FEATURE ARTICLE

Temple Chima UbochiThursday, July 6, 2017
ubochit@hotmail.de
Bonn, Germany

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

Continued from Part 2

We have to react now to prevent long-term consequences of climate change (Angela Merkel, German Chancellor)

Mr. Trump's America was no longer a reliably close ally. Europe must really take our fate into our own hands (Angela Merkel, German Chancellor)

While we seek chances to cooperate for everyone's benefit, globalization is seen in the American administration as a process which isn't about win-win situations but about winners and losers (Angela Merkel, German Chancellor)

We have to take the configurations as they are. As G-20 chairwoman, I have the job of working out ways of reaching agreement and not contributing to an inability to talk. At the same time, the differences must not be swept under the carpet (Angela Merkel, German Chancellor)

The election of Trump has facilitated China's aims in Europe. Trump facilitates China's narrative of being the new defender of multilateralism and especially global free trade, and China sees Germany as defending that, too, as a kind of sidekick. And it fits into the Chinese idea of creating an alternative leadership to the United States (Angela Stanzel, Asia scholar at the European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin)

The Chinese see the European Union as "an essential partner for the kind of multilateral, globalized world China wants to see, where each region looks after itself and comes together flexibly to meet global challenges, like climate. The last thing China wants is to get on worse with the E.U. now that the U.S. relationship is so fickle (Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, a research group based in London)


U.S. President, Donald Trump, left, and Polish President, Andrzej Duda, pose for photographers as they shake hands during their meeting at the Royal Castle, Thursday, July 6, 2017, in Warsaw. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

resident Donald Trump left Poland, on Thursday, July 6, to Germany, for the G-20 Summit starting on Friday, July, 7.

While in Poland, Trump went to the Royal Castle, and was welcomed by the polish President, Andrzej Duda, with a vigorous handshake, in front of a white marble bust of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, the last king of Poland. The AP reported that the leaders then retreated to a room decorated with red walls for their private talks.

Mr. Trump gave a news conference at Warsaw's Royal Castle alongside Polish President, Andrzej Duda, after attending a summit of 12 nations with interests in the Baltic, the Adriatic and the Black Sea - the "Three Seas" summit.

During the news conference, Trump got personal by attacking the U.S. news media and former President Obama, before his other speech to the Polish people.

President Trump, according to WP, reaffirmed the United States' commitment to a collective-security pact with European allies, and criticized Russia for "destabilizing activities" during the speech. Addressing a friendly crowd, Trump heaped effusive praise on Poland, as he made the case for defending Western civilization against challenges posed by "radical Islamic terrorism" and ideological extremism. The BBC wrote that Poland's conservative government shares Mr. Trump's hostile view of immigration and strong sense of sovereignty.

Mr. Trump, among other things, according to BBC:

  • Called on countries to demonstrate to North Korea that there were consequences for its "very, very bad behaviour", and said "something will have to be done about it"

    Despite his numerous threats, Trump declined to offer specifics on the U.S. response. He was only able to say that "US has 'pretty severe things' planned for North Korea, but 'I don't draw red lines'"

  • Said America's "strong alliance with Poland and NATO" remained "critical to deterring conflict"

  • Accused Russia of "destabilising behaviour" but, when asked if Russia had meddled in the US presidential election, he replied, "Nobody really knows for sure"

    Imagine Trump questioning the veracity of American intelligence about foreign meddling in the U.S. election, arguing that Russia wasn't the only country that may have interfered.

  • Said, in reference to Syria, that "any nation which values human life can never tolerate the use of chemical weapons"

  • Said CNN had taken "too seriously" a mock video he tweeted in which he grappled with the network

Later on Thursday, Trump delivered a speech from Krasinski Square, the site of a monument commemorating the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against Nazi occupation. The AP reported that Polish media reports said the government, as part of its invitation to Trump, promised the White House a reception of cheering crowds. And the ruling party lawmakers and pro-government activists bussed in groups of people from outlying provinces for the speech.


President Trump giving a public speech at Krasinski Square in Warsaw on Thursday, July 6! (Credit: Kacper Pempel/Reuters)

The Poles were so happy Trump came, and The Economist captured the feeling, before the start of events, on Thursday, when it wrote that the American president will make his first public speech in Europe today, in front of a monument to the Warsaw Uprising, an evocative symbol of Polish resistance.

