I have some friends around the world who I simply know are laughing their backsides off at my country.
They live in Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, Israel and Greece. Yes, even my Greek friends — who live in a country that has embodied political dysfunction in recent years — must be chuckling over their ouzo.
My German and Australian friends are journalists; they have spent many years watching the United States. My Dutch friend is a lawyer who also possesses a keen interest in policy and history. My Israeli friends are a more eclectic bunch, as are my Greek friends; but they are well-educated and sophisticated.
Our government is shut down. Senators and House members are haggling with each other. Meanwhile, the president — who campaigned loudly and boastfully about his ability to make “the best deals” — is remarkably disengaged from the nuts and bolts of this charade.
Donald J. Trump boasted about how he would “put America first.” The implication was that he doesn’t care what the rest of the world thinks of the country he was elected to lead. I believe he should care.
This is a small and shrinking world. Nations are increasingly dependent on each other. Trump also said he wanted to “make America great again,” but I feel compelled to say — yet again — that this already is a great nation. We are the most powerful militarily and we possess a seriously strong economy.
It matters that our inability to fund our government beyond these ridiculous stop-gap “continuing resolutions.” The rest of the world is watching — and laughing.
I know this because I am utterly certain my own friends abroad are howling as they watch our government “leaders” writhe and squirm while they hurl insults at each other.
This is no way to achieve American greatness.
Donald John Trump vowed to “put America first” as he ran for president of the United States.
What’s been the cost of that vow? Here’s a fascinating indicator: According to the Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index, the U.S. standing among world nations has plummeted from No. 1 to No. 6 among the world’s best nations. The fall has occurred in just a single year.
The index measures nations along several metrics: governance, tourism, culture, people, immigration/investment.
Which nation is No. 1 in the world? Germany.
Are we making America ‘great again’?
So, you’re asking: What’s the cause of the decline in our country’s standing among the world’s best nations? The answer? Donald Trump!
The president’s public statements since taking office, in my view at least, have undermined the U.S. standing all along the way. He has berated our allies and cozied up to dictators and strong men.
He did return from his 12-day, five-nation trip to Asia and proclaimed that the U.S. standing in Asia is stronger than ever. The Anholt-GfK study would seem to disprove that assertion.
It’s also fair to ask about what this index means. What tangible impact does this survey mean to any nation? I suppose one measure can be found in international leaders’ trust. Do other nations’ leaders trust the United States to keep its word? Can the world trust the world’s greatest nation — and I do consider the country of my birth to be the world’s most indispensable nation — to stand with allies?
The consequences of a lack of trust might be difficult to measure in quantifiable terms immediately, but the so-called Trump Effect as registered in this latest index tells me that “putting America first” is coming with a cost to America’s standing among the world’s family of nations.
Donald J. Trump pledged to “put America first” while he ran for the presidency.
It sold his pitch along the campaign trail. Guess what? He is governing under a policy of “blaming America first.”
The president is in Asia. He went to the People’s Republic of China and praised the Chinese government for “taking advantage” of the United States in piling up a huge trade surplus with this country. He also pledged to end that trend and vowed to restore some semblance of trade balance between the two economic powers.
Still, he blamed U.S. trade policy.
Then he ventured to Vietnam to attend a summit of foreign leaders. He shook hands with Vladimir Putin, who told the president — allegedly! — that the Russian government did not interfere with the U.S. presidential election in 2016. Trump accepted Putin’s assertion at face value.
When the Russian strongman says something, he “means it,” according to Trump. Oh, but what about the intelligence agencies who say the opposite, that the Russians did interfere and hacked into our electoral system? Trump calls former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI director James Comey and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “political hacks.”
What the hell …
He’s blaming America first, not “putting America first.”
I’m old enough to remember the 1984 GOP presidential nominating convention. The keynote speech at that event came from Jeane Kirkpatrick, the nation’s United Nations ambassador. She brought the house down by chastising who she called the “San Francisco Democrats” who were all too willing to “blame America first.”
I’m trying to imagine how the late ambassador would react to a president of her own party doing the very thing for which she once blistered the Democratic Party.