Monday, June 11, 2018

The Ugliest American

There’s the Obama Doctrine, and the ‘Fuck Obama’ Doctrine. We’re the ‘Fuck Obama’ Doctrine.” - Anonymous senior administration official
(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
When the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg spoke with the usual anonymous senior administration official, it was difficult if not outright impossible to determine if said official was being approving or disapproving when he'd succinctly summed up the so-called Trump Doctrine: "We're America, Bitch!" In fact, the title of his article is simply, "A Senior White House Official Defines the Trump Doctrine: ‘We’re America, Bitch’"
     While it's (disturbingly) no longer difficult to imagine the most powerful nation in the tiny handed grasp of a megalomaniacal madman. the belligerent attitude driving the "Trump Doctrine" is easier to understand than the alleged intellect behind it. The G7 and now-infamous photo posted on Angela Merkel's Instagram page of Trump sitting, his arms crossed, while other world leaders appear to be conducting an intervention with him, is proof enough of said doctrine's existence. It's like the opposite of religious faith in God- We can plainly see evidence of its existence- We just can't understand or rationalize how or why it's allowed to exist.
     We saw the seeds of this so-called "doctrine" the day Trump announced his candidacy before a rented flash mob at Trump Tower almost exactly three years ago to the day. He mentioned "a wall", demonized those on the other side of it by calling them "criminals" and "rapists" and from that moment on, those seeds took root and later blossomed into the quasi-fascist police state we see today. If he were around today, Yeats would've called it "a terrible beauty".
     But there's nothing beautiful, terrible or otherwise, about Ugly Americanism, never had been and never will be. Last year's G7 that had culminated in Sicily was but a dress rehearsal for the rancid nationalism put on display by Trump at last week's G7 in Quebec. And the quietly terrifying thing about Trump's "Doctrine" is that it's not even based on contorted facts and figures but "gut instinct" also used by Bush that's informed by a mixture of runaway isolationism, nationalism, baffled fury the world isn't bending to his will and incipient senility. If you ever wondered what a hyper-militarized nation with a three trillion dollar annual budget would look like in the hands of a seven year-old, you needn't look any further than the latter day United States.
     By now, we all know about the seriously deteriorated relations this week with our neighbors to the north, Canada before, during and after the G7. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emerged from the summit he'd graciously hosted looking like a psychiatrist who'd just realized his star patient was completely insane. If so, no one can blame him. Trump continued his blather about a phantom trade imbalance with Canada that's unfavorable to us (it isn't) and then, on the way to Singapore to nuclear talks that, again, he's conducting on his ample gut, announced we weren't signing onto the joint statement.
     It was a reprise of Trump whining last year at the dedication of the new UN headquarters in Brussels that our NATO allies weren't kicking in their fair share for national defense and making us pick up the slack. It was a reprise of Trump announcing at that same G7 summit that we were withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord (which Trump derided, without any evidence as to why, as "a bad deal"). And it was a reprise of Trump deciding earlier this year to withdraw from the Iran nuclear accord. And now he's in Singapore to try to get another unstable, murderous madman to denuclearize and to wing his way through that.
     What could possibly go awry?

You Want Alaska Back? I Can Gift Wrap it For You.
And if Donald Trump's, "We're America, Bitch!" style of foreign policy was merely predicated on blind, ignorant and hyper-masculinized nationalism, it would be disastrous enough. But, as with everything else in TrumpWorld, that, too, is a self-serving lie. Anyone who's been paying even the slightest amount of attention can see how nauseatingly and archly defensive and deferential Trump has been to Putin and Russia. At the last G7, Trump whined and fumed that Russia wasn't allowed in. Either forgotten or never learned by him is that the other member nations kicked Russia out of the G8 as punishment for bloodily annexing the Crimea in 2014.
     Part of the trouble is, the media are complicit in normalizing this madness with articles such as the aforementioned Atlantic's May 2017 piece, "The Brilliant Incoherence of Trump’s Foreign Policy." There is nothing even remotely brilliant about Trump's foreign policy. "We're America, Bitch!" is not a presidential doctrine but what Rick James would've said before punching a woman senseless and imploding his sputtering career. And Donald Trump is learning the rest of the world, starting with Europe and our other beleaguered allies, are collectively not a defenseless woman.
     And the "Bitch" in that "doctrine" is obviously our allies, starting with the G7 and extending outward. Any sovereign nation, regardless of what they've done for the United States, has been relegated to the dust bin of Trump's mind while he shamelessly cozies up to deranged strongmen such as Putin, Duterte, Netanyahu and now Kim Jong Un.
     Hitler (Yes, I am absolutely going there) was also attracted to strongmen, not the least of which his World War II antagonist Josef Stalin, with whom he shared an interest concerning the Balkans. And one doesn't need to be a foreign policy wonk like Joe Biden or career diplomat to know that when you sleep with tyrants, you wake up with a knife in your back.
     It's bad enough knowing Trump colluded with Russia and Putin. Their collusion was a very bad impractical joke that, tragically, had practical outcomes. Now we're stuck with an incurious oaf who's worse than George W. Bush on his very worst day, one who, unlike Bush, is solidifying and institutionalizing his racism and Islamophobia in one policy after another that's killing people and needlessly tearing families apart.
     Thomas Wright saw that the bridge was out exactly a year before Trump was sworn in and nine and a half months before the election. It's difficult to see how so many people, particularly his voters, can be so blind to Trump's many defects in foreign and domestic policy. He wants Russia back in the G8. He's just renewed his push for China's ZTE and creating jobs for them while a Harley Davidson plant announced a complete shutdown and the axing of 800 jobs mere hours after getting their massive tax cut.
     Russia's no friend of ours and neither is China. And that especially goes for Donald Trump, who recklessly and dangerously bases his entire foreign policy on spitting in our allies' faces and undoing everything Obama did.

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