New departures in foreign policy

President Trump could make a big difference to US foreign policy. He is likely to confine interventions in the Middle East to assisting the defeat of ISIS, often where requested by the incumbent government of the country concerned. He is unlikely to pursue the policy of his predecessor of seeking to confront both sides in the Syrian conflict, struggling to find a third force that he can credibly support with some chance of winning. This also means he will reduce some of the tension with Russia, which could flare under the previous policy given the proximity of Russian and US jets to each other over Syria and the disagreements over how to handle some of the present incumbent governments.

There will be three big changes of foreign policy. The first will be a more assertive attitude towards China, particularly on trade matters. Mr Trump will be wanting some wins to show that he is tackling what he thinks is unfair competition from the world’s most successful goods exporter.

The second will be a more sceptical approach to the EU. No longer will the US actively encourage EU political integration, and no longer will the US see Mrs Merkel as the de facto leader of the an EU coming together to be a single cohesive unit. Mr Trump may well prove to be on the side of history in this, as Brexit is followed by political advances of parties hostile to the Euro or to more EU integration in various continental elections this year.

The third will be what he sets out to achieve in his first well advertised summit with Mr Putin. I doubt Mr Trump and his experienced and tough Cabinet members are a pushover who like all that Russia does and says. They do look as if they are willing to seek common ground on reducing nuclear warheads, and seeing how the world might combat ISIS whilst bringing the Middle East closer to peace.  From Russia’s point of view they have a US President who might be willing to take them seriously and strike some common ground around the world as a token of the US understanding of Russia’s role. From Mr Trump’s point of view it would be good to draw a line under the numerous not very successful wars the US has fought in recent years in the Middle East, and to gain more time to concentrate on the economy at home which is his prime concern.

My main worry about Mrs Clinton as a candidate  was her bellicose approach to the Middle East and Russia, wishing to do more of the same which has left the Middle East with too many civil and religious wars. Whilst the west did not cause the disputes or want to bring about civil wars that combusted from within, recent policy has made too little progress in trying to resolve the conflicts and rid the region of its extremists. Lets hope the new team has some better ideas.

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58 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    He also has the difficulty of Iran and their nuclear ambitions to consider.

    I certainly have more confidence in Trump and his team than I had in Obama’s or Clinton’s.

  2. Mark B
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    A very good morning 

    Mr Trump may well prove to be on the side of history in this . . .

    Ooo! Nice quote 

    Whilst the west did not cause the disputes or want to bring about civil wars . . .

    I am sorry Mr.Redwood MP sir, you are so very wrong on that one. The UK, France and others actively pursued a policy of regime change in Libya and the USA and UK did the same both in Afghanistan, where some legitimacy for action can be said, and Iraq where no legitimacy for action can be said.

    It is your third paragraph that to me will produce the biggest change. Chancellor Merkel’s power and even position looks shaky. There are obvious tensions all-round the EU and without the UK being the Whipping-Boy and drag on further integration fun time are ahead for the remaining 27. I envy them not !

    Good luck to President Trump who, in his first day in office took down the Climate Change page from the White House Website. In its place was put a page on how the USA will pursue a new energy policy. For those kind enough to read my posts here, some may remember that one of my wishes for this new POTUS would be to abolish once and for all the Climate Change SCAM !!! Let us now hope that our MP’s and government, once out of the EU, can also do the same and bring a final end to this madness.

  3. Ian Wragg
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Hilary Clinton stands for all that is bad in politics.
    Funded by the big banks and corporations she is hostage to them.
    Donald funds Donald and can break away from the prevailing consensus of multi culturing and globalisation.
    He will be reviled by the EU and hopefully a good ally to Britain.
    Let’s give him a chance and stop the BBC slagging him off at every opportunity.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted January 21, 2017 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      Ian,

      You make very good points. The BBC will never leave him alone, because he isn’t of their neo-liberal ilk, just as they have never missed an opportunity to create discord, to undermine, and denounce the democratic decision of the British people to leave the EU. The sooner the BBC is broken up, the better. I would willingly pay for impartiality, but a national broadcaster with a political agenda and their very own axe to grind is not fit for purpose, and I am sick of paying towards something that is much less than impartial.

