Trump's Temper Tantrums and Tirades are Making America the World's Laughing Stock.
You might recall over the weekend a video of Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin having a “bro moment.” In the background, you can also see a characteristically bored looking President Trump enter and make eye contact with and greeting a women. From the video, it looks as if Trump was unaware of this moment between the Saudi Prince and Putin.
The march toward nationalism.
But this is indicative of the very real problem that is taking root: Trump is playing into the hands of leaders like Putin and Saudi Crown Prince bin Salmin by isolating the US more and more from the global order that we helped create from the ashes of World War II.
““America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism,” He said in his address to the UN Assembly.
Throughout his speech, Trump stayed on script with a Stephen Miller-ized tirade against much of the world - except for Putin.
He railed against the UN Human Rights Council, saying, “I spoke before this body last year and warned that the U.N. Human Rights Council had become a grave embarrassment to this institution….”
He attacked institutions that help advance the Rule of Law worldwide by targeting the International Criminal Court, which prosecutes genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, and saying:
“As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy, and no authority… We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy. “
He targeted one of our strongest allies and one of the strongest democracies in the Western world, Germany, by suggesting that they “will become totally dependent on Russian energy.”
And while the Assembly applauded other world leaders who were giving their speeches, world leaders looked on while shaking their heads and laughing at the President of the United States.
Recent events are testing American power under Trump
Russia made a display of defiance by seizing three Ukrainian vessels just off the coast of Crimea in the Black Sea. This is yet another escalation of the proxy war with Ukraine and it’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Meanwhile, Bashar al-Assad is still using chemical weapons and brutal tacticts against Syrian resistance forces, with Russia backing them up.
Saudi Arabia, which is considered an American ally, has been criticized for its war in Yemen and the recent killing of journalist Khashoggi in one of its consulates. Although some American politicians have criticized Saudi Crown Prince bin-Salman and have called for sanctions, President Trump has, instead, expressed support for Saudi Arabia.
American late imperialism and challenge from China
In the grander scheme of things, this signifies yet again the waning power of the United States as it begins to feel the strain and burden of late imperialism. With $5.6 trillion spent on wars in the Middle East and Asia since 9/11 and 800 military bases in over 70 countries across the globe, and problems here at home, American hegemony is being challenged by the likes of North Korea and Russia; while China signals to the world that it is willing and able to step into the power vacuum and provide a stable hand.
In fact, the map of US military bases resembles the British Empire at its height in 1922 (emphasis on the height), when the phrase “the sun never sets on the British Empire” was coined.
Now, you could say that the sun never sets on the American Empire. But just as British power began to wane as World War I and World War II threatened its existence, America is finding itself overstretched and facing daunting challenges both at home and abroad.
Many of the institutions the US helped establish to provide a system of global governance is being challenged by the US itself - in the form of the Trump Administration. As mentioned previously, he has not been shy about criticizing the UN and its various entities, OPEC, global monetary policy and exchange, and the World Trade Organization.
China meanwhile has suggested that the we need a new global reserve currency (currently the dollar) and European central banks are already replacing the dollar with the Chinese currency, the Yuan. China is also expanding its influence by building a “new silk road” through trade treaties and financing of infrastructure projects (especially in Africa), and has been shoring up it’s influence in the Pacific region by warming up to the Phillipines and fortifying its position in the South China Sea (to dispute waters and to reinforce its ties to Taiwan).
America can recover, but must revamp its foreign policy to build toward collaboration with world powers
Our foreign policy is a hot mess. Our traditional allies are starting to look at ways to circumvent the US in salvaging institutions of global order and landmark deals such as the Iran Nuclear Deal.
If we want to fix our foreign policy, it will require a more steady hand and President Trump is not that man. He’s become a laughing stock and lacks the intellectual capacity and curiosity to solve any problems.
This has, meanwhile, allowed the likes of Stephen Miller and Mike Pence to drive the President’s agenda and create a United States in their own image.
So America better wake up in 2020. Or the world’s about to get a whole lot darker.