Wednesday, July 20, 2016

News of the Whirled

Holy fucking shit:

During a 45-minute conversation, [Drumpf] explicitly raised new questions about his commitment to automatically defend NATO allies if they are attacked, saying he would first look at their contributions to the alliance. Mr. Trump re-emphasized the hard-line nationalist approach that has marked his improbable candidacy, describing how he would force allies to shoulder defense costs that the United States has borne for decades, cancel longstanding treaties he views as unfavorable, and redefine what it means to be a partner of the United States.

He said the rest of the world would learn to adjust to his approach. “I would prefer to be able to continue” existing agreements, he said, but only if allies stopped taking advantage of what he called an era of American largess that was no longer affordable.

Giving a preview of his address to the convention on Thursday night, he said that he would press the theme of “America First,” his rallying cry for the past four months, and that he was prepared to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada if he could not negotiate radically better terms.

He even called into question whether, as president, he would automatically extend the security guarantees that give the 28 members of NATO the assurance that the full force of the United States military has their back.

To the extent that he has discussed foreign policy at all, Drumpf has repeatedly leaned on his distaste for allied countries "free-riding" on organizational responsibilities and participation. Obama has mentioned his annoyance with this issue as well, as (for example) NATO requires each member nation to spend a minimum 2% of GDP, yet only five member nations (US, UK, France, Greece, Turkey) comply. Of course, since Drumpf doesn't read anything but Page Six and the Enquirer, he wouldn't know that he and Obama actually agree on a very important point, albeit with different results in what should be done about the issue.

So yeah, a lot of these countries are free-riding, but you know what? We keep bases and troops and missiles and nuclear warheads in many of them. We keep troops in South Korea and Okinawa (for which, contrary to yet another of Drumpf's countless lies, Korea and Japan do foot some of the bill) in order to preserve the balance of power (in other words, to guarantee we still call the shots) in the region.

The other thing to keep in mind is that if everyone paid their fair share, they would also expect to have more say in the overall strategy, and rightly so. Sometimes those interests don't align perfectly with our interests. But they paid their share, right? So some of this extra dough on our part is insurance against potential headaches. Part of getting to be the big dog means paying the extra freight.

For someone so obsessed with wealth and its seedier trappings, Drumpf seems completely ignorant of the concept of checkbook diplomacy.

This may actually be the most telling part of the article:

Mr. Trump repeatedly defined American global interests almost purely in economic terms. Its roles as a peacekeeper, as a provider of a nuclear deterrent against adversaries like North Korea, as an advocate of human rights and as a guarantor of allies’ borders were each quickly reduced to questions of economic benefit to the United States.

After enduring over three decades of this fucking asshole's self-regard in the national media, I have to say this encapsulates the core value I identified with Donald Trump way back in 1984, when I first heard of him:  virtually all of his relationships are purely transactional. This does not necessarily mean that he doesn't genuinely like anyone -- I believe he loves his kids, and probably even likes his current wife -- but it is clear that he mostly calibrates his regard for other humans based on the value they provide him and his all-important brand. Hell, Chris Christie and Mike Pence can tell you that.

More and more Drumpf is proving to be a pathologically sick -- as in mentally ill, seriously -- individual, a person whose inner demons, bizarre temperament, and sheer lack of impulse control should automatically disqualify him from any position of actual responsibility. Despite his and his sons' pathetic attempts to cast him as a friend of the working-class dog, Drumpf knows nothing of the world outside of the fancy hotels he jounces to and from, and he certainly has no clue about the longstanding alliances, relationships, arrangements, and histories that underpin the foreign policy of the United States of America.

He was obviously never qualified for any position of governmental power, but after this, it's debatable whether he should be in charge of anything more complicated than a banana stand.

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