NUCLEAR MADNESS: TRUMP’S DANGEROUS BABBLE AND IGNORANCE OF STRATEGIC REALITIES

NUCLEAR MADNESS: TRUMP’S DANGEROUS BABBLE AND IGNORANCE OF STRATEGIC REALITIES

By

Harry C. Blaney III

There seems to be no act by Donald Trump that does not endanger American and global security. We had the undermining of the EU and NATO, the beating up on America’s allies, and the threat to tear up the Iran nuclear and not least the still unknown relationship between Trump and Putin with overtones of selling out to Putin and rewarding him for helping in Trump’s election.  But in the most recent words by Trump in an interview Thursday, he said he thought an arms control treaty with Russia is a “bad deal” and that the United States should build up its nuclear arsenal to be the “top of the pack.” This, is my top pick of dangerous acts by this clearly clueless man on issues of war and nuclear matters.

As every knowledgeable person knows the American nuclear arsenal and capability tops that of any other nation on this earth and has for a long time. Our nuclear weapons can destroy much of the world almost instantaneously. Much of that nuclear capability is deployed in essentially invulnerable American ballistic missile submarines. That is why there is no reason for us to add to them or try to “modernize nukes” them beyond basic maintenance and safekeeping.

Contrary to Trump’s call for added military expenditure just adds to the overwhelming resources and war fighting capability we already have over either Russia or China. Any conflict with them would be as they use to say MAD –mutual assured destruction. That means they should never be used in any circumstance and their existence is purely as deterrence.

American experts and our allies know that a new arms race would not be to the interest of any nation either friend or potential foe. But now both Russia under Putin and Trump seem to not understand the importance to our security of past and present arms control treaties and agreements. The last was the New START treaty between America and Russia which capped the number of nuclear warheads by both nations. And under the Non-proliferation Treaty we and other nuclear nations are bound and promised to work toward elimination of these weapons. The treaty’s aim by this promise is to stop other nations from building their own nuclear weapons. Top leaders, Secretaries of State and Defense, etc. with great experience on nuclear issues, Republicans and Democrats have called for their eventual and timely elimination, known as “going to zero.” A worthy cause but requires all to moderate their own ambitions and work very hard on a true mutual reduction accompanied by other safeguards to ensure security for all nations.

US and Russian escalation of these weapons would undermine greatly the incentive of others to forgo their own weapons. Trump’s words and actions so far have only given other nation reasons to be frightened,  uncertain of our support, or  go alone in developing these weapons. The end being a world of chaos and destruction which Trump for some reason seems to relish.

What is at work in Trump mind or his real goals? Is it an initiative, not of gaining good and fair arms control agreements and seeking confidence building measures bringing security for the world population that make us all safer, or is it Trump’s chaos theory at work of unlimited and high risk blindness to an “arms race” that itself is massively dangerous?
What is needed is less such weapons, better training and practical equipment to ensure American defense, support of our allies, and safety of our people in the world we have today. We need not more money in weapons with no purpose in our time but the near elimination of humanity and global civilization.

Trump in this field has continue his exaggerations and reinforced his habitual lies in claiming the U.S. has “fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity.” There is NO nation on earth that can match America’s modern nuclear force or for that matter conventional war fighting and the safeguarding of our nation. To say otherwise is to deceive out people, waste our needed resources for building back our civilian infrastructure, ensuring our children get the best education in the world, and protecting our environment, not least addressing the massive threat of climate change.

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A FEW WEEKS AND MORE UNMITIGATED DISASTERS PERPETRATED BY TRUMP AND HIS BENIGHTED TEAM OF AMATEURS AND FOOLS

A FEW WEEKS AND MORE UNMITIGATED DISASTERS PERPETRATED BY TRUMP AND HIS BENIGHTED TEAM OF AMATEURS AND FOOLS

By

Harry C. Blaney III

It has been quite a few weeks of one disaster after another. All at the instigation of Donald Trump and his motley squad of amateurs, racists, bigots and extreme ideologues. There is no or little sign that either the new Secretary of Defense nor the new Secretary of State had much to say or influence in the weeks series of incompetence and unmitigated international disasters instigated by “The King of Chaos.” If there is any light so far the weekend visit of Japan Premiere Shinzo Abe has not yet produced a major blunder. But the problem is can Abe take to the bank anything that he is told by Trump? The Korean missile test was a clear signal that serious thought should be given to North Korea and its nuclear weapons. But equally clear is Trump has no effective strategy other than bluster.

Here is a shorthand summary of what has happen to the former respect and leadership that America had for decades since the end of WW II. In just three weeks or so Trump has not make “America Great” but made “America small and distrusted.”

– TRUMP STARTED HIS DERANGE SERIES OF INSULTS AND HARM TO OUR ALLIES EARLY: Early on Trump in just one or two days of tweets and interviews with European publications did more damage to the security and unity Europe and of the Atlantic community than Putin, with all his underhanded efforts of subversion of European democracy and unity. He earlier welcomed and praised parties and movements in Europe promoting far right fascists who are subverting European unity and democracy. Either, this was done, as I said earlier, from madness, stupidity, or something even more dark and terrible?

– A NASTY AND UNNEEDED INSULT BY TRUMP OF ONE OF OUR CLOSEST ALLIES AUSTRALIA IN A CALL WITH THEIR PRIME MINISTER OVER AN AGREED REFUGEE PROGRAM: Trump made a gratuitous and stupid insult to an ally that has fought by our side in World War II and in the Middle East and lost lives and hosts our Marines in deployments to the region to help the common defense in the Pacific.
– LIFTING SOME SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA AFTER A PHONE CALL FROM PUTIN?: He indicated lifting some sanctions on Russia unilaterally without consultation with our allies that have put on sanctions at our urging. He got after talking with Putin so far nothing in return except further aggression in Eastern Ukraine by Russia. Our allies are furious over this slight of our tradition of consultation. There is a pending summit between Trump and Putin and we must wonder what else will be given to Putin for but a bowel of portage or is it borsht? What has also come out is before Trump was president of talks between the Russian Ambassador and Lt, General Flynn representing Trump, which has elicited questions on a leaked transcript of that talk that might show took place and any deals discussed which would have been illegal.

