Another Question for Trump Supporters

European alliance and Russian goals edition.

So, lets consider the following.  As James Joyner noted this morning, the sitting, Trump-appointed Director of National Intelligence, a former Republican Senator from Indiana spoke at the Atlantic Council and noted the following:

Coats said Russia had conducted cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns with the intent of “degrading our democratic values and weakening our alliances.”

“These Russian actions are purposeful and premeditated and they represent an all-out assault, by Vladimir Putin, on the rule of law, Western ideals and democratic norms,” he said.

“[Putin’s] actions demonstrate that he seeks to sow divisions within and between those in the West who adhere to democratic norms,” he added.

Coats, a former US congressman and senator, delivered a clear warning of Russian attempts to split the transatlantic alliance.

“The Russian threat in particular has awakened Europe to the need to reinvigorate NATO and bolster our collective defenses,” he said. “The Russians are actively seeking to divide our Alliance, and we must not allow that to happen.”

This is not the Mueller folks, or the Fake News Media, or “13 Angry Democrats,” this is a conservative, Republican member of the Trump administration stating that the Russians a) are seeking to influence the mid-terms, and b) want to create divisions in the existing transatlantic alliance.

Meanwhile, at almost the same time, the President of the United States is doing his best to disrupt that alliance, and also was suggesting the divisive notion (to that alliance) that Russia be re-admitted to the G-7.  Worse, he is picking an unnecessary, counter-productive fight with arguably our closest ally in the world, Canada (something one commentator rightly called “the apex of stupidity“).

So, here’s the question for the supporters:  how do you reconcile Trump’s behavior and Coats’ assessment?

How do you deal with the fact that the President of the United States appears to be directly promoting Russian goals in his foreign policy choices?

How does any of this help the United States?

Again, Coats:  “The Russians are actively seeking to divide our Alliance, and we must not allow that to happen.”

And, Trump, a member of that Alliance:

A side question:  why is it that Trump routinely treats our closest allies with disdain?  How is this helpful to US interests?

(I will confess to being more than a little exasperated by the whole thing).

Update:  Chait in New York magazine:  Trump Is Fulfilling Russia’s Dream of Splitting the Western Alliance.

One by one, Trump’s personal relationship with the leader of each major U.S. ally has been fatally poisoned. Angela Merkel, whom Trump had repeatedly taunted and likened to Hillary Clinton during his campaign, was the first major leader to give up on Trump. “It’s difficult to overstate just how enraged Germany is about Trump,” reports Matthew Karnitschnig. Trump’s allies tell one British newspaper he “has grown frustrated with Theresa May’s ‘school mistress’ tone.” (May publicly corrected Trump’s circulation of fake videos blaming Muslims for violence.) Trump “has griped periodically both about German Chancellor Angela Merkel — largely because they disagree on many issues and have had an uneasy rapport — as well as British Prime Minister Theresa May, whom he sees as too politically correct,” his advisers tell the Washington Post.

Macron, who has bent over backwards to flatter and placate Trump, has found his efforts unrewarded. A recent phone call between the two was “terrible,” a source tells CNN. “Macron thought he would be able to speak his mind, based on the relationship. But Trump can’t handle being criticized like that.”

It’s not as if Trump is unable to get along with anybody. He has drawn our country closer to a variety of despots: in the Gulf states, North Korea, China, and of course Russia. There is an element of personality involved here. Trump admires strongmen. “Who are the three guys in the world he most admires?” a Trump adviser told the Post last year. “President Xi [Jinping] of China, [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and Putin. They’re all the same guy.”

Relatedly, strongmen have the ability to deal with Trump in what is euphemistically described as “transactional” terms. China spent hundreds of millions of dollars enhancing the value of a Trump property, and in turn was quickly granted a reprieve for a telecommunications firm that had broken American law. “Those regimes take a transactional approach. Many American allies have relied on appeals to reason, data and shared values,” reports Politico, which also quotes a former Trump official helpfully explaining, “If you’re not a despot, you can’t really be transactional.” This clarifies the euphemism, because of course a democratic leader can be transactional. Democratic countries negotiate transactions all the time. What they can’t do is hand out bribes.

