29 June 2018   Leave a comment

The news website, Axios, is reporting that US President Trump has been contemplating taking the US out of the World Trade Organization (WTO).  The details in the report are sketchy so it is difficult to determine how credible the report is.  But Axios has good sources within the Trump Administration and a US withdrawal would be consistent with President Trump’s rhetoric on the issue of trade.  Needless to say, a US withdrawal would severely hamper the mission of the WTO and somewhat self-defeating since the WTO has ruled in favor of the US in most of its decisions.  And it would be further evidence of President Trump’s desire to dismantle the international liberal order.

The Liberal World Order


The new Italian government, comprised of the populist 5 Star Movement and the right-wing League, held a very hard line on immigration and refugee policy at an all-night meeting of the European Union.  According to National Public Radio (NPR):

“In the early hours of Friday, the EU states said they agreed on a package of plans, which included key demands from Italy: more support for ‘front-line’ entry countries, stronger efforts to counter human smuggling and the establishment of more centers for holding and processing asylum-seekers.”

The agreement threatens the refugees who embark from Libya who attempt a dangerous sea route to Italy to escape the turmoil of their countries, not just in Libya but throughout western Africa.  The hardline stance of the new Italian government is apparently being well-received by the Italians as the popularity of Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has soared in recent weeks.


I am still pondering the wisdom of President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Putin in Helsinki on 16 July.  The more I think about it, the more concerned I become.  Analysts believe that President Putin holds all the cards for the summit and there is little leverage that Mr. Trump can use to change Russian policy in Syria, Ukraine, or toward Europe.  Christopher Cadelago has written a very interesting piece for Politico which demonstrates how Russia has been able to control the narrative and the flow of news about its relations with the US.  Throughout the Trump Presidency, Russia has been able to leak news without the knowledge of US officials, effectively disarming their ability to control how interactions are interpreted.  The phenomenon is a distinctive part of the Russian ability to manipulate US public opinion.

Posted June 29, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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