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On the Potential Global Consequences of a Trump Presidency

Donald Trump VictoryOf the various problems with a potential Trump presidency, foreign policy is high on the list given the direct amount of power that the President has in this arena coupled with Trump’s rather obvious ignorance of world affairs.   Not only does he lack adequate knowledge of the world (to put it both mildly and kindly), his approach to international affairs to this point in time indicates a person unlikely to inspire trust and confidence in our allies and partners.  This is a major problem, as Martin Wolf rightly notes in a recent column in the Financial TimesHow the west might soon be lost:

the ability of the US to shape the world to its liking will rest increasingly on its influence over the global economic and political systems. Indeed, this is not new. It has been a feature of US hegemony since the 1940s. But this is even more important today. The alliances the US creates, the institutions it supports and the prestige it possesses are truly invaluable assets. All such strategic assets would be in grave peril if Mr Trump were to be president.

The biggest contrast between the US and China is that the former has so many powerful allies. Even Vladimir Putin is not a reliable ally for China. America’s allies support the US largely because they trust it. That trust is based on its perceived commitment to predictable, values-based behaviour. Its alliances have not been problem-free, far from it. But they have worked. Mr Trump’s cherished unpredictability and transactional approach to partnerships would damage the alliances irreparably.

A vital feature of the US-led global order has been the role of multilateral institutions, such as the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation. In binding itself by the rules of an open economic system, the US has encouraged others to do the same. The result has been extraordinary growth in prosperity: between 1950 and 2015, average global real output per head rose sixfold. Mr Trump does not understand this system. The results of repudiation could be calamitous for all.

The US is by no means perfect, but it is a global leader in the international system and is also a guarantor of many international institutions.  Trump has already signaled an utter lack of understanding of NATO (to name one such institution).  Institutions require a certain level of  trust by participants and his cavalier attitude towards decades-old agreements will rapidly erode that trust. The notion that he thinks his alleged real estate acumen will aid him on the global stage is simply folly.  And for those who still think he will be controlled/handled/guided by cooler heads, I would note that the persons he surrounds himself with for their campaign expertise cannot reign him in from making self-inflicting comments about a beauty queen whose reign was over 20 years ago.  This man is not going to be reigned it.  He is not going to be taught.  He is not going to be responsible.   Not to mention that his choice of advisors shows profoundly bad judgement (e.g., Bannon, Ailes, Giuliani, etc.).

Let me underscore:  US influence is linked to trust, and “That trust is based on its perceived commitment to predictable, values-based behavior.”  Trump is not predictable (at least not in ways relevant to this conversation) and it is wholly unclear he is committed to any specific values-based set of behaviors (aside from self-aggrandizement).  Trump is a danger to the US’ place in the world.

Also:

After all this damage, election of a man as unqualified as Mr Trump would call into question something even more fundamental: belief in the capacity of the US to choose reasonably well-informed and competent leaders. Under a President Trump, the democratic system would lose much of its credibility as a model for the organisation of a civilised political life. Mr Putin and other actual or would-be despots would cheer. Their belief that talk of western values is just hypocrisy would be vindicated. But those who see the US as a bastion of democracy would despair.

Some may see this is as hysterical or hyperbolic, but I do not.  I think that Wolf is making a very important point. There is plenty to criticize about US foreign policy and the promotion of democracy.  It not always done a good job of it (see, for example, Latin American during the Cold War).  It has often used democratic promotion as a motivation for policy disaster (see, for example, the invasion of Iraq).  However, the fact remains that for its faults and mistakes, the US does play a role as a pro-democracy, pro-liberal (in the broad sense of the term) super-power. If is elects Donald Trump, that reputation will suffer greatly and it will empower authoritarians like Putin.  It will certain severely damage US influence globally (note, for example, my brief post earlier today about Latin America).  At a minimum, many around the world will rightly wonder if “the greatest democracy in the world” can claim such a title if it elects an inexperienced, self-absorbed reality TV start to the most powerful office in the world.  If that’s what democracy gets you, where is democracy’s moral claim to desirability?

An ancillary to this problem is the fact that markets don’t like uncertainty and Trump will represent significant levels of uncertainty.  Should he be elected there will be, at least initially, global economic repercussions as investors attempt to determine the safest financial routes forward.