      Tad

  4. alan jutson
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I listened to the new Presidents speech with interest, and he certainly has some strong views on what he wants to do, with I guess plans on how to get there.

    Without doubt he has certainly put his head above the parapet and made some very bold and significant promises to the American people.

    Strong words were used about past administrative policies and failures, and clearly this is a President who has set himself some very high targets.
    Given the new President has only a four year term within which to operate, he needs to hit the ground running.
    From appointments made so far he is clearly putting together a team which not only have strong views, but a record of some past success, and a determination to win through.

    America first, and the “we can do” attitude must be a refreshing change for the American people, I wonder if his eagerness to get things resolved, and his commercial and financial views will rub off on some of the rest of the Worlds leaders.

    One thing is for sure, the World and America in particular is now going to be a very different political place to do business than in the past.

    Only time will tell if he will be a success or a failure, but I guarantee he will not take 9 months to write a simple letter.

  5. hefner
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your summary. It does not add anything of interest to what was available yesterday evening or this morning.
    Anyway I am looking forward to the acrobatic routine you will go through to “explain” how the nationalistic protectionist steps that Mr Trump has promised are likely to be of “benefit” to the UK. Good luck!

  6. Caterpillar
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    President Putin has successfully guaranteed the future of Svestapol, now has Egypt (Suez), Turkey (NATO) and Syria onside, and hence may be able to expand the Black Sea Fleet to an all year, global navy. Moreover the energy supply and business weapons have allowed him to turn Germany (NATO) away from US/EU and towards Russia.

    Hopefully the U.K. will be thinking long term towards Russia (and indeed long term in general).

  7. Anthony Makara
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    The most important point in President Trumps foreign policy will be the attempt to create a working relationship with Russia. It would not have been possible for the West to rein in Chinas ambitions while there was still of a possibility of pushing Russia closer to China through Clintonesque policies. Now that the United States and Russia are to embark on a new relationship, China can be sidelined and its ambitions, which also threaten Russian interests, can be brought into check. That is not to say that China shouldn’t have a sphere of influence, it should given its size, but it needs to recognize that the world is not its oyster. President Trump should also look to build good relations with the Wests friends in Africa to counter the Chinese influence there.

  8. oldtimer
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I also think I heard him say that he would no longer actively seek or promote regime change in other countries. Please correct this impression if I am wrong about this. This would be a significant change to recent US foreign policy which has been extremely active, overtly and covertly, in seeking to do just this. The law of unintended consequences has usually resulted in policy failure rather than success.

    What remains unclear is how his foreign policy will affect the numerous US military bases around the world – if at all.

  9. Iain Gill
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Don’t forget what he has said about Somali pirates.

  10. formula57
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    And very possibly a fourth big change, dissolution of the “obsolete” NATO.

    Such a step would be most welcome to the UK surely, as maladroit moves by (or even against by third parties) other members represents one of the greatest risks of the UK having to involve itself in unlooked for and unnecessary conflict.

    (It would also facilitate the forthcoming wars in Europe, as promised by Remainer Cameron of blessed memory, that we can profit from by selling arms.)

  11. Hope
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Jonathan Aitken wrote a good article yesterday in the Mail setting out his thoughts on Trump. Very good analysis. Why the left wing media persists with the negativity when it is against public opinion. The politicos and media still behind the public curve who have had enough PC left wing clap trap and want authentic people with ordinary traditional views on representing the people they serve, no more self serving greedy Westminster elite, the swamp needs draining her as well. Trump said it all in his speech which will hit a cord with the majority of ordinary folk. The media keeps stating he is against NATO, this is not what I have heard or read. He is against only 5 out of 22 nations fulfilling their financial responsibility to NATO and expecting the US to cover the cost. He is right if it is an alliance everyone needs to pay their fair share. Better than Merkel’s EU army.

    • Chris
      Posted January 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Hope. Those claims about Trump and NATO seem to be fake news.

    • pleb
      Posted January 21, 2017 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Hope
      Missed that by Aitken. Good bloke he is.

      • Hope
        Posted January 23, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        He had time to think when in prison!

