Trump Abdicates U. S. World Leadership
We are so easily distracted by our petty entertainments. Who has noticed that the very order of the world has changed? No, this is not about the Comey testimony or Pruitt’s evisceration of the EPA or leaks or administrative incompetence. All of these things and many more are worthy of our attention, but there is something far more momentous taking place. After 75 years of American world leadership, some would say dominance, this misbegotten president has, in less than six months, effectively abdicated our position as world leader.
This abdication of leadership is not the result of incompetence, corruption or untoward Russian influence. It is intentional. It is the aim and logical result of Trumpian nationalism as triumphally envisioned and executed by the Steve Bannons of America operating through their vessel, the President of the United States.
Trump’s cult following (yes, that’s what they are, for there is no coherent policy that forms a philosophical core) will no doubt accuse anyone saying what I have said and will say of being a libtard or worse. But, that’s a false narrative. Every administration since the early 1940’s has actively pursued an American leadership role regardless of that administration’s party affiliation or ideological leaning. Loss of world leadership is neither a liberal nor a conservative issue, not Republican or Democratic. It is an issue of American destiny and preeminence as we have sought to help, guide and sometimes control world events to our benefit and the benefit of our allies.
FDR, responding to the urgings of Churchill and Western Europe asserted our military dominance and followed to build a strong and peaceful force for good. Truman implemented the Marshall Plan and forged the great alliance known as NATO to guarantee the peace and security of a newly reconfigured European continent. Eisenhower saw to America’s growing eminence in the Western World. Kennedy responded to a challenge to our leadership by ordering that we put a man on the moon, leaving our challenger for world leadership, the USSR, in the dust. Nixon formed the basis of a new global economic relationship by opening China. Carter brokered peace between Egypt and Israel, placing America’s stamp on diplomatic leadership. Reagan stood in Berlin and called out, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”. George H. W. Bush put together the most extensive, by number of participants, military coalition ever seen to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, led, of course, by American Generals Schwartkof and Powell. Clinton forged a new alliance to challenge genocide in Bosnia and oversaw the great economic surge as America led the way into the technology revolution. George W. Bush rallied the world to fight terrorism after 9/11. Clinton, Bush and Obama pursued a consistent course of world economic and environmental leadership. Together we led on issues from AIDS to women’s rights to LGBT acceptance and equality. For 75 years we were the moral, economic and military leader of free nations across the globe.
No more. In less than six months, Trump has singlehandedly undermined more than seven decades of bipartisan effort. He has left NATO reeling with uncertainty over the U. S. commitment to Article V while misinterpreting the aspirational funding goals for other nations as mandatory. Angela Merkel and Germany, with a second from Macron of France, has stepped into the void, leaving America staring in awe as the leadership it once wielded fell to others. At the G-7 conference Trump refused to play in the global economic lead role that the U. S. had so long enjoyed. Welcome China, with an assist from France and Germany, while we waddle behind the other member nations in our clumsy golf cart. Then the Paris Climate Accords. Fashioned by every nation on earth save two and led by the United States until Trump’s decision to walk off the track while in the lead. We will have coal, a nineteenth century fuel source, while the rest of the world powers forward with renewable energy sources. Watch again as Germany, France and China step into the leadership role that our President ceded.
Others don’t need to catch and surpass us. China was thought to maybe catch us in 30 – 50 years on the economic front. Now, without a contest, they take over first place and write the rules going forward, 30 years ahead of schedule and without the U. S. so much as putting up a fight. That is not losing to a superior plan. That is abdication without the need to abdicate.
The full truth is even worse. It isn’t just the abdication of economic, environmental and military international leadership. It is the abdication of moral leadership of the free democracies. While we have walked off the field where the free democracies of the world are concerned, we have replaced those alliances with the company of dictators and autocrats. While our President attacks the leaders of Germany, France, Mexico, Canada and even Australia, he makes and embraces newfound allies in murderous dictators like Duterte and Sisi and the murdering autocrat Putin of whom he will speak no ill. It is a rehash of the Allies and the Axis, but this time the United States, through Trump, makes its bed with the Axis.
I will end soon, but not before I remind us all that power and leadership once abdicated, as Trump has done, will not be readily returned by those who have stepped into the vacuum we have left. Trump may very likely have undone what our nation spent its entire being creating. It cannot be overemphasized how much damage has been done by this one man in so little time. History may well remember the American Era, as it may also condemn the unprepared-to-lead President who brought it to an end.