Under Trump America Goes From World Leader to Banana Republic 

On Christmas eve conservative pundit William “Bill” Kristol made it clear that in its current iteration, the Republican Party he identifies with has become a cult of personality worthy of a banana republic. Kristol didn’t mention Trump by name, but he almost certainly was projecting his abhorrence of Trump on the entire GOP; a surprising development for a dyed-in-the-wool conservative but an apt projection all the same.

It is true the Republican Party is taking the country back to the 1920’s long before America became a global leader and was hardly a world super power, but even during the Great Depression when the filthy rich became incredibly wealthier, America was hardly considered a banana republic. All that changed less than a century later.

Whatever leadership role America enjoyed prior to Trump’s poorly attended inauguration is now just a memory despite what Trump claims. World leaders are well aware that although America has military might, and is a rapidly waning economic force, its influence globally is second-rate at best; in many areas it is nothing more than an irritating spectator.

Instead of leading on addressing climate change, America under Trump is watching China “assume the leadership mantle,” and subsequently the economic prosperity that will accompany it. And as the Los Angeles Times noted, “Russia has taken over Syrian peace negotiations that Moscow officials only allowed America to attend as observers.”

Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) look to Germany and France for leadership since Trump has isolated America from even its allies and trading partners. And speaking of international trade, America is now a global trade outlier and any number of American industries are living proof that Trump’s big mouth and isolationism kills American businesses.

This is an issue because Trump gave his assessment of America’s place on the global stage during a speech last week that is as far from reality as the Earth is from the edge of the observable universe. (Roughly 46.6 billion light years)

Trump claims that since January there has been a never-before-seen “broadening of U.S. influence throughout the world.” It is an odd assertion even for a buffoon like Trump; particularly since his executive actions since January are the sole force behind America ceding its global leadership role.

That is the consensus opinion of international leaders, diplomats, and foreign policy experts who contend that Trump is guilty of “reducing U.S. influence or altering it in ways that are less constructive on a broad range of policy issues.” In fact, what those leaders and critics actually say is that “Trump has taken positions that disqualify the United States from the debate or rendered it irrelevant on that ‘broad range of policy issues.’”

This is a serious issue because no matter what horrors Republicans are in the process of unleashing on Americans, Trump represents an existential threat because besides the insanity of isolationism in a truly global era, America under Trump is dangerously unreliable and untrustworthy to the rest of the world.

In India, a nation Trump has not attacked yet, the leaders are like most sane human beings concerned about ‘Trump’s unpredictability” and doubt that he can be trusted “as a reliable partner;” especially with his rush towards isolationism. Manoj Joshi is a scholar at a New Delhi think tank, Observer Research Foundation, who fairly summed up what the rest of the planet knows about Trump.

The president Trump can and does turn things inside out. So the chances that the U.S. works along a coherent and credible national security strategy are not very high.

Nicholas Burns, a long-serving senior diplomat under both Republican and Democratic administrations said Trump’s strategy, or lack thereof, “has left the U.S. ineffective.” Mr. Burns continued by remarking on an issue many critics have warned about to no avail; a weak and aimless Department of State.

“Trump needs a strong State Department to implement its strategy. Instead, State and the Foreign Service are being weakened and often sidelined. Trump’s policy of the last 12 months is a radical departure from every president since WWII. Trump is weak on NATO, Russia, trade, climate, diplomacy. The U.S. is declining as a global leader.”

What seems to be the final straw for nearly the entire world of nations was Trump’s gift to Benjamin Netanyahu that eliminates any opportunity for a “two-state” solution. The only people Trump “delighted” by formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital were many Israelis.  Trump incited rage in the Muslim world, wiped out decades of “international consensus” on a peaceful Palestine-Israeli resolution, and incurred the wrath of “an overwhelming majority of the U.N. General Assembly.

As most of the world understands, Trump unilaterally eliminated America as “an honest broker in mediating peace by clearly siding with Israel.” As many world leaders have noted, “From now on it is out of the question for a biased United States to be a mediator between Israel and Palestine; that period is over.”

A former U.S. ambassador to both Israel and Egypt under Presidents Clinton and Bush, Daniel Kurtzer, said  that any peaceful resolution in the Middle East  “won’t be from American policy. Trump took America out of the peace process for the foreseeable future.”

There is probably a detailed list of the myriad ways Trump single-handedly diminished American influence globally, but the real horror is that he accomplished that feat in less than a year. America is going to be in trouble going forward just on the basis of Trump’s isolationism and withdrawal from trade agreements and never-ending threats against our allies and United Nations member nations for daring to disagree with Trump. Add to that prospect the Republican Congress’ well-laid plans to wipe out the government and create an impoverished population; it is no longer a question of “if” America is a banana republic, but when the entire world recognizes what it is and turns against it.