– THE BAN ON MUSLIM REFUGEES AND VISITORS: What can one say. This act by Trump has both domestic constitutional and justice questions and impacts. It also caused a major deterioration on our relations throughout the world. It drew a massive rebuke by many Americans and world leaders. But it key stage was in American counts. It also brings to the fore the question of our democracy and the importance of respect for laws and treaties which binds us and other nations to a system of governance and cooperation. This is necessary for a world order that applies accepted rules and adherence to justice and binding agreements. These keep our security and global cooperation together. The White Houses’ last report is about putting out a new ban in an order that might pass judicial review so uncertainty reigns!
– DISASTROUS CHOICES FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS LEADERSHIP: No action by Trump indicates his direction and irresponsibility than his recent choices for leadership in this area. As in the Biblical saying “you should know them by their acts.” Trumps pick in both domestic and foreign affairs reflects, in almost all cases, a desire to cause real massive harm to past successful policies of Western unity and security.

The Trump instinct is to create chaos whenever possible it seems. The choice of Lt. General Flynn as National Security Council head, a man of distorted values and perspectives, who now seems to be ineffective in halting the “madman” actions of his boss. Or simply powerless. The initial banning from the NSC and Principles Group of the heads of the CIA and Director of National Intelligence, while putting on the Council Stephen Bannon the racist, KKK supported and White Nationalist leader and new Counselor to the President on both of these very sensitive and critical groups. His influence has been felt in every stupid and counterproductive act of Trump in the international domain.
DISRUPTING OUR RELATIONS WITH MEXICO: One of the first acts of incompetence in terms of talking with the leaders of other countries was the phone conservation with Mexico’s President. Trump carried out, according to reports, a blistering set of demands and insults about building and paying for a wall between the two countries. Further, Trump’s spokesman announced a 20% tax on Mexican imports to pay for the border wall on Thursday. Staff did strange clarifications to some of this. In the end the Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, refused to meet Trump to discuss the issue and American relations with Mexico and its people went into deep disarray.

ISRAEL AND TRUMP’S POLICIES AND AMBASSADOR PICKS: MORE DISASTERS: Trump initially has sided with the extreme right wing hawk Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and also the position of supporting Israeli and settlements. After being told that this would harm the possibility of negotiations with the Palestinians, cause more anger by the Gulf States, and bringing harm to our diplomats abroad, he pulled this back and stated that the settlements were a danger to peace and not a good idea. What position he really wants given his record of contradictory views is unknown. But we know his pick as our Ambassador to Israel loves the settlements!
MIXED GROUP OF IMBECILITIES: Among a mixed group of costly acts or policies which deserve their own analysis but for lack of space here is a short list:

First, the botched assault ordered by Trump by our forces in Yemen that got one of our own killed and death of innocent women and children which cause the local authorities to put restrictions on our actions. Yet another disturbing problem is the handling of the Iran sanctions issues where contradictory views are expressed by Trump and his key advisors – who is to be believed? Add to the list how Trump will deal with nuclear weapons and especially move to taking our and Russia’s nukes off hair trigger release? And will he stand down on massive costs for new weapons and un-needed military hardware since he has taken the occasion of the North Korea missile test to call for more, un-needed, military weapons.

One possible positive act of Trump is on a phone call with China’s president Xi Jinping Trump pledge agreement with the now decades old U.S. policy of one China. Again how long will this last and will Trump also back down on a trade war with China? The other relative calm meeting of Trump was with Japan’s Premier noted earlier but Japan can’t but have doubts about the steadiness of American commitment.

There seems to be a tug of war between some of Trump’s more realistic advisors and what can only be described as Trump’s dementia and mindless prejudices. This is reflected in the influence of people like Bannon who seems to want to see great chaos and destruction at home and abroad so he can re-build a White nationalist and fascist domestic authoritarian rule in the ashes of democracy and support extreme groups abroad to enhance the destruction of Western liberal democracies. Surely, these are also the goals of Putin.

Dear reader you can see it was a busy but catastrophic weeks for our country and an unhappy one of our allies and a great period for our opponents like Russia. Thank you Donald Trump.

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CHINA, ASIA, AND TRUMP: STUPIDITY STILL AT WORK!

By Harry C. Blaney III

The last few days have shown again the total lack of seriousness, long term strategy, and assessment of risks and gains, compounded by ignorance of even the basics of foreign and national security policy and history by Trump and his rag-tag retinue.

The Taiwan “call” debacle is only one of many such acts of unbelievable imbecility which we are now learning was a deliberate programmed act instigated by an outside representative law firm working for the Taiwan government led by Robert Dole who it is reported arranged the call in conclusion with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. And while this makes this act more serious in the eyes of China, it also has implication for our understanding of how out-of-it the Trump regime is of the fundamental interest and the playing field of Asia. My old boss at the State Department, Henry Kissinger and architect of the “Opening to China” in the 1970s, had visited Trump before this odd call and also had briefed China President Xi. Clearly I am sure Trump did not take whatever Kissinger told him about the hard fact of the arrangement of relative power in Asia and the binding elements of the Shanghai Agreement.

Even Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said her phone call with Trump should not be interpreted as a shift in U.S. policy. She stressed that both sides “see the value of maintaining regional stability.” In effect she tried to indicate that the impact of the call may have been a “bridge too far” at this moment.

What is also interesting is that none of Trump’s foreign policy associates cautioned him about the possible risks of such an action. Or if they pressed him to this act they did so not telling him of the costs but simply were playing to their blind extreme ideological right-wing views without telling the “Emperor” that there might also be high costs especially when it come to dealing with the Elephant in the room that is China as far as Asia goes.

What is really worrisome for a sane foreign or security policy going forward is knowing again that his myopic advisors do not seem capable to do what is a necessity of policy making and advice: to give both pros and cons to the decision maker and especially give the high risks of actions which would harm American long-term interests over short-term gains.

Finally, Asia is important and China is often the path to progress on many issues and also an adversary in some areas that need constant and thoughtful assessment and attention of the deepest kind. This includes trade, investment, global security including nuclear proliferation, dealing with a nuclear armed North Korea, the conflict over jurisdiction in the South China Sea, and the preservation of our alliances with Japan and South Korea.

