Republicans’ failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare may have dominated headlines last week, but that wasn’t the week’s only story.
On this episode of The Weeds, Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias talk with Vox’s foreign editor, Yochi Dreazen, about President Trump’s foreign policy and the schisms that exist between the president and his chief foreign diplomats. Trump’s tweets “bear no resemblance” to the policy enacted by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson or Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Yochi says.
Later in the show, Ezra and Matt also talk through a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research that pushes back against the commonly held belief that social media is a major cause of political polarization.
Here’s Yochi on the differences between Trump’s rhetoric about his foreign policy, and how policy is actually being carried out around the world:
What’s interesting is there’s kind of the two foreign policies: there’s the foreign policy as tweeted by Donald Trump, which bears no resemblance to the foreign policy that’s currently being carried out by Rex Tillerson or by Jim Mattis.
Right now the deployment happening militarily that matters most, although is not getting much attention, is the US sending 5,000 troops to Eastern Europe, to Poland. There was a real question of, “Barack Obama committed to it. Will Donald Trump do it?” And if you’re Donald Trump trying to suck up to the Soviets, and to the Russians, and to every other phrase you could use to describe Vladimir Putin and his government, you’d cancel that deployment. And right now they aren’t. So if you’re someone worried about NATO and about Donald Trump being too close to Putin, that’s kind of a good sign. But if you’re someone trying to figure out what the hell does Donald Trump think about NATO, the fact that Rex Tillerson just said he won’t go to the next meeting of the foreign ministers, it’s just baffling.
It’s foreign policy by tweet from the President, foreign policy carried out by the secretaries of the different agencies, and nary the two shall meet.
- Former Army officer and Iraq War veteran Phillip Carter writing for Vox about Trump blaming a botched Yemen raid on the military
- Yochi’s explainer on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis
- Zack Beauchamp on mysterious Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
- Ezra’s conversation with the Atlantic’s Molly Ball about the 2016 election
- “Is the Internet Causing Political Polarization? Evidence From Demographics,” a paper for the NBER by Levi Boxell, Matthew Gentzkow, and Jesse M. Shapiro