FEATURE ARTICLE

Temple Chima UbochiSaturday, June 24, 2017
ubochit@hotmail.de
Bonn, Germany

THE DIMINISHING OF AMERICA'S LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE WORLD BY A GAMBLER IN THE WHITE HOUSE (2-3)

Continued from Part 1

If there were ever a teachable moment about oil and fossil fuel addiction, that time is now (President Obama, in June 2010, during the Gulf oil spill)

If we fail to act, we will end up with a different planet (Jim Hansen, who was one of the first scientists to warn of climate change in scientific testimony to the US Congress in 1988)

If a president is speaking on an open line, then it's an open line, meaning those who have the ability to monitor those conversations are doing so (Derek Chollet, a former Pentagon adviser and National Security Council official now at the German Marshall Fund of the United States)

Virtually every scientist - with peer review - says the same thing about global warming and climate change. Is it helpful that America pulls out because of President Donald Trump's denial of climate change? No, it is not helpful. Is it a disaster for the world? No, it just makes us look foolish (Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City Mayor and billionaire philanthropist).

It is time to stop pretending that Donald Trump has the intelligence, integrity, or understanding to be President. He is not smart, he is not a good person, and he is not even a good businessman. If he was smart, he would not talk about how smart he is all the time. If he was a good person, he would not lie all the time. And if he was a good businessman, he would release the tax forms and other records to prove it (Nell Minow, movie critic and corporate governance analyst)

omeone reminded me that the Democratic Party has been losing local elections since Trump became the president. That's correct! The Democratic Party is in pretty bad shape right now, and will continue to lose elections until it gets its act together. The Democrats losing, while the Republicans are winning local elections doesn't make Trump a better president. These local elections are not the benchmarks to judge what will happen in 2018 midterm elections, or during the presidential election in four years time.

People like me are not criticizing bad leaders like Trump for the sake of it, but because we have a moral sense. Our society will be worse off if we continue to admire bad and lying leaders. The world won't get better, if we let it be as it is. We might not make much difference by our actions, but it is worse never to try. Just as Orson Scott Card, (1951), in his Book, Ender's Game, cautioned that "If you try and lose then it isn't your fault. But if you don't try and we lose, then it's all your fault."

There are still good people in this world, who in the words of David Brooks, have moral emotions. They feel rage at injustice, disgust toward greed, reverence for excellence, awe before the sacred and elevation in the face of goodness. These people yearn for righteousness. They want to feel meaning and purpose in their lives, that their lives are oriented toward the good. These people are attracted by goodness and repelled by selfishness.

We can't just close our eyes or start praising bad leaders such as Trump, who are out to destroy the world. That's the difference between us and others who're praising Trump, when he's poisoning the world and demeaning America's leadership role.

Donald Trump might know how to do many things, but being president is not one of them. He still has a long way to go, as far as being presidential is concerned. Being a president means that one should be better informed, and must get his facts right, before making any statement, because it makes no sense for a leader to come out to contradict himself. Trump just proposed something that has been in existence for 20 years. On Wednesday, June 21, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, President Donald Trump said he would soon introduce legislation that immigrants to America should not receive welfare benefits for at least five years. The new measure, according to him, will stipulate that "those seeking admission into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years," As The Hill reported, President Bill Clinton signed a similar law, dubbed "The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act" in 1996. The law prevents immigrants from receiving federal benefits, such as food stamps, Medicaid, and Social Security for five years after entering the country. There are some exceptions, however, for children and pregnant women, refugees, and active duty military or veterans.

If you're poor, you have no place in Trump's America; but he forgot that the poor made him president, as they were his major voters during the election. Trump came under fire for telling the rally crowd in Cedar Rapids that he doesn't want a poor person to run the economy. He was defending his selections of billionaire Wilbur Ross and multimillionaire Gary Cohn as parts of his economic team.

People are now missing George W. Bush, as Trump is turning him into a saint by his words and deeds. Look at how bad Bush was, but Trump is becoming worse. The final Gallup poll of his presidency had Bush at a 61 percent disapproval rate versus just 34 percent approval. He did not speak at the Republican national conventions in 2008 or in 2012 or in 2016 when John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Donald Trump respectively, were nominated, a break from recent precedent. A 2015 survey by the Brookings Institution ranked Bush 35th out of the 43 men to hold the office. But, according to Yahoo News, the thawing of public opinion on Bush is as a result of the contrast with the current Oval Office occupant.

