The following is the sixth installment in a series of undetermined duration and frequency about life in America after Trump (A.T.).
Since moving to the South I learned an expression I had never heard before. It goes along the lines of, “Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.” That is especially applicable if you did wrong or if you are trying to clean up the mess of someone before you who did. With that in mind, let’s explore.
One the many areas where Donald Trump has been an unmitigated disaster and has harmed America is foreign relations. (Think TPP, the Iran Nuclear Deal and the Paris Climate Agreement.) Trump has acted contrary to decades of American policy. He is certainly different than any of his post-war predecessors Democrat or Republican. Trump loves dictators (probably because he wants to be one) and hates democracy.
While policies change a bit from one administration to the next, never has an administration so deviated from American principles and values. Trump has alienated several longtime allies and has to have countries wondering if America’s word has an expiration date on it that coincides with the changing of the occupant of the Oval Office.
In order to reestablish America’s standing in the world the next president will have to embark on a forgiveness tour. I’m probably missing some countries but eight immediately come to mind.
Canada. Perhaps because I grew up on the Canadian border and going to Canada was an ordinary experience, but I have some difficulty thinking of Canadians as foreign. I had many pleasant experiences in Canada and often describe it (reasonably accurately) as America with a better health care delivery system. While adjustments are always necessary we made some relatively minor trade adjustments into way too big of a deal.
Mexico. Unlike Canada, Mexico is certainly much different than America. The primary language is Spanish, not English (although Canada is officially bilingual French is almost de facto restricted to Quebec). I’ve only been to Mexico on one brief trip but I can attest that the standard of living and culture are much different. That being said, they are our neighbor to the south and a very important trading partner. As with Canada there is a tremendous amount of cross border trade that is economically important to both countries. Trump has made Mexico and Mexicans out to be evil; nothing is further from the truth. We have a good neighbor in Mexico and they deserve to be respected.
United Kingdom. I just got confirmation that the UK will hold snap elections on December 12th as I commenced writing this. As of this writing they are reeling from the fallout of a Russian interfered with Brexit referendum. In a worst case scenario I can see the UK consisting of England with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales (in that order of likelihood) having exited the union. Our countries are closely intertwined and have been since at least the mid-1800s. We cannot lose that relationship or allow the UK to self-destruct (aided by Russian interference).
Australia. Americans don’t think about Australia much. It literally occupies its own continent half a world away. They have been an important ally for decades and like Canada share our “English heritage”. The Australians have been remarkably good about it but Trump has repeatedly disrespected them from the earliest days of his presidency. In recent times they have proven to be an invaluable intelligence ally as part of the Five Eyes program.
Japan. During his photo-op love affair with North Korean dictator Kim Jung-un, Trump has repeatedly endangered Japan. To add insult to injury he has kept Japan in the dark about things he is doing with Kim that directly endanger their national security. Endangering Japan for “promises” from Kim Jung-un is pure folly! The next president (other than a possible Mike Pence “caretaker” presidency) must make it clear to Japan that they, and certainly not North Korea, are our primary ally in the region.
Germany. Germany has been our ally since we rebuilt then-West Germany via the Marshall Plan. Today it is Europe’s largest economy. Perhaps in part it is due to Trump’s problem with strong women but he has totally disrespected Angela Merkel.
France. Emmanuel Macron has bent over backwards to be nice to Trump and Trump keeps disrespecting him. In addition to his strong women problem Trump also has a problem with intelligent small “d” democrats. Speaking of problems, America has one too – a Trump problem.
Ukraine. This is probably a surprise addition to my list of eight in most reader’s minds, by we certainly owe them an apology if they still exist by the time we rid ourselves of Trump. Geographically they are a buffer between Russia and Europe. We have gotten them into the middle of some very messy American politics via Ukrainegate. If they survive until the next American president we have to ask for their forgiveness for what we did to them and assure them that we will supply the arms necessary for them to remain autonomous and independent.
The next president will have to make a forgiveness tour one of their first orders of business. They have to convince the world that America honors its commitments, that Trump was an anomaly not the beginning of a pattern and that America’s word has value again
This article was written well ahead of publishing in order to accommodate my travel schedule.
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