As Trump Withdraws Into Fortress America, The World Moves On
President Trump has alienated America's allies and friends, and they are acting accordingly.
As Donald Trump continues to pursue an “America First” policy that seems to mainly involve alienating long-standing American allies, except, of course, Israel while cozying up to dictators in nations such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and The Philippines, the rest of the world is moving on:
WASHINGTON — President Trump is arriving at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to explain his “America First” approach at a moment when the world is moving ahead with a trade agenda that no longer revolves around the United States.
The world marked a turning point in global trade on Tuesday, when 11 countries agreed to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, announcing they had finalized the pact and expected to sign a deal on March 8 in Chile. It was a remarkable moment for a beleaguered agreement that was conceived and constructed by the United States, then abandoned by Washington when Mr. Trump took office last year.
As the world’s largest economy and architect of many international organizations and treaties, the United States remains an indispensable partner. But as the global economy gains strength, Europe and countries including Japan and China are forging ahead with deals that do not include the United States.
Thirty-five new bilateral and regional trade pacts are under consideration around the world, according to the World Trade Organization. The United States is party to just one of them, with the European Union, and that negotiation has gone dormant. The United States is also threatening to withdraw from one of its existing multilateral agreements — the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada — if it cannot be renegotiated in the United States’ favor.
“Maybe there was some sort of presumption on the part of the president and his team that if the U.S. said stop, this process would come to a halt,” said Phil Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and an economist in the George W. Bush administration. “What this shows is that’s not true. The world just moves on without us.”
In July, Japan signed a wide-ranging new trade deal with the European Union — a step the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, referred to as hoisting “the flag of free trade high amidst protectionist trends.” The European Union pushed ahead with a major update to its agreement with Mexico, while China pursued a pan-Asian agreement, among other deals.
Business interests in the United States are watching with alarm as other countries strike agreements that exclude American exporters. For example, ranchers in Canada and Australia will be able to sell beef at lower prices in Japan than their American competitors, who will be subject to higher tariffs because the United States is not party to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Kent Bacus, the director of international trade and market access for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said Tuesday that the United States’ withdrawal was “a missed opportunity for the United States to gain greater access to some of the world’s most vibrant and growing markets.”
“This one was really about America’s role in the Pacific, and I think pulling out was a signal we’re not as interested,” said William Reinsch, the Scholl Chair in International Business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former Clinton administration official. “The president can say whatever he wants, but the way this is being perceived is as a pullback of American influence.”
The Trump administration has pushed back against claims that the America First doctrine is isolationist and it is ceding global leadership. While advisers have continued to criticize global institutions, they insist their goal is to improve, not destroy, them.
“We’re going to the World Economic Forum to share President Trump’s economic story and to tell the world that America is open for business,” Gary D. Cohn, who heads the White House National Economic Council, said in a briefing on Tuesday. “America First is not America alone.”
Mr. Trump and his advisers say that the United States will be pushing ahead with new trade deals — ones that will ultimately be better for American companies and their workers.
“We’ll be doing other trade deals,” Mr. Trump said Monday as he signed an order imposing tariffs on imports of washing machines and solar modules. “We’re in the process of negotiating with other countries, also, all of which have treated us very unfairly.”
Yet the willingness of countries to engage with the United States is unclear. For many, a relationship with the Trump administration has been a delicate dance: They do not want to risk access to the American market, or raise the ire of the American president.
In Davos, at a forum long considered the center for globalization, the administration’s America First message has not been entirely well received. On Wednesday, comments by Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, that American troops were “coming to the ramparts” in what he called a continuing global trade war prompted blowback from other state leaders.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany warned on Wednesday that “protectionism was not the answer” and called right-wing populism a “poison,” in a speech largely seen as a rebuttal to Mr. Trump before his expected speech on Friday. “We think that shutting ourselves off, isolating ourselves, will not lead us into a good future,” Ms. Merkel said.
Canada has also contrasted its approach with that of the United States. Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian foreign minister, said she was worried about movements around the world that have blamed trade and immigration for the hollowing out of the middle class, and that Canada was “doubling down” on its openness to trade and immigrants. “It’s partly a statement about our values. But we also think it is a really great economic benefit to us as well,” she said.
So far, it is unclear which countries the United States could be courting to create new trade deals. Britain has expressed interest in a bilateral deal with United States, but talks could not begin until it finishes extricating itself from the European Union, which does not look likely to be resolved soon.
