Quid pro quo and extortion: Welcome to foreign relations

Quid pro quo and extortion: Welcome to foreign relations
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and President Trump, Sep 2018. PBS News video

[Ed. – Sending palates of cash to Iran was part of a quid pro quo — and an especially dumb one at that, considering what the Ayatollah has done with the money.]

The coverage of the Trump administration’s pressure on Ukraine is verging on the absurd, as to both what is alleged to have been a wrong and the degree to which we should judge it wrong. In particular, I am referring to the concepts of quid pro quo and of extorting a foreign government.

To listen to commentary, not only by anti-Trumpers but even some Trump defenders who don’t seem to understand what they’re talking about, one would think that a quid pro quo is always bad, and that it is a terrible thing to pressure a foreign government.

This is nonsense. Foreign relations typically involve quid pro quo arrangements. Governments do not ordinarily assist each other out of fondness. Nations pursue their interests in the world. Where interests align, they assist each other. Where interests are opposed, they are adverse to each other. In any event, they bargain with each other to advance their interests.

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