Discussion:
Is Trump Out To Destroy America From Within? What About The Traitorous Defenders Who Agree With Everything He Says and Does?
(too old to reply)
Richard Keebler
2018-06-12 03:24:01 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
How Trump Is Ending the American Era
For all the visible damage the president has done to the nation’s global
standing, things are much worse below the surface.

In January 2017, American foreign policy was, if not in crisis, in big
trouble. Strong forces were putting stress on the old global political
order: the rise of China to a power with more than half the productive
capacity of the United States (and defense spending to match); the partial
recovery of a resentful Russia under a skilled and thuggish autocrat; the
discrediting of Western elites by the financial crash of 2008, followed by
roiling populist waves, of which Trump himself was part; a turbulent
Middle East; economic dislocations worldwide.

An American leadership that had partly discredited itself over the past
generation compounded these problems. The Bush administration’s war
against jihadist Islam had been undermined by reports of mistreatment and
torture; its Afghan campaign had been inconclusive; its invasion of Iraq
had been deeply compromised by what turned out to be a false premise and
three years of initial mismanagement.

The Obama administration’s policy of retrenchment (described by a White
House official as “leading from behind”) made matters worse. The United
States was generally passive as a war that caused some half a million
deaths raged in Syria. The ripples of the conflict reached far into
Europe, as some 5 million Syrians fled the country. A red line about the
use of chemical weapons turned pale pink and vanished, as Iran and Russia
expanded their presence and influence in Syria ever more brazenly. A
debilitating freeze in defense spending, meanwhile, left two-thirds of
U.S. Army maneuver brigades unready to fight and Air Force pilots unready
to fly in combat.

These circumstances would have caused severe headaches for a competent and
sophisticated successor. Instead, the United States got a president who
had unnervingly promised a wall on the southern border (paid for by
Mexico), the dismantlement of long-standing trade deals with both
competitors and partners, a closer relationship with Vladimir Putin, and a
ban on Muslims coming into the United States.

Some of these and Trump’s other wild pronouncements were quietly walked
back or put on hold after his inauguration; one defense of Trump is that
his deeds are less alarming than his words. But diplomacy is about words,
and many of Trump’s words are profoundly toxic.

Trump seems incapable of restraining himself from insulting foreign
leaders. His slogan “America First” harks back to the isolationists of
1940, and foreign leaders know it. He can read speeches written for him by
others, as he did in Warsaw on July 6, but he cannot himself articulate a
worldview that goes beyond a teenager’s bluster. He lays out his
resentments, insecurities, and obsessions on Twitter for all to see,
opening up a gold mine to foreign governments seeking to understand and
manipulate the American president.

Foreign governments have adapted. They flatter Trump outrageously. Their
emissaries stay at his hotels and offer the Trump Organization abundant
concessions (39 trademarks approved by China alone since Trump took
office, including one for an escort service). They take him to military
parades; they talk tough-guy-to-tough-guy; they show him the kind of
deference that only someone without a center can crave. And so he flip-
flops: Paris was no longer “so, so out of control, so dangerous” once he’d
had dinner in the Eiffel Tower; Xi Jinping, during an April visit to Mar-
a-Lago, went from being the leader of a parasitic country intent on
ripping off American workers to being “a gentleman” who “wants to do the
right thing.” (By July, Trump was back to bashing China, for doing
“NOTHING” to help us.)


In short, foreign leaders may consider Trump alarming, but they do not
consider him serious. They may think they can use him, but they know they
cannot rely on him. They look at his plans to slash the State Department’s
ranks and its budget—the latter by about 30 percent—and draw conclusions
about his interest in traditional diplomacy. And so, already, they have
begun to reshape alliances and reconfigure the networks that make up the
global economy, bypassing the United States and diminishing its standing.
In January, at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, Xi made a
case for Chinese global leadership that was startlingly well received by
the rich and powerful officials, businesspeople, and experts in
attendance. In March, Canada formally joined a Chinese-led regional
development bank that the Obama administration had opposed as an
instrument of broadened Chinese influence; Australia, the United Kingdom,
Germany, and France were among the founding members. In July, Japan and
Europe agreed on a free-trade deal as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific
Partnership, which Trump had unceremoniously discarded.