Donald Trump presents a plethora of domestic policy problems and implications, but as serious as they are, they pale in comparison to the damage he could do to the global order.  Again:  the presidency of the United States of the America is the most powerful position in the world.  It is not the place for amateur know-nothing with the temperature of a spoiled child.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. An Interested Party says:

    At this point, how could anyone defend this joke of a presidential candidate? He makes George W. Bush seem sober and statesmen-like by comparison…hell, he almost makes Sarah Palin look reasonable…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  2. CSK says:

    Just can’t wait for some of President Trump’s three a.m. Tweets:

    1. “Theresa May, old and ugly. Not a ten!!!!”

    2. “Fat slob Angela Merkel loves Muslim terrorists. Sad!”

    3. “Rodrigo Duterte. Strong leader! Need more like him!”

    4. “Media lies about the well-respected Vladimir Putin invading the Ukraine in 2014. Sad!!!!”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  3. S. Fields says:

    …election of a man as unqualified as Mr Trump would call into question something even more fundamental: belief in the capacity of the US to choose reasonably well-informed and competent leaders

    Wolf doesn’t state the half of it. The election of Trump would demonstrate that the American electorate wants to be represented by a racist and a xenophobe. Whatever moral standing we once held in the world would vanish overnight. Talk about guilt by association.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  4. gVOR08 says:

    It has often used democratic promotion as a motivation an excuse for policy disaster (see, for example, the invasion of Iraq).

    Sorry Dr. Taylor. Felt I had to FTFY.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  5. CSK says:

    @S. Fields:

    Well, why stop at “racist” and “xenophobe”? Why not misogynist buffoon charlatan ignoramus?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  6. grumpy realist says:

    @S. Fields: It’s even worse than that. The majority of the US is willing to vote for someone who will trash the U.S. position in the world and drag it down into decrepitude, simply because they want to “stick it to the elites.”

    It’s the Crab Bucket Redux, written nationwide. And it affirms what I have always suspected–that the bulk of Americans have lived as free-riders off the intelligence, effort and culture of people they would sneer at as “those furriners from Yoorup and elsewhere”.

    Ah well, back to my emergency translating job….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  7. Paul Hooson says:

    A Trump presidency would be a disaster for world respect for the United States. Not only would many normally strong allies lose respect for the United States and behave independently in world affairs but nations such as Iran, Russia, North Korea and possibly even China may be emboldened towards more provocative acts. Trump might even order some outlandish military response due to his mental health and personality disorders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  8. barbintheboonies says:

    I can just imagine him calling our allies names or insulting their families. It`s going to be such an embarrassment if he wins.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  9. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    After 8 years of Obama, Clinton, and Kerry, let’s look at how things stand:

    We’ve alienated the UK, Israel, and the Philippines, among others.

    Afghanistan, raq, Syria, and Libya are total basket cases.

    We supported the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and opposed the Egyptian military when they deposed the Islamists.

    Turkey’s gone almost full Islamist, and we actually supported Erdogan when he staged a fake coup attempt and pulled a purge of those who weren’t sufficiently Islamist.

    China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran bitch-slap us freely whenever they feel like it, and we take it. Hell, sometimes, we even thank them for bitch-slapping us.

    We definitely need to have four more years of this.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 36

  10. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: Click.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  11. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: You really live in terror that I’ll forget you’re ignoring me, and need to keep shouting “hey, I’m ignoring you!”

    It’s actually slightly amusing.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 17

  12. Modulo Myself says:

    Trump will be like Netanyahu but stupider and a draft dodger. Events will not follow Trump’s conception of them. When that happens he will start firing off crazy orders. Who knows what will happen? The Israeli military apparently refused to follow Netanyahu. Americans are far more obedient. Nobody who will vote for this idiot will ever say no. A guy like Jenos would inform upon his neighbors rather than admit others were right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  13. @gVOR08: That’s not unfair.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. @Jenos The Deplorable: You really do not know what you are talking about.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 2

  15. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: You’re quite right, I apologize.

    Israel, the UK, and Philippines totally love and respect us more than ever.

    Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya are paradises.

    Islamists taking over countries is a GOOD THING.

    China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are falling all over each other to show their support and affection and admiration to us.

    Hillary’s RESET button totally worked wonders, didn’t it?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 26

  16. @Jenos The Deplorable: No, seriously: you don’t know what you are talking about and I am not sure I can rectify that fact.

    It is not that the world isn’t full of problematic circumstances, it is that your assessment are simplistic, if not cartoon-like. Beyond that I cannot fathom how you can think that Trump, who manifestly knows nothing about foreign affairs, can make these complexities better.

