By Robert A. Vella
A new CNN poll shows an increase in support for impeaching President Trump, but it also shows that Americans still resist impeachment even though they support the ongoing investigations of him by Democrats in the House of Representatives.
- President Trump’s approval rating remains steady at 43% approve, 52% disapprove.
- Support for impeachment increased over the last month to 41% predominantly among Democrats and college educated whites, while 54% oppose impeachment.
- The percentage of people who say Democrats are overreaching in their investigations of Trump decreased correspondingly to 40% over the same period, and 53% say that Trump isn’t doing enough to cooperate with those investigations.
- 47% agree that Democrats’ investigations of Trump are justified by the facts while 44% disagree.
- 67% want Robert Mueller to publicly testify before Congress.
- 66% believe that legislative cooperation between Congress and the White House is being negatively impacted by the investigations of Trump – 36% blame the president, and 31% blame Democrats.
- 56% disapprove of the way Trump is handling his relationship with congressional Democrats while 33% approve.
Trump is triggering a geopolitical realignment
As deeply troubling as President Trump’s dictatorial assault on constitutional norms and the rule of law is right now, he is triggering something just as disturbing on a global scale. It may be happening in slow motion, but the world’s geopolitical relationships are realigning before our very eyes. Increasingly, he is using trade as a political weapon and causing the targets of his ire to look for other economic partners and military allies. His latest move is inexplicably directed against India which has always been more socioeconomically integrated with Eurasia, Africa, and Oceania than it has been with the Americas.
“I have determined that India has not assured the United States that India will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets,” President Donald Trump said in a proclamation issued by the White House.
As of June 5th, India will be terminated from its designation as a beneficiary developing country. The move adds one more front to Trump’s global trade wars. It comes as Trump took new aim at Mexico this week with threatened tariffs if the country does not step up its immigration enforcement actions. The President has also promised new levies on China amid an impasse in negotiations over a renewed trade deal, and is considering a ban on foreign auto imports.
What we’re beginning to see geopolitically is a new Cold War-type bipolarization between the U.S. and China with the European Union becoming more independent (i.e. moving away from the U.S. sphere of influence) and a cunning Russia exploiting and encouraging these divisions for its own advantage. From a strategic perspective, Trump’s naked aggression and bullying tactics might achieve some temporary concessions from smaller nations (e.g. Mexico), but it is likely to have the opposite effect with the larger powers which are much more competitive with the U.S. economically and/or militarily than was the case during the post-WWII period. China, in particular, won’t bow down to U.S. intimidation.
Beneath the surface, a new tone has begun to emerge since trade talks broke down in early May and Trump ratcheted up tariffs on imported goods from China, an action met with retaliatory duties from Beijing. Officials on both sides of the Pacific have begun to portray the U.S.-China relationship in nationalistic and emotion-charged terms that suggest a much deeper conflict.
Recently, for example, a private group of American economists and trade experts with long-standing experience in China traveled to Beijing, expecting their usual technical give-and-take with Chinese government officials.
Instead, a member of the Chinese Politburo harangued them for almost an hour, describing the U.S.-China relationship as a “clash of civilizations” and boasting that China’s government-controlled system was far superior to the “Mediterranean culture” of the West, with its internal divisions and aggressive foreign policy.
On the U.S. side, a senior State Department official, during a forum last month in Washington, warned of a deepening confrontation with China that she cast in something close to racial terms.
In the Cold War with the Soviet Union, said Kiron Skinner, the State Department’s director of policy planning, Washington at least faced fellow Caucasians, whereas with Beijing, Washington faces a nonwhite culture.
Russia’s efforts to maintain the appearance of a neutral arbiter in the conflict-ridden Middle East and its instrumental approach to ties with Beijing have helped it project outsize geopolitical clout, despite its aging population and ailing economy, says foreign policy expert Angela Stent.
Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has returned to the Middle East in “probably a more successful way than the Soviet Union was ever there,” Stent, now the director of Georgetown University’s Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, said.
“Under Putin, Russia hasn’t chosen sides,” Stent told CBS News senior national security contributor Michael Morell. “The Russians are now the only power in the region that talks to all sides in all disputes – to Iran and the Shia groups, to all the Sunni states, and, of course, to Israel.”
“It’s very pragmatic. It’s non-ideological,” she said, adding that that posture has helped Moscow solidify partnerships with both Tel Aviv and Riyadh, two of the United States’ closest allies.
“The U.S. is obviously much more powerful than Russia, and Russia can’t replace the U.S. militarily or economically in the Middle East,” Stent said, “but…the U.S. is not seen as a neutral arbiter.”
Dems’ internal troubles
WASHINGTON — A move by House Democratic leaders to thwart party members from mounting primary challenges to incumbents, even in safe Democratic districts, could have the unintended consequence of arresting the party’s shift toward a more female and racially diverse caucus, one of its most striking achievements of the last election.
Primary battles have always vexed both parties, because they are divisive and because they drain incumbents’ coffers ahead of general election fights. But while Republicans have faced a spate of losses among incumbents during the Tea Party waves over the past decade, the committee that helps elect them to the House — the National Republican Campaign Committee — remains neutral in primary fights.
The D.C.C.C. policy has caused significant tensions among House Democrats. Many incumbents largely welcome the policy, but newer and more liberal members — especially those who have been shunned by the committee in their own races — are furious.