Carol J. Williams is a retired foreign correspondent with 30 years' reporting abroad for the Los Angeles Times and Associated Press. She has reported from more than 80 countries, with a focus on USSR/Russia and Eastern Europe.
"The closure of all U.S. consulates in Russia would appear a U.S. retreat and capitulation to the diplomatic visa pressures applied by elements of the Russian government.” -- Derek Norberg, president of the Seattle-based Council for U.S.-Russia Relations
Trump’s deployment of riled-up supporters to attack the heart of elected government reminded me of late Venezuela President Hugo Chavez, whose virulent campaign of “Chavismo” lured the poor and disenfranchised to attack an oil-rich market economy from within, leading to the authoritarian-ruled basket case that exists today.
Much of the envisioned UK-EU trade treaty is already in a draft of 600-plus pages, with three areas of disagreement holding up its conclusion. Those few stumbling blocks, however, are deeply embedded in Britain’s disaffection with an alliance it considers a constraint on British sovereignty.
The U.S. image as a reliable ally and partner in global matters from health to arms control to human rights and democracy has suffered serious blows over the past four years of Trump’s transactional attitude toward security, trade and globalism.
“This president’s failure to manage the Covid-19 pandemic effectively, his failure to reduce the dire economic impacts, and his propensity to inflame rather than heal the deep divisions in this country have all contributed to a perception, among allies and adversaries alike, of an America that is in crisis, if not decline,” Michele Flournoy, former undersecretary for defense, in an interview with The New Yorker.
Most disturbing was the end when Pence dodged the question of what he would do if Trump loses the election and refuses to submit to a peaceful transition of power. Like Trump, his position is that they aren't going to lose. Not very reassuring in view of the double-digit deficit of the Trump-Pence ticket in the latest polls.