Though relations with Brussels and Berlin are fraught over European refugee-relocation plans and the rule of law, Mr. Trump's visit comes at an opportune time for the Polish government. The ruling right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) Party is glowing with pride; Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the country's de facto leader, says other countries are envious of the visit. But the turnout matters. In Warsaw, the capital, posters advertise Mr. Trump's speech and a picnic afterwards; outside it, PiS lawmakers are offering constituents free buses to the event. The centrist opposition is treading cautiously. America is important, no matter who occupies the White House. Yet as Warsaw embraces Mr. Trump, it may find itself even lonelier in Europe.

President Donald Trump left Poland and arrived in Germany the same Thursday, for the G-20, where he will meet with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and will have a potentially chilly reception from European leaders over his recent decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, according to NBC News and MSN. If Trump is a deft political actor, he will get a chance to patch up trans-Atlantic ties when he meets with NATO allies still rattled by his failure, on an earlier trip, to embrace the principle that an attack against one member is an attack against all.

The world is moving on without the American leadership it has known for decades, because Trump doesn't know how to maintain what was handed over to him, that has paid America handsomely. To be sincere, America will be nothing, if it becomes a recluse. The world is turning a new chapter, and starting from July 7, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, will become the champion of a new world order without America as its leader. That day, will be the start of Group of 20 summit in Hamburg. Merkel, in a speech to lawmakers in Germany's lower house of parliament, on Thursday, June 29, noted that "the world has become less united", and acknowledged that discussions at the G-20 meeting in Hamburg on July 7-8 "will be very difficult." In her words, according to the Bloomberg, "The discord is obvious and it would be dishonest to paper over the conflict".

Merkel is preparing to host world leaders including U.S. President, Donald Trump; Russia's Vladimir Putin; Xi Jinping of China; Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey; and other leaders from industrialized and emerging nations, amid a global shake-up that threatens much of the international order on issues established since World War II. On the agenda for the meeting are free trade, climate change and migration. Merkel said "We will have difficult discussions, since bringing 20 states together with all their developments and ideas is not easy". According to Bloomberg, G-20 nations, from Australia to Brazil, make up about two-thirds of the world population.

In a swipe at Trump's "America First" rhetoric, the chancellor said that nations turning to isolation and protectionism are making a serious mistake; she has been showcasing a renewed "spirit of unity" in the European Union after the U.K. decision to exit.

The German leader reserved her most dramatic language for the Paris climate treaty, after Trump pulled out of the global accord aimed at confronting climate change, which Merkel called "irreversible and not negotiable." Hear her: "We want to tackle this existential challenge and we can't and we won't wait until the last person on earth is convinced of the scientific basis for climate change".

About the G-20 summit, Merkel said, in late June, that the meeting in Hamburg must send "a signal of determination that they have understood their overarching responsibility for the world, and that they are willing to act upon it.

The NYT, on June 29, opined that there was also little doubt that Ms. Merkel has been trying to gird Germans and her European Union partners for a more conflictual relationship with the United States, which she said could no longer be counted on as a "reliable" ally, after Mr. Trump's visit to Europe in May. Those divisions are likely to be in full display during the Group of 20 summit meeting starting on Friday.

The world has written Trump off as the leader of the free world, and that's why, according to The Newsweek, more than three-quarters of the world has little or no confidence in his global leadership and his signature policies; and the support for the American presidency is collapsing fastest among America's traditional allies in Europe. Those are the results of the Pew Research Center's annual survey on global attitudes toward the United States and its president, released on Monday, June 26.

The Germans, for instance, are giving up on America because of Trump's stance on many issues, and they're now looking towards the East for friendship. The same way, China sees its future elsewhere other than with Trump's America. The Reuters wrote that ties between China and Germany are about to enter a new phase, China's president said, as he met the German chancellor before a G20 summit that is expected to highlight their differences with the United States on a host of issues.

President Xi Jinping and Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged on Wednesday, July 5, to work together more closely on a range of issues, two days ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg.

Trump's testy relationship with both China and Germany is pushing the two countries closer together, despite Berlin's concerns about human rights in China, and frustrations over market access.

Xi told a joint news conference with Merkel in Berlin that "Chinese-German relations are now about to have a new start where we need new breakthroughs". He said he hoped to make a "new blueprint, set our sights on new goals and plan new routes" for cooperation.


