Wednesday, May 17, 2017

No One Is Safe

Donald Trump won enough votes in the Electoral College to become president. His voters -- in a blind fury -- made him the most powerful man in the world. Now Trump -- also in a blind fury -- is destroying his country's democracy and the Western Alliance. Jonathan Manthorpe writes:

Donald Trump’s apparent admission that he shared secret information with visiting senior Russian officials has intensified questions both at home and abroad about his fitness to govern.

This latest scandal will add to the unease about Trump already evident among the United States’ 27 allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ahead of their first face-to-face summit with the president next week.

Far from making America great again, he is empowering the Chinese:

China’s Communist Party leaders are masters of taking advantage of other country’s follies, or lapses of attention. Trump’s dumping of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership — which was always as much a security alliance to constrain Beijing’s ambitions as it was a trade deal — created a vacuum that Xi is happy to fill.

 The U.S. president’s empty bluster over North Korea’s nuclear missile program and his evident lack of interest in confronting Beijing’s de facto occupation of the South China Sea have convinced many Asia leaders that Washington is no longer a reliable friend or patron.

And in Europe support for the United States is dwindling. Sharing intelligence information with Russia will not improve relations there:

Washington’s allies will be alarmed, to put it mildly, that their secrets are not safe with this blustering loudmouth. Since the end of the Second World War, the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence-sharing agreement between the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand has been the reinforced steel at the core of the Western Alliance.
If the U.S. president cannot be trusted with friends’ secrets, then no one is safe.

And that's just the point. As long as Donald Trump is president, no one is safe.

Image: ipolitics


The Mound of Sound said...

In this transitional period in which economic and geopolitical spheres of control and influence are shifting to accommodate ascendant powers, China foremost among them, America's adversaries and its rivals could not have chosen a more suitable president for the United States. In those emerging superpowers failure to capitalize (oh, the irony of that word) on this opportunity would be unforgivable for the leadership. That's true for Beijing but it is more imperative for Russia where Nato has marched to its doorstep.

China is even moving to replace the U.S. as the dominant foreign presence in Africa and South America. It's said the biggest development banks in Latin America are both Chinese. And, yes, killing off the TPP ignored the geopolitical dimension of that pact (then again, didn't we all?).

Dissolving the glue that bound Europe, Southeast and East Asia, Latin America, Africa and perhaps even the Middle East to the United States puts those territories and the wealth to be had from them up for grabs. But it also ensures that America's remaining instrument of foreign policy is narrowed with the use or threat of military force surpassing diplomacy. How does Trump maintain American hegemony across Asia Pacific now except by the use of its military prowess. That may translate into an unnecessary war on North Korea.

We've not heard much from Trump's DefSec, James Mattis, who might be the sanest man in Trump's cabinet. Vanity Fair has reported that the Republican establishment sees him as too liberal. If he's been sidelined, Washington is in much worse shape than we may have imagined.

Trump brought a lot of chaos into his White House beginning with Bannon and Priebus. Then the family, especially son-in-law Kushner were handed responsibilities that seemed to create alternate portfolios to foreign affairs, trade and commerce, etc. Even Tillerson, some claim, has been sidelined by Kushner to whom Trump has delegated so many critical issues from Middle East peace to domestic infrastructure to reforming government. He's Trump's in-family Metternich, perhaps a latter day Richelieu, who seems to be more powerful than the vice president by a good measure.


Owen Gray said...

An excellent analysis, Mound. And you're right. It all boils down to complete and utter chaos.

The Mound of Sound said...

Now it's being suggested that Mattis' job is at risk.

Owen Gray said...

Interesting, Mound. Trump only wants one thing from his underlings -- loyalty. Certainly wisdom is not required. And, if your loyalty is suspect or ungiven -- as Comey's was -- he'll fire you.

Steve said...

Ask Valerie Plame about safe. Ask the US Ambassador to Libya. Ask why Joe Bidens son is working in Ukraine. Not defending Trump just saying there is a double standard.

Owen Gray said...

The world has never been a safe place, Steve. But Trump isn't working to make it safer.