    You list ranges from gross over-simplifications to utter nonsense.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 43 Thumb down 3

  17. I feel like a medical doctor being asked to refute a fellow who insists that leeches do, in fact, cure cancer.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 48 Thumb down 1

  18. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Just what kind of special training and education does it take to say so confidently that bad things will happen with foreign relations in the future if Trump becomes president, but it’s not at all fair to link bad things that happened with foreign relations in the past with the administration that was in charge when the bad things happened?

    Let me guess the answer: all the bad things happened because of Bush, Obama/Clinton/Kerry were given a very bad position and kept things from going even worse, and we need to continue the policies because shut up.

    That a fairly accurate summation of what you’re thinking?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 24

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    With respects to Johnny Carson:

    A: The answers are, 86…84…79.

    Q: The question is: What degree of confidence do citizens of Germany, France and the UK have in President Barack Obama?

    A: The answers are 2010 and 2015.

    Q: In what year did the developed world decide that the US was running second to China as an economic power. . . and in what year did they change their minds?

    A: 22. . . 27…85.

    Q: What percentage of the people of our major European allies express little or no confidence in Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?

    A: Idiot.

    Q: Come on, Jenos, you can guess this one, right?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  20. michael reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Jenos gets dumber every time Trump opens his stupid yap. It’s hard justifying the worst person ever to run for the presidency. It’s hard work inventing rationalizations for a creep. If we found out Trump raped orphans every Saturday, Jenos would be here trying to make excuses.

    Doing that kind of violence to logic will lower your IQ eventually, and God knows the poor boy has nothing to spare.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  21. @Jenos The Deplorable:

    Let me guess the answer: all the bad things happened because of Bush, Obama/Clinton/Kerry were given a very bad position and kept things from going even worse, and we need to continue the policies because shut up.

    That a fairly accurate summation of what you’re thinking?

    No, but I do understand that, as I have pointed out before, you have a talk radio view of the world in which everything is about simplistic point scoring. It is also a world view that assumes there are easy answers to pretty much any question.

    I honestly don’t know where to begin with your list, especially since you have proven unwilling to learn anything. I have zero reason to treat you like you know what you are talking about here and while I would be happy to try and educate you, you aren’t willing to be educated. It is not that I understand all things, not even close. But I can certainly look at your list and know that it is not so simple as you think it is.

    The mere fact that you think that President Trump could improve international relations demonstrates your lack of qualification to opine on this topic. I say this because Trump has said nothing in detail about almost any of the items on your list, and the ones he has address have been scant on specifics and understanding.

    I can empirically claim with certainty that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    And you are defending him.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 2

  22. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @michael reynolds: You spin such elegant bullshit, it almost covers up the lie you spout that in this thread I have “defended” Trump.

    Almost, but not quite.

    I am observing that the foreign relations of the US have been horrible for the last eight years, and the candidate that is supported by the vast majority of the people here was one of the key architects. Hell, one of her proudest moments was supporting the Libyan revolution, and we all know how that turned out.

    Can you cite somewhere where our foreign relations have improved over the last eight years? Can anyone?

    In all the most important areas, things are provably worse.

    And if you exonerate Obama, Clinton, and Kerry for it, then you forfeit the right to say that electing Trump would cause problems in that same area, as you’ve just argued that things are beyond the control of those who, theoretically, are responsible for those areas.

    But that would require a bit of consistency and honesty. Are you capable of that?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 30

  23. PJ says:

    Nigel Farange loves Trump.
    Marine Le Pen loves Trump.
    The right wing/semi fascist governments in Hungary and Poland both love Trump.
    Putin loves Trump.

    So, all of Europe loves Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  24. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    Let me guess – the British are furious because Obama sent a low-level delegation to Margret Thatchers’ funeral…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  25. @Jenos The Deplorable: Our relations with Europe and Latin America (to name two region) improved under the Obama administration.

    Your claim about the UK is nonsensical.

    Yes, relations with Israel are cooler under Obama, which is not surprising, but they are hardly poor.

    The notion that Obama is responsible for poor relations with the Philippines is ridiculous. Duterte is a borderline psychopath. He also cursed out the Pope–is Pope Francis responsible for the problems in the Philippines? No one even cared about the Philippines until Duterte was rude to Obama and somehow that became Obama’s fault.

