Wednesday, May 31, 2017
America’s New Enemy – Europe
Donald Trump’s hopeful prediction: The notion of a post-Brexit European Union shattering under a flood of anti-globalist populism. Like most of his predictions and understandings of the rest of the world, he was wrong. He witnessed the devastating wipeout (almost 2 to 1) in the French presidential election of Trump-clone populist Marine Le Pen by a 39-year-old centrist who had never held elective office. He openly chastised NATO leaders about not carrying their fair share of military costs and slammed “bad, very bad” Germany for making such good products that too many Americans opt for German-quality over American-made equivalents that there is a massive trade imbalance favoring Germany.
He refused to confirm a virtually unanimous global Paris-accord pledge to contain climate change (more later) – that “Chinese hoax” that his own military is spending billions to deal with and prepare for – and described his Vatican meeting as a success notwithstanding a dour Pope who handed The Donald that prelate’s encyclical admonishing the world to take responsibility for our massive abuse of the environment. The Art of the Deal author, el Presidente, applied his flawed real estate bully tactics to people who have genuine power on a massive scale, and described his totally failed foray into Europe as a “home run.”
What The Donald generated in Europe was backlash. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, clearly editing the extreme feelings she was really feeling, suggested that she could no longer trust the United States as an ally. Immediately following Trump’s return to the United States, as she continued with her reelection campaign in Munich, which Trump secretly believes she should lose in a populist sweep, Merkel directed her remarks to the growing anti-Trump feelings coursing through her constituency: “The era in which we could rely completely on others is gone, at least partially… I have experienced that over the last several days… It is now time that we really take our own fate into our own hands… Naturally, we’ll maintain our friendship with the United States … wherever possible… But we have to realize that we Europeans are going to have to fight on our own behalf.”
Trump’s “I’m gonna psyche them out” awkward world-leader handshake is all part of that uber-dealmaker act. And the reaction of world leaders has ranged from annoyance and shock to outright snickers. “America First” increasingly been interpreted as a need for Europe to separate from the United States and to allow America to become an isolated, go-it-alone major power, to be accessed only on occasion and then with trepidation and care. On May 25th, as neophyte, The Donald, lectured mostly seasoned European leaders on international affairs, chastising their inadequate funding support for Nato. His words were greeted with… well, look at the above-left picture and you tell me.
They don’t like him. They don’t trust him. They do not think he has a clue about what he is expounding on. They will reduce their dependence on and contact with the United States, and they sure as heck will not let him attempt to divide and conquer by assaulting German trade separate and apart of the European Union. Mr. Trump has pushed post-Brexit Continental Europe closer together, united against a new common threat: Donald Trump’s vision of America First.
For E.U. politicians seeking a cause to ignite their constituency – particularly in France and Germany mired in recent or upcoming elections – The Donald has become the perfect foil. Angela Merkel’s star is rising again, and with opposing Trump now viewed as a politician’s test of confidence, power and independence, her party already experienced some early victories in local elections. France’s new, young and dynamic President, Emmanuel Macron, clearly benefitted by running against a Trump-clone, just as Trump’s image crashed and burned… even before his recent European tour. The more politicians trashed and mocked Donald Trump, the higher they rise in their home country’s popularity polls. We are increasingly isolated, increasingly “America last” to the rest of the world.
Word in Europe is that Trump will “imminently” announce U.S. withdrawal from the 200-nation Paris climate accord, joining the only two other holdouts: Syria and Nicaragua. The reactions to this “more than just a rumor” were swift in coming. The United Nations’ main Twitter page quoted Secretary-General António Guterres as saying, "Climate change is undeniable. Climate change is unstoppable. Climate solutions provide opportunities that are unmatchable."
Yet, we will simply step off the stage and let the rest of the world grow those “alternative energy jobs” … because why should we create jobs to support a “Chinese hoax”? Most large U.S. companies support remaining locked to the Paris accord. Right wing Republicans (seeking a regulation free business environment) and too many Evangelicals (who don’t believe God would let that happen) do not. Guess who elected Donald Trump?
Many additional voices from around the world also chimed in against Mr. Trump: “The prime minister of India said it would be a ‘crime’ to spoil the environment for future generations… Finland's prime minister said climate change won't be reversed ‘by closing your eyes.’… In Berlin, the head of the European Commission lectured Mr. Trump that ‘not everything in international agreements is fake news.’” CBSNews.com, May 31st. The United States is rapidly becoming globally perceived as a pariah, an unraveling democracy, a rogue state led by an irrational narcissist.
Donald Trump’s “bumbling, arrogant fool” image is no longer relegated to private conversations between and among Europe’s leaders behind closed doors. He may have sway with the U.K., desperate to negotiate trade treaties with anyone willing to prove Brexit was not a mistake, and with his puppet-master bro, Vladimir Putin, but he is now fair game for just about any political figure in the E.U. (a growing global phenomenon) seeking to solidify their constituencies. And young French leader, Emmanuel Macron, is no exception.
“The newly installed French president compared Mr Trump to the increasingly autocratic when commenting on pictures of a tense handshake between them at the Nato summit in Brussels last week [third week in May].
“Mr Macron said the tense handshake, which last several seconds with both men's knuckles looking white before Mr Trump was forced to pull away first, was ‘not innocent’ and was designed to show he was not a pushover.
“He told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche: ‘Donald Trump, the Turkish president or the Russian president see relationships in terms of a balance of power… ‘That doesn’t bother me. I don’t believe in diplomacy by public abuse, but in my bilateral dialogues I won’t let anything pass.’“ Independent.co.uk, May 30th. (red/green in the original). But Donald Trump is considered a joke all over the E.U. OK, not just the E.U. His proclivity to tweet without thinking or editing – e.g., “Despite the constant negative press covfefe” (his early morning 5/31 typo-infested tweet) – is the stuff that goes viral on the Web and builds the careers of comedians who mimic him and his hapless staff.
But wait, there’s more. Take this story, for example. The European press calls it Donald Trump’s “magical orb of world domination,” the glowing soccer-ball artifact President Donald Trump clasped with Saudi Arabian King Salman on his recent trip to that nation (pictured far right above). On May 30th, noting that the orb apparently “loses power and is somewhat less threatening on these [northern European] latitudes,” prime ministers from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland posed for the above-center photograph with a… er… well… real soccer ball. At The Donald’s expense.
Facing a rising tide of questions about his and his senior staff’s connection with an election-manipulating Russia (with rising U.S. polls supporting impeachment), having trouble recruiting replacements for his revolving door assemblage of White House advisors, witnessing a defiant North Korea escalate their weapons testing into the Sea of Japan, watching a nascent rebellion even among his base over the abominable health care reform act passed in the House with his total support and now facing global mockery over his ineptness with international leaders, Donald is becoming an isolated, ineffective, powerless and seriously-damaged political leader.
I’m Peter Dekom, and what kind of American president would take extreme steps against his traditional allies while embracing a traditional enemy that continues to support policies and actions directed at destabilizing and destroying the credibility of the United States of America?