Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The View From Abroad

There is one area that the President of the United States has great constitutional authority and that is in foreign affairs.  That is because the office was designed to speak as one voice for the American people.  Declarations of war were supposed to be run through Congress, so the people could voice their preference, but foreign policy and the military are the province of the President.

The damage that Trump is doing and will continue to do as commander in chief will be hard to calculate.  In the past week he has insulted the British and the Germans and his Secretary of State has threatened war on the Korean Peninsula.

The "global north" (Europe, Japan and other developed economies) have long marveled at the whipsaw nature of our politics.  Most of those countries reside comfortably to the left of America's center, and so they are naturally more sympathetic to Democrats than Republicans.  But Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were also more committed to the idea of collective security than were George W. Bush and now, obviously, Orange Julius.  Collective security was an American idea, with roots in Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson's ideas of the New Model Treaty.  It was articulated by Woodrow Wilson and implemented by FDR.  There was always a strain of American conservatism that rebelled against it, but important figures from Eisenhower to Nixon to HW Bush all pushed back in important ways against the "America First" mentality.

Even W Bush worked within the pretext of global institutions, as his "Coalition of the Willing" suggested.  Most people saw right through that, but at least he nodded in that direction.

Der Gropenfuhrer - who is most accurately described as the comment section come to life - is intent as a matter of policy to destroy the post World War II order.  Some of this will be done intentionally.  Some of it will be done by his own rank incompetence.

For the first time ever, the rest of the world looks at America not with alarm, but with real fear.

That won't end well for us.

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