Hello From the Other Side
To our pleasant surprise, we received an outpouring (several hundred) of responses from non-Trump voters asking to be pen pals with Trump voters. There seems to be a strong desire for non Trump supporters to say “Hello, from the other side.” As an aside, congrats to Adele for her Grammy awards last night.
Right now, we have significantly more non-Trump supporters who have expressed interest in the pen pal project compared to Trump supporters. So if you are a Trump supporter and didn’t share with us why you voted for President Trump but would still like to be part of this pen pal program, then please us know. Alternatively, if you know of a Trump supporter, then please tell them to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, we will connect participants in the pen pal program and provide a few basic ground rules to facilitate discussion. We will continue to keep a pulse of this project and share with you all whether this project helps Americans of different political stripes better understand and connect with one another.
|IN A NUTSHELL: MUST READ|
North Korea Goes Ballistic Again: Yesterday the North Koreans proudly announced the successful launch of a medium to long range ballistic missile. Analysts believe this test is a direct provocation and test of President Trump. NATO, South Korea, and Japan’s Prime Minister with Trump by his side condemned the test. China has not commented despite the friendly calls between Trump and China’s President. One of the biggest foreign policy questions of the past few years is how close are the North Korean and Chinese leadership. Are the Chinese indirectly testing President Trump or is this another case of the North Koreans going rogue and the limits of China’s influence over North Korea?
Political Volatility in Washington D.C.: Rumor has it that many senior staffers in the Trump administration are on the hotseat and some might get fired a la Apprentice style. Michael Flynn, the National Security Advisor is in the hotseat because of alleged contacts with Russia where he discussed sanctions before Mr. Trump took office and might have also misled Vice President Pence as to whether he did discuss sanctions with Russia. Meanwhile, Trump’s Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus has been called out by a long time Trump friend as ineffective.
Stephen K. Bannon is the only person who survived the weekend unscathed by either Saturday Night Live or negative coverage that they were losing influence in Trump’s eyes. Bannon would undoubtedly have the most powerful influence on Trump if Priebus and Flynn are replaced. Having already secured a seat in the National Security Council, his influence across domestic matters and international affairs would only be rivaled to that of the Vice President.
|KEEPING OUR EYE ON|
Protests in Iraq: Rockets landed in Baghdad’s Green Zone after a protest led by the supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr left several hundred wounded and seven killed. Sadr and his supporters believe the current government’s electoral commissions are corrupt. Sadr has yielded significant influence within Baghdad dating back to the Americans presence in the capital city during its surge operations.
Meanwhile the Battle of Mosul continues. While Iraqi forces have captured eastern Mosul, the battle for the other half of the city continues with Kurdish Peshmerga assisting in the fight and allied airstrikes targeting ISIS battle positions in order to soften the main attack when it does occur.
Germany’s Elections: Germany has elected a new president, while this position is more of a figurehead position it is symbolic because the new president has been critical of President Trump. Meanwhile, Merkel’s re-election bid no longer seems a guarantee as her opposing candidate, Martin Schulz, has risen fast in initial polling. Schulz is an ardent EU supporter having most recently been the President of the European Parliament and labeled Trump as irresponsible and a problem “for the whole world.”
Here are some additional articles to to kick off your week that we found to be fascinating & insightful.
Go forth, do great things, and have a great week!