Japan, the preferred partner for many American businesses, appears to have spurned the United States’ offer to forge a trade deal one on one, after Mr. Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
And China has tried to position itself as a global leader — a sharp change from the early 1990s, when the leader at the time, Deng Xiaoping, cautioned his countrymen to “hide your strength and bide your time.”
China has set about building its own vision of an international order, including an Asian investment bank to rival the World Bank, and its global infrastructure project, One Belt One Road. At last year’s meeting in Davos, President Xi Jinping of China portrayed his country as a global leader and vigorously defended free trade — a position some considered ironic for a country that maintains sharp controls on many industries.
As Peter Goodman of The New York Times notes, this pushback is most noticeable from some of America’s oldest and most stalwart allies in Europe:
DAVOS, Switzerland — French President Emmanuel Macron laid claim to the mantle of leader of the free world on Wednesday, with an ambitious speech before a packed assembly at the World Economic Forum.
He sought to place France at the center of a mission to revamp global capitalism while spreading its spoils more equitably, forging a mode of commerce centered on innovation, yet bearing protections for workers set back by change.
Mr. Macron’s hourlong speech before the annual gathering of the world’s wealthy and powerful in the Swiss Alps came on the same day that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni issued their own forceful speeches toward advancing European integration, while defending the notion of international cooperation.
Collectively, they signaled that Europe — only a year ago dismissed as a crippled economic realm fraught with political recrimination — has regained force. Europe’s leaders left no doubt that they aim to channel their newfound economic strength toward advancing the project of European integration first launched in the middle of the last century, seen as an antidote to the brutalities of two world wars.
President Trump was not in the room (he is not due to speak here until Friday). But the shadow of his America First policies hung heavily. The three speeches resonated as a broad rebuttal of the doctrine that Mr. Trump has made his own.
In contrast to Mr. Trump’s pullback from international trade agreements and his renouncing of the Paris climate accord, the European leaders emphasized their commitment to prosperity through global commerce.
In place of Mr. Trump’s unilateralism, the three European leaders pledged to strengthen the bonds of the European Union and the 19 nations that use the euro currency.
They underscored their commitment to multilateral approaches as the salve to trouble, including widening economic inequality, terrorism and the ravages of climate change.
“If we want to avoid this fragmentation of the world, we need a stronger Europe, it’s absolutely key,” Mr. Macron declared. “France is back. France is back at the core of Europe, because we will never have any French success without a European success.”
A year ago in Davos, the role of world-leading defender of globalization fell to Chinese President Xi Jinping. His address followed Britain’s shocking decision to leave the European Union, and only days before Mr. Trump’s inauguration.
To an audience fearful that the global, rules-based trading system was unraveling, Mr. Xi’s commitment to internationalism drew a mixture of relief and acclaim. But China was at best a compromised claimant to that role, given its preferential credit for state-owned companies, its theft of intellectual property and its jailing of dissidents and journalists.
Mr. Macron put forth his own credentials as a leader singularly able to help guide Europe and the global economy.
“Our vision, our DNA in terms of the relationship between freedom and the furtherance of individual rights, is unique,” Mr. Macron said.
He described a sense of responsibility to translate French values into a form of capitalism that can deliver growth along with increased opportunities for middle-class and working people.
“It’s a transformational moment for Europe,” said Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund. “There is clearly determination to deepen European governance. These leaders do believe in the rule of law. They do believe in globalization.”
Another example of this phenomenon of the world moving on from Trump’s withdrawal, of course, can be found in the announcement earlier this week that Canada had completed negotiations with ten Pacific Rim nations to form a revised version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that President Trump withdrew the United States from just over a year ago. It can also be seen in the manner in which the leaders of nations such as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany have sought to distance themselves and their nations from President Trump and his rhetoric. In addition to the signs noted in the articles linked above, we’ve also seen some signs from these nations that they are questioning just how committed a United States led by Donald Trump is to things such as the collective defense provisions of the NATO Treaty and how much the United States can be relied on to continue to lead the world in the manner it has since the end of World War Two in the era of a President who seems more committed to a “go it alone” strategy than any in modern memory.
