The Exalted Cheeto continues his apparent quest to isolate the U.S. from all our allies
This past week, our president met with two foreign leaders, two of our allies: Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, and Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany. I think the summary statement is, the meetings didn’t go well.
Well, that’s a bit unfair. During his meeting with Kenny, at least, there were no embarrassing breaches of protocol or bizarre tweets, and Kenny himself called it an excellent meeting. Isn’t amazing how low the bar now sits? No, the ONLY thing that happened during this chat was a public dressing-down of the Exalted Cheeto by Kenny over the topic of illegal immigrants. Here’s a link to his speech:
By, the standards against which this administration is being judged, the Kenny visit was a rousing success. Remember that last May, during the campaign, Kenny accused him of using “racist and dangerous” language. Clearly, though more politely, he is still expressing the same concerns.
Now let’s talk about his meeting with Ms. Merkel. During this one get together, the Exalted Cheeto refused to shake hands for photographers, even ignoring the Chancellor’s question, “Do you want to have a handshake?” Spokesman Spicer later claims the Exalted Cheeto never heard the question, but watching the video, he clearly hears other questions, answering each of them. To be fair, they did shake hands earlier, when they were at their podiums. But that’s not really the big issue here.
He followed this with tweets castigating the “fake news” stories that claimed he didn’t have a great meeting with her and, in the same tweet, exposed his basic ignorance as to how the NATO alliance and the treaty itself operates, claiming that the U.S. “must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”
What he misses is that expenditures do not trade hands. These are commitments to spend on their own defense. A dollar more spent by Germany does not get “paid” to the U.S. (or any other NATO member, for that matter). Further, a dollar more spent by Germany does not equate to a dollar less spent by the US or anyone else, or even a combination of anyone else. The U.S. expenditures are not increased because other NATO members spend less. More importantly, they will not be decreased if other NATO members spend more. He also ignores Germany’s stated goal to reach the agreed-to 2% of GDP by 2024.
It would be easy to dismiss these examples as rocky starts to relationships that will grow more cordial and more productive over time if it was not for the burgeoning list of countries and world leaders with whom similar problems have arisen. For example:
In the current week, as part of his refusal to admit he is completely off-base with his ridiculous claims that Obama “wire tapped” Trump Tower during the campaign, he repeated an unsubstantiated claim made by Fox News Sr. Legal Analyst, Andrew Napolitano (former NJ Superior Court judge and someone who has absolutely no background in intelligence service or the federal government), that Obama requested that Britain’s intelligence service do the spying for him. The claim was so preposterous that Fox News was forced to disavow the remarks. “Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary,” said anchor Shepard Smith on-air. “Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time, any way. Full stop.” That didn’t stop the Exalted Cheeto from believing them, tweeting about them, doubling down (I’ve lost all taste for that term) on them, and forcing Congress to start an investigation into the claim. Forget the fact that, as president, he has access to all the information they would request to effect such an investigation; we’ve wandered off topic (as one is almost unable to avoid when talking about this administration). Getting back on point, Britain’s GCHQ (their spy organization), in no uncertain terms, called the claim “ridiculous.” The following is quoted from NBC News’ report on the issue:
“Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wire tapping’ against the then president-elect are nonsense,” the agency said in a statement. “They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman told reporters that the UK government had “made clear” to the White House that the GCHQ claims should be ignored and had received assurances in return that they will not be repeated.’
You say you’ve never heard of GCHQ? Well, there’s a good reason. They almost never make any public pronouncements, on anything. But how close an ally are they to U.S. intelligence services? Well, the U.S. protocol for continuity of operations in the event of a catastrophic loss of Ft. Meade is to turn over all U.S. Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) to GCHQ for safekeeping and management.
Oh, and the White House has refused to apologize. Again. Of course.
Makes for a good rapport with our number one ally, Great Britain. Remember also that Parliament issued a non-binding proclamation asking Prime Minister Theresa May to downgrade the Exalted Cheeto’s upcoming visit from a State Visit and not allowing him to address Parliament. It won’t happen, but they voted for it.
So, that’s Ireland, Germany, and England who are not pleased with our president and his big mouth. All in one week. But that was just last week. Let’s not forget how things have gone with Australia (hanging up on their Prime Minister), Mexico (threatening to send U.S. troops into Mexico and continuing to claim Mexico will pay for the wall), Japan (pulling out of the TPP and, thus, increasing China’s influence in the agreement and the region).
We’re not even going to get into the problems he’s creating for our country with the likes of China, North Korea, Iran, and oh yeah, Russia. There’s just not enough time and space available to devote to it all.
He’s making it difficult for our allies to work with us.