Category Archives: International news

Nationalism is a ‘betrayal of patriotism’? Hmm

I won’t be so glib to presume that a leading head of state’s comments got skewed in sits translation into English.

Still, I have to wonder if French President Emmanuel Macron really means it when he says “nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.”

“By saying our interests first … we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace and what is essential: its moral values.” 

So said the French head of state.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not subscribe to the nationalist view expressed by Donald John Trump, which apparently was the target of Macron’s comments this weekend in Paris. I fear that Trump’s “nationalism” translates to “isolationism,” which history has shown to be a dangerous posture to assume. It’s particularly perilous in this age of a shrinking world.

However, I do have a bit of trouble diminishing one’s patriotism because he or she wants to put his or her own nation’s interests first. Still, the president’s view that we should punish other nations because he — or we — don’t like their behavior can lead us directly into a more isolated position.

Trump walks alone

Trump has done that with his fiery rhetoric and his scolding of allies with whom this nation owes much. For the president to be so harsh in his view of France, for instance, ignores the nation’s longstanding historic ties to that country. The French stood with us at the beginning of our Republic, helping us win our independence from British tyranny. They stood with us through two world wars and have died alongside our own fighting men and women in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, perhaps President Macron’s own salvo against nationalism and his assertion that it’s a “betrayal of patriotism” is his reaction to what he perceives as mistreatment from his own country’s oldest and most reliable ally.

If only we could change human behavior

This is no flash, no great scoop.

Human beings have been going to war with each other since the beginning of time. Certainly since the beginning of recorded history, which also goes way back.

Thus, when human beings find it impossible to settle disagreements without resorting to extreme violence, we’ll always have veterans. Men and women are answering the call of their governments to take up arms.

I join many others in wishing we could end all war. However, that is perhaps the most unrealistic expectation one can have. I detest having to say such a thing, but you know it’s true as much as I know it to be true.

For as long as lunatics continue to walk the Earth, for as long as there are tyrants or would-be tyrants who seek to subjugate other human beings, there will be war.

The same can be said of the prospect of ridding our world of losers who assassinate world leaders. Indeed, the murder of a central European head of state ignited the War to End All Wars in 1914. Today, we are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of what became — sadly, tragically — as World War I.

There would be another global conflagration in the 20th century.

And others have followed since then. They all have produced heroes. They also have turned men and women into veterans. They were called to duty by their government or they volunteered to serve, they chose to sacrifice large segments of their life to defend our nation … or any nation, for that matter.

And, most certainly, many of them volunteered to sacrifice their own lives in their nations’ defense. We must honor them, all of those who served. Not just on Veterans Day, but every single day!

Can we ever end international conflict? Realistically, no.

Instead, we will continue to honor those who defended us — from ourselves. We’ll do so until someone finds a way to change human behavior.

Good luck with that.

POTUS couldn’t attend ceremony honoring WWI fallen?

Let me understand this fully.

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, flies to France to honor the fallen soldiers while commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I.

Then the rain fell. The president then decided that he couldn’t attend the ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial near Paris because of “inclement weather.” He sent White House chief of staff John Kelly and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford to represent the United States.

Oh, then there’s this. France’s president attended the ceremony honoring the American soldiers who fell. So did the German chancellor and the prime minister of Canada. Other heads of state and government attended as well.

But … not the president of the United States. He couldn’t attend a solemn ceremony at the American cemetery where our nation’s fighting men are buried after enduring far worse than most of us can even fathom. How might they think of a president unwilling or unable to endure some rainfall at their gravesites to pray for their souls and to thank them for their sacrifice?

Critics cut loose on POTUS

I’ll conclude with this remark offered by the grandson of the legendary British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Nicholas Soames, a member of the British Parliament: “They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate Donald Trump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen.”

Enough said.

Globalism isn’t a dirty word

Donald Trump decided this week to rough up a PBS reporter, Yamiche Alcindor, who sought to ask him whether his declaration that he is a “nationalist” was a “dog whistle” to those who are closet “white nationalists.”

He called the question “racist,” an odd accusation given that Alcindor is African-American.

Setting that stuff aside, it’s fair to wonder whether the president’s nationalistic view is code as well for “isolationist.” Yes, I share the view that the nationalism espoused by Trump can be construed as an endorsement of white nationalism, but the isolationist tag is equally dangerous on another level.

Trump wants to “put America first.” His nationalist tendencies, though, ignore the reality of the present day. The world has figurately shrunk, thanks to technology and a 24/7 awareness of everything that happens on the other side of Planet Earth. Thus, we cannot recuse ourselves from the affairs in faraway lands. Nor can they from our affairs.

We build alliances because we seek to stay engaged in world affairs. The president seems intent on pulling us out of the cooperative efforts that his predecessors have forged with trading partners, military allies and geopolitical friends.