These impressions that Trump has created can only be reinforced by the actions he’s taken since becoming President. In addition to his actions with respect to the much-anticipated Trans-Pacific Partnership, Trump’s first year has seen a number of actions suggesting that the United States is effectively turning its back on the rest of the world. In addition to withdrawing from TPP, Trump also fulfilled other campaign promises when he withdrew from the Paris Climate Accords, and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital notwithstanding the outstanding issues regarding its status. The later decision was roundly criticized at the time by allies such as the United Kingdom and France, both of whom continue to hold the position formerly taken by the United States that the final status of Jerusalem is something that can only be decided as part of a comprehensive peace deal between Israel and decided to decertify Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. In response to this, the European allies who were involved in hammering out the deal along with the United States have all made clear that they accept the statements by the International Atomic Energy Association that Iran is complying with its obligations under the agreement and that they would not be going along with the United States in trying to renegotiate or scrap the agreement. Furthermore, on his two biggest foreign trips during his first year in office to Europe and Asia, During both trips, both his behavior and his rhetoric have come across in the worst possible respect and he has managed to most especially irritating to people living in the nations that have historically been some of America’s most important allies. Most recently, of course, he referred to immigrants from African nations and from other nations such as Haiti as coming from “shithole” countries.
All of this has sent a message that the United States under Donald Trump, while it won’t be adverse to taking military action abroad, will be one that withdraws itself from the role this nation has had in the world for seventy years now. The consequences of that are likely to be widespread and, in the long run, not in the best interests of the United States. First of all, such a withdrawal likely means that the world will become a more dangerous place, both in general and for the United States itself. Second, as Trump withdraws the U.S. from the world, other nations will no doubt step in to fill the gap. To the extent those nations include long-standing American allies such as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany that’s not necessarily a bad thing since those nations tend to share our values and tend to want to pursue the same goals in the rest of the world that we do. However, the biggest beneficiary of Trump’s policies is likely to be China, which has already been working to expand its worldwide influence and prestige not just in Asia but in far-flung areas such as Africa and even to some extent in Central and South America in the form of trade and financial investments that are distinct changes from the way the Chinese have acted in the past.
The most important consequence of all this, though, is the fact that this withdrawal will likely mean that it will become far more difficult for the United States to achieve its own goals around the world. Contrary to the way that President Trump and his supporters seem to think, the alliances and relationships that we’ve formed over the seventy years since World War Two ended have made it possible for us to advance American interests in significant ways. Trade agreements such as NAFTA and the World Trade Organization have strongly benefited the American economy, and it’s in the best interests of the United States to liberalize trade throughout the world. Instead of doing that, Trump is attempting to renegotiate NAFTA and has even talked about withdrawing from that agreement, although that seems unlikely given the extent to which the agreement is favored by American industry, the agricultural industry, and even many American labor unions. More recently, Trump imposed huge new tariffs on foreign-made washing machines and solar panels, a move that will only serve to make these products more expensive for America. Finally, it’s worth noting that these alliances and relationships have helped America in other ways. The collective defense provisions of the NATO Treaty, for example, have only been invoked once in its history, and that was in the wake of the September 11th attacks. Because of this, we managed to secure significant international cooperation and assistance in connection with the fight against jihadist-inspired terrorism. Such international cooperation has also been of great assistance in our efforts to impose sanctions on North Korea and against Iran related to both its nuclear research program and its ballistic missile program. President Trump’s policies threaten to make all of that much more difficult in the future.
Donald Trump won’t be President forever, of course. He’ll be out of office at some point, whether that comes in 2021 or 2025, and whoever follows him will have a lot of repairing to do when it comes to America’s relationships with the rest of the world. The only question is whether it will be too late at that point.
Anyone notice the similarities between the USA and the U.K. at present? We’re taking our marbles out of the game and going home; the Brits are doing something similar by withdrawing from the EU. We have a daft idiot running the place in the form of Trump (and the Republican Party who thinks what he is doing is just dandy), the UK has a cunning idiot in the form of Boris Johnson and a lump of Tories who are perfectly happy in getting out of the EU notwithstanding all the damage this will do to the UK economy. Both Brexit and the 2016 POTUS vote can be seen as screams of rage by a certain emotive section of the native populace, notwithstanding that neither Trump nor the Tories are going to actually provide what they promise. And finally, nobody on either side wants to admit that they made a big, big mistake. They’d rather the US lose power/the UK economy go down the drain than admit they were royally manipulated into a stupid decision.
Oh, and each are dreaming of Empire 2.0, in spite of the fact that it isn’t 1950/1850 any more.
At some point don’t even Trump’s followers ask: Does the international system built under the leadership of US presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Johnson, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama perhaps benefit the US somehow?
Despite years of hearing/reading populist conservatives rail against Obama “alienating” our allies and embarrassing us abroad, I wish I could say their current silence on Trump’s handling of diplomatic relations is surprising.