I ask supporters:  how is any of this in the interests of the United States?

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
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. lit3bolt says:

    He’s shaking things up by destroying the postwar Pax Americana. I look forward to trade wars with Europe, Mexico, and Canada, increased Russian and Chinese aggression, my children and grandchildren dying in proxy wars and droughts and hurricanes, and the “royal family of America,” the Trumps, having their inbred, water-brained children dominate politics for the next century.

    “I’m a Trump Republican,” will become the catch phrase of the MBunges and Jenoses for the next few decades, as they beam with pride as Neo-Nazis get elected and become judges and Congressmen.

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  2. TM01 says:

    I’m not necessarily a fan of the pro Russia talk. But I’m not sure how much of that is serious and how much is him tweaking people like you. Which obviously works.

    Of course, I’m old enough to remember when Romney was mocked by people, many who agree with you now (not sure what you said at the time and don’t feel like looking it up), for stating that Russia was our largest Geo political foe.

    Policy wise tho, Trump has been tougher on Russia than Obama was. There has been no reset button, no promise of more flexibility, etc. Trump is all for domestic energy production, which is certainly not in Russia’s interest. Russia is even responsible for a significant amount of funding to anti-frakking groups in this country. Does that count as meddling too?

    And we are coming off an administration that cozied up to dictators like Chavez and Castro. Not to mention his bending over backwards to get anything with the hardliners in Iran. Do you still support staying a part of that deal given their recent admission to helping the 9/11 terrorists?

    And Obama had no issues treating our allies with disdain. He cancelled that missile defense program promised to Poland, breaking our word, seemingly acting at the behest of Russia. And let’s not forget how he treated Israel, even leaving Netanyahu waiting around while he went to eat dinner.

    If the Russian goal was to undermine confidence in our election system, people on the Left are doing a damn fine job of helping Russia.

    I’m all for getting out of bad deals like TPP, climate accord, etc. Big trade deals are really nothing more than a bunch of elites deciding which industries are worthy of protection and expansion. A true free trade deal shouldn’t take more than a few pages to hash out. It’s back to picking which tariffs you want. Climate accords were nothing more than a huge tax for a non problem. We’re glad leaving those pisses off the elites who constantly tell us how much better they are than us.

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  3. CSK says:

    To the list of despots Trump worships, add Duterte.

    And in addition to the Chinese investment of $500 million in the Trump resort and golf club in Indonesia, don’t forget Ivanka’s 13 trademarks.

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  4. PJ says:

    Macron, who has bent over backwards to flatter and placate Trump, has found his efforts unrewarded.

    Macron failed to understand the proper etiquette. There was no briefcases full of untraceable money for Trump, nor did Macron offer to rename Arc de Triomphe Arc de Trump.

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  5. Tom M says:

    TY01 – honest question- is that a parody of talking points?
    Tweaking people
    Romney’s comment (which had a grain of truth) is “truing” up because of trumps actions. It was not inevitable. And it’s a truly bizarre argument to blame person A for not being tougher on person B while your guy is giving away the farm to that same the person B. There is no iota for taking responsiblity for actions – it’s awalys deflections and blame.
    So to Cozying up with dictators – Chavez?! He cozied up to Chavez how, exactly?
    Castro? Changing an ineffective position towards a nation that is 90 miles away and could be a boon economically to the US if frictions waned? That’s bad?
    What about Duarte? What about Erodin?(sp?)
    What about Putin? What about Kim for Pete’s sake?
    As for treating allies with poorly – you forgot the Churchill bust too in your blather. Netanyahu activally worked with Republicans against him and there was still nowhere near the invective from Obama as compared to trump’s nastiness towards trudeau.
    And of course at the end it’s all the left’s fault. Not, you know, the people actually spreading this crap.
    You last paragraph is copypasta of points without any type of intellectual consideration.
    And then elites. Wheee is Soros in your scheme of prefab grievances? You forgot him too, like Churchill.