Trump imposes trade tariffs because he accuses our partners — namely Canada and Mexico — of being “unfair” in their trading practices. He goes to Europe and scolds NATO allies for failing to pay their fair share of their defense; in the most ironic tongue-lashing of all, he tears into Germany for its deal to import natural gas from Russia, suggesting that the Germans were beholden to the Russians. Shortly after taking office, Trump managed to hang up on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull because of a spat he didn’t understand over refugee migration.

This is how putting “America first” makes us stronger? This is how to build American prestige around the world?

No. It isn’t. Our retreat from a global strategy weakens this country as its standing among the world community of nations diminishes.

I don’t want the president to continue on this course. I know he won’t give a damn what I think, or what other critics think about him and his policies. If only he could enlist the wisdom of those closer to him to speak the truth to him about the folly of his nationalism.

Remember: Immigrants built this great nation

The Donald Trump Republican lies keep piling up.

Here is one of them: Immigrants are pouring into our country intent on harming innocent, defenseless Americans; they will steal our children and sell them into sex slavery; they will rape our women; they will peddle deadly drugs. We have to stop them now by sending thousands of heavily armed “patriotic” American fighting men and women to our southern borders.

What’s more, the lie continues, Republican opponents — Democrats, if you please — favor “open borders,” they believe we have “too much border security” and want to grant illegal immigrants “the right to vote.”

The lying is prevalent in border states, such as Texas, where a U.S. Senate campaign — Democrat Beto O’Rourke vs. Republican Ted Cruz — is heading into the home stretch.

Donald Trump is fomenting those lies with his reckless, feckless rhetoric on the stump. He whips his crowds into a frenzy with the blathering about how Democrats favor lawlessness and Republicans favor “safety and security.”

Look, this nation owes its greatness to immigrants. My sisters and I are the grandchildren of immigrants. Two of our grandparents came here from Turkey, which the president might define as a “sh**hole” country, given that it is a predominantly Muslim nation; the other two came from southern Greece. Yes, they got here legally, but they shared the same dream as others who are sneaking in illegally: They wanted to build a better life than the one they had back in the “old country.”

The same thing can be said of those who are fleeing oppression in Latin America. Yet the president seeks to lump them into a single category of “violent criminals.”

As for Democrats wanting to grant illegal immigrants the immediate “right to vote,” I am waiting to hear or read a single comment from any politician in this election cycle say such a thing. Beto O’Rourke hasn’t said it, nor has any other so-called squishy liberal/progressive politician.

What I hear them say is that they want to grant temporary reprieves from deportation for those who are here illegally; they want to ensure, through thorough background checks, that they want in for the right reasons, and they want to enable them to gain permanent resident status or — yes! — citizenship.

Once they become citizens, then they can vote! Not before! That’s what I am hearing.

I know the lying will continue, so my plea isn’t for the liars to cease. It is for the rest of us to stop swilling the poison.

Non-politician POTUS earns his political chops rapidly

I have to hand it to Donald J. Trump. He campaigned for president as a non-politician, a self-made zillionaire who would surround himself with the “best people.”

Where do we stand? He’s been shown to be far from self-made and his “best people” have let the country down repeatedly during his time as president.

As for the non-politician thing, Trump is showing he’s a far better politician than he let on. Take this nonsensical notion of sending 5,200 active-duty military personnel to the southern border to block the horde of “invaders” traveling north from Latin America.

The “caravan” is dwindling by the hour. It’s still a long way from the southern border. Its numbers might not even be half the size of the force Trump is ordering to the new “front.”

However, the president is managing to whip up a frenzy among his base of supporters, he is energizing Republicans in advance of next Tuesday’s midterm election and he’s scaring the bejabbers out of Americans who actually believe the crap he spews about “Middle Eastern” terrorists infiltrating the massive crowd of invaders.

Trump is acting totally within his legal authority as commander in chief. He isn’t the first president to do such a thing. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama dispatched National Guard troops to help secure the border during their administrations. Trump’s order is a bit different. He is ordering active-duty ground troops to the border. The issue, though, is simply: Why? To do what, precisely?

These individuals are fleeing some of the most repressive regimes imaginable. El Salvador, Honduras, Belize and Guatemala are known to be cesspools of corruption and violence.

Yet the president refers to many of them, as he did on Fox News the other day, as young and sturdy men who are coming here to do … what? To rape our women? To commit various and sundry acts of violence against unsuspecting Americans?

This troop deployment is all a political stunt.

Birthright citizenship far from ‘absurd’

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham is trying to cover Donald Trump’s backside with a plan to introduce legislation in the Senate to reverse a constitutional amendment that provides U.S. citizenship to anyone born inside the United States of America.

Nice try, senator.

Trump declared his desire to issue an executive order that would end the right of instant citizenship to anyone born here. The big problem facing the nutty idea is that the rule comes to us in the form of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was proposed in 1866 and ratified in 1868.

Now it’s an “absurd” notion, according to Sen. Graham, who wrote in a Twitter message: “Finally, a president willing to take on this absurd policy of birthright citizenship. I’ve always supported comprehensive immigration reform — at the same time — the elimination of birthright citizenship.”