Image: Matt Rotman

Ugly American Trump Insults and Alienates America’s Allies

 

 

Despite its predilection to imperialism and waging wars for the sake of enriching the American military-industrial complex, America used to be a nation most of the world had a semblance of respect for. But with an abrasive bully in the White House, whatever respect other countries had for the United States, if not lost, appears to be waning rapidly; and who could blame them? Trump has managed to disrespect, insult and alienate nearly every country on the planet save his masters in Moscow and barbaric nations ruled by tyrannical despots. However, one expected European nations’ leaders to put aside their disgust with Trump because they are devoutly aligned with the U.S through economic goals as well as their devotion to democracy, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Group of Seven (G7), and a monumentally important Paris Climate Accord. But alas, even America’s European allies have lost respect for America.

After Trump insulted and attempted to bully NATO allies and nation members’ leaders in the organization representing the seven major advanced economies in the world, it is looking increasingly like America is alienating its steadfast allies and isolating itself from the world’s democracies. For his part, Trump certainly accomplished his mission and annoyed America’s NATO partners and the so-called “Group of Seven” (G7) members by doing what he does best; be a loud-mouthed bully like the proverbial ugly American he exemplifies better than any fiction writer could ever hope to create.

Despite Trump’s claim his overseas trip was a raging success, the only thing he accomplished was humiliating Americans and sending a clear message to the rest of the world that not only is the current occupant of the White House a worthless no-account malcontent, he or the United States is not to be trusted. The real leader of the free world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said as much in a statement on Saturday; including saying that after “a bruising meeting of the G7 wealthy nations, Europeans can no longer rely on their allies.” It was a damning indictment of Trump for Ms. Merkel to say,

The days when Europe could completely count on others are over. I have experienced this in the last few days. And that is why I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands – of course in friendship with the United States, in friendship with Great Britain and as good neighbors where that is possible also with other countries, even with Russia. But we have to know that we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans.”

Merkel, as the new undisputed leader of the free world, was verbalizing her and other leaders’ frustration with what has been called tense G7 and NATO meetings that were reported as being focused around “Trump against the leaders of Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Japan on several issues.” Haaretz reported that besides being lectured and bullied by Trump, the diplomats were “frustrated at having to revisit questions” they had every reason to believe were settled long ago.

One of those issues was NATO member nations’ commitment two years ago to be more like America and spend more of their GDP on their nation’s defense budgets. Trump criticized and lectured the members who are all ahead of schedule to meet the 10-year goal set up two years ago. And as he has in the past, he acted as if the NATO members owe American taxpayers money. Trump said to absolute shock and then universal disgust:

This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States. If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions, then NATO would be even stronger than it is today, especially from the threat of terrorism.”

To reiterate, all of the member nations are on track to meet their 2024 commitment and goal NATO members agreed on two years ago, and they are increasing funding in their own defense budgets. The people and taxpayers of the United States are not being treated unfairly and the NATO members know it and it is likely true that by now Trump knows it as well. Still, the lying bully just had to lecture the other NATO leaders to confirm to himself that he is boss of the world. It is why he literally “shoved” one European leader aside so he, Donald Trump, could be the center of attention in a group photograph commemorating the inglorious occasion for the NATO leaders.

Trump also caused no small amount of despair and disgust at the G7 meeting over climate change and the all-important Paris Climate Accord that 195 nations, including America, signed on to. While the other G7 leaders were reaffirming their commitment to “swiftly implement the Paris Agreement,” Trump, who claims climate change is a Chinese hoax, said he would make a decision to either end America’s commitment to help save the planet or agree to remain if there are changes amenable to the oil industry. However, according to several sources Trump has told his closest confidantes he will rescind American involvement in the Paris Climate Agreement with 195 nations. Nothing is sacred to Trump and tragically, America’s word is no longer dependable.

Trump was so disgusting to the G7 leaders, that they “broke with tradition” and released “an unusual statement” where six nations’ leaders announced they were reaffirming the Paris climate agreement – without America’s involvement. The “G6” communique read:

“The United States of America is in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics. Understanding this process, the Heads of State and of Government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom and the Presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission reaffirm their strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement.”

It is noteworthy that it is not just this author’s opinion, or that of Chancellor Angela Merkel, that Trump is rushing headlong into an isolationist stance and alienating our allies along the way. According to a former American envoy to NATO and current director of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Ivo H. Daalder:

This seems to be the end of an era, one in which the United States led and Europe followed, Today, the United States is heading into a direction on key issues that seems diametrically opposite of where Europe is heading. Merkel’s comments are an acknowledgment of that new reality.

This is ‘America first’ — a policy focused on narrow self-interest — and abandons the idea that the best way to enhance our security and prosperity is by having strong allies and leading globally in pursuit of common values and interests.” (author bold)

Only the stalwart Trump zealots and nativistic isolationists would consider Trump’s acts and speech to leaders of NATO countries and the G7 group either appropriate or constructive; they were neither. Instead, “ugly American” Trump earned the scorn of both NATO and G7 leaders and did what he’s done since his sparsely-attended inauguration; insulted America’s allies, alienated America and embarrassed Americans. Only a pig-headed American like Trump would consider those accomplishments a success.