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  6. PJ says:

    I think the Russians are getting really worried about Mueller, so they are escalating:

    White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday that there is a “special place in hell” for leaders like Canadian Primer Minister Justin Trudeau who, Navarro said, had engaged in “bad diplomacy.”

    “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad diplomacy with president Donald J. Trump and then tries to stop them in the back on the way out the door,” Navarro told “Fox News Sunday”’s Chris Wallace. “And that’s what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference.”

    “That’s what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did, and that comes right from Air Force One.”

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  7. Todd says:

    Shorter @TM01 (and really most Trump supporters):

    So as long as a policy upsets the liberals, even if you’re “not necessarily a fan”, it’s probably okay.

    … and besides, there’s this massive long list of “whataboutisms”

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  8. al Ameda says:

    @TM01:

    Policy wise tho, Trump has been tougher on Russia than Obama was. There has been no reset button, no promise of more flexibility, etc. Trump is all for domestic energy production, which is certainly not in Russia’s interest. Russia is even responsible for a significant amount of funding to anti-frakking groups in this country. Does that count as meddling too?

    So that’s why Trump says we need to bring Russia into the G7 now.

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  9. teve tory says:

    15 years of following the creationists prepared me perfectly for the Trumpers. Ignorant, angry, mad at people who are smarter and better educated, and aggressively lashing out to assuage their hurt fee-fees. The creationists get occasional political victories too, getting someone elected to a school board who objects to the age of the earth and the fossil record and such. The victories are always temporary. Sadly, Trump will do a lot more damage before he passes.

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  10. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PJ:

    Looks like they have their talking point du jour … 🙄

    Everything with these people is intended for domestic consumption. Fundamentally, they’ve proven incapable of moving beyond campaigning to governing. This is all one ongoing campaign rally, with predictable consequences.

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  11. TM01 says:

    whataboutisms

    is nothing more than a way for people like you to act as if everything began with Trump. No history. No precedent. Everything was rainbows and unicorns until Trump came along.

    You act as if you care about “offending” allies now, but didn’t in the past. Because it’s all NEW now. How could you sit by and watch Obama damage decades of good will with our allies? (I will confess to being more than a little exasperated by the whole thing).

    Russia was totes our Friend until Trump.

    You never complained when Obama worked to undo everything GWB did. But now that Trump is undoing Obama….OMG! NORMS! Who knew that a change in political parties would lead to a change in policy direction? Big government forever! The Right Side Of History.

    The idiocy here by people who continue to think they are better and smarter than everyone else is just astounding. You are arrogant, condescending pieces of crap. And I love how Trump lives in your heads.

    But hey. I get it. Change is hard. When faced with change people get bitter and cling to what they know. In this case, you cling to your own perceived Superiority, your belief that you know best for everyone else, even as you see the failures of your policies. Your ideas just need a little more time, or a little more funding, then we’ll all see the benefits and come to realize how wise you truly are.

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  12. teve tory says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Daniel Dale

    Verified account

    @ddale8
    Follow Follow @ddale8

    Asked about Navarro’s “special place in hell” remark about Trudeau, [Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia] Freeland pauses and says, “Canada does not conduct its diplomacy through ad hominem attacks. We don’t think that that is a useful or productive way to do business.”

    10:00 AM – 10 Jun 2018

    Josh Marshall

    Verified account

    @joshtpm
    Following Following @joshtpm

    Worth noting the obvious. Trump and his associates are going bonkers because Trudeau humiliated Trump simply by not giving in to his demands and his threats. That’s the entirety of this story. Full stop.

    10:10 AM – 10 Jun 2018

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  13. Stormy Dragon says:

    why is it that Trump routinely treats our closest allies with disdain

    He sees civility as a sign of weakness. In his mind, if someone is polite, they’re afraid of you; if they’re afraid of you, you should exploit them.

