U.S. President Trump

U.S. President Trump and his ambition to strengthen America by changing rules, producing deep divisions in his country. Authoritarian nationalist seeking to put into effect promises of his aggressive presidential campaign, surprised allies and enemies with radical measures, attacking immigrants and intimidating the media, taking distance from free world trade and globalization. His budget plan includes a tax reform, of both personal and corporate taxes, a massive Trillion-Dollar infrastructure program, elevating security and military spending by reducing spending in most other areas, projecting an economic growth of 3%, up from meager 1,6% in 2016. He leaves no doubt to favor companies investing in the United States and contracting Americans, saying that those producing abroad should have to pay a -protectionist- compensating border tax, insisting that U.S. allies used America for years owing lots of money, causing his returning to protectionism, contributing to the rise of global populism, caution and consternation in the international community. Although having a strong base of followers, his approving rate is one of the lowest in U.S. history, as he hopes to gain the support from conservatives motivating their nationalist vision. Saying ‘enough is enough’ the Trump administration ordered a massive missile attack on a Syrian air base in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack killing at least 87 civilians, stepping up the pressure on Russia to rein in Syrian President Al Assad warning of any further chemical attacks, saying the missile strike carries a message for others, sending a carrier-led strike group to the Korean peninsula, increasing international tensions, dropping U.S. military its most powerful nonnuclear bomb on an Islamic State complex in Afghanistan. North Korea said it was ready to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier to demonstrate its military might. The U.S. started moving parts of an anti-missile defense system/the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system to a deployment site in South Korea, about 250 km south of the capital, Seoul, arriving a guided missile submarine from the U.S. Navy in South Korea on the same day that North Korea celebrated the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army. Signaling a certain willingness to exhaust non-military alternatives despite repeated warnings that ‘all options are on the table’, the Trump administration said now it aimed to push North Korea into dismantling its nuclear and missile programs through tougher international sanctions and diplomatic pressure and still remained open to negotiations. A CNN/ORC poll showed nearing the 100-day mark that Donald Trump is the least popular U.S. President in history at this point in his term, as some observers compare his opening months with a chaotic discovery of power. Going by President Trump’s ‘100-day action plan to make America great again’, his progress has been slow. President Trump’s ‘very friendly’ talk with President Rodrigo Dudarte, who has lead a deadly crackdown on drugs in the Philippines, inviting him despite human rights criticism to visit the White House, stuns aides and critics alike, the same as his opening the door to meeting North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, saying he would be honored to meet the young leader under the right circumstances, even as Pyongyang suggested it would continue its nuclear weapons tests, as Asian nations are swinging toward China’s orbit, a consequence of President Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda. Without referring to President Trump, a Fed-speaker declared that trade protectionism is a ‘dead end’ that may score political points but will ultimately hurt the U.S. economy. Deepening sense of crisis as President Trump defends F.B.I. firing, media revealed that the President pressed James Comey, the law enforcement official leading a wide-ranging criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, for ‘loyalty’ at a private dinner in January 2017, promising the F.B.I. director only ‘honesty’, asking President Trump in February 2017 F.B.I. director Comey to close the Flynn/Russia investigation, facing the deepest crisis of presidency as Comey memo surfaces, playing online bettors early end to Trump presidency, naming Justice Department Robert S. Mueller III., former F.B.I. director, special counsel for the Russia investigation. North Korea launched a new developed mid-to-long range ballistic missile, reaching an altitude of more than 2.000 kilometers and landing in the Sea of Japan close to Russia, saying North Korea it was aimed at verifying the capacity to carry a large scale heavy nuclear warhead, asking the U.S. also Russia, after China, to help convince Pyongyang to stop its reckless nuclear weapons program or face serious consequences, sharing the code used in the latest cyberattacks many similarities with past hacks blamed also on North Korea. President Trump shared intelligence about ISIS provided by Israel with Russian officials, probably endangering spy placed inside ISIS by Israel, saying Trump he has an absolute right to share ‘facts’ with Russia, not informing if he revealed classified secrets, offering Russian President Putin transcript to prove that Trump did not pass secrets to Russia. With Trump crisis deepening Wall Street tumbled as reform hopes fade and the Dollar declined to a six-months low, threatening new Russia probe leaks to derail President Trump’s first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia and Europe, reporting media he told Russian officials in the Oval Office that Comey’s firing relieved ‘great pressure’ calling him a ‘nut-job’. President Trump, proving his art as deal maker, celebrated in Saudi Arabia mega-deals worth approximately $380 Billion, including $110 Billion arms agreement and $50 Billion worth deal with Saudi Aramco, inaugurating new era of U.S.