Tag Archives: NATO

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.

No regrets in supporting Hillary … none!

Americans are going to vote Tuesday for members of Congress and a whole host of statewide and local offices.

And, yes, Donald John Trump will be on the proverbial ballot, too. He has said so, telling voters at his campaign rallies to “vote for me.”

I don’t have the burden of voting for Trump again, or voting for whatever it is he stands for. I cast my 2016 ballot for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I want to declare right here that I don’t regret that vote for an instant. Not one bit.

We lived in Randall County, Texas, when we voted in the 2016 presidential election. We were among the 15 percent of voters who cast their ballots for Hillary; Trump carried Randall County with 80.15 percent of the vote, which is no great shakes, given the county’s heavy GOP tilt.

Hillary Clinton would have been subjected to a level of questioning and interrogation that Trump is facing right now. Of that I have no doubt. The difference, I am certain, would be that she would keep her mouth shut. She wouldn’t be tweeting her fingers to the nub over every crazy turn the Republicans would take their investigation.

She would know and appreciate the meaning of “acting presidential.” She would conduct herself with dignity and with grace. She would have kept the United States involved in the Paris Climate Accord, which is intended to reduce carbon emissions worldwide; she would have kept the Iran nuclear deal in force; she would have refrained from offending our NATO allies; Hillary would have known better than to hurl baseless accusations against opponents.

I concede readily that she wasn’t the perfect candidate. Then again, I haven’t yet seen political perfection among any of the candidates who have received my voting support.

Her years as first lady, then as a U.S. senator and then as secretary of state prepared her amply for the job of president.

She just fluffed her chance in 2016. I do not want her to run again. She’s had her time in the arena. I trust she’ll stay on the sidelines and let someone else pick up the banner she carried to a near-victory two years ago.

I just felt compelled to stand foursquare behind a decision I made two years ago to vote for someone who I am convinced would be superior to the fellow who defeated her.

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?

POTUS fatigue setting in?

I fear that I am on the verge of suffering from terminal POTUS fatigue.

I don’t expect to croak from it. I don’t even know if I’ll suffer an emotional collapse, or any kind of psychological breakdown.

I’m just wearing out. Maybe. Possibly.

The president of the United States is conducting himself and his office in a way none of us have ever witnessed. Do you remember “No Drama Obama,” with the previous president operating on level plain? He disliked the tumult, turmoil and tempest that occasionally comes with the office.

Donald John Trump Sr.? He relishes it! He looks for it! He wants to govern daily with chaos, confusion — and perhaps a bit of corruption — all swirling around him.

Good grief! He goes to Europe to meet with the most dependable allies this nation on planet Earth and then proceeds to p** them all off. He wasn’t done. Not by a long shot.

The president then goes to the United Kingdom, talks to the Sun newspaper, criticizes British Prime Minister Teresa May’s handling of the British exit from the European Union and then offers an endorsement of former British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson to be the UK’s next prime minister.

And then he denies saying it!

There’s more. He travels to Helsinki. He and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin meet for two hours, just the two of them. Then he comes out and declares that U.S. intelligence experts’ assertion about Russian attacks on our electoral process are not to be believed; he believes Putin’s denial.

And this is what happened just in the past week!

His entire presidency has been rife with weeks just like this, although the stakes of this week’s weirdness are getting more compelling all the time.

I need to get a good night’s sleep. I’ll awaken in the morning. I’ll be refreshed. I’ll get back at it.

How in the world does the president function like this?

Will we stand alone at the next big attack?

A commonly held notion in the wake of the 9/11 attack was that we shouldn’t concern ourselves over if another attack would occur, but we need to focus on when it would take place.

It’s good to remember at this point that when we collected ourselves after the horror of that event and went after the terrorists who did the deed, we had much of the world rally with us. Our friends in Europe and the Middle East were there. So were our allies in the Far East and in South Asia.

The European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization both rallied behind us in our retaliatory strikes against the terrorists. Their fighting men and women died alongside ours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

OK, so let’s fast-forward to the present day.

Two previous presidents — George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama — have come and gone. We have a new one at the helm, Donald J. Trump.

Whereas Presidents Bush and Obama courted our allies and sought to ensure they would be there when the chips were down, we now have a president who has decided to call the EU a “foe,” he has denigrated NATO’s value in today’s world, while excoriating its members for failing to pay more for their shared defense.

All the while, Donald Trump has thrown himself at the feet of Vladimir Putin, the Russian strongman, and Kim Jong Un, the North Korean despot. He calls them “strong leaders,” “intelligent,” and people he “trusts.”

This leads me to the question that is lurking in the back of many observers’ minds. When the next terror attack occurs — and while none of us wants it to happen, we must be mindful that it very well could — are we going to be able to call on the very allies the president has insulted time and again?

My fear is that we’ll fight the next war alone.

You can take this to the bank: Never mind that Trump says that

“I, alone” can repair the nation’s ills, not even the greatest nation on Earth can fight wage this international fight all by itself.

Thus, we might be forced to reap what Donald Trump has sown.

Does our president want to disband NATO?

Hey, I believe it is fair to ask: Does the president of the United States want to get rid of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization?

He is yapping, yammering and yowling about NATO allies not paying their fair share for their defense. I get his concern on that one specific point.

Why, though, does he keep disparaging our allies? Why does he continue to play into Vladimir Putin’s hands with his tirades against Germany, the United Kingdom, France … indeed, the rest of the alliance.

Does this clown understand a fundamental truth about U.S. history?

Let me remind him — and you — of something we need to remember.

We had a generation of Americans go to war in Europe. They died in defense of liberty and freedom. They fought the tyrants. They won that war.