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  14. Mikey says:

    @TM01:

    is nothing more than a way for people like you to act as if everything began with Trump. No history. No precedent. Everything was rainbows and unicorns until Trump came along.

    What an inane, stupid strawman. Nobody is saying that. It’s you, and the rest of the Trumpist whataboutism cult, who simply toss out either entirely unrelated or only peripherally related things, with no context and no expansion beyond what basically boils down to “SEE! YOUR GUY SUCKED TOO.”

    There are certainly fuck-ups on the part of previous administrations, but you don’t draw any historic or political parallels between them and what Trump’s doing. You just go “butwhatabout this thing Obama said?”

    It’s not discussion, it’s a way to kill discussion by turning it to focus on some past event that neither excuses nor justifies what Trump is doing.

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  15. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    To which should be added that he doesn’t believe a deal is a good one unless he walks away with everything and the other side is crushed. A deal in which all parties are satisfied is, to use his word, “crap.”

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  16. @TM01: All of this sounds like the supporter of an alchemist telling a room full of chemists: “just wait, he’ll turn that lead into gold any minute now.”

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  17. @Stormy Dragon: Indeed. But at this point I want some of his supporters to explain why that behavior is a good thing.

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  18. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Because it’s manly. Because it’s tough. Because Trump shows ’em he takes no sh!t from nobody.

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  19. MBunge says:

    It’s kind of sad to see Steven Taylor dumbing things down this way, but it’s not surprising given the trajectory of this blog since Trump descended that escalator.

    1. NO ONE has done more to promote American division than the anti-Trump brigade. They are the ones STILL pursuing an effort to delegitimize a sitting President based on nothing but their own butt hurt.

    2. The job of the U.S. President is to look after the national interests of America and her citizens. Part of that can involve playing nice with other countries but it can equally involve angering other countries if they are engaged in policies that harm the U.S. The other members of the G-7 are now and have been for years engaged in policies that harm the U.S., particularly on trade. It would be one thing to debate the level of that harm vs. the blowback from attempts to address it or the likelihood of those attempts to succeed. As best I can tell, Steven Taylor is utterly disinterested in having anything like that debate. His position pretty clearly seems to be that as long as he and his aren’t the ones getting screwed over in order to make Merkel and company happy, screw away!

    Mike

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  20. PJ says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    He sees civility as a sign of weakness. In his mind, if someone is polite, they’re afraid of you; if they’re afraid of you, you should exploit them.

    And thus he utterly fails at understanding the concept of soft power.

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  21. Also: if I observe that Mr. Jones drives recklessly and, moreover, his tendency to drive on the wrong side of the road is going to get someone killed, then the proper response to that observation is not to say: yes, but remember that time that Mr. Smith got in a fender bender?

    Whether or not Smith once drove poorly has nothing to do with either the quality of Jones’ driving nor will it protect any unfortunate pedestrians that he might mow over.

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  22. MBunge says:

    @Mikey:

    The flaw in your argument is that NO ONE, including Steven Taylor, is saying “People like me created or let these problems fester for years or decades. Let us explain how we’re going to fix them and demonstrate why we should be trusted.” Their argument has been and remains “Shut up an do what we say!” With a little “How dare you even question us!” thrown in.

    If you want to eliminate “whatsboutism,” start dealing with reality instead of just treating Trump like a scapegoat.

    Mike

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  23. MBunge says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Good grief. Mr. Smith in this idiotic argument didn’t get into a fender bender. He’s been causing fatal multi-car collisions ever since he got his driver’s license but is now screaming about Jones being a reckless driver because he MIGHT one day cause an accident, all while Mr.Smith refuses to take driving lessons.

    Mike

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  24. Mikey says:

    @MBunge: What’s kind of funny about your comment here is that Trump is saying pretty much the same stuff you ended with.

