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Local Experts Sound Off About Trump Intel Report

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Plenty of people have been weighing in on President Trump’s handling of foreign matters, as he marks his fourth month in office. The latest controversy centers around reports that he revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials. We spoke with a couple local people who closely watch the White House.

Arthur Cyr calls President Trump’s foreign dealings so far, directionless. “I think it’s fair to say that he’s been unpredictable.” Cyr directs the Clausen Center for World Business at Carthage College. “And he's been impetuous in decisions, and not just the now-famous one, if not infamous, of releasing classified information to the Soviet ambassador and foreign minister visiting the White House of apparently, airline security,” Cyr says.

Cyr fears Trump’s actions will result in the U.S. losing the trust it enjoys - and needs, with its allies.

“The U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand and Britain since WWII have shared the most sensitive kind of information on a continuing basis, and I think those particularly important national security allies along with our others will be less and less willing to cooperate as actively and confidently as they have in the past,” Cyr says.

Cyr says it generally takes time before presidents solidify their place in history, but for Trump, it may come sooner than later.

“It’s only when they get in trouble, in particular Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton to a degree, that things start to become erratic in terms of how the White House is viewed from the outside. That usually takes a while and in the case of President Trump, we’re off to the races right away aren’t we, with all kinds of immediate controversies and unpredictable events unfolding,” Cyr says.

“I think for one thing, it shows the danger of electing someone as president, who knows nothing about politics.” That’s UW-Milwaukee History Professor Emeritus Glen Jeansonne. He says he’s concerned about President Trump’s lack of political and foreign policy experience, saying it’s led to quick entanglements with other countries.

“He’s got big time problems with Russia and with Assad in Syria. He’s got problems in North Korea with them developing a nuclear missile and one that’s capable of reaching the United States,” Jeansonne says.

Yet, Jeansonne thinks overall, the country’s foreign policy infrastructure is sound. “He has some fairly good people, I think Tillerson is okay as Secretary of State.” Other Trump appointees that Jeansonne says he has confidence in - Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.