Of course, I also suspect that for the most part, “allies” really came down to “Israel” in their mind. Hence their support of Trump.
Maybe also the UK, provided the government was conservative leaning at the time.
@Kathy:..At some point don’t even Trump’s followers ask:…
That’s a joke, right?
@Kathy: That would depend entirely on your definition of “U.S.” If you’re in the top 10% then the answer is, slightly-to-massively as you go up the income distribution. For everyone else, almost certainly not. The welfare of American society is not a concern in the decaying post-War order that is moving past its expiration date. I find odd the notion that “America” (whomever that may be) should try and cling to global dominance like a bitter old man angry the world is changing around him.
@Kathy: @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: @Mister Bluster:
Here’s the response to your query from an arch-Trumpkin at Lucianne.com:
“I trust President Trump, Wllbur Ross, Lightizer–our economic team–far more than I trust [Investors Business Daily, which has pointed out the flaws in Trump’s plan and knowledge.] Should not have left out Mnuchin and Cohn. Our economic team is stellar. Know what they’re doing.”
You can’t argue sanely with people who devoutly believe that Trump is omniscient.
@Matt Bernius: First And Most Important Principle Of Politics: It’s wrong ONLY when the other party does it.
There’s been no president with prior foreign policy experience since Bush the elder. Perhaps since there’s no real ever-present threat of global conflict and nuclear war, people think foreign policy ins’t at all important, regardless of Gulf War I and II, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Balkans, Somalia, Panama, and who knows how many other low-intensity US combat operations elsewhere. Not to mention issues of trade, the economy, and even immigration and drugs.
That said, Clinton, Bush the younger, and Obama did passably in learning foreign policy on the job. Trump hasn’t, and doesn’t seem interested in learning.I’d argue most Americans don’t have much of a grasp of foreign affairs and don’t want to. The combination of an ignorant president (or trump) and a vociferous, strong, base just as ignorant is proving deadly to US global leadership.
It’s hard to conceive of a threat to the US that wouldn’t worry any other countries. But with continuing disengagement, that will change. I wonder what allies America will be able to count on then. Russia and China? Maybe the Philippines?
@CSK: Perhaps they can argue insanely among themselves and come to reasonable conclusion.
I know. but stranger things have happened.
@Ben Wolf: Even if I agree with you that the U.S. should not still be trying to hold onto its role as the dominant world power (and FWIW, I do agree with you on that), does it follow that we should burn our bridges with our allies? Surely there are more to the relationships we’ve built with other countries since WWII than financial benefits to the 1% and U.S. hegemony?
I find the analogy puzzling; what is to be gained by ceding respect, credibility, and leadership, in the world?
Sometimes you sound like a college sophomore. The reason to cling to power is because we’ve been a relatively benign hegemon and the wanna-be hegemon waiting in the wings rather notoriously jails, tortures and murders people who disagree with it. Someone always occupies the top spot, and right now the choices are A) The USA, B) China. You want A or do you want B? Do you really think (B) will result in a better world?
OTOH: A US carrier is scheduled to visit Da Nang in Viet Nam and Japan will use its Defense Forces to support US naval forces in the Pacific. Trump has praised the UK and foresees large increases in trade and France’s Pres. Macron will be Trump’s guest at this first state dinner.
BTW: Which national leader, anywhere in the world, does not put his/her national interest first?
I admit that I held my nose and voted for Trump and like many others, I discount the rants because chaos is fun for Trump. I look instead to what he’a accomplished. REAL tax reform benefiting the middle-class, reduced illegal immigration, reduced regulation and fewer bureaucrats, wages climbing and unemployment numbers not seen in years. In minorities, low unemployment numbers that are a first of their kind.
Domestically– do you guys really think that Middle Americans will ignore those $1,000 bonuses? Nancy Pelosi dismissed them as “crumbs” yet took pains in late December to try to preserve tax breaks for two of her multi-million-dollar homes one last time before the new tax law kicked in.
BTW: Pelosi is estimated as having a net worth of $100 million and is a true top 1%-er.
No one has a problem with Trump putting America’s interests first. It would be a welcome change. Of course first he’d need some history lessons, some poli sci, some econ, and of course a moral core of some sort. So far he’s faithfully served the interests of Russia and China. He’s damaging the US – damaging in ways that we may not recover from – while massively strengthening Xi and Putin. There’s a reason US prestige and support abroad has fallen like a fucking cinder block thrown from a skyscraper.