    I mean, it’s hard to come up with a better example of “shut up and do what we say, how dare you question us” than what Trump tweeted about Trudeau and the G-7.

    Trump’s not a mere scapegoat, he’s actively continuing the causes of the problems, and what he’s doing will make things exponentially worse for Americans. The hardest hit will be those who support him the most. It’s ironic and sad.

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  25. de stijl says:

    If it was a really bad thing when “Obama sucked up to” Chavez or Castro or whomever, isn’t it also a really bad thing when Trump sucks up to Putin and Kim and Duterte?

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  26. gVOR08 says:

    Well, you asked and you got your answers:
    @TM01: Policy wise tho, Trump has been tougher on Russia than Obama was.
    @MBunge: The other members of the G-7 are now and have been for years engaged in policies that harm the U.S., particularly on trade.
    They live in FOX News Bizarro world. I have no idea how we fix that unless it gets so absurd it implodes.

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  27. An Interested Party says:

    Policy wise tho, Trump has been tougher on Russia than Obama was.

    And we are coming off an administration that cozied up to dictators like Chavez and Castro. Not to mention his bending over backwards to get anything with the hardliners in Iran. Do you still support staying a part of that deal given their recent admission to helping the 9/11 terrorists?

    NO ONE has done more to promote American division than the anti-Trump brigade. They are the ones STILL pursuing an effort to delegitimize a sitting President based on nothing but their own butt hurt.

    If you want to eliminate “whatsboutism,” start dealing with reality instead of just treating Trump like a scapegoat.

    See, this is why it is impossible to have any kind of reasonable discourse with those who support the disaster in the White House…on the one hand, we have someone who doesn’t even deal in reality and seems to have the opinion that as long as the Orange Toddler is smashing things up, it’s good for America…on the other hand we have someone who has his lips so glued to the president’s ass that it’s a wonder he can even breath…anyone who thinks what is going on right now is rational and appropriate is an idiot…”deplorable” doesn’t even begin to describe it accurately…

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  28. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MBunge:

    The other members of the G-7 are now and have been for years engaged in policies that harm the U.S., particularly on trade

    And *pouf*, we see talking point #2 …

    The simple fact of the matter is that these other countries you’re referring to have deployed domestic policies – education of workers, particularly with respect to vocation education a la Dual VET in Germany, support for entrepreneurship, socialized healthcare (better returns, lower cost = less of a drag on economic performance), just to name a few – that position them to better compete economically.

    Instead of whingeing incessantly about how unfair the world is and how everybody is out to get you (which is ludicrous), instead of blaming them for our failures – which seems to be the only course of action you people understand (Johnstown, anyone??) – perhaps you should be asking instead why we aren’t following their example?

    No – these people selected the easiest target in the G7 to shift blame onto (Canada) as a campaign strategy (because campaigning is all they really understand, governing is manifestly beyond their capabilities) precisely because it plays into the tendency of their base (you morons) to blame somebody else for your own failures.

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  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    The flaw in your argument is that NO ONE, including Steven Taylor, is saying “People like me created or let these problems fester for years or decades. Let us explain how we’re going to fix them and demonstrate why we should be trusted.” Their argument has been and remains “Shut up an do what we say!” With a little “How dare you even question us!” thrown in.

    Speaking of blaming other people for your own problems …

    This is the basis of your screeds, isn’t it? Your life sucks and that is somehow our fault.

    A modest suggestion – you should pack up your belongings and get thine ass to Johnstown, PA – as quickly as possible.

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  30. KM says:

    @TM01:

    A true free trade deal shouldn’t take more than a few pages to hash out.

    And this is why people like you get rolled in life and cry about how mean Wall Street ruins your life. If you think an international deal – something affecting millions with thousands of moving, interrelated parts – can be condensed down to “a few pages”, then you deserve getting taken to the cleaners by people smarter then you who can legit say “well, it wasn’t spelled out so it’s not wrong!” Things are put in writing for protection. It’s not there to piss you off or make you feel stupid for not understanding the big words, it’s there so when there’s an inevitable issue there’s clear instructions on what to do. Things like the tax code are huge because someone gets cute, finds a loophole in the “few pages”, they have to write more to close it and the damn thing grows like Kudzu.