    Yes, Iraq and Afgahnistan are a mess. This dates back a while, if you have been paying attention. How do you reckon Trump will fix it?

    etc.

    You do not know what you are talking about.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 1

  26. @anjin-san: I assume it has to do with either a gift of DVDs or the Churchill bust.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  27. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The mere fact that you think that President Trump could improve international relations demonstrates your lack of qualification to opine on this topic.

    Horse hockey.I have said no such thing, and the only way you can demonstrate that is if you misuse your authority as an editor to change my remarks.

    I offer no defense of Trump, I challenge the notion that Hillary Clinton is competent and honest and accomplished. Her various tenures in office have shown her to be shallow, inept, and can be counted on in nearly every circumstance to put her own welfare above the interests of the nation. Her first instinct in any situation is to lie and cover up and protect herself, as is her second, third, fourth, and fifth instincts.

    I suppose one could argue that attacking Hillary is some form of de facto support of Trump, but I’ll fall back on the same classic defense against slander and libel: truth is an absolute defense.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 24

  28. @Jenos The Deplorable: As usual, you elide any direct factual claims to your position.

    And yes, at a minimum you have defended Trump supporters and you have certainly, in the context of a binary choice between Clinton and Trump rejected Clinton and inferred the other option is superior.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  29. Wr says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: Shorter Jenos: I’m a moron and that means I’m better than everyone!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  30. Fret, not Jenos, no doubt those leeches will work wonders for your cancer.

    Have at it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  31. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    Afghanistan, raq, Syria, and Libya are total basket cases.

    When were they not basket cases? Walk us through it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  32. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Your claim about the UK is nonsensical.

    Obama vigorously campaigned against the Brexit vote, even threatening economic repercussions if the British voted for it. They voted for it anyway.

    Key Obama aides funneled State Department money in an (unsuccessful) attempt to influence Israeli elections to defeat Netanyahu. He’s also gone out of his way to snub Netanyahu on several occasions.

    Obama ran on promises to get the US out of Iraq and resolve Afghanistan. That failed miserably, too.

    You ask me how Trump will fix things. I have no idea. I don’t even know if it’s possible.

    But I’m confident that Hillary will only make things worse. And in the process, she and her lackeys will lie every step of the way and find other people to blame for her failures. Because that’s what she’s done for decades.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 21

  33. Moosebreath says:

    “Trump is not predictable (at least not in ways relevant to this conversation)”

    I disagree with this. Trump is highly predictable, in ways that an adversary can easily exploit. Hillary has done a nice job of it in the past week. And, as Ezra Klein points out, if Trump becomes President, she won’t be the last:

    “What is extraordinary in all this is how enthusiastically Trump has taken the Clinton campaign’s bait, and how unconcerned he’s been with the fact that they meticulously planned all this in advance to damage him. It is almost not fair to call what the Clinton campaign created a trap. They publicly, explicitly, and warmly invited him to participate in their campaign strategy, and he accepted their invitation, because the satisfaction he receives from settling old scores and venting his rage is greater than the satisfaction he receives from leading in national opinion polls.

    In the context of a presidential campaign, all this is amusing. It will make a wonderful chapter in the next edition of Game Change. But imagine that this wasn’t a presidential campaign. Imagine it was the Trump presidency. And imagine it wasn’t Hillary Clinton trying to bait Trump into attacking Alicia Machado, but ISIS trying to bait Trump into attacking Iraq, or Vladimir Putin trying to bait Trump into breaking with NATO, or Angela Merkel trying to bait Trump into isolating the United States before a key vote at the United Nations, or China trying to bait Trump into giving them an excuse to assert their claim over Taiwan. “

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  34. anjin-san says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Well that and the nobodies that Obama sent over… George Schultz and James A Baker III, whoever they are :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  35. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    resolve Afghanistan

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  36. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I will grant you this much respect: you haven’t defended Hillary. You haven’t denied that she’s a miserable person and a miserable candidate.

    I freely admit that about Trump. I just believe that Hillary’s worse.

    For all the bluster and snark and personal insults, this contest boils down to two simple positions:

    1) Trump is horrible, but Hillary’s worse.

    2) Hillary’s horrible, but Trump’s worse.

    I’m freely willing to own the first argument. What I’m seeing here is a metric ton of people who can’t own their own argument. None of you will say a single word in defense of Hillary, just All Trump Bashing, All The Time. It’s like you have the slightest smidgen of integrity and can’t bring yourself to lie and sing Hillary’s alleged virtues.