-Arab partnership, urging Muslim countries at the Arab-Islamic-American summit to take a lead in fighting terror. European leaders were confronted in Brussels with an authoritarian President Trump, rebuking NATO leaders for not paying defense bill and producing deep differences in discussions over trade with the EU, receiving renewed pleas not to abandon the Paris climate change agreement. Fellow Republican and former U.S. House speaker Boehner said that Trump’s time in office has been a ‘complete disaster’, aside from foreign affairs, praising his aggressive steps to challenge the Islamic State militant group and other moves in international affairs, explaining ‘he’s still learning how to be President’, ‘meaning President Trump the apprentice’, what may explain his cautious attitudes during the G7 summit in Sicily, still developing views on different very important issues, for example on climate change, where he is expected to ultimately do what he believes was best for the United States. German leader Merkel, remaining committed to U.S.-German relations, said that very unsatisfactory results of the G7 summit in Sicily shook her confidence in the United States, reducing her confidence in the Trump administration, moving President Trump and Chancellor Merkel further apart, which could mean a shift in the wider world order, emerging China as Europe’s unlikely global partner on areas from free trade to security. In a statement backed by all 28 EU states the EU and China will commit to full implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement that U.S. President Trump appears to be set to pull out of. President Trump announced the United States will pull out of the landmark Paris climate change pact, saying it was too expensive for the U.S., meaning the decision a profit for U.S. polluters, placing America alongside with Syria and Nicaragua, the other two non-participating countries, fulfilling a major pledge of his election campaign. However the climate won’t be able to survive the long-run absence of U.S. leadership, considering that the United States are second worldwide after China in greenhouse gas emissions; if an actual U.S. withdrawal ends up as a four year absence on a long-run downward emissions trajectory than the climate can survive it. Democratic state governors from California, New York and Washington intend to form an alliance committed to countering climate change, defying President Trump’s determination, announcing disappointed chiefs of Tesla and Space X, Elon Musk and of Disney, Robert Iger, they resign from the President’s advisory council, regretting other important business leaders, so from Apple, Facebook, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Google, and Microsoft, the decision to exit the Paris agreement, expressing they will remain committed to fight climate change. President Trump accused former FBI chief Comey of lying under oath in his testimony to Senators, where he confirmed Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, saying ‘they did it with purpose’. Notably backing the aggressive position of Saudi Arabia against Iran, and escalating the diplomatic crisis in the Middle East, President Trump accused Qatar of being a high-level sponsor of terrorism, recommending German Chancellor Merkel that all Gulf states and also Iran and Turkey, nations maintaining relations with Qatar, should work together to find a solution to the regional dispute. President Trump is rolling back the dètente with Cuba begun by Obama, asking Cuban government to release political prisoners. Described by President Trump ‘as the single greatest witch hunt in American political history’, former F.B.I. director Robert S. Mueller III appointed as special counsel is overseeing the Trump-Russia investigation. The U.S. Senate voted to enact new sanctions in response to Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, after reports that the Trump administration is considering easing sanctions on Moscow; EU-allies formally renewed economic sanctions against Russia on Ukraine until January 31, 2018. The Trump administration seems to be ready to use forth in North Korea if needed to stop its nuclear missile program, seeing it as a growing threat, although saying it preferred a global diplomatic action against Pyongyang for defying world powers. The G20 meeting in Hamburg ended with a forged trade compromise as U.S. tariff threat lingers, finding the Trump administration itself isolated, standing on issues like immigration, trade and climate change alone, expressing world leaders their total disagreement with President Trump on climate change. On the sideline of the G20 gathering in Hamburg President Trump and Russian President Putin met face-to-face, who denied again any meddling in the U.S. 2106 election, establishing both sides a discussion how they could work together, including combating cyberattacks and de-escalating the war in Syria, apparently without producing any news. President Trump threatened North Korea with ‘fire and fury’ after Pyongyang announced it examines plans for a missile strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major U.S. military base and home of U.S. bombers. President Trump praised Kim Jong Un’s decision not to fire missiles toward Guam, easing tensions between the two countries. After more CEO’s quit Trump council over his response to violence in Charlottesville, the U.S. President ended his two advisory panels, the Manufacturing Council and the Strategic