Harry C. Blaney III
As I listened to the speech by Trump that was billed as a serious national security statement, it became very soon a nasty partisan campaign speech of self justification and harsh criticism of every one and especially our allies and those that did so much good for out nation in the past. It sounded a like he was taking revenge on all the wonderful things that were accomplished by others for our nation.
I wanted to run and hide and cringed as so many misstatements and the kind of half crazy petulance that only added to the fear and worry of those who looked for us to lead our international community towards solutions. But he has mostly increased even more to our dangers. Trump’s demand for more money from our allies, while cutting us off from trade and cooperation with others, along with belittling of international institutions that were the great creation after WW II for a more decent world, were signs of a bitter man doing harm to our constructive leadership.
Cooperation for him was simply grabbing all for us, and nothing for them. Not win-win but you lose was his byword. More hostility or “America First” rather than we are here on this common earth to make the entire world better.
Today’s so-called “National Security” speech by Donald Trump was plainly an embarrassment from start to finish. It was an irrational and nasty rant at the rest of the world. It was a denouncement of all that was good that other US leaders did, an attack on our allies, and not least a set of lies about all the wonderful things he has done to make “America great again.”
There was a glaring difference in both tone and substance between the official national security written strategy of 55 pages and much of Trump’s statements in his speech. The document contains some areas of serious policy analysis while Trump’s speech was often much like is irrational tweets and filled with self-praise for things he had no influence upon and just for his own greetness.
He ignored the issue of Russian interference in our elections. Indeed he had praise for Putin and what he call his help in sharing intelligence with Putin on possible terrorist attacks in St. Peterburg.
The document and to a degree Trump acknowledged the “great power rivals” and that Russia and China challenge “American influence, values, and wealth.” But his policies and words in his campaign and in office contradict that phrase regarding values. He had no specific understanding about what needed to be done about these difficult issues. Indeed his “destructive” approach at home and abroad have only exacerbated these potential challenges and lead to more conflict than cooperation.
The disconnects were bizarre with castigating of our friends and allies while the document acknowledges the value of working with our allies. Further, the main document was short on specific solutions often just pointing to problem areas or goals. His language seemed like an off the top confused campaign speeches and having little that is coherent, practical or even beneficial. Trump defaulted to more hate towards his critics and opponents….except for Putin. On China and Russia the document saw them as “strategic competitor.” But no solution for interfering in our elections.
There was also no acknowledgment of the need to act on climate change and none to deal with Russian political interference in US elections. And the repetitive statements of “America first” only increased the sense of our nation being sent off the rails on the global stage.
In reality he has made us a laughing stock. In my 50+ years of following national security statements and polices (and contributing to them), this was the worst ever and shows again Trump ignorance and that of his far right partisan supporters. They are a major danger to America’s constructive leadership and proved e confusion to the rest of the world.
In short, his speech gave no indication that he had learned anything in his time in office.
By Harry C. Blaney III
Another strong voice against the gutting of the Department of State, diplomacy, and our Foreign Service Dan Rather. Dangerous is not strong enough to describe what is taking place. It is a crime and we all need to say so to our representatives and ask their help to stop it. I have never is over 50 years of active foreign affairs engagement have I seen America so weakened and counterproductive abroad and indeed destructive of all that is good than under Trump. This must stop. Dan Rather says it all and to the point!
Dan Rather (Post on his Facebook page):
I try to stay steady. I try to remain calm. But of all the things stuck in my craw these surreal days, the willful and deliberate decimation of the United States Department of State by President Trump and his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is a turn of events that is both bewildering and so obviously dangerous that it begs for reason in an age already plagued by a striking lack of reason.
This is an attack on the very health and security of the United States. It undermines our political, cultural, economic, and moral power around the globe. Yes our military forces are important and yes the aircraft carriers and fleets of tanks and airplanes are impressive. And yes the courage and dedication of our fighting men and women are impressive. But so too is the courage and dedication of our diplomatic corp who wield words and the power of persuasion to further our national interests, along with the aspirations of peace and justice. Their budget is but a fraction of our defense budget, but dollar for dollar they do more than almost anyone I can think of to make America what it has been, what it is, and what I believe we hope it to be.
There should be a bipartisan outcry against this undermining of American values. We have had strong diplomats from across the political spectrum. And as the world becomes ever-more complicated and difficult to navigate, we need leadership not empty rhetoric.
Make no mistake, our allies are watching with great unease. And our adversaries are salivating at our shortsightedness, and frankly, stupidity.