Friday, July 14, 2017

G 20 observation: Trump "has no desire and no capacity to lead the world."

This is the best description I've read of Donald Trump at the G 20 meeting last week.   It's by Australian anchor man Chris Uhlmann.  It kept getting bumped to later by the emerging story of the Don Jr.-Russian lawyer meeting.
Anchor Chris Uhlman (ABC) speaking:
"What we already knew is that the president of the United States has a particular skill set:  that he's identified an illness in Western democracies, but he has no cure for it and he seems intent on exploiting it.   We've also learned that he has no desire and no capacity to lead the world.

"The G-20 became the G-19 as it ended.   On the Paris Climate Accords, the US was left isolated and friendless.   But, given that that was always going to happen, a deft president would have found an issue around which he could rally most of the leaders.   And he had the perfect one:  North Korea's missile tests.

"So where was the G-20 statement condemning North Korea, which would have put pressure on China and Russia?   Other leaders expected it.  They were prepared to sign it.   But it never came.

"There's a tendency among some hopeful souls to confuse the speeches written for Trump with the thoughts of the man himself.   He did make some interesting, scripted observations in Poland about defending the values of the West.   And he's in a unique position.  He's the one man who has the power to do something about it.

"But it's the unscripted Trump that is real -- a man who barks out bile in 140 characters, who wastes his precious days as president at war with the West's institutions, like the judiciary, independent government agencies, and the free press.

"He was an uneasy, lonely, awkward figure at this gathering;  and you got the strong sense that some of the leaders are trying to find the best way to work around him.   Donald Trump is a man who craves power because it burnishes his celebrity.   To be constantly talking and talked about is all that really matters, and there's no value placed on the meaning of words.    So what's said one day can be discarded the next.

"So what did we learn?   We learned that Donald Trump has pressed fast forward on the decline of the United States as a global leader.  He managed to isolate his nation, to confuse and alienate his allies, and to diminish America.  He will cede that power to China and Russia, two authoritarian states that will forge a very different set of rules for the 21st century.   Some will cheer the decline of America, but I think we will miss it when it's gone.   And that's the biggest threat to the West, which he claims to hold so dear."

Donald Trump is not solely responsible for the decline of America.  There are many factors, some of our making and others that are simply historic that we have no control over -- like the rise of China as an economic giant and the inevitable globalization, driven in large part by technological changes in communication, manufacture and labor, trade, travel, and education.

But, where Obama, and perhaps Clinton too, would have led us to becoming first among equals in the years ahead, Trump is diminishing, isolating, and ultimately destroying much of what made the United States the great nation it . . . still, almost . . . is.   But he's trying to lead us in the wrong direction.


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