  12. Prigger
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Whatever the policy we cannot hope to find out anything about it we can believe from the BBC and Sky News.
    It comes to something when a tweet from just about anyone in the USA, even an opponent of Trump, can be believed more than the damp-squid arsenal of UK university professors our media interviews as though they are properly educated.

  13. Antisthenes
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Obama’s awful presidency may have ended but the damage he did on foreign affairs and other matters will take sometime to undo. Trump appears to have some of the answers on how to do that but what he proposes on trade is not one of them. In fact the way to a more peaceful world is trade so it is an important part in making that happen. Being bellicose is no longer an option, except in a few exceptional cases, partly because of that and partly because the West no longer has the clout and it is these days counterproductive anyway.

    The way forward has to be to be based on the expansion of trade as prosperity brings enlightenment and contentment. The two attributes most missing in areas where conflict is or can happen and where hate and distrust is at it’s greatest. Globalisation has in fact seen a considerable relaxation of tensions in international relations. There are still differences aplenty but they are slowly breaking down and cooperation and finding common cause are on the increase. Trump needs to follow that path but like Obama he will not be as successful as he could be because he will not use the stick and carrot anymore wisely.

  14. Bert Young
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The main thing about Trump – his utterances and priorities , is the fact that he drove the establishment out of the way . Politics today must adjust to the will of the people ; they no longer see themselves as fitting into one kind of box or another ; they are more individualistic and self-dependent . Party politics as we have known it will have to change and the extent of central control reduced .

    I do believe that bringing Russia in out of the cold can only be beneficial ; Russia has come a long way out of its communist past and would move more quickly into international deals if it was given the chance . Putin and Trump can pull this thing together with one of the end results being a safer Europe .

  15. oldtimer
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Re my earlier post on Trump’s inaugural speech on no more regime change, I have listened to it again. His actual words were:
    “We do not seek to impose our way of life on anybody” (at about 11 minutes in). That seems a clear statement of intent to me.

    • Chris
      Posted January 21, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      …and a very wise policy of Trump.

  16. a-tracy
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Yesterday it was as though the whole world was holding its breath to hear what Pres.Trump would say. It was a quiet working day and we all listened to his speech together. We’d been told he would be different once he took office but he seemed to be banging his same drum beat, time will tell if that is good or bad for America.

    Heffer today in the Telegraph concerns me that he worries Trump wants to weaken NATO because I always read it that he wants to strengthen NATO and expects the protected Countries to cough up their 2% of their GDP to improve and contribute their fair share. How have the EU Countries got away with it, think what we could have spent on our NHS with 1% extra GDP to spend that they’ve been getting away with! The EU keep telling us you can’t enjoy membership of the club if you don’t follow all the rules and pay your dues, so how is this different and what’s wrong with expecting Germany and others to pay their way or put in their expected forces in proportion to this level?

  17. Tad Davison
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    ‘From Mr Trump’s point of view it would be good to draw a line under the numerous not very successful wars the US has fought in recent years in the Middle East, and to gain more time to concentrate on the economy at home which is his prime concern.’

    President Trump said the US didn’t want to subsidise the defence of foreign countries. The inference, was that remark related to NATO members, but I can think of one other country that receives massive amounts of US dollars in aid and military spending without question, which should also be included.

    Wars should never been seen as an adventure, or as a legitimate extension of US foreign policy as some in Washington would do, only a last resort when all else has failed. Diplomacy and an ethical foreign policy is also one of the cheapest options for resolving a dispute, yet it is better still if the circumstances never arose in the first place. It is said that Obama, whom the liberal left love so much and regarded as the new messiah, dropped one bomb for every twenty minutes of his entire presidency.

    The US has a massive national debt which the outgoing president seemed to want to add to by increasing the debt ceiling. President Trump could reduce that debt whilst simultaneously making the US more viable and reducing the enormous amounts of third-world poverty that exists there.

    Who knows, we in the UK might yet follow that precept, and could eventually see the end of food banks and homelessness that are a national disgrace.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  18. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    John

    “It’s morning again in America.”

