President Laughingstock

By Julianne Malveaux

Our 45th President rushed back from his United Nations meeting in New York to watch the hearing of his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, and his accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Reportedly, he was impressed by Dr. Ford, but excited by Kavanaugh’s belligerently offensive session with the senators. From my perspective, Kavanaugh was disgraceful. He attacked Democratic senators, at one point asking Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar if she had a drinking problem! His angry, entitled temperament was inconsistent with Supreme Court service. But by the time this is published he is likely to have been voted onto the court.

While the Supreme Court deliberations have dominated the news, it is essential to consider the way that 45 appeared on the world stage. First, he was inexplicably and rudely late to the UN, signaling his own contempt for the organization and its members. Indeed, according to New Yorker reporter Robin Wright, the UN had to scramble to find another speaker to fill in 45’s assigned time. Then, just minutes after 45 began talking, the assembled group started laughing at him. Undoubtedly, they were amused about his assertions of having done more than any other Administration in US history. 45 was speaking to more than one hundred and thirty heads of state and dozens of other delegations. They laughed because 45 is truly funny.

As he ran for President, 45 constantly scolded that our country was the “laughingstock” of the world. Then he stood in front of other world leaders and proved them correct. Our nation is not a laughingstock, but President Trump surely is. He is out of touch with the rest of the world, out of order in his dealings with others, and out of control with his myopic “America First” philosophy.

We may still be the most powerful nation in the world, but we are holding onto that perch only tentatively. We’re not the largest country in the world. The population of India, at 1.35 billion, or the population of China, the world’s most populous nation, at 1.41 billion people, dwarfs our population of roughly 326 million people. We are a scant 4.3 percent of the world population. India is 17.7 percent of the world population, and China is a whopping 18.5 percent of the world population. Population size is not necessarily an indicator of power, and most concede that the United States remains an influential world leader. But we are a world leader now led by a clown, the laughingstock of the world. And in embracing an “America First” doctrine, we isolate ourselves from others and diminish our own world power.

Our power has come from our ability to play well in the world. It has come from our embrace of globalism. Indeed, our economic growth has often been a function of our global role. People want to come to the United States, to study the United States, to vacation in the United States and to enjoy the products and brands of the United States (McDonald’s and Nike are but two examples). Our President’s behavior repels people from the United States instead of attracting people to us. His jingoistic “America First” speech belied decades of international cooperation. His notion that nations are better off going it alone than working in collaboration is isolationist nonsense. His speech would have been better delivered to his sycophants who drink his Fool-Aid than to a thoughtful international audience of his peer world leaders.

“America is governed by Americans,” 45 said. “We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism. Inside everyone in this great chamber today, and everyone listening all around the globe, there is the heart of a patriot that feels the same powerful love for your nation, the same intense loyalty to your homeland.” It is possible to be a patriot and also embrace globalism, especially if we are thinking of our nation’s well being in the long run. In other words, the world is interlinked, and our countries are intertwined. What would we have to give up if we “went it alone”? I don’t think 45 is capable of thinking this through. What if countries decided to stop doing business with us? What products would we have to give up?

At the United Nations meeting last year, 45 ridiculed North Korean President Kim Jong Un as “Little Rocket Man.” Now Mr. Rocket Man is his new best friend, worthy of 45’s praise. 45 heralded his June summit with Kim Jong Un as a success, but there has been little or no progress made toward denuclearization. Now he says he wants another summit with the North Korean President. No wonder the world is laughing at him. He doesn’t know which way is up!

Thus, he has jeopardized our relationship with Canada, with his “renegotiation” of NAFTA. He has alienated our allies with his insistence on withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, even as Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia affirm their agreement to the deal. And he has continued to coddle Russia, barely mentioning proven Russian interference in US elections.

The world is watching, and the world is laughing. The disastrous display of US jurisprudence in the Kavanaugh case illustrates the breakdown of our democracy. Further, the amusing performance that our President offered to the United Nations cemented his place as the world laughingstock and disgraced us all!

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