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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Trump Is Undermining America's International Standing

Der Spiegel:
Germany must stand up in opposition to the 45th president of the United States and his government. That's difficult enough already for two reasons: Because it is from the Americans that we obtained our liberal democracy in the first place; and because it is unclear how the brute and choleric man on the other side will react to diplomatic pressure. The fact that opposition to the American government can only succeed when mounted together with Asian and African partners -- and no doubt with our partners in Europe, with the EU -- doesn't make the situation any easier.

So far, Germany has viewed its leadership role -- at least the leadership understanding of Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble -- as one that is by all means in opposition to the interests of other European countries. Whether Schäuble's austerity policies or Merkel's migration policies, it all happened without much co-coordination and with considerable force. It is thus somewhat ironical that it is Germany, the country that is politically and economically dominant in Europe, that will now have to fill in many of the gaps created by America's withdrawal from the old world order, the one referred to by former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer as "Pax Americana." At the same time, Germany must build an alliance against Donald Trump, because it otherwise won't take shape. It is, however, absolutely necessary.

It is literally painful to write this sentence, but the president of the United States is a pathological liar. The president of the U.S. is a racist (it also hurts to write this). He is attempting a coup from the top; he wants to establish an illiberal democracy, or worse; he wants to undermine the balance of power. He fired an acting attorney general who held a differing opinion from his own and accused her of "betrayal." This is the vocabulary used by Nero, the emperor and destroyer of Rome. It is the way tyrants think.
Patrick Maguire reports at The Guardian:
Almost two-thirds of the British public believe Donald Trump is a threat to international stability and a clear majority believe he will be a bad president, according to an Opinium/Observer poll conducted during his tumultuous second week in office.
The study reveals Britons have an overwhelmingly negative view of the divisive US president, who in the fortnight since his inauguration has signed a string of executive orders imposing draconian immigration measures, professed to backing torture and rowed publicly with the leaders of Mexico, Iran and Australia. In addition to the 64% who believe he represents a threat to international stability, the words most commonly associated by Britons with the divisive US president are dangerous (50%), unstable (39%), and bigot (35%). A further 56% believe he is untrustworthy.
It also reveals that more than four in 10 people (44%) believe Trump will be an awful president, with a further one in ten believing he will be below average. A mere 6% believe Trump will be a great president.
Stephen Castle reports at The New York Times:
Invited just days after his inauguration to make a state visit to Britain, President Trump is expected to travel to London this year to meet Queen Elizabeth II amid all the pomp and ceremony the British can muster.
But on Monday it seemed that Mr. Trump may have to do without one of the frequent trappings of such a visit — an invitation to address Parliament — after the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, publicly opposed such an appearance, citing his “opposition to racism and sexism.”
The comments will embarrass both the British and American governments and add to the controversy over a planned state visit that has attracted opposition in Britain, where more than 1.8 million people have signed a petition urging the government to cancel Mr. Trump’s trip.
Bercow's statement:
What I will say is this. An address by a foreign leader to both House of Parliament is not an automatic right. It is an earned honour. Moreover, there are many precedents for state visits to take place to our country which do not include an address to both Houses of Parliament. That’s the first point.
In relation to Westminster Hall, there are three key holder to Westminster Hall: the speaker of the House of Commons, the speaker of the House of Lords and the lord great chamberlain. Ordinarily we are able to work by consensus and the hall would be used for a purpose such as an address or another purpose by agreement of the three key holders.
I must say to the honourable gentleman, to all who signed his early day motion and to others with strong views about this matter on either side of the argument, that before the imposition of the migrant ban I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall. After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall.
So far as the Royal Gallery is concerned, again I operate on advice, I do not perhaps have as strong a say in that matter. It is in a different part of the building [ie, in the House of Lords, not the Commons], although customarily an invitation to a visiting leader to deliver an address there would be issued in the names of the two speakers. I would not wish to issue an invitation to President Trump to speak in the Royal Gallery.
And I concluded by saying to the honourable gentleman this. We value our relationshjip with the United States. If a state visit takes place, that is way beyond beyond and above the pay grade of the Speaker.
However, as far as this place [the House of Commons] is concerned, I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons.