FROM Michael Crowley
North Korea: Are US provocations making things better or worse? As North Korea continues its nuclear program, the Trump Administration says it's lost its "strategic patience." What does that mean? A US carrier and a nuclear submarine are conducting drills in the Western Pacific, and China is urging President Trump to exercise "restraint." The entire US Senate was bussed from Capitol Hill to the White House. Was it political theater or did they learn anything new? We hear about possible options from diplomacy to economic sanctions to preventative war.
What's next for US relations with Turkey and North Korea? Early Tuesday morning, North Korea tested another intercontinental ballistic missile. It blew up shortly after take-off. But North Korea keeps working on a nuclear missile that could reach the U.S. Also, in Turkey, a close vote has given sweeping new powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Turkey is an important Western ally in the region, but its leader is becoming increasingly authoritarian.
Kremlin sees a political "witch-hunt" in Washington Officials in Moscow today condemned the firestorm over Attorney General Jeff Sessions' failure to report meetings with Russia's ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. They called it "a witch hunt." Although yesterday Sessions recused himself from any investigation, he insists he did nothing wrong and Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan calls the meetings routine. Russian Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak gives the keynote speech at the the US-Russia Business Council's annual meeting in 2010 USRBC Annual Meeting 2010 Keynote Sergey I. Kislyak Photo courtesy of the US-Russia Business Council What does it all mean for US-Russian relations? Michael Crowley, senior foreign affairs correspondent for Politico , says that although Putin's point man has been here for over a decade, he's now operating in hostile waters.
Do Brexit and America First mean a new world order? President Donald Trump held a joint press conference today at the White House with Theresa May. The British Prime Minister's visit to Washington today was the first White House meeting between President Trump and a foreign leader. They talked trade and other ways to strengthen the so-called "special relationship." Trump has even referred to May as "my Maggie," a reference to the close ties between President Ronald Reagan and then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. So this visit has been seen as a chance to refresh what the two close allies have called "the special relationship" ever since World War II. Then again, these two new leaders are promising to exit the European Union and put "America First" so what are the real prospects for a new trade deal, and a close alliance in the fight against terrorism?
Donald Trump's press conference and his relationship with the media Donald Trump took questions from the press for the first time since the election. Politics reporter Vann R. Newkirk said the president-elect’s relationship with the press is like a gladiator game. Trump answered questions about Russia, his business interests and Obamacare. But the story grabbing all the headlines right now: a dossier alleging the Russians have dirt on Trump and are blackmailing him with it.
Trump's China policy zigs and zags Last week, Donald Trump broke 40 years of protocol when he spoke directly to the President of Taiwan. China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province, was officially disturbed. Today, he named his Ambassador to China: Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, and China is said to be reacting "warmly." When Trump zigged, some called it a rookie mistake — until it turned out that Bob Dole helped set up the call with Taiwan. Will the zag mend fences with China? We get the latest on a President-elect unrestricted by diplomatic conventions.
Democrats push back against Comey Donald Trump's campaigning in Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton's in Florida and President Obama's on the stump in Ohio. Meantime, the political world is still focused on FBI Director James Comey. He went public about Clinton's emails, but not about Trump's ties with Russia. Democrats are accusing him of a "double standard," as we hear from Michael Crowley who writes for Politico .
The uneasy alliance between Turkey and the US Turkey is a NATO partner and a key American ally in the Middle East. At one point President Obama even saw President Erdogan as a role model for Muslim leaders. Not anymore. Washington's been watching nervously as Erdogan has turned increasingly autocratic. Anti-American sentiment in Turkey has snowballed in the wake of last month's failed coup, which many Turks blame on an exiled Muslim cleric living in the US. Vice President Biden was in Ankara yesterday to smooth over strained relations, but can the growing rifts be healed given these two nations' clashing alliances in the fight against ISIS?
The State of America's Foreign Relations President Obama's final State of the Union address tomorrow night is expected to be heavy on foreign affairs. Likely highlights: the Iran nuclear deal, the climate change summit, the free trade pact in Asia and renewed relations with Cuba. But all those are still works in progress — and critics call Mr. Obama an uncertain leader, who's let America's allies get weaker while enemies have grown stronger. We review seven years of victories, compromises and setbacks in a complex world that's often beyond even a US president's control.
Obama Press Conference at G20 Summit Since Friday, French President François Hollande has said repeatedly that "France is at war." Today at the G20 Summit in Turkey, President Obama took questions from an auditorium full of reporters from around the world. Rather than a change, the President proposed an intensification of strategies against ISIS. Asked about the wisdom of taking in refugees, many of whom are fleeing terrorism, the President again defended American policy."Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security, we can and must do both." Michael Crowley, senior foreign policy reporter for Politico , has more on the President's speech.
Diplomacy, Dictators and Double-Speak at the United Nations On the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, Presidents Obama and Putin both said today that diplomacy, not force, is the hope of the future. Each accused the other of making the world more dangerous — at the same time offering to work together to restore order in a violent world. But, while their goals may sound the same, their differences -- on Syria, Ukraine and other places of conflict -- will make agreements difficult, if not impossible. Russia may not be not the superpower the Soviet Union was, but Putin is finding ways to challenge Obama as a world leader.
The Deal is Done, but the Battle Is Just Beginning President Obama says the deal with Iran has made the world safer by stopping the spread of nuclear weapons in the volatile Middle East. Secretary of State John Kerry has staked his 30-year public career on the success the negotiations. Presuming that the UN goes along, Congress now has 60 days to approve or reject the accord — as well as the lifting of US sanctions. Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner , agree with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the deal is "a historic mistake." Some Democrats are skeptical, too. They worry that Iran can't be trusted, but the President invoked a phrase made famous by Ronald Reagan, "This deal is not built on trust. It's built on verification." We look at the details and the prospects of a struggle with global significance between the White House and Congress.
Multiple Crises in the Middle East as US Influence Declines With increased violence in Iraq and Yemen, and continuing chaos in Libya and Syria, the Obama Administration is accused of lacking a "coherent policy." In one fight, it shares an enemy with Iran; in another fight, it's the other way around — with a deadline for nuclear talks looming tomorrow. Now the Arab League, led by American allies, is taking what could be a historic step: forming its own military command. Does the US have any choice -- other than trying to keep up with unpredictable changes in the world's most volatile region?
GOP Dissent over the Letter Sent to Iran on Nuclear Deal Forty-seven Republican Senators have sent an open letter telling Iran that any nuclear deal made by the current administration could be undone by the next one. In a written statement, Vice President Biden calls it a "false" and "dangerous" message that "our Commander in Chief cannot deliver on America's commitments" and a decision "to undercut our constitutional system." President Obama told reporters, "It's somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran. It's an unusual coalition" Michael Crowley is senior foreign affairs correspondent for Politico .
Obama Calls for International Fight against Violent Extremism On the final day of his summit on violent extremism , President Obama called on leaders from 60 nations to expand human rights, religious tolerance and peaceful dialogue. "When people are oppressed and human rights are denied, particularly along sectarian lines or ethnic lines, when dissent is silenced, it feeds violent extremism. It creates an environment that is ripe for terrorists to exploit." Michael Crowley is senior foreign affairs correspondent for Politico .
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.