Our interests must also be our concern for the independence and stability of other Asian nations. President Obama was right to establish the “Pivot to Asia” which incorporated a close dialogue and work with China with the protection of other nations from a possible aggressive and overreaching China. Trump apparently does not see these fine points and looks more increasingly like the “Bull in the China Shop.”

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THE CUBA TRANSITION AND A TRUMP DILEMMA AND TEST FOR OUR NATION?

By Harry C. Blaney III

As one of the key foreign policy tests of Donald Trump’s unfortunate campaign promises and to “Make America Great” is what he will do regarding our Cuba policy.  He has indicated as a threat that if Cuba does not change its policies he will cut relations with that nation. But both the threat and its consequences are more likely to make America “little” rather than great and decrease its leverage not only in Latin America but globally.

The death of Fidel Castro is an opportunity to increase our engagement, not to disrupt an initiative that has promoted many of our long-term goals in Cuba and in Latin America. It is a test for rationality and national interest for the new regime and at the moment it looks as if they still do not understand simple facts and long-term strategic interests of this nation and for that matter of the international community.

Trump speaks of disengagement because Cuba is not the democracy we would hope for and has had a record of human rights violations. His twitter threat that : “I will terminate deal” is a bad example of recklessness which applied to a legion of issues would destroy America’s creditably.  But does Trump also want to “disengage” with countries with like or even worse such records of democracy and human rights violations like China, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, a number of the “-Stans” and a host of other nations around the world?  What has Cuba done that is worst than many of these countries?  And where is there a better place to have a constructive influence over time?

President Obama and John Kerry’s policy is, like that of many past presidents, to engage with nations, even those we disagree with on a host of issues, rather that make “America Small” by mindless disengagement. For the good of global security America must be a leader of the global responsible powers and support positive preventive diplomacy, negotiations, and dialogue as necessary tools to make the world safe.

In the first case President Obama’s outreach to Cuba is by any fair account a success, has provided a key access to that beleaguered and troubled nation, and given Americans and Cubans the ability to exchange ideas, trade and cultural activities as never before.

A majority of Americans support the opening of our relations, with diplomatic and  business communities agreeing with that approach. Further, many young Cuban-Americans want this opening and outreach to continue.  Yet Trump seems in this and in other areas to upend the security, economic and political opportunities that America has gained by a careful and cooperative approach in the international arena.

The test of Cuba policy is whether Trump can see past his destructive campaign rhetoric and look to the long-term gains inherent in constructive engagement with Cuba and other problematic nations. Our country is great, but blind stupidity and destructive policy and actions will only diminish it within and without our nation.

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PROSPECTS FOR A “TRUMPIAN” FOREIGN AND SECURITY AGENDA: INCOHERENCE & IGNORANCE VERSUS THE REALITY OF OUR MESSY AND DANGEROUS WORLD


By Harry C. Blaney III

Image result for President-elect Trump

THE PROBLEM OF TRUMP THE MAN AND THE DEFICIENCY OF NO CREDIBILITY

Trying to understand what a Donald Trump foreign and security policy might be is like reading tea leaves in a very dark and mushy tea. There is no consistency, little true knowledge of diplomacy and security issues, and no cohesiveness to his many pronouncements. His formal documents and off-hand remarks and his stances are, to say the least, not very enlightening and often rather simplistic, silly, and dangerous.

There will be great efforts to have him look like a “statesman,” but if his campaign is any indication he will be, as they say, out of his depth and playing it “by the seat of his pants.” You can only do so much with a Teleprompter or printed talking points when you have no depth of knowledge and not a clue to what the other side wants and dangers of misunderstanding when tens of thousands of lives are at stake for example.   In this world, those empty grey cells will likely not be enough to ensure the security of our nation nor solve the deep and complex challenges of our conflict-filled messy world.

Subtlety, attention to detail, and seeing the other side of the equation have proven not to be Trump’s strong points. However bullying and lying are. What do we do with a leader that has told so many lies that it would be hard for a leader of another country to believe any word he says?

Further, he starts his new presidency with a set of positions that the rest of the world already sees as a disaster, not in their own national interest, and indeed a danger to the entire globe. Here are a few examples which we will examine in more detail in forthcoming posts:

– CLIMATE CHANGE:  His rejection of the Paris Global Warming accord which has now come into force. Not only will he not support that agreement despite the science, he does not even believe its reality that man made global warming and ignores its impact on our earth, and has even advocated churning out CO2 with more coal-fired power stations and expanded mining.

– THE IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL: His stated goal is to repudiate the Iran nuclear deal, which bars Iran from developing nuclear weapons for some 10-20 years and beyond. It will be a total disaster for the world’s security and that of Israel, as Iran would be within months of being able to build a nuclear bomb. Further, the alternative of a massive bombing campaign against Iranian targets would do little in the long run, exacerbate the situation, and create even more conflict in the region. Such an effort might draw us into a war we would not have to face with the agreement in place.

– NATO AND OTHER ALLIES: He said we would, in effect, not support NATO allies that do not pay fully for their defense. This is contrary to our NATO treaty obligations AND ALSO REGARDING OUR OTHER ALLIES IN Asia and elsewhere. His position undermines our defense credibility and deterrence power.

– TRUMP AND INTERNATIONAL LAW: Trump has said he supports torture and water boarding, but there is the Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions to which the United States is a party. He can withdraw from these conventions, but that would put our people still under danger of being found criminals if we carried out such horrific inhumane acts. Such action are in any case counterproductive and encourage terrorism. How is that for a moral American position and what it does to us as a presumptive leader of other decent countries?

– DEALING WITH ISIS AND TERRORISM: On 60 Minutes after the election, Donald Trump said he will destroy ISIS as he has said earlier, but gave little indication of how he might do this. He still maintained that he knows more than the generals.

There are facts on the ground which will not change after the election. Much has already been done by Obama’s strategy which has severely weaken ISIS without major commitment of U.S. combat forces on the ground and without huge loss of American lives. The concept behind that strategy is to let regional forces carry the fight to ISIS as they do have much to lose and they know the environment that they are fighting in. Our main contributions now are bombing, intelligence, training, and logistics.

