Monday, January 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Trump chaos unsettles the world

It took just seven days into his presidency for Donald Trump's bombast and thoughtlessness to create chaos, uncertainty and opportunities for mischief on the international stage. Mexico's president canceled a state visit after Trump moved ahead on a border wall, raising the prospect of a trade war. Israel, sensing the Trump administration would be more accommodating, approved a massive Jewish settlement in disputed territory in the West Bank. Trump scrapped a trade deal with Asia, cut aid to family planning in poor nations and signaled a tough new line against immigration, diplomacy and norms outlawing torture. He also gave Russia a green light to meddle further in Syria. One week down, 207 to go.

Trump's first week demonstrated with alarming clarity the danger of a president who is woefully unprepared and uninterested in the complexities of managing the modern world. Using Twitter and public appearances scripted on the fly, the president and his new administration charted an entirely new course on global affairs that has rattled our friends and rewarded our enemies. The only question, as Friday's visit by British Prime Minister Theresa May reinforced, is how willing and able America's partners will be in nudging Trump back from the chaotic brink.

Trump's intention to increase security along the border with Mexico was never in doubt. But his order Wednesday to move ahead with a wall, coming days before Mexico's president was due for a visit, was a slap in the face to America's neighbor and third-largest trading partner. Trump's executive order calling on local governments to assist federal authorities in rounding up suspected illegal immigrants (and facing sanctions if they don't) was another reckless and legally questionable move that further inflamed tensions. And it didn't help when Trump's spokesman floated the idea of taxing Mexican imports to pay for the wall — a suggestion the White House later softened but which raised the threat of a trade war.

Trump shows no regard for the impact his pronouncements. The Israeli approval of new settlements in the occupied West Bank undercut a global push to reinforce the two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, the bedrock of any durable peace. The president's withdrawal from the trans-Pacific trade deal encourages China to expand its economic influence and military ambitions in Asia. His refusal to assert a U.S. role in the Russian-led Syrian peace talks creates a void Moscow will continue to exploit. Trump's order putting the Keystone pipeline back into play already has raised doubts about the future of the global agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

May delivered a smartly nuanced speech Thursday to congressional Republicans in Philadelphia, agreeing with Trump that Europe needs to contribute more toward its own defense and acknowledging the need to reform NATO, the United Nations and other institutions. But she also strongly defended NATO, which Trump has trashed, and the nuclear arms agreement with Iran, which Trump has called the worst deal in history. "Our two countries together have a responsibility to lead," May said. "Because when others step up as we step back, it is bad for America, for Britain and for the world."

It's been a chaotic, unsettling week — and there's no telling what the next presidential tweet will bring.

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Editorial: Look hard into Tampa Bay and Pinellas CareerSource CEO, and get to the bottom of the numbers and the money

Editorial: Look hard into Tampa Bay and Pinellas CareerSource CEO, and get to the bottom of the numbers and the money

Something is seriously amiss at Tampa Bay’s two CareerSource agencies, which receive millions in federal and state money to match unemployed workers with local employers. First, the agencies appear to be taking credit — and money — for job placements...
Updated: 7 hours ago

A Chicago Tribune editorial: Shut down this shutdown habit

"Shutting down the government of the United States of America should never ever be a bargaining chip for any issue. Period. It should be to governing as chemical warfare is to real warfare. It should be banned."— Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., addressing ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18
Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

The good news on the transportation front is that Tampa Bay’s government and business leaders are working together like never before to connect the region’s largest cities, attractions and employment centers with a more robust mass transit system. Th...
Published: 01/20/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18