Who understands our times, Bernie or The Donald?


April 13, 2019

Who understands our times, Bernie or The Donald?

by Fareed Zakaria.com

https://fareedzakaria.com/columns/2019/4/11/who-understands-our-times-bernie-or-the-donald

There are many explanations for Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory in this week’s election that have to do with Israel’s particular situation — its economic boom, stable security climate and the prime minister’s political talent. But he is also part of a much larger phenomenon: the continued strength of populist nationalism around the world — and the continued inability of left-of-center parties to respond to it.

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The case for populist nationalism goes something like this. It’s a nasty world out there. People are trying to take our jobs, undermine our security, move into our country. The cosmopolitan urban elites don’t care; they benefit from these forces. So we need a tough guy who will stand up for the nation and against the liberals in our midst.

In some variant or another, this is the argument made by Netanyahu, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Narendra Modi, Viktor Orban, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Jair Bolsonaro, the Brexiteers — and, of course, President Trump.

In 1972, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin wrote that nationalism “expresses the inflamed desire of the insufficiently regarded to count for something among the cultures of the world.” He placed the roots of modern nationalism in Germany, a country obsessed with finding its place in the sun. But the sentiment — a kind of victim mentality — can be found in almost all modern variations, even among rich and powerful nations.

Look at Putin’s claim that Russia has been pushed around by the West since the Cold War, the Chinese obsession with their humiliation since the opium wars, the Israeli right’s complaint that the world is biased against Israel and Trump’s constant refrain that all foreigners — from Mexicans to Chinese to Europeans — take advantage of the United States. These leaders promise to rectify the situation and restore their countries’ proper standing in the world.

Trump’s embrace of the word “nationalism” illustrates the simultaneous attacks on domestic elites (with their politically correct language) and on perfidious foreigners. “We’re not supposed to use that word,” Trump said in October. “You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, okay? I’m a nationalist. Nationalist. Nothing wrong. Use that word. Use that word.”

When asked the next day what he meant by the term, Trump responded, “I love our country. And our country has taken second fiddle. . . . We’re giving all of our wealth, all of our money, to other countries. And then they don’t treat us properly.”

Netanyahu, for his part, has long argued that Israel deserves a much better “place among the nations,” a phrase that was the title of his 1993 book that argued for a robust Israeli nationalism that is aggressive and unapologetic. Though Israel’s strength and security have grown immeasurably, as its historical enemies — Saudi Arabia and Syria, among others — have either become buddies or basket cases, the argument that the world is against it has somehow persisted.

In fact, despite the pose of victim hood adopted by most of these populists, nationalism is probably the most widely held ideology in the world today. Which American politician today does not speak up for the United States? The real debate is whether nationalism should be informed and influenced by other values such as liberty and equality and, if these two sets of values conflict, which one should be preferred. That’s why the most ardent capitalists — from Friedrich Hayek to Milton Friedman — have always been in favor of globalization and economic freedom above nationalist protections and controls.

The danger for liberals is that they underestimate the power of these raw, emotional appeals. For centuries, liberals have assumed that nationalism was a kind of irrational attachment that would grow weaker as people became more rational, connected and worldly. In fact, Berlin wrote, like a twig that is bent in one direction and has to snap back, as globalization grew in its reach, nationalism would be the predictable backlash.

Populist nationalists understand the core appeal of their ideology. I recently asked a Bolsonaro supporter whether the Brazilian president’s economic policies (which are free-market-oriented and reformist) or his cultural nationalism was the key to his appeal. The supporter’s answer: Nationalism is the party’s core; the economics is simply about efficiency and growth.

Meanwhile, liberals in the United States still don’t seem to get it. The Democratic Party continues to think the solution to its woes is to keep moving leftward economically. This week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) revealed his new Medicare-for-all plan, which was immediately co-sponsored by four other presidential candidates. The plan will probably require an additional $2 trillion to $3 trillion in annual tax revenue.At the same time, Trump tweets about the Democrats’ love of “open borders” and insists he will protect the country and enforce its laws. What if Trump understands the mood of our times better than Sanders?

