Week 2: January 27-February 2

Trump signs an Executive Order that bars all refugees from Syria, and all people from 7 majority Muslim countries from entering the US. Because of the rushed nature of the order there is widespread confusion about who it affects, including people with duel citizenship, valid visas and green card holders: How Trump’s Rush to Enact an Immigration Ban Unleashed Global Chaos

Breaking with all precedent that has separated domestic political calculations from foreign policy and national security, Trump’s chief political advisor and strategist Steve Bannon is given a permanent seat on the National Security Council: Bannon Is Given Security Role Usually Held for Generals

Here is a good Washington Post survey of Bannon’s anti-globalist and anti-Muslim world view, based on many hours of tape from his Breitbart radio show.

Trump opens a diplomatic rift with Australia-a key military ally-on a phone call with Prime Minister Turnbull where he says “This was the worst call by far.” He was apparently set off by Turnbull requesting that Trump honor an agreement to resettle some refugees from Iraq and Iran that Australia is holding in camps. The situation in these camps are dire and are becoming a domestic and geopolitical problem for Australia. You can read about the miserable conditions of these camps, including suicides and murders, in this Roger Cohen piece.

The rift with Australia was so sever that Republicans in Congress, including John McCain, had to reach out to Australian diplomats to reassure them of American support and affinity: Congressional leaders scramble to reassure Australia after testy Trump phone call

Since the election the GOP has built up a steady momentum toward pulling the plug on Obamacare, but this may be the week that the health care law was put back on life support. Republicans in Congress are beginning to openly express the idea that they will not repeal it: G.O.P. Campaign to Repeal Obamacare Stalls on the Details. And conservative writers are sounding less triumphal than they were a couple weeks ago and more pleadingly desperate about a way forward, like in this Ramesh Ponnuru piece for National Review.

Finally, several writers laid down their markers about what kind of president Trump will be now that we’ve seen him on the job for a week and half. Elliot Cohen writes that “Precisely because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better.” David Brooks predicts that Congressional Republicans will eventually have to side against Trump, calling him “a danger to the party and the nation in its existential nature. And so sooner or later all will have to choose what side they are on, and live forever after with the choice.” David Frum paints a dark picture of America in 2021 after a Trump has succeeded in building an autocracy. And Ross Douthat explains why Trump’s incompetence and populism’ s blindspots means he will fail to build much of anything except a unified resistance movement.

 

 

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