November 16, 2017

Jeffrey Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief, The Atlantic

The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg visited the Johns Hopkins SAIS community to discuss developments in domestic and international politics under the Trump administration. Goldberg made note of several instances where President Trump showcased his unique domestic and foreign policy priorities.

Starting off by analyzing President Trump’s recent China visit, Goldberg made special mention of the fact that Trump did not delve into instances of human rights violations by China. Instead he was highly complimentary, touting the country’s financial acumen. Trump has often made contradictory statements about China, so determining his position on bilateral relations is difficult, Goldberg said.

When it comes to domestic affairs, Goldberg said Trump has tried to mobilize his base of supporters. In the meantime, the media manages to grow their viewership ratings because Americans are interested in the developments of the Trump administration. Viewership notwithstanding, there is always fear of potential physical harm to journalists at conservative events in an environment where the current administration portrays the media as enemies of the state. 

Relations in the Middle East factored heavily in the discussion. Goldberg examined differences in the Middle East agendas of the Obama and the Trump administrations, arguing that Obama’s policy shifted due to the Arab Spring and to a constant disillusionment with the region. Trump, on the other hand, seems to place his trust on the new Saudi prince and his efforts to consolidate his power. Whether that is a sound policy remains to be seen, Goldberg said. Trump seems willing to work with the different tendencies in the Middle East, while not being convinced about prospects for diplomacy in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

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