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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The world has taken Donald Trump's measure: toxic, incompetent, and weak


WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 29:  President Donald Trump is seen through a window speaking on the phone with King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, in the Oval Office of the White House, January 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. On Sunday, President Trump is making several phone calls with world leaders from the Oval Office.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
It is literally painful to write this sentence, but the president of the United States is a pathological liar. The president of the U.S. is a racist (it also hurts to write this). He is attempting a coup from the top; he wants to establish an illiberal democracy, or worse; he wants to undermine the balance of power. 
For those nations in an already uneasy military relationship with the United States, Trump’s raging-id approach to complex issues has already demonstrated his willingness to blunder into disaster so blatant, that even a nation in dire straits is unwilling to endure our "assistance."
Angry at the civilian casualties incurred last month in the first commando raid authorized by President Trump, Yemen has withdrawn permission for the United States to run Special Operations ground missions against suspected terrorist groups in the country, according to American officials.
Most worrisome of all, Trump’s lack of judgement and inability to form alliances has clearly been read as weakness by those most anxious to see him erode American policy through his caustic presence.

With Trump floundering and fretting over television ratings, Vladimir Putin is seeing the pretense of political opposition quietly and steadily removed from the stage, so that Russia can pursue a more aggressive policy in the face of yawning weakness, disorder and shocking ignorance.
U.S. President Donald Trump has promised to “find out” the nature of the pro-Russian forces fighting the Ukrainian government, casting doubt over whether they are controlled by Russia.
One of Putin’s opponents has been neatly taken off stage with a court ruling.
Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny has been convicted of embezzlement in a verdict that will stop him from running against Vladimir Putin in the country's presidential election in 2018.
But the fate of Vladimir Kara-Murza, who worked to impose greater sanction on Putin’s band of kleptocrats, is not so neat.
Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, a pro-Democracy crusader revered as one of President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, was abruptly hospitalized with organ failure Thursday, the second time in two years that he has unexpectedly become critically ill, his wife told reporters.
Meanwhile, Russia has not only increased activity in Ukraine, but is marshaling troops along borders with Baltic nations as NATO countries move to respond. Speaking at a military gathering, Putin told leaders to prepare for a “time of war.”

Despite this activity, Trump continues to weaken sanctions against Russia, and propose military alliances against a foe that has no navy or air force—an alliance that comes with genuine risks, starting with forging a partnership based on mutual disdain for human rights.
Pressed on the wisdom of working with Russia, Trump defended the idea not by denying that Putin is “a killer” and a potentially problematic partner for this fight, but by saying that we should work with Russia because America is not “so innocent” and has “a lot of killers around,” too. ...
On the surface, the idea of partnership with another powerful and capable military to share the burden of fighting the Islamic State may sound tempting. Russia has devoted considerable resources to broadcasting its “victorious war” in Syria, airing endless footage of spectacular airstrikes and trumpeting supposed territorial gains. The slick Kremlin media narrative and coordinated messaging campaigns have helped create powerful myths about its effectiveness in Syria and in the war against ISIL.
Less than three weeks in, the verdict on Trump is becoming painfully clear. His disdain for human rights, misogyny and religious bigotry stands as a barrier with America’s traditional allies. His incompetence, ignorance, and unwillingness to learn makes him untouchable for nations in the balance. His weakness, combined with belligerent, pigheaded stubbornness, makes him both easily controlled … and easily discarded.

Trump ran on the idea of being unpredictable. Unfortunately, the result of his approach to foreign policy has been all too predictable.

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