Trump’s Excellent Adventure (Part II)

by Pitt Griffin on May 26, 2017 · 0 comments

in Trump presidency

Donald Trump went to Belgium. There he met with our allies and was faced with a choice. He could assume the mantle of FDR, JFK, & Ronald Reagan – and stand foursquare as the leader of an America aligned with other democracies united in the unrelenting struggle against evil – whether it be an empire, an axis, or the threat of terrorism.

He could have been Nixon (the good one) negotiating with the Russians. He could have been Truman rebuilding a war-ravaged continent. He could have even been Obama representing the optimism and can-do spirit always admired in America – even when America isn’t unconditionally loved.

He made a different choice – one of meanness and lecturing. He celebrated the tyrants of the Middle-East. Men who have done so much to foster and shield terrorism. It was as if he were saying “democracy is for losers”.

He once again – presumably with the groveling approval of his staff – harangued the NATO powers for not paying what they ‘owed’. Once more demonstrating he has no grasp of how NATO works while also ignoring the recent strides made by NATO members. And he bemoaned the defense load borne by the suffering American taxpayer. (To which I can only say: “Hear hear, let’s slash defense spending forthwith”)

Pushing past the little people.

Trump reinforced his words with action. As the heads of state lined up for their class picture, the big diva pushed the Montenegran Prime Minister aside in his rush to claim center stage.

And then there were the power handshakes. Trump tried a particularly forceful one on the new French President. Emmanuel Macron wasn’t having any of that and gave as good as he got. In another photo-opp Macron and Trump got into a handshaking contest so elemental that both sets of knuckles whitened.

But Macron showed that when it came to snottiness there are few who can line up with the French. In a delicious moment of diplomatic ‘feck you’, Macron approached a line of visiting dignitaries, swerved from Trump’s embrace and for a few piquant seconds left the purported leader of the free world dangling. And many Americans celebrated Trump’s comeuppance.

It is a shame. There was once a time when respect for the office of the president tempered scorn for the occupant. But no more. You can lay some blame at Bill Clinton’s feet. And Bush’s English didn’t help. But eight years of Republicans denigrating Obama as illegitimate, foreign, and Mulsim, has left them no moral high ground. And the presidency will likely not regain its stature.

Anyway, back to the Trump in a china shop. He reportedly told a group of EU dignitaries that the Germans were “bad, very bad” or “very, very evil” (depending on the translation) over trade. This sort of tactless freebooting may be catnip to his acolytes. But it doesn’t advance America’s interests. Worse it diminishes every American.

One more stop on Trump’s trip was the dedication of the new NATO building. Prominently displayed are pieces of the old World Trade Center and the Berlin Wall. In front of these symbols of NATO’s raison d’etre, he gave a speech – in which he said “I never asked once what the new NATO Headquarters cost. I refuse to do that.” Which brings to mind Oscar Wilde’s pithy observation, “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”.

Although what this contributed to the proceedings is anyone’s guess.

Trump is now in the middle of the G7 talks – and so far nothing to report. But there is always tomorrow.

 

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