Saturday, June 09, 2018

Things Could Not Have Worked Out Better


Donald Trump is in Quebec this morning, working hard to tear the Western Alliance apart. Jonathan Chait writes:

Western trade partners have attempted to reason with Trump’s demands, but the problem is that the basis for his beliefs and actions is entirely fantastical. If your neighbor is irate that you let your dog run loose in his yard, you can pacify him. If he’s irate that you are reading his thoughts through his tinfoil hat, there’s nothing you can do except disengage. And that is what they are doing. French president Emmanuel Macron threatened to sign a six-country agreement omitting the U.S. altogether. Canadian prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed “to defend our industries and our workers” and “show the U.S. president that his unacceptable actions are hurting his own citizens.”
But trade is merely a symptom of a larger rearrangement of American alienation from its partners. The West has attempted to prevail upon Trump to retain, in some form, a series of agreements he inherited: the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate agreement, and the Iran nuclear deal. In every instance the negotiations foundered on Trump’s allergy to compromise and immunity to reason. You can’t negotiate a climate plan with a person who considers climate science a Chinese hoax any more than you can negotiate a trade deal with somebody who believes Canada must be punished for the War of 1812.

Trump has poisoned his relationship with each of the Western leaders:

One by one, Trump’s personal relationship with the leader of each major U.S. ally has been fatally poisoned. Angela Merkel, whom Trump had repeatedly taunted and likened to Hillary Clinton during his campaign, was the first major leader to give up on Trump. “It’s difficult to overstate just how enraged Germany is about Trump,” reports Matthew Karnitschnig. Trump’s allies tell one British newspaper he “has grown frustrated with Theresa May’s ‘school mistress’ tone.” (May publicly corrected Trump’s circulation of fake videos blaming Muslims for violence.) Trump “has griped periodically both about German Chancellor Angela Merkel — largely because they disagree on many issues and have had an uneasy rapport — as well as British Prime Minister Theresa May, whom he sees as too politically correct,” his advisers tell the Washington Post.
Macron, who has bent over backwards to flatter and placate Trump, has found his efforts unrewarded. A recent phone call between the two was “terrible,” a source tells CNN. “Macron thought he would be able to speak his mind, based on the relationship. But Trump can’t handle being criticized like that.”

Things could not have worked out better for Vladimir Putin.

Image:  New York Magazine


10 comments:

Lorne said...

I often wonder, Owen, if the average American is aware of how much contempt and derision the U.S. is now held in internationally. Or perhaps, being "the greatest country on earth." they think the rest of the world will fall into line?

Owen Gray said...

My impression, Lorne, is that the average American doesn't know much about the world -- and he or she doesn't want to know much about it.

the salamander said...

.. would seem North Americans are entering the electoral , dream state.. In the USA 25% are evangelical, much less in Canada - 8 to 11 %.. Hell a school shooting a week is acceptable in the USA.. as are Afro Americans shot by by police for having a cel phone or daring to walk or drive a car.. Canada ? But the ignorance level may be very similar.. the electoral idiocy of basing your impressions on left, right or centre, or green is obvious as is the vague 'religious or righteous whipped cream' you spray from the can & put the can back in the fridge .. job done.. but when did voting and policies get down to live bait or lures.. or do I want comedy or action or mystery movie tonight, or whipped cream on Roseanne ? The horror of having to actually think ! (which is actually something one must practice every single day) It does help to be able & willing to read.. but hey, buy a sailboat or canoe or powerboat.. and why bother with marine charts or heading or tidal charts? Crack a beer from the cooler & head off from here - to there.. wherever 'there' is.. gawd will provide

Whether Trump et al or Doug Ford, or Redford or Kenney is the author and screetching partisan (or adoring at the high altar) of guilding the lily.. the silk purse out of a pigs ear we don't know. The untold wealth of Asian markets who really don't want Alberta dilbit.. ooh ! Washington State will pay more anyway.. and its refineries may have the highest profit margin in the world.. its easy for them to sell it back to us, refined for various fuels need.. Oh ! Did I mention The National Interest or Growing The Economy or Energy Security For Canadians ?

Meanwhile Trump is engaged in an attempt to destroy the overall Environment and may make Stephen Harper look pedestrian. Sure, frack the National Parks including Yellowstone, trash the inland waters and any coastal habitat or species food chains.. On to the evangel Rapture.. and the voters buy this while whining about not enuff tv channels, kneeling at a football game which was sold out to military pomp & pimping. Its just to laugh or cry.. ') Oh you're demeaning the military - one of the pet shelters of the louts like Hannity or Ezra Levant.. but its A-OK for the murderous conspiracies and outright attacks of Alex Jones re Sandy Hook

That's kinda like where the elevator stops for a moment.. from purgatory enroute to either hell or nothingness

Owen Gray said...

It's all about making a fast buck, sal. That all Trump has ever wanted to do. And he has lots of fellow travellers. Society? "There's no such thing as society," quoth Maggie Thatcher.