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group

 

On legal immigration, Trump might be right


April 7, 2019

On legal immigration, Trump might be right

by Dr . Fareed Zakaria

https://fareedzakaria.com/columns/2019/4/4/on-legal-immigration-trump-might-be-right

 

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President Trump’s threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border has confused even his allies. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said it “would be bad for everybody.” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) remarked, “I’m not sure that’s a particularly good idea, and I’m not sure it gets the desired result.” Most assume the threat is part of the usual Trump style — bravado and bluff — and will eventually get dialed back, and there are already indications that this is happening.

But on the broader issue of legal immigration, Trump seems to be shifting his position. In his State of the Union address in February, he said, “I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.” Immigration hardliners did not take this well.

The president has since reasserted the idea. The day after the State of the Union, Trump told reporters: “I need people coming in because we need people to run the factories and plants and companies that are moving back in.” And Politico reported this week that Jared Kushner is quietly developing a proposal to increase legal immigration into the United States.

If this is Trump’s new and improved immigration position, the president might find his way to a powerful compromise — real crackdowns on illegal immigration, coupled with reform and actual increases in legal immigration. This also happens to be a smart policy idea.

A recent essay in the journal International Security points out that by 2050, the United States is projected to be the only major world power with an increase in its population . The four authors, all university professors, tie this factor to more dynamic economic growth and also the United States’ continued ability and willingness to play a major military and political role.

The data on other major powers is striking. United Nations projections show that by 2050, China and Russia will have a 20 percent drop in people of working age. Germany’s working-age population will drop by 17 percent, and Japan’s by 29 percent. This will probably translate into slower growth, less economic vitality and greater passivity on the world stage, the report says.

The United States’ working-age numbers are set to rise by 12 percent in the same period. In fact, only three other major developed countries will see increases in their working-age cohort: Australia, Canada and Britain. But all four countries are expected to enjoy this boost only because of immigration. Without immigration, by 2050, the U.S. working-age population would actually shrink by 4.5 percent. Canada’s would plummet by 20 percent.

China, on track to be the greatest economic, political and technological competitor to the United States, faces a demographic challenge that’s even more dire than was previously anticipated. Last year, China’s birth rate fell to its lowest level since 1961, a year of widespread famine. It appears that the Communist regime’s efforts to reverse the nation’s long-standing “one child” policy have not worked. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said in January that for China’s population, “the biggest event in the first half of the 21st century is the arrival of negative growth,” according to the South China Morning Post.

Amid all the noise in this country about immigration, it’s easy to forget the big picture. Immigration means a more robust economy. It usually means younger workers, which translates into greater dynamism and more innovation. Most Nobel Prizes are awarded to scientists for work they did when they were young. Most companies are founded by people when they are young. Younger populations are more risk-seeking, adventurous and entrepreneurial.

Despite the rhetoric around it, legal immigration in the United States is actually not that high. Before he became chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Kevin Hassett published a piece in National Review ranking wealthy countries on their ratio of new immigrants to total population in 2010. The United States had the third-lowest figure, higher only than Japan and France. Canada and Germany had more than twice as many new immigrants as a share of the population, and Norway and Switzerland had more than four times.

During the past two decades, many of the United States’ crucial competitive advantages have been copied by the world to the point that other nations do it better — with well-regulated market economics, technological investments, infrastructure, mass education. What does America have left to truly distinguish itself?

Over the past half-century, the United States has handled immigration better than most countries. It takes in people from everywhere, assimilates them better, integrates them into the fabric of society and is able to maintain an environment in which the new immigrants feel as invested as the old. This will be its core competitive advantage in this century.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group
Washington Post
April 4, 2019

Venezuela–Will Moscow make a mockery of The Monroe Doctrine?


March 29,2019

Venezuala– Will Moscow make a mockery of The Monroe Doctrine?

by Dr. Fareed Zakaria

https://fareedzakaria.com/columns/2019/3/28/is-venezuela-where-trump-finally-stands-up-to-putin

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President Trump faces a crucial test of his foreign policy and his resolve over Venezuela. His administration has made absolutely clear that the United States no longer considers Nicolás Maduro to be president, publicly backing Juan Guaidó, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as the country’s interim leader. Trump has gone so far as to urge the Venezuelan military not to follow Maduro’s orders. These declarations are much stronger than the “red line” President Barack Obama drew around Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

So far, Trump’s pressure has not worked. Maduro has dug in, and the Venezuelan military has not abandoned its support for him. While U.S. sanctions may be hurting, they could also have the effect of creating a siege mentality that reinforces the regime’s hold on the nation. This is what happened to varying degrees with Cuba, North Korea and Iran.