    For instance, let’s take copyrights and IP. How’s that going to fit into “a few pages”? If it’s not spelled out how they are to be handled, they don’t have to honor them. A line saying something like “all countries will respect the copyright laws of the originating nation” is problematic because it can conflict with US law and which gets priority?

    The only people who think necessary complexity is bad are people who don’t understand it. It’s very telling when someone goes “why can’t it be just one page?” It’s also a sign of a sucker ripe for the plucking.

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  31. KM says:

    @TM01:

    Russia was totes our Friend until Trump.

    Whatever you’re smoking, put it down because you can’t afford to lose any more brain cells. I don’t know what color sky you are seeing but Earth’s sky is blue, we only have one sun and moon and America and Russia haven’t been “totes BFFs” in my lifetime. At best, we’ve tolerated each other but we’re not allies.

    TRUMP, on the other hand, is very very VERY into Russia. He’s not doing it to troll anyone like you claim; he legit does this on his own for reasons we all should ponder. At some point, refusing to talk about the elephant in the room means it stomps on you when you ignore it walking by.

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  32. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:
    At least Trump gets paid to betray the United States, what’s you excuse?

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  33. MarkedMan says:

    I lived in New Orleans for a while. During Mardi Gras there would always be some jackass balanced at the precise point of inebriation they could still manage to climb to the top of a street light but once up there think it a grand idea to whip it out and piss all over the packed crowd below. Now, it may be true that he occasionally would get a few drops on some *sshole who happened to be in range and really did deserve to be thoroughly pissed on. But only someone with the mentality of a Trump supporter would think that made him a hero.

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  34. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: you’ve just outlined as well the mentality of the Brexiters in the U.K., who think that within the next 9 months they’ll be able to somehow come up with a trade agreement with the EU that gives the Brexiteers all the privileges of belonging to the Common Market but at the same time removes from them all the responsibilities. Oh, and somehow this is at the same time going to keep the non-existent border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland while imposing it at the same time.

    ….guess the US will have to learn the hard way, like the Brits, that stupidity will hurt.

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  35. Mister Bluster says:

    A true free trade deal shouldn’t take more than a few pages to hash out.

    Let’s see it! Post one up!

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  36. Timothy Watson says:

    @KM: What can we expect from people who thought Herman Cain was a great thinker when he promised to not sign any bill longer than 3 pages if elected President?

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  37. Timothy Watson says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Instead of whingeing incessantly about how unfair the world is and how everybody is out to get you (which is ludicrous), instead of blaming them for our failures – which seems to be the only course of action you people understand (Johnstown, anyone??) – perhaps you should be asking instead why we aren’t following their example?

    Given all the Cletus Safaris I keep seeing printed in the Washington Post and New York Times, I have the impression that they don’t have bootstraps in the flyover states or the yokels are too stupid to figure out how to use them.

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  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MBunge: So giving BJs to Putin is in America’s interest. Get in line mf’er, I’m sure trump won’t mind giving up a slot for you.

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  39. al Ameda says:

    @MBunge:

    1. NO ONE has done more to promote American division than the anti-Trump brigade. They are the ones STILL pursuing an effort to delegitimize a sitting President based on nothing but their own butt hurt.

    I suppose that it’s always Kool Aid Time with unconditional Trump supporters.

    Quick question:
    Which current president headed up a 3-year racist Birther investigation of then-president Barack Obama, with the expressed purpose of showing that then-president Obama was not a legitimate president?

