Thursday, June 1, 2017

Stupid Planet. Who Needs It?

Screw the Paris Agreement! 

Or so says Donald Trump by backing out of the international effort to protect the global community from catastrophic climate change. Just before he rejected this agreement, two members of his administration pointedly dismissed the idea that there is such a thing as a global community. Let's be real now: to deny that we are part of an international community, albeit an occasionally contentious one, is absolutely loony. However, I am willing to grant that Donald Trump, with his astonishingly shallow and narrow grasp of history, may honestly not understand this fact.

The latest evidence for his failure to grasp the reality of the global community is revealed in an op-ed piece in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal by National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster and Economic Advisor Gary D. Cohn. Here are some excerpts:

“The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a clear-eyed outlook that the world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage.”


“We bring to this forum unmatched military, political, economic, cultural and moral strength. Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it.”

Ironically, this article, in which the authors portray America as an ass-kicking cage fighter, is titled “America First Doesn’t Mean America Alone.”

Some observers have accused Trump’s team members of competing against each other to get the “employee of the month award” from their boss, and perhaps this explains how two intelligent men could produce such childish drivel. For sure, Trump will approve of these words if he reads them. The image of America swaggering about in an arena, dominating all others with its matchless prowess, has got to warm the Donald’s heart, or whatever he has where normal people nurture a heart. So, brownie points for McMaster and Cohn.

But, like so much that comes out of the Trump White House, it’s nonsense. Just to focus on one questionable point, America’s “moral strength” is anything but unmatched these days. The very fact that we have allowed into the Oval Office a man whose behavior includes outright fraud (Trump University), anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican bigotry, admitted acts of sexual assault, pathological lying, mocking of people with disabilities, and of military heroes, etc., etc., naturally throws our nation’s moral standing into question. I may be called unpatriotic for suggesting this, but if there were an international survey in which respondents were asked to rank the leaders of the following countries in terms of their moral standing…






…I don’t believe we would come out on top.

Same goes for our “political” and “cultural” strength. The election of Donald Trump, which sent shock waves throughout much of the world (not Moscow), has actually given Jeffersonian democracy a serious black eye.

This leaves America’s military and economic strength, and on these fronts, I believe we are still unmatched. These may, in fact, be the only fronts that the Bullshitter in Chief genuinely cares about.

But why would Trump want to follow up his rude and pushy European visit with an editorial that emphasizes his contempt for the world community? Either he wants to make sure our (former) allies understand he regards them as adversaries or he’s struggling to pretend he did all that political damage on purpose - for his own secret, covfefe* reasons maybe? Or perhaps he simply believes that this message is the perfect concoction for getting his base to continue loving him.

Honestly, I’d like to ask McMaster and Cohn why they don’t believe there is a global community. Have they never heard of the United Nations? Are they not aware that all 190-plus of the world’s nations are linked together through an intricate web of international treaties? Do they not understand that rising ocean levels and increasingly brutal storm systems affect us all? Have they forgotten that there is, after all, only One World and, that we Earthlings, as its only caretakers, are obligated to work together to maintain it?

Or what?

               March for Science, March 22, 2017

* Culture World’s crack team of cryptographers has finally determined the meaning of the mysterious Trump tweet term “covfefe.” It is Russian code for “They’re on to us!”