In almost every region of the world, the administration has already left a
mark, by blunder, inattention, miscomprehension, or willfulness. Trump’s
first official visit abroad began in Saudi Arabia—a bizarre choice, when
compared with established democratic allies—where he and his senior
advisers offered unreserved praise for a kingdom that has close relations
with the United States but has also been the heartland of Islamist
fanaticism since well before 9/11. The president full-throatedly took its
side in a dispute with Qatar, apparently ignorant of the vast American air
base in the latter country. He has seemed unaware that he is feeding an
inchoate but violent conflict between the Gulf kingdoms and a
countervailing coalition of Iran, Russia, Syria, Hezbollah, and even
Turkey—which now plans to deploy as many as 3,000 troops to Qatar, at its
first base in the Arab world since the collapse of the Ottoman empire at
the end of World War I.


The administration obsesses about defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and
Syria, and yet intends to sharply reduce the kinds of advice and support
that are needed to rebuild the areas devastated by war in those same
countries—support that might help prevent a future recurrence of Islamist
fanaticism. The president, entranced by the chimera of an
Israeli–Palestinian peace, has put his inexperienced and overburdened son-
in-law, Jared Kushner, in charge of a process headed nowhere. Either
ignorant or contemptuous of the deep-seated maladies that have long
afflicted the Arab world, Trump embraces authoritarians like Egypt’s
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (“Love your shoes”) and seems to dismiss
the larger problems of governance posed by the crises within Middle
Eastern societies as internal issues irrelevant to the United States. A
freedom agenda, in either its original Bush or subsequent Obama form, is
dead.

In Europe, the administration has picked a fight with the Continent’s most
important democratic state, Germany (“Bad, very bad”). Trump is
sufficiently despised in Great Britain, America’s most enduring ally, that
he will reportedly defer a trip there until his press improves (it will
not). Paralyzed by scandal and internal division, the administration has
no coherent Russia policy: no plan for getting Moscow back out of the
Middle East; no counter to Russian political subversion in Europe or the
United States; no response to reports of new Russian meddling in
Afghanistan. Rather than pushing back when the Russians announced in July
that 755 U.S. government employees would be expelled, Trump expressed his
thanks for saving taxpayers 755 salaries.

America’s new circumstances in Asia were not much better as this story
went to press, in mid-August—and with the world on edge, they could
quickly get much worse. Though North Korea is on the verge of developing a
nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile, Trump neglected to
rally American allies to confront the problem during his two major trips
abroad. His aides proclaimed that they had discovered the solution,
Chinese intervention—apparently unaware of the repeated failure of that
gambit in the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations. Trump did,
however, take a break from a golfing holiday to threaten North Korea with
“fire and fury” in the event that Kim Jong Un failed to pipe down. To
accommodate a president fixated on economic deals, an anxious Japan has
pledged investments that would result in American jobs. A prickly
Australia, whose prime minister Trump snarled at during their first
courtesy phone call, has edged further from its traditional alliance with
America—an alliance that has been the cornerstone of its security since
World War II. (In a gesture that may seem trivial but signifies much, in
July Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, slapped at Trump for his
ogling of the French president’s wife, suggesting that his admiring looks
had gone unreciprocated.)

On issues that are truly global in scope, Trump has abdicated leadership
and the moral high ground. The United States has managed to isolate itself
on the topic of climate change, by the tone of its pronouncements no less
than by its precipitous exit from the Paris Agreement. As for human
rights, the president has taken only cursory notice of the two arrests of
the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny or the death of the Chinese Nobel
Prize winner and prisoner of conscience Liu Xiaobo. Trump did not object
after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail beat
American protesters on American soil, in Washington, D.C. In April, he
reportedly told Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, who has used death
squads to deal with offenders of local narcotics laws, that he was doing
an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.” Trump’s secretary of state, Rex
Tillerson, made it clear in his first substantive speech to State
Department employees that American values are now of at best secondary
importance to “American interests,” presumably economic, in the conduct of
foreign policy.

All this well before a year was out.