My father was one of them. He served in the U.S. Navy. He fought in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. He once endured 105 consecutive days of aerial bombardment from German and Italian air forces. An Italian dive bomber sank Dad’s ship off the coast of Sicily, forcing Dad to dive into the drink, where he awaited rescue from a British warship.

These men, including my father, set the stage for the creation of NATO immediately after the end of World War II.

Dad wasn’t a particularly political man. He and I didn’t discuss the issues of the day too often. However, I knew instinctively that he didn’t trust the Russians. He wanted NATO to stand watch as a deterrent against potential communist aggression.

Dad’s been gone for nearly 38 years. I believe in the deepest recesses of my gut that he would be aghast at the rhetoric we are hearing from the president of the United States.

Donald Trump, you’re no Harry Truman.

WH chief of staff angry over breakfast menu? Wow!

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has just notched my all-time favorite lame response from the White House press office.

It’s a beaut, man!

White House chief of staff John Kelly was seen grimacing, looking at the floor and fidgeting while sitting two seats away from the president, who was lambasting Germany over what Donald Trump contended was Russia’s total control over our strategic ally.

The person next to Kelly, U.S. North Atlantic Treaty Organization ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison — the former U.S. senator from Texas — was seen looking around as if to suggest she’d rather be anywhere other than where she was at the moment.

As the New York Daily News reported: As Trump laid into Germany, Kelly pursed his lips, looked down and appeared generally uncomfortable. Kelly seemed particularly unsettled when Trump made the “captive” comment, firmly pressing his lips together and staring off into the distance.

Someone then asked Sanders about Kelly’s apparently visceral response, that some had interpreted as extreme discomfort over what he was hearing from the president.

Sanders’s response? She said Kelly “was displeased because he was expecting a full breakfast and there were only pastries and cheese.”

Isn’t that a great retort? Doesn’t that qualify for entry into the press secretaries’ hall of shame for lame responses?

It’s got my vote. To be candid, I thought Sanders’s response to the question was quite, um, creative.

Stand tall, Sarah.

This is no way to, um, MAGA

Donald Trump’s mantra that he would “make America great again” has hit another snag.

That’s my view at least.

You see, a great nation’s president doesn’t diss its allies. It doesn’t do the dirty work of disrupting a key international alliance on behalf of our nation’s top adversary. The president doesn’t conflate trade issues with defense alliances.

The president doesn’t open his mouth without knowing what the hell he is talking about.

Donald Trump is making a hash out of our alliance with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He makes a valid point about NATO nations needing to pony up more cash to pay for their own defense.

It’s his style. It’s his clumsy rhetoric. It’s his ignorance of NATO’s very founding that drives many of us nuts.

A president who wants to make America great again doesn’t get disinvited to London by that city’s mayor because of the disgraceful comments he has made about Muslims; oh, yes, the London mayor — Sadiq Khan — happens to worship the Islamic faith.

After the president finishes trashing NATO and uttering preposterous statements, the president is heading to Helsinki, Finland, to meet with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. The two men are going to meet in a room with no senior aides present; they’ll have their interpreters, that’s it!

What in the world is Trump going to give to Putin? What is he going to tell him? What is he going to demand of him?

And what are we supposed to believe from the Liar in Chief when he comes out of that meeting and delivers his version of what happened behind closed doors?

This isn’t how you make America great again.

Once upon a time, Republicans mistrusted the Russians

There once was a time, not that long ago, when Republican Party politicians bristled at the notion of cozying up to Russia, the direct descendants of what President Reagan once called The Evil Empire.

They would rant and roar at the prospect of Democrats talking nice to the Russians. They would argue that the Russians weren’t to be trusted as far as we could throw them.

The 2012 GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, called Russia the world’s greatest geopolitical adversary of this nation. Democrats laughed at Mitt. I admit to being one of the critics who dismissed Mitt’s view; I regret what I said then.

These days the one-time Party of Reagan has been captured and co-opted by Donald J. Trump. The current president is unlike any human being who’s ever been elected to the high office.

He talks nice to the Russians. Get this: He now disparages and disrespects our allies. He scolds our North Atlantic Treaty Organization friends for failing to pay enough to defend themselves. The president’s NATO diatribe plays directly into the hands of Russia.

I’m trying to imagine what the Republican Party hierarchy would do if, say, Barack H. Obama had done any of the things that his immediate successor has done. They would collapse into spasms of apoplexy. They would call for the president’s head on a platter. They would impeach him in a New York nano-second.

This is a strange new world, dear reader. It’s making me nervous.

The president of the United States is supposed to be a source of wisdom, stability and dignity. Instead, we have someone at the top of our governmental chain of command who has turned everything on its head.

What’s more, the political party with which he is affiliated is buying into it. The Russians are the good guys now? We are scolding our allies and giving comfort to our No. 1 adversary?

Wow!

NATO remains our most important alliance

On one hand, Donald Trump is right to insist that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization member nations pay more for their defense.

The president, though, is talking way past the sale with his relentless attacks on our nation’s alliance in Europe, the one created after World War II as a defense against potential aggression by the Soviet Union.

He is insulting the heads of state and government of virtually all those nations. He suggests Russia controls Germany because it sells the Germans oil and natural gas. Holy crap, man! Does the president have any clue as to what Europeans are thinking and saying out loud about his own relationships with the Russia and the former chief KGB spook who runs that country?

NATO remains as credible, viable and important today as it was at its founding. For the president of the United States to undermine an alliance full of nations that came to our defense after 9/11 plays directly into the hands of Vladimir Putin, whose mission as Russian president has been to, um, undermine NATO.

I wonder if Putin is going to thank Trump when they meet in Helsinki for doing his job for him.