Scotian (away from home) said...

I always worried what would happen with the US right after the end of the Cold War, and here were are, right where I feared we would end up. Part of the problem is the center and sane left down south still fails to appreciate just how far down the road of tyranny they really are, because process is too boring to care about let alone pay attention to. Which in turn allowed the combo of the Randians, evangelicals, racists, and John Birchers to now define the GOP at the Executive and Congressional levels as well as the state and local levels. It took them a few decades, but they got there. Not to mention basically taking the help of Putin as a good thing because damn, can't let that she-devil Killary win, amirite?

It is a sad thing to say, but dealing with my parents health issues the last year and a bit has made living in Trumpworld that much less annoying.

It is Vlad's World, we are just living in it...

Owen Gray said...

All too true, Scotian. Americans -- at least Trump's base -- don't understand how far down the road to tyranny they've travelled. It's a sad state of affairs. It's good to hear from you again.

Scotian (away from home) said...

I rarely have the time, energy and focus to spare for commenting these days, in an end of life situation for sure with one parent, likely the other will follow shortly thereafter and I am primary caregiver for both, so yeah, sadly not around much anymore. Besides, I am not Trump, I actually prefer to know something about what I speak to/about, I prefer to be facts forward in what I work with, and I try to always show my work/analysis when I offer one. So of course I am so not made for the Twitter universe and the world it sadly enables to thrives so.

About the only international story I am still following closely is all things Russia related because I watched that happen in real time, I called it out in real time, and I watched the Berners work for Vlad just like Donnie, indeed they were the first real tool used by Vlad, and it explained so well why his internet presence was always much stronger than his actual boots on the ground turned out voters in the actual factual primaries. Indeed, it was watching that and trying to figure it out and why I was hearing Berners use far right Clinton smears I had not heard since the 90s and from the far right (which of course matters because what someone thinks is a bad/insulting thing is premised on what they believe, and the core beliefs of the right and left were supposedly quite far apart) and traced them back almost always to former Dems working at RT. I started seeing that in freaking Feb 2016! Not to mention calling it out, especially at iPolitics before they went to using Facebook as their commenting platform at which point I quit, because I. Do. NOT. Do. Facebook! I was unimpressed with them and their privacy, security, and control issues well before the 2016 election in the US, afterwards they are the company of treason enablers who then go "I didn't do it!" when it all blows up like this.

BTW, notice that to this day Sanders and his people refuse to own any of their Russia aid accountability...funny that.

Sorry, I have a LOT of rage on this issue on multiple fronts, especially as I watched it happen in real time, called it out as such, and even saw something like this abuse with Fb coming and used to warn people to be called a crackpot and conspiracy theorist for my troubles. That of course when I wasn't being branded a paid political operator for the Libbies. Ah well, there is a reason why my femme/drag name is Cassandra...*sigh*. Hells not that long ago I was reading iPolitics and someone was smearing my paranoia about the so called Russia plot back in 2016 just a few months back, despite my not having commented for a couple of years there. So clearly I left an impression.

Western democracies are in trouble, liberalism has been systemically battered and weakened to the point of infirmity currently (and that I fear is a generous description sadly) and the idea of united multilateral alliances are being destroyed by the Orange monster and his enablers in the GOP leadership AND base. Vlad could not be happier, this is the old USSR dreambook being put into action on this front. Got to love how it is the hyper nationalistic GOPers who were famous for "better dead than red" who are Vlad's biggest enablers, supporters, and workers in this goal. IT speaks volumes for where we truly are as "the free world" and especially the state of the so called leader of it.

Owen Gray said...

I understand your situation, Scotian. It's not easy to see your parents' lives come to their final phase. There are other things these days to focus on. Politics have become pretty depressing. Sometimes you need to change the channel.

Still, what these folks do affects us all.

Scotian (away from home) said...

Which is why I try to pay some attention throughout, but these days I really do have to pick and choose. I decided that the fight to save the rule of law, liberal democracy, and the international order (which despite all its flaws is still about as peaceful a global order humanity has managed to date that I am aware of) and the rise of the authoritarians on the right and the ultra-nationalists using identity as their war cry comes first. So of course Vlad and Russia top my list given they are fueling so much of this.

As to the rest, I see it as payback for having raised a demon child like myself, turnabout is fair play and all that. One does what one does for love, honour, and being able to look oneself in the mirror without flinching. So I may be around from time to time over the next year or two, but mostly my absence is because of the home front. So, if anyone wonders around your virtual presence whatever happened to me, feel free to mention I am on temporary break because of family health obligations taking priority. It isn't something I keep secret in RL, nor is it anything to be ashamed of. I miss doing these kinds of comments and analysis work for people who can actually appreciate the work product for both process and results. Still though needs must when the devil drives and all that.

Take care Owen.

Owen Gray said...

Your comments are welcome here, Scotian -- as frequent or infrequent as they may be.