Flight of the Superpower

The drawdown is not necessarily bad in itself. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama reduced troop levels in Europe. What is troubling is not the policy per se but the way it was rolled out and the context in which it will be actualized. At the precise moment when it should be strengthening partnerships and expanding its presence to deter adversaries, including Russia and China, America sent another signal that its days of global leadership are coming to an end.

The timing was inauspicious. Word leaked to the Journal a few days after German chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the president’s invitation to Washington in June (a senior U.S. official told the paper the two events were not connected). There was no presidential explanation, no public attempt to mollify European and NATO allies. And while Germany certainly could pay more for its defense, and Merkel has been recalcitrant on the Nord Stream II pipeline, alliance maintenance requires active measures from both sides. One of the reasons the post–World War II liberal international order is unraveling is that transatlantic governments have too often put domestic politics ahead of shared interests.

It is easy to forget this mutual concern for a world order of free governments and open commons of sea, air, space, and cyber. Institutional degradation makes it even easier. The former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. says the American people need to decide whether the organization is “worth it,” the French president calls NATO brain-dead, the German Constitutional Court rules the European Union’s bond-buying program is illegal, the World Trade Organization is handicapped, and the American president pledges to halt funding for the World Health Organization.

No open steps have been taken to reclaim or rebuild these institutions, or to build new counter-institutions that could carry out their original functions. The U.S.–U.K. trade deal, which could be the cornerstone of a renewed transatlantic relationship, has been subordinated to the more pressing concerns of pandemic, recession, and protest. What characterizes international relations is conflict, antagonism, mistrust, disregard, and drift.

This is the sort of environment that demands the forward presence of American forces to reassure host governments of our commitment to international security and to deter opponents from hostile action. Everywhere you look, however, America is leaving. We want out of Syria, out of Afghanistan, out of Iraq, out of Africa, out of Germany. In the coming years we may want out of South Korea, and even out of Japan. One or even several of these moves might be reasonable in isolation. Together they communicate to the world a disinterest in fulfilling the role of guarantor that America has played in international politics for generations.

And the world has noticed. Violence surged in Afghanistan despite the peace agreement with the Taliban. ISIS has stepped up the pace of attacks in Iraq. China has surged troops along its border with India and ramped up its activity in the South China Sea, and on June 9 Chinese fighters violated Taiwanese airspace after a U.S. overflight. Russian bombers and fighters probe U.S. airspace, with one formation coming within eight miles of the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on June 10. Kim Jong-un has severed communication with South Korea. Iran’s centrifuges keep spinning, and recently the Iranians constructed a fake U.S. aircraft carrier so that they can blow it up in live-fire exercises.

The conditions of global disorder and domestic unrest that America experienced during the final years of the Obama administration have recapitulated (and magnified) themselves in advance of November’s presidential election. The president faces three interlocking crises of public health, economics, and social instability. The emergence of a fourth crisis, involving national security and great-power conflict, has the potential to place incalculable strains on an already beleaguered system. An international flashpoint is not inevitable, but it has happened before in similar circumstances. The world always grows more dangerous when the superpower takes flight.

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Over 160 organizations support the Nobel Prize for Cuban doctors

Paris, Jun 14 (Prensa Latina) The platform launched in France to promote the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Cuban medical brigades Henry Reeve has today 164 organizations from 22 countries, figures that increase daily.

According to the update offered by the political manager of the solidarity association Cuba Linda, Rose-Marie Lou, one of the administrators, the initiative has become in just six weeks an international campaign, with similar calls in the United States, Argentina, Greece and other parts of the world.

Unions, solidarity organizations, political parties and personalities from several sectors have joined the platform, which includes a Facebook group with more than 2,800 members and a petition on the French website MesOpinions.com, signed until Saturday by more than 1,400 people.

We’re probably talking about tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of people who have given their support to the petition, Lou noted, referring to the large number of organizations that have joined the request.

For the activist, the call made at the end of April has become a big campaign, which may already need international coordination to push it forward.

The request to award the International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics with the Nobel Peace Prize recognizes the work of these brigades over the past 15 years and their current contribution in dozens of countries in the fight against Covid-19.

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Trump hosts high-dollar campaign fundraiser at New Jersey golf club

President Trump is set to greet 15 GOP high rollers — and their $3 million in campaign contributions — at an intimate fundraiser at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Saturday evening.

A Republican National Committee official said the guests paid $250,000 a head for tickets.

Trump’s reelection campaign is cranking back into gear after a three-month coronavirus layoff.

The money is going to Trump for Trump Victory, a joint committee that benefits the Trump campaign, the RNC and 22 state Republican parties.

Getting into the super-exclusive soiree not only required a fat wallet, but a clean bill of health: guests have to pass a COVID-19 test and a temperature screening before entering.

“There is definitely pent-up excitement for in-person fundraisers,” Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens said this week.

The Bedminster bash is only the second in-person fundraiser Trump has held since he was forced to cancel a March 12 affair due to the coronavirus shutdown.

He raised $10 million Thursday with a dinner for 25 in Dallas, his campaign said.

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White couple calls cops on Black man for stenciling ‘Black Lives Matter’ on own property

A white couple in San Francisco questioned a man of color Friday for stenciling “Black Lives Matter” – on his own property.

Twitter user @Jaimetoons posted a video of a self-righteous couple accosting him for stenciling in chalk Black Lives Matter on the side of his own building.

“A white couple call the police on me, a person of color, for stencilling a #BLM chalk message on my own front retaining wall,” @Jaimetoons tweeted. “‘Karen’ lies and says she knows that I don’t live in my own house, because she knows the person who lives here. #blacklivesmatter”

In the video, a woman who later identifies herself as Lisa, approaches Jaime as her husband, Robert, videotapes the two from the street.

Lisa, smiling strangely asks: “Is this your property? Hi – I’m asking you if this is your property.”

“Why are you asking?” Jaime asks, to which Robert says, “Because it’s private property!”

Lisa, in a patronizing voice then adds, “Because it’s private property so… Are defacing private property? You’re free to express your opinion but … just not on people’s properties.”

Lisa then goes on to say “Absolutely. Respectfully. We’re just saying your signs and everything – that’s good. THIS is not the way to do it. It’s private property.”

Jaime then says, “If I did live here and it was my property this would be absolutely fine?” to which Lisa shoots back, “If it WAS your property.”

Jaime says, “And you don’t know if I live here or if this is my property…”

Lisa, grinning, says, “We actually DO know. That’s why we’re asking.”

Jaime shoots back, “Because you live here, right…?” prompting Lisa to respond, “No because we know the person who does, OK? What I’m asking you is why are you doing this?”

Jaime then says, “And I’m not answering you.” He then suggests, “you can call the cops if you believe I’m committing a crime.”

Which the couple does.

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