FEATURE ARTICLE

Temple Chima UbochiSunday, June 4, 2017
ubochit@hotmail.de
Bonn, Germany

THE DIMINISHING OF AMERICA'S LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE WORLD BY A GAMBLER IN THE WHITE HOUSE (1-3)

Trump is dangerously incompetent (Stephen Stromberg)

Trump's presidency is beginning to unravel (David Ignatius)

The president is not a child. He's something worse (Alexandra Petri)

The strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must (Thucydides)

Donald Trump has bankrupted his companies not once, not twice but six times (Hillary Clinton, on Tuesday, June 21st, 2016, during the campaign, in a speech on the economy)

merica's strength has been its leadership role in the world, and its immigration policies. America has been the defender (at least in words) of democracy and human rights all over the world. But all that is about to change, thanks to Donald Trump, the present occupier of the White House! Today, the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, UAE, dictators, are Trump's best friends.

It's unfortunate that the American president, who's supposed to be leading the world, called global warming a hoax, reversed environmental policies, and on Thursday, June 1, announced that he would pull America out of the Paris climate accord, which was to bind the globe in an effort to halt the planet's warming. Trump has continued to prove millions, all over the world, right, that he's nobody, and people are reacting, in various forms, to express their feelings. The AFP reports that sharp political passions over President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, and his links to Russia, brought people onto the streets of cities around the globe, on Saturday, June 3, mostly to condemn, but some to praise him. But Trump's decision, Thursday, to pull out of the Paris treaty, which is designed to cut harmful emissions and slow the Earth's warming, sparked a wave of global condemnation, and helped fuel some of the many protest marches on that Saturday, June 3.

The America I knew, which many cherished, is no longer there! Wait a minute; I will return to the issue later.

We all know that a gambler is fixated on winning; and a chronic one will even bet with his life. Donald Trump, being one, can put everything on the table to satisfy that urge. Trump has declared bankruptcy, six times; and the most affected parts were his hotel and casino businesses.

The snopes wrote that Trump-controlled businesses have sought bankruptcy protection several times after those entities - nearly all of them casino properties - were several hundreds of millions of dollars or more in debt:

#1) Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City (1991);

#2 and #3) Trump's Castle and Trump Plaza Casinos, also in Atlantic City (1992);

#4) Trump Plaza Hotel, on New York's famous Fifth Avenue, overlooking Central Park in midtown Manhattan (1992);

#5) Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts, Trump's third casino in Atlantic City (2004);

#6) Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009): After its 2004 bankruptcy, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts was renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts (TER), and that latter entity went Chapter 11 in 2009 with a debt of $1.2 billion.

As a big time gambler, Trump may be ready to stake America or his presidency in order to make more money; a point Seth Meyers made, when he hammered Donald Trump, amid mounting allegations leveled at the president, and wondered if the former businessman perhaps cut a deal on his own failure. In Meyers' words, according to AP: "Trump is harming his presidency so much I wouldn't be surprised if he was throwing it because he has money on his own impeachment. Before he was sworn in, I bet he called his bookie and said, 'I'll take the under.'". Meyers cautioned that "Congress needs to take this seriously," but lamented that "Instead, GOP leaders seem to be maintaining their cynical alliance with Trump just to get some taxed cuts passed."

Using the words of Damon Linker of the NYT, the events of these past weeks have confirmed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Oval Office is occupied by an ignorant, impulse-driven lunatic. It's no longer hard to capture the extent of president Trump's distinctive form of self-destructive madness. How can Trump be diminishing America's leadership role in the world, which his successive predecessors worked hard to build? How can he just pull America out the Paris Climate deal, just like that? By so doing, Trump has sentenced the world's climate to death, and has handed over the leadership role of the world to China, India, and even Russia.

President Harry Truman, who sealed America's leadership role, after the Second World War, and who signed the European Recovery Act then, must be crying in his grave, wondering what has come over Americans for them to elect such a nitwit as a president. Ryan Cooper, of The Week, was also surprised by the election of Trump that he wondered that even the cleverest institutional design can't stop an utterly diseased Republican Party electing the most dimwitted president in American history. The rest of the world must take swift action to protect all future people from Republicans and President Trump - and America from itself.

Before proceeding here, let me look at how and when America overtook the British Empire as the global leader. Right from the beginning, Britain was the domineering world power, due to its many colonies, all over the world, aided by its naval prowess. But, all that started waning after the Second World War. When Britain was on top, its system of government was seen as the best form of democracy; its Pound Sterling, the world's dominant currency; and its language, the language of the world. Britain started losing prominence due to the World wars, coupled with the attainment of independence by it major colonies such as India, Nigeria etc.

Amay Guleria saw the loss of India (for Imperial Britain) and World War II as the reasons Britain lost the global hegemon. The entire British Empire was focused around maintaining supply lines to India, from the Suez Canal to Gibraltar and Singapore (supply lines). Many other random colonies were designed to be coaling stations to and from India. Thus its loss meant a large portion of the British Empire suddenly became cost without offsetting income. Post WWII left the Europe-America balance of power extraordinarily favoring the latter; hence, Britain lost its global dominion and was superseded by America in the European theatre. Tim Prime added, among other reasons, that the 2 World Wars depleted Britain severely, and also made the UK lose all of its holdings in the US. Few people realise that the US-industry, before the world wars, was largely financed and held by the UK. As part to finance purchases and aid from the US, during both World Wars, the UK would relinquish this ownership.

