Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Thursday, May 25th, 2017.


No Manners, No Class, No Clue

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Trump Maladministration

The so-called president has managed to disgrace us all at the NATO meeting in Brussels, even after the other nations had arranged to dumb it all down to accommodate him.

For example, here is is shoving aside the Prime Minister of Montenegro so he could be on the front row of the group photo.

He refused to schmooze with the other leaders:

But, in truth, these issues were the least of his offenses. He still seems to think the other NATO countries are deadbeats, for example.

Trump used a very high profile and public moment to chastise our NATO allies for not paying enough for their own defense and actually owing the US vast sums of money. As I explained below, this is demonstrably false, both in a general and specific sense. Beyond the inaccuracy, Trump’s comments clearly envision a transformed and debilitated NATO, one that is one half protection racket, one half high-dollar membership golf resort. You pay your dues or you’re out. It’s a service, not a commitment.

Trump also declined to pledge his support for Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, the provision that commits all members states – but most importantly the US – to defend members who are attacked. Article 5 isn’t a key part of NATO. It’s the cornerstone. In many respects it is NATO.

Meanwhile, a report in der Spiegel suggests Trump viciously attacked German and its export practices in a meeting of NATO/EU leaders. His team also created confusion among their EU interlocutors by appearing not to understand that EU member states only make trade deals as a group. It’s a bit hard to decipher precisely what was being discussed here. Was this really a misunderstanding or a bullheaded effort to make a point?

It’s a bullheaded effort to make a point that the Trumpettes don’t understand themselves. But the Trumpettes are hardly in a position to be lecturing anybody.

If NATO allies were nervous about the United States’ commitment to Europe’s security before, they must be fuming now. The NATO summit comes as reports surface that British police are withholding intelligence from the United States after leaks to U.S. media about the Manchester bombing investigation, and weeks after Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russians about operations against the Islamic State. For all of Trump’s fire and fury about the United States getting the raw end of the deal from NATO, from an optics standpoint, it is the United States that is looking like the irresponsible partner.

We learned just a couple of days ago that the so-called president bragged to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte about two nuclear submarines positioned offshore of North Korea, which of course is now universal knowledge. And now Britain is furious because intelligence photos of the Manchester terrorist attack turned up in the New York Times. Britain believes the Times must have gotten those photos from the White House. The Times isn’t saying what its source was. But Trump has asked the Justice Department to investigate the “alleged” leaks, which I find amusing.

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