What more can be done with an eye on also not ending up mired in a costly “endless war” with high costs of American lives and resources or unneeded and counterproductive destruction of civilian populations? The new president will have to weigh many options but also many major risks in an area he knows almost nothing about, but thinks he knows more than the generals or for that matter perhaps our diplomats and intelligence experts. Also, in the end, it will be politics and diplomacy that will be needed to create the conditions for lasting security and stability in the Middle East. Will he act before he learns and listens or will he act precipitously with high costs for all?

– TRUMP AND CHINA: It can’t help but be a clash, but the constraints on the reality of continued trade and their importance as well as cooperation on key issues like North Korea. All the constraints and realities should give some pause to hasty actions by both sides. But it may not if China is aiming for a predominant role in the Pacific and sees Trump as leading America to global weakness. Trade and economics and security are deeply intermixed and the question must be asked if both sides see the advantages of cooperation rather than confrontation. Up to now Trump seems perhaps to often favor confrontation and the American economy may suffer as well as China’s from such a strategy. But absent a creditable presence and strong economic and military ties in the Pacific region, China is likely to be even bolder to gain predominance.

– RUSSIA/PUTIN:  Trump and Russia remain a hazard zone for both sides. Things can go very badly quickly depending on the reaction of just two people: Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.  Will Putin push too hard, and test the mettle of neophyte Trump? Will Trump think he can make a deal with Putin? But at what cost to American leadership and security or that of our allies? On the agenda is the question of continued sanctions on Russia for the annexation of Crimea and invasion of Eastern Ukraine, and not least how to deal with Russia’s violence to civilians and military action on behalf of Syria’s Assad, who has committed butchery of much of his own people with Russian help..

NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Of high importance is trying to deal with key nuclear weapons issues. That includes the future of the Iran nuclear deal which Trump has said he will scrap. But also it must address the danger of nuclear war which is the most important issue that needs some kind of understanding between the two largest nuclear nations. Putin seems to think that the nuclear weapons and his military are his high cards which he has used to some success and a way to intimidate America and the West generally. What might Trump do to offer a counter action to obtain a mutually cooperative and fair “deal?” More belligerence from both sides and greater risk of military confrontation is one option, or some measure of cooperation and backing away from dangerous actions is another. In the end, a key question is whether Putin sees in Trump an easy pawn, a partner in his goals. or make deals that can complete his ambitions and harm the West without any cost? For Trump the question is whether he even understands the high risks for all. The whole world will be asking what kind of “deal” can come out of this mix.

There are many other questions that will need to be examined in forthcoming posts on this site, and we will examine in more detail in the coming weeks these and the cited topics here. A key will be who Trump advances as high level national security and foreign affairs officials. However, their influence might be either as bad or even if they are more reasonable, Trump might not listen or even want to learn.  We have seen that Trump seems to desire to act compulsively without thought of the long-term harm.

One thing is certain with Trump: we likely will be living in a world sliding quickly into unknown conflict and chaos.

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WORLD WIDE OPINION ON THE ELECTION RESULTS: WHERE AMERICA NOW STANDS OR FALLS ABROAD

By Harry C. Blaney III & John Gall

The American people have spoken as has Donald trump and Hillary Clinton and already our newspapers and social media are having their say. But like it or not America is but about 4% of the world’s population and we depend on our allies and partners. We are not an island standing alone. The path ahead remains uncertain to say the least. Darkness lurks at every wrong turn and bad or reckless decision.

One judgement can be that rationality and kindness has lost and hate and stupidity is on the rise. We are all in disbelief  and shock. It is a time however for better thinking, courage, and the forces of good to work together as they never did before.

It is not just America, but as I said, Europe is also on the edge of the forces of darkness with the rise of the far right groups. Britain and Europe and our allies in Asia will also need to keep their heads. Leaders abroad are mulling what all this means as you will see from the quotes below.  The structure of the post-WWII security order is now in shambles and the question is whether the elections here will make it even more in disarray.

It is a testing time and we are seeing only now a bit of the implications and these quotes will give us just an initial look at how the world now sees what can only be descried as untested and dangerous waters.

EUROPE

  • UK Prime Minister Theresa May – “I would like to congratulate Donald Trump on being elected the next president of the United States, following a hard-fought campaign. Britain and the United States have an enduring and special relationship based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise. We are, and will remain, strong and close partners on trade, security and defence. I look forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump, building on these ties to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations in the years ahead.” (BBC)
  • French President Francois Hollande – The election of Donald Trump as US president “opens a period of uncertainty…We must be aware of the concerns provoked by the disorders of the world in all the peoples, including the American people. We must find answers that are capable of overcoming fears.” (EuroObserver)
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel – “Whoever the American people elect as their president in free and fair elections, that has a significance far beyond the USA. Germany and America are bound by their values: democracy, freedom, the respect for the law and the dignity of human beings, independent of their origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political position. On the basis of these values I offer the future president of the United States, Donald Trump, close cooperation.” (DW)
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin – “We realize and understand that this will not be an easy road given the level to which our relations have degraded,” Putin said in congratulating Trump on his electoral victory. A moment later, he added, “We know this will not be easy…It is not Russia’s fault that our relations with the United States have reached this point,” (Time)
  • UK Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn – An economic system that “isn’t working for most people” had been rejected. (BBC)
  • Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – urged Mr Trump to “reach out” to those feeling “marginalised” by his campaign. (BBC)
  • Former UKIP Leader Nigel Farage – drew parallels with the Brexit campaign and said he would “hand over the mantle” to the Republican. (BBC)
  • Crispin Blunt, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Britain’s House of Commons – “We are plunged into uncertainty and the unknown.” (NYTimes)
  • Gérard Araud, French ambassador to the United States – “After Brexit and this election, everything is now possible. A world is collapsing before our eyes.”  (NYTimes)
  • Henrik Müller, journalism professor at the Technical University of Dortmund – “It would be the end of an era. The postwar era in which Americans’ atomic weapons and its military presence in Europe shielded first the west and later the central European states would be over. Europe would have to take care of its own security.” (NYTimes)
  • Vladimir Frolov, a Russian columnist and international affairs analyst – “Trump’s presidency will make the U.S. sink into a full-blown crisis, including an economic one. The U.S. will be occupied with its own issues and will not bother Putin with questions. As a consequence, Moscow will have a window of opportunity in geopolitical terms. For instance, it can claim control over the former Soviet Union and a part of the Middle East. What is there not to like?” (NYTimes)

