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America's Megalomaniac

By       Message Robert B. Reich       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   5 comments

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opednews.com Headlined to H2 5/28/18

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From Robert Reich Blog

From youtube.com: Trump caricature {MID-295081}
Trump caricature
(Image by YouTube, Channel: The Unemployed Chefs)
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I spent last week at a conference in South Korea, during which time Trump went from seeking a meeting with Kim Jong Un to cancelling it, then suggesting it might be back on.

"What does Trump want?" South Korean officials at the conference kept asking me. Notably, no one asked what the United States wants. They knew it was all about Trump.

Trump's goal has nothing to do with peace on the Korean peninsula, or even with making America great again. It's all about making Trump feel great.

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"They are respecting us again," Trump exulted to graduating cadets at the Naval Academy last Friday. "Winning is such a great feeling, isn't it? Nothing like winning. You got to win."

In truth, the United States hasn't won anything, in Korea or anywhere else. After 15 months of Trump at the helm, America is far less respected around the world than it was before.

The only thing that's happened is Trump is now making foreign policy on his own -- without America's allies, without Congress, even without the State Department. Trump may consider this a personal win but it hardly makes America safer.

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Some earnest foreign policy experts are seeking to discover some bargaining strategy behind Trump's moves on North Korea. Hint: There's no strategy. Only a thin-skinned narcissist needing flattery and fearing ridicule.

Trump got excited about a summit with Kim when he thought it might win him praise, even possibly a Nobel Peace Prize. He got cold feet when he feared Kim might be setting Trump up for humiliating failure. Now he's back to dreaming about the Prize.

The delicate balance in Trump's brain between glorification and mortification can tip either way at any moment, depending on his hunches. All international relations become contests of personal dominance.

He rejected the 2015 Iran treaty for no apparent reason other than Obama had entered into it. Trump couldn't care less that by doing so he has harmed relations with our traditional allies, who pleaded with him to stay in. And he's undermined America's future credibility. Why would any nation (including North Korea) enter into a treaty with the United States if it can break it on the whim of a president who wants to one-up his predecessor?

Ditto with the Paris climate accord. Obama got credit for it, so Trump wants credit for unilaterally sinking it.

Trump has demanded that America's nuclear arsenal be upgraded. Why? Since 1970, the United States has been committed to nuclear nonproliferation. What changed? Trump. A more powerful arsenal makes him feel more powerful -- "respected again."

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It's not about American interests in the world. It's about Trump's interests.

Wonder why Trump promised to lift trade sanctions on ZTE, China's giant telecom company? ZTE has been trading with North Korea and Iran, in violation of American policy. Everyone around Trump advised against lifting the sanctions.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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5 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments


Dennis Kaiser

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This "making America safer" B.S. has played itself out. Over the past almost two decades our leaders have been illegally invading foreign sovereign nations, using that "safer" message as a justification all the while we have seen our economy tanked with $Trillions going to the banks, we have seen mass shootings escalate to nearly 1 each day, we have seen the police forces evolve into military forces, we continue to see our infrastructure disintegrate as bridges are collapsing highways are being filled with potholes, we are seeing water supplies contaminated, and we are seeing more resentment from foreign nations, thus making us more unsafe.

This situation you attribute to Trump but be assured it has taken decades to get as low as we are as a nation. Trump is being called ignorant, out of control, and any other negative description you can think of because he is doing things differently than what was done in the past. IMHO knowing how far we have fallen using the actions of those 'leaders' before him a change of direction, not doing the same, may well be in order. Anyone advocating what has been done to get us where we are is the ignorant one as our nation in all respects has declined toward third world status, plus has lost respect from most of the nations on this globe.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 11:59:09 AM

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Janet Supriano

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Well stated comment, Dennis. You covered a lot of broken down territory.

Trump plays the jerk, but they've all been jerks since Kennedy.

So much suffering is the result.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 2:02:40 PM

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Lance Ciepiela

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Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Powell have used fear and the promise of security to pave the way for unlawful and unconstitutional policies - the "familiar sounds of fanaticism".














Submitted on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 4:08:54 PM

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PCM

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Vilifying Trump does nothing for me. Everyone with half a brain has realized by now that he's an ignorant, incurious, narcissistic, self-aggrandizing, mercurial useful idiot for the billionaires and great corporations that own and run our country. They would have preferred a more competent and reliable tool like Hillary -- which is why they backed her campaign overwhelmingly -- but they still preferred Donald the Useful Idiot to Bernie the Rhetorical Enemy. I'm interested only in gaining political representation for the great majority of Americans, and dumping on Trump serves only to distract from the fact that the Democratic Party doesn't represent the working and middle classes any better than the Republican Party does -- not on the big-money issues. The thought of a Blue Wave in 2018 and 2020 doesn't bring me any optimism, just the dread of a slightly slower and more ineffectually opposed slide toward full-fledged plutocratic oligarchy and inverted fascism, as we have experienced under every Democratic-led government since LBJ. Like Russia-baiting, Trump-baiting is not going to rally me to the Democratic Party, which I surmise is Robert Reich's goal in posting this.

As for North Korea, I think the goal of US strategists is to maintain US military bases in South Korea and Japan regardless, in order to maintain the military encirclement of China and Russia. North Korea knows that the US would turn it into a glass parking lot if it attacked South Korea and/or Japan (or the US, for that matter), so I don't think the outcome of any talks is all that important to US strategists, other than for PR value. It's China that's putting the economic screws to North Korea's nuke program, anyway.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 6:16:21 PM

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Gene Engene

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I do think the Nobel Committee will take into account how the awarding of such a prize to such an individual would, no - WILL - so far degrade the prize's worth that it will take at least a decade of awards to genuine advocates of peace to restore it. It was able to get away with the award to HK, in the 70's because so little was known, then, about his involvement in the events that set up the further US involvement in Viet Nam - remember the infamous, not to say notorious 'domino theory'. Now, there is a great deal more transparency, much of it from sources other than those in the US, and Europe, to which the Committee will do well to attend.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 7:56:31 PM

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