    If Hillary gets elected, I anticipate four more years of abject failures out of the White House, while getting shrieked at about how it’s all the fault of me and people like me. The only revision to the script will be to strike out “racist” and replace it with “sexist.” And with a global search and replace algorithm, it’s likely already been prepared.

    If Trump gets elected, I have two consolations. First, when people say that it’s the fault of me and people like me, I can take a slight sense of perverse pride that I made a difference. Second, Trump will make it entertaining.

    We’re boned either way. The odds are we’re going straight to hell, whoever wins. I’m choosing to go there while being entertained instead of being yelled at.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 21

  37. @Jenos The Deplorable:

    Obama vigorously campaigned against the Brexit vote, even threatening economic repercussions if the British voted for it. They voted for it anyway.

    So, your evidence is that in a roughly 50-50 split in the UK itself Obama’s inability to sway the outcome is evidence of some sort of lousy relationship with the UK?

    I rest my case in terms of your understanding of international affairs.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 0

  38. @Jenos The Deplorable:

    I freely admit that about Trump. I just believe that Hillary’s worse.

    But this is a ridiculous position. Hands down ridiculous.

    I don’t often make such strident statements, but I have no choice here.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 1

  39. @Moosebreath: I take the point. But that really isn’t “predictable” in the sense I am using the term.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. PJ says:

    Can’t you all see?

    The UK voted to leave the EU just to spite Obama.

    /s

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  41. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: So, your evidence is that in a roughly 50-50 split in the UK itself Obama’s inability to sway the outcome is evidence of some sort of lousy relationship with the UK?

    I’m saying that in the case of the UK, Obama inserted the US into their political issue and used a big stick to try to sway one side, and his side lost. So now he either has to carry out his threat, alienating the winning side (and those who were just plain annoyed that he tried to influence their vote), or look like a total weenie for backing down on the threat.

    Similarly, in Israel, he tried to sway their election to get rid of Netanyahu, and again he failed. (Apparently you missed that story.)

    Currently the Clinton campaign is trying to raise a stink about how Russia is allegedly trying to influence our election, and how horrible it is for foreign governments to try to do so. Where was their outrage when it was the Obama administration trying to influence elections in the UK and Israel?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 18

  42. PJ says:

    OT: Trump Tax Records Obtained by The Times Reveal He Could Have Avoided Paying Taxes for Nearly Two Decades

    Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show.

    The 1995 tax records, never before disclosed, reveal the extraordinary tax benefits that Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, derived from the financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s through mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos, his ill-fated foray into the airline business and his ill-timed purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.

    Ponder the consequences of a Trump Presidency…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  43. An Interested Party says:

    Seeing Jenos flail on this thread reminds me of how Trump flailed in the first debate…in both cases, we’re talking about losers who are so delusional that they actually think they are winners…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  44. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    None of you will say a single word in defense of Hillary

    Why on earth would we “defend” Hillary to you? For one thing, you do not have an open, reasonable mind that can be persuaded by well crafted arguments. You have no interest in an exchange of ideas, you are simple interested in counting coup in your online fantasy world where you imagine that you regularly demolish your opponents, even as you slink away after another round of public humiliation.

    So no, there is nobody interested in walking into a rather obvious snare that you think you have set cleverly. I do note how easily you were baited when I posted the unattributed Arizona Republic comments about Hillary the other day. I’m sure it’s frustrating being you, but seriously, don’t blame the rest of us. The door only swings one way. At some point perhaps you will ask yourself why it keeps hitting you in the face.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  45. @Jenos The Deplorable:

    I’m saying that in the case of the UK, Obama inserted the US into their political issue and used a big stick to try to sway one side, and his side lost. So now he either has to carry out his threat, alienating the winning side (and those who were just plain annoyed that he tried to influence their vote), or look like a total weenie for backing down on the threat.

    No, seriously, leeches don’t cure anything.

    (Your response is mostly a non sequitur).

    Similarly, in Israel, he tried to sway their election to get rid of Netanyahu, and again he failed.

    You seem not to understand the difference between an NGO that has won federal grants and the federal government acting. They are not the same thing. My university gets federal grants to engage in a variety of activities, but President Obama does not call me up to let me know how those funds should be spent.

    The inference that the Obama administration was using an NGO to influence the Israeli elections is rather silly, to be honest.