ASIA

  • Kunihiko Miyake, former Japanese diplomat  – “The question is whether you will continue to be involved in international affairs as a dependable ally to your friends and allies. If you stop doing that, then all the European, Middle Eastern and Asian allies to the United States will reconsider how they secure themselves.” (NYTimes)
  • Izumi Kobayashi, vice chairwoman of Keizai Doyukai, a Japanese business group – “He has been focusing on the negative side of the global markets and globalization. But at the same time it is really difficult to go back to the old business world. So how will he explain to the people that benefit and also the fact that there is no option to go back to the old model of business?” (NYTimes)
  • Shen Dingli, professor of international relations at Fudan University in Shanghai – “If he indeed withdraws the troops from Japan, the Japanese may develop their own nuclear weapons. South Korea may also go nuclear if Trump cancels the missile deployment and leaves the country alone facing the North’s threats. How is that good for China?” (NYTimes)

NORTH AMERICA

  •  Agustín Barrios Gómez, former congressman in Mexico and president of the Mexico Image Foundation – “All bets are off,” (NYTimes)
  • Rossana Fuentes-Berain, director of the Mexico Media Lab, a founder of the Latin American edition of Foreign Affairs – “I see a clear and present danger. Every moment will be a challenge. Every move or declaration will be something that will not make us comfortable in the neighborhood — and that is to everyone’s detriment.”(NYTimes)

ISRAEL

  • Yohanan Plesner, former member of the Israeli Parliament, president of the Israel Democracy Institute – “Decisions cannot be postponed. The situation in Syria is very chaotic. The unrest in the region is continuing. America has to decide whether it wants to play an active role in shaping the developments of the region.”(NYTimes)

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Remember if you want to know what Trump or Hillary Clinton said during the campaign click here for a key reference section to their thoughts and positions.

THE RECENT OPINION OF FOREIGN LEADERS AND MEDIA ON TRUMP: THE IMPACT OF CORROSIVE POLITICS ABROAD

By  Harry C. Blaney III

There are many ways of examining the impact Trump has already made on our allies and our adversaries and rogue leaders abroad. The question Americans must ask is what does this attitude mean for American respect and leadership abroad in a Donald Trump presidency? An insight can be gained by reading the following quotes from foreign media and  leaders.

To start here at home, I think that Colin Powell,  who served as Secretary of State under Republican President George W. Bush, has said it all about Donald Trump in his recent endorsement of Secretary Hillary Clinton:

“He insults us every day,”…“He has insulted America in one way almost every day,” .. “He has insulted Latino Americans. He has insulted African-Americans. He has insulted women. He has insulted his own party. He has insulted our allies around the world one by one by one. He has insulted veterans.” – Independent

This is from a Republican with the widest experience in national security and diplomacy.

But the impact abroad, as we have seen in earlier posts and in our own media, has been considerable and to the harm of American influence and respect around the world. As we reach the final stage of our presidential campaign, it is worth a new close look at what others, who in their own countries or organizations have responsibility for leading their societies and not least working with America to solve common challenges and risks, think of our candidates.

The most key region that we have worked with and depend on most for our common defense and economic cooperation has been Europe. It is also the place where the idiocy of Trump has been most recognized and displayed, covered in the media and reflected in leaders statements and in polls.

Here are some excerpts from recent foreign Media :

THE FINANCIAL TIMES (UK) ENDORSED HILLARY CLINTON:

“This is a moment for the renewal of American leadership. One candidate has the credentials. Mrs Clinton has served as first lady, senator for New York and US secretary of state. Mr Trump deals in denigration not diplomacy. He has abused allies, threatening to remove east Asia’s nuclear umbrella, sideline Nato and unleash trade wars. Mr Trump casts himself in the role of a western strongman to stand alongside the likes of Mr Putin… Mr Trump has a thin skin and a questionable temperament. For all his many years as a reality TV host, he is simply not ready for prime time. Yet Mrs Clinton has much to prove. To many American voters, Mrs Clinton’s decades of public service mean little. She epitomises a remote, self-serving establishment. Her campaign has lacked inspiration… But she is manifestly more competent than Mr Trump whose braggadocio, divisiveness and meanness are on daily display. Despite her faults, Mrs Clinton is eminently qualified to be the first woman elected to the White House. She has the Financial Times’ endorsement.” Financial Times

THE ECONOMIST (UK) – America’s best hope; Why we would cast our hypothetical vote for Hillary Clinton:

“A QUARTER of Americans born since 1980 believe that democracy is a bad form of government, many more than did so 20 years ago. If the two main parties had set about designing a contest to feed the doubts of young voters, they could not have done better than this year’s presidential campaign. The vote, on November 8th, is now in sight, yet many Americans would willingly undergo the exercise all over again—with two new candidates. Of course that is not on offer: the next president will be either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

The choice is not hard. The campaign has provided daily evidence that Mr Trump would be a terrible president. He has exploited America’s simmering racial tensions. His experience, temperament and character make him horribly unsuited to being the head of state of the nation that the rest of the democratic world looks to for leadership, the commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful armed forces and the person who controls America’s nuclear deterrent.

That alone would stop us from casting a vote, if we had one, for Mr Trump. As it happens, he has a set of policies to go with his personality. A Trump government would cut taxes for the richest while imposing trade protection that would raise prices for the poorest. We disagree with him on the environment, immigration, America’s role in the world and other things besides. His ideas on revenue and spending are an affront to statistics. We would sooner have endorsed Richard Nixon—even had we known how he would later come to grief.