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    As I read this morning the Germans insist that the next round of emergency loans to Greece can only go ahead with the continued involvement of the IMF, and while Lagarde has assured them this will be the case there is the possibility that Trump will reverse Obama’s policy and refuse to allow that. In which case, the Greek government will face imminent bankruptcy and Greece will be forced out of the euro.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-20/schaeuble-lagarde-seek-to-bridge-greek-gap-amid-talks-deadlock

    “A day after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble hinted he’d discontinue the program that has kept the continent’s most indebted state afloat if the IMF walks away, the fund’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde assured him of her support.”

    But Trump may take a different view:

    http://usa.greekreporter.com/2017/01/20/will-president-trump-force-greece-out-of-the-eurozone/

    “Republicans have long criticized the administration’s policy of remaining actively involved in EU affairs, arguing that the IMF’s loans had been made with American taxpayers’ money …Trump himself recently actually encouraged Greece to exit the Eurozone, in a manner similar to how he has prompted other European countries to abandon the EU … Trump is further expected to withhold consent for the IMF to provide Greece further loans to pay off its existing debts, which could precipitate of credit crisis. Thus, unlike the Obama administration, which helped averted the EU’s demise in 2010, the new U.S. government apparently plans to press for the precise opposite: propelling the EU towards its total collapse.”

    However we’ve heard this kind of thing before and the eurozone has not only been preserved intact, it has continued the expansion required by the EU treaties.

    • SM
      Posted January 21, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      From what little I know about it, Greece seems to have been a failed state since the late C19th, both politically and financially.

      How much longer can the West keep it going?

      • Mitchel
        Posted January 23, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        Greece was designed to be a weak state.When it was carved out of the Ottoman Empire it covered less than half the ethnic Greek population and covered the economically poorer parts of ancient Greece.Britain and France did not want a strong Greece which would inevitably become a client of it’s Orthodox big brother,Russia, nor did they wish to accelerate the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire of which,again,Russia would have been the prime beneficiary.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 21, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Dear Denis–I seem to remember from Frau Merkel not too long ago that she thought the very idea that the EU might need IMF or any other external help for an EU member in financial distress was preposterous–and I believe this was to the extent, or very close (can’t remember), that she said that it wouldn’t be allowed.

    • Bob
      Posted January 21, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      @Denis Cooper

      “the next round of emergency loans to Greece can only go ahead with the continued involvement of the IMF”

      Isn’t it the responsibiltty of the European Central Bank rather than the IMF?

      Brussels must be itching to get Scotland on board.

  20. Jack snell
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    As usual you’re talking tripe..nobody has any way of knowing how this trump presidency is going to work out..what if trump and putin fall out between themselves.. e only have a few months to wait to see how all of this is going to shake out…just like the consequenses of pushing the button on brexit?

    So whats the poi t on going on about things that at this stage e have no idea yet about the likely outcome- my own feeling is that trump will be disastrous just like the de ision that britain has taken to quit the eu- but then – who am i to say?

    • freezing
      Posted January 21, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      to jack snell
      who are you saying is talking tripe am not clear ?

  21. Pragmatist
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Obama foreign policy has been erratic and confusing. Poor little Cameron never knew which strand of Washington “thought” to suck up to. To bomb or not to bomb, there or there?

    The US emphasis changed irrationally. Cameron stuck with bombing and interventionist adventures. Sounds tough. Made him look like a “strong and decisive leader” his silly advisors probably imagined.

    In contrast,Trump has nothing to prove. His “Democratic” opponents paint him in strong loud colours. They helped his election campaign thus. Anything he now does in foreign policy, however ineffectual it could be, will be painted, has to be painted by US leftie-liberals as brash, bullying, overly tough and brutal with their own electoral add-ons of misogynist, xenophobic, islamophobic, homophobic, pro Israel yet anti-semitic and of course, racist
    It means of course, Trump can concentrate in making a good deal with Russia and China without needing to watch his back on how the deal will be perceived domestically. It will be seen as hawkish and warmongering and protectionist callous.! 🙂

  22. Gandalf the Elder
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    The best thing about Russia and China is that they both understand Western electioneering and how our peoples are managed in their belief systems.

