, 06.21.2018 08:37 AM

My advice: kick Trump in the nuts

That’s my considered diplomatic advice. From next week’s Hill Times column:

At a press conference held to mark the end of the Parliamentary sitting, Trudeau gave the sort of verbal shrug for which his father became well-known. 

“We continue to make sure that our folks are in regular contact, we continue to work on NAFTA negotiations,” Trudeau said. “I think the next time that I’ll see [Trump] will be at the NATO summit in Brussels and I look forward to continuing to have a constructive relationship with him in which I will continue to stand up for Canadian interests.”

“I believe it’s clear the way we have engaged with the president has been the right one.”

Well, actually, no.  It hasn’t been, at all.

If he is anything at all, Donald Trump is a thug.  Being a thug, he admires thuggery.  Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: those are the men whom Trump most admires.  The ones who are decent, and civil, and play by the rules – like Justin Trudeau, like Angela Merkel, like Emmanuel Macron – are door mats, on which Trump routinely wipes his feet.  He holds them in contempt.

When Trump “won” the U.S. Electoral College with three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, frantic bureaucrats and diplomats around the world scrambled to type up memoranda about what lay ahead.  The peered into the dark, dank recesses of the space where Trump’s brain is supposed to be, and they came up with a strategy that can be summarized in one word: flattery.

Suck up to Trump, they advised.  Kiss his flabby posterior, they said.  It will work.

It didn’t.

Others, like this writer, always had a different view: strongmen admire strength. Aggressors respond to aggression. Having cut his teeth in the take-no-prisoners world of New York City real estate – having literally become a star on a TV show whose principal purpose was humiliating people in prime time – Donald Trump was never going to abruptly change course, and adopt the Marquess of Queensberry rules. 

Having achieved the presidency by being an angry, racist, pussy-grabbing creep, Donald Trump was never going to stop being angry, racist, pussy-grabbing creep.

10 Comments

  1. Lynn says:

    Agreed.

    There is a point when taking the high ground is self defeating and does not work. There is no reasoning, and playing by the rules when the other side is corrupt, without a moral compass, and seeks to create constant chaos.

    A well placed kick; yeah, sounds about right.

  2. Kevin says:

    I think you’re right. People keep rewarding his behaviour. Why would he change it?

    A question: now that this uproar has served its purpose, which was to prove to everyone what a tough guy he is, will the various parties negotiating with him on NAFTA and other agreements start to weaken their positions?

  3. Kevin,

    Allow me.

    In a word: NO.

    Trump will only reconsider if the G7 and others opt for the strategy of Trade Through Strength.

    In other words, push back — and push back harder with each Trump attempt at economic intimidation.

    • Kevin says:

      I hope so. Bullies back down if they’re confronted.

      I’m not sure that will happen, though. This whole disgusting episode seems like a stunt: the pig president sending a message that he’s tough and people better fall into line or else. If that happens (again), watch the pig become even more disgusting.

      • Fred from BC says:

        This is classic Trump negotiating, if you can believe what he writes in his books: start from an extreme position, then ‘walk it back’ only as much as necessary to achieve the desired result. Subtlety is not really a Donald Trump character trait.

        (and no, I haven’t actually read any of his books, only comments and articles by people who have; reality shows make me gag and New York Democrats aren’t high on my list either…)

  4. Charlie says:

    We (the collective global community) keep circling the wagon on this, but the fact of the matter is so long as Trump remains in the White House, traditional allies of the US lose.

    There is no winning with Trump and the notion that an unorthodox relationship could be forged with that megalomaniacal oaf in order to yield some positives for liberal countries is a fallacy. Everything he does is driven by basic political motives that impact him internally as this is where his biggest risk lies.

    The US, in 2018, cannot be trusted as a reliable partner and should be viewed very much as a nation in a state of political turmoil.

    Which leads my to core contention: America is fundamentally broken and only Americans have the power to fix it.

    Canada, UK, France, Germany and so on can only chastise the US for its decisions from a neighbours perspective. But so long as Americans continue to accept the state of their governance, nothing will change. Until domestic politics in the US begin to shift towards sanity, there are few tools we have to deal with the US that don’t indirectly harm our own interests.

    I’m all for people telling Trump to go fuck himself, but it only matters if it comes from two sources: 1) American voters in Nov 2018 and 2) Robert Mueller*.

    *Caveats abound on this. No guarantee that Congress/media don’t completely mishandle the gravity of whatever Mueller comes down with. In a normal world, the amount of indictments and guilty pleas thus far should have been enough.

    • The Doctor says:

      I think you’re unfortunately right. Trump is clearly personality disordered. And that’s the thing with being around and interacting with personality disordered people: you can’t win.

  5. David Ray says:

    Charles Pierce just said the same thing as Warren today but using different words. There must something in the air.

    I wish our politics were less wild, less driven by fear and hate and greed. But, alas, they are, and only one side leveraged fear and hate and greed so successfully through the years as to put a gibbering racist in the White House. Forgive me if I put civility on the back shelf for a while and, instead, take as my navigating star the words of William Lloyd Garrison, writing in the first issue of The Liberator.

    I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.

  6. Peter says:

    We have just seen Canadians of all political stripes rally around our PM because of Trump’s insults, even though many presumably don’t have firm views on trade issues. Why would you think Americans wouldn’t react similarly to foreign insults? Are you under the impression most Americans outside of universities and coastal enclaves care what we think? Is the damage they could do to our economy even remotely comparable to what we could do to theirs?

    In 2004 Richard Dawkins had the bright idea that he would get involved in their election to help defeat Bush. His focus was the swing state of Ohio, then neck and neck. He took out media ads, made speeches, etc., etc. and gained quite a profile. The reaction was far from positive and Bush won Ohio handily, with many suggesting Dawkins helped him.

    We don’t have the clout to play that game and shouldn’t tell ourselves that we do.

    • Peter says:

      BTW, for those who think the only choice is between cowering in fear and publicly declaiming how rough and tough we are, I would hope our foreign service and security services are shrewd enough to find more subtle ways of resisting and standing up for the national interest. I suggest Israel may be a model. They’ve been in an existential war for their survival for seventy years, but they never attack their neighbours’ leaders publicly. Let’s respond to Trump’s taunts with appropriate intelligence and, to quote Gilbert and Sullivan, a “smile so bland”, and let’s leave the moralistic preening to the Dippers, who specialize in it. It can sometimes be a bummer that Providence placed us beside them (although more often it’s the opposite), but there it is.

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