Just like John Moody, I must ask if Trump really wants to be a president; or, is he just a mirage that will dissipate soon; or, is he a hoax; will he "disappear" with time? I'm asking these questions, because, with his random tweets, his crude public use of insults, lies and threats and his blatant disregard for decorum and the integrity of the office of president raise the questions about his willingness to fulfill the duties of that office. Trump is trying to destroy the country, as he wants to uproot the work done by American founding fathers and take America down; he's fundamentally weakening America's position in the world and is reducing its capacity to influence events, while turning America's back on its allies and encouraging its adversaries.

Trump was well pigeon-holed by Charles M. Blow, while writing for NYT: The con Donald Trump committed on his voters is slowly coming undone. He is not honest. He is not a brilliant deal maker. He is not even competent. His entire life, Trump has sold shimmer and called it silver. It was and is all an illusion, a brand built on selling banality with braggadocio. He shaped vapors into dreams and delivered them to those hungry for a taste of the showy, hollow form of the high life he came to represent. He was successful at exploiting those with an ostentatious appetite for the air of success.

Trump's life story is a pyramid scheme of ambitions. He took that history to a people struggling through a drought of opportunity and he exploited their weaknesses: a shrinking sense of economic security and growing nativist tendencies. But Trump doesn't speak so much from facts as from feelings. For him, the truth is malleable and a lie is valuable. He creates his own reality rather than living in the reality of others. Deception is just a tool; betrayal is just an inconvenience. Now even some of the people who once supported him with vigor are being forced to remove the scales from their eyes. They are now the betrayed disciples of a false prophet.

Trump's lies, his brand and his presidency are like a house of cards and the truth is a box of matches. It's becoming ever more likely that the consuming flames, destined to reduce the entire edifice to ashes, are imminent, as Trump slowly converts former acolytes into disappointed adversaries.

Trump's proposed visit to United Kingdom

How one knows that the era of American dominance in the world is as good as over is the way Trump's visit to the United Kingdom has been frozen for now. When things were right and an American president was the defacto leader of the world, almost every country will be begging him to visit. Even Obama, as a candidate, was well received everywhere; but now, nobody wants Trump in their country, as they can't handle protests which will greet such a visit. Trump has been, sort of, declared persona non grata all over the world. We know that some members of the British parliament and the mayor of London all asked their Prime Minister, Theresa May, to cancel the trip. Also, there were protests after Trump was invited so soon after his inauguration

The NYT tells us that there's still no time frame on when President Trump will make his first official visit to the United Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth didn't mention a potential trip by the President during her speech before Parliament on Wednesday, June 21; the queen only said she and her husband, Prince Philip, "look forward to welcoming" the king and queen of Spain in July. State visits have traditionally been announced by the monarch in her speeches to Parliament.

Trump's Cellphone

Let's get this one out of the way immediately: Trump forgets that he's now the president and is tweeting and using unsecured private cellphone, and these are raising security concerns. As MSN noted, Presidents' phone calls with world leaders often involve considerable advance planning. State Department and National Security Council officials typically prepare scripted talking points and background on the leader on the other end of the line. Often an informal transcript of the call is made and circulated among a select group - sometimes a small clutch of aides, sometimes a broader group of foreign policy officials. Those records are preserved and archived.

But here, we have a president who has been handing out his cellphone number to world leaders and urging them to call him directly, an unusual invitation that breaks diplomatic protocol and is raising concerns about the security and secrecy of the U.S. commander in chief's communications. Trump has urged leaders of Canada and Mexico to reach him on his cellphone, according to former and current U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the practice. Of the two, only Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has taken advantage of the offer so far. Trump also exchanged numbers with French President, Emmanuel Macron, when the two spoke immediately following Macron's victory.

The notion of world leaders calling each other up via cellphone may seem unremarkable in the modern, mobile world. But in the diplomatic arena, where leader-to-leader calls are highly orchestrated affairs, it is another notable breach of protocol for a president who has expressed distrust of official channels. The formalities and discipline of diplomacy have been a rough fit for Trump, who, before taking office, was long easily accessible by cellphone and viewed himself as freewheeling, impulsive dealmaker.