    Behind the scenes, it is highly unlikely the powers-that-be in China and Russia are not actually looking forward to re-newed dialog with Trump’s America. Every change in a major world Establishment such as a America is seen as a rebalancing of the ying and yang, ( without being too cornily clichéd ) as far China is concerned; a castling move by Russia but opening up the state of play to a myriad positive possibilities.

    Our Brexit should be seen in such positive terms and not a national collective moaning. But Mrs May should fly to America immediately to see Trump. Also leave behind those members of her Cabinet who illogically condemned Trump ignorantly. They are too gobby, if nothing else, to be in her Cabinet. In their case, mindless talk costs trade deals and a lift on the back of the American Eagle out of Middle Earth and its coming volcanoes.

  23. What's up?
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Don’t know how a British diplomat to the US would or could explain over-voiced anti-Trump rhetoric by our media and senior allegedly pro-American Tories. Corbynista Labour Party they understand. They are the “Democrat Party” with fewer millionaire backers.
    Criticism of their Head of State Trump, much of it factually incorrect, is something even a British diplomat wearing red socks and an imbecilic grin would find a challenge to explain, surely?
    The fact that Trump appears a heterosexual seems ill-fitting to our Diplomatic Corp.

  24. Mitchel
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    It was disturbing (though hardly surprising) to read Peter Oborne’s comments in today’s Daily Mail:-

    “Ever since Donald Trump stormed to victory last November his staff have been besieged with delegations from Britain.

    One senior figure close to the new President reveals that the British concentrate only on warning Trump against President Putin and against doing a deal with President Assad in Syria.He says that Brexit hasn’t been raised once.This is madness.”

    And I can scarcely believe our host when he writes “the west did not cause the disputes or want to bring about civil wars…”It is possible that a bankrupt west did not actually “cause” or “want” but they certainly facilitated under instruction from their paymasters.

  25. Chris
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    An inspired article, Mr Redwood, which shows a depth of understanding of the whole situation, which sadly some members of government lack.

    In striking contrast to the sense displayed in this article, is an article by Paul Goodman on Conservative Home, which displays, in my view, both arrogance and a lack of understanding and common sense about the new President of the USA. Fortunately, the comments section indicates that many of the readers of Conshome seem wiser than Paul Goodman:
    http://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2017/01/mays-tremendous-task-to-tame-trump.html
    May’s tremendous task: to tame Donald Trump

    • zorro
      Posted January 21, 2017 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      No May’s task is to be diplomatic and get the best results and relationship with USA for the UK. Too many of our politicians were too busy in engaging in PC virtue signalling about Trump intead of listening and using their political antennae. They made the same mistake with Brexit. They need to swallow their pride and egos, be mature and get on with it.

      zorro

      • Chris
        Posted January 21, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        Agreed, Zorro.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 22, 2017 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Exactly.

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, I read here:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/20/david-davis-preparing-address-parliament-hours-supreme-court/

    “David Davis will go to Parliament within hours of next week’s expected Supreme Court ruling to put forward an Article 50 Bill.”

    I just hope he gets it right and avoids the kind of silly error that was made with the EU referendum Act, which through its silence on what would ensue from a vote to leave the EU opened the door to legal challenges – which incidentally will not end with the verdict of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, because other cases have already been started up and they need to be stopped by Parliament or we will be no further forward.

    To avoid yet more legal challenges, including to the ECJ, and so yet more delay, the Bill must expressly set aside the European Communities Act 1972, and it must clarify that parliamentary authorisation to serve the Article 50 notice to leave the EU shall be taken as also authorising withdrawal from the EEA, and it must clarify that no legal act by any of the UK devolved authorities can prevent the government proceeding, and it must state that nothing in the Act can be questioned in any court in or out of the UK – and maybe there are even other eventualities which must be forestalled?

    For God’s sake, JR, don’t let him muck up because government lawyers say that it will be OK, just as they previously said that the referendum Act was OK.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 21, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      Dear Denis–Best I gather, they want the Bill to be about two lines long, if that??

    • Chris
      Posted January 21, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      I support the urgency of your plea to Mr Redwood.