and Policy Forum. Outraged by his defense of white nationalists, the President has been abandoned by executives, contradicted by military leaders and shunned by Republicans. Stephen Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, left the White House after clashing for months with other senior advisers and members of Trump’s family. President Trump decided to deepen American involvement in Afghanistan, formerly opposed by him. Shock Poll: a Pew Research Poll shows that most countries prefer Russian President Putin over the U.S. President Trump. After North Korea’s new sixth and most powerful nuclear test, the U.S. urges a fuel cutoff for the country, saying it’s ‘begging for war’, intending to resolve the standoff using tougher sanctions rather than military means. The U.N. Security Council strengthened North Korea sanctions, but North Korea launches still another missile over Japan, escalating again crisis. President Trump signaled he will choose approach on Iran that preserves nuclear deal. Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relation Committee, said Trump was treating his office like ‘a reality show’, in an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party, adding he concerns me and he would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation. According to polls, President Trump now is the least popular first-year President in U.S. history and only 18% of voters are actually prepared to vote him again as President in 2020. 12 months of President Trump since election are bringing an economic boom, deepening divisions and probe politics. Compiling a solid record of accomplishments, much of it is unilateral, dependent on extensive executive actions, rolling back President Obama’s regulations, impressive judicial appointments and some progress in the fight against ISIS overseas. The $1,5 Trillion tax bill is his most significant legislative achievement, and a provision of the tax overhaul is expected to release a tide of U.S. corporate cash from abroad, estimated to reach eventually up to $400 Billion, a development likely to jolt the Dollar and reverberate throughout financial markets early 2018. 2018 could bring a bout of protectionism and his toxic persona, suffering still under the not yet concluded investigation of a Russian election interference in his favor, could drive a Democratic wave in the 2018 midterms.Michael Wolff promoted his new book ‘Fire and Fury’-‘Inside the Trump White House’ by saying that Trump is unfit for presidency, adding that his revelations will bring down Trump, defending Trump his mental capacity, saying he is ‘a very stable genius. President Trump accepted an invitation to meet Kim Jong-un of North Korea offering to start talks on giving up its nuclear weapons, a high-level diplomatic encounter so risky and seemingly far-fetched that some of Trump’s aides believe it will never happen. President Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials and closed a consulate, joining a coordinated campaign by two dozen countries to retaliate for poisening of a former Russian spy in Britain, saying Russia it will respond in kind to West’s expulsions. James Comey, the President’s fired FBI director, said President Trump is a serial liar, treats women like ‘meat’ and is a ‘stain’ on all who work for him.

British PM May, after initiating the ‘Brexit’ process, and Japanese PM Abe, considering the growing threat of North Korea and Chinese military expansion in Asia, depend increasingly on their traditional ally, the United States, advancing President Trump to accept his  international commitments. PM May called for early general elections on June 8, 2017, claiming they are a chance to heal divisions over ‘Brexit’, suggesting new polls she will win comfortably Labour, which is on 28%, trailing her Conservative Party , which is at 47%. Conservatives lead over Labour Party has fallen, showing new polls before election that Conservative Party was on 43%, down 1% from a weak ago, while Labour Party was up 3% to 37%. Britain’s official terror level has been raised to ‘critical’ by PM Theresa May, which means another attack is expected ‘imminently’, after bomber slaughted at least 22 people, including children, at packed pop concert in Manchester, suspending May her election campaign, warning an EU report that more than 1.500 jihadists have returned to Europe with orders ‘to carry out attacks’. After a third terrorist attack in less than three months in Britain its PM May said ‘enough is enough’, vowing to intensify counter terror efforts, clarifying that election on June 8, 2017, would go ahead. Ruling Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority, forming PM May a minority government with the small Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party/DUP, weakening her position just days before negotiations of U.K.’s exit from the U.E. were due to start, agreeing both sides the first day of talks that ‘Brexit’ must be orderly. An explosion on the London Underground is being treated as a terrorist attack, leaving more than 30 people injured. U.K.’s growth will lag behind most of E.U.; accelerating Euro-zone set to outstrip Britain at time of ‘Brexit’, as uncertainty is continuing to weigh on investment in the U.K., while inflation is hitting customer purchasing power; the Euro-zone will mark its best year in a decade and maintain a solid growth well into 2018. The U.K. is expelling 23 Russian diplomats over the poisening of a former spy on British soil in a sharp escalation with Moscow, joining the Trump administration a collective statement with Britain, France and Germany denouncing Russia for its role in a nerve gas attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter.

