The Daily(ish) Review: With Friends Like US
I'm back from Portland. I love that town, but it's nice to be back to some delicious Nescafé Clasico.
I haven't enjoyed the news coming out of Europe. I think Trump's performance has been embarrassing. I'm not any closer to understanding what it is that his supporters like about his leadership. I haven't got any problems with looking at NATO and assessing our participation in it or whether the costs and commitments make sense for the United States. But you can do that while also treating the institution and its members with respect. NATO soldiers rallied around us after 9/11 and sent troops to fight and die with the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq.
His comments and behavior in the UK have also been embarrassing. There's a difference between being a straight-shooter and being a rude guest who talks about Europe losing its culture because of immigration and insults Prime Minister May and Mayor Khan. The support for this behavior is hypocritical or inconsistent. Republicans are happy to see Trump say these things abroad, but they would never accept similar behavior from foreign leaders either here in the United States or abroad.
Some people are rightly pointing out that the United States requesting NATO countries increase defense spending isn't new. They're also pointing out that despite the sky is falling headlines, NATO still exists. That's all true, but I think they're missing the point of how the message is being delivered. I think they know full well that Trump's method for demanding increased defense spending is harming relationships developed over decades.
Oh, time for a Nescafé refill, and then we'll look at an LA Times article discussing Trump's Europe visit.
Trump tries to dispel tension with British prime minister after interview criticizing her leadership
By ELI STOKOLS, NOAH BIERMAN and JACKIE CALMES
"President Trump on Friday struggled to repair his newly damaged relationship with British Prime Minister Theresa May, effusively praising her at a joint news conference after an explosive tabloid interview in which he criticized her, praised her rival and warned of an end to free trade between their countries."
- Great, succinct opening. We'll agree to disagree on the Oxford comma.
"The president did strongly reiterate one controversial contention from his interview Thursday with the Sun, a British tabloid owned by Trump supporter Rupert Murdoch: that immigrants were ruining Europe’s culture. May, in response, countered with the sort of defense of immigrants that used to be a hallmark of American leaders."
"The prime minister in turn cited Britain’s “proud history of welcoming people who are fleeing persecution” and said of immigrations, “We’ve seen them contributing to our society and our economy.”"
- I wonder if the authors meant "said of immigrants".
"Trump’s first trip to Britain had been repeatedly delayed, and was downgraded from a formal state visit, in part because of tensions he’d provoked in the past and the threat of mass protests. He gave the interview that roiled his arrival on Thursday before leaving Brussels, where he’d upended the annual NATO summit with harsh criticisms of allies, especially Germany and its chancellor, Angela Merkel."
"In the tabloid interview, Trump also trashed London Mayor Sadiq Khan, a Muslim who has criticized the president, as being soft on crime and terrorists, and lamented the protests against him. But it was his unabashed intervention into an ally's domestic politics that so violated precedent and the traditional deference shown by presidents to their counterparts abroad."
"As an aside, Trump noted approvingly that Johnson, who like the president considers himself a nationalist maverick, has said that Trump is doing a great job. The president added, “I am doing a great job — that I can tell you, in case you haven’t noticed.”"
- Do you know people who congratulates themselves like this?
Verdict: Good overview. I like their writing style.
That was fast, let's have a quick look at something else.
‘Evil Has Won’
Pro-American Germans feel betrayed. (By Michelle Goldberg)
"BERLIN — Klaus Scharioth, who served as Germany’s ambassador to the United States during both George W. Bush’s and Barack Obama’s administrations, was born in 1946, the year after Germany’s surrender in World War II. His earliest impressions of America were of a magnanimous, generous country.
“It was never forgotten that the United States included Germany in the Marshall Plan, which you would not have expected,” he told me, speaking of American aid to rebuild Europe after the war. He remembers getting packages of food from the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe, or CARE: “The victor sends the one who is defeated, and who began the war, CARE packages! Imagine that. It doesn’t happen too often.”"
"I traveled to Würzburg, Germany, last week for a conference about the free press, where journalists from Russia, Turkey, Hungary and Poland, among other countries, spoke of the challenges of reporting in conditions of ever-increasing authoritarianism."
- ever-increasing authoritarianism - sure seems like it.
“The trans-Atlantic relationship is not going to survive eight years of Trump,” said Marcel Dirsus, a center-right-leaning political scientist at the University of Kiel. He’s not sure it can survive four. “What comes next is anyone’s guess,” he said.
"Ironically, part of the original purpose of NATO was to prevent a return of German militarism: Lord Ismay, NATO’s first secretary general, once quipped that the organization’s purpose was “to keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in and the Germans down.” European integration was premised on American protection. Now that protection is no longer reliable, and to some, America itself seems like a threat."
- I think this is a good example of the sort of damage Trump is doing to the relationships that served as the foundation of NATO.
“When I talked to my American friends in 2016, I always reminded them of what happened in Europe,” Scharioth said. “Nobody thought in the early 1920s that Italy would become a dictatorship. Nobody thought that Germany, supposed a quite cultured nation, would get rid of democracy in a very short time. Maybe when you have this European experience, you might be more pessimistic than others.”
- Germany, supposed a quite cultured nation...I wonder if they meant supposedly here. I think supposed works, just seems a little odd.
Verdict: Obviously a small sample size, but it's interesting to hear how ex-pats and citizens from other countries view the era of Trump.