      Also, I fear that, ironically, two of the greatest “Remainers” have turned out to be Christopher Booker and Richard North. The latest from Booker, and presumably to be echoed by North tomorrow on his website, is excoriating in its criticism of Theresa May. What concerns me hugely is that I do not think that this is unrelated to North’s Flexcit strategy apparently being rejected by Government. It is no secret that he seems to hold spectacular grudges against individuals whom he does not agree with, individuals he then goes on apparently to insult, belittle and undermine and destroy. He was merciless in his relentless attacks on Farage, and appeared on television to further his apparent vendetta. Theresa May has a very hard battle on her hands, and it is devastating that some of her most ferocious opposition seems to have come from originally declared Leavers.

      Theresa May has to take decisive and final action to combat the various troublemakers, otherwise we are in for a long period of major discontent and possibly instability.

      Reply Why take this criticism so seriously? What matters is the view of the govt and of Parliament.

      • Chris
        Posted January 21, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply: thank you, I find that reassuring.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 21, 2017 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        Time will tell if Dr.North is right or wrong.

        He does back up most of his claims with good research and a knowledge of the EU that is unparalleled.

        My fear is, that as we move to the exit door the EU will produce an EU-Lite option not too dissimilar to that of Cambell-Bannerman. A solution that is far worse than any currently available, including EEA membership.

      • ChrisS
        Posted January 21, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        But what if Denis is right ?

        A two line bill will not deal with any of the additional challenges he mentions and I very much doubt that a longer bill would survive unscathed.

        It’s extremely unlikely that a second two or three line bill setting aside the European Communities Act 1972 will get through either house at this point in the proceedings.

  27. Ed Mahony
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    ‘My main worry about Mrs Clinton as a candidate was her bellicose approach to the Middle East and Russia’

    – Trump isn’t thinking about Clinton. He’s thinking about Bush Jr’s terrible war in Iraq (1. no WMD discovered 2. pre-emptive strike all about regime change 3. no long-term planning of war – making Middle East and the world an unsafer place).

    At the same time he’s probably thinking there is a time for foreign intervention, looking at Putin’s relatively successful campaign in Syria.

    • zorro
      Posted January 21, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      I seem to recall that the US led coalition intervened in Syria before ?? Russia albeit rather half heartedly for pretty clear reasons. One thing that the previous US administration was not good at was intervening successfully in foreign countries. Lots of expensive weapons were used at multiple ISIS targets we are told which managed to allow them to parade across the desert (unchallenged) in Toyota pickups to increase their territory……

      zorro

  28. zorro
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the West did not cause the disputes…. maybe….. However, the West certainly are/were allies with direct supporters of violent insurgents, and were quite OK with the idea of a salafist entity in Syria in their effort to control resources (as alluded to in the 2012 DIA report). Some of those Western influences would have liked to have extended the EU to the Urals and deliberately provoked Russia by their machinations in Syria. I hope that this prevailing attitude will change to a more sensible business like, business friendly approach to world affairs not just in USA but in Uk and Europe as well.

    zorro

  29. forthurst
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    It is quite clear what the policy of the Obama administration was with regard to Syria; this has been revealed explicitly in a recording of John Kerry speaking to Syrian ‘opposition’ on the sidelines of the UN on September 22nd 2016. In other words, the continual arming of Daesh and other terror groups, the failure to attack the terrorists, and the attack on a Syrian Arab Army convoy were part of the US strategy for regime change in Syria, as a surrogate for US ‘boots’ on the ground.

    It remains to be seen what strategic change will follow upon Donald Trump’s assumption of Supreme power; however, General Michael Flynn is the the new National Security Advisor, a man who was retired from the Obama administration for pushback against the Obama regime’s Syria policy. It remains to be seen how effective Trump’s property ‘re-developer’ son-in-law is in pursuing Israel’s strategic ambitions in Syria and Lebanon. Presumably, Trump will not wish to fight a war with Russia.

    Perhaps the clown in the FCO would take on board the fact that patriotic right-thinking Englishmen are sick and tired of our fighting to create yet more refugees to assist Merkel, Soros and other members of the enemy within, to pursue their egregious anti-European policies.

  30. Peter Martin
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    “unfair competition from the world’s most successful goods exporter.”

