Wednesday, June 7, 2017


One of the most miserable developments we've seen over the past three months is watching as allies, who once looked to the United States for leadership and stability, recoil from America. Without mincing words, President Trump's incompetence, his inability to grasp the significance of global events, and his ignorance of basic history have convinced our post-war allies and friends to take a step back from America.

Contrary to making America great again, Donald Trump has become the face of American decline.

While Trump's actions - walking away from the Paris Climate Accord, his ignorance about NATO, and carrying Russia's water in the international community - might normally be enough to make allies and friends rethink longstanding relationships, it's the Trump administration's inability to deal with reality that's accelerating America's decline and isolation in the global community.

Simply put, the Trump administration - led by Donald Trump - has trouble living in the real world. It perplexes them, so they lie. First to themselves, then their goal is to get us to see what they see; or at least be confused about what we see.

Take, for example, Scott Pruitt's claim about jobs on Sunday's "Meet the Press" this past week. As head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Pruitt was trying to make the case that coal is good, and that President Trump has created 50,000 jobs in the coal sector since the end of 2016. This would be a nice story line except for one thing: it's a lie. It exaggerates even the rosiest scenario by 5,000 percent.

As The Atlantic points out,

Quite simply, the coal sector has added about 1,000 jobs since October 2016—not 50,000. Coal could not have added 50,000 jobs in the last eight months, since that is essentially the size of the entire coal industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pruitt’s statistic would otherwise imply that entire coal mining industry started in October. (Perhaps he meant 50,000 total mining jobs, but the vast majority of those positions have nothing to do with coal jobs; indeed, natural gas-mining workers might even be replacing them.)

Then there's President Trump's lies about virtually everything he talks about. One in specific stands out here.

While in Belgium President Trump stated that the wanted to stop Germans from selling so many cars in America. He even went so far as to say that "the Germans are bad, very bad." He was supposedly concerned about last year's $65 billion trade imbalance between Germany and the United States.

Here's the problem. Trump can't stop German cars from coming into the United States because - wait for it - many of them are being produced here, in America. It's why we had the absurd story three years ago of Tennessee's governor, and their elected congressional members, working together to convince Tennessee workers to vote against a union in their Volkswagen plant, in spite of Volkswagen's parent company working to have union representation in their Tennessee plant.

Volkswagen's Tennessee plant. The painted rooftop cost $266,200 and was paid for with taxpayer money.

What "Mr. Art of the Deal" doesn't seem to understand is that industries from around the world - which includes auto makers from Germany, Japan, and Korea - have made deals that allow their products to be built and sold here in the United States. They do this to take advantage of state subsidies, and to stifle the impact of protectionist and tariff policies in national markets. This is what globalization is all about. It's what I teach beginning students who take my courses in international political economy.

This is not rocket science; unless, apparently, you're Donald Trump.

Here's the point. The world doesn't trust Donald Trump because he and his administration either lie and make stuff up, or they simply don't know what the hell they're talking about. This is what makes Trump's America the butt of jokes around the world, and President Trump the target of genuine ridicule and scorn.

So, yeah, contrary to making America great again, Donald Trump is the face of American decline.

And it's a face that gets uglier and uglier with every week.

- Mark

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