Tag Archives: NATO

Wish list for next POTUS

I want the next president of the United States to undo the damage done by Donald J. Trump. My to-do wish list is a lengthy one.

And by the way, I hope the next president is Joseph R. Biden Jr.

So, for the record and in no particular order of importance, I want the next president to:

  • Reinstate our participation in key international agreements, such as the Iran nuclear arms deal; the Paris Climate Accords; remaining a part of the World Health Organization.
  • Issue a new executive order reviving the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals for those undocumented immigrants who were brought here illegally as children by their parents.
  • Look Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in the eye and tell him he faces severe economic and diplomatic sanctions if he continues to interfere in our electoral process.
  • Restore environmental protections seeking cleaner air and water.
  • Revive our alliances within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
  • Start working immediately on comprehensive immigration reform. Accordingly, I also want the next president to strengthen border security without erecting a wall along our southern border.
  • Restore policies that welcome gay men and women who want to serve in our nation’s armed forces.
  • Stop the effort to kill the Affordable Care Act and instead work immediately to improve it and make it truly more “affordable” for millions of Americans.
  • Develop a sensible and comprehensive national strategy to fight the pandemic that continues to kill and sicken too many Americans every day.
  • Redeploy resources to developing clean energy.

I am sure there are other initiatives worth pursuing once we get a new president.

My hope remains that the day will arrive next Jan. 20 and not four years after that date.

Still nothing about bounties? Really?

What in the name of national security gives with Donald J. Trump?

The U.S. president gets on the phone with Russian dictator/hitman Vladimir Putin and doesn’t bring up the allegation that Russian intelligence goons put bounties on U.S. service personnel?

Then we hear that Trump wants to remove 12,000 U.S. troops from Germany, which would do nothing but tickle Putin’s fancy, given that those troops have been stationed there as part of the front line against potential Russian aggression.

The bounty allegation has legs. Of that I have no doubt. Nor do any serious watchers of U.S.-Russia relations. It is utterly amazing to many of us that Trump has yet to condemn the allegation, pledging to find out whether it’s true or seeking answers from Vladimir Putin.

Trump told Axios that he and Putin talked about “other things.” Are you kidding me? Why in the world didn’t he mention the allegation? Why doesn’t he demand Putin to demonstrate he hasn’t done what many of us believe he has allowed?

This information reportedly found its way to Trump’s desk, but Trump continues to deny knowing about it in the moment. He said the intelligence reportedly placed in his daily briefing didn’t add up. What a crock of dookey!

I believe in my gut that Trump has been derelict in his duty as commander in chief. For the president to refuse to confront Vladimir Putin directly on it confirms my belief.

As for the troop withdrawal from Germany, let’s just say that Putin must be dancing one of those Russian jigs in the Kremlin. Trump is reducing the U.S. force commitment by one-third. He chides Germany for failing to pay it’s share of defense and suggests the United States won’t be “suckered” any longer.

The drawdown will cost billions of dollars. The troops will need to be relocated. For what reason? Because the president is angry with Germany over whether it’s paying enough for its own defense? It looks to me as though there is a larger national security issue in play, which involves whether the United States — as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization — is doing its part to assure the defense of Europe against possible aggression.

Who is the beneficiary? None other than Vladimir Putin.

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?