More here:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/10/is-trump-ending-the-
american-era/537888/
John Doe
2018-06-12 04:31:23 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Nims shifting troll, changes follow-up groups...
--
Path: eternal-september.org!reader02.eternal-september.org!feeder.eternal-september.org!news.albasani.net!.POSTED!not-for-mail
From: Richard Keebler <Richkeebler trumpite.ru>
Newsgroups: alt.christnet.second-coming.real-soon-now,uk.politics.misc,rec.arts.tv,can.politics,rec.crafts.metalworking,alt.global-warming,can.politics,alt.atheism,alt.politics.economics
Subject: Is Trump Out To Destroy America From Within? What About The Traitorous Defenders Who Agree With Everything He Says and Does?
Followup-To: alt.christnet.second-coming.real-soon-now
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2018 03:24:01 +0000 (UTC)
Organization: Keebler
Lines: 174
Message-ID: <XnsA8FEEDC6CEC92da 178.63.61.175>
X-Trace: news.albasani.net uKhKX92byKY5rulNt5i1I/gsw4VdrI2fhC8Itm380++CHc/X7PXF2z31rkmH+TIbmk4bWUrUu/aeuB67JiIV1A==
NNTP-Posting-Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2018 03:24:01 +0000 (UTC)
Injection-Info: news.albasani.net; logging-data="vY3hBt5MSQTzNoJRx2FyLiMORb4iLCoOJUFfscOngl/3N2IeDxHsrulw4B5J+oyPc883MLwYl5Kzerk4xgSdjA732DgP3e69B0x2Sr3L0l3bURKrBVWLixqeXRET3iZb"; mail-complaints-to="abuse albasani.net"
User-Agent: Xnews/5.04.25
Cancel-Lock: sha1:AGi1AUPW24rEQZ65kzV4bd833rQ=
Xref: reader02.eternal-september.org alt.christnet.second-coming.real-soon-now:5826 uk.politics.misc:895398 rec.arts.tv:1289764 can.politics:534153 rec.crafts.metalworking:518793 alt.global-warming:661722 alt.atheism:2634343 alt.politics.economics:490909
How Trump Is Ending the American Era
For all the visible damage the president has done to the nation's global
standing, things are much worse below the surface.
In January 2017, American foreign policy was, if not in crisis, in big
trouble. Strong forces were putting stress on the old global political
order: the rise of China to a power with more than half the productive
capacity of the United States (and defense spending to match); the partial
recovery of a resentful Russia under a skilled and thuggish autocrat; the
discrediting of Western elites by the financial crash of 2008, followed by
roiling populist waves, of which Trump himself was part; a turbulent
Middle East; economic dislocations worldwide.
An American leadership that had partly discredited itself over the past
generation compounded these problems. The Bush administration's war
against jihadist Islam had been undermined by reports of mistreatment and
torture; its Afghan campaign had been inconclusive; its invasion of Iraq
had been deeply compromised by what turned out to be a false premise and
three years of initial mismanagement.
The Obama administration's policy of retrenchment (described by a White
House official as "leading from behind") made matters worse. The United
States was generally passive as a war that caused some half a million
deaths raged in Syria. The ripples of the conflict reached far into
Europe, as some 5 million Syrians fled the country. A red line about the
use of chemical weapons turned pale pink and vanished, as Iran and Russia
expanded their presence and influence in Syria ever more brazenly. A
debilitating freeze in defense spending, meanwhile, left two-thirds of
U.S. Army maneuver brigades unready to fight and Air Force pilots unready
to fly in combat.
These circumstances would have caused severe headaches for a competent and
sophisticated successor. Instead, the United States got a president who
had unnervingly promised a wall on the southern border (paid for by
Mexico), the dismantlement of long-standing trade deals with both
competitors and partners, a closer relationship with Vladimir Putin, and a
ban on Muslims coming into the United States.
Some of these and Trump's other wild pronouncements were quietly walked
back or put on hold after his inauguration; one defense of Trump is that
his deeds are less alarming than his words. But diplomacy is about words,
and many of Trump's words are profoundly toxic.
Trump seems incapable of restraining himself from insulting foreign
leaders. His slogan "America First" harks back to the isolationists of
1940, and foreign leaders know it. He can read speeches written for him by
others, as he did in Warsaw on July 6, but he cannot himself articulate a
worldview that goes beyond a teenager's bluster. He lays out his
resentments, insecurities, and obsessions on Twitter for all to see,
opening up a gold mine to foreign governments seeking to understand and
manipulate the American president.
Foreign governments have adapted. They flatter Trump outrageously. Their
emissaries stay at his hotels and offer the Trump Organization abundant
