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April 14, 2017


Trump treats our foreign policy as though it were a TV show in need of a new and ever more sensational act every day or two, from his bombing of a Syrian airfield to today’s “mother of all bombs” dropped on Afghanistan. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised, since he worked in TV for years and lives from time to time in a different world than you and I, a world enveloped by narcissistic haze and one in which he is in constant need of validation and adulation.

It was a serious mistake of both left and right pundits to congratulate him on his bombing of the Syrian airfield just lately and tell him be looked “presidential” in doing so. His other world mindset takes any such compliments to be a green light to be even more warlike in order to gain even more complimentary chatter, chatter that leads to something he doesn’t have but desperately and at all costs wants to have – respect. Witness his order shortly thereafter such pundit fawning to move a carrier strike force into North Korean waters and now today a “mother of all bombs” dropped on Afghanistan, which Trump has declared to be yet another success. One would think from listening to him that all this winning is getting monotonous, but I have a darker view of what is happening outside his narcissistic self-congratulatory zone in a game in which he is both the star and the cheerleader. My view is one based in, I hope, reality.

Excuse my cynicism, but I think there is no policy or strategy undergirding these made-for-TV military actions of the past week or so and that what we are seeing is a strategy made on the fly by a disturbed man who now is enjoying the plaudits of his peers and is thereby encouraged to do repeat performances so as to garner yet more praise. It’s not about the United States and its people; it’s all about him, as it is with any narcissist.

He apparently thinks (if he thinks) that you can validate your worth by downgrading the worth of your political enemies and anyone else who stands in your way to making a profit and earning praise. Witness this poor man’s continuing use of the phrase of Crooked Hillary and how he won the election “in a landslide,” both sheer fantasies which define him as a sick man still groping for real world failures in his cloudy world of never failing and never to blame narcissism. If he can listen, someone should tell him that he is to be measured by what he does and does not do as president and not what someone else did or did not do in the past, whether done or not done by a Bush, Lincoln, Roosevelt or Madison and what they did or failed to do at some point in history. In keeping with his psychosis, he is now telling us that it is Obama’s fault that he had to Tomahawk the Syrian air base, that if Obama had done his job earlier, he (Trump) would not have been faced with such a duty in a “Yes, I did it, but it’s someone else’s fault” framing of reality. This is the man we have entrusted with a finger on the atomic button, a scary proposition indeed, given his decision-making on the run with (from all indications) little concern for the consequences since they can be attributed to his predecessors.

All of the foregoing (with the exception of his need for adulation and respect) begs the fundamental question of why he changes his mind in a flash on NATO along with reversals of seventy years of policy and protocols we have followed to protect Europe and North America dating from the inception of the Cold War to Putin as of today, why he never has any criticism of the murdering dictator Putin on a personal level even though critical of some of Russia’s policies, why he thought Putin’s annexation of the Crimea was all right and how he feels about his Secretary of State Tillerson’s statement yesterday to the effect that we have no concern with Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine etc. Doesn’t he understand that such a statement invites Putin to annex the Ukraine as another trophy to add to his annexation of Crimea? Who’s next, Estonia? Poland? Germany? Even Canada, which has a long border with Russia in the Arctic?

One is led to the obvious conclusion that there is such a vacuum in leadership in the White House and foggy bottom that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing and that those in his cabinet as well as other executive appointees are making policy on the fly, policy statements that are often in conflict with one another, while Trump pats himself on the back and tells us that things are going great and that his performance to date is fantastic. That may be true in his alternative world supported by alternative facts as he gazes into the pool of Narcissus, but in our real world chaos reigns.

Does a “Trump Doctrine” exist? Do those in the executive suite speak with one voice? Do we have considered policies or are we governing ad hoc on the run by free lancers in a leaderless administration? I think these and other such colossal goofs in our foreign policy arena will come back to haunt us as our allies don’t know where they stand while Putin is now freed by Tillerson’s statement to do his will with uncontested expansion in the Ukraine and perhaps the Baltics, and all the while Trump is telling us that NATO is not now obsolete and that he is a strong supporter of the pact. I disagree. NATO was never obsolete but will be if its members stand by and watch Putin annex the Ukraine.

Finally, and as to Trump’s endorsement of Putin as “a strong leader,” I have come up with a conspiracy theory of my own, and it is this: That since neither Trump nor Putin have anything uncomplimentary to say about one another, it must be because both have access to facts that could be used as mutual blackmail and that therefore both must keep their mouths shut, especially since both have protestors in the streets already. Can I prove such an assertion? Of course not, but neither can Trump prove that Hillary is a crook, and the difference is that I am not president shouting my conspiracy theory from the rooftops while he frequently retreats to his other world and continues to shout his fantasies in ours.

It may be time to dust off the 25th Amendment for use because this guy looks at the events of the day through the lens of an ongoing TV show marked by camera-ready Tomahawk firings and signing of executive orders with great flourish, all to demonstrate some amateurish sense of power he now commands as commander in chief. Or, is this all Trump cover and distraction from the biggest issue of the day, i.e., his collusion with Russia to help him win the election by fraud which, if proven, will invalidate his election and result in his impeachment unless he pulls a Nixon and resigns first in the hope of avoiding possible indictment as well? Will we ever know the truth?  Our chief problem is not Russia, North Korea or China; it is from within. Such a chaotic mess. . . .  Where are the adults?     GERALD       E







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