Venezuela is a complicated, divided country, and Maduro, as heir to the legacy of Hugo Chávez, does have some support in poor and rural areas. But far more significant in bolstering the regime has been Russia’s open and substantial support. Moscow now admits that it has sent military personnel to Venezuela. Two Russian military planes arrived in the country last weekend, carrying about 100 troops.

This is just the latest in a series of moves by Moscow to shore up Maduro. Over the past few years, Russia has provided wheat, arms, credit and cash to the flailing government in Caracas. Estimates of Russia’s total investment in Venezuela vary from $20 billion to $25 billion. Russia now controls almost half of the country’s U.S.-based oil subsidiary, Citgo, which has been a major source of government revenue. The Venezuelan military uses Russian equipment almost exclusively.

The Venezuelan gambit appears to be personally significant for Russian President Vladimir Putin. In recent years, as the Venezuelan economy has tanked and political instability has grown, even most Russian companies have abandoned the country, viewing it as too risky. But, as Vladimir Rouvinski writes in a report for the Wilson Center, Russian state-controlled oil giant Rosneft has persisted and even ramped up its support for Maduro. The company is led by Igor Sechin, who has close ties to Putin and is often called the second-most powerful man in Russia.

In other words, Putin is all-in with his support for Maduro. He is doing this in part to prop up an old ally, and because it adds to Russia’s clout in global oil markets, but above all because it furthers Putin’s central foreign policy objective — the formation of a global anti-American coalition of countries that can frustrate U.S. purposes and usher in a more multipolar world. Putin’s efforts seem designed to taunt the United States, which announced the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, warning foreign powers to stay out of the Western Hemisphere.

The big question for Washington is: Will it allow Moscow to make a mockery of another U.S. red line? The United States and Russia have taken opposing, incompatible stands on this issue. And as with Syria, there is a danger that, if Washington does not back its words with deeds, a year from now, we will be watching the consolidation of the Maduro regime, supported with Russian arms and money.

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The administration has been tough on Russian involvement in Venezuela. Trump himself has even declared, “Russia has to get out.” But that is an unusual statement from Trump, who has almost never criticized Putin and often sided with Russia on matters big and small.

As former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul has written in The Post, Trump has a remarkably consistent pattern of supporting Putin’s foreign policy. Trump has threatened to withdraw from NATO and has announced the removal of U.S. troops from Syria. He has publicly disagreed with his own intelligence community’s conclusion that Moscow meddled in the 2016 elections, saying, “President Putin . . . said it’s not Russia. . . .I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

The big question for Washington is: Will it allow Moscow to make a mockery of another U.S. red line? The United States and Russia have taken opposing, incompatible stands on this issue. And as with Syria, there is a danger that, if Washington does not back its words with deeds, a year from now, we will be watching the consolidation of the Maduro regime, supported with Russian arms and money.

The administration has been tough on Russian involvement in Venezuela. Trump himself has even declared, “Russia has to get out.” But that is an unusual statement from Trump, who has almost never criticized Putin and often sided with Russia on matters big and small.

As former U.S. ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul has written in The Post, Trump has a remarkably consistent pattern of supporting Putin’s foreign policy. Trump has threatened to withdraw from NATO and has announced the removal of U.S. troops from Syria. He has publicly disagreed with his own intelligence community’s conclusion that Moscow meddled in the 2016 elections, saying, “President Putin . . . said it’s not Russia. . . .I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

(c) 2019. Washington Post Writers Group

BREXIT Marks the END of Great Britain


March 16, 2019

BREXIT Marks the END of Great Britain

by Dr. Fareed Zakaria

https://fareedzakaria.com/columns/2019/3/14/brexit-will-mark-the-end-of-britains-role-as-a-great-power

One of the great strengths of democracy is that bad policies are often reversed. That’s a consolation when we look at the flurry of pandering programs being enacted as the populist wave works its way through the Western world. When a new government is elected, things can be undone. Except for Brexit, which, if it goes through, might prove to be the most profound legacy of this decade.