No one has a problem with Trump putting America’s interests first. It would be a welcome change. Of course first he’d need some history lessons, some poli sci, some econ, and of course a moral core of some sort. So far he’s faithfully served the interests of Russia and China. He’s damaging the US – damaging in ways that we may not recover from – while massively strengthening Xi and Putin. There’s a reason US prestige and support abroad has fallen like a cinder block thrown from a skyscraper.
@Kathy: Trump’s followers? No, they don’t. All those guys you mentioned are part of the problem to which Trump is the solution. And at the end of his term in office they will say that it was just too late to save the situation.
@John430: You really believe that Trump is doing a good job. Wow! I’m just gobsmacked! Really!
I thought you were just playing a troll on the interwebs.
@michael reynolds: Sure, the U.S. is benign. If by benign you ignore the millions it killed in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East. The governments it has overthrown. The peasants slaughtered by U S. trained and directed death squads. The brutal dictators it has installed to protect the interests of American corporations in Iran, Europe, Central and South America. The invasion and destruction of Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen. The millions dead in a unilaterally imposed global drug war. The tens of thousands of American soldiers and civilians deliberately exposed to radiation as part of an experiment. The building of an arsenal to wipe out life on the planet. The prevention of any effort to halt a global mass extinction. Torture programs and assassinations in all violation of our constitutional and treaty obligations. Legal slavery continuing within its own borders.
And I almost forgot: it started the Cold War. All very benign of course.
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl: I don’t think it’s an issue of ceding. We’ve squandered the world’s good will since the Clinton Administration. Growing dislike and fear of the U.S. has been the trend for two decades now. All Trump has really done is take the mask of respectability from a country thst can find six trillion dollars for a Forever War but can’t find a few billion to save Detroit or end homelessness. He’s making us see ourselves the way everybody else already did.
That’s why I don’t find Trump to be an outlier in American policy. Is Trump outrageous? Of course. But how is it more outrageous than previous Presidents who ordered the CIA to help right-wing movements in the south, torture and murder Jesuit priests who dared to teach peasants that they should have rights and God loves them?
@michael reynolds: Are you a holdover LSD freak? How is Trump benefiting Putin? The US has approved the $10.5 billion sale of a Patriot anti-missile system to NATO ally Poland. Eastern European NATO states have been ramping up their military capabilities in the face of perceived Russian aggression.
This week:CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — For the first time, Japan has defended U.S. military aircraft under security legislation passed in 2016 allowing its Self-Defense Forces to aid American military units. This, along with a US aircraft carrier docking in Viet Nam is a strong message to China.
BTW: Little noticed is a United States defense build-up in Australia’s Northern Territory and is being welcomed by local businesses and watched closely by wary northern neighbors, as some of the world’s deadliest fighter aircraft arrive.
Mike: you gotta get more info from other than NPR.
@Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: I’m just gobsmacked! Really!
Well, in your part of the world, ignorance really is bliss Family intermarriage does slow you down.
@Ben Wolf: Korea? The UN against Norks AND Chinese Communists. Viet Nam: Multilateral defense by many ASEAN countries.The Middle East? Ruled by misanthropes on killing sprees.
Millions slaughtered? I give you Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. I raise you one Saddam Hussein and two mad mullahs. Cold War? Started when your hero, Stalin, refused to leave the territories it liberated/conquered during WWII. Go back to your kindergarten class. Recess is over.
I know the list as well as you do. Add it all up, multiply it by three, and it still doesn’t touch what China lost in just one of their civil wars. It certainly doesn’t touch the Roman or Mongol empires. Hitler and Stalin? Please. I doubt it matches the British empire. Relative to our power we aren’t a tenth of a Cyrus and he was a good guy. (Seen any Medes lately?)
Relative, Ben, relative to. There’s a reason I wrote, “relatively benign hegemon”, I a was pretty obviously rating us relative to other states that have had empires or hegemonies.
The world has never been more free, better fed or more educated and connected. We’ve done what the Romans did, we took a fractured world and made roads. And killed some people. We’re not comparing Sunday schools, we’re comparing powers that rose to dominate a significant portion of the globe. No one gets there with clean hands, and ours are bloody, but even in destruction there is relativity.
The danger now is not some overawing America, but a failing America. That’s what will get people killed in this century.
Are you aware that Trump has still not imposed the Russian sanctions Congress ordered?
Are you aware that Trump ordered a complete rewrite of the GOP plank on Ukraine to favor Russia?