concessions (39 trademarks approved by China alone since Trump took
office, including one for an escort service). They take him to military
parades; they talk tough-guy-to-tough-guy; they show him the kind of
deference that only someone without a center can crave. And so he flip-
flops: Paris was no longer "so, so out of control, so dangerous" once he'd
had dinner in the Eiffel Tower; Xi Jinping, during an April visit to Mar-
a-Lago, went from being the leader of a parasitic country intent on
ripping off American workers to being "a gentleman" who "wants to do the
right thing." (By July, Trump was back to bashing China, for doing
"NOTHING" to help us.)
In short, foreign leaders may consider Trump alarming, but they do not
consider him serious. They may think they can use him, but they know they
cannot rely on him. They look at his plans to slash the State Department's
ranks and its budget-the latter by about 30 percent-and draw conclusions
about his interest in traditional diplomacy. And so, already, they have
begun to reshape alliances and reconfigure the networks that make up the
global economy, bypassing the United States and diminishing its standing.
In January, at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, Xi made a
case for Chinese global leadership that was startlingly well received by
the rich and powerful officials, businesspeople, and experts in
attendance. In March, Canada formally joined a Chinese-led regional
development bank that the Obama administration had opposed as an
instrument of broadened Chinese influence; Australia, the United Kingdom,
Germany, and France were among the founding members. In July, Japan and
Europe agreed on a free-trade deal as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific
Partnership, which Trump had unceremoniously discarded.
In almost every region of the world, the administration has already left a
mark, by blunder, inattention, miscomprehension, or willfulness. Trump's
first official visit abroad began in Saudi Arabia-a bizarre choice, when
compared with established democratic allies-where he and his senior
advisers offered unreserved praise for a kingdom that has close relations
with the United States but has also been the heartland of Islamist
fanaticism since well before 9/11. The president full-throatedly took its
side in a dispute with Qatar, apparently ignorant of the vast American air
base in the latter country. He has seemed unaware that he is feeding an
inchoate but violent conflict between the Gulf kingdoms and a
countervailing coalition of Iran, Russia, Syria, Hezbollah, and even
Turkey-which now plans to deploy as many as 3,000 troops to Qatar, at its
first base in the Arab world since the collapse of the Ottoman empire at
the end of World War I.
The administration obsesses about defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and
Syria, and yet intends to sharply reduce the kinds of advice and support
that are needed to rebuild the areas devastated by war in those same
countries-support that might help prevent a future recurrence of Islamist
fanaticism. The president, entranced by the chimera of an
Israeli-Palestinian peace, has put his inexperienced and overburdened son-
in-law, Jared Kushner, in charge of a process headed nowhere. Either
ignorant or contemptuous of the deep-seated maladies that have long
afflicted the Arab world, Trump embraces authoritarians like Egypt's
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ("Love your shoes") and seems to dismiss
the larger problems of governance posed by the crises within Middle
Eastern societies as internal issues irrelevant to the United States. A
freedom agenda, in either its original Bush or subsequent Obama form, is
dead.
In Europe, the administration has picked a fight with the Continent's most
important democratic state, Germany ("Bad, very bad"). Trump is
sufficiently despised in Great Britain, America's most enduring ally, that
he will reportedly defer a trip there until his press improves (it will
not). Paralyzed by scandal and internal division, the administration has
no coherent Russia policy: no plan for getting Moscow back out of the
Middle East; no counter to Russian political subversion in Europe or the
United States; no response to reports of new Russian meddling in
Afghanistan. Rather than pushing back when the Russians announced in July
that 755 U.S. government employees would be expelled, Trump expressed his
thanks for saving taxpayers 755 salaries.
America's new circumstances in Asia were not much better as this story
went to press, in mid-August-and with the world on edge, they could
quickly get much worse. Though North Korea is on the verge of developing a
nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile, Trump neglected to
rally American allies to confront the problem during his two major trips