European Council President, Donald Tusk, left, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, U.S. President, Donald Trump, French President, Emmanuel Macron, and Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, walk after a family photo during the G7 Summit in Taormina, Italy, on May 26. Trump scores low in the Pew Research Center's annual survey on global attitudes toward the United States and its president. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

In Germany, Trump will find out that the world has decided to move on without him at the helm, as the mantle of leadership of the world has slipped away from his hands. A point the host and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has reiterated many times. On Wednesday, July 5, Merkel maintained her stand that Europe can't rely fully on U.S. The AP reports that German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is standing by her suggestion that Europe can no longer entirely rely on the U.S., as she prepares to host President Donald Trump at the Group of 20 summit. Merkel made the comment during a campaign event in late May, shortly after the G-7 summit in Italy. Asked in an interview with weekly Die Zeit, published Wednesday, July 5, whether she would repeat it today, she replied: "Yes, exactly that way."

Merkel was quoted as saying: "It is, for example, open whether we can and should in the future rely on the U.S. investing so much as it has so far in the United Nations' work, in Middle East policy, in European security policy or in peace missions in Africa".

She conceded that "we really don't have a legal claim to the Americans committing themselves everywhere in the world. The U.S. will probably not engage in Africa to the extent that would be necessary, particularly since they barely have oil interests any more in Africa and the Arab world".

Merkel held a pre-summit meeting in Berlin, last week, with the event's European participants, who underscored their backing for the Paris accord fighting climate change.

Merkel reiterated that the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the Paris accord is "extraordinarily regrettable," though she noted that many U.S. states and cities want to continue participating.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel stands behind a European flag as she waits for the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the chancellery in Berlin on Wednesday, July 5. Credit: The Associated Press

The point is that China and Germany want to take over the leadership of the world. They see an opening left by Trump, and are quietly stepping in. The NYT wrote that the leader of the world's other superpower, Xi Jinping of China, will also be in Hamburg, Germany, ready to slip quietly into the widening gap between Mr. Trump and longtime European allies, and to position Beijing as the globe's newest, biggest defender of a multilateral, rules-based system.

Mr. Xi have just concluded a state visit with Germany, including bilateral meetings and a small dinner, Tuesday night, in Berlin with the summit host, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has made no secret of her differences with Mr. Trump.

Having helped Ms. Merkel open the Berlin Zoo's new $10 million panda garden (complete with two new Chinese pandas), and watched a German-Chinese youth soccer match, Mr. Xi will have already made a mark.

He has cemented his closeness to Germany and Ms. Merkel, the woman many consider not just the most important leader in Europe, but also the reluctant, de facto leader of the West. Even before now, Mr. Xi has tried to take advantage of Mr. Trump's nationalist and protectionist policies and open disdain for multilateral institutions, using a much publicized speech in Davos, Switzerland, in January, to proclaim himself a champion of global trade, much as the United States used to do.

Export-dependent Germany shares China's view, with Mrs. Merkel defending everything from trade deals to the United Nations and the Paris climate accord, from which Mr. Trump has withdrawn. And China recognizes how important Germany has become in influencing European Union policies toward China, including trade and human rights, especially after Britain's vote to quit the bloc.

Speaking to Mr. Xi in Berlin on Wednesday, July 5, Mrs. Merkel said, tellingly: "I am delighted to be able to welcome you in a period of unrest in the world, where China and Germany can make an effort to soothe this unrest a bit and to make a somewhat quieter world out of it." The two countries have "a comprehensive strategic partnership," she said.


Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany with President Xi Jinping of China, during a welcoming ceremony for two new pandas at the Berlin Zoo, on Wednesday, July 5! Credit: Pool photo by Axel Schmitt

Trump has been touting his America First policies all along. Trump forgets that in the game of leadership, you win some and lose some. America has gained a lot from leading the world, and has paid a corresponding price also for it. Trump blames the world for everything wrong with his leadership or with America, and that's why he wants to withdraw America into its shell. As noted by Nell Minow, Trump only knows how to do one thing - the externalization of blames. It is a technique that got him pretty far on reality television and as a famous-for-being-famous-type celebrity. It has now catapulted him into a job he did not want and is hopelessly inadequate for. He knows it and yet has neither the will nor the ability to learn from his mistakes and rise to the occasion.

Mired in record low approval ratings at home, President Donald Trump is even less popular globally, with a majority describing him as dangerous, arrogant and intolerant, according to Pew.

It found that, across the 37 countries surveyed, a median of just 22 percent had confidence in Trump to do the right thing, when it comes to international affairs. Seventy-four percent said they had no confidence in him. Adding insult to injury, global confidence in Trump has plummeted since he became president.

Trump's predecessor, President Barack Obama, was viewed favorably by a median of 64 percent at the end of his second four-year term. That dramatic shift has taken its toll on the image of the U.S. across the globe. A median of 49 percent now have a favorable opinion of the U.S., down from 64 percent at the end of Obama's presidency.