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Britain, famous for its prudence, propriety and punctuality, is suddenly looking like a banana republic as it makes reckless decisions, misrepresents reality and now wants to change its own self-imposed deadline. But if it does leave the European Union, it would be bad news for be bad news for Britain, Europe and the West.

As Martin Sandbu writes in the Political Quarterly, Brexit has always been “a solution in search of a problem.” To me, the best evidence of this is that Britain’s Euroskeptics generally want to leave the E.U. because they see it as a statist juggernaut. In virtually every other member country, Euroskeptics dislike the E.U. because they see it as a free-market juggernaut. So either all of those other countries have it backward, or Britain’s Conservatives have gone nuts.

When I asked my Post colleague Anne Applebaum what historians would look at when trying to understand the road to Brexit, she suggested it all centers on the Conservative Party.

The Tories could probably claim to be the most significant political party of the 1900s, governing Britain for most of the century, producing Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and other iconic Western statesmen.

But after the Cold War, as left-wing parties abandoned socialist ideas and moved to the center, the right faced an identity crisis. It needed to find the kind of clarity and purpose that anti-communism and freedom had provided. In the United States, this mobilized the Republicans to emphasize social and cultural issues such as abortion, gay rights and immigration, which they coupled with an almost religious fury against liberals.

In Britain, Conservatives found themselves in the same mushy middle that Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron inhabited. So, as Applebaum noted, they went radical — on Europe. Of course, there were always Euroskeptics, but they had been a small, eccentric minority within the party. By the midpoint of Cameron’s premiership, they were able to hold the party hostage and force Britain to walk the plank.

We’re all weary of the drama, but keep in mind: Brexit would be a disaster. As Sandbu points out, Britain’s economy is competitive and productive only in high-value manufacturing and services, both of which depend on a deeply integrated market with Europe. Although Britain can and will adjust, Brexit would probably mean a path of slower growth and less innovation for the country and its people.

The foreign policy consequences of Brexit are being discussed least but might prove to be the most consequential. If Brexit does occur, within a few years, Scotland and Northern Ireland would probably loosen their ties to Britain to maintain their association with Europe. The United Kingdom would then be reduced to just England and tiny Wales, not really fitting into any of the three economic blocs of the 21st century — North America, Europe and China. London, a city that has shaped global affairs for 250 years, would become the West’s Dubai, a place where lots of money sloshes around but of no great geopolitical consequence.

Europe would also lose a lot with Brexit. Britain has a large and vibrant economy. But more important,Britain has been a crucial voice in the community for free markets, openness, efficiency and an outward-looking foreign policy. It has been one of the few European countries that has maintained and deployed a powerful army, often for broader global purposes.

As non-Western countries such as China rise, the central question of international relations is: Can the international system built by the West — which has produced peace and prosperity for 75 years — last? Or will the rise of China and India and the revival of Russia erode it and return us to what Robert Kagan calls “the jungle” of international life — — marked by nationalism, protectionism and war? Image result for Britain no longer rules the waves

After BREXIT–Great Britain is no longer GREAT

The world order as we know it was built over two centuries, during the reigns of two liberal, Anglo superpowers — Britain and then the United States. Brexit would mark the end of Britain’s role as a great power, and I wonder whether it would also mark the day that the West, as a political and strategic entity, begins to crumble.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group

Washington Post 

Diversity can rescue democracy–How will America handle it?


March 8, 2019

Diversity can rescue democracy–How will America handle it?

by Dr.Fareed Zakaria

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“In their book “How Democracies Die,” Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt make the case that diversity helps forge the culture of compromise and tolerance that is crucial to democracy’s success. They argue, for example, that the Republican Party has become so rigid, intolerant and abusive of this norm in part because it has become an ethnically and racially homogeneous party.“—Fareed Zakaria

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report, which is expected to be delivered to the Attorney- General Barr soon, will end up being a great test of American democracy. How will we handle it? In a nakedly partisan fashion, or as a way to bolster our constitutional system?