Our vote, then, goes to Hillary Clinton. Those who reject her simply because she is a Clinton, and because they detest the Clinton machine, are not paying attention to the turpitude of the alternative. Although, by itself, that is not much of an endorsement, we go further. Mrs Clinton is a better candidate than she seems and better suited to cope with the awful, broken state of Washington politics than her critics will admit. She also deserves to prevail on her own merits.

Like Mr Trump, Mrs Clinton has ideas we disagree with. Her tax plan is fiddly. Her opposition to the trade deal with Asia that she once championed is disheartening. The scale of these defects, though, is measured in tiny increments compared with what Mr Trump proposes. On plenty of other questions her policies are those of the pragmatic centre of the Democratic Party. She wants to lock up fewer non-violent offenders, expand the provision of early education and introduce paid parental leave. She wants to continue Barack Obama’s efforts to slow global warming. In Britain her ideological home would be the mainstream of the Conservative Party; in Germany she would be a Christian Democrat.

In one sense Mrs Clinton is revolutionary. She would be America’s first female president in the 240 years since independence. This is not a clinching reason to vote for her. But it would be a genuine achievement. In every other sense, however, Mrs Clinton is a self-confessed incrementalist. She believes in the power of small changes compounded over time to bring about larger ones. An inability to sound as if she is offering an overnight transformation is one of the things that makes her a bad campaigner. Presidential nominees are now expected to inspire. Mrs Clinton would have been better-suited to the first half-century of presidential campaigns, when the candidates did not even give public speeches.

However, a prosaic style combined with gradualism and hard work could make for a more successful presidency than her critics allow. In foreign policy, where the president’s power is greatest, Mrs Clinton would look out from the Resolute desk at a world that has inherited some of the risks of the cold war but not its stability. China’s rise and Russia’s decline call for both flexibility and toughness. International institutions, such as the UN, are weak; terrorism is transnational.

So judgment and experience are essential and, despite Republican attempts to tarnish her over an attack in Benghazi in 2012, Mrs Clinton possesses both. As a senator she did solid work on the armed-services committee; as secretary of state she pursued the president’s policies abroad ably. Her view of America has much in common with Mr Obama’s. She rightly argued for involvement early on in Syria. She has a more straightforward view of America’s capacity to do good; her former boss is more alert to the dangers of good intentions. The difference is of degree, though. Mrs Clinton helped lay the foundations for ending the embargo on Cuba, striking a nuclear deal with Iran and reaching agreement with China on global warming. A Clinton presidency would build on this.”The Economist

DER SPIEGEL – Germany’s most read conservative weekly magazine:

“An American reporter explains that the Trump campaign is built on a foundation of religious and racial lenses, rather than on the Constitution. His support from the alt-right, overt racial and religious undertones, and reluctance to conceded if he loses all go against the fabric of American society.”  – Der Spiegel

“[Trump adviser Sam Clovis] shares Trump’s view that American foreign policy needs to strictly prioritize national interests, not the handed-down alliances of the postwar period: ‘We’re not about to spill one drop of blood or spend one more dollar unless we know exactly what the outcome is going to be or at least have some notion of what the predictability is,’ Clovis has told a group of European diplomats and experts…

Jürgen Hardt, the trans-Atlantic coordinator for the German government, believes that ‘even a President Trump would not carelessly jeopardize solid relationships if he is elected.’ Berlin officials believe that Trump would back away from some of his most outrageous demands if he were elected. But they do think that he would focus on the question as to who should carry the future costs of the trans-Atlantic alliance. A Republican victory in the election could be expensive for Germany…”Der Spiegel

LE MONDE – An influential conservative French newspaper:

“There may soon come a time when US world cities have expanded still further and immigration has transformed the US into a country where ‘minorities’ are in the majority. Then the Democrats may be able to do without the working-class Midwest, as they have previously done without poor Southern whites. But that time is not now. This year it’s still too risky for the Clintons’ party to scold all those who react badly to the problems the Democrats created, and to suggest that they seek training or a new career, or relocate. Because, with Trump in the ring, the Democrats can no longer be certain that they are the sole electoral refuge for what remains of a working-class base. Clinton, the personification of a political elite which for over a quarter of a century has led the working-class world towards catastrophe, must therefore take account of people whose economic fate is threatened and who are terrified by the loss of social status. Her CV is unmatched, but in 2016 many Americans seem to want to ditch the whole system and use a stick of dynamite called Donald Trump to do it.”Le Monde

THE GUARDIAN – A British left leaning quality daily newspaper:

“A Trump defeat will be richly deserved. As we have noted previously, he is not a fit and proper person to serve in the White House. His behaviour during a long, raucous and often embarrassingly vulgar campaign made that abundantly plain.  Yet consigning “the Donald” to the rubbish bin of electoral history is easier than getting rid of Trumpism. This is likely to take a lot longer. Trump’s platform was based not on thought-through policies and careful analysis but on prejudice, grievance, ignorance and fear, spiced with opportunism.

Oblivious to paradox, irony, history or facts, Trumpism projects a distorted vision of American greatness… As general concepts, Trumpism makes an enemy of the “other”, equates nationality with homogeneity, calls honest critics liars and seeks to threaten, jail or harm opponents… Trumpism admires the domestic authoritarianism and international bullying of dictatorships in Russia and China… Trumpism appeals to the worst in people, cynically exploiting and fanning the anger, grievances and prejudices of the economically disadvantaged, the embittered, uneducated and plain ignorant… Fear is the common enemy, but fear is Trumpism’s friend. This phenomenon is not confined to America.

For good or bad, this clock cannot be turned back. Closed borders and closed minds, crude nationalism, trade barriers, xenophobia, religious, racial and sexual discrimination – these are old mistakes and old hatreds that, while still in evidence everywhere, belong to times past. The world is moving forward, not back. In the end, Trumpism and all its ghastly incarnations, dwelling in fear and darkness, will, like Trump himself, be exorcised.”The Guardian

“Some have argued that Trump’s presidential campaign is damaging his brand. But that’s only true if his goal was to return to being a real estate developer/reality TV host after the election.