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  40. mike shupp says:

    Steve Taylor: What strikes me finally is that there are people in the world who believe, or know, that You Got To Be Tough. The world’s a hard place. Nobody gets it easy. Crap is always happening. There aren’t any real friends out there, just people who pretend. You got to take what you can get or at least earn it, and people who don’t appreciate that hard truth don’t deserve your consideration. A man’s got to stand up to make his way and you give him respect because he’s earned it.

    And so on. Conservative verities, you’ll notice. I think if your mind works this way, Donald Trump looks like a hero to you — a tough man, not taking shit from anyone, getting his way, doing the right sort of stuff that the weaklings before him were too stupid or too cowardly to do. Slapping down the Limeys and the Frogs and the Guineas and Krauts and Japs? They had it coming. Making American liberals unhappy? It’s fun to see so many wusses crying.

    I don’t think you change such attitudes with verbal arguments. I think a lot of blood is going to be spilled before Trump supporters really start to reconsider their choice — a lot of American blood.

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  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: No because Trump isn’t BLACK! DUH!!!!!!

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  42. Pete S says:

    Quick quiz. You run a business and have 3 options to do a deal. You are company A.

    1 Company A makes 2 million, Company B makes 3 million.
    2 Company A makes 1 million, Company B makes 500 thousand
    3 Company A loses 1 million, Company B loses 2 million.

    Donald Trump would choose option 2 and brag. From reading comments from his followers they would choose option 3 every time and be happy because they may be broke but the other guy lost more. Then they would wonder why they are broke and whine about how the world is unfair.

    I think any smart person would choose 1.

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  43. Gavin says:

    I’d disentangle the trade issues from Russia.. they’re not the same.

    Fun fact: Most if not all countries already had significant import taxes on many US goods. How, exactly, is it a “level playing field” for EU to have a 10% tariff on all US cars while US on EU was 2.5%? I don’t like Trump, but this trade issue is one where he’s completely right — he’s just shining a light on something that “wasn’t spoken about” by establishment idiots of both parties. How is Canada’s current level of over 200% tax on US dairy imports in any way a level playing field? They magically “get” to protect theirs while US whimsically shouldn’t?

    Um, no.

    If the G7 is about first-world nations doing business on equal footing, then let’s demand it be equal BOTH WAYS.. and have equal be actually equal, not “other places get the jobs formerly held by the US middle class and the US gets nothing.”

    Are these other countries actually allies, or were they just smiling while being given the jobs of the US middle class?

    In the Bretton Woods regime there is an element of usefulness in the “Buyer of Last Resort” concept.. but the post-WW2 cold war economic rationales for “propping up” internal industry in XYZ other country via these confiscatory import tariffs [on the equivalent item shipped from US into that country] to avoid that country being Taken Over By Communism simply doesn’t exist any more.

    What is the precise VAT for most goods going over the border from US into Canada – something around 13.5% last I checked? This is NOT free trade. I don’t care whether you call it a tax or a tariff — it makes the US good cost more.

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  44. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    The other members of the G-7 are now and have been for years engaged in policies that harm the U.S., particularly on trade.

    See, that’s the real issue here…your statement (talking point) is just categorically wrong.
    One minute Dennison is crowing about the best economy ever (a lie) and the next he is crowing that we are being taken to the cleaners by our allies (a lie).
    Which lie is it Bung?

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  45. teve tory says:

    A true free trade deal shouldn’t take more than a few pages to hash out.

    Where does TardMonkey#1 get these things. Last time I gave blood there were 5+ pages of documents. For one person to give one unit of blood. I would expect international trade agreements to run from hundreds to a few thousand pages.

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  46. Pete S says:

    @Gavin:

    What is the precise VAT for most goods going over the border from US into Canada – something around 13.5% last I checked? This is NOT free trade. I don’t care whether you call it a tax or a tariff — it makes the US good cost more.

    The tax on a good coming into Canada is the same as the tax on a product made in Canada. Why on earth is it unfair to charge the same tax on imports as on domestic products? This fundamental misunderstanding is one of the root causes of Trump blowing up world trade. Please do not repeat this talking point of his as it is really stupid and his advisers inability or unwillingness to make him understand it is becoming harmful.

