Tag Archives: NATO

Trump vs. NATO colleagues: Oh, the irony of it all

Donald Trump continues to exhibit an astonishing lack of self-awareness. Indeed, the irony of his sudden bolting from an international meeting with military allies reveals that point.

There he was at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting in London. He trashed French President Emmanuel Macron, called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “two-faced” and then became the subject of a hot-mic exchange among NATO leaders who were poking fun at the president.

He left the NATO conference and jetted back to the United States.

What is astonishing in the extreme is that Trump seemed to get mad at the leaders’ laughing at his expense. He has no awareness of the kind of treatment he has leveled on his political foes and, indeed, even at his allies.

He has tossed out insults and epithets at will. He hangs goofy nicknames on those with whom he disagrees. He dishes out innuendo as rapidly as a blackjack dealer.

So he gets chided by his colleagues at a NATO meeting and then flies out of there? What gives with this guy?

He vowed while campaigning for the presidency to get rid of the laughingstock label he said was being hung on the United States. Well, maybe he has done that … by giving other world leaders reason to laugh at him.

‘We’re the laughingstock of the world’

One of the many campaign mantras that Donald Trump would recite repeatedly on his way to winning the presidency in 2016 was that the United States had become “a laughingstock.”

He would bellow from campaign podiums that “We are the laughingstock of the world.” The crowds loved it. He would vow to make the world “respect” this country.

How is it working out? Not so good, I would say, were you to seek my opinion.

Trump’s recent carnival act while attending the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in London offers a case in point. The president decided he wouldn’t tolerate the snickers and whispered jokes among fellow heads of state at the NATO conference.

So, he bolted. He came home early after canceling a press conference.

Mr. President, the world is laughing now, out loud, in public, in front of us. Donald Trump has turned us into the laughingstock he accused us of being while running for the only public office he ever has sought.

So very sad.

Trump makes a hash of another NATO gathering

Well now, that didn’t go too well.

Donald Trump was one of several heads of state and government attending a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Then he decided he had enough of the treatment he was getting from his fellow world leaders gathered in London. So he left early, canceling an anticipated press conference.

Oh, my.

He started out by having a testy press availability with French President Emanuel Macron, who snapped back at Trump’s assertion that many Islamic State fighters come from France.

He called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “two-faced.”

Trump said France needs NATO more than the United States and chided the French for not paying more for their defense against potential enemies in Europe.

Other world leaders were heard on a “hot microphone” poking fun at the U.S. president … which I guess was too much for Trump to handle.

He left the meeting early and headed for home.

Goodness, gracious.

Is this how the president of the United States represents us on the world stage? Must we tolerate this kind of petulance? Must this nation be held up as an international laughingstock only because its president doesn’t know how to behave and act like the head of state of the world’s most indispensable nation?

He talks about impeachment constantly during his press sessions. He blasts House Speaker Nancy Pelosi openly while he’s overseas. Trump ridicules the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, hurling a variety of epithets at the man who is performing his constitutionally prescribed duties.

So, another foreign visit has gone badly.

Get to work, Mr. President, on whatever it is you do.

Heading north in search of ‘international’ view of POTUS

Very soon, we’re going to pack up our RV and head north. We’ll cross into Canada near Vancouver, British Columbia, and begin a trek across that equally vast country.

Along the way I intend to ask lots of questions of our continental neighbors. I want to find out what they think of Donald John Trump and whether his vow to “put America first” and to “make America great again” is playing well with rank-and-file Canadians.

Our initial plan was to travel the length of Canada west to east. Then we thought differently. We have decided to do the western half first; we’ll visit the eastern half at a later date.

There’s been a lot of chatter in the U.S. media about U.S.-Canada relations. Some of it has suggested that the nations, two of the world’s closest allies, have grown apart in the Age of Trump. The president has disparaged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on occasion; Trudeau has returned a volley or two himself, although I must say the young PM’s retorts have been much more dignified and restrained.

Trump has slapped tariffs on Canadian goods shipped into this country. He has sought to craft a new trade deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he has called a “total disaster … probably the worst deal” in human history.

Does the “put America first” mantra go down well with our neighbors, with whom we share the largest unprotected border on Earth? Just how do Canadians feel about the way Trump has talked to and about Trudeau? The Canadians also are a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which aims to protect Europe against aggressors. What is their take on Trump’s belief that NATO nations need to spend more on their own defense or else possibly losing American participation altogether?

My much better half and I will get the chance to visit our neighbors up close for several weeks as we travel through the western provinces. We’ll likely get as far as Winnipeg, Manitoba, before turning south and headin’ for the house.

I look forward to sharing what we learn along the way.

NATO pullout back on the top shelf

In 2018, when Donald J. Trump decided to scold the leaders of our most trustworthy military alliance, he sounded like someone who wanted to pull the United States out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Those leaders need to pay more of their share of the defense of Europe, Trump said, or else face the consequences, which might involve a U.S. pullout.

Now, against that backdrop we have The New York Times report about an alleged investigation by the FBI into whether Trump was an “agent” of Russia.

The connection? Well, Russia wants NATO weakened badly. He would prefer that NATO be destroyed. Why is that? Because NATO came into being after World War II as a military alliance to defend Europe against the Soviet Union’s bloc of satellite nations. Russia, you’ll remember, was known as the Soviet Union from 1917 until 1991, when it collapsed under its own weight.

But NATO remains as a bulwark against Russian aggression. Therefore, Russia wants NATO to go away.

So, what connection is there between Donald Trump’s implied threat and Russia’s stated aim of ensuring that NATO withers away and dies? Is there a connection? Trump says “no!” I do not believe Trump’s declaration on its face. I want to know the truth.

If only I could find where the truth is hiding.

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.