German Chancellor Merkel seeking re-election in 2017, challenged by opposition candidate Martin Schulz, is considered as a strong conservative European leader, criticized for her immigration policy allowing refugees to enter and stay in Germany, pushing now public spending on refugees the economic growth in Germany, most likely will be able to rule for a fourth term of four years as chancellor, as people seek calm and stability. In her first meeting with President Trump deep differences about immigration and world trade got evident. Angela Merkel vowed fight hard to win a fourth term in the German Federal election on September 24, 2017 against her center-left challenger Martin Schulz, after an unexpectedly clear state election victory in the German State of Saarland. Angela Merkel won a fourth term as chancellor, placing her in the front of Germany’s post war leaders, even as her victory was overshadowed by the entry of the far-right party Alternative for Germany/AFD, getting some 13% of the vote, into Parliament for the first time in more than 60 years, while the center-left Social Democrats, Merkel’s coalition partner for the last 4 years, announced that the party would go into opposition, forming Mrs. Merkel probably a coalition with the pro-business minded party of the Free Democrats/FDP, who won some 10,4% of the vote, and eventually with the left-leaning pro-environment party of the Greens, who won about 9%, before ending 2017. German veteran finance minister conservative Wolfgang Schaeuble, deeply respected in Germany, agreed to become president of the parliament, clearing the way for another party to take his job, possibly the Free Democrats/FDP as likely new coalition partners, seen as a decisive step to help Mrs. Merkel to form a new government. After failing coalition talks with Free Democrats and the Greens momentum is growing for another grand coalition after SPD leader Schulz agreed to hold talks with Merkel about reviving their outgoing coalition government. Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union/CDU has thrown its support behind pursuing a new alliance with Social Democrats/SPD, renewing the ‘grand coalition’, stressing Merkel the importance for a stable German government. Slowly Germany begins to ponder life after Merkel, as members of Merkel’s conservatives are starting to look ahead to potential alternatives to lead their party and Germany; the succession debate has been supercharged by the inclusion of a clause in the preliminary coalition deal with SPD that envisages a review of the next government’s progress after two years to assess whether any changes to its mission are needed, seen as a good time for Merkel to resign. Angela Merkel moved closer to a fourth term as German Chancellor, after naming Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as new CDU general secretary, tipped as her successor, and appointing ministers for a renewed coalition with the Social Democrats/SPD, still pending a postal vote of SPD’s 464.000 members in favor or against the deal, expected the results to be announced on Sunday, March 4, 2018. Angela Merkel was sworn in for a fourth term as German Chancellor, approving the Parliament earlier her re-election by 364 votes to 315, after securing a new coalition deal with the Social Democrats/SPD, who succeeded to appoint two pro-European politicians to key posts, the Finance and Foreign Minister. Chancellor Merkel initiated her term with a trip to Paris, visiting French President Macron who is seeking her support for plans to reform the EU.