    And the US tariffs on dairy are about 80%, and the US imports a little cheese and almost no dairy. Your dairy industry is protected as much as ours is, giving your dairy farmers clear access to a market 10 times the size of the market our farmers have access to.

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  47. @Gavin: Well, Trump directly linked Russia to the trade issue when he suggested it be re-admitted to the G-8.

    And without getting into any details, if the Trump administration wants to get into a serious discussion about tariffs, then let’s see it. This petulant behavior in which he creates massive rifts with long-standing allies for not good reason is not constructive.

    Also, the dairy tariff he is so concerned about was dealt with in the TPP that he pulled out of.

    If he wants to change the global tariff structure, pulling out of mechanism the discuss and set them is not the way to go.

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  48. drj says:

    @Gavin:

    I’m sorry, but pretty much everything you wrote is wrong.

    What is the precise VAT for most goods going over the border from US into Canada – something around 13.5% last I checked? This is NOT free trade. I don’t care whether you call it a tax or a tariff — it makes the US good cost more.

    Yes, but Canadian VAT also makes Canadian goods costs more (not coincidentally by the exact same percentage). So the level playing field remains; and hence, you very much can’t call it a tariff.

    How is Canada’s current level of over 200% tax on US dairy imports in any way a level playing field? They magically “get” to protect theirs while US whimsically shouldn’t?

    But the US does protect its dairy market: by a combination of tariffs and quotas.

    If the G7 is about first-world nations doing business on equal footing, then let’s demand it be equal BOTH WAYS.. and have equal be actually equal

    You completely ignore that different countries have different interests and thus want to protect different industries.

    For Germany, its auto industry is very important, hence they negotiated relatively high tariffs. For the US, its auto industry is relatively less important, hence the US has been willing to take lower tariffs on cars. That difference, however, is offset by higher US tariffs on other products.

    According to the World Bank, both the US and EU charge exactly the same average, weighted tariff of 1.6%. So everything evens out at the end.

    Trump, however, has decided to unilaterally upset that balance.

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  49. teve tory says:

    I’ve read before that the US tariff on raw sugar is 88%. I wonder if this is accurate.

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  50. @MBunge: You utterly miss the point.

    What X does now is a good action or a bad action regardless of what Y did in the past.

    But, your defense of Trump, as well as TM01’s, and a few others boils down to “he’s our guy, not your guy” (and you constantly make the mistake that assumes I assess things the same way). All well and good, but that is not a defense, it is just identifying your team as being the most important variable.

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  51. @drj: Indeed: the whole thing is pretty complicated and too many people are getting excited over some talking-point numbers they have heard on TV on read online.

    I am no expert on trade policy, but I do know that we are in an era of historically low trade barriers, which includes tariffs (which doesn’t mean one can’t find individual high numbers)

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  52. SKI says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    your defense of Trump, as well as TM01’s, and a few others boils down to “he’s our guy, not your guy” (and you constantly make the mistake that assumes I assess things the same way). All well and good, but that is not a defense, it is just identifying your team as being the most important variable.

    You have your answer. Tribalism. Party (or ethnic group) over country.
    Or defining “country” to only mean party/ethnic group.

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  53. BTW: none of the Trump supporters even came close to attempting to deal with what DNI Coats, a member of this administration, said. Instead, it is “but what about Obama.”

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  54. Mister Bluster says:

    BTW: none of the Trump supporters even came close to attempting to deal with what DNI Coats, a member of this administration, said. Instead, it is “but what about Obama.”

    I’ll say it so you don’t have to.
    They don’t deal with it because they can’t.
    They just aren’t that bright!

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  55. teve tory says:

    BTW: none of the Trump supporters even came close to attempting to deal with what DNI Coats, a member of this administration, said. Instead, it is “but what about Obama.”

    Defending the indefensible is not easy.

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