Imagine a Trump Party that first makes significant inroads in 2018 in congress, and then runs a presidential candidate in 2020 – could this third party candidate restrict Hillary Clinton to just one term? Both Rutherford Hayes and Lyndon Johnson declined to seek renomination. Could a Trump Party make it so difficult for her to govern that she simply throws in the towel?” The Guardian

THE TELEGRAPH – A far right British newspaperpaper:

“The Democrats could have learned from the UK. Crowning any leader without opposition is never a wise thing to do, as Labour found out in 2010. Having been denied the crown once before – in 1994, when Labour leader John Smith died, only to be replaced by Tony Blair – Gordon Brown wasn’t going to allow the same thing to happen again…

Far too late in the day, Labour learned its lesson. Never again will it allow a leadership contest to take place with a solitary candidate (although that is a moot point for the foreseeable future, given its deteriorating poll ratings under Jeremy Corbyn, a deterioration the party may very well find it cannot reverse once he has retired to his Islington allotment).


I
f Clinton wins – and I very much hope she does – I fear she will become the first one-term president since her husband defeated George H.W. Bush in 1992. By 2020, of course, the Republicans will, we hope, have recovered from its temporary summer insanity and will nominate someone who is actually capable of entering the Oval Office without offending half the nation and all of the world. The Telegraph


VIEWS OF LEADERS ABROAD:

FIRST THE OUTLIERS FAVORING TRUMP:

Yes, there are leaders who favor Trump and they probably include Vladimir Putin, as reflected in the statements of his followers and the reported US intelligence indicating Russian hacking is directed at the Democrats as is much of the government controlled media with a bias towards Trump and putting down Clinton:

Vladimir Putin – “’Trump’s a colorful person. And well, isn’t he colorful? Colorful. I didn’t make any other kind of characterization about him. But here’s where I will pay close attention, and where I exactly welcome and where on the contrary I don’t see anything bad: Mr Trump has declared that he’s ready for the full restoration of Russian-American relations. Is there anything bad there? We all welcome this, don’t you?’” – The Guardian

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Russian politician loyal to Putin – “Americans voting for a president on Nov. 8 must realize that they are voting for peace on Planet Earth if they vote for Trump. But if they vote for Hillary it’s war. It will be a short movie. There will be Hiroshimas and Nagasakis everywhere.”

“He (Trump) won’t care about Syria, Libya and Iraq and why an earth should America interfere in these countries? And Ukraine. Who needs Ukraine?…Trump will have a brilliant chance to make relations more peaceful … He’s the only one who can do this,”- Vladimir Zhirinovsky 10/12/2016 – Reuters

“Trump’s statements have been widely reported in the Russian media, which has portrayed Trump as a lonely fighter against a corrupt establishment. (The Russian newscaster Dmitry Kiselev went so far as to argue that Trump should fear assassination at the hands of this establishment.) If, as expected, Trump loses the election, it will simply reinforce the Kremlin’s message that elites, not the electorate, decide who wins the U.S. presidency.

Beyond his domestic audience, Putin is engaged in a battle for the hearts and minds of foreign citizens, some of whom turn to the Kremlin-backed RT (formerly Russia Today) as an alternative to CNN or BBC. Allegations of electoral malfeasance in the United States undermine confidence in the Western model of governance. Add to that Trump’s portrait of an unsafe country in an even more unsafe world, and you have a message in perfect conformity with an authoritarian worldview.

We do not fully understand the rationale for Donald Trump’s overt statements of support forPutin. But it is his highly inaccurate portrayal of U.S. politics that has most played into the Kremlin’s designs. Regardless of the election outcome, Putin is one of the big winners of this presidential election.” – Washington Post

“The head of the Carnegie Moscow Center, Dmitri Trenin, believes that for the Kremlin, Trump could be a more comfortable dialogue partner than Clinton because he is at least potentially disposed to exchange opinions on issues that are important to Moscow. However, the expert notes that Clinton’s victory does not imply any catastrophe for the Kremlin: the Russian leaders know her well and have an idea of what her team and style of work are going to be.” – Russia Direct

“Russian President Vladimir Putin – unsmiling, forbidding – had the last, long word. He ridiculed journalists who suggest Russia is a threat and has sought to influence the US elections. “It’s nonsense that Donald Trump is the Russian favourite,” although he did add that he thought Mr Trump represents that part of US society that has tired of the elite that has been in power for decades.” – Financial Times, November 2, 2016

NIGEL FARAGE, Former UKIP Leader: “I cannot possibly tell you how you should vote in this election. But you know I get it, I get it. I’m hearing you. But I will say this, if I was an American citizen I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me. In fact, I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if she paid me,” – Huffington Post

CZECH PRESIDENT MILOS ZEMAN:
“I will not interfere with U.S. internal affairs, I am just saying that if I were an American citizen, I would vote for Donald Trump.”
Bloomberg

HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER VIKTOR ORBAN: – “I am not a Donald Trump campaigner. I never thought I would ever entertain the thought that, of the open options, he (Trump) would be better for Europe and for Hungary.  But I listened to the candidate and I must tell you he made three proposals to combat terrorism. And as a European I could have hardly articulated better what Europe needs.”: He supports  Trump’s proposals to create “the best intelligence-gathering organisation in the world.  The second thing, said this valiant American presidential candidate, is to abandon the policy of exporting democracy. I could not have said it more precisely.  If we keep prioritising democracy over stability in regions where we are unlikely to succeed with that, we will create instability, not democracy.”
Reuters

EGYPT’S ABDEL FATAH AL-SISSI: “There was, however, a notable difference in the way that Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton handled the strongman — one that reveals a substantive and important divide on foreign policy. Mr. Trump’s post-meeting statement heaped uncritical praise on Mr. Sissi, thanking him ‘and the Egyptian people for what they have done in defense of their country’ and promising to invite the coup-maker for an official visit to Washington.