    The article doesn’t even support your assertions. (It contradicts them, in fact).

    Again: stay away from the leeches.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  46. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @PJ: OMG, Trump followed the law and avoided paying more taxes than he needed to? The BASTARD!

    Let’s hang him right now for obeying the law, and not pay any attention to the people who wrote and enforced those laws.

    Trump should cheerfully overpay his taxes, giving the government more than they are legally entitled to, just like those fine, upstanding people like the Clintons, who I’m sure voluntarily pay more than they are required.

    And Hillary just announced her plan to jack up the inheritance tax. I’m certain she’s taken steps to ensure that what Chelsea inherits will be subjected to those taxes, and hasn’t taken advantage of a trust or some other shady dodge to avoid paying Their Fair Share.

    I have yet to hear of a single person who talks about raising taxes who has yet to take advantage of the opportunity to overpay their own taxes, to make a voluntary contribution to the federal government that would bring their payments up to what they consider their “fair share.”

    Here’s a wonderful quote:

    I think every individual has a moral duty to avoid as much tax as possible because you can avoid tax – which means you can lower your tax burden legally and decide not to pay more than you’re obliged to under the law. And the government uses the tax money for bad things. It uses it to buy a whole army of bureaucrats who write billions of new rules and create a lot of damage. When you pay too much tax, you’re morally co-responsible for the damage the government does. So I think every person has a moral obligation to pay as little tax as possible under the law.

    I would dare anyone who disagrees with that to cite their own history of voluntarily NOT minimizing their tax obligations. Explain how you gave the government all the money you owed, and then added in a bit more, because you felt that the government would spend that money more responsibly than you would. Hell, just passing on one deduction you were entitled to, with the intent of paying more of “your fair share.”

    PJ, do you even think about these things before you post them?

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  47. TheLounsbury says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:
    Actually yes in UK you’re vastly more popular with Obama than Bush.

    Now you make mistake some extremist UKIP fringer types as “UK opinion” but no proper data supports this.

    Your pretensions around the Brexit comment are merely parroting UKIPer fringers (and that yobby idiot Boris who failed at this stupid little takeover game).

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  48. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @anjin-san: OMG, you said something of substance in a thread recently? And I missed it?

    Gotta be a trick.

    (click)

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 17

  49. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @TheLounsbury: Brexit won. That trumps (if you’ll pardon the expression) your silly little whining.

    And it won despite Obama’s wise counsel. It won by almost 3% and over a million votes.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 21

  50. An Interested Party says:

    OMG, Trump followed the law and avoided paying more taxes than he needed to? The BASTARD!

    Considering that so many of his supporters don’t have the lawyers, the tax experts, and all the other ways that he does to get out of paying their taxes, yes, he is quite the bastard, or should be, to those people…

    Brexit won. That trumps (if you’ll pardon the expression) your silly little whining.
    And it won despite Obama’s wise counsel. It won by almost 3% and over a million votes.

    And yet, Obama is very popular in the UK…obviously more popular than you seem to think and imply…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  51. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    So that makes it unanimous: you’re a moron. We’ve got a college professor now telling you you’re a moron. You know why that is? Because you’re a moron.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  52. @TheLounsbury: Why should someone from the UK know anything about this situation? Jenos knows best.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  53. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos –

    Did you know that Trump’s golf course in Scotland has a remarkable sprinkler system? He has made Scottish sprinklers great again…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  54. @Jenos The Deplorable:

    Can you cite somewhere where our foreign relations have improved over the last eight years? Can anyone?

    I give you Pew Research from June:

    As he nears the end of his presidency, Barack Obama continues to enjoy a broad degree of international popularity. A new Pew Research Center survey conducted in 10 European nations, four major Asia-Pacific countries, Canada and the United States finds that half or more of those polled in 15 of 16 countries express confidence in the American leader.
    Although he has not been universally praised by global publics throughout his two terms in office, previous Pew Research Center surveys have found higher international ratings for Obama than for his predecessor, George W. Bush. During the Bush era, opposition to U.S. foreign policy and rising anti-Americanism were widespread in many regions of the world, but Obama’s election in November 2008 led to a significant improvement in America’s global image. The shift was especially dramatic in Western Europe, where assessments of Bush were grim, but subsequent views of Obama have been remarkably positive

    So, your position is refuted by actual information.

