Trump and Bannon Turn Back The Clock on Foreign Policy

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 violators like El-Sisi, Putin and Erdogan with coldness and frequent sanctions.

This coldness represented the US censure on killing innocent people, politically motivated deportations, and arresting protestors. If we erred in our foreign relations under Obama, it was that he and priors did not extend coldness to favored nations, such as Saudi Arabia. Many times over, our country is guilty of enabling cruel dictators like Salman and perpetuating war in the Middle East and globally.

Fast forward to Trump’s America. Trump, Bannon, and populists throughout the world can tighten their grip on their governments without any more policing by the US. How is this turning back the clock? We are seeing Kissinger out in the open; US diplomats using US influence to bolster leaders who further military or financial aims but not human rights aims. This policy always comes at a dear price. Jorge Rafael Videla, Saddam Hussein, and Osama Bin Laden all began as US allies before they murdered thousands.

2 thoughts on “Trump and Bannon Turn Back The Clock on Foreign Policy”

  1. Reblogged this on Jude Lieber and commented:

    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.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s