Trump's 'Foreign Policy' Is Chaotic
Last updated 10/19/2020 at 2:34pm
In reply to John McConaghy’s Oct. 12 letter, I believe that he makes my case, despite his understandably human reaction to my admonition of Republican voters. The key factor laid bare by Trump’s COVID-19 hospitalization it is the cult of personality surrounding a “charismatic leader.” This was exemplified by his followers’ flag waving at Walter Reed, his White House Mussolini moment and adulation spilling forth from social media. Trump is masterful at exploiting the fragilities of large parts of the American public’s lack of discriminatory understanding of policy options; their inability, or unwillingness, to look at complex problems and solutions. In combination with time–honored tribalism (on both sides), this is a dangerous cocktail.
We should also acknowledge the contrapuntal media disparagement of Trump. Both extremes are emblematic of a nation ridden with polarity and divisive discourse. The question remains: Can we lay this solely at Trump’s door? I do not think so.
America’s political and social environment has been a long time in the making. Setting aside wealth and income mal-distribution, decades of U.S. global economic and military hegemony and apparent self-sufficiency was unknowingly undermined by a fundamental disinterest in other cultures (significant curriculum gaps in the U.S. education system) and an over-reliance on the mythology of the American Dream. America failed to recognize significant global change (e.g. China’s influence in Africa and Southeast Asia; the deterioration of Russia into oligarchy, the emergence of the European Union trading bloc as a political rival).
Uber patriotism (the last refuge of the scoundrel, according to Samuel Johnson), admittedly abetted by successive leadership – but none as cynically as the current president - now threatens dangerous portent. Trump’s chaotic “foreign policies” are chickens still to come home to roost. China, Russia, the Middle East, the EU cannot respond coherently to the U.S. because the post 1945 rule book has been shredded by a game show host.
The MAGA base may not understand, nor care about these issues, but thinking Republicans need to. Vote down the ballot for your principles but skip the top row!
Gregory R. Ayres