    Also:

    Europeans are somewhat less enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton, although her ratings are still mostly positive: A median of 59% have confidence in her. In contrast, ratings for Donald Trump are overwhelmingly negative. A median of just 9% trust the wealthy real estate developer to do the right thing in world affairs; 85% lack confidence in him.

    Beyond Europe:

    In the four Asia-Pacific nations surveyed – Australia, China, India and Japan – Obama also receives relatively positive marks. Most Australians and Japanese give Clinton a positive rating and Trump a negative one. The major party nominees are less well-known in China and India.

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  55. Tillman says:

    how is this election real

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  56. Tillman says:

    Somewhat off-topic though given how often Jenos cited him I need to make sure everybody sees this Slate piece about how Scott Adams shares a mind (and an ego) with the Republican nominee

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  57. An Interested Party says:

    Regarding Scott Adams, it’s easy to see why Jenos cites him…both of them are idiots

    Trump was defensive, and debated poorly at points, but he did not look crazy. And pundits noticed that he intentionally avoided using his strongest attacks regarding Bill Clinton’s scandals. In other words, he showed control. He stayed in the presidential zone under pressure. And in so doing, he solved for his only remaining problem. He looked safer.

    By tomorrow, no one will remember what either of them said during the debate. But we will remember how they made us feel. 

    Clinton won the debate last night. And while she was doing it, Trump won the election. He had one thing to accomplish – being less scary – and he did it.

    I’d love to see Jenos, or anyone else, defend this stupidity…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  58. Ben Wolf says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    Israel, the UK, and Philippines totally love and respect us more than ever.

    More than in the recent past.

    Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya are paradises.

    They weren’t before, aren’t now and never will be. And you were thoroughly supportive of those invasions.

    Islamists taking over countries is a GOOD THING.

    Now you’re being silly.

    China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are falling all over each other to show their support and affection and admiration to us.

    Should they be?

    Hillary’s RESET button totally worked wonders, didn’t it?

    There’s no question the results of Clinton’s tenure at State are mixed. The button was largely intended as a good-natured joke, so I don’t really see its importance in the current conversational context.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  59. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I obviously have my priorities wrong.

    I tend to think of things like rigging intelligence to justify a war to depose a largely-secular Muslim dictator without any plan for the aftermath, ushering in chaos and death and the rise of Islamist extremism and the needless deaths of Americans as a Bad Thing and a failure of foreign policy.

    Instead, I should focus on how people have vague, generalized happy feelings towards the US.

    What a great demonstration of mad diplomatic skillz.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  60. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Tillman: Interesting read. Thank you for the link.

    One thing still comes out, though: both Trump and Adams have, so far, succeeded in their goals. Succeeded wildly. And as the saying goes, nothing succeeds like success.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  61. Ed says:

    “Potential” = speculation and a waste of time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  62. @Jenos The Deplorable: I am not going to argue in favor of the Libya policy, but that was never my position in the first place.

    I will note:

    1) This comment is your typical deflection: snarky, unclear, and acting as if the snark + a link equals an argument. It does not. Make your case, provide evidence, provide reasons: that is how you construct an argument.

    2) We have gone from our claim of pretty much a global evaluation on your part (“Can you cite somewhere where our foreign relations have improved over the last eight years? Can anyone?”) to two specific example that were ill chosen (the UK Brexit vote and some weird claim about a US NGO, Obama, and the Knesset elections) to Libya. You want to criticize Libya, have at it (although you really don’t make a case).

    3) As usual, when your talking points are refuted you just ignore that and move on to something else.

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  63. @Jenos The Deplorable:

    One thing still comes out, though: both Trump and Adams have, so far, succeeded in their goals. Succeeded wildly. And as the saying goes, nothing succeeds like success.

    And what does this mean?

    If it means that more successful people should be taken more seriously than unsuccessful people, I think you had better rethink that position or it means that Michael Reynolds automatically wins all arguments with you.

    If it means that you have an unhealthy admiration for people who make a lot of money, I would suggest reassessing that as well, because the wealthy can be wrong.

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  64. @Ed:

    “Potential” = speculation and a waste of time.

    Not in the least. Surely before voting for a president you assess the potential outcomes of their presidency?

    It is not difficult to get a sense of how Trump will behave in office, at least in terms of knowledge, temperament, management style, and so forth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  65. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The article doesn’t even support your assertions. (It contradicts them, in fact).

