While Trump and the bulk of his minions communicate their madness via Twitter, last week (30 May), two of his advisors decided to play at a more ‘grown-up’ table and communicate via an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Presumably, either they do not have twitting machines, do not like the constraints of speaking in 140-character spurts, or wanted to ensure that their audience was intelligent enough to actually read. Either way …
When H.R. McMaster was confirmed on 15 March to fill the position of National Security Advisor, a position recently vacated by Michael Flynn who had resigned in shame, I knew little about McMaster. However, my research led me to believe that he would be a good fit for the position, and had the backbone to do what he believed was right, rather than simply following Trump into the pits of hell. Today, I no longer believe that.
At the end of Trump’s fateful nine-day tour to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Europe last month, it was obvious to most sensible observers both in the US and the EU that Trump had ceded all rights for the US to be called the leader of the free world any longer. We held the title since 1945 and though there have been many disagreements among western nations during that time, the US has never stepped away from the responsibilities that accompany that designation. Until last month.
Those of us who are capable of thinking more globally were appalled and deeply shamed when he cuddled with Saudi Arabia, one of our chief antagonists, while berating our friends. Further shame came when he rudely shoved the Prime Minister of Montenegro aside during a NATO photo shoot. And then he refused to commit to NATO Article 5 that calls for mutual defense of NATO nations in the event any one is attacked. This, despite the fact that such language was in his prepared speech that had been approved by national security advisors. And then, the final blow, his announcement that he intends to retract the US’ commitment to the Paris Accords on climate change.
When General McMaster and chief economic advisor Gary Cohn wrote a joint op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, they undertook to mitigate some of the damage Trump caused during his overseas jaunt. They failed miserably.
According to McMaster and Cohn, the presidential trip was nothing less than “historic” and represents a “strategic shift”: “America First signals the restoration of American leadership … to enhance American security, promote American prosperity, and extend American influence around the world.” In sum: America First means America First, and not just in America, but everywhere on the globe. It is akin to me saying that I am the head, not only of my own household, but of yours, also.
The US is one of 195 or 196 nations on the globe. Nobody died and left us boss of the world. It is no surprise that Donald Trump entertains such delusions … we already knew that. But it is not only a surprise, but also a major disappointment to find that H.R. McMaster, who we all hoped would bring a bit of oversight into the administration, is also a party to these delusions.
McMaster and Cohn continue …
“The world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations … engage and compete. …Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it.” Translation: Might Makes Right.
“In Saudi Arabia, President Trump helped facilitate $110 billion in defense investments that will strengthen regional and American security and create American jobs.” Turns out this is not exactly true, but that is a topic unto itself.
“We are asking a lot of our allies and partners. But in return America will once again be a true friend to our partners and the worst foe to our enemies.” Our allies are smarter than McMaster/Cohn give them credit for.
I seriously doubt that either McMaster or Cohn actually wrote the op-ed but since their names are on it, they approved it and the words are theirs, whether they created them or not. (If you cannot view the op-ed on the WSJ site, let me know and I will email you a transcript)
No, Mr. McMaster and Mr. Cohn … Trump’s trip abroad was neither historic, at least in the traditional sense, nor was it a success. It was a disastrous journey that set us back more than 70 years and stripped us of any right to be considered the ‘leader of the free world’. The most likely candidates for that title are now Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, both of whom have shown compassion, intellect, and good sense. And with your defense of Trump’s words and deeds, you have cost yourselves whatever respect the thinking public may have had for you.