Graham jumps in

In order to amend the Constitution, this legislation needs a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress and must be ratified by three-quarters of the 50 states. It is a steep hill to be sure.

It’s also a ridiculous and gratuitous attack on a U.S. tradition that has been part of the law of the land for 150 years.

Donald Trump has sought to demonize all illegal immigrants, even those who were brought here as children by their parents — and now those who were born here to parents who came this country illegally. He suggests that all illegal immigrants come here to do harm, to commit crimes, to perform terrible acts of violence.

This is the answer? This is the solution?

No. It isn’t.

Good grief, if we’re going to get tougher on illegal immigration, then let’s use existing laws and modernize security policies. We don’t need to build a wall along our southern border.

Nor do we need to repeal the clause contained in an existing amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

‘Lock him up, lock him up’?

What in the name of national security is going on here?

The New York Times reports that Donald John Trump is using an unsecured cell phone to talk about, oh, matters involving national security. And … the Chinese and the Russians are eavesdropping on him.

Wait just a doggone minute, will ya?

Weren’t the Republican mobs yelling “Lock her up!” when questions arose about Hillary Rodham Clinton using a personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state during the first term of the Obama administration? Didn’t the Republican nominee for president say that “if you’re listening,” the Russians should look for the missing e-mails?

Of course, the president challenges the NYT’s reporting on the story. He said in a tweet: The so-called experts on Trump over at the New York Times wrote a long and boring article on my cellphone usage that is so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it. I only use Government Phones, and have only one seldom used government cell phone. Story is soooo wrong!

I’ll take the president at his word that the Times is “soooo wrong” when the newspaper retracts or “clarifies” the story.

In the meantime, I’ll refrain from leading any “Lock him up” chant, given that I’ve been highly critical of the GOP mobs’ call to lock up Hillary Clinton without anything approaching due process.

Although this also must be said: Even though Hillary endured “due process” through endless congressional hearings on the e-mail matter, and was found to have committed no crimes, the “Lock her up!” bellowing has persisted.

We’re better than that now, though. Aren’t we?

When did ‘globalism’ become a four-letter word?

Donald John Trump has declared himself to be a “nationalist.” He puts “America first.” His mantra draws huge cheers from his crowd of faithful followers.

But wait! When did nationalism become a clarion call for isolationists, those who want nothing to do with the rest of the world? When did it become a four-letter word, an epithet, a badge of dishonor?

Trump has demonstrated his so-called nationalism in distressing ways.

He yanked the United States out of Paris Climate Accord, contending it would cost American jobs; he terminated U.S. participation in the deal hammered out with several other allied powers to deny Iran access to nuclear weapons; he has berated our NATO allies, saying they need to pay more for their protection; he has threatened to withdraw from the World Trade Organization.

Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, said earlier today that previous presidents didn’t enter into these international treaties to help other countries; they do so to help the United States. McFaul made specific mention of the Paris accord, agreed to by President Obama. “He didn’t do it help France,” McFaul said. “He did it to help the United States!”

Globalism is merely a recognition that the world is shrinking. The United States cannot realistically function as a sort of Lone Ranger on the world stage. Yes, we remain the strongest nation on Earth. We are without question the most indispensable nation on the planet.

I am puzzled to the max why Donald Trump wants to make us less relevant to the rest of the world when we can contribute greatly to world stability. Isolationism has led us down some precarious paths in the past. There were those who didn’t want us to enter World War II because they argued that Europe’s fight against the Nazis wasn’t our concern. Well, the Third Reich’s allies in Tokyo took care of that idiotic notion.

Trump calls himself a “nationalist.” He wants “put America first.” The slogan — along with “Make America Great Again” and “build that wall” helped elect him president of the United States.

At what cost? To my way of thinking, he is costing this nation the trust of our allies and the increasing enmity of our foes.

How in the world does that make us safer? Or great?

Open borders? Really?

When I hear and read the term “open borders,” I conjure up a definition of, well, totally open borders.

They are borders without guards carrying weapons, without any surveillance, without any restrictions for those seeking to cross them.

Yet the political climate has been poisoned by rhetoric that alleges Democrats across our country favor “open borders.” The Republican demagogue in chief, Donald Trump, is leading the chants against Democratic Party loyalists, contending they favor no restrictions on immigration.

So help me, I haven’t heard a serious politician say anything approaching what Trump and other demagogues are suggesting. They aren’t saying that we take down the Border Patrol stations, letting anyone walk into this country unrestricted.

What these so-called “open border” proponents are saying is they don’t want to build a wall along our nation’s 2,000-mile southern border. They contend it is too expensive, too unwieldy, too fraught with legal difficulty as the government seeks to condemn private land.

They aren’t favoring “open borders.” I am one who opposes the wall but supports strengthening border security using lots measures available to us: more Border Patrol personnel, more drone aircraft, greater surveillance technology, more support for state and local law enforcement agencies, rapid deportation policies.

Open borders? That’s the stuff of demagogues.