FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Is This How the World Sees Us Now?

Donald Trump recently returned from meeting with the other powerful countries of the G20 group — one of his first big performances on the world stage. So how did it go?

Not swell, according to a no-holds-barred account delivered by Chris Uhlmann, an Australian journalist. Uhlmann made four main points about how the rest of the world sees the U.S. president.

First, Uhlmann charged, Trump has “no desire or capacity to lead the world.” He called him “a man who barks out bile in 140 characters” and “wastes his precious days as president at war with the west’s institutions, like the judiciary, independent government agencies, and the free press.”

It’s hard to refute that latter point. How much time has Trump wasted watching cable news, or insisting that he got more votes or had bigger crowds at his inauguration than he really did?

How much time has our entire country wasted focusing on nasty tweets, such as the recent one claiming that TV personality Mika Brzezinski has a low IQ?

Second, Uhlmann concluded, Trump “craves power because it burnishes his celebrity. To be constantly talking and talked about is all that matters.” Worse still, he said, “There’s no value placed on the meaning of words. What’s said one day can be discarded the next.”

That’s a reasonable conclusion about an administration whose lies are flimsy and easily debunked, but delivered forcefully all the same. Moreover, Trump himself has shown little shame in making hateful remarks that would embarrass any other leader, from making fun of a disabled journalist to bragging about sexually assaulting women.

Third, Uhlmann warned, one must not “confuse the speeches written for Trump with the thoughts of the man himself,” because ” it’s the unscripted Trump that’s real.”

Again, he isn’t wrong. This can be said to some degree of all presidents. The words of a speechwriter or the tactics of a clever political strategist may be executed at the White House, but they don’t necessarily represent the thoughts or feelings of the president.

This is less of a problem when written speeches and unscripted remarks are similar. But Trump often reads a well-scripted speech and then turns around right afterward to make entirely contradictory off the cuff remarks.

And last, Uhlmann assessed, as a result of all this, “the G20 became the G19” and “the U.S. was left isolated and friendless.”

You may disagree with parts of this assessment. Perhaps you like Trump. Maybe you think his policy proposals are good ones.

But it’s impossible to refute this last point — that under Trump, the U.S. has forfeited its position of leadership in the world. Note that the other 19 countries had to issue their own statement about addressing climate change, now that Trump has pulled the U.S. out of those discussions.

Leadership can only occur when others recognize the authority of and follow the leader. I could declare myself leader of the free world right now, but nobody would buy into such a claim.

Therefore, whether Americans agree with other nations or not — on trade, on climate change, on anything — Americans have no choice but to earn their respect and cooperation if we wish to be a world leader.

At present, under Trump, our country is not doing that.

You can call German Angela Merkel or Chinese Premier Xi Jinping any names you want. But until our country elects someone who can work constructively with them, our global influence is going to suffer.

And, correspondingly, our ability to achieve any goal that requires international cooperation will suffer as well.

Distributed by OtherWords.

More articles by:

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 25, 2019
Rannie Amiri
Instigators of a Persian Gulf Crisis
Patrick Cockburn
Trump May Already be in Too Deep to Avoid War With Iran
Paul Tritschler
Hopeful Things
John Feffer
Deep Fakes: Will AI Swing the 2020 Election?
Binoy Kampmark
Bill Clinton in Kosovo
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Japanese Conjuncture
Edward Hunt
Is Mexico Winding Down or Winding up the Drug War?
Manuel E. Yepe
Trump’s Return to Full-Spectrum Dominance
Steve Kelly
Greed and Politics Should Not Drive Forest Policy
Stephen Carpa
Protecting the Great Burn
Colin Todhunter
‘Modified’: A Film About GMOs and the Corruption of the Food Supply for Profit
Martin Billheimer
The Gothic and the Idea of a ‘Real Elite’
Elliot Sperber
Send ICE to Hanford
June 24, 2019
Jim Kavanagh
Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back
Nino Pagliccia
Sorting Out Reality From Fiction About Venezuela
Jeff Sher
Pickin’ and Choosin’ the Winners and Losers of Climate Change
Howard Lisnoff
“Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran”
Robert Fisk
The West’s Disgraceful Silence on the Death of Morsi
Dean Baker
The Old Japan Disaster Horror Story
David Mattson
The Gallatin Forest Partnership and the Tyranny of Ego
George Wuerthner
How Mountain Bikes Threaten Wilderness
Christopher Ketcham
The Journalist as Hemorrhoid
Manuel E. Yepe
Yankee Worship of Bombings and Endless Wars
Mel Gurtov
Iran—Who and Where is The Threat?
Wim Laven
Revisiting Morality in the Age of Dishonesty
Thomas Knapp
Facebook’s Libra Isn’t a “Cryptocurrency”
Weekend Edition
June 21, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Brett Wilkins
A Brief History of US Concentration Camps
Rob Urie
Race, Identity and the Political Economy of Hate
Rev. William Alberts
America’s Respectable War Criminals
Paul Street
“So Happy”: The Trump “Boom,” the Nation’s Despair, and the Decline of Joe Biden
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ask Your Local Death Squad
Dr. Vandana Shiva
Fake Food, Fake Meat: Big Food’s Desperate Attempt to Further the Industrialisation of Food
Eric Draitser
The Art of Trade War: Is Trump Winning His Trade War against China?
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s Russian Problem
Jonathan Cook
Forget Trump’s Deal of the Century: Israel Was Always on Course to Annexation
Andrew Levine
The Biden Question
Stanley L. Cohen
From Tel Aviv to Tallahassee
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Collapses 70 Years Early
Kenn Orphan
Normalizing Atrocity
Ajamu Baraka
No Dare Call It Austerity
Ron Jacobs
The Redemptive Essence of History
David Rosen
Is Socialism Possible in America?
Dave Lindorff
The US as Rogue Nation Number 1
Joseph Natoli
The Mad King in His Time
David Thorstad
Why I’m Skipping Stonewall 50
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail