Kelly SloanKelly SloanJune 29, 20186min378

President Trump’s approach to foreign affairs has been blunt, to say the least, and certainly has not conformed with what has come to be accepted as de rigueur diplomatic behavior. But, while bearing the president's distinct mark, the approach is not entirely unprecedented, and has even spawned some considerable successes, mostly centered around reversing mistakes of the previous administration and reasserting American strength. But the mutual temper tantrums displayed by the playboys-in chief of the U.S. and Canada at the end of the G-7 meeting in Quebec – on the eve of the North Korea summit – might indicate an unwillingness on Trump’s part to keep his eye on the important ball.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 13, 20175min276

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner issued a statement today welcoming the end of a 13-year Chinese ban on U.S. beef imports — reminding voters he’s all in for international trade that benefits his home state even if his fellow Republican in the White House is a trade hawk:

“As Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity, I am continuing to urge the Trump Administration to explore new trade opportunities for America’s agriculture community in Asia, and this is an important step forward … Colorado’s farmers and ranchers will see positive economic gains from this decision, and everyone involved with finally getting the ban removed should be applauded.”

Gardner’s office also noted in the news release:

Gardner has long been a supporter of opening up new trade opportunities for Colorado’s farmers and ranchers. He recently spoke on the Senate floor about the agriculture crisis in America and explained how an increase in trade will benefit Colorado’s agriculture community.

Trump administration Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the agreement with China this week reopening that country to America’s favorite red meat; the ban was imposed by the Chinese in 2003 following a case of mad cow disease.

While everyone welcomes a new market for selling American goods abroad, free trade of course is a two-way street. Its supporters, like Gardner, generally advocate keeping U.S. markets open, too, so U.S. consumers can benefit from cheaper goods. Yes, even Chinese goods. That’s probably where Gardner and the administration don’t always see eye to eye.

Last month, Gardner voted against confirming Trump’s pick for U.S. trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, who is a longtime critic of free trade. Gardner at the time contended Lighthizer’s policies, “could hurt Colorado’s farmers and ranchers.” Gardner’s reference today to his own efforts “to urge the Trump Administration to explore new trade opportunities” seems tacitly to acknowledge his differences with the White House.

The administration has been more antagonist than enthusiast on free trade in general, and Perdue and other administration officials chalked up this week’s breakthrough to the Trump team’s get-tough, “fair trade” stance. That was Lighthizer’s spin:

“The President’s firm commitment to fair trade that benefits the United States has made this new U.S. beef export opportunity possible.  I encourage China and all countries to base their requirements on international standards and science.  America’s ranchers are the best producers of beef in the global economy, and they can compete and succeed wherever there is a level playing field.”

At any rate, Colorado’s cattle ranchers should be beaming. The U.S. is the world’s largest beef producer, and Colorado ranks 10th among the states in total number of beef cattle.

According to a spokesman with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the top four current markets for Colorado beef exports are Canada, Mexico, Japan and South Korea. In 2016, he said, Colorado totaled $423 million in beef exports outside the U.S.


Foster KlugFoster KlugMay 29, 20178min520

North Korea's latest missile test Monday may have less to do with perfecting its weapons technology than with showing U.S. and South Korean forces in the region that it can strike them at will. South Korean and Japanese officials said the suspected Scud-type short-range missile flew about 450 kilometers (280 miles) on Monday morning before landing in Japan's maritime economic zone, setting off the usual round of condemnation from Washington and the North's neighbors.