Presidents generally place calls on one of several secure phone lines, including those in the White House Situation Room, the Oval Office or the presidential limousine. Even if Trump uses his government-issued cellphone, his calls are vulnerable to eavesdropping, particularly from foreign governments. Trump has struggled more than most recent presidents to keep his conversations with world leaders private. His remarks to Australian Prime, Minister Malcolm Turnbull; Mexican President, Enrique Pena Nieto, and Russian diplomats have all leaked.

The practice of sharing his cellphone number opens Trump up to charges of hypocrisy. Throughout last year's presidential campaign, he lambasted Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, for using a private email server while she was secretary of state, insisting she should not be given access to classified information because she would leave it vulnerable to foreign foes.

Still on Paris Accord

Many are disappointed about this missed chance to maintain America's leadership role in the world. It's no longer news that Mr. Trump recently pulled the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change, which nearly 200 countries signed in an effort to help poor countries adjust to an already-changing climate, as well as make wealthier countries more "green". Trump pulled America out of the Paris Accord because of the coal industry, but no matter what he thinks, nobody can revitalize the coal industry again, as it's over with that dirty source of energy. Every country is moving away from coal as a power source, leaving only America and few smaller countries behind. The Independent noted that Mr. Trump thinks the Paris accord puts the US - particular the coal industry - at an "economic disadvantage". He and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head, Scott Pruitt, spoke about exporting US coal to other countries in an effort to boost the industry and create jobs. In reality, approximately 70,000 Americans work in the coal sector.

But, the former New York City Mayor and billionaire philanthropist, Mr. Bloomberg, said, "more people work at [fast food chain] Arby's that work in the coal business. We have to help them," he noted, adding that the President's proposed federal budget actually takes money away from job re-training government programmes for miners that would help prepare them for new careers. There is nothing that is going to save coal miners' jobs, they will continue to decline as technology gets better, said Mr. Bloomberg.

Mr. Trump has been repeatedly promising coal miners a resurgence in their job market since the beginning of his presidential campaign, but without providing specifics or taking into account that the industry has been in steady decline since the 1970s. Bloomberg Philanthropies has been donating funds to such programmes in an effort to help. The UN Special Envoy on Climate Change and Cities also announced earlier this month that they would give $15 million to UN to make up for the US withdrawal from the Paris deal.

Pulling America out of the Paris Accord has shown that Trump is not a business guru many thought he was. The action has put into question Trump's business acumen. If Trump really has remarkable acumen in business matters, he should have known that the Paris Agreement would favor American businesses more - Trump jeopardized American businesses by the withdrawal. The point is that other important countries and their businesses are moving away from fossil fuel, or away from reliance on it, and are turning towards clean sources of energy for everything, and at a point only the best will excel, and will dominate the markets all over the world. Take the car industry as an example: Trump accuses Germany of selling a lot of their vehicles in America, but he forgets that German vehicles are hot cakes all over the world because of their quality. "Made in Germany" comes with a quality nobody can ignore or resist. Look at everywhere in the world, America included, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porsche are masterpiece brands. American actors, singers, rich people etc buy mostly German vehicles; infact, using German vehicles is now an identity for doing well in America, and this is because of the quality of the products. My people say that "a good product sells itself".

Today, German, Japanese, British, Italian, French, South Korean car makers respectively are in the process of mass producing vehicles which will be using clean, abundant and free renewable energy sources, the so called green vehicles - their R+D Dept are not sleeping a wink. So, if American car makers refuse to follow suit, and still continue churning out car using only fossil fuel (Petrol or Diesel), at a time, they will be left behind, as nobody will buy the American vehicles again, when there are alternatives using cleaner sources of energy from other countries. That time, somebody like Trump will start fretting that the other countries are unfair in their business dealings with America. No; they're not. America was led astray by its president. If Trump is really a fast thinker with business sense, he would have followed this line of thinking, and should have done everything that will continue to put America on Top!

To be continued!

TIT BITS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZNK6iYVA54

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xItIxyykXk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua4Xm20obo4

THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!

Continued from Part 1

IMAGES IN THE NEWS