Democrats took the Presidency in 2020, and many breathed...
In the wake of dictators recently extending their terms of office, it seems right to re-blog my commentary on Trump’s open congratulation of populist autocracies across the globe. He congratulated Erdogan, Putin, and El-Sisi (1) just like he did Hernandez of Honduras in his fake election (2). Meanwhile, he shuns our allies, May (3) and Merkel (4), and blusters to the Chinese about 25% tariffs in addition to those he has implemented already. This caricature of a presidency was so predictable, my words are just as true and relevant as when I wrote them on April 4, 2017, one year ago.
Our soft power in international politics has shrunk to a postage stamp. He plans to augment the military; we can only hope the threat of force is enough to keep rogue dictatorships from restricting travel and squandering natural resources. Ever and anon, mutual respect has been the most powerful tool in international politics, more powerful than any weapon or show of military might. Ever since FDR, our Consulates had immense global influence. Now they are lucky to even have an ambassador. Mr. Trump did not renew key ambassadorships in 2016 and two years later has still not filled the positions. It is only a matter of time before we lose freedoms and prosperity here at home due to ostracized trade parters or war. I sincerely hope we can elect a diplomatic leader in 2020 who can re-build the bridges with our democratic allies and fix the shattered US Department of State.
In the news yesterday, Trump rallied behind Egyptian Sunni Arab leader el-Sisi. Human rights and political oppression under el-Sisi are worse than they were under Mubarak. The the handshake scene made my skin crawl.
Yet, Trump’s handshake is even more alarming in light of recent events. Just two weeks ago, Trump expressed his cold treatment to Germany through his refusal to shake hands with Merkel, a strong democratic ally. This is extremely disturbing. The strategy of snubbing democratic allies is best summed up in the slogan adopted by Bannon, “Honey Badger don’t give a shit.” Rather than building bridges, this administration seeks a fight to the death with anyone who will take the bait.
Although he does not appear to be offering el-Sisi any increase in defense funding, Trump and Bannon are doing something far worse. They are networking. During the Obama administration and prior, the US met human rights…
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