In his first week he withdrew from the unratified 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership. He prepared to pull out of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (Korus) and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Earlier this year he imposed steep tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, using a little-used national security law, and threatened the same for autos.
Today, Korus and Nafta have been replaced by updated agreements(one not yet ratified) that look much like the originals. South Korea accepted quotas on steel. Mexico and Canada agreed to higher wages, North American content requirements and quotas for autos.
These represent a step back from free trade toward managed trade, but they will have little practical effect: The limits on how many cars Mexico and Canada can ship duty-free to the U.S., for example, exceed current shipments. Mr. Trump hasn’t stopped threatening auto tariffs, but for now his officials have elected instead to seek broader tariff reductions with Japan and the European Union.
.. Meanwhile, the U.S. trade deficit that incenses Mr. Trump has grown during his presidency, especially with China and Mexico, as a strong American economy sucks in imports. His exhortations to manufacturers to bring jobs back to the U.S. have largely fallen on deaf ears.
Facebook knew about Russian interference
In fall 2016, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, was publicly declaring it a “crazy idea” that his company had played a role in deciding the election. But security experts at the company already knew otherwise.
They found signs as early as spring 2016 that Russian hackers were poking around the Facebook accounts of people linked to American presidential campaigns. Months later, they saw Russian-controlled accounts sharing information from hacked Democratic emails with reporters. Facebook accumulated evidence of Russian activity for over a year before executives opted to share what they knew with the public — and even their own board of directors.
The company feared Trump supporters
In 2015, when the presidential candidate Donald J. Trump called for a ban of Muslim immigrants, Facebook employees and outside critics called on the company to punish Mr. Trump. Mr. Zuckerberg considered it — asking subordinates whether Mr. Trump had violated the company’s rules and whether his account should be suspended or the post removed.
But while Mr. Zuckerberg was personally offended, he deferred to subordinates who warned that penalizing Mr. Trump would set off a damaging backlash among Republicans.
Mr. Trump’s post remained up.
Facebook launched a multipronged attack and lobbying campaign
As criticism grew over Facebook’s belated admissions of Russian influence, the company launched a lobbying campaign — overseen by Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer — to combat critics and shift anger toward rival tech firms.
Facebook hired Senator Mark Warner’s former chief of staff to lobby him; Ms. Sandberg personally called Senator Amy Klobuchar to complain about her criticism. The company also deployed a public relations firm to push negative stories about its political critics and cast blame on companies like Google.
Those efforts included depicting the billionaire liberal donor George Soros as the force behind a broad anti-Facebook movement, and publishing stories praising Facebook and criticizing Google and Apple on a conservative news site.
Cambridge Analytica raised the stakes
Facebook faced worldwide outrage in March after The Times, The Observer of London and The Guardian published a joint investigation into how user data had been appropriated by Cambridge Analytica to profile American voters. But inside Facebook, executives thought they could contain the damage. The company installed a new chief of American lobbying to help quell the bipartisan anger in Congress, and it quietly shelved an internal communications campaign, called “We Get It,” meant to assure employees that the company was committed to getting back on track in 2018.
Some criticisms hurt more than others
Sensing Facebook’s vulnerability, some rival tech firms in Silicon Valley sought to use the outcry to promote their own brands. After Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, quipped in an interview that his company did not traffic in personal data, Mr. Zuckerberg ordered his management team to use only Android phones. After all, he reasoned, the operating system had far more users than Apple’s.
Facebook still has friends
Washington’s senior Democrat, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, raised more money from Facebook employees than any other member of Congress during the 2016 election cycle — and he was there when the company needed him.
This past summer, as Facebook’s troubles mounted, Mr. Schumer confronted Mr. Warner, who by then had emerged as Facebook’s most insistent inquisitor in Congress. Back off, Mr. Schumer told Mr. Warner, and look for ways to work with Facebook, not vilify it. Lobbyists for Facebook — which also employs Mr. Schumer’s daughter — were kept abreast of Mr. Schumer’s efforts.
What Facebook Knew and Tried to Hide (28 min audio)
“Many people have asked the question, ‘Well, why can’t you live with a containment strategy? You lived with it with Russia. You lived with it with China,’” Mr. Tillerson said. “The difference is that with the past behavior of North Korea, it is clear to us that they would not just use the possession of nuclear weapons as a deterrent. This would become a commercial activity for them.”
Donald Trump and the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un — neither of whom has any aides who can stand up to them — are trading fire and brimstone threats with their fingers cocked on nuclear weapons. What could possibly keep a person up at night? Surely Tillerson jests or is high on Ambien.
.. A serious president wouldn’t be leveling unscripted threats at North Korea — uncoordinated with his secretaries of state and defense and unconnected to any larger strategy
- sanction a few no-account Chinese entities,
- desperately seek negotiations on terms sure to fail and
- threaten a war that would be catastrophic
- militarily and
A serious president would follow the rough outline laid out by one of America’s most seasoned Asia-China hands, Jeffrey Bader, which is summarized in a smart paper on Brookings.edu titled “Why Deterring and Containing North Korea Is Our Least Bad Option.”
.. begins by asking the best question any American strategist could ask when thinking about how to deter a nuclear-armed foe: What would George Kennan do?
- Kennan was the architect of America’s successful containment of the Soviet Union, which had tens of thousands of nuclear missiles aimed at us for roughly half a century.
Kennan, argues Bader, would grasp that “while some situations may be unacceptable, they do not lend themselves to short-term fixes. The North Korean challenge is one of them.”
.. the only rational approach is patient “containment, deterrence and pressure.” That is especially true when you recognize that America is vastly stronger than North Korea and the winds of history are all on our side.
.. Is anyone comfortable with the fact that North Korea is building nuclear-tipped missiles that can hit the United States? Of course not. But the point is: We’ve lived with such threats before, and there is simply no reason to believe that the deterrent capabilities we’ve had in place to prevent North Korea from attacking South Korea and American forces there since the end of the Korean War will not continue to work.
North Korea’s ruling Kim family is homicidal, but it has not survived for three generations by being suicidal. And firing a nuclear missile at us would be suicide.
.. We should also bombard North Korea’s people with information on how poor they are compared with the rest of the world
.. The best place to start is by putting on the table a clear, formal peace proposal so the world — especially South Korea and China — see that America is not the problem. The more the whole world sees us as the solution and not as a country led by someone just as crazy, irrational and unstable as North Korea, the more leverage we will have.
.. in return for their complete denuclearization and dismantling of their missile program, we would
- establish full diplomatic relations;
- end the economic embargo and sanctions; and
- provide economic assistance, investment and a peace treaty to replace the 64-year-old armistice agreement.
.. It is most unlikely that North Korea would accept such a proposal. Its leader is obsessed, at least for now, with protecting his regime with nuclear missiles. But this overture, Bader notes, would “demonstrate to the South Korean government, and to its president, Moon Jae-in, that Washington is prepared to put an attractive offer on the table, since Moon is seeking avenues for reconciliation with the North.
.. The more we freak out about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, the more leverage it has. Instead we should be telling Kim Jong-un: “Hey, pal, not impressed with your nuclear toys, been there, done that with the Soviet Union. Time is on our side