    Is this really true of China? According to the IMF, the surplus figures in terms of GDP, for various countries, are as below:

    China 2.12%
    Germany 7.39%
    Netherlands 10.24%
    Taiwan 12.35%
    Singapore 19.09%

    It really makes no sense to run a large trade surplus. It means that the country is supplying more Goods and Services to the Rest of the World than it is receiving in return. If anyone disagrees then they can come and mow my lawn and I’ll make them a cup of tea in return. I’ll give them my IOU to make up the difference in the relative prices!

    So whereas there might be a case for a developing country like China to run the small surplus that it does, building up a collection of IOUs in the process, there is really no reason for the other more developed countries to run the surpluses they do. Germany and Holland cause havoc in the EU by sucking out the euros from their neighbours’ economies and make themselves poorer in the process.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted January 21, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      What are the trade surplus figures in actual value of goods shipped and received rather than percentage of GDP?

      I wouldn’t be surprised if China jumped to the top of your list…

      • Peter Martin
        Posted January 24, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        Yes this is a fair point, but there is not that much difference in $ terms between Germany and China’s surpluses.

        The argument that China needs to build up a healthy balance of foreign reserves to stabilise its currency and therefore its economy is still stands though. As China becomes a more established economy, we should see China’s trade position equalise . Indeed it is in their interest that it should. It will be a sign that Chinese, rather than American, people are utilising the outputs of their industry.

        There is no such argument for Germany though. Just quite why such an established economy wishes to acumulate pounds and dollars which they have no intention of spending is quite a mystery. In fact they can’t spend them. It would cause havoc to the US and the UK economies if they tried. They need to make changes is a slow and gradual way.

  31. thinlizzy
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Re: last 2 blogs, tax and foreign policy.
    Bite the bullet, link up with Farage, get your message to Trump. You’re right, but these days one needs to be bold, quick and totes confident when you’re sure of your facts.

  32. turboterrier
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    President Trump could make a big difference period and he will.

    Do these pathetic people marching against him realise they are attempting to throw democracy out of the window.

    Over the years there has been 100s of perceived “dodgy” politicians on the front pages but we never got rid of them by 1000s marching on the streets.

    When the President starts to really turn America around and expose some of the crap we have been fed for years and had to put up with, then maybe just maybe people will see the real light. He could be a great help to the UK, these idiots could make him think about just how much we are worthy for consideration in his plans.

    He won a democratic race and as such if you don’t like it, shut up, move on and wait for the next elections.

  33. acorn
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May said: “Not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, anything that leaves us half-in, half-out. We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries. We will take back control of our laws and bring to an end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice [ECJ] in Britain. What I am proposing cannot mean membership of the Single Market.”

    JR, please can you get Mrs May to put getting rid of the ECJ jurisdiction to last on the to-do list. The ECJ is the “dispute resolver” for the EU Energy Union, to name but one strategic sector of the UK economy. UK Gas and Electric wholesale prices will become disconnected from the lower EU wholesale prices; signalled via the UK-EU inter-connectors market. Also, what will happen to the UK involvement in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme? It appears Mrs May is with Mr Trump on climate change; like, there isn’t any. Hence, we need to be thinking about importing more LNG from the US, under some trade agreement, to be on the safe side.

    There is a lot of investment hanging from a “sky hooks” at the moment and a shortage of parachutes.

  34. NickW
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    There is something deeply disturbing going on.

    We are seeing a concerted and extremely well organised GLOBAL campaign to demonise and discredit the newly elected President of the United States.

    Who or what is behind it?
    Who or what has more power and influence than any Nation State?

    Whoever or whatever force is behind it represents a far greater threat than any National Leader; they are seeking to rule the World.

  35. in my time of
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Not worried about US . Hope it has given Theresa May more confidence though. She needs to be brought up to date with the alt stuff. Can the Brexit movie guy do a video summary.

  36. fedupsoutherner
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Go, Donald, go!!! Big climate change policy on the way. Hurrah for common sense.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/20/donald-trump-first-day-barack-obama-white-house/96829932/

  37. Caterpillar
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    When the PM meets the President will the F35 lightings be on the agenda? Presumably the MoD has an alternative plan for both RAF and those two aircraft less aircraft carriers?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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