“Who, in this moment of abdication of American leadership by the president, will speak for America? Who will speak for American greatness?”—Bill Kristol
Bill Kristol, the Editor-at-Large of the Conservative “Weekly Standard,” posted the words above on Twitter in response to Donald Trump’s temper-tantrum in Brussels, at the NATO conference. His words encapsulate this moment facing America.
Mark Twain’s Book, The Innocence Abroad, or The New Pilgrim’s Progress, published in 1869, was a humorous look about Americans traveling to Europe. One-hundred-forty-nine years later there is a new group of American Pilgrims on the European Continent, but there is nothing funny about the 2018 trip abroad.
Donald Trump shows his unstable ignorance
The petulant Mr. Trump threw a temper-tantrum at the North American Treaty Organization annual conference. Donald Trump demanded our NATO allies double their spending on defense. Like a New York Crime Family Capo shaking down a mark in a protection scheme, he threatened member nations of the alliance which has kept the longest sustained peace in the history of Europe.
Donald Trump is an ignorant man, his time at Wharton notwithstanding. He should not beat the Wharton drum too loudly. The Ivy League Schools are “legacy” institutions. What does that mean? It means if you are related to someone who gained acceptance to the school, you’re in too. There is a much darker side to legacy schools they don’t like to talk about much.
If a family is wealthy, an Ivy School will “work with the family” to get even the most recalcitrant village idiot a piece of paper saying they are graduates. Daddy Warbucks is expected to pay homage to the University Endowment. This link will take you to a 2016 list of the wealthiest University endowments in the USA. Wharton is listed.
What Donald Trump, as well as his I-hear-voices-that-are-not-really-there conspiracy theory base, fail to grasp is that NATO is not a common defense fund. It is an alliance of nations who have pledged to come to one another’s aid if they come under an attack. It is not America paying for the defense of Europe as so many conservatives incorrectly state. We have a treaty obligation to respond to our allies, as they do to us.
They did respond to us in Gulf War 1 and stood with us in Bosnia. Most states took a pass on Gulf War 2, the war about nothing in Iraq. They correctly saw how that venture would destabilize the region and would produce far-reaching consequences that are not in our mutual best interests. They were correct in their assessment.
We need NATO today as much as we did in 1950
America still occupies Europe, and that is a good thing. Over the past one-hundred years, the Russians have been aggressive expansionists. That is not merely historical; it is a current event. As I write these words, Russia is occupying a large chunk of Ukraine.
Putin, who is playing Trump and his base for fools, is trying to put the Soviet Empire together again. His actions in Ukraine have proven he his not one bit shy about using his military to achieve his national ambitions. The Baltic States and Eastern Europe are as vulnerable now as they were in the height of the Cold War.
Donald Trump and his base are a gift to Putin and Russia. Donald Trump, like all protectionists before him, is abdicating America’s leadership in the world. That leadership is why there has not been a World War since 1946.
Ignorance is dangerous, and Donald Trump is an ignorant man.
Who will stand for America’s greatness?
Mr. Kristol’s words are not idle prose. Who is standing up? To my utter dismay, nobody on the Democratic side is taking up the challenge. Senator Bernie Sanders indeed is not the answer. His demonstrated knowledge of foreign policy is about par with Trump. His disdain for the military, a tool of foreign policy to be used as a last resort when diplomacy fails entirely is quite evident. He is almost as much of an isolationist as Trump.
Vice President Joe Biden is making rumblings. He is not the answer either. Joe Biden is an old man. If he were ten years younger, then maybe he could be our standard bearer. He will be 77 years old on Inauguration Day in 2021. We need someone younger.
The torch needs to pass from the Baby-Boomers to our children.
A Republican stands up against Trump
Ironically, the only person who is showing any measure of leadership is Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee. He is standing up against Trump’s trade war, by offering legislation which would rein in the president’s irresponsible trade behavior.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is not showing leadership. His view on Corker’s bill is that he would not want to hamstring the president in negotiations. The president needs hamstringing. In fact, the president needs to be impeached, along with his vice-president. That would make Paul Ryan the President.
There is a scary thought, but less scary than what we have now.
I recall 20 years ago shaking my head in disgust as the Democratic Party excused Bill Clinton’s misogyny because they agreed with his policies. It appears all one has to do to keep the GOP in line is to cut taxes.
Once taxes are cut, and regulations discarded, competence and morality, not to mention our national prosperity and security, are meaningless to the GOP. It is sad that the party of principles has shown they have none.
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Tags: American greatness, Bill Clinton, Bill Kristol, Donald Trump, Donald Trump at NATO, Eastern Europe, Gulf War 2, Gulf War I, Joe Biden, NATO, Paul Ryan, Russia, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Bob Corker, Trump base, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin