When Donald Trump won the election, who knew foreign affairs would so quickly become an issue? Alright, I guess everybody did. Accordingly, here are my three things to watch this week in politics.
The China Syndrome. So far, the Chinese have been relatively cool as the president-elect has played telephone tag with Taiwan and kicked sand at Beijing over trade and currency. But his assertion that the One-China policy is not set in stone, and that China ought to be doing more to control North Korea can’t go unnoticed forever. When will the sleeping dragon awaken? My suspicion is sooner rather than later and while Chinese leaders may keep their public statements muted a bit longer, I would not be surprised to hear some rumblings from afar before you can get halfway through your holiday shopping list.
Russian to conclusions. The uproar over what the Russians have —or have not —done in the way of hacking U.S. computers is getting hotter fast. While Team Trump shrugs off any suggestions that Vladimir Putin and his pals fiddled with the election, the U.S. intelligence community is increasingly confident that Russia meddled to try and tip the contest for Trump. A bi-partisan group of senators is making noise about hearings. Like everything else in D.C. these days, how the evidence is seen depends a good bit on partisan viewpoints. But this is as clear as Red Square on a satellite photo: The issue is not going away and you can bet your babushkas it will roll right through the holidays and into the new year.
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Oh yeah, the Democrats. It’s still not clear how the Democrats plan to organize their resistance to the Trump administration, but at least they seem to be pulling together a little in preparation for the fight. Don’t look for any clear organizational power structure to emerge soon, but keep an eye on which big Dems show up the most in your headlines over the next three or four weeks —likely they’ll remain in the forefront of the opposition when the presidential oath is taken in January.