Tag Archives: globalism

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.

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.

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?

Nationalists outpointing Globalists in Trump World

Rex Tillerson’s departure as secretary of state fills me with terribly mixed feelings.

On one level, he wasn’t by any stretch my favored pick to lead the nation’s diplomatic effort. He came from big business; he had no real international political experience; he was unable to fill key posts within the State Department.

However, he is a grownup. He clashed with Donald John Trump. He sought to talk the president out of backing away from the Iran nuclear deal; he opposed Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris global warming accord.

Tillerson realizes a fundamental truth about the world and the United States’ role in it, which is that “globalism” is the more realistic approach to cultivating our nation’s alliances. Trump ran for president as a “nationalist.” He wants to “put America first,” but is putting our nation’s world standing in jeopardy.

Trump has nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo to succeed Tillerson. Pompeo is from the same nationalist mold as Trump, as he demonstrated while he served in the U.S. House of Representatives before making the move to the CIA.

The nationalist wing of the Trump administration is winning the argument within the White House’s walls so far.

Trump keeps harping about America’s interests, which in its way is the height of irony, given his reluctance to condemn the Russians for attacking our nation’s electoral process in 2016.

He has cut loose someone, Tillerson, who believes that the world’s inexorable shrinkage forces this country to think more globally. We cannot escape the influences of other nations and we must be mindful of their concerns.

Should we place other nations’ interests on the same level as our own? No. Neither should we snub them, as Donald Trump seems so terribly inclined to do.

I also must concede that the comment attributed to Tillerson — which he hasn’t denied making — that Trump is a “moron” seems more truthful than ever.

Bannon shown the White House door

I am being tangled up by competing impulses with the news that Stephen K. Bannon has been kicked out of the White House.

The senior political strategist for Donald John Trump is out. They’re calling it a “mutual agreement” between Bannon and White House chief of staff John Kelly. That’s clearly code for Kelly kicking Bannon squarely in the a**.

Bannon, the former editor of Breitbart News and a far-right provocateur, had no business serving among the president’s closest circle of advisers. He’s a scary dude. He detests what he calls “globalism.” Breitbart has become infamous for publishing commentary that is decidedly racist and anti-Semitic. For a time, Bannon had a seat at the National Security Council table.

To that end, the president did himself no favors — except with his hard-core base of supporters — by having Bannon sitting nearby and offering advice.

Accordingly, I’m glad he’s gone.

Bye, bye Steve.

I’m not proud of the other impulse, which is a desire to continue to watch the president continue to struggle. The new chief of staff has made a tangible impact on the White House operation. I once stated my desire to see Trump “succeed” because abject failure as president doesn’t bode well for a nation that needs stability within the White House machinery.

Trump’s definition of “success,” though, doesn’t comport with what I would like to see for the nation. I oppose the president’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord, his rolling back of U.S. environmental regulations and the decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; those issues have Bannon’s fingerprints on them.

Where this all goes is now anyone’s guess.

Bannon is now free to speak his mind. Inquiring minds are going to press the former chief strategist to reveal what he knows about what’s really going on inside the West Wing.

The drama continues. So does the chaos.

Greece: the downside of globalism

Economists have hailed the era of globalism, the interconnectedness of nations.

One nation’s failures and foibles affect others, just as their triumphs do.

Greece is in trouble — again! And the world is holding its breath.

Man, it pains me to watch what’s happening to the country of my ancestors. I’ve visited the place three times: 2000, 2001 and 2003. I’ve seen the good side of the country. My wife and I have experienced its charm, swallowed up its physical magnificence, gotten a taste of its cuisine and seen first hand the antiquities left over from when it was the “cradle of western civilization.”

Now this.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/salvation-to-catastrophe-what-might-happen-to-greece/ar-BBl1S4d

Greece owes billions of dollars to creditors. It must pay them back or else default. It joined the European Union, converted its currency, the drachma, to the euro, but the EU might kick Greece out. Germany, which has played a huge role in bailing the Greeks out, already is making plans for Greece’s default on the loans it has taken.

International financial markets are on edge. They’re teetering, putting retirement funds — such as mine and my wife’s — at risk.

Why is this all happening? Globalism.

Look, left to its own devices, Greece’s influence on the world shouldn’t be that impactful. It’s a small country. It’s a modern country. Its people are sophisticated and well-educated. But it comprises about 10.5 million citizens, contributing to a gross domestic product of $284 billion annually, which is chicken feed compared to, say, nearby Italy, with its $1.9 trillion GDP.

Still, the countries are linked by common currency, common trade practices and common pressures that ripple their way across Europe — and around the world.

Greece has made a mess of itself and the world might be forced to clean it up.

The push to join nations together in international trade arrangements and alliances by itself isn’t a bad thing. I remain all for it.

These alliances, though, depend on everyone doing what they must to ensure they hold together. Greece hasn’t done it. It continues to resist the austerity measures that others have imposed on it. Its left-wing government also is on the brink of collapse.

Doomsday hasn’t arrived in Athens. It’s getting dangerously close.