The subtitle of Politico's new essential report on American foreign relations, and just what our allies think regarding foreign policy generally, and Trump specifically, sums up, well, everything; It’s Worse Than You Think.
What is it now?
“Without fail, they just had wide eyes about the entire engagement,” the former official told me. Even if few took his martial bluster about Venezuela seriously, Trump struck them as uninformed about their issues and dangerously unpredictable, asking them to expend political capital on behalf of a U.S. that no longer seemed a reliable partner. “The word they all used was: ‘This guy is insane.’”
Okay. We use that word (insane) rather often around here, but keep in mind that these are diplomats from Latin America, our allies, who had to know their words would hit the press. They’re talking to Politico! They appear just fine with not speaking ...diplomatically? That has to mean it’s a message.
Prepare yourself, we press on.
Seasoned diplomats who have seen Trump up close throw around words like “catastrophic,” “terrifying,” “incompetent” and “dangerous.” In Berlin this spring, I listened to a group of sober policy wonks debate whether Trump was merely a “laughingstock” or something more dangerous. Virtually all of those from whom I’ve heard this kind of ranting are leaders from close allies and partners of the United States. That experience is no anomaly. “If only I had a nickel for every time a foreign leader has asked me what the hell is going on in Washington this year … ” says Richard Haass, a Republican who served in senior roles for both Presidents Bush.
Our friends think he is “catastrophic” and “dangerous.” Have we ever been somewhat mollified by the fact that the American president is “incompetent” because it’s more likely he can’t do what he wants? The article references that Trump’s own team thinks he’s largely irrelevant. Is that good? I dunno, probably. The other startling — but then obvious — fact is that with respect to the foreign policy positions, the people joining the administration do so in order to STOP it, not carry out its wishes.
Think about how bad it has to be for people to feel called to stop the president from the inside. Where they can call our allies and say “don’t worry, the president’s not in charge.” How comforting.
And, as the article notes, the fact that this doesn’t exactly surprise us anymore, doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t be shocked, taken aback, and angered. “Angered” is my word, but it does fit right there.
My last paragraph goes to Kush because this is just, well:
Kushner was “very dismissive” about the role of international institutions and alliances and uninterested in the European’s recounting of how closely the United States had stood together with Western Europe since World War II. “He told me, ‘I’m a businessman, and I don’t care about the past. Old allies can be enemies, or enemies can be friends.’ So, the past doesn’t count,” the official recalled. “I was taken aback. It was frightening.”
Sweet baby Jesus, “I don’t care about the past”? The only people who would say that are those wholly outside the grasp of adulthood.
Jared Kushnes is a sniveling little shit who needed a million dollar scholarship to get into Harvard, has done little of note in his life prior to his impending arrest, and he’s talking about him “being a business man ...the past doesn’t count.”
Kush, you’re going to find out real soon that YOUR past definitely counts, counts by months served. It also counts in business, especially if you have a contract. I hope our “contract” with NATO does a little better than 666th Fifth Ave. And does anyone have a doubt which country he’s surely referring to as “enemies can be friends”?