In contrast, Ms. Clinton, while paying tribute to U.S.-Egyptian cooperation on counterterrorism, “emphasized the importance of respect for rule of law and human rights to Egypt’s future progress,” according to her statement. She also “raised concerns about prosecution of Egyptian human rights organizations and activists.” In other words, while Mr. Trump handed a pass to this deeply problematic U.S. ally, Ms. Clinton put him on notice that his abuses will not be ignored if she becomes president.”Washington Post

NETHERLAND’S GEERT WILDERS, head of an extreme right-wing racist Dutch Party:
“I hope [Donald Trump] will be the next US President. Good for America, good for Europe. We need brave leaders” Breibart

NORTH KOREAN STATE MEDIA : “Praising the likely Republican nominee as a ‘wise politician’ and ‘far-sighted presidential candidate .’: ‘In my personal opinion, there are many positive aspects to the Trump’s ‘inflammatory policies’, wrote Han Yong Mook, who introduced himself as a Chinese North Korean scholar.  “Trump said ‘he will not get involved in the war between the South and the North,’ isn’t this fortunate from North Koreans’ perspective?  Yes do it, now … Who knew that the slogan ‘Yankee Go Home’ would come true like this? The day when the ‘Yankee Go Home’ slogan becomes real would be the day of Korean Unification.”NK News

ZIMBABWE’S PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE:
“US lawmakers Chris Coons and Adam Schiff were visiting the southern African country to discuss wildlife trafficking when a request for a meeting with the interior minister turned into a sit down with the president.  According to Coons and Schiff, the discussion turned tense when Mugabe asked why the US insists on sanctioning Zimbabwe. The senators and their delegation listed reasons why the sanctions have remained in place—the US has sanctioned the country since 2002 after reports of election abuse and human rights violations.  After an awkward silence, Mugabe said, ‘Once [Trump] is your president, you’ll wish you’d been friendlier to me,'”  – QZ

FRANCE’S MARINE LE PEN : Ms. Le Pen, who heads up  France’s far right and fascist National Front, called Trump “a free man” and said if she could, she would vote for “anyone but Hillary Clinton,”.Politico

FRAUKE PETRY, German anti-immigration and facist Alternative for Germany party’s leader: [Petry] suggests that a Trump presidency would be an opportunity for lower US-Russian tensions. Petry also believes Germany should have a more “balanced approach” towards Russia. – Washington Post

CHINESE SUPPORT: Trump has many supporters in China. “There are also some Chinese people who want him to win because of the American hype surrounding him. They think Trump is “unreliable,” but that he is more likely to be unreliable to America and the West, and, even if this is inconvenient for China, China will not be the first to be inconvenienced.” – Huanqiu


COMMENTS ON TRUMP AND CLINTON FROM LEADERS ABROAD: Looking at individual leaders abroad, there are clear cries of alarm over the possibility that Trump might become president.

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY:

Asked if she would repeat criticism of Mr Trump’s policies on muslims, voiced when she was Home Secretary, Mrs May said: ‘I take a simple view about the way in which I like to see campaigns being conducted; I like them to be conducted in a calm and measured way with proper consideration of the issues.”

Speaking during her trip to India the Prime Minister added: “As to the result of the election, that’s up to the American people and we’ll know that very soon.” – Telegraph

LABOUR PARTY LEADER JEREMY CORBYN: 

Jeremy Corbyn invites Donald Trump for tea and a chat in his local mosque. The Labour leader said he’d like to “help” a hypothetical President Donald, and would invite him to discuss “culture and diversity” in Finsbury Park if he was Prime.

Jeremy Corbyn extended an invitation to Donald Trump tonight, saying if he won the US election, he’d invite him to discuss “culture and diversity” in his local mosque. Mr Corbyn was asked what he’d do if the Donald won the US election and he was elected Prime Minister, during a Labour party leadership debate in Birmingham.

Asked if he would be friendly to President Trump, he raised laughter from the audience, saying: “What I would do is try and help him.” He went on: “I would invite him to come to Finsbury Park, in my constituency, and we could go to a lovely building just around the corner, and we can talk about culture, diversity and history over a cup of tea in the Mosque.”Mirror

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT PARTY LEADER TIM FARRON:

Mr Farron said: “Donald Trump is not just mad and bad but he’s also dangerous. Why would you wish him luck? … I have never seen anyone so unworthy of the office of the presidency in history…He is a nasty misogynist and woefully under prepared for the immense responsibility that comes with sitting in the Oval Office…I am worried that millions of people will vote for him this week. The party of Abraham Lincoln is now the party of Donald Trump.” – Daily Mail

SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER NICOLA STURGEON: 

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has thrown political tradition aside to make her support for Hillary Clinton clear for all to see.

The popular leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party says in a Sunday Mail column that she “fervently hopes” Clinton will best Republican rival Donald Trump in Tuesday’s U.S. presidential vote.

Sturgeon says Clinton would be “a great president” and that the election of a woman leader in the U.S. would “also mark the shattering of the glass ceiling in terms of equality for women.”

Sturgeon also says Clinton, although not perfect, would be a great role model for women throughout the world. Global News


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL:
One of the most searing statement comes from the NATO Secretary general who make a  rebuttal against Trump. Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general, said the alliance will defend all allies, a response to Mr. Trump’s earlier suggests that the U.S. would examine how much allies spend on defense before coming to their aid.

Stoltenberg said: “We don’t say: If you don’t pay, we won’t protect you,”….“After years of decline in defense spending there is now an increase in defense spending among European allies,” “But this is not something that was caused by the U.S. election campaign.” – Wall Street Journal

GERMAN OFFICIALS IN THE PAST MONTH OR SO:

GERMANY’S  FOREIGN MINISTER FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER:
An early criticism, from the German Foreign Minister Steinmeier criticizes nationalist leaders, as “they make politics with fear.” Steinmeier added the same applies to Germany’s own nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, supporters of Britain’s exit from the EU and to “the hate preachers, like Donald Trump at the moment in the USA,”  calling Trump a hate preacher.  – DW

An internal analysis by the Finance Ministry in Berlin reportedly argues that a Trump victory would mean “a shrinking gross domestic product, fewer jobs and higher unemployment” — developments which would negatively impact German exporters. Trump’s economic ideas, furthermore, “aren’t feasible,” violate international or US law and could not “provide the foundation for a realistic economic policy.”

The US German Embassy reports also address Trump’s personal attacks on Merkel.  Trump called his opponent “America’s Angela Merkel,” as if a comparison with the German Chancellor qualified as an insult.”Der Spiegel

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