Foreign Policy

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Supporters of independence in Spain's northeastern Catalonia region have taken to the streets, blocking roads and calling for a general strike to protest a crackdown by the country's central government.  The regional government has backed the the strike effort, which came after a contested independence referendum.  The Spanish government opposed the vote and police in some areas fought with citizens who were trying to cast ballots.

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Another week, another set of controversies in the Trump Administration. The week closed with the resignation of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, the naming of a new communications director, and continued friction between the President and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

That all came on the heels of President Trump’s trip to Europe for the G20 Summit - a trip that dominated headlines. But it was the lack of dominance on the part of the U.S. that drove the media frenzy back home, a departure from previous summits where American presidents drove much of the discourse.

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Lake Effect's Mitch Teich talks with foreign policy contributor Art Cyr about a variety of issues on the international scene.

Cyr reflects on poll data that shows US standing in the world has dropped in the first six months of the Trump Administration in every country except two - Russia and Israel.  He also discusses President Trump's charge that former President Barack Obama and his administration could have done more before leaving office to counter alleged Russian meddling in U.S. electoral politics.

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Forget the first hundred days. The first hundred hours of the Trump Administration are without parallel in recent memory. From immigration policy to trade, our place in the modern world seems to be evolving rather quickly.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the analytical eye of our foreign policy contributor. The always level-headed Art Cyr joins Lake Effect to chat.

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The names are flying fast and furious around the transition team for the incoming Trump administration. The team itself has seen names come and go already, and potential cabinet picks are being vetted both privately and in the media.

Foreign affairs under a Donald Trump presidency make for intriguing storylines, many of which are on the radar of our foreign policy contributor, Art Cyr.

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The news that Republican Donald Trump has not decided whether he’ll accept the results of next month’s Presidential election may no longer be the lead headline in campaign coverage, but it is still having reverberations in this country and abroad.

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Developments in this year’s presidential race continue at breakneck pace.

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It’s been a violent week in several parts of the world. Even amid signs of a de-escalation in Syria, a terrorist incident rocked the African nation of Ivory Coast. Another terror bombing in Turkey raised fears about instability in that vital western ally.

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Pope Francis was in Mexico this week talking about borders and immigration policy while the presidential candidates did the same on this side of the border.

In addition, this week the White House also announced that President Obama will soon become the first American President since Calvin Coolidge to visit Cuba.

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Before the first of the year, we spent plenty of time looking back at developments in a variety of areas over the past 12 months. 

However, our foreign policy contributor joins us to look ahead at potential events to expect in other parts of the world and how it relates to the United States:

*One thing foreign policy contributor Art Cyr did not anticipate was the apparent test of a nuclear weapon by North Korea – and so we note that the interview was recorded before that particular event took place. 

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Controversy continues to swirl around Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the United States in the wake of the violence in Paris and in Southern California.  

Some GOP leaders, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, have condemned Trump’s idea. But Ryan and others have stopped short of saying the comments should disqualify Trump from holding the highest office in the country.

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Violence has cropped up again in the Middle East in recent days, as Russia has carried out military strikes against ISIS, which opposes of Syria's ruling regime. ISIS also opposes the United States, so you might assume our government would be in favor of those military strikes. But as with everything involving the Middle East, the reality is a lot more complex.

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One candidate who was not a part of last night’s debate was James Webb.  That makes sense, since he’s a Democrat.  The DNC announced its primary debate schedule yesterday, which includes a total of six debates, including one in Wisconsin.  Webb announced his candidacy just before Independence Day, which Lake Effect essayist Art Cyr thinks is significant:

Webb’s Vietnam War novel “Fields of Fire,” published in 1978, is generally recognized as one of the best to result from that war.

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A lot has happened in foreign policy this past month. The Greek economic crisis continues and the International Monetary Fund is warning of a gloomy outlook for the Eurozone; the Iran nuclear arms deal has been accepted by all parties; and the United States and Cuba continue to move ever closer to normal diplomatic relations after decades.

In addition, President Obama has been on a state visit to Africa since last Friday. Foreign policy contributor Art Cyr comments on the President's message to Africa and the many other recent events underway across the Atlantic:

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Diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba have taken steps to further normalize their relationship after earlier this month, a plan was announced to restore embassies in their respective countries. Lake Effect contributor Art Cyr says that this is a step in the right direction:

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