abroad. His aides proclaimed that they had discovered the solution,
Chinese intervention-apparently unaware of the repeated failure of that
gambit in the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations. Trump did,
however, take a break from a golfing holiday to threaten North Korea with
"fire and fury" in the event that Kim Jong Un failed to pipe down. To
accommodate a president fixated on economic deals, an anxious Japan has
pledged investments that would result in American jobs. A prickly
Australia, whose prime minister Trump snarled at during their first
courtesy phone call, has edged further from its traditional alliance with
America-an alliance that has been the cornerstone of its security since
World War II. (In a gesture that may seem trivial but signifies much, in
July Australia's foreign minister, Julie Bishop, slapped at Trump for his
ogling of the French president's wife, suggesting that his admiring looks
had gone unreciprocated.)
On issues that are truly global in scope, Trump has abdicated leadership
and the moral high ground. The United States has managed to isolate itself
on the topic of climate change, by the tone of its pronouncements no less
than by its precipitous exit from the Paris Agreement. As for human
rights, the president has taken only cursory notice of the two arrests of
the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny or the death of the Chinese Nobel
Prize winner and prisoner of conscience Liu Xiaobo. Trump did not object
after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security detail beat
American protesters on American soil, in Washington, D.C. In April, he
reportedly told Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, who has used death
squads to deal with offenders of local narcotics laws, that he was doing
an "unbelievable job on the drug problem." Trump's secretary of state, Rex
Tillerson, made it clear in his first substantive speech to State
Department employees that American values are now of at best secondary
importance to "American interests," presumably economic, in the conduct of
foreign policy.
All this well before a year was out.
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/10/is-trump-ending-the-
american-era/537888/
Malcolm McMahon
2018-06-12 14:03:58 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by John Doe
Nims shifting troll, changes follow-up groups...
Personally the news service I use (Eternal September) won't accept hugely
crossposted articles. I often have to trim the vast list of generally
irrelevant groups just to post successfully. Maybe this is the same.
John Doe
2018-06-12 04:31:23 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Nims shifting troll, changes follow-up groups...
--
Path: eternal-september.org!reader02.eternal-september.org!feeder.eternal-september.org!news.albasani.net!.POSTED!not-for-mail
From: Richard Keebler <Richkeebler trumpite.ru>
Newsgroups: alt.christnet.second-coming.real-soon-now,uk.politics.misc,rec.arts.tv,can.politics,rec.crafts.metalworking,alt.global-warming,can.politics,alt.atheism,alt.politics.economics
Subject: Is Trump Out To Destroy America From Within? What About The Traitorous Defenders Who Agree With Everything He Says and Does?
Followup-To: alt.christnet.second-coming.real-soon-now
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2018 03:24:01 +0000 (UTC)
Organization: Keebler
Lines: 174
Message-ID: <XnsA8FEEDC6CEC92da 178.63.61.175>
X-Trace: news.albasani.net uKhKX92byKY5rulNt5i1I/gsw4VdrI2fhC8Itm380++CHc/X7PXF2z31rkmH+TIbmk4bWUrUu/aeuB67JiIV1A==
NNTP-Posting-Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2018 03:24:01 +0000 (UTC)
Injection-Info: news.albasani.net; logging-data="vY3hBt5MSQTzNoJRx2FyLiMORb4iLCoOJUFfscOngl/3N2IeDxHsrulw4B5J+oyPc883MLwYl5Kzerk4xgSdjA732DgP3e69B0x2Sr3L0l3bURKrBVWLixqeXRET3iZb"; mail-complaints-to="abuse albasani.net"
User-Agent: Xnews/5.04.25
Cancel-Lock: sha1:AGi1AUPW24rEQZ65kzV4bd833rQ=
Xref: reader02.eternal-september.org alt.christnet.second-coming.real-soon-now:5826 uk.politics.misc:895398 rec.arts.tv:1289764 can.politics:534153 rec.crafts.metalworking:518793 alt.global-warming:661722 alt.atheism:2634343 alt.politics.economics:490909
How Trump Is Ending the American Era
For all the visible damage the president has done to the nation's global
standing, things are much worse below the surface.
In January 2017, American foreign policy was, if not in crisis, in big
trouble. Strong forces were putting stress on the old global political
order: the rise of China to a power with more than half the productive
capacity of the United States (and defense spending to match); the partial
recovery of a resentful Russia under a skilled and thuggish autocrat; the
discrediting of Western elites by the financial crash of 2008, followed by