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It has been much noted that we are now in an era of illiberal democracy. Popularly elected governments and leaders — in countries as varied as Venezuela, Poland, Hungary, Turkey and the Philippines — are undermining independent institutions, violating important norms and accumulating unbridled power. In most of these nations, checks and balances have buckled as institutions that protect rights have been weakened, political parties have been craven, courts have been compliant, and the press has been subdued.

https://fareedzakaria.com/columns/2019/3/7/how-diversity-can-rescue-democracy

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In the United States, the story is mixed. The political system has functioned poorly, checking President Trump’s excesses only along partisan lines. This is largely because the Republican Party has capitulated to Trump, even when party leaders have believed that he was undercutting democracy itself. Senators who had spent a lifetime railing against the executive branch’s power grabs have meekly endorsed Trump’s phony national emergency. They have quietly accepted that Congress’s central power, to spend money, can be subverted at will by the White House.

On the other hand, some American institutions have pushed back. The judiciary has maintained its independence. The various branches of investigative authority — the FBI and other organs of the Justice Department — have demonstrated that they serve the country and Constitution above the current occupant of the White House. The press has, by and large, been able to withstand the extraordinary pressure of a president who almost daily attacks and threatens its freedom and independence.

But the greatest check on Trump has surely been the public itself, placing some limits on the president’s behavior by voting in the midterms and expressing itself through opinion polls and protests. And, ultimately, this has to be the hope for the health and strength of any democracy — that in the words often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, “You can’t fool all the people all of the time.”

My faith in people power has been strengthened in watching events 7,000 miles away in India. There, too, a democratically elected leader, Narendra Modi, has accumulated power in ways that were at times authoritarian. In this case, the pressure he exerted on the bureaucracy and judiciary often worked. So did his intimidation of the press, which, while once fiery and free, has essentially become a handmaiden of the ruling party. Business executives were coerced into supporting Modi’s party, the BJP, and loading it up with cash.

And yet, the BJP recently received a drubbing at the ballot box. Despite commanding advantages with media coverage, money and local officials, India’s dominant party lost several key state elections a few months ago. Why? In a word, diversity.

In a new book on his quarter-century of observing Indian politics, Ruchir Sharma notes that the dominant reality of Indian politics is its diversity. India is composed of dozens of different linguistic communities, ethnic groups, castes, tribes and classes. And these identities are meaningful, shaping people’s perspectives on everything from daily life to political preferences. Sharma cites the head of a large consumer products company, who explained that his company divides India into 14 sub-regions because of its dizzying diversity — compared with the 20 countries of the Middle East, which get divided by the company into just four groups.

This diversity has proved to be India’s greatest strength as a democracy, ensuring that no one party gets too big for its boots. For 40 years, the single best prediction in Indian elections has been that the incumbent will be tossed out. In the upcoming national election, Modi has immense advantages: money, a large parliamentary majority, a fawning media and a slew of expansive populist spending programs to buy people’s votes. Even then, recent polls indicated his coalition would fall short of a majority.

Things have changed because of India’s military tit-for-tat with Pakistan, which Modi has used to push an aggressively nationalist line. With no evidence, he has labeled all opposition parties as being anti-national and pro-Pakistan. This strategy might work, but still, he will likely return to office with a reduced majority.

Image result for book “How Democracies Die,” Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

In their book “How Democracies Die,” Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt make the case that diversity helps forge the culture of compromise and tolerance that is crucial to democracy’s success. They argue, for example, that the Republican Party has become so rigid, intolerant and abusive of this norm in part because it has become an ethnically and racially homogeneous party.

Most Western countries are going to become more diverse. That is simply demographic reality. India demonstrates how that diversity — if embraced and celebrated — could actually help rescue and strengthen democracy.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group

 

America’s bitter polarization at home exacts a price on its credibility abroad, says Dr. Fareed Zakaria– on Hanoi Summit


March 3, 2019

America’s bitter polarization at home exacts a price on its credibility abroad, says Dr. Fareed Zakaria on Hanoi Summit

https://fareedzakaria.com/columns/2019/2/28/americas-bitter-polarization-exacts-a-price-on-its-credibility-abroad

 

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“One of the challenges with North Korea is trying to get an agreement that locks in concessions at the start, because history tells us that Pyongyang will not follow through, fully implement or honor its commitments. But, in truth, the United States does not have a great track record of honoring its international commitments, either”.–Fareed Zakaria.