Confidence in the U.S. president has taken a particularly severe hit among many of the country's closest allies: Germany, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan and Canada.

Only 5 percent of Mexicans surveyed had confidence in Trump, in large part due to his stated intention to build a wall along the entirety of the U.S.-Mexico border. A full 94 percent of Mexicans said they opposed that plan. But opposition is not limited to Mexico: A median of 76 percent across the 37 countries surveyed said they did not approve of it.

Indeed, all of the major policy proposals featured in the survey had a higher median percentage of opposition than of favor. Other policy ideas mentioned include the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, ending support for major trade agreements, Trump's executive order banning travel from six Muslim-majority countries, and withdrawal from international climate agreements.

The survey was taken before Trump, who has proclaimed a slogan of "America First," formally announced the United States' withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, meaning his international standing may have sunk even further. That decision was greeted with widespread condemnation internationally.

Trump's ratings in many countries, notably in Western Europe, now bear a striking resemblance to those endured by George W. Bush, during his two terms, in which the United States' international reputation took a severe hit.

Even Russian President, Vladimir Putin, considered an adversary in many of the countries surveyed, enjoys a healthier global reputation. Compared to Trump's 22 percent, a median of 27 percent had confidence in Putin to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Chinese President Xi Jinping was slightly higher, at 28 percent. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, was trusted by 42 percent, compared with 31 percent who said they had no confidence.

In a further indictment of Trump's international reputation, a median of 75 percent said they believed Trump was arrogant. The views on Trump's other characteristics do not get any better. A median of 65 percent said he was intolerant, and 62 percent said he was dangerous.

And while much of his notoriety before running for president was based on his stint as a personality on reality television, just 39 percent considered Trump charismatic. Even less-a median of 26 percent-said he was well qualified for the job of president. Only 26 percent believed that Trump's major campaign talking point (caring for ordinary people) was genuine.

The poll, according to The Guardian, suggests that Angela Merkel has replaced the American president as the politician to whom the world's people look up to for leadership (42% approval and 31% disapproval). A median of 60% in Europe have confidence in her, a rare achievement for someone who has been at the helm of Germany for more than a decade. Her support is especially strong on the centre-left, underlining how difficult it has become for the opposition German Social Democratic Party to land a blow upon her in the German election campaign.

In contrast, just 6% of Germans said they believed Trump was qualified to be president; 13% believe he cares about ordinary people; and 91% regard him as arrogant, 81% as intolerant, and 76% as dangerous.

In the UK, 89% see him as arrogant, 77% as intolerant and 69% as dangerous.

In Germany, host to the G20 summit of world leaders, only 9% support Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate change treaty. Globally, only 19% support the move. Analysis says that abandoning Paris climate deal marks Trump's return to angry populism, in that in Trump's darkest speech since the 'American carnage' inaugural address, the world was presented as something to fear rather than aspire to lead.

In just four of 10 EU countries surveyed does the public feel positively inclined toward the US as a country. The most widespread support is found in Poland (73%), Hungary (63%) and Italy (61%). In spite of the "special relationship" between the US and the UK, only 50% of the British see the US favorably.

The most negative views of the US are in Germany (62% unfavorable), Spain (60%) and the Netherlands (59%). And in the past year, the share of the Spanish public that expresses a very unfavorable opinion has roughly tripled from 7% to 23%.

In more than half of the 37 countries surveyed, positive views of the US experienced double-digit drops in 2017.

In Mexico, positive views of the US have roughly halved, down 36 points from 66% to 30%.

The two major countries expressing faith in Trump's ability to be a force for good are Israel and Russia.

I have been following some tweets on Trump's second foreign visit to Europe:

For Scott: Trump will be snubbed by the Europeans and China (who are forging ties), and manipulated by Russia. Trump has insulted our allies while embracing the Saudis. By electing the vain moron Trump (with the help of the ignorant bigoted Trump heads) Putin has achieved a windfall.

For Allan: Hopefully he doesn't give Alaska back to Russia (when he meets Putin).

For Bramblebush: I have complete confidence in Trump that he will once again make a total imbecile and uncouth oaf out of himself on this trip. Donald J. Trump, National embarrassment.

For Old School: Well, let's see what major embarrassment he can come up with on this trip!

For Richard: So Trump is going to get his orders from Putin personally. Big deal!

To sign off here: America's influence and respect, in the world, are waning fast. We might as well say bye-bye to an American century that is now in fast decline, thanks to the gambler in the White House.

TIT BITS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv_OtiL3-j8

THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!

Continued from Part 2

IMAGES IN THE NEWS