President Putin, the powerful and intriguing Russian leader, an experienced ex-spy chief, used to take advantage of international tensions and conflicts to reinforce and extend Russian presence and power. Apparently helped President Trump to get elected through intensive covered operations and hacking, attacking Trump’s adversary Hillary Clinton. The U.S. taking a sharper tone on Russia’s role in Syria, accusing the Kremlin of cover-up the Syrian’s government culpability in chemical weapons attack, ending Russia hopes of swift detente under President Trump, making state media, which hailed his election win, a U-turn, saying Trump was scarier than North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un. Russian President Trump now is saying, maybe private Russian hackers meddled in U.S. election, remarking ‘anything is possible in this virtual world’, denying again any state role. After President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, now the escalation of a diplomatic crisis in the Middle East, cutting Saudi Arabia and the UAE trade and diplomatic ties with Qatar, accused to support terrorism, expecting Washington Qatar to pledge loyalty to a united GCC, of which it is a member, confronting under Saudi leadership Iran, considered as the worst enemy of the United States. Qatar, where the U.S. military has its largest Middle East airbase, Al-Udeid, rejecting the accusations to cooperate with proponents of terror, wanting just normal relations with its neighbors, is seeking help from Turkey and Iran to secure food and water supply, debating Turkey a law for military support of Qatar. President Putin joking, offering political asylum to former F.B.I. chief Comey, who denounced the Russian interference ‘with purpose’ in the U.S. 2016 election favoring Trump. After the U.S. shot down a Syrian military jet near Racca for bombing near U.S. allied forces on the ground, Russia warned the U.S. that it viewed any planes flying in its areas of operations as potential targets and will track them with missile systems and military aircraft, but stopped short of saying it will shoot them down, while the White House said coalition forces fighting Islamic State militants in Syria retained the right of self-defense. U.S. President Trump signed a bill with new sanctions against Russia, escalating tensions, responding Russian President Putin with an order that the U.S. must cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755. Russia’s Vladimir Putin has said he will seek another term as president in the 2018 election; he has been in power since 2000 and if he wins the March 2018 election he will be eligible to serve until 2024. President Putin was re-elected obtaining 75% of the vote, beginning a fourth term and expected to stay in power until 2024. Russia announced to expel 150 diplomats, including 60 Americans, closing Washington’s consulate in Saint Petersburg, in retaliation for Western nation’s response to the poisening of a former spy.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, the calm, mostly smiling power seeker, is always ready to confront other world leaders, intending to change global power balance further in favor of China; taking advantage of President Trump’s protectionism and regressive climate politics may be in a position to challenge the U.S. for global leadership, expanding China’s economic and military influence not only in Asia, but also in Europe, Africa, the Arab States of the Persian Gulf and Latin America. To avert a trade war with the United States, Peking is offering concessions, promising more liberalizations to increase accessibility for U.S. companies in China. U.S. officials praised China for stepping up efforts to rein in North Korea, Beijing’s neighbor and ally, announcing North Korea it will continue regularly test missiles and military action against it by the U.S. would prompt ‘all out war’, warning China of ‘storm clouds gathering’ in U.S.-North Korea standoff, urging an end to ‘mutual provocations and threats’, cautioning that tensions on the Korean peninsula could run out of control. China said it warned North Korea it would impose unilateral sanctions should Pyongyang carry out another nuclear test, possibly China’s toughest threat yet against its defiant neighbor. Elected new South Korean leader, liberal politician Moon Jae-in, may bring a more conciliatory approach toward North Korea. After launching North Korea an ICBM that can carry a large and heavy nuclear warhead, President Trump warned China he is willing to pressure Pyongyang on His Own.

After an attack on Champs-Èlysèes injecting more uncertainty into French Presidential election, France voted on April 23, 2017, in the first round of bitterly fought election that could define the future of the E.U.. The outcome, a choice between extremes, will show whether the populist tide that saw Britain vote to leave the E.U. and Donald Trump elected President of the U.S. is still rising, or starting to ebb. The pro-EU Emmanuel Macron, the centrist front-runner and  far-right leader Marine Le Pen are set to face each other in a May 7, 2017-runoff for the French Presidency after coming first and second in the first round, early projections have indicated, seeing opinion polls Macron winning the final clash against Le Pen. The European friendly Macron said the EU must reform or face the prospect of a ‘FREXIT’, making the comments as he and his far-right rival Le Pen entered last week of campaigning. Macron has been elected new French President, succeeding Hollande, keeping France at the center of the EU and reducing uncertainties of the Euro-zone, pledging in his inauguration to restore the country’s lost confidence and to relaunch the flagging European Union, agreeing President Macron with German Chancellor Merkel to draw up a road map to deepen EU integration, despite scepticism in Berlin over his proposed reforms. Chancellor Merkel said she was open to creating Euro-zone budget, inclusively to study the possibility of an Euro-zone Finance Minister as proposed by French President Macron. President Macron won a solid parliamentary majority enabling him to push through necessary reforms. German Chancellor Merkel praised the ideas of French President Macron for reform of the E.U. and said they could form the basis for intensive Franco-German cooperation. Emmanuel Macron says France’s economy needs re-shaping to lure investment and rein in spending, as he strives to persuade Berlin that Paris can be a credible partner with whom to drive European reform. As he revolutionized the French labor market, he is battling with unions calling for strikes, putting pressure on him struggling to shake off criticism that he is ‘president of the rich’. France and Germany want to reach a joint position on Euro-zone reform, including tax convergence, capital markets and the banking union, between March and June 2018.

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