roiling populist waves, of which Trump himself was part; a turbulent
Middle East; economic dislocations worldwide.
An American leadership that had partly discredited itself over the past
generation compounded these problems. The Bush administration's war
against jihadist Islam had been undermined by reports of mistreatment and
torture; its Afghan campaign had been inconclusive; its invasion of Iraq
had been deeply compromised by what turned out to be a false premise and
three years of initial mismanagement.
The Obama administration's policy of retrenchment (described by a White
House official as "leading from behind") made matters worse. The United
States was generally passive as a war that caused some half a million
deaths raged in Syria. The ripples of the conflict reached far into
Europe, as some 5 million Syrians fled the country. A red line about the
use of chemical weapons turned pale pink and vanished, as Iran and Russia
expanded their presence and influence in Syria ever more brazenly. A
debilitating freeze in defense spending, meanwhile, left two-thirds of
U.S. Army maneuver brigades unready to fight and Air Force pilots unready
to fly in combat.
These circumstances would have caused severe headaches for a competent and
sophisticated successor. Instead, the United States got a president who
had unnervingly promised a wall on the southern border (paid for by
Mexico), the dismantlement of long-standing trade deals with both
competitors and partners, a closer relationship with Vladimir Putin, and a
ban on Muslims coming into the United States.
Some of these and Trump's other wild pronouncements were quietly walked
back or put on hold after his inauguration; one defense of Trump is that
his deeds are less alarming than his words. But diplomacy is about words,
and many of Trump's words are profoundly toxic.
Trump seems incapable of restraining himself from insulting foreign
leaders. His slogan "America First" harks back to the isolationists of
1940, and foreign leaders know it. He can read speeches written for him by
others, as he did in Warsaw on July 6, but he cannot himself articulate a
worldview that goes beyond a teenager's bluster. He lays out his
resentments, insecurities, and obsessions on Twitter for all to see,
opening up a gold mine to foreign governments seeking to understand and
manipulate the American president.
Foreign governments have adapted. They flatter Trump outrageously. Their
emissaries stay at his hotels and offer the Trump Organization abundant
concessions (39 trademarks approved by China alone since Trump took
office, including one for an escort service). They take him to military
parades; they talk tough-guy-to-tough-guy; they show him the kind of
deference that only someone without a center can crave. And so he flip-
flops: Paris was no longer "so, so out of control, so dangerous" once he'd
had dinner in the Eiffel Tower; Xi Jinping, during an April visit to Mar-
a-Lago, went from being the leader of a parasitic country intent on
ripping off American workers to being "a gentleman" who "wants to do the
right thing." (By July, Trump was back to bashing China, for doing
"NOTHING" to help us.)
In short, foreign leaders may consider Trump alarming, but they do not
consider him serious. They may think they can use him, but they know they
cannot rely on him. They look at his plans to slash the State Department's
ranks and its budget-the latter by about 30 percent-and draw conclusions
about his interest in traditional diplomacy. And so, already, they have
begun to reshape alliances and reconfigure the networks that make up the
global economy, bypassing the United States and diminishing its standing.
In January, at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, Xi made a
case for Chinese global leadership that was startlingly well received by
the rich and powerful officials, businesspeople, and experts in
attendance. In March, Canada formally joined a Chinese-led regional
development bank that the Obama administration had opposed as an
instrument of broadened Chinese influence; Australia, the United Kingdom,
Germany, and France were among the founding members. In July, Japan and
Europe agreed on a free-trade deal as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific
Partnership, which Trump had unceremoniously discarded.
In almost every region of the world, the administration has already left a
mark, by blunder, inattention, miscomprehension, or willfulness. Trump's
first official visit abroad began in Saudi Arabia-a bizarre choice, when
compared with established democratic allies-where he and his senior
advisers offered unreserved praise for a kingdom that has close relations
with the United States but has also been the heartland of Islamist
fanaticism since well before 9/11. The president full-throatedly took its