Talking of how the World Wars helped in pulling Britain down, and America up, the Voice of America noted that Britain was once the most powerful nation in the world. It ruled a wide-reaching empire. The VOA explained that one can almost name the day Britain relinquished the leadership of the world to America, and this happened on February twenty-first, nineteen forty-seven (21.2. 1947). British forces had helped keep Greece from becoming communist at the end of Second World War. A few years later, Britain could no longer help. It needed all its strength to rebuild after the war. So, on that February day, in nineteen forty-seven, Britain told the United States it would soon end all support for Greece. Britain warned the United States that the Soviet Union would soon extend its control all the way across Eastern Europe to the eastern Mediterranean. It called on President Harry Truman to provide strong American support to help Greece and Turkey resist the communist threat. Britain, in effect, was asking the United States to take over leadership of the Western world. The United States was ready to accept this new responsibility.

The above point was buttressed by Stephen C. Timothy who added that WWI and WWII also helped boost industrial output for the US, essentially sealing the deal as a superpower, while Britain lost many of her possessions such as China and India (once the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire) during the late 1940s, and many African countries such as Nigeria during the 60s. Hypothetically, if Britain still retained these possessions, it could easily still be the most powerful entity in the world. However, in all reality, there was a slim chance of that occurring since the world was in shock after WWII, and essentially frowned down on Empires since they were very reminiscent of Hitler and Tojo's nations.

Since America took over the leadership position of the world from Britain, it has grown from strength to strength; it's the most powerful nation- militarily, economically and politically. The American military, the Dollar and presidential system of government are the benchmarks to judge most other countries. All these were before the election of Trump. Who knows what tomorrow would bring?

Today, America's dominance is under threat due to the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president. What this president is doing now is dangerous; we're talking that despite America's leadership, the world remains a bad and hostile place, but then think of what will happen when Trump succeeds in making the world look like an orphan. While the world still looks up to America for direction, Trump's recoiling it from the world.

On that fateful Thursday, June 1, while announcing the withdrawal of America from the Paris climate accord, president Trump's justification for doing so were, unsurprisingly, incoherent claptrap. The Week wrote that he said the agreement was both "draconian" and "non-binding," complained at length about a moderate fund to help developing countries transition to green energy, yet swore - ludicrously - that he "cares deeply about the environment" and would be open to a different agreement. It was obviously just a bunch of reverse-engineered fluff to justify a decision driven by ideology.

Ryan Cooper, writing for The Week, noted, as he has previously written, that under Trump, the United States has ceded whatever lingering threads of global leadership it had not already shredded by pointless wars of aggression and financial doomsday devices; we are now something of a pariah state. On climate change, it now falls to Europe, China, and India to corral this blundering, addled elephant of a nation, until our janky political machinery can eject Trump and the Republican Party from power. The Paris accord was the boldest and most promising step so far towards solving the most urgent problem facing humanity today - and an improvement in design after previous efforts like the Kyoto Protocol failed. Instead of attempting a traditional legally-binding treaty, like the effort that successfully took care of the ozone hole, negotiators decided on a sort of loose arrangement that set broad goals and gave each signatory nation (195 of them) wide latitude to figure out their own best ways forward.

Finally, world nations can begin to consider leveling sanctions against the United States. Obviously that is a touchy subject to consider given the vast power of the American military, and it probably could not be practically enforced. But it is the traditional solution for dealing with a nation that has chosen to harm the world and itself, and cannot be persuaded to see sense. At a certain point, it must be considered. And perhaps the very sight of the entire rest of the world speaking gravely about America the way they speak about North Korea (even that country is participating in the accords!) might finally shock some sense into the American people.

Finally, it should be noted that withdrawing from the accords will take almost four years, until November 2020. Extricating the American state from all its complicated parts - as well as all bits of President Obama's Clean Power Plan - will take a ton of bureaucratic energy and dedication. Trump shows no sign of even filling the hundreds of still-empty executive branch positions, let alone those sorts of qualities. If the rest of the world can ring-fence the United States, helped along by sensible American patriots within the country, the damage from Trump's idiocy might be contained.

To show how dangerous or poisonous Trump is to the world, David Brooks, of NYT, explained that two of Donald Trump's top advisers, H. R. McMaster and Gary Cohn, wrote the following passage in The Wall Street Journal: "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."

That sentence is the epitome of the Trump project. It asserts that selfishness is the sole driver of human affairs. It grows out of a worldview that life is a competitive struggle for gain. It implies that cooperative communities are hypocritical covers for the selfish jockeying underneath. The essay explains why the Trump people are suspicious of any cooperative global arrangement, like NATO and the various trade agreements. It helps explain why Trump pulled out of the Paris global-warming accord. This essay explains why Trump gravitates toward leaders like Vladimir Putin, the Saudi princes and various global strongmen: They share his core worldview that life is nakedly a selfish struggle for money and dominance. It explains why people in the Trump White House are so savage to one another. Far from being a band of brothers, their world is a vicious arena where staffers compete for advantage.

Good leaders like Lincoln, Churchill, Roosevelt and Reagan understand the selfish elements that drive human behavior, but they have another foot in the realm of the moral motivations. They seek to inspire faithfulness by showing good character. They try to motivate action by pointing toward great ideals.

Realist leaders like Trump, McMaster and Cohn seek to dismiss this whole moral realm. By behaving with naked selfishness toward others, they poison the common realm and they force others to behave with naked selfishness toward them.

By treating the world simply as an arena for competitive advantage, Trump, McMaster and Cohn sever relationships, destroy reciprocity, erode trust and eviscerate the sense of sympathy, friendship and loyalty that all nations need when times get tough.

By looking at nothing but immediate material interest, Trump, McMaster and Cohn turn America into a nation that affronts everybody else's moral emotions. They make America seem disgusting in the eyes of the world.

To be continued!

TIT BITS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN1AtzLrW4Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHGmFu84TXs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTaY5Sflx5o

THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!

Continued from Part 8

IMAGES IN THE NEWS