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July 22, 2018


I recall this old saying from my childhood, but from recent experience with Trump’s conduct of foreign policy, I can reliably report that the reverse is true these days. It will get you everywhere. Trump’s sick need for adulation hatched in his narcissistic Otherworld has led him (according to Putin) to give up Crimea to Putin’s annexation and approval of Putin’s invasion of Eastern Ukraine in their recent (secret) talks, both of which as breaches of international law are solidly opposed by all  NATO members except for, apparently, the United States. After all, Trump notes, many people in both venues speak Russian, so what’s the big deal? Well, here’s the big deal, Don, because based on that criterion, let’s invade Canada, the UK, Belize and other English-speaking countries and encourage Spain to invade all of South America except Portuguese-speaking Brazil while encouraging Germany to annex Austria and German-speaking portions of Switzerland – and the list of rightful sovereignty by language elsewhere whatever the means – and see how that works out.

Trump doesn’t seem to realize that the G-7 countries of NATO expelled Russia from its group as a penalty for Russian annexation of Crimea and invasion of Eastern Ukraine and that we are a member of NATO, an organization that was founded for the purpose of containing Russian expansionism.  In his mind of alternative reality it’s as though this somehow never happened and when presented with the facts dismissively replies that it was the result of American “stupidity.” I have never heard of an American president who labeled our foreign policy (though with some glitches) “stupid.”

So how did we get here? How did Trump become Putin’s “coffee boy” and so acquiescent to Putin’s every whim while putting down NATO and labeling American policy “stupid?” What is this? It is not based on military power. We have the strongest military power in the world. So what can explain it? You may recall that during the 2016 campaign Trump said that we can get along with Russia and that Putin “said nice things about me.” There you have it > Flattery is the new basis for our foreign policy, not balances of power, spheres of influence, not real politic, not resistance to invasions and annexations, but because someone said “nice things about me.” I submit that such a basis for the conduct of foreign policy should be eleventh on a list of ten. What if Tojo had said “nice things” about FDR after Pearl Harbor, or Churchill had said “nice things” about Hitler after Dunkirk? Duh. . .

Talk’s cheap, so what to do? We can start by repealing Section 232 of a 1962 Cold War eta act that delegates the constitutional power of the Congress for imposition of tariffs to the president upon a finding that national security is involved (and the president is the one who decides that such a standard is involved). Trump apparently sees Canadian and Mexican armies massing at the border in his narcissistic Otherworld and must invoke such delegated powers to save our economy from ruin.

Uh, Don, your unwarranted roiling of international markets and upheaval in our export industries via tariff games are causing all sorts of problems for our economy from soybeans to motorcycles to nails to cars and when added to the tax bill you and Ryan shepherded quickly through the Congress last December you are inviting a recession this year or next at the latest. Economies do not yield to alternative realities hatched in some Otherworld where you spend part of your time; they operate from such realities as supply and demand, cost controls, the law of comparative advantage etc., but all tempered by political realities you and your minions mix together (see trickledown economics) that distort our economy and how it was designed to work.

It’s not only saying “nice things” that fattens Trump’s reelection funding and his bank accounts. He has selectively used reductions of congressional sanctions in the case of a Chinese corporation after China agreed to back a Trump investment in Indonesia to the tune of 500 million dollars. We got trouble, Houston, big trouble. We should show him the gate – quickly – to contain the damage lest a recession turns into something worse.     GERALD         E




















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