapons
– Avoid the Ex Abrupto procedure (the nobles knew when they were accused, and with fake testimonies, they could demonstrate their
‘innocence’); the corruption of this tribunal was justified with today would be called “reason of State.”
In any case impunity to the nobles and their criminals was the rule.
People never testified because they perfectly knew what side justice was on. They practiced omertà: the cultural acceptance of mafia values, and the refusal to collaborate with the Authorities of the State.
Extortions at the Palermo market are documented since the 1500s. These forces shaped the values of Southern Italy, and are still active today.
So, again why are Italian films about the Mafia so different from the American ones?
I believe it has to do with the fact that in Italy the Mafia is pervasive in the lives of regular people. The Sicilian Mafia controls the water supply and the construction business. In Naples, it manages the garbage business.
Assassins might ride a motorcycle and shoot their target in plain daylight killing innocent bystanders, and the police won’t do a thing. You might be at the local bar on a sunny Sunday afternoon when a bomb goes off, or a shooting spree occurs killing everyone.
People through the centuries have grown accustomed and resigned to this way of life. They’ve been beaten down, and they’ve never been saved. Every hero or heroine who has stood up for them has been assassinated. There’s no faith in justice. People must leave to escape that way of life.
Thankfully for me and everyone else, this way of life is foreign in America. The severity of this criminal existence is unknown for many Americans who lived outside of major cities where the Mafia operated.
American Mafia doesn’t affect ordinary people, as much as it alters the lives of the Neapolitans or Sicilians. However, the Mafia did impact many blue collars workers, in particular, the Teamsters, whose pension funds were diverted in the hands of the Mafia to build Las Vegas casinos along with the drug trade, racketeering, and gambling.
Many Americans even though they were not aware of the mafia were impacted, but they can still fantasize about the “cool life of crime” through shows, games, and movies like the Sopranos because they don’t experience bombing and shooting on a regular basis.
The reason why Italian films and shows don’t glamorize the Mafia is the same reason why Americans don’t glamorize slavery. There are no shows that romanticize slavery, am I right? Everyone would be appalled at such and rightly so. So the same goes for Mafia shows in Italy.
Film and TV are a reflection of the culture and the time we live in, and thankfully for us, we live in America where the basic honesty and decency of people allow us to fantasize about the outlaw experience instead of living it.