Are you aware that Trump is the first US POTUS ever to call NATO obsolete or to question our commitment?
Are you aware that Trump’s first National Security Advisor is now a felon because he lied about contacts with Russians and other foreigners?
Ditto Special Advisor to Trump, Mr. Panagopolous?
Are you aware that Kushner used phony Russian buyers to inflate the value of property to get illegal loans?
Are you aware that
I could go on. But above all, are you not aware of the fact that our president is an international laughingstock? They laugh at Trump, John. They snicker behind his back. They quickly Purelle their hands after being required to shake his hand. The smart people know that Kim outplayed Trump. They know he was bought by the Chinese. They know he’s a Russian tool. They know he’s lying about his wealth in a pathetic attempt at self-aggrandizement. They have psychological evaluations of Trump that include words like, “Stupid,” and, “ignorant,” “ill-informed,” and “childish. The same things his staff say about him.
The whole world knows, John. No one is fooled but you. Here, read this.
Here’s what you believe. You believe all the smart, successful people are wrong. You think the FBI is wrong. You think the CIA is wrong, and the GCHQ and the NSA, all wrong. The heads of every foreign state: wrong. The media: wrong. People with degrees: wrong. Professionals: wrong. The intelligentsia: wrong.
And who is right? A bankrupt game show host. And his fans: Evangelicals, old white people and Nazis.
Look at that. Do you really think you’re right? Everyone here is, I strongly suspect, more accomplished than you. I’ll take a guess and say we’re all better off. But you’re right, and we’re all wrong. Which begs the question: if you’re so right, dude, how are you so screwed? Why are you so pissed off?
This does not end the way you think it does. You don’t win. You end up as either a gullible fool or a creep for supporting Trump. You never live this down, you go to your grave as a fool or a creep.
@michael reynolds: Sanctions have until this weekend to be addressed.(1-29). I do not make any excuses for Mike Flynn. He was a highly respected three star general who fell all over his ego and greediness.
As to: The smart people know that Kim outplayed Trump. They know he was bought by the Chinese. They know he’s a Russian tool. Maybe you and a few of your friends in California think so but you remind me of the Birchers of the 60’s who saw Communist conspirators under every bed.
As to my accomplishments: I have an outdated degree in Biology and fell into the medical hi-tech world just out of college. That eventually segued into hi-end computer sales and I made a lot of money in the international markets that allowed me to retire to Texas (a Red State, natch) where my dollars buy a helluva more than the West Coast ever did. E.G. Sold my $950K Northwest home and bought a better and bigger one down here for $400K. You are looking through the wrong end of the telescope, I think.
@michael reynolds: As a postscript- Good job at letting the air out of that gas bag, Ben Wolf.
@Matt Bernius: “Despite years of hearing/reading populist conservatives rail against Obama “alienating” our allies and embarrassing us abroad, I wish I could say their current silence on Trump’s handling of diplomatic relations is surprising.”
All right-wing propaganda is Freudian projection. I have not seen a single exception.
Oh? Were Birchers supported in their beliefs by the CIA, FBI, GCHQ, MI6, the governments of all our major allies, the media, the former chairman of the GOP, John McCain, Jeff Flake, every mainstream GOP pundit and the majority of educated Americans? No, duh, because Birchers were crazy. In your analogy you’re the Bircher. You have to be deaf, dumb, blind and stupid not to see that the GOP is desperately trying for a cover-up. Which means that you can add the GOP to the list of people who know Trump is dirty. There is no alternative explanation that fits the facts, none at all.
Let me give you a little preview of you. You’ll shift with amazing speed from, “All laws must be obeyed!” (when it’s about Mexicans) to, “So what if Trump is guilty of multiple felonies, he was elected!”
You know you’re going to. And when you do I’ll be there to remind you. I look forward to it.
@John430: WHAT $1000 bonuses?! Certainly they haven’t landed on my desk!
I’m going to be lucky if I don’t end up paying MORE in taxes!
@michael reynolds: I think comparing the benevolence of the U.S. with the Mongol Empire is not going to produce a result favorable to your premise. Firstly, whether a Mongol impales us or the U.S. vaporizes us in a firestorm, or causes us to die from an infection because it bombed our only pharmaceutical plant, we’re just as dead. Secondly, because global population today is vastly greater than even a hundred years ago, the U.S. government is by sheer mathematics responsible for more deaths, both directly and indirectly through the proxies it routinely uses to give itself deniability.
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