Perspectives

NPR National Security Editor Assesses Trump’s Recent Trip & Other Policy Matters


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The pomp, pageantry, and elaborate ceremonies honoring President Donald Trump on his recent Far East trip met the White House expectations for presidential optics and the perception of exalting the U.S. President.
However, many observers wonder if President Trump actually made much headway in negotiating new trade agreements or getting additional help in solving the N. Korean nuclear issue, according to Phillip Ewing, national security editor for National Public Radio.
Additionally, the magnitude of the trip has been minimized somewhat with the Twitter skirmish Pres. Trump has had with the father of one of the three UCLA basketball players released after shoplifting arrests in China. The battle over who should receive credit for their release has somewhat overshadowed the foreign policy ramifications of the trip, Ewing says.
Ewing also notes that current criticism of the President and some of his advisors by a rather substantial number of retired Generals is unprecedented in its volume and ferocity.
Simultaneously, the Navy is suffering from a number of fatal disasters at sea in the Far East bringing into focus the lack of training and maintenance in the Armed Forces, according to Ewing. This gives a black-eye to the perception of U.S. military superiority and efficiency. It displays vulnerability.
While the military is suffering from some perception issues, Ewing says the State Dept. also is undergoing a crisis in morale under Sec. of State Rex Tillerson. Many top level positions have not yet been filled by the Administration thereby causing some chaos in handling some key diplomatic issues.
Upcoming next month is the issue of the budget and whether Congress will allow the federal government to shut down or whether the Republicans can strike a deal with the Democrats to keep the federal government running. Ewing says that this is a key issue to watch develop over the next 30 days or so.
Ewing has been with NPR since November 2015. Also, he has had a long history of reporting about military and defense issues for POLITICO.com, military.com and Navy Times.