Today’s NYT has a huge editorial calling on Trump not to go to war with Iran. I agree with the editorial, and I think it is a good sign that Trump so far seems to be more interested in criticizing Iran than in taking concrete actions against it. I am less sanguine about the Republicans in Congress, who will pressure Trump to take stronger actions against Iran. Trump seems inclined to do the right thing, but he might bow to GOP pressure, especially if it is linked to healthcare or tax legislation.
On the other hand, I find it disturbing that the NYT is so jingoistic about fomenting war with Russia. It has not called for war with Russia, but its harsh criticism of Putin seems to characterize him as a latter-day Hitler, who needs to be stopped. Putin is not a saint, but I don’t see him as evil as the NYT does, or ther other Democratic media outlets like CNN or MSNBC. Putin has many nuclear weapons. War with him would be a disaster for the whole world. A little moderation in our dealings with Russia, as well as with Iran, is called for. The NYT needs to tone down it hate-Russia rhetoric.
Finally there is an article in the NYT about growing Chinese influence in Myanmar (nee Burma), by Jane Perlez, who interviewed me in Poland about 20 years ago. She blames Trump for the coolness in relations between the US and Myanmar, yielding the Chinese a leading role in Myanmar’s development. However, she barely touches on the fact the the main foreign policy issue with Myanmar during the Obama administration was the Rohingya Muslim minority. As a champion of Muslim rights, the US loudly criticized the government of Myanmar for its treatment of the Rohingya. Making criticism of human rights the central point of our policy was not likely to build better relations between the two countries. The Chinese are much less squeamish about human rights abuses, and thus are a much preferred interlocutor than the US. Perles ignores this irritant in US-Myanmar relations in her analysis.