    This seems to be a common trait with Jenos.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  66. Wr says:

    @michael reynolds: Hey, I’m a college professor and I’ve been calling him a moron for years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  67. DrDaveT says:

    Trump is not predictable (at least not in ways relevant to this conversation) and it is wholly unclear he is committed to any specific values-based set of behaviors (aside from self-aggrandizement).

    On the contrary — Trump is eerily consistent in his set of behaviors:

    1. Establish trust with a group of supporters / colleagues / employees / spouses
    2. Extract tangible support from them (money, labor, public words, sex) in a joint venture
    3. Fold the venture at a moment calculated to benefit Trump but damage the others
    4. Find a new set of suckers
    5. Lather, rinse, repeat

    Is there any doubt how Trump would treat Europe, or what the long-term consequences would be?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  68. anjin-san says:

    Global support for US President Barack Obama appears to have lasted through his two terms in office, a survey of 18,000 people for the BBC suggests.

    More than 70% of people in 18 countries polled by Globescan think that his election was a good thing.
    Of the 19 countries surveyed, only the Russians had a negative view of him, with an approval rating of 18%.
    Countries with strong pro-Obama sentiments included Kenya, South Korea, the UK, France and Australia.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36742266

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  69. @anjin-san: Don’t bother with facts, Jenos has now concluded that polling data that demonstrates he was wrong about improved relations is of no use and he has moved on to other topics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  70. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    nothing succeeds like success.

    I’m curious, who is the most successful person you know personally? You don’t have to name names – just give us an idea. Fortune 500 CEO? Hall of Fame athlete? Manager at a Taco Bell?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  71. David M says:

    The Libya intervention also needs to be evaluated against a realistic no-intervention outcome (possibly another Syria) rather than a fantasy model democracy.

    https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2016/04/12/everyone-says-the-libya-intervention-was-a-failure-theyre-wrong/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  72. anjin-san says:

    @David M:

    Well, we could have just left a mass murderer of Americans to live his life in luxury, with no fear of justice reaching him. Clearly some folks were good with that…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  73. stonetools says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Jenos shows the sorry effects of living in the right wing bubble.
    I’m sure that his talking points are considered irrefutable world beaters inside the right wing circles. They always fall part instantly when subjected to objective analysis and fact checking, over and over again. It’s astonishing, really.
    What’s sad is that there are millions of people out there, swallowing this nonsense as served up by Fox News, Pajamas Media, conservative talk radio, and the rest of the right wing media universe. And they aren’t even hearing or seeing the refutation or understanding that this right wing gobbledygook is just dead wrong.
    I’m honestly beginning to wonder if American democracy can survive this state of affairs, where tens of millions of voters are living in a kind of bearded Spock mirror universe where their wrongheaded views aren’t even challenged.
    At least Jenos show up here to get his dose of reality. I think of those who don’t show up and shudder.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  74. Anjin-san says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    If successful people are more credible, Michael Bloomberg is what, about 12 times more credible than Trump?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  75. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: And yet, you felt it necessary to address the issue. Interesting…

    Actually, I just like writing “click” when you say something noteworthily inane. (I’m also surprised at how many upvotes it triggers.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  76. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: This is why I’ve decided to leave it at “click.” It seems to irk him without giving him a chance to extend his more-than-opaque thoughts.
    He’s reduced to “I’M NOT LISTENING! NEENER-NEENER!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  77. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: I’ve posted on this too many times already, but I just have to do this…

    Click.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  78. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: Gawd! I’m going to hate myself but…

    Click.

    [I’ve really got to stop reading this thread…Jenos is on a “comedy goldmine” tear.]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  79. slimslowslider says:

    this was hilarious. thank you all for much needed fun.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  80. al-Alameda says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    Let me guess the answer: all the bad things happened because of Bush, Obama/Clinton/Kerry were given a very bad position and kept things from going even worse, and we need to continue the policies because shut up.

    The Bush decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 was the worst foreign policy blunder since LBJ used the “Gulf of Tonkin Incident” to get congressional approval to widen the war in Vietnam and send 400,000-500,000 troops to Vietnam. Bush completely destabilized the region, ceded more regional power to Iran, and caused to rise of ISIS.

    So yes, it’s not farfetched to posit that Obama/Clinton/Kerry were bequeathed a very bad position. I still do not think we should have taken on the Libyan struggle, but, unlike Republicans I do not believe that the death of 4 Americans in Benghazi is a worse outcome that the death of 4,000 Americans in Iraq.

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