It appears President Trump decided that a bad deal with North Korea was worse than no deal, a reasonable conclusion that suggests he and his team were approaching this important issue with the seriousness it deserves. One of the challenges with North Korea is trying to get an agreement that locks in concessions at the start, because history tells us that Pyongyang will not follow through, fully implement or honor its commitments. But, in truth, the United States does not have a great track record of honoring its international commitments, either.

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It’s always useful in a negotiation to put oneself in the other side’s shoes. If you were a North Korean statesman, you’d surely study the last important international agreement negotiated and signed by a U.S. president: the Iran nuclear deal. In exchange for the elimination of 98 percent of Iran’s fissile material, thousands of centrifuges and its Arak nuclear reactor, as well as the installation of cameras and inspectors everywhere, the United States agreed to waive sanctions against Iran and allow Western companies to do business with the country.

But even during President Barack Obama’s administration, Iran never really got much access to the international economic system. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif explained to me on several occasions that, despite the language of the deal, the Obama administration approved barely any commercial transactions between Iran and the United States. And once Trump took office, his administration began to actively undermine and even violate it, lobbying European countries to boycott Iran and using the dollar’s power to freeze any business with Iran. Not surprisingly, support for the deal in Iran, which was sky-high, has taken a serious hit.

Or consider when Libya agreed in 2003 to “disclose and dismantle” all of its weapons of mass destruction, which it essentially followed through on. In return, President George W. Bush’s administration promised to help Libya “regain a secure and respected place among the nations” and pledged “far better relations” between the United States and Libya. Bush suggested that the United States would work to turn Libya into a “prosperous country.” Little of this happened, of course, and several years later, the Obama administration helped topple Moammar Gaddafi’s regime. I am not arguing the merits of the Libyan intervention. But if you are a North Korean negotiator and Washington is promising you security guarantees, you might find this bit of history relevant and worrying.

If the North Koreans look back honestly at their own history of negotiations with the United States, they will recognize that they repeatedly lied, cheated and broke promises. Washington’s behavior is not nearly as duplicitous, but it did make promises to Pyongyang that were never really kept.

In 1994, North Korea agreed to halt operations at its Yongbyon nuclear facility and have its spent fuel monitored by inspectors. Yongbyon was eventually to be destroyed. In return, Washington would “move toward full normalization of political and economic relations” and give North Korea two light-water reactors, plus heavy fuel oil.

North Korea took most of the steps outlined. But as scholar Leon V. Sigal pointed out on 38North.org, Washington moved slowly on its commitments, never providing the light-water reactors and failing to deliver the fuel on time. It took only modest steps to normalize relations. Pyongyang made clear that if the United States did not live up to its end of the deal, it would renege on its own obligations. Still, President Bill Clinton’s administration did not come through, and North Korea began violating the accord. When the Bush administration came to power, it scuttled the entire process and moved to a much harder line against North Korea.

These U.S. moves are part of the hyper-polarized political environment of the past quarter-century. During the Cold War, most international agreements and commitments made by one president were likely to be upheld by his successors. Though many Republicans opposed President Harry S. Truman on NATO and foreign aid, the party did not try to reverse course and wreck these policies once in power. Though candidate Bill Clinton bitterly criticized George H.W. Bush’s foreign policy, it is hard to find an area where there was a significant departure from it once he became president.

Compare that with the current environment. Trump has pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate accord and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and he has questioned the continuing value of NATO. He has repeatedly shown that he regards every decision made by his immediate predecessor to be at least wrong, and often treasonous.

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If you were a North Korean negotiator, you would surely be wondering whether any deal made by the Trump administration would be honored or properly implemented by its successors. And you would be right to wonder. The United States’ bitter polarization at home exacts a price in the nation’s credibility and consistency abroad.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group