side in a dispute with Qatar, apparently ignorant of the vast American air
base in the latter country. He has seemed unaware that he is feeding an
inchoate but violent conflict between the Gulf kingdoms and a
countervailing coalition of Iran, Russia, Syria, Hezbollah, and even
Turkey-which now plans to deploy as many as 3,000 troops to Qatar, at its
first base in the Arab world since the collapse of the Ottoman empire at
the end of World War I.
The administration obsesses about defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and
Syria, and yet intends to sharply reduce the kinds of advice and support
that are needed to rebuild the areas devastated by war in those same
countries-support that might help prevent a future recurrence of Islamist
fanaticism. The president, entranced by the chimera of an
Israeli-Palestinian peace, has put his inexperienced and overburdened son-
in-law, Jared Kushner, in charge of a process headed nowhere. Either
ignorant or contemptuous of the deep-seated maladies that have long
afflicted the Arab world, Trump embraces authoritarians like Egypt's
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ("Love your shoes") and seems to dismiss
the larger problems of governance posed by the crises within Middle
Eastern societies as internal issues irrelevant to the United States. A
freedom agenda, in either its original Bush or subsequent Obama form, is
dead.
In Europe, the administration has picked a fight with the Continent's most
important democratic state, Germany ("Bad, very bad"). Trump is
sufficiently despised in Great Britain, America's most enduring ally, that
he will reportedly defer a trip there until his press improves (it will
not). Paralyzed by scandal and internal division, the administration has
no coherent Russia policy: no plan for getting Moscow back out of the
Middle East; no counter to Russian political subversion in Europe or the
United States; no response to reports of new Russian meddling in
Afghanistan. Rather than pushing back when the Russians announced in July
that 755 U.S. government employees would be expelled, Trump expressed his
thanks for saving taxpayers 755 salaries.
America's new circumstances in Asia were not much better as this story
went to press, in mid-August-and with the world on edge, they could
quickly get much worse. Though North Korea is on the verge of developing a
nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile, Trump neglected to
rally American allies to confront the problem during his two major trips
abroad. His aides proclaimed that they had discovered the solution,
Chinese intervention-apparently unaware of the repeated failure of that
gambit in the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations. Trump did,
however, take a break from a golfing holiday to threaten North Korea with
"fire and fury" in the event that Kim Jong Un failed to pipe down. To
accommodate a president fixated on economic deals, an anxious Japan has
pledged investments that would result in American jobs. A prickly
Australia, whose prime minister Trump snarled at during their first
courtesy phone call, has edged further from its traditional alliance with
America-an alliance that has been the cornerstone of its security since
World War II. (In a gesture that may seem trivial but signifies much, in
July Australia's foreign minister, Julie Bishop, slapped at Trump for his
ogling of the French president's wife, suggesting that his admiring looks
had gone unreciprocated.)
On issues that are truly global in scope, Trump has abdicated leadership
and the moral high ground. The United States has managed to isolate itself
on the topic of climate change, by the tone of its pronouncements no less
than by its precipitous exit from the Paris Agreement. As for human
rights, the president has taken only cursory notice of the two arrests of
the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny or the death of the Chinese Nobel
Prize winner and prisoner of conscience Liu Xiaobo. Trump did not object
after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security detail beat
American protesters on American soil, in Washington, D.C. In April, he
reportedly told Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, who has used death
squads to deal with offenders of local narcotics laws, that he was doing
an "unbelievable job on the drug problem." Trump's secretary of state, Rex
Tillerson, made it clear in his first substantive speech to State
Department employees that American values are now of at best secondary
importance to "American interests," presumably economic, in the conduct of
foreign policy.
All this well before a year was out